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

Wilbur V. Minott

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.

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Created 11/3/03
Copyright © 2003 BetteJo Hall-Caldwell
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