16th Vermont

16th Vermont

Esteemed member hancock@pe.net (Paul Macomber) contributes:


Kerry, I'm writing a regimental history on the 16th VT(Col.Wheelock Veazy), a unit that was brigaded with the 15th(Col.Redfield Proctor). The 2nd Vermont Brigade had an exhausting march to Gettysburg, averaging 18 miles a day. They halted briefly at Emmitsburg, contrary to the orders of Gen.Stannard(cmdg.2nd Vermont Brigade). They refused to budge another inch, officers as well as men.

At Emmitsburg, the 12th and 15th VT were ordered to stay behind and guard the trains. What made matters worse was they could hear the booming of cannon from the battle of G'burg. One thing to remember about the 15th was they still had "61 fever", meaning they thought the fun would be over in a few days and they would go home without seeing any fighting.* During the early evening, Gen.Sickles Third Corps was marching by, he saw the 12th and 15th guarding the trains. Sickles ordered the 15th to fall in and march with him to Gettysburg, however Meade ordered the 15th back to guard the trains.

An interesting situation occured after the battle of Gettysburg, which can be found in the BACHELDER PAPERS Vol 1, for those of you who want to look it up its on pages 58-63. Lt.George G.Benedict and the Vermont lawyer Col.Veazy were something of rivals after the war. In Benedict's monumental VERMONT AT GETTYSBURG, he states that the 13th was the first to go out in between Gen.Kemper's 24th VA and Lang's Floridians. Veazy, agast at this propaganda wrote several -tactful- letters to Benedict and Stannard.

Let me describe the situation, Stannard with his Vermonters were on the stone wall during Picketts Charge. When the rebels cam up for their charge, Veazy noticed a gap in between Kemper and Col.Lang on Kempers right. According to Lt.Clark of Co.I,16th Vermont this is what transpired:

Inspired by the situation, Col. Veazey of the 16th Vermont, approached Gen. Stannard and requested that he be permitted to charge with the 13th and 16th regiments, to attack Pickett's division in flank. I was within 30 yards of both. Gen. Stannard seemed to hesitate. The opening was inviting, but full of peril, for if the movement failed, we would be between Pickett's and Wilcox divisions and crushed. Gen. Stannard said, "You will be torn to pieces." "Let us go down," was the ringing shout of Col. Veazey, and his voice was not musical but stentorian. This he repeated once or twice, growing more insistent with each repetition. Stannard finally gave permission, saying, "But, be careful."

In any case I belive Veazy more than I do Benedict. For some odd reason Veazy ended up with three stands of colors(2nd FL, 8th VA). This is the weak point in Veazy's claim, the 8th VA served with Garnett, to which the 16th was nowhere near, the 2nd FL was with Lang.

Stannard usually sides with Benedict but Clark paints him as indescive. The funny thing was that Col.Proctor and Veazy formed a law office after the war called...Proctor and Veazy. Guess who Veazy sided with.

Here are my sources:

Published sources ----------------------------

Coffin,Howard FULL DUTY:VERMONTERS IN THE CW Woodstock Countryman Press, Woodstock Vt 1993

Ladd, David L. and Audrey THE BACHELDER PAPERS:GETTYSBURG IN THEIR OWN WORDS Morningside Press, Vol 1.58-63 1994

Manuscripts --------------------

Address of Clark,George to MOLLUS convention at Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1910

My * from the post meant that the 15th had been in a minor skirmish with Stuart and Mosby on Dec 29,1862.

3rd Indiana