For many years from the late 1860s to 1914 Henry Bond was a Chester resident. Bond was a well-respected citizen of the town of Chester and a quiet and unassuming man but who was he?
Henry Bond was born in Winhall, Vermont in 1845. Not much is known about his early life until the Civil War. He enlisted in the 11th Vermont Infantry in Jamaica, Vermont on August 11, 1862 as a private. The 11th was stationed in defense of Washington, D.C. for over a year and a half.
Originally an infantry regiment it was reorganized as an artillery regiment with additional recruits making it the largest of all Vermont regiments. In 1864 General Grant summoned all available troops as reinforcements for the Army of the Potomac. Henry Bond and the 11th Vermont responded. By now the 11th had been converted back to an infantry regiment. The 11th men were however allowed to wear their red chevrons designating artillery not blue for infantry.
Henry Bond in Company H participated in numerous battles and engagements including: Spottsylvania, Virginia, Cold Harbor, Cedar Creek and several other important battles. Of significance to this nation and the State of Vermont, Bond was at Petersburg, Virginia on April 2, 1865.
The 11th is noted for the heavy artillery fire it suffered at the hands of the Confederates at Spottsylvania, Virginia on May 18, 1864. This was followed by heavy losses at Cold Harbor, Virginia and then at Weldon Railroad where almost the entire battalion was captured by General Mahone. Other battles followed.
Henry Bond survived all these battles without being wounded or captured but his luck would run out on April 2, 1865 with the war just days from being over. It was at the Siege of Petersburg on that April 2nd, 1865 day where Bond was struck by a musket ball in an ankle. While he survived the wound he was fortunate not to have had his foot amputated. I’ll give more on his wound after I give you the history of the Siege of Petersburg.
Petersburg, Virginia was heavily defended by the Confederates. Miles of trenches and earthworks supported by cannons had repelled all Union advances. The Union had attempted to capture Petersburg beginning in June of 1864. If Petersburg could be taken the road would be open to Richmond and an end to the war. I should mention that these trenches were a prelude to the trench warfare of WW1. In both wars frontal attacks proved devastating.
On April 2, 1865 the Sixth Corps with the 11th Vermont and Henry Bond made a bold early morning attack on the Confederate entrenchments. These Confederate entrenchments were the strongest line of defense of the entire war. The force of the Union attack was so overwhelming that they overpowered the Confederate forces in 15 minutes. In this assault 1,100 men were killed or wounded. One of the wounded was Chester’s Henry Bond. The road to Richmond was open and the war was soon to be over.
When Henry Bond returned to Vermont in June 1865 he came to Chester to live out his days. His wounded ankle never really healed and troubled him for the rest of his life but did not stop him.
For many years he owned and farmed what is known today as ‘Holden Acres’ on the Green Mountain Turnpike. At the historical society we have several photos of the farm when Bond lived there. Also in our collection is a tintype of Bond in his Civil War uniform. That tintype was donated by Bill and Marjorie Orcutt.
Bond was the Town Constable for many years. He was a Mason at Olive Branch #64 until his death. Bond was a member in good standing of the Henry G.A.R. Post #27. He was active in the Grange, a fireman at the old Yosemite Firehouse and an auctioneer in town. Henry Bond died April 24, 1914 in Chester and is buried at Pleasant View Cemetery on High Street.
Losses for this hard fought regiment were: 155 killed in action, 175 died in Confederate prisons and 457 wounded. Many of the 11th Vermont soldiers held prisoner by the Confederates were captured at Weldon Railroad mentioned earlier.
The South was in ruin, hardly a single family had not lost someone close, and Abraham Lincoln would be assassinated on Good Friday, April 14th, dying the next day. Our nation healed these wounds.
This week’s old saying my mother used to describe someone who was really cheap. “He’s tighter than bark to a tree.”