Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blog Your Blessings: Memorial Day: Dying Alone

Photographed 24 May 2008

Co. F
11 Vt. Reg't


at Baltimore, Md.
Nov. 17, 1864
AEd 33 yrs, 4 ms

Charles Devereux was born in some unknown place in 1831. He enlisted in the Vermont Volunteer Infantry on August 6, 1862 in Barton and was mustered in on September 1, 1862 as a Private in Co. F of the 11th Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to Corporal on May 1, 1863. Charles was mortally wounded in action at the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864 (with twenty-three other Vermont Volunteers).

The Battle of Cedar Creek was in Middletown, Virginia. Every single Vermont man in service in 1864 fought at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Charles's 11th Vermont Regiment served in the VI Corps of the Army of the Shenandoah commanded by Major General Philip Sheridan. They were in the 2nd Division, 2nd Brigade and were among the first sent into battle. The Army of the Shenandoah had 31,610 men and 90 guns in battle. Five hundred sixty were killed, 3025 were wounded, and 1770 were taken prisoner. The Confederate Army fought with approximately 21,102 men (exact figures are unknown) and 40 guns. Killed and wounded were 1860 people, and 1500 were missing at the end of the battle. All suffered horribly.

Charles died of his wounds in Baltimore, Maryland on November 18, 1864 — hopefully in a hospital. He was buried in Welcome O Brown Cemetery in Barton, Vermont, were I found his grave yesterday. There are no photographs, family, obituaries or memories of Charles anywhere except for his gravestone.
Many casualties, especially during the 1863-1864 campaigns, are probably buried in mass or unmarked graves, and their final resting place will never be known. There are also, in Vermont, many cenotaphs, or empty graves; some of these are not marked as such, but are a fitting memorial to the fallen solider nevertheless.
The Vermont drummer at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Julian Scott (born in Johnson, VT), won the Medal of Honor. He painted The Battle of Cedar Creek, which hangs in the Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House in Montpelier. I photographed this painting when I visited in October of 2007.


The Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House


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  1. SandyCarlson wrote a comment on a previous version of this post that I needed to delete and fix. I am so sorry, Sandy. Thank you for your comment:

    That gives me the chills. I can't even imagine what such battles were like, never mind dying of injuries. The pain must have been excruciating. I must have been especially hard for New Englanders so far from home. There is silence in my heart for this young man. Thanks for bringing him to mind today.

  2. All violence is terrible to behold, as evidenced by the fact that the painter was able to recreate such vivid detail. I can't imagine what it must be like to carry those images with you forever!

    Thank you for remembering this young man.

  3. Very interesting post ! There is no Memorial Day in Europe. Some countries remember on Nov 11 the end of WW I and II but it's not an official holiday.
    If you can come to my blog today, I posted about our very first trip through the States in 1971 !! I think we were the first European tourists, lol !


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