Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just One Man

Union army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient James H Robinson died July 26th 1864.

James H Robinson was born about 1844 in Oakland County, Michigan. He was living in Victor Township, Michigan when he enlisted to fight in the Civil War. Robinson mustered as a Private into Company B of the 3rd Michigan Cavalry. At Brownsville Station, Arkansas on January 27th 1864 he defended against seven Confederate fighters, by himself; killing the leader of the group a Captain W C Stephenson. For this action Robinson was awarded the Medal of Honor April 4th 1864. He died July 26th 1864 in Memphis, Tennessee, and is buried the Memphis National Cemetery.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Letter Writer

A Corporal in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, James Henry Gooding died July 19th 1864 in Andersonville.

James Henry Gooding was born 1837 in Troy, New York. He moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he signed onto a Pacific whaling voyage for four years as a cook. Returning from that voyage in 1860 Gooding signed onto the Montevideo for a one year merchant voyage in the Atlantic.

The 54th Massachusetts Infantry opened a recruiting office in New Bedford in February 1863. Gooding enlisted and became a member of Company C. Shortly after enlisting Gooding began writing letters on a bi-weekly bases for the New Bedford Mercury. He received a promotion in December 1863 to corporal. Gooding was with the 54th Massachusetts during the fight for Fort Wagner on July 18th 1863. He was wounded and captured during the Battle of Oustlee in Florida on February 20th 1864. Gooding died July 19th 1864 in the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia.

Another web site related to the subject and worth a look is Letter from Corporal James Henry Gooding

Monday, July 18, 2011

Find The Flank

The Battle of Blackburn’s Ford, fought on July 18th 1861, was the opening of the Manassas Campaign.

Union Brigadier General Irvin McDowell marched with 35,000 troop from Washington, DC on July 16th 1861. He was moving on the Confederates concentrating near the railroad junction at Manassas. They arrived at Fairfax Court House on July 17th 1861 and looked for a place to cross the Bull Run Creek where they could flank the Confederates. The 22,000 men under the command of Confederate Brigadier General PGT Beauregard anticipated the Union movement and guarded the fords on Bull Run.

McDowell ordered Union Brigadier General Daniel Tyler on July 18th 1861 to find the Confederate left flank. Tyler moved to Centreville which he found unoccupied. In the late morning he reached Blackburn’s Ford, and looking across the stream thought the road was clear to Manassas Junction. But Confederate Brigadier General James Longstreet was hid in the wood just beyond the Ford. Tyler ordered Union Colonel Israel B Richardson to move forward. Richardson ran into resistance from the 1st, 11th and 17th Virginia Infantry. Tyler then ordered artillery and cavalry forward. Unfortunately the 12th New York Infantry began to retreat, which caused panic to spread through out the Union line. At about this same time Confederate Colonel Jubal A Early arrived on the field, which sealed the Confederate victory.

The Union failure at Blackburn’s Ford caused McDowell to decide not to make a frontal assault on Bull Run, he instead tried to cross the stream beyond the left flank of the Confederates.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Fight In Indian Territory

Fought in the Indian Territory, the Battle of Honey Springs on July 17th 1863, was fought mostly by African and Native Americans.

Confederate General Douglas Hancock Cooper had command of troops made up mostly of the Five Civilized Tribes. Cooper was to meet with soldiers of General William Cabell’s command from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Cooper moved toward Honey Springs a Confederate supply depot in the Indian Territory with plans to rest and link up with Cabell. Union General James G Blunt received information about the Confederate movement and decided to attack them. On the morning of July 17th 1863 the battle opened with light skirmishing, which exposed that the Confederates troops had wet gunpowder. The Union troops began a full scale attack in the afternoon, when a heavy rain increased the Confederate’s gunpowder problems. Blunt ordered his 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, under the command of Colonel James M William to attack. The Confederates held there ground and the 1st Kansas withdrew. Cooper’s men moved back toward the depot at Honey Springs for more ammunition, and the Union troops continued to engage them. Making a stand on the bridge over Elk Creek, Cooper’s men fell back further, allowing Union soldiers to turn his left flank. The Confederate troops fell back another half mile, near the Depot, where the Chickasaw and Choctaw regiments made a strong stand while the rest of Cooper’s men retreated.

Union troops moved into Honey Springs, where they burned all the supplies in the depot. The battle was a Union victory. The Battle of Honey Spring was the largest fought in Indian Territory, and opened the way for Union capture of Fort Smith.

A recommended web site on this subject is HONEY SPRINGS, BATTLE OF

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Distraction

A part of the Operation Against the Defenses of Charleston, the Battle of Grimball’s Landing was fought July 16th 1863 in James Island, South Carolina.

In order to keep Confederate reinforcements from renewing the attack on Fort Wagner, Union Brigadier General Quincy Adams Gillmore made two maneuvers. He sent a force up the Stono River to move on the railroad bridge of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, and another landing on James Island. The James Island force was a division under the command of Brigadier General Alfred Howe Terry. After landing on July 8th 1863, Terry made a few demonstration against the Confederates, but did not attack. The Confederates commanded by Brigadier General Johnson Hagood, attacked Terry’s men July 16th 1863 at Grimball’s Landing. Do to the swampy ground, and lack of good scouting the Confederate attack soon fell apart. Union troops pulled off the Island the next day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The First Time In Town

In Rutherford County, Tennessee on July 13th 1862 the First Battle of Murfreesboro was fought.

Union Major General Don Carlos Buell started his Army of the Ohio toward Chattanooga, Tennessee from Corinth, Mississippi on June 10th 1862. In response to this Union threat, Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest moved to Chattanooga. In early July Confederate cavalry under Forrest and Colonel John Hunt Morgan began raiding around Middle Tennessee and Kentucky.

On July 9th 1862 Forrest took two cavalry regiments and left Chattanooga. He met up with some other Confederate units, making his total force about 1,400 men. The target was the Union supply depot on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Union troops under Brigadier General Thomas Turpin Crittenden where garrisoned in three location around the town of Murfreesboro. They were made up of parts of four companies of infantry, cavalry and artillery. In the early morning of July 13th 1862 Forrest’s cavalry engaged Union picket east of Murfreesboro, and then overran a Union hospital and the camp of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry. The Confederate soldiers then moved onto the Union troops at the Murfreesboro’s jail and courthouse. By that afternoon all of the Union troops had surrendered, a total of about 1,000 men. The Confederates destroyed the railroad tracks and most of the Union supplies. The Confederates lost about 150 men.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Served For Almost Four Years

The 5th Wisconsin a Union infantry regiment was formed July 12th 1861 in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 5th Wisconsin Infantry was formed at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin July 12th 1861. The regiment left for Washington, DC July 24th 1861, where they went into camp on Meridian Hill. The 5th was assigned to Winfield Scott Hancock’s Brigade in the Army of the Potomac. This group saw action in many of the battles of eastern theater including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. In August and September of 1863 they were placed on detached duty in Albany and Tory, New York as part of the surpresion of the draft riots. The 5th was present at Appomattox when Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered. The unit served until June 24th 1865 and were mustered out of service July 11th 1865.

The 5th mustered in 1108 men, and add another 832 so the regiment totaled 1940 men. During the course of the war they had 17 officers and 332 enlisted who were killed or died from wounds and diseases.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Great-Grandfather Of A President

George Nixon III the Great-grandfather of President Richard Millhouse Nixon died July 10th 1863 from wounds received in the Battle of Gettysburg.

George Nixon III was born 1821 in Pennsylvania. He was a farmer in Ohio, he and his wife had a large number of children.

When the Civil War started Nixon joined the 73rd Ohio Infantry as a Private in Company B, a company raised in Ross County, Ohio. On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg he was wounded while skirmishing. He was hit in the right hip. Nixon found himself caught between the Union line on Cemetery Ridge and the town area that was held by the Confederates [somewhere near where Tommy‘s Pizza is located today]. His screams of pain in the darkness of July 2nd 1863 drove Union soldier Richard Enderlin to cross into no-mans land and drag Nixon to safety. Nixon was taken to the Eleventh Corps Hospital were he died of his wounds July 10th 1863. He is buried in the Ohio section of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Citizenship Clause

One of the Reconstruction Amendments the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted July 9th 1868.

The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified July 9th 1868. The Amendment gave citizenship to all persons who were “born or naturalized in the United States”. This included the former slaves. It also made it illegal for states to deny due process or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Retreating Battle

A part of the retreat from Gettysburg, the Battle of Boonsboro was fought July 8th 1863 in Washington County, Maryland.

As the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia retreated south following its defeat at Gettysburg, its cavalry held the passes in South Mountain. They fought a rearguard action against parts of the Union First and Third Cavalry and a supporting infantry. The Battle of Boonsboro on July 8th 1863 occurred along the National Road. Confederate Major General J E B Stuart with five brigades of cavalry ran into Union resistance at the Beaver Creek Bridge about four miles north of Boonsboro. The Confederate cavalry moved forward through rain soaked fields causing them and their Union Cavalry counterparts Brigadier Generals H Judson Kilpatrick and John Buford’s divisions to have to fight dismounted. By late afternoon the Union left under Kilpatrick, low on ammunition fell under Confederate pressure. Stuart’s troops advanced in the early evening, but were stopped by the timely arrival of Union infantry.

The fight gained a day for General Robert E Lee’s retreating army.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Small Battle In Arkansas

The Battle of Hill’s Plantation was fought July 7th 1862 in Woodruff County, Arkansas.

In the summer of 1862 Union Major General Samuel R Curtis moved his army into the Helena, Arkansas area, looking for supplies which the United States Navy had promised but hadn’t delivered. As the Union troops moved south toward a supply flotilla in Clarendon, they skirmished with Confederate troops. Confederate Brigadier General Albert Rust moved on Curtis’ men on July 7th 1862 along the Cache River. Rust’s men hit the Union troops about four miles south of the river on the Parley Hill plantation. The out numbered Union troop under the command of Charles E Hovey, repeatedly repulsed attacks made by the Confederate cavalry of Colonel William H Parson. As Union reinforcements arrived the Confederate’s disengaged.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hellmira A Northern Prison Camp

Elmira Prison, a Union prisoner of war camp was opened in July 6th 1864, and became known as Hellmira.

The Union prisoner of war camp constructed in Elmira, New York and known as Elmira Prison was built near the Erie and Northern Central Railroads. The thirty acre plot started the war as Camp Rathbun and was used as a place to train Union troops. As the war continued the camp fell into disuse and it was converted into a prisoner of war camp to hold Confederate prisoners in the summer of 1864. The first prisoners arrived at the camp July 6th 1864. It would hold more then 12,100 Confederate prisoners of war before it was closed. During the time of its operations 2,963 men died at the prison, mostly from a mixture of exposure, malnutrition and bad sanitary conditions. Those who died at the camp where buried by an ex-slave, John W Jones in the Woodlawn National Cemetery. Those who survived and where released from the camp had to take a loyalty oath, and then were given a train ticket. The last Confederate prisoner left Elmira September 27th 1865. The camp was closed and the land turned back to farming and today is a residential area.

For more about this subject check Elmira Civil War Prison

Friday, July 1, 2011

It All Started With One Shot

Union Lieutenant Marcellus E Jones fired the first shot July 1st 1863, that started the three day Battle of Gettysburg.

Union Cavalry under the command of Brigadier General John Buford were waiting on July 1st 1863, for a Confederate force coming from the northwest. Buford could see that the high ground around Gettysburg was important to hold. He planned to hold the hills west of Gettysburg, as a delaying action until the Union First Corps under General John Reynolds could bring up more men.

Confederate Major General Henry Heth’s Division led the way into Gettysburg with Major William J Pegram artillery. This was followed by two brigade of infantry under the command of Brigadier Generals James Jay Archer and Joseph Robert Davis. They were moving along the Chambersburg Pike, about three miles west of town at 7:30am when they met a cavalry vedette. The Union cavalry that Heth’s division ran into were dismounted troops from Colonel William Gamble’s brigade. Lieutenant Marcellus E Jones of the 8th Illinois Cavalry fired the opening shot of the Battle of Gettysburg, firing at a man on a gray horse about a half mile away.

Buford’s small force of 2,748 cavalry would soon face and hold off 7,600 Confederates.

This is a very good web site for information about the first shot and the man who made that shot, Battle of Gettysburg: Who Really Fired the First Shot