Commanding Officer on the Antietam Campaign:
Maj. James H. Walbridge
The Second Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry was organized at Burlington, and was mustered into the United Sates service by Lieutenant-Colonel Rains, U. S. A., June 20, 1861, it being the first three years' regiment raised in Vermont. It was composed of ten companies, selected from about sixty which offered their services for this organization. June 24, it left Burlington for Washington, where it arrived on the 26th. While in New York, on its way to the front, it was presented with a stand of State colors. On arriving at Washington, it went into camp on Capitol Hill, where it remained until July 10. On that day it moved into Virginia, over Long Bridge, and marched through Alexandria to Bush Hill, about five miles in the direction of Fairfax Court House. At Bush Hill it was, with the Third, Fourth and Fifth Maine, formed into a brigade under command of Col. O. O. Howard of the Third Maine. The brigade of Colonel (now Major-General) Howard was assigned to the Division of General Heintzleman. On the 16th, the regiment, with the rest of the Union Army under General McDowell, commenced its march to Centerville, and on Sunday, July 21, took part in the battle of Bull Run. After the defeat of the Union Army, the regiment returned to its old camp at Bush Hill. The loss of the regiment in this fight was as follows: Two men killed, one officer and 34 enlisted men wounded, and one officer and 30 men missing, making a total loss of 68 men.
General Howard always spoke in the highest terms of praise for the Second.
August 12, the regiment was detached from Howard's brigade and ordered to Chain Bridge, some ten miles above Georgetown on the Potomac, and went into camp at the east end of the bridge, being brigaded with the Third Vermont, the Sixth Maine and the Thirty-third New York regiments. September 3, it was moved across the bridge into Virginia once more, and about a mile from the bridge went into camp, (Camp Advance). Here the regiment, together with the Third Vermont and Sixth Maine, built Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen. During the winter of 1861-2, the regiment did picket duty along the Leesburgh turnpike, varied occasionally with a little skirmishing with the enemy. During the month of September, the Fourth and Fifth Vermont regiments had arrived, and the famous "Old Vermont Brigade" was formed. The Brigade had moved about three miles farther out in the direction of Lewinsville, where the Sixth Vermont was added to it, the whole being under command of Gen. W. F. (Baldy) Smith. Soon after the formation of the Brigade, General Smith was assigned the command of the Division of which The Vermont Brigade was a part, it being the Second Brigade, Smith's Division. Gen. W. T. H. Brooks took command, and from this time until the close of the war this regiment was identified with the Brigade, in all the battles in which the latter took part. It was a regiment in which all the officers of the Division and Corps had confidence. In a fight it would obey orders if within the limits of the possible so to do.
March 10, 1862, the regiment moved from Camp Griffin, where it had remained during the winter doing picket duty and drilling, and took up the line of march to Centerville. On the arrival of the army at that place, only "quaker guns" frowned upon us, and a change of base was decided upon and the army moved to Alexandria. The regiment went into camp on the same grounds it had occupied while under General Howard, before the battle of Bull run, but only for a few days. March 23, together wit the other regiments of the Brigade, it took transports at Alexandria for Fortress Monroe. On the 24th, they landed near the Fortress and moved out to Newport News on the James River.
April 2, 1862, the regiment moved with the army up the peninsula, taking part in the fights at Young's Mills, Lee's Mills and Williamsburg, beside some skirmishing with the enemy. April 13, it reached White House Landing, where the famous Sixth Corps was formed, and The Vermont Brigade was assigned to the Second Division as the Second Brigade, and retained that place during the remaining three years of the war. Leaving White House Landing May 19, the regiment reached the Chickahominy and went into camp on Golding's Farm until the 25th. On the evening of that day, after the fighting was over, the army commenced its retreat, and the Second did its share of the fighting during the Seven Days' fight. Again a change of base was decided upon, and August 22 the regiment took transports at Fortress Monroe and steamed up the Potomac to Alexandria.
For reasons best known to the higher officers, the Sixth Corps, at the Second Battle of Bull Run, did not reach the enemy till the evening of the last day of the fighting, and was soon ordered back to Chantilly. General McClellan had previously been relieved by General Pope, Pope had been defeated and Lee's army was in Maryland.
On the Antietam Campaign
Now Pope was superseded by McClellan, and then came the campaign in Maryland and the fights at Crampton Pass and Antietam. At Crampton Pass the Second Regiment charged the heights to the left of the road, and carried its colors to and over the crest, brushing away the rebel line as though it had been a cobweb. It was on the skirmish line at the battle of Antietam, when Lee's army withdrew from that bloody field.
Battlefield Tablets for this Unit
References & Notes
Unit history of the regiment (1892) from Peck1 as transcribed on Vermont in the Civil
For additional reading see George G. Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War. A History of the part taken by the Vermont Soldiers and Sailors in the War For The Union, 1861-5, Burlington (VT): Free Press Association, 1886-1888, Vol. I, pp. 62-125.
We have 15 individuals in the AotW database who were on the Maryland Campaign with this unit:
|Died (d) 11/23
|Matteson, Oscar Johnson
|Secor, William Heath
|Tyler, George Edward
|Blood, Dorr James
|Hescock, Rinaldo N.
|Pierce, George W.
|Marks, Lorenzo John
|Tracy, Amasa Sawyer
|Mandigo, Henry Hiram
|Drake, Oliver B.
|Walbridge, James Hicks
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1 Peck, Theodore S., Adjutant General, and The Vermont Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and Lists of Vermonters who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion 1861-66, Montpelier: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, pp. 27-29 [AotW citation 374]