Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Smith-Harris Living History Report

Smith-Harris House
Sept. 29-30, 2007
East Lyme, Conn.

Dear Friends,

What wonderful weather greeted us as we arrived in our home state of Connecticut once again! A small detachment of troops from the 8th Connecticut, Company A had been charged with the task of helping to recruit more members to fill out our thinning ranks. We arrived at a beautiful farm house in East Lyme where townsfolk had gathered on Saturday morning, and we met up with members of the 14th Connecticut, Company G, who had also arrived with the same task in mind. Realizing we had identical purposes, and that any new recruits from the grand state of Connecticut would be an asset to our common fight for the Union, we engaged in many joint activities, besides some separate recruiting for our own units.

The day began with combined detachments forming up for a flag-raising ceremony at the front of the house. First Sergeant Hamel and I took command of the troops and marched the men out under the flags of the 14th. The townspeople stood silently as the House flag was raised on their flagpole, no doubt remembering the troops that are still in the heat of battle and those that will not be returning. After this, we engaged in skirmish drill to the delight of the public. We returned to our respective camping areas (adjacent to each other) to continue our recruitment efforts, although most of those that arrived over the course of the weekend were not exactly high prospects.

An unfortunate incident took place that afternoon as one of our own, Pvt. Boucher, took it upon himself to steal a time-piece from a neighboring Naval detachment, who had also arrived with the purpose of recruitment. Caught in the act by Pvt. Lake and Sgt. Hamel, he was immediately apprehended and arrested. How embarrassing for one of our very own 8th Connecticut men to sour the day by this dreadful act! I am without doubt that this did not help to add any names to our recruitment list. Questioned by myself, he was marched around the farm (in shame) wearing a wooden placard with "THIEF" painted on the front and back until I was satisfied with his repentance.

A packet of mail arrived addressed to the members of this particular recruiting detachment - I wonder how the senders knew in advance those particular soldiers would be there. Regrettably, most of the mail was not good news. Pvt. Lake was informed that he had been selected as the newest member of the Union steam submersible "U.S.S. ANVIL". Pvt. Bingham was presented with a bill for damages sustained to a horse-drawn wagon from a drunken escapade, most likely before his enlistment. Sgt. Hamel, having invested in a Mexican railway company that was now defunct due to invasion, now owed a large sum of money after his initial sum was poorly reinvested. It was only by the quick work of an insurance salesman arriving shortly thereafter that Sgt. Hamel's mind was set at ease, as he decided upon a life insurance policy to protect his family in case of tragedy.

With some persuasion, members of the 8th and 14th engaged in a military skirmish with other soldiers to demonstrate battlefield manuevers for the public. This was done on a very small scale, of course, but the townspeople were very appreciative. It soon became extremely apparent of their complete oblivion to what war is actually like, and for that, I thank the Heavenly Father. The townsfolk must have been expecting us, for after our mock skirmish we received a pine box filled with apples, beans, potatoes, a small book, a tin whistle, tent pegs, and - to the delight of everyone there - beeswax candles for everyone.

The day drew to a close, and although the night was chilly, it was not dreadfully cold. As the sun rose the next morning, the combined detachments formed up again for a walk to the local cemetary to remember some of those East Lyme residents who had already given their lives for the Union. We also visited the nearby "Old Stone Church", saw the bell, and chatted with a nearby farmer who takes care of the land on which the Church is located. Returning to the farmhouse, we once again raised the flag, engaged in recruitment efforts and drilled for the public before moving on that afternoon. It was a wonderful weekend, and as we bid farewell to the detachment from the 14th Connecticut, we hoped we would see them again at a later date. How nice it was to work together, and at such a hospitable area!

I will write again when I am able. I am healthy and am looking forward to seeing you soon. I remain,

Your friend,
Lt. Nathan Bayreuther

E-Mail Us for More Information!
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.

Back to 2007 Archive

BACK to the 8CV Home Page.