“Very few men suffered so much for their country”: How Private Cornelius Stone Beat the Odds at Cold Harbor

Cornelius Stone later in life. (Image courtesy of David Morin.)

Imagine being shot four times and wounded by artillery fire twice in an hour of ferocious combat. Imagine spending the next six days out in the open without even the most elementary medical attention. Imagine barely being able to crawl thirty feet with a broken arm and a shattered knee to safety. And then imagine spending a year recovering from this terrible collection of wounds. Cornelius Hathaway Stone of the 5th New Hampshire did not have to imagine these things; he lived them.

Stone was born in 1844 in Cornish, NH to a family of very modest means. After a stint in Weathersfield, VT, Stone’s father moved the family to Claremont, NH, where the Census of 1860 found him a “Laborer” with $800 in real estate and $100 in personal estate.[i]

Stone enlisted in the 5th New Hampshire in Manchester, NH, on February 12, 1862. Why he enlisted there instead of at home is puzzling; 1st Lieutenant Jacob Keller was then recruiting for the regiment in Claremont. Perhaps Stone, who was underage, sought to avoid detection by someone who knew him. Or maybe his father had tried to stop him from enlisting. Whatever the case, Stone was mustered in on February 28, 1862. A muster roll describes him as a “Laborer” with black eyes, black hair, and a dark complexion. He measured a mere 5’ 4”.[ii]

Stone’s first 18 months in the 5th New Hampshire proved uneventful. He passed through the fights at Fair Oaks, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg unscathed—something of a feat when so many of his fellow soldiers were killed or wounded in these battles. Stone’s odyssey only began when he was captured on July 26, 1863 at White Plains, Virginia.

Most of what follows comes from Otis Waite’s Claremont War History (1868).[iii] When the Civil War started, Waite, a wealthy local worthy involved in the insurance business, was designated Claremont’s semi-official “historiographer” to “keep a record of events” in town during the war. This task he faithfully pursued, writing a book that not only described what transpired in town but also included short biographies of every man from Claremont who served in the Union forces during the war. In a number of cases—including Stone’s—it’s clear that Waite spoke to the subjects of these biographies; the detail is such that one can almost hear these men talking.

Although Stone went into much detail about other events, he had nothing to say about the circumstances of his capture, and one wonders if these did not reflect well on him. He proved particularly unlucky in his timing; the 5th New Hampshire was shipped off to Concord, NH, to rest and recruit only a week after his capture. Stone was initially sent to Libby Prison before being taken to Belle Isle where he “was kept one hundred and fourteen days.” He was obviously proud of having survived this infamous camp, but he provided no details about his incarceration. Is it possible that he might not have been so proud of what he needed to do to survive? According to a number of accounts, starving, sick, ill-clad Union prisoners at Belle Isle frequently brawled over scarce food, blankets and clothing. The losers often perished. This experience must have been traumatic for young Stone.

Belle Isle (ca. 1863). This image was taken by photographer Charles R. Rees. (See Valentine Museum).

Although he may not have realized it, Stone was lucky in one regard. In February 1864, Confederate authorities sought to mitigate overcrowding at Belle Isle by sending Union POWs to Andersonville, Salisbury, and Danville—all of which were notorious for high mortality rates.[iv] Stone, however, was paroled and then exchanged on May 28, 1864—just in time to rejoin the 5th New Hampshire for the Overland Campaign.[v] Less than a week later, on June 3, 1864, he participated in the Army of the Potomac’s massive three-corps assault at Cold Harbor.

For the 5th New Hampshire, the early-morning attack began well. Although the regiments on either side of this unit had gone to ground seeking the shelter of the Dispatch Station Road, the 5th New Hampshire pressed on. Halfway through the assault, Colonel Charles Hapgood, then commander of the regiment, noticed that fire from the Confederate salient west of the McGhee House had slackened, largely because the 7th New York Heavy Artillery had overrun the Southern works in that area. Hapgood changed the axis of his attack by ordering the regiment to wheel right (northward) at the double-quick so that he, too, could push his men into the salient. The soldiers from New Hampshire punched right through a Virginia regiment, collected large numbers of prisoners, and without hesitation pressed westward till they had seized the McGhee House and its outbuildings. Here the 5th New Hampshire was met by the 2nd Maryland and Finnegan’s Florida Brigade who, by force of numbers, drove the Northerners back into the salient. A vicious melee ensued that included hand-to-hand fighting and the discharge of canister at extremely short range as the 5th New Hampshire along with the 7th New York Heavy Artillery clung to their dearly bought position inside Confederate lines.[vi] The outnumbered Northerners, “fired upon from front and both flanks, and failing of any support” (to quote Major James Larkin of the 5th New Hampshire), were eventually compelled to flee in disorder. In all, the 5th New Hampshire lost over 200 casualties.[vii]

Alfred Waud, “7th N.Y. Heavy Arty. in Barlows charge nr. Cold Harbor Friday June 3rd 1864” (1864): This sketch is often represented as depicting the 7th New York Heavy Artillery leaving its trenches to start its assault on the Confederate fortifications. The presence of Confederate prisoners in the foreground of the image, though, indicates that Waud sought to show the regiment fighting on or near the Confederate entrenchments. In attempting to maintain a toehold inside the rebel position, the New Yorkers were assisted by the 5th New Hampshire which was the only other Union regiment that breached the Confederate line. Both units suffered stiff losses from the intense close-quarters fighting that took place near the McGhee House. The 7th New York Heavy Artillery suffered 420 casualties while the soldiers from the Granite State lost over 200 men. (See Library of Congress.)

One of them was Stone. A bullet had broken his right arm. Two more bullets had struck him in the leg below the knee. A fourth bullet had pierced his side. He had taken some grapeshot in the knee while some shrapnel had struck him in the back. For the next six days, he lay in a Confederate-occupied rifle pit. During that time, according to Stone, the rebels took from him $50, his tobacco, and all his valuables (which is entirely believable). Also, during that time, Stone claimed he had “nothing to eat or drink” (which is less believable). Over those six days, he had plenty of time to contemplate what surely must have seemed like his impending death. On June 9, the rebels retreated, and Union forces had advanced to within “two rods” of Stone’s rifle pit. That night, Stone, who was “so weak from his sufferings and the loss of blood that he could hardly speak or move,” “crawled with the utmost difficulty” toward the Northern breastworks and fell into the hands of the 2nd Delaware Volunteer Infantry. His ordeal had just begun.

Gilbert Gaul, “Between the Lines during a Truce” from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, volume 3 (1888): After the failure of Grant’s June 3, 1864 assault on Lee’s position at Cold Harbor, the two commanders bickered over the terms of a truce that would have permitted the two armies to collect their wounded and bury their dead. It was not until June 7 that Grant and Lee finally concluded an agreement. This delay spelled the doom of many Union soldiers who had been wounded in the June 3 attack and stuck between the two armies. It was nothing short of miraculous that Stone, who lay inside the Confederate position for six days, survived his ordeal.

Stone’s wounds were tended to on the morning of June 10, and he was taken to White House Landing, “riding fourteen miles over corduroy roads in an army wagon” (ugh!). From White House Landing, he traveled to Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, VA (by steamer, I presume), where his leg was amputated above the knee. Over five months later, the stump nearly healed, he was forwarded to Boston, MA, for a stay at Pemberton Square Hospital (now the site of Government Center). While hobbling to the hospital, his crutch slipped on the sidewalk, and he injured his leg badly. Gangrene set in, and four more inches of his leg had to be amputated. The surgeon “told Stone and his friends that he probably could not live through the operation, though he could not possibly live without it.” Stone survived the 90-minute procedure and, after six weeks, was sent on to a military hospital in Manchester, NH. Eventually, he traveled to Central Park Hospital in New York City to be fitted with an artificial leg, and it was here that he was eventually discharged from the army on June 8, 1865. Waite concluded this tale by rightfully stating “very few men suffered so much for their country as did young Stone.”

Stone now faced the rest of his life minus a leg. How did he fare?

At this great remove in time with only the barest of documentation, it’s hard to say. Stone took a step in the right direction when he obtained a much-deserved pension in July 1865.[viii] In September 1865, he was back in Claremont where he married 15-year-old Harriet N. Chase.[ix] That he was married so soon after returning to Claremont suggests that Stone had known Chase before his enlistment (he had not been back to Claremont since then)—that is, when she had been 11 or 12.[x] Although marrying a girl of this age was legal and not unheard of, it was also a bit unusual and somewhat skeevy. In 1866, the newlyweds had a son—their only child—named Charles.

We next find Stone in 1880, living in Goodwin Township in the Dakota Territory, not far from the Minnesota border. While his wife “kept house” and his 14-year-old son worked as a “farmhand,” Stone plied his occupation as a machinist [xi] The township had just been incorporated a couple of years before and numbered only about 600 souls (four times larger than its current population of 140). What could bring a machinist to this end of the world?

Stone, however, was not done traveling. The 1890 Veterans Census placed him in Shelton, WA. Even had the form not indicated his regiment, it would be impossible to mistake him. Under “Disability Incurred,” we find the following laconic comment: “Six wounds; one leg amputated.” Under “Remarks,” there appears, “Prisoner on Belle Isle.”[xii] One can almost imagine Stone telling the census-taker the same story he told Waite—with perhaps a few embellishments that had sprouted up over time. What brought Stone to Washington is unknown. Since all we have from that year is the Veterans Census, we know nothing of his family situation.

What we can surmise, though, is that by the early 1890s, Harriet was out of the picture—whether through death or divorce, it is impossible to say. The reason we can make this surmise is because Stone married Gertrude Slade in 1894.[xiii] This marriage did not take, for by the 1900 Census, Stone was divorced. By this point, he was still working as a machinist. He lived in Hadlock, WA, with Charles who was now married and had two daughters and a son.[xiv]

Cornelius Stone after the war sporting some sort of fraternal regalia. (See FindAGrave.) 

Stone died in March 1901 in Shelton, WA.[xv] What are we to make of Stone’s post-war experiences? If we so wished, we could stress the signs of a life where all was not well—the young teenage bride, a marriage that produced only one child, the restless movement westward, the divorce, and the early death. Literature about Civil War veterans often tends to emphasize the lingering effects of trauma on men who suffered much during the conflict. While I certainly do not wish to minimize his pain, I’d like to point to evidence of ways in which Stone may have compensated for this suffering by finding meaning in his life. His headstone, which appears on FindAGrave, bears two important symbols. One, located above his name, appears to be associated with a fraternal order. Indeed, in one of the few photos I’ve seen of Stone, he is outfitted in the regalia of such an order (which one, I cannot tell). The other symbol carved into the side of his stone represents a Grand Army of the Republic badge.[xvi] Perhaps I’m reading too much into Stone’s headstone, but it appears that he found comfort in masculine associations of likeminded men with similar experiences. These may have substituted for the camaraderie he had experienced in the 5th New Hampshire and helped support him psychologically during difficult times for the rest of his life.

Stone’s marker in Shelton Memorial Park in Shelton, WA. The fraternal symbol appears above his name. On the other face of the stone visible to viewer, one can detect a representation of the GAR badge. Click to enlarge. (See FindAGrave.)

[i] “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M7WG-PF3 : 11 November 2020), Cornelius Stone in entry for Geo D Stone, 1860.

[ii] “New Hampshire, Civil War Service and Pension Records, 1861-1866,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q27M-MB52 : 16 March 2018), Cornelius H Stone, 12 Feb 1862; citing Manchester, Manchester, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States, New Hampshire Secretary of State, Division of Records Management & Archive; FHL microfilm 2,257,887.

[iii] Otis F. R. Waite, Claremont War History; April, 1861, to April 1865 (Concord, NH: McFarland & Jenks, Printers, 1868), 138-141.

[iv] https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/belle_isle_prison#start_entry

[v] Ayling’s Revised Register has Stone re-enlisting on March 29, 1864 while Waite has the date as April 1, 1864. How Stone could have re-enlisted while he was still in prison remains unclear to me.

[vi] Gordon C. Rhea, Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee May 26-June 3, 1864 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002), 324-327.

[vii] William Child, A History of the Fifth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers (Bristol, NH: R. W. Musgrove, Printer, 1893), 270.

[viii] “United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QJDP-JNNG : 13 March 2018), Cornelius H Stone, 1865.

[ix] “New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLFH-P2N : 2 April 2020), Cornelieus H. Stone and Harriett N. Chase, 09 Sep 1865; citing Claremont, Sullivan, New Hampshire, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,307.

[x] The marriage record claims she was born in Claremont and resided there, but I have not been able to find her in the Census of 1860, when she was presumably ten years old.

[xi] “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCVQ-QJ7 : 12 November 2020), Cornelius Stone, Goodwin, Deuel, Dakota Territory, United States; citing enumeration district ED 46, sheet 500A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,112.

[xii] “United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8S4-F1V : 11 March 2018), Cornelius H Stone, 1890; citing NARA microfilm publication M123 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 338,267.

[xiii] “Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPMK-B914 : 28 November 2018), Cornelius H Stone and Gertrude Slade, 1 Dec 1894, Shelton, Mason, Washington, United States, Washington State Archives, Olympia; FamilySearch digital folder 102115024.

[xiv] “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMP6-6W9 : accessed 23 November 2020), Cornelius H Stone in household of Charles Stone, Chimacum and Hadlock Precincts, Jefferson, Washington, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 46, sheet 4B, family 108, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,743.

[xv] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28474828/_

[xvi] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28474828/_

The “400”: Is This Sample Representative?

“Au travail!” as they say in France. Or, as they say in America, this is where the rubber hits the road. I thought I’d start analyzing the “400” by establishing if some companies were better represented than others in the sample. My motive consisted of ensuring that the “400” I had selected randomly were more or less representative of the 5th New Hampshire. As you’ll see, though, you never know where a question like this will take you. And this question took me far afield.

I started out by surveying a spreadsheet that contained information for all the original volunteers in the regiment and determined how many men were in each company. This was the spreadsheet from which I had randomly selected the “400” in the first place. I found the following:

Table 1

Co. A
Co. B
Co. C
Co. D
Co. E
Co. F
Co. G
Co. H
Co. I
Co. K
Band
F&S*
NCS**
104
87
101
86
103
88
101
93
101
100
24
8
5
*F&S stands for “Field and Staff” (i.e. the colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, adjutant, quartermaster, surgeons, and chaplain.)
**NCS stands for “Noncommissioned staff” (i.e. the regimental sergeant major, commissary sergeant, quartermaster sergeant, hospital steward, and principal musicians).

The total adds up to 1,001 men. That figure is a little smaller than the numbers that are commonly attributed to the regiment upon its formation, but that’s how many original volunteers I found in Ayling’s Revised Register. If I’ve made a mistake, it’s of the order of about 0.1%–no joke (Edward Cross, the regiment’s colonel, claimed he left Concord, NH, at the end of October 1861 with 1,012 men). I think I can live with that.

In any event, the total number of men in my “400” Excel spreadsheet is 403. So my “400” represent 40.3% of the original 1,001 volunteers. That being the case, I multiplied the figures in Table 1 by .403 to see what my sample of “400” would look like if it was perfectly representative of the regiment (and I did round to the nearest whole number):

Table 2

Co. A
Co. B
Co. C
Co. D
Co. E
Co. F
Co. G
Co. H
Co. I
Co. K
Band
F&S
NCS
42
35
41
35
42
35
41
37
41
40
10
3
2

But this is what my sample of the “400” actually looks like:

Table 3

Co. A
Co. B
Co. C
Co. D
Co. E
Co. F
Co. G
Co. H
Co. I
Co. K
Band
F&S
NCS
41
36
36
40
43
39
41
33
45
35
9
3
2

In some cases, the numbers match up very nicely. Look at Companies A, B, E, and G. The Band, the Field & Staff, and the non-commissioned staff are also in the right ballpark. But Companies C, H, and K are underrepresented while Companies D, F, and I are overrepresented. You might think that the discrepancies are not great, but we are talking errors of well over 10%. What happened?

My first thought was that this issue was due to the luck of the draw. I picked men randomly, so my thinking went, and random selections sometimes lead to these kinds of disparities. Maybe. But my second thought was this: what if some of the companies are underrepresented among my “400” veterans because these units disproportionately suffered from death due to combat or illness? I decided to try that hypothesis out. Among the original volunteers, 114 were killed in action, 62 died of their wounds, and 100 succumbed to illness. Surely death was not evenly distributed throughout the regiment.

This is what I found:

Table 4

A B C D E F G H I K Band F&S NCS
KIA 11 5 16 12 14 7 15 9 12 12 0 1 0
MW 6 6 6 2 7 7 9 5 5 9 0 0 0
KIA+MW 17 11 22 14 21 14 24 14 17 21 0 1 0
Disease 7 11 12 8 9 10 6 9 11 15 2 0 0
TOTAL 24 22 34 22 30 24 30 23 28 36 2 2 0

If you remember, Companies C, H, and K are underrepresented in my sample of the “400.” It certainly looks as if Companies C and K suffered a disproportionate number of deaths (they were the two companies that lost the most men). But the number of deaths suffered by Company H was disproportionately small. Something else must explain why there are fewer members of that company among the “400” than there ought to be.

Companies D, F, and I are overrepresented in my sample, and it looks like D and F suffered fewer deaths than most companies. But five companies suffered fewer deaths than I, so I’m not sure how to explain why so many men from that company ended up among the “400.”

There are some factors that could have corrupted my findings somewhat. For example, some men were transferred from one company to another or promoted to the Field & Staff before being killed; as I’ve set it up, their deaths would have been credited to their original company. And some men, while still belonging to their company, could have formed part of the color guard where they were much more likely to get killed. If some companies were overrepresented in the color guard, that could have influenced the findings somewhat. The number of men transferred or promoted, as well as the number of soldiers assigned to the color guard (nine at any given moment), was small, but cumulatively, these issues could have warped my figures.

It seems I have found only a partial answer to my question of why some companies were overrepresented and others were underrepresented in the sample. Maybe part of the answer really is just chance.

The foregoing calculations, however, led me to another line of inquiry: why had some companies suffered many more deaths than others?

I started thinking about combat deaths and surmised that the companies closest to the color guard (which always drew a great deal of fire) during a battle suffered disproportionate casualties (to be honest, looking at who served in the color guard itself would be helpful, but that information is not available to me right now). Testing this hypothesis by figuring out the deployment of companies in line of battle was something of a task. In General Order No. 6, Colonel Edward Cross assigned the position of companies according to the seniority of the captains who commanded them.

1st Company: Company A: Captain. Edward E. Sturtevant
2nd Company: Company B: Captain Edmund Brown
3rd Company: Company C: Captain James B. Perry
4th Company: Company D: Captain John Murray
5th Company: Company E: Captain Ira McL. Barton
6th Company: Company F: Captain H.T.H. Pierce
7th Company: Company G: Captain Charles H. Long
8th Company: Company H: Captain Richard R. Davis
9th Company: Company I: Captain Charles E. Hapgood
10th Company: Company K: Captain Richard Welch[i]

“Formation in Order of Battle” (1861): This image from Hardee’s Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics shows who went where when a regiment was drawn up in line of battle. In this particular illustration, eight companies are in line of battle and two are detached for skirmish duty.

So far so good. However, matters get a bit complicated when one starts discussing the actual deployment of the regiment in combat. According to William J. Hardee’s Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, U.S. Infantry Tactics, and Silas Casey’s Infantry Tactics, a regiment arranged its companies in the following manner when it was arrayed in line of battle:[ii]

2nd

7th

10th

5th

8th 3rd 9th 4th 6th

1st

B

G K E H C I D F

A

Company A, which had the most senior captain (Sturtevant), occupied the post of honor which was the right flank of the regiment. This arrangement seems to indicate that Companies H and C were on either side of the color guard which was in the middle of the formation. While Company C suffered the second-highest number of combat deaths (21), Company H was definitely on the low end of the scale (14). Ok, scratch my theory about the color guard. Again, maybe I should try to figure out who was in the color guard and from what companies they were selected.

Edward E. Sturtevant (1826-1862), then living in Concord, NH, recruited and commanded Company I of the 1st New Hampshire, a three-month regiment. Shortly after that regiment was mustered out, he went on to recruit and command Company A of the 5th New Hampshire. It was this company that earned the post of honor on the right flank of the regiment when it went into battle. Sturtevant eventually attained the rank of major before he was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg. (Image courtesy of David Morin.)

I then thought that maybe some companies were more frequently used for picket duty and skirmishing than others. The problem is that I didn’t know if Cross leaned on particular companies in this way let alone which ones they would be.[iii] In any event, my impression is that in a number of major battles (Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Cold Harbor), the 5th New Hampshire went straight into action without deploying skirmishers.

And so I was left falling back on the last recourse of a scoundrel; perhaps this was all a matter of chance and circumstance. In the battles for which I have detailed records of casualties, I have noticed striking discrepancies in the number of dead and wounded suffered by each company. Take for example the Battle of Fair Oaks (June 1, 1862):

Company A: 3 killed, 2 mortally wounded, 20 other wounded
Company B: 2 killed, 2 mortally wounded, 19 other wounded
Company C: 4 killed, 3 mortally wounded, 17 other wounded
Company D: 4 killed, 6 wounded
Company E: 5 killed, 1 mortally wounded, 22 other wounded
Company F: 3 mortally wounded, 10 other wounded
Company G: 3 killed, 2 mortally wounded, 6 other wounded
Company H: 1 killed, 3 mortally wounded, 17 other wounded
Company I: 7 wounded
Company K: 3 killed, 13 wounded[iv]

To take the two extremes, Company E (Barton) suffered a total of 6 dead and 22 wounded for a total of 28 casualties while Company I (Hapgood) suffered a mere 7 wounded. It is worth noting that this battle (among other things) helped convince Cross that Barton was a drunken incompetent.[v] It is also probably worth noting that Hapgood later became the colonel of the regiment. So maybe the quality of company commanders had something to do with the distribution of casualties. Still, we should not disregard bad luck. A single shell burst could literally double a company’s casualties in a battle. For example, according to William Child’s History of the Fifth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers (1893) a one charge of canister killed or wounded 8 men from Company G at the Battle of Antietam.[vi]

Ira McL. Barton (1840-1876) raised much of Company D in the 1st New Hampshire and led that company during it three months of service. He later recruited and led Company E in the 5th New Hampshire until he resigned his commission in September 1862. Surprisingly, Barton landed on his feet as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery and served in the regular army after the war. (Image courtesy of David Morin.)

We’ve covered combat, so what about disease? Why did some companies suffer so much more than others, especially when the sanitary arrangements laid down by the regiment’s commander applied equally to all companies? I think the answer has to do with the men and not the conditions to which they were subjected.

It turns out that the companies that suffered the fewest deaths from disease (A, D, and G) were also those that happened to be most heavily recruited from urban areas in the state. (When I use the word “urban,” I employ it in the same sense as the Census Bureau: a settlement of more than 2,500 people.) [vii] In all likelihood these recruits had been more heavily exposed to communicable diseases throughout their lives and proved less susceptible to various illnesses than men from small rural settlements. Over 40% of Company A was recruited from Concord, NH (10,867), the second-largest town in the state and the 86th biggest settlement in the United States. Well over half of Company D’s men came from three major towns that were right next door to each other: Dover (8,487), Somersworth (4,785), and Rochester (3,833). And Company G was the only one in the regiment where the majority of men (70% in fact) came from one urban settlement: Claremont (4,009). No other companies had such high concentrations of urban dwellers.[viii] I like this hypothesis, but I have no means of testing it.

Map of Claremont in 1860

So are some companies overrepresented in the sample? Yes! Do I know why? Maybe, but not with any certainty. Did I figure out why some companies suffered more deaths than others? Partially.

Did I learn something by asking a bunch of different questions? I think so.


[i] I have several copies of General Order No. 6 at my disposal, but the one I referred to in this instance was in William Andrew Moore’s papers at the New Hampshire Historical Society.

[ii] Hardee’s book was published in 1855 and became the bible for field and junior officers during the Civil War. See http://www.cs-cavalry.de/Hardees%201862.pdf (p. 8). U.S. Infantry Tactics was put out by the War Department in 1861 and appears to plagiarize Hardee’s work extensively. See https://www.google.com/books/edition/U_S_Infantry_Tactics/ 3kAWAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Hardee+light+infantry+tactics+ school+of+the+company&pg=RA1-PT3&printsec=frontcover. Finally, Casey’s work also draws heavily from Hardee. See http://64thill.org/drillmanuals/
caseys_infantrytactics/volume1/part01.htm#6
.

[iii] I know that at Fair Oaks, Companies A and C were used in this fashion, but I don’t know if Cross always used them this way. See https://archive.org/
details/historyoffifthre00chil/page/n115/mode/2up

[iv] This information was assembled by consulting Ayling’s Revised Register and the surgeon’s report for the 5th New Hampshire that appeared in the New Hampshire Statesman, June 21, 1862, p. 2.

[v] Mike Pride and Mark Travis, My Brave Boys: To War with Colonel Cross & the Fighting Fifth (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2001), p. 158. Interestingly enough, after Barton resigned from the regiment, he and Hapgood remained on good terms and continued to correspond.

[vi] See https://archive.org/details/historyoffifthre00chil/page/n163/mode/2up However, if one amalgamates information from Ayling’s Revised Register and the Surgeon’s Report that appeared in the New Hampshire Statesman, October 4, 1862, p. 2, it appears that while Company G suffered 15 casualties at Antietam, only one soldier died as a result of that battle.

[vii] https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/reference/GARM/Ch12GARM.pdf

[viii] All information in this paragraph comes from the Census of 1860 and Ayling’s Revised Register.