Hoosick Township Historical Society

Newsletter - May 2006

Editor: Phil Leonard
Museum Curator: Charles Filkins
Louis Miller Museum (518) 686-4682

The Civil War and the Hoosick Effort

Many men from the Town of Hoosick participated in the Civil War. On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand men to put down the rebellion. Hoosick promptly responded by enlisting a company which was enrolled as Company H, 30th Regiment, New York State Volunteers.

The initial movement was made on April 24, 1861 when a meeting was held at the Baptist meeting house in Hoosick Falls. After patriotic speeches from General J. J. Viele and others, more than forty young men signed the enlistment papers that evening. The first was the son of Levi Chandler Ball, L. Burke Ball who became a Lieutenant of the company. Seventy one men ended up on the muster roll. A list of the men can be found in the Annals of Hoosick written by Levi Chandler Ball.

Before leaving for the War, each man was furnished with a pair of merino shirts, a linen Havelock, a paper of needles, a dozen skeins of thread, a supply of buttons, and an ivory comb. These were gifts from the ladies of Hoosick Falls who donated from $10 to 25 cents. A list of the amounts given and the names of the ladies can also be found in The Annals.

The company was quartered temporarily at Eagle Bridge. They were mustered into service for two years on the Presidents second call for volunteers. They moved to Troy where a regiment was organized. They shipped to Washington, DC on June 28, 1861. The principal battles in which the 30th took part were Groveton, second Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietem. It was also engaged at Fredericksburg and was in the “mud march” of Burnside. The most men were killed at Bull Run.

A second group entered Federal service on August 30, 1862. The 125th NYV Infantry was recruited from Rensselaer County with Company A from Hoosick. The 125th was sent to Harpers Ferry the site of a Federal arsenal and the site of John Brown’s uprising. They camped in a flat field that was virtually indefensible, dominated on all sides by higher ground. General Lee learned that the garrison of the federal arsenal, under Col. Dixon Miles, had not retreated. He sent three columns of troops to capture the arsenal. Col. Miles lacked military knowledge and instead of defending the surrounding hills heavily, he sent 1600 men to the heights and kept the remainder of over 12,000 men on the low fields close to the town. Once the confederate soldiers overran the outpost on the heights, the Union army was hopelessly trapped. The next morning the Confederate army shelled the garrison from all directions and Col. Miles surrendered 12,419 men. He was mortally wounded in the cannonade. This battle took place September 12 - 15 1892.

The captured men signed paroles which stated they could not fight until they were exchanged for an equal number of parolees from the other side. They were actually Union soldiers held as prisoners of war by Union soldiers. The group was sent to Camp Douglas near Chicago. On November 22nd the men of the 125th were exchanged for an equal number of Confederate soldiers. One of the soldiers was Levi Chandler Ball who was in his fifties. He was transferred to the payroll corps and spent the remainder of the war paying Union solders. He was promoted to Major.

After the War, a strong veterans group formed under the GAR. They purchased four lots in the Maple Grove cemetery to bury Civil War men that came to Hoosick Falls to work and had no family in the area. Fourteen members were buried in the Veteran Circle. The Society had this area updated with the stones reset and cleaned this year. As you leave on the hill road look on the right as the old cemetery appears and notice the flag pole and the only white stones in the area. Ken Begin did an excellent job for us.

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