PORTVILLE"S YOUNGEST SOLDIER
From An Early History of The Town of Portville
Submitted by Mary Bryant



 


DeWitt during the Civil War
 
 
 
 
 


Dewitt in his later years

Tales of battles won and lost in the war of the rebellion no doubt excited the imagination of young boys in Portville. One youngster, DeWitt Page became so anxious to join the frey that he decided to enlist.1863 probably to avoid being recognized as but a child, he went to Belfast where he lied about his age and enrolled In the army. He was 14 years old at the time.

He trained, along with his older brother Lou who had enlisted at the same time, at what is now known as Letchworth state park. They then went south to with the 130th Infantry Regiment. After one year the regiment was changed to a Cavalry unit and became known as First N.Y. Dragoons.

DeWitt's dreams of combat were soon to be realized on that first day of battle at Gettysburg. A cannon ball hit Officer Lou Page's horse and killed it. Saddled up on an army mule for the second charge Lou must have seemed a funny sight. When DeWitt, a private, laughed at his older brother on the mule, Lou ordered him from his horse and took it. 1n the second charge DeWitt went up the hill on the mule and survived to tell the story.

The First N.Y. Dragoons proved to be one of the most active units in the civil War. DeWitt Page was with them through 45 engagements and was present at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox. After his discharge from service at the close of the war, he returned to Portville and became a harness maker.

Portville's youngest soldier became one of Portville's oldest living Civil War veterans. He became very active in the Portville G.A.R. post until his death in 1940.



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