Accounts of War

Almanzo W. Litchard

George Litchard (4), Hon. Almanzo W. Litchard (5), Martin Karr Litchard (6), Donald Brainard Litchard (7)“Almanzo W. Litchard enlisted at the same time, Aug. 29, 1861, that his twin brother, Alexander, entered the service, and served in the same company (D, 86th Reg’t N. Y. V. I.) until December, 1862, when he was taken ill, and while in the hospital was honorably discharged. He soon recovered, however, and thinking that Uncle Sam still needed him, re-enlisted in August, 1863, was consigned to the New York Heavy Artillery, Third Division, Sixth Corps, and served until June 26, 1865. Side by side with Alexander he had part in the adverse second Bull Run battle, already described; afterwards went through the Cedar Creek fight under Phil. Sheridan, and subsequently was in all the principal engagements under General Grant, ending with the surrender at Appomattox, and had the satisfaction of being on hand when the Confederates marched to Clover Hill, north of Appomattox Court House, to stack their arms, April 12, 1865. His health continued unimpaired, and though many of his comrades were killed, and many all around him were wounded, he escaped without sustaining the slightest bodily harm. After Lee’s army was captured, Almanzo’s command made forced marches to join Sherman’s army, then chasing Johnston, but did not reach that valorous body under the night following Johnston’s surrender. He expected to see some more ugly work by the clashing of arms, but his disappointment on reaching Sherman was not in any sense a disagreeable frustration of expectation. Every true soldier in his heart reflected the benevolent sentiment of Grant, ‘Let us have Peace.’ The surrender to Sherman of all the insurgent forces of the South east of the Mississippi River now forever ended the days of bloody strife between the North and the South, and the rank and file of both armies, and many even of the Southern leaders, rejoiced. Our respected kinsman can well say with Captain Whiting, the Southern poet, who wrote the following affecting lines:

‘I saw the glazing eyes of those
Struck down by rifle ball and shell;
I saw the angry looks of foes,
I heard the piercing rebel yell!

I marked the charging squadron’s wheel,
I heard the stirring bugle call,
I heard the red-mouthed cannon’s peal—
I saw the men in wind-rows fall.

Sudden the hideous specters fled—
The hushed sounds of battles cease;
A cloudless sky is overhead,
Indicative of Love and Peace.

Oh! brothers of the wintry North!
Oh! brethren of the sunny South!
May civil discords call you forth
No more, to face the cannon's mouth!’

“After returning from the war Almanzo took a commercial course and graduated from Eastman’s College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y. In politics he is a staunch Republican, and was elected by his party to the Legislature of New York in 1898, 1899 and 1900. He is the President of the Allegany County Farmers’ Co-operative Fire Insurance Company, incorporated in 1883, and now having property insured to the amount of $5,500,000. Is also the President of the Allegany County Farmer’s Club. A curious biological fact pertaining to these twin brothers is that when they were boys Alexander was much the stouter and heavier, but on reaching the manhood the relative condition has been completed reversed, as Almanzo is now the stronger, and, tipping the scales at 195, weighs fifty pounds more than Alexander. Both are active, vigorous and useful men. Both are also fervent members of the Grand Army of the Republic, and it seems that, if possible, they never miss the opportunity to meet their surviving comrades at the National Encampments” (from Heinrich Gernhardt and His Descendants, pp. 235-236).

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