The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

January 17, 2014

Seeing Lincoln by Ziba Roberts, Jr.

Medina Journal-Register — Ziba Roberts, Jr. was born on a farm near East Shelby July 31, 1840. On Nov. 8, 1861 he enlisted in Company D of the 28th N.Y. Infantry and served 19 months in the Civil War. He was with the Army of the Potomac and was taken prisoner of war in the Shenandoah Valley during Bank’s retreat May 25, 1862. He was taken to Lynchburg and kept there until Aug. 8, 1862 when he was transferred to Belle Island until Sept. 14. At that time he was paroled and afterwards, exchanged. He was mustered out of the Union Army in May 1863. At that time he returned to his native East Shelby where in 1867 he married Cynthia Dewey. They had seven children. Mr. Roberts was a Commander and Chaplin of the S. J. Hood GAR Post in Medina and was very active in the East Shelby M.E. Church. In his latter years Ziba Roberts wrote an account of seing the Great Emancipator which follows:

“The first and only time that I saw Abraham Lincoln was in the Spring of 1863 when he came out to review the Army of the Potomac. He was on horseback. He was a man several inches over six feet tall, and wore a stove pipe hat which made him look very tall beside the other men that rode with him. As none of you have ever had the privilege of seeing anything of the kind I will try and tell about it. In this army there were as near as I can remember 40,000 or 50,000 soldiers, who when in line of march, would reach four or five miles in length. In the first place, President Lincoln and staff sat on their horses and we marched past where they stood which took two or three hours and after we had all marched by, then we were formed in line in the different Army Corps, and then the President and staff rode by us, and as he rode past each regiment, we would receive orders to salute which was done by holding our guns in an upright position in front of us, and the President would respond by taking off his hat which would give us a good view of his face. Always when on the march we were four abreast, and when we were standing in line there were two lines of men. The rear line was 13 inches behind the front line, a position which we had while in battle.

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