Enlisted Sep 11, 1861
Discharged Oct 9, 1865
1st Sgt, Company F, 1st United States Sharp Shooters
Sgt. Lewis J. Allen - FIRST REGIMENT SHARPSHOOTERS, COMPANY F
This company was recruited in Rutland county, being distributed through the various towns about as follows: Brandon, 4; Castleton, 2; Clarendon, 5; Danby, 12; Fairhaven, 5; Ira, 4; Mendon, 1; Mount Tabor, 10; Pawlet, 6; Pittsfield, 1; Pittsford, 10; Poultney, 4; Rutland, 19; Sherburne, 3; Shrewsbury, 2; Sudbury, 1; Wallingford, 5. These figures were increased so that the company numbered one hundred and fifteen men; it was mustered into the service at Randolph on the 13th of September, 1861, for three years. The company officers were as follows: Captain, Edmund WESTON; first lieutenant, C. W. SEATON; second lieutenant, M. V. B. BRONSON; first sergeant, H. E. KINSMAN; second sergeant, E. W. HINDES; third sergeant, Amos H. BUNKER; fourth sergeant, Milo C. PRIEST; fifth sergeant, L. J. ALLEN; first corporal, Daniel PERRY; second corporal, Fred. E. STREETER; third corporal, Al BROWN; fourth corporal, W. C. KENT; fifth corporal, H. J. PECK; sixth corporal, W. H. TAFT; seventh corporal, C. D. MERRIMAN; eighth corporal, C. W. PECK; bugler, Calvin MORSE; wagoner, Edward F. STEVENS.
The company left the State on the same day they were mustered and went into camp at Weehawken, near New York. September 24 they proceeded to Washington and on the 26th went into an instruction camp a short distance from the capital. Some of the field officers of the regiment proved incompetent, and on the 29th of November, William Y. W. RIPLEY (now of Rutland) was appointed lieutenant-colonel, vice Frederick MEARS resigned. Colonel RIPLEY had seen service for a brief period in Company K, First Vermont Regiment, as heretofore mentioned. The regiment remained at the camp of instruction through the whole of the winter, perfecting itself in discipline, drill, marksmanship, etc. On the 20th of March, 1862, the regiment received orders to report to Major-General Fitz John PORTER, at Alexandria; and from this time on, so varied were the services of the sharpshooters that we can only mention in the merest outline its important movements. Meanwhile the regiment was armed inefficient.
March 22 the regiment embarked on steamer for Fortress Monroe, arrived safely and on the 28th led the advance at Great Bethel; Company F was the first to come under fire. No loss was suffered by the regiment. April 9 the advance upon Yorktown was made, the sharpshooters again in the advance. In the skirmishing at the opening of the tong siege of Yorktown, the sharpshooters were in the line and Company F was very active and efficient in silencing the enemy's artillery. Corporal C. W. PECK was here severely wounded. The regiment was highly complimented the next day by General PORTER. During the battle of Williamsburgh, May 5, Companies A and C of the regiment bore honorable part; but Company F was held in front of Yorktown.
In the battle of Hanover Court-House May 27, the sharpshooters accompanied the troops that destroyed the railroad bridges over the North and South Anna Rivers, and headed the column that turned upon the rebel force which had come between the expedition and the main army. In the severe fighting that ensued Company F was prominent and the regiment suffered considerable loss -- about twenty men killed and wounded; three of the latter were from Company F -- Sergeant Lewis J. ALLEN, Benjamin BILLINGS and W. J F. DAWSON; the latter died from his wound on the 1st of June.
Between June 25th and 30th occurred the engagements on the Chickahominy, at Mechanicsville, Gaines's Mill and Charles City Cross-Roads, in all of which the sharpshooters were conspicuous for efficient services. For minute details of this period of action we must refer the reader to General RIPLEY's admirable little book on the career of Company F, and to other works. On the 27th at Gaines's Mill the company suffered heavily, losing B. W. JORDAN and James A. READ, killed, and E. H. HINDES wounded.
On the 30th of June the sharpshooters reached Malvern Hill and that night bivouacked on the ground over which they were to fight on the following day. At dawn they took the front skirmish line, covering the left of the Union army. Here the midday attack was awaited and about noon on came the rebel columns. Artillery firing opened the battle and soon became heavy. At half-past two the rebel infantry rushed from the edge of a forest. Bugler MORSE, of Company F, was ordered to sound the order to begin firing, and from the unerring rifles of the sharpshooters was poured such volleys that the advance was checked and the enemy sent back to the cover of the wood. It was, however, but a momentary repulse, for another line soon appeared from the trees. Still the sharpshooters clung to their ground, firing rapidly and thinning the rebel ranks. At this juncture a line of the enemy's skirmishers began firing at point blank on the right flank from the shelter of a roadway, and the sharpshooters were forced to retreat far enough to escape the assault. Now the enemy's artillery came dashing out into the open field and made desperate efforts to open their firing, but under the storm of musket shots which fell upon them, the artillerists were swept away, leaving their guns on the field without having fired a shot. The advanced position of the sharpshooters was now no longer tenable and they were withdrawn to the rear of the Fourth Michigan Regiment. At the critical moment in the final desperate assault of the rebels under MAGRUDER in the afternoon, which was heroically repulsed, the sharpshooters, having been placed in line on the right of the Michigan regiment named, bore a conspicuous part. Repeatedly did the enemy come on to attack and as often were they repulsed. In the second attack the sharpshooters found their ammunition gone and they were withdrawn from the front. In this battle the regiment lost many officers and men. Colonel RIPLEY, Captain AUSTIN and Lieutenant JONES, the last two of Company E, were among the wounded, with Lieutenant C. W. SEATON, Jacob S. BAILEY and Brigham BUSWELL, of Company F.
After the Peninsular campaign the army lay at Harrison's Landing, and there the following changes occurred in Company F; Sergeant Amos H. BUNKER, Azial N. BLANCHARD, William COOLEY, George W. MANCHESTER and Charles B. ODELL were discharged on surgeon's certificates of disability, and Brigham BUSWELL was discharged on account of disability resulting from wounds. Benjamin W. JORDAN and James A. READ died of wounds received at Gainer's Mill, and W. S. TARBELL, of disease. E. F. STEVENS and L. D. GROVER were promoted sergeants and W. H. LEACH and Edward TRASK were made corporals. At this camp also Captain WESTON resigned and Lieutenant C. W. SEATON was appointed captain; Second Lieutenant M. V. B. BRONSON was promoted first lieutenant and E, W. HINDER second lieutenant. Major TREPP was promoted lieutenant-colonel, vice William Y. W. RIPLEY, and Captain HASTINGS of Company H, was made major. The regiment remained at Harrison's Landing until the army left the Peninsula.
On the 28th of August the sharpshooters reached Bristow's Station and on the 29th took part in the battle of Gainesville; they were the last to leave an advanced position and then only because they were out of ammunition. Corporals H. J. PECK and Al BROWN and private W. H. BLAKE, of Company F, were wounded.
At Antietam, September 17, and Blackburn's Ford, the 19th and 20th, the sharpshooters were engaged, but suffered no losses. They remained near Sharpsburgh, Md., until October 30, in the mean time being reclothed, and on the date named they crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and moved south towards Warrenton; the same night of their arrival they were placed on picket at Snicker's Gap. Thence they proceeded to Warrenton, where MCCLELLAN, much to the regret of the men, was relieved of his command. The sharpshooters were at Fredericksburg December 13, but did not cross the river and were not actively engaged. The regiment wintered at Falmouth, and in the spring, when HOOKER reorganized the army, were transferred to the Third Corps, under General SICKLES. In February Lieutenant BRONSON resigned and was succeeded by Lieutenant E. W. HINDES, while Sergeant C. D. MERRIMAN was promoted second lieutenant.
At the battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-5, the sharpshooters were again especially utilized, generally in the front as skirmishers and often so closely drawn up as to form a practical line of battle. Such was the case of the 2d; when, after having swept back one line of the enemy, the regiment changed front to the left, where a hotly contested position was finally taken by them, with the capture of nearly the whole of the Twenty-Third Georgia Regiment. In this affair Edward TRASK and A. D. GRIFFIN, of Company F, were wounded. On the third day of the battle the sharpshooters, and particularly Company F, won the highest encomiums for brave and determined services; they were always in front. Michael CUNNINGHAM; J. S. BAILEY and E. M. HOSMER, Company F, were wounded on this day. On the fourth day Company F was relieved from picket duty, rejoined the regiment, which led Whipple's Division in a brilliant charge. In the fighting that followed General WHIPPLE was killed. On the 5th of May the regiment was again placed in front on picket. Martin C. LAFFIE was slightly wounded later in the day. The sharpshooters now returned to their Falmouth camp.
Here the regiment remained until the 11th of June, when they broke camp and left their temporary home for the third time. On the 25th, after rapid marching, the Potomac was crossed at Edwards's Ferry. On the 29th the march to Taneytown was made, and the next day to near Emmetsburgh. On the morning of July 1, they heard the guns at Gettysburg and started for the field of action, which was reached at sunset. The fighting of that day was over. We cannot follow the command through this memorable battle; it must suffice to say that the service performed by the sharpshooters was, as usual, of the most valuable and heroic character. On the 2d of July Company F lost Sergeant A. H. COOPER, killed, and George WOOLEY and W. H. LEACH wounded. In the two days succeeding the regiment suffered severely and L. B. GROVER and Charles B. MEAD, of Company F, were wounded. On the 19th the sharpshooters had returned to Snicker's Gap, their former halting place.
On the 23d the sharpshooters took the advance in the Wapping's Heights affair. Proceeding southward the 31st of July found the regiment near White Sulphur Springs where they lay until September 15. They then marched ten miles farther south to Culpepper, and remained to October 10. On the 13th they took port in the Cedar Run engagement, Edward JACKSON being wounded, and the next encampment was made at Catlett's Station, where the sharpshooters lay until November 7. On that day was fought the engagement at Kelly's Ford, in which Captain MERRIMAN and Company F captured over five hundred of the enemy inside a line of works. Patrick MURRAY was killed and Eugene MEAD, Watson P. MORGAN and Fitz Green HALLECK wounded. For their gallantry in this affair the sharpshooters were highly complimented.
In the battle of Locust Grove, November 27, the regiment was again conspicuous, and E. S. HOSMER, of Company F, was killed; and A. C. CROSS, Eugene PAYNE, Sherod BROWN, and Corporal JORDAN wounded. Three days later the regiment was engaged on the skirmish line at Mine Run, and. drove the enemy three-fourths of a mile. December 1 they went into winter quarters at Brandy Station, remaining until May without important action.
On the 4th of May, Company F, numbering two officers and forty-three enlisted men, crossed the Rapidan with the main army, and the following day, in the Wilderness, they were deployed on the left of the Vermont Brigade, Company F having the right. The troops on the right being forced back, the sharpshooters were attacked in flank, the force of the blow falling on Company F. They were forced to retire, their loss in five minutes being five killed or mortally wounded, and two taken prisoners. Corporal David M. FRENCH, W. J. DOMAG, and E. E. TRASK were killed on the field; A. C. CROSS and William WILSON were mortally wounded, and M. CUNNINGHAM, Spafford A. WRIGHT, John C. PAGE, S. M. BUTLER, and William MCKEEVER were severely wounded. The next day they were engaged in the severe battle on the Plank Road, losing one man killed, Jacob LACOY. On the 7th Company F, and one other company, were deployed on the right of the road, the remainder of the regiment being on the left and advanced about a mile, driving in the enemy's pickets and advancing within forty yards of their entrenchments. Here they were ordered to charge; but the enemy opened a heavy fire, and they were forced to retire about a hundred yards to the rear, until a general movement to the left was made. In Company F Edward GIDDINGS and Joseph HAGAN were killed, and Lieutenant KINSMAN, D. R. BAREAU, Henry MATTOCKS and Edward LYMAN wounded.
The regiment was engaged in skirmishing daily until the 12th, on which day the Second Corps charged upon the strongest position of the enemy at Spottsylvania, capturing several thousand prisoners. Company F was engaged during the entire day and Henry MATTOCKS (whose former wound was slight), Thomas BROWN and John BOWEN were killed, and Amos A. SMITH and J. E. CHASE wounded.
On the 21st of May the regiment marched twenty-eight miles, crossing the Mattapony, skirmishing more or less, and on the 23d reached the North Anna, where they were engaged on the skirmish line every day until the evening of the 27th, when they marched to the Pamunky River, and crossed it on the 28th. Here they were further engaged until June 1, when they moved to Cold Harbor. In this battle, from the 1st to the 5th, the sharpshooters took part, but suffered no losses. Picket duty followed to the 13th of June, when they marched to the James River, crossed on the 14th, and the next day marched twenty-five miles to Petersburg. From the 16th to the 20th of June they were engaged every day in important service. On the 16th Caspar B. KENT, Company F, was killed, and on the following day fell Corporal Charles B. MEAD. Henry E. BARNUM was mortally wounded and died on the 14th of July; John QUINLAN was severely wounded. On the next day Silas GIDDINGS was wounded, and in the severe fighting of the 21st, Barney LEDDY and Peter LEFFLIN were killed; Watson P. MORGAN was wounded and taken prisoner, and Sergeant Grover and David Clark were wounded. From this time to the 26th of July the regiment was employed much of the time on picket, but without important incident.
On the afternoon of the 27th the corps, with the sharpshooters, crossed the James River, marched a little northward where they were in camp to the 12th of August; then the march towards City Point began. No one knew their destination. Down the river on transports, then after some hours at anchor, again turning up the stream, the troops landed on the morning of the 14th at Deep Bottom. On the 15th the regiment was detached from the Second and ordered to the Tenth Corps. Moving toward the front they found themselves in the afternoon on the extreme right of the army, where they were deployed against the rebel skirmishers, who were repulsed. Again on the 16th severe fighting occurred, but without loss to Company F, although the regiment at large suffered considerably. On the 17th the regiment rejoined the Second Corps, and marched towards the James River, which was crossed on the night of the 19th and the regiment took its position in the lines surrounding Petersburg, relieving the Fifth Corps. On the 20th of June Companies C and A were discharged, their term having expired. Of the original one hundred and three men mustered in with Company F, there were now left only twenty-five, present and absent. Of these six had re-enlisted; the remaining nineteen were as follows: C. D. MERRIMAN, Spafford A. WRIGHT, Curtis P. KIMBERLEY, W. C. KENT, Eugene PAYNE, Cassius PECK, Fitz Green HALLECK, H. E. KINSMAN, Edward E. ROBINSON, William MCKEEVER, Almond D. GRIFFIN, E. F. STEVENS, Watson N. SGRAGUE, James M. THOMPSON, Thomas H. TURNBULL, W. W. CUTTING, David O. DAGGETT, George H. ELKS, and H. B. WILDER; of these nine only were present with the company for muster out.
During the few days remaining of their term of service the sharpshooters were almost constantly engaged, skirmishing by daylight and on picket at night. On the 21st of August they drove the enemy from a rifle-pit on their front, capturing forty prisoners, just four times as many as were in their own ranks.
The small remnant of a company kept up an organization under Sergeant CUNNINGHAM, and on the 27th of October were heavily engaged at Burgess's Mill. Here from the few men left Daniel E. BESSIE and Charles DANFORTH were killed, and Volney W. JENKS and Jay S. PERCY wounded and left on the field. Again on the 1st of November the little squad were in action and Friend WEEKS was mortally wounded.
December 23 the remaining men were transferred to Company E, of the Second Sharpshooters, and Company F had ceased to exist as an organization. With Company E the transferred men participated in the Hatcher's Run engagement December 15, February 25 the consolidated battalion of sharpshooters was broken up and the Vermonters assigned to Company G, Fourth Vermont Volunteers, where they served to the close of the war.
Of Company F thirty-two of its original members died from wounds received in action, of whom twenty-one were killed on the field. Its record is a most honorable one.
"History of Rutland County Vermont with Illustrations &
Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men & Pioneers"
Edited by H. Y. Smith & W. S. Rann, Syracuse, N. Y.
D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1886
History of Rutland County
Transcribed by Karima, 2002
"Berdan's United States sharpshooters in the Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865"
90 SHARPSHOOTING AND SKIRMISHINO
The regimental loss at Hanover was 20 killed and
wounded. Among the latter was Sergt. Lewis J. Allen, of
Company F, who got a whack side of the head, knocking
him flat in the wheat field. Some of the boys rushed for him,
but he got up and ran wildly ahead. He was caught by Peck
and brought back, being a little off in his mind just then,,
but came around all right soon after. He proved a stayer,
and remained with his company throughout the enlistment,
in all its trials and hardships. Sometime after, he was
attacked with brain fever which he attributed to that blow,
131 IN THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
Lewis J. Allen, first sergeant of Company F, on the right
of the line, had his rifle-hammer shot away, and as he said,
"swapped" with a wounded man hobbling off using his rifle
for a crutch. Amid the great noise and smoke, in his efforts
to keep up the music on his end of the line, he failed to notice
the withdrawal of his comrades until almost left alone,
when suddenly realizing his danger, he bid valor sleep for
awhile, and broke for the rear. On getting out of the woods
when he struck the plowed ground his wind gave out, sharp
pains ran through his side, his long legs refused to go faster
than a walk, and that with difficulty, owing to sheer exhaustion
while running the gauntlet of southern marksmanship, the bullets
flying around him, with every moment expecting to be his last.
In fact, this lineal descendant of
"Ticonderoga Allen" was just about petered out— not un-
like a foundered horse — when he reached a farm house and
pushing through the gate fell exhausted on the green sward.
To use his own words: "The two women of the house
came out. The Irish lady, seeing my convulsive clasp on my
side and struggle for breath, ejaculated: 'Lord save us, he's
shot!' They ran into the house, crying: 'Where's the
butcher knife?' and to my horror, she brought a huge knife
like a seaman's cutlass, cutting off my belt, knapsack, haversack
and canteen. At last I managed to gasp: "Don't
cut any more, I'm not shot ! ' She fiercely turned with : 'Ye
blathering divil ye, ye're making all that divil's fuss and not
shot ? ' I looked up, to see a squad of rebs coming through
the gate as I had done, and, making a hasty grab for my
312 SHARPSHOOTING AND SKIRMISHING
traps that lay as the old lady had strewn them about me, I
went out of the front gate 'on the fly,' and turning left on
the road ran in the direction of Little Round Top, near
where I could see the 3d corps headquarters flag, with
Gen. Daniel E. Sickles and staff. The rest of our regiment
were there near the general. As I joined them, I saw the
reb skirmishers coming down the slope towards Little
Round Top. I saw Gen. Berdan report our work to Gen.
Sickles, and our troops by brigade and divisions, double-
quicking to the line on which the battle was fought from our side"
LEWIS J. ALLEN,
Whose military history has been fairly given herein, was born in Gull
Prairie, Mich., March 4, 1840, during a temporary sojourn of his parents,
who were Vermonters, and returned to the latter state in 1842, bringing
their family amid the Green Mountains. Young Allen, who had been a
carpenter by occupation during the previous five years, enlisted at the age
of 21 on Sept. 2, 1861, in Company F, of the First Regiment of our Sharp-
shooters, and was made one of the Sergeants on its organization and
muster-in. Passing through the Peninsula Campaign safely and honor-
ably, he was eventually sent on recruiting service to Vermont, as a reward
for services at Hanover Court House, rejoining his company after being
wounded and participating in its last charge in the evening of May 27,
1862. Returned from this last service the 10th of October following,
•with 47 recruits for his company, and from that time on served steadily
and faithfully with company and regiment until his muster-out before
Petersburg Oct. 9, 1864, as First Sergeant, although he had been
commissioned Second Lieutenant January 22d preceding, when he had become a
Veteran Volunteer by re-enlistment, but could not muster owing to the
reduced strength of members. Lieut. Allen narrowly escaped instant
death at Totopotomoy Creek May 30, 1864, by an exploding shell wrecking
his rifle pit, passing through within a few inches of his hip and inflicting
injuries that have lasted through life. Since discharge from service he has
resided at Battle Creek in the state of Michigan, following the insurance
business, a notary public, conveyancer, etc. He also holds a prominent
position, being second in command, in the order known as the Comrades
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