Twenty-eight year-old George Morgan (1834-1864) was one of thirty-two men from Sutton, New Hampshire who enlisted in Co. F, 11th New Hampshire Infantry in August 1862. George was the son of Obediah (“Obed”) Morgan (1799-1877) and Huldah Messer (1803-1877) of King’s Hill, Sutton, Merrimack County, New Hampshire.
The Morgans were yeomen, hammering out a meagre existence in the rocky hillsides of Merrimack County — a land better suited for raising sheep than farming. Here, in the valley below Mount Kearsarge, Obediah raised enough corn and oats for his family’s own use, and sold wool, timber, and maple sugar, to meet the cash needs of his family which included two sons, George and Austin, and two daughters, Martha and Mary. George’s letters do not suggest that he was eager to “save his country” or to risk his life to “put down the rebellion” as were many of the youth who ran off to enlistment offices in the spring of 1861. Neither was he motivated to come to the aid of the Negroes held in bondage in the South whom he clearly despised and spoke of in the most derogatory terms. Rather, he seems to have viewed the war as an opportunity to earn easy money and so he waited until the fall of 1862 when bounties were being offered to fill the state quotas.
Together with his brother-in-law, Francis (“France”) Richards, and his cousin, Hamilton (“Ham”) Messer, George enlisted as a private in the 11th New Hampshire Infantry. Though he endured many hardships during the two years that he was in the service, George’s only serious “battle test” came at Fredericksburg in December 1862. After returning from eastern Tennessee where the 11th New Hampshire spent the winter of 1863-1864, George became ill while with Burnside’s Ninth Corps at Annapolis and was still hospitalized there in May when the corps marched off to join Meade and Grant in the Overland Campaign. George was transferred to a hospital in Philadelphia where he recovered and was detailed as a nurse during the spring and summer of 1864. From this safe distance, George followed the engagements of the 11th New Hampshire as they endured the carnage in the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania Court House, and the Battle of the Crater before Petersburg — fighting which resulted in casualties of unprecedented magnitude. Content with dressing wounds, George remained on detail in the Chestnut Hill Hospital until Early’s raid on Washington in July 1864 when he was called out with every other able-bodied soldier to rush to the defense of the Nation’s capitol. The records — and George’s letters — don’t reveal what happened to George in Washington D. C., who clearly arrived there after the threat had passed, but it appears that he contracted diphtheria while there and died in an Alexandria hospital before he could return to his regiment in Virginia.
Background Material: The children of Obediah Morgan and Huldah Messer:
- Martha Ann Morgan (1831-1894); she married 5 Sept 1852 to Wyman (“Wyme”) P. Kimball (a Currier, b. 1832). They resided in Enfield and later in New London in the Reuben Call house on Summer Street. Their children were George L. (1853-1873), Ida M. (1857-19xx), Edward W. (1862-19xx), and Cora B. (1862-1883).
- Austin Morgan (1838-1919); he married 6 Jan 1867 to Mary G. Richards
- Mary E. Morgan (1842-19xx); she married 6 Oct 1861 to Francis M. Richards (1842-1898), the son of George W. Richards (1805-1879) and Martha B. Peaslee (1815-1876) of Sutton, Merrimack Co., NH.
He died of disease on 23 July 1864 at Alexandria, Virginia. 1860 Census Record
History of the Regiment, by Leander W. Cogswell
The Eleventh New Hampshire Regiment of Volunteer Infantry was recruited in August, 1862, under the call of President Abraham Lincoln of July, 1862, for 300,000 men for three years. The Field and Staff, consisting of Col. Walter Harriman, Maj. Moses N.Collins, Adjt. Charles R. Morrison, Q. M. James F. Briggs, Surg. Jonathan S. Ross, Asst. Surg. John A. Hayes, Chaplain Frank A. Stratton, were mustered into the service of the United States September 2, 1862, and on the 9th of the same month Moses N.Collins was mustered as lieutenant-colonel and Evarts W. Farr was mustered as major.
The several companies of the regiment were mustered into the service from August 28 to September 3, 1862, and the officers of the companies received their commissions September 4, 1862. The regiment consisted of 1,006 officers and men. On Thursday, September 11, 1862, the regiment left Concord with orders to report to Major-General Wool at Baltimore, where it received orders to report to Brigadier-General Casey, at Washington, D.C., where it arrived on Sunday morning, September 14, remaining there two days; then ordered to Camp Chase on Arlington Heights, where it was brigaded with the Twenty-first Connecticut and the Thirty-seventh Massachusetts, Brigadier-General Briggs commanding. It remained here until September 28, following, when it marched back to Washington, thence by rail, October 1, to Sandy Hook, Md., and reported to General McClellan, and then marched up into Pleasant Valley and was brigaded with the Twenty-first and Thirty-fifth Massachusetts, Fifty-first New York, and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero commanding. This was the Second Brigade of the Second Division of the Ninth Army Corps, in which brigade and division it remained during the war.
October 27, following, the army commenced its march to Fredericksburg, Va., arriving at Falmouth November 19, and participated in the battle of Fredericksburg on the 13th of December, 1862. February 11, 1863, the regiment was moved to Newport News, Va., where it remained until March 26, following, when it proceeded by water to Baltimore, Md., thence by rail to Kentucky, reaching Covington March 31. The next day the regiment proceeded by rail to Paris, where it remained until April 17, and then marched to Winchester, where it went into camp and remained until May 4, when it moved to Paint Lick Creek, remaining a couple of days, then marched to Lancaster, May 23 it marched to Crab Orchard, and on the 25th to Stanford, where it remained until June 3, when it was ordered to Nicholasville, thence by rail to Cincinnati, and June 5 moving by rail to Cairo, Ill.; there taking transportation by water for Vicksburg, Miss., reaching Sherman’s Landing just above Vicksburg, June 14. The afternoon of the 16th the regiment sailed up the Mississippi and into the Yazoo river, camping at Milldale on the 17th, which place it fortified, remaining at this point three weeks; then marched to Oak Ridge, where it was employed in protecting the rear of Grant’s army then besieging Vicksburg.
On the afternoon of July 4, 1864, Vicksburg having surrendered that morning, the regiment took up its line of march for Jackson, Miss., forming a line of battle two miles from the city on July 11. The regiment assisted in forcing the enemy from Jackson, entering the city July 17, being one of the first regiments in the city: then returned to Milldale July 23, remaining there until August 6, following, when it embarked for Cairo; thence by rail, reaching Cincinnati August 14; marched over to Covington the same day, camping there until August 26; thence by rail again to Nicholasville and to “Camp Parke,” four miles beyond, remaining there until September 9, when it broke camp and marched to Crab Orchard, arriving at London, Ky., September 16.
On Friday, October 15, 1863, the regiment commenced its march for Knoxville, Tenn., reaching there October 29, after a very hard march, during which it experienced some of the severe mountain storms of that region. It participated in the siege of Knoxville, which began November 17 and ended December 5. After the siege, the regiment assisted in the pursuit of Longstreet, in the mountains of East Tennessee, doing heavy and severe work in marching, picketing, skirmishing, and fighting; living upon the shortest rations, having many days but one ear of corn per day; with no new clothing for several months, being the only New Hampshire regiment that participated in that arduous campaign. March 22, 1864, having sent the sick men and the baggage north, via Chattanooga and Nashville, the regiment commenced its return march over the mountains, reaching “Camp Parke” April 1, 1864, having marched 175 miles in eleven days, over the worst of roads, in the severest weather, carrying all their rations and equipments.
The regiment passed through Cincinnati April 3, arriving at Annapolis, Md., April 7, there re-joining the Ninth Corps. April 23, the regiment broke camp at Annapolis and commenced its march for the front, passing through Washington on the 25th, at which time the Ninth Corps was reviewed by President Lincoln and Major-General Burnside, and on the 6th of May, 1864, at 2 o’clock in the morning, the regiment formed a line of battle in the Wilderness. From this time until the war ended, the regiment participated in all the marches, skirmishes, battles, and sieges of the campaign, and on April 3, 1865, it marched into Petersburg with colors flying.
It participated in the pursuit of General Lee and his army, and after the surrender it was moved to City Point, April 4, remaining there until April 25, when it embarked for Alexandria, Va., which place it reached on the 27th; participated in the grand review in Washington, D.C., on May 23 and 24, and on Sunday, June 4, 1865, it was mustered out of the United States service and reached Concord June 7, 1865. At Concord the regiment was paid in full on Saturday, June 10, 1865, and was formally discharged from the service that day, having been in the service two years and nine months. The Eleventh New Hampshire Volunteers was attached to First Brigade, Casey’s Division, Defenses of Washington, September 16 to 29, 1862; Second Brigade, Second Division, Ninth Army Corps, October 6, 1862, to June 4, 1865.
White Sulphur Springs, Va. ……………………. Nov. 15, 1862.
Fredericksburg, Va. ………………………….. Dec. 13, 1862.
Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., ……………………. June 15 to July 4, 1863.
Jackson, Miss. ………………………………. July 10-17, 1863.
Siege of Knoxville, Tenn., ……………………. Nov. 17 to Dec. 4, 1863.
Strawberry Plains, Tenn. ……………………… Jan. 21, 1864.
Wilderness, Va. ……………………………… May 6, 1864.
Spottsylvania, Va. …………………………… May 9-18, 1864.
North Anna River, Va. ………………………… May 23-27, 1864.
Totopotomoy, Va. …………………………….. May 28, 31, 1864.
Bethesda Church, Va. …………………………. June 2, 3, 1864.
Cold Harbor, Va. …………………………….. June 5-12, 1864.
Siege of Petersburg, Va., …………………….. June 16, 1864, to Apr. 3, 1865.
Petersburg (assault at the Shand House), Va. ……. June 17, 1864.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, Va. (assault) ………. July 30, 1864.
Weldon Railroad, Va. …………………………. Aug. 18, 19, 21, 1864.
Poplar Springs Church, Va. ……………………. Sept. 30, 1864.
Hatcher’s Run, Va. …………………………… Oct. 27, 1864.
Petersburg, Va. ……………………………… Apr. 1-3, 1865.