JOHN NOYES MORSE



John Noyes Morse was 6 ft. tall, tall for men of that day. He was studying to be an organist when he signed on to Co. D , 35th Division, with others following a mass meeting in the Town Hall, August 1862. He prepared an excellent record of his army life, which is reproduced in the Memorial. He describes the battles (South Mountain and Antietam were the first for the green soldiers), and the long marches and skirmishes along the route toward Fredericksburg.  He recorded the visit of a townsman while on the move and could see but a short time.


The battle that followed after they prepared pontoons to cross the river, brought this excited response: “I never heard anything so grand as the continuous thunder of our artillery that sent their destructive shots into the city from five until eleven o’clock, during which a pontoon was laid across the river” and the enemy was driven from the city.”


When the 35th crossed on the 12th, the city was in ruins. “Soon after crossing one pontoon, we Wayland boys saw and recognized the dead body of Rev. A. B. Fuller,” made a rough coffin and carried him across the river to a house. Their commander across the city was Maj. Sidney Willard, the first to fall.


While at rest after this battle, “J.S. Draper came with letters, packages and a box of good things for the Wayland boys.” During the long winter in mud and rain a “cheerless camp” the 35th was sent to Newport News until next assignment and “lived like home guards in the new and delightful camp.” Boxes with goodies arrived from home, “some the special token of our dear ones, and one the contribution of the Soldier’ Aid Society of Wayland.”


Noyes was promoted to Corporal, then Sergeant, and finally Lt. He led the 35th on several occasions and was in command of the company after it left the Wilderness (long march through mountains exhausting but mountain scenery “grand”.) They had taken the steamer and train to Cincinnati, then down the Mississippi River to Vicksburg where they saw their first Negro regiment fighting for the Union. After much travel by foot and train, the āo. was back in Annapolis where he had a short leave of absence and met his father at a hotel.


When in command of Co. D and the battle of the Weldon Railroad (he believed they saved the 5th Corps, which was under attack), a musket ball bruised his shin and he spent 3-4 days in sick quarters under the care of Charles Campbell. At his last battle in Poplar Spring Church he was wounded and the ball was extracted from his leg. He was sent to a hospital at City Point for 10 days and from there met his father in DC. He was not able to return to the front and was sent back to Wayland where he rec’d his honorable discharge.


"In looking back on my army life, I feel conscious of having enlisted,

and of endeavoring to fulfill my duties as a soldier, from worthy

motives.  My country was in danger from her enemies, and I wished to

help avert that danger; and if my services were of any avail in aiding

to rid that country from the great disturbing cause (chattel slavery),

and of giving to a race of human beings their freedom and manhood, I am

glad of it though this formed no part of my motive at first for becoming

a soldier. 


On the whole, I never could have felt that I was in my rightful place

had I refrained from joining the ranks of the Union army."