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"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"

Thomas Van Tassel - Color-Sergeant of the Forty-eighth

“There was one incident of striking valor witnessed that day on the sands in front of Fort Fisher that should be mentioned.  The color-sergeant of the Forty-eighth was Thomas Van Tassel.  As the brigade rushed forward on the grand assault the color-sergeants of the Forty-eighth New York and Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania ran ahead in the advance.  The flag of the Seventy –sixth Pennsylvania was a beautiful new one, but that of the Forty-eighth New York could hardly be called a flag; there was little left of it buy the staff and a few ribbons, for it had been borne before on many a fiery field.  There was a peculiar contrast, therefore, between the colors of the two regiments, whose color-sergeants were running side by side towards the banks of Fort Fisher, and they planted their banners almost simultaneously upon the captured parapets.  It was a struggle as to which would get there first, and it incited the men to a wild enthusiasm to follow their flags to victory.  From mound to mound they fought through the whole afternoon till the darkness of the night.”

…”Meanwhile the Forty-eighth had built a fire and cooked some coffee in a small kettle they had found in the fort.  But let no one suppose that the regiment at this time was a long line of one thousand men, as it once had been.  So had its ranks been thinned by the casualties of four years of fighting and many deadly battles, that when the roll was called there in the darkness within Fort Fisher, only eight officers and seventeen enlisted men answered to their names.  The noble regiment had melted away to that.

“The History of the Forty-Eighth Regiment, New York State Volunteers, In the War for the Union. 1861-1865;” Abraham J. Palmer D.D. (Formerly Private Company D.);  The Veteran Association of the Regiment, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1885.


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