Brothers One and All
Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Cover, Title Page, Copyright
First and foremost, my sincere thanks go to the many descendants and friends of the 154th New York cited in the bibliography and illustration credits for sharing letters, diaries, memoirs, photographs, relics, and other materials with me. I wish I could name...
Introduction: This Little Band
On June 23, 1865, approximately 325 members of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry gathered before their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis D. Warner, at a military depot in Elmira, New York. The Civil War was over; the victorious Union armies were disbanding...
Part One: Home Ties
1. Demographics and Identity
On the night of July 31, 1862, a crowd of more than three hundred citizens of East Otto, New York—about a quarter of the township’s population— jammed the Baptist church at a crossroads hamlet, filling the pews and blocking the aisles...
2. Lines of Communication
A pall, never to be lifted, fell over the Merrill homestead in Dayton on the news of the killing of Barzilla and Alva. Over the years of the war, many homes in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua would plunge into mourning on receiving similar tidings of death...
3. Friends and Foes
After receiving some sort of slight from townspeople in Yorkshire Center a few weeks after her husband left for the front, Mary Chittenden sat down to compose a sad letter. “I had my feelings hurt very much this morning,” she confided, “& O Wm. how my heart went forth to the absent one it seemed...
Part Two: War Ties
4. Comrades, Cowards, and Survivors
When he reached Atlanta and joined the 154th New York in the autumn of 1864, new recruit John Langhans immediately looked up an old friend from home, veteran soldier John Dicher. Two years had passed since they last saw each other, but they quickly rekindled...
5. Enduring Hardships
More than three hundred soldiers stood beside the stalwart eleven at the muster-out and discharge of the 154th New York. They too were survivors, and in many respects the ordeals they had endured exceeded in hardship the travails of the eleven who had stuck with the regiment throughout...
6. On the Battlefield
While the 154th New York was camped at Falmouth in December 1862, after only two months in the service, Captain Simeon V. Pool’s Company B was temporarily detached from the regiment to guard a battery. The artillerymen— veterans of several...
7. The Wounded, Captured, and Dead
With comradely compassion, soldiers instinctively extended a helping hand to the casualties of battle. Esprit de corps moved men to rescue wounded comrades from the battlefield, to visit and care for them in the hospital, and to notify loved ones of their condition...
8. In Camp and Beyond
The soldier’s life was not always clouded by the storms of hardship, battle, and death. Months at a time were spent in camp during the winters of 1862– 1863 and 1863–1864, and even the hyperkinetic General Sherman allowed his army occasional periods of rest during...
9. Shoulder Straps and Courts-Martial
An able, efficient, and respected officer corps was essential to regimental esprit de corps. The field and staff officers and company-grade line officers held the critical responsibilities of training, disciplining, and leading the enlisted men—and inspiring them by example in combat...
10. Morale and Regimental Pride [Contains Image Plates]
The term esprit de corps is sometimes used as a synonym for morale. But while esprit de corps specifically refers to the spirit of loyalty and pride among the members of a group, morale generally signifies the psychological state of an individual or group in reaction to current...
Part Three: Veteran Ties
11. E. D. Northrup and the Betrayal of Esprit de Corps
For the rest of their lives, until they were stooped and gray and wobbling over canes, Union veterans remained the Boys in Blue. As the years passed, they made excursions to their old battlefields, marched in parades and raised monuments in home towns to honor...