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 Charleston, Virginia.


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 cavalryman.


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, Minnesota.


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)]


Sources :


Catton, Bruce. The Army of the Potomac. Mr. Lincoln's Army.  Doubleday & Company. Garden City, New York. 1951

Catton, Bruce. The Army of the Potomac. Glory Road.  Doubleday & Company. Garden City, New York. 1951

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

Imholte, John Q. The First Volunteers. History of the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment 1861 – 1865. 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. 

Tilberg, Frederick. Antietam 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 Skelly Webb

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 2001

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.

Oxford English Dictionary. Volume 5, H-K. Oxford, Clarendon Press; Vivian Ridler, University Press. United Kingdom, 1933, reprinted 1961. (p295)




Webb’s Removed West and this page is compiled by Jonathan Webb Deiss, who is solely responsible for its content. 2000, 2001.



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