114th NY. Vols flag and monument with bronze plaque at the battle of Winchester

William Griffin was sold as a slave for a $1,000 on the auction block in Louisiana but was freed when the 114th New York Volunteers marched through. He worked as Lt Breed’s helper and Lt. Breed kept a close account in the back of his diary as to how much William owed from his salary as he drew a hat and clothing for him from the Commissary. On October 19, 1864, just before the battle of Winchester Lt Breed said, “William, go and fill my canteen for me as this may be the last time you ever do this.”

That day when the Union center gave way and was routed, the 114th N.Y. was told to go out in the center of the field and hold at all costs. They held for 45 minutes, surrounded on three sides by the enemy, alone, at a terrible cost of over half their unit. When they retreated back to the tree line the army had been able to regroup. They were told to counterattack, which they did, but with all the color guard shot down and almost all the officers, Lt. Breed, picked up the regiment’s flag and held it at the fence line. He was shot and killed holding the flag. The Union’s counterattack and they won the battle.