Lieutenant Alonzo I. Hodsdon
Alonzo I. Hodsdon was born in Maine in the year 1833. In 1862 he was living at 8 Court Street, Boston Mass, working as an Expressman at the Adam’s Express Company. On August 4, 1862 Massachusetts was required to fill a quota of 300,000 men to serve in the war for 9 months. In response to this call the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was recruited at Camp Meigs, Readville, Mass. At age 29, Alonzo Hodsdon responded to the call by joining company D. 42nd Mass Infantry Regiment, apparently entering service as a Corporal.
On November 21, 1862 the 42nd headed to Long Island NY, and on December 3rd, 1862 embarked by transports for New Orleans. Company D proceeded via the transport Saxon to New Orleans, by way of Ship Island, arriving December 16th, 1862. They were immediately ordered to Galveston Texas and arrived there on Christmas day. Having taken possession of Galveston, they were attacked on New Year’s Day, 1863 and surrendered to Confederate General Magruder. The enlisted men were paroled on February 18, 1863, but officers were not released and exchanged until July 22, 1864.
Fortune had it that Corporal Hodsdon, for reasons not explained, travelled by a different transport vessel to New Orleans, arriving there on January 8, 1863, the happy result being that he was not at Galveston with the rest of Company D at the time of its capture by the Confederates. Hodsdon was assigned by Colonel Beckwith, Chief Commissary, to the transport Quinnebaug and appointed Acting Quartermaster-Sergeant, taking the place of Foster, who had been captured at Galveston.
Hodsdon was apparently with the 42nd during the seige of Port Hudson, affording him the opportunity to take part in combat.
Below are excerpts from the 42 Infantry Regimental History:
January 3, 1863—Corporal Alonzo I. Hodsdon, Company D, was appointed acting quartermaster-sergeant, in place of Foster, taken prisoner at Galveston. Hodsdon, with the pay of his rank as corporal to July 12th, performed the arduous duty of the position in a most admirable manner during the term of the regiment. Special mention is made in his case over that of other non-commissioned staff officers, because of his devoted attention to the duties with no prospect before him of any promotion to the position. While Foster lived, Corporal Hodsdon remained a corporal. Foster's parole, when released by the Confederates, did not allow him to take his position until exchanged, which did not occur during the term of service.
January 8, 1863 - In the evening, at nine o'clock, they arrived at Ship Island. Receiving orders to proceed to New Orleans, a start was made at noon the next day, entering the Mississippi River by Pass L'Outre early on the morning of the tenth, arriving at New Orleans in the afternoon of Sunday, January nth, with only three men sick after such a trip. The regiment was in camp at Carrollton, and Companies C and H proceeded next day to that place, disembarked, and joined Companies A, B, E, F and K, having been thirty-six days on the trip from Sandy Hook to New Orleans. The transport Quinnebaug was in charge of Lieutenant Proctor, Company G. Corporal Hodsdon, Company D, was detailed to report to Colonel Beckwith, chief commissary, and by him assigned to the vessel. It was intended at one time to send some horses upon her, but the accommodations were such that none would have lived and it was abandoned. This transport was like the Charles Osgood and Shetucket, fitted up with bunks to accommodate troops. After some changes of mind in regard to this vessel, she was loaded with stores, sufficient for twenty-four thousand army rations.
March 1863 - Lieutenant Albert E. Proctor, Company G, acting regimental quartermaster, met with a very serious accident on the morning of the twentieth by being thrown from his horse, in front of headquarters, immediately after mounting, preparatory to proceeding to the city on official business, sustaining a fracture of the right arm near the socket of the shoulder, which incapacitated him from further duty with the regiment during its term of service. A moment before he left headquarters in fine spirits; when brought in looking deathly pale, everybody present was dumfounded. Luckily, Assistant- Surgeon Heintzelman was present on duty with the regiment, having reported at camp March 1st. He immediately made a careful examination of the fracture, properly bandaged it, and prepared everything to make Proctor comfortable until he arrived at the hospital in New Orleans, where he was sent the same day and had his arm reset. Lieutenant Proctor showed true fortitude throughout the day. Not a groan escaped his lips, although the pain he suffered was excruciating. He gave proper directions for the continued performance of his duties and what disposition to make of unfinished business he had on hand with utmost sang-froid. Lieutenant Proctor was a twin brother of Captain Alfred N. Proctor, Company G, then a prisoner of war in Texas. It was difficult to say who was who, even when seen together. The lieutenant remarked, soon after the accident to himself, that his brother Alfred had met with an accident also. His reason for thinking so was because a sympathetic feeling had always existed between them. As a matter of fact, Captain Proctor did have one of the bones of an ankle broken while wrestling with Sergeant Wentworth, March 27th. Until May 20th, when Quartermaster Burrell reported back for duty, having been relieved as acting brigade quartermaster, when Colonel Cahill, Ninth Connecticut Volunteers, superseded Colonel Farr, the active duties of the position were well performed by Acting Quartermaster Sergeant Alonzo I. Hodsdon, Corporal in Company D. The regiment was fortunate in having good quartermasters during the term of service, and in obtaining supplies of proper food'. The salt meats, coffee, potatoes, bread, etc., were of excellent quality. It was necessary only once (May 15th) during the entire term of service to call for a Board of Survey to examine into the quality of subsistence stores received from the Commissary Department. Quartermaster Burrell was socially one of the best of men, with business qualifications for his duty of a high order. Acting-Quartermaster Proctor was also adapted to fill the position, and was a jovial man. Corporal Hodsdon, without a business training to fit him to hold such a position at once, had mastered the details to such extent from his connection with the department that during the time he performed the duties everything went along smoothly.
July 12, 1863 - About noon, July 12th, word was brought in to the headquarters room by a corporal in charge of the guard stationed at a house on Canal Street, corner of Magazine Street, occupied by the regimental quartermaster, quartermaster-sergeant and commissary-sergeant, that Quartermaster-Sergeant Foster had committed suicide a few minutes before. The news was hardly credited, but an immediate visit to his room, in which the sad event happened, proved it to be a fact. Foster lay upon the floor near the centre of the room, not far from a bureau, feet towards the door, dressed in his flannel shirt, pants and socks, just as he fell; a small pool of blood upon the floor near his head, a small bullet wound in the centre of his forehead, encircled by a small black-and-blue ring, and a pistol upon the floor by his side. Sergeant Foster had not been in good health for some time, and latterly shown great despondency. The reason was not known. His sickness was nothing more than came from extreme debility, and was not dangerous. For a few days previous he had given some evidence of not being exactly in his right mind, but there was nothing exhibited to lead any one to think him not capable of taking care of himself. He occupied a room with Acting Quartermaster-Sergeant Hodsdon, both men sleeping in the same bed. That morning Hodsdon thought Foster spoke and acted queer, without exciting any suspicion however, and when obliged to go out on business Hodsdon, contrary to his usual custom, laid his belt, containing a holster and pistol, upon the bureau, intending to be back in a moment and then wear it. He left the room, leaving Foster upon the bed, and had barely closed the door when he heard the report of a pistol and immediately opened the door again, to see Foster lying upon the floor as described. He never spoke, dying in a few moments. His effects were taken in charge by the chaplain and sent to his parents, then residing in Dorchester, Massachusetts, from which place Foster enlisted. From a partial examination of his knapsack, where a few letters were found, it was thought the sad act was caused by unwelcome news from home. The weather being hot, by orders of the commanding general, all bodies had to be buried the same day that death occurred. Quartermaster-Sergeant Foster was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, at dusk, on the twelfth, escorted to the cemetery by a proper detail becoming to his rank, under command of Sergeant-Major Bosson, and the customary volleys fired over his grave. The burial party started at half-past three in the afternoon, and reported back to quarters at nine o'clock same evening. Corporal Alonzo I. Hodsdon was made Quartermaster Sergeant, July 13th, vice Foster, deceased.
August 20th, 1863 - One year after the first detachment went into camp as a nucleus to organize the regiment, the men assembled upon the old ground at Readville and were mustered out of teh United States service.
In July of 1864 the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was re-organized for deployment for 100 days of service in the defense of Washington DC. At this time Alonzo Hodsdon was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant and appointed to be the Regimental Quartermaster.
Hodsdon's position as Regimental Quartermaster qualified him to carry the regulation model 1850 Staff & Field Officer’s sword, seeing that he was a member of the 42nd Mass Regimental Staff. Apparently the other staff officers remembered the good work Hodsdon had done as Quartermaster Corporal and Sergeant and decided to present him with a fine sword on July 22, 1864, as the Regiment was organizing for its 100 day tour of duty.
The roster of the Regimental Staff was as follows:
Colonel— Isaac S. Burrell.
Major— Frederick G. Stiles.
Adjutant— Charles A. Davis.
Quartermaster— Alonzo I. Hodsdon.
Surgeon— Albert B. Robinson.
Sergeant-Major—Jediah P. Jordan.
Quartermaster-Sergeant— Charles E. Noyes.
Commissary-Sergeant—Augustus C. Jordan.
Hospital-Steward — Robert White, Jr.
Principal-Musician —Thomas Bowe.
Hodsdon served his second tour of duty and was mustered out of the service, along with the rest of his regiment, on November 11, 1864.