Two Battles that engaged Newmarket soldiers:

    The Second Battle of Bull Run  in 1862  ended  in a grim report for the families back in town. 

    This was a two-day battle August 28 -30th  which was of a  much larger in scale and in the number of casualties than  the First Battle of Manassas fought in July 1861 on much of the same ground.  It stands as one of the most stunning Confederate victories of the American Civil War, and it also saw some of the fiercest combat and highest casualties of any battle during the war until Antietam.  

    Total Union casualties were about 10,000 killed and wounded (out of 62,000 troops); the Confederates lost about 8,000 killed and wounded (out of 50,000 troops).

    73 Newmarket men of the 2nd and 6th Infantries were involved.  

    KIA – George W. Ellison, age 20, Co. H, 6th Infantry.  He was born 1842 to Alexander and Abigail Ellison of Newmarket.  The young man left his parents and his siblings: Eliza and Martha and his 10 year old brother Charles.

    KIA — Jacob H. Quimby, age 24, Co. C, 6th Infantry. The private mustered in 27 Nov 1861, and was killed in action during the battle.  He was born in South York, Me, and resided in Newmarket

    MIA — Timothy Caswell, age 36, severely wounded and reported as MIA 29 Aug 1862.  Company C, 6th Infantry.  His status changed from MIA when he received a Disability Discharge 30 Dec 1863 at Portsmouth Grove, RI.  He was born in Northwood, resided in and credited to Newmarket. He re-enlisted in Company I, 13th Regiment US Veteran Reserve Corps on 17 Nov 1865.

    POW -- Joseph E. Chapman, age 33, wounded and captured 2 Sep 1862 and later paroled.  Company B, 2nd Infantry. Discharged with wounds: 6 Dec 1862. He was born and resided in Newmarket, he married Martha A. Furber in Lee 27 Oct 1860.  He filed for a disability pension 12 Dec 1862 and died six years later, three years after the war ended.

    Wounded -- Willard W. Caswell, age 33, Co. 6, Infantry.  He was wounded a second time during a mine explosion 30 Aug 1864 at Petersburg, VA.   He mustered out 28 Nov 1864 with a PO Address of Northwood. He was born in Northwood 31 Aug 1829, resided in and credited to Newmarket.  He died 12 Sep 1911.

    Wounded — Franklin Valley, age 20, Company H, 6th Infantry.   He mustered in 7 Dec 1861, and wounded 29 Aug 1862.  He received a Disablity Discharge on 11 Nov 1863 at Louisville, KY.  He was born in Dover, and resided in Newmarket.  His name is not on the monument which was erected 59 years after this battle.

    MIA - Charles C. Saunders, age 20 in Company D, 2nd Infantry, wounded and reported MIA. He was born in Northwood and resided in Newmarket at the time of his enlistment in April 1861 which was only for a a three month period. He had re-enlisted; however, due to the carnage on the battlefield, his remains were  was never located,  his heirs were paid his salary to Aug 29, 1862. 

    The 1863 Siege of Port Hudson (East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, along the Mississippi River) resulted in a Union victory. 

    Port Hudson was situated on an 80 foot bluff on the east bank above a hairpin turn in the Mississippi River. The hills and ridges in the area of the town represented extremely rough terrain, a maze of deep, thickly forested ravines, swamps, and canebrakes giving the effect of a natural fortress.

    A shipping port for cotton and sugar, the port, and the town became economically important to the area. The town of Fort Hudson was incorporated in 1838, even though it consisted of just a few buildings and about 200 people.

     From the time the Civil War started in April 1861, both the North and South made controlling the Mississippi River a major part of their strategy. The Confederacy wanted to keep using the river to transport needed supplies; while the Union wanted to stop this supply route and drive a wedge that would divide Confederate states and territories. Particularly important to the South was the stretch of the Mississippi that included the mouth of the Red River. which  The Red River was the Confederacy’s primary route for moving vital supplies between east and west: salt, cattle, and horses traveled downstream from the Trans-Mississippi West; in the opposite direction flowed men and munitions from the east.

    Of the 13 Newmarket men of the 15th NH Infantry who were engaged during the seige which lasted from May 22 – July 9, 1863,  all but one survived to return home.

    TAYLOR, William – enlisted 30 Aug 1862 at age 44 as a Private in Company D, 15th Infantry.  He  mustered in 3 Oct 1862.  Born in Northwood, he resided in and was credited to Newmarket. He was a watchman in the mills.  He died of disease on 5 Aug 1863 at Chicago, Ill.

    LANGLEY, John O.  although he enlisted from Lee, his widow and children moved from Madbury to  South Main Street in Newmarket during the war.  He was a farmer who at age 41 enlisted in the Union Army Company D. 15th New Hampshire Infantry on 8 Oct 1862. Nine months later he was killed in action on July 1st.

    Death of John O. Langley

    “…One or more riflemen are constantly on this platform with their rifles cocked and sighted on the enemies works.  The enemy, for the most part, behind their parapets lie low and silent, but occasionally get a shot at some of our men, although generally at the cost of their own lives.  And today John O. Langley, becoming a little too venturesome, was thus shot and instantly killed.  But every day men are being killed and wounded. The artillery fire goes on between our great batteries without interruption, and from the “Essex” and the “Richmond” some of those shells explode over our own heads, and motar boats, as also from powerful batteries which have been planted across the river — our land”.

                         From the Fifteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, Regimental History, pg 532.


    “…We changed positions since yesterday. We are now lying in a rifle pit next to the river within 100 yards of the rebels.  We had a man killed out of our company yesterday – John Langley of Madbury.  He was shot through the arm and side and lived about 20 minutes. It is very warm in the rifle pits. We can get NO air at all….”

    (Letter written 2 Jul 1863 from Alanson Haines at the Battle of Port Hudson to his father Washington Haines in Newmarket)

    At the end of the war, when the 15th NH Infantry disbanded they voted to split the funds left in their treasury ($150) between the families of Captain Jonathan Johnson of Derry,  and Pvt John O. Langley of Madbury — as both men left behind large families with young children.  [ According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — $150 in 1863 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $3,082 in 2020.]


    John O’Brien, rowed out from the USS Hartford & cut the chains across the Mississippi

    Union forces were able to sever  the large chains that the Confederates strung across the river.  John O’Brien was one of four men from the USS “Hartford” under the leadership of Squadron Fleet Captain Henry H. Bell who the led the daring expedition.  The four men were lowered into the River under cover of darkness, rowed the boat, located and cut the chains which ran across the Mississippi.

    Born in Ireland, John enlisted at age 20 in 1862 from Portsmouth for 3 years as a Landsman with the US Navy.  He had previoiusly served in the Navy ending a 3 year enlistment in Jan 1862 in New York.  He served on the  U. S. S. “Ohio,” “Hartford,” and “Freeborn “.  He was discharged 31 May 1865 from the USS “Freeborn” for time expired.  The muster roll of the USS “Hartford” on July 1864 lists him as: John O’Brien, ordinary seaman, USS “Potomac”, born Ireland (citizen of U.S.), 20,  grey eyes, brown hair, light complexion.  

    John O’Brien is believed to have been living with the Thomas O’Brien family in the 1860 census where several other family members, all born in Ireland, where working as “operatives” in the cotton mills.    He emmigrated from Ireland in July 1851 at age six and moved to Newmarket by 1860. After the War, he returned to town and later moved in with  Patrick O’Brien.  Both John and  Patrick are  listed as moulders, living on Leavitt’s Court in the 1872 Town Directory.  John became a naturalized citizen at Rockingham Superior Court 19 Nov 1866.


    Newmarket’s Civil War Stories    

    for more Civil War Profiles   go to

    In addition to the  several  Civil War biographies on the Historical Society Website, more personal stories continue to come to light—in letters, diaries and newspaper stories.  Some veterans’ stories are mentioned elsewhere in the Newmarket Historical Walking Tour—such as Woodbridge Durell (Site No. 3), who survived a lengthy stay in the horrific Libby Prison; James Caswell (Site No. 8), the musician who played for the troops under fire in the trenches; and George Washington Frost (Site No. 43), a NMCo mill agent who protected his soldiers from other officers’ foolhardy orders.

    Sometimes the stories become intertwined.  Excerpts of a memoire written by Newmarket Civil War veteran Alanson Haines mention Mill Agent Frost, as well as another Newmarket veteran Dr. Towle—the doctor who had set up his practice in the old Cheswell Store (Site No. 11).   Haines’ memoir also describes the life of a Civil War soldier, mustering into the 15th N.H. Volunteer Infantry at the age of 19.

    Alanson Haines:  “A Trip from Newmarket to New Orleans in 1862”

    On the morning of October 6th, about 15 of us marched to the depot to board the 6 o’clock train for Concord…Among our number was Eben Joy, as we passed the residence of Dr. N.B. Towle, who lived in the house of John Saunders, he leaned over the fence and said Joy be with you.  We all exclaimed Oh yes he is going with us.  Dr. Towle was afterward appointed asst. Surgeon.

    Nothing of interest attracted our attention until we arrived in Concord…We were marched through Main Street down Free Bridge road to an old building that was used as a Quarter-Masters headquarters, then we were furnished with our silver (which was tinplate), pint dipper, spoon, knife and fork…We were given the barracks that had just been vacated by the 13th Regt.  After a few hours of inspection our boys were getting hungry.

    About the first order of the kind I had ever heard given was, “Fall in for rations”, and I have heard it repeated many times since.  We were marched to the cooks quarters where I had one of the best dinners I had ever eaten not having eaten anything from 4 o’clock in the morning to 2 p.m.  It consisted of fried salt pork, one potato with the jacket on and a slice of bread all dumped into the fat together and a cup of coffee.  They did not give us any sugar, milk, butter, pies or sweet cake as some of our modern soldiers get….

    After passing the Surgeon, then in a few days we were furnished with uniforms, guns and equipment.  We broke camp and were loaded into cars and started for New York…landed at the Battery, marched to Broadway to Park Barracks and had soup.  On our caps we had the N.H.V.  The New Yorkers said to us are you the New Haven Volunteers?  They evidently knew more about New Haven than New Hampshire.

    From New York we took the Ferry…and a march of ten miles…It was one of those cold frosty nights in November.  That was our first experience in camping out.  I was perhaps more fortunate than some as I found my way back of some horse-sheds on a pile of horse manure and had a nice soft warm bed…

    The next day we were provided with shelter tents.  It is a piece of heavy cotton cloth about 4 feet square with buttons on the edges and buttonholes so that you could button two together, stick your bayonet into the ground, place the ramrod in the trigger guard and if you were so fortunate as to find some pegs you could have something to keep the dew off.  We were not long in learning so that six of us got together and buttoned our shelters together and had some end pieces.  Six of us quartered in those and when one turned over all had to turn…

    We spent our Thanksgiving there and about December first, four companies broke camp and were ordered to Brooklyn where we were put on board a small canal boat with an extra deck built on, the boat being so small the Col. Frost[1] refused to place but two companies on board; consequently he was placed under arrest and sent to New York where very soon he was released and ordered back to his command. 

    Here we passed several days before we sailed… On board one boat we were stowed away in bunks three tiers high with about two feet between bunks and three in a bunk… All went well until off Hatteras when we encountered a gale, lost our side hatches and came very near losing some of our men…

    It was a very interesting time for those who were not sick… One pleasing incident occurred when one of our comrades in a lower bunk put his head out to empty his stomach, one in the upper bunk thought he would do likewise when the top man got his out first and dropped it on the other man’s head, for a few minutes the air was full of sayings that were not mild…

    [After sailing along the coast of Florida] we sailed up the coast until we sighted the fleet blockading Mobile…we received orders to proceed to New Orleans.  We followed the coast until we reached the mouth of the Mississippi… The current of the river runs both ways, on one side of the ship you can dip up fresh water and on the other salt water…the river is much higher than the land on account of the levees.  And here we arrive at New Orleans and await orders.  And thus we have sailed 2500 miles and encountered almost everything except pies and sweet-cake.

    Dr. Benjamin N. Towle (1829-1910) - Civil War Surgeon

    On October 6, 1862, Dr.  Benjamin Towle hailed Alanson Haines and the other young men as they marched to the depot.  Five days later the doctor also mustered in.  The town must have been in a frenzy, with so many men heading off to war, and with the uncertainty—“Who mustered out today?”  … “Where will they go?” … “When will we see them again?” 

    Benjamin Towle was born in Freedom, NH and studied medicine in nearby Parsonsfield, ME; he then studied at Dartmouth, receiving a degree in 1856.  By 1860, he and his wife Albronia (Demeritt) were living in Newmarket where he had begun his practice.  His office was in the old Cheswell Store (Site No. 11), and they lived next door.

    When Fort Sumter was fired upon by the rebels in 1861, Dr. Towle responded immediately, offering his services to the governor of the state for the defense of his country. He enlisted and mustered in on 11 Oct 1862 as an Assistant Surgeon, commissioned in Company S, 15th Infantry.  He was 33 years old.

    With his regiment stationed at Carrollton, LA, Dr. Towle served in the Barracks hospital — not far from New Orleans, and close to the battleground of General Jackson.  He had full charge of the hospital’s surgical procedures, and performed all of the operations done during his time there.  He must have been an exemplary military surgeon:  recoveries from surgery in this hospital were 15 per cent above those of any other hospital in the area. 

    After mustering out in August 1863, Dr. Towle remained in Newmarket for several more years before moving to Effingham, close to where he had grown up.   

    A Trio of Exceptional Men: The Three Georges of Bennett’s Main Street Store

    (Walking Tour Site No. 14  - Griffin Hardware) is where three friends—all named George—worked together before marching off to save the Union.

          George Gay (age 20), George Lord (age 18), and George Tebbetts (age 19) 

    In 1860, the “three Georges”, shared more than first names —friends, they worked together at John Bennett’s store and they all lived together as lodgers on Main Street at the Bennett home.

    George Lord was an astute clerk and an apprentice in the manufacture of tin plate with the business.  George Gay was an affable laborer and sought after by both colleagues and customers.  George Tebbetts was another talented clerk who had amassed a personal worth valued at $1,000 which was a considerable amount for a 19-year-old in 1860.

    They were well liked, well known and well respected, as they had direct contact with customers on the floor.  In their military careers, their commanders saw and appreciated their potential and gave them all jobs of additional responsibility. 

    Both George Tebbetts and George Gay left Newmarket together.  They enlisted as Privates with Company K, Fifth New Hampshire Regiment, and mustered in at Concord on Oct. 12th, 1861.  Both men had their first encounter with the enemy on March 1862 at Rappahannock Station, VA.   Men of the Fifth got no more opportunity then to fire a few parting shots at the withdrawing Rebel forces; they suffered no casualties. This would be the first and only time in its history that the regiment sustained no combat losses and it is ironic that they would become known as the “Bloodless Fifth”.

    The two Georges then participated in 5 more battles together between April and June 1862:  Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Savage’s Station, White Oak Swamp, Va.  —all these battles were a gearing up for the siege of Richmond.

    Wounded at the Battle of White Oak Swamp in Virginia, June 1862, George Gay received his commission in the field September 11, 1862.  Within a week, the Fifth New Hampshire was engaged in the Battle of Antietam in West Maryland, and Lt. Gay was credited with saving his company from ambush and slaughter.  Antietam is still considered to be the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, and it was here that Lt. George Gay was Killed in Action. 

    He was buried on the battlefield.  Only years later did his family exhume the body; he is now buried in the Gay family plot, Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA.

    The Newmarket chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) named their post (and this memorial) for Lt. George Gay.

    George Tebbetts, Private, Company Clerk, Co. K. 5th Infantry/ Killed in Action during the battle of White Oak Swamp, June 1862. Private Tebbetts did not have to be in the fight at all.  

     “Because his fine penmanship and sharp mind had earned him the job of company clerk, George Tebbetts had been given the option the night before of going ahead with the regimental wagon train.  But he wanted to carry a rifle with his comrades.  Later some of those same comrades gathered his bloody body in a blanket and carried him away.  He died later that day and was buried on the field.”[2]

    George Tebbetts remains buried on the battlefield in Virginia.

    George F. Lord was the only one to survive the war.  He early on demonstrated analytical and logistical talents for duties far beyond those of a clerk.  He quickly went from a Private, Co. B. 3rd NH Infantry, to Full Major Sergeant  in the Office of the N.H. Adjutant General.  Most consequently, the NH Adjutant General hatched a plan to steal him from the War Department and keep him at the NH State Capitol.

    Initially assigned as Company Adjutant Clerk, Lord mustered in 22 Aug 1861.  He was promoted to Full Sergeant Major; however, he resigned his warrant commission on 10 Mar 1864 and re-enlisted into NH State Service.  He served a total of three years when discharged 6 Sep 1864 at Concord, for time expired.  From the scant information in his initial military record, the reader might surmise it odd that a soldier would resign from a Full Sergeant Major position.  However, a more detailed account can be found in Eldridge’s book as he describes how a NH State Adjutant General (and future Governor) devised a ruse for a special order by the War Department which allowed him to keep Lord’s talents at the State Capitol instead of on the war front.

    The following excerpt is taken from The Third New Hampshire and All about it 1861 to 1865, By E. Eldridge, Captain Third NH Volunteers:  

    “Lord excelled as a clerk, writing a clear and concise hand, and was early called upon to serve in that capacity. He was originally a private of Co. B, when Col. Jackson and detail were sent North (July, 1863) for conscripts.  Lord was one of the detail, being at that time the Adjutant’s Clerk.

    “Lord went with the detail to Concord; and it was not long before his clerical ability became known in the State of New Hampshire.  The Adjutant-General needed just such a person to assist in putting into shape the mass of military data at the State house.  Lord was detailed as might have been expected; but it required a special order from the War Department to do so.  This was readily obtained by NH Adjutant General Natt Head, who in his annual reports, very favorably mentioned Lord and his efficient service. 

    It follows that Lord did not return to the regiment; he stayed at the State House.

    “In order to get him back to the regiment (and away from General Head), the ruse was used of appointing him Sergeant-Major; but it didn’t work.  He still remained at Concord and resigned the warrant 10 March 1864.  In this case (the only one of its kind), Lord had been dropped from Co. B, on account of promotion to the non-commissioned staff; and now he had to be dropped from the staff and taken up again by Co. B, as a private.

    “He was mustered out 26 Sept. 1864, at Concord; and the inference is that he had been continually in the Adjutant-General’s office and was there employed at time of muster-out and later.  His whereabouts since the war are not easily traced.  He has been at various times an inmate of one or two National soldiers’ homes; so it is presumable that fortune has not smiled on him”. [3]

    After the war George Lord returned to Newmarket; but he later moved back and forth, always working as a clerk, between Newmarket, Los Angeles, CA and Fairfield, Iowa. He suffered poor health and returned several times between 1887 and 1907 to Togas Soldiers Home, ME.  

    His later claim for a military pension was denied because of the subterfuge of the N.H. Adjutant General (later Governor) Head.

    It took an Act of the US Sixtieth Congress in 1908:

    ” to increase the allotment under the name of George F Lord late of Company B Third Regiment New Hampshire, Volunteer Infantry and pay him a pension at the rate of twenty four dollars per month in lieu of that he is now receiving.”

    George died on his last trip to Togas on 24 Jun 1918, leaving a widow Mary Lord of Fairfield, Iowa.  George’s name is included on Newmarket’s G.A.R. War Memorial.

    It would certainly surprise George Lord to discover that one of the publications he wrote, the 1863 Report of the New Hampshire Adjutant General (rebound in maroon buckram, original stiff wrappers bound in,  First edition) was listed for sale in 2021 for $250 on E-bay.



    [1] George Washington Frost, also from Newmarket, was the Mill Agent for NMCo at the time.  See Site No. 43

    [2]   My Brave Boys, to War With Colonel Cross and the Fighting Fifth, by Mike Pride and Mark Travis,  University Press of New England, Hanover, NH  2001.  P. 103

    [3]  The Third New Hampshire and All about it 1861 to 1865, By E. Eldridge, Captain Third NH Volunteers.  Published by E.B. Stillings Company, Boston Mass, 1893