Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 5, 1862: Theodore Carhart & the 1st NJ Brigade

In early April 1862, the First New Jersey Brigade, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiments, was in Camp Seminary [Fairfax Seminary], Virginia.  Corporal Theodore "Dora" Carhart, of Belvidere and later Phillipsburg, had enlisted in Company D, 1st NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment in May 1861 at age 22 years.  On April 5, he wrote a letter to his father.

Carhart wrote, "Father, you do not comprehend the position the First New Jersey Brigade holds, and I feel very proud to tell you that we are on the right of the whole Corps de Armee. We are considered the best in the whole Army of the Potomac.  We stand today for the first Brigade of the first Corps de Armee of the Potomac, and to cap the climax, I belong to the first Regiment.  The other day when General [Irvin] McDowell reviewed his corps, [General George] McClellan, and part of his staff, as mere spectators, were present, and a host of others, and among them the usual number of Senators and Representatives, and your humble servant, stood, with a crowd of others close by them, as spectators also, and when General [Philip] Kearny rode by on his splendid gray charger, in review, they all inquired, 'What Brigade is this, with white gloves, blackened boots and shoes, and march so elegantly?Why it beats anything I ever saw for volunteers.Why our regulars can't do any better.'  Someone spoke out and said, 'It is the First New Jersey Brigade.'  The answer, 'Oh! That's Kearny's Brigade is it?  Yes. Well, they are not only the best looking but the best drilled on the field.' 

"Well, as it is getting late, I must close. Give my love to all, Dora."

Copyright 1997-2012: Jay C. Richards  

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