By Rich MacAlpine
As Gleaned from the Yates County Chronicle, October 9, 1862
Days following the surrender of the 126th NY at Harper’s Ferry, it was reported the six or seven deserters made their way back to Penn Yan. They were arrested and turned back over to the army. The majority of the regiment were paroled and ordered to report to Camp Douglas near Chicago to await prisoner exchange.
One member of the 126th, Sergeant Henry Childs of Waterloo, wrote to the Chronicle. He was a tent mate of Rollin Beach, whose death had been felt so deeply in Penn Yan. “He was my tent mate and companion all the way through until he fell. I feel his loss more than all the others and have taken the first opportunity to give you an account of him.” He went on to describe his company’s actions on Maryland Heights above Harper’s Ferry, his friend’s death, and the surrender of the regiment. “After we were surrendered, we were immediately paroled and marched 125 miles to Annapolis. We came from Baltimore here via the Northern Central RR. We have comfortable quarters now and the boys are getting rested and feel pretty well. How long we are to stay here, I have not learned, but presume until we are exchanged.”
“The Soldier’s Aid Society of Penn Yan will make up a box of hospital stores for the 126th NY Regiment. Persons wishing to send articles to friends in the regiment can have them forwarded by leaving them at the Clerk’s office.”
“James Norman of Torrey, who enlisted with Capt. Coleman (Co. B of the 126th) and was transferred to Company K of the same regiment, has returned. He states that he was taken prisoner while scouting before the surrender at Harper’s Ferry and, with other prisoners, marched to Winchester where he escaped after being held nine days. By a long circuitous route he reached Harrisburg and from thence came home, about the time that a letter arrived informing his wife that he was dead! He is not paroled and has reported himself to his Captain at Chicago.”
“George W. Bassett of Dundee, late Sergeant-Major of the 33rd Regiment killed at Antietam was buried last Sunday with Masonic honors. Rev. Frederick Starr preached the discourse and a very large concourse of people were in attendance.”