Fifteen days after President Lincoln's call for volunteers, the first Herkimer County men arrived in Albany. This regiment, the 34th New York Volunteers, was made up of men from the Mohawk Valley eager to see the war end. Five Newport men were among their number. Before a shot was fired, Newport lost its first man. Orrin Haskell was discharged and sent home. He has the distinction of being the only member of the 34th New York who lied about his age. There were probably many others who did this but they were never discovered. Later, John Martin deserted at Poolsville, Maryland. Of the remaining three, only Robert F. Sanford would return to Newport unharmed. Isaac G. Campbell was wounded at White Oak Swamp and Willett M. Benchley was wounded at Antietam.
At the reunion of the old 34th regiment soldiers at Herkimer the 17th ult., but five of the Norway Co. C. were present; they were Ed. Snyder, Charles Rathbun, Daniel Embody, Charles A. Willoughby, and Charles B. Barton. Of the latter the Herkimer Citizen says: "The color sergeant of this regiment, Charles B. Barton, of Corey, Penn., was present at the re-union Tuesday and carried the stars and stripes as bravely as he did in the bloody days of sixty-one. Barton enlisted in Co. C. from the town of Norway when he was twenty-six years of age. He seemed to bear a charmed life in the army and carried the company colors to many a victory. At the battle of Antietam he was wounded seven times and twice left for dead on the field. He was confined in a hospital four months after this battle. He is now a policeman in the city of Corey, Pa., and came 350 miles to meet the old boys who fought with him." (From: Norway Tidings, Vol. 3, No. 10, October 1889. Reprinted and copyright 1987 by The Kuyahoora Valley Historical Society)
At about the time the enlistment of the 34th New York was to expire, another regiment had arrived in Virginia from Herkimer and Otsego Counties. Although many men volunteered out of a sincere desire to serve their country, some were swayed by the $200 bounty being offered. This was a considerable sum in 1862 as the average pay for a soldier was $l0 to $12 a month. Dr Daniel M. Holt offered his services and was appointed Assistant Surgeon and the following men joined Company C of the 121st New York Volunteers:
The 121st New York Volunteers fought in every major battle in the east from Fredericksburg to Appomattox. Led by Colonel Emory Upton, the unit saw severe fighting at Chancellorsville where they suffered more casualties than any other Union regiment in that battle. The following year the 121st New York was the lead regiment in a column that stormed the rebel works at Spotsylvania. The same year, 1864, the 121st New York served in the Shenendoah Valley with General Sheridan.
The only other regiment to draw a sizeable amount of men from Newport was the 152nd New York Volunteers. The first action the unit saw was at New York City. The l52nd New York was one of several regiments sent to restore order because of the Draft Riots in the summer of 1863. The unit later went to Virginia where they participated in the fighting at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. The following list illustrates the results of these battles:
Hulburt Norton - killed May 12, 1864 at Spotsylvania
A complete list of Newport Civil War Veterans may never be possible as men had their choice of what regiments they wished to join. Some, like Partick Brasall, Anson Robinson and Harry Vanorman went to Utica to join the 97th "Oneida" Regiment. Thomas Cullen, Robert Galway, Thomas Murphy and William William joined the 18th New York Cavalry. Their names may be forgotten but their sacrifices are remembered.
© 1991 The Newport Historical Society
3/17/00 From Nan Sicotte