Memoirs of Isreal P. Spencer #1

Memoirs of Israel P. Spencer

Civil War Veteran

Written 1910

Father bought a farm about one mile south of Boliver, the first he ever owned, and we moved on to it and lived there until I was 14 years of age when he traded it for a 100 acre farm in the town of Little Genesee, just across the town line so that we were about the same distance from each village. Boliver was Sunday people and Genesee was Saturday people.

How we boys had to get in and do what work we could as there were not more than 10 acres cleared on this place, and the balance was covered with hemlock, pine, ash and maple. There was a creek running through the farm and along the creek there were a good many butternut trees. Well, we cleared up a fairly good farm, peeled the hemlock, and sold the bark at the tannery and the logs to the saw mills of which there were a good many.

There was always a winter school, and I got along fin until I got the big head as most boys wil at from 15 to 18. I began to think I knew more than father, mother, and all the school teachers put together. Without going into any scrape and details, I quit school at about 17 years of age and worked at one thing and another, at home and away from home by the month. Wages at that time were 50 cents per day, 10 to 15 dollars per month.

Things ran along until the Civil War came on in 1861. My olderst brother, Morton L.

Spencer, enlisted in Co.B. 23 N.Y.Infantry for two years. In August, 1862, M.M. Loyden, who had been a Lieutenant in Co.B., 23 and had resigned was recruiting for the next company tht he could be a commissioned officer in and that happened to be Co.A, 136 N.Y.V. Fred enlisted and I enlisted on the 6th day of August, 1862, I being 18 years, 2 months old, and were assigned to Co.A. In the organization of the regiment, A.T. Cole was Captain, M.M.Loyden, 1st Lieutenant, Webster, 2nd Lieutenant, A.S.Cole, Orderly Sergeant.

In the latter part of September we went in to Camp of Instruction at Protage Falls, N.Y.. We were here learning the drill tactics and manual of arms not to exceed two months. It was a beautiful place situated on the banks of the Genesee River just above the falls, in fact, two of them. A high trestle rail road bridge, said at the time to be the highest in the world, was located here. It was regular lattice work, any piece in it could be taken out and another part put in its place. The 130th N.Y.V. were here at the same time, but left for the front some time before we did. Our board at this place was furnished by contractors and was the poorest quality, the worst get - bread, meat and coffee-that I ever attempted to swallow.

Some time, I think it was the sixth day of September, we drew uniforms and arms and started for the seat of war. Arriving at Washington, D.C., we were marched to the Soldiers Retrreat for grub, such slush as they gave us was enought to make a good soldier retreat, but we thought it was all right and soon got out of that place.

We crossed the Potomac River on the famous Chain Bridge and went into camp on Arlington Heights amoungst fleas and grayback. We probably were here about two weeks when we were started on the march out in to the interior of Old Virginia.

We were assigned to the Second Bridgade, Second Division, Eleventh Corps. The Brigade was composed of the 33 Mass., 55 Ohio, 73 Ohio and the 136th N.Y. We were marched through the historic Fairfax Court House, Centerville, Manassas Junction, Bull run, and out to Throughfare Gap. At this point we stayed for perhaps ten days-dome of the time company roll call came every hour. The cause of this, at that time being young in the business, we did not understand, but a year later we would say, "Look out for the Johneys." Throughfare Gap is one of the passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains and one side or the other might slip through and the other not know of it. Consquently, it was guarded. How long we played around this part I don't know, but in a short time we took the back track.

Back  ----  Next

Webmasters note:
The original file was extremely large and slow to load.  Thus, 13 pages now cover the content of all Memoirs of Israel P. Spencer.

Updated March 14, 2005 - Gail Pomerantz [Gitalaya Web Designs : 1995 - 2005]