Like many other wargamers (and non-wargamers!), my family has a tradition of military service to its country. I would like to share some of the history of my great great grandfather, John Flattery, and his unit, Battery A, 3rd N.Y. Artillery (Russell's Battery). He was a "first born" American in the United States as his father (also John) was an immigrant from Ireland.
Extract From the Auburn local newspaper on the units farewell:
Auburn Daily Advertiser and Union, Sept. 20, 1864.
Local, Literary, Miscellaneous.
DEPARTURE OF CAPT. RUSSELL'S BATTERY.—The Central depot was crowded this morning by the large numbers of friends assembled to bid farewell for a year, to the brave boys of Battery A, Third N. Y. Artillery, recruited principally in Auburn by Capt. S. P. Russell, and comprising the most excellent material--equal to any organization ever sent forth from the loyal States, and one that will prove an honor to their home and friends.
The boys occupied three passenger coaches, and were full of spirit and enthusiasm. The faces of mothers, sisters and wives were plainly distinguishable from those of disinterested ones, as the hour for parting drew near, and many a hand grasp, accompanied by the parting kiss, in which all of a year's yearning and anxiety were impressed, were exchanged by the loving ones so soon to be separated. But the brave fellows bore the parting with manly determination for the sacrifice, and were given up perhaps tearfully but always hopefully and with patriotic courage and devotion by the loyal women—wives, sweethearts, mothers and sisters, who will watch and pray for, and love them steadily, till the glad chimes of peace shall be sounded at the war's termination, when they may again be united and happy in recalling the sadness of the Past, made so happy by its contrast to a brighter Future.
At about a quarter past seven the train moved off bearing with it the benedictions of the crowd of soldier-boys, who to the number of 157 were thus en route for Elmira, on their way to join the Third at Newbern.
Battery A, 3rd N.Y. Artillery guidon (in the possession of NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPHRP); Textile Conservation Laboratory, Peebles Island, Waterford, NY):
John Flattery's discharge:
The Battery's battle credits include:
Gardinier’s Ridge, NC….. Dec. 9
Foster’s Mills, N.C.......... Dec. 10
Butler’s Bridge, N.C........ Dec. 11-12
Butler’s Bridge, N.C........ Jan. 10
Wise’s Fork, N.C............. Mar. 7-10
John was mustered out in July of 1865. After the war, he maintained membership in the Grand Army of the Republic and in the immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur "Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away."
Today, I keep the family heritage alive as an Army Artilleyrman. Although it shares no common lineage with John's unit (his being State and mine being Federal), I was proud to have served in Battery A, 3rd Artillery for six years and two wartime deployments. I hope to rejoin to the unit as I finish my career, it would be a fitting close to both of our stories.