New Hampshire in the American Civil War
New Hampshire Civil War History
|New Hampshire in the Civil War
|Province of New Hampshire Map
New Hampshire was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British
rule in the American Revolution and it became the 9th U.S. state on June 21, 1788. The requirement for ratification of
the United States Constitution by nine states, set by Article Seven of the Constitution, was met when New Hampshire ratified
it on June 21, 1788. It became the first of the British North American colonies to secede from Great Britain in January
1776, and six months later was one of the original thirteen states that founded the United States of America.
In January 1776, New Hampshire became the first U.S. state to create an
independent government and the first to establish a state constitution, but the latter explicitly stated "we never sought
to throw off our dependence on Great Britain," meaning that it was not the first to actually declare its independence (that
distinction belongs to Rhode Island). The present Constitution of the State of New Hampshire is the fundamental law of
the state, with which all statute laws must comply, and said constitution became effective June 2, 1784, when it replaced
the state's constitution of 1776.
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United
States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to
the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.
Various Algonquian (Pennacook) tribes inhabited the area prior to European
settlement. English and French explorers visited New Hampshire in 1600–1605, and English fishermen settled at Odiorne's
Point in present-day Rye in 1623. The first permanent settlement was at Hilton's Point (present-day Dover). By 1631, the Upper
Plantation comprised modern-day Dover, Durham and Stratham; in 1679, it became the "Royal Province."
The Province of New Hampshire is a name initially bestowed in 1629 to the
territory between the Merrimack and Piscataqua rivers on the eastern coast of North America. It was formally organized as
an English royal colony on October 7, 1691, during the period of English colonization. The charter was enacted May 14, 1692,
by William and Mary, the joint monarchs of England and Scotland, at the same time that the Province of Massachusetts Bay was
created. The territory is now the U.S. state of New Hampshire, and was named after the county of Hampshire in southern England
by Captain John Mason, its first proprietor.
First settled in the 1620s, the province consisted for many years of
a small number of communities along the seacoast and the Piscataqua River. In 1641 the communities came under the government
of the neighboring Massachusetts Bay Colony, until King Charles II issued a commission to John Cutt as President of New Hampshire
in 1679. After a brief period as a separate province, the territory was absorbed into the Dominion of New England in 1686.
The Dominion collapsed in 1689, and the New Hampshire communities again came under Massachusetts rule until a provincial charter
was issued in 1691 by William and Mary. Between 1699 and 1741 the province's governors were also commissioned as governors
of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. In 1741, Benning Wentworth was appointed governor solely of New Hampshire. Wentworth
laid claim on behalf of the province to the lands west of the Connecticut River, issuing controversial land grants that were
disputed by the Province of New York, which also claimed the territory. These disputes resulted in the eventual formation
of the state of Vermont.
The province's economy was dominated by timber and fishing. The timber
trade, although lucrative, was a subject of conflict with the crown, which sought to reserve the best trees for use as ship
masts. Although the Puritan leaders of Massachusetts ruled the province for many years, its population was more religiously
diverse, originating in part in its early years with refugees from opposition to religious differences in Massachusetts.
From the 1680s until 1760 the province was often on the front lines
of military conflicts with New France and the indigenous Abenaki people, seeing major attacks on its communities in King William's
War, Dummer's War, and King George's War. By the time of the American Revolution, New Hampshire was a divided province. The
economic and social life of the Seacoast revolved around sawmills, shipyards, merchant's warehouses, and established village
and town centers. Wealthy merchants built substantial homes, furnished them with the finest luxuries, and invested their capital
in trade and land speculation. At the other end of the social scale, there developed a permanent class of day laborers, mariners,
indentured servants and even slaves.
Initially, the province was not in favor of independence, but with the commencement
of the American Revolutionary War, many of its inhabitants joined the revolutionary cause. After Governor John Wentworth fled
the province in August 1775, the inhabitants adopted a constitution in early 1776. Independence from Great Britain was
confirmed and sealed with the 1783 Treaty of Paris. When New Hampshire ratified the U.S. Constitution on June 21, 1788,
it received statehood, and Concord was named the state capital in 1808.
Transportation changes gained momentum in the mid 1800s, preparing for the
industrial boom that was to come in the next fifty years. Canals, never fulfilling the hopes of their builders, declined;
in 1854 only 11 miles remained in operation in NH. Railroads made the difference. In the decade before the war, railroad track
mileage in New Hampshire increased 41 %, from 465 miles to 656 miles.
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), New Hampshire focused on
wartime production, national political issues, the state's involvement in military campaigns in the South, and the effects
of war on its citizens. The largest regimental loss of officers killed in any single battle during the Civil War occurred
in the 7th New Hampshire at the assault on Fort Wagner, with the regiment losing 11 officers in killed or mortally wounded
in that bloody affair.
|New Hampshire Civil War Map
|New Hampshire and Slavery Map
The presence of slavery in New Hampshire is first indicated in the written
record in 1645. As one of only a few colonies that did not impose a high tariff on the transport and trade of African
slaves, New Hampshire maritime traders used the colony as an entry point for their human cargoes-transporting the slaves throughout
the colonies once they entered into the colony.
Following the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire's newly adopted state constitution
invoked the language of natural equal rights for all men; however, slavery did not disappear from the state. By 1790
the number of slaves was dropping dramatically, given the fact that the state's climate and topography were not conducive
to profiting from the use of forced labor. However, state traders continued to participate in the slave trade until its
legal termination in 1807 as stipulated by the Federal Constitution. Through the first few decades of the nineteenth
century, census records indicate less than a dozen slaves in the state at any given time.
Abolitionists from Dartmouth College founded the experimental, interracial
Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire in 1835. Rural opponents of the school eventually dragged the school away with oxen
before lighting it ablaze to protest integrated education, within months of the school's founding.
New Hampshire was a Jacksonian stronghold; the state sent Franklin Pierce
to the White House in the election of 1852. Industrialization took the form of numerous textile mills, which in turn attracted
large flows of immigrants from Quebec (the "French Canadians") and Ireland. The northern parts of the state produced lumber
and the mountains provided tourist attractions. Abolitionist sentiment was a strong undercurrent in the state, with significant
support given the Free Soil Party of John P. Hale. However the conservative Jacksonian Democrats usually maintained
control, under the leadership of editor Isaac Hill. In 1856 the new Republican Party headed by Amos Tuck produced a political
As the Civil War (1861-1865) approached, New Hampshire's social and political
environment was in many ways very unique as compared to its Northern neighbors. As a Northern state that still technically
allowed slavery, aside from barring blacks from serving in the militia, the state's laws towards free blacks were quite liberal-even
giving the right to vote for black men. Despite the contradictions, by the late 1850s New Hampshire was firmly on the
side of the growing Republican Free State coalition-handing Lincoln 57% of its vote in the 1860 presidential election.
The politics of the era featured the beginnings of the Republican Party.
Franklin Pierce won election, the only United States president from New Hampshire. Democrat Pierce’s position mollifying
Southern interests made him unacceptable to antislavery forces. Senator John P. Hale was a well-known mover in national politics
and as a prominent abolitionist. Abraham Lincoln himself visited New Hampshire — his son attended Phillips Exeter Academy
and, it is said, enthusiastic acceptance of Lincoln’s speeches here convinced him that he could run successfully for
the presidency. Renomination of Lincoln split the Republican Party in New Hampshire as well as nationally, but in the election
Lincoln and Johnson narrowly won this state. During the Civil War, New Hampshire concentrated
on wartime production, national political issues, the state's involvement in military campaigns, and the effects of war
on its citizens.
In 1850, agriculture employed, by far, the most workers: 47,440 free males 15 years and older
to manufacturing’s 27,082 males and females. By 1870, farms occupied 62.4% of New Hampshire, and more of the state was
deforested than at any other time. Both agriculture and manufacturing in New Hampshire responded to war needs. Mechanized
shoe manufacturing and textile mills, for instance, helped supply the Union Army, as did ammunition and firearm manufacturers.
The industrial North prospered as a result of the war, and New Hampshire industry was no exception. Regarding agricultural,
New Hampshire farmers provided for war needs and made up for some war losses. Tobacco growing, for example, increased from
50 pounds in 1850 to 155,334 pounds in 1870. Southern cotton supplies for Northern cotton mills fell victim to war, but that
production problem for New Hampshire manufacturers could not be alleviated by local farmers. Local farmers could supply wool,
however. New Hampshire men served in Northern uniforms. Women such as Harriet P. Dame served as nurses on the battlefields.
Other women who stayed home supported the war effort through their labor in the factories and through volunteer work. Anti-war
sentiment also had its advocates in the state, making the picture more complicated than the generalization that Northerners
united wholeheartedly in the war to preserve the Union.
|Southern States Secession Map
|New Hampshire and Secession Map
According to the 1860 U.S. census, New Hampshire had a population of 326,073.
Although no Civil War battles were fought in the state, at least 35,000 New Hampshire men joined the ranks of the Union military
and saw action mainly in the east, but some units traveled as far as Mississippi and Louisiana. The Granite Staters fought
in numerous battles and campaigns, such as Cold Harbor and Gettysburg, and most served in the army, navy and marines.
During the Civil War, New Hampshire furnished the following troops
to the Union military: 17 regiments of infantry, embracing 705 officers and 26,581 enlisted men, or a total of 27,286;
the New Hampshire battalion, 1st regiment New England volunteer cavalry; 1 regiment of cavalry; 1 battery of light
artillery; 3 companies of garrison artillery; 1 regiment of heavy artillery; 3 companies of U.S. sharpshooters,
including the field and staff of Co. F, 2d U.S. sharpshooters; some unattached companies, and the 2nd brigade band. This gives
a total of 836 officers, 31,650 enlisted men, or 32,486 men altogether. In addition to the above, there were 19 officers and
394 enlisted men enrolled in the veteran reserve corps; 124 officers and 2,272 men in the U.S. colored troops; 66 officers
and 90 men in the regular army; 71 officers in the U.S. volunteers; 1 officer and 11 men in the U.S. veteran volunteers; 309
officers and 2,851 men in the U.S. navy; 3 officers and 363 men in the U.S. marine corps; and 87 officers and 1,796 men who
were citizens, or residents of New Hampshire, and served in the organizations of other states. The 1,516 officers and 39,427
enlisted men equates to a grand total of 40,943 troops furnished by the state. Of the preceding totals, there is
no data to indicate how many men were reenlistments or "double counts." A double count is a soldier who, after his initial
enlistment expired, reenlisted and was then counted a second time.
Although The Union Army (1908) and Dyer (1908) have similar totals, other sources indicate that from 35,000
to 41,000 Granite Staters served in the Union military. It is the writer's view that the disparity is
due largely to the unknown double count total. Also, Duane E. Shaffer, Men of Granite: New Hampshire's Soldiers in the Civil
War, indicates that at least 35,000 New Hampshire soldiers served in the Union military.
President Lincoln, in his first call for 75,000 troops for three months' service, called upon the State of New Hampshire for one regiment of militia, consisting of
ten companies of infantry, to be held in readiness to be mustered into the service of the United States for the purpose of
quelling an insurrection and supporting the government. In response to President Lincoln's request, Ichabod Goodwin, then
governor, on April 16, 1861, addressed the adjutant-general of the state, Joseph C. Abbott, to call for volunteers
to fill one regiment of infantry. To expedite the process of raising the regiment, twenty-eight recruiting stations were
established in different parts of the state. The greatest enthusiasm in the work of enlistment prevailed throughout the state,
and nearly every farm, workshop and business establishment contributed a volunteer.
Nor were the women lacking in patriotic zeal; they organized sanitary aid
societies in nearly every considerable town and busied themselves in the work of making shirts, drawers, and other necessary
comforts for the soldiers in the field, and providing linen and bandages for the hospitals. Every citizen was impressed by
the gravity of the situation which confronted the country. Innumerable public meetings were held in the larger towns and cities,
attended by both men and women, where patriotic speeches were made and measures concerted to encourage enlistments. Both towns
and individuals pledged funds for the support of families of those who entered the service of the government.
During the two weeks following April 17, 1861, the names of 2,004 men were enrolled, which
was more than twice the quota. On April 24, the enlisted men were ordered into camp upon the fair grounds of the Merrimack
county agricultural society, about a mile east of the state house at Concord. Col. John H. Gage of Nashua was in command of
the camp, which was called "Camp Union," until May 17. The first regiment was ready by May 8, and left Concord for the seat
of war on the 25th. As so many men had responded to the call for volunteers, the state authorities determined to organize
two regiments. On April 27, Gov. Goodwin was authorized by Brig.-Gen. John E. Wool, U.S. Army, commanding the Department of
the East, to place Portsmouth harbor in a defensive condition. The 1st regiment had been partially organized, when the surplus
men assembled at Concord were sent to Portsmouth early in May, with the view of placing them in Fort Constitution, at New
Castle. By May 4, 400 men had assembled at Portsmouth, and Brig.-Gen. George Stark of Nashua assumed command. Henry O. Kent
of Lancaster was appointed colonel and assistant adjutant-general on April 30, and proceeded to Portsmouth the same day to
assist in organizing the troops. As new companies arrived, some were placed in Fort Constitution, where Capt. Ichabod Pearl
was given command May 7. When President Lincoln issued his call on May 3 for additional troops, to serve for three years,
New Hampshire was required to furnish one regiment. Enlistment papers were distributed among the troops assembled at Portsmouth
and Fort Constitution and the men were given the choice of enlisting in the 2nd regiment, or serving out their time of three
months as garrison. The result was that 496 of the three months' men immediately reenlisted for three years, or during the
war, and by the end of May 525 more three years' men had reported. The regiment was completely organized on June 10, and left
the state for the front on the 20th.
Former Gov. Anthony Colby of New London was appointed adjutant and inspector-general in June,
1861, after the resignation of Joseph C. Abbott. During the year 1861, the following organizations were raised and sent to
the front: The 1st, 2nd, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th regiments of infantry; Companies I, K, L and M of the 1st New England
volunteer cavalry; 1st N.H. volunteer light battery; Co. E, 1st U. S. volunteer sharpshooters, and Cos. F and G, 2nd U. S.
volunteer sharpshooters. All told 9,197 men had been enlisted since the first call for troops.
Under the subsequent call in July, 1862, for three years' troops, 5,053 men were required
from New Hampshire and she raised six regiments of volunteer infantry; under the call for troops for nine months' service,
Aug. 4, 1862, three regiments entered the service. By the close of the year 1862, the state had furnished to the general government
|New Hampshire Civil War Casualties
|The 12th New Hampshire suffered 55.4% casualties at Cold Harbor
|New Hampshire in the Civil War
|The 5th New Hampshire suffered 63.6% casualties at Fredericksburg
These New Hampshirites distinguished themselves in several crucial battles
of the war. The 5th New Hampshire Infantry, for example, became one of the most celebrated units in the war: it suffered a
total of 1,051 casualties (473 being fatalities). At the Battle of Fredericksburg the unit lost 193 of its 303
soldiers engaged, or 63.6% of its men, making it the 12th greatest loss of any Union unit in a single battle during the conflict.
The 5th Infantry suffered a total of 473 fatalities during the war: 18 officers and 277 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded,
and 2 officers and 176 enlisted men died of disease. Meanwhile, General Grant said of one battle in his memoirs, "I have
always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. ... No advantage whatever was gained to compensate for
the heavy loss we sustained." While engaged at the Battle of Cold Harbor, the 12th New Hampshire Infantry had sustained 55.4%
casualties. During the Civil War, 24 New Hampshire men, from army to navy, received the Medal of Honor for valor and gallantry.
See also New Hampshire and Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients.
Although a total of 11 Union regiments lost 8 or more officers in a single
battle, the 7th New Hampshire had the distinction of being ranked first because it had suffered 11 officers in killed
at the Battle of Fort Wagner. The 14th New Hampshire, furthermore, ranked and tied for third, with 8 officers killed during
the Third Battle of Winchester. Only 1 Union regiment suffered 19 officers in killed during the entire war, and the 5th New
Hampshire was second with the loss of 18 of its officers. During the Civil War, 11 chaplains who served the Union were killed-in-action,
including Reverend Thomas L. Ambrose, 12th New Hampshire Infantry, during the Siege of Petersburg. The 4th, 5th, and 7th New
Hampshire regiments lost their commanders while in battle. When they died, the commanders
were colonels and serving as brigade commanders, a command that was assigned to the rank of brigadier-general, and that occurred
only 34 times in the Union Army. See also New Hampshire and Civil War Medal of Honor
Recipients and New Hampshire
in the American Civil War (1861-1865).
Some resistance in the state was offered
in 1863 against the enforcement of the draft. A number of towns had already furnished an excess of men above their quota,
and considered the draft upon them as peculiarly burdensome. A mob burned the Forest Vale house, half way between the Crawford
and Glen houses, and stoned the agents of the provost-marshal engaged in notifying the drafted men. Altogether $8,000 worth
of property was destroyed. Again, at Portsmouth, there was some trouble on the day of the draft. An excited throng of men,
women and children gathered about the provost-marshal's office, which was in charge of volunteers from Fort Constitution and
U.S. marines from the navy yard. A large force of police were also present to assist in dispersing the crowd. Two men who
resisted were arrested and when a mob of 100 attacked the station house later in the evening, two of the police and four of
the rioters were wounded, but none were killed. The mob was then dispersed by a squad of soldiers from the provost-marshal's
office and the trouble at Portsmouth ended.
In 1864, the state lacked 5,000 men to fill its quota of troops and
that only 23 working days remained to raise that number by voluntary enlistments. Cities and towns, some of which were offering
$1,000 bounties for a single one-year recruit, and state bounties, ranging from $100 to $300, according to the term of the
enlistment of the recruit, were enough, however, to entice and lure the New Hampshire men to meet the quota without resorting
to another draft.
During the course of the Civil War, New Hampshire, according to The Union Army (1908), suffered 131 officers and 1,803 enlisted men in killed or mortally
wounded (total 1,934). The number who died of disease was 36 officers and 2,371 enlisted men (total 2,407). The number who
died from other causes, or causes unknown, was 1 officer and 498 enlisted men (total 499). Grand total deaths was 4840.
Only 102 officers and men were dishonorably discharged. According to Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1908), however, New Hampshire suffered a total of 4,882 fatalities: 1903 in killed or mortally wounded; 2427
died from disease; 294 died in prisons; 76 died from accidents, and; 182 died from causes other than battle.
Throughout the war. New Hampshire was most fortunate in the character and
ability displayed by her chief executives, as well as in the personnel of her adjutant-generals. The needs of her soldiers
both in field and hospital were well attended to. Col. Frank E. Howe of New York city and Robert R. Corson of Philadelphia,
were efficient state agents in each of those cities, charged with the duty of caring for sick and wounded soldiers there in
hospital, or passing through those cities. They made monthly reports of names, disability and deaths in the various hospitals,
together with any other important facts which might come under their observation. Many other agents were sent to army hospitals
and battle-fields to care for the sick and bury the dead. The patriotic women of the state were especially active in the formation
of sanitary aid societies, which were maintained with efficiency and system, and without interruption, throughout the war.
They furnished comforts not supplied by the government to enlisted men; sent clothing, delicacies, bandages and medicines
to army hospitals, and cared for the families of soldiers during their absence in the field. At Washington the New Hampshire
soldier's relief rooms became a practical agency for the distribution of substantial aid and comfort to the soldiers, sent
by the good people of the state. Among the names of many noble men and women who labored zealously for the welfare of the
state's soldier's that of Miss Harriet P. Dame of Concord is worthy of especial mention. Her services, both in hospital and
on the bloody battlefield, will never be forgotten. Said one who knew her well: "She was more than the Florence Nightingale
of America, because she had not the secure protection of hospital, but stood with our soldiers beneath the rain and fire of
bullets, undaunted. She knew no fear, and thought not for a moment of her personal safety, for God had called her, and she
felt that His divine protection was over all."
With no thought of disparagement to the other loyal states, it may be truly
said that the commonwealth of New Hampshire made an imperishable record for herself throughout the Civil War. The number of
troops furnished in proportion to her population was exceeded by few if any of the other states, and by none in point of efficiency,
equipment and bravery. The blood of the soldier sons of the Granite State crimsoned every battlefield of note throughout the
great struggle. At home, her people in every walk of life made willing sacrifice that the Union of the Fathers might be preserved,
and free institutions perpetuated.
|New Hampshire Civil War Map of Battles
|High Resolution Map of New Hampshire
Following the suppression of the South in 1865, Congress passed the 13th
Amendment and sent it to the states to be ratified-a task which New Hampshire's convention accomplished on July 1, 1865. Though
the manufacturing grew in New Hampshire from 1860 to 1870, its share of the national market dwindled. The 1870 census showed
the only net population decline in New Hampshire since the official census began. Deaths and relocations from the Civil War
as well as westward movement caused the state’s population to decline from 326,073 in 1860 to 317,976 in 1870. It has
risen in all subsequent censuses. Most of the state’s population lay in the south, as did most of the manufacturing.
A surge of immigrants from French Quebec rode the railroads into New Hampshire to work in the mills. By 1900, 2% of the state’s
population was foreign-born. Blacks and Asians numbered fewer than 1000 in a total New Hampshire population of 411,588.
While attempts at Reconstruction in a devastated South struggled with the
questions of a bi-racial society, New Hampshire, with much of the rest of the North, enjoyed a burst of industrialization
following the Civil War. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester, for instance, grew into the largest textile complex
in the world.
Steam power had begun to replace waterpower by 1870, but by 1900 gasoline
engines and electric motors foretold an even newer age of power to come. During the latter third of the century, manufacturing
became the dominant employer of workers in New Hampshire; agriculture would never again dominate the New Hampshire economy.
Boots and shoes topped the leading industries, followed by cotton goods, once first but now second. Wool manufacturing, lumber
and timber products, and paper and wood pulp followed in that order. Railroads provided
a way for raw materials and finished products to come and go between New Hampshire and the rest of the country.
Local farming suffered from competition from Midwestern products shipped
in by the railroads, but, on the other hand, highly perishable local dairy products could be shipped to nearby city markets
like Boston. Farms therefore turned more toward dairying. The railroads opened up the North Country to logging. Other technologies
contributed. The adoption in 1877 of the production of paper from wood pulp rather than rags made Berlin the industrial center
of the North Country, and Berlin eventually became the biggest producer of newsprint in the world. Record timber harvests
alarmed some environment watchers, and exuberant industry began to have adverse effects on water quality and availability.
Immigrants came to work in both the logging and paper industries. The railroads also led to the rapid expansion of tourism.
The upper classes and moneyed vacationers patronized the large hotels in the White Mountains or on the shore, and middle class
vacationers paid to stay with farm families who took in summer boarders from the cities.
Profits from industrialization led to new sections of cities built in
spirited Victorian styles. These can still be seen today in most New Hampshire cities and towns. Politically, the expansion
of industry led to moves by industry to influence and control government. In this era, increasing political corruption and
influence peddling was perceived to be against the interests of the “common people.”
Still not allowed to vote, women were finally accepted into the State
Teachers’ Association and a few became practicing lawyers and doctors. The temperance and suffrage movements joined
forces and regularly petitioned legislatures and constitutional conventions for action in favor of their causes. Many of the
causes begun as ideas for reform in the pre-Civil War era developed into social welfare action.
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of Northern New England: Its Social and Economic History, 1790–1930 (1936); Wright, James. The Progressive Yankees:
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New England Town Meeting: Democracy in Action (1999).
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