the very beginning
of the Civil War and before the ink was hardly
dry on President Lincoln's first call for seventy-five thousand men,
six of Victor's young men determined to enlist in the defense of the
Government. These six were were James W. Moore, George Randall,
George Walling, Leonard D. Sale, Homer Hubbard and Henry
one of them, Mr. Moore, is living in Victor today. He was the first of
the six to sign the enlistment roll. The Victor contingent, so prompt
in its response to the country's needs, enlisted in the Twenty-eighth
regiment New York State Volunteers, and were mustered into the service
of the United States government. May 22nd, 1861.
The 28th was composed principally of young men from the counties of Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Ontario and Sullivan. All volunteered without bounty and so eager were they that many of them enlisted on the day of the call, before it had been printed. No braver body of men served in the war than the Twenty-eighth New York and Victor is proud in the knowledge that of all that body of men, none were more faithful and more daring than those who were first in the town to answer the call to arms.
Awaiting its apportionment of accoutrements and uniforms, the 28th camped at Albany until June 24th, when the long expected and welcome "off for the war" order was received. Co. E., in which were Mr. Moore and his Victor comrades, was quartered in the Adams House. There were two men in the company of the name of James Moore, one of them a short, round-shouldered chap who was soon dubbed "Bible-back Jim" while the Victor man was known as "Big Jim."
The 28th left Albany June 24, 1861, and, arriving in Washington, participated in the Grand Review of the war. Soon after the regiment left the city to join General Patterson's army at Williamsport. In a skirmish near Martinsburg, Companies A and C, detailed to guard a forage train, received their first baptism of fire and Private Sly of Company A was instantly killed, his being the first life offered by the 28th New York in the defense of the Union. Co. E got its first smell of powder in the first battle of Winchester and here. Mr. Moore first heard the bullets sing past his ears. He frankly says that he was afraid though the thought of running away did not occur to him. While the 28th lay waiting for orders at Bunker Hill, the Confederate general, Johnson, withdrew his troops from Winchester and hastened to Manasses to join the forces of Beauregard which he did just in time to turn the tide of the first battle of Bull Run from a promised victory to a Union defeat and rout. General Patterson has been greatly blamed for thus allowing Johnson to elude him, and some have charged him with being responsible for the Union defeat in that disastrous first battle of Bull Run. Certain it is that the men of the 28th were loud in their expressions of contempt for him. It is the opinion of Mr. Moore that Patterson's army of more than twenty thousand men could have "eaten up" Johnson's command and it is recorded that when Colonel Donnelly, of the 28th, received the order to retreat from Winchester, he commanded the Stars and Stripes to be rolled up and put in a wagon saying, in response to an inquiry that "he would not show his flag in a retreat."
A march to the left and the rear brought the disappointed army to Charlestown and later to Bolivar Heights, above Harper's Ferry, where the 28th remained for several days. July 28th, the regiment left its position on the Heights and, marching through the historic town of Harper's Ferry, continued down the river to Berlin, where Camp Granger, named for John A. Granger, a patriotic citizen of Canandaigua, was formed. Here the regiment remained for a month engaged in picket duty, guarding the river, the Rebs occupying the opposite side on similar duty. Leaving Camp Granger the regiment marched to Darnestown, where the main force of General Banks, who succeeded General Patterson in command, was encamped. Here it remained for two months, the time being filled with constant drilling, the usual routine and two grand reviews. The quiet of this long stay was broken by orders, suddenly received on October 21st, to march to Edward's Ferry, where the bloody battle Ball's Bluff had just been fought. Leaving the scene of terrible sacrifice, the 28th marched to Muddy Grove and here went into camp for the winter. But on December 4th, unwelcome orders were received to break camp and proceed to Frederick and, leaving the snug houses which had been built in the expectancy of an all-winter's stay, the regiment went to Frederick City, then to Hagerstown, Clear Spring and Hancock, where the men were assigned to vacant houses in the place. It was "All quiet on the Potomac" from that time on to March 1st, the monotony being broken only by the nightly pranks of mischievous ones, in which we have no doubt our Victor soldier had his share though he modestly refrains from telling of it.
With the disappearance of the snow and the spring break-up came the time for the Virginia campaign in which the 28th New York took so gallant a part. Leaving camp at Hancock on March 1st, with no regrets, the 28th started for Williamsport, crossing the Potomac on the way at the same place where it had crossed eight months before under General Patterson. The forces opposed to the advances of the 28th were those of General Jackson's brigade, but they steadily retired through Winchester and up the valley of the Shenandoah. Winchester was captured and re-captured some thirty times during the war. The 28th, with the exception of Co., I. was not in the first battles of Winchester, fought March 23rd, but counter-marched from the Shenandoah River in time to participate in the battle and pursuit of the 24th. The advance up the valley, which was constantly disputed by Ashby's cavalry, the rear guard of Jackson's army, was continued until the 28th reached Keezeltown, where it went into camp, leaving Captain Bowen of Company D., and his company at Harrisonburg, to act as provost guard of the town. Then, beginning on May 9th, came a series of marches in response to a false alarm that General Jackson was in the Luray Valley with a force of infantry which brought the regiment back to Strasburg on May 14th. On the 22nd, occurred the first anniversary of the regiment's mustering in and it was celebrated with a will. The men had now been in service one year and, though they had been in no general battle, all felt that in skirmishing, marching and camping, they were veterans indeed. They were soon destined to take part in bloody engagements with severe losses, seldom exceeded in a regiment's history.
Only two days later, on the morning of the 24th, the 28th left Strasburg for Winchester on what is known in history as Bank's retreat. General Jackson, learning that only General Bank's division was left in the Valley, determined upon its capture. Bank's retreat was both a battle and a race and the 28th was constantly in the midst of the fighting. After resting for a week at Williamsport, the regiment again crossed the Potomac, and again occupied the village of Winchester. June 4th, after having participated in several scouting expeditions and reconnaissances for the elusive Jackson, the 28th joined the general movement up the Shenandoah Valley, crossed the river and marched through Culpepper, the scene of its recent reunion, July 16th, 1862. The citizens of Culpepper were very outspoken in their hatred of the Northern army. Mr. Moore tells of stepping out of the marching column to ask a woman sitting on one of the porches for a drink of water and of being refused with words "We have no water for Yankees." One woman, standing prominently on a veranda, uttered the single word "Scum," as the regiment passed by but received no response to the insult. It was only a little later that, as corporal of the provost guard, Mr. Moore had the satisfaction of compelling the woman who had refused him a drink of water to obey the marshal's order of "lights out at nine o'clock," though her house was full of company. He has always felt that their account was thereby balanced. Mr. Moore's company was on detail as provost guard of Culpepper during the greater part of the battle of Cedar Mountain and did not rejoin its regiment until late in the afternoon. It was a day of awful carnage. Of the three hundred and fifty-seven enlisted men and officers of the 28th, who went into that battle on the morning of August 9th, 1862, fifty-nine percent were reported as killed, wounded or missing. On the 13th, there were but seventy-eight of the heroic 28th who were able to appear for review. Of these Corporal Moore, the tallest corporal of the regiment, was one. The 12th Corps, to which the 28th regiment belonged, was in reserve or guarding baggage trains during the greater part of Pope's retreat toward Washington and consequently was not engaged in important battle. For a time the 28th formed part of General Seigel's rear guard and for four days after the second battle of Bull Run, when it became necessary to destroy all provisions and stores, Corporal Moore lived on green peas picked by the roadside. It was his only experience of short rations during his army life. Rockville was finally reached after days of awful suffering and here the regiment remained for four days.
Before it again took the field, General Pope was superseded in command by General McClellan, and General Banks, who had been in command of the 12th Corps for many months, was assigned to the command of the troops defending Washington and was succeeded by General Mansfield, who fell, mortally wounded, in the battle of Antietam only a few feet from where Corporal Moore stood. Of the entire 28th regiment, but sixty-nine men were able to be in line at the battle of Antietam, of whom two were killed, nine wounded and one taken prisoner. The enemy in front of the 28th was, as usual, Stonewall Jackson and his forces.
Leaving behind them the bloody battlefield of Antietam, the 28th moved toward Harper's Ferry on September 19th, and on October 2nd, started a camp at Maryland Heights, which was named in memory of the late Colonel Donnelly. At Camp Donnelly the regiment enjoyed a badly needed rest of several weeks. The itinerary of the regiment showed that it had marched over a thousand miles since leaving the cars at Hagerstown, Md., July 7th, 1861. Soon the regiment regained many of its missing members, the paroled prisoners from Winchester and Cedar Mountain returning. The regiment remained at Camp Donnelly until October 31st, when it returned to Pleasant Valley, leaving there December 10th, in the midst of rain, sleet and mud, for its last campaign in Virginia.
The winter was spent in various camps and in the several expeditions of the famous "mud campaign" until on April 27th, the 28th started from Stafford Court House on its last campaign. But four companies remained of the ten. Company E was under the command of Lieutenant Harvey Padelford, now N. Y. C. station agent at Padelford's Station, N. Y. April 30th, the column marched to Chancellorsville and companies D, E. and H of the 28th were assigned to a position in the woods, behind the log works. Here they lay on their arms all the night of the first of May and, on the morning of the 2nd, responded to an order to move to the left. The line had moved but a little way when the four companies of the Twenty-eighth New York were ordered back to the log works by General Williams, who, in the kindness of his big heart, thought they deserved the easiest possible position. It was a mistaken kindness, but he could not foresee that the effect of his order was to be to send most of them to Libby Prison.
It was late in the afternoon that Stonewall Jackson made another of the flank movements for which he was famous, and the 28th, after trying vainly to stem the tide of the retreat, was captured while sticking to its post. There is no more glorious episode in the history of the famous Twenty-eighth New York than this one of obedience of orders to hold the works, even though the rest of their comrades in arms went panic stricken to the rear. Surrounded by the Fifth Alabama Confederate Regiment, with no hope of reinforcements and escape impossible, sixty-seven men of the Twenty-eighth laid down their arms and surrendered. Corporal Moore was one of them.
Our Victor Corporal and his sixty-six regimental comrades were hastily marched through the ranks of the Confederate army, which was rapidly moving forward, and on the morning of May 3rd, started for Richmond and Libby Prison. On the way, they learned of the death of Stonewall Jackson, their antagonist of many battles, and from the windows of the prison, Mr. Moore saw the funeral procession of whom he had seen alive about an hour before he was killed, the intrepid Confederate. Mr. Moore spent eight days in Libby Prison, during that time his daily rations were a piece of bread about the size of a man's hand and a pint cup of water. Not once during his stay did he get enough water to wash his hands and face with. There were about four hundred prisoners in the room and when they laid down on the floor at night to sleep, it was impossible to walk across the room without stepping on the bodies of the sleepers. Mr. Moore visited the prison building when it was on exhibition in Chicago, during the World's Fair, and was able to locate the exact spot on the floor on which he slept. A silver plate upon which his name, rank and place of capture are inscribed, now marks the spot. On May 11th, all the members of the Twenty-eighth, captured at Chancellorville, were paroled and on the 13th, they left Libby Prison to march to City Point where they took transports to Annapolis. As they boarded the boats each was given a quart cup of steaming coffee, a loaf of warm bread and a pound or so of boiled ham, which, Mr. Moore declares made up the most enjoyable meal he has ever eaten. This fare was much better than their guards at Libby had enjoyed and it was with undisguised satisfaction that they exhibited it to the "Johnnies" who had joined their escort. At Annapolis new clothing was provided and the shore of the bay near the parole camp where the men were quartered was turned into a mammoth bath. Mr. Moore says he stripped off his old clothing, took his bath and donned the new, and on the way back to camp kept an eye to the rear expecting to see his discarded clothing chase him into camp.
The few who escaped capture at Chancellorville, where the Twenty-eighth was surrounded, formed on the hill in the rear of the woods and joined the brigade in line of battle. They were soon ordered to join companies A and G of the regiment, which were acting as provost guard. They were not again called into action and after the battle, the 28th crossed the Rappahannock and returned to its old camp near Stafford Court House. There were but two hundred and twenty-seven men "present for duty." Preparations were now made for the homeward journey and on May 12th, 1863, the regiment, amid the cheers of its old division, started for "home sweet home." The route was by steamer to Washington, thence to New York and on the evening of the 15th, the soldier boys reached Albany, almost two years to a day from the time the Western New Yorkers joined the regiment in that city. The 28th was given an enthusiastic reception by the residents of the capital city, and spent three days in visiting the scenes of the first days of their soldier life. They were received by the Governor who complimented them highly upon their brilliant record and dined and feted to the point of exhaustion. May 20th found them at Lockport, where a grand demonstration was made in their honor. Too late to participate in the general rejoicings the paroled prisoners of the regiment, among them Corporal Moore, arrived by the evening train.
The greetings of the "late" boarders at Libby Prison were hearty indeed. All were furloughed to go to their homes until June 2nd, when all were mustered out of the United States service. Each man received his discharge on parchment which certified that he was "Mustered out of service on the expiration of the term," and that "no objection" to his re-enlistment was known to exist. Though Corporal Moore received, with his comrades, this parchment certificate, he was not privileged to re-enlist immediately as many of them did, for he was still a paroled prisoner. It was not until some two months later that he read the news of his exchange in the morning's Democrat and Chronicle. With his martial spirit still unquenched and his courage undiminished by the two years of hardship through which he had passed, he re-enlisted, on the day the news was received, and served until the close of the war in the cavalry service, under the leadership of those intrepid generals, Custer and Sheridan. But that's another story which will be told in another issue of the Herald.