Honor guard at an in-camp Civil War wedding?

Lisa Murphy

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Honor Guard, Civil War
Photo from the New Market Historical Society https://www.newmarketnhhistoricalsociety.org/profiles/orrin-dow/

In a novel I am writing, I am describing a (fictional) wedding in the 31st Illinois Regiment, in camp. I understand that an honor guard was sometimes present at ceremonial occasions, and I saw one mentioned in an article about Civil War wediings, though I can't seem to find the mention, to my frustration.

Does anyone know if honor guards were used this way, and how?
 

Lisa Murphy

Corporal
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Location
Washington State
View attachment 408443
Honor Guard, Civil War
Photo from the New Market Historical Society https://www.newmarketnhhistoricalsociety.org/profiles/orrin-dow/

In a novel I am writing, I am describing a (fictional) wedding in the 31st Illinois Regiment, in camp. I understand that an honor guard was sometimes present at ceremonial occasions, and I saw one mentioned in an article about Civil War wediings, though I can't seem to find the mention, to my frustration.

Does anyone know if honor guards were used this way, and how?
Ah ha! Found it, right here on the site: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/weddings-in-camp-victorian-life-goes-on.131395/#post-1475575 Posted by JPK Hudson Feb 2017.
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Has anyone particiapted in an honor guard? Does the person being so honored walk before, in the middle, or behind the guards? Any particular usual ceremonial behaviors to being an honor guard? I can't find a description of a Civil War honor guard, but here is one of a CW color guard in battle, which I understand might be very similar:

Taken from the website of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers:

INFANTRY TACTICS.*
TITLE I.
ARTICLE I.
FORMATION OF INFANTRY IN ORDER OF BATTLE.

COLOR-GUARD.

43.
In each battalion the color-guard will be composed of eight corporals, and posted on the left of the right-centre company, of which company, for the time being, the guard will make a part.

44. The front-rank will be composed of a sergeant to be selected by the colonel, who will be called, for the time, color-bearer, with the two ranking corporals, respectively, on his right and left; the rear-rank will be composed of the three corporals next in rank; and the three remaining corporals will be posted in their rear, and on the line of file closers. The left guide of the color company, when these three last named corporals are in the rank of file closers, will be immediately on their left.

45. In battalions with less than five companies present, there will be no color-guard, and no display of colors, except it may be at reviews.

46. The corporals for the color-guard will be selected from those most distinguished for regularity and precision, as well in their positions under arms as in their marching. The latter advantage, and a just carriage of the person, are to be more particularly sought for in the selection of the color-bearer.

* Casey, Brig.-Gen. Silas. Infantry Tactics for the Instruction, Exercise, Manoeuvres of the Soldier, a Company, Line of Skirmishers, Battalion, Brigade, or Corps d’ Armée, vol. 1. New York, New York and Washington, D.C.: D. Van Nostrand for the U.S. War Department, 1862.
 

John Hartwell

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The Color Guard's duty is to defend the regimental colors (flags), and is a very different thing from a "guard of honor" at any non-military event.

At a wedding, friends of the groom (or bride) might well form an informal ceremonial guard, with permission of the commanding officer, of course. And, it would probably take place not in camp, but at some convenient nearby locale. Certainly it would be the wedding of an officer. An enlisted man being permitted to marry while on duty is, perhaps, unheard of. [One hesitates to say "never," but ...]
 

Lisa Murphy

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Location
Washington State
"Has anyone particiapted in an honor guard? Does the person being so honored walk before, in the middle, or behind the guards? Any particular usual ceremonial behaviors to being an honor guard?"

It was probably up to the bride and her wedding planner :smoke:
Ahhh... bridezilla. Yes, and Sergeant Wedding Planner. Hopefully they escaped that during the in-camp-weddings!
 

Lisa Murphy

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Location
Washington State
The Color Guard's duty is to defend the regimental colors (flags), and is a very different thing from a "guard of honor" at any non-military event.

At a wedding, friends of the groom (or bride) might well form an informal ceremonial guard, with permission of the commanding officer, of course. And, it would probably take place not in camp, but at some convenient nearby locale. Certainly it would be the wedding of an officer. An enlisted man being permitted to marry while on duty is, perhaps, unheard of. [One hesitates to say "never," but ...]
Thank you, Major! So I see just how exceptional this event I am imagining might be. The "honor guard" of twelve soldiers, mentioned in the clipped article above (description of an in-camp-wedding) was indeed for an officer: Captain Daniel Hart. Would this type of guard ever be used for an NCO, a corporal, for example? Do I have to promote the groom before the wedding?
 

John Hartwell

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Thank you, Major! So I see just how exceptional this event I am imagining might be. The "honor guard" of twelve soldiers, mentioned in the clipped article above (description of an in-camp-wedding) was indeed for an officer: Captain Daniel Hart. Would this type of guard ever be used for an NCO, a corporal, for example? Do I have to promote the groom before the wedding?
It would be exceptional for anyone. Note in your clipping, the 'honor guard' are all officers ... doubtless friends of the groom. It was done as a personal favor, not a 'military' undertaking at all.

I suppose an enlisted soldier's friends might do something similar for him, but strictly on an infofmal basis. All would likely be of equal or lower rank to the groom: perhaps standing at attention, lining the path as the couple leaves the chapel. If the wedding took place at home, while the men were on furlough, it might be much more likely.
 

Lisa Murphy

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It would be exceptional for anyone. Note in your clipping, the 'honor guard' are all officers ... doubtless friends of the groom. It was done as a personal favor, not a 'military' undertaking at all.

I suppose an enlisted soldier's friends might do something similar for him, but strictly on an infofmal basis. All would likely be of equal or lower rank to the groom: perhaps standing at attention, lining the path as the couple leaves the chapel. If the wedding took place at home, while the men were on furlough, it might be much more likely.
Excellent. Thank you! Why all equal or lower rank? Perhaps a strange question, but not being military, I'm not sure I understand. Would officers never honor their men by attending a private function with them?
 

Lisa Murphy

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It would be exceptional for anyone. Note in your clipping, the 'honor guard' are all officers ... doubtless friends of the groom. It was done as a personal favor, not a 'military' undertaking at all.

I suppose an enlisted soldier's friends might do something similar for him, but strictly on an infofmal basis. All would likely be of equal or lower rank to the groom: perhaps standing at attention, lining the path as the couple leaves the chapel. If the wedding took place at home, while the men were on furlough, it might be much more likely.
So here is an article from Harper's Weekly, published at the time of the war, describing an in-camp wedding of a Captain de Hart that General Hooker attended, the Captain/groom being part of Hooker's old regiment:

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/april/camp-wedding.htm

"A WEDDING IN CAMP.​

WE reproduce on page 216 a picture of Mr. Waud's, representing A MARRIAGE IN THE CAMP OF THE SEVENTH NEW JERSEY VOLUNTEERS in the Army of the Potomac. Mr. Waud writes:

"An event to destroy the monotony of life in one of Hooker's old regiments. The camp was very prettily decorated, and being very trimly arranged among the pines, was just the camp a visitor would like to see. A little before noon the guests began to arrive in considerable numbers. Among them were Generals Hooker, Sickles, Carr, Mott, Hobart Ward, Revere, Bartlett, Birney, Berry, Colonel Dickinson, and other aids to General Hooker; Colonels Burling, Farnham, Egan, etc. Colonel Francine and Lieutenant-Colonel Price, of the Seventh, with the rest of the officers of that regiment, proceeded to make all welcome, and then the ceremony commenced. In a hollow square formed by the troops a canopy was erected, with an altar of drums, officers grouped on each side of this. On General Hooker's arrival the band played Hail to the Chief, and on the approach of the bridal party the Wedding March. It was rather cold, windy, and threatened snow, altogether tending to produce a slight pink tinge on the noses present; but the ladies bore it with courage, and looked, to the unaccustomed eyes of the soldiers, like real angels in their light clothing. To add to the dramatic force of the scene, the rest of the brigade and other troops were drawn up in line of battle not more than a mile away to repel an expected attack from Fredericksburg. Few persons are wedded under more romantic circumstances than Nellie Lammond and Captain De Hart. He could not get leave of absence, so she came down like a brave girl, and married him in camp. After the wedding was a dinner, a ball, fire-works, etc.; and on the whole it eclipsed entirely an opera at the Academy of Music in dramatic effect and reality."

Perhaps things have changed in the military since then? Perhaps the war itself, that altered so many conventions, made a dent in protocol as well? Just trying to get a grip on what might have been possible...
 

John Hartwell

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Excellent. Thank you! Why all equal or lower rank? Perhaps a strange question, but not being military, I'm not sure I understand. Would officers never honor their men by attending a private function with them?
There is a vast, almost unbridgeable gulf between officers and enlisted men. A private, for example, was expected to ask permission to address his colonel. There are individual exceptions, of course, particularly among volunteer junior officers. It gets much deeper as rank increases. I can see an officer attending an enlisted man's wedding as a guest (sharing the limelight with the bride and groom). But as part of an 'honor guard'? No. It would be beneath his dignity as "an officer and a gentleman."

BTW: after the war you find veterans forming "Regimental Associations," to continue their comradeship. In many cases, senior officers would wish them well, but decline to join as being undignified to rub elbows with one's inferiors. As time went on, this was less and less the case,
 

lupaglupa

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I could see an officer coming to the wedding - a quick drop in to extend congratulations, maybe. It would have been seen as a BIG honor to the couple.

It's hard for us modern day folks to understand the rigidity of the class system, even in the USA where there were no titles.
 

Lisa Murphy

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Washington State
There is a vast, almost unbridgeable gulf between officers and enlisted men. A private, for example, was expected to ask permission to address his colonel. There are individual exceptions, of course, particularly among volunteer junior officers. It gets much deeper as rank increases. I can see an officer attending an enlisted man's wedding as a guest (sharing the limelight with the bride and groom). But as part of an 'honor guard'? No. It would be beneath his dignity as "an officer and a gentleman."

BTW: after the war you find veterans forming "Regimental Associations," to continue their comradeship. In many cases, senior officers would wish them well, but decline to join as being undignified to rub elbows with one's inferiors. As time went on, this was less and less the case,
Groucho Marx from his autobiography Groucho and Me :
"I sent the club a wire stating, 'PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER'."
 

Lisa Murphy

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I could see an officer coming to the wedding - a quick drop in to extend congratulations, maybe. It would have been seen as a BIG honor to the couple.

It's hard for us modern day folks to understand the rigidity of the class system, even in the USA where there were no titles.
Yes, hard to grasp indeed. So the general and officers mentioned in the Harper's Weekly wedding ceremony of Captain de Hart (above) would come as guests then... It seemed from the article that they were quite integrated into the ceremony, standing on either side of the alter etc.. .

( ..."A little before noon the guests began to arrive in considerable numbers. Among them were Generals Hooker, Sickles, Carr, Mott, Hobart Ward, Revere, Bartlett, Birney, Berry, Colonel Dickinson, and other aids to General Hooker; Colonels Burling, Farnham, Egan, etc. Colonel Francine and Lieutenant-Colonel Price, of the Seventh, with the rest of the officers of that regiment, proceeded to make all welcome, and then the ceremony commenced. In a hollow square formed by the troops a canopy was erected, with an altar of drums, officers grouped on each side of this. On General Hooker's arrival the band played Hail to the Chief, and on the approach of the bridal party the Wedding March...")
 

John Hartwell

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That was an extraordinary wedding. Capt. deHart (or his bride) was probably related to somebody very important. It would be interesting to learn the social dynamics behind it all. The names of the attending generals seem to be the backbone of the Hookerite faction in the Army of the Potomac. Methinks there was some high-level army politicking going on there.
 

Lisa Murphy

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That was an extraordinary wedding. Capt. deHart (or his bride) was probably related to somebody very important. It would be interesting to learn the social dynamics behind it all. The names of the attending generals seem to be the backbone of the Hookerite faction in the Army of the Potomac.
It must have been. Here is drawing of the wedding, reproduced everywhere but originally from the Harper's Weekly article noted above:
1626822420472.png

Cool that the regimental "7th New Jersey" is represented above the canopy, the flags at the corners of the canopy, the officers at the sides, and just a peek of the common soldiers ranked in rows off to the right of the drawing. It all looks very "military" to a civilian eye, though I'm sure a military eye might see it quite differently.

This is supposedly a photo of Captain De Hart: (https://www.jamesmountainantiques.com/product/cdv-capt-daniel-hart-7th-nj-infantry/). He is listed on that site as "Inspector of 3rd Division, 3rd AC, and later Captain in 25th U.S. Infantry-Buffalo Soldiers." Looking around through the internet to find more about him...
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Lisa Murphy

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Washington State
A long, detailed account of this wedding is attached below, from the March 15, 1863, N.Y. Herald. Unfortunately it is poorly printed and difficult (thoughnot impossible) to read.
Captain De Hart is called "one of the most popular officers in the brigade" in the article. Perhaps this explains the event. And the regiment is described as "one of Hooker's old regiments", so perhaps he had a special fondness for it, though (looking at the history of the 7th NJ Volunteers, it does not look as though Hooker was involved in forming it). The article describes several colonels as groomsmen, and the wedding party, as they advanced to the alter, being recieved by the regiment with a "present arms"... My heavens! Guns up, for the occasion! And then after the ceremony, the chaplain who did the blessings was presented with a medal for his courage at the battle of Williamsburg. General Hooker himself gave the medal.

I tried to find info on the bride, called "Nellie Lammond" in one news article and "Miss Helen A. Lammond" in another. She was apparently from Washington (the political one, not the tree-covered one), so perhaps her family was important? So far, no good on finding her through an internet search. ...
 
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