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C. Fiske Harris Collection on the Civil War and Slavery Manuscripts

Biographical note

Lieutenant Henri Eugene Bacon (1837-1897) served as 2nd Lieutenant, Company F, 11th Regiment, Rhode Island Infantry. He was born in Pawtucket, Bristol County, MA (now Rhode Island) and worked as a bookkeeper at the time he served in the war. He served for nine months, writing letters home to his wife Emma and their two young children, Lillian (1) and Walter (infant). Bacon was mustered out on July 13, 1863 and returned home to his family.

Corporal James Albert Barber (1841-1925) was born in Westerly on July 11, 1841 to Matthew and Phebe (Hall) Barber. He worked as a fisherman and boatman for most of his life, and served as Captain of the Watch Hill Life Saving Station. At the age of 20, he enlisted in the 1st Regiment, Rhode Island Light Artillery. He was eventually made Corporal in Company G, 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Light Artillery. Barber was at the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg and involved in other action with his company from November 1861 through June 1865. In April 1865, at Petersburg, Virginia, he was one of 20 chosen artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party and captured guns to turn on the enemy, an act for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on June 16, 1866. Barber married Hannah J. Tourgee on March 14, 1865. They had had seven sons, four of whom survived to adulthood. Barber died on Jun. 26, 1925 and is buried in River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, RI.

Nothing is known about Corporal John Blair of Company C, 2nd Regiment, Rhode Island Infantry.

Private John C. Bullock of Company D, 3rd Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, resided in Bristol with his parents until marching off to war. He died at the age of 19 on Jan 18, 1862 in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Private James Cady, served as a private in Company C. 18th Connecticut Volunteers. He was from the area of South Woodstock, CT.

Mrs. Charlotte F. Dailey (1820-1885) was a Providence reformer. In December 1862, Governor Sprague requested that Dr. Lloyd Morton and Mrs. Charlotte F. Dailey take a tour of inspection to various hospitals to ascertain the condition of sick and disabled Rhode Island soldiers. Mrs. Dailey traveled for 5 weeks and 4 days visiting 61 hospitals and 5 camps in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Md. York, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pa., Newark, NJ, New York, NY from December 1862 to January 1863. While she traveled, Mrs. Dailey wrote letters home to her husband Albert (1819-1877), a Providence lumber merchant, who was home with their children Charlotte (Lottie) age 19, Albert age 15, Martin age 12 and Maude age 7. Some letters are directed to Lottie and Mrs. Dailey’s eldest son, George.

W.E. Gardiner may be Walter E. Gardiner of the U.S. Department of Agriclture.

Corporal John M. Gallagher served with Co. C. 5th Regiment. RI Volunteers from 1862-1864. He was originally enrolled in the Burnside Divison in Exeter, RI October 23, 1861 and was mustered in December 16, 1861. He re-enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer on January 5, 1864. In February of that year, he became ill and convalesced in the General Hospital in Washington, DC. Corporal Gallagher died May 21, 1864 of Erysipelas in Foster General Hospital, New Berne, NC.

Private Ambrose F. Hadley was an old veteran serving with Company H. 2nd Regiment RI Volunteers.

Nathan Irving served with the 97th Company 2nd Battalion Illinois Veteran Reserve Corps on Rock Island Garrison in Ill. in 1864. He was friends with George B. Blackman, of Warwick, RI.

Private George W. Randall of Providence served with Company D. 11th Regiment RI Volunteers. He was mustered in October 1, 1862 and mustered out July 13, 1863.

Private Charles W. Robins was a Private, in Battery E. Rhode Island Light Artillery, Brineys Division. He enlisted in the National Cadets on July 27th, 1861 and was sworn in on August 20. On August 21, he was sent to Camp Ames in Warwick. On September 7, he embarked on board “The Comodore” to sail for Fort Hamilton on Long Island, arriving on September 9. On September 17, Robins arrived in Washington only to return to Fort Hamilton a few days later. In 1864 he served with the Randolph Battery Division B 3rd Corps. Robins was friends with George B. Blackman, of Warwick, RI.

Private Reuben A. Thornton served with Company C. 11th Rhode Island Volunteers in Washington DC.

Corporal George M. Turner, of Company A. 3rd R.I. Artillery, was born in 1843. He was the only son and only child of Amos R., a drayman, and Betsy. “Pop” as he was generally known, enlisted on November 20, 1861. He served primarily in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He was on the U.S. Gun Boat George Washington when it was attacked and blown up by the rebels. He barely escaped by swimming to shore. He credited his mother’s prayers for his safety. Turner suffered from “ague” (Malaria) but received excellent care and recovered quickly. He was a fun-loving young man who enjoyed receiving letters from home. His correspondents included not only his parents, but aunts, uncles and cousins as well. He had a sibling-like relationship with his female cousins, especially Miss Ursula Trask, daughter of Edward and Rhoda Buffington of Coventry. He was a staunch Republican who could not stand the Copper Heads and Peace Democrats trying to end the war without a definitive victory. His feelings towards the former slaves were mostly negative, though he had utmost admiration for the U.S. Colored Troops who fought bravely. He enjoyed being a soldier and strongly considered reenlisting in the Veteran Corps, but duty to help his family and their concern for his safety, won out and he returned home to his loving family by the fall of 1864. His best friend was Alonzo Williams, of Scituate, also of Company A. For more information about Turner, see Hammerstrom, “Souvenirs of War,” Rhode Island History, 70.2 (Summer/Fall 2012): 74-86.

Dr. Henry E. Turner was a 44 year old physician from Newport during the time of the Civil War. He and his wife Anne had four children.

Samuel Wight was born in Rhode Island in 1839 to Mary Ann Gross Wight and her husband, whose name is unknown. He had one older sister Sarah (b. 1838), and two older sisters Marietta (b. 1842) and Emma (b. 1847). He married Mage 91831-1905) and enlisted n the 2nd Regt RI Vols on June 23, 1861. He died on May 10, 1863 in Campbell Hospital in Washington, DC of a wound to the thigh.

The 11th Regiment, Rhode Island Infantry was organized at Providence and mustered in October 1, 1862. The regiment left or Washington, DC on October 6 and was attached to the Military District of Washington until December, 1862. The regiment served at East Capital Hill, Fort Ethan Allen and Miner's Hill, Defenses of Washington, until January 14, 1863. The regiment served guard duty at Convalescent Camp through April 15, 1863 before moving to Norfolk, Virginia and then to Suffolk, Virginia. The 11th Rhode Island participated in the Siege of Suffolk on April 19-May 4, 1863. The regiment then went on an expedition to destroy Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad and Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad from May 16-27. Further duties in Virginia followed before leaving for home on July 2, 1863 and being mustered out on July 13, 1863.

The 2nd Regiment, Rhode Island Infantry was organized at Providence in June, 1861. The regiment left Rhode Island for Washington, D. C. on June 19 and was attached to Burnside's Brigade, Hunter's Division, and McDowell's Army of Northeast Virginia to August, 1861 and then to Couch's Brigade, Division of the Potomac to October, 1861. The regiment also served with Couch's Brigade, Buell's Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. White officers of the 2nd Rhode Island Colored Division Camp served at Camp Sprague and Brightwood, Defences of Washington, until March, 1862.

The 3rd Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was organized at Providence as the 3rd Infantry in August of 1861, but was then reorganized at Hilton Head, SC as Heavy Artillery on December 19, 1861. The regiment was attached to Sherman's Expeditionary Corps to April, 1862. The 3rd RI served at Hilton Head, SC until April, 1863 and moved to Folly Island, SC in April, 1863, serving there until July of 1863. The regiment participated in the attack on Morris Island of July 10, 1863 as well as assaults on Fort Wagner, siege operations against Forts Wagner and Gregg, Morris Island, and against Charleston until March of 1863. The regiment was involved in the capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg on September 7, 1863 before moving to Fort Pulaski, GA for garrison duty from March through September, 1864. The 3rd RI then moved to Hilton Head, SC, and then to New York and back to Providence in September 26-30. The troops were mustered out on October 4, 1864 and a new Battery "D" consolidated Battalion was organized by transfers on March 10, 1865. The new Battery was attached to the 1st Separate Brigade, Morris Island, SC, Northern District, Dept. of the South, and served duty on Morris Island, and in the Dept. of the South, until August. Battery D was mustered out August 27, 1865. During service, the regiment lost during two officers and 39 enlisted men who were killed and mortally wounded as well as four Officers and 90 Enlisted men by disease.

Battery "A" of the 3rd Regiment Heavy Artillery was attached to Sherman's Expeditionary Corps to April, 1862 and then to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Department of the South, to July of 1862. The Battery saw action at Whitmarsh and Wilmington Islands on April 16, 1862. Battery A served in Hilton Head and Beaufort, SC until November, 1863, then moving to the Morris and Folly Islands, until December 1863 before returning to Hilton Head through April 1864. Battery A then moved to Jacksonville, FL and remained on duty there until October, 1864. The Battery participated in the Expeditions from Jacksonville to Finnegan's Camp and from Jacksonville to Camp Milton, as well as the Expeditions to Baldwin and South Fork Black Creek in the spring and summer of 1864. Battery A was involved in the Raid on Florida Railroad from August 15-19, 1864 as well as the Engagement at Gainesville on August 17. The Battery then moved back to South Carolina, on duty in Beaufort that fall. The Battery then participated in the Expedition to Boyd's Neck and the Battle of Honey Hill in November. Additionally, the Battery saw action in the Demonstration on Charleston and Savannah Railroad and at Deveaux Neck in December. The Battery’s final duty was back in Beaufort, SC, where they remained until being mustered out August 27, 1865.

Company C. 18th Connecticut Volunteers was organized at Norwich on August 22, 1862. The regiment served at Forts McHenry and Marshall, Defenses of Baltimore, until May of 1863 before moving to Winchester, VA to join Milroy's Command. The 18th Connecticut Volunteers participated in the Battle of Winchester in June 1863. Most of the men were captured on June 15 and later paroled on July 2 and exchanged on October 1, 1863. The regiment then moved to Martinsburg, VA to join those who had not been captured. The regiment served Provost duty at Hagerstown, MD and at Martinsburg, and Bolivar Heights in March 1864, followed by a reconnaissance toward Snicker's Gap. Upon returning from furlough, then men then participated in the Battle of New Market. Other major events included the Battle of Kernstown, Winchester, July 24, and Martinsburg July 25. The regiment was stationed at Charlestown, West Virginia until October, and at then at Martinsburg October 1-29. The regiment moved to New Haven, CT and participated in duty at Conscript Camp through November 11 and then moved to West Virginia until being mustered out at Harper's Ferry, WV on June 27, 1865.

The 5th Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was organized at New Berne, NC from the 5th Rhode Island Infantry on May 27, 1863. The regiment served as garrison in Forts and Defences of New Berne, Washington and Roanoke Island, NC. The 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery also served at Forts Totten, Gaston, Chase, Spinola, Hatteras, Clarke, Foster, Parke, Reno and Washington. The regiment saw action near New Berne, in Albermarle Sound and Trent River in the spring of1864. The 5th Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery mustered out June 26, 1865.

The Illinois Invalid Corps was renamed Veteran Corps with the authorization of General Orders, No. 105, War Department, 1863.

The 1st Regiment Light Artillery, Battery "E" was organized at Providence on September 23, 1861. The Battery was on duty at Camp Sprague in Washington, DC until November 5, 1861, and at Fort Lyon, near Alexandria, VA Defenses of Washington until April, 1862. From April to August 1862, the Battery was involved in the Virginia Peninsula Campaign and the Siege of Yorktown. The Battery also participated in the notable Battle of Williamsburg and Battle of Fair Oaks. Other activity included the Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Fredericksburg Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Gettysburg, Battles of the Wilderness and finally operations against Petersburg and Richmond. The Battery was mustered out June 11, 1865.

Battery "G," 1st Regiment Light Artillery was organized in Providence in December, 1861. On December 7, the Regiment left for Washington, DC to Camp Sprague. Highlights of Battery G’s service include the Battle of Bull Run, the Virginia Peninsula Campaign, Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines). Other notable events in which Battery G participated included the Battles of South Mountain, Md. and Antietam as well as the Battle of Fredericksburg. Soldiers from this Battery were also involved in the assault on and fall of Petersburg, the pursuit of Lee and finally, the surrender of Lee and his army. The Battery was mustered out June 24, 1865.

For more information on Rhode Island regiments during the Civil War see: National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.