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Barton F. Cook

Researcher: Mike Roberson

          Barton F. Cook, the son of Milton Cook fought for the Union side of the Civil War. Living in Rhode Island, he served in the state's Third Artillery Regiment. This Regiment was first organized in Providence, Rhode Island in August of 1861, towards the start of the Civil War. Before too long, after about four months, they were reorganized as the Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. Cook served in Company B of this regiment, enlisting some time after it had been reorganized as the Heavy Artillery. Serving at first as a Private, as all soldiers do, he remained at that rank for the course of the entire war before being honorably discharged.

            Private Cook and the Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery served mostly in minor skirmishes and conflicts, not participating in many major battles. The first battle in which they gained notoriety was the Engagement at Secessionville. In this conflict that lasted May through June of 1862, Companies B, F, and k, under Major Henry Tillinghast Sisson, attempted to take over Charleston, South Carolina via James Island. Company B, including Private Cook, fought under the forces of Second Lieutenant A.E. Greene, who was noted in a report from Secessionville as commanding them in a way that was "especially energetic and active." The Union forces lost this battle, but it has been noted that they fought very bravely, and Sisson, as well as the Rhode Island Artillery, was honored with awards for bravery. Other battles they fought in included the Affair at Kirk's Bluff and the Skirmish at Coosawatchie in South Carolina, where they fought with merely 300 men.

            As with many other New England Regiments, the Third Rhode Island Artillery earned praise for it's determined, steadfast fighting in even just minor skirmishes. As with any other Regiment in the Civil War, they subject to such harsh terms as often not being able to find shelter that was both convenient and safe, normally had to settle for just a tent out in the open instead. In addition, the food that Union soldiers were made to consume often was far less than desirable, consisting of stale bread, salt pork, and half-eaten vegetable remnants. Still, Private Barton Cook managed to hold strong throughout the end of the war, and for his courage, received an honorable discharge.

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