Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse 52 Ancestors: #18 George Henry Hayward

George Hayward was a 33-year-old father of six when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. His youngest child, Anna Amelia [my 2nd great-grandmother], had turned two the week before he was mustered into Company K of the 18th Maine Infantry Regiment.

In 1912 the Lewiston Journal published a profile on George in which some stories were shared that I think offer some great perspective on the life of a new soldier in 1862. Thanks to David Colby Young, the family of the late Robert L. Taylor and the Androscoggin Historical Society for transcribing and permission to share from their transcription of the original.

When the companies arrived at Portland they found tents pitched and a good supply of provisions. Most of the officers had little knowledge of what a soldier’s duty was.
When the uniforms came the space between the bottom of the pant’s legs I and the tops of the new army shoes was often an illustration of the relation of 4 the northern and southern states at that time. Nothing could bring them together.

After a while the men began to look natural but it was a good thing that there were no looking glasses. The little army cap, issued and worn at that time, the men regarded as a joke and wore it in all forms except that of a soldier. The arms and equipments, included an unnecessary amount of leather straps and a cartridge box. These were put on in every conceivable manner at, first. But the men soon adjusted themselves to their harness… Aug 24th, Sunday, the regiment took the train for Washington.

Many of the men saw Boston for the first time.

Many of the survivors will remember the reception at the cooper shop in Philadelphia, a refreshing bath and delicious supper. They arrived in Washington about noon of the 27th and were quickly marched into a huge barrack rack, where they were served with a slice of bread, and a piece of boiled beef, with poor coffee to drink and no place to sit down.

That night they encamped with out tents on the side of a hill which had been washed by the, rain, leaving upon the surface stones about the size of a robin’s egg, which, of course made very restless beds.

After a year and nine months of garrison duty in Washington D.C., the 18th Infantry was converted into the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery regiment and assigned to join Grant’s army in Virginia, near Spotsylvania for the Overland Campaign. Again from the Lewiston Journal transcription:

Soon the men of Co. K were in active warfare and in the first battle at Spottsylvania courtyard, Mr. Hayward was wounded. The old soldier’s eyes filled with tears as he told how with the last charge in his gun, he was shot by a rebel.

On the 19th of May, In the same battle where Samuel Collier was killed, George was injured. While prone a bullet struck him between his spine and right shoulder-blade and traveled down his back. The bullet was cut from his hip area. George spent the next year in various hospitals and was eventually discharged in May 1865. According to his pension application he suffered lingering issues due to his injury and collected $12 per month as a result.

George and Rachel (Carter) Hayward. Used with kind permission of David Bennett

George and Rachel (Carter) Hayward. Used with kind permission of David Bennett

George was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia 19 July 1829, the son of Stephen and Anna (Gould) Hayward. In 1850 he married Rachel Bridges Carter (1832-1919), the eldest daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Cox) Carter. One more quote from the Lewiston Journal tells how they met:

One day while going to Pembroke to do some haying, he came to a big mud puddle, and on the other side of it he saw a pretty young lady. He helped her over and they soon became good friends. The young lady was Rachel B. Carter of Pembroke. On Jan. 2, 1850 she became his wife.

They would go on to have 12 children, 44 grandchildren and 66 great-grandchildren [that I know of]. George died 2 Sep 1913 in Dennysville, Maine at 84 years old.

This post is 18th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse 52 Ancestors: #17 Samuel Collier

You may have heard of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment. The unit has the unfortunate distinction of having the most men killed and mortally wounded in battle of any Union regiment during the Civil War. Samuel Collier, the husband of my 2nd great-grand aunt Frances Ellen Bowen, was one of them.

Samuel was born in England around 1830 and married Frances in November of 1861. They lived in Perry, Maine and in August of 1862 when the Army came to enlist men in Washington County, he signed up. His was originally the 18th Maine Infantry unit and the men of Washington County were assigned to Company K.

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine 1863
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

For the next year and nine months, Company K served in defense of Washington D.C. in Batteries Cameron and Parrott and trained in Infantry and Heavy Artillery tactics. In April 1863, Frances gave birth to their son and named him after his father that he would never meet. Garrison duty in D.C. doesn’t sound like it was very exciting, they did a lot of practicing and drills, but never saw any actual combat. That was about to change.

In early May 1864 Grant’s Overland Campaign began and with it, the order for most of the regiments on guard duty in D.C. to join the battle. The 1st Maine joined Tyler’s Heavy Artillery Division. They met up with the main Army near Spotsylvania on May 18th and the next day had their baptism by fire.

Spotsylvania - May 12 1864. Map from NPS.gov, public domain

Spotsylvania – May 12 1864. Map from NPS.gov, public domain

Although the men of the 1st had been in service for some time, they were still “green”. When they were pressed into service near Harris’ farm to defend the right flank from Ewells’ attack, they fought in a more formal, by-the-book style, rather than the get on the ground/behind cover/in a foxhole – just survive – style that the veterans used. The veterans had learned that there is honor in living to fight another day.

So they stood, literally, in the open and fired at the enemy while being fired upon. As you can imagine, the results were devastating: 82 killed (including 6 officers), 394 wounded, 5 missing. Eventually the Union troops forced the retreat of Ewell’s men and ended the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. This was only the beginning for the 1st Maine, but that’s a story for another time.

For an excellent writeup of this unit, check out Andrew MacIsaac’s thesis “Here the Reaper was the Angel of Death: The First Maine Heavy Artillery During the Overland Campaign” posted here. Also see the National Park Service Regiment Details site.

This post is 17th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.