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

Lieut. James McAlister Southwick

Lieut. Southwick, the son of Henry C. and Mary Southwick, was born in the city of Albany, September 5th, 1841; and died in camp near Warwick Court House, Va., on the 4th day of May, 1862.

As a child he was noted for truthfulness, moral courage, kindness of heart and obedience to his parents. When he grew older, these qualities were strengthened and brightened by his manly and courageous advocacy of those principles which he deemed to be right and just.

When the storm of war burst forth, he never hesitated or doubted as to the line of duty, but immediately began to prepare for the contest. He was in the employ of Gen. John F. Rathbone, who bears testimony to his high integrity of character. Although his connection with him was of a business nature, the General pressed him into service as an assistant, at the barracks in this city, where he was employed during the fall of 1861.

Becoming impatient to participate in active service in the field, he joined the Ninety-third Regiment New York State Volunteers, then organizing at the barracks, and was immediately elected Second Lieutenant of Company A. He left the city with the regiment, and the following letters give a partial account of his movements:

Meridian Hill, March 23, 1862.
My dear Parents—I doubt not that by this time you are quite vexed at me on account of my very great tardiness in not writing you before. But better late than never, you know, so please pardon me this time, and expect better things in future.

When we left New York it was almost dark, you will remember, so that it brought us to Philadelphia at midnight exactly, where a most welcome and sumptuous repast awaited us. We had then to march about one mile through the city to the depot, where we took the cars, and laid in them all night, in the depot, on account of a train, which left before we got there, having broke down just out of the city.

At last, about seven a. m., we got started, and, after many stops and vexatious delays, about one p. m. arrived at Perryville, Md., where the cars were taken on to the ferry boat and ferried bodily over to Havre de Grace. There the Fourth New York Regiment is stationed. We left there immediately, arriving in Baltimore about dusk, when we marched through Pratt street, where you remember the Eighth Massachusetts boys met with trouble last spring. We here partook of the hospitalities of Baltimore, provided for us by the citizens, and I assure you I never felt so grateful for a meal in my life as I did for that. I tell you what it is, the boys of the Ninety-third New York will long and gratefully remember the gentlemen and ladies of Philidelphia and Baltimore.

We rested here about two hours, when we again jumped on the cars for Washington, which place we reached about five o'clock a. m. About noon we left the city, marching about two miles out on the Bladensburg road, where we pitched our tents, and got our first taste of camp life; and I assure you that that night's sleep was most deliciously enjoyed by about eight hundred and fifty of the most tired and forlorn looking fellows that ever formed a regiment. We were most beautifully situated here, on a high hill overlooking the country around for miles; and wherever the eye could reach, nothing, hardly, but little white tents dotted the landscape.

But already it has got to be an old story here to visit a camp, or to stand in the evening, looking at the camp fires of a neighboring regiment, and wake up in the morning to find the camp deserted, and not a sign or vestige left to remind a person, that the night before a bustling crowd of blue coats had been there. Where had they gone? Well, that was just what nobody knew; and so it goes.

Last Tuesday we received orders to leave Bladensburg for this place, expecting to leave the next morning for Alexandria, there to start for James river. But here we are yet.

We are in Gen. Palmer's Brigade, Casey's Division, and have had marching orders since we have been here; but it is my honest opinion we will never get more than fifty miles from here.

I am perfectly contented and satisfied here, and enjoy myself very much. * * * *

My most affectionate love to you all, beloved parents, brothers and sisters. Write me soon.

Your affectionate son,

In Camp, seven miles from Fortress Monroe,
April 2, 1862.
My dear Father—You will no doubt be rather surprised to learn of our sudden departure from Washington, which we left last Thursday p. m.

We left Meridian Hill last Thursday about five p. m., crossing the Long bridge in total darkness, and marching that night seven miles to Alexandria. We arrived there about eleven-thirty p. m., and camped on the sidewalks, in doorways, and under stoops, which was very uncomfortable, I assure you. I sat up all night in a doorway, with a blanket around me, but slept not at all. The next day, Saturday, we marched out about two miles from the city and camped, would you believe, in the midst of a heavy snow storm, which shortly, however, turned into rain. Our men had to lie right down in it, on account of our tents not arriving. They were detained by a great crowd of wagons on the road, sixteen thousand men having crossed the bridge the same day we did. We laid there that night, and the next morning, Sunday, we again commenced our march, returning to Alexandria, where we embarked on the steamer "Vanderbilt" for Fortress Monroe. On our way down the river, we had a fine view of Mathias Point, and of a number of splendid fortifications, but lately evacuated by the rebels. We arrived at the Fortress at nine a. m. Tuesday, April 1st.

We disembarked under the guns of the Fortress, and marched three miles to Hampton, which you remember was laid in ruins by the rebels, under Magruder. The walls are still standing, and also the stockade and earthworks, erected by the rebels. Our men that night slept in the ruins of a church and in the grave yard attached to it, on top of graves, &c., which I assure you was rather a new situation for your son Jim to be placed in. At any rate, no ghosts disturbed my slumbers; which were pretty sound, I assure you, after our tiresome journey. We arose with the dawn, and started on five miles further to this place, where we camped a few hours since. What the name of this place is, I could not say, but suffice it to say that Norfolk is just over the river, and possibly my next letter may be dated from there.

I am just as fresh this moment as though I had not marched a foot, with all my goods in a knapsack on my back. I send you a peach bud, plucked in Hampton, which was just handed me by one of the men. The trees are all blossoming, birds singing, and the weather beautiful in the day, but chilly at night. My most affectionate love to mother, Julia, and my dear brothers and sisters.

Your aflectionate son,

Near Newport News, Va.,
Friday, April 11, 1862.
My dear Sister—I received your very truly welcome letter last evening, and though suffering from a very severe sore throat, brought on by the cold rains of the past few days, I hasten thus early to answer it. You speak of Ben having commenced a letter, which I assure you I would be very happy to receive, not having heard from him since leaving home.

The "Merrimac" is flying around here, making the folks at Newport News and vicinity feel anything but easy. She captured two of our transports yesterday, and it was expected that she would attempt to run past the fort. If she ever gets out, there will be a big time, for they will have to run her ashore or tip her over before they can take her. A year ago to-day, Sumter was bombarded.

Sunday, April 13, 1862.—I have done no duty in three days, on account of my throat, which has worried me considerably.

I am, your affectionate brother,

Lieut. Southwick remained with his command until he was taken ill with the disease which terminated his life. Had he been less earnest in the discharge of his military duties, his life might have been prolonged; but after being sent to the hospital at Newport News, he learned that the regiment had marched for Yorktown. He rose from his cot, and rode on an army wagon to Warwick Court House, where the regiment was then quartered, a distance of several miles, and immediately applied himself to his duties. But the fever proved too strong, and he was forced again to a sick bed, from which he never rose. On the day that our army marched into the rebel intrenchments at Yorktown, his spirit took its flight to the eternal world.

Thus he passed away in the flush of youth, and with the brightest prospects before him; for he was richly endowed with those qualities of mind and character which, had he been spared, would have won for him honor and promotion. He was a soldier of undaunted courage, inflexible integrity, and was scrupulous and self-exacting in the discharge of every duty devolving upon him. He won the respect and esteem of all who knew him, and his family lament the loss of an obedient, truthful son, and a loving and affectionate brother.

The following letter respecting him, was received from Col. Crocker:

Washington, D. C, May 22, 1866.
Sir—It affords me much pleasure to be able to certify to the excellent character and great personal worth of Second Lieutenant James M. Southwick, late of the Ninety-third New York Volunteers. I was familiarly acquainted with him and highly esteemed him on account of his manly virtues, his excellent qualities as an officer, and his patriotic zeal in the cause of his country.

He joined my regiment (the Ninety-third New York Volunteers) in November, 1861, and was soon after commissioned Second Lieutenant of Company A, and continued to serve as such until his death, which occurred at the siege of Yorktown, Va., May 4th, 1862.

In the great contest in which his country was engaged he manifested the strongest feeling in behalf of the Government, and emphatically denounced the efforts of rebels and traitors to destroy it. He never seemed to doubt but that the Government would prevail against its enemies, and that the war would result in more firmly establishing the institutions of the country upon the principles expressed in her Declaration of Independence, than ever before. He expressed a desire to serve his country in her hour of trial, and a willingness to risk his life in her just cause. Such I believe were the motives that led him to enlist.

As an officer, he studied to know his duty, and always performed it nobly and well. He was gentlemanly and courteous in his deportment: a man of most excellent morals, and he seemed to be guided by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you." He was kind and attentive to the wants of soldiers in his charge, and they appreciated him as one of their best friends. He won the confidence and respect of all the officers of the regiment, and his loss was most heartily deplored by the entire command.

His disease was typhoid fever. He first complained of ill health about the 20th of April, and by my directions was sent to the hospital. But the next day, learning that the regiment was ordered to move to the extreme front, he left the hospital to rejoin his command, stating that he felt better and desired to be with his regiment in the expected engagement; that he could not endure the idea of his men going into a fight and he not with them to share the duties and dangers of battle. Most of the baggage had been left in the rear, and the weather being rainy and bad, he was necessarily exposed.

The severe hardships and exposures of the camp proved too much for him, and brought on his disease with renewed force, and terminated his life, as before stated.

In his death we all felt that the regiment had lost one of its best officers, and the country one of its noblest and bravest defenders. Every officer and man in the regiment was a sincere mourner over the event, which had so suddenly and unexpectedly deprived them of their brave and true comrade in arms.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,

Late Colonel 93d N. Y. Vols., Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. V.
To H. C. Southwick, Albany, N. Y.

The following resolutions were adopted by the officers of the Ninety-third Regiment N. Y. S. V., on the death of Lieut. James M. Southwick:

Bivouac of the 93d Regiment, N Y. S, V.
Near West Point, Va., May 10, 1862.
At a meeting of the officers of the Ninety-third Regiment New York State Volunteers, held at the Bivouac, near West Point, Va., May 10th, 1862, Capt. George B. Moshier was appointed chairman, and Lieut. Henry P. Smith secretary. On motion of Lieut. Henry C. Newton, a committee of three was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the feelings of the officers of the regiment, on the announcement of the death of Lieut. James M. Southwick, of Company A, Ninety-third New York Volunteers.

The following named officers were appointed as such committee, viz:—Lieut. Henry C. Newton, Capt. N. J. Johnson, and Lieut. James W. Race.

The following resolutions were adopted:

Whereas, The officers of the Ninety-third Regiment New York Volunteers have heard with profound sorrow of the death of Lieut. James M. Southwick, (formerly of Albany) which occurred at our late camp near Warwick Court House, Va., on the 4th day of May, 1862:
Resolved, That by the death of Lieut. James M. Southwick, the army has lost an accomplished and efficient officer, and his fellow officers a trusty and valuable friend, who had become endeared to them by his many noble and generous impulses—his manly and upright bearing and gentlemanly deportment.
Resolved, That we sincerely and deeply deplore his death, and that we will ever cherish a lively recollection of his many virtues, and that his memory will never be obliterated from our hearts.
Resolved, That we tender his family and many friends our heartfelt sympathies.
Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the different newspapers at Albany, and a copy transmitted to his parents.

Capt. N. J. JOHNSON,

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