Sunday, February 28, 2016



  Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteers

          B. F. Blakeslee wrote the History of the Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteers” (1875) which told about the Connecticut unit’s service during the Civil War, including time spent in North Carolina. The following is one of the stories from that book:
In January 1964, several companies of the Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteers boarded the steamers S. R. Spalding and Vidette in Portsmouth, VA on their way to Plymouth, Washington County, NC.
            “The weather was very fine and we had merry times and a fine sail around Cape Hatteras, reaching Morehead city on the morning of the 23rd and proceeded thence by rail to New Berne. We left New Berne at midnight on the “John Farron” for Plymouth, and arrived there at midnight on the 24th.” The Connecticut volunteers conducted several raids in the area of Plymouth “which the men enjoyed very much, as they had exciting times in breaking up rebel cavalry camps and capturing and burning up large quantities of cotton and tobacco, besides taking a number of prisoners.” The Union troops conducted “such fine dress parades that it called forth the entire town every evening.”
Plymouth 1864
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 14 May 1864 Page 116
            Blakelee included in his chapter about Plymouth the following story that was first written by Serg’t Maj. Robert H. Kellogg:
            “There;s one thing, at least, to be said in favor of Plymouth. It was the home of a few ‘true blue,’ loyal Southerners—a very few, however. They were hard to find, and I fear they are yet. The loyal men before spoken of, and some who were not loyal, were blessed with numerous daughters, fair to behold, but apt to hav a few little weaknesses, such as ‘dipping snuff’ and smoking corn cob pipes. One of these men lvied in a small house half way between the camp of the 16th and the western or left end of the town, and was blessed (or cursed, I doubt if he knew which at times,) with three daughters, and pretty ones they were. ‘The prettiest girls I’ve seen yet!’ was the emphatic declaration of each succeeding man who was lucky enough by dine of long watching or shrewd stratagem to get a peep at them. For be it know, the father was as watchful over these fair scions of his house, as any ogre, read of in fairy tales, could possibly have been over his captives. Perhaps he had read some sensation tale of ‘excesses of a brutal and licentious soldiery,’ and thereupon resolved to keep his household uncontaminated from the least approach of such an insidious foe. I can not think he had taken a good square look into the honestfaces of the 16th men, nor heard Chaplain Dixon preach to his crowded audience of boys in blue, every Sunday. At all events he seemed determined that no officer or soldier should form the acquaintance of his girls. On the other hand, or boys were quite as determined that they would become acquainted with them. But how was it to be done? That was the question which was presented to the mind of many a one who had cast ‘sheep’s eyes’ at that humble dwelling in the hope of getting a glimpse at its fair inmates. Many and various were the plans which were made, but alas!
‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,
Gang aft a –gley,
And Lea’e us naught but grief and pain,
For promised joy.’
            “None had been successful until at last one day two members of Co. ‘A’ walked coolly and boldly into the forbidden cottage. First et me give the names of the ones who did it, then I’ll tell how they did it. The persistent and successful schemers were Corporal Sam Belden, (remembered by every one of his surviving comrades toay and by many friends in this vicinity,) and Private John Quinn. And this was ‘the way the fort was taken.’ After much polishing of buttons and brushing of uniforms, they obtained possession of the Company Clothing book and another volume of similar size, which they fond in the Orderly Sergeant’s tent’ and on a pleasant afternoon quietly left the camp, unnoticed, and proceeded to the scene of interest. A modest knock at the door brought out ‘pater famlias’ or ‘old tar heels’ as the unsuccessful besiegers spitefully termed him. Corporal Sam coolly informed him, with that imperturbable gravity of countenance and manner for which he was celebrated, that they were deputed by General Wessells, who was in command of the Post, to take the census of the town. There was no getting around that, for an order emanating from such a source was not to be lightly disobeyed; so they were rather ungraciously admitted to the heretofore unvisited house—couldn’t call it a mansion by any stretch of the imagination. Once seated inside, Corporal Sam as spokesman, commenced a series of questions which the U. S. Census commissioners would have hard work to equal, private Q. jotting down the replies of the blushing and confused girls, and of the astonished father. Of course, by this cool and ingenious method they obtained the names of all, their ages, and other interesting information, and moreoever they did it all with such suavity, and conducted themselves with such gentlemanly deportment, that from that day they were invited, happy, envied, and regular visitors at the forbidden house.”

[Taken from History of the Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteers, (1875) by B. F. Blakeslee . The book was found at ]

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