1891 Reunion at New Canaan

The Most Successful the Veterans of this
Gallant Body Have Held

Despite the efforts of Old Humidity and frequent downpours of rain, the twenty-ninth annual reunion of the Seventeenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, held in New Canaan yesterday, was an event in the history of that pretty little town and will form an epoch in the lives of the large hearted residents. Veterans to the number of nearly two hundred, accompanied by their wives and sweethearts, arrived early in carriages and by train and were met at the depot by battle scarred S.P. Ferris post, G.A.R., of New Canaan, accompanied by Perry Connell, O.U.A.M., of the same town, and St. John’s brass band, twenty pieces, of Stamford. Marshaled by George F. Johnson, who was assisted by Warren Keeler and Israel Wood, all of New Canaan, the Vets paraded through the principal streets of the borough to Nichols Opera House where the business meeting was held.

The spacious hall was prettily decorated with flowers and flags and was crowded with hundreds of visitors and the townspeople. President Charles J. Smith, Co. G, South Norwalk, called the assemblage together at about eleven o’clock. Rev. Isaac B. Brown, Co. H, of Carnasie, L.I., a Methodist devine, opened the proceeding by invoking the blessing of deity, and following the brief prayer Senator Benjamin P. Mead of the Twelfth District, delivered the address of welcome. His hearty and stirring discourse was responded to by that old hero, Gen. William H. Noble, of Bridgeport, the regiment’s former commander, who spoke in his usual characteristic manner. Owing to the absence of Treasurer Patrick Wade, Co. K, of Bridgeport, who is in Michigan, Seeley (Selah) J. Blakeman, Co. D, Birmingham, was appointed treasurer pro tem, and after the adoption of the minutes of last year’s meeting, and accepting the treasurer’s report, the members proceeded to the election of officers with the following result: President, Rev. Isaac B. Brown, Co. H, Carnarsie, L.I.; secretary, John H. Porter, Co. K, Bridgeport; treasurer, Patrick Wade, Co. D, Bridgeport; vice-presidents, Co. A, William O. Merritt, South Norwalk; Co. B, George A. Christsen, Stratford; Co. C, Thomas McCorkle, Danbury; Co D, John H. Blakeman, Stratford; Co. E, Theodore Allen, Westport; Co. F, Albert Morehouse, Darien; Co. G, Edward White, Bridgeport; Co. H, Justus M. Silliman, Easton, Penn.; Co. I, Courtland S. Darrow, New London; Co. K, Henry Waite, New York City.

Among the prominent gentlemen on the platform were Gen. William H. Noble, of Bridgeport, Anthony Comstock, formerly of Darien, now an official in New York City; Col. Henry Huss, Mount Vernon; Col. S.G. Blakeman, Shelton; Senator Benjamin P. Mead, New Canaan; Capt. Charles Fowler, Darien; Hon. James H. Olmstead, the well-known Stamford attorney; Charles Smith, South Norwalk; Major Charles E. Doty, South Norwalk; and Rufus Wakeman, of Westport.

Resolutions on the death of Capt. William H. Lacey, Co. D, of Bridgeport, who showed, during that awful strife, such gallant conduct at Chancellorsville, were introduced by Gen. Noble and unanimously adopted, and engrossed copies will be forwarded to the widow and family of the deceased.

Although the regiment is now in its 29th year, it’s history has never been printed and steps were taken yesterday to have the work accomplished. William H. Warner (Warren), Co. C, New Haven, himself considerable of a writer and of a historian who has spent much time and money and labor in compiling data for the work, came forward with a volume of carefully prepared manuscript which by a resolution of Col. Henry Huss, was handed to the Historical Committee, appointed some years ago, who will get it in shape for the printer. After some minor business had been transacted the guests were invited into the basement where dinner was served on several long tables and every one of the three hundred or more seats were occupied. The spread this year was furnished by the people of New Canaan and right well did they maintain their reputation as entertainers. Everything that money could procure was furnished and none of the army of guests was turned away dissatisfied. Brief speeches followed by Gen. William H. Noble, Charles J. Smith, Col. Henry Huss, Anthony Comstock, Hon. James H. Olmstead, Rev. Isaac B. Brown and several others. Meanwhile the inevitable clay pipe was produced and after a brief season of social intercourse in the spacious hall the veterans dispersed.

This year’s reunion is considered one of the most successful yet held, and it is safe to say that every one of the blue coated fire eaters enjoyed himself to the utmost. Among the interesting features of the day was the firing of seventeen guns from the church hill in the afternoon.

Nothing yet has definitely been decided upon regarding the time and place for holding the next reunion; although there is a probability an invitation will be forthcoming from the residents of either Darien or Stamford. The matter at present is in the hands of the executive committee and will not be decided for some time.

The 17th participated in some of the most important engagements of the war including the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and the sieges of Forts Sumter and Wagner. Three lieutenant colonels and an adjutant were killed in action, besides a dozen or more captains, lieutenants and sergeants. The 17th was the only regiment from this state ever recruited entirely from one county.

The 17th regiment was one of those forming McLean’s Ohio Brigade. The other regiments were the 25th, 55th, 75th and 107th of Ohio. During the recent National encampment at Detroit, the survivors held a reunion in one of the buildings of that city. Sergeant Patrick Wade, of Bridgeport, was elected vice-president of the brigade association – Norwalk Hour.