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L’Hommedieu, James

JAMES L'HOMMEDIEU
127th New York Volunteers
Private, Company B
Middle Island


James L'Hommedieu
127th New York Volunteers
Private, Company B
Middle Island

James L'Hommedieu was born in Middle Island, on August 26, 1839. He was one of eight brothers and sisters born to Daniel and Juliana L'Hommedieu, who lived on a farm on Bartlett Road. James was a carpenter by trade, but also worked the family farm after returning from military service.

James enrolled in the army in New York City on August 15, 1862. Just two weeks later, he married Ann E. Davis on August 28 at the Presbyterian Church in Middle Island. James and his bride made their home at the Davis family farm in Middle Island.

On September 8, two weeks after the wedding, James was mustered into Colonel William Gurney's 127th New York Volunteers at Staten Island. He was assigned to Company B. Thus, at the age of twenty-three, James, or "Jimmy" as the family called him, left his new bride and embarked on a patriotic journey for a period of 3 years. Like the many other Long Islanders who joined up, he was given his equipment and sent off for "on the job training."

The 127th was transported by steamship to Baltimore on September 10. They were based at Camp Bliss, Upton's Hill at Arlington Heights in Virginia. The 127th was assigned to defend Washington, D.C. The regiment stayed there until January of 1863, when the men marched southward. They wound up at Camp Gurney in Clouds Mills, Virginia. At times they marched twelve miles to Vienna and then back again. Some time was spent on picket line duty at White House and Suffolk, Virginia. This was the war until June of 1863, when the 127th was once again transported by steamboat to the islands off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. They protected Folly Island, Coles Island and Morris Island.

Fort Sumter was bombarded and eventually taken. The 127th was present when Major Anderson, the former commanding officer of Sumter before it surrendered to the Confederates, ran the Union flag up the pole.

Meanwhile, General Sherman was on the march creating havoc throughout the South. He was intent on destroying everything in his path. The economic depravation of the Confederacy was beginning to take its toll. People were losing heart.

L’Hommedieu, James

100 pound Parrot guns on Morris Island pointed.

The 127th was called upon to cut off the Savannah-Charleston Railway. L'Hommedieu and Company B was assigned to assist Company H on Provost Duty and to escort prisoners to Hilton Head Island.

In June of 1864, L'Hommedieu received word that his wife was ill. She was suffering from heart problems and high fevers, as well as inflammatory rheumatism. His mother-in-law, a widow, was also ill. The farm needed to be taken care of, and would eventually have to be sold. They asked James to put in for a furlough because the situation at home was grave. He applied for-and was granted-a thirty-day leave on August 1. He returned to Middle Island to see his wife, who did recover. He also purchased the family farm, securing his family's future there.

L'Hommedieu returned to duty in September of 1864. He walked right into the debacle at Honey Hill and Deveraux's Neck. The regiment was present at the capture of Fort Wagner, but heavy casualties resulted from these battles. These confrontations involved several forced marches. On one of these marches, from Beaufort to Charleston, James began to complain about what he thought was strained muscles. In a way, it was unusual for James to complain, so this seemed significant. According to Sgt. Gilbert Brown of Company B, Mr. L'Hommedieu was a good soldier, "ready to do his duty whenever called upon... He was not one to complain...unless justified."
James L'Hommedieu was discharged on June 30, 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina. He returned to Middle Island to work the farm and do carpentry work. He had great difficulty doing manual labor, however, because of pain in his lower back. He also suffered from varicose veins, hemorrhoids and rheumatism. He attributed much of this pain and illness to the heavy marching.

In 1870, L'Hommedieu moved to East Norwalk, Connecticut where he operated a carpentry business. While there, he applied for an invalid pension. Despite the chronic pain, he became an active member and helped to found the East Norwalk Methodist Church. L'Hommedieu's basement was used for prayer meetings and for a Sunday school. When the congregation outgrew the basement, an old railroad workmen's shanty, which was being used by L'Hommedieu and his brothers as a carpentry shop, became the new place of worship.

James L'Hommedieu died in Fairfield, Connecticut on March 17, 1911. He and his wife had no children.

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