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Answering the Call:
Hampton, New Hampshire in the American Civil War, 1861- 1865
112 pages, 7" x 10"
soft cover
Price - $15.00

From the back cover:
Shortly after the Confederate takeover of Fort Sumter in 1860, Hampton was abuzz with war preparations. "They have been drilling for two weeks" wrote one fervently pro-Union townswoman with a front row seat to the action. "Forenoon and p.m. between the Town Hall and our house and now they are ready for a start when called for. O that God would shield them from the enemy and bring the Treacherous South to their deserts."

She was writing about the Winnacunnet Guards, a homegrown militia unit formed just before the outbreak of the war and later assigned to the Third New Hampshire Volunteers. From an army camp near Washington, DC, one of its original members proudly boasted, "Our regiment is the bully Regiment.. .there is no one that is so well drilled or that appears so well, or that is so quiet and well behaved. We got the credit of this wherever we camp."

Written by a lifelong Civil War aficionado whose great-grandfather was a "Billy Yank," using documents, photographs, letters, and diaries from the archives of the Hampton Historical Society, and against the broad backdrop of the war fought on many fronts and in many locations, Answering the Call tells the story of the Hampton men in all units who fought and died in the four-year conflict to end slavery.


Elly Becotte, one of our favorite museum volunteers and a walking compendium on the Civil War, has recently completed her second book, Answering the Call: Hampton, New Hampshire in the American Civil War, 1861- 1865.

Besides giving an excellent overview of the war, the composition and weaponry of the armies, and how the soldiers entertained themselves in camp, the book is filled with interesting facts about the Hampton soldiers, many of whom enlisted with the Third New Hampshire Volunteers. For example, did you know that Washington Hobbs Godfrey was America's first frogman? Or that David Warren Perkins, a Gillmore Medal recipient, always carried a small American flag into battle so he could be the first to plant the flag on a captured work? My favorite story is about the brothers Jacob and Oliver Godfrey. Not to be outdone by their older brother Washington, they rowed 10 miles to the Isles of Shoals where their father was working to get his permission to enlist, and then later walked all the way to Concord to sign up.

Included in the book are photographs, documents, and excerpts of letters from the archives of the Hampton Historical Society. The letters were from homeboys like Lieutenant Simon Nudd Lamprey, Sergeant George Perkins, and Jonathan Nudd Dow of the 3rd New Hampshire; Private Jacob Tallant Godfrey of the 14th New Hampshire; and Private John C. Davis of the 8th New Hampshire. While simple in tone and intent, their letters allow us to experience army life from a soldier's perspective: lousy food, bouts of diarrhea and fever, stolen property, the pride of a visit from Old Abe…and always the horrific battles. There are also excerpts of letters from the mothers, sisters, and wives: Mrs. Susan Page, who wrote angrily of Southern sympathizers in the town; her daughter Mary Page, who worried that her brother would be drafted; and Amanda Price, a Civil War nurse who wrote of seeing Lincoln lying in state in Washington, D.C.

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