Company G, Fourteenth Regiment Connecticut

Volunteer Infantry 1862  - 1865, Inc.

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Henry Perkins Goddard




To Read Goddard's Gettysburg Harper's Weekly Article



To Read Goddard's Book 14th C.V. Regimental Reminiscences Of The War Of The Rebellion



To Read Goddard's Book Memorial To Deceased Officers of The Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers



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Henry Perkins Goddard was a 20-year-old writer for his hometown newspaper, the Norwich Bulletin, when he exchanged his pen for a sword and was commissioned as a second lieutenant the "Connecticut Squadron" of the 2nd New York Volunteer Cavalry in March 1862. After participating in several skirmishes in the northern Virginia in that regiment, led by the daring and reckless Judson "Kill Cavalry" Kilpatrick, he resigned in May upon the death of his father and for other personal reasons.

   In June 1862, he was commissioned sergeant-major in the newly organized 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, where he rose to the rank of captain shortly before resigning for health reasons in April 1864. His wartime experiences are recorded in his reports to the Norwich Bulletin, but mostly in his letters to his mother, Mary Goddard; his father, Levi Goddard, a prominent lawyer; his older sister, Julia Piatt; his younger sister, Mary ("May") Goddard, later the wife of Louis Comfort Tiffany; and his older brother, Alfred Mitchell Goddard, who he pleads with not to return from his work as an engineer in Hawaii to join the war effort. Motivated by guilt and a hatred of slavery, his brother returned and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the 8th Connecticut Infantry. He was killed while rallying his men in his first engagement in May 1864 near Petersburg.  

   Goddard and the regiment got their "baptism of fire" at Antietam. At Fredericksburg, Goddard's heroism saved the life of the regiment's commander, Col. Sanford Perkins, and his bullet-ridden canteen probably saved his own life. At Chancellorsville, then-Lieutenant Goddard was felled by a shell fragment as he lined up his men against the surprise attack by Stonewall Jackson. Taking leave from the regiment to recuperate from his wounds, he served as a staff officer for Maj. Gen. Dan Tyler in Wilmington, Del., in the summer of 1863. He regretted his absence from the Union victory at Gettysburg, but his vivid account of Pickett's charge, based on interviewing 14th CVI comrades, was published in Harper's Weekly. 

   Returning to the battle-scarred regiment in the fall of 1863, he observed how the unit of volunteers had been changed by an influx of unruly draftees and substitutes who were prone to desert. Once more, he reinvented himself, this time as a brigade artillery officer. He came under fire while repositioning artillery at the Battle of Morton's Ford in February 1864. Unable to resume the rigors of the infantry due to his health, he reluctantly resigned his commission in late April 1864 after Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the army's new commander, ordered all former infantry officers back into their units for the drive toward Richmond

   Goddard observed Abraham Lincoln on four occasions, the first time as a reporter when he covered Lincoln's campaign speech in Norwich in the spring of 1860. Interviewing key players after the war, he reported little-known and unpublished anecdotes of Lincoln and also of Samuel Clemens, his friend and neighbor in Hartford during the 1870s. He also described his encounters with such notables as George Armstrong Custer, Joseph Hooker, George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Irwin McDowell, Dan Tyler, Grant, and Kilpatrick. 

   Inspired by Lincoln's "freedom-breathing" Emancipation Proclamation, he described an army bitterly divided over the issue of race and abolition.. As for the 14th Connecticut, however, he said of an April 1863 election for Connecticut governor that the regiment was so disgusted with "the miserable Copperhead Democracy in Connecticut, that should Tom Seymour be elected governor, or the draft resisted, we will whip the traitors in front and then go to Connecticut to drive Tom Seymour and his crew into Long Island Sound." 

   After the war, he moved from Norwich to Hartford in 1867 where he worked as an insurance executive. Following the death of his first wife, Goddard remarried and moved to Baltimore, Md., in 1882, where he continued to write for newspapers and was president of the Shakespeare Club. He became friends with prominent Union and ex-Confederate officers and with the beautiful Confederate sympathizer and blockade runner Hetty Cary. 

   Goddard defended the civil rights of African Americans in what he called the "southern state" of Maryland and denounced the "Negrophobia" of the state's Democratic political machine. He ran for the Maryland legislature in 1907 as a progressive Republican on the platform of "an honest election law" that included a ballot which semi-literate African Americans could decipher. He lost the election, but was grateful for the support of some "very dear old Confederate veterans who were as magnanimous in peace as they were brave in war." 

   Traveling to Virginia and the Deep South, he described the uneven progress of Reconstruction, the lasting wounds of the war, and reconciliation among veterans of both camps. He reported on the cast of characters and activities at 14th Connecticut reunions. He compared the different life styles in postwar New England and the South.  

   Goddard was a graduate of the Norwich Free Academy, which remains the city's main public high school. His grandfather was Calvin Goddard, a Connecticut jurist and member of Congress during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. He is remembered for getting Congress to approve pensions for African Americans veterans of the Revolutionary War. 

   Goddard died in Baltimore on April 5, 1916, of pneumonia, at age 73, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with military honors and the sound of a trumpet. His attending physician was his son and only child, Calvin Hooker Goddard, who is best known as the pioneer of the science of forensic ballistics in the 1920s and 1930s. His middle name derives from his mother, Lida Acheson Goddard, who was a cousin of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, and a direct descendant of the Rev. Thomas Hooker, founder of Connecticut colony. 

Biography by Calvin Goddard Zon


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