Revised Register Of The
Soldiers And Sailors Of New Hampshire
In The War Of The Rebellion 1861-1866.
Prepared And Published By
Authority Of The Legislature,
By Augustus D. Ayling, Adjutant General.
Concord: Ira C. Evans, Public Printer. 1895.
TENTH REGIMENT NEW HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTEER INFANTRY. (THREE YEARS.) - Part 1
[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]
By JAMES ALBERT SANBORN, late Captain Tenth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer infantry, and Historian of the Regiment.
THE regiment was organized under the call of July 1, 1862, for 300,000 men. One company was recruited at Nashua and vicinity; one at Portsmouth; one at Andover and Wilmot; one at Farmington and Dover, while Manchester furnished the larger part of six companies. Capt. Michael T. Donohoe, then an officer of the Third New Hampshire regiment, was appointed, colonel and Hon. John Coughlin, who resigned his seat in the New Hampshire legislature to accept, was appointed lieutenant-colonel. Manchester was selected as the rendezvous and the camp was named "Camp Pillsbury." Companies began to arrive on the 20th of August and on the 5th of September, 1862, the regiment was mustered into service of the United States.
September 22 the regiment embarked by rail and arrived at Washington on the 25th; en route one man was killed and several injured by a collision of trains near Baltimore. On the evening of the 26th the regiment crossed the Potomac river via Long Bridge to "Camp Chase" on Arlington Heights, being assigned temporarily to Casey's division, Defenses of Washington. September 29 it returned to Washington and on the following day proceeded by rail to Frederick, Md., and camped in the suburbs of the town.
October 4. the regiment broke camp, marched to near Sandy Hook and camped on Maryland Heights. On the 6th camp was pitched in Pleasant Valley, Md. Here the regiment was assigned to the First Brigade (Col. Rush C. Hawkins), Third Division (Gen. George W. Getty), Ninth Army Corps (Gen. Orlando B. Willcox). For the following three weeks the regiment was busily employed in perfecting itself in camp duty, drills, inspection, reviews, and the usual preparations for an active campaign. Late in October the Army of the Potomac began its second advance on Richmond and on the morning of the 25th the Tenth moved with its corps. At Gaskin's Mills, on the 10th of November, the enemy having driven ih the Union pickets and threatened an attack, the regiment was sent out to support a battery and the men slept on their arms that night, the cold being intense. A halt of nearly a week was made here and the army was reorganized under General Burnside. Three grand divisions were formed, the Second and Ninth corps constituting the Right Grand Division which was commanded by Gen. Edwin V. Sumner. November 15 the advance was resumed and while the Ninth Corps was crossing the north fork of the Rappahannock its wagon train was attacked.
The Tenth was placed in support of a battery and was under fire for the first time. On the 29th the regiment camped at Falmouth, the camp being moved on the 28th to near the Phillips House where the regiment was constantly occupied with drill for the next two weeks. At dark on the 11th of December the Tenth crossed into Fredericksburg. On the morning of the 13th it relieved the pickets on the railroad embankment at the left of the city, facing Hazel Run, then advanced, driving the rebel pickets, and occupied the railroad where it fought all day. Late in the afternoon the remainder of the brigade which had been held in reserve was brought up and with it the Tenth joined in the charge of Getty's division on Marye's Heights. After the repulse the regiment withdrew to the city where it lay in line of battle during the two following days in expectation of a renewal of the attack, returning on the night of the 15th to its old camp near the Phillips House.
During the next six weeks it was engaged in picket duty and the men suffered exceedingly from the cold and from insufficient food and clothing. On the 9th of February, 1863, the regiment went by rail to Aquia Creek and thence by boat to Newport News where it landed on the 10th. Here the usual routine of duty was resumed and the health of the command rapidly improved.
Longstreet's forces having threatened an attack on Suffolk, Getty's division was detached from the Ninth Army Corps; placed in the Department of Virginia and sent to reinforce General Peck who commanded the troops at Suffolk. The Tenth proceeded by boat to Portsmouth and thence by rail to Suffolk March 14. On the 11th of April Longstreet advanced in force and invested Suffolk. From this time until May 4 the regiment was constantly occupied in skirmishing, building earthworks, and performing picket duty. On the 19th of April Companies C, D, G, H, and K joined the expedition which crossed the Nansemond, stormed and captured the battery at Hill's Point. Longstreet's forces were withdrawn on the 4th of May, and on the 13th the Tenth moved to Bowers's Hill eight miles nearer Portsmouth where a line of defenses was begun for the protection of Portsmouth and Norfolk. June 2 this line was abandoned for one four miles nearer Portsmouth, extending from the eastern to the western branch of the Elizabeth river. Camp was established near Getty's Station.
On the 22d of June the regiment marched to Portsmouth and from there went by boat to Yorktown where it remained until the 26th when it proceeded by boat to White House Landing on the Pamunkey river. July 1 marched to King William court house and during the next three days was constantly on the move, the marches being very severe. Littlepage's Bridge on the Pamunkey river was reached about 10 A.M. on the 4th and the regiment with its brigade guarded the bridge and fords while the remainder of the division advanced to cut the railroad and sever Lee's connection with Richmond. An artillery fight ensued. On the next morning the troops were withdrawn and the Tenth covered the crossing of the river and burned the bridge.
Yorktown was reached on the afternoon of the 10th and here the regiment rested until the 12th when the march was resumed. The regiment reached Hampton on the next day; embarked for Portsmouth and thence marched to its former camp at Getty's Station. After a few days rest work on the fortifications was resumed. On the 30th of July the camp of the Tenth was removed to Julian's Creek. Outposts were established at all important points and work on the fortifications was pressed forward with great vigor until November when the defenses were completed. While at Julian's Creek the regiment was thoroughly instructed in battalion and skirmish drill and considerable attention was given to target practice. The winter was passed quietly. On the 19th of March, 1864, the regiment moved to Great Bridge where it remained for a month doing picket duty and sending out scouting parties.
On the 19th of April the regiment broke camp marched to Dismal Swamp canal and proceeded via canal and river to Portsmouth, Va. On the next day steamed to Newport News, disembarked and marched to Big Bethel and on the 21st camped near Yorktown. About this time General Burnside requested that the regiment be returned to him and placed in the Ninth Army Corps, but his request was not granted and on the 22d it was assigned to the Second Brigade (Gen. Hiram Burnham), First Division (Gen. W. H. F. Brooks), Eighteenth Army Corps (Gen. W. F. Smith), Army of the James (Gen. B. F. Butler). On the 4th of May the regiment embarked for Bermuda Hundred where it landed before daylight on the 6th, and bivouacked near Point of Rocks.
On the 7th the Tenth led the advance on the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad near Port Walthall. After being under fire all day returned to camp. On the 9th another advance was made and the enemy was driven back. A portion of the regiment was hotly engaged on the skirmish line all day. At night Hagood's brigade of South Carolina troops charged Hunt's battery. Lieutenant-Colonel Coughlin led the Tenth in a countercharge and drove the enemy across Swift Creek with great loss. Another advance was made on the 12th. The enemy strongly posted, stubbornly contested the passage of Proctor's Creek. The Tenth crossed a swamp in front of the enemy and charged, clearing the entire front of the division and enabling the corps to cross-the creek and deploy. On the next day the advance was continued and in the afternoon the regiment came under a heavy artillery fire. On the 14th the corps advanced and occupied the outer line of the defenses of Drewry's Bluff. Skirmish and artillery firing continued throughout the next day. Early on the morning of the 16th the enemy charged under cover of a dense fog. The right wing of the Eighteenth Corps was surprised and broken. Everything on the right (including the Eighth Connecticut and One Hundred Eighteenth New York of Burnham's brigade) was swept away until the Tenth was reached. Here the tide was stayed. Charge after charge was beaten back by the Tenth and Thirteenth New Hampshire who held the works for two hours after the remainder of the brigade had retired. Then they were withdrawn and acted as rear guard of the corps and that night camped at Bermuda Hundred. Butler's army now took up its position on the line of intrenchments extending from the James to the Appomatox and here the regiment was constantly under fire.
On the 27th it left the defenses and moved to the rear and on the 29th embarked for White House where it landed on the next day. Cold Harbor was reached on the afternoon of June 1 after a wearisome march, and the regiment at once charged with its brigade, the enemy being forced back. On the next day the regiment lay in rifle pits. Early on the morning of the 3d the Tenth as skirmishers led the assaulting column, carried a portion of the enemy's first line of defenses and held the same throughout the day, the position being more advanced than that of any other troops that charged on that day.
The regiment remained in the front line at Cold Harbor, losing men every day until the 12th of June. At noon on the 12th it left the battle ground, marched to White House and on the next day embarked for Bermuda Hundred where it arrived early on the morning of the 14th and returned to its former camp behind the defenses. At 3 A.M. on the morning of the 15th crossed the Appomatox and moved toward Petersburg, the intrenchments being reached in the afternoon. About 6:30 P.M. Burnham's brigade in column of regiments, the Tenth New Hampshire leading, with the Thirteenth New Hampshire deployed as skirmishers attacked and captured that portion of the main defenses known as Battery Five. The Thirteenth as skirmishers entered the works first and was closely followed by the Tenth: On the next day Companies A, E, and K assaulted an inner line and took more prisoners than they themselves numbered. On the 17th the corps returned to the defenses of Bermuda Hundred. June 21 again returned to the works at Petersburg, the Tenth holding the right of the line resting on the Appomatox river. July 29 the regiment moved to the left with its corps, relieving the Ninth Corps which was to make the assault on the explosion of the mine. At midnight on the 30th, the assault having failed, the regiment was relieved and on the 31st returned to its former position.
August 20 the brigade moved to the left of the division near the Hare House. On the 25th the corps was relieved, marched to the rear and on the 27th returned to the Bermuda Hundred front, the Tenth being placed on the right of the line opposite the Confederate Howlett House Battery on the James river. September 28 the brigade crossed to the north bank of the James at Aiken's Landing. Early on the next morning an advance was made and the enemy's skirmishers were driven back into Fort Harrison. General Stannard's (First) Division of the Eighteenth Corps preceded by the Tenth New Hampshire and One Hundred Eighteenth New York as skirmishers stormed and captured the fort. On the 30th the rebels made three desperate attempts to re-take the fort but were repulsed with great slaughter, the brunt of the attack failing on Burnham's brigade and the right of Stevens's brigade held by the Thirteenth New Hampshire. The Tenth New Hampshire and One Hundred Eighteenth New York were deployed by groups along the entire front of Burnham's brigade. A skirmish line detailed from the two latter regiments and the division sharpshooters, advanced after the Confederate repulse and captured the remnant of the assaulting party with all the dead and wounded, also every battle flag of Ransom's North Carolina brigade as well as some others. For several days the rebels concentrated the fire of their mortars on the fort.
October 26 the regiment was withdrawn from the works and moved to the rear. On the next day the corps moved to the Williamsburg road. Near Fair Oaks the rebels made a stand but were driven into their works. The Second Brigade charged the entrenchments but was repulsed with great loss. The Tenth went into the fight with ten officers and one hundred and twenty-four men and came out with two officers and twenty-five men. Many were captured here and afterwards died in rebel prison.
On the 28th he troops returned to the vicinity of Fort Harrison (now called Fort Burnham) where the winter was spent. On the 4th of December the Tenth was assigned to the Second Brigade (Col. Joseph H. Potter), Third Division (Gen. J. B. Carr), Twenty-fourth Army Corps (Gen. Alfred H. Terry commanding during the absence of Gen. E. O. C. Ord.), Gen. Charles Devens subsequently commanded the division. The exposure to cold and frequent and extended terms of picket duty made the winter one of hardship. The Tenth was among the first of the Union regiments to enter Richmond on the 3d of April, 1865. Following this it remained in Manchester, opposite Richmond, doing provost duty. On the 21st of June it was mustered out of the United States service and the next day with the Twelfth and Thirteenth New Hampshire started for home, arriving at Concord on the 27th, and vas paid on the 1st of July.
The record of the regiment is one of brave deeds and heroic sacrifices. No regiment fought more bravely or discharged more faithfully the duty which devolved upon it. The Tenth New Hampshire Volunteers was attached to Casey's Division, Defenses of Washington, September 27 to 30, 1862; First Brigade, Third Division, Ninth Army Corps, October 7, 1862; Getty's Division, Department of Virginia, March 13, 1863; Getty's Division, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, July 18, 1863; for a time the regiment was attached to the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps, Department of Virginia and North Carolina; Heckman's Division, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, January ---, 1864; Second Brigade, First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, April 22, 1864; Second Brigade, Third Division, Twenty-fourth Army Corps, December 4, 1864.