Monday, December 08, 2014

Captain Edward Riggs, New York.

I gave the pages a title when there was non, its to let you know whats going to be talked about.Take for incidence,( The President takes his  Photograph ), this gives a insight into President Lincolns humor and discomfort on having his Photograph taken.

New York 118th., Infantry,Regimental History.

The President takes his Photograph.

Push to enlarge.
page 51-52.  Just before we left Washington and when we were under orders to be ready to move, Lieutenants Riggs, Carter and myself went to Brady's celebrated photograph gallery to leave our negatives from which we might order photographs when wanted. Our officers had started an exchange of photos so that each one might have one of each. The office of the gallery was on the second floor of a three-story building, the operating rooms being on the third floor.We found no one ahead of us and while registering and getting our numbered cards, Mr. Nicolay, one of the President's secretaries,came in and said to the man in charge that the President had been asked by Mr. Brady to pose for a standing, full-length photo and that he was in his carriage outside and would come in if the matter could have immediate attention.

We waited no longer, hurried upstairs, to be in the operating rooms when the President came. Shortly after the office man appeared with President Lincoln and requested that we waive our priority in his behalf. Lieutenant Riggs replied, rather dramatically: "Certainly, our Commander-in-Chief comes first everywhere." Mr. Lincoln thanked us and said, in substance: "Soldiers come first everywhere, these days. Black-coats are at a discount in the presence of the blue and I recognize the merit of the discount." The operator was a Frenchman, with a decided accent. He said to the President that there was considerable call for a full length standing photograph of him. The President jokingly inquired whether this could be done with a single negative, saying:"You see, I'm six feet four in my stockings." The operator replied that it could be done all right and left to arrange for the "standing."

The President then said to us that he had lately seen a very long, or rather, a very wide landscape photograph and that he wondered if there was a camera large enough to take in such an area; but on close examination he found that it had been taken in parts and nicely joined together, and he thought, perhaps, this method might be necessary for his "full length 'landscape.'"   The operator announced that he was ready and they went into the camera room, but the President stood where we could see and hear him. He asked whether he should stand as if addressing a jury "with my arm like this," stretching out his right arm.The operator came to him several times, placing the President's arms by his side, turning his head, adjusting his clothing, etc. "Just look natural," said the operator. "That is what I would like to avoid," Mr. Lincoln replied.  In the meantime each of us tried on the President's tall hat and it fitted Lieutenant Riggs finely.

Author.  It should be noted that Captain Riggs had met and seen the President many times,as the President walked the streets of Washington.

Dereliction of Duty.

page 67.  Colonel Keese observed lights in some of our shelter tents one night after "taps" had sounded.It was the duty of the officer of the day to see to it that lights were out at taps. The Colonel asked the Adjutant who the officer of the day was, and being told that it was Captain Riggs, he ordered the Adjutant to re-detail him for the same service next day, "for dereliction of duty." Captain Riggs was an excellent officer and a lawyer. His failure to have lights out that night was because of his need to quell a disturbance between some of our men and those of another regiment camped next to ours. 

He was willing enough to serve the unusual detail of a second day, but was hurt at the charge of "dereliction of duty" and denied the right of the Colonel to punish him without trial.He, therefore, refused to serve the second day and did not,demanding trial by court martial or the cancellation of the order from the regimental record. The matter had a very serious aspect, for the Colonel believed he had the right to make the order and to prefer charges against the Captain for refusing to obey it. There were four lawyers among our officers and all held that the Colonel had exceeded his authority in ordering Captain Riggs on extra duty as a punishment. 

The Colonel consulted General Peck in command of the district, a West Pointer, who said the Colonel did not have the right to punish an officer, except by charges and court martial, and so, later on, the obnoxious order was expunged. For a time the matter was much discussed and with feeling; but it was soon forgotten and former friendships were resumed and continued. It took "grit" for the Captain to stand upon his rights and dare a quarrel with his Colonel, but Captain Riggs was equal to the occasion and the incident was helpful in many ways; especially in proving that, there is a limit to the authority of even Colonels in command.

Typhoid Fever.

page 81.  Captain Riggs had a siege of typhoid fever at Gloucester Point and this, with a serious physical disability which he had suffered from for a long time and which a less resolute man would have considered disabling, made him resign, and a splendid man and officer left us. While he was convalescent his law partner, Judge Brown of Glens Falls, and Riggs' mother visited him.

To The Front?

page 146-7.  Edward Riggs of Glens Falls, formerly a captain in our regiment, and much respected, came to camp to-day to verify enlistments for the credit of his town. I confided to him that we expected immediate activity and he urged me to intercede with General Burnham to let him act as civilian aide on the General's staff. Burnham refused, much to Riggs' disappointment. Burnham said: "It will be bad enough for soldiers who have to go, but it will be no place for a citizen. If he should be wounded or killed it would be said, " Good enough for him, he had no business to be there.''

Death of Captain Riggs.

Captain Riggs of Glens Falls was sent south to enlist Negroes to count on the quota of men required from his town, and he went down with the steamer Melville off Cape Hatteras.

Captain Riggs Burial.

Glens Falls Cemetery,Glens Falls, Warren County,New York.,

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