Francis Crayton Sturtevant papers  1861-1913 (bulk 1861-1890)
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Biography

Sturtevant, Francis Crayton

Rank : Musician

Regiment : 5th Connecticut Infantry Regiment (1861-1865)

Service: 1861 July 23-1862 August 16

Francis Crayton Sturtevant was born into a large family in Hartland, Vermont, in about 1840. At the outbreak of the Civil War, most of his brothers and sisters -- there were at least six of them -- were living in eastern Vermont, though one of Crayton's brothers had moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and a sister, Caroline, had married a man from Macon, Georgia, and after May, 1861, was cut off from all communication. Caroline eventually managed to return safely to Vermont in 1864.

Early in the summer of 1861, Crayton joined his brother, Robert, in Hartford, but found it difficult to make a living wage or even full-time employment. "[A]shamed of walking up street every day" in front of his many friends, he enlisted as a clarinetist in the band of the 5th Connecticut Infantry on July 23rd, much against the wishes of his mother. Within two weeks, the regiment was rushed to western Maryland, and ordered into defensive positions overlooking Harpers' Ferry. After participating in a small skirmish at Point of Rocks, Maryland, in late December, 1861, the regiment was drawn into its first major engagement in January, 1862, when Confederate forces under Stonewall Jackson launched an attack on Union emplacements at Hancock, Maryland. According to Sturtevant, only the stern defiance of Frederick West Lander enabled the federal forces to hold out against superior numbers and preserve the city.

During the spring and summer of 1862, the 5th Connecticut played an important role in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, seeing action at Kernstown, Winchester, and Cedar Mountain. Throughout his enlistment, Sturtevant showed himself to be a highly motivated, occasionally avid, soldier. While he thought highly of the colonel of his regiment, Orris S. Ferry, and of the other staff officers, Crayton was openly contemptuous of his immediate commanding officer, Lt. Thomas Worsley, whom he considered to be both a laggard and bully. Regardless of his commitment to the cause, Sturtevant clearly wished to leave the service, and when military bands were discharged by Congressional order on August 16th, 1862, shortly before Cedar Mountain, Sturtevant returned home to Vermont.

In about 1863, Sturtevant entered the coffee, tea, and spice trade in Hartford, Connecticut. Following a brief partnership with his brother, Albert, he entered into a partnership with Brigham Payne that lasted until at least 1877. Thereafter, Sturtevant is listed in Hartford city directories as working with other tea and coffee firms, as managing his own firm, or, in the late 1880's, as being employed in "egg food." When seeking to establish himself in his career, Sturtevant traveled continuously through New England on business, most frequently to Vermont. During this period, he met and courted Hattie Ellis (d. 1905), of Hartford, despite the strong opposition of Hattie's parents, who apparently considered Sturtevant to be "beneath" Hattie and of insufficient means. Although Mrs. Ellis advised Hattie against the marriage, and stated that the couple's future would be "a life of trouble with a loss of freedom and of all rights and privileges" for Hattie (1869 September 19), the couple married in November, 1869. They had at least four children, Harry C. (1870-1890), Francis R., Albert Morey and a daughter, Florence M., all of whom appear to have been brilliant. Harry died as he was preparing to enter Trinity College, Hartford, for his freshman year, while Albert was salutatorian at Trinity with the class of 1898 before receiving his A.M. (1901) and Ph.D. (1905) at Harvard. He was an instructor in German at Harvard, 1903-1907. Francis Raymond received degrees at Trinity (1901) and Harvard (1902), and a Bachelor of Divinity at Harvard (1906). He was installed as minister at the Unitarian Channing Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1906, and at the First Congregational Society in Taunton in 1911. A newspaper clipping in the collection indicates that Florence was "prominent in Hartford musical circles."