site logo
Federal flag

Federal Regiment

5th Vermont Infantry

Organized: St. Albans, VT; mustered in 9/16/1861
Disbanded/Mustered out: 9/15/1864


Commanding Officer on the Antietam Campaign:
  Col. Lewis A. Grant


This Regiment's Chain of Command:
  Army - Army of the Potomac
  Corps - Sixth Army Corps
  Division - 2nd Division, 6th Corps
  Brigade - 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Corps

Unit history

The regiment was mustered into the United States service for three years at St. Albans, Vt., Sept. 16, 1861. Governor Fairbanks appointed as Colonel of the Fifth, an officer of the regular army, Lieutenant Henry A. Smalley, Second U. S. Artillery. Captain Nathan Lord, Jr., youngest son of President Lord of Dartmouth College, who had seen some service under General McClellan in West Virginia, was appointed lieutenant colonel, but had hardly accepted the position when he was taken from it to command the Sixth regiment, then about to be organized. Lewis A. Grant, Esq., of Rockingham, who had been selected for major, was thereupon appointed lieutenant colonel, and Redfield Proctor, recently the quartermaster of the Third regiment, was appointed major. The regimental staff was as follows: Adjutant Edward M. Brown, of Montpelier; Quartermaster Aldis 0. Brainerd, of St. Albans; Surgeon Wm. P. Russell, of Middlebury; Assistant Surgeon Henry C. Shaw, of Waitsfield; Chaplain, Rev. Volney M. Simons, a Methodist clergyman of Swanton.

In a few days the Regiemnt went to Washington and camped on Meridian Hill, then crossed Chain Bridge into Virginia and joined other Vermont regiments at Camp Advance, when the Old Vermont Brigade was organized.

The regiment spent most of the fall and winter of 1861-62 at Camp Griffin, near Langley, Va., going to Fortress Monroe in the spring of 1862 and taking part in the Peninsula Campaign. At Savage's Station, June 29, 1862, it suffered the greatest loss, in killed and wounded, of any Vermont regiment in any one engagement. It this battle, with not over four hundred muskets, it lost 188 officers and men in half an hour--company E losing 44 men killed and wounded out of fifty-nine, 25 of whom were killed or mortally wounded.

On the Antietam Campaign

On the 10th of September, Colonel Smalley retired from the colonelcy, his leave of absence from the regular army being revoked, and Lieut. Colonel Grant, who had commanded the regiment through much of its service, succeeded to the colonelcy. Major Lewis was thereupon promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy, and Captain Charles P. Dudley of Company E., was appointed major.

The Fifth participated in the storming of Crampton's Gap, September 14th, and stood on the field of Antietam, though without serious loss, having two men wounded by shells.

The 6th Corps, of which the Regiment was part, was not significantly engaged at Antietam on September 17.

Battlefield Tablets for this Unit

Tablet #120: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #102: Sixth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 4 PM
Tablet #72: Smith's Division, Sixth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 19 Sep, 9 AM
Tablet #73: Brooks' Brigade, Smith's Division - 17 Sep, 6 AM to 19 Sep, 9 AM

After the Antietam Campaign

Returning to Virginia, it encamped during the winter of 1862-3 near Fredericksburg, taking part in the campaign near that place in 1863, and in the Gettysburg campaign. in February, 1863, Colonel Grant had succeeded to the command of the First brigade, which he led thereafter through the war. Lt. Colonel Lewis then succeeded to the command of the regiment. From Gettysburg it went into Virginia, and thence to New york at the time of the draft riot.

Returning to the Army of the Potomac it took part in the fall campaign in Virginia. It encamped during the winter of 1863-64 near Brandy Station, where it re-enlisted, Dec. 15, 1863, being the first regiment to re-enlist and go home on a veteran furlough. In 1864 it took an active part in the terrible campaign from the Rapidan to Petersburg June 17. It went into this campaign with about five hundred muskets, and in one month lost 349 men in killed, wounded and missing, including two field officers, six captains and five lieutenants.

In July the regiment returned and assisted in driving Early from Washington, following him into the valley and becoming a part of the Army of the Shenandoah.

Sept. 15, 1864, the term of the original members of the regiment who had not re-enlisted expired, and they were mustered out at Clifton, Va., leaving present for duty with the regiment one assistant surgeon, a quartermaster, three first lieutenants and about three hundred men. This fragment of a regiment participated in Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, from Winchester to Mont Crawford and return. Dec. 9 the regiment left the valley and returned to Petersburg, going into winter quarters, Dec. 13, near the Squirrel Level Road, in the line south of Petersburg. It led the Sixth Corps in its assault upon the enemy's works at Petersburg, April 2, 1865, and was the first regiment in the corps to plant its flag upon the enemy's works. It took part in the pursuit and capture of Lee's army, and after his surrender it marched to Danville, Va., to aid in preventing the escape of Johnston's army. It then went to Munson's Hill, near Washington, where it was mustered out of the service of the United States, June 29, 1865, and returned to Vermont to be finally discharged. At its muster-out but 24 officers and 288 men were borne upon its rolls--an aggregate of 312 out of a total enrollment of 1,618 during its entire term of service.

References & Notes

Unit history of the regiment (1892) from Peck1 as transcribed on Vermont in the Civil War.

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. 180-207. Notes: 1. Peck, Theodore S., Vt Adjutant General, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers ... 1861-1866, Montpelier (Vt): Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, pp. 142-143 [AotW citation 374]

We have 3 individuals in the AotW database who were on the Maryland Campaign with this unit:


Co. Rank Name Casualty? Details*
CPvtRacey, Giles Died (d)   11/26     We have some details for this person
KPvtSprague, George Died (d)   11/13     We have some details for this person
F&SColGrant, Lewis Addison        We have a picture for this person We have some details for this person


* If there's a symbol in the Details column ...

We have a picture for this person - We have a picture for this person
We have further details for this person - We have details beyond name and rank
Click on their last name to see more


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  [AotW citation 381]