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War Soldiers - 161st NY Voluntary Infantry
Casualty List & Letter from the Havana Journal newspaper, 1864.
Letter by J.W. MERWIN, a soldier in the 161st
Typed for the website by Linda Z. O'Halloran.
1864 Casualty List of the 161st Regiment, NY Voluntary Infantry
(mostly from a 2-day battle near Pleasant Hill - see letter, below)
"Missing" = killed, taken prisoner, or went A.W.O.L.
NAME RANK COMPANY EVENT (KILLED/WOUNDED)
Co. B wounded in arm
ARMSTRONG J. Private Co. C wounded in left leg
BARBER M.W. Corporal Co. D killed
BARBER O. Private Co. I missing
BARKER G. Private Co. G missing
BARRETT G.H./ O.H. Private Co. C wounded in left shoulder
BEYER Charles H. 1st Lieut. Co. I wounded in right breast
BILLSON H. Corporal Co. I missing
BLUNT J.B. Private Co. D missing
BOYINGTON E. Private Co. B wounded in shoulder
BROOKENS H. Corporal Co. K missing
BROOKS W.W. Private Co. I wounded in right shoulder
BROWN H. Private Co. D wounded in side
BROWN H.N. Private Co. K missing
BRYANT D.G. Private Co. D wounded in right arm
CADMUS J. Lieut. Co. D flesh wound in both thighs
CAMPBELL J.H. Serg't. Co. I wounded in right arm
CARSON B. Private Co. B. missing
CLARK H.T. Corporal Co. B missing
CLARK H.S. Private Co. C wounded in right hand
CLARK S. Private Co. I missing
COLEMAN G.C. Private Co. B wounded in right hip
CONRAD H.C. Private Co. D wounded in left knee
CONRAD H. Private Co. D wounded in left side
CURE D.E. Private Co. D missing
DERVANDLER H.B. Private Co. F missing
DEWEY J.S. Private Co. C missing
DONALD R.M. Private Co. C missing
EDGET G.W. Private Co. E wounded in left arm
EGGLESTON W. 1st Serg't. Co. A wounded in right shoulder
ELLSBREE A. Private Co. E missing
EVANS Carr Private Co. K wounded in right arm
FITCH L.E. ("Ed") Lieut. Co. C missing (believed killed)
FOLUSBEE G. Private Co. E missing
GARVEY Henry H. Private Co. A wounded below the right knee
GIBSON John Lieut. Co. A wounded in right leg
GRANT R.H. Private Co. I killed
GRANT G. Private Co. K wounded in right leg
GUION R.L. Sergt. Major Co. C wounded in left breast severely
HALL M. Private Co. D missing
HAMILTON D.W. Private Co. D killed
HAMLIN N. Private Co. B missing
HENSON(HEUSON?) H.E. Private Co. D killed
HENZEN / HEUZEN J. Private Co. G contusion right thigh
HERFORD T.J. Private Co. D killed
INGRAHAM S. Private Co. E missing
JENNINGS W. Corporal Co. H wounded in right leg
KNODLE J. Serg't Co. I missing
LEONARD J. Private Co. E missing
LINDSAY W. Private Co. I missing
LOCKWOOD E. Private Co. C missing
LOYD (LLOYD) J. Private Co. K wounded in right leg
MANN B. Private Co. E missing
MARSHALL H. Private Co. G missing
McCORMICK W. Private Co. D wounded in face & left arm
MILLER T.H. Private Co. D wounded in left leg
MOORE H. Corporal Co. E wounded in right thigh
MOORE T. Corporal Co. H missing
MOORE R. Private Co. I wounded in right hand
MURRAY J. Private Co. E missing
NORTON W.T. Private Co. H wounded in hip
O'NEIL J. Private Co. G missing
PAGE A.R. Private Co. B wounded in left knee & right arm
PARKER N. Private Co. E missing
PERRIGO Jno. Private Co. C missing
PRENTICE Geo. S. Color Serg't Co. A wounded in right shoulder
REDNER L. Private Co. E wounded in left side
RILEY T. Private Co. G missing
RUSSELL L.M. Private Co. K wounded in head
SHAUT N. Private Co. I missing
SMITH T. Private Co. C wounded in left shoulder & hand
SMITH Wilbur Private Co. D killed
SMITH Thos. T. Private Co. K wounded in left hand
SPAULDING A. Private Co. G missing
SPENCER W.E. Private Co. D wounded in thigh
SPRAGUE Elijah Private Co. A wounded in abdomen
SPRAGUE J.L. Private Co. F killed
STEVENS B.W. Private Co. H missing
STONE J. Private Co. E missing
SWARTWOOD J. Private Co. G wounded in abdomen
TILLSON Geo. M. Capt. Co. K wounded in right arm
TOWNSEND Josiah Private Co. A missing
TREMAINE L. Private Co. G wounded in right arm
WAGNER N. Private Co. I wounded in right hand
WALLING S.A. Capt. Co. I severely wounded in face
WATKINS Wm. Private Co. K missing
WEISNER H. Private Co. E wounded in forehead
WHEATON Charles L. Corporal Co. A killed
WILSON Wm. Private Co. K missing
WISE B. Private Co. I missing
WOODHOUSE William Private Co. C wounded in right arm
WOODWARD D. Private Co. F missing
1864 Letter by John W. MERWIN of the 161st Regiment, NY Vol. Infantry.
published in the Havana Journal, describing a 2-day battle around Pleasant Hill.
"The following interesting letter was received by Capt.
R.R.R. DUMARS / DUMANS, of Elmira, NY, from John W. MERWIN, a member
of his company, now on duty at his Brigade Headquarters.
Young MERWIN is a grandson of the late John W. WISNER. His
father died last summer in Gen. BANK's army. The family
formerly resided in this town (Watkins, NY)."
"Dear Captain: -- As I have a few spare moments I thought I would write you a few lines, partly in answer to yours of long ago, and also to let you know how we got along in the two days fight, which took place on the 8th and 9th inst., at Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill. Below you will find a brief synopsis of events since the morning of the 1st inst. [ie. current month].
On the morning of the 1st we left our camp at Natchitoches, and after a march of some 15 miles our forces bivouacked for the night in the woods. At 8 o'clock a.m. the next day we got under way, and after marching some 20 miles, camped for the night on Pleasant Hill.
On the morning of the 8th our forces left Pleasant Hill, the 161st taking lead of the column, and after a march of about 8 miles we again bivouacked, but a few hours later, orders were received to be provided with two days rations, and about 4 o'clock the column moved. Cannonading could be heard at the front. -- the 13th corps and the cavalry having preceeded us. Our forces soon found themselves at Sabine Cross Roads, where the enemy was in strong force driving the cavalry and 13th corps before them. The road was completely filled with cavalry and stragglers of all kinds, returning in disorder, and I might say "panic" so much so as to render the advance extremely difficult. -- Shortly after their arrival the 161st regiment was ordered to file to the right into a field, form a line, and if possible check the retreat of our troops. Previous to this, and in rear of our line of battle, Company C was ordered to the right to aid in stopping stragglers, which company failed to find the regiment and fell in with the 116th and there remained some time. That was all that saved the company from a heavy loss. Soon after three companies were deployed as skirmishers to the right, and immediately after the balance of the regiment was moved forward to a fence along the woods, under a most destructive fire of musketry from the enemy -- the line of skirmishers at the same time moving forward into the woods, where they encountered the enemy in force and were obliged to fall back to a fence about 100 yards to the rear, where they again formed a line. The enemy there succeeded in getting on their right flank sufficiently to get a cross fire of the regiment, a position they held for 35 minutes, when the brigade formed another line in the rear of the regiment, and it fell to the rear of the line, but was immediately ordered to the right, along a fence, its skirmishers being hotly pressed by the enemy, who again succeeded in outflanking them. The skirmishers now being out of ammunition, withdrew under orders, and soon after joined the regiment. The regiment was soon, however, ordered to the left, where they remained until 11:30 p.m., when they were ordered to march with the brigade back to Pleasant Hill, at which place they arrived at 8 o'clock a.m. on the 9th. On their arrival at Pleasant Hill the regiment was ordered to hold a position to which place they immediately moved, and there remained with the exception of a slight change to gain a more advantagious position, the enemy shelling them constantly until about 5 o'clock p.m., when they moved to the left of the line to support that point, but the enemy was repulsed before their arrival, and they were ordered to the center, and remained under a brisk fire for about one hour, when they again moved to the right of the line, where they remained until 1 o'clock on the morning of the 10th, at which time the brigade moved in the direction of this point.
The regiment behaved throughout nobly, and all speak of the conduct of the men in the highest praise. Not a man shirked his duty. The regiment bore the brunt of the battle, being the first engaged, and I have heard them complimented a number of times by some of the General officers. In fact they cannot be spoken of too highly; and I hear many, who do not know Lt. Col. KINSEY personally, speak of the coolness and courage of the "little Colonel" of the 161st. He had two horses shot from under him, both killed, and when he saw his men falling around him, he wept like a child.
Inclosed you will find a list of the casualties of the two day's fight. You will see by it that Lt. FITCH is reported missing, but on the report which came into headquarters he is reported killed. That he is killed seems to be the general belief, although no one saw him fall; but he was seen about five minutes before he was missed, and he could not have been taken prisoner, as he was then in the rear of the line. It was then after dark. He no doubt sleeps his long last sleep. Poor Ed! He was beloved by all, and his loss will be deeply felt. But he is but one of the many who have given up their lives for liberty. If he is never more heard from, his friends and parents will have the consolation of knowing that he died as becomes a soldier, and at his post.
Brigadier General DWIGHT, commanding our (the 1st) brigade, made a speech to-night. He praised the men highly. He said, "they saved the Army of the Gulf", and remarked that too much praise could not be awarded to Lt. Col. KINSEY for the bravery which he displayed throughout the fight. The loss of the first brigade, according to this morning's report, was 231. Of that number 93 are from the 161st. -- As the brigade contains five regiments, you will see that the loss in our regiment was more than one-third the entire loss of the brigade. We captured 2,000 prisoners during the 2nd days' fight. The enemy had 20,000 and we not over 15,000 in the engagement.
Sergeant LAIDLAW escaped uninjured, and I am told exhibited great coolness and bravery, being continually at his post as an officer should, and all in company C behaved the same. Sergeant Major GUION is badly wounded, but will no doubt get well, the ball grazing the under part of his left arm about 3 inches from the shoulder, and striking him in the side, passed around and came out of his left breast without penetrating his lungs. You will probably get a more particular account from Sergeant LAIDLAW when he has a leisure moment.
As it is getting late, and as I had to work from 8 o'clock last night till 11 o'clock this morning without rest, I will close. I could write much more but time and space would not permit it.
Very respectfully yours,
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