Palmer B. Holdridge letterbook  1862
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Holdridge, Palmer B., ca. 1838-1862

Rank : Private

Regiment : 114th New York Infantry Regiment. Co. D (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 August-1862 December 16

Palmer Holdridge was the adopted son of Levi Keith of Nelson, N.Y., and a volunteer in Company D of the 114th New York Infantry. Leaving his wife, Kate, and infant son Freddie in Nelson, Holdridge accompanied the 114th Regiment to Baltimore in September, 1862, where they were stationed on guard duty. Baltimore, still bearing the scars of the 1861 riots, was relatively quiet during the fall, and while Union flags were in evidence throughout the city, anti-Union activity was common, including the poisoning of soldiers and the theft of Union provisions. At the end of October, the 114th were attached to Banks' Louisiana forces, and were shipped, after innumerable delays, from Fortress Monroe to Ship Island, La. Holdridge died of diarrhea at Ship Island on December 2nd, 1862. His younger brother, Hira, a soldier in the 9th Iowa Infantry, also died in the "iron grasp" of disease.

From their arrival in camp, and through their duty at Baltimore and the trip to Ship Island, the 114th Regiment were afflicted with diarhhea, measels, and diptheria, and saw more than their share of mishaps. Almost as soon as they arrived in camp as recruits, nearly every member of the regiment was stricken with diarrhea, and one older recruit, a veteran of the Mexican War, collapsed on the parade ground from its effects. Alcohol was also rife in camp; one recruit was thrown from a window while drunk, while another was struck with a stone and nearly killed. Once under way, however, the regiment experienced only slight problems with discipline, including a man caught sleeping on guard duty (he was pardoned, rather than executed), and two who were caught attempting to desert. The regiment performed well in its duty in Louisiana and in Virginia during the closing stages of the war.