SGT. WILBUR V. MINOTT
Herkimer County, N.Y.
Contributed by BetteJo Hall-Caldwell
Schuyler Soldier Boy
Honor in One's Own county
Sergeant Wilbur V. Minott's War Record
A Letter written in 1865
Ilion Citizen, N.Y., Friday, February 12, 1904
The citizen is indebted to F. Kingsley Pierce, for the following "write up" of one of Schuyler's most esteemed citizens:
Ex Supervisor Wilbur V. Minott as he has come in and out before the
people, has earned his reputation in town and county as a loyal citizen
and a leader in the republican ranks. He was born in Minott, Nov. 25,
1845 at "Outlook" the home of his parents, Thomas and Maruva Johnson
Minott, which he inherited on the death of his father which occurred in
the early morning of April 16, 1865. Sergt. W.V. Minott being then on the
terrible march with his regiment from Appomatox, after the
surrender of the rebel army of Northern Virginia by General Robert E.
Lee to Lieutenant General U.S. Grant at Appomatox, C.H., April 9,1865.
An account of the march is given in the following letter written by Sergeant Minott:
In Camp near Burkeville, Va.
April 25, 1865.
Dear Sister, It has been quite a number of days since I received your
letter. I will try and answer as this is a day of rest for us in honor
of the lamented President Lincoln. How do the folks seem to feel about
it up there? Did you ever hear of such a treacherous, set in your life?
You cannot think how the soldiers feel about it. they are for the
extermination to the end of every rebel in existence. (Of course this
expression was not to be taken literally, but it voiced the shock and
indignation which first swept over the country, many thinking it a plot
of the confederacy.) We have been in camp a little over a week, but have
been very busy clearing up camp, fixing up our tents and so on. When I
last wrote to father I believe we were at or near Appomatox. C.H. We
had an awful muddy march getting back to this place. Our brigade was
left behind to bring away the artillery and mules that were taken. We
had eight horses on apiece, and such horses you never saw before, they
had nothing to eat for three days, and such awful roads with mud two
feet deep most of the way. The first day we made six miles and about
every six rods we had to kill a horse or so, they would get down in the
mud and all of Grant's army could not get them up so we shot them. We
had to leave quite a number of pieces of the artillery that day. The
next day we started bright and early with nothing to eat. They said we
drew rations at New Store, four miles ahead, that gave us good courage.
Well we got there about 11 o'clock after getting stuck in the mud a few
times, and found there were no rations. That discouraged us of course.
We made up our minds we would starve if we waited to get the artillery
through, so we left it there and made for Farmville, a distance of
twenty miles, where they said we were to draw one day's rations, so we
trudged along and got there just sun down and behold we got all of three
hard tack and a little coffee and sugar and had just time enough to
issue them, when it was, "Fall in, we are going over the river to camp."
Well we did go over and four miles beyond before we camped. We of course
laid down just as quick as we halted, we had most all of us got flying
light by that time. All I had was rubber blanket, we put one under us
and one over us; in the night some time it began to rain and rained all
of the next day. The first intimation I had of its raining was when I
went to pull the blanket up and about two quarts of water came splash
into my face. We got up in good season and made for Burkeville. I never
saw such hard marching as we did that day and I hope I never shall. We
marched from Farmville to Burkeville, about twenty-five miles. There it
was raining like sixty and mud was no name for it. The last time we sat
down I had to have some one help me up, I could not get up to save my
life my legs were so stiff. The colonel commanding the brigade was put
under arrest for marching the troops so hard. I do not know how long we
shall have to stay here, we may have to go down and help whip Johnston
yet. The sixth corps went past here [Burkeville] day before yesterday.
They were going towards Dansville. Jimmy Ferguson is well. Charley Van
Allen got back a few days ago, he going to get out of his trouble very
easy. How is father getting along? [He had been dead nine days, died
April 16, 1865]. I would like to get a furlough but they are not giving
any here now.
O, yes I was promoted to be 1st orderly Sergeant today. Twenty-six
dollars a month, who would not be a soldiers? An orderly was promoted to
be a Lieutenant. Give my best respect to all inquiring friends, tell
them I am all right and ready for Mexico.
Wilbur V. Minott, of Schuyler,[Minott,] Herkimer county, New York,
enlisted at Frankfort, Nov. 26, 1863, the day after he was eighteen years
old in Company L. Second New York Volunteer Artillery. The regiment
belonged to the 1st Brigade, 1st division of the 2nd corps, Corp.
Generals Hancock, and Humphrey, Gen. Miles commanded the division, Gen.
Barlow the brigade. Col. J.N.J. Whistler the regiment. Lieut. Col.
Palmer, Major O.F. Hulser, Capt. James M. Hulser, of Co. L. reigned, and
was succeeded by Capt. Arminius Round, of Winfield.
Srgt. W. V. Minott participated in thirteen battles as follows:
Spottsilvania, May 17, 1864; North Anna River, May 22, '64, Aolopotamy
Creek, May 31, '64; Cold Harbor, June 3 to 10, '64; Petersburg, Va., June
16-18 and 22, '64. Hatchers Ruth, Dec 9,'64; battle of 2nd Corps near
Petersburg, March 25, 1865; South Side R.R., April 2, '65; Amelia
Springs [Sailors Creek], April 6, '65; Farmville, Va., Round Fort, April
7, '65. Was wounded at Petersburg, Va., June 20, 1864 and was in the
hospital when his regiment was in the battles of Strawbury Paine, Deep
Bottom and, Rames Station. He was promoted to be first orderly sergeant
April 25, 1865 and was honorably discharged and mustered out at
Washington, D.C. July 31, 1865, after the close of the war.
December 28, 1865, Sergeant Minott married Sara M. Lewis of
LaFargeville, Jefferson county, N.Y. She was born Feb. 6, 1845. Her
parents were the Rev. William and Jane Richards Lewis. John and Sara
Tanner Richards, of Newport, N.Y. were her maternal grand parents.
November, 1866 they took the possession of "Outlook" the Thomas Minott
homestead which has been in the Minott family over a hundred years. To
this has been added since other land. In 1876 the Schuyler Centennial
Cheese Factory, Camp Minott, was built on his farm. Much of the time Mr.
Minott has been manufacturer, secretary, salesman and treasurer of the
factory, having a country store in connection with it. He is known all
over the county as a staunch Republican, and has often represented the
town in conventions. Has held offices of trust, as assessor, road
commissioner, justice of the peace and served two term in the board of
supervisors. The last term in 1885, he was elected without opposition.
To Mr. and Mrs. Minott were born three children, the oldest Maude, now
Mr. G. Clark DeWitt, of Oak Hill, Greene county, born Feb. 4, 1867. The
youngest Mabel, now Mrs. Seymour E. Johnson, of Schuyler, was born June
10, 1873. Their only son, Lyndon Maurice, an exceptionally bright little
lad, was born Sept. 4, 1867, died Jan. 18, 1877. They have five
grandchildren. Wilbur Minott Dewitt, 13, Clark Gray DeWitt, 11,
Elizabeth DeWitt, born Feb. 2, 1903. Mabel Mildred Johnson aged 8 years,
and Maude Minott Johnson aged 10 years.
In 1903 after a lapse of twelve years he again took up farming. Many
improvements have been made at "Outlook." They now have one of the most
pleasant houses in Minott, and everyone here was delighted to have them
again at the Minott Homestead. Mr. and Mrs. Minott have been prominent
members of the local Methodist Protestant church for years.