5th New Hampshire InfantryOrganized: Concord, NH; mustered in 8/27/1861
Disbanded/Mustered out on 5/28/1865
|Commanding Officer: |
Col. Edward E. Cross
|Statistics for Maryland Campaign|
Initial Strength: 319
Killed in Action (KIA): 7
Wounded (WIA): 120
Losses, % of Initial Strength: 39.8%
Maps Showing this Unit:
Detail Map #7: Richardson's Division Attacks the Sunken Road
Detail Map #8b: Sykes' Regulars Near Sharpsburg
Battlefield Tablets for this Unit:
Tablet #35: Second Army Corps - 15 Sep, 7 AM to 15 Sep, 8 PM
Tablet #34: Richardson's Division, Second Army Corps - 15 Sep, 8 PM to 17 Sep, 7 AM
Tablet #115: Second Army Corps - 15 Sep, 9 AM to 17 Sep, 7 AM
Tablet #45: Caldwell's Brigade, Richardson's Division - 17 Sep, 10 AM to 17 Sep, 2 PM
Tablet #121: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 8 AM to 17 Sep, 6 PM
Tablet #116, cont: Second Army Corps - 17 Sep, 9 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #44: Richardson's Division, Second Army Corps - 17 Sep, 9 AM to 17 Sep, 2 PM
This Regiment's Chain of Command:
Army - Army of the Potomac
Corps - Second (II) Army Corps
Division - 1st Division, II Corps
Brigade - 1st Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps
History of the Unit:
Gov. Berry appointed Edward E. Cross Colonel of the Fifth and October 28, 1861 the regiment was sworn into the service of the United States, and departed for Washington on the 29th with 1200 members.
The regiment was relatively inactive until McClellan's Peninsula campaign during May and June of 1862. They constructed a bridge across the Chicahominy River at flood during McClellan's change of base, The first major engagement for the Fifth was the battle of Fair Oaks, June 1, 1862. Losses were 30 killed, 170 wounded, including Cross, who was struck in the thigh by a minnie ball and in the left side of the face by three buckshot. In all, seven balls struck his person or clothing. Additional engagements at Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, and Malvern Hill, completed their involvement in the Peninsula Campaign.
In the Antietam Campaign:
Here, the Fifth was involved in the heavy fighting of "the sunken road" or "bloody lane". In the words of Livermore,
"On looking about me I found that we were in an old sunken road and that the bed of it lay from one to three feet below the surface of the crest along which it ran. In this road there lay so many dead rebels that there formed a line which one might have walked on as far as I could see, many of whom had been killed by the most horrible wounds of shot and shell and they lay just as they had been killed apparently amid the blood which was soaking the earth. It was on this ghastly flooring that we kneeled for the last struggle.
Among the wounded was Col. Cross.
The remainder of the War:
In his history of the Second Army Corps Gen. Francis Walker writes
"The dead of Fredericksburg were buried on the following Saturday by a detachment under the command of Col. John R. Brook who was accompanied by Captain Morgan, Inspector General of the Second Corps. Both these men have testified, in the most precise manner, that the bodies found nearest the "stone wall" were those of the Sixty-ninth New York, Fifth New Hampshire, and Fifty-third Pennsylvania."The regiment had casualties of about 200 of the 270 who were part of the assault on that stone wall in front of Marye's Heights.
Following Fredericksburg the regiment went into winter quarters at Falmouth. It was during this time that Cross was promoted to Brigade commander and the Fifth came under the command of Lt. Col. Charles Hapgood.
In it's next action, at Gettysburg in July 1863, the Regiment was held in reserve throughout most of July 2 until about 4:30 in the afternoon when the brigade commanded my Cross, was ordered into the "wheatfield" to turn back the aggressive Confederate attack on the Federal left. In three hours of desperate fighting the regiment lost eighty-six officers and men of one hundred seventy-seven men present for duty. Col Cross was mortally wounded by a musket ball that struck him in the navel and exited near the spine. He was carried to a field hospital behind Culp's Hill where the regimental surgeons did their best for him and many members of the regiment came to speak to him. Thomas Livermore left these reflections
"With Col. Cross's death the glory of our regiment came to a halt. It is true that the regiment maintained a good reputation to the end of the war and did some splendid fighting, but it was not the old regiment. He was a brave man and clear headed in a fight; he took the most excellent care of his men in a sanitary way and was a good disciplinarian. He taught us by rough measures, to be sure, that the implicit obedience to orders was one of the cardinal virtues in a soldier. He taught us to ignore the idea of retreating. Beside this he clothed and fed us well, taught us to build good quarters and camped us on good ground and in short did everything well to keep us well drilled and always ready to meet the enemy."With less than one hundred men present for duty after Gettysburg, the army command detached the Fifth from the Second Corps and returned it to New Hampshire for recruits to rebuild their decimated ranks.
On November 9th, they arrived by steamer at Point Lookout, Maryland where they, along with the Second and Twelfth New Hampshire, were ordered to the duty of guarding Confederate prisoners. Here they remained until May of 1864 when they were recalled to the Army of the Potomac, then engaged in the Wilderness and Spotsylvania.
It is ironic that Col. Hapgood should report his regiment present for duty, literally on the eve of the deadly assualt at Cold Harbor. According to Hapgood's official report,
"At 4:30am June 3, the regiment with the brigade, charged the enemy's works and carried them, capturing two guns and one hundred and twenty five prisoners which were sent to the rear... Ascertained that the other regiments of the other brigades of the regiment had not carried the works...and that the Fifth regiment was between the enemy's lines with no connection to either flank and immediately...gave orders to retire."The casualties were 202 killed out of 577 present for duty. It was the most costly single day in the regiments history.
In October 1864, the enlistment's of the original men were completed and many were mustered out and went home. Surgeon Child recorded that:
"The Fifth having been reduced below the minimum number for a regiment by the discharge of the original three year's men whose time had expired was now designated the Fifth New Hampshire Battalion. Captain Welcome A. Crafts was promoted to Lt. Col. and Captain Thomas L. Livermore to Major. The character and condition of the organization was in no matter changed and it was still the same hard working, reliable, fighting organization."The Fifth continued to perform reliable service for the rest of the war but it should be noted that during it's recruiting duties the ranks were rebuilt to a to a strength of 800 with more than 400 recruits only 80 of which were volunteers. The balance were the nemesis of the Civil War army, the bounty man, a fate which many other regiments suffered. Scores of these bounty men deserted before the regiment reached the field and so many deserted from the Petersburg trenches that the Confederates opposite the regiment put up a sign reading Recruits Wanted.
After Appomattox, on May 23, 1865, the Fifth participated in the Grand Review in Washington. By June they were back in New Hampshire. On the 28th, they turned over their shot-torn colors to the state and passed into history.
References, Sources, and other Notes:
See the colorful history of the Regiment transcribed from the Fifth New Hampshire Membership manual - source for most of the text above.
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