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

Whitman V. R. Mattoon

Whitman V. R. Mattoon was born in Vienna, Oneida county, New York. When he was less than one year old, his parents came with him to this city, since which time he continued to reside here. He was the only son of David and Sarah Ransom Mattoon. He possessed an amiable disposition, and was a dutiful son, an affectionate brother, and a warm friend. He attended school regularly until he was in his sixteenth year, and acquired a fair English and commercial education.

After he left school, he went into his father's office, where he was engaged in bookkeeping for nearly four years. He exhibited so much business capacity that his father had made arrangements to take him, as co-partner, into his business. When the war first broke out, and the first call was made for volunteers, he, inspired by true patriotism, desired to go and help save the government of his country. But his father, who was in feeble health, declined to let him go, not feeling it to be his duty to sacrifice his only son at that time, but assured him that if the time came when it should be necessary, he should not object to his going.

Time passed on, and, after the battle of Bull Run, with its paralyzing effect upon the country, another call was made for volunteers. After giving much thought to the subject for sevelal weeks, his father informed him "that the time had come when he thought God, humanity, and his country called for the sacritice, and that he should no longer object to his going." This conversation took place on September 26, 1861, which was a fast day appointed by the government.

Upon the following day, he left his father's office, where he had been usefully employed for several years, and a home where all his necessary wants were supplied, and enlisted as a private in Company F, Forty-fourth Regiment New York State Volunteers. The following month, he left with his regiment and continued in excellent health, enduring all the privations and dangers of the camp and field without one word of complaint; engaging in all the battles of his regiment, and always braving danger with true heroism. When the battle raged the fiercest, he was always cool and collected.

While under General McClellan, and while retreating from before Richmond, he passed through the first six days engagements unhurt. But, upon the following day, at the battle of Malvern Hill, after being engaged in a most sanguinary struggle, he was reported "missing." Since that time nothing has been heard from him. It was in a bayonet charge that he was last seen; in the front rank and in a terrible struggle. His officers and comrades, who have done all that men could do to ascertain his fate, agree that he must have fallen. All the means that human ingenuity can invent have been exhausted to ascertain his fate, and to no purpose. Whether buried or not, and if so, where, still remains a mystery.

The anguish of heart, felt by his two loving sisters, to whom he was devotedly attached, as well as by his parents, who loved him as an only son, and who had anticipated much comfort from him, can be better imagined than described. That most terrible of all words, suspense still weighs heavily upon their hearts and mars all their pleasures.

During his childhood and youth, up to the time he left and went into the service, he uniformly attended Sabbath school, to which he was much attached, and always attended regularly upon the means of grace.

We can only leave the dear youth and brave boy in the hands of that God who doeth all things well. He who notices the fall of a sparrow, has not overlooked this child of many prayers, though in the din and smoke of battle, he has been lost to the view of affectionate parents and fond sisters.

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