Sea Stories in Stone
Clement P. Dennison (1848-1864) - Mast Landing cemetery, Freeport
Died on Bedlows Island, N.Y.
Young Clement's father, Benjamin, and 20 year-old brother, John, enlisted in Maine's 25th Infantry Regiment. Together with 933 other men, they were mustered into the Union Army at Portland, September 29, 1862. The enlistments were for nine months, most of which they spent defending the Long Bridge and building fortifications in Washington D.C. Although the regiment never engaged the enemy, they were mustered out on July 10, 1863, having "faithfully performed every duty assigned." Benjamin had received a disability discharge that April, and both were cited for Distinguished Service. Their regiment had lost 25 men to disease and 13 to desertion.
March 23, 1864, one year after his father's medical discharge, young Clement, enlisted for a three year term in Co. C of the 32nd Maine Regiment. Like many of his fellow enlistees, Clement falsely gave his age as 18. On April 20th six of the still forming regiments' companies, including Co. C., headed for Washington. By early May they engaged the enemy at the Battle of the Wilderness. The regiment also participated the following battles:
The regimental history states that at Petersburg they
charged most gallantly on July 30th, when the Confederate works in their immediate front were blown up by Burnside's mine, and was one of the first to enter the works...11 officers and about 100 men were killed, wounded and captured. It again met with fearful loss when it sharply engaged the enemy near the Pegram House on Sept. 30th.
The regiment's statistics for October, 1864, noted that of 582 enlisted men, 19 present were sick and 369 who were absent were also sick. November 1st, Clement died of disease in the hospital at Fort Woods, on Bedloes Island, New York. He was not yet 17. His service was also "distinguished". Due to heavy losses, more to disease than to battle, the 32nd regiment was consolidated with the 31st regiment after only eight months service.
The Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, has held the remains of 3,170 Union soldiers and 461 Confederate POWs who died from battle injuries or disease at various New York City Hospitals during the rebellion. Grave #708 is Private Clement P. Dennison. Records do not indicate that Private Dennison was disinterred at anytime.
Bedloe's Island was eventually renamed Liberty Island, and Fort Woods is now the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Sources: American Civil War Soldiers, Wheeler, National Park Service; The Union Army,
Houston's historical sketch of the 32nd Maine regiment.
NEXT: Alfred Litchfield (1835-1873)
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