Sunday, February 2, 2014

Held At The River

Theodore Safford Peck was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on February 2nd 1864 at Newport Barracks, North Carolina.

Theodore Safford Peck was born March 22nd 1843 in Burlington, Vermont the son of Theodore Augustus and Delia Horton (Safford) Peck.  He attended local schools and was prepared to enter the University of Vermont when the Civil War began.

Peck enlisted as a Private in Company F of the 1st Vermont Cavalry.  He was involved in the engagements at Middletown and Winchester, Virginia in early 1862.  In June Peck received an appointment to Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in the 9th Vermont Infantry.  He was with this regiment when it was captured at Harper’s Ferry in September 1862.  He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in January 1863, and was at Suffolk, Yorktown, and Young’s Crossroads.

On February 2nd 1864 Peck was involved in an engagement at Newport Barracks, North Carolina.  Union troops there numbering about 700 men, were attacked by a force commanded by Confederate General James Green Martin.  The Union troops were outflanked, and there line was pressed back.  Peck leading Company H of the 9th Vermont made eleven stands before reaching the Newport River, where they held well the rest of the Union troops crossed the river.  The Confederates were so close that there was hardly time for the Union troops to burn the bridges, they had just crossed on.  It was for this action that he received the Medal of Honor.

Peck was wounded at Fort Harrison, Virginia in September 1864, and was promoted to Captain.   He continued to serve moving up to Brigade Quartermaster of the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division in the XVIV Corps.  He was with the Union army when it entered Richmond, Virginia following the fall of that city.

After the war Peck owned and operated an insurance company in Burlington, Vermont.  He was an active member of the GAR, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and Reunion Society of the Vermont Officers.  He received an honorary degree in 1896 from Norwich, Vermont.  He joined the Vermont National Guard and would reach the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  Peck died March 15th 1918 in Burlington, Vermont and is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery there.

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