Military Service Record of Lester A. Webb,
Private, Company F, 1st Regiment Minnesota Infantry Volunteers
Lester A. Webb, enlisted on or
about 29 April 1861, and was mustered in 15 May 1861 at Fort Snelling,
Minnesota to Captain Colvill’s Company, (Company F), 1st Regiment Minnesota
Infantry Volunteers. He may, or may not
have been among the initial lot of men enlisted for ninety day service almost a
month before, but it is certain that he was among the men mustered for three
years on 15 May 1861. Colonel Gorman
reported the regiment full on 22 May 1861 and ready for duty and Lester
traveled with the regiment to Washington, DC.
He participated in the first
Battle of Bull Run at Manassas, Virginia, 21 July 1861 when his company along with
Company A and the New York Fire Zouave Regiment were very heavily engaged
against the 33rd Regiment Virginia Infantry. After the route of Union forces later in the afternoon, they covered the
general retreat along the western flank. Little evidence of this is in his service record, although an entry the
diary of his brother, Loren for 24 August 1861, reads, “To day I received a
letter from my brother Lester, the first since the fight at Bull Run, who was
engaged in it.”
A register indicates letters sent
to and received from Lester by his brother Loren, and gives some idea of where
he was. Lester sent letters : 1 August
1861 from Washington, DC; 12 September 1861 from Washington, DC; 5 October 1861
from Washington, DC; 24 October 1861 from Washington, DC; 14 November 1861 from
Edwards Ferry, Virginia; 11 December 1861 from Washington, DC; 25 January 1862
from Washington, DC; 19 February 1862 at Washington, DC; and 24 March 1862 from
In April of 1862, he was absent
for the first time from his company and in the hospital at Hampton, Virginia,
listed as ‘sick’. He later participated
in and was slightly wounded at the Battle of Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg,
Maryland on 19 September 1862, as another note in his brother Loren's diary
entry of 23 October 1862 indicates, "I have not heard from him since the
battle of Antietam in which he participated. He was wounded slightly but has recovered again. I am happy to know he
is not dead."
He was discharged from the 1st
Regiment Minnesota Infantry on 24 October 1862, at Bolivar, Virginia pursuant
to Orders 154 and 162 from the War Department, at which time he joined the U.S.
Regular Army, probably to receive bonus pay. As much as $500.00 was being offered with no extension of term of service
to those who would leave their Volunteer regiments and fill the dwindled ranks
of the Regular Army. Lester Webb joined
Company B, 6th Regiment US Cavalry Regulars for several apparent reasons.
His regiment had just been through
a grievous battle at Antietam, in which it had lost many men dead and
wounded. The 1st Minnesota had been
fighting and marching almost continuously since the Battle of Bull Run and were
tired and demoralized. The idea of
joining a gallant cavalry troop must have seemed appealing - but more
practically, his skills as a frontier horseman were greatly in need. Little time would be needed to train Lester
in the rigors of military cavalry drills and maneuvers.
He enlisted 26 October 1862 at
Knoxville, Maryland to Lieutenant Coats for a term of one year and six months
and was described as a 19 years old volunteer soldier, standing 5’ 9” tall with
blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion. He was mustered in to Troop B, 6th Regiment United States Cavalry. Troop B, was one of the few companies in
this light cavalry regiment to be issued Carbines in addition to the sabers and
pistols issued to the rest of the regiment. A handsome young man, hardy and sturdy from a life on the frontier in Minnesota,
brave, proven and battle hardened, he must have made a dashing figure as a
He was present with the regiment
during its participation in the battles and skirmishes 1 November 1862 at
Philmont, Virginia; 5 November 1862 at Barbee’s Crossroads, Virginia; 10
November 1862 at Corbin’s Crossroad’s, Virginia, and 11 – 15 December 1862 at
Fredericksburg, Virginia where he was stationed when he sent a letter to his
brother Loren on 5 February 1863.
He was subsequently captured at
Richard’s Ford, on the Rappahannock River in Virginia (about 10 miles from
Fredericksburg) on 14 February 1863 while on picket duty several miles from the
regiment’s encampment.. On the morning
of 15 February 1863, it was discovered that the nine men on the Picket Post at
Richard’s Ford (John Lepper, Upton Donnelly, David B. James, George Leads,
William H. Lee, Eli Staley, Lester, and Robbert Webster) were all missing, and
it was later learned that they had been taken the previous night in a raid.
He was paroled and released on 20
February 1863 at City Point, Virginia by the Confederates. The next day, he is recorded at Camp Parole
at Annapolis, Maryland. Arrangements
were made to send Lester to Fort Snelling and he must have gotten started by
March; a letter sent to Lester 8 April 1863 was addressed to Milan, Ohio where
he briefly visited his family in the company of his father Oliver Webb, who had
traveled to Ohio from Roscoe, Minnesota. He escorted the convalescing soldier back to Minnesota.
He is listed as the sole member of
the 6th Regiment US Cavalry on the Garrison Rolls of Fort Snelling, and
assigned to the Detachment of Invalids and Convalescents starting May 1863, but
in the hospital almost the entire time through early the next year. He is listed on the muster rolls of the
Hospital at Fort Snelling from May through November 1863. Several letters sent
to Lester from July through October 1863 were addressed to Fort Snelling,
For the months of August,
September, October 1863 Lester is listed as ‘under confinement, or arrest’ by
order, for being ‘...beyond the limits of the post, Aug 20, 1863.’ For November and December he is listed as
absent without leave, and was known to have been at home in Roscoe, Goodhue
County, Minnesota since about 10 December 1863 through Christmas. The exact reason of his arrest is not
exactly clear, but he was reported present on the Hospital muster rolls for
January and February, at which time he is dropped from that roll and
transferred to the Detachment of Convalescents and Invalids.
In February 1864 his clothing
account was not settled, to the amount of $12.03, and at the time of his
discharge he had drawn clothing to the amount of $30.04. His final statement, certified by 1st
Lieutenant Lyman B. Smith, Commanding the Convalescent Detachment, indicates he
was last paid at Fort Snelling to include the entire time from his enlistment
until 4 May 1864. Lester A. Webb, was honorably discharged 5 May 1864 by
expiration of term of service.
[Click here to see images of
Lester’s Compiled Service Record for the First Minnesota (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
(6) (7) (8) (9)]
Catton, Bruce. The Army of the Potomac. Mr.
Lincoln's Army. Doubleday & Company. Garden City, New York. 1951
Catton, Bruce. The Army of
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Dyer, Frederick H., Compendium
of the War of the Rebellion, compiled and arranged from official records of the
Federal and Confederate armies. Dyer Publishing Company. Des Moines,
Iowa 1905. Courtesy of the U.S. Military History Institute, Carlisle,
Pennsylvania. Located online http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/DL/
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Ross & Haines, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1963.
Innis, Ben. Internments
at Fort Buford, 1866 - 1895, Fort Buford 6th Infantry Reg't Association.
Williston. North Dakota. 1998.
Moe, Richard, The Last Full
Measure, The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers, Henry Holt
& Company, New York, New York, 1993.
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National Battlefield Site. Maryland. National Park Service Historical
Handbook Series No. 31, Washington, DC. 1960
Webb, Loren. Diary of
Captain Loren Webb, 1861 - 1863, Firelands Historical Society. Norwalk,
Ohio. 1995. Transcribed by Matthew L. Burr.
Harvey Hayes Webb family
bible transcript, typed transcript, drafted in the 1950's; courtesy Hazel
War of the Rebellion, a
Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1880. Courtesy of Cornell
University Digital Library Project, located online
Service record of Lester A.
Webb, Company F, 1st Reg't Minnesota Infantry, National Archives and Records
Administration. Washington, DC. Compiled 1894, viewed December 2000.
Enlistments in U.S.
Volunteers 1862. M233 Register of
Enlistments in U. S. Army 1798 – 1914. Roll (?). National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, DC.
The Returns of the Sixth
Regiment of Cavalry for the Month of February 1863. Recv’d at AGO March 1863.
MO744 Returns from Regular Army Cavalry Regiments 1833 – 1916, 080-04. National
Archives and Records Administration. Washington, DC.
Post Returns of Troops in
Garrison at Fort Snelling, Minnesota... M617 Returns from United States
military Posts, 1800-1916; Fort Snelling, Min, Nov 1861 – Dec 1873. National Archives & Records Administration. Washington, DC.
...Record of Internments at
Fort Buford, Dakota Territory (continuation on p374 of ledger). M2014
Burial Register for Military Posts, Camps, Stations 1768-1921 1 roll. National Archives & Records
Administration. Washington, DC. Viewed 21 July 2001.
...Return of July 1881 and
August 1881 for Fort Buford, Dakota Territory. M617 Returns From United States Military Posts; Buford, Fort, N.
Dak. Jan 1880 – Sept 1895. National
Archives & Records Administration. Washington, DC. Viewed 21 July
Personal Communication with
Keith Snyder, NPS. Antietam National Battlefield Site. Sharpsburg,
Maryland. February 2001. Travel to Antietam courtesy of Robert Grant.
Civil War Combat : The
Battle of Antietam. Video documentary. The History Channel. 2000. SVHS copy in possession of author.
Dictionary. Volume 5, H-K. Oxford, Clarendon Press; Vivian Ridler,
University Press. United Kingdom, 1933, reprinted 1961. (p295)
West and this page is compiled by Jonathan Webb Deiss, who is solely
responsible for its content. 2000, 2001.