Robert Dunn Sees
Robert D. Sees was a member of Co. B, 131st Regt., P. V. I., the same regiment to which his second cousin, Jeremiah E. Baker (of Co. H), belonged, but the young soldiers had then no knowledge of their kinship, and were in fact not at all acquainted. They were together in the same wearisome marches, in the heat and in cold, in rain and in mud, stood in the same line of battle and fought the same enemy, and saw the same thrilling and sickening sights, all unconscious of each others existence. It is needless to repeat, therefore, what has already been said of Antietam, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, in the account of Comrade Bakers service. Robert D. S. was very fortunate to serve his full term of enlistment without being woundedwas once, however, sick and laid up in the hospital for two weeks, shortly after the battle of Fredericksburgand was mustered out with his company at Harrisburg on the 24th day of May, 1863.
In response to a request to give the compiler an account of his army life, Robert wrote: It has been such a long time, I cannot remember much. Old soldiers are much inclined to make such remarks, but when the movements and conflicts in which they shared are the subjects of conversation they are very apt to liven up and chime in by saying, that reminds me, and then give an interesting narration of some scene or incident of which they are thus reminded. If the writer could have had a personal interview with Robert, as was had with his brother, John B., the member of Co. B of the 131st would no doubt have been reminded of some things worthy of being recorded in this Family History. He briefly mentioned that on the night after the disastrous repulse from the height at Fredericksburg he was detailed with six others of his company to gather up the wounded, and they were thus humanely engaged until midnight, a perilous duty in which they made a number of very narrow escapes, as the rebel batteries kept right on shelling the field, being no doubt apprehensive of a night assault. Our dead some places lay three deep, said he, and we saw some horrible sights. Never can any one forget the melancholy impression that such a direful scene is sure to make. May the American Union never forget the sacrifices made by the brave men who fought on such bloody fields for its preservation.
And indeed the great sacrifice and noble service
will never be forgotten. A beautiful and well-kept National Cemetery now
occupies the height up which our kinsmen, Sees and Baker, and the gallant
131st in battle array charged, with the division under General Humphrey,
which headed the column of assault and met with such a fearful loss and
repulse. Most of the men who died in the vain attempt to take it by storm
now occupy it in peaceful repose in the grateful Nations fair necropolis;
and many of the loyal and brave who gave their lives in the battles of
the wilderness, Spottsylvania and Chancellorsville, are there at rest
with them. The total number of these honored Union martyrs in the cemetery
is 15,257. Of these 2,487 are known, but the startling number of 12,770
are among the lamented unknown. The graces made after the
carnage had as far as possible been carefully marked, but when the enemy
a few days later reoccupied the city all the headboards were ruthlessly
destroyed. The names of the dead, however, are preserved in the rosters
of their regiments; the records show how they fell in the best cause that
was ever subject to the arbitrament of war; and their familiesand
the soldiers who were disabled in the strugglehave from year to
year been reminded, though far from compensated, by a beholden and thankful
government that none are forgotten and are really unknown
(from Heinrich Gernhardt and His Descendants, pp. 275-276).