The Advocate October 10, 1861

Dublin Core


The Advocate October 10, 1861


21st New York Regiment


21st New York Regiment


The Advocate


October 10, 1861

Text Item Type Metadata



We found the 21st on the southwestern slope of Upton's Hill, about eight miles from Washington, and about four and a half miles in advance of their former camp. They had come forward on Saturday evening, marching, for the last two miles, at "double quick time," their gal laut Colonel in advance, with the expectation of finding the enemy making a stand on the hill. The rebels, however, fled at their approach. I am sure from what I heard, that in that enthusiastic and general advance on Saturday, the 21st was the first to cross the enemy's line, and that they displayed the most commendable gallantry in preparation for the anticipated battle.


I shall not soon forget the cordiality with which both the officers and men welcomed in. to the camp, and the generous and fraternal kindness with which they have treated me during my stay. They are a noble Regiment. Both their field and line officers have proved themselves abundantly equal to their positions, and by their care and drill of their men, have secured the highest enconiums of the leading officers of the army. The Regiment is an honor to Buffalo. I shall, hereafter, speak more particularly of the peculiar qualifications of the officers for their work. To do so in this letter would tend it too far.


Yesterday, at 9 o'clock, A. M., by previous arrangement, I went with the left wing of the Regiment, Major Drew commanding, to Mason' Hill, about a mile and a half distant from the camp, where, under the supervision of the Major, preparations had been made for the construction of a new Fort. The site is on the extremity of the hill, which is quite in advance of both Munson's and Upton's Hills, and commands, for a considerable distance, the road leading from Falls Church to Fairfax. It had been arranged for a formal inauguration ceremony; so the men, shovels in hand, were drawn up on the line staked out for the walls. Col. Rogers in a brief, appropriate and effective speech, stated the purpose and importance of the work to be erected, and closed by assuring the men that, as this was the first fort they had been called upon to construct, they should have the privilege of naming it. The purpose of the officers had been to give it the name of Fort Buffalo, and this name had "been whispered around among the men. Dttt no sooner was the privilege of naming it 'accorded to thein by the Colonel, than one of them proposed the name Fort Rogers. The Colonel generously and earnestly interposed, suggesting Buffalo; bnt the word "Rogers" rung out 'continuously along the whole line, and when the question was put in form by Major Drew, it was adopted with such an enthusiastic and vociferous affirmation, as must have excited the curiosity of the rebel pickets on the neighboring hills. Being called out by the Colonel, I tried to respond to the high compliment which the men had so heartily awarded to him, after which Chaplin Robie and Major Drew made eloquent and characteristic speeches to the men. The Colonel then, with appropriate ceremony, hove the first shovel ot earth, alter which all the men not excluding the Chaplain and the writer participated in the work, each one striving to heave the second shovel of earth. It was the first fort in the construction of which I ever took part.


The maximum number of the Regiment reported on the sick list on a single day, since its encampment in Virginia, is one hundred and seventy two. This number was reached while the camp was in Fort Runyon. Ague and Fever, caused doubtless by the malaria of the locality, was the prevailing disease. No sooner had the troops removed from that Fort, than the sicknew began to diminish. I gleaned the following from the Surgeon's -official record of yesterday:
Intermittent Fever. (Ague.) 12
Sequel to ' " " Diarrhea, 20
Dysentery, 6
Colds, 5
Injuries, 3
Miscellaneous, 9

Total, 57

Of these. Company A, reported 6 ; Co. B, 6 ; C o. C, 4; Co. D, 8; Co. E. 5; Co. F, 4; Co. G, 9; Co. H, 3; Co. I, 9; Co. K, 3. Besides these, there were two (Capt. Clinton and Ensign Gail) of Co. F, sick in the Seminary Hospital at Georgetown. With the exception of the two last named, all were in the camp; none of them seriously sick; and only ten of them in the camp hospital. The daily list of those reported sick, is gradually diminishing.


It is a remarkable fact, and one which speaks most complimentarily of the present medical supervision of the Regiment, that, up to this date, not a single death has occurred from ordinary disease. Only three deaths have occurred, viz., one by drowning, (at Elmira,) and two by hydrophobia, (at Fort Runyon.)


The present Camp Hospital of the 21st, consists of two strong tents, each about fourteen or fifteen feet square. Another one is needed, and will probably soon be furnished, The hospital force consists of Surgeon Chas. H. Wilcox, (of Buffalo,) Asst. Surgeon, Jos. A. Peters, (of Da rien,) Hospital steward, Wm. C. Gould, (of Buffalo,) three nurses, and one cook. By the generosity of a noble hearted citizen of Buffalo, the tents are supplied with mattresses, and many other little articles which contribute largely to the convenience and comforts of the sick The chest of medicines is kept supplied by the Government. There are also kept constantly on hand, both a wheel and hand ambulance for the removal of the sick and wounded ; also an abundance of lint, bandages, and other appliances ready for use. We saw the utility of some of these appliances, on Thursday last, when the news came to the camp that one of the men engaged in chopping, a mile and a half distant had been severely injured by the falling of a tree. Immediately both the ambulances were despatched to the place, Dr. Wilcox hastily galloping before, and in a brief time the Injured man arrived at the hospital, where the necessary treatment was at once administered.


At 8 o'clock, A. M., each morning, the drum beats the "sick call," at which time one of the sergeants of each company presents himself, with a list of the sick in his company, at the door of the hospital tent. These lists are then called by either the Surgeon or his assistant, the case of each man reported sick is examined and prescribed for as his name is called, and the list check ed and returned U the sergeant. In case the examination shows any one to lo improperly reported, the Surgeon strikes his name from the list, on the return of which le is ordered on duty for the day. Tho examinations which I witnessed, were thorough and yet kind, and tho pi-c scriptions and counsel apparently judicious and timely. I was especially pleased with the care of the Surgeon to give as little medicine as possible and to insist upon cleanliness of person and carefulness of diet. The Surgeon makes a daily record of the name and ailment of each person reputed sick. After the completion of the examinations, w Inch usually requires consul. Table time, The Surgeon devotes the balance of the day to :i visitation of the several tents, and in supervising the w ork of the hospital. His post is one of real labor as well ns one of great responsibility. I am gratified to be able to add, after sufficient observation, that the sanitary and surgical department of the 21st could scarcely have fallen into letter hands. Dr. Wilcox is an indefatigable worker and has secured the fullest confidence of the members of tho Regiment. His success in his department is well known at General Wadsworth's head-quarters, as was fully attested yesterday by an official note requesting Dr. Wil cox to perform, hereafter, the duties of Brigade Surgeon. As soon as this new appointment was rumored through the camp, much anxiety was felt lest he would resign his present post hut he generously assured all who inquired that he should not, for the present at least, accept any appointment that would take him away from the 21st. Having so excellent an assistant as Dr. Peters, 'he will probably be able to perform the duties of both hospitals.


After thorough observation, I am satisfied that the troops are well clothed, well fed, and well paid. As to food, it is good in quality, and abundant in measure. The men, too. with scarcely an exception, are well satisfied with it; indeed I have found but one. thus far, who has passed a single criticism on either their officers or supplies. All are contented, cheerful and full of hope.


But it is a late hour, and I must close. Tomorrow is the sabbath and will be my first in camp. I must preserve some pleasing incidents of the men here, for another letter. I hope to leave on Monday, and be at home again by the middle of the week. I will only add now that thus far, my visit to the regiment has afforded me unabated pleasure .



“The Advocate October 10, 1861,” Mapping the Civil War in Arlington, accessed June 16, 2024,

Output Formats