CHARLES CHAPMAN (age 26), JOSEPH GOULD (age 45), JOHN HAREY (age 47), and JOHN PINKHAM (age 38), all of Company E, 13thInfantry Regiment, New Hampshire – shared action during the Seige of Suffolk April 1863, and the Battle of Drury’s Bluff where John Harvey was Killed. Chapman, Gould, and Pinkham went on to the Battle of Fort Harrison, VA where in September 1864, Gould and Pinkham were also Killed in Action. Chapman, severely wounded in this battle, suffered and died of those wounds about six months later. All four men have their names engraved on the G.A.R. Memorial.
enlisted 4 Aug 1862 at age 23 as a Sergeant in Company E, 13th Infantry. Severely wounded 30 Sep 1864; he Died from Wounds on 7 Apr 1865 at Washington D.C . The 1860 census lists him as 21 years of age, working as a tailor, residing with his parents George (a 55-yr old house carpenter) and Sarah (a 57-yr old seamtress); and his sisters: Elizabeth (age 20), Sarah (age 24), and Abby Blanchard (age 19) – all three girls listed their occupation as a seamstress.
enlisted 13 Aug 1862 at age 43 as a Private in Company E, 13th Infantry. Killed In Action 30 Sep 1864 at Fort Harrison. He was born in 10 Oct 1819 in Atkinson, ME. He worked as a cordswainer in Newmarket and is credited to town. He married in Newmarket on 30 Sep 1858 to Deborah Ham, daughter of Mathias and Abigail Ham of town. The 1860 census lists Joseph and Deborah living with her parents. During the Town financial crisis nearing the end of the war, his widow was one who voluntarily issued the Town a personal loan to help keep the town solvent.
enlisted 11 Aug 1862 at age 45 as a Private in Company E, 13th Infantry. Mustered in 19 Sep 1862. Killed In Action 16 May 1864 at Drury’s Bluff, VA. He was born in Nottingham; resided in and credited to Newmarket. His widow Jane Harvey was living in Newmarket as of Jan 1883, receiving a pension of $8 since the end of the war.
enlisted 8 Aug 1862 at age 36 as a Corporal in Company E, 13th Infantry. Promoted to Full Sergeant. Killed. In Action 29 Sep 1864 at Fort Harrison, VA. He was born in 1828 in Durham, but worked as a laborer and resided in Newmarket since at least 1850. He is credited to Newmarket At the time of his death, he was married to Margaret Pinkham; they had six children age 15 and under. She filed for and received a widow’s pension in Oct of 1864.
In early 1863 Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee dispatched Gen. James Longstreet to an area that stretched between the James and Cape Fear Rivers with the purpose of protecting Richmond from an anticipated Union advance, but when no such advance occurred, Longstreet changed the mission into a great foraging expedition. On April 11, 1863, Longstreet’s two divisions marched to Suffolk, VA, where Union Gen. John J. Peck commanded a garrison of 25,000 men.
While part of Longstreet’s 20,000 man force scoured the countryside, filling their wagons with foodstuffs for Lee’s army, the rest began building fortifications and laying Suffolk under siege. The Southerners reoccupied Fort Huger, an old earthwork fort on the Nansemond River that the Confederacy had abandoned when the Union captured Suffolk in 1862. Attempting to cut off Union river communications with Suffolk, they established other batteries along the Nansemond River.
On April 24, the Union ships “Mount Washington”, “West End”, and “Stepping Stones” attempted to run past the batteries to Suffolk. Rebel artillerists showered the ships, crippling the “Mount Washington” and forcing all the ships to retreat. The Union suffered 15 men killed and wounded and lost a crucial stretch of the Nansemond River. One Southern battery was severely damaged.
Throughout the next morning, Union artillery across the river battered the Rebel position. Four more Rebel guns were silenced before the contest ended. Several days later Union raiders captured Fort Huger, but then abandoned it, and Rebel forces regained possession of the important position. Neither side attempted a major offensive for the rest of the month. The siege of Suffolk ended when Lee urgently summoned Longstreet and his men to return to Virginia. They were too late to fight at Chancellorsville but soon found themselves marching over dusty Pennsylvania roads toward Gettysburg.
Diary Entry in “The History of the Thirteenth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers:
April 27, 1863. Mon. Fair. Thirteenth in rifle-pits at the front, along the bank of the Nansemond. We have shoveled all night, until daylight, when the enemy’s pickets commence firing and stop the work. Then we take breakfast; after which those who can have cover work at the shovels again until 9.30 a. m.; then the 13th is relieved and marches back a few miles to the old camp again, arriving about noon, and rests for the balance of the day. It is this sort of jerky business that uses men up. We have marched, and fired, and picketed, and shoveled, night and day — in all sorts of weather, in water, in mud, in swamp and brush and timber, uphill and down dale, in this sort of ’hare and hounds ’ play for nearly three weeks.
(photo: Great Dismal Swamp —docsouth_unc_edu.jpg)
Very little rest or peace, and no comfort, since April 1st; but it is one of those campaigns which furnish a great deal of rough sport, play and adventure as well as much hard work. The crookedness, windings, twists, netting, and general tortuousness, in these Nansemond swamps — a part of the Dismal Swamp — of the paths and roads around pool and bayou, hoghole and creek (” krik “) form a maze baffling the imagination.
Sergt. John Pinkham of E, of Newmarket, an old sailor, declares: “I can never box the compass after marching all day here; to follow these roads would make a rat sea-sick.”
Some men of the 13th on another part of the line, while on picket, arrange with the rebels not to fire, and swim across to a sandy bar. Here they are met by men swimming out from the rebel picket, and they have a very friendly meeting. They shake hands, swap jack-knives and pipes, have a chat and then return to their several posts. It was at this meeting on a river sandbar where the men acted as men and not Rebel and Yankee combatants and discovered common ground. The Confederate soldiers had no high regard for President Lincoln; and not all appeared to love Jefferson Davis. One of them put it: “Say, Yank, you ‘tins bring Abe down heap to the river; we ‘tins will Ving, Jeff; then drown um both ‘n go home — er’ekn.” Strict orders were immediately issued forbidding any more of such meetings.
May 12-16, 1864 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, Bermuda Hundred Campaign
Forces Men Killed Wounded Captured or Missing
Union 39,000 422 2,380 210*
Rebel 18,000 400 2,000 100*
Conclusion: Confederate Victory
Leaving only a garrison at Petersburg, Beauregard arrived at Drewry’s Bluff on the 14th. Reinforced by troops from Richmond and North Carolina, he rapidly organized the 10 brigades at his disposal into 3 divisions and ordered an attack for the 16th. At 4:45 A.M. that morning, the Rebels charged into the Union’s right flank capturing 400 Federals, 5 flags, and the brigade commander. The Federals stubbornly fell back, but again the fog disorganized the Confederate attackers. The North counterattacked into a gap between the Confederate brigades, halting the Confederate advance. By 10:00 A.M., Beauregard’s brigades had been spent and Butler began withdrawing. Maj. Gen. W.H.C. Whiting, with 2 Confederate brigades, had been ordered to attack Butler’s rear. Whiting halted and his lack of aggressiveness and a heavy rainstorm allowed Butler to reach his works across the neck of the peninsula. On the morning of the 17th, the Confederates arrived opposite the Union works. Beauregard sealed the neck of Bermuda Hundred, effectively encasing Butler on the peninsula. The grave threat to Richmond and Petersburg had been temporarily eliminated.
The rebels started over the works, the colors of four rebel regiments are planted on the part of the works where the Thirteenth had just fought in and retreated from in the morning. Still other rebel regiments hurry along past their rear and form, one after another, on their right, until the whole works are manned by them so far as we can see. Now the enemy begins to examine the Thirteenth’s baggage, to roll up our blankets, to eat our breakfast, to drink our coffee, to put on our clothes, to handle sundry papers and fling them away; one fellow coolly sits down, throws off his shoes, and hauls on a pair of our boots —
(photo: painting of Battle of Drewry’s Bluff)
and last, to rob our dead. One of them having just appropriated the captain’s overcoat, and proceeds to rifle the pockets, and to strip the clothing from the body of John H. Harvey of E, which we were obliged to abandon lying near the lone apple tree. This is a little too much for Sergt. Charles F. Chapman of E, who puts the powder of two cartridges into his gun, rams home a bullet, runs forward a rod or two to the edge of the brush, rests his gun in the fork of a little tree, and fires; the pilfering rebel lies down and never once moves again — dead or badly wounded. The range is full 500 yards. By 2 p. m. we have in Co. E an average of less than two cartridges per man. Capt. Julian sends men back twice for more ammunition; but the men are
(photo: entrenchments at 2nd Battle of Drewry’s Bluff)
abused by some Colonel, they say, who thinks they are stragglers, and orders them back to us again. The contest over by the river, now to our right, grows very noisy—there is one tremendous burst of artillery near the turnpike — the enemy’s skirmishers are beginning to advance into the field on our front, our position is isolated, the most of our men have but one cartridge left, and that in their guns; and so Capt. Julian resolves to retire to the next line of our pickets a long distance in our rear, before it is all too late — for it is sheer suicide to remain here without ammunition — and we thus move back a few rods.
Capt. Julian soon has a sharp colloquy with an officer, and Lt. Col. Coughlin of the 10th N. H. comes up to see what the matter is. Capt. Julian says that he and his men are perfectly willing to return to his former position -if he is first supplied reasonably with ammunition; but declares: “I will not go back without the ammunition — of which there is a plenty about here.” The result is that we get a part of two boxes of the Tenth’s ammunition; and then we return rapidly to our former position, distributing the ammunition as we go. We indeed advance our line a little, to better cover, among larger trees; and here we remain until dark, and until after all the rest of the troops on the line have retired.
Our position now is practically an isolated outpost picket, dense small pines and underbrush. Just at dusk a single rebel scout appears about 200 yards to our right in the field, and Sergt. Charles F. Chapman returns him to his friends — wounding him in the arm apparently.
(photo: Drewy’s Bluff above the James River)
Soon a line of men are seen close up on our front, within about two hundred feet, approaching us from the rebel side, all walking backwards, like skirmishers retreating, and firing towards the rebel lines as they back up towards us. We can see that they are dressed in very dark stuff, not gray. They get very close upon the left squads of our line before they are seen. Before we can make out what they are, as they come up nearer; suddenly a little rebel field-battery, over near the turnpike, puffs out smoke and fire, and instantly two shells scream and crash through the trees over our heads. A third shell lodges; and without bursting, in a huge black-walnut tree, under which Capt. Julian and Lieut. Thompson are, and about ten feet overhead, jarring the tree to its roots. Capt. Julian exclaims: That ‘s direction — they ‘re going to charge on us ” — and orders a retreat. He also directs Lieut. Thompson to run down to the left, and to swing the left squads of Co. E around so as to serve as flankers all to fight as we retire.
Lieut. Thompson starts on the run down the line, and just as he is between the two last squads, that line of dark-coated fellows, now very close, suddenly faces about, and charges with the bayonet on the men of Co. E and fires a few shots. They are the enemy in blue coats stolen from our dead, and more than three to one of us —but are just a little too late for their sharp back-action game. Knowing our isolated position, they had planned to surprise and capture us all; and come within a moment of doing it — the closest sort of a shave.
The right of Co. E gets off safely, but the two squads on the left escape only by clubbing their muskets. Of these seven men, four in the left squad have a hand-to-hand fight. Sergt. John Pinkham breaks his musket over a rebel’s head.
John Riley — a sturdy Irishman — is seized by two rebels, gets clear, runs, is pursued, cannot get time to load, seizes his musket by the muzzle, swings it around, and lets it fly; the butt strikes one pursuing rebel in his chest and doubles him up like a jack-knife, the other stops and fires, but without effect, and Riley escapes. Owen McMann, a small Irishman, is the only one they capture, or seriously hurt. (McMann died in the rebel murder-pen, Andersonville.) Lieut. Thompson, near, and a witness to the most of the scrimmage, expects they will rush upon him, but is merely fired at; and soon sees the escape of all but McMann, whom none could assist without capture.
(photo: From the Drewry’s Bluff, overlooking a bend in the James River)
The first duty is to get all the Company safely out of the scrape and together. Notwithstanding the very close quarters, Co. E soon forms and moves steadily back through the trees, firing with all their might. The enemy fires also briskly, but hits no one — not light enough to take good aim. The picket line, of which we formed a part early in the day, has been withdrawn, all excepting ourselves, to a new line nearly or quite half a mile farther back. We have been practically abandoned, or left for capture to draw the rebels on into a trap, and we have no orders. To say that we are angry, or even furiously mad, is to say nothing at all. The enemy, in a strong line, now presses closer, as Co. E retires, but firing less.
Sergt. Pinkham and Riley join the Company, having made a wide detour in the brush, but minus their muskets; and for safety we leave the field in open order as a close line of skirmishers, firing occasionally.
As we come into clear ground, some Union men off to our left toward the turnpike fire a few shots at us, all going wild over our heads, and we shout to them to stop. The enemy follows us until he reaches the edge of the brush, and then he halts; we cross a wide level space — a part of the field where the 13th bivouacked on the night of May 13th — pass through a double line of dismounted cavalry acting as vedettes, and then a line of pickets, and form beyond them — the field we have just crossed being soon swept by the bullets of the contending pickets; and then we march out of range amid spent bullets coming over, join the confused, retreating mass of infantry, artillery and cavalry, composed of the 10th Corps, and plunge along the turnpike in the mud and sand, it seems to us about five or six miles, and finally after making numerous inquiries about the way we join the Regiment at Bermuda Hundred between ten and eleven o’clock at night. The first salutation
The men of the Thirteenth, many of whom have not slept for the past thirty-six hours, have been constantly under fire, night and day — saving now and then for a few hours of rest —for nearly ten days they have had scarcely enough of fair weather to get their clothing and blankets dry, even for once, during that time have lost many of their best comrades, and all their regimental records and baggage are in the hands of the enemy. We may properly quote: “We have met the enemy — and all we had is his’n.” The losses in these ten days are thirty-one, in killed, wounded and prisoners, the strain has been very severe upon all the Regiment, and many of the men are rendered unfit for immediate service both by exhaustion and slight wounds
On September 29, 1864, 2,500 Union forces over ran and captured Fort Harrison. It was the strongest Confederate Fort on the Richmond-Petersburg line. The next day Lee personally organized a major effort to retake the fort, but failed.
On the 28th of September the Army of the James. about midnight the army crossed the river, and before daylight a skirmish line was formed, and the advance was begun. At daylight the enemy’s skirmishers were encountered and rapidly driven back. Colonel Donohoe, who commanded the skirmish line, had his horse shot under him. The enemy was driven three or four miles to the cover of the Rebel earthworks on Chapin’s Farm, where the main body of troops formed in the edge of the wood for an assault upon Fort Harrison (a powerful work on the summit of a hill, three-quarters of a mile from the woods, the intervening slope being swept by the enemy’s cannon).
(photos: Union capture of Fort Harrison, re-named Fort Burnham by the Union Army)
The First Division emerged from the woods advancing toward the Fort when thirty pieces of Artillery opened on the columns, and rebel gunboats on the James threw their immense shells across its path. The division moved in quick time up to the fort, and, halting for a moment to gather for the blow, it sprang forward with defiant cheers, every step taken at the cost of scores of brave lives; they gained the ditch, mounted the ramparts, and drove the enemy from his guns, which were at once turned to the destruction of those who had just used them with such deadly effect.
All of the enemy’s dead and wounded fell into the hands of the Union Army, and many prisoners and guns were taken. General Burnham, commanding the Union brigade, was killed while working some of the captured guns. Later in the day another fierce fight occurred, in which Colonel Donohoe was severely wounded. The next day the enemy opened on the fort from all sides, the gunboats and mortar batteries joining in the bombardment. This was followed by an attempt to storm the fort.
The Rebel advance ended in terrible slaughter. Dead and disabled rebels strewed the field. New and successive attempts were made only to be followed by the same carnage. Every advance was coolly repulsed, and the enemy reluctantly abandoned the battle. A skirmish line, composed of troops from the Tenth and Thirteenth, sallied forth after the routed rebels, and brought in about five hundred prisoners. The victory was complete and important. Just as Grant had anticipated, the fighting around Chaffin’s Farm forced Lee to shift his resources which helped the Union army south of Petersburg win the Battle of Peebles’ Farm. After October, the two armies settled into trench warfare that continued until the end of the war. The fighting cost the nation nearly 5,000 casualties.
When Richmond fell, The 13th N. H. V. furnished the first troops, and its colors were the first to enter the city. As the cheering soldiers entered the City, four comrades were not among them — Newmarket men Private John Harvey, killed at the Battle of Suffolk; Private Joseph Gould and Sergeant John Pinkham, both Killed In Action at the Battle of Fort Harrison; and Sergeant Charles Chapman who was so severely wounded in that Battle, that he lingered until 7 April 1865 when he died of those wounds in an Army hospital in Washington, D.C..