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Hugh McCormick was born in the year 1841 in Ireland. Like many veterans, little is known of McCormick prior to entering the service of the Union, but he entered in the American Civil War considerably later than most. He was a machinist when he mustered into Company E of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery at age of 23 in the Fourth Congressional District of New York City; on March 11, 1864. Signing up for a three year period, McCormick was paid a $60 enlistment bounty and when he enlisted. On November 1, 1861, Col. T. D, Doubleday received authority to recruit a regiment of heavy artillery, originally known as “Doubleday's Heavy Artillery”, and was designated the First Heavy Artillery on January 27, 1862; with the Fourth Regiment of Artillery being formed on February 8, 1862. It also had two companies destined for the United States Lancers attached to it as well. It was organized at New York City and the companies were mustered in at Port Richmond, New York. Enlisted men of Company H, not mustered out with their regiments, joined the Fourth Regiment of Artillery Regiment by transfer. Company E was mustered into it in February 1862 and was largely inducted at New York City, Port Richmond and Cohoes, New York.

The regiment of seven companies left New York for Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1862, attached to the Military District of Washington until May 1862. It served as heavy artillery and infantrymen, at and near Washington, D. C., in its defenses, and with the 22nd Corps. It then participated in the Battles of the Wilderness from May 5th through the 7th; was at Spottsylvania from May 8 through the 12th; at Cold Harbor from June 1st through the 12th, participated in the Siege of Petersburg from June 16, 1864 through April 2nd, was at Deep Bottom on July 27th & 28th, in the Appomattox Campaign from March 28th through April 9th and witnessed the Surrender of Lee and his army; plus being at many other places and in many engagements in between.

During its service the regiment lost 5 officers and 61 enlisted men killed in action, had 3 officers and 56 enlisted men who received wounds in action and 4 officers and 335 enlisted men who died from disease and other causes. A total of 12 officers and 452 enlisted-men; of which 97 enlisted men who died in the hands of the enemy.

McCormick was severely wounded with a gunshot wound in his right shoulder at Cold Harbor, Virginia on June 4, 1864, during one of the bloodiest battles of the war. He was sent to De Camp General Hospital at David’s Island, New York on June 14, 1864 and furloughed for thirty days on July 1, 1864.

Until the Battle of Gettysburg, David's Island served as a medical facility only for Union troops. It was an established and equipped facility, surrounded by water and Union authorities immediately recognized it as an excellent place to hold extremely ill prisoners; or those who were still suffering from battle wounds. Located in Long Island Sound just off the coast of what is today the New York suburb of New Rochelle, the eighty-acre site would eventually hold more than 2,500 Confederate prisoners at any one time. It was a long, narrow stretch of land that contained twenty-two temporary structures extending almost the entire length of the island and each building was divided into four wards that contained up to twenty bunks each. A doctor's office was located in the front of each building with one toilet at the rear. Mess halls were located between every two buildings and when the population increased to more than 1,800 prisoners, tents were used for them.

On August 30, 1864 McCormick was arrested as a “deserter from furlough” in the 3rd Congressional District of New York and allowed a $30 reward, he was sent to Fort Columbus on August 31st. The charge however, was eventually erased. Records show nothing about him arriving at Fort Columbus, but do reveal he was received at Castle William, New York Hospital on August 31st and then sent on to City Point, Virginia on September 6, 1864; eventually returning to his company. After rejoining the company McCormick was reported present until December 1864, absent in January and February 1865 and shown as having been transferred out as a Private to the 5th Company, 2nd Battalion US Veteran Reserve Corps on April 17, 1865. The 5th Company, 2nd Battalion was formerly known as Company "H," 10th Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps; organized at the McDougall General Hospital on June 24, 1863. Its designation changed on August 1, 1864 and it was consolidated with the 110th Company, 2nd Battalion; on October 23, 1865. McCormick was discharged, still a Private, at the General Hospital at Newark, New Jersey on October 18, 1865.

McCormick was awarded a pension as a result of his wounds, certificate No. 152087, and awarded a sum of $5 (US) a month. A surgeon’s report stated that the lead ball that caused his wound had never been removed before he applied for a pension. When his pension was awarded, McCormick was shown living at the National Military Home in Montgomery County, Ohio.

McCormick was married for a second time to Mary Casey on January 18, 1879 at Dayton, Ohio; after which he and his wife migrated to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia that same year. Upon arriving in Australia McCormick worked as a cab driver and lived on Tanner Street in Richmond, Victoria. McCormick and Mary had six children between 1889 and 1896; John Joseph, Catherine Rose, Hugh which died at a young age, Harry James Sidney, Ellen Rebecca and Sara.

Hugh McCormick died at Richmond, Victoria on January 12, 1904 and was buried at Carlton, Victoria in the Melbourne General Cemetery; in the Roman Catholic Section, grave number Z717. In 1990 a bronze plaque was obtained from the American Veterans Administration in Washington DC and placed on his grave.


Birth, Marriage and Death Records, Victoria

“Heavy Guns and Light: A History of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery”, Hyland C. Kirk

Melbourne General Cemetery Records

National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Ohio State Archives, Ohio Historical Center, Columbus, Ohio

Records of Adjutant Generals Office, War Dept. Washington, D.C.

Report of the Adjutant General, New York

U.S. Pension Records, Washington, D.C.

Veteran Reserve Corps, 2nd Battalion Registration File, M636 roll 25/26


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