US GenWeb

This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Capt. Douglas Lodge

The late Captain Douglass Lodge was born in Albany, New York, September 22d, 1842. His parents were from Scotland, and came to this conntry in the spring of the same year. He received a liberal education in the public schools and academy. In the year 1857, he became anxious to enter the Navy, and was appointed from this (fourteenth) congressional district, to the Naval School at Annapolis, Md. After being there a little over a year, he became tired of the school, on account of its monotony and the overbearing spirit of students from the Southern States, who were in the majority. He returned home and engaged in business in a commercial house. So rapid was his proficiency, and so superior his business qualities, that in less than two years he was sent out to travel for the house.

When the rebellion broke out, and the Government called for the first seventy-five thousand men to put it down, he was among the first to offer his services. Enlisting as a private in company B, Twenty-fifth Regiment, he served his full term of three mouths and aided in building Fort Albany, on the Virginia side of the Potomac, across from Washington. Soon after the return of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, he re-enlisted in the Forty-third Regiment New York State Volunteers, for three years or during the war, and was appointed Third Sergeant in company A. In September, 1861, he was promoted to the office of Quartermaster Sergeant, and he served in that capacity with credit to himself, until April, 1862, when he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant. The regiment was then in active service with the army under General McClellan, in its marches across the Peninsula. During this time he was promoted, on account of his bravery, to the rank of First Lieutenant, and, on the 3d of November in the same year, was again promoted to the position of Captain. He was with his regiment in all the hard-fought battles, from the time it went into service until after the battle of Antietam, never being absent from it a single day. It is noticeable in his letters to his ftither, which were brief, that he made no complaints, but with a firm hope of the ultimate success of the army in putting down the rebellion, waited and fought with patience throughout the campaign.

The army, under General McClellan, reached Yorktown in April, 1862, where it worked hard and long against the enemy's fortifications. The Forty-third Regiment was divided into companies that did picket duty, threw up breastworks in the face of the enemy's guns, and supported the artillery. Afterwards they were ordered to Lee's Mills. From thence the regiment marched to Williamsburg, a distance of fifteen miles, in one day. Here they laid on their arms all the following night, and the next morning acted as a support to that portion of the army under General Hooker who attacked and routed the enemy. The regiment then moved on to Fair Oaks, thence to Seven Pines, and, at last, reached the swamps of the Chickahominy, where they lay for some time in view almost of the city of Richmond. Here they endured much suffering.

On the 27th of June, 1862, when the army was retiring from before Richmond, his regiment was drawn up in line of battle all day. The enemy with a heavy force, attempted to turn its position, with a view probably of cutting off the retreat of Gen. Porter across the Chickahominy. The regiment held the right of the line, resting on the above named river, with two regiments from Vermont—to support if necessary; and for an hour and a half it was subjected to an incessant and terrific fire of musketry. Yet it stood its ground and the enemy suffered severely, and at length was obliged to retire. Our army passed on safely to Malvern Hill, on the James River. After the army returned to the Potomac, Capt. Lodge was, with his regiment, ordered from Alexandria to the Shenandoah Valley to reinforce Gen. Pope, at which time the brave and fearless Gen. Kearney was killed.

From thence across the Potomac into Maryland, the regiment marched to the bloody battle of Antietam. Here again the soldier boy was at his post of duty and danger, supporting a battery which was doing fearful execution among the enemy. While thus engaged, he and his company were compelled to lie flat on their faces, around and in front of the pieces, for several hours. While the shot and shell flew thick and fast, an order came for Company A to charge at double quick across the contested field, in an oblique direction, towards a house that sheltered part of the enemy. The shot from our own and the enemy's guns, was so near the ground, that while doing this, they were obliged to bend almost double in order to save themselves: but regardless of danger, they charged and secured the coveted place, holding it until night threw her dark mantle over that dreadful day's work. Then they rested, and though in the presence of so much agony, and surrounded by such ghastly sights, they laid down on that field of death, and slept as none but soldiers could.

The army having been reorganized, under the command of Gen. Burnside, was marched to Fredericksburg, where a desperate effort was made to disloge the enemy, but without success. When Gen. Hooker took command, a second attack was made by the Light Division, which was composed of the Forty-third regiment, and several others under the command of Gen. Pratt. Then they succeeded in storming and taking Marye's Heights, back of the city. On May 3d, 1863, while making that desperate charge, Capt. Lodge was struck on the sword belt plate and knocked down; but soon recovering his breath, he went up to his command, and continued charging up the hill, in face of a terrible hail of bullets from the enemy. His regiment had the right of the line, and his company (A) the right of the regiment. Quoting from a letter sent to his father after this fight, "now commenced an exciting race between the gallant Sixth Maine, Fifth Wisconsin, and our (Forty-third) regiment, to see which could get their colors in first. The brave Sixth Maine succeeded in planting their colors in the fort on the left of us. Scarcely had their standard touched the ground, ere Capt. Lodge sprang upon the ramparts on our right, and planted our colors on the redoubt which we had stormed and carried. Then cheer after cheer was echoed and re-echoed from our regiment on the rebel fort, to the batteries on the hill in front of them."

Again the regiment rested until the next morning, when they were ordered to skirmish beyond these heights. Capt. Lodge deployed his company, and moved through a deserted rebel camp, when the rebels, in ambush, opened a heavy fire upon his men. He gave his orders calmly, as a soldier should, until he was seen to throw up his arms and fall with a faint moan; a ball from the enemy struck him on the left temple. It was more than a man's life was worth just then, to go and recover him. His men waited until there was a lull in the firing, and then crept in on their hands and knees, to where their Captain lay, and brought him out to the rear. He was sensible at times for twenty-four hours, when death put an end to his pain.

Thus ended the earthly career of the boy soldier. Though but twenty years old, he had all the experience of a veteran of several years, having passed through the several grades, from a private to senior Captain of his company. Just before the regiment was ordered to that desperate yet successful charge on Marye's Heights, he called his First Lieutenant to him and said: "Lieut. Davidson, I feel that this may be my last fight. I have been thinking so much of home and my sick mother; I wish I was with her. If I should fall, promise me that you will see that my body is sent home to my father; and if you should be taken, I will do the same for you." He called his company together before receiving orders to move, and told them what they were expected to do. "Boys," said he, "I want you to follow me in the fight; if I fall, then obey the next in command." And nobly they did follow their young Captain, for when the regiment came out of the conflict, it had lost two hundred and four enlisted men, and eleven ofiicers in killed, wounded and missing.

In the concluding part of the letter previously quoted, the writer says: "The lamented Capt. Lodge now rests in peace; his soul has gone to Heaven to form one of the Christian band who have died for their country. May their blood cement the Union stronger in the bonds of love. He died beloved by all his men. There was not a dry eye in the company when they heard their Captain was no more."

His body was brought home, and now rests with that of his sainted mother (who soon followed him) in our cemetery. The mother and the soldier boy she loved so much, though parted on earth for a time, are at last united in Heaven, where there is an eternal peace.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Albany County Biographies
Go Back to Home Page