Collection: The County Regiment

The Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery

It was in November, 1863, that the War Department orders were issued changing the Nineteenth Infantry to a regiment of heavy artillery, which Governor Buckingham denominated the Second Connecticut. Artillery drill had for some time been part of its work, and the general efficiency and good record of the regiment in all particulars was responsible for the change, which was a welcome one, as the artillery was considered a very desirable branch of the service, and the increase in size gave prospects of speedier promotions. Recruiting had been necessary almost all the time to keep the regiment up to...

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Encampment in Virginia

Washington in September, 1862, while relatively secure from the easy capture which would have been possible in the summer of the previous year, was not in a situation of such safety as to preclude anxiety, for Pope had just been beaten at Bull Run and Lee’s army was north of the Potomac in the first of its memorable invasions of the loyal states. On the very day of his check at Antietam, September 17th, the Nineteenth Connecticut Volunteers reached the capital, and the next day moved into the hostile state of Virginia, bivouacking near Alexandria. In this vicinity the...

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The Call to Arms for Litchfield County, CT

In spite of the labors of unnumbered chroniclers, it is not easy, if indeed it is possible, for us of this later generation to realize adequately the great patriotic uprising of the war times. It began in the early days of 1861 with the assault on Fort Sumter, which, following a long and trying season of uncertainty, furnished the sudden shock that resolved the doubts of the wavering and changed the opinions of the incredulous. Immediately there swept over all the northern states a wave of intense national feeling, attended by scenes of patriotic and confident enthusiasm more noisy...

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The First Battle of the County Regiment

The movements of both armies were bringing them steadily nearer to Richmond, and but one chance now remained to achieve the object of the campaign, the defeat of Lee’s army north of the Chickahominy and away from the strong defenses of the Confederate capital. The enemy, swinging southward to conform to Grant’s advance, finally reached the important point of Cold Harbor on May 31st. Cavalry was sent forward to dislodge him, and seized some of the entrenchments near that place, while both armies were hurried forward for the inevitable battle. The Sixth Corps, of which the Second Artillery was...

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Ranald S. Mackenzie Takes Command

Immediately after receiving news of the action of June 1st, Governor Buckingham had sent a commission as colonel to Lieutenant-Colonel James Hubbard. He, however, was unwilling to assume the responsibility of the command; this had been his first battle, and he “drew the hasty inference that all the fighting was likely to consist of a similar walking into the jaws of hell. He afterwards found that this was a mistake.” Upon General Upton’s advice, therefore, the officers recommended to the Governor the appointment of Ranald S. Mackenzie, then a captain of engineers on duty at headquarters, and this recommendation being favorably endorsed by superior officers up to the Lieutenant-General, was accepted, and Colonel Mackenzie took command on June 6th. Of the man who was now to lead the regiment, Grant in his Memoirs writes twenty years later the following unqualified judgment: “I regarded Mackenzie as the most promising young officer in the army. Graduating at West Point as he did during the second year of the war, he had won his way up to the command of a corps before its close. This he did upon his own merit and without influence.” Such a statement from such a quarter is enough to show that once more the Second Connecticut was to be commanded by a soldier of more than ordinary qualities, a fact which was not long in developing....

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Assault on Fisher’s Hill and Battle of Cedar Creek

General Sheridan’s method of operation could hardly be held as dilatory. It would doubtless have commended itself more highly to his men if it had been somewhat more so, when at daylight on the morning after the splendid success of September 19th they were ordered in pursuit of Early’s army. The Confederate forces had taken position on Fisher’s Hill, considered the Gibraltar of the Valley, and according to Sheridan, almost impregnable to a direct assault. Two days were occupied in bringing up troops and making dispositions for the attack. The Second Connecticut reached its assigned position on the 21st...

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Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia

Colonel Hubbard, though born in Salisbury, had lived in the West before the war, and first saw service with an Illinois regiment. Returning to Connecticut, he assisted in raising a company for the Nineteenth, and was mustered in as its captain. He was steadily promoted until the death of Colonel Kellogg brought him naturally to the command of the regiment; but, as has been said, his own modest estimate of his qualifications for this responsibility caused him to decline the appointment. When it came to him a second time he accepted, and proved by his subsequent handling of the...

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Return to Litchfield County, CT

Immediately after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, the Sixth Corps was moved to Burkesville, some distance from Appomattox in the direction of Richmond, and there it remained for about ten days awaiting events. On April 22nd it was ordered southward to Danville, with a view to joining Sherman’s army then confronting Johnston in North Carolina, a movement which again necessitated some fatiguing marches, the one hundred and five miles being covered in less than five days. News was received, however, that Johnston had followed the example of Lee and surrendered, and the corps thereupon faced about...

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