TABLE OF CONTENTS
RG 069:154, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons
Finding aid prepared by Allen Ramsey.
Copyright © 2011 by the Connecticut State Library
The letters and sermons pertain to the families of Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. and John Benedict Bouton. The following biographical note covers the biographies of Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. and John Benedict Bouton. The Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. biography is divided into the following three sections: Education and Ministry, Family Life, and Civic Leadership. The John B. Bouton biography is divided into the following six sections: Enlistment in the Civil War, Burnside Expedition, Hospital Recovery and Service, Bachelor's Creek Explosion, Post Civil War Life, and Genealogy. The beginning section of each biography under the name contains information about the person's early years.
Nathaniel Bouton, D.D.
Nathaniel Bouton was born on June 20, 1799 to William Bouton and Sarah Benedict in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was the youngest of fourteen siblings and the uncle of John Benedict Bouton of South Norwalk, Connecticut. His father was a farmer and sergeant of the guard along the Connecticut shore line during the Revolutionary War.1 He was a bound apprentice under Stiles Nichols, printer of the Republican Farmer in Bridgeport, Connecticut, from 1812-1816. In 1816 he bought out his indentures for $175 dollars and returned to Norwalk to prepare for college.
Education and Ministry
In preparation for college he recited and studied under the following: Reverend Mr. Fisher at a private school in Darien, Reverend Mr. Swan pastor of the Congregational Church in Norwalk, Reverend Mr. Bonney pastor of the Congregational Church in New Canaan, and Reverend Mr. Sylvanus Haight's school under Mr. Hawley Olmstead in Wilton. Bouton was admitted to Yale College as a sophomore in 1818. During his time at Yale he was president of the Society of Brothers in Unity, member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and served one term as a class monitor. He graduated from Yale in the summer of 1820.
Bouton was then admitted as a junior to the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts. During his studies at the seminary he was appointed monitor of the class, chosen as president of one division of the Porter Rhetorical Society, and served on the committee of the Society of Inquiry.2 He graduated from the seminary in 1824. After graduation he was invited by a committee to establish a church in the north end of Boston.3 However, he was also sought as a candidate for pastor of the First Congregational Church in Concord, New Hampshire.
The committee in Boston allowed Bouton to decide if he wanted to remain or leave for the church in Concord. After deliberating he decided to accept the candidateship at Concord. He was a candidate for seven weeks in which he visited parishioners and conducted Sabbath services. On January 1, 1825 he was notified the congregation had unanimously approved his candidacy to be pastor at Concord. Bouton accepted the call to be pastor on January 29, 1825. He was ordained on March 22, 1825 in Concord and would be pastor of the church for the next forty two years.4 The Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) degree was conferred to him by Dartmouth College at the time of his ordination. He resigned from his pastorate of the First Congregational Church in Concord on March 23, 1867.5 6
Nathaniel Bouton first married Harriet Sherman at Lebanon, Connecticut on September 11, 1825. Nathaniel and Harriet had two children: Elizabeth Ripley Bouton born on August 15, 1826 and Nathaniel Sherman Bouton born on May 14, 1828. Harriet died at Concord, New Hampshire on May 21, 1828.
Nathaniel's second marriage was to Mary Ann P. Bell, the eldest daughter of Governor John Bell, in Chester, New Hampshire on June 8, 1829. Nathaniel and Mary had five children: John Bell Bouton born on March 15, 1830; Harriette Sherman Bouton born on January 25, 1832; Mary Ann Persis Bouton born on December 15, 1834; Samuel Fletcher Bouton born on June 23, 1837; and Christopher Bell Bouton born on January 31, 1839. Mary Ann P. (Bell) Bouton died at Concord, New Hampshire on February 15, 1839.
Bouton's daughter Mary Ann (Mollie) Persis Bouton married Louis Bell, son of Governor Samuel Bell, on June 8, 1859. Bell enlisted and was appointed Captain of Company A, First New Hampshire Regiment of Infantry at the beginning of the Civil War. Louis Bell was killed in action at Fort Fisher, Wilmington, North Carolina on January 16, 1865.7 Mary Ann Persis (Bouton) Bell died at Chester, New Hampshire on May 4, 1865.8
Nathaniel's third marriage was to Elizabeth Ann Cilley in Deerfield, New Hampshire on February 18, 1840. Nathaniel and Elizabeth had six children: Sarah Cilley Bouton born on November 13, 1840; Martha Cilley Bouton born on January 29, 1843; Jane Louise Bouton born on January 17, 1845; William Horatio Bouton born on January 4, 1847; Joseph Bradbury Bouton born on December 30, 1848; and Annie Cilley Bouton born on April 10, 1851. Elizabeth Ann Cilley died on February 6, 1887.
Nathaniel Bouton, along with fellow Andover seminarians, in 1826 helped establish the American Home Missionary Society. He served as vice president of the society. Bouton was also involved in the following organizations: trustee for twenty years and a president of the New Hampshire Missionary society; trustee and president of the board of the "Ministers' and Widows' Charitable Fund;" director of the New Hampshire Bible Society; director of the New Hampshire Educational Society; trustee of Dartmouth College from 1840 until resigning in 1877; secretary of the board of trustees of Dartmouth College from 1844 until resigning in 1875; a corporate member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in 1857; and corresponding member of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in 1847. He was also a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society, Maine Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Society, Pennsylvania Historical Society, and the New Jersey Historical Society.9
Bouton was elected a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1831. He was placed on the publishing committee in 1834. While on the publishing committee he helped oversee, compile, and edit volume four through eight of the Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society. He also served as historical society librarian from 1841-1845; corresponding secretary in 1844; and historical society president from 1842-1844.10 In 1866 he helped lead an effort to have the earliest papers of New Hampshire preserved by copying and publishing them. He was appointed on August 31, 1866 to the honorary title of State Historian by New Hampshire Governor Frederick Smyth to copy, edit, and compile the State and Provincial Papers of New Hampshire. In the next eleven years he completed the first ten of a total forty volumes that were published of the papers.
In 1877, at the urging of his children, he wrote and finished his autobiography. Over the next year he fought an unknown lingering illness.11 Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. died in Concord, New Hampshire on June 6, 1878 at the age of 79.12
John B. Bouton
John Benedict Bouton was born on May 15, 1821 to Deacon John Bouton and Hanna Betts in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was the nephew of Reverend Nathaniel Bouton of Concord, New Hampshire. His father was a deacon of the First Congregational Church in Norwalk from 1822-1836 and then the Second Congregational Church in South Norwalk from 1836-1856. John B. Bouton married Harriet A. Weed of New Canaan on May 15, 1849 in Stratford. John and Harriet had three children: Archibald born on May 15, 1850, Algernon born on January 10, 1852, and Sarah M. born on August 7, 1856.
Enlistment in the Civil War
John B. Bouton enlisted as a corporal from Norwalk in Company H of the 8th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry on September 14 and was mustered in on September 23, 1861. The 8th Regiment was organized at Camp Buckingham in Hartford throughout September. The regiment left Hartford on the river steamboats Granite State and Mary Benton on October 17. They disembarked at Jamaica, Long Island, New York on October 19 and set up camp. The regiment struck camp on November 2 at Jamaica, boarded cattle boats and then rail cars for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and then proceeded by steamboats to Annapolis, Maryland arriving November 5. In Annapolis the regiment was placed into a brigade, paraded, reviewed, and inspected by General J. G. Foster. The 8th regiment received orders on January 5, 1862 and the next day moved into the Navy Yard. On January 7 the regiment boarded the steamboat Bark H.D. Brookman and then proceeded to Fort Monroe on January 9. The regiment arrived at Fort Monroe, the staging area for the Burnside Expedition, on January 11, 1862.
The 8th regiment left Fort Monroe on January 12, 1862 as part of the Burnside Expedition fleet. The expedition was a joint Army-Navy operation to seize Confederate coastal ports in North Carolina. On January 13 the fleet reached Hatteras Inlet and then experienced almost two weeks of rough weather. The fleet began to cross into Pamlico Sound on January 26 and by February 5 the entire fleet had reached within 10 miles of Roanoke Island. On February 7-8 Union forces bombarded the Confederate forts, landed on shore, and waded through the swamps on Roanoke Island. The fighting on the island, according to Bouton, was fierce but the Union forces quickly routed and captured 2,673 Confederate defenders.13 The 8th regiment saw no action as it was held in reserve. The expedition then set out by transport boats for New Bern, North Carolina on March 11.14 The transports arrived eighteen miles below New Bern at Slocum's Creek. The regiment then marched along the Neuse River towards the city.
Early in the morning on March 14 Union regiments attacked rebel defenses around New Bern. The 8th regiment was under General Parke's command during the battle. The regiment according to Bouton was ordered to charge with bayonets fixed towards the Confederate defensive works. The rebels quickly left the works and Bouton in a letter to his wife said, "Our banner was the first to remain on the breast works."15 The battle lasted about three hours and by the end of the day Union forces occupied New Bern, North Carolina.16
The regiment remained in New Bern until March 19 when it began its march to Carolina City, North Carolina. Bouton, one of 35 volunteers from his company, was in the advance forced march through mud and swamps on the night of March 21. The advance force set up camp that night at Newport, North Carolina. In an April 6, 1862 letter to his wife Bouton writes of his March 22 trip from the camp to Morehead City, North Carolina by railroad using a hand car. Once at Morehead City he boarded one of two anchored British vessels and talked with the crew about whether the Confederate controlled Fort Macon could be taken by the Union forces. It is unclear from the letter if he returned to camp at Newport or continued on to Carolina City. The entire expedition formed at Carolina City in late March and crossed by boats to Bogue Island. Once on the island Union forces prepared to lay siege to Fort Macon. The fort was bombarded early on April 25 and Confederate forces surrendered that night.
On May 3 and 4, after the siege and surrender of Fort Macon, the 8th regiment returned first to Morehead City and then to New Bern by steamboat on May 3-4. The regiment then spent two months on rest and recuperation at New Bern. Bouton along with his comrades was sick most of the time at New Bern with two soldiers from the regiment dying from disease. In an effort to reduce illness in camp Bouton wrote in a letter to his wife that the sick men in the regiment were separated and sent to Beaufort for recovery.17
Hospital Recovery and Service
The regiment broke camp on July 2, 1862 and travelled by rail car to Morehead City. The same day Bouton arrived at the General Hospital in Beaufort. No exact cause of illness is provided or reason for going to the hospital except possible orders from his doctors.18 After missing an order to report immediately to Fort Monroe he was assigned on August 1 extra duty as an assistant ward master at the hospital.19 His extra duty as assistant ward master for the hospital was ended in mid-October.
On November 21, 1862 Bouton oversaw, as a nurse, part of the relocation of men from the hospital at Beaufort to Stanly Hospital at New Bern. After overseeing the relocation Bouton wrote to his wife about General Foster's expedition to Goldsboro and Kinston, North Carolina. The wounded from Goldsboro arrived at New Bern on December 20-21. On December 27 Bouton was ordered to return to his regiment. However, on January 17, 1863 he wrote to his wife that transportation could not be secured and he would have to remain at the hospital. In late February he was moved from nursing to dining room duty. He returned home on furlough in mid-June and arrived back in New Bern on July 26. The rest of 1863 he was on dining room duty at the hospital.
Bachelor's Creek Explosion
Bouton in a letter to his wife on May 28, 1864 recounted the torpedo explosion at Bachelor's Creek.20 On the afternoon of May 26 the US Military Railroad train stopped at the Creek to unload the remaining four of thirteen torpedoes. The torpedoes were being placed across the Neuse River at the creek to protect New Bern from a potential Confederate gunboat attack. The last torpedo's detonator cap was ignited as it rolled off the rail car and hit the other three torpedoes causing a massive explosion that could be heard 8 miles east in New Bern. Colonel Claassen telegraphed New Bern requesting medical aid and coffins.21 Bouton on the aftermath of the explosion writes, "These brought into the hospital were horribly mangled. Some have since died."22 The explosion resulted in numerous killed and wounded.23
Post Civil War Life
John B. Bouton was discharged after serving a three year enlistment in the Union Army on September 16, 1864 and returned to working as a hatter in South Norwalk. He was mustered into the Douglas Fowler Post of the Grand Army of Republic on January 11, 1892. John Benedict Bouton died at South Norwalk, Connecticut on March 25, 1895. He is buried at Pine Island Cemetery, Norwalk, Connecticut. His wife Harriet A. (Weed) Bouton died at South Norwalk, Connecticut on November 1, 1903.24
John Benedict and Harriet A. (Weed) Bouton were married May 15, 1849 and had two sons and one daughter. Archibald Bouton was born on May 15, 1850; Algernon Bouton was born on January 10, 1852 and died on February 13, 1854; and Sarah M. Bouton was born on August 7, 1856.25 Sarah M. Bouton graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1875.
Archibald married Emily C. Champion and had two children: John B. Bouton and Archibald Bouton, Jr. born January 25, 1895. Archibald Bouton died in May 1922 and his wife Emily C. (Champion) Bouton died in July 1922 in Berwyn, Illinois.26 27 Archibald, Jr. married Dorothy Baldwin and had two children: Laurel Bouton born in 1924 and Howard B. Bouton born October 26, 1926. Howard B. Bouton married Lucille Sandy Bouton and had two sons and two daughters. Howard B. Bouton died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 23, 2000.28 Laurel Emily Bouton Sammons is the great-granddaughter and Brooke Ann Sammons Nielsen is the great-great-granddaughter of John Benedict Bouton.29
1 John Bell Bouton, ed., Autobiography of Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1879), 10.
2 Bouton, 26.
3 Bouton, 27.
4 Bouton, 27-34.
5 Bouton, 53-56.
6 James O. Lyford, ed., History of Concord, New Hampshire, From the Original Grant in Seventeen Hundred and Twenty-Five to the Opening of the Twentieth Century (Concord, NH: The Rumford Press, 1903), 705.
7 For additional information on Louis Bell's life and Civil War service see the Louis Bell Papers, 1837-1865, University of New Hampshire, Milne Special Collections Finding Aid.
8 Nathaniel Bouton to Harriet A. Bouton, May 7, 1865, box 1, folder 15, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, RG069:154, Connecticut State Library.
9 Bouton, 60.
10 Bouton, 60.
11 Bouton, 5.
12 "Obituary: Nathaniel Bouton, D.D.," New York Times, June 7, 1878, p. 5.
13 James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 372-373.
14 In many sources the city of New Bern is also spelled New Berne.
15 John B. Bouton to Harriet A. Bouton, March 18, 1862, box 1, folder 3, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, RG069:154, Connecticut State Library.
16 For more in depth information on Civil War operations in coastal North Carolina see: R.U. Johnson and C.C. Buel, ed., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War volume 1 (New York: The Century Co., 1887), 632-691.
17 John B. Bouton to Harriet A. Bouton, June 5, 1862, box 1, folder 4, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, RG069:154, Connecticut State Library.
18 John B. Bouton to Harriet A. Bouton, June 29 and July 8, 1862, box 1, folder 4, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, RG069:154, Connecticut State Library.
19 John B. Bouton to Harriet A. Bouton, August 3, 1862, box 1, folder 5, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, RG069:154, Connecticut State Library.
20 In various sources Bachelor's Creek is also spelled Batchelder's Creek.
21 United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 36, Part 3, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1891), 245, 267.
22 John B. Bouton to Harriet A. Bouton, May 28, 1864, box 1, folder 12, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, RG069:154, Connecticut State Library. See also the Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, 277.
23 In reviewing several sources no exact number is provided on how many were killed or wounded in the explosion at Bachelor's Creek. See also: "From North Carolina," New York Times, June 3, 1864, p. 2; and David A. Norris, "Like the Crash of a Thousand Pieces of Artillery: An Accidental Explosion Near New Bern was One of the Deadliest Incidents of the Civil War in North Carolina," The Cape Fear Civil War Roundtable.
24 The Norwalk Hour, November 2, 1903, p. 1.
25 James Boughton, Bouton-Boughton Family; Descendants of John Bouton, A Native of France, Who Embarked From Gravesend, Eng., and Landed at Boston in December, 1635, and Settled at Norwalk, CT, (Albany, NY: Joel Munsell's Sons, Publishers, 1890), 99.
26 Southtown Economist (Chicago, Illinois), May 12, 1922, p. 8.
27 Southtown Economist (Chicago, Illinois), July 7, 1922, p. 1.
28 "Obituary for Bouton," Albuquerque Journal, May 26, 2000 (accessed February 14, 2011).
29 Laurel E. Bouton Sammons and Brooke A. Sammons Nielsen, Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, 1820-1865 (Carson City, NV: Laurel E. Bouton Sammons and Brooke A. Sammons Nielsen, Publishers, 2009), ix-x.
The letters and sermons were arranged into seven series which reflect the Bouton families role in religion, civic leadership, family life, and service during the Civil War. The series include Correspondence, Sermons, Diary, Archibald Bouton, Publications, Miscellaneous, and Photographs.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1825-1865, include sixteen folders and eleven oversize letters between Bouton family members. The bulk of the correspondence is between John B. Bouton and Harriet A. Bouton before and during the Civil War. The rest of the correspondence contain letters from George W. Betts, W. Weed, Nathaniel Bouton, Harriet A. Bouton, and Sarah M. Bouton
Series 2. Sermons, 1820-1827, consist of sermons written by Nathaniel Bouton before and during his pastorate at the First Congregational Church in Concord, New Hampshire.
Series 3. Diary, 1861-1862, contains a half page diary entry consisting of dates and locations where John B. Bouton was during the beginning of the Civil War.
Series 4. Archibald Bouton, 1894, contains a inventory list of silverware by Mrs. A. Bouton.
Series 5. Publications, 2009, contains the 350 page bound volume of Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, 1820-1865 that includes an introduction by Laurel E. Bouton Sammons and Brooke A. Sammons Nielsen; a list of Bouton family members; and a table of contents of oversize correspondence, sermons, and a chronological listing of correspondence, photographs, and other family documents. The bulk of the volume consists of copied correspondence, photographs, diary entry, notes, and inventory of silverware. Most of the originals of the copied correspondence can be found in Series 1. Correspondence. The originals of the copied diary entry and inventory of silverware can be found in Series 3. Diary and Series 4. Archibald Bouton.
Series 6. Miscellaneous, circa 1861-1864, consist of empty envelopes addressed to Harriet A. Bouton and John B. Bouton.
Series 7. Photographs, 1861-1908, include a portrait of John B. Bouton in his uniform; a photograph of Howard and Emily Grosse Baldwin and children; and Archibald, Jr. and John Bouton.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1825-1865
Series 2. Sermons, 1820-1827
Series 3. Diary, 1861-1862
Series 4. Archibald Bouton, 1894
Series 5. Publications, 2009
Series 6. Miscellaneous, circa 1861-1864
Series 7. Photographs, 1861-1908
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.
RG 113, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Connecticut Records, Connecticut State Library.
Louis Bell Papers, 1837-1865, Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library.
The New Hampshire Historical Society Library has the Nathaniel Bouton Papers; publications by or about Nathaniel Bouton; and documents relating to the First Congregational Church of Concord, New Hampshire.
Concord (N.H.) -- Church history
Fort Macon (N.C.) -- Siege, 1862
New Bern, Battle of, New Bern, N.C., 1862
Roanoke Island (N.C.) -- History -- Capture, 1862
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Hospitals
Bogue Banks (N.C.)
Carson City (Nev.)
New Bern (N.C.)
New York (N.Y.)
Roanoke Island (N.C.)
Bouton, Archibald, 1850-1922
Bouton, Emily C.
Bouton, Harriet A., 1821-1903
Bouton, John B. (John Benedict), 1821-1895
Bouton, John Bell, 1830-1902
Bouton, Nathaniel, 1799-1878
Bouton, Sarah M.
The Bouton family letters and sermons were donated by Brooke Ann Sammons Nielsen and Laurel Emily Bouton Sammons to the State Library in 2010.
Allen Ramsey processed the letters and sermons in December, 2010 to February, 2011
Village Green Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution Presents the 300th Anniversary of Norwalk, Connecticut, 1651-1951: A Tercentenary Scrapbook. [CSL Manuscript Collection call number 974.62 N83 dar]
Boughton, James. Bouton-Boughton Family; Descendants of John Bouton, A Native of France, Who Embarked From Gravesend, Eng., and Landed at Boston in December, 1635, and Settled at Norwalk, CT. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell's Sons, Publishers, 1890. [CSL call number CS71.B774 1890]
Boughton, Willis A. Bouton, Boughton and Farnam Families. Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1949. [CSL call number CS71.B774 1949]
Boughton, Willis A. An Informative Index: The Names of Persons and Their Essential Genealogical Data, as given in The Bouton-Boughton Family, by James Boughton, 1890. Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1958. [CSL call number CS71.B774 1890 Index]
Bouton, John Bell, ed. A Sketch of the Character and Life-Work of Rev. Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. Pastor of the First Congregatioanl Church, Concord, N.H., 1825-1867. Concord, NH: First Church, 1902.
Coe, David B. The Origin and Work of the American Home Missionary Society. New York: The American Home Missionary Society, 1887. [CSL call number BV2766.C6 C64 1887]
Connecticut Adjutant-General's Office. Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion. Hartford: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard Co., 1889. [CSL call number Ad44 res reb c.3]
Lyford, James O. ed. History of Concord, New Hampshire, From the Original Grant in Seventeen Hundred and Twenty-Five to the Opening of the Twentieth Century. Concord, NH: The Rumford Press, 1903. [CSL call number F44.C6 C7 v.1]
McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. [CSL call number E470.M35 1988]
Sammons, Laurel E. Bouton and Brooke A. Sammons Nielsen. Bouton Family Letters and Sermons, 1820-1865 Carson City, NV: Laurel E. Bouton Sammons and Brooke A. Sammons Nielsen, Publishers, 2009.
United States War Department. The War of the Rebellion A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1891. [CSL call number E464.U6 1880]
Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque (N.M.). 2000.
Englewood Times. Chicago (Ill.). 1922.
New York Times.
The Norwalk Hour. Norwalk, Conn. 1903. [StLib Newspaper Room call number AN104.W39 W39]
Southtown Economist. Chicago (Ill.). 1922.
The Westporter and Saugatuck Herald. Westport, Conn. 1895. [StLib Newspaper Room call number AN104.N9 H6]