ELLY BECOTTE’S NEW BOOK ON HAMPTON IN THE CIVIL WAR
Elly Becotte, one of our favorite museum volunteers and a walking compendium on the Civil War, has recently completed her second book, Answering the Call: Hampton, New Hampshire in the American Civil War, 1861-1865.
Besides giving an excellent overview of the war, the composition and weaponry of the armies, and how the soldiers entertained themselves in camp, the book is filled with interesting facts about the Hampton soldiers, many of whom enlisted with the Third New Hampshire Volunteers. For example, did you know that Washington Hobbs Godfrey was America’s first frogman? Or that David Warren Perkins, a Gillmore Medal recipient, always carried a small American flag into battle so he could be the first to plant the flag on a captured work? My favorite story is about the brothers Jacob and Oliver Godfrey. Not to be outdone by their older brother Washington, they rowed 10 miles to the Isles of Shoals where their father was working to get his permission to enlist, and then later walked all the way to Concord to sign up.
Included in the book are photographs, documents, and excerpts of letters from the archives of the Hampton Historical Society. The letters were from homeboys like Lieutenant Simon Nudd Lamprey, Sergeant George Perkins, and Jonathan Nudd Dow of the 3rd New Hampshire; Private Jacob Tallant Godfrey of the 14th New Hampshire; and Private John C. Davis of the 8th New Hampshire. While simple in tone and intent, their letters allow us to experience army life from a soldier’s perspective: lousy food, bouts of diarrhea and fever, stolen property, the pride of a visit from Old Abe…and always the horrific battles. There are also excerpts of letters from the mothers, sisters, and wives: Mrs. Susan Page, who wrote angrily of Southern sympathizers in the town; her daughter Mary Page, who worried that her brother would be drafted; and Amanda Price, a Civil War nurse who wrote of seeing Lincoln lying in state in Washington, D.C.
CIVIL WAR SATURDAY
To launch the book, and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Historical Society has planned a great community event that you won’t want to miss. Scheduled for April 27, Civil War Saturday is a free, fun family event featuring living history presenters, musket demonstrations, a quilt raffle, campfire cooking, exhibits, children’s events, plus a traditional Civil War Supper with pork & beans, corn bread, & dessert (tickets for the supper are $5). The Society will be raffling off a beautiful quilt featuring a Civil War era pattern and handmade by Elly’s daughter, Katrin Grant. And, of course, Elly will be signing her books. I hope I get to fire the musket!
Published in the March 2013 issue of Gatherings from the Green, the newsletter of the Hampton Historical Society (see pages 3 and 9 for my articles).
© 2013 Cheryl Lassiter