|Francis V Randall|
The 17th Vermont Infantry was recruited by order issued August 3rd 1863 by Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook. It was thought that this regiment would be filled by men recently mustered out of the Nine Month regiments, this didn’t work out however. The bounties offered to join the 17th were gradually increased, but still the first company wasn’t filled until January 5th 1864. From then until September 1864 companies of the regiment were mustered into service for a three year term.
The Colonel of the 17th was Francis V Randall who had served as a Captain in the Vermont 2nd and then as a Colonel in the 13th Vermont having led them at the Battle of Gettysburg. The 17th left Vermont April 18th 1864 with only seven companies under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cummings. They arrived in Alexandria, Virginia four days later with very little drill or training, placed in Union General Ambrose Burnside’s IX Corps just in time for the Battle of the Wilderness. Here under fire for the first time, the 17th went into battle with 313 and lost 80 men killed and wounded. They continued in this command throughout the 1864 spring campaigns and the siege of Petersburg. When the Union army exploded the mine in front of the Confederate line at Petersburg, the 17th went into battle with 8 commissioned officers and 120 men, they out with only 1 officer and about 60 men left standing. The 17th was part of the final pursuit of Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, and was at Burkesville when the surrender came.
The men of the 17th participated in the Grand Review May 23rd 1865 in Washington, DC. They were mustered out of service July 14th 1865. The 17th had 14 officers killed or mortally wounded, more than any other Vermont regiment. The regiment’s totals numbered 1,106, of which 226 men were killed, died of wounds or in Confederate prisons. They also had 386 men wounded or captured.