Friday, August 27, 2010

The Boy Major

“The Boy Major” Joseph White Latimer was born August 27th 1843 in Oak Ridge, Prince William, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and studied artillery under Thomas J “Stonewall" Jackson. The Civil War broke out while Latimer was in his second year at VMI, and he left the school to serve with the Confederacy. His first service was with the Richmond Hampden Artillery. In the fall of 1861 he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant.

Latimer saw his first action during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. He distinguished himself in the Battles of First Winchester and Cedar Mountain. He was placed in command of the battalion of AR Courtney, and was promoted to Major in March 1863, serving in Major Richard Snowden Andrew’s Battalion a part of Major General Edward “Allegheny” Johnson’s Division. Andrews was wounded at the Battle of Stephenson’s Depot and Latimer took over command of the Battalion for the Gettysburg Campaign.

On July 2nd 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg, Latimer was commanding the artillery on Benner’s Hill. The Confederate guns were supporting an attack on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill. His position was exposed to Union guns and the unit found themselves under heavy fire. Latimer began to have the guns removed from the hill and while directing fire from the remaining four guns, a shell exploded killing his horse and wounding his right arm. He was taken to the Daniel Lady Farm where his arm was amputated. He was moved from there to Winchester, and then to the home of ETH Warren in Harrisonburg, Virginia, as the Confederates retreated from Gettysburg. Latimer developed gangrene and died August 1st 1863. He is buried in the Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The General, The America's Cup

A railroad executive, yachtsman and Union General Charles Jackson Paine was born August 26th 1833 in Boston Massachusetts. He graduated in 1853 from Harvard, and made a nice fortune with the railroad.

With the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 Paine became a Captain in the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. The next year in October 1862 he was commissioned a Colonel in the African American 2nd Louisiana Volunteers. Paine resigned his commission March 4th 1864 and went back to Massachusetts.  In July 1864 Paine re-entered the service as a Brigadier General, and he led a division of black troops at New Market Height, and during both expeditions against Fort Fisher, and the Battle of Wilmington.

Following the war he was the district commander of New Berne, and he arranged the return of Robert Gould Shaw’s sword to his family.  During his latter years Paine developed an interest in yachting. He owned several yachts which brought home the America’s Cup from British challengers. He died August 12th 1916.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Legendary 20th Maine

The 20th Maine and Joshua L Chamberlain were mustered into service on August 20th 1862 under Colonel Adelbert Ames. They were assigned to the 5th Corps in the Army of the Potomac, part of Colonel Strong Vincent‘s Brigade in the First Division. Although they were at Antietam, their first action was on Marye’s Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg. When the 20th reached Gettysburg, Chamberlain was in command, and it was here on July 2nd 1863 that they became part of legend.

The 20th Maine left Appomattox Virginia after the surrender of General Robert E Lee on May 2nd 1865, and marched to Washington DC. The men were mustered out of service July 16th 1865. The initial enrollment of the 20th Maine was 1,621 men, 150 died in combat, 146 died of disease, and 381 were wounded.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Butcher Of Kentucky

Stephen Gano Burbridge, also known as the Butcher of Kentucky was born August 19th 1831 in Scott County Kentucky. He started college at Georgetown College and finished at the Kentucky Military Institute. He became a lawyer after graduating.

When the Civil War started Burbridge raised a Union Regiment, and was made a Colonel of the 26th Kentucky Infantry. He raised to the rank of Brigadier General on June 9th 1862, and saw action at Shiloh, Vicksburg and was successful against John Hunt Morgan during the Battle of Cynthiana. Burbridge took over the problem in June 1864 of Kentucky’s growing Confederate guerrillas from General Jeremiah T Boyle. On July 16th 1864 Burbridge issued his Order Number 59, "Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prison and publicly shot to death at the most convenient place near the scene of the outrages." In October 1864 he led African American Union troops at the Battle of Saltville, the wounded were left behind and killed by Confederate soldiers. After trying to take control of the military from Kentucky Governor Thomas E Bramlette in February 1865, he was dismissed and resigned from the army.

Burbridge found himself and his family shut out socially after the war, and they moved to Brooklyn New York. He died there December 2nd 1894. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Second Try To Cut The Rail Line

The Battle of Globe Tavern [also called Second Battle of Weldon Railroad] was begun on August 18th 1864. South of Petersburg Virginia this was the Union Armies second shot at severing the Weldon Railroad during of Siege of Petersburg. At dawn on August 18th 1864 Major General Gouverneur K Warren advanced from the Petersburg entrenchments, driving the confederates ahead of them, they reached the railroad at Globe Tavern. He sent in a division under Brigadier General Charles Griffin to destroy track, while another division under Brigadier General Romeyn B Ayres formed a battle line to block the Confederate advance. In the afternoon Confederate Major General Henry Heth attacked, pushing the Union division back toward the tavern. Both sides trenched in for the night.

After four days of fighting, the Union Army had extended its siege line, cutting off the primary rail line between Petersburg and Wilmington NC. This caused the Confederates to have to have to haul supplies 30 miles by wagon from the Stony Creek Station.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Start Of The Western Civil War

Four young Dakota hunters on August 17th 1862 stopped at the store of Acton, Meeker County Minnesota Postmaster Robinson Jones. Jones went with them to a neighbor’s Howard Baker, where without warning the Indians shot and killed the two men along with three other settlers in the area. This began the Dakota War of 1862.