“Edward P. Nettleton, Civil War Soldier,” Chicopee Archives Online, Chicopee Public Library.
Born in Chicopee, Mass. Son of Alpheus Nettleton, by occupation a teacher, unmarried, at the age of 25, enlisted for three years, in the 31st Regiment of Infantry Mass. Vols. Company E.
When Gov. Andrew ordered the organization of the 31st regiment, Nettleton resigned his position as principal of the high school at Chicopee Falls, and issued the following stirring appeal to the young men of Chicopee: “I propose to raise a company of young and active men to join a regiment now being mustered at Camp Seward, Pittsfield. I want men of good habits and sound bodies, men determined not to suffer this ungodly rebellion to destroy the Union because of lack of patriotism in the Northern States. Let us be determined that while we live, we will live under the free and noble government of the fathers, and will avenge at any cost the insults heaped on the freemen of the North by the slaveholders of the South.” His enthusiastic efforts were successful, and he was commissioned Captain of Company E, February 20, 1862.
He performed regular duty at the head of his company in all movements of the regiment until Jan. 27, 1863. At that date he was specially appointed to serve on the Board of Inspectors of all military prisons in that department; in this capacity, he served till April 23, following, except that he was allowed, at his own request, ten days absence to accompany the regiment in the expedition down Plaquemine Bayou; thence on the march to Port Hudson, and on the Teche campaign came up with the company at Bisland, April 13th.
August 22, 1863 he was appointed A.A. Inspector General of the brigade. September 1, 1863, he was assigned as Ordnance Officer on Gen. Weitzel’s staff. Afterwards he held the same position on Gen. Emory’s staff.
January 10, 1864 he was relieved from this duty, at this own request and returned to his company. On retiring from this service, he received a very complimentary letter from Gen. Emory, tendering thanks for the able and prompt manner in which he had performed the duties.
In the engagement at Sabine Cross Roads. April 8, 1864, while leading a charge, the regiment having been transferred to mounted infantry, his horse was shot under him. Capt. Nettleton was at that time in command of the regiment.
April 19, 1864 he was commissioned Lieut. Colonel.
On the 1st of May 1864, about 10 miles from Alexandria, La., he was wounded. The forces had crossed the Red River on a scouting expedition, and had gone up on the opposite bank several miles. The regiment had the advance going up, and covered the rear on the return. They were attacked [by] the rebels, and to repel their assault, Col. Nettleton ordered a charge, which scattered the enemy in great confusion. At the moment of recalling his men, he was struck by a rifle ball. His horse was soon after shot. Col. Nettleton was conveyed in an ambulance to Alexandria, where was cared for in a private house. May 23, following he [was transferred to] St. James Hospital, New Orleans. June 7th obtained leave of absence. Arrived home in Chicopee on the 21st. August 4th on the arrival of the 31st at Austin in its return furlough, rejoined his Reg. Returned in command of it to New Orleans, 9th Sept. Oct. 24th to Feb 28th on detached duty on General Ct. Martial. On the 28th of Feb., he applied to be relieved in order to accompany his Command on the Expedition against Mobile. In this campaign, the Reg. was attached to the cavalry brigade of Gen. Lucas, which brigade was under the direct orders of Gen. Canby. Was present at the action of Mitchell’s Fork, Fla., in this campaign, but not actively engaged. 5th April, the 31st was detailed for guard duty at Gen. Canby’s Headquarters, and with the General proceeded to Mobile.
During the siege of Mobile, including the capture of Spanish Fort, and so long as Gen. Canby held the command, Col. Nettleton with his Regt. remained on duty at that officer’s Headquarters.
On the assumption by Maj. Gen. Woods of the command of the Department of Alabama, on July 19th, he was detached from his Regt. and assigned to duty on the staff of Gen. Woods, as Provost Marshal General of the Department. Sept. 7th, he was relieved in order to be present at the muster out of his Regt., which had been ordered 23 Aug. and was effect 9 Sept. Came to Massachusetts in command of Regt. and received final discharge 29 Sept. at Galloupe’s Island, Boston Harbor.
After discharge, returned to his home in Chicopee Fall.
Nettleton was promoted to the Colonelcy of his Regt. to date from 7 June 1865.
Died in Boston April 17, 1889.