Civil War:
The "Iron - Hearted" - 
The 115th Regiment

 

115th Regiment - J. H. Clark

For some years the New York Tribune has been publishing a page occasionally dedicated to our chivalry in blue.

The article appearing last week was dated Half Moon, New York, and was the story of the above named regiment, told in graphic style.

The writer says that in July 1862, he was binding rye, a boy of eighteen years, on his fatherís farm in Saratoga County, pending on the possibility of enlisting. He tells of many comrades that took the field at the same time.

They encamped near Fonda, and were soon so over-full that another regiment was formed of the surplus, and the 115th turned to the front without preliminary drill.

The writer then passes to 1864 when they left South Carolina for Florida, on an expedition planned by General Gilmour.

Many will remember Camp Finnegan, ten miles distant, for they were in the companies that charged upon it, driving the fleeing rebels to the swamps.

You remember the march to Olustee. The battle when the woods swarmed with rebels, 16,000 men lay concealed in the woods, every tree top bore an expert rifleman, for the rebels had sent their best men from Georgia, North and South Carolina, as well as Florida. His regiment numbered 578 all told, and they were under the command of Colonel Sammons, who rode up and down the line during battle, although desperately wounded. Of course he did, was it not his grandfather whose deeds of valor made the name of Sammons one so honorable to bear? As he rode, he was fired by the invincible heroism that was his by the laws of heredity? Old Sampson Sammons would say, (could he speak to us), "Build first a monument to Sir William."  But we could answer that next to the baronet, and even dearer to the hearts of the people, comes Sampson Sammons, and the day will come, when in front of Union Hall, there is a pretty triangle of green, in the center, shall stand a statue of Sampson Sammons, leaning on his idle gun of the Revolution west of Albany.

What a fight that was! You remember that it was lost, but from no lack of bravery. With a reinforcement of even 2,00 it might have been won. Does any one remember the file leaders and tallest men in the regiment, Phillip Link and Charles Mulliken? They were killed ,one young, the other old, for Link was shot through his white head. The dead were never buried, their bones whitened under that southern sky.

George D. Cole was so terribly shot in the leg and thigh that he was left for dead, but lived, fighting off the buzzards and afterward was sent to Andersonville.

Charles Fellows and Peter J. Keck of Company E held aloft the beautiful flags, presented by the ladies at home, when the rebels shook the stars and bars, the brave fellows waved the old flag, and firmly believed that the owed their lives to the protection of the flags.

He speaks of the death of Charles De Graff, and mentions the death of Andrew Stewart at the battle at Chesterfield Heights of E. Raymond of Fonda.

George Vandercook is mentioned, and a slight built youth, a Christian soldier, Abbott C. Musgrave, whose love of country and flag bordered on the sublime. At the battle of Deep Bottom, the flag had dropped from the dying hand of Sergeant Keck as he strove to plant it on the rebel works. Fellows caught it from the lifeless hand, and James K. Heines took it, shouting, "Come on boys," to be shot through the lungs. It was then that Abbott took the banner. It was sure and certain death to raise it, but it was done, and as the bullet crashed through him he said, "I die happy."

Do you think men after such a scene, ever look with indifference on the old flag? Do they see rebels restored to high places, unrepentant haughty, without boiling blood? When the cruel war was over, they came home, Company H going out with 160 officers and men on its rolls, came back bearing two tattered flags guarded by 20 men. The day Sergeant Fellows was buried in Mechanicville, near Ellsworth, over the pulpit was a couplet which aptly closes this brief review of an excellent article.  

He gave up his life, his country to save.
And claimed for the sacrifice only a grave.

     

   

Source:  the Fulton County Republican, January 26, 1893

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