CAPT. JAMES M. DURELL,  Recruiter, told “It couldn’t be done”  twice wounded

No complete company was furnished by the town at any one time. The largest number that went in one body was that under Capt. James M. Durell who first enlisted as a Private in Company E, Thirteenth Regiment.  He received a Lieutenant’s commission in1862, was wounded that year at the battle of Fredericksburg, again entered the field and fought at Cold Harbor in June, 1864, and was appointed Captain of Company C of this regiment on July 15th of that year.  After the war Captain Durell moved to Hyde Park, Mass and was employed as a traveling salesman in drygoods.


James M. Durell  enlisted 19 Sep 1862 at age 30 as a 1st Lieutenant in Company E, 13th Infantry.  Promoted to Full Captain 15 Jul 1864.  Mustered out 21 Jun 1865 at Richmond, VA..  Captain James M., son of Newman and Sally B. Osborne Durell, was born June 2, 1832 (older brother to Woodbridge Durell). He attended the village schools and at the age of twenty went to Boston, where he secured employment in the dry goods business.

He enlisted in the Massachussetts State Militia, and, after the defeat of Banks in 1862, it was rumored that Governor Andrews would call out the state forces to fight in the Rebellion, and Mr. Durell tendered his services to the governor, but Andrews decided not to take action at this time. In earnest to serve the flag against the breakup of the Union, Durrell secured leave of absence and returned to New Hampshire. Securing an audience with NH Governor Berry, to whom he bore letters of introduction, he told him that he wanted to enlist a company of men.

The governor thanked him, but told him frankly that he believed his efforts would be useless and that he would lose both time and money, but said, “If you go to recruiting I will give you all the assistance in my power and if you will bring in nine men to muster into the service I will give you a commission.”

Undaunted by this discouraging reception he returned to Newmarket, and opened a recruiting office with good measure of success.  Shortly after the selectmen petitioned the governor to allow him to remain until the full quota for the town was enlisted, which was granted, with the result that the largest number of men which served in any one regiment from this town was secured.

On the organization of the company he was commissioned first lieutenant, Company E, the color company of the 13th Regiment, September 17, 1862.

His first engagement was at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where he was wounded December 13, 1862.  Then followed the Battle of Battle of Fredericksburg, confederates on Rail Road BridgeSuffolk, under General Peck, March, 1863.  In the spring of ‘64 the Army of the James was ordered to Bermuda Hundreds.  During this campaign he participated in several engagements. After this the 18th Corps was ordered to the support of the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor. During the three days of  battle at Cold Harbor he was again wounded. After this engagement the Corps was ordered back to Petersburg, remaining there during the summer.

(Photo: Battle of Fredricksburg, confederates on rail road bridge)

In September he was again ordered to Bermuda Hundreds. There he was ordered with his company to hold an earth work in an exposed position between the Union and Rebel lines. While holding this position he was detailed, by special orders, as acting aide de camp, with rank of Captain on the staff of Gen. Charles K. Graham, commanding defenses at Bermuda Hundreds, serving until close of the war. He was mustered out June 21, 1865, having well and faithfully served his country in her time of greatest need.

(Photo: earthernworks battlefied at Bermuda Hundreds)

February 10, 1864, he married Bathsheba Thaxter Hovey of Boston, by whom he has five children, three boys and two girls. The eldest, Edward Hovey, born February 19, 1866, was appointed to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, August, 1883 ; graduated therefrom in 1887, and was commissioned ensign 1889.  He was serving as lieutenant on the The USS Wheeling and ordered to Manila during the Spanish American War; also, during his service he was navigating officer on the battleship, USS New Jersey, with rank of Lieutenant Commander.

After a brief but greatly needed rest he left Newmarket and returned to Boston and accepted a position as traveling salesman. After a year of service, on January 1, 1867, entered the employ of Haughton Perkins & Co., wholesale dry goods merchants, with whom he remained until the great Boston fire. Soon after the fire he became associated with another dry goods house, and continued in the wholesale business.  In 1904 he applied for a pension due to disability, he died of disease 21 Mar 1912; and his widow applied for her widow’s pension shortly thereafter.


Source: Granite Monthly, An Unchartered Town„ published February, 1908