115th Regiment,
New York Vol. Infantry Association

Thirty-third Reunion
August 26, 1914


Thirty-third Annual Reunion
115th Regiment, New York Vol. Infantry Association
Gloversville, N. Y.
August 26, 1914

Secretary Captain DeGraff and Assistant Secretary N. S. McOmber were in their camp chairs in the Col. Sammons Post, G. A. R. Hall at 8 a.m. to register comrades and receive annual dues, present badges, etc.

At 10 a.m. President Wilber Alpaugh called attention and spoke a few words of welcome to the comrades, and the business session of 1914 was inaugurated by invocation by Chaplain Rev. A. S. Clark, of Round Lake.

Welcomed by the Mayor

George W. Schemerhorn, mayor of city, extended a hearty welcome to the veterans. He said he had read the story of the service of the 115th regiment and found it to consist of men who were as brave and spirited and ever ready to die for their country, as any that marched under the Stars and Stripes in 1862. He extolled the patriotism and bravery of those women whose loved ones were in battle and who were ready at all times to do the uttermost to aid the just cause.

The mayor said that the regiment has a great record that its living members have reason to be proud of. It was always true to it colors. He said that they have all fought the battles on this earth and that the best is to fight now the trials of life, to reach the glory of the hereafter. He read a poem lauding the praises of the 115th regiment and spoke regarding pensions. Applause greeted his remarks when he said that the government should leave the tariff alone and give the old army men good, strong pensions, so that they would not have to depend on anyone. He concluded by saying: "You defended the government and ought to have reward."

Comrade Conover’s Response

Comrade Seely Conover of Company B, gave a fitting response, emphasizing the fact that while this heroic regiment was cheerfully meeting the hardships and perils of war, they always had the comforting assurance that the vacant chairs at homes of loved ones were daily remembered in prayers and well wishes for the absent ones.

"We accept the cordial welcome given us. Although we like to be appreciated, we had rather leave it to others to recite our doings. It has been said that republics are ungrateful. We cannot say that of our government. We should give due praise for what was done for us on the field of battle and what is done for us now. There is not a veteran in Amsterdam that is helped by the poor roll. We are not all growlers. Of that I am sure.

"It has been well said that we have done our duty, not only in 1862, but I hope in civil life. I am confident that those who follow us will be worthy sons of worthy sires. You fathers who are here today, tell your sons that the spirit of patriotism and love of country comes from honesty in public affairs.

"We do not forget our mothers and wives. Girls, if you are the equal of your mothers of 1862 you will have to hustle."

Donald McMartin, the historian of Johnstown, who is a son of a quartermaster of the regiment, was the next speaker and in his characteristic manner he recalled the old days in a way which sent a thrill though the veterans and all others present.

Secretary read proceedings of last reunion, held at Saratoga, August 26th, 1913.


Letters and Regrets From Absent Comrades Were Read As Follows:

N. J. DeGraff, Secretary and Treasurer
115th regiment, N. Y. Vol.

Dear Sir:
While on a visit at my uncle’s in Canajoharie, I happened to read in the local paper of the reunion of the 115th regiment and I feel very much interested as my father was a member of that iron hearted regiment, whose deeds of fame and valor are written upon the pages of history. Near and dear to every American citizen I feel that it is part of my duty and obligation that I owe, to offer to the surviving members my heartiest congratulations on this, the day of your reunion. And as you gather around the campfire, your heats full of patriotism and devotion, remember that you are going down the valley one by one, and that each year a link or two is gone from that chair of good fellowship, there will always remain some one to ever remember the 115th regiment, New York volunteers.

Yours very truly,
J. F. Otto, Seymour, Conn.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

January 5th, 1914
Captain N. J. DeGraff, Amsterdam, N. Y.

Dear Comrade:
As I was a member of the old 115th regiment, New York Infantry Volunteer Co., A., I feel at liberty to ask a favor of you, as follows: At the time I left Amsterdam in 1872, for Iowa, where I have resided continuously since, I had a young man friend by the name of Al Willmot (maybe I don’t spell the name right), and as I am intending to make a visit to old Amsterdam next summer, I want to see you, and all the old friends I can at that time. Now, the favor is this: Please ascertain if Willmot is still alive and residing there, and if possible give me his street number. Is comrade Henry Lindsay of the 132nd Volunteer Infantry still alive? If you will kindly do me this favor I assure you it will be appreciated.

Fraternally yours,
David Alger

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chattanooga, Tenn., R. F. D. No 1.
August 23rd, 1914
N.J. DeGraff.

Dear Sir and Comrade:
Your very neat and showy notice of the thirty-third reunion and fifty second anniversary of the 115th regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, was received in good time. In reply, I thank you. But, I am unable to be present on account of my wife’s health. I am very well, think better than when I saw you ten years ago, at Johnstown. My house was destroyed by fire April 4th and I have been very busy getting a shelter for wife and self.

Please extend the "comrade shake" to all the "boys". My thoughts will be with them on the 26th. I hope all will be made more glad by the meeting, and more proud of their being a band of American soldiers and citizens.

Yours in F., C. and L.
Walton W. French

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nekoosa, August 22nd, 1914
N.J. DeGraff.

Dear Sir and Comrade:
I received your card announcing the reunion of the 115th and would like to be with you this year but can’t this fall.

Comrade I am sorry to tell you we buried Albert Abrams, Co. K. 115th. He died in Milwaukee with operation for kidney trouble.

Yours in F. C. and L.
Abe Brower, Co. D. 115th, NY


R. F. D. No 2, Saratoga Springs, NY
August 22nd, 1914
N.J. DeGraff, Amsterdam, NY

Dear Comrade:
Your invitation requesting my presence at Amsterdam, NY. August 26th is received, and in reply must say that owing to a slight form of rheumatism which has troubled me for twenty-five years past, I will not be able to be present with the boys. This is the fifty-second anniversary of the existence of our good old regiment, or the fifty-second roll call, while only forty-eight more calls will swell the hundred years, and which one of us boys will answer to that call. Not one of us here can tell. Hoping that this will be the best reunion you have yet seen, I remain most faithfully,

Your humble comrade,
C. H. Burpee


August 18th, 1914
Mr. H. E. Reid, Newton Centre, Mass.

My Dear Comrade:
Exactly two months ago you wrote me, making a most lovable and flattering appeal, requesting a promise that I would join you at Gloversville, and attend our annual campfire. This answer has been delayed as I have been fondly hoping that I could arrange some way to be with you at this reunion. You know my loss of sight prevents my coming alone. Now I find it impossible for Mrs. Wendell to join me, therefore, I must forego this great pleasure of being with you. Now, if you want a good time, a big time and fun all the time, report to me for duty at the Grand Army Reunion so soon to meet in old Detroit, and I assure you I will do my best to make you think that Detroit, the beautiful, is really worth the living.

Sincerely your friend and comrade,
John H. Wendell

P. S. I will send Secretary DeGraff my check for dues, and a wee bit extra for a high-ball for a few of my friends, who still have the desire to occasionally bend their elbows.


Hastings, Nebraska
August 17th, 1914
Capt. N.J. DeGraff, Amsterdam, NY

Dear Comrade:
The order to report in light marching order at Gloversville, NY August 26th, 1914 received. Thanks for the notice. Serious illness in the family of my eldest son necessitates my remaining at home. It is a great disappointment to me as I had looked forward with pleasant anticipations to this meeting, also to the meeting of the National Encampment at Detroit, first week in September. Fraternal greetings to all comrades in annual reunion assembled on August 26th 1914.

I enclose postoffice money order in the sum of 50 cents for dues and press reports. I sent 50 cents last year for dues and press report and did not receive any. If you have any reports of the Saratoga meeting, please send.

Fraternally your comrade,
Melville B. Foote
1123 W. 2nd St., Hastings Nebraska


Hoosick Falls, NY
August 2nd, 1914
Capt. N.J. DeGraff, Amsterdam, NY

Dear Sir and Comrade:
Your kind invitation to attend the thirty-third reunion and celebration of the survivors of the 115th New York Volunteer Infantry, reached me in due time. Enclose find one dollar for dues.

That you and all survivors of the 115th association may have a pleasant time on the 26th is the wish of

Yours in F., C. and L.
Lawrence E. Buckley


Pine Point Maine, July 30th, 1914.
Mr. Wilbur Alpaugh, Gloversville, NY

Dear Comrade:
I am in receipt of your order to report August 26th at Gloversville to attend the 33rd reunion of the 115th regiment. I regret to say it will be impossible for me to do so on account of the illness of one of my party. I do wish I could be one of the members to be with you for I know we would have a most enjoyable time. But as you may notice we are at our summer home in Maine and I have my sister with me who is in much more than poor health. I can not see my way clear to leave her. Wishing you may all have a jolly time and thanking you for remembrance received.

Yours very truly,
Geo. H. Tanar, Co., G. 115th Vol.
41 Summit Ave., Auston, Mass.


Roll call next in order was responded to by the comrades as name was called, rising in their place, shouting here as in the days of 1862, and so showing themselves to, in some cases, comrades, who had not had the glad hand since the muster out in 1865.

COMPANY A:  Samuel Tusk, R. H. Tipple, Oliver Lighthall, John A. Hubbard, John VanDuesen, Silas W. Horning.

COMPANY B:  Wilbur Alpaugh, George Hoyt, Seely Conover, I. Eugene Smith, J. H. Snyder, George S. Smith, James J. Weast, William Welch, W. S. Alger, W. S. Hess, Geo. B. Weaver.

COMPANY C:  James E. Reid, Edwin Rhodes, Orin Hill, Edgar L. Deming, D. W. Barney, Charles Spiegle, Amos O. Brown.

COMPANY D:  N. J. DeGraff, James H. Britton, Philip B. Colgrove, Oscar Lockwood, Donald Grant, Thomas Lepper, Helley S. Tullock, Jacob Albright, George Weaver, George Kline.

COMPANY E:  John Hall, Peter J. Keck, Surry Herring, James H. Getman, Jessie Argersinger, Eli Brooks, Andrew Keck, Webster Shaver, W. H. Shults, Alfred Allen.

COMPANY F:  James Mingay, George W. Smith, Elias Washburn, J. Delos Parker.

COMPANY G:  Newton S. McOmber, Silas E. Blowers, James H. Woodcock, John Hill, George H. Skyn, David H. Graves.

COMPANY H:  Sylvester Butler, C. W. Kennicutt, James H. Clark, S. L. Clemens, Marvin Steenburg.

COMPANY I:  Charles F. Waite, F. W. Keinger, George Maxon, Hamilton Abeel, John H. Ashman, Frank E. Rich, Theodore Whitford, Charles W. Scharff, Thomas B. Stairs.

COMPANY K:  Aaron B. Barrett, D. A. Fosmire, Wm. H. Dingman, J. A. Swan, William Pederick, Charles N. Marselius, A. P. Hart, B. Gough, Eli Smith, Frank Lamb, Willingham Bump.

FIELD AND STAFF:  Rev. A. S. Clark, Chaplain; Stephen Fonda Sutler; H. W. Heaton, Sergeant-Major.


Mortuary Record

Deaths of comrades since last reunion:

Company B:  Conrad Farkle, Leonard Crouse
Company C:  David H. Crittenden
Company E:  John H. Smith
Company F:  Daniel B. Ide, Gilbert C. Ide
Company H:  John Cudney
Company I:  David Kittle
Company K:  Albert Abrams, Edward Bradt


Lines by Seely Conover

Year by year as we gather in our reunion we miss many familiar faces. We are thus admonished of the frailty of all things human, and point to the better things eternal. Those who have answered the roll call no longer claim our sympathy. They only need a fragrant remembrance. But to their loving friends and comrades we hereby extend our heartfelt sympathy and share with them the sorrow of our loss.

Seely Conover


Words by Chaplain A. S. Clark


Rest, comrades, rest! While angels keep
Their faithful vigils while you sleep.
And the blest land you fought to save
Shall guard with love each honored grave.
Rest, comrades rest! The sword is sheathed,
The nation’s brow with peace is wreathed;
From lakes to gulf, from sea to sea,
Floats now the banner of the free.
Rest, comrades, rest! for friend and foe
Forth as of yore like brothers go;
No North, No South, no blue, no gray,
As on Columbia bears her way.
Rest, comrades, rest! with each sweet spring
Our dearest floral gems we’ll bring;
With love we’ll deck each precious grave
Where sleeps in peace a soldier brave.


Recitation "Vacant Chairs" by Comrade Reid.

Question of next reunion was responded to by Seely Conover in behalf of Amsterdam comrades and he invited the association to meet at Amsterdam in 1915.

On motion, the invitation was accepted and it was voted to meet at Amsterdam, NY August 26th, 1915.

The following officers were elected:  President, Seely Conover, Amsterdam; First Vice-President, Charles Scharff, Amsterdam; Second Vice-President, John Hubbard, Fonda; Secretary and Treasurer, N.J. DeGraff, Amsterdam; Assistant Secretary and Treasurer, N. S. McOmber, Glens Falls; Chaplain, Rev. A. S. Clark, Round Lake; Finance Committee, S.W. Horning, C. W. Scharff, I. E. Smith.

It having been learned that our chaplain’s ninety-one year old mother-in-law, who is the widow of our Lieutenant J. N. Filkins, was still living, on motion, a hearty vote of congratulations was extended to her.

It having been learned that Alexander H. Mills was living and was the only surviving member of the Cayadutta Brass Band of Fonda, NY which accompanied the regiment to the front in 1862, on motion he was made an honorary member of the association.

Very interesting addresses of a reminiscence character were given by Comrades J. Delos Parker, David H. Graves, W. S. Alger, James Mingay and J. E. Reid.

At 12:30 adjourned for dinner, which is worthy of special mention on account of its abundance and excellence, served by the ladies of the Sammons Post Women’s Relief Corps, and was highly enjoyed and appreciated by the old boys.

The usual campfire and social at 2 p.m. was well attended, and as comrades recounted their war experiences, the old fires of patriotic enthusiasm again arose to white heat and with acclaim and song the reunion of 1914 passed into the beyond and the comrades at 5 p.m. said their good-byes and again sought their peaceful homes, won by the valor on the battlefields of the greatest civil war.

A hearty vote of thanks was extended to the members of Sammons Post for the use of their room, to the ladies of Relief Corps for entertainment and to Gloversville for welcome and hospitality.



The annual anniversary reunion of "The Iron Hearted Regiment", the 115th New York volunteers, to be held tomorrow in the Grand Army of the Republic rooms, will bring together many of the fighters of ‘61\65. M. Hanson Best has written a poem on the reunion, addressing it, through the Leader-Republican, "To the Iron Hearted Regiment." It is as follows:

Light hearted, laughing long gone youngsters,
Not more than yesternoon it seems
That side by side we marched together
Our courage buoyed by soldier dreams:
‘Twas Abe and Mike, Bill, Tom and Silas,-
Remember, boys, the old camp ground?
When Colonel Sammons looked us over, 
Foresaw the men we soon would be, 
Earning our "Iron Hearts" true title,
Thro’ battle heat to victory!

How fearlessly we marched to conflict, -
"One dies by once," we used to say,
And bivouac found us blithely mocking,
"We’ve lived to fight another day";
Even when Death but barely missed us
And laid a nearby comrade low,
"Until our time comes as God wills it
We will not be called to go."
And now- How can half a century
Slip so amazingly away?
The marching ranks are thinning, thinning,
The roll call shortens day by day.

But, boys, there’ll soon be grand reunion:
I’m glad for sundown, after all;
I almost hear the dear old bugle
Ringing its sweet familiar call,
We’ll rally on the Fonda camp ground,
Spirits unseen by man, maybe-
A thousand strong and youthful spirits,
From life’s accoutrements set free;
Light hearted, laughing, care free youngsters
The same our colonel chose to call
The "Iron Hearted" and we earned it-
And bear it yet, at even fall.

M. Hanson Best, August 25th, 1914


The Iron Hearted Regiment

In view of the fact that the One Hundred and Fifteenth regiment will have its reunion at Canajoharie Tuesday, the following written many years ago, will be timely:

The One Hundred and Fifteenth regiment was engaged in the bloody battle of Olustee and fought with bravery and desperation. It charged the enemy, and was repeatedly charged by the rebels in return, but obstinately maintained its position against terrible odds until night, thus 600 men engaged, and more than 300 were either killed or wounded. The line of battle was preserved admirably during the entire fight, and every man fought to the best possible advantage. There was no confusion, and it is safe to say that a regiment never maneuvered more perfectly under fire than the One Hundred and Fifteenth did on that occasion.

It was in February, sixty-four,
That I remember well,
We had a fight in Florida,
Of which I now will tell.

The rebels, they were very strong,
Full thirty thousand men,
And we were only five thousand-
Some two to every ten.

Olustee was the battlefield,
And blood flowed thick around,
The dead, on both sides, lay in heaps,
And were strewed all o’er the ground.

The enemy were fortified,
With earth and logs so strong,
And we were in the open field,
And fought there, oh! So long!

The order came, "Move forward men!"
The old flag trails in dust;
Our foes are very insolent,
But save the stars we must.

All day we’d marched through sun and heat,
And saw no drink or bread,
Our feet were bleeding, parched our throats,
And many nearly dead.

The battle opened fierce and wild,
And many began to fall,
When the "Iron Hearted Regiment"
Moved forward at the call.

In solid ranks, and line so true,
It swept upon the foes,
And fixed each gun for traitor’s hearts,
And laid full many low.

But, look! The rebels see our ranks,
And gaze upon our steel-
Then thousand bullets from their guns
They think will make us reel.

From every stump, and tree and fence,
The deadly vollies came,
And many of our noble boys
Were numbered with the slain.

Quick as a flash the ranks closed up-
How fast the bullets flew-
While the glorious flag of freedom waved
So proudly and so true.

Then Captain VenDerveer, brave man!
Received a ghastly wound;
He staggered, and leaned on his sword,
But would not leave the field.

Another cruel bullet then
Went crashing through his breast;
So, bleeding, pale and weak he fell-
His eyes fixed on the West.

Lieutenant Davis, too, was shot-
A noble form to fall-
And like his Captains said, "My Boys,
Push the rebels to the wall!"

The "boys in blue" fought by those braves
And rebels felt their might,
While all our bleeding, mangled men,
Were cheerful at the sight.

"We wish to bear both from the field,"
Said all of Company A,
But one must go, and one must stay-
There is no other way.

Lieut. Davis caught their thoughts,
And thus to them he said,
"Save ‘Van’," brave boys, and let me lay,
For I will soon be dead!"

Then Colonel Sammons, too, was hit,
But would not leave the field,
Till blood and pain at last compelled
The plucky man to yield.

Lieutenants, two, fell over dead
While urging on the men,
And other officers were shot,
To number more than ten.

The privates, too, were heroes all,
And scores lay cold in death;
While those who fought with chevrons on
Went down at every breath.

The line was thin, and mangled bad,
But still it stood the storm;
A thousand bullets flew around-
How smoky every form.

Our haughty foe beheld our line,
With wonder saw it stand;
They massed their hosts, and then charged on,
To lay it on the sand.

As still as death our comrades all,
As firm as steel they stood,
Till traitors eyes were plainly seen,
And aim was taken good.

Then thundered loud the Union guns,
Swift flew the Union lead,
When bleeding, mangled, and cut up,
Our foes left many dead.

Five times the bloody work was tried,
Five times defeat they knew;
They dared not charge our boys again,
For every heart beat true.

Brave Sergeant Keck stood right in front,
The "old flag" in his hands;
For three long hours he let it wave,
Without orders or commands.

Eight men were shot close by his side,
His own rich blood did flow,
The flag itself was pierced with holes,
The flag staff cut below.

Our ammunition now gave out,
The troops all left the field;
But the "Iron Hearted Regiment,"
It stood there not to yield!

"Our boys now dead, have bullets yet,
Let’s take then ‘ere we die,
And send them in the rebel ranks!"
A hundred voices cry.

Those bullets used, no more were found,
But hope beamed in each eye,
And flashing steel now formed the front,
Where brave men stood to die.

With Union cheers the gallant boys
Charged to retake some guns;
Being but a handful of brave,
They were shot down one by one.

The General then rode up the line,
And said, "Brave boys just hear!
Your duty you have nobly done,
Now march back to the rear."

"Never as long as day shall last,"
And hope beamed in our eyes,
"We’re true to liberty, General,
And to our flag that flies."

Three hundred of our bravest men
This day have shed their blood,
And we’ll avenge their martyred graves,
So help us God above!"

At last all hope of victory fled,
The sun began to set;
With hearty cheers they left the field,
But whipped, they were not yet.

The foe was punished badly, too,
He did not dare to come,
Three thousand struck with Yankee lead;
We whipped them five to one!



The 115th regiment was called into service by President Lincoln’s proclamation for 600,000 men in August, 1862, and was enlisted from the men volunteering for three years or duration of the war. They enlisted from Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery and Saratoga counties. The regiment left Fonda Rendezvous camp, August 29th, 1862, eleven hundred strong, going directly to the seat of war at Harper’s Ferry, its first duty being to guard the Winchester railroad.

Through the treason of the commander, General Miles, who was mortally wounded, the command, about 12,000, were surrendered to the rebel, Stonewall Jackson, September 15th, 1862, and sent to a parole camp at Chicago. All were exchanged January 1, 1863, and sent into active service again at Hilton Head, S. C. Its first serious battle was at Olustee, Florida, February 20th, 1864, where half of the regiment was killed or wounded and received from General Terry, the distinguished title of the "Iron Hearted" regiment.

March 1864, the regiment was transferred to the army of the James river, Virginia, under the command of General B. F. Butler, 10th army corps. From this time on to the end there was little rest. Steaming with the great transports, under General Grant, up the James river, landings were made at City Point and Bermuda, hundreds taking part in the operations at Fort Darling, Cold Harbor, etc., and later in a mine explosion and operations in front of Petersburg.

July 17th, 1864, the regiment was assigned to the 18th corps, composed of all troops in the departments of North Carolina and Virginia, commanded by Major-General William F. (Baldy) Smith, which continued to December 3rd when it was assigned to the 24th army corps and so remained until close of the war.

In January, 1865, the regiment took part in the two expeditions against Fort Fisher, N.C., the second of which was successful amid great rejoicing as it was a signal victory and fought with momentous results. Operations against Wilmington followed and exchange of many of our boys from rebel prisons. Rebels were driven from North Carolina, the regiment going into their last camp at Raleigh, N.C. and were mustered out of the United States army, July 2nd, 1865, at once embarking on transports for New York and Home.



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