Berne during the Civil War

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
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Pvt. Reuben L. Weidman, Company I, 15th Cavalry<br.>NYS Military Museum

From [[Our Heritage

The story of Civil War soldiers from Berne and the War's impact on the community is told in the book, Our Heritage, the history of the town of Berne. In a section titled, "Berne Serves In the Civil War", Euretha Wolford Stapleton, historian for the town of Berne, writes the following:

According to the records the town of Berne had as least 77[1] men who volunteered in the War Between the States. Many of them were just farm boys, who, caught up in the wave of enthusiasm, had enlisted to save the union and to end slavery. The first enlistments were for only three months. It was three years before many who survived battles, swamps, Libby or Andersonville, returned to Berne. Some had lost an arm or leg; others had their health broken by disease. Very few Berne men saw action in the early campaigns. The majority fought in Louisiana and in the final battles near Richmond.

We have recorded a few stories of those who died:

Joel Wilson., born in Berne in 1842, joined the 177th New York Regiment in 1862 and was sent to Louisiana, he died there of typhus fever and his body returned to Berne. Among those who mourned was his fiance, Ann West. Joel was buried in the Methodist Cemetery on West Mountain, a location which adjoined the Wilson farm.

Jesse D. Wood., born in Berne in 1846, joined the Union Army at the age of 16 in the 10th New York Regiment and was also sent to Louisiana. He died at Port Hudson on August 13, 1863 at the age of 17. His grave in the family plot just outside of Berne is marked by a stone topped by a small replica of a Union soldier's hat.

Another young volunteer was Corporal Alonzo Grove Ludden., son of Alonzo Payson Ludden. Rev. A. Ludden , pastor of the Lutheran Church of Berne. In 1864, at age 16, Alonzo joined the 177th Regiment and contracted disease in the expedition against Port Hudson, La. Sent home, he never regained his health and died February 16, 1865.

Of the soldiers who survived the war, William M. Blade. of Berne managed to live through imprisonment at Andersonville. It was said that while in prison, he saw another Berne boy, Nathaniel Wright., starve to death. Mr. Blade weighed only 75 pounds when released, and was unable to walk for some time.

Zadock B. West| Zade West.of South Berne became a surveyor for the Union Army. He helped map bridges, road, and areas of attack. Wounded in the left leg, he returned to South Berne, lived to be 96, and died in 1920.

Azor T. Hayes, born in Berne in 1843, was the son of a widow and had several brothers and sisters. His mother did not want him to enlist, but at age 19, he left with many others. In 1866, after the war was over, Azor reenlisted and was killed about a year later. There is no record of the details of his death or place of burial.

Andrew Willsey and Irene Doty sent at least 3 of their nine children to the Civil War; Elias Willsey, Stephen H. Willsey, and Abraham T. Willsey. All of them survived and the Willsey family is fortunate to have a collection of letters which the young men wrote while at war.

Among other Berne boys who were killed were John Jost Bogardus, at Cedar Creek in 1864 and William A. Post at Cold Harbor in 1864, age 22.

These young men of Berne, who played a role in the most bloody war of American history, went off with a fervor unmatched in recent times. Each year, small flags honor their resting places on Memorial Day.

Regiments in which men from Berne served

7th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery

There were at least 35 men from Berne who served in the 7th Regiment. Some of the Regiments major battles were at Petersburg, Cold Harbor, Weldon Station, Spotsyvania. Six of the men from Berne were killed in battle, or died shortly there after of their wounds. Nine were captured, six of whom died in prison of starvation or disease. One was missing in action. Eight were wounded, of which four were discharged for disability. Click here for more about the 7th Regiment and a listing of the men from the Hilltowns who served in it.

Diaries of George H. Warner

The Civil War Diaries of George H. Warner from 1862 and 1863 are posted on the Berne Historical Project site. George was 17 when he went off to war. He returned home less than a year later and died September 28, 1863 from sickness he had contracted while serving in the Union Army in Louisiana. The following January his younger brother, Peter William Warner, lied about his age and joined the Union Army. Peter died November 1864 in Andersonville Prison at the age of 15.

Letters of Carpenter N. Wright

Also on the Internet are the Civil War letters that Carpenter N. Wright wrote to his father Albert Wright. In his last letter from a camp near Alexandria Virginia he wrote:

dear father i take my pen in hand to inform you that i am not Well yet i am very Sick i am getting my

Additional Media



We are trying to collect information for a book on Hilltown men who were in the Civil War. The information is being posted here in their biographies in preparation for writing the book. While we have volunteers adding information little by little, it will still only be what information they can glean from public records. We are encouraging family researchers to post additional information on each of these men: photographs, obituaries, copies of letters home, pictures of headstones, memorabilia, etc. We hope to publish the book in 2011, the 150th anniversary of the start for the war.


We would like to start a biography for each of these people with the basic data about their military service and anything else you care to add under one or more of the following categories as appropriate:

  • Photo
  • Birth (date, place, parents)
  • Education
  • Military Service
  • Marriage and Children
  • Occupation
  • Death (date and burial)
  • Other Media (newspaper articles, service papers, obituary, etc.)
  • Gallery (photos)


Please add a name below in alphabetical order. To do so, first register then sign in. You will see an Edit tab to the right. Click on it and enter a name in the sample format shown below. Go the bottom of this page and click Show Preview. The name should then appear in red. If it looks OK, go to the bottom of the page again and click on Save Page. If you click on the name you can then add a biography. You need not write a biography to add a name to the list.

Click on Instructions for Entering Service Personnel for additional help.

Service Personnel



  1. the number is closer to 177