Chenango in the Civil War: The 76th Regiment NY Infantry – “The Cortland Regiment” Part 2

Editor’s Note: In conjunction with the Chenango County Civil War Commemoration Project Team, The Evening Sun will present a monthly series chronicling items of local interest during the war between the states, compiled and written by a number of local history enthusiasts.

By Vicky House

Oxford Historian

Even though the 76th Regiment did not start out recruiting in Chenango County, seventy one men signed up to help fill the required numbers needed for each company. The young men represented several of the towns in the county and five of these came from Greene, but only two of them survived the war.

Jerome W. Frink, was the youngest of three children of Prentis and Amelia Frink. He enlisted, at age19, to serve three years in Co. B. of the 76th Regiment. Jerome was wounded on July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg and returned to his company only to be wounded and captured May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, VA. While a prisoner at Andersonville, GA, he was being transported to the stockade in Florence, SC, where he died shortly before his discharge date. He was described in his muster roll as having blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion and 5’ 11” tall. His mother, Amelia Frink was able to collect a Mother’s Pension several years after her son’s death. Two soldiers who knew him gave affidavits to support his mother’s claim for pension. It was then that one soldier stated, “Jerome W. Frink who was a member of Co. B, 76th N.Y. Vol. died and was buried between the railroad and the prison stockade at Florence, S.C. in the month of October 1864 and on or about the 21st of that month.”

Garrett S. Pike was born in Colesville, Broome County and one of five children born to William and Persis Pike. By 1860, Garrett was working as a farm hand for the Amos Kelly farm in Greene. At age 21, Garrett enlisted for a term of three years and at the end of the three years, he re-enlisted. He was killed at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864, and buried on the field of battle. Garrett was next to the youngest of the five children and his youngest brother, Orville, also enlisted. Orville was wounded on the left hand, but survived the war.

George E. Therington, age 21, was wounded twice; once at Fredericksburg on December 15, 1862 and at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He was transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps, March 4, 1864 and finally discharged. His whereabouts following the war are unknown.

William Henry Ripley, age 20, was a tinner by trade, living in Greene in 1860 and enlisted as a private in Co. K., November 1, 1861. At the Second Battle of Bull Run, August 29, 1862, he received a severe wound in the left shoulder, the ball lodging near the shoulder blade. The next morning, he was captured by the Sixth Virginia Cavalry. After remaining prisoner about a week, with nothing to eat and no attention paid to his wound, he was paroled and, in that condition, walked to Alexandria, a distance of twenty-eight miles. William was then taken to Cliffbourne Hospital in Washington, DC, where his left arm was amputated. He received a commission as Second Lieutenant of the 76th Regiment, Co. A, and in June 1863, he resigned his commission. The following September, and on the recommendation of General Doubleday, William was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in Company D, Sixth Regiment Veterans Reserve Corps; a position he held until July 30, 1866. According to the 76th Regimental History, “William was a tinner by occupation with nothing but a common school education; yet though “expended in the service” in less than a year he had, by his soldierly qualities, arisen from private to Second Lieutenant.” Lieutenant William Henry Ripley returned to Greene and died on April 25, 1877. He is buried in Sylvan Lawn Cemetery.

Edgar W. Jones was the only son of Salman and Emily Jones of Greene and one of just two children. His father was a tailor by trade. The father lost his leg and was unable to support his family so now the responsibility of taking care of and providing for the family fell upon young Edgar.

According to Adjutant General’s Report, Edgar was 18 when he enlisted, however, in the 1850 and 1860 US Census Records, he was listed as four years of age and fourteen years of age respectively which would have made Edgar 16 years old at enlistment. The enlistment age was eighteen, but with parental consent, a young man could enlist at a younger age.

Edgar wrote letters home to his family and friends and, like so many other young soldiers, sent home his pay to support his family. In one letter, Edgar wrote:

“Dear father,

I mean to Return a brave soldirar. I enlisted to save the flag of our cuntry and I will up hold it till I die. I mean to returne to my home a brave Soldier boy.”

He also writes that he was appointed drill sergeant by the Colonel and how proud he is at performing his new responsibility the best he can. The letter is signed, “from your only son” and no name.

Sadly, our brave little solider boy did not make it home. Edgar fought in the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862 and died of disease shortly thereafter. At present, his grave site is unknown.

Edgar, like so many others, was a young boy doing a man’s job, fighting a man’s war and doing it proudly and to the best of his ability. May they all rest in peace.

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