Newspaper Article Defending Colonel Lansing
I ask the privilege of your columns to reply to a communication in the morning's Herald, signed "One of the Light Brigade," in regard to the Seventeenth regiment New York volunteers. I was a captain in that regiment, and was wounded in the action of the 30th August, 1862, styled the second battle of Bull Run.
Major Grover (since killed at Jonesboro, as colonel of the veteran Seventeenth) commanded the regiment in that fight, led it into action, and was shot down while at the head of it; and the wounds he then received confined him to his room, and most of the time to his bed, for six months. Lieutenant Colonel Bartram was not in command, but acted on Brigadier General Butterfield's staff, being field officer of the day on the 29th, and not relieved on the morning of the 30th, he continued to act as such; and I believe so stated his intention at that time.
It is hardly worth while noticing the malicious attack upon Colonel H.S. Lansing, but I, as one of his old officers, cannot permit such injustice to pass unnoticed.
Colonel Lansing was ill when the regiment left Harrison's Landing August 15, and was directed by the regimental surgeon to go to hospital at Fortress Monroe, and not attempt the march. He, however, continued in command, in spite of increasing illness on the route to Newport News and from Falmouth to Groveton. The night before the battle of the 30th he was very ill, and on the morning of that day was placed by the surgeon on a cart filled with hay, and moved with the column. On the first shot being fired he called for his horse, and was assisted to the saddle. General Butterfield rode up at this time and told Colonel Lansing that as he had command of the division some one must command his brigade, and asked if he (Colonel Lansing) felt able, to which the Colonel replied he would try and hold out if he could.
He then put the brigade into position but, becoming too weak to ride or stand, he was relieved by General Butterfield. The next day he was sent to hospital, and was confined two weeks to his bed with fever. Lieutenant Colonel Bartram, in Colonel Lansing's absence, was attached to General Butterfield's staff for a time, who was then in command of the First division, and afterwards the Fifth corps, and was so acting at the battle of Fredericksburg. Colonel Lansing rejoined the army the latter part of September, and took command of the Third brigade, and as such commander was at the close of October ordered by General McClellan to New York in charge of all volunteer organizations forming in this vicinity. As the cannon captured at Hanover Court House, by reference to Major General McClelland's report it will be seen that he says, "General Emergy had before this been joined by the Twenty-fifth New York (of Martindale's brigade) and Berdan's sharpshooters; these regiments were deployed with a section of Benson's battery, and advanced slowly towards the enemy until reinforced by General Butterfield, with four regiments of his brigade, when the enemy was charged and quickly routed, one of his guns being captured by the Seventeenth New York, under Colonel Lansing, after having been disabled by the fire of Benson's battery."
I have thus disposed of the malicious slanders of one who under cover of a desire to correct errors, has been guilty of an attempt to deprive a gallent officer of one of his laurels, and one too, who now sleeps in his bloody grave and cannot refute them; and to insult another who you never found bacward or remiss in duty, and who has always had, and still retains the friendship and respect of his superior officers. Finally, endeavoring to rob a regiment of its honors confirming by a report of the Commander-in-Chief, he has shown himself to be a most unworthy member of the Light Brigade.
John L. Burleigh