CIVIL WAR PRISONER OF WAR, TWICE

Private Woodbridge W. Tuttle

Woodbridge Tuttle, a clerk working in the clothing trade in Newmarket,  enlisted 10 Dec 1861 at age 22 as a Private in Company L, 1st Cavalry Regiment Rhode Island.  He mustered in 27 Dec 1861.  Captured  on 31 Oct 1862 during the Battle of Unison  at Mountville, VA, later paroled.   Once parolled, he rejoined his Regiment, attached to the Rhode Island Cavalry.  He was again captured during the Gettysburg Campaign (June-August 1863) on June 18, 1863, near Middlebury, VA. when Col. Alfred Duffié’s isolated 1st Rhode Island Cavalry Regiment was attacked by the brigades of Munford and Robertson.  The Union divisions were routed, taking about 250 casualties as troops dismounted and engaged in battle to control the approaches to the Blue Ridge gap.

Tuttle Feadstone. Riverside CemeteryHe was  later paroled and appointed Sergeant and re-enlisted in Company L, 1st Cavalry Regiment New Hampshire on 7 Jan 864 and mustered in 1 Feb. 1864.  He was promoted to Full 2nd Lieutenant (as Company E) on 11 Aug 1864,  and then promoted to Full 1st Lieutenant (not mustered) on 10 Jun 1865.  When he Mustered out of Company L at Cloud’s Mills, VA. on 10 July 1865, he had served until the war ended.

He was born to George and Louisa Tuttle of Newmarket; he had  resided in and was credited to Newmarket at the time of his enlistment.  After the war, returning to Newmarket, he married  the same year in Durham, Annie Ham (daughter of John F & Sophronia Ham).  He was a Mason and member of the of Rising Star  Lodge of Newmarket.    By 1870 he moved to Lowell, MA and worked in a bleachery until the 1880s when he became a traveling salesman.  He died in 1900 and is buried at Riverside Cemetery.   

Report of Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, Confederate  Army, commanding cavalry:

“On October 30, 1862, it having been ascertained that the enemy had crossed the Potomac in force in the vicinity of Leesburg, I was directed to watch the enemy’s movements, and to delay his progress while our army was changing its position, so as to confront him on the Rappahannock.  I crossed with Fitz Lee’s brigade.  This brigade had been much diminished and its efficiency greatly impaired by the ” greased heel” and sore tongue, at that time prevailing among the horses, and some of the regiments scarcely numbered 100 men for duty, the aggregate of the brigade for duty being less than 1,000. Proceeding in the direction of Middleburg, I bivouacked that night near Bloomfield. 

Having ascertained during the night that there was a force of the enemy at Mountville, where the Snickersville turnpike crosses Goose Creek, I started on the morning of the 31st with the command for that point. Pursuing an unfrequented road, I succeeded in surprising the enemy, who were in force of about 100, and dispersing the whole without difficulty; killed and captured nearly the whole number.”

 BATTLE OF UNISON, VA, October 28 - 31, 1862

Unison is an unincorporated village in the upper corner of Loudoun County, Virginia.  Originally called Union, its name was changed to Unison after the Civil War.  The village was the scene of a pitched fight between forces under J.E.B. Stuart and Union cavalry, infantry and artillery in what is now known as The Battle of Unison.  On October 28, Stuart’s  men rode down the Snicker’s Gap Turnpike towards Mountville where Federals were reportedly camped.  Upon entering the village, the Confederates found a force of about 100 or so Federals. Stuart was able to surprise and rout them, killing or capturing almost the entire force. Those who escaped galloped down the turnpike towards Aldie with the Confederates in hot pursuit. The chase stopped at Aldie, where Stuart’s cavalrymen encountered a large contingent of Federals defending the village. Union artillery placed on the heights west of town drove Stuart’s force back up the turnpike.

(Photo of Union Troops in Formation at Unison, VA)

Stuart refused to give up the fight, however, and soon brought up Pelham’s artillery eventually driving the Federals from Aldie.  The following morning, Stuart’s eastern pickets were attacked by approaching Federals.  In response, he moved his force east to Unison at the intersection of the turnpike and the major north-south road. The Federals, however, did not press the attack for the rest of the day.

The next morning at 8 a.m., they attacked Stuart’s position with infantry, cavalry, and artillery.  Stuart skillfully dismounted his command and had them take cover behind numerous stone walls in Unison, while placing Pelham’s artillery on the heights west of town. In these positions, he was able to hold out against a far superior Federal force for most of the day. Finally, as night fell, the Federals made a concerted push, and Stuart was forced to make a hasty retreat to Upperville, leaving his seriously wounded behind.  Once safely at Upperville, Stuart planned a renewed attack on the Federals for the next day, but scouts soon reported that the entire Federal Army was bearing down on him.  Stuart decided to cross the Blue Ridge at Ashby’s Gap the following morning to meet up with Stonewall Jackson and screen his movements in the Shenandoah Valley.

        (Photo of Methodist Church, used as a hospital during The Battle at Unison)

The Federals were able to force Stuart to leave his wounded behind when was driven from Loudoun County, but it took the weight of nearly the entire army to do so and the Federals still were unable to prevent Stuart from killing and capturing more  men and seizing more horses. Furthermore, Stuart was able to drive a portion of the Federal army before him. Ultimately, Stuart succeeded in slowing down and harassing the already slow and beleaguered Federals, contributing to the War Department’s decision to remove General McClellan from his command.

BATTLE OF MIDDLEBURG, VA.  June 17 -19, 1863

The Battle of Middleburg  took place from June 17 to June 19, 1863.  Once again, Confederate Major Genral J.E. B.Stuart was  screening  Robert E. Lee’s invasion route, and he  sparred with the Union cavalry.

On June 17, Col.Alfred Duffie’s (the frenchborn “Parisian Colonel”) isolated his 1st Rhode Island Cavalry resulting in about 250 casualties.  Duffié had crossed the Bull Run Mountain at Thorough Gap at 9:30 a.m., easily pushing aside pickets.  Confederate commanders could not believe that a small Union regiment would dare to travel so deep into enemy territory without an escort.  So Chambliss did not aggressively attack, fearing that the column was the advance element of a much larger enemy force.   Duffié continued on his isolated march, turning to the north by 11:00 a.m. and heading for Middleburg as ordered.  

Arriving in Middleburg about 4:00 p.m., Duffié drove in the few Confederate pickets deployed there and disrupted Stuart’s evening of socializing with local ladies.    Stuart and his staff quickly retreated to Rector’s Crossroads, the location of his closest brigade. He ordered  Beverly Robertson move immediately to Middleburg to crush the Union cavalry. Duffié barricaded the streets of Middleburg, dismounted half of his regiment behind stonewalls, and sent for help from Judson’s Kilpatrick’s brigade near Aldie. 

(Photo is a painting of  General Stuart’s Middleburg Headquarters)

[note:The New Hampshire scenes in the season three “Manchester” episodes of The West Wing were filmed in Middleburg.]

At 7:00 p.m., Stuart’s attack routed the vastly outnumbered Rhode Islanders. Many of Duffié’s men were captured the next morning as Chambliss cut off their escape route.  The Parisian colonel finally returned to Centreville with only 4 officers and 27 men.  A few stragglers eventually rejoined the shattered remnants of the regiment. Duffié would never again serve with the Army of the Potomac, although he did command cavalry in other Union armies . The Union casualties were reported as 250.  On June 19, the Union under J. Irvin Gregg’s  brigade 
advanced, driving Stuart’s cavalry one mile beyond the town. Both sides were reinforced, and mounted and dismounted skirmishing continued.  Stuart was gradually levered out of his position but fell back to a second ridge, still covering the approaches to the Blue Ridge gap.        

 (Photo of Middleburg War Memorial Monument)