Friday, August 30, 2013

The Webster

Colonel Daniel Fletcher Webster was killed August 30th 1862, while leading his men during the Second Battle of Bull Run [Second Manassas].

Daniel Fletcher Webster was born July 25th 1818 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire the son of the well-known politician Daniel and Grace (Fletcher) Webster.  He was known in the family as Fletcher.  He attended and graduated from Dartmouth College.  While Webster’s father was serving as the United States Secretary of State, he served as the Chief Clerk of the States Department.  While serving as the Chief Clerk, Webster delivered the news to Vice President John Tyler of President William Henry Harrison death.

When the Civil War started Webster resigned his job as the surveyor of the Port of Boston, and became the Colonel of the 12th Massachusetts Infantry.  The 12th was recruited in the Boston area and mustered into Union service July 11th 1861 and a three year regiment.  The first action was at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.  He was killed August 30th 1862 during the Second Battle of Bull Run.  Webster and the 12th were on Chinn Ridge, and he was riding along the lines encouraging the men to stay in line.  He was struck in the wrist, with the bullet passing into his chest, toppling him off his horse, his adjutant moved him into some bushes.  Webster was found by some Confederates, and knowing he was dying asked one of them, a Ludwell Hutchison of the 8th Virginia Infantry to take his wallet and return it to his family, which was done after the war.  After the battle Webster’s body was recovered and it was sent home for burial in the Winslow Cemetery in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

The 12th Massachusetts a part of the Army of the Potomac was known as “The Webster Regiment” in honor of their Colonel.  There is a plaque on a boulder near where Webster was killed on the Manassas Battlefield.