Chaplain Hiram Stone Richardson

Age, 32 years. Enrolled, at Cortland, to serve three years; mustered in as chaplain, November 11, 1861; discharged, February 24, 1863. Commissioned chaplain, March 4, 1862, with rank from January 15, 1862, original.

Richardson married Charlotte L. Curtis in 1854. He died in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Feb. 9, 1899, and is buried there. (personal communication from Ed Raus)

From the Regimental History of the 76th New York:

WHEN the war first broke out, this eloquent advocate of human rights was engaged as minister at New York Mills, Oneida county, N. Y. Having formerly preached in Cortland county, his preferences naturally centered upon a regiment including so many of his former parishioners and friends. A man of indomitable will, burning eloquence, and undoubted patriotism, Mr. Richardson rendered most efficient service in the organization of the Regiment.

The following letter, in response to one of inquiry by the writer, gives an idea of tile Chaplain's early history:

A, P. SMITH, Esq.:

Dear Sir:

You ask me to give you for publication, a brief biography of my life. I thank you for that word, "brief"' for at the very best I have only time to say, that I was born in the year 1828, in the town of Nelson, Madison county, N. Y. By dint of hard work. I prepared myself for college, and was ready to enter at the age of seventeen. At this time I (through the influ­ence of mistaken friends), changed my mind, and, going south, engaged a school in Charleston, S. C. Here I did well pecuniarily, and was enabled to gratify my born love for sight-seeing and travel. Three years I spent in travel, visiting most of islands of the Atlantic, and spending eleven months in the south of France, among the islands of the Mediterranean, and in Italy.

I returned to Texas, and while en aged as teacher in Galveston, I volunteered to go out on the frontier to fight the Indians and Mexicans, who were committing depredations on the bor­der of the State. I was wounded at the batle of Yuno River, and was discharged after six months' service.

At this time, 1848, with a company of twelve men, I commenced the difficult enterprise of crossing this continent on mule back, without a guide or path, to California. Six mouths found me a resident of Mariposa county, and one of the first squatters on the claim known as Colonel Fremont's. At the expiration of about two years, I was elected a member of the Legislature from Mariposa county. At the close of that session I came home to Madison county.

In 1853 I united with the M. E. Church, and in 1864 commenced the active work of the glorious ministry of Christ, in which work I was engaged, when treason stretched out its bloody hand, to roll us backward a thousand years into abysmal barbarism.

In relation to my efforts to raise and organize the Seventy-sixth Regiment, and the amount and character of my labor as Chaplain in that Regiment for about two years, you are well informed without any statement from me. Grand old Seventy-sixth ! Thy dead are walking above the stars! Thy living have palaces in the hearts of the American people!

Use as much or as little of this biography (written in twenty minutes), as you please. I have no fear but I shall be JUSTLY named, if named at all, in your History of the Seventy-sixth.

Very Truly Yours, H. STONE RICHARDSON.

No one ever connected with the Regiment will forget the genial nature of the Chaplain, or his readiness to lend a helping hand to a comrade in distress.

Letters from Chaplain Hiram S. Richardson

DECEMBER 26, 1861
VOL 1, NO. 13 Pg 2, COL 6





MR EDITOR:- The 76th regiment reached these quarters on the evening of departure from Cortland, officers and men in good condition, no one injured, no one drunk.

The regiment made a fine display marching from the depot to Camp, receiving as they passed along Braodway and State street high praises from the citizens, for their gentlemanly appearance and soldierly bearing. They have won already by their quiet in the mess here and by their sobriety in the streets, the little of "the best regiment." TO-day, Monday 23d, we are in the midst of the excitement, incident to a Court of Inquiry, now in progress at the Capital. We need not say to you that there is an unpleasant uneasiness in the heart of the regiment, because of this matter, yet there is a strong confidence among us that Col. Green will be as fully sustained by the Court, as he is by the regiment.

Gen. Wood is still acting as commander of teh regiment, and there is no lack of military officers on either side of us, yet we are virtually without a head, sheep without a Shepard. The question of the day has been enitrely changed since the trial commenced. We no longer heard when shall we get our pay? what is our rations going to be? what is the great army doing? what is England going to do? but this is heard through all teh barracks, "Is the Colonel restored to his command?"

He is not at this writing restored and we are of course unable to say that he will be, but if he is you'll need no dispatch to inform you. Three times three cheers will split the sky from Albany to Cortland and at those Barracks at Camp Campbell, laughing till they split their clap boarded sides. If not restore --------- What I might have written in that blank might have been rebellion. The boy's in Camp yesterday were presented with Testiments all those who were not previously supplied, and spent the day after the regular services in reading the word; and singing spiritual songs and hymns.

The sick list since we came here has rather increased, and yet we believe there are none dangerously ill. The understanding among us is that as soon as teh COurt gets throuh with its work, we shall receive orders to march South. With the ground already covered snow before the soldiers and with winters sharp west wind cutting through his wooden barracks, putting sleet upon his thin blankets, and sending ague through his bones, the order to march South even through battles and prisons and fevers are all suggested by the word, will be hailed with delight. No! for the South say the soldiers of the 76th. Ho, for singing birds, green fields, fragrant flowers, our Col. and a hard fight.

So much this week by way of rememberance. Next week we shall be able to give full particulars of the trial and perhaps some of the romance and the reality of Camp life.


(Hiram S. Richardson, Chaplain, 76th NY Vol Inf)


March 20, 1862
VOL 1, NO. 25, Pg 2, COL 3,4


HEAD-QUARTERS 76TH REG., N.Y.S.V. March 13, 1862.


Before reaching the "seat of war," I had a vary vague idea of an "army pass." I had no correct notion of the form of a pass, who issued it, or what the privilege it conferred. Thinking that perhaps one in very many of your readers might be as ignorant s myself, I venture to send you an exact copy of a pass now in my possession.

PASS. 76 Reg. N.Y.S.V.

Chaplain R------- across the

River and return at will,

By order of Brig. Gen. S. Casey,

A. H. Raymond,

Act. Ast. Adj. Gen'l

endorsed by:

By order of J. E. McKeam Col. 76th Comm'd, Brigade, H. French,

A.A.A. Gen.

It requires no little time, a good many friends, and almost any amount of patience in order to secure the above "pass". A few months ago, anybody could go about the city of Washington, and even over the river without either character, friends, or fear of arrest. Not the case to-day. Gentlemen with blue coats, and scraps, and brass buttons are held to strict account, and citizens, strangers, must walk union, and talk union, and act union, or be asked very probably (of course) what their name might be, where they are from, and what's their business, to all which they must be able to answer without any mental reservation.

It is not at all safe for any officer of rank less than Lieut. General to step ten rods from camp, without such a document, he is in danger of spending at least one night in the Washington guard house. Patrols are put everywhere, on street and avenue, lane and by ways, in the hotels, in the stores, in the groceries, they spring up like evil spirits, or rather like dreaded ghouls from fences, bushes and old sheds, seemingly for no other purpose but to torment some careless and passless soldier.

To illustrate the importance of these passes we have a recent transaction in point. Rev. W. Storrs, a baptist clergyman with whom you are acquainted, and then whom there is not a more exemplary christen, or better soldier in any regiment, having business in the city as commissary sergeant, went down to do his work, neglecting as the result proved, to provide himself with the all important "pass".

As soon as he reached the city, he was met by the patrol and asked for his pass, he produced a pass which had served him on previous occasions, but this time it was pronounced worthless, and he was ordered to fall into line with a squad of other prisoners, and march to the guard house.

The Elder said, "gentlemen, I'm on important business for the 76th regiment!"

"March!" said the guard.

"I can give you evidence of my character and business!"

"March!" repeated the guard,

"Just a word gentlemen, I -"

"MARCH! yelled the patrol.

"Gentlemen I would like just to say that -"

"If that man don't march," said the sergeant of the guard, "prick him with your bayonet till he does march."

The Elder without more effort to speak in his own defense, marched on to the guard house. He slept on the floor through the night. In the morning after some plain talk about his going straight to camp, he was permitted to depart. We believe that they had not even inquire what church he belonged to, or whether he was a Baptist, Presbyterian Episcopal or Methodist Minister, not even whether he was an officer or private. Two thoughts were suggested to my mind by this transaction. First whether any of the peculiarities for which my church is famous, would have saved a Methodist Preacher, under the same circumstances. I concluded on reflecting that they wouldn't. Second, whether the occurrence might not suggest to the Elder, the conclusion that if election did not save him in this life it might not in the life to come.

My experience in the way of passes is somewhat peculiar. When we first arrived in Washington, without making any enquiry I immediately went into the city to-see the wonders. About the first block, a patrol approached and demanded my pass. My pass said I, I don't know what you mean! I wish to know, said he touching his hat, if you have a pass. Vaguely comprehending what the soldier wanted, I answered that the only pass I had was a clear conscience. Concluding I suppose that I was a stranger, to the rules of the city, he therefore decided to let me go - he repeated after me; "a clear conscience! Well you can go on, for you are the only man in this section, who has any such pass as that.

I have met him several times in the city he always gives me the walk as if to say to me "pass" on, you are entirely safe in any part of the union. You have a much better pass than the Provost Martial can give you. You'll not understand me as saying that there are not many such or that I was not at the time using very figurative language. I have said that all persons in the country must have passes. There is one exception. There is a class of persons who without any permit from government, with out a pass from secretary, or general, or provost marshall, are passing and repassing all parts of this war section at all times, day and night, in all weather, sunshine and storm. This class of persons cross large war districts, through military encampments among forts and rifle pits and earth works, without passes. They cross broad rivers without bridges, wide plains without shoes, whole states without food or clothing. They appear in our camps at midnight, with hollow eyes and sunken cheeks and bleeding feet and torn bodies, crying for help, begging for bread, praying for protection; what shall we say to them? What shall we do for them?

These persons are men, some white skinned, some dark, some black. The print of the tyrants' foot is on their breast, the hand-cuff of slavery broken in the middle, are dangling on their wrists. Shall we weld their fetters and scourge them bleeding from our encampments? shall we whip them from our camp from, only that under the lash of slavery, they may plant, and sow, and reap for the consumption of our enemies, only that they may build dungeons for our soldiers, and forts for the destruction of our troops.

What folly! What inhumanity! The same passes which to me or you, will open the gates of heaven. will open them to the blackest child of Africa, or the most ignorant slave of America. Soon this shall be true on the earth as well, "all men without a Pass, or one Pass for all men."


(Hiram S. Richardson, Chaplain)

Transcribed from The Gazette and Banner, Cortland, NY, from microfilm found at the Cortland Public Library, Cortland, NY by B. Conrad Bush.

Return to Roster (QR)

Return to Letters from the 76th NY

Return to 76th NYSV Homepage

- Last Updated Nov. 26, 2010