Uzal Trowbridge’s Fate, Part III & The Price of War at Gaines’s Mill

(cont’d. from previous post)

The events of June 27, 1862, were on the largest scale of the entire Peninsula campaign. The day was also the most costly. Altogether nine hours of fighting cost the armies of the North and South 15,223 men.  The North’s casualties were not as great as the South’s. Under General Fitz John Porter’s command, 894 were killed, 2,829 were captured and 3,114 were wounded for a total of 6,837 (roughly 6.5% of McClellan’s army). Lee lost a total of 7,993: 1,483 were killed, 6,402 were wounded, and 108 went missing. Imagine a headline today describing a loss of that magnitude in a single day. It is very difficult if not impossible to fathom. Wrote Stephen Sears in his book, To the Gates of Richmond ( p. 249), “There would be veterans of four years’ fighting in both armies who insisted that the volume of fire at Gaines’s Mill was unmatched in all their wartime experience.”

Uzal Trowbridge was in Company A, First Regiment, New Jersey. The 1st New Jersey fell under the command of Brigadier General George W. Taylor, who presided over the 1st Brigade which included 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th New Jersey. Taylor was under the command of Brig. General Henry W. Slocum (1st Division). Slocum was under the command of Brig. General William B. Franklin (VI Corps).

The History of Union and Middlesex Counties edited by W. Woodford Clayton (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1882) describes the participation in the Civil War by the citizens of those counties. On pages 144-145 of the book we find the text of the official report by General Taylor on the events at Gaines’s Mill involving  New Jersey regiments on the afternoon of June 27, 1862 (Note: the Chickahominy is a river):

It seems likely that Uzal Trowbridge was killed in the woods to which he was dispatched with the other men in his regiment (paragraph 5).

The several pages leading up to Taylor’s description give a history of 1st NJ Company A to that point. Interestingly Company A (of Elizabeth, NJ) was “the first company mustered into the United States Service under the first call for volunteers to serve three years or during the war (p. 143).” Gaines’s Mill was their fourth engagement with the enemy since they were mustered in on May 21, 1861. By far, Gaines’s Mill was the fiercest fighting they had seen.

Company A had 1,397 men when it was mustered in at Camp Olden, Trenton, New Jersey. Roughly three years and one month later, on June 29, 1865, Company A was mustered out at Hall’s Hill, Virginia. Its strength had diminished to 483 men. Over the course of the company’s service:

  • Resigned           24
  • Discharged    332
  • Promoted         62
  • Transferred    113
  • Died                   234
  • Dismissed            4
  • Deserted          124
  • Unaccounted for   21

Categories: Civil War, Gaines's Mill, VA, Trowbridge, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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