Who’s In Charge?

Anyone with more than a passing interest in the American Civil War knows of the never-ending changes in the officer corps, and thus the command structure of the army in the field. The changes in the command structure of the Fourteenth Connecticut were typical.

Col. Dwight Morris, from Bridgeport was the appointed the first commander of Fourteenth Connecticut on May 22, 1862. On September 7th, after the 14th arrived in Virginia, Col. Morris was elevated to command the newly formed Second Brigade of the Third Division of the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The brigade consisted of the 14th CT, the 108th NY, and the 130th PA. Col. Morris commanded the brigade for only about three months. In early December, he became quite ill and left active duty before the Battle of Fredericksburg, never to return.

When Col. Morris took command of the Second Brigade, Lt. Col. Sanford Perkins was given command of the 14th CT. He led the regiment well through their first test at Antietam, and drilled them incessantly during the next two months, but he was wounded seriously at Fredericksburg, and would also never return to active duty.

Col. Theodore Ellis

Col. Theodore Ellis

For almost four months, Captains Davis and Bronson, and at least one other company captain, alternately held temporary command of the regiment. On April 14, 1863, a staff officer, Adjutant Theodore Ellis, was promoted to major and given command of the regiment. Ellis proved an excellent officer under fire, and would receive promotions to lieutenant colonel (Sept. 22, 1863), colonel (Oct. 11, 1863), and brevet brigadier-general (March 13, 1865).

Lt. Col. Samuel Moore assumed command of the regiment during the engagement at Morton’s Ford, VA, when Col. Ellis was absent from the regiment. Lt. Col. Moore took over full-time command during the siege at Petersburg until the end of the war.


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