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Historical Time Line of the Association

1875 In October, the first general reunion and encampment of New Hampshire civil war veterans is held at the Riding Park in Manchester. The Association is formed. Brown's Cornet Band provides the entertainment. The band's key musicians were former members of the 3rd Regiment band and its predecessor, the Fisherville Cornet Band of Penacook, NH.

1878 The NHVA holds its second reunion and encampment, its first at "Weirs Landing". (Weirs Beach was called Weirs Landing until the 1885 reunion, when the reunion began taking place "At Weirs" or at "The Weirs".) Brown's Cornet Band once again provides the entertainment.

1879 The Boston, Concord, & Montreal Railroad made land available to NHVA at the Weirs for 43 years. Railroad cleared trees, graded a few road ways and built a dancing pavilion (Southern end of the grove). Tents housed the members and were set up in camp streets parallel to Lakeside Ave. Larger tents were used to house the Headquarters and Kitchen facilities.

1880 Lowell building erected at the top of New Hampshire Ave. First floor was an open reception area, second floor was a dormitory with partitions. Original colors were straw with dark green and white trim and a green roof.

1881 The NHVA is incorporated by the State, an appropriation is made to erect 5 barracks ringing the top of the grove. A Simple headquarters building next to the Lowell building serves as the Association Headquarters.

1882 Seating areas are placed in the hillside grove area. A speakers stand and pavilion are also built. The Sanborn Memorial is created and plans for the headquarters building and Dining pavilion are begun. Veterans of the Third Regiment Band and its successor, the Hilton Head Post Band, meet at the Weirs, and form an alumni group, the First Veteran Band Association of NH.

1883 The 5th Regiment building is constructed next to the Lowell building. The 1st Floor consisted of a large reception area, with the 2nd floor partitioned into sleeping area. The original color was off-white with dark green trim and had a brown roof. Individual Regiment associations begin to make plans to construct their own buildings on plots allocated to them.

A large arc sign bearing the name of the Association is erected on New Hampshire Avenue.

1884 The 3rd Regiment & First Band building is constructed, the first NHVA building to be constructed on Lakeside Avenue. 3rd Regiment & 1st Band had an open area on the first floor, which could be divided into two rooms and an open 2nd floor which also could be divided. 1/3 of the building was used by the Band, the rest by the 3rd Regiment. The original colors were dark yellow with dark green trim.

1885 Headquarters Building and 7th Regiment buildings are completed on Lakeside Ave. Other smaller barracks may have been built to house the veterans.

          The Headquarters Building had a large meeting room with offices to sides and rear on the 1st floor, a large meeting room with smaller rooms to the rear, and the 3rd floor housed a dormitory and storage. The original colors were: deep buff for the 1st floor, the 2nd & 3rd floors were lighter shades of buff, the trim was in different shades of brown and the roof was brown. The porch floor was brown, with the ceiling a light blue, the pillars and brackets were chrome yellow and red, the cresting dark red with old gold.

          The 7th Regiment had a large reception area on the first floor. The 2nd floor had several sleeping areas and a ladies reception room. The original colors were bright terra cotta with bronze trimmings on the first floor, dark yellow with green trim on the second floor, the gable ends were canary yellow.

1886 The 2nd Regiment and Manchester House (Grand Army of the Republic) are built to the right and rear of the Lowell Building. The huge Dining Pavilion occupies the area in front and to the right of these structures out to Tower Street.

1887 The 16th Regiment Building is constructed on Veterans Ave. southern end. Next to the 16th is a new pavilion and smaller storage building. On Lakeside Ave., at the southern end, the 1st Cavalry built their Headquarters.

          The 16th Regiment building had a large reception area with three smaller rooms on the first floor. The second floor had 2 large sleeping areas and two smaller rooms in the front towers. The original colors were bright yellow with greening blue and red trim. The roof was dark slate.

          The Cavalry building had an open reception area with a nest of three fireplaces on the first floor. The second and third floors were dormitories. The original colors were two shades of blue trimmed in yellow - cavalry uniform. The roof had a light and dark slate checkerboard pattern

1888 The 9th and 11th Regiments work together to construct their building on Lakeside Ave. between the Cavalry and 7th Regiments building. On Veterans Ave, opposite the 16th Regiment, the 15th Regiment finishes their building.

          The 9th and 11th Regiment building had two large reception areas that were separated by folding doors with fireplace on each end of the first floor. The second floor was divided into two section, subdivided into three rooms. The third floor was a dormitory. The gables were painted straw with vermilion trim, the main body of the building was a darker straw. The roof was dark slate

           The 15th Regiment building's first floor was divided into two areas. The second floor was divided into three rooms. The building was painted light orange with bright red trim. The roof was light slate and the basement was brown stone.

1889 One of the temporary barracks next to the 5th Regiment is converted to use by the 8th and 13th Regiments.

1891 On land below the 15th Regiment the National Veterans Association of NH constructed the largest and most detailed building. This group was made up of NH veterans who were not in the individual regiments raised in NH. The building was sometimes referred to as the tramps building.

1892 A map of the Weirs showing the location of many of the buildings is published in Boston by D.H. Hurd & Co.

1893 Below the National Veterans Association building and above the Cavalry Headquarters, the 14th Regiment constructed their building. The road was now named Cavalry Avenue, and marked the southern boundary of the property.

1894 A beautiful civil War Soldier statue and water trough in honor of Laommi Bean of the 8th Regiment was erected at the base of New Hampshire Ave.

1896 Berdan's Sharpshooters and the Heavy Artillery Companies constructed the last of the large buildings. This building sat at the western boundary of the property in an area with the state barracks. This seems to be the last of the large buildings constructed.

          This construction period is sometimes referred to as the High Victorian period. Most of the buildings were very colorful with ornate details. Sometimes called the Queen Anne Camp Style, using a "balloon" construction style with sweeping roof lines and wrap around porches, they were and are beautiful to behold. Many of the buildings boasted running water and sewer, long before other "camps" in the area. Most featured large open areas on the first floors with fireplaces and water closets. The second and third floors would consist of dormitory style sleep areas which could, in some cases, be broken up into smaller more private areas with partitions.

1924 A large fire struck The Weirs, destroying the Weirs Hotel, 3rd Regiment Building, and damaging a few of the other barracks.

1931 A lightning strike destroyed the Civil War Soldier statue and water trough honoring Laommi Bean of the 8th Regiment.

1938 When the devastating Hurricane of '38 roared through NH, over 200 large trees were brought down, destroying the 8th & 13th Regiment Building, National Veterans Association Building, Speakers Stand, Convention Pavilion, and a few smaller structures. The 14th Regiment Building, Cavalry Building, Dining Pavilion, and other buildings suffered some damage from the storm. The State made another appropriation to help the Association clean up and repair after the storm.

1950's & 60's Records seem to indicate the Dining Pavilion, Speaker's Stand, Dance Pavilion, and other buildings were removed for public safety reasons.

          The front buildings were repainted during this time using surplus military paint, hence the various shades of gray, blue gray and off-white

1970's & 80's Records seem to indicate fires destroyed three of the old state barracks and separate fires damaged a few other building.

1990's Separate and suspicious fires destroyed the 16th Regiment Building and the Berdan's Sharpshooters Building. The 2nd Regiment Building was taken down for public safety reasons.

          The 1990's also harkened the newest efforts to save this distinct piece of NH's cultural history. Structural repairs - foundations, roofs, windows, upgraded electrical wiring, plumbing, and grounds work. Cosmetic improvements of painting and landscaping are ongoing. What has been accomplished may not show outwardly, but lays in the foundation of a long term plan to maintain the NHVA's holdings for future generations of veterans and the citizens of New Hampshire.


The postcard below dates after 1924 (no 3rd Regiment building) and possibly after 1931 (no statue)

One of the two cannons on the lawn of the NHVA headquarters. Initially, the cannons were kept in a shed at the rear of the HQ and "trotted out at Reunion week only." But in 1933, the cannons were "polished, moved down in front of the headquarters, and placed on cement foundations for permanent display." Since 2000, this cannon has been fired annually during the Association's yearly August gathering. Photo taken October 6, 2007.

Early annual gatherings, known as encampments, were named after individual New Hampshire veterans, all heroes of the Civil War. Both survivors and the fallen were named. For those individuals who survived the War, to be named was a tremendous honor. Souvenir ribbons, with the image of that year's hero, were sold at each encampment. Over the years, these ribbons have become very desired collectibles.

Below is a list of these encampments and heroes, and a picture gallery of the souvenir ribbons. A brief biography of each hero follows.

Typically, the encampments were 4 day affairs, beginning on a Tuesday and ending on a Friday during the last week of August.

The portraits of ten of these heroes hang on the first floor of the NH State House. These heroes have bios on the NH Division of Historical Resources and are linked in the table below. One, Commodore George H. Perkins, even has his own statue at the State House.

John G. ("J.G") Foster 1875 October 12-14 1st
Phineas P. Bixby 1878 August 13-15 2nd
Nathaniel "Natt" Head 1879 August 25-27 3rd
James K. Lane 1880 Aug 31-Sept 2 4th
James H. Platt 1881 August 13-15 5th
Evarts W. Farr 1882 Sept 12-15 6th
Richard Ela 1883 Sept 11-14 7th
William P. Ainsworth 1884 August 26-29 8th
Oliver W. Lull 1885 August 25-28 9th
Haldimand S. Putnam 1886 August 24-27 10th
Timothy B. Crowley 1887 August 23-26 11th
George H. Chandler 1888 August 28-31 12th
Edward E. Cross 1889 August 26-31 13th
Louis Bell 1890 August 26-29 14th
Henry W. Fuller 1891 August 25-28 15th
Aaron F. Stevens 1892 August 23-26 16th
Orlando W. Keyes 1893 August 22-25 17th
Mason W. Tappan 1894 August 28-31 18th
Alexander Gardiner 1895 Sept 3-6 19th
Chas W. Pickering 1896 August 25-28 20th
William I. Brown 1897 Aug 31-Sept 3 21st
Frederick M. Edgell 1898 Aug 23-26 22nd
John G. Jenness 1899 Aug 22-25 23rd
John W. Thompson 1900 August 21-24 24th
Harriet P. Dame 1901 August 27-30 25th
Alvah S. Libbey 1902 August 26-29 26th
Ira C. Evans 1903 August 25-28 27th
D. Arthur Brown 1904 August 23-26 28th
Thomas Cogswell 1905 August 22-25 29th
John C. Linehan 1906 August 28-31 30th
George H. Perkins 1907 August 27-30 31st
William Pitt Moses 1908 August 25-28 32nd
Edward E. Sturtevant 1909 August 24-27 33rd
John L. Thompson 1910 August 23-26 34th
Simon G. Griffin 1911 Aug 29-Sept 1 35th
Gilman Marston 1912 August 27-30 36th
John J. Railey 1913 August 26-29 37th
Charles E. Buzzell 1914 August 25-28 38th
Dana W. King 1915 August 24-27 39th
Augustus D. Sanborn 1916 August 22-25 40th
Daniel B. Newhall 1917 August 28-31 41st
Henry Clark 1918 August 27-30 42nd
Mortier L. Morrison 1919 August 26-29 43rd
Martin A. Haynes 1920 August 24-27 44th
Natt Shackford 1921 August 23-26 45th
? 1922 ? 46th
Lewis W. Aldrich* 1923 August 21-26 47th
? 1924 ? 48th
? 1925 ? 49th
? 1926 ? 50th
Sanborn-Bailey 1930 August 27-30 54th
Dudley, Smith, Taylor & King 1950 August 21-26 75th

*Ribbon unavailable


John G. Foster (1st reunion): Foster, from Nashua, was a West Point graduate and an engineer. He served in many important battles during the War. After the War, he continued in the Army as an engineer, writing an important book about underwater demolition, perhaps inspired by his work on improvements to Boston harbor at the time. He was the first NH Civil War veteran to be honored by the NHVA and one of the most distinguished. Here's a hand-tinted photo of General "J.G." Foster, taken by the famous Civil War and Presidential photographer, Mathew Brady in 1863. Foster may have been the only veteran honored by the NHVA whose photo was taken by Brady, the best-known photographer of the 19th century.

Phineas P. Bixby (2nd reunion): From Concord. Bixby served in the Sixth Regiment for nearly the entire duration of the war. He started as an Adjutant on November 30, 1861 and finished his service as a Colonel on September 17, 1865. During that time he spent two months in a Confederate prison, and three months recovering from severe battle wounds. His most important battles were the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Seige of Petersburg, VA. This latter battle became famous in military history for foreshadowing the trench warfare of World War I. At the Siege of Petersburg, the trench lines extended for over 30 miles, and ultimately led to the abandonment by General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate capital at Richmond.
Nathaniel "Natt" Head (3rd reunion): From Hooksett. A successful business person and state legislator, was appointed Adjutant General of the State of New Hampshire in 1864, where he was responsible for organizing and maintaining the State's records of NH regiments (wartime correspondence, biographical histories, and the like); and in honoring the living and memorializing the dead. Most importantly, he assisted veterans in their return to civilian life. Otis F.R. Waite, in his Civil War history, said of Head, "His constant and unwearied devotion to the "Boys in Blue" secured for him their highest respect and esteem and won for him the enduring title of "The Soldier's Friend."" Waite's book, published in 1870, preceded Head's greatest accomplishment. Head served as Governor of New Hampshire from June, 5 1879 - June 2, 1881. Click here to see a photo of General Head and to read Waite's account. Post #72 of the NH Dept. of the GAR, in Fitzwilliam, was named after Head.
James K. Lane (4th reunion): Corporal in Company G of the 11th Regiment. According to Leander Cogswell, in his history of the 11th regiment, Lane was "mortally wounded" on May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse with the "colors" (NH state and/or US flags) in his hands, and died four days later. Some of the most savage fighting of the Civil War took place at Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864, in an exposed Confederate salient first called the "Mule Shoe" and later, after the massive casualties were counted, recalled as the "Bloody Angle".
James H. Platt (5th reunion): From Manchester, served in Company C of the Second Regiment. At the retreat from Bull Run, Platt exhorted his fellow soldiers, "Halt! boys, halt! - don't run, a hundred men can take the battery!" His protestations were ignored. He had been promoted to Captain of Company E, when, in dense fog, "during the hottest of the fight", he was killed with a bullet through the brain on May 16, 1864, during the Battle of Proctor's Creek, part of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. (This Platt should not be confused with the man of the same name who was Captain of Company B of the Fourth Regiment of the Vermont Volunteers, a Congressman from Virginia, and later, a Colorado businessman.)
Evarts W. Farr (6th reunion): From Littleton. First Lieutenant in Second Regiment, where, in fighting at Williamsburg, VA, his right arm is shattered by a Minie Ball, and amputated. The Minie Ball was a large-caliber rifle bullet that was the Civil War's most lethal weapon. However, Farr continued to fight. After recuperating, he joined the 11th Regiment, where as Major, he bravely led a charge at Fredericksburg. Farr died while serving NH as a US congressman in 1880. His bio can be read in Leander Cogswell's history of the 11th regiment.
Richard Ela (7th reunion): From Concord. In August, 1861, Ela enlisted as First Lieutenant of Company E of the Third Regiment. On June 1, 1862, he was promoted to Captain. He fought in several engagments including the Battle of James Island; the Assault on Morris Island; and the Battle of Fort Wagner. On August 13, 1863, he was appointed Commander of a corps of about 50-60 Sharpshooters, organized from "the 8% of officers and 2% of the rank and file who are know to be the best marksmen", but the Sharpshooters did not see much action, and Ela returned to command of Company E. On May 13, 1864, while "gallantly leading his company up an incline to attack the enemy in its rear", he was shot through the head at the Battle of Drury's Bluff, near Richmond, VA. The night before, Ela foresaw his own death, saying "though I know this to be my last battle, my duty to my country shall be well done.". Well-liked by his men, his Company "fought like devils to recover the body."
William P. Ainsworth (8th reunion): From Nashua. Captain, Company M of the First New England Cavalry. Ainsworth became Commander of the Second Batallion of the First Regiment Rhode Island Cavalry. The Second Batallion was comprised of all the troops from New Hampshire serving in the Rhode Island regiment. One week after the defeat of Union forces by Stonewall Jackson on May 23, 1862 at the Battle of Front Royal, the Second Batallion is sent to retake the town. In a May 30, surprise attack on Front Royal, the Second Batallion succeeds gloriously, but in the pursuit of retreating Confederate forces, Ainsworth dies at the head of his command, pierced by eight enemy balls.
Oliver W. Lull (9th reunion): From Weare. Prior to the war, a Lieutenant of the Governor's Horse Guards. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Eighth Regiment, he was a valued assistant to two Generals. Killed on May 27, 1863, while leading the charge storming the extensive Confederate earthwork fortifications at Port Hudson. The charge failed miserably. The Union army then began a long, 48-day seige, which ultimately led to the fort's surrender. A detachment of the Governor' s Horse Guards performed the military honors at Lull's funeral. The Guards paraded at NH ceremonial functions from 1860-1865 before becoming defunct. Only half its members survived the Civil War. The remaining members could not pay for the Guard's expenses for which the state of NH had never contributed a dime. The Horse Guards were revived in 2000 by Governor Jean Shaheen and now are a department of the NH Army National Guard. Click here for Lull's bio in Otis F.R Waites book, NH in the Great Rebellion.
Haldimand S. Putnam (10th reunion): From Cornish. A West Point graduate, Putnam began his service to the US military in 1857, when he was assigned to duty on the Western frontier. In 1861, shortly before the War was to begin, Putnam completed a special mission to deliver a secret message to Fort Pickens. Located in the Florida panhandle, Fort Pickens was one of the few Southern forts to remain in Union hands throughout the Civil War. After the War started, Putnam fought in the First Battle of Bull Run, then became Colonel of NH's Seventh Regiment.
On July 18, 1863, during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, Putnam was in charge of the 2nd Brigade, which consisted of the 7th NH, the 62nd and 67th Ohio, and the 100th New York. His brigade had taken the southeast bastion of the fort when, under heavy fire, Putnam was killed when a bullet blew off the back his head. This battle became famous as the first Civil War battle in which a regiment of African-American soldiers, many of them former slaves, had taken part. A 1989 Hollywood film, "Glory", depicted the brave actions of this regiment, the 54th MA of the 1st Brigade, who had been in the vanguard of the attack on the fort.
Timothy B. Crowley (11th reunion): From Nashua. Captain of the "famed Irish" Company B of the 10th Regiment, which he personally recruited. In the "gallant charge" at the Second Battle of Fair Oaks, on October 27, 1864, Crowley was severely injured in his thigh area, and barely escaped capture, having to crawl away to safety. For the rest of his life, he remained "a constant sufferer; a sufferer for his country, but no man ever heard him express regret for the service he had rendered the old flag...".
His son, James B. Crowley, became the Mayor of Nashua during the WWI period. James Crowley played the hero's son role perfectly, giving many encouraging, patriotic speeches at "every gathering, demonstration, parade and send-off for the boys and their families."
George H. Chandler (12th reunion): From Concord. Chandler was an adjutant, and later a Major, of the Ninth Regiment. Like James K. Lane, the hero of the 1880 NHVA reunion, Chandler was wounded on May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. Unlike Lane, whose wound was fatal, Chandler's wound, while severe, was one from which he eventually recovered. Chandler was elected President of the NHVA at the 1878 reunion. He was selected to write the history of the Ninth but passed away before doing so. His photo appears on page 374 of that history. Camp #11 of the GAR, in Antrim, NH, was named after Chandler.
Edward E. Cross (13th reunion): From Lancaster. Commanded the 5th Regiment's 1st Brigade, Caldwell's Division, at Gettsyburg. In the fighting of the second day he was mortally wounded in the woods near Devil's Den, on the Union left. Click here for Cross's bio in Otis F.R Waites book, NH in the Great Rebellion. Post #16 of the GAR, in Lancaster, was named after Cross. The 5th Regiment was widely admired for its bravery and was often referred to as the "Fighting Fifth".
Louis Bell: From Chester. The youngest son of NH Governor Samuel Bell, Louis Bell served as Captain of Company A of the 1st Regiment until the Regiment was disbanded in August 9, 1861. In September, 1861, Bell was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the 4th Regiment, and was promoted to full Colonel of the Regiment in May 1862. Bell nearly survived the War, but he fell in the very last battle his regiment was engaged in, at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, when he was shot by a Confederate sharpshooter on January 15, 1865, while leading the charge of the 3rd Brigade upon the Confederate fort. Mortally wounded by a minie ball through the chest, Bell refused to be removed from the field of battle until he saw the flag of his beloved 4th NH regiment waving proudly from the battlements of the captured Fort. With the fort falling into Union hands, the Confederacy lost its last remaining sea port.
Henry W. Fuller (15th reunion): From Hooksett. An 1859 Harvard law school grad, Fuller began his military career with Company I of the First Regiment. He later transferred to the Sixteenth Regiment, where he was promoted to Colonel. Beginning on November 23, 1863, he led the Seventy-Fifth United States Colored Infantry, based in New Orleans.
On May 22, 1863, the Bureau of Colored troops had been established. Although the Union army was willing at the time to recruit "colored" troops as enlisted men, they were much against them becoming combat officers. By the end of the Civil War, there were only eighty-seven African-American officers in the Union Army, while 178,000 "colored" troops had been recruited. The Union army offered freedom for those who enlisted, as well as an opportunity to fight against slavery, but little chance for advancement. Instead, white men like Fuller were given leadership positions over the black troops.
Fuller remained in New Orleans for two years after the war, then moved back to New England. Living in Roxbury, MA, he was elected for two terms as a Representative and one term as a Senator to the Massachusetts state house. Click here for Fuller's bio in Luther Townsend's History of the Sixteenth Regiment.
Aaron F. Stevens (16th reunion): From Nashua. Before the War, Stevens was a lawyer and one of the founders of the NH Republican party. He enlisted on April 29, 1861 as Major of the 1st Regiment, where, stationed at Harper's Ferry, he saw no military action during the Regiment's three months of active duty. Commissioned as a Colonel in 1862, he became the Commander of 13th Regiment; among its major 1864 battles were Drury's Bluff, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Fort Harrison. At Fort Harrison, Colonel Stevens was severely wounded within a few yards of the fort. After the War, Stevens was elected a US Congressman for two terms, from 1867-1871. G.A.R. Post #6 in Peterborough was named after Stevens.
Orlando W. Keyes (17threunion): Captain, 12th Infantry, Company E, killed in the battle of Chancellorsville. Served as First Lieutenant under Natt Shackford (see below). Enlisted most of the men from Holderness. "When the fatal ball struck him, he was in the act of cheering his men forward by swinging his sword above his head."
Mason W. Tappan (18th reunion): NH Congressman from 1855-1861, he enlisted and was a Colonel in the 1st Regiment. Following the war, he was NH's Attorney General from 1876-1886. Notable for his hardline speech made in Congress on February 5, 1861, "The Union As It Is and the Constitution as Our Fathers Made It" in which Tappan stated his belief that no compromise should be made with the South, as that would require amending the Constitution. Click here for Tappan's bio in Otis F.R Waites book, NH in the Great Rebellion.
Alexander Gardiner
(19th reunion): He volunteered in the Fourteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, and was appointed Adjutant [a lower ranking officer who helps a higher ranking officer with administrative affairs]. After seeing service in Virginia the Regiment went to New Orleans, when it was attached to the Nineteenth Corps, with which it returned to take part in the final struggle in Virginia. Gardiner was promoted to the command of the 14th Regiment, and was killed at its head while leading his men to the charge at the victorious battle of Winchester. (Harpers Weekly, November 5, 1864.) Click here for Gardiner's bio in Otis F.R Waites book, NH in the Great Rebellion.
Charles W. Pickering
(20th reunion): Born in Meredith, Pickering moved to Lakeport in his teens, where he was engaged in the construction of the BC&M railroad line and then worked for the Cole Manufacturing Company. He enlisted in Company H of the 13th Regiment on September 15th, 1862, fought in the "swamps of Louisiana", and was mustered out on August 13, 1863. During his short enlistment, "into which was packed as much hard experience as some regiments met in three years, he bore himself always as a true soldier". After the war, Pickering returned to Lakeport, where he was an officer of the First Regiment of the NH Militia, a fireman, and a charter member of the #36 GAR post.
     There was another, even more famous Charles W. Pickering from NH, who was NOT the honoree of the 1896, 20th NHVA reunion. This namesake,
Captain Charles Whipple Pickering, was a Portsmouth, New Hampshire native, whose naval career started when he was only 7 years old. His career spanned nearly five decades, from 1822-1867. During the Civil War, he was a Captain of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. He was the first Captain of the USS Kearsarge*. Pickering's greatest claim to fame was as commander of the USS Housatonic, which was blown up off Charleston on the night of February 17, 1865, by a torpedo fired from the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley**. This was one of the most famous incidents in Naval history, as it was the first time a submarine had successfully sank another ship. As the Hunley attacked, Pickering appeared on deck and fired buckshot from a double-barreled shotgun at the sub. “I thought of going forward myself to get clear of the torpedo,” he reported, “but, reflecting that my proper station was aft, I remained there, and was blown into the air the next instant from where I stood on the port side abreast of the mizzenmast.” Surviving the Housatonic's sinking, Pickering subsequently took command of the Vanderbilt, and participated in the capture of Fort Fisher.
Under command of its second Captain, John Winslow, the Kearsarge battled and sank the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama off the French coast on June 19, 1864. Launched from Liverpool on July 29, 1862, the Alabama was aided by auxiliary steam power, which gave her a huge advantage in speed and manueverability over solely sail-driven ships. For nearly two years the Alabama rampaged throughout the Atlantic, capturing, burning or sinking nearly seventy Union merchant marine vessels, who, hopelessly outmatched by the Alabama, usually gave up without a fight. The Alabama finally met her match in the Kearsarge, which not only had steam power, but an equally powerful set of armaments.
**The Hunley, its Captain, Lieutenant George E. Dixon, and its crew of seven men did not survive the engagement with the Housatonic, sinking on the way back to base. The sub was found at the bottom, just outside of Charleston Harbor, in 1995, and was raised in 2000. The captain and crew were identified and buried with full military honors on April 17, 2004. The Hunley continues to undergo conservation and preservation for eventual display in a museum. The mystery of its sinking remains, with many theories offered, but none proven.
William I. Brown (21st reunion): Was attending Brown university when the war broke out, and joined a military company composed of college students known as the University Cadets, being the first to sign the roll. He afterwards began recruiting for the Ninth New Hampshire Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers. He filled various positions from second lieutenant to major, was in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Spottsylvania, and was killed at Fort Stedman in March, 1865, a short time before the close of the war. (Wayside Jottings, Rambles Around the Old Town of Concord, N.H., by Howard M. Cook, 1910)
Frederick M. Edgell
(22nd reunion): A teenage hero of the Mexican-American war, Edgell recruited most of the 100-plus men of the 1st Independent Battery, NH Volunteer Light Artillery in 1861 from the Manchester area. Appointed First Lieutenant, he was 2nd in command of the Battery, and fought at Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Promoted to Captain, he lead the Battery into battle at Gettysburg. In late 1864 was promoted again, to Major, when in a purely ceremonial move, his Battery was attached to the Heavy Artillery, even though the Battery remained a Light Artillery detachment in the field until the end of the War. Post #76 of the GAR, in Orfordville, was named after Edgell.
John G. Jenness (23rd reunion): Extensive research to date has not been able to identify this honoree.
John W. Thompson
(24th reunion): Of Nashua. Member of 1st Regiment. Second Lieutenant, Company "E". Lieutenant Thompson is killed on September 17, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history, with more than 23,000 troops killed (12,410 Union and 10,700 Confederate.)
Harriet P. Dame (25th reunion): First, and only, woman to be honored by an annual NHVA encampment. First woman to have her portrait hung in the NH State House. A nurse, she defied her superiors in Concord to follow the Second Regiment, beginning with the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, and continuing until the end of the war. Although she would take no official title, she was "in charge" of the nursing efforts at countless battles, both directly on the field of war, as well as in the hospital tents at the rear of the battlefield action, where she administered to the wounded. According to Rev. Adams, Chaplain of the Second, "Her name could hardly be mentioned in a NH regiment without calling forth the response, 'I owe my life to Miss Dame'...All the Granite State regiments spoke her name and referred to her acts with equal pride." After the war, she worked nearly 30 years in Washington, D.C. as a pension clerk for the US treasury, where she distributed funds to disabled Civil War veterans, among others. Click here for Dame's bio in Otis F.R Waites book, NH in the Great Rebellion.
Alvah S. Libbey (26th reunion): Captain, Company G of the First NH Heavy Artillery. Later an important Wolfeboro official. His portrait can be seen here.
Ira C. Evans
(27th reunion): Enlisted as a drummer in Co. C, Twelfth N.H. Vols., and was present at all the battles in which the regiment was engaged...[in] May 1864, he became principal musician of the regiment, and was mustered out of the service in June, 1865. Upon returning home...he was the founder and publisher of the the Veteran's Advocate, a monthly paper devoted to Grand Army interests...he was very popular with his Grand Army associates, and with the public at large. Published many books about the War, including histories of the 7th, 8th, 12th, and 15th Regiments. (Granite State Monthly, Volume XXXII, January-June, 1902)
D. Arthur Brown (28th reunion): D. Arthur Brown was the founder and leader of the Fisherville Cornet Band and its successor, Brown's Cornet Band. The band continues today as the Nevers' Band, one of the oldest bands in the US. See below the entry for John C. Linehan, 30th reunion, for more information. During the war, Brown and Linehan played together in the Third Regiment and Hilton Head bands. According to one bio, at several important battles and skirmishes, Brown set aside his musical instruments to shoulder a musket. He also tended to the wounded. After the war, Brown started a successful machine shop which became the Concord Axle Company. Brown's company manufactured the fence for the Sanborn Memorial Stone, and he can be seen in a photograph at its dedication here. Like Linehan, Brown was a historian, the author of the History of Penacook, published in 1902. Brown also served as Secretary and Treasurer of the NHVA for ten years..
Thomas Cogswell (29th reunion): From Gilmanton. During the War, he was First Lieutenant, then Captain, of Company A of the 15th Regiment. After the early 1870's, he was known as Colonel Cogswell, after receving an appointment from NH Governor Weston. Cogswell served at the seige and surrender of Port Hudson, despite his state of ill health. During the war, he lost over 40% of his body weight due to an unspecified malady. After the war, he began a career as a Harvard-trained lawyer, but he shortly inherited the 500-acre family farm in Gilmanton, which became his principal occupation. Cogswell was also active in NH state politics, where he served in the legislature as a Representative (1871-1872) and Senator (1878). In 1886, he ran for Governor, but running as a life-long Democrat, he had little chance of success. (From 1857 to 2012, NH has elected 50 Republican governors, including an unbroken string of 19 Republican governors from 1875-1913. Only 8 Democrats have reached the highest NH office in that time span.)
John C. Linehan (30th reunion): John Cornelius Linehan played the B-flat bass, an upright tuba that was the largest and lowest-pitched member of the traditional brass band. He was a founding member of the Fisherville Cornet Band, formed in 1858. (The town of Fisherville was renamed Penacook in 1883.) In 1861, seven members of the Fisherville band were recruited to serve as the core of the Third Regiment Band. Linehan enlisted on August 16, 1861. Initially, each NH regiment had its own band of up to 24 musicians. By July, 1862, the regimental bands were deemed too expensive and unwieldy, and more compact, 16-member brigade bands (a brigade consisted of four regiments) were formed. From February 1863 to July 1865, the Hilton Head Post Band (technically the Second Brigade Band, 10th Army Corps, NH Volunteers), stationed in Port Royal, SC, incorporated seven of the former members of the Third Regiment Band, once again incuding Linehan. After the war, Linehan was one of the founding members of Brown's Cornet Band.
However, Linehan's greater claim to fame was as an author. He became an authority on the early history of the Irish in New England and wrote many articles, as well as a book on the subject. (At age 9, Linehan had immigrated to the US from County Cork in Ireland.) During the 1890's he was the State Insurance Commissioner of NH. Linehan was active in veteran's affairs; he was a G.A.R. commander, a director of the Gettsyburg Battlefield Memorial Associaiton, and he was President of the NHVA from 1885-1886.
George H. Perkins
(31st reunion): Had a long and distinguished naval career. During the Civil War, as commander of the monitor Chickasaw, "...his aggressive and effective conduct during the August 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay was a major factor in the capture of the iron clad Tennessee." (Wikipedia entry-click here for more info.)
William Pitt Moses
(32nd reunion): Enlisted in May, 1862, and was assigned to the commissary of the camp...During his term of service, he was several times detailed as acting brigade and division quartermaster...winning the high commendations of his superiors by the energy and efficiency with which he executed the duties pertaining to his department. In the famous march of the regiment across the Cumberland mountains, in March, 1865, Quartermaster Moses accomplished what had been declared at head-quarters as an impossibility, —the safe transmission of his teams over the treacherous mountain roads of early spring. (History of the Ninth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. Edited by Edward O. Lord, 1895.)
Edward E. Sturtevant
(33rd reunion): First man from New Hampshire to enlist in "our second war for independence" and was also the first man to recruit under the President's call for seventy five thousand "three month" a few days, by his own personal influence and example, he enlisted two hundred and twenty six men...received a commission as Captain in the First Regiment...later transferred to captain of Company A of the "Fighting Fifth"...and later promoted to Major... his command was [often] nearest the enemy...From South Mountain to Antietam, and again in McClellan's advance on Charlestown, he led the skirmish line...he loved this dangerous service. He entered the batle of Fredericksburg acting as Lieut. Colonel, where he was finally fatally felled by a "minnie ball". (Bio in New Hampshire in the Great Rebellion, by Major Otis Frederick Reed Waite, 1870.)
John L. Thompson
(34th reunion): Commissioned in 1861 as a First Lieutenant in the first all-New England cavalry regiment. Continued to serve in the cavalry, fighting at Gettsyburg in 1863, while also raising in the ranks. In July 1864, took command of the First New Hampshire Cavalry while at Harper's Ferry, then fought bravely with General Philip Sheridan's forces in the Shenandoah Valley. (New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources - click here for more info.)
Simon G. Griffin
(35th reunion): Rose from being a private to the rank of Major General, the highest rank obtained by a New Hampshire soldier during the civil war. He was never wounded during the war, even though seven of his horses were shot out from under him. Fought with Grant at Vicksburg and with Sherman in Mississippi in 1864. After the war, was elected five times to the NH legislature and served the last two terms as Speaker. Click here for Griffin's bio in Otis F.R Waites book, NH in the Great Rebellion. Click here for additional Griffin info.
Gilman Marston
(36th reunion): From Orford. An Ivy League grad (Dartmouth, Harvard), Marston was serving as a NH representative to the US Congress when he was appointed in June, 1861, as Colonel of the 2nd NH regiment. After serving eighteen months in the 2nd Regiment, receiving a serious arm wound at Bull Run, and participating in numerous other important battles, Marston took a 6 month breather, returning to his Congressional duties. In July of 1863, Marston's military service resumed as an appointed Brigadier General. His first assignment was to establish a prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, which he did with the assistance of his old 2nd NH regiment and the 12th NH. Point Lookout became the largest Union prison camp of the Civil War, eventually holding up to 20,000 Confederate prisoners, double its original capacity. Marston's job at Point Lookout was completed by April of 1864, and he was given command of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the XVIII Corps. After battles at Drury's Bluff, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and James River, Marston returned to civic life and was re-elected US Congressman. Much later, NH governor Charles Sawyer appointed Marston as US Senator to fill a vacancy.
John J. Railey (37th reunion): Railey had a turbulent life as a youngster. An immigrant from County Cork, Ireland, he was arrested at age 9 for playing marbles on the Boston Common! After reform school, he was adopted by a Canterbury, NH family. Railey served in Berdan's Sharpshooters - officially, Company G of the 2nd US Sharpshooters. He was wounded at Gettysburg on Independence Day (July 4th, 1863), in the advance on Emittsburg Pike. After the war, he was an elected politician in Canterbury, and later, in Leominister, MA, where he was also a GAR Commander.
Charles E. Buzzell (38th reunion): From Lakeport. Buried in the Bayside Cemetery. Served in Company F of the 8th Regiment. His photo appears twice between pages 56 and 57 in John M. Stanyan's tome about the 8th Regiment - once as a young Sargeant in uniform, and much later, as a distinguished older gentleman.
Dana W. King
(39th reunion): A Captain in the 8th regiment, known for surviving one of the Souths's worst prisons. In fighting near Sabine Pass, in Mississippi in 1864, his forces were caught by surprise and overwhelmed. King was captured and imprisoned at Camp Ford, near Tyler, Texas, for over six months. His first hand account of privations at the largest Confederate prison west of the Mississippi can be read in horrifying detail here. King later served as the Treasurer of the NHVA.
Augustus D. Sanborn
(40th reunion): From Franklin; enlisted in the 1st as a private, then later served in Company G of the 5th Regiment, fighting with Edward Cross. Promoted to Captain. Survived the war. Later seen in a photo visiting a memorial marker at Gettsyburg where Colonel Cross fell. (My Brave Boys, to War with Colonel Cross and the Fighting Fifth, by Mike Pride and Mark Travis, 2003.)
Daniel B. Newhall (41st reunion): From Concord. Enlisted in the 1st Regiment, then re-enlisted in the 8th Regiment, where he became Captain of Company "B". Newhall fought in battles at Sabine Cross Roads, Alexandria (Louisiana), and finally at Yellow Bayou, where he was severely wounded. His letters to home are in the possession of the NH Historical Society. Newhall contributed to the writing of the history of the 8th, and his portrait can be found on page 477.
Henry Clark (42nd reunion): Extensive research to date has not been able to identify this honoree.
Mortier L. Morrison
(43rd reunion): From Peterborough. Quartermaster Sargeant of the 13th Regiment. Enlisted on August 31, 1862, and discharged on June 21, 1865. After the war, he returned to Peterborough, where he operated a paper mill for a few years, then became a banker. He was politically active in local and state government; he was elected representative to the NH House in 1879, 1881, and 1915. He was also active in various civic groups, including the GAR.
Martin A. Haynes
(44th reunion): Haynes fought as a Private for three long years in every engagement in which his 2nd Regiment took part, and never once during that long period, "did he respond to the surgeon's call or was one day off duty". Promoted to Colonel after the War. Author of the History of the 2nd Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers: Its Camps, Marches, and Battles. Published in 1865, the book was a personal narrative of Hayne's experiences during the War. One of the founders and first presidents of the NHVA. Commander of the NH GAR in 1881-1882. Elected to Congress in 1882 and 1884. Resident of Lakeport. Publisher and Editor of the Lake Village Times, where in 1871, he named Paugus Bay. Click here for a brief bio on Wikipedia. Click here for a more extensive bio, written by John C. Linehan, the 1906 encampment hero. According to Linehan, at the Weirs, Haynes "effectually dampened the ardor of the gamblers and the blacklegs [a cheater at cards] who attempted to ply their vocation by marching one of their number who defied all control down to the steamship wharf and pitching him overboard, kit [suitcase] and all."
Natt Shackford
(45th reunion): Captain in Company E of the 12th. Shackford was a resident of the Weirs, and was a long-time Secretary of the NHVA. In his History of the 12th Regiment, Asa W. Bartlett said of Shackford, "Although he went through (or until cut down) every battle of importance the regiment was engaged in, except the Siege of Petersburg, and was seven times wounded, and twice killed ( ! ), yet he is still among the liveliest of the living, standing as erect as ever...".
Lewis W. Aldrich
(47th reunion): Corporal, 9th Regiment, Company I; wounded in the Battle of South Mountain, near Frederick, Maryland.

Bibilographical Listing of NH Infantry Regiment Histories

1st Regiment Stephen G. Abbott 1890 Keene Sentinel
2nd Regiment Martin A. Hayes 1865 Manchester Charles F. Livingston
3rd Regiment Elbridge J. Copp 1911 Nashua Telegraph Publishing
3rd Regiment D. Eldredge 1893 Boston E.B. Stillings
3rd Regiment D. Eldredge 1899 Washington ?
4th Regiment John G. Hutchinson 1896 Manchester John B. Clarke
5th Regiment William Child 1893 Bristol R.W. Musgrove
6th Regiment Lyman Jackman 1891 Concord Republican Press Association
7th Regiment Henry F. W. Little 1896 Concord Ira C.Evans
8th Regiment John M. Stanyan 1892 Concord Ira C.Evans
9th Regiment Edward O. Lord 1895 Concord Republican Press Association
9th Regiment William Marvel 1988 Wilmington, NC Broadfoot Pub. Co.
10th Regiment Josiah G. Davis 1890 Manchester John B. Clarke
11th Regiment Leander W. Cogswell 1891 Concord Republican Press Association
12th Regiment Asa W. Bartlett 1897 Concord Ira C. Evans
13th Regiment S. Millett Thompson 1888 Boston Houghton, Mifflin
14th Regiment Frances H. Buffum 1882 Boston Rand, Avery
15th Regiment Charles McGregor 1899 Concord Ira C. Evans
16th Regiment Luther T. Townsend 1897 Washington Norman Elliott
17th Regiment Charles N. Kent 1898 Concord Rumford Press
18th Regiment Thomas L. Livermore 1904 Boston Fort Hill Press
New Hampshire In The Great Rebellion Otis F.R. Waite 1870 Claremont Tracy, Chase & Co
Berdan's Sharpshooters* C.A. Stevens 1892 St. Paul, MI Price-McGill Co
First New England Cavalry** Frederic Denison 1876 Central Falls, RI E.L. Freeman & Co

*Berdan's Sharpshooters were divided into two, multi-state regiments. Three of the eighteen companies in the two regiments were from NH - Company E of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters and Companies F & G of the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters.

Here is a commemorative ribbon of Hiram Berdan, from the 1896 reunion.

**Four New Hampshire companies (Companies "I", "K", "L", and "M") gathered together to form the First New England Cavalry. Shortly after their formation, they were sent to Rhode Island to become the Second Batallion of the the First Regiment Rhode Island Cavalry.

Useful links with further information can be found here:

Army Organization During the Civil War

Listing of New Hampshire Civil War Units on Wikipedia

New Hampshire Infantry Regiments listed by James River Civil War Publicationst

New Hampshire Union Regimental Index on the Civil War Archive

New Hampshire Regiments on USGenNet

Sons of Union Veterans of Civil War, Department of New Hampshire

3rd New Hampshire (Band) Website

5th New Hampshire Website

6th New Hampshire Website #1
6th New Hampshire Website #2

12th New Hampshire Company 1 (Meredith) History

The year 1889 marked the 13th NHVA reunion, but it was already the 24th reunion for the 12th Regiment, who had met every year beginning in 1866, one year after the end of the War. The 12th Regiment's 1889 reunion was held on September 27, the first anniversary of the erection of a monument to the 12th NH at Gettsyburg. The monument noted that on July 2, 1863 (the second day of the battle), 224 men were engaged; 20 were killed; 73 were wounded; and 8 died of wounds. Under that, the words were written: "Our Union is river, lake, ocean and sky; Man breaks not the medal, when God cuts the die...", from a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes. The 2nd Regiment, 5th Regiment, Sharpshooters, and Light Artillery also erected monuments at Gettsyburg.

Official programs were also prepared for each encampment. A typical program contained a bio of the honoree, a schedule of activities, a listing of the officers of the NHVA and various committees, meeting notes, and many local advertisements. Only a few of these programs have survived, as they were not as cherished as the souvenir ribbons.

20th reunion, 1896, Camp Charles W. Pickering


38th reunion, 1914, Camp Charles E. Buzell

40th reunion, 1916, Camp Augustus D. Sanborn

44th reunion, 1920, Camp Martin A. Haynes

45th reunion, 1921, Camp Natt Shackford

47th reunion, 1923, Camp Lewis W. Aldrich; cover commemorates the years when the Civil, Spanish-American, and World War I wars began.

75th reunion, 1950, Camp Dudley, Smith, Taylor and King; an elaboration of the 1923 program cover, with World War II added to the illustration.

Initially the reunions attracted huge crowds. For instance, the 8th reunion, in 1884, attracted 5000 men, with an 800-man parade and a 1000-man campfire. As the Civil War veterans died off over the years, the reunion crowds dwindled steadily, until by the 1920's, most of the Civil War heroes were gone. In 1934, only 10 of the remaining 50 Civil War veterans from NH attended the opening day of the reunion on August 23rd. Even though there were veterans of other, more recent wars attending the gatherings, there was never quite the same degree of popular enthusiasm for the reunions as was exhibited by the Civil War vets. Below, an article from the Laconia Citizen gives an indication of what an early reunion would have been like.

The NHVA's annual dues were $5 in 1893. Below is a bill for dues signed by Natt Shackford, Secretary of the Association, whose calling card is also shown.


Below, GAR button, was attached to a "School Memorial Day", Lakeport, NH, May 30, 1901 ribbon.

The holiday was called "Decoration Day" when it was first observed on May 30, 1868, and graves of soldiers were decorated in remembrance. By 1890 it was recognized by all the Northern states. However,
the South, preferring to honor their dead on separate days, did not observe the holiday until after World War I, when it was expanded to remember Americans who had died in any war, not just the Civil war.

The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882. The Memorial Day name did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name of the holiday by Federal law until 1967. A Federal law moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May in 1971. However, New Hampshire did not recognize the federal law moving the date of the holiday until 1994. 

Nearly coincidental with the passage of the 19th amendment (
granting women the right to vote) in Congress in 1919, an "Auxiliary" (an all- woman's grouping) of the American Legion was formed. It became the world's largest patriotic service organization. The American Legion Auxiliary Department of New Hampshire began holding its own annual conventions at Weirs Beach, in conjuction with the NHVA reunions, beginning in 1921. Here are a few of the souvenir ribbons of the Auxiliary, commemorating the 10th convention of the Auxiliary in 1930, and conventions in 1932 and 1934. The 1932 and 1934 ribbons are marked the 14th and 16th annual because the Auxiliary had adopted the dating of the main American Legion group, which had been chartered by the US congress on September 16, 1919, two years earlier than the women's Auxiliary had formed.


In 1975, the 55th convention of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of New Hampshire was held in Laconia.

The VFW Auxiliary Department of New Hampshire held encampments in Weirs Beach. Shown below are ribbons from the 1943 (13th), 1944 (14th), and 1946 (16th) annual encampments of the Auxiliary.


The NHVA Auxiliary held its 12th reunion in 1956.

Ribbons from the 1944 (24th) and 1946 (26th) VFW encampments.


Ribbon from the 1901 (25th) encampment. The ribbon is imprinted "25th Encamp. N.H. Vet. ASSO. Weirs, N.H. Aug. 24, 30 '01". SV, short for Sons of Veterans, is entwined on the front of the brass coin, while Filii Veteranorum, which means Sons of Veterans in Latin, is on the back of the coin. The SV was created in 1881. In 1925, the name of the organization was changed to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. It became the official successor organization to the GAR in 1954.