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

Lieut. Sylvester Barrett Shepard

The subject of this sketch was the eldest son of Sylvester F. and Catharine B. Shepard. He was born in Albany, New York, July 25, 1841, and was killed at the siege of Port Hudson, June 14, 1863. Amiable in his disposition, active in his habits, and quick in perception, his manly deportment and generous feelings made him a favorite with his companions. He very early offered his services to the government, and enlisted as a private in the Albany Burgesses Corps, which left Albany April 30, 1861, and became connected with the Twenty-fifth Regiment, stationed at Arlington Heights.

He returned after three months' service, and immediately commenced recruiting a company for the Ninety-first Regiment, then organizing. Enlisting for three years, from December 6, 1861, his energy and success in raising a company secured him the appointment of Second Lieutenant in company C. The regiment, numbering nearly nine hundred men, left Albany, for Governor's Island, December 25, 1861; which place it left for Key West, January 8, 1862, arriving there on the 20th. It remained at Key West until May 2d, when it was ordered to Pensacola. In the fall of 1862, Mr. Shepard returned north to recruit, and, after partial success in regaining his health, he returned in time to join the regiment before it was ordered to Baton Rouge, to join the expedition under General Banks.

The wearisome and varied marches of the troops in this division, from the early spring of 1863 to the fall of Port Hudson, are matters of history. A letter from a member of the Ninety-first, dated July 27th, says: "The siege of Port Hudson was a weary work, and both parties fought with the greatest bravery. Our own regiment suffered severely, and the men behaved nobly. On the 14th of June we made an assault on the enemy's fortifications, but were repulsed, and such a scene of carnage I never wish again to witness. Our regiment acted as grenadiers, approaching the breastworks with hand grenades, under a perfect shower of bullets, which mowed down the brave fellows by scores. But few reached the trenches, and those only to be repulsed and taken prisoners. I laid for five hours within half pistol range of the enemy, continually exposed to the cross fire from the rifle pits, with my comrades falling around me."

In this engagement, Lieutenant Shepard took a prominent and brave part. The attack, which was one of the most hazardous and disastrous of the war, was made early in the morning, and the Captain of his company fell at the beginning of the engagement. The command devolving upon young Shepard, he was encouraging and leading the men forward when a ball pierced his left breast, and the noble hero fell a sacritice to his country's cause. His remains were recovered and subsequently brought home.

An Albany paper, speaking of the event said: "The loss of young Shepard is a terrible blow to his family and friends. Highly gifted, and enthusiastic in his profession, had he been spared he would have made his mark in the army. He met his fate worthy of a brave boy. He died, with his face to the enemy, while leading his men up to the mouth of the enemy's cannon. His memory will be cherished by his many young friends, who sadly deplore his premature death."

A letter from Captain Wilson, of the Ninety-first, to a member of his family, says: "Your brother has earned for himself the reputation of being a gallant and brave officer; and I have heard the men speak in glowing terms of his conduct in several hard fought battles, especially those of the 25th and 27th of May. You have the proud satisfaction of knowing that he died for his country, and that he faithfully did his duty as an officer and gentleman, and that he fell as a soldier should, with his face to the enemy, gallantly leading his men to the charge. He was a great favorite with the Colonel, who sincerely mourns his loss, as well as all the other members of the regiment."

Lieut. Shepard was promoted to the First Lieutenancy of his company, May 19, 1862, and appointed Adjutant of the regiment.

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