Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank You For Your Ultimate Sacrifice

In Remembrance
Edward Haley Memorial Day
Today is a day for remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us, as a country, safe and free.  This day of honor started after the Civil War, and its intent was to honor all Union soldiers who had lost their lives during the Civil War.  Starting after World War I, though, all those who have paid with their lives while involved in any war or military action are now honored. The following is an excerpt from the original order made by General John Logan, the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, made on 5 May 1868.  The first observance was on 30 May 1868.
    "Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners.  Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic...If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours should keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us."

[Note: This information and additional information on the history of Memorial Day can be found here, here, and here.]

Many Fought...Some Didn't Make It Back Alive
Though I have many documented ancestors that were involved in the Civil War including ones that died, I have decided to introduce you to a Union soldier on my husband's side.  [Also, I have a picture of him, which is a big plus.]  In the spirit that General Logan introduced the first Memorial Day, I would like to introduce you to Edward Haley.  He was the brother of my husband's great-great grandfather, Daniel Haley.  Their parents Patrick and Bridget (Foley) Haley came from Ireland and settled in Vermont where they raised their 10 children [5 boys and 5 girls].  All five sons fought for the Union side for their home state Vermont.  However not all of them made it home alive.

Edward Haley
One of these Haley men who did not make it home alive was the second eldest, Edward Haley.  Not much is known about him and his story before the Civil War other than he was born about 1835 - the 5th of 10 children of Irish immigrants.  He enlisted in Co G, 5th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 15 Sep 1862 when he was about 27 years old.  His regiment was involved in many battles and squirmishes including the Battle of Antietam and the Battle of Gettysburg, but Edward survived these only to be shot and captured at the Battle of the Wilderness which was fought the 5th through the 7th of May in 1864 in Spottsylvania County, Virginia.  He was taken to the notoriuos Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, where he managed to survive an additional 2 months in unsanitary and disease-ridden conditions [to say the very least].  Edward Haley passed away in Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia on 14 Jul 1864. [More information on Vermont's contribution to the Civil War can be found here.]

General Logan, my eyes will not grow dull, nor my hands slack, nor my heart cold; for I shall always remember and never forget the cost of our free and undivided republic.

Thank You,


  1. Very nice! This is why we have Memorial Day, not so Macy's and Kohl's can have yet another 40%-Off sale, or families can go camping at the lake for 3 days.

  2. Hi Caroline,

    Given that Edward was "Wd. and taken pris. May 17, 1864" according to the 'Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers'
    I think Edward was shot and captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House during the final Union attacks
    where the 5th Vermont were part of Neill's Division within VI Corps.

  3. Thanks Stephen. I wrote this post a while back. Perhaps I confused him with another brother. When I'm back at home and not on vacation, I'll recheck my notes.

    Thanks for reading. :)


  4. Stephen,

    I took a look at my notes. Edward's brother Daniel Haley, my husband's 2nd great-grandfather, wrote that his brother Edward was shot in the Battle of the Wilderness, was captured, and died in Libby Prison.

    The 5th Regiment Vermont, Edward's regiment, fought in The Battle of the Wilderness from May 5th-10th in 1864 and the Battle of Spotsylvania (Court House) from May 10th-18th in 1864.

    While Daniel could have lied or recalled incorrectly about his brother's injury and capture, it's quite possible he is correct.

    Without digging any further into the matter, right now as it stands, I'm going to go with Daniel's written account as opposed to information hinted at in The Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers that was published in 1892, approximately 28 years after the events occurred.

    Daniel was in Company I, 17th Infantry Vermont and had enlisted in March of 1864. The 17th fought at the Battle of the Wilderness May 5th-7th of 1864 and fought at the Battle of Spotsylvania (Court House) on May 12th in 1864.

    It's true that Daniel could have recalled wrong, but it is what he wrote down of the events that he may not have witnessed with his own eyes, but he certainly had been there in the vicinity of his brother's injury and subsequent capture.

    Thanks for reading, Stephen, and making me check my notes. Keeps me on my toes. =)


  5. Ah, you have a primary source! You should have cited it earlier ;-)

    Of course, maybe Daniel was referring to the Wilderness CAMPAIGN which included both battles?

    Regardless, I take my hat off to Daniel, Edward and their other brothers.

    "When can their glory fade?"

    [Quote from 'Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers' p. 574 (after Alfred, Lord Tennyson)]


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