WAS born in the town of Stark, Herkimer county, New York, December 18th, 1814. In 1839 he removed to Springfield, where he has since resided. He was elected Colonel of the Thirty-ninth New York State Militia in 1850, of which he was in command at the breaking out of the rebellion.
When the war had actually commenced, he used every endeavor to get the consent of his Regiment and the permission of the Governor to take it out as all organization. On the first of October, 1861, he received an order to place his men in camp at Cherry Valley, and commence recruiting at that place. This order was promptly and cheerfully complied with by the Colonel, and the companies first organized were soon after mustered into the United States service. He closed up his large farming business at a great pecuniary loss, and immediately directed his entire attention to the reorganization and recruiting of his Regiment, and the drill and discipline of the men.
In addition to the large amount of money he was obliged to advance in recruiting, he found it expedient, in connection with the commandant of the depot, to lend his credit to a large amount, to secure the payment of the necessary camp expenses, rations, etc. A large proportion of the Regiment had signified their desire to have the Regiment go out in a body, and some had even, when requested to join other organizations, claimed to be waiting for that purpose, and had thus excused themselves from entering the service earlier. But now, to the great disappointment of the Colonel, he found that only a very few responded to his invitation to them to come forward and be mustered into the service. Recruiting proved very dull. No large bounties had at that time been offered.
In January, 1862, the Regiment, only some six hundred and sixty-seven strong, were ordered to Albany, where they arrived on the evening of the eighth, and were soon after consolidated with the Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, in which Colonel Shaul took the position of Lieutenant-Colonel. There was a strong effort made at Albany to prevent the Colonel entering the service, even in this capacity, and as he made no pretensions at wire-pulling or political gambling, he would have been thanklessly sent home, had not his officers and friends insisted that he, at least deserved this position, and should by right have it.
The Seventy-sixth went out with Green as Colonel, and Shaul as Lieutenant Colonel. In February, 1862, Green was relieved, the Lieutenant-Colonel left in command of the Regiment. Colonel Green was soon after discharged, and Lieutenant-Colonel Shaul remained in command until the last of June, when he was relieved by Colonel William P. Wainwright.
During the four and a half months Colonel Shaul was in command of the Regiment, he had, by an honest administration of military rule, and his upright and gentlemanly conduct, gained the esteem and good will of both his officers and men. For about three months he had command of five forts in the defenses of Washington, D. C., and in addition to the infantry drill, he was obliged to instruct his Regiment in the artillery drill and practice.
In May the Regiment was ordered to Fredericksburg, and again divided into detachments for guard duty. Here the opportunities for drilling were greatly lessened, but in order to keep up the battalion drill, the Colonel would get as many of the men together as possible for that purpose.
While in camp near Fredericksburg, the Colonel was taken sick, and when his command was ordered to Culpepper, he was ordered to report to Surgeon Clymer at Washington. Here he remained some four weeks, during which time General Pope retreated before the enemy, and the Seventy-sixth passed through Washington. Knowing this, the Colonel, although he had not fully recovered, hoping by prudence to regain his former health, was very desirous of rejoining his Regiment, to which the Surgeon, after much objection, consented, and he again took command of the Seventy-sixth in camp at Sharpsburg. But, to the great disappointment of the Colonel and his friends, in about two weeks he had a relapse, and was sent to the Seminary Hospital at Georgetown.
On the twentieth of November, 1862, he was honorably discharged, on account of physical disability; not, however, until he had consulted with the surgeon in charge, who gave it as his opinion that he would not be able to endure the hardships of the service, and that it was his duty to have him discharged on that account. Then the Colonel, feeling that he had done all he could for his country in the field, and not wishing to receive remuneration for services he could not render, cheerfully accepted his discharge, and returned to his home in Springfield, Otsego county, where he has since resided. His post office address is East Springfield, Otsego Co., N. Y.
He has never fully recovered from the sickness he incurred while in the service, but considers himself able to oversee his large farming business, to which he has returned.
John Shaul, the grandfather of the Colonel, served in the Revolutionary war, and was captured by the Indians and kept a prisoner five years. The father of the Colonel, Daniel Shaul, served in the war of 1812.
- From the Regimental History of the 76th New York, A. P. Smith, 1867
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- Last Updated December 24, 1999