Stamford in the American Civil War
American Civil War (1861-1865)
Stamford’s soldiers participated in some key battles and contributed significantly to the Union victory.
More Stamford men served in the 28th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry (188) than in any other; however, there were companies of Stamford soldiers also in the 3rd, 6th, 10th, 13th, and 17th regiments. Stamford also sent a number of African Americans to the 29th. Amongst the significant battles in which Stamford soldiers figure prominently, are 1st Bull Run, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Fort Wagner, and Port Hudson. While contributing a few officers, such as Samuel Peter Ferris, Colonel of the 28th, most Stamford men were privates who lived and fought in the trenches. Noah Webster Hoyt, in his five-volume diary, provides a glimpse of the life of sacrifice and strain faced by these men, many of whom disease claimed as victims. While most of the roughly 550 men returned hale and hearty from the field of battle, some 100 of their number died, most from disease.
Noah Webster Hoyt, a carpenter and single man, was 26 when he answered the call and became part of Company A, 28th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers and part of the last of the nine month’s regiments to be formed in the state. Noah kept a diary. His entries were accurate, informative, often humorous. Contained in five small notebooks, the simple phrases in his diaries tell the story that reaches across more than a hundred years to touch the heart.
In that first issue of the Advocate published after the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, the Advocate displayed a staunchly pro-Union position.
"Blinded by passion, the rebels have at length rushed madly on their fate," began the first column. "The Government has been patient beyond all endurance, suffering the Secessionists to plunder, purloin and appropriate to traitorous uses the public property of the Nation ... When the news first flashed over the wires last Saturday night it startled people like the falling of a sudden thunder bolt from a clear sky."
Civil War Diaries by Noah Webster Hoyt
“…May 31st,…there we sit Broiling in the Sun all day, and sleeping upon the hard baked Earth at night, with nothing for Shelter, except the heavens above, But of this we do not complain for that is nothing compared with the Pain and suffering we Endure from Wood Ticks and Fleas, it is almost an impossibility to lay down and sleep all night, without having to get up, and shake the Fleas and Wood Ticks out of your shirt and Pants.”
Book IV p. 14. Port Hudson: Living in the Field
“…I will now say a few words about the water, our water is very Poor, for it is nothing but the Drainings of the ground, and runs along through the ravines, and it is about the Color of the ground too, and we have to wash and Drink out of the Same Stream…When I say that I have seen in some Parts of that stream where we have to wash, the grease 1/8 of an inch thick on top of the water and Lice on the top of that, and also cralling along on the edge of the Stream and Sand, this as true as that the sun rises in the East…”
Book IV pp. 1-7. Port Hudson: Living in the Field
“…June 24…I lay kicking around the woods for three or four Days. Pretending to be taking Doct. Lyon Camphor and Opium Pills, for this was the only medicin he used for anybody or any Complaint, it is true I took his Pills, for I had to or else do Duty. Before I was realy able to, but I Buried them or Planted them in the ground to see if they would not grow, in Case the old Doctor should get out of Pills, for it I had Put. That he gave me, down my throat they would have had me Planted long before this…”
Book V p. 3. Port Hudson: Doctors and Medicine
“…June 4, we were marched up to the front, and for 24 hours we lay under the Rebles Breast Works, and although the Bullets flew like hail around us, we did not suffer from them as we did from the heat and the fleas, for there we lay with not a leaf to shade us… But when we were marched in to the entrenchment we thought our time had come for they opened up on us with shell…for 15 or 20 minutes we lay hugging the ground as our last Phantom of hope, expecting every moment to be our last, for the shells were Bursting above us and all around us, and had it not been for the Gun Boats opening on them as they did, I think we would have suffered Badly…”
Book IV p. 15. Port Hudson: Living in the Field