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Full Duty Thesis Essay

There were 23,000 casualties between the union soldiers in the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was the only one his regiment fought in during his time apart of the the Union army. Some could say Daniel was lucky because he became ill shortly before the battle, because of this, he missed out on one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War. Out of all the men Daniel was lucky to avoid getting wounded, captured, or killed. He was lucky to go home after the war and spend time with his family in the green hills of Vermont. The gun shots were ringing through the air with other sounds of colonels ordering commands left and right.

The air smelled of smoke and troops were going down left and right, on both sides. The men were forced to watch as their best friends and brothers went down with a gunshot in the chest, head, leg, or arm. They were forced to put the sight of their loved ones hunched over fading away by the second behind them. The battle caused much dismay for the union soldiers but they had no time to stop and process what they were witnessing. As the confederates moved closer to large tree splitting the large fishhook made up of union soldiers, the 16th Vermont closed in behind the advancing confederate troops.

That day Daniel’s regiment lead the Union side to victory. They completely destroyed the confederate soldiers that had moved in on the Union soldiers. After that, the battle fields were covered in over 6,000 soldiers that were killed over the course of those three days in Gettysburg. While he wasn’t apart of it, his fellow soldiers and comrades most likely told him endless stories and when he went home he was able to tell his wife and son all about his experience around camp and what his friends experienced in the line of battle.

Daniel Quincey Currier was born in Brattleboro, Vermont in he year of 1819 to his two parents Abel and Sarah (1850 U. S. Census). As he grew up Daniel began to work as a farmer while his father helped pay the bills as a blacksmith. While the U. S. census does not list her occupation one can assume his mother spent the day at home taking care of the farm by cooking and cleaning. Life in his house was quiet and peaceful. He had no siblings and his parents were growing older and older by the day. While his household was short on numbers Norwich itself inhabited around 2,000 people at the time.

At the break of dawn most of the town would be up getting ready for the day. The men would get to work bright and early and the women would wake and dress the smaller children in the house. Daniels mother would have spent the day cleaning the dishes, washing and drying the clothes, and preparing food for dinner. Things like stopping by at the local general store or taking their wheat down to the mill for flour. As a single 31 year old man Daniel must have felt kind of lonely but also relaxed because he didn’t have the stress of being crammed in a house with siblings.

When he married not much later, there were even fewer people in his household because he moved out with his wife, Lurena and newborn baby also named Daniel (1860, 1880 U. S. Census ). One would think he would have trouble leaving his wife and child to join the Union army but he probably believed in Lincoln’s virtues and ideas, so he joined. When soldiers wanted to join the army they didn’t need to have any experience, in fact most of them had never held a gun before.

Daniel mustered in on October 23, 1862 shortly after he enlisted on September, 15, 1862. Once a soldier was prepared to fight they would be mustered-in. When Daniel went off to war he would have received, a uniform, gun, a canteen, a cartridge box, knife, and a knapsack. They may have gotten some other weapons of some sort but that was mostly it. They didn’t have many weapons to use because even the guns they used were fairly new to them.

In a book called Full Duty: Vermonters in the Civil War the author writes, “It voted to give each private $7 a onth in state pay, in addition to the $13 offered by the federal government” (Coffin). In today’s currency he earned about $192. 35 a month with the addition of about $357. 23 given by the federal government. There wasn’t very much training for these soldiers some of them didn’t even quite know how to use their guns when they went off to war. Using a rifle was complicated if you didn’t know what you were doing. Camp life was miserable they would frequently send letters home and only get two back in one week for the whole regiment.

Daniel probably adjusted to the army by writing letters home alike the other soldiers and making use of his down time. Life at camp was gloomy and unpredictable the soldiers spent their down time training and learning to use their guns and when they weren’t hanging out at camp you spent your entire day fighting from dusk till dawn fighting with no food or sleep. Daniel was only mustered-in for nine months so his regiment only participated in The Battle of Gettysburg while he was musteredin. His regiment was a strong part of the Union’s defeat.

They were part of the troops that worked to surround the Confederates and defeat their army. The battle was fought July 1-3, 1863 in a town near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Vermont regiments tended to have little experience and low numbers. For this reason they were not recognized as much as they should have been. In the Battle of Gettysburg, for instance, the Union needed the Vermont soldiers to lead them to defeat but they got no credit for it. It would have been hard to fight in those battles, men were collapsing everywhere you looked.

Since these regiments were made by where u lived these people grew up with some of those other soldiers and it was hard to see your childhood friend go down and not be able to save him. Daniel was most likely sad he couldn’t help his teammates in the war while he was in the hospital, but also relieved that his life wasn’t put on the line. While Daniel was sick he spent time in the field hospital as stated in military service records, “Sick at General Hospital Alexandria, VA since April 13th, 1863” (Compiled Military Service Records of Daniel Currier).

When Daniel left the Union army on August 8, 1863. His wife was presumably just beyond grateful that her husband wasn’t injured or captured in the line of duty but also worried by the fact that her husband spent 5 months in the field hospital. When Daniel got back he was able to spend time with his son that was born just before he left for the army and his wife who he hadn’t seen for some number of months. A couple years after he came back, he had another son named Lewis. His illness mustn’t have been too bad because lived a healthy life after the war still working as a farmer.

He was lucky to spend the rest of his years in the comfort of his home with his family (1880 U. S Census). Daniel passed away on April 27, 1883 leaving his wife and children. After he passed his wife lived on much longer with his two children. His son Daniel later got married and most likely had children. The U. S. census did not share any information of his son Lewis past his death but one can assume he also got married and had children like his brother. His sole was for sure going to be remembered throughout his family and community.

The community probably made plaques or statues commemorating the soldiers that served their country. There were so many young lives lost in battle and it was most likely hard for the community to get past it but the good memories of their brothers, sons, husbands probably surpassed the idea of never seeing their loved ones again. Though some never saw them after they headed to war others came home and were able to spend the rest of their lives in the comfort of their own homes with their family, just like Daniel.

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