Frederick William Watkins
5th NY Battery
Frederick William Watkins enlisted in Company L of Serrells 1st NY Engineers on 8 October 1861. The company was soon ordered to Washington and re-organized as the 4th NY Ind Battery and assigned to Hooker’s Division of the 3rd Army Corps. The Division served in various campaigns of the Army of the Potomac – Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hills, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.
He was wounded at Gettysburg and sent to the hospital. Upon recovering from his wound, he rejoined his company at Brandy Station, but was shortly afterwards transferred to the 5th NY Battery because his original company no longer existed. He served with the new company through the early 1864 campaigns, including Wilderness and Spotsylvania. Up until now, he had served as a non-commissioned officer, but he attended the Free School for Applicants for Command of Colored Troops in Philadelphia in March, 1864.
Shortly after Spotsylvania, his company was sent to Washington and garrisoned at Fort Craig, VA where he remained until he was ordered to proceed to Louisville, KY where he was appointed a Captain in the 107th United Stated Colored Infantry on 14 June 1864. He was then ordered for temporary duty to report to the commanding officer of the 109th Regiment of the United Stated Colored Infantry. He assisted in organizing that unit and went with them to North Eastern Kentucky where he was placed in command of Fort Gallop, Louisa, KY with a detachment from the 109th Regiment.
He was relieved of the duty and ordered to return to his own regiment on 9 Sep1864 at Emminence, KY and served with them continuously throughout the remainder of the war.
Most of the information in this document was taken from a letter written by Frederick William Watkins to LT E T Lamberton of the 107th USC Infantry in May 1866.