Darrow, Samuel

48th New York Volunteers
Company F
samuel darrow

Samuel Darrow
Private, 48th New York Infantry, Company F

Samuel Darrow was born in January of 1838in Brookhaven to Jonathan and Catherine Darrow. Samuel grew up to be a farmer, according to the 1860 census. He and his wife, Louisa, lived in Coram with their son,Joseph, who was two years old at the time of the census.

A year later, Darrow enlisted in the army for three years, joining the 48th New York Infantry.Captain Farrell mustered him into service on August 25,1861, in Brooklyn, New York. Darrow was twenty-five years old at the time, stood five feet seven inches tall, and had blue eyes and dark hair.

The 48th New York Infantry was also known as the "Continental Guards" or "Perry's Saints." Colonel Perry, who led the regiment, was a minister, which drew many seminary students to the regiment. They left New York on September 11, 1861, and were stationed at Hilton Head in South Carolina until December.

Company F engaged in combat for the first time on January 1, 1862, at Port Royal Ferry, with no casualties reported. On February 2, 1862, the company was sent to Bird Island, Georgia, on the south bend of the Savannah River. While there, they built entrenchments around Battery Hamilton. The men spent most of the time in mud and water to the waist. After completing this assignment, the regiment was moved back to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, where they remained for March and April. The regiment was then moved to Fort Pulaski, where the men performed garrison duty from May of 1862 until April the following year.

Darrow, Samuel
The 48th New York Infantry on the parade grounds of Fort Pulaski.

By the early summer of 1863, Union leaders had decided to take the southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. First, it was necessary to take Forts Wagner and Sumter, which guarded the approach to Charleston. In preparation, the 48th N.Y. was moved to Saint Helena Island where the men drilled and prepared for the upcoming attack on Morris Island. When the regiment received the news that they were to participate,the men were very excited. After spending a year on garrison duty, they were ready for some action. On July4, the regiment left Saint Helena Island on board the steamer Canonicus for Folly Island.

General George Strong of Setauket was chosen to lead a brigade of six regiments, including the48th New York. On the evening of July 9, 1863, Darrow and the other anxious members of Company F crossed the 600yards of water that separated Folly Island from Morris Island. Confederate firing began even before Union soldiers reached shore. As they jumped from their boats,they pushed the retreating Confederates to seek shelter at Fort Wagner. Strong's brigade captured 12 cannons and100 prisoners that night.

The brigade now prepared for their assault on Fort Wagner. Unlike other forts, Wagner was not built of bricks and mortar, but of sand and palmetto trees. It had a moat with water in front of it and then aditch with pointed spikes protruding from floor and sides of the ditch. Union leaders sent four monitors(ironclads) near the fort to coordinate a bombardment with shore batteries on Fort Wagner.

On July 18, 1863, the bombardment began:ship and shore batteries launched over 9,000 shells into Fort Wagner. Even with all of the shelling, damage to the fort was minimal because the sand ended up absorbing much of the blasting from the shells. At dusk, the shelling ended and the assault began. The 54th Colored Massachusetts, led by Colonel Robert Shaw, advanced for the first attack on the fort. As the 650 troops approached the first ditch, the Confederates opened fire with cannon and muskets. The fire was deadly. The 54thmanaged to briefly plant their flag atop the Fort's wall,but they were forced to retreat.

Next in line was Strong's brigade,including Darrow and the 48th N.Y. When the order came,they rushed in at a full run only to meet a concentrated Confederate fire when they reached the ditch. The dead and dying piled into heaps. The 48th managed to storm the rampart and held it for three hours. Unable to expand their foothold, they were forced to retreat.

The casualties were frightful. Over 2,000men had died in the attack. Confederates counted and buried over 800 Union soldiers found within the walls of the fort. The 48th suffered 242 casualties. General Strong died later from wounds he received during the battle. No further attacks were ordered, as Union Generals did not wish a repeat of the carnage of July 18,1863. Instead, they began a siege of the fort that lasted fifty-eight days. By the end, Confederates were no longer able to hold the forts and they evacuated. Charleston fell shortly afterwards.

100 pound Parrot guns that were firedon Fort Wagner.

On July 31, 1863, what remained of the48th N.Y. was shipped by the steamer Boston to Saint Augustine, Florida. On August 3, 1863, they were stationed at Fort Marion, Florida. While skirmishing with Confederate forces on October 1, 1863, Darrow was hit by a shell on his right shoulder and clavicle. He was sent to the camp hospital and stayed there until November 11,when he was shipped to a Regimental Hospital in Beaufort,South Carolina. He stayed there for two months. On January 20, 1864, he boarded the steamer Cosmopolitan,and transferred to a hospital at Davids Island in New York. He stayed here until his disability discharge on June 15, 1864. His discharge was for "a shell wound of right shoulder, producing much deformity and partial paralysis of his right side."

Darrow returned to his home at Yaphank,which is where they were listed for the 1870 census. He was unable to do hard farming because of his wounds, bu the did market gardening. The local newspaper in Yaphank encouraged residents to purchase their market vegetables from Darrow.

He and his first wife, Louisa, had four children: Joseph, John, Minnie, and Alida. Louisa died at the age of fifty-two on June 18, 1891. Darrow married Milsetta Hawkins on October 4, 1892, in Yaphank. They had three children: Arthur, born on September 14, 1893;Charles, born on June 7, 1902; and Stanley, born on March28, 1904.

Samuel Darrow died February 1, 1912, at the age of seventy-four. He was buried in the Yaphank cemetery.

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