The Schroeder Books
– October 2001
In this volume, Mr. Raus has brought to light a compelling story—three brothers who enlisted in Federal service and never returned to their northern homes. Tragically, all three fail to survive the war. The emotional pain that their poor widowed father had to bear is truly heart wrenching.
After a brief overview of the family, Mr. Raus launches into the engaging story of Willis Babcock, eager to enlist, describing himself as “crazy to join.” This promising young man rose to the rank of first lieutenant in the 64th New York Infantry, but his life was snuffed out while leading his company in the hellish Wheatfield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1863. Perhaps the most interesting part of Willis’ story is the trying journey his father, Samuel, made to locate the body of his dead son. The elder man’s efforts, and his ultimate success in recovering the remains of his beloved boy, tears at one’s senses.
The second account is that of Lucius, who while living with his mother’s family in Minneapolis, left his wife to join the 9th Minnesota Infantry. Lucius’ unit had the misfortune of taking part in General Samuel Sturgis’ ill-fated expedition that came to grief at the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads, Mississippi. Though Lucius and his unit fought well, he was among the captured taken to the infamous Andersonville Prison. Lucius remains there yet.
The final story, is that of Willoughby, who served with the 3rd
and 75th New York Infantry, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His exploits at the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, are
truly gripping. Willoughby,
suffered a mortal wound during the hard-fought Third Battle of Winchester,
Virginia, on September 19, 1864. Though
the military narrative of this exemplary officer is most insightful, perhaps the
most appealing and sympathetic aspect of his correspondence, consists of several
letters written to his pregnant, soon to be widowed wife.
This book includes photographs of all three brothers and the sites
associated with them and their family. Several
excerpts from Willoughby’s original letters are reproduced, including his
last, which he was dictating to send to his wife, when he roused himself enough
to take the pen himself and scratch several most moving lines.
This book well illustrates how the war affected so many families, and
when Samuel Babcock’s three sons went “Where Duty Called Them,” none
Foreword by Patrick A. Schroeder. This is a 48-page soft cover book with 12 photographs. Price $7.95. ISBN-1-889246-49-2.
Where Duty Called Them: The Story of the Samuel Babcock Family of Homer, NY
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