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3 Days of Honoring Chasseurs from Rhode Island

Having found about twenty members of the 65th NY Volunteers from the Providence area, my daughter Rachel and I recently spent a few days in the area looking for their grave sites and placing flags there. Companies B, E, F, and H of the regiment were partially recruited in Rhode Island, and soldier correspondents “Sergeant Drill” and “Veteran” both wrote numerous letters to Providence newpapers which were great sources for No Flinching From Fire. Rachel is great at both finding these Chasseur graves through her online research, and locating them at the cemeteries themselves. She is also great company, and we arranged for a nice AirBnB stay on Federal Hill, within walking distance of the fine Italian restaurants there. Then one night in Jamestown, near Newport, staying with my old friend and former principal Scott and his wife Pam. General Isaac Stevens, who commanded part of the Chasseurs when they played a part in an early foray and skirmish at Lewinsville, Virginia in September 1861, and who was killed while rallying his division at the Battle of Chantilly in August 1862, and General Gouverneur Warren, who was never directly affiliated with or commanding over the 65th NY, but as Chief Engineer and then the 5th Corps commander of the Army of the Potomac was a noteworthy historic figure, are each buried in Newport’s Island Cemetery.

On our drive up from our home in Mamaroneck, New York, we planned on trying to locate and honor four Chasseur graves with flags. We managed to find all of them, even William Latham, who is buried in a small, wooded family graveyard off of the road and hard to see. Findagrave.com had GPS coordinates for the site, and these made it much easier to find.

Simeon Rounds was killed at the Bloody Angle at the Battle of Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864.
Henry Rounds was orginally buried in Scituate, Rhode Island, but he was moved to the Acotes Hill Cemetery in Glocester, Rhode Island, next to his brother and fellow Chasseur Simeon Rounds.
William Latham is buried in a small out of the way family plot in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Our second day had an ambitious agenda: we visited six graveyards in Providence, Pawtucket, and East Providence, with the hope of finding ten or eleven grave sites and placing flags there. It was hot, but at least all of the graveyards were not too far from our base on Federal Hill. We began the day at the North Burial Ground, then to the Swan Point Cemetery, where one member of the regiment was buried, along with Army of the Potomac commander and later Rhode Island governor General Ambrose Burnside. From there, it was off to the Pawtucket area to the Saint Francis cemetery. Then we visited the Walnut Hill cemetery, and the Mohassic cemetery, both also in or near Pawtucket. Finally, we were off to East Providence to circle back towards Federal Hill. We would struggle to even find the Newman Cemetery, and we could not for the life of us find Thomas Congdon’s grave in the Springvale Cemetery, even though we had a very good picture from Findagrave and figured given our expertise and experience that we would find Congdon relatively easily.

As it turned out, we would have to return to Springvale and Newman cemeteries on our third day, before heading southward to Cranston and Warwick on our way to Jamestown. Still, the pictures below reveal we had a productive second day and managed to find a and honor a large number of Chasseurs.

Lieutenant Elisha Gregory’s grave in the North Burial Ground has a nice reference to his service with the Chasseurs on the side of the stone.

Isaiah Horton is buried in the lovely Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

General Ambrose Burnside’s grave at Swan Point. He commanded the Army of the Potomac from late 1862 into early 1863, presiding over the horrible Battle of Fredericksburg and the disastrous and demoralizing Mud March of January 1863 before he was relieved of command.

The graves of Private Michael Holland and Michael McCarty are both in Saint Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket.

The impressive Civil War memorial in Saint Francis cemetery

Albert Colvin’s grave at the Walnut Hill Cemetery in Pawtucket was a bit hard to find.

Though we could not locate Welcome B. Arnold’s grave, we did find his daughter’s gravestone, with his name on it, and as we knew he was buried here at Walnut Hill cemetery, we honored this grave with a flag befoe leaving.

Corporal Isaac Campbell is buried at the Mohassic Cemetery.

Our last day of the trip started with a return to East Providence to once more try to find Thomas Congdon’s grave. Once again we struggled to find it, and I was finally ready to give up. Just before leaving, however, Rachel managed to find the grave, right where we had expected it to be, and where we thought we had already looked. Given how relatively easy our searches had gone on this trip, Congdon’s grave might have been some sort of karma or payback. But we were glad we found him and left a flag at his grave. Then having located the nearby Newman Cemetery, we found Hiram Bucklin’s grave quickly in a family plot that stood out in the large and old cemetery.

Congdon’s grave was the hard one.
Hiram Bucklin’s grave, Newman Cemetery , East Providence
We found Charles McKenna’s grave in the Saint Ann Cemeery in Cranston in les than thirty seconds.

Charles W. Briggs’ grave is in the criminally ill kept Oakland Cemetery in Cranston. We have never seen a cemetery so poorly maintained as this one.

Sergeant William Humes’ resting site in Oakland Cemetery deserves better. I was glad to find him despite the high weeds and grass all around, as I wonder if he may have been soldier correpondent “Sergeant Drill.”

We could not find the small grave of Arthur Gardiner after driving around the Oakland Cemetery. Nor did we have any intention of wandering around on foot, given the overgrown state of the graveyard. Gardiner was the only grave we didn’t find on this trip. The google rating for this cemetery was 1.0, which we were curious about until we arrived. Piles of garbage lay about, and even though the cemetery is still open for internments, the neglect and decay of the cemetery is simply appalling. Some folks were there seemingly working to clear out the areas around their relatives’ graves. I left this place shaken. These people deserve better.

Henry Miller’s grave in Warwick. Miller only served briefly with the 65th NY until his dicharge and later enlistment in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers. The small Brayton Cemetery was a perfect place for a quick picnic lunch, and its condition was a relief after what we saw in the Oakland Cemetery.

The author and daughter Rachel at the impressive grave of General Isaac Stevens, killed at the Battle of Chantilly. Stevens had an early association with the 65th NY at the skirmish at Lewinsville. He is buried in the Island Cemetery in Newport.

The author and friend Scott at General Gouverneur Warren’s grave in Newport

At the end of a long three days of looking for and honoring graves, and all the driving in between, it was good to get a bonus of finding Commodore Oliver Perry’s grave at the Island Cemetery in Newport. Then a restful visit to old friends in Jamestown, and back home. One could argue these trips are more than a little crazy, but it seems to me that finding and honoring members of the 65th NY Volunteers, who fought for their country, some giving their lives for their country, is a worthy pursuit. These men deserve the little bit of recognition that Rachel and I give them. Placing a flag, thanking them for their service, and connecting with members of the regiment I have spent so much time researching and studying, strikes me as honorable and purposeful . And doing it with my daughter Rachel makes it even more special.

Commodore Oliver Perry was a hero of the War of 1812.
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Published by 65th NY Guy

I am a high school history teacher in my 34th year of teaching. I have been studying the 65th NY Infantry, my great-great grandfather's regiment, since 1993. After 8 years of writing, I recently finally published my history of the regiment, "No Flinching From Fire." I also coach cross country and track and field, and I have a wife and two daughters.

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