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Return of the Sixteenth N.H. Regiment

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In New Hampshire | No Comments

The sixteenth Regiment N.H. Volunteers, in command of Col. James Pike, arrived in Concord on the 14th inst. They left this State on the 23rd of last November, having been mustered in for nine months service. They have participated in only a few engagements, but have been included in the Department of the Gulf and have suffered greatly front he diseases of a hot and unhealthy region. The corps, on reaching the city, had 340 men able to carry arms, together with enfeebled soldiers who were immediately transferred to the hospital at City Hall. Besides these 49 invalids were left at Vicksburg and 36 at Cairo. These figures show how disease has more than decimated the ranks of a regiment that numbered nine hundred effective men on departing for the seat of war. The troops took an honorable part in the actions at Butte a la Bose (Fort Burton), Springfield, and Donaldsonville, all of which places are in Louisiana. The troops left Port Hudson on the 1st instant, and were in constant motion until they reached New Hampshire. They came up the Mississippi river to Cairo, and from thence by rail.

The journey home though fatiguing, was interspersed with many pleasing occurrences. At a score or more of places on the route the people assembled by thousands, inviting the soldiers to collations, and cheering their hearts with kind and patriotic words. Among the places where the people were particularly enthusiastic and hospitable to the New Hampshire boys were Indianapolis Union Village on the border line, Belle Fontaine, Erie, Cleveland, Buffalo, Utica, and Pittsfield in Mass.

As the regiment reached Concord there was a large concourse of people assembled in the station and in Railroad square. The firing of a salute caused the arrival of many more people, including the agents of the soldier’s aid society, who immediately took in charge the sick and wounded and carried them to the hospital. The regiment then formed in line and marched to Phenix Hall.

The reception escort under the management of Col. Natt. Head, of the Governor’s staff, and the city Marshall Pickering, consisted of the following military bodies: Concord Brigade band, under Mr. Adams: Fifth New Hampshire Regiment, under Lieut. Col. Hapgood; Drum corps of Fifth Volunteers and Heavy Artillery from Fort Warren, under Capt. Thos. J. Little.

The returning regiment was accompanied by a fine band of musicians, selected from the ranks, and in charge of Mr. M. H. Whitcomb of Newport. The passage of the military through the streets was accompanied with great enthusiasm and many tokens of respect and greeting. The collation at the hall was in readiness and the return soldiers partook of the food with great relish.

The soldiers having been refreshed, Gov. Gilmore rose to speak and was greeted with three rounds of applause. His remarks were as follows:

Mr. Commander and Officers and Soldiers of the 16th New Hampshire regiment:

It is a pleasant duty to welcome you, in behalf of the State of New Hampshire, to you homes and friends. We were glad to send you on your way to join the army of the Union. We are still more glad to greet you at the end of your term of service, and tender you the hospitalities of our State capitol.

we realize that there is no regiment which has gone from our State that has suffered more from sickness and fatigue, or done more irksome duty than the 16th. We remember, too, that to the
remnant of your regiment which was fit for duty was committed the honorable task of guarding the headquarters of our New England General before the walls of Port Hudson. There is no New Hampshire regiment whose record is such that we need blush to receive them, and I can congratulate you, officers and soldiers of the 16th, on having done all that you were told to do.

As I look at your ranks I think of the large number that are left behind who sleep in death. I am glad to know that they died in a glorious cause, aiding in putting down a most wicked, uncalled for rebellion, and to defend the glorious old Union and Constitution, and the best Government that God ever gave to any people or nation; and woe to the man that dares to lift his hand against it. Let us sympathize truly and heartily with the friends of those who have fallen in your regiment; and in regard to the sick and wounded everything that can be done shall be. God giving me strength I will do what I can to aid them, and will use all the resources within my power as Chief Magistrate of the State, to insure that they are well cared for.

A word to the soldiers now before me who are well. I thank you most truly for the true spirit of patriotism that you have at all times manifested, and I am proud not only of yourselves, the noble 16th, but of every other New Hampshire regiment. I said to the fighting 5th and gallant fifteenth a day or two since, that they have earned the right to tell secessionists, traitors, copperheads and moral suasionists just what they think of them – and, my boys, you do it wherever you find occasion, North or South. You will find traitors in the glorious old Granite State – the State of Langdon and Stark. I know every one of you will treat them as they deserve.

But I will not detain you with a long speech at this hour and after your fatiguing ride. The State of New Hampshire will spare no pains nor expense to give a substantial welcome to its retuning volunteers.

I again welcome you to your dear homes and the dear friends that you will meet, with the earnest desire that God Almighty will bless you and yours.

REPLY OF COL. PIKE.

Col. Pike replied as follows: Governor Gilmore and friends – We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this kind and enthusiastic reception. Though we have not been in positions where we could win for you and for ourselves imperishable renown, as has been the case with the 2d, 5th, and other New Hampshire regiments, yet we have the proud consciousness of knowing that we have always gone where we were ordered, and have always performed the work that was given us to do. We return with less than five hundred men. Our decimated ranks show that the cup of sorrow has often been placed to our lips. We look upon our hundreds sleeping beneath the sods of an unhealthy clime as martyrs whose memories are as precious as the recollections of those who have fallen on the field of battle. We trust the people of New Hampshire will not forget our sleeping heroes, nor fail to protect and care for their mourning kindred and orphaned children. I can only again thank you for your kindness to the 16th New Hampshire Volunteers.

Brief remarks were made by other gentlemen present, followed by music from the regimental band, when the banquet closed and the soldiers marched from the hall.

the troops have been given a furlough of seven days, when they will return to Concord, receive their back pay and be mustered from the service. During their term of service none of the officers have been killed on the field of battle. The following have died from disease; Capt. David Buffum of Swamzey, Co. I; assistant Surgeon Sylvester Campbell of Sanbornton Bridge; Lieut. George T. Wilder of Portsmouth, co. K; Lieut. Prescott Jones of Wilmot, Co. E, and Lieut. John

S. Baker of Grantham, Co. F.

The majority of the remaining part of the roster is the same as when the corps left the State, with the exception of discharges and promotions. The field officers are Colonel James Pike of Sanbornton Bridge; Lieut. Col. Henry W. Fuller of Concord; Major, Samuel Davis, Jr. of Warner.

Source: Belknap Gazette, 22 August 1863.

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