2d Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment

The Regimental History of the 2d Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment

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Colonel Elisha S. Kellogg, 1st Commander 2d CVHA

The Litchfield County Regiment, designated the Nineteenth Infantry, was projected in mass convention at Litchfield, July 22, 1862 in response to the appeal of Governor Buckingham, which followed President Lincoln's call July 1st) for 300,000 volunteers for three years.

August 24th, there had reported, at "Camp Dutton," Litchfield, nine companies, containing 815 men, and Major Elisha S. Kellogg of the First Artillery, who had been commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel, began the task of molding the mass into an efficient military organization, and of inspiring in each member thereof "a knightly courage like his own."

Colonel L.W. Wessells attended to the details of organization, and on August 31st formed the tenth company (K) by sending to it such men as the commandants of the other nine might designate.

September 10th. Mrs. William Curtis Noyes presented a beautiful stand of colors to the regiment. On the 11th it was formally mustered into the service of the United States, and on the 15th it proceeded by rail to Washington, D.C., and to Alexandria, Va. where it was equipped with "A" tents and Enfield rifles. It was assigned to duty under General J.P. Slough, "military governor of Alexandria," encamping just outside the city, and relieved the Thirty-third Massachusetts in the disagreeable task of patrolling the city. This service soon began to tell on the health of the regiment. Colonel Wessells himself became seriously ill, as well as other officers and a large number of enlisted men; sixteen deaths occurring from disease in a single month.

January 12, 1863, brought, through the persistent solicitation of Colonel Kellogg for relief from this unwelcome service, an assignment to duty under General Robert O. Tyler, in the "military defenses of Alexandria," and change of location to Forth Worth, near Fairfax Seminary. This soon resulted in improving the health of the regiment.

May 12, 1863, its companies were distributed for garrison duty in Fort Ellsworth, Redoubts A,B,C, and D, and the Water Battery on the Potomac, below Alexandria.

September 16th, Colonel Wessells (his health proving to be permanently impaired) tendered his resignation, and, October 23rd, Lieutenant-Colonel Kellogg was promoted to the colonelcy.

November 23d, its organization was changed, by order of the War Department, to artillery, and recruiting to that standard was authorized.

November 30th, Lieutenants Marsh, Knight, and Hosford were ordered to Connecticut on recruiting service, and Captain Williams, with Lieutenants Coe and Candee, to the draft rendezvous at New Haven for the same purpose, and, by March 1, 1864 the regiment numbered 1,800 strong. May 17, 1864, it was ordered to the Army of the Potomac, which it joined near Fredericksburg May 20th, and assigned to General Emory Upton's (Second) Brigade, First Division, Sixth Army Corps. May 22d, it crossed the North Anna River, and while on the skirmish line lost its first man, killed by rebel bullets. May 24th to 30th, it was occupied in destroying the railroads at various points, and making one of the hardest marches of its entire service. May 30th, it was on picket duty near Tolopotomoy Creek, and, on May 31st near Cold Harbor, losing two men killed and five wounded.

June 1st, under command of Colonel Kellogg, the regiment was disposed in three lines, under Majors Hubbard, Rice, and Ells, and advanced in that order, the objective point being the heavy earthworks defended by Longstreet's veterans. It was passed at double-quick to the first line, capturing it and sending to the rear over 300 prisoners; forward again at double-quick, with intervals of less than 100 yards between battalions, to and through a stiff abattis, within twenty yards of the enemy's main line, where it met a most destructive fire from both its front and left flank, but pressed on, some even to the top of the main line of earthworks. Nothing could withstand the murderous fire that now met them, and the First and Second battalions crept back to the somewhat less exposed position held by the Third, but leaving behind on the field 323 of Litchfield County's bravest sons, 129 of them dead or mortally wounded, -- a record unsurpassed by any other regiment of the Union Army during the war. Among these were that ideal soldier, Colonel E.S. Kellogg, who fell riddled with bullets in the advance with the First battalion, Captain Luman Wadhams, who was mortally wounded, and Major Ells, who was severely wounded.

We are not allowed space in which to chronicle individual acts of bravery and devotion to duty, but cannot pass to record other scenes without saying that the fortunate survivors remember with loving pride the last words and acts of such comrades as Corporal Baldwin of Company E (reported "missing," but certainly killed in action). And the cool, quiet, but quick and sensible decisions of Kellogg, Berry, Burnham, Hosford, Spencer, and other officers, and the unrecorded bravery of very many of our fellow soldiers.

This advanced position was "stubbornly held" (vide Upton), and on the 3d another advance was made, the regiment being under fire continuously until the 12th.

June 6th, Captain R.S. MacKenzie, of the Engineer Corps, took command of the regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Hubbard declining promotion.

June 16th, embarked on James River, disembarking (17th) near Bermuda Hundred. 19th, crossed the Appomattox, and relieved Hind's colored brigade, in rifle-pits in front of Petersburg, at night relieving our Eleventh Connecticut regiment, in a still more advanced position, with many silent evidences of the bravery of that regiment around us.

June 20th, and 21st, made cautious and slight advances.

June 22d, had a lively affair with Hill's Division, losing ten killed and nine wounded, but gaining a position that was held by the Union army as the advanced line until the close of the war. July 9th, marched through the stifling dust," knee deep" to City Point, embarking on steamboats, disembarking July 12th at Washington, marching to Tenallytown, arriving in time to hear the last of the firing and to engage in the chase of Early; forded the Potomac at Edward's Ferry July 16th; crossed the Blue Ridge at Snicker's Gap 17th; forded the Shenendoah 20th, and camped near Berryville. At midnight commenced the return march, reaching Tenallytown 23rd, remaining long enough for the issue of much-needed clothing.

July 25th, crossed Aqueduct Bridge to Fort Corcoran, relieving an Ohio regiment of one-hundred-day's men.

July 26th, recrossed the Potomac, under orders to rejoin the Sixth Corps, which had been turned back to repel another of Early's attempted invasions of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Joined the Corps 27th; crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry 29th; was occupied in continual skirmishing up and down the valley until September 11th; when Early was forced to near Cedar Creek, and First Division camped near Clifton.

September 19th, was called into action to check the enemy, who had broken our lines near Winchester.

General Sheridan's report tells the story, as follows:

"At Winchester for a moment the contest was uncertain, but the gallant attack of General Upton's Brigade (Second Connecticut Artillery, Sixty-fifth and One Hundred and Twenty-first New York, and Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania) restored the line of battle until the turning column of Crook and Merritt and Averill's divisions of cavalry sent the enemy whirling through Winchester." The regiment lost here 14 officers and 122 enlisted men, killed and wounded, among them Major Rice and Lieutenants Candee, Hubbard, and Cogswell killed, Captain Berry and Lieutenant McCabe mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Fyler crippled for life by a wound in the leg. Colonel MacKenzie and Major Skinner were among the less seriously wounded.

September 22d, the corps was advanced directly up the seemingly impassable face of Fisher's Hill, arriving at the summit, just as the Eight Corps, by a brilliant move, was enabled to strike the right flank of an otherwise impregnable position, and the enemy was driven in the utmost confusion, the Second Artillery losing only four killed and nineteen wounded.

September 25th, at Harrisonburg, the command was again faced toward the Potomac, with orders to destroy everything which, if left behind, could give aid or comfort to the enemy. Ashby's Gap was reached October 13th. Here, Sheridan, learning of Early's presence in the valley again, once more headed his own army up the valley, encamping (October 14th) near Cedar Creek, where, early on the 19th, it was surprised and driven back about three miles. About 4 P.M., a new line was established, and the enemy to and beyond our camp of the previous day, again scattering Early's army. This day the regiment lost thirty-eight killed and ninety-six wounded. Captain Hosford was killed early in the morning, and Captain Fenn and Lieutenant Gregory each lost an arm,-- severe losses for our regiment, which had learned to rely on the quiet self-possession, and unflinching bravery of these officers.

Lieutenant Henry Skinner, with about forty men of Companies E and L, was on picket and captured, and was not released until about the time of Lee's surrender.

November 9th, camped at Kearnstown. December 2d, moved (by rail) to Washington, and by boat to City Point, thence over "Grant's railroad" to Parke Station, to comfortable winter quarters, where the First Division passed the winter doing picket duty, with an occasional unexplained movement to the right or left, and recruiting for active operations in the spring.

December 28th, Colonel MacKenzie was promoted Brigadier-General, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hubbard advanced to the colonelcy January 7, 1865.

February 5th, participated in the affair at Hatcher's Run, passing the day massed ready for a charge, in a drizzling, freezing rain, with shots from the artillery of both armies passing over us, in action for a short time about dusk, returning to winter headquarters February 8h, the only casualties in the regiment being nine wounded.

March 29th, moved to the right to Fort Steadman, which our troops recaptured just as the Sixth Corps came up, thence to the left, and advanced toward Petersburg, in front of Fort Fisher. The brigade passed a line of rifle-pits, capturing the occupants, and advanced to a position which proved to be untenable (no support appearing), and was faced about and returned to the line occupied by the other troops. This movement cost the Second Artillery seven killed and thirteen wounded.

About midnight, April 1st, the brigade formed in front of the breastworks during the heaviest cannonading it had ever witnessed, and at dawn, April 2d, charged over the rebel works and into their camps, which were deserted as our line approached, the only casualties in the regiment being Lieutenant-Colonel Skinner and seven enlisted men wounded.

The brigade was here ordered to report to Major-General Parke, commanding the Ninth Corps, and marched to the right to Fort Hell, thence by a covered way to the works, captured earlier in the day by Ninth Corps. April 3d, the brigade advanced (the Second Artillery leading), entering the city of Petersburg, where Colonel Hubbard was made provost-marshal, only to be relieved a few hours later, when the brigade was ordered to rejoin the Sixth Corps, which it did April 4th, following the fleeing "Army of Northern Virginia" closely on the 5th, and on the 6th of April, 1865, having its last fight (at Little Sailor's Creek), a sharp, short action, the Second Artillery losing three killed and seven wounded, capturing one battle-flag, the headquarters' train of General Mahone's division, and a great number of prisoners.

April 7th, bivouacked near Farmville; 8th, near New Store; and 9th, near Clover Hill, where General Hamblin (who commanded the brigade) announced the news of Lee's surrender.

April 23d, while camped at Burkeville, the corps was ordered to proceed to Danville, prepared to operate with General Sherman against General Johnston's army in North Carolina. This march of 105 miles was accomplished in a little less than five days, the corps arriving at Danville April 27th, there learning of Johnston's surrender.

May 2d, the regiment, with the exception of Companies F, G, and K, was detailed as guard to the wagon train on the return march to Burkeville, where it arrived on May 6th, remaining until the 18th, when the corps moved (the Second Artillery by rail) to Manchester, opposite Richmond.

May 25th, marched through Richmond, and arrived at Fredericksburg May 29th, thence to Bailey's Cross Roads (June 1st), where it remained until the 8th. Here the regiment received the addition to its members of the "new men" of the Fourteenth Connecticut, the original members of that organization having been mustered out.

June 8th, took part in a grand review in Washington.

June 16th, was assigned to the Third Brigade, Hardin's Division, Twenty-Second Army Corps, and ordered to garrison eleven forts on the north side of the Potomac.

June 27th, was transferred to Forts Ethan Allen, Marcy Albany, and Battery Martin Scott, on the south side of the Potomac.

July 7th, the remaining members of the original Nineteenth Regiment were mustered out, and left for home.

July 20th, the twelve companies were consolidated to eight (I, K, L, and M ceasing to exist), and August 18, 1865, these companies were mustered out at Fort Ethan Allen, receiving final discharges at New Haven September 5, 1865.

Engagements:

  • Spotsylvania, Va. May 22-24, 1864
  • Tolopotomy, Va. May 28, 1864
  • Hanover Court House, Va. May 30, 1864
  • Cold Harbor, Va. June 1, 1864
  • Cold Harbor, Va June 2-12, 1864
  • Petersburg, Va. June 20-26, 1864
  • Winchester, Va. Sep. 19, 1864
  • Fisher's Hill, Va. Sep. 22, 1864
  • Cedar Creek, Va. Oct. 19, 1864
  • Hatcher's Run, Va. Feb. 6, 1865
  • Petersburg, Va. March 25, 1865
  • Petersburg, Va. April 2, 1865
  • Little Sailor's Creek, Va. April 6, 1865
From: HISTORY OF THE SECOND REGIMENT C.V. HEAVY ARTILLERY WRITTEN BY CAPTAIN JAMES N. COE, LATE OF CO. H, SECOND C.V. HEAVY ARTILLERY, Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, Case, Lockwood, and Brainard, Hartford, CT, 1889
Updated December 7, 2003



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