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Henry Trumbull, 10th Connecticut Infantry

Posted in   by Steven on September 13th, 2011

Henry Trumbull (1830-1903)

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The 10th Connecticut Infantry was one of the best Union regiments to serve in the Carolinas, and were singled out for special notice by commanding generals from their first battle at Roanoke onwards. On July 19, 1863 during the siege of Charleston and the battle for Ft Wagner, Chaplain Trumbull was captured:

On the morning of the 18th Terry’s Division marched across Coles Island to a position opposite Folly Island, and after several hours’ delay took transports for Morris Island–the whole brigade arriving just in time to form in the third column of attack on Fort Wagner; but the order to charge was countermanded just as the brigade came under fire. Next morning Chaplain Trumbull and Adjutant Camp, understanding that a truce had been agreed upon, went out among the wounded, and inadvertently getting within the enemy’s lines, were captured and taken to Charleston.

Trumbull was exchanged and back with the regiment on November 24,  1863. He is mentioned once again in battle reports for his bravery when the 10th Connecticut, decimated from heavy combat, are ordered to charge Rebel fortifications through heavy brush at Darbytown Road:

The only commissioned officers with the regiment besides myself were Lieut.-Col. Greeley, Maj. Camp, and First Lieut. James H. Linsley. I know no higher praise to bestow on these officers than to say that they all behaved with their usual courage and coolness, Maj. Camp losing his life within a few steps of the enemy’s works. Chaplain Trumbull was also present and very efficient in attending to the removalof the wounded from the field. Assistant Surgeon Hart was, as usual, constantly near the regiment rendering prompt and efficient aid to our wounded.

My regiment has taken part in more than forty battles and skirmishes, never before fell back under fire, and never behaved better than on this occasion. But I have no apologies to make for it. I have not seen a more
hopeless task undertaken since I entered the [service] than that attempted by the assaulting column to-day.


Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903) was a noted author, editor, and Sunday-school missionary. Trumbull was born in Stonington, Connecticut to a prominent family. His brother, James Hammond Trumbull, was a noted historian, philologist, and bibliographer. Trumbull attended Stonington Academy and Williston Seminary. He moved to Hartford, Connecticut, at age 21 and worked for the Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill Railroad as a clerk. In 1854, he married Alice Cogswell Gallaudet, the daughter of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet who was named in honor of Alice Cogswell, a daughter of Dr. Mason Cogswell and first deaf pupil of Gallaudet’s.

In 1852, Trumbull joined the church and became the superintendent of a mission Sunday-school, continuing to work at the railroad. After working at several different jobs, in 1858 he became the state Sunday-school missionary for Connecticut.

Trumbull was ordained in 1862 and became the chaplain of the 10th Connecticut Regiment, stationed in North Carolina. He was held by the Confederates for four months in 1863, and after his release served in Virginia until his discharge in August 1865.

He then became New England secretary for the American Sunday-school Union. In 1875, he and his family moved to Philadelphia where he became editor of the Sunday School Times. Trumbull was the Lyman Beecher Lecturer at Yale Divinity School in 1888.

During his life, Trumbull wrote thirty-three books, including Kadesh-Barnea, about a historic site he identified in Palestine, and The Knightly Soldier, a biography of his friend Henry Ward Camp.