Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looking For Shoes

Brigadier General James J Pettigrew marched into Gettysburg PA on June 30th 1863 in search of shoes.

James J Pettigrew who was in command of a brigade in General Henry Heth’s division was ordered to march to Gettysburg PA to investigate a report of supplies located in the town. As he approached to town using the Chambersburg Pike; from Seminary Ridge about 10am, Pettigrew saw Union Cavalry on McPherson’s Ridge. As Robert E Lee had given orders not to engage the enemy, he retreated and reported to the sighting to Heth and General AP Hill.

Heth didn’t believe the men Pettigrew had seen were Union Regulars, but only Pennsylvania Militia. The next day AP Hill sent Henry Heth’s division with the support of Dorsey Pender’s into Gettysburg, where they were met by Buford’s Union Cavalry and John Reynolds’ corp. Heth would be wounded during the battle and command of the division would pass the Pettigrew.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

He Was Honored By His Men

At the Battle of Gaines’ Mills on June 27th 1862 Colonel Jesse Augustus Gove was killed.

Jesse A Gove was born December 5th 1824 in Ware New Hampshire. Wishing to persue a career in the military, Gove attended the Norwich Military Academy than located in Norwich Vermont. He served with the 9th US Infantry during the Mexican-American War. He than study law and became a Deputy Secertary for the State of New Hampshire from 1850 to 1855. In 1855 he found that he missed the army. He was given a commission of Captain and was doing duty with Company I of the 10th Infantry in Utah when the Civil War began.

At the start of the war Gove was recalled to Washington DC, to succeeded Colonel Henry Wilson as the commander of the 22nd MA Volunteer Infantry. He was the only regular Army officer to command the 22nd and depite this was much loved by the men. Gove was killed in action on June 27th 1862 at the Battle of Gaines Mill in Virginia. After the Civil War the veterans of the 22nd MA chose the date of their reunion to honor Col Gove’s death.

For more reading
Colonel Jesse A. Gove, U.S.A.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The First of the Seven Days

The Battle of Oak Grove in Virginia was the first of the Seven Days’ Battles which began on June 25th 1862.

Oak Grove was an important location for the siege of Richmond during the Peninsula campaign. Major General George B McClellan advanced his line on June 25th 1862 along the Williamsburg Road, with the plan being to get his guns in range of Richmond VA. McClellan’s troops attacked over swampy ground, with darkness ending the fight. The battle wasn’t strong enough to stop the Confederate offensive, the next day Robert E Lee attacked at Mechanicville. The Union troops advanced less that a mile at a cost of 626 dead, wounded and missing, with Joseph Hooker’s division baring the brunt of the attack. The Rebel’s loss was 441.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Began and Ended

In the little coastal town of Brunswick, Maine on June 24 1794, Bowdoin College was founded.

Bowdoin College has caused many to say that this is where the Civil War “began and ended”. It was in Appleton Hall, while her husband was teaching at Bowdoin, that Harriet Beecher Stowe began writing her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Than Joshua Chamberlain, who was an alumnus and professor of Bowdoin accepted the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.

Other Civil War connections to Bowdoin College include, General Oliver Otis Howard [the class of 1850], who was the leader of the Freedmen’s Bureau after the war. Governor John A Andrew [class of 1837] who was responsible for the formation of the 54th Massachusetts. William P Fessenden [class of 1823] and Hugh McCulloch [class 1827] both of whom served as Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury. Brevet Brigadier General Ellis Spear [class of 1858] who was Chamberlain’s second in command at Gettysburg. John Brown Russwurm [class of 1826] who was the third black man to graduate from an American college and the co-founder of “Freedom’s Journal” the country’s first black newspaper.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Last One Was Stand

Brigadier General Stand Watie surrendered on June 23rd 1865, the last Confederate General to do so.

Upon learning that the Confederate government in Richmond had fallen, and that the other Eastern armies had surrendered, the leaders of the Confederate Indians began making plans to lay down their arms. There was a council called on June 15th 1865 and a resolution made to send emissaries to the Union authorities for terms of peace.

The largest of the Indian forces was led by Confederate General Stand Watie, who was a chief with the Cherokee Nation. Watie was committed to the Rebel cause, and being un-willing to admit defeat waited almost a full month after Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith’s surrender to give up. On June 23rd 1865 Watie with the Creek, Seminole, Osage and Cherokee who rode with him, went into Doaksville, near Fort Towson in the Indian Territory and surrendered to Lieutenant Asa C Matthews.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A New State

West Virginia became a separate state and was admitted to the Union on June 20th 1863. After holding the Wheeling Convention, fifty counties of Virginia that would become West Virginia broke away from the Confederate state. On April 20th 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that West Virginia would become a state in sixty days. It was one of only two states formed during the Civil War [the other state was Nevada] and the only state to formed by seceding from the confederacy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Great Train Race

James J Andrews and six of his Raiders were hung on May 8th 1862 after leading the Great Locomotive Race on the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

The train “The General” was stopped at Big Shanty, Georgia [now known as Kennesaw GA], when civilian James J Andrew and a group of Union spies boarded the train and headed off towards Chattanooga. Andrews was working with General Don Carlos Buell, on this mission. The Raiders left Ohio on April 7th 1862, disguised as civilians, they headed 200 miles south. The plan behind the heist of this train was to destroy Confederate supply lines, rail, and telegraph along the route between Atlanta and Chattanooga. “The General” was pursued by conductor William Allen Fuller on foot for the first couple of miles, before he got hold of a handcar and several trains, as he continued after the stolen “General”. Eighty-seven miles into the chase, the locomotive was low on water and wood, and lost steam, coming to halt just north of Ringold GA. The raiders left “The General” attempting to escape, but they didn’t get far.

James Andrews and six of the raiders were convicted as spies and hung on May 8th 1862. Eight of the raiders were made prisoners of war and were exchanged latter in the war. All of the Raiders except Andrews were given the Medal of Honor; as a civilian he wasn’t eligible. Andrews is buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga Tennessee.

Other interesting reading
The Great Locomotive Chase The story of Andrew's Raiders

Daring and Suffering: A History of the Andrews Railroad Raid