Kindnesses Remembered, (was 'His Sword Returned')

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John Hartwell

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First Lieutenant J. Evarts Greene, 15th Massachusetts Infantry was captured on October 21, 1861, along with over 200 other members of his regiment, at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. He was held for 4 months in the infamous Tobacco Warehouse in Richmond, paroled, exchanged, and returned to duty. Promoted Captain after his parole, he served with the 15th on the Peninsula, and at Antietam, before his discharge due to poor health that October. After the war, he became Postmaster of Worcester, Mass., and was also editor of the Worcester Daily Spy. The March 29, 1883, issue of that newspaper contained the following account.
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True gentlemen are always gentlemen.
btw: Capt. Singleton's regiment was the 19th Mississippi, not the 13th as the article says.
 
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John Hartwell

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This story I told here a few years back, but thought I'd add it to this thread as well:

The Battle of Roanoke Island (8 Feb 1862) was the first engagement of Burnside's "Coast Expedition" that would permanently secure much of coastal North Carolina for the Union. It was a small battle, and the very first for most of the men on both sides. After the Federals drove the defenders from their only fortified positions in the center of the island, it was really all over. The outnumbered Confederates were stranded with no way off the island, and nearly 3,000 were taken prisoner.

Arrangements were soon made for their parole. On February 18th, 2,600 men were put aboard several ships to be taken to Elizabeth City for release. Some of these were put on board the steamer New York, along with a guard from Company A, 25th Massachusetts. First Sgt. Putnam describes them: "They were gathered in their companies by their sergeants, and were put ashore as fast as possible. It was a motley crowd -- so wretchedly clad. Knapsacks and haversacks were entirely home made, with canteens made of wood. A more wretched set of men I certainly never saw. ... And yet these men fought so well in the battle of the 8th. Some of these poor fellows were sick on the boat, and we got medicine for them, and made them as comfortable as we could -- indeed they were treated like men."

Once they got ashore, "a regiment of Georgia troops found in possession of the town... were intensely indignant that their North Carolina comrades were so soon returned. They semed to think that the North Carolinians had somehow failed in their duty in the defense of Roanoke Island. The Georgia troops became the judges of the (men), ...and refused to give the returned prisoners anything to eat, and rations were actually furnished them from the U.S. vessels."

In one of the staterooms occupied by the prisoners was found a message written in pencil on the wall: "We, the non-commissioned officers of Co. K, North Carolina 8th Regiment, do give our thanks to Co. A, of the Mass. 25th, for the many acts of kindness shown by that Co. to us, and if it is ever in our power will return the same. Sergt. J. Ide, for the Company"

Two years and four months later, after the 25th Mass. had taken nearly 80% casualties in the insanity of Cold Harbor, many of "the Company A boys taken prisoner fell into the hands of North Carolina troops, some of whom were among those captured at Roanoke. On learning what regiment our boys belonged to these men treated them with all possible kindness, and nobly redeemed the promise made while our prisoners, to make return for our kindness if ever they had the opportunity."

[Quotes are from Putnam's Story of Company A, and Denny's Wearing the Blue with the 25th Mass.]

jno
 
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M.Warren

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Great story! If those Georgia boys thought they could have done better, why were they sitting safely in the town across the bay instead of helping? :giggle:

This story I told here a few years back, but thought I'd add it to this thread as well:

The Battle of Roanoke Island (8 Feb 1862) was the first engagement of Burnside's "Coast Expedition" that would permanently secure much of coastal North Carolina for the Union. It was a small battle, and the very first for most of the men on both sides. After the Federals drove the defenders from their only fortified positions in the center of the island, it was really all over. The outnumbered Confederates were stranded with no way off the island, and nearly 3,000 were taken prisoner.

Arrangements were soon made for their parole. On February 18th, 2,600 men were put aboard several ships to be taken to Elizabeth City for release. Some of these were put on board the steamer New York, along with a guard from Company A, 25th Massachusetts. First Sgt. Putnam describes them: "They were gathered in their companies by their sergeants, and were put ashore as fast as possible. It was a motley crowd -- so wretchedly clad. Knapsacks and haversacks were entirely home made, with canteens made of wood. A more wretched set of men I certainly never saw. ... And yet these men fought so well in the battle of the 8th. Some of these poor fellows were sick on the boat, and we got medicine for them, and made them as comfortable as we could -- indeed they were treated like men."

Once they got ashore, "a regiment of Georgia troops found in possession of the town... were intensely indignant that their North Carolina comrades were so soon returned. They semed to think that the North Carolinians had somehow failed in their duty in the defense of Roanoke Island. The Georgia troops became the judges of the (men), ...and refused to give the returned prisoners anything to eat, and rations were actually furnished them from the U.S. vessels."

In one of the staterooms occupied by the prisoners was found a message written in pencil on the wall: "We, the non-commissioned officers of Co. K, North Carolina 8th Regiment, do give our thanks to Co. A, of the Mass. 25th, for the many acts of kindness shown by that Co. to us, and if it is ever in our power will return the same. Sergt. J. Ide, for the Company"

Two years and four months later, after the 25th Mass. had taken nearly 80% casualties in the insanity of Cold Harbor, many of "the Company A boys taken prisoner fell into the hands of North Carolina troops, some of whom were among those captured at Roanoke. On learning what regiment our boys belonged to these men treated them with all possible kindness, and nobly redeemed the promise made while our prisoners, to make return for our kindness if ever they had the opportunity."

[Quotes are from Putnam's Story of Company A, and Denny's Wearing the Blue with the 25th Mass.]

jno
 

John Hartwell

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My own reading largely focuses on Mass. units, but if anyone else has similar stories of wartime kindnesses "generously redeemed" (during the war or long afterwards) don't hesitate to add them here. The occasional reminder of decent humanity amidst the bitterness and brutality of war can only be a good thing.

jno
 
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lelliott19

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rhettbutler1865

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First Lieutenant J. Evarts Greene, 15th Massachusetts Infantry was captured on October 21, 1861, along with over 200 other members of his regiment, at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. He was held for 4 months in the infamous Tobacco Warehouse in Richmond, paroled, exchanged, and returned to duty. Promoted Captain after his parole, he served with the 15th on the Peninsula, and at Antietam, before his discharge due to poor health that October. After the war, he became Postmaster of Worcester, Mass., and was also editor of the Worcester Daily Spy. The March 29, 1883, issue of that newspaper contained the following account.
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[/URL]
Greenesword2_zpsxbwvqyak.jpg
']
Greenesword2_zpsxbwvqyak.jpg
[/URL]
True gentlemen are always gentlemen.
btw: Capt. Singleton's regiment was the 19th Mississippi, not the 13th as the article says.
 

lelliott19

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Great story, John. Simple as that--wonderful story. Now I'm waiting for it to be "analyzed" here on the forum.:giggle:
Surely these Act of Kindness stories aren't subject to the arguments that typically erupt on this forum? :nah disagree:

IMHO I think they should "stand alone" and be taken at face value - without "analysis" and debate between people who werent there and live 150 years later. :D
 
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M.Warren

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Surely these Act of Kindness stories aren't subject to the arguments that typically erupt on this forum? :nah disagree:

IMHO I think they should "stand alone" and be taken at face value - without "analysis" and debate between people who werent there and live 150 years later. :D
Agreed, I thought Mr. Butler was referring to the genuineness of the stories, not debate on morality etc.:smile:
 
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