Friday, April 1, 2011

"Only 9 were left standing:" Company H, 15th Massachusetts in the West Woods, Part 2

This is a continuation of a previous post. In that entry, the relationship of the Fletcher, Chapin, and Whitin families were chronicled. The Whitinsville casualties listed in The Worcester Daily Spy were connected in various ways to each other, to the village from which they came, and to the commander of Company H, Lt. Samuel Fletcher, whose family, allied with the Whitens, provided much of the employment to residents of the Mumford River mill town. [1]

The previous post explored the fates of James B. Fletcher (brother of Samuel Fletcher), Edward Chapin (cousin of Samuel and James Fletcher), and Henry W. Ainsworth.

What of the others listed that day? The Roster and Genealogy Project of the 15th Massachusetts Online maintained by Susan L. Harnwell gives us some insights into their lives. Unless otherwise noted, this is the source for the biographical information that follows. [2]

Orlando W. Bacheler. Photo at
15th Massachusetts website.
Eighteen year old Private Orlando W. Bacheler (April 6, 1844-September 17, 1862), hailed from Sutton, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The only son of Jonas Batchelor (1803-1891) and Mary A. Young (1813-1894), Orlando gave his occupation as machinist when enlisting in Company H. According to the family history, when… “the father went south for the body and returned home with it. After this he was not quite the same man as before.” The spelling of his last name is in some dispute. The 15th website lists him as Batchelor but the photograph of his tombstone in South Sutton Cemetery taken by Gerry Dahlstrom shows the spelling as Bacheler. Further confusion comes from the History of Sutton which lists his father as Jonas Batcheller. 

Arthur J. Andrews (1841/42-September 17, 1862) of Northbridge, Worcester County, listed himself as a machinist on enlisting in Company G. His parents were William H. Andrews, a machinist (ca.1814-1872) and Susan Andrews (1816-nd). His younger brother Oliver, later enlisted in the 42nd Massachusetts and survived the war.

Private Isaac Marshall (ca. 1840-September 17, 1862), a machinist, enlisted in Company H with his friend Eugene Keith, 22, also a machinist. According to the 1860 Census for Massachusetts, both lived in a boarding house in Whitinsville. Eugene Keith was killed at Balls Bluff on October 21, 1861.

Private Andrew Addison (ca 1844-September 17, 1862) was born in Scotland listed his occupation as machinist. He joined Company H with his father William Addison (1809-1892), who served as a “fifer,” and his brother, James Addison, listed as an apprentice mechanic. On 23 Jan 1862 William ended military service with the 15th Massachusetts due to disability. He returned, however, to duty in February 1865, with the 1st Maine Light Artillery, Company G serving as a "Major Fifer." The father survived the war. His other son James, appears on a list of the sick and wounded brought to New York from Fortress Monroe in late August 1862. James apparently deserted Company H just prior to Antietam on September 1, 1862. On August 28, 1891, however, his father included in an application to enter the Washington State Soldiers' Home in Oakedale that both sons were killed in the war.

Private George N. Smith (1842-September 17, 1862), machinist, joined Company H while his brother Edwin Jacob Smith joined  Company G. George was and currently is listed as missing and presumed dead. His brother Edwin was severely wounded in the neck in the West Woods. Captured and imprisoned at Libby Prison in Richmond, Edwin was eventually paroled and was taken home by his father.

Those listed in The Worcester Spy as wounded from Whitinsville are:

James S. Flannegan, (also, James S. Flanigan) (1812-1873), from Ireland, was 49 when he enlisted in Company H. He was the head of a household that included his second wife, her daughter and son from her previous marriage and his two sons from his previous marriage. His step daughter was married to Thomas Wathey also in the 15th. He was taken prisoner in the West Woods and sent to Libby prison in Richmond. The Worcester Spy, in its October 15, 1862 edition lists him among the "camp of paroled prisoners at Annapolis." He returned to the 15th and served until July 28, 1864.

Edwin Smith (1844-1924), brother of George N. Smith (see above).

Ebenezer Prest, (1837-1874), enlisted in Company H and listed as machinist. Wounded in the hand. Ended service Dec. 29, 1862 due to disability. Joined U.S. Navy the following year and was discharged as Acting 3rd Assistant Engineer in October 1865.

Charles H. Plimpton, 17 years old, (1845-1931), joined Company G with his two brothers Webster Daniel Plimpton and Franklin Amos Plimpton. A third brother, Amos Gardner Plimpton joined the 15th in July 1862 and was transferred immediately to the Andrews Sharpshooters. From the family genealogy “Near the close of Antietam, he [Charles] was severely wounded and taken prisoner. After being a prisoner 3 days, he was recaptured by his own regiment and conveyed to the battlefield hospital. The surgeons there decided to amputate his leg above the left knee joint. This he opposed so strongly, that he was left to care for himself. In intense suffering, by ambulance and by railroad he was taken to Philadelphia. There, by the aid of the most skillful surgeons and good nursing, he recovered.” Another brother of Charles, George Washington Plimpton, served with the Fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Cavalry. After the war Charles married Mary A. Bell from Virginia. He became a locomotive engineer and passenger conductor, and at age 84, was listed as a salesman for flour mills. He died in Waukegan, Illinois on October 7, 1931--86 years, 4 months, and 14 days old.

Ira Partin (also Parkis), (1840-1897) was a 21 year old clerk when he mustered into Company H of the 15th. He was wounded in the thigh at Antietam and in November 1863 transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps. After the war he became a dry goods merchant in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Additional members of Company H listed as killed on the 15th Massachusetts Monument are:

Corporal Henry A. Collar, from Uxbridge,

Private Patrick Finnegan, from Worcester.

Private Christopher Young[s], Private at Antietam, from Northbridge.

Wounded and died are:

Private Samuel Emerson, Sept. 26, 1862, from Webster.

Private Franklin L. Hayden, Sept. 27, 1862, from Uxbridge/Sutton.

Private Charles D. Smith, Sept. 27, 1862, from Sutton.

Private Simon Sullivan, Oct. 21, 1862, from Worcester.


[1] The Worcester Daily Spy, September 25, 1862.

[2] This remarkable and unique online collection of individual histories, many with photographs, of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, 1861-1864 is a valuable resource for any student of the Civil War. You can find it at


John Banks said...

jim: this is great stuff. The 15th site by Susan Harnwell is a great resource. I am heading to Antietam in May. See you there

Jim Buchanan said...

Great! John. Looking forward to it. The weather at the park today was pretty miserable with sleet, cold, and high wind. Anyway, May will definitely be a lot nicer. See you!

John Banks said...

Jim: Check this out. Was thinking of buying these images of the Fletchers. Then I was re-reading your posts and you mention these fellas. I will alert the descendant, who may want to know this. (See image at top of page):

Jim Buchanan said...

John -- These are remarkable! Many thanks for the heads up. I will send you via email the address of the Fletcher family members I have been in touch with.

John Banks said...

already contacted sherry f. and she wrote me back. glad i reached her.

Jim Buchanan said...

Thanks! John, for alerting Sherry regarding the photos.

John Banks said...

someone bought the photos; i hope it was her