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Town Of Lee, Oneida County, New York Military

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Delta Artillery Company

Rome Sentinel
February 14, 1913
Supplementary to E. E. Mack's Prize Essay

In connection with the excellent prize essay of Ellsworth E. Mack, printed in the Sentinel, Mr. Mack, as well as the other contestants, were handicapped by the length of time covered by the existence of the Delta Artillery and the limitation of length of essay. It may be of interest to add at this time that the original roster of the first company of Delta Artillery is dated September 21, 1839. The commission of its Captain, Daniel Smith jr., is dated October 4, 1839, signed by Gov. William H. Seward, countersigned by Rufus King, adjutant general. The roster is as follows:

  • Zechariah W. Seager, First Lieutenant
  • Austin P. Bussey Second Lieutenant
  • John Sheldon First Sergeant
  • George C. Hill Second Sergeant
  • Lord Nelson Wentworth Third Sergeant
  • Henry Twitchell Fourth Sergeant
  • John P. Bugbee First Corporal
  • Lorenzo Loomis Second Corporal
  • John Sykes Third Corporal
  • Alonzo Hall Fourth Corporal
  • Otis White Cannon Drawer
  • Henry G. Pease
  • Nathaniel Terry
  • Stephen Riggs
  • Eward Smith
  • David B. Davis
  • Marcena R. Hughes
  • James Hall
  • Henry Cornish
  • Orrin Wilder
  • John Griffith
  • - - - - - Webster
  • Lemuel Ackley, Musicians
  • Alonzo C. haskins
  • John Pruyn
  • Daniel Wentworth
  • Leonard Lester
  • Squire G. Fisk
  • Horace A. Kent
  • Orrin S. Kent
  • Lorenzo Barber
  • Theophilus Macomber
  • Mason H. Wood
  • Alonzo Rogers
  • Roswell Wilder
  • John Marvel
  • William Reymore
  • Elizur Holley
  • Nirum Holley
  • Theulas Glass
  • Edwin Robbins
  • Ira Jewel

The term of enlistment at that time, and during the entire period of the existence of the company, nearly 29 years, was for seven years. Company drill occurred every two weeks. Regimental drill or "general training" occurred once a year, generally during September and lasted a week.

Records tell us that the first public holiday established by the General Court in the colony of New England was "training day" at which time the military company was known as the "train-band". We find no record of general training being legalized as a holiday in New York State, but the week was generally observed regardless of statutes.

Preparations for this greatest event of the year actively began a week or ten days previous to the time set for the men to appear "fully armed and equipped as the law directs." The men were busy getting their arms and accouterments in the best possible shape, cleaning and making any needed repairs on their uniforms, etc.

The women baked all the good things in the brick oven, gingerbread, taking a first place among the eatables, then the good old-fashioned baked beans such as only a brick oven can produce, the corn bread, the chicken, the ham, jellies, etc., all packed carefully in the old-fashioned chest, brought out every year for the purpose. Many had miles to go and took enough to last the whole week through.

Then the boys, just too young to belong to the militia, were active in preparations as well. They generally tried to have a new suit of "linsey-woolsey" for the occasion. They went early, staid late, ate their share of gingerbread out of the big chest, looked on with eager, envious eyes at the drilling and marching of the gaily uniformed troops. All this made a strong and lasting impression on their youthful minds, making them ever eager and anxious to enlist as soon as they arrived at the proper age.

And the girls: their preparations began for weeks ahead, for this training week was full of social events, and evening dances were the events of the season as much as the horse show or the flower show are now at the Madison Square Garden, New York.

Such in brief were the good old training days. All work was generally suspended for the week. Every one vied with each other to see which might have the best time. Old and young had a week's recreation, and many of them did not have another vacation until the next year came around.

The Eight Regiment, to which the above company was attached, was commanded b the late Col. Enoch B. Armstrong, well known to the older citizens of Rome.

Of the above list, several went west and made good. John Sheldon was a wagon-maker in Delta. He built a shop which was afterward used as an Armory by Company R. Last the building was moved back to the river bank and converted into a planing and carpenter shop. Here 50 years ago Abner Chapman made revolving hay rakes and invented the first successful hay carrier made for conveying hay into barns. David Belinger converted the building into a grist mill after the Walsworth Mill on the opposite side of the river was burned, and sold the same to M. B. Smith. John Sheldon went in the early (Illegible) to Iowa, where he died.

Lord Nelson Wentworth and Daniel Wentworth were sons of Oliver and Margaret (Cox) Wentworth. Daniel married Martha Miles and lived and died in Otsetic, Chenango county, NY. Lord Nelson married Catherine, daughter of Hiram and Dorinda Barber and sister to Lorenzo. She died about two years after their marriage, leaving a son, Robert N., who served in a western regiment during the Civil War. Lord Nelson lived in Illinois where he married again in Wisconsin and Minnesota where he died.

Austin P. Bussey, Otis White and lived at Westernville.

Alonzo Hall, a wagon-maker, married Henrietta, daughter of Aaron Sandford, and Sandford & Hall succeeded Richard Peggs in the carriage manufacturing business, which was carried on quite extensively in Delta at that time. He later moved to Taberg where he died a few years ago.

Stephen Riggs was a good fifer. He lived above Lee Corners, the son of John & Eunice (Bristol) Riggs, and died Sept. 25, 1859, aged 37 years. His grandfather, John Riggs, served in the Revolutionary War, and the Connecticut records say he was at Fort Stanwix in Captain Walker's company. Stephen's great-grandfather also served in the Revolution, being at Lexington and died in the service in 1777.

This article already too long must be closed and be finished later on.

February 22, 1913

More About the Delta Artillery

In a recent letter to the Sentinel I gave a sketch of the old 'Delta Artillery' and some of its members. Among the other members was John P. Bugbee, a son of William Bugbee, who lived on the farm now owned by Hugh Evans, which at that time included all the land as far west as the Daniels place in the forks of the road that formerly led north from Delta. All the early land titles in the village were described as bounded by the highway leading from Elmer Hill to William Bugbee's . John was a brother of Matthew Bugbee.

Edward Smith, one of the fifers, was the youngest brother of the captain. He was an eclectic physician and practiced two years in Vernon. Compelled to give up his practice on account of ill-health, he died Aug. 13, 1854, at the home of his father, Daniel Smith Sr., in the town of Western, aged 32 years, an abrupt close of a useful career. He married Helen M. Harrington of Weybridge, Vt. But left no descendants. The widow was a graduate of Clinton Liberal Institute at Fort Plain, and in 1860 went to Ashville, N.C. as a Latin teacher in the celebrated seminary located there, where so many of the scions of southern aristocracy were educated, among her students being the late United States Senator Zebulon B. Vance.

The Civil War did not affect the seminary until 1863, when it became necessary to suspend owning to the demoralized condition of the people who had spent all their fortunes in the Confederate cause and had no money for education purposes. Mrs. Smith was promised a lucrative salary in gold for her services as a teacher but instead was compelled to take a depreciated Confederate currency. After the close of the school in June, 1863, her efforts and thrilling experiences in her determination to reach her northern home and kindred, had she seen fit to have compiled the same, would have made a very interesting volume for posterity. Although northern born and bred, she kept her northern sympathies under cover of a strictly neutral position, which, combined with her wide acquaintance with many prominent families high up in the Confederate cause, rendered her valuable assistance in her subsequent journey over battlefields, sometimes riding in ambulance, munition or commissary wagons, sometimes going on foot, finally reaching Dalton, Ga., as Gen. Hood's army was being transported to Tennessee. From there she rode in closed freight cars to the end of the Confederate lines with Confederate soldiers, her only protection being the chivalrous respect for the passes and credentials she carried from Confederate civil and military authorities, being treated with the utmost respect all the way.

Upon reaching the Cumberland River the confederate picket line was on one bank and the union pickets were guarding the other, at some points being in hailing distance of each other. A white handkerchief on a pole as flag of truce opened negotiations with the union picket, whereby it was eventually agreed that Mrs. Smith should be transported to the union side, and her envoy be allowed a peaceable return to his shore, which was carried out to the letter.

This trip into the union lines was undertaken, not knowing what her reception would be with her pockets filled with confederate passes and nothing but her word to prove her northern identity.

Imagine the mutual surprise, when, upon reaching the union line she met as picket guard with whom she had made successful negotiation, Hervey H. Smith, a native of Delta, and a cousin of her husband. This accidental but timely meeting was of untold value, proving her identity and assisting her in procuring a pass through the union lines to Nashville. After proceeding several miles she found a body of union soldiers repairing railroad lines, and an engine and coach ready to go forward upon proper signal. Accosting the guard, he informed her that the train was destined for Nashville, but under no consideration would carry any one but General Grant and his staff. Pressing the urgency of her needs, and attempting to board the cars, she was told that he would give her no permission to get on, but once on he would not tell her to get off. No one else told her to get off, and therefore she reached Nashville, safe and sound, nearly four months after her departure from Ashville, Oct. 8, 1863, and came immediately to Rome, to recuperate after the hardships and privations incident to her southern experiences, weighing only 90 pounds upon her arrival here, while in her usual health she weight 150 to 160 pounds. So well had the union navy kept guard along the coast, that the blockade runners had been unable to supply the necessaries of life, and she had not seen any salt or saleratus for more than a year before reaching the union lines.

Later she married H. H. Hurlburt of Bennington, Vt., where she died about fifteen years ago.

James Hall and Henry Cornish were well known residents of Lee Center.

John Griffith lived near North Western and drove the stage to Rome for some years, afterward moving to Elmer Hill where he died in 1898, being next to the last survivor of the company as far as known.

The small iron field piece which this battery used was sold to the patriotic citizens of North Western, who soon after, being too enthusiastic in their celebrating overloaded and exploded it to fragments. Fortunately no one was injured.

The Mexican War caused an entire new habilitation and reorganization of the state militia, and soon after the old eighth regiment was mustered out of service. Governor Washington Hunt, July 31, 1852, commissioned Daniel Smith Jr. to recruit a battery, which was known as Company R, Forty-Sixth Regiment. Twenty-first Brigade, Sixth Division, NGSNY, which will be spoken of later.

Other companies in Rome at the same time, which the older citizens remember, were the Gansevoort Light Guards of Capt. Skillin, Capt. Thomas Flanagan's Company and the German Rifles, with their green trimmed uniforms, commanded by Capt. Julius J. Smith, all of them being well represented.

Clarence D. Smith

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