Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Smith-Harris Living History Report

Smith-Harris House
October 1-2, 2005
East Lyme, Ct.
Dear friends,

A small detachment from the 8th Connecticut, Company A came back to Connecticut this weekend for recruitment purposes. After traveling by ship, we docked at New London Harbor and proceeded to march through the small town of Niantic. Many townsfolk turned out to see us march by with two fifers and a drummer and our flags flying. Our march took us to a quaint farmhouse built nearly 20 years ago by a man named Thomas Avery. He let us set up camp on his farm near the barn, and we saw other small detachments nearby that were likewise recruiting, such as the Navy.

After participating in a flag-raising ceremony in honor of our presence, we were besieged by men, women and children alike who asked us many questions for some hours. Soon after, Cpl. Bingham noticed the nearby camp of two ladies, and for the rest of the weekend it was nearly an impossible task to bring him back into our camp. They very kindly let us lean our beloved colors near the fly-posts of their tent before we made proper holders for them near the company street. It was during this time that one of the two ladies, no doubt taking a fancy to our own Pvt. Payne, remarked at how neat he kept his fingernails. I do not think the boys of the 8th will let him forget that comment for some time.

We drilled for a short time to demonstrate to the public exactly what we do, but with such a small squad, it was impossible to perform any maneuvers of any grand scale. Instead, we demonstrate firing techniques and the manual of arms. Most of the rest of the afternoon was spent talking to many onlookers, and we were glad to answer any questions. A very embarrassing incident took place during a lull in activities when our own Pvt. Boucher, disgruntled and eager to cause trouble, stole Pvt. Payne's haversack and made an attempt to steal it away. He was observed, however, and nearly tackled by Pvt. Payne and Pvt. Maston as he made an attempt to run. He was brought back to camp and severely reprimanded, for we do not tolerate such actions. He was made to wear a sign labelled "THIEF", and marched in shame around the area. He took this opportunity to verbally disparage a local constable, but it was clear that within a short period of time he was properly humiliated.

As night began to fall, several of our members were given leave to go home to their families who lived in the area. Afterward, we were approached by a local insurance salesman who made his own camp nearby the ladies' tent. He was a very jovial fellow, and we enjoyed good conversation, although I doubt any soldiers from our company subscribed to any of his insurance options, however inviting they were (only ten dollars for a five-hundred dollar coverage). The night air was chilly, but not as biting cold as experienced on other nights. The fire was kept going all night long, and everyone had a very pleasant sleep.

The next day was more of the same, and again, many people came to ask us questions. Before we left on Sunday around 3:00 pm, we had made our mark on that town of Niantic, and I hope we may return again someday. We have orders to rejoin the company, so I will bid farewell for now, and, hoping that all is well with you, I remain,

Most sincerely,
2nd Lt. Nate Bayreuther

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Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.

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