The Connecticut Hard Luck Regiment

Men of Bolton Serving in the War of Rebellion

by Hans DePold, town historian
(Published in the Bolton Community News, December 2007)

The Civil War (the War of Rebellion) was the bloodiest war on earth up until WWI and it was America's second war that pitted brother against brother. The Battle of Sharpsburg was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with almost 23,000 casualties. More soldiers died in Civil War battles and prisons than most European nations had enlisted in their armies. Consider that the 25,000 troops Great Britain had stationed in America to suppress the Revolution was their largest expeditionary force deployed overseas up until WWI. Hearing of the American Civil War casualties convinced many nations that they did not ever want to become America's enemy.

The 16th Connecticut Regiment was formed in July and August 1862. It was mustered into service August 24, 1862, and became part of Mr. Lincoln's Army of the Potomac. Many of the recruits were from the privileged families of Hartford. Locals joked that they were going to war without their servants. The officers and non-coms were either elected or politically appointed. Their only regular army officer was Colonel Frank Beach.

Bolton offered up a dozen of her finest to serve. Here was what appeared to be a great adventure opening up for these young men. They wore their new, heavy, pretty blue wool uniforms with shining brass buttons. They would probably be home for Christmas cookies with some great war stories to tell in Bolton.

They boarded the "City of Hartford" and the "Geo C. Collins" and sailed down the Connecticut River to New York where they transferred to the steamer "Kill Van Kull" for the trip to New Jersey. From there they traveled overland to Baltimore. They received no discipline, not a single drill, and few instructions. On September 7, they had their first inspection under arms. This is when they were each issued a muzzleloader Springfield Model 1861 Rifled Musket. The Springfield fired a new bone-shattering projectile that resulted in the large number of amputations necessary during the war. This green regiment with inexperienced officers, newly issued arms, heavy wool uniforms, and no training was put into its first battle just three weeks after leaving their loved ones.

The regiment joined Harland's 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division of General Burnside's Ninth Army Corps. They loaded muskets for the first time only the day before their first battle. It was the Battle of Sharpsburg, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history.

To be continued...

Bolton residents Mustered August 24, 1862, on the roster of Company H of 16th Connecticut Regiment, The Hard Luck Regiment:

  1. Barrows, Dwight; Private, Enlisted August 11, 1862; Died November 18, 1862.
  2. Bingham, Orsemus; Private, Enlisted July 30, 1862; Discharged with disability, May 27, 1865.
  3. Bragg, Syril; Corporal, Enlisted July 30, 1862; Mustered out June 24, 1865.
  4. Brown, William E.; Private, Enlisted August 12, 1862; Discharged with disability, October 24, 1862.
  5. Crippen, George; Private, Enlisted August 5, 1862; Captured at Plymouth, NC, April 20, 1864; Paroled December 10, 1864; Discharged June 20, 1865.
  6. Eaton, Willard B.; Private, Enlisted August 11, 1862; Mustered out June 24, 1865.
  7. Ingram, Charles M.; Private, Enlisted August 23, 1862; Died December 18, 1862.
  8. Massey, William; Private, Enlisted July 30, 1862; Wounded, Antietam, MD, September 17, 1862; Mustered out June 24, 1865.
  9. O'Brien, Patrick; Private, Enlisted August 13, 1862; Mustered out June 24, 1865.
  10. Robinson, William H.; 1st. Sgt., Enlisted August 8, 1862; Mustered out June 24, 1865.
  11. Tullar, Austin M.; Private, Enlisted July 30, 1862; Deserted September 19, 1862.
  12. Warner, Dwight; Private, Enlisted August 9, 1862; Transferred out December 10, 1863.