|Rising of the People, Library of Congress|
|Wm H. Velsor, Volunteer Enlistment|
150 years ago this past week, William H. Velsor (Feb 1823-11 Oct 1871) was on his way to Washington D.C. to serve with the 133rd New York Infantry, 2nd Metropolitan Guards in the U.S. Civil War. My attic is sadly lacking a photograph of William whether in uniform or not. Is it possible to convey his military service in the absence of his visage?
In 1862, the Civil War was losing its appeal. The reality of war was sinking in and recruiting had become difficult. Was William inspired to serve by the verses in "Rising of the People: Drum Tap Rattle through the Land"? Perhaps patriotic duty called. As a butcher, William could scarcely have wanted more work. "By the summer of 1862, Illinois alone was forwarding two thousand head [of cattle] a week [to New York City]."(Gotham, 874)
William volunteered for service at the age of 39 with a wife and young family at home. Were bounties an incentive for his enlistment? Soldiers received $100 bounties on completion of their service and in 1862, $25 of the bounty was advanced on enlistment.(McPherson, 492) Did William fear a militia draft as called for by Congress in July 1862.Whatever his reasons, William Velsor enlisted for a 3 year term of service on 26 August 1862 listing his occupation as Stage Driver.
William's unit, the 133rd New York, was attached to Abercrombie's Division and charged with the defense of Washington D.C. I can't help but wonder what scenes were witnessed as the Capitol city was sharply divided between North and South. Waud's sketch captures the grizzly scene as soldiers discover bodies on the nearby Potomac River.
|Discovering the Bodies of the Slain in the Potomac River, Library of Congress|
On 12-13 April 1863, the 133rd fought at Fort Bisland sustaining their first casualties. Later that Spring, the 133rd participated in the Siege and Assault of Port Hudson.
|A Fierce Assault on Port Hudson, Wikipedia citing National Archives|
|Port Hudson ... Union forces ...take possession, July 9, 1863, Library of Congress|
|Porter’s fleet passing the dam at Alexandria|
|Sheridan's Army following Early up the Valley of the Shenandoah, Library of Congress|
|Sheridan’s Wagon Trains in the Valley, Early Morning Mist and Smoke, Library of Congress|
|Commissary Tent, Library of Congress|
The 133rd NY Infantry remained in the Shenandoah Valley until April of 1865 when the unit moved to Washington D.C. They performed guard duty there and participated in the Grand Review on 23-24 May 1865.
|Grand Review of the Army, Library of Congress|
|William H. Velsor, Muster Out of Service, 6 Jun 1865|
The 133d New-York Regiment (Second Metropolitan) arrived in this city at 3 p. m. yesterday afternoon, via the New-Jersey Railroad. The regiment numbers 486 muskets and 29 officers.
The regiment, preceded by their escort, marched up Courtlandt-st. to Broadway, down Broadway to the Battery barracks, where the soldiers were furnished with an excellent dinner.... Subsequently, the regiment embarked on board a transport and proceeded to Hart's Island, where they will remain until paid off.
|Military on Broadway, Library of Congress|
William H. Velsor is my 3rd-great-grandfather. Information about the battles and campaigns can be found by following the links. In the interest of brevity, not all the activities the 133rd New York Infantry participated in have been included. The sources listed below contain additional information about other engagements.
For more men in uniform, see Sepia Saturday 147.
"133rd Regiment Infantry New York Volunteers, Civil War Newspaper Clippings." New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center. http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/133rdInf/133rdInfCWN.htm : accessed 3 October 2012.
Civil War Photograph Collection. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/civwar/ : accessed 2012. A detailed source list including specific photographs is available at Sources: Sepia Saturday 147, William H. Velsor.
Burrows, Edwin G. and Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 874.
Hawks, Steve. "133st New York Infantry Regiment '2nd Regiment Metropolitan Guard'." Civil War in the East. www.civilwarintheeast.com : 3 October 2012. [Unit operations were taken from this source. Additional information about the 133rd New York Infantry's service is available on this and other websites.]
McPherson, James. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York, Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 492.
Military, Compiled Service Records. Civil War. Carded Records. Volunteer Organizations. Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94. Compiled service record, William H. Velsor, Pvt., Co. G, 133 New York Inf. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
New York. "New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900." Digital images. Ancestry.com. William H. Velsor, separation date 6 Jun 1865. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011. [Ancestry cites New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center, Albany, New York; New York Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900; Archive Collection #: 13775-83; Box #: 538; Roll #: 194.]
New York. Kings County. 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Brooklyn, Ward 18, District 1, p. 417 (stamped), dwelling 144, family 213, William H. Velsor household. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2009.
Wikipedia. "A Fierce Assault on Port Hudson," Digital image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Port_Hudson_Assault.jpg : 24 March 2011. [Citing "A Fierce Assault on Port Hudson" image, Archival Research Catalog, digital images, National Archives, ARC identifier 4529740, Local Identifier 64-M-191. The image is in the public domain.]