Private Patrick Henaghan,  KIA at Battle of Oak Grove.

Letters written to Enoch Adams in Newmarket

Patrick Henaghan – enlisted from Newmarket on  28 May 1861 at age 28 as a Private in Company B, 2nd Infantry, and  he mustered in in 1 Jun 1861.  Killed in Action  at Battle of Oak Grove, VA 25 Jun 1862 .

Oak Grove was the first of the Seven Days’ battles

On June 25, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan advanced his lines along the Williamsburg Road with the objective of  bringing Richmond within range of his siege guns. Union forces attacked over swampy ground with inconclusive results, and darkness halted the fighting.  McClellan’s attack was not strong enough to derail the Confederate offensive that already had been set in motion. The next day, Lee seized the initiative by attacking at Beaver Dam Creek north of the Chickahominy.  The end result - the Battle was “Inconclusive” as the Union forces withdrew to their lines.

 (photo: Battle of Oak Grove, re-enactment)

“There had been light skirmishing for several days near the Fair Oaks battlefield when McClellan gave the order to clear out the Confederate pickets in the wooded area in their front.  The soldiers became very excited at the prospect of the final push to Richmond because the tall spires of the city could be easily seen from the treeline.

 Private Patrick H. Henaghan of Newmarket was killed instantly when a musket ball smashed into his forehead as he charged across a field….”

  (source: Men of Granite: New Hampshire’s Soldiers in the Civil War, by by Duane E. Shaffer. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 2008 , pg 87)

Letters Home

Union Major Genral George B. McClellan planned to end the war through short and decisive battles rather than one major, war-winning battle. He wrote to his wife before the undertaking; “It now looks to me as if the operations would resolve themselves into a series of partial attacks, rather than a general battle.” McClellan’s goal was to seize the high ground on the Nine Mile Road with the objective of bringing his siege guns within range of the Confederate capital.
Union Private Thomas B. Leaver of the 2nd New Hampshire wrote home on the night prior to the battle, “I hope the day of decision will come soon…I believe the Rebels will skedaddle as they did at Yorktown and Corinth.  Keep up good courage dear Mother, end is near at hand.”
   (photo: Major General George B. McClellan)

Capt Samuel Sayles of Company D 2nd NH  wrote to his friend Sergeant Enoch Adams, who had been wounded at the Battle of  Williamsburg and was convalescing at home in Newmarket: “…We get  whiskey rations every day.  The 2nd NH has grown frightfully small.  But Whiskey is a great institution.  May it plentifully abound in wartime.  I would tell you when Richmond will be taken if I knew, perhaps in the year 1862 and perhaps not.  Give old Joe Hooker enough and he would be in there tomorrow night.  Bully for Old Joe.  Gentleman Joe.  He’s a Brick. “       

Charles Jewett of the 2nd NH wrote home from the near the Union camp at Fair Oaks, to his brother on June 19th about the eerie feeling of camping on a battlefield:  ”… I shall be glad when we get out of this place for we are encamped rite on the  Battlefield where they had such a big slaughter and you can hardly step without stepping on a grave and they were mostly buried on the top of the ground with out being half covered up and many are not buried now and it is very warm now and you can judge for yourself that it ain’t a very sweet smelling place about this time but I think there will be something done before long and I think if we have good success in taking Richmond – if there is any of the 2nd NH left, we will have chance to go home.”  —  (Men of Granite , pg 85)

 Sergeant Edgar Newcomb of the 19th Massachusetts described the wearisome nature of battle:   “It is not the marching nor the firing that wears men, but the suspense of the slow advance and frequent halt…till finally when at once the storm of bullets whirs over and on each side, and men begin to fall, and orders come think and fast, the sweet oozes from every pore. It is not fear but uncertainty, that makes men live days in every moment.”

 (source: Wired Studios, Corvette Garage, Jeff Mummert © Content 2007-2010. Dickinson College)

Enoch George Adams

He was born to “Reformation” John Adams and Sarah Sanderson Adams in 20 Feb 1829 in Bow, N.H.  He graduated at Yale in the class of 49.  He served in the Civil War in Company D of the Second New Hampshire Regiment enlisting from Dover  as a Private  1 Jun 1861.  He was promoted to Full Sergeant 1 Oct 1861, and later to Full 2nd Lieutenant 10 Aug 1862.  He received a gunshot wound to the neck at the Battle of  Williamsburg  5 May 1862 and returned to Newmarket to recover.  He later wrote a report on Gettysburg, list of officers killed (July 11, 1863) .  He was promoted to Captain 30 Apr 1864.   He mustered out as a Captain on 6 May 1864; and after the war was brevetted major.

(photo: Captain Enoch G. Adams)

“Sergeant Enoch G. Adams, of Company D, caught a bullet in the neck, and started to carry out to the rear.  With his hands to his head, covered with blood, re ran up against Captain Sayles, who did not recognize him.  ”who is this?”  inquired the Captain.  “It’s I!” came the sputtering reply. “But who is I?” persisted the Captain.  The Sergeant was indignant at this refusal to know him.  He did not appreciate the change the gushing tide of had wrought in his general appearance.  ”It’s I!” he roared with renewed emphasis — “I !” — Adams! - Sergrant Adams!  Hang it Cap’n, don’t you know your own Adams?!?”  

 (source:  History of the Second New Hampshire, pg 74)

 He also served on the frontier in 1865.  After his service Adams was engaged in several Indian wars in the mid-west including an engagement  with Sitting Bull.Battle of Williamsburg, Currier & Ives print

(photo: Battle of Williamsburg, Currier and Ives)

He settled for a time in the Pacific Northwest and edited The Vancouver Register.  Enoch George Adams transcribed and edited his father’s journals and wrote poetry. He was married to Sarah Plummer and Mary Elizabeth Libbey.  He went West again in 1866 and for a number of years was lecturer for the Independent Order of Good Templars in Washington and Oregon.  While there he held many public offices.  He came East to Berwick in 1887 .  

 He was a very prominent figure among the Masons and he was also a member of Littlefield Post GAR of Somersworth.  He claimed descent from seven Colonial governors of Massachusetts also from some of the Pilgrims who came over in the Mayflower. His grandfather Sanderson fought in the battles of the Revolution at Concord and Lexington.  Enoch George Adams died at his home in Berwick Me Sunday morning November 4, 1900.