Posted tagged ‘108th NY Infantry’

Hero Highlight – George H. Washburn, Co. D, 108th New York Infantry by guest author Brian Burkhart

October 12, 2012

George H. Washburn courtesy of Brian Burkhart

Introduction by Vicki Masters Profitt, Illuminated History

I first met Brian Burkhart nearly three years ago, when he approached me at a presentation I gave about Perinton’s Civil War soldiers.  After speaking with Brian for just a few minutes, his enthusiasm for researching the soldiers of Rochester’s 108th New York Infantry was evident.  Since then, Brian has been a wonderful source of information about the boys of the 108th.  I’m pleased to publish this Hero Highlight of George H. Washburn by Brian Burkhart.

George H. Washburn was born October 29, 1843, the only son of Charles and Ruth A. Washburn.  He was raised in what was then called Corn Hill, Third Ward, in the City of Rochester, New York.  Young Washburn entered old Public School Number Three, situated on what was then called Clay Street, now Tremont Street, where his first teacher was Miss Sarah Frost.  In 1852, during the great cholera epidemic, his father died after a short illness, leaving a widow and two children; his younger sister, Dora (later to be Mrs. Franklin E. Purdy), and George.  Shortly afterwards, he attempted to reduce the burdens of his widowed mother and support of the family.  His grandmother, Mrs. Hannah Tozer, was living with the family.  He applied for a situation as check boy in the old dry goods establishment of Timothy Chapman, at 12 State Street.  George went to work at seventy-five cents per week, and remained there until August 1862.

He was 19 years old when he enlisted in the 108th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry at Rochester, Monroe County, New York, to serve three years.  Actually, Washburn’s first experience in military service was not with the 108th, but with the “Zouave Cadets”, composed of young lads from Public School No. 3.  On August 11, 1862 he mustered in as a Private in Company ‘D’.  He was with the regiment when it left Rochester for the seat of war on August 19, 1862.  He was wounded in action on May 3, 1863 during the Battle of Chancellorsville and was transferred to Company ‘B’, 20th Regiment of the Veteran Reserve Corps (no date).  He was discharged June 19, 1865 at Washington, D.C.

From Washburn’s Regimental History: “At the battle of Antietam on September 17th, the first battle the regiment was engaged in and suffered so terribly, one of his tent mates and Sunday school teacher previous to enlistment, Joseph S. Delevau, was badly wounded in the groin, and with the assistance of Sergeant John H. Jennings, another tent mate, they carried their wounded companion off the field and laid him in a place of safety, returned to the regiment and remained during the battle.  He was with the regiment on the march to Bolivar Heights, near Harper’s Ferry, and while there was assigned to duty as one of the guard on the Balloon Corps.  When the regiment moved on to Fredericksburg, the guard followed in the rear and joined the regiment at or near Snicker’s Gap, and when the regiment went into winter quarters at Falmouth, Virginia, did picket and guard duty; was in the battle of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.  He was wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville and was sent to Findley Hospital in Washington, D.C. where he remained for a long time, sick with the typhoid fever (at the time of enlistment was five feet three inches, and weighed 112 pounds).  After his recovery he was detailed at headquarters by Dr. TV. A. Bradley, surgeon in charge, and shortly afterwards ordered to report to Brigadier-General J.H. Martindale’s headquarters, corner 19th and I Streets, who at that time was Military Governor of the District of Columbia.  When General Martindale rejoined his brigade, Washburn was assigned to Major Breck’s Bureau in the War Department, Adjutant-General’s Office, and later on transferred to headquarters 22d Army Corps Department at Washington, commanded by Major-General C.C. Augur, at the corner of 15£ Street and Pennsylvania Ave., and remained there till mustered out June 19th, 18G5.  After receiving his discharge, he made application for a situation in the Treasury Department, and being backed up by strong testimonials from General Augur, Colonel J.H. Taylor, chief of staff, and many of the staff officers at headquarters, received an appointment as first class clerk by Hon. Hugh McCullough, Secretary, and assigned to duty in the Internal Revenue Bureau, remaining there till 1868, when he returned to Rochester, New York, and entered the dry goods business again, remained a short time and then entered the clothing business; continued till the fall of 1889, when he received an appointment as clerk in the Blue Line and Canada Southern Line office, Powers Block, where he is at the present time in charge of the mileage desk.

He was married November 24th, 1869, in the City of Rochester to Miss Lillian De Ette Inman, only daughter of Isaac L. Inman (formerly of his company), and has one son, Percy L. Washburn, twenty-two years of age, and 2d Lieutenant of C.A. Glidden Camp No. 6, Sons of Veterans.”

“Comrade Washburn is a member of Genesee Falls Lodge, No. 507, F. A. M.; Flower City Lodge, No, 555, I.O.O.F.; Lallah Rook Grotta, No. 3, Order of Veiled Prophets; Golden Rale Chapter, No. 59, Order Eastern Star; Grace Rebecca Lodge, No. 54, I.O.O.F.  Assistant Adjutant-General, National Staff, Union Veterans’ Union; Assistant Adjutant-General, Department New York, Union Veterans’ Union (for the past four years); Past Inspector-General, National Staff, Union Veterans’ Union.  Past Aide on Department Staff, G.A.R.; Past Adjutant, E. G. Marshall Post 397, G.A.R.; Past Adjutant, G. B. Force Command, No, 13, Union Veterans’ Union; Adjutant, W.T. Sherman Command, No. 2, Union Veterans’ Union; Secretary, 108th Regiment, New York Veteran Association, for the past twelve years.”

“Comrade Washburn, through his endeavors, was the means of gathering together the survivors of the old regiment for a social reunion, and in 1879 they held their first reunion at Newport House, Irondequoit Bay, and at that time he commenced to gather together items relative to the regiment, and through the assistance of many of the members of the organization he has been able to place before the survivors and their many friends this souvenir, trusting that what errors have been made, that they will be cheerfully overlooked by the many admirers and friends of the Old 108th Regiment, New York Volunteers.”

George Washburn died January 27, 1905 at age 61 and was buried in the Buffalo Cemetery Lot at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.  There is more on George Washburn in the green Scrapbook by William Farley Peck located in Rundel Library in the Oversize Book section of the Local History Department]; George is the author of A Complete Military History & Record of the 108th Regiment N.Y. Vols. from l862 to l894.

A note from Vicki Masters Profitt:

George H. Washburn is one of my heroes.  He was a man who took the initiative to gather information from his former comrades of the 108th New York Infantry because he saw the historical value in their war-time memories.  Thanks to George’s efforts, we have an entire volume of memoirs pertaining to the 108th.  This was no small feat.  The scope of the project is mindboggling, and even more so when one keeps in mind that George Washburn did not live in the time of the internet and social media.  The entire book was painstakingly created  through his meticulous efforts to contact the men with whom he had served through the use of letters and advertisements.  George asked the former soldiers to send autobiographies and photos of themselves.  Over 200 sketches, 48 obituaries and the addresses of over 360 men grace this book.  Yes, George H. Washburn is definitely my hero.

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Mustache Man…Mystery Solved?

September 22, 2012

Mustache Man first made his appearance on November 11, 2011 in an Illuminated History post entitled, “Piercing Eyes, Silent Voices”.  It was then that I posted a photo of a handsome gentleman with a handlebar mustache I had recently acquired from eBay.  Sadly, Mustache Man’s photo lacked identification.  No clues identified him, other than the fact that the photographer had been A.E. Dumble of Rochester, New York, and the back of the photo was pre-stamped 1891.  After asking the Illuminated History Facebook members to name Mustache Man, they decided upon the moniker of Samuel Everheart, due to the kindness of his eyes. 

Recently, as I prepared for a presentation, I reviewed the photos of the men of the 108th New York Infantry shown in George H. Washburn’s book, A Complete Military History and Record of the 108th New York Volunteers.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at the photo of a soldier named William C. Kneale and saw Mustache Man’s face staring back at me.  Could it be?  Did we solve the mystery of Mustache Man?  Take a look, and see what you think.  Comments welcome.

William C. Kneale and Mustache Man – One and the Same?

Whether or not William C. Kneale and Mustache Man are the same man, I’ve begun the process of researching William C. Kneale’s life and will soon share that information with you.  Let’s solve this mystery!

Celebrating Chester Hutchinson’s 85th Birthday – A Poem by Franc Fassett Pugsley

June 2, 2012

The second poem dedicated to the life of Chester Hutchinson is by Franc Fassett Pugsley. Franc was the daughter of John J. Fassett, a comrade of Chester’s from his days in the 108th New York Infantry. It is worth noting that Franc Fassett Pugsley knew Chester personally. It is incredible how much detailed information about his life is included in this tribute.

On Your Birthday

To Comrade Chester Hutchinson

July 12, 1841-July 12, 1926

Congratulations today, dear friend of old times,

Sincere are our wishes, indeed;

We hope for your joy and your happiness, too,

In each added year as it comes unto you,

Choice blessings may God shed on your way.

For God has ever directed your course

To Him you have always gone

When troubles assailed, and you knew not which turn

To take in the path just before you.

Through all the joys and sorrows

Of eight-five years, God has guided,

And wrought His will as He walked with you,

Adown the Path, to Life’s perfect day

Which awaits at the end of the journey.

And now, please take a glimpse with me,

While Memory turns the wheel,

At the Past as it flashes before us,

Vivid pictures from Life’s short reel.

First we see a tiny baby

In the Town of Penfield born,

Toothless, hairless, generally helpless,

July twelfth, in forty-one.

Later Perinton became the home

Of parents and young son,

A little time after, the mother died,

Leaving father and child alone.

A move was made later to Pittsford,

Where the lad to young manhood grew,

A fun-loving youth who stopped short of nothing,

Which his fertile brain told him to do.

And now a picture flashes upon the canvas white

Of two youths fast escaping

From a younger lad, left in a plight,

And a sorry one, too, it would seem,

For like Joseph, he had been cast in a dry well

 By his brother and young “Chet”

Who did not care to be bothered

On their walk through meadow and wood,

And left him there all safe and sound

To get out as best he could.

The older companion passed on years ago,

Rosseau Crump of Bay City,

A man loved and honored through many a year.

The young boy now is a gray-haired man

Of eighty years just past,

Mr. Shelly Crump of Pittsford,

Who will be Chester’s friend to the last,

In spite of this little episode,

Which ended alright you perceive,

For he soon climbed out, none the worse,

From the well,

Taking a sort of French leave.

Then serious days, how fast they followed,

Soon the boy became a man,

And the man became a soldier

In a uniform of blue.

For the storm clouds now had gathered

O’er our land so fair and bright,

And Lincoln called for her young men

To aid in their Country’s fight.

Ah, then sad good-byes were spoken,

And the sound of marching feet

Was heard through the length and breadth of the land,

And our hero went out with the rest,

Leaving all that his heart held dear

To follow the Red, White and Blue.

Then into the turmoil of battle

Right soon they were called to go,

A severe wound in the breast here he suffered,

At Antietam, as all of you know.

Many painful days followed, on hospital cot,

In old barn, or hovel so crude,

With wounded comrades for nurses,

Doing for him as best they could.

Who could do justice to those cruel days

In telling their history o’er,

But out of their shadow he finally came,

Taking up in peaceful pursuits

The burdens of life once more.

Then came his marriage, and family life

Brought joy to his heart once again,

Four children were born, and the mother then died,

Leaving the babes in his charge.

To this trust also he proved true,

Striving to be to them both father and mother,

No better test of fine manhood

Surely, could ever be given.

Later, a dear companion he chose to walk with him,

And she blesses his life with her loving care,

Through peaceful days in a cozy home

Which they have made together.

We wish for you, friend, “Many Happy Returns”

Of this, your Natal day,

May the sun turn the evening skies to gold

And love brighten all the way.

Chester Hutchinson and the Mystery of Ira Ingerson

April 30, 2012

After my April 3rd post on Chester Hutchinson, several readers were interested in learning more about the poems written in celebration of his 80th and 85th birthdays.  Let me just say that I am not an expert on poetry.  However, I find the poems to be quite different in feeling and sentiment.

The first poem, by Ira Ingerson of Dewittville, New York in Chautauqua County, was written in honor of Chester’s 80th birthday.  It was published in the Monroe County (NY) Mail on July 28, 1921.   Here’s the mystery:  Who was Ira Ingerson, and why did he write a birthday poem for Chester Hutchinson? 

Research on Ira Ingerson began by searching newspaper archives.  Not much was found about him there.  Next, I tried Ancestry.com.  I was able to track Ira in census records from 1850 through 1930.  It appears Ira was born circa 1849 to Harry and Harriet Ingerson, and he lived the majority of his life in Chautauqua County, New York.  Ira and his wife, Elizabeth, had at least five sons together – George, Marion, Eugene, Leon and Llewellyn – who were born between 1869 and 1879. 

The mystery deepened as I found a 1910 census record showing Ira was married to a woman named Julia, and had been for three years.  It was listed as Ira’s second marriage.  However, a Find A Grave memorial for Ira’s first wife, Elizabeth, states that she died in 1926.  An Ancestry.com family tree gives Elizabeth’s death date as 1932.  Are those sources both inaccurate and Elizabeth died prior to 1907, were there two different Ira Ingersons who were the same age living in the same town, or were Ira and Elizabeth divorced?

It occurred to me that Ira may have served in the Civil War with Chester Hutchinson, but I found no documentation to verify that idea. So, however it happened and whatever Ira’s relationship was to Chester, Ira Ingerson wrote the following poem in celebration of Chester Hutchinson’s 80th birthday.  We’ll follow up with the second poem, by Franc Fassett Pugsley, in our next post.

Eighty years of life I’ve lived,

Its pleasures, peace and strife:

Its end cannot be far away,

I’ll not complain, I’ve had my day.

 

I recollect long years ago,

My cheeks were red with youthful glow:

They now are pale, my hair is gray,

I’ll not complain, I’ve had my day.

 

In youthful days around me stood

So many friends, both true and good:

They now are gone, alone I stay,

I’ll not complain, I’ve had my day.

 

Yet not alone, ‘round me arrayed

Are later friends that I have made,

Both kind and true and good are they;

I’ll not complain, I’ve had my day.

 

What others feel of joys or woes,

For my own part, I do not know.

Have I had my share?  I cannot say.

I’ll not complain, I’ve had my day.

 

But there’s another, better clime,

Where years eternal ever shine.

Hope, only hope, sends a glorious ray,

I’ll not complain, I’ve had my day.

 

I’ve had my day, I’ll not complain:

In that blest land, no sorrow, no pain:

For the Master, Himself, will gently say,

I am the life, I am the way.

Oh, the thought how it thrills me,

When life’s trials will all be o’er,

I can wait, for at the longest,

It will be only a few years more.

Hero Highlight – Chester Hutchinson, Co. B, 108th NY Infantry

April 3, 2012

“Our marching and countermarching brought us on the 17th of September in front of Lee’s army.  We halted, piled up our haversacks, loaded our guns, and were ready for action…Our position was a hot one, and the air was alive with bullets, shells, shot and canister.”  Civil War veteran Chester Hutchinson’s recollection of being severely wounded at the battle of Antietam nearly thirty two years earlier.

Chester Hutchinson, the fifth of seven children born to Lewis and Betsey Palmer Hutchinson, was born in Penfield, New York, on July 12, 1841.  The Hutchinson family soon moved to Perinton, where Chester’s maternal grandparents, Ira & Sarah Beilby Palmer, were among the earliest settlers of the town.  Lewis Hutchinson supported his large family as a farm laborer and it was expected that Chester would also work the farm.  After the death of his mother in 1849, Chester moved to Pittsford, where he continued his schooling and raised vegetables to be sold in the markets in Rochester.  Ten years later, Chester moved to Fairport and apprenticed in the sash and blind trade run by his uncles, Seymour and John G. Palmer.

After three years at the sash and blind factory, the Civil War beckoned and Chester enlisted in Co. B, 108th NY Infantry on August 4, 1862.  He arrived in Washington, D.C. on a cattle car with other members of his regiment.  Rules were lax at the beginning of the war, and soldiers could sleep where they wished as long as they were present at roll call.  Years after the war, Chester recalled spending his first night in Washington, D.C. sleeping on the east stone steps of the White House.  Soon, Chester would have more to concern him than finding a good spot in which to catch some shuteye. 

One month after enlistment, the men of the 108th NY Infantry received a trial by fire.  On September 17, 1862, the regiment was led into battle at Sharpsburg, Maryland, on what would become the bloodiest single day of fighting of the entire war.  Over 23,000 Union and Confederate casualties occurred at this battle, which the Northerners called Antietam.  Chester Hutchinson was one such casualty.  The gunshot hit his right breast, “the ball glancing along the bone, coming out about four inches from where it entered and stopping” against his right arm.  It took Chester over one year to recover from this wound.  He was successful in his effort to return to his regiment in early 1864; however, Chester was once again quickly engaged in a fight for his life.  This time, it was at the battle of the Wilderness.

Struck in the left breast by a minie ball which passed through his lung, the doctor who dressed Chester’s wound after the battle of the Wilderness pronounced it fatal.  Death would come to Chester Hutchinson, but not in May, 1864.  After lying in pain for three weeks, Chester was transferred to Fredericksburg, Maryland, where he was located by Sergeant Chilson of Company B, 108th NY Infantry.  By the fall of 1864, Chester was sent to City Hospital in Rochester to recuperate, and he remained there until his regiment arrived home and he received his discharge. 

After the war, Chester Hutchinson wed Mary Grover.  For several years, the Hutchinsons made their home in West Bay City, Michigan, where Chester was employed at the Crump Manufacturing Company planing mill and box factory.  After Mary’s death in 1886, Chester and his four children returned home to New York, where they lived for many years at 6 Prospect Street in the village of Fairport.

Hattie Down Wiley became Chester’s second wife on January 1, 1891.  As the widow of another Fairport Civil War soldier, James B. Wiley of the 111th NY Infantry, Hattie brought six children to the marriage.  Chester and Hattie had one son together, Lynn, who died in 1896 at age two.  Hattie and Chester brought up their combined eleven children together and were married for over forty years.

In his later years, Chester was very active in the community.  As a charter member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) E.A. Slocum Post #211, an organization dedicated to aiding veterans of the Civil War, Chester served in various leadership positions throughout the years.  E.A. Slocum Post #211 was disbanded in 1937 due to the death of its last member, Horace Waddell.  Chester traveled each year to attend reunions of the 108th NY Infantry and, in 1899, he won first place in the reunion shooting contest.  He was also employed as a watchman at a bank, worked at the Dobbin & Moore Lumber Company, was very active in the Baptist Church, and was appointed as a tax collector.

In the 1920s, as the ranks of the Civil War soldiers were diminished by death, Chester Hutchinson became a prominent face in the news.  No fewer than two poems were written about him, which celebrated the milestones of Chester’s 80th and 85th birthdays.   The 85th birthday poem was written by Pittsford resident and elocutionist Franc Fassett Pugsley, a daughter of Chester’s comrade from the 108th NY Infantry, Jonathan J. Fassett.   Mrs. Pugsley managed to fit into her lengthy poem information about Chester’s birth, early life, war experiences and wounds, marriages and children before bestowing this wish upon Chester, “May the sun turn the evening skies to gold and love brighten all the way.” 

The death of Chester Hutchinson occurred on April 19, 1932 at age 90.  Not bad for a man who, 68 years earlier, had been told he wouldn’t survive his wounds.  Chester was buried at Greenvale Cemetery in Fairport beside his son, Lynn, and stepsons Mark & Frank Wiley.  Hattie, his wife of 41 years, joined him in 1940.  A newspaper article written one month after his death stated that, “Chester Hutchinson joined his comrades on the march into eternity, carrying with him the reverence and respect of the people in the community, a patriot and a loyal citizen.” 

This article was originally published in the Perinton Historical Society “Historigram”, Vol. XLIV, No. 7, April 2012.  Learn more about the Perinton Historical Society by visiting their website, www.PerintonHistoricalSociety.org.

One Injured After Car Collides with Civil War Soldier

November 19, 2010

Another view of the accident

This morning, a car crashed through the recently renovated fence of the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York, and collided with the headstone of Joseph Bartlett, a Civil War veteran who served with the 81st New York Infantry.  Joseph Bartlett passed away one hundred twenty nine years ago, so he is probably not too upset by the collision.  According to newspaper reports, the man behind the wheel of the car may have had a medical emergency which contributed to the accident.  He was taken to a local hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening.  

Pioneer Burying Ground Crash Site 11/19/10. Joseph Bartlett's base in the foreground, with headstone about 15 feet north of the base.

This event gives me the opportunity to illuminate Joseph Bartlett, a soldier who has kept a low profile even as I have illuminated two of the other Civil War soldiers buried at Pioneer Burying Ground – Thomas Wood and Ezra A. Patterson, both of the 108th NY Infantry.

Little is known of Joseph Bartlett’s early life.  He appears to have been born in Oneida County, New York, about 1840.  According to the New York State Archives, Joseph stood 5′ 11″ tall, with hazel eyes and brown hair.  His complexion was fair.  We do know that Joseph mustered into the 81st NY Infantry on October 6, 1861 as a Private and moved quickly through the ranks.  In February, 1862, he was promoted to Corporal.  A promotion to Sergeant followed in September of that year.

The men of the 81st NY Infantry proved themselves on the battlefields at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines.  They fought at Malvern Hill and were present at the siege of Charleston in 1863.  New Year’s Day, 1864, dawned bright and cold.  On that day, Joseph Bartlett re-enlisted with the 81st NY Infantry.  Six months later, at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, Sergeant Joseph Bartlett of Co. I, was wounded in the leg and arm.

Joseph returned to his regiment after recuperating from his wounds.  He was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant with Co. F in June, 1865.  After transferring to Co. A, Joseph was commissioned a Captain before mustering out on August 31, 1865. 

Joseph Bartlett's headstone pre-crash

I have not been able to ascertain how Joseph ended up in Pittsford, New York.  His cause of death at the age of 40 is also unknown.  However he ended up at the Pioneer Burying Ground, Joseph took his place as the third Civil War veteran to permanently reside there.  He was predeceased by George P. Walters and Ezra A. Tillotson.  Thomas Wood joined the trio much later, in 1923.

It will take quite some time to assess the damage to the headstones, although it is clear the damage done to some of these older headstones is irreparable.

Greenvale Cemetery Tour – June 8, 2010

June 8, 2010

Nathan C. Jeffrey, 54th Massachusetts Infantry

What a beautiful evening for a walking tour of Greenvale Cemetery in Fairport, New York!  Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the perfect weather while hearing the incredible stories of the Civil War soldiers who permanently reside there.

We began our tour with Samuel Larwood of the 33rd New York Infantry before moving over to meet Nathan C. Jeffrey, the young soldier who served under Colonel Robert Gould Shaw in the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry.  Chester Hutchinson of the 108th New York Infantry amazed everyone with his own description of the wound he received at the Battle of the Wilderness.  The sad story of Charles E. Moore, musician in the 108th New York, followed.  He was just 17 years old when he died of disease.  Charles will not be forgotten.

The “white bronze” Hitchcock monument was next.  It has truly stood the test of time.  The 6th Michigan Cavalry was represented at Greenvale by Doctor Daniel G. Weare, who “looked like a preacher though he could swear like a pirate.”  John D. Kohler of the 140th New York Infantry preceded Joseph S. Kelsey.  Joseph assisted his sister and brother-in-law, Josephine Martha Clarke and Oliver P. Clarke, as caretakers for Mount McGregor, the cottage where President Ulysses S. Grant spent his last months and ultimately died.

Frederick Prouse and the strong military influence in his family were discussed next.  Two of Frederick’s grandsons, Lyle Prouse and Dean Shaw, both served during WWI.  A great-grandson, another Lyle Prouse, was a radio operator on a B-29 bomber during WWII and died when his plane crashed on Iwo Jima.  We then discussed Andrew Abrams, who lost his leg at the Battle of Petersburg, and his brother-in-law George C. Taylor who established the Fairport Herald in 1872.

Everyone was so patient as we overran our time to discuss George S. Filkins, Alanson W. Pepper, William H. Jerrells and Simeon Pepper Howard before ending with Shadrick Benson of the 3rd New York Cavalry.  Special thanks to Alan Keukelaar, Vice-President of the Perinton Historical Society, for setting up the tour, and to Laurie T. Hall and Katie Profitt for their assistance.


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