Hello from Chicago/1st Minnesota and 4th Vermont descendant


Sergeant Major
Apr 17, 2013
Hi everyone, a hello from Chicago. My name/existence comes directly down from two Civil War veterans, Henry D. O'Brien with the 1st Minnesota and Edward W. Carter with the 4th Vermont, so happy to find this place!

Welcome from Chicago. PM me about joining our local Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Our next big event will be honoring the Union Dead at Rosehill Cemetery on the north side on Memorial Day. By the way, anybody who wants to can join us; we start off at 9:00 am or so at the site of the Illinois Guys who were with Thomas at the Rock of Chickamagua and then move to the monument for the Chicago Light Artillery (which we raised the money for its restoration) and fire off our cannon. We have (you should excuse the expression) a blast.


Dec 13, 2011
Sneaky. You didn't mention that O'Brien won the Medal of Honor at Gettysburg.


Henry D. O'Brien

Residence was not listed;
Enlisted at St Anthony Falls, MN as a Private (date unknown).

On 4/29/1861 he mustered into "E" Co. MN 1st Infantry
He was transferred out on 3/1/1864

On 3/1/1864 he mustered into "B" Co. MN 1st Battn Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 7/14/1865 at Fort Snelling, MN

He was listed as:
* Wounded 7/3/1863 Gettysburg, PA
* Wounded 8/14/1864 Deep Bottom Run, VA

* Corpl
* 2nd Lieut 5/12/1864
* Capt 4/10/1865 (As of Co. A)
* Major 7/1/1865 (1st Battn MN Inf)

Intra Regimental Company Transfers:
* 4/10/1865 from company A to company B

Other Information:
born 1/21/1842 in Colois, ME
died 11/2/1902 in St Louis, MO
Buried: Bellefontaine Cemetery, St Louis, MO

Medal of Honor Information:
He was awarded the Medal of Honor
for action on 7/2/1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
(Took up colors and rushed ahead of his regiment, held
colors until wounded twice)

Sources used by Historical Data Systems, Inc.:

- Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars 1861-65
- Deeds of Valor. How our Soldier-heroes won the Medal of Honor
- Medal of Honor Recipients 1863-1994
- Congress Medal of Honor Legion of the United States
- Photo courtesy of Wayne Jorgenson
- Minnesota Adjutant General's Report of 1866
(c) Historical Data Systems, Inc. @ www.civilwardata.com

Henry D. O'Brien
Gettysburg, PA


CORPORAL HENRY D. O'BRIEN of company E, First Minnesota Infantry,
received his Medal of Honor for two acts of gallantry at the
battle of Gettysburg. On July 2d, 1863, the First Minnesota was
ordered by General Hancock to charge the Confederate forces, who
were driving in the Third Corps.

The regiment numbered 262, officers and men, when it went into
that desperate charge, but when it came out, 215 had been killed
and wounded. The charge had its due effect, however, for the
enemy's line was broken, his advance stopped, and a large number
of prisoners taken. While the Minnesota regiment was withdrawing
from between the two fires, O'Brien noticed one of his comrades,
E. R. Jefferson, drop, shot through the leg. He picked up his
wounded comrade on his back, and was carrying him to a place of
safety, when a ball struck his cartridge box plate, throwing him
to the ground. Undaunted by this, he sprang to his feet, raised
the wounded man and carried him to the rear without further

On the following day, when Pickett made his gallant but futile
charge, O'Brien had another occasion to display his heroism. The
story is well told in the official report of the commanding
officer of the First Minnesota: " Corporal Dehn, the last of our
color-guard, then carrying our tattered flag, was shot through
the hand, and the flagstaff cut in two. Corporal Henry D.
O'Brien of Company E, instantly seized the flag by the remnant of
the staff. Whether the command to charge was given by any
general officer, I do not know. My impression was, that it came
as a spontaneous outburst from the men, and instantly the line
precipitated itself upon the enemy. O'Brien, who held the broken
staff and tatters of our battle flag, with his characteristic
bravery and impetuosity sprang with it to the front at the first
sound of the word 'charge,' and ran right up to the enemy's
line, keeping the flag noticeably in advance of every other
color. My feeling, at the instant, blamed his rashness in so
risking its capture, but the effect was electrical. Every man of
the First Minnesota sprang to protect the flag, and the rest
rushed with them upon the enemy. The bayonet was used for a few
minutes, and cobble stones, with which the ground was well
covered, filled the air, being thrown by those in the rear over
the heads of their comrades. The struggle, desperate and deadly
while it lasted, was soon over. Corporal O'Brien received two
wounds in the final melee at the moment of the victory."

In this charge O'Brien was twice wounded in the head and the left
hand, but he carried his colors through the fight. In the charge
of the previous day, he received a bayonet wound in the side.

Source: Deeds of Valor, p. 250
Dec 31, 2010
Kingsport, Tennessee
Hi everyone, a hello from Chicago. My name/existence comes directly down from two Civil War veterans, Henry D. O'Brien with the 1st Minnesota and Edward W. Carter with the 4th Vermont, so happy to find this place!

Charles Cummings

Residence Brattleboro VT;
Enlisted on 8/14/1862 as a 1st Lieutenant.

On 8/30/1862 he was commissioned into "E" Co. VT 1st Heavy Artillery
He was discharged for promotion on 9/27/1862

On 10/12/1862 he was commissioned into Field & Staff VT 16th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 8/10/1863 at Brattleboro, VT

On 2/9/1864 he was commissioned into Field & Staff VT 17th Infantry
He was Killed on 9/30/1864 at Poplar Springs Church, VA

He was listed as:
* Wounded 5/6/1864 Wilderness, VA

* Lt Colonel 9/27/1862 (As of 16th VT Inf)
* Lt Colonel 2/9/1864 (As of 17th VT Inf)

Reports of Lieut. Col. Charles Cummings, Seventeenth
Vermont Infantry, of operations June 12-July 30.

Near Petersburg, June 20, 1864.
SIR: The Ninth Army Corps left their intrenchments near Cold Harbor
at dark on the night of the 12th and with but four hours' sleep arrived
near James River on the night of the 14th. We here halted until 8 p.m.
of the following day, when we moved toward the river, crossing at 11 p.m.

At noon of the 16th we reached the present battle-ground, after a march
of twenty-two miles, during which our ranks were rapidly depleted from
hard marching on very short rations. At 6 p.m. the Second Brigade,
Second Division, was drawn up in line of battle in support of a portion
of the Second Corps, then about to make a charge. This charge proving
unsuccessful we were moved around on the right flank to hold ground
wrested from the enemy by Birney's division, of the same corps. In the
night it was determined to assault the enemy's position on the center,
where a battery, supported by strong rifle-pits, was protected by a house
and outbuildings and supported by a six-gun redoubt a little way toward
our left, and at a point where the enemy's line turned nearly a right
angle. This assault was confided to the Second Division, Ninth Army
Corps, and Frank's (formerly Owen's) brigade, of the Second Corps.
When the time came for the assault, however, the Second Division alone
had the work to do. Accordingly three regiments of the First Brigade,
supported by the other three, were assigned to the easterly side of the
angle and the same disposition of the Second Brigade was made on the
northerly side.

The regiments selected to lead in the latter were the Seventeenth
Vermont, Ninth New Hampshire, and Thirty-second Maine, the
Seventeenth on the right, with instructions to take the battery. At 3 a.m.
the line was put in motion, the Seventeenth leading off. Marching up a
steep hill over Frank's brigade and the earth-works protecting their
skirmishers I reformed my line and gave the order to charge. The men
(only numbering 135 guns) rushed impetuously forward, driving the
enemy's skirmishers, and carrying a strong line of earth-works fully
manned. In less time than I can write this we had captured 2 cannon, a
caisson, 6 horses, 70 prisoners, and the colors and adjutant of the
Seventeenth Tennessee. The other 2 guns fell to the Ninth New
Hampshire, their position having been changed during the night. Our
casualties in this engagement were 5 killed and 16 wounded. Among the
killed, I regret to record, was First Lieut. Guy H. Guyer, one of
the most gallant and faithful officers in the regiment. He fell early in the
charge, shot through the left breast.

The gallantry of my officers and men in this charge would be worthy of
especial mention were it not that on that occasion there was no deviation
from their usual conduct before the enemy. I cannot refrain from
noticing the coincidence that on the anniversary of the 17th of June, the
Seventeenth Vermont captured the colors of the Seventh Tennessee,
Col. Fulton's brigade, Bushrod Johnson's division, Buckner's
(formerly of Hardee's) corps, together with guns and prisoners
numbering more than half their own men. To us the 17th of June will
hereafter have a double significance. I understand that the First Brigade
captured 2 guns (the others having been removed) and quite a number
of prisoners. This charge by the Seventeenth was warmly complimented
by our brigade and division commanders, and the entire assault has
elicited a general order,* of which the following is a copy. As the
regiment has been in advanced works and under a hot fire most of the
time since the morning of the 17th, I append a list of casualties since
last report till this morning.

I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Seventeenth Vermont.

Adjutant and Inspector Gen.


Near Petersburg, Va., August 1, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Seventeenth Vermont
Volunteers participated in an assault made by the Ninth Army Corps,
under the enemy's works in front of Petersburg, Va., on Saturday
morning, July 30, losing very heavily both in officers and men. The
blowing up of one of the enemy's forts, previously mined for the
purpose, was the signal for a terrific bombardment, under cover of
which the assault was made. The first line of works in clearing the
demolished fort was carried with but little loss, but the enemy's
batteries, instead of replying to our guns, reserved their fire for our
advance, and now commenced pouring in a withering fire of case and
canister that compelled our men to seek protection in the trenches and
the ruins of the fort. Very soon our troops were thrown in confusion,
and the enemy, advancing through
a protected way, attacked our men in the trenches and fort, both in front
and flank, and succeeded in driving us back to our original position. The
Seventeenth Vermont was commanded by Maj. William B. Reynolds,
my health having been such for some weeks as to incapacitate me from
field duty. He led the regiment on this occasion, as I am they did all
that was in their power to insure success. While bravely fighting the
enemy in their own trenches he was shot by a musket-ball in the left
breast, and soon thereafter died. His loss is deeply felt and deplored by
all the command. Lieut. William E. Martin, of Company E, was
shot through the head about the same time. He had joined the regiment
for duty but the day before, since he was wounded at the Wilderness.
He was a brave and valuable officer. Lieut. John R. Converse, of
Company H, was killed early in action. Of the eight commissioned
officers who went into the engagement not one returned to the regiment.
When the enemy regained possession of their works they took a large
number of prisoners, which largely swells the total loss. As evidence of
the severity of the action I may remark that the Second Division lost
more than half its effective force, and the Second Brigade lost in killed,
wounded, or prisoners, every regimental commander on the field.

I append a list of the casualties in the Seventeenth that occurred during
this engagement; also a list from June 20, the date of the former report,
to July 29, inclusive.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

Adjutant and Inspector Gen.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 40. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 80.]