17th CVI battle flags

A plaque honoring Gerry Caughman

A plaque honoring Gerry Caughman, located in the Hall of Flags at the Connecticut State Capitol building.

It’s taken a while to get this done, but I’ve finally uploaded the 17th CVI chapter from Gerry Caughman’s excellent work on Connecticut’s Civil War battle flag collection.

For those not from Connecticut, Gerry Caughman was known (and is still known) as the “Flag Lady” for the Herculean efforts she put forth to preserve these flags and educate people about the flags and the people behind them. Sadly, Gerry passed away in 2012.

Time has not been kind to many of these flags – the flags of the 17th among them – but her book offers us a rare glimpse at what remains of them as well as the history behind them.

Thanks to the State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission and Chairman Robert Harris, Jr. for granting permission for this to be reproduced on the site…and to Gerry Caughman for her decades of work with these flags.

Site update

After a long search it looks like a solution has been found for the photo sections of the website. Thus far updates have been done to a few of the soldier photograph pages and (for now) things are looking good. Over the next week or so I’m hoping to update all the sections of the website, so keep an eye out.

Okay, so as far as I can tell all the slideshows and photo pages have been updated and are now working normally. If you are on a photo page and you don’t see any descriptions, email me and let me know!

Sorry for the technical difficulties

For those who are coming to the site to look over the various photographs – you’ll find the photos but not the captions. The plugin that I’ve used for the past few years isn’t working so well anymore and the technical support seems to have vanished.

I’m looking for something better and hopefully I’ll find a replacement sooner than later.

Save 35 at Barlow’s Knoll at Gettysburg

Thanks to Charlene Henderson for the heads up on this from the Civil War Trust. I posted an excerpt here, but the full story can be found by clicking on the link below. While any chance to save battlefield land is important to seize upon, this is very relevant to the 17th CVI:


“Dear Fellow Battlefield Preservationist,

You have no idea how excited I am to tell you about this one.

I now have the honor and privilege to notify you that the Civil War Trust is undertaking one of its most important preservation efforts ever at the Gettysburg battlefield:

With your help, in the next 60 days, we will complete the preservation of Barlow’s Knoll at Gettysburg.

Today, with the chance to save the bloodiest unprotected 35 acres from the first day’s battle that can still be saved at Gettysburg, I don’t mind telling you that – in my humble opinion – this is without a doubt one of the most important historic preservation efforts at one of the most hallowed places in America.

If you have not already done so, please look now at the special map I have for you today, showing you  exactly where this iconic site is.


Located just north of town and bordered by the historic Harrisburg and Carlisle Roads, this land saw intense combat on July 1, 1863, resulting in hundreds of casualties including Brigadier General Francis Channing Barlow.

The property we are working to save is literally only a few paces from the monument to General Barlow, whose actions during the battle forever affixed his name to what was previously known as Blocher’s Knoll. Incredibly, however, this 35-acre tract is not part of the Gettysburg National Military Park, and therefore is not permanently protected. Adams County, which has owned the property for decades, is giving the Trust the first time opportunity to acquire and preserve this landmark tract.

Residential and commercial development is already pressing heavily on the eastern and southern flanks of this crucial tract, making it urgent that the Civil War Trust purchase this land and save it immediately.

Fortunately for us (and for future generations), the county has agreed to sell the land for $400,000. Unfortunately, this is one of those rare instances – because of where the land is situated, inside the “authorized boundary” of the national military park – where we are unable to tap into any federal matching funds to help us make the purchase and save the land.

We are 100 percent on our own on this one, but there is good news: My staff and I have, for several weeks, been quietly approaching certain donors who have a special interest in Gettysburg.

The result of that outreach is that we have lined up gifts and commitments approaching $200,000, or about one-half of the total purchase price! So in effect, any gift you can give today will be matched dollar for dollar, not by government funds, but by the generosity of friends who have already stepped forward to save this hallowed ground.”


For those of you who are descendants of the 17th CVI, or maybe just students of the regiment, this parcel is one that is definitively linked to the 17th’s fight at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. From Lt. Charles Doty:

“Passing through the city we were halted and passed into a grain field just beyond the poor house on the outskirts of the city. It was here that the Seventeenth was called upon to furnish a small detachment to guard a wooden bridge which the rebels were trying to destroy…The other seven companies under Colonel Fowler went with the brigade into a grain field at the left of the road, and were formed in double column, and halted just inside of the rail fence, a short distance from where their monument now stands. In the rear, the 107th Ohio were held in reserve, while the Seventy-fifth Ohio and the Fifty-fifth Ohio were advanced in line of battle to meet the enemy, who were now rushing into the fight very rapidly, and were pouring into us a terrible enfilading fire of musketry. About this time a battery upon the left of the brigade, having been ordered back upon Cemetery Hill, left an opening which General Ames was fearful the Johnnies might take advantage of to break through the line…This staff officer retiring to where the general stood was soon sent to Colonel Fowler, of the Seventeenth Connecticut, with instructions to move the regiment at once to the front to relieve the Seventy-fifth Ohio, and allow them to pass quickly through their ranks.

How well the writer remembers as he remained to see many of them for the last time.

Colonel Fowler at once rode to the front and gave the command to deploy column, and swinging his sword, said:

“Now, Seventeenth, do your duty! Forward, double quick! Charge bayonets!” and with a yell, which our boys knew how to give, they charged.

They fought and were mowed down in fearful numbers. Colonel Fowler soon fell, struck by a shell in the forehead, which scattered his brains all over the arm of Adjutant Chatfield, who was by his side. Captain Moore and many others were soon killed.”

Dismissed From Services: Lt. Hanford N. Hayes – Regimental Quartermaster

Note from 17thCVI: In the previous incarnation of this site we published several pieces submitted by readers of this site. Many failed to make it from the old site to the new. We’ll be finding these stories and bringing them back into the site in the future weeks. This is one such story submitted by long-time reader and contributor Jeff Grzelak (also a long-time 17th CVI reenactor in Florida).

It seems that when the 17th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service in August of 1862 it had its fair share of shady members. Among them was a middle aged merchant by the name of Hanford N. Hayes. He had been appointed Regimental Quartermaster because of his background and many of the men knew him, since he was from Bridgeport along with a majority of others.

Quartermaster Hanford Hayes

Lt. Hanford Hayes, Regimental Quartermaster (courtesy of Jeff Grzelak)

Hayes ran his office like a business. Too much so – as he was the Quartermaster he had a free hand when it came to supplies, rations, etc. As nobody watched him, he soon earned the contempt of the men in the ranks for holding back on supplies, then selling them to the men. After only a few weeks his little scam reached the top brass of the regiment. The men grumbled and soon all of the officers suspected him of holding back supplies at the very least, if not covering up a small black market on the side.

A court-martial convened in Virginia at Stafford Court House on December 24, 1862. Colonel Noble of the 17th CVI presided over the proceedings. Several other officers from other regiments within the corps were brought up on charges, but when Hayes came before the court Colonel Noble took a personal interest.

In a report dated April 2, 1863 the findings of Asst. Adjutant General E.D. Townsend, by order of the Secretary of War, paints the picture very well:

CHARGE: “Violation of the 36th Article of War.”

1st Specification: “In this: that at different times and places from the 15th of December 1862, to January 4th, 1863, he has sold, or caused to be sold, provisions belonging to the government of the United States without proper order for that purpose.”

2nd Specification: “In this: that he embezzled & willfully misapplied provisions furnished him by the government of the United States for the subsistence of the enlisted men of the 17th C.V.I., by selling or causing to be sold said provisions at different times and places from the 15th day of December, 1862 to January 4th, 1863.”

Hanford Hayes obituary

Oct. 8, 1884 obituary of Hanford Hayes
(from the Meriden Daily Republican)

3rd Specification: “In this: that having received upon regular provision returns of Capt. Lyman Y. Stuart, Commissary of Subsistence for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, full rations of almost all articles of provisions (for the enlisted men of the 17th C.V.I.) by the government of the United States from the 15th of December, 1862 to January 4th, 1863, has withheld such portions of said rations or provisions as to place the men of the regiment on short allowance, and thereby causing them want and suffering, compelling the men of the regiment in many instances to purchase from said Lt. H.N. Hayes, provisions which he had defrauded them of, in order to their subsistence.”

To which Lt. Hayes pleaded “not guilty”.

The Court having maturely considered the evidence adduced finds the accused, Lt. H.N. Hayes, Quartermaster, 17th C.V.I., as follows:

Of the 1st specification, “Guilty”

Of the 2nd specification, “Guilty”

Of the 3rd specification, “Not Guilty”

Of the Charge, “Not Guilty”

And the Court does therefore sentence Lt. H.N. Hayes, Quartermaster, 17th C.V.I. “At his own expense to make good the damage to the United States and to forfeit all his pay, and to be dismissed from service“.

The Major General commanding the Army reviewed the whole case and then sent it in to the President. The sentenced was suspended under the 89th Article of War until it was mitigated, at which time it was approved by the President except for the dismissal from service. It seems that Lt. Hayes was very lucky, but his reputation was tarnished, and under growing criticism he resigned just after Gettysburg, on July 18, 1863.

He was replaced 9 weeks later by Quartermaster Sergeant John S. Ward, who remained with the unit without incident until the regiment was mustered out of service in July 1865.