SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
SANTA CRUZ EVENING NEWS, TUESDAY, JULY 20, 1909.
UTICA, July 20.—Challenging General Nelson A. Miles to meet him before any body of men appointed by the Loyal Legion or by the Grand Army of the Republic, and claiming that he will prove the old General’s charges false, Major James E. Larkin, commanding the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers at the battle of Ream’s Station, has written the veterans hereabouts who attended the recent reunion of the Sixty-first Regiment, N. Y. S. V., a public letter.
It will be remembered that at the reunion General Miles characterized as base and unfounded the statement of Major Larkin, who claims that his command and not Mile’s recaptured [Mc]Knight’s battery at the battle of Ream’s Station.
Major Larkin comes back at General Miles in the following:
“I have had my attention called to a statement quoting General Miles as accusing me of having brought charges against the valor of that regiment.
“This is false; as false as the claim he makes that he, at the head of the Sixty-first New York, recaptured any of the guns of the Twelfth New York Battery at the battle of Ream’s Station, August 25, 1864. I never questioned the valor of that regiment. They were splendid fighters, never shirking any duty. I served in the same brigade with them and have the highest admiration for them. Their first commander, Colonel Barlow, was one of the bravest of men and a thorough disciplinarian.
“General Miles, in this charge, seeks to evade the real issue between us. The article says that the Sixty-first agrees with General Miles. It fails to say in what they agree. I do not believe they agree that General Miles led them in a fierce charge, turning the tide of that battle, and recaptured the guns, and then left the guns for others to take from the field.
“General Miles himself admits that the guns were taken from the field by the Fifth New Hampshire Regiment. Colonel Lynch, who commanded the brigade on that day, confirms it. I have a letter written by me to my wife after the battle in which the following appears.
“I succeeded in rallying about twenty men around the colors, charging back nearly to where we were driven from, retaking the guns, driving the enemy and taking the guns from the field.”
“I have challenged General Miles to meet me before any body of men appointed by the Loyal Legion or by the Grand Army of the Republic, and I will prove his statements false. I can fully substantiate the truth of the claim I make in regard to the recapturing of the guns at the battle of Ream’s Station.
“I am very desirous to communicate with any of the members of the Sixty-first New York who were present at their reunion held in Norwich, N. Y., June 2.
“MAJOR JAMES E. LARKIN, commanding Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers at the battle of Ream’s Station.”
The members of the Sixty-first who attended the reunion in Norwich claimed emphatically that their regiment recaptured the guns, and that while they were driving the enemy further back, Major Larkin’s regiment came up behind and drew the guns away.