(1845 - 1936)
Home State: Massachusetts
Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1870
Branch of Service: Infantry
He lived in Portland, ME to 1857 when his family moved to Massachusetts. He was a 16 year old farmer in Bradford, giving his age as 18, when he mustered as Private, Company H, 22nd Massachusetts Infantry on 5 August 1862.
On the Campaign
He was with his regiment in reserve on the east side of Antietam Creek on 17 September, and on the east bank at the Burnside Bridge on the 18th. The next morning, he later wrote,
the sun came out bright and beautiful ... The enemy had now, it was soon discovered, left our front ... Upon visiting Sherrick's house this morning, we found it quite a sumptuous affair. It had been hastily evacuated, as it was between the lines. The foragers ahead of us had pulled out what edibles it contained, and among them a splendid assortment of jellies, preserves, etc., the pride of every Maryland woman's heart, but now scattered all about. The orchard was filled with the choicest fruit. What a feast! Our stomachs just beginning to become accustomed to "salt horse" and "hard tack," earnestly opened and yearned for this line of good things. No crowd of schoolboys, Let loose from the confinement of a recitation room, ever acted so absurdly, as did these rough, bronzed soldiers and recruit allies, on that death-strewn ground about Sherrick's yard and orchard. They would seize a pot of jam, grape jelly, huckleberry stew, or pineapple preserve, and after capering about a while, with the most extravagant exhibitions of joy, would sit upon the ground, and with one piece of hard bread for a plate, and another for a scoop, would shovel out great heaps of the delectable stuff, which rapidly disappeared into their capacious mouths ...He and his Company were in action at Shepherdstown Ford on 20 September.
The rest of the War
He mustered out on 4 October 1864.
After the War
He entered the US Military Academy at West Point in July 1865 and graduated 38th in June 1870. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 4th US Cavalry and was honored by brevet to First Lieutenant and later awarded the Medal of Honor (in 1900) for action against Commanches on 10 October 1871 on the Brazos River, TX. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 21 February 1875, and later by brevet to Captain for action against the Kickapoo, Liban, and Mescaleros at Remolino, Mexico on 18 May 1873. He retired for disability on 28 June 1876. He was promoted to Captain on the retired list in 1904.
In retirement he was general manager of the Jordan, Marsh & Co. department stores in New York City, taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Newton (MA) High School, and was principal of the school for officer's children at West Point. He wrote many books and articles about his experiences in the War and the West, and died at age 90 in Washington, DC.
References & notes
Service information from the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines,1 Heitman,2 and Cullum.3 Details from his own Record of Military Service (1904). His gravesite is on Findagrave. The quote above and his picture are from his book Four Brothers in Blue ... a Story of the Great Civil War (1913). His photograph was taken on Broadway, New York City, 16 August 1862. Robert was the youngest of 4 brothers who served in the Army of the Potomac.
10/29/1845; Bridgton, ME
01/04/1936 Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
1 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 692 [AotW citation 18944]
2 Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 288 [AotW citation 18945]
3 Cullum, George Washington, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the US Military Academy, 2nd Edition, 3 vols., New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868-79, Vol. III, pg. 158 (#2349) [AotW citation 18946]