MOLLUS ME: With the Seventh Maine Battery by Brevet Major William B. Lapham

   

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in Maine

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WITH THE SEVENTH MAINE BATTERY1
By Brevet Major William B. Lapham.

THE Seventh Maine Battery to which I belonged joined the Ninth Army Corps as the corps passed through Washington from Annapolis, toward the last of April, 1864. Our corps crossed the Rapidan River and entered the Wilderness while the battle was furiously raging. On the march the day previous, we had heard the roar of the cannon and the rattle of musketry and knew that the troops that had preceded us were hotly engaged. Light artillery could not be used to advantage in the Wilderness, and our battery was only twice in position. The first was on a knoll near the Old Wilderness Tavern from which we were driven in a very few minutes. The second was when much of the light artillery was moved in rear of the Sixth Corps which was hard pressed in an effort by the enemy to turn our right and capture our supply train. We threw solid shot and shell far into the woods, but we saw no charging column of rebels.

At length the firing ceased, we were ordered to move toward the left, and we concluded that the battle of the Wilderness had come to an end. But how it had ended and whether we were to move in advance or in retreat, we could not tell. We had seen but little fighting. We had seen column after column of infantry move into the woods and straggle out again. We had seen the wounded, oh ! such vast numbers, brought to the rear in every degree of disability. But whether Grant had whipped Lee or the reverse, we found no one who could tell us, and I confess that I have not found out to this day. I am inclined to think it a drawn battle. Neither side had accomplished what it hoped or expected, and the crisis which it was thought might be reached here was postponed.

When we moved out of our position I confess that I thought we were retreating, and I could see in my imagination the

Northern papers telling their readers, in tremendous display lines, how Grant had met and repulsed the enemy in the Wilderness and then retreated in good order across the river. I confess that I felt disheartened. I knew that we had lost heavily, but a real victory, even at such fearful expense, would have made me entirely happy. I think I but voice the Army of the Potomac at that time, when I say that we wanted victory at whatever cost. We wanted no more retreating. The Army of the Potomac had learned the strength and prowess of the Army of Northern Virginia. They knew that under the leadership of their great captain, coupled with the advantage of interior lines and earthworks already thrown up and grassed over, they could be overcome only by attrition, by direct contact and with great disparity of loss against the Union Army. Understanding this fully, it was the earnest desire of the Army of the Potomac, or the thinking portion of it, to keep on fighting and end the conflict. The North had abundant resources and could keep her depleted army filled up. The South, on the other hand, had every man at the front, and every loss created a vacancy that could never be filled. This advantage was all that we had to offset the superior position of the enemy, and in General Grant’s determination to make use of this advantage to the utmost, I believe he was fully sustained by the rank and file of his army, and who, individually, had greater risks at stake? For the adoption of this policy, General Grant has been called a butcher, and accused of caring little or nothing for the lives of the men under him. His policy has often been compared with the conservative, not to say timid, policy of General McLellan under similar circumstances, but, as I think, greatly to the advantage of the former, for results alone are the criterion by which leaders are judged. It was by these hard blows delivered at every opportunity, by a commander who never refused a battle, that the ranks of the Confederate Army were decimated, and unconditional surrender at length became inevitable. Strategy against such an accomplished soldier as General Lee could effect but little.

Moving out of the Wilderness we stopped to lunch and to rest and feed our horses on the Chancellorsville battleground. I had not even then determined in my own mind whether we were advancing or retreating, but I felt that knowledge on this subject was not far distant. After dinner, instead of following General Hooker’s line of retreat, we marched away toward Spotsylvania court-house, and with this fact came the knowledge that if we had not achieved a decisive victory in the Wilderness, we were marching to attack the enemy farther on. Such a feeling of relief as this intelligence brought can hardly be described. Before night our army was skirmishing preliminary to the great fight or series of fights at Spotsylvania.

Our battery had part in this battle and lost both in killed and wounded. It had but little to do at the North Anna River fight, but was in throughout the battle at Cold Harbor, and arrived in front of Petersburg in season to take part in the advance made by the Ninth Corps on the night of the seventeenth of June. We were behind the works in front of Petersburg for many days when it was as much as a man’s life was worth to raise his head above the parapet. We had part in the bombardment which took place on the morning of the springing of the famous Burnside mine. We had part in the fight for the possession of the Welden Railroad, and later on in the fight at Peebles Farm. After this we garrisoned Fort Welch, at the left, where we could see the spires of Petersburg. Our battery was in the works near the Hare house and afterwards at the Taylor house, forty-seven consecutive days. At the former position the guns were within three hundred yards of the enemy’s line, and on many occasions opened fire on the works in our front. A letter written home by me from this point relates some incidents which I should not otherwise have recalled. When we advanced our line we came upon an icehouse and bent our line a little in order to hold it. The rebels felt the importance of retaining it, and made a stubborn resistance, but we held it, and it supplied the left of the Ninth Corps and the right of the Fifth, with delicious water for a couple of weeks.

An item in this letter says : “A ball passed through the top of my hat this morning as I was standing a short distance in rear of the breastwork. At first I thought it a narrow escape, but on second thought it occurred to me that I stood six feet in my boots, and that in order to have been hurt I must have been three or four inches taller, an unusual height, and so the margin of escape was quite broad.” Another item says, “Private George Howe was sitting upon the ground in rear of our line with his back towards the works and his head leaning a little forward, when a ball passed over his head, splitting his cap from rear to to front, without touching his head. This admonishes us that we must hug the breastworks.”

The summer campaign was now essentially over, and a disposition of the troops for winter quarters began to be made. The Ninth Corps was ordered to relieve the Second which was holding the works at our right. The Seventh Maine Battery was ordered into Fort Alexander Hays, and moved in accordingly. This work, situated at the left of Fort Davis, was surrounded by woods. None of the enemy’s works were in sight, and we congratulated ourselves on having a soft place in which to spend the winter months. We at once began to put up winter quarters for officers and men, and stables in the rear for the horses. But, as was frequently the case in the army life of each of us, we were reckoning without our host. Hardly had we commenced operations toward the construction of winter quarters, when an order came for us to relieve a regular battery attached to the Second Army Corps, and stationed in Fort Sedgwick farther to our right. Here at once ended all our hopes of a quiet winter, for the reputation of Fort ” Hell” was well known all along our line. We were ordered to make the change in the night time, and in the quietest manner possible. The entrance to the redoubt was by a long, winding, covert-way, so deep that men and artillery could pass in and out without being seen. And so during a dark night early in December, 1864, we took our pieces into Fort Sedgwick and placed them in position, while the regular battery pulled out and went its way. Our camp

was established some two or three miles in rear of the fort where winter quarters were provided for the horses and such of the men as were not required at the front. Three of the five commissioned officers remained in the rear camp, while two, Lieutenant Daniel Staples and I, remained in charge of the guns.

The previous history of this famous redoubt is briefly this : June the twenty-first, after several days fighting around Petersburg, the capture of the outer defenses and the failure to take their main line, it was determined partially to invest the place by a line of entrenchments directed toward the Lynchburg or Southside Railroad. These entrenchments were to consist of redoubts connected by lines of infantry parapets, with ditches and entanglements of slashing abatis, from which the army could be withdrawn at any time for operations either on the right or left or elsewhere, leaving only a sufficient force to hold the line. The enemy threw up similar works in our front, evidently for a similar purpose, only our redoubts were closed in the rear, while theirs were left open. At this time the left of our line, occupied by the left of the Fifth Army Corps, was at the Jerusalem Plank Road, and at this point Fort Sedgwick was constructed by Colonel William S. Tilton’s brigade. Soon after this the Second and Sixth Corps were withdrawn from the works leaving the defenses to be occupied by the Eighteenth (whose left joined the Ninth at the Prince George’s Court-house Road), the Ninth whose left joined the Fifth, and the Fifth whose left extended to the Jerusalem Plank Road, as stated. After the failure to capture the Welden Railroad by the Second and Sixth Corps, these two corps extended our line by forming on the left of the Jerusalem Plank Road, the Second taking position next to the Fifth, with the Sixth Corps on its left, and thrown back so as to face the Welden Railroad, and distant from it about a mile and a half. While in this position Fort Davis was constructed and situated about half a mile from Fort Sedgwick, to the left. When the Sixth Corps was sent to Washington, our left was again drawn in to the Jerusalem Plank

Road and refused, and the rest of July and a part of August were spent in strengthening the works.

Fort Sedgwick was completed and occupied about the eleventh of July. The fort was somewhat irregular in outline, being erected under the close fire of the enemy. General Tilton has told me since the war that he lost quite a number of men, in killed and wounded, while they were employed in this redoubt. It was projected as a salient toward the Confederate lines, and covered not far from an acre of ground. It was a closed work and had embrasures both at the front and rear. Traverses for the protection of the gunners were erected only against the front parapet. Outside, toward the enemy’s line, a deep ditch extended the entire length of the work. The parapets were high and strong and afforded a good protection for the garrison from everything except mortar shells. The armament consisted of the six guns of the Seventh Maine Battery, two being placed in Battery 21, adjoining the fort at the right, one section of the Third New Jersey Battery, and two Cohorn mortar batteries, one at our immediate left and the other at our right. The infantry encamped along our rear consisted of the 48th Pennsylvania, 7th Rhode Island, and one or two other regiments of infantry. Colonel Pleasants of the 48th Pennsylvania Regiment was the ranking officer and in command of the garrison, while I was the ranking officer of the artillery. With the mortar batteries I had nothing to do, an officer skilled in their use having charge of them, while I had charge of the eight light twelve-pieces belonging to the two batteries. In the immediate charge of the section of the Third New Jersey Battery was Second Lieutenant Carl Machewsky, a Prussian by birth and education, and since the war a resident of Berlin.

Our entrenched picket line was about forty yards in front of the ditch, and that of the enemy at some points within twenty yards of ours. The Confederate Redoubt Mahone was at our left front, and distant about five hundred yards. In the rear of this was another large redoubt, and toward our right, still

another. Farther toward our right the enemy had a battery of eight-inch mortars, and long and constant practise had given them the range of our works and also the distance from them. Like ours, the redoubts of the enemy were connected by strong infantry parapets. During August and September the enemy kept up a constant fusillade from his entrenched picket line, but at the time of our removal to Fort Sedgwick and through the winter there was no firing by the pickets during the day, but they would commence at dark and keep it up through the entire night.

It was in this famous redoubt that the Seventh Maine Battery found itself one morning early in December, and here we felt quite sure we should remain through the winter. Our predecessors, thinking perhaps that they would not be required to remain here long, had adopted no means to protect the men from the enemy’s mortar batteries, and this became our first care. In a short time by the aid of gabions, sand-bags, timber and earth and by the help of a detail of infantry we had constructed bomb-proofs for the protection of the men along the parapet, and one in the center of the redoubt for the ammunition and officers. These bomb-proofs were often tested during the winter and proved to be indeed bomb-proof. A sixty-four pound mortar shell sometimes buried itself in the covering of these shelters, and exploding, would throw out a ton of earth, more or less, but never penetrated far enough to injure the men. Our orders from the artillery headquarters of the corps were explicit and were carried out to the letter. The utmost vigilance was enjoined, and every suspicious movement on the part of the enemy reported promptly to headquarters. At night officers were not to undress; a light was to be kept burning in the officers’ quarters and one at the entrance to the magazine. A sentinel was to remain on duty at the entrance to the officers’ quarters, one at the magazine, and one detachment of men constantly at their guns. We were not to open fire with the artillery at any time unless we were first fired upon by the artillery of the enemy, or unless the works should

be attacked, and never to fire at all without being able to give a good and substantial reason therefor in daily reports.

Such was to be our routine duty for the long winter months, and such was our duty with occasional variations, until we broke the enemy’s lines in our front, and made our way into Petersburg the second day of the following April. Ordinarily, there was but little variety in our daily routine. The pickets kept up a constant fusillade by night and this was conducive to sleep rather than otherwise. We became so accustomed to this firing and to the singing of the bullets as they passed over our heads, that a cessation would awaken us and bring us to our feet in a moment. For the few incidents outside of our regular routine I must rely mainly upon memory for I kept no journal, which was a great mistake.

I have said that Colonel Pleasants was the senior officer of the garrison, but the artillery received orders direct from corps headquarters. Artillery officers were ever sensitive when infantry officers presumed to order them round, and the officers of the Seventh Maine Battery formed no exception. After we had been a few days in the redoubt, Colonel Pleasants sent for me to report at his quarters, and I immediately obeyed. He said I had been in the works and had the guns in position for nearly two weeks, and had not yet discharged a gun, and he wished to know the reason. I showed him my orders from headquarters and informed him that I thought they presented a good and sufficient reason. He said that he was the senior officer, and felt himself responsible for the safety of the garrison. He thought I ought to exercise my men and get the range of, and distance to, the enemy’s works. I told him that I would do so on one condition, and that was that he should give me a written order to that effect. He said he would do so on some future occasion, and dismissed me. I thought he might forget all about it, but on the next day, and about the same hour, he sent me a written order to open fire with the eight guns in the redoubt and in Battery 21 upon the enemy’s works. It did not take many minutes to obey the order, and the enemy promptly

responded with his artillery in our front, and his mortar battery on our right. Soon the sixty-four pound mortar shells began to drop into the fort and into the camp of the infantry in our rear. Colonel Pleasants came out and as he passed along in the rear of the guns and between them and the central bomb-proof, a mortar shell was buried in the earth of the bomb-proof and exploding threw up a large quantity of frozen earth, and a piece that would weigh several pounds came down and struck the colonel on the crown of his head. He fell to the ground senseless and some of his men being present carried him to his quarters. He soon recovered consciousness, and the concussion seemed to have changed his wishes for he sent an orderly to inform me that I could stop firing. The result of the cannonading was the death of two infantry men in the rear of the fort, the wounding of several others and the total destruction of the winter quarters of several infantry officers. In my report, I enclosed the order of Colonel Pleasants directing me to open on the enemy’s works, and we were annoyed no more during the winter by orders from him of any kind. Colonel Pleasants left the garrison soon after and I never saw him again. He was a good and brave officer, and it was his regiment of colliers that under his direction constructed the famous Burnside mine.

Fort Hell was a locality well known along the army line, and visitors who came to see their friends made it a point not to return until they had seen the Confederate line from this point. The fort had a commanding position, situated on high ground, and from the top of our central bomb-proof the spires of Petersburg could be seen and the main line of the enemy for several miles. These visits were generally made in the forenoon, for the custom of the mortar batteries to shell us every afternoon had become well known. I remember one Sunday morning, after a severe rain which had converted our clay into mud, a party of civilians came into the redoubt and asked permission to view the rebel works from the bomb-proof. Among them was a Pennsylvanian of gigantic proportions and wearing a very tall, stiff hat. I ascended the bomb-proof with them, there

being some twelve or fifteen of the party, and they were much interested in the objects pointed out. But there was one thing I saw which they did not, and that was a sponge staff which quickly appeared and as suddenly disappeared behind the parapet of Fort Mahone, which our boys called Fort Damnation. I felt quite sure that a gun was being charged for our benefit, but I said nothing, and in less than half a minute a wreath of smoke ascended from one of the embrasures in Fort Mahone, there was a report and a rifled shell passed over us apparently but a few feet above our heads and exploded in our rear. The effect upon our visitors was most remarkable, not to say ridiculous. They leaped down the steep sides of the bomb-proof and rolled or tumbled into the deep slush below. The Pennsylvanian lost his balance and came down hat first, burying it to the brim and making of it a shocking bad tile. A second shot was fired and then we could distinctly hear the derisive laughter of our foes in which our boys heartily joined, but our visitors failed to see the point of the joke.

The practical jokes, however, were not always perpetrated by the enemy. One day as I climbed the bomb-proof for observation with the glass, which I was frequently in the habit of doing, I saw a large fatigue party filing out of a forest, each man having a log upon his shoulder. The party numbered at least a hundred and perhaps more. Calling one of the sergeants, I pointed out the party to him and directed him to drop a shell as near to them as he could and not hurt them, while I watched the result. A twelve-pound bomb was thrown over their heads, the fuse timed so as to explode it beyond them, and such a fall in firewood I had never witnessed. Each man threw down his log and ran for cover to the parapet, while our boys who had witnessed the escapade set up a shout which must have reached the ears for which it was intended, for the woods from which the party emerged were less than half a mile away.

Our redoubt was so near the entrenched picket line of the enemy that conversation could easily be carried on between our men and the Johnnies. This was not allowable, but sometimes

the rules were violated and defiant remarks passed backward and forward, and blood-curdling threats of what each side would do to the other in the next campaign were uttered. Deserters frequently came in at this point, who, almost without exception, brought reports that our redoubt was being mined. This added greatly to our anxiety, and we sank deep wells outside the ditch which we carefully watched, noting the depth of water several times every day.

The weather was sometimes very cold and our pickets, warmly clad as they were, suffered severely. In a letter written home by me in January, I stated the following : ” I have just been out to take a look at the enemy’s picket line which is only a few yards from ours. The poor fellows are hardly halfclad and must suffer severely. They have no overcoats and walk about shivering with a fragment of a blanket over their shoulders. This morning an old man with hair as white as snow came into our lines, and asked for protection against the pitiless storm. He was over seventy years of age ; said he was pressed into a service in which he had no sympathy, to fight for a cause in which he had no faith.”

In another place: “To-day I saw a little mouse skipping about our quarters and I felt as proud as Diogenes did when he found one in his tub. It really reminds one of civilized life.”

And under date of January 26: “We were quite startled Monday evening by a heavy firing away on our right. The night was dark and rainy, and everything along our front was quiet save the usual picket firing, when suddenly came to our ears the roar of heavy guns, and on climbing the works we could see at our right, flash after flash lighting up the inky blackness of the night, but so far away that there was an interval of seventy-two seconds between the flash and the report. The next day we learned that it was caused by an abortive attempt of rebel rams to reach City Point and destroy or capture our supplies.” On the following day was added :

“The storm has passed and the morning is delightful. The weather is very fickle ; to-day, cold and stormy ; the next, cold and windy ; and the next, warm and springlike. We have a

large detail of infantry assisting our men in repairing the damage to our works caused by the storm. Taking advantage of the storm and the darkness one hundred and ten deserted and came in from our front last night. They tell the same story of short rations, worn out clothing and great suffering. The rebellion they say is about played out.”

One evening while busy in inspecting the works and in other routine duty, I saw an undersized stranger looking over the works and taking notes in a most suspicious manner. He was in citizen’s dress, and I at once determined that he would not be allowed to depart in peace, until he had explained his business at the front. I was on the point of questioning him, when our attentive friends of the mortar battery rendered it unnecessary by dropping a shell into the redoubt which exploded quite near him. He made a bee line for the central bomb-proof, and there he remained until the shelling ceased, which continued as usual for several hours. He introduced himself as Thomas Nast, the caricaturist, and said he was out on a prospecting tour, filling his portfolio with sketches of scenes along the army line for the benefit of the readers of Harpers Weekly. We found him social and full of anecdote, and we greatly enjoyed his stay with us. A sketch of the redoubt soon after appeared in the columns of the paper upon which he was employed.

One of the red letter days of the winter was the one upon which commissioners came through our lines to meet Secretary Seward and others in Hampton Roads. We obtained the information first from the Confederate pickets, and when it was confirmed a truce was declared between the pickets, and the blue and the gray mingled in harmony between the lines. Some large trees which grew between the picket lines, had long been wanted for fuel, and on this occasion detachments of men from each side cut them, divided the wood and carried it to their respective quarters. The boys in blue exchanged hardtack, coffee and other rations with the hungry Johnnies, receiving tobacco in exchange, and there was also a general swapping of knives, and rings and numerous other trinkets, formed from the gilt

fuses of exploded shells. Toward night the Confederates first learned that the mission to Hampton had resulted in failure, and as twilight approached, they gave warning with ” Down, Yanks, we’ve got to shoot,” and each side dropping behind the works assumed again a hostile attitude and picket firing was resumed by the enemy as usual.

The monotony was sometimes broken by visits from general officers. On several occasions General Meade with some members of his staff rode in as he was inspecting the lines, and on one occasion at least he was accompanied by General Grant and staff. General Hunt, chief of artillery, was at the redoubt quite often, and always had a pleasant word for us. When off duty, the men of the battery amused themselves in various ways ; card playing was their chief pastime, though they never indulged in gambling. Some of the men displayed great ingenuity in the manufacture of rings and other trinkets from the fuses of shells which exploded in and around the fort. Many of these were sent home to friends in letters, and are still preserved as souvenirs of the war. Of course, writing letters occupied more or less of the time of the men while in winter quarters, and in these letters, every phase of the war was freely discussed and in their criticisms of army movements, the action of the officers was often unsparingly condemned. This is the prerogative of the soldiers of a republic, who feel that they have as much at stake in the contest as anybody.

A letter written from the fort under date of February 9, says : “There was quite a severe engagement about ten miles to our left. The action was commenced by the Second Corps which made an advance against the Southside Railroad. On the first day our troops were successful driving the rebels before them and capturing a number of prisoners. That night it snowed and the next day changed to rain and sleet. On this day a division of the Fifth Corps was attacked, and being short of ammunition it retreated in some confusion, and the entire corps fell back three miles. Here the matter rested that night and an awful night it was for our wounded, exposed to the pitiless storm.

The next morning our troops attacked at daylight, succeeded in forcing the rebels back and reestablishing their lines.” A letter of the twenty-fifth of February says, ” Last night we received orders to be in readiness to take out our guns and move towards the left, but a heavy storm coming on the expedition, whatever it was to have been, was indefinitely postponed.

The episode at Fort Stedman on the twenty-fifth of March was one of the most exciting of the winter. The first redoubt on our right was Fort Meikel, the next Morton, then Haskell, and then Stedman, the latter being some two miles from Fort Hell. The details of this engagement I have nothing to do with. We were aroused by the firing at our right and soon every man was ready for duty. The captain of the battery came up from the rear camp and took charge. The guns were taken to the rear of the redoubt and placed in position to rake any rebel column that might succeed in coming within range. But it is well known how this last offensive movement on the part of General Lee’s army was repulsed after it had succeeded in capturing the fort; how the attacking force was driven back with great loss; how our lines were restored, and more than restored, for our troops captured the entrenched Confederate picket line and thus rendered easier the capture of the entire hostile works in our front a few days later.

Slowly the time passed away and the time for active operations was approaching. With artillery firing by day and picket shooting by night, it was with us something like a continuous engagement. To the time of the attack on Fort Stedman, we expected, and had been given to understand from corps headquarters, that should an attempt be made to break our lines, it would doubtless be at our redoubt. The nearness of the hostile lines at this point, and the unvarying reports from deserters that the line at this point was being mined, gave coloring to the idea that this was the spot where a breach might be attempted. This called for constant care and watchfulness ; but we found that even hell was not without its amenities. We read, played cards, told stories, and sometimes

extracted pleasure from what we knew to be our greatest source of danger. When the boys heard the thud of the mortar battery they would watch for the missile, and from its course and its position when it commenced to approach the ground, they would guess or rather calculate where it would land. If they made up their minds that it was coming into the works they would dive into their ” gopher holes ” for safety, but if they concluded it would go over us they would climb upon the works and watch its effects upon the infantry camp at the rear.

But the bloody drama was drawing near its close. The desperate attack on Stedman and its repulse had convinced our leaders that General Lee would retire from his line, as soon as the condition of the roads would permit, and establish himself farther south. The Army of the Potomac was confident that this was to be the last campaign. Troops were withdrawn from the works, except a thin line to hold them, and a combined movement of infantry and cavalry was made toward the left, the result of which need not here be repeated. On the first day of April, orders were received to attack the works in our front on the following morning. We threw shot and shell upon them during the night to which they warmly responded. In the morning a column of Zouaves charged up the Jerusalem Plank Road and captured Fort Mahone, the guns of which, manned by men of our battery, were turned upon the enemy. General Potter was wounded in the fort this morning and was placed upon a campbed in our bomb-proof. General Chamberlain had been severely wounded here the year previous. We fired about a thousand rounds of shot and shell between Saturday night and Sunday night, Captain Twitchell of the battery being in command and at daylight on the morning of the third of April, with other troops, we entered Petersburg, and passing through, followed on in pursuit of Lee’s retreating army.

We were in the works before Petersburg nine months and fifteen days, and in Fort Sedgwick, four months and one day. The reason why this redoubt was called Fort Hell, is not fully settled. Some have supposed it was so called because the rebels,

when they chose, could make it very hot for us, and this is indeed a plausible reason. But I incline to the opinion that it was first so called by General Hunt, chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac. The story runs thus: Soon after the work was built, General Hunt was riding along the line, and coming to this new redoubt, asked the guard its name. ” Fort Tilton, sir,” responded the guard. Now it was not the practise on that line, to name forts in honor of living generals, and when General Hunt heard as the name of the works, the name of a general then living and on duty, exhibiting that disgust in face and voice which he no doubt felt, he exclaimed, ” Fort Hell!” and Fort Hell it was ever after, in common parlance, though on the plan it was named Fort Sedgwick in honor of the gallant commander of the Sixth Corps who fell at Spotsylvania.

Source:

  1. WAR PAPERS READ BEFORE THE STATE OF MAINE COMMANDERY OF THE MILITARY ORDER OF THE LOYAL LEGION OF THE UNITED STATES, Volume 1, pages 145-160

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