Col John P Spofford 97th New York Infantry son of John Dow Spofford and Delilah Spofford Utter B. 10 Apr 1818 Brocketts Bridge, Herkimer, New York D. 27 Aug 1884 Dolgeville, Fulton, New York M. Mary Jane Hopson 26 Feb 1842 d. of James and Lucinda Hopson
According to David Martin, author of "Gettysburg, July 1," the regiment historian recorded the battle in its beginning with a big emphasis on 97th NY. Spofford was riding his horse near the left flank when he spotted the rebels waiving tokens of surrender. Spofford did not wait for orders, but bravely exclaimed: "Boys of the 97th, let us go over there and capture them!" The brave boys jumped the wall and there with the 11th Pennsylvania took control. Apparently the rebs put up a fight and Spofford again rallied up his men . Spofford knew that not waiting for Wheelock's orders could have resulted in a dismissal, but all was okay due to his successful fight! Picture From Rome Observer
The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908. volume II.
Ninety-seventh Infantry.—Cols., Charles Wheelock, John P. Spofford; Lieut.-Cols., John P. Spofford, Rouse S. Eggleston; Majs., Charles Northrup, Rouse S. Eggleston, Delos E. Hall. The 97th, called the Conkling Rifles, was recruited in Oneida and Herkimer counties and mustered into the U. S. service at Boonville, Feb. 19, 1862, for a three years' term. It left for Washington on March 12; was quartered at Fort Corcoran as part of Gen. Wadsworth's command until May, when it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Department of the Rappahannock and moved into Virginia, where it occupied various posts in the neighborhood of the Rappahannock river; was engaged at Cedar mountain, and lost 111 in killed, wounded and missing in the Manassas campaign. On Sept. 12, the regiment, which had served with the 3d corps, was assigned to the 1st corps and fought in the 1st brigade, 2nd division at South mountain and Antietam, suffering in the latter battle the most severe loss of any battle of its service—24 killed, 74 wounded and 9 missing. At Fredericksburg the regiment was prominently engaged, but not at Chancellorsville in the following May. It marched with the corps to Gettysburg and distinguished itself by the brilliantly executed capture of the colors of the 20th N. C. and 382 prisoners'. On the southward march it was present at Bristoe Station, and was in the Mine Run movement. While in camp at Brandy station, a sufficient number reenlisted to secure the continuance of the 97th in the field as a veteran regiment. In June, 1864, it was joined by the veterans and recruits of the 83d N. Y. infantry and in August, by the 94th, the 26th N. Y. having already been added to it in May, 1863. During Grant's famous campaign the 97th served in the 3d and 2nd divisions, 5th corps. Its heaviest losses during this campaign and subsequent operations were in the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania and near the Weldon railroad, but it shared in other engagements Of the brigade at the North Anna river, Totopotomy, Cold Harbor, White Oak Swamp, before Petersburg, in the Hicks-ford raid and the Appomattox campaign. It was mustered out near Washington, July 18, 1865, having lost dulring service 182 by death from wounds and 157 by death from accident, imprisonment or dis-ease, of whom 54 died in captivity
Lieut. Col. John P. Spofford, 97th N.Y. Infantry - Captured at Gettysburg & Escaped from Libby Prison!
From The War of Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union US War Department
Report of Lieut. Col. John P. Spofford, Ninety-seventh Hew York Infantry, of operations February 5-8 Hdqks. 97TH Regiment New York State Vols.,
February 15, 1865.
Lieutenant: In accordance with circular from your headquarters, dated February 12, 1865, 1 have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this regiment during the recent operations near Hatcher's Run:
The regiment broke camp on the morning of the fith instant, marching with the column, by the Halifax road, across llowantv Creek. The brigade halted on Gravelly Run plantation, and formed line of battle, remaining until about 4 a. m. 6th instant, when it took up the line of march on the Vaughan road, recrossing Hatcher's Run near Dabney's Mill, where it halted until about 1 p. m. Again crossed Hatcher's Run and advanced toward Habney's Mill, near which we formed line of battle, this regiment forming in rear of the Sixteenth Maine Volunteers. The line then advanced steadily, under a heavy lire from the enemy, until we had gained the old mill, wheu the brigade on our right being forced back, the enemy, pressing forward, both on our rightand left, poured in a heavy cross fire, rendering our position untenable, and we were forced to retire. The men of the different regiments, mingling together, fell back in some confusion, but soon rallied around their colors and drove the enemy back, reoccupying tho former position, holding it near thirty minutes. The enemy being re-enforced, and pouring in a terrible tire both on our front and flanks, compelled us to fall back the second time. The line was again reformed, amid some confusion, and as well as possible under the circumstances, and went forward again with the brigade, and threw up temporary breast-works and held them until the Second Division fell back, leaving us unsupported on either flank; we were compelled to fall back to our line of works, where we remained during the night. On the morning of the 7th instant advanced up Hatcher's Run toward Armstrong's Mill and to the right of the battle- field of the 6th; formed line of battle in rear of skirmish line, and advanced, driving the enemy's skirmishers about three-quarters of a mile, when the line halted and opened fire, remaining in this position until about 5 p. m., when the Third Brigade was ordered to charge the enemy. The ranks of this regiment having been thinned to such an extent, was ordered to advance as skirmishers in front of the charging column; were repulsed, and retired to the line which we had held during the afternoon, where we remained until 1 a. m. 8th instant, when we again moved back to the fortifications. I take especial pleasure in bringing to your notice Adjt. W. B. Judd (whose term of service had expired) for gallant conduct on both days of the fight. On the 7th, many yards in front of the line, while cheering on the men by word and act, he was struck in the knee by a musket-ball, by which he lost his leg. Many instances of noble daring among the enlisted men, too numerous for this report, will be commended in regimental orders. The loss of the regiment was as follows: February 6, 1865, 9 enlisted men wounded and 6 missing; February 7, 1865, 3 commissioned officers wounded, 3 enlisted men killed and 14 wounded. Two of those reported missing we have since ascertained to have been killed. I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, yours, &o., J. P. SPOFFOBD
From A Tribute to Boonville’s 97th NYSVI”
From A Tribute to Boonville’s 97th NYSVI”
Taken from 97th Regiment, NY Volunteer Infantry Civil War Newspaper Clippings
General J.P. Spofford and wife Mary Jane Hopson
John P. Spofford with 3 sons Julian, John Carlton Tiare-Scott Coco Tree
From the 97th.
Letter from Capt. R. S. Eggleston—Particulars of his Capture and Subsequent Escape—He Rejoins his Regiment—Interesting Details. The following extracts from a private letter from Capt. Eggleston, of the 97th regiment, will prove of interest at this time. The letter is dated the 7th inst., at Emmettsburg, Md., but we learn that the Captain was at Frederick on the 10th and would rejoin his regiment on that day. "I was taken at 4 P. M, July 1st. Col. Spofford was with me. We were taken to the rear where we made a short halt when who should be brought in but Col. WHEELOCK. We were marched around about two miles, when we came back nearly to the spot where we fought, and here met another party of prisoners among whom was Frank and two more of my company. After being counted we marched a mile or so and encamped for the night. There were about three thousand of us.
The next morning the commissioned officers were called out and their names taken--in all one hundred and thirty. After moving a mile or so to a small creek the names of the men were taken with the intention of paroling them. Each company officer was asked to give in a list of the names of his men and sign it; but I did nothing of the kind, as I doubted the right of the men to accept the parole under an order against paroling prisoners on the field. The officers and men were not permitted to see each other after the names were taken, as I suppose the rebels feared we would advise the men not to take their parole as we certainly should have done.
The officers were called out into line and offered their parole, with a provision that, if our Government would not accept the parole, we should deliver ourselves up again and go to Richmond. The offer was refused by most all of the officers myself among them. We thought that, if they wanted to take us to Richmond they must send us under guard. We told them our folks would recapture us before they could get to Virginia. We then marched about two miles and encamped separate from the men on the banks of a fine stream. I took off my shirt and washed it, going without while it was drying. About 11 A. M. they gave us some flour, mutton and salt, the first rations we had received. Some had good appetites, but many had been so long without eating that they were not hungry. We mixed the flour with salt and water and baked it on barrel- heads or anything else we could find. I got a rebel cook, for fifty cents, to bake up the flour for our officers. There were five of us:--Col. Wheelock, Col. Spoffard, Lieuts. Chamberlain and Murphy and myself. On the morning of the 4th they moved us back from the road where we could not see their wagons skedaddle. After marching from one place to another we went back some ways towards Gettysburg in a heavy shower and encamped for the night. It rained most of the night and I slept, some of the time on two rails without any pillow.
|Col. Charles Wheelock|
I am out of danger for the present and shall join the regiment as soon as I can—perhaps in time to fight the rebels again near Antietam. Have no fears for me. If I fall it shall be while doing my duty. I would like to go to Richmond but didn't just like the style of being taken there. I have learned that our boys were paroled and am sorry to hear it."
Col. Wheelock, Capt. Delos Hall, Lieut. ALEXANDER and Serg. DRESHER of the 97th are home on the same duty.
SERG. MUNSON.—On the first day of July at the battle of Gettysburg, was killed one whose noble, manly and patriotic impulses, have ever been the admiration of those many friends who, knowing him best, are now called to most deeply mourn his early loss—Serg. FREDERICK MUNSON, CO. D, 97th regiment, son of E. D. MUNSON Esq., of Salisbury. No young man could boast a fairer record than his; none entered more heartily into the work of crushing the rebel rebellion. He has given up his life for the salvation of the Union and the memory of the sacrifice will endear him to the hearts of all lovers of Liberty.COLONEL WHEELOCK.—This morning Mr. John Harrington received a dispatch from his brother-in-law, George Wheelock, from Washington, nephew of Col. Wheelock, of the Boonville regiment, who was reported killed at Gettysburg, stating that he is not dead, nor even wounded, but a prisoner in the hands of the Confederates.
NINTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT. Adjutant Dennis J. Downing, to be Captain, Jan 8, 1863, vice W. A. Hopkins, resigned.2d Lieut. Joseph A. Smith, to be Adjutant, (1st Lieutenant,) Jan. 8, 1863, vice D. J. Downing, promoted.2d Lieut. Willard B. Judd, to bb 1st Lieutenant, Feb. 1, 1863, vice D. E. Hall, promoted.Sergeant Henry B. Chamberlain, to be 1st Lieutenant, Feb. 12, 1863, vice W. A. Hopkins, promoted.1st Lieut. Wm. R. Parsons, to be Captain, Jan. 8, 1863, vice R. Jones, killed in action.Sergeant Henry A Way, to be 2d Lieutenant, Feb. 12, 1863, vice L. H. Carpenter, resigned.Qr. Mast. Sergeant Thomas Sayers, to be 2d Lieutenant, Feb. 1, 1863, vice W. B. Judd, promoted.
THE 97TH.—Later and direct intelligence from the 97th regiment gives a much more favorable account of the loss in officers. On Saturday we received a call from Capt. NORTON, whom correspondents of New York papers had announced as among the killed. He was wounded, taken prisoner and paroled and gives the following as the casualties to the officers of the regiment so far as he has knowledge of them:
Col. Charles Wheelock, prisoner; Lieut. Col. J. P. Spofford, prisoner, Co. A.—Lieut. Moran, killed. Co. C.—Capt. Andrew Wood, wounded; Lieut. Thomas Waters, wounded and paroled; Lieut. E. Harrington, wounded. Co. D.—Capt. R. S. Eggleston, prisoner; Lieut. James Styles, wounded and prisoner. Co. E.—Lieut. J. O. Rockwell, prisoner. Co. G.—Lieut. John Norton, wounded and paroled; Lieut. Francis Murphy, prisoner.
Co. H.—Capt. D. J. Douney, wounded and paroled.
Co. I.—Lieut. H. B. Chamberlain, prisoner; Lieut. Henry Way, wounded and paroled. Co. K.—Lieut. R. P. Cady, wounded and paroled; Lieut. Alexander, missing.PRISONERS.—We learn that Mrs. J. P. Spafford of Brockets Bridge received a letter from her husband last Saturday night, dated Richmond, stating that Col. Wheelock, Capt. Eggelston and himself, were prisoners in that city.— We rejoice that we are thus certain those brave men are still living.
More Info: 97th New York Infantry Regiment "Conklin Rifles"
Gettysburg, July 1 By David G. Martin
The Army of the Potomac: Order of Battle, 1861-1865, with Commanders By Darrell L. Collins
Gettysburg--The First Day By Harry W. Pfanz