Friday, April 15, 2011

Failure In The Shenandoah

Robert Patterson was mustered into service and given command of the districts of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Pennsylvania April 15th 1861.

Robert Patterson was born January 12th 1792 in Cappagh, Tyrone, Ireland. His family emigrated to the United States in 1799. He attended local schools and then clerked in a Philadelphia counting house. Volunteering for service, Patterson rose in rank during the War of 1812 to Colonel in the 2nd Pennsylvania Militia. With the Mexican-American war he was commissioned a Major General, and saw action at the Battle of Cerro Gordo and Veracruz. Following the war he returned to Pennsylvania where he joined in politics and became quite wealthy because of his cotton mills and a Louisiana sugar plantation.

When the Civil War started Patterson was appointed Major General of Pennsylvania volunteers. He was given the command of the Department of Pennsylvania and the Army of the Shenandoah on April 15th 1861. Ordered to re-take the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Patterson failed, and was then outmaneuvered at the Battle of Hoke’s Run, and by Confederate Brigadier General Joseph E Johnston at Winchester Virginia. Due to Patterson’s failure with Johnston, the Confederate leader was able to be at First Bull Run. Patterson was honorably discharged from the Army July 27th 1861.

Patterson returned to his cotton mills and wrote the book “A Narrative of the Campaign in the Valley of the Shenandoah in 1861” which was published in 1865. He was the President of the Aztec Club from 1867 to 1881. Patterson died August 7th 1881 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery there.

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