Saturday, August 11, 2012

13th., Vermont Infantry Company D.

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Was born in Milton, March 29th, 1840. His father was one of five brothers, all of whom owned large farms, and were prosperous, prominent in town affairs, and respected by all. Emerson (as he was called), was educated in the district school
and the academy at Williston. At the time of President Lincoln's call for 300,000 men in July, 1862, he was taking a course in Eastman's Commercial College in Poughkeepsie, X. Y. The writer of this sketch, a lifelong friend, born and brought
up on an adjoining farm, had been appointed a recruiting officer by the town. He wrote Emerson that he had enlisted and was going to the war. On receipt of the letter he at once closed his connection with the college and took the first train for
home. On reaching Milton he went immediately to the home of his friend, and within one hour had signed the enlistment paper. On the organization of Company D he was made a sergeant, and as such served the entire term, never failing for even a day to do his full duty as a soldier. Consequent upon the exposure of the Gettysburg campaign, he contracted typhoid fever. When the regiment arrived at Brattleboro, he was sick, though still able to attend to his arduous duties as orderly. The regiment was discharged July 21st, and on his arrival at his home in Milton the following day, he went immediately to his bed, from which he never arose. He lingered, most of the time delirious, until August 3rd, when he died. He gave his life for his country's cause as surely as though his heart had been pierced by the enemy's bullet on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The 13th Vermont had no soldier more brave than he. He was thoroughly and intensely honest. His ideals and ambitions were lofty his impulses generous. A sincere and sympathetic friend — a born leader. Had he
lived, he would have been at the head in any avocation he adopted. He was beloved by his comrades and by all that knew him. Of a perfectly sweet and lovely disposition, he was never known to utter an unkind word, and he endeared himself to
all with whom he came in contact. As near perfection is permitted to man, it was embodied in him. As was said by the clergyman at his fnueral, "God requires the perfect for a sacrifice." H. O. C.


Among the killed or fatally wounded in Company D at Gettysburg, was Sergeant Julius F. Densmore. No better man served in the company than he, nor any that were more universally esteemed. He was a fine physique of about 170 pounds, rugged and healthy, abounding always in good nature and of a uniform sunny temperament. His age was about twenty-five. His intercourse with all the members of the company was most friendly and companionable, but especially so with Captain Munson and Lieutenant Rolfe in whose neighborhood he was raised and with whom his youth and early man-
hood were spent.

With the exception of an accident before Gettysburg was reached his service was in no way different from others. This accident in which he nearly lost his life was the accidental discharge of a revolver in the hands of Captain Basconi at Camp Carusi, Va. The ball took effect near the top of his forehead and ploughed a furrow across the head under the scalp. The wound under the skill of Surgeon Nichols soon healed and Densmore was able to march to Gettysburg with the regiment where he was destined to receive another wound of a more serious character. In the afternoon of the third day of the battle while the regiment was luoviug iu the execution of the order "change front forward on first eoniiiany". Sergeant Densuiore fell forward on his face. The writer saw Lieutenant Hlbbard raise him sufficiently to see who had fallen  and heard hlni say "poor Jule" and we passed on. After the repulse of the enemy at  this point he was seen to have raised himself to a sitting posture and leave was granted at once to remove him from the field. His wound was a shattered sliull by a fragment
of an exploded shell. He was able after a few days to be taken home to his parents In Colchester, Yt.. where he died August 31st, 1S63.

His funeral was attended by most of the members of Company D. An impressive service was conducted by his pastor. Rev. Samuel Whiting and his remains were borne to the grave by his comrades with sincere grief. And now each year as we place flag and flowers on his grave he appears in our meiuoiy as wo Ivnew him in his rugged man-
hood and we say "poor Jule."



Sergeant of Company D. only son of Orville M. and Martha (Pullam) Clark, was born In Milton, Vt., 1844. He was educated in the common schools of his native town, and in the academies of Swanton and Georgia, Vermont, He graduated in the Commercial College at Buffalo, New York, In 1861 he was a clerk in a store in Chicago. When President Lincoln called for more men in 1862, he gave up his clerkship and returned to Milton, Vermont. There, at a town meeting, he was appointed a recruiting officer, and enlisted a part of Company D, 13th Vermont Regiment. Upon the organization of the company, he was made a sergeant, and served as such until the regiment was mustered out. During the winter of 1862-3, the regiment was picketing the outer defences of Washington, on the line of the Occoquan river and its chief tributary.
Mosby's guerillas had become very troublesome tliere; many of them resided in the vicinity and knew certain fords on the river, and all the by-ways beyond it, of which we were ignorant. The inhabitants were disloyal. Rebel guerillas could make
their way through, and operate within our lines without our knowledge. It they were confronted or pursued by a superior force, they would evade it and scatter like young partridges, disappearing as if by magic, hidden in the homes of the disloyal inhabitants.

The Second Vermont Brigade. Wyndham's Cavalry and other Union troops were kept out of winter quarters, and were on the qui vive during the entire winter, watching Mosby and his freebooters. Notwithstanding our utmost vigilance, they captured our Brig. Gen. Stoughton, who was twelve miles distant from us at the time, but within our lines, at the headquarters of Wyndham's Cavalry whose commander they were seeking to capture, when they got General Stoughton. They also stealthily captured our regimental teams, when on their way for supplies, within our lines. Under the military system then in vogue, the utmost sagacity and vigilance of the Union forces could not prevent their successful raids. Our government accorded the homes of these disloyal inhabitants during war the same rights that are guaranteed to every
home within its boundaries in times of peace. The next year all this was changed .  This section of Virginia was embraced in General Sheridan's Military Department.  Martial Law governed. Every house was searched and every male inhabitant capable of bearing arms was arrested and treated as a prisoner of war. All forage on which guerillas could subsist their horses, was captured or burned, and Mosby's occupation was gone.

Under the mistaken policy of the Government during our term of service in Virginia, we were struggling with the impossible; but we did the best we could. Early in the spring of 1863. Colonel Randall appointed Sergeant Clark to command a party of scouts, carefully chosen from among those deemed best fitted to perform that duty,  and sent them to operate within Confederate territory beyond the Occoquan River.  They were ordered to report to him twice a week anytliing they saw or heard in respect to the enemy or his operations. Several of these scouts were soon captured, and Sergeant Clark's command was reduced to two — himself and one other — who had become a necessity to the natives by keeping their clocks in repair. When the spring campaign opened, Mosby and his guerillas were called to operate on other fields, and all that remained of the native population were old men, women and children. Sergeant Clark and his scout now enjoyed a greater measure of peace and safety. Mars had yielded the field to Venus. The scouts had acquired horses and spent their time in visiting among the natives and having a general good time beyond our linew. They organized riding
parties, in the enjoyment of which the old men and children are not supposed to have participated; but they kept a keen eye out for anything suggesting danger to themselves or their country, and the survival of these two boys, under conditions that had overwhelmed their comrades, demonstrated that they had keen eyes.

When the Regiment was ordered to change camps from Wolf Run Shoals to Occoquan, Va., Sergeant Clark was notified. His tent, like all others, housed an accumulation of articles calculated to increase the civilizing comforts of life. He disliked either to abandon these or to carry them the required distance. Both camps were on the Occoquan River, and he conceived the idea of transporting them by water. He easily obtained tlie consent of his military superiors to his project, for no officer or soldier in his regiment had ever been known to refuse Sergeant Clark anything he wanted, within ( or beyond) the bounds of reason. He now commenced the study of navigation. He had no boat and could neither buy, beg, borrow or capture one; tlierefore. he had to build one. He selected men for a crew who knew something of woodcraft, and could
use an axe. He transformed them into ship carpenters, and his transport was soon completed. Her bottom was lier only deck, there were no cabins. Her architect never designed her as a home for luxurious indulgence. When liis regiment broke camp, his household divinities and those of his men, were put on board, and his transport started down the river, manned by Sergeant now I Commander Clark and his crew. It was their maiden effort in navigation. They knew nothing whatever of the river below them of its tortuous, treacherous channels, its rocks, shoals, whirlpools, cataracts, or falls, or whether they would encounter Confederates along its south bank; but they were as cheerful and reckless a lot of young dare-devils as ever sailed.
After a time these navigators disiovcn-d cavalrymen on a i)roniontory on the south bank. Confederates were often disguised in our uniforms; and when the boat neared that head-land, the troojiers ordered her crew to conic ashore. This order was not complied with. t)ut the "sailors" "talked off", and alleged one pretext and another, until the curient carried them wiOl under the i)rojccting rocks of the shore; then they told the cavalrymen to go to a place more celebrated for heat than comfort. The current bore them along past the ledge where it veered to the south and nearly landed them upon the bank where the troopers stood with loaded carbines, cocked, aimed, and ready to fire; and they had to land. Their captors proved to be a picket of Union Cavalry, to whom satisfactory explanations were soon made, and our skipi)er8 were
allowed to resume their voyage. Further on. the distant sound of falling waters broke upon their ears, and caused them to deliberate. None of them linew whether the river  fell, there, ten or forty feet; they could only guess from its roar. The Commander and a minority of his crew projiosed to sail straight on and take the chances. The majority were exceedingly anxious to land above the falls.

They said that, judging from the uproar ahead, there must be rapids and falls on which they would come to grief and lose their guns, baggage, boat and perhaps their lives. They proposed to land and unload the boat above the falls, and promised to carry the cargo over the hills to a point below, where the Commander and the only one of his crew who endorsed his views on navigation could go ahead with the boat and wait for them. The boat was accordingly put ashore and relieved of a majority of her crew and most of her cargo. During her voyage hitherto she had often been strained near to the breaking point, and her condition as now revealed made it plain to her occupants that she had not been modelled after the design of Russian Ice Breakers, for service in Northern seas; but her Commander and his etiually reckless mate, seated in her stern, pushed her into the current, and started down the river. The swift flowing waters carried them quickly around a curve and into the rapids. There they lost control of their craft. They saw before them a perpendicular fall of about ten feet over a natural rock dam. They confronted the inevitable! But these daring spirits neither feared their fate nor attempted to raise any question with the inevitable.

Each tried to keep the boat straight ahead, as they sped down the rapids, intending to take the fall "head on." But fortune, that is said to favor the brave, (and sometimes the reckless) averted the catasrophe that such sailing would have invoked. Just on the verge of the fall the boat hit a rock, swung half around, and went over, broad-side on, and right side up. Filled with water, she was swept down the rapids below-. Having taken that "drop"? our navigators made no further efforts to save their vessel. Such efforts would have been vain. Shipwreck was inevitable and imminent I As if a Virginian Sesesh River-God. angered because an unchristened Yankee Craft had "invaded the sacred" waters of the Occoquan. determined to end her voyage, had seized the helm, and after steering her safely past a dozen boulders in as many rods, ran her upon a rock "head on." and like Oliver Wendell Holmes' "One Boss Shay." she went to pieces in a second. The wreck, in many fragments, the Commander and his mate, went down the river separately. About twenty rods below the place where they had so suddenly and unceremoniously parted company with their boat, they managed to reach the shore. They were decorated with many contusions and wet to the skin. Except for these trifles their recent immersion seemed not to have affected them "spiritually" or otherwise, or even to have dampened their cheerfulness. They felicitated themselves upon having water-proof match boxes, and were able to start a fire.

Before the arrival of their over-burdened comrades, they had dried their clothes, and were ready tor any further adventure that might offer. Night coming on. they cooked a hearty supper to which they did full justice. They discussed their adventures of the day around their camp fire and finally, without posting any guard or taking the least precaution against surprise or danger, these fearless boys stretched themselves on the ground near their fire, in plain view of the Secessionist on the ojiposite bank, and slept as soundly and with as little concern for their personal safety as they could have done
in the cosey and comfortable bed-rooms of their paternal homes in Vermont. After breakfast next morning they went back from the river to the road over which their regiment had marched, and found it making camp about a mile below.

Several of their comrades went with them to the river and helped to bring in their baggage. They had. at least, succeeded in changing camps without heavy marching, carrying, or abandoning their baggage. And. from their view point, they had enjoyed a good time.

Comrade E. O. Johnson who died in Colchester in the fall of 1902 was (except Colonel Clark ) the last survivor of this boating party.  Commander Clark's argonauts were disbanded, and he resumed the pleasures and perils of scouting beyond the lines. He continued to perform this service until his regiment started on its Gettysburg campaign, when he returned to duty with his Company, participated with it in the battle of Gettysburg, and the hardships and sufferings incident to that series of desperate forced marches by which the 13th Vermont Regiment reached that battlefield.   There is elsewhere recorded, in this history, an account of the valuable and humane services Sergeant Clark rendered a disabled comrade on his journey from Baltimore, Md., to Brattleboro. Vt., where the 13th Vermont Regiment was mustered out.

In the fall of 1864 he went to New Orleans, and was for two years employed by a firm of wholesale grocers and cotton factors of that city. He then returned to Vermont and engaged in merchandising in Milton as a member of the firm of Ladd & Clark. He sold out his business in Milton in 1871; went to New York and became a member of the Importing House of Davis, Clark & Co., where he prosecuted a successful business until 1S86, when he retired. In 1878, at Jlilton, Vt., he was married to Miss Kate Clark Rixford, with whom and three daughters he is now living at East Orange, N. J. His loyalty to Vermont lias been as unvarying as her mountains. She has been the Mecca of all his pilgrimages. He has large property interests in the State, and always maintains a home in his native town. There is no more enthusiastic or devoted member among the survivors of the 13th Vermont Regiment than Colonel Henry O. Clark. He was president of the Regimental Association and of the Committee and of the sub-committee on Regimental Monument, the erection of which was largely
due to his exhaustless energy and intelligent and persistent efforts and liberality, ably seconded by his co-workers on the subcommittee. He is a member of Lafayette Post, G. A. R., New York, and has held various positions in the G. A. R. and is now president of the Association of the 1st Army Corps. Two facts in this sketch must have attracted the attention of the most casual reader. No consent to navigate the Occoquan River was given to any other, and no general consent could have been given without involving results that no regimental commander could have sanctioned. Ergo, Sergeant Clark was a favorite with his military associates. Scouts wear their uniforms and are not disguised; but, except one other whose skill had made him a necessity to the natives, Sergeant Clark was the only one they tolerated. He was therefore a favorite
also with Virginians.

I shall attempt no analysis of this record, or comment further upon it. But, It I were to picture my own ideal of the best type of a Green Mountain Boy nearing his majority, I would present a healthy, vigorous, strong limbed, broad shouldered, full
chested, strong spined, broad headed, rosy cheeked, stalwart, athletic specimen; clear eyed, patriotic, intelligent, honest, fearless, active and brave; endowed with fortitude, courage, invention, enterprise and strong common sense.  A pessimist seems like one, who having a choice between two evils, takes them both.

My Green Mountain Boy is no pessimist. He is cheerful, hopeful, confident, and always expects that good will come. If ill comes instead he makes the best of it. His politeness does not consist in the adoption of certain set rules and ceremonial forms; it wells up from the basis of all true politeness-natui'al goodness of heart. It is a pleasure to him to be kind and helpful to others. By the most eminent authority, therefore, he never lacks friends — "he shows himself friendly". Every survivor of the 13th Vermont Regiment will easily recognize one of the originals of this picture. It is for the general reader to determine whether it is discernable in the foregoing record. During the battle of Gettysburg there were none in his regiment who fought more bravely, or entitled themselves to more glory than Sergeant Henry O. Clark. And the
13th Vermont Regiment fought desperately on that field, and history accords it much glory.



Was born and educated in Essex. In August, 1862, he was employed as a clerk in a store in Winooski and there enlisted in Company D. He was made a sergeant, and as such, served till he was discharged in May, 1863, on account of sickness. When well, he was of a remarkably cheerful disposition, always ready to hear a tale of woe and relieve the trouble, if in his ijower. Full of fun his hearty laugh was recognized throughout the entire regiment, strict in the discharge of duty, he was unusually respected, he had the faculty, or a genius for cooking, and was unanimously elected cook of the sergeant's tent, and served many a meal that was voted to be equal to that prepared by some women, and superior to those by many. After leaving the army, he devoted his time to farming on the old homestead in Essex for many years, moving from there to Winooski, and now is a resident of Burlington.


Is a native of Milton and received a common school education in that town. He enlisted at the first call in the 1st Vt. Regiment, and served until the regiment was discharged at the end of its time of service. In August, 1862, he reenlisted in Company D, and being the only man of that Company having had actual military experience, was made orderly sergeant. In the spring of '63 he was promoted to a Lieutenancy and transferred to Company C of the 13th Regiment. He was a rigid disciplinarian, but entirely fair, and asked only that a man should do his duty. In- tellectually very bright, with a keen wit, always in good humor, a great story teller, and exceedingly versatile, he was a general favorite. After the war he lived in Milton and Burlington, and is at this writing in Charlestown, Mass.

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