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Sixth New York Cavalry, Company F

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Officers

John Carwardine. Captain. Age 34. John Carwardine was from a noble family in Essex, England. His father, The Reverend John Carwardine, was rector at Earls Colne and his uncle, Henry Holgate Carwardine, was Lord of the Manor. As the second son of a second son, he did not expect to inherit the Earldom, so he chose a military life and he had served in the British Army during the Crimean War. He came to New York in 1861 to join the Union Army, although his precise motives are not recorded. Many British soldiers came to America to fight in the Civil War, some looking for the adventure, others because they supported the antislavery cause of the North. Shortly after arriving in New York, Carwardine enrolled in the 6th New York Cavalry and was commissioned as the Captain of Company F on October 24, 1861. Popular with the men of Company F, his previous military experience was recognized and he was quickly promoted to Major. The command of Company then passed on to Captain Diodate Hannahs on November 11th. Although he did not join the Third Battalion in action on the Peninsula, his combat prowess was quickly demonstrated and he was mentioned in dispatches for a small skirmish at Loudoun Heights, Virginia on October 21/22nd 1862. It may have been in this fighting that he received his only wound, a saber cut to the leg. Five months after this action Carwardine resigned, possibly when his father became ill. In a letter to his senior officer, Carwardine writes: “It being expedient that I should visit my home in England on business of some importance, I hereby tender my resignation and respectfully request an honorable discharge from the service of the United States…” He returned to England and in 1864 married Henrietta Railton. The couple had two sons and a daughter. Carwardine eventually inherited the family estate and became Lord of the Manor. He died of throat cancer in 1889 and is buried next to his father in Earls Colne churchyard in Essex, England. As an interesting side-note, his cousin, English writer Anne Gilchrist, is known for her romantic connection to American poet Walt Whitman.

Diodate Cushman Hannahs. First Lieutenant. Age 22. Diodate Hannahs (known as “Date” to his friends) was born in Otsego County New York. After his mother died when he was four, his father moved to Brooklyn. He went to Yale University, was graduated in 1859 and shortly thereafter joined a law firm in New York City. He joined the 6th New York Cavalry in August 1861 as First Lieutenant of Company F. After John Carwardine was prompted to Major on November 11th, Date was promoted to the rank of Captain and took over command of Company F. Date’s Yale classmates celebrated his promotion by presenting him with a Cavalry saber. While preparing for departure to Fort Monroe in March 1862, one of Captain Hannahs’ fellow Yale students, Second Lieutenant Edward P. McKinney of Company G, got permission to transfer to Company F. Although not classmates at Yale, he and Hannahs had forged a strong bond. McKinney recalled, “Captain Hannahs was the dearest friend I ever had outside my immediate family. We were tent mates and constant companions, sharing whatever good things came to either. He had a fine literary taste and we spent our evenings sometimes till late reading to each other. Our souls were knit together …” Hannahs was also popular with his men. Elbert Edwards from Bridgehampton observed “Lieutenant Hannahs is to be our Capt. He is a very pleasant man and tries to do all in his power to make us comfortable and contented.” After the failure of General McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign in 1862 and the withdrawal of most of the Union forces from the Peninsula, a small force, including Company F remained near Williamsburg, under the overall command of General Keyes.


General Keyes had requested that Hannahs join his staff in Yorktown, approximately 12 miles south of Williamsburg. At dawn on the morning of Saturday September 9, a Confederate cavalry force attacked Williamsburg, scattering the Union troops there. General Keys quickly ordered Captain Hannahs to Williamsburg to restore order. Once there, a thief tried to take Hannahs horse and when he resisted, the thief pulled out his pistol and shot the Captain in the neck. The pistol’s ball entered Hannahs’ throat from above and lodged in his lungs. Lieutenant McKinney, also sent by General Keys to Williamsburg, found his friend mortally wounded and unable to speak. McKinney remained by Hannahs' side until evening, then he returned to Yorktown to report to General Keyes. After midnight, McKinney made the approximate 15 mile return trip to be with his friend. "He died in my arms about an hour after my return." The next day the saddened McKinney sought a coffin for his friend and General Keyes sent an ambulance to bring the lifeless Hannahs back to Yorktown. From there, McKinney returned to Brooklyn with Date’s body. A funeral service for Date was held on September 14th at the South Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn and he was buried with military honors at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

George Alexander Crocker. Lieutenant. Age 31. A bookkeeper in Rochester before the war, he enlisted on April 19, 1861, as a “30-day volunteer” in the 7th Regiment, New York State Militia (also known as the “Silk Stocking Regiment”). The 7th played a vital role early in the war, securing the railroad connection between Baltimore and Washington on April 24–25. After completing his commitment in June, he immediately re-enlisted and was commissioned into the Ira Harris Cavalry as First Lieutenant. As the Ira Harris Cavalry evolved into the 5th and 6th New York Cavalry, he was assigned to Company F of the 6th New York Cavalry after Date Hannahs was promoted to Captain in September. He was noticed by Colonel Devin and was promoted to Captain of Company A in June 1862. Devin wrote of Crocker’s promotion as “… a debt owed to him by the Reg. as the officer who more than any other single one had contributed to the proper organizing and disciplining of the command.” As further recognition of the Colonel’s reliance on Crocker, he was sent on a recruiting mission to New York in July 1862. Active in the Regiment’s fighting, he was captured at Brandy Station, Virginia on October 11, 1863. Like other’s taken prisoner at that time, he was sent to the Salisbury Prison in North Carolina. He survived the horrible conditions there, was exchanged at Wilmington on March 1, 1865 and discharged two months later. He returned home to his wife and two small children and made a living as a shopkeeper in New York City. He died in 1909 and is buried at the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Tennessee.

Robert Crozier. Lieutenant. Age 19. Robert Crozier, a native of Ireland, was 11 when he arrived in New York from Liverpool on August 19, 1854 aboard the Ed Stanley with his mother, brother George and two younger sisters. He enlisted on October 24, 1861 in the 6th New York Cavalry with the rank of Second Lieutenant and assigned to Company F. Robert was at the Vanderbilt Landing Ferry Dock to greet the East End recruits when they arrived in November 1861. Although the Lieutenant was the same age as the young men, Alonzo Foster observed that Crozier was “exceedingly boyish in appearance”. Despite his youthful appearance, Robert Crozier proved to be a capable leader. Colonel Devin remarked, “I think highly of him as an industrious, brave and reliable young officer”, and was promoted to First Lieutenant on June 27, 1862. In May 1863, the 6th New York Cavalry was ordered to assist a Union force (including the 127th New York Infantry) in an advance to West Point, Virginia, an important river landing at the head of the York River. After arriving at West Point on May 7th, the cavalry started towards White House where it ran into an ambush. As the New Yorkers charged the Rebels hiding behind a tree-line, Lieutenant Crozier’s horse was shot from under him and he was killed when his horse fall upon him. Originally buried near West Point on May 16,1863, his body was moved by his family to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery in September 1908, where he remains.


Enlisted Men

Milton Bennett. Age 20. Milton Bennett was from the Springs area of East Hampton, working as a farm laborer before the war. He enlisted in October 1861 and was assigned to Company F. His younger brother, George, enlisted in the 11th New York Cavalry in December of the same year. Some sources list Milton as being killed at Gettysburg. In fact his unit was near Williamsburg, Virginia at that time. He was still with the 6th New York Cavalry in 1864, when, during the confused fighting at Trevalian Station on June 12, Milton Bennett went missing in action. Whether he had been wounded and died alone in the woods or been captured and died as a prisoner, is unknown. Fortunately, his body was found and returned to his family. He is buried in Amagansett Cemetery. It was a shock to his friend Alonzo Foster that Milton was dead. After the war Alonzo wrote: “He had shared my blanket, my tent, and my confidence for three years, and was ever by my side in camp, on the march or in battle…”

Sylvester H. Bennett. Age 34. Sylvester H. Bennett was married, working as a farmer and sawyer in Southold when he enlisted in February 1864, assigned to Company F. It is unclear what may have prompted the brown-eyed, 5’ 8” tall Sylvester to enlist. Perhaps the new draft laws may have been a factor. A distant relative of Milton Bennett, also assigned to Company F, they may have fought together at Trevilian Station in June of 1864. Sylvester survived the war and returned to East Hampton. His first wife, Mary may have died in 1867 and Sylvester moved to Branford, Connecticut where he was working as a fisherman in 1870. In Connecticut he met his second wife, Henrietta, and Sylvester found work as an engineer at the I. S. Spencer’s Sons iron foundry in Guilford, Connecticut. He died of “old age” on January 26, 1911 and is buried in Alder Brook Cemetery in Guilford.

John Byron. Age 17. John may have been born in Germany and was working as a farmer for E. T. Halsey in Bridgehampton when he enlisted in the Army in 1861. Standing 5’ 3” tall, with brown eyes and dark hair, he was assigned to Company F. After re-enlisting with the Regiment in October 1863, he received his re-enlistment bonus of $300 on March 22, 1864. In October 1864 he was listed as sick at the Army’s massive cavalry depot, known as Camp Stoneman, located at Giesboro Point, Washington, D.C. Over 200,000 horses passed through the Giesboro depot during the war. Still listed as sick in a Philadelphia hospital, he was discharged as disabled from the Army on June 27, 1865. He died on August 27, 1867 in Bridgehampton, where he is buried.

John Devine. Age 19. John Devine (also known as Divine), possibly from West Chester, New York, was working as a laborer in Southampton before the war. Listed as 5’ 7” tall with gray eyes and a fair complexion, he enlisted at Good Ground on October 15, 1861 as a private in Company F. Although he was reported missing in action at Berryville, Virginia on September 4, 1864, he had in fact been captured and was sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. While in prison, he suffered from a debilitating case of rheumatism that plagued him the rest of his life. He was released from prison at the end of the war and was in the hospital when he was mustered out of the Army on August 9, 1865. He was living as a boarder with Jebial J. and Kate Squires in 1865, but there is little record of him thereafter. He filed for disability in 1890 and he is mentioned in a Brooklyn Daily Eagle article about Good Ground veterans on May 9, 1895. A John Devine (maybe the 6th New York Cavalry veteran?), is recorded as dying on May 30, 1915 and buried in Central Islip.

John L. Dix. Age 19. John Dix was born in Sag Harbor and was working as a farmer in Sag Harbor at the beginning of the war. His father, William Dix, was born in South Carolina and married to Jemima Edwards from Sag Harbor. The family’s loyalty was divided and John’s older brother William (a seaman before the war), had already enlisted in the Confederate 5th North Carolina Infantry when John mustered into the Union Army in October 1861. John was assigned to Company F, the same Company as his cousin Elbert Edwards (Jemima was Elbert’s father’s sister). In 1862, William and the 5th North Carolina was fighting on the Peninsula at the same time as John’s Company F, although the brothers never faced each other. Later in the war, William was wounded with a gun shot wound under his right kidney. He was taken Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond where he died on June 9, 1864. By that time, Company F had moved to Northern Virginia and John had married Sarah B. Shinn in Philadelphia on June 8, 1863. John elected not to re-enlist with the Regiment and was discharged in November 1864. Sarah’s family was from New Jersey and John moved there with Sarah, where he took up farming again. Their first child son, William, passed away on December 29, 1869, at the age of 4. John and Sarah had seven other children. Sarah passed away in 1911 and John passed away on February 13, 1919 and is buried in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Elbert Parker Edwards. Age 18. Elbert Edwards joined the Union Army in October 1861 and was assigned to Company F. He was the oldest of his family’s six children, with blue eyes and brown hair. Elbert’s mother passed away when he was 11 years-old and he was working on his father’s farm on Brick Kiln Road in Bridgehampton when the war started. Standing 5’ 1” tall, Elbert was a short man, even by the standards of the 1800’s. Reflecting the harsh conditions of army life, Elbert was constantly sick, which kept him away from his military duties. Instead, he was assigned to the Regiment’s doctor, working as a medical attendant. While performing these duties, he remained with the Regiment when his comrades were sent to the Virginia Peninsula. Weighing only 85 pounds, he was discharged from the 6th New York Cavalry on October 1, 1862, just after the Battle of Antietam. He re-enlisted in the 5th New York Heavy Artillery in December 1863, where he remained until the end of the war. Elbert’s younger brother Charles joined the 127th New York Infantry, much to the dismay of Elbert. Elbert and Charles both survived the war, but came home to an uncertain future. Their family farm was in disarray and their father in failing health. In need of money, Elbert found work at the Montauk Lighthouse, but returned to the farm when his father could no longer manage. His father died in January 1967 and the farm auctioned-off in April. Afterward, Elbert took a series of jobs, married Abbie E. Tuthill in 1868, had two children and moved to New Jersey. Still suffering from a variety of ailments, he died on February 21, 1874. Abby returned to home East Hampton and had her husband buried in Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor.

Charles Nichol Edwards. Age 23. Charles Edwards, Elbert Edwards’ cousin (their father’s were brothers), enlisted in 6th New York Cavalry in October 1861 and was also assigned to Company F. When he was 12, he was classified as idiotic. Before the war, he was living in Southampton working on his father’s farm in Bridgehampton. He decided not to re-enlist with the Regiment at expiration of his term of service and he mustered out as private on October 24, 1864, at Cedar Creek, Virginia. He returned to his father’s farm in Bridgehampton and on February 4, 1872, he married Anna Cornelius (from Amityville) and started a farm there. They had one child, Lucy, born in 1877. In 1890, he applied for disability due to sunstroke. Anna died in 1909 from a stroke and Charles died on December 2, 1925 in Amityville, where he is buried.


Alonzo Foster. Age 20. The 5’ 7” tall Alonzo, with blue eyes and dark hair, was the fourteenth and youngest child of John Foster, a direct descendent of Christopher Foster, one of the early settlers of Southampton. Although Alonzo’s father died when he was 12, he continued to work on the family farm in Hampton Bays (then called Good Ground). On the evening of October15, 1861, Alonzo’s birthday, he attended a public meeting held at the Good Ground Methodist Church. Rev. Smith H. Platt, an ardent abolitionist, was the speaker. Inspired by Rev. Platt, Alonzo, and several other young men, volunteered to join the Army. After arriving at Camp Scott on Staten Island, Alonzo was assigned to Company F. At the battle of Travilian Station, a bullet passed through his cap, cutting the hair close to his scalp. The Captain of his Company remarked, “A close call, my boy”. Alonzo was badly wounded, nearly losing his left hand, at a small battle near Deep Bottom, Virginia on July 26, 1864. After the war, Alonzo became the Keeper of the Pon Quogue (Shinnecock) lighthouse from 1866 to 1869. Alonzo then moved to Brooklyn, where he worked in the customs office and was active in New York veterans’ activities. He died on September 11, 1913 and is buried in Good Ground Cemetery in Hampton Bays.


Charles A. Jackson. Age 22. Charles attended the October 15th public meeting at the Hampton Bays Methodist Church with Alonzo Foster and enlisted that same night. The blue- eyed, dark-haired Jackson was 5’ 61/2” tall. He mustered in as a private in Company F and was promoted to corporal on September 1, 1862. A resident of Hampton Bays before the war, Charles and Alonzo became good friends during the war. His mother died four days after he enlisted. Charles’ father married again in 1864; his new bride was one of Alonzo’s older sisters. Charles’ father’s half-brother, Brazilla W. Jackson joined the 176th New York Infantry as substitute in September 1863 and died of disease on June 16, 1864 in New Orleans. Charles fell ill at the end of the war and he returned to Good Ground severely weakened. He died shortly after his return on October 4, 1866 and is buried in Hampton Bays. He was 26 years old and another casualty of the war. As a fitting epitaph to his friend, Alonzo provided a portrait of Charles to be used on the 6th New York Cavalry monument at Gettysburg. A scene depicted on the monument captures the moment when Charles was wounded at Brandy Station. As Charles falls from his horse, Alonzo Foster reaches out to grasp the Regiments flag before it falls to the ground.

Robert Leslie. Age 26. Robert Leslie was born in Tyrone, Ireland on May 2, 1835, arriving in the United States on September 13, 1847 aboard the Isaac Walton from Liverpool in steerage class. He moved to Peconic before the war, where he was a farm laborer with Thomas Baxter on Elijah Tuthill’s farm. Standing 5’ 8”, with brown eyes and dark hair, Robert enlisted in the Army in October 1861 and was assigned to Company F. He was appointed wagoner on March 1, 1862. Robert survived the war and returned to Southold to started to farming for himself. He married Sarah Woodhull in 1871 and they had three children. He committed suicide on January 11, 1895 by hanging himself with a rope in an outhouse. He had been dead about two hours when found at 11 o’clock. He is buried in Cutchogue Cemetery. Oliver Lawrence Loper. Age 18. Oliver had just turned 18 when he enlisted in the Army in October 1861. Like the other South Fork boys, he was assigned to Company F of the 6th New York Cavalry. The Loper family was of Dutch decent and came to East Hampton in 1664. The early Lopers were expert whalers and many of the Lopers made a career working on the sea, although Oliver’s father chose to be a farmer in Bridgehampton. After the fighting on the Peninsula in 1862, Oliver apparently became sick and was discharged from the Army on February 12, 1863 in Yorktown. He returned to Amagansett to recover. In September 1864, Oliver was drafted back into the Army, this time with Company K of the Sixteenth Regiment National Guard, serving as part of the 15th Militia in New York Harbor. After returning home from the service, he was the First Assistant Keeper at the Montauk Lighthouse from 1865 to 1868.He married Catherine (Kate) M. Brown on March 17, 1870 and they had three children. He died in East Hampton on February 12, 1919 and is buried in Amagansett.

Michael McDonald. Age 19. There is not much known about Michael McDonald. He was apparently born in Wayne, New Jersey and his parents were probably Irish. He was living in Bridgehampton when he joined the Union Army in the Fall of 1861. Listed as 5’ 8” tall, with gray eyes and dark hair, he served with the 6th New York Cavalry in Company F throughout the war. His pension documents indicate that he may have died in October 1890 and his widow, Ellen, was living in New Jersey. The 1875 Census for Livingston, New York (near Rochester), lists a Michael, working as a farmer and married to Ellen, both of whom list Ireland as their place of birth. His final resting place is unknown.


Alexander Harris Penny. Age - 18. Alexander was Alonzo Foster’s cousin and he was with Alonzo on October 15, 1861 for the Good Ground Methodist Church public meeting. He enlisted that night and joined the rest of his comrades in Riverhead on November 2 to take the train to Brooklyn. At Camp Scott he was assigned to Company F. In September 1862, he was diagnosed with consumption and he was discharged from the Army. After returning to Good Ground to recover, he married Emeline A. Foster (one of Alonzo’s nieces) on February 28, 1867 and they had five children. He became an expert hunting guide for wealthy families visiting from New York. He was the first manager of the Swan Island Club in North Carolina, founded in November1870 by a group of hunters from Good Ground on their yacht Anonyona. At about 4 A.M. on Sunday July 30, 1905, he was stricken by acute indigestion and was dead within three hours. He is buried in Good Ground Cemetery.

William Lewis Polley. Age 26. A little older than his comrades, the 5’ 8” tall William Polley (or Polly) had gray eyes and light hair. Born in Lisbon, Connecticut, the youngest of 5 children, his father died when he was 2 years-old. He moved to East Hampton when he married Johanna Hedges on September 2, 1858. A farmer before the war, Polley joined the other volunteers of the 6th New York Cavalry in Riverhead on November 9, 1861. Polley was distantly related to Elbert Edwards and both were assigned to Company F. When the Regiment was based at Perryville, Maryland, William became a father for the first time, when his daughter, Emma, was born on March 21, 1862. Serving throughout the war, William returned home in 1865. He became a father again on May 11, 1868. Sadly, his wife Joanna passed away in 1869, leaving William with two small girls. William moved in with his brother Samuel (who had served with the 1st New Jersey Light Artillery) until he married again. In the 1880 census, William was listed as a tinsmith in Sag Harbor. William Polley intended to rejoin his comrades at the 1893 Gettysburg Reunion, but illness prevented his attendance. His friend and brother-in-arms Charles Whitney did attend and brought William home a reunion medal. William died on May 14, 1908 and is buried at Oakland Cemetery.


Charles Arthur Satterlay. Age 18. Charles Satterlay (also spelled Satterlee, Satterley or Satterly), born in Patchogue, was 15 years-old when his older brother, Silas, enlisted in the Army. When Charles turned 18 in February 1864, he too joined the Army, initially serving with the 15th New York Militia guarding New York Harbor. After his three-month term expired, he re-enlisted at Tarrytown on September 13, 1864 to join his brother with the 6th New York Calvary. The 5’ 51/2” tall Charles (described as having dark eyes and brown hair) was assigned to Company F, the same Company as his brother. Ironically, when Charles joined the Regiment in the field, his brother was away from the unit and they never saw one another during the war. Charles served until the end of the war, mustering out on June 5, 1865 at Cloud's Mills, Virginia. After the war, he returned to Patchogue and married Emma Jane Wolcott on August 12, 1866 and they had several children. He was an active member in the G.A.R and participated in Memorial Day Parades until illness prevented him. He died on August 5, 1928 after a lingering illness and is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery in Patchogue.


Silas K. Satterlay. Age 21. Silas (also spelled Silah or Selah Satterlee, Satterley or Satterly) was born in Islip and was the oldest in a family of eleven children. The blue-eyed, dark haired, 5’ 8” tall Silas was working as a farm laborer in Southold when he enlisted in the Army, joining Company F of the 6th New York Cavalry. His younger brother Charles joined the 6th New York Regiment in 1864. Another younger brother, William, also joined the Army, serving in the 66th New York Infantry. All three brothers survived the war. Returning after the war to Patchogue, he married Dora E Swezey on April 2, 1878 and they had had two daughters. He worked as a house carpenter and bayman and was also active in local civic affairs and in the G.A.R. He died July 28, 1911 in Blue Point, New York and is in buried Blue Point Cemetery.


George W. Ware. Age 22. George Ware, 5’ 3” tall with gray eyes and brown hair, was one of twin boys. His father, John, was a shopkeeper in Southampton but George appears to have been a mariner before the war. George was one of the second wave of volunteers, enlisting on September 15, 1862. Unlike other Southampton boys who were in Company F of the 6th New York Cavalry, George was assigned to Company M, lead by 28 year-old Captain George Van Buren, a grandson of former President Martin Van Buren. George Ware probably received his horse, equipment and basic training at the cavalry camp in Washington, D.C. before joining his Company in late 1862. After surviving the heavy fighting at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in 1863, George contracted diphtheria in the Spring of 1864 and died at Harewood Hospital in Washington, D.C. on April 22, 1864 and is buried at the Soldiers Home Cemetery in Washington.


Charles Lewis Whitney. Age 21. Charles was born in Atlanticville (now East Quogue) and was living in Sag Harbor, working as a farm laborer, when he volunteered for the 6th New York Cavalry in October, 1861. The six-foot tall Whitney, with gray eyes and dark hair, was assigned as a private in Co. F. Although Company F was attached to the Union Army in the Virginia Peninsula, Charles was assigned as an orderly to the Regimental Adjutant, Fergus Easton, outside Washington. On June 27, 1863, while the Regiment was advancing towards Gettysburg, Charles helped capture a rebel spy. Later, he served as an orderly to the Regimental Quartermaster, Jerome Wheeler (who became President of R. H. Macy’s after the war). Discharged from the Army for disability in July 1865, he returned to North Haven working as a farmer. He married Mary Ann Williamson in September 1865 and they had five children. In addition to farming, Charles was a Street Commissioner in Sag Harbor and worked at the Watch Case Factory. Active in the Edwin Rose G.A.R. post, he kept in touch with his former comrades from the 6th New York Cavalry. Charles went to the 1893 Gettysburg Reunion and brought home a reunion medal for his brother-in-arms, William Polly, who was sick at the time. On October 24th, 1896, Charles attended the unveiling of the Civil War Monument in Sag Harbor. He died ten days later from a heart attack and is buried in Sag Harbor’s Oakland Cemetery.

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