Friday, August 31, 2012

The First In New Jersey

Union General George William Taylor died August 31st 1862 from wounds received a few days earlier at the Second Battle of Manassas.

George William Taylor was born November 22nd 1808 at his family home “Solitude” in High Bridge, New Jersey, the son of Archibald Stewart and Nancy Ann (Bray) Taylor.  He graduated from Partridge's American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy in Middletown, Connecticut.  After graduation Taylor went to work at his father’s company Taylor Iron & Steel Company.  In 1827 He joined the United States Navy, serving until 1831, when he went back into family business.  When the Mexican American War started Taylor served under General Zachary Taylor in the 10th US Infantry.  Following his service in the Mexican American War, he spent a time looking for gold in California, before returning to New Jersey and the iron company.

When the Civil War started Taylor help recruit what would become the 3rd New Jersey Infantry.  He would be their Colonel.  The 3rd would become a part the famed “First New Jersey Brigade” and Taylor and the 3rd would see action at First Bull Run and many battles during the Peninsula Campaign.  Taylor was promoted May 9th 1862 to Brigadier General and given command of the 1st New Jersey Brigade.  On August 27th 1862 while Taylor’s Brigade was deployed at Manassas Junction near Bull Run Bridge, he was wounded in leg by an artillery shell.

Taylor died August 31st 1862 in the Washington, DC area.  His body was sent by train to Clinton, New Jersey.  He is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Clinton, New Jersey.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

There Will Be No More Peace

A part of what is known as “Bleeding Kansas” the Battle of Osawatomie was fought August 30th 1856 between pro-slavery men and Free State men, and included John Brown.

About 275 pro-slavery men, led by John W Reid and Reverend Marvin White attacked Osawatomie August 30th 1856.  The plan was to destroy the town and then move on to the other Free State towns of Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas.  These pro-slavery men shot Frederick Brown, the son of John Brown, there by alerting the Free State men living in Osawatomie.  Brown with forty men did what they could to defend the town, but after a number of casualties the men from Osawatomie had to withdraw.  Once Osawatomie had been vacated Reid and White’s group looted and burnt the town.

As Brown watched the town of Osawatomie burn he was said to have said, “God sees it, I have only a short time to live - only one death to die, and I will die fighting for this cause. There will be no more peace in this land until slavery is done for."

For more information you might want to look at Kansas Legends Battle of Osawatomie

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Opening Up Kentucky

A Confederate victory the Battle of Richmond was fought August 29th and 30th 1862 in the Richmond, Kentucky area.

In August 1862 two Confederate armies moved into Kentucky looking to threaten Union areas along the Ohio River and do some recruiting.  These were commanded by Brigadier General Edmund Kirby Smith and Major General Braxton Bragg.  They moved more or less parallel across the state, with Smith moving from Knoxville and Bragg from Chattanooga.

Smith’s men moved north on August 29th 1862 from Big Hill, Kentucky toward Richmond, Kentucky, where they met Union skirmishers.  Shortly after noon Union artillery and infantry came up, forcing Smith’s cavalry under Confederate Colonel John S Scott to retreat back to Big Hill.  Union troops in the area were commanded by Brigadier General Mahlon Dickerson Manson, and they pursued and skirmished with the Confederates into the late afternoon.  That night Manson reported to his commander Major General William Bull Nelson.

The fighting continued the next day with each bringing in more troops.  In the end the Union troops retreated.  The Confederates captured about 4,300 Union men.  The Union also had 78 men killed and 372 wounded and 1 missing.  This battle laid open the way for the Confederate to move north towards Lexington and Frankfort.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Holdong The Gap

Part of the Northern Virginia Campaign and a part of the set up to the Second Battle of Manassas, the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap was fought August 28th 1862.  It is also known as the Battle of Chapman’s Mill.

Confederate Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson took his troops through Thoroughfare Gap on August 26th 1862, on his way to raid the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction.  The next day Union Major General Irwin McDowell headed for Manassas in pursuit.  To protect his left flank he sent the 1st New Jersey Cavalry and Brigadier General James B Ricketts’ Brigade towards Thoroughfare Gap.  Ricketts’ halted about 6 miles east of the Gap at Gainesville, Virginia, sending the Cavalry to occupy the Gap.  At the same time Confederate Major General James Longstreet’s Corps was following Jackson, coming toward the Gap from the West.

On the morning of August 28th 1862 the 1st New Jersey Cavalry encountered Longstreet’s lead troops while they were falling trees to block the road on the East side of the Gap.  Word was sent to Ricketts to bring up his troops, but he moved slowly, only making it as far as Haymarket still 3 miles from the Gap at 2 pm.  At that point Longstreet had pushed the Union Cavalry out of the Gap.

Longstreet moved his men to the high ground on either side of the Gap and then moved to outflank the Union position.  The 9th Georgia Infantry part of Confederate Colonel George T Anderson brigade moved to Chapman’s Mill on the East side of the Gap and attacked the 11th Pennsylvania. South of the Gap the 2nd and 20th Georgia met the 13th Massachusetts and drove them back down the steep slopes.  Holding the Gap, Confederate Colonel Evander M Law’s Brigade moved against the Union right at the same time Confederate Brigadier General Cadmus M Wilcox took 3 Brigades North through Hopewell Gap to outflank the Union and hit them in the rear.  With the Union position becoming untenable Ricketts ordered the men to fall back to Gainesville, leaving the Gap before Wilcox got into position to cut him off.

This was a rather small action, but opened up the way for Longstreet to join his Corps with Jackson’s leading to the Union loss at the Second Battle of Manassas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Brother After Brother

The skirmish known as the Fight at Waterford took place August 27th 1862 in the Waterford, Virginia area.

Union Captain Samuel C Means commanding the Loudoun Rangers; an independent force, moved on August 26th 1862 into Waterford, Loudoun, Virginia to prepare a movement against Confederates in the area.  He stationed pickets on the six roads leading into town, placed Lieutenant Luther Slater in command before retiring.  Confederate Captain Elijah V White leading about 100 cavalry under supervision of Confederate General Richard S Ewell moved into the Loudoun County, Virginia area.  They learned of Means’ presence in the area.

With the help of locals in the early morning hours of August 27th 1862 White’s men approached Waterford.  White split his force sending 30 men on horses down the road to draw the Union troops out, while another 20 on foot waited nearby to fire on Means’ soldiers if they took the bait.  White’s men opened fire early sending the Rangers into the Baptist Church, losing 1 killed and 2 wounded including Slater.  The Confederates laid a fire into the church, while some of the men went looking for Means, who had already escaped with some of the pickets.

After several hours of fighting and almost out of ammunition the Rangers in the church finally agreed to surrender as long as all the men would be paroled.  White who was also running short of ammo took the Union horses and paroled 19 of Means men found in the church.  It was during the surrender that William Snoot a member of White’s cavalry ran into church planning to kill his brother Charles Snoot who was fighting with the Loudoun Rangers.  He was disarmed before reaching his brother.

If you are interested in reading more, please look at The Fight at the Baptist Church, Waterford, 1862

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fight Manfully For Our Just And Holy Cause

Eli Lilly was elected Captain August 24th 1862 of Lilly’s Hoosier Battery, or the 18th Independent Battery Indiana Light Artillery.

The 18th Independent Battery Indiana Light Artillery was formed by Eli Lilly an Indianapolis, Indiana pharmacist.  He recruited for the Battery from around the city and among his friends and classmates.  He posted recruiting posters around the city that said “fight manfully for our just and holy cause.”  The 18th had six ten pounder Parrott’s that were manned by 150 men.  The unit mustered in in Indianapolis and Lilly was elected Captain August 24th 1862.  The 18th was commanded by Union Colonel John T Wilder.  They enlisted for three years becoming a part of the Army of the Cumberland and saw action at the Battles of Hoover’s Gap, Second Chattanooga, Chickamauga and others.  The 18th had 12 men killed in battle and another 31 die from disease.

If you’re interested in more information The 18th Indiana Light Artillery  is a good place to look.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Closing The Bay

A part of the Battle for Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan fell on August 23rd 1864 to Union forces.

The Confederate navy in Mobile Bay was defeated by Union Admiral David Glasgow Farragut on August 5th 1864.  Fort Gaines which protected the western side of the Bay surrendered to a land force under the commanded of Union Major General Gordon Granger.  The Union command then turn their attention to Confederate held Fort Morgan.  The Fort was under Confederate Brigadier General Richard Lucian Page, who had about 600 men in his command.

Granger’s soldiers began moving siege artillery into range of the Fort on August 9th 1864.  Farragut had his ships guns turned toward the Fort.  For the next two weeks the Union guns fired on the Fort, keeping up consistent bombardment.

Page was forced on August 23rd 1864 to unconditionally surrender the Fort.  Refusing the turn over his sword to the Union, Page broke it over his knee.  He had his cannon spiked before surrendering and turning the Fort over.  The fall of this Fort shut down Mobile Bay as a port for the Confederates.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

He Received The Masonic Sign

A member of the 140th Pennsylvania Infantry, Henry Harrison Bingham received his commission on August 22nd 1862 to First Lieutenant.

Henry Harrison Bingham was born December 4th 1841 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He attended Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and would graduate with a law degree from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Bingham enlisted in the Union Army, and was commissioned First Lieutenant in the 140th Pennsylvania Infantry August 22nd 1862.  During the Battle of Gettysburg he was part of Union Major General Winfield Scott Hancock’s Second Corps.  He was near the Angle as Pickett’s Charge came to its conclusion.  Bingham would be the man to whom Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead gave the Masonic sign after being wounded. [Although this story has been discounted recently.] Bingham who was a Captain would come to Armistead’s aid, receive his personal effects and tell Hancock the news of his old friend.  During the Battle of Wilderness Bingham was the aide-de-camp to Union Major General Gouverneur Kemble Warren.  As a Captain in Company G of the 140th Pennsylvania on May 6th 1864 he "rallied and led into action a portion of the troops who had given way under fierce assaults of the enemy."  For this action he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Bingham was wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania and captured at the Battle of Fair Oak.

After the war Bingham was appointed by President Andrew Johnson to Postmaster of Philadelphia, a post he held until December 1872.  He was a delegate at the Republican National Conventions from 1872 through 1900.  He was a Congressman from 1879 until his death, serving as the Chairman of several committees.  Bingham died March 22nd 1912 in Pennsylvania and is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Can't Keep Him Out Of The Bedroom

The Second Battle of Memphis, was part of a raid made by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest August 21st 1864 in Shelby County, Tennessee.

On August 21st 1864 Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest made a raid on Memphis, Tennessee in the early morning hours.  He was not trying to capture the town which was occupied by about 6,000 Union troops.  Bedford hit the town with three things in mind, first to cause Union troops to pull back out of Mississippi, second to capture the Union generals posted there and lastly to break free the Confederate prisoners of war being held at the Irving Block Prison.

Moving into Memphis with about 1,500 cavalry, Forrest used the heavy morning fog to get past Union patrols.  The Confederates galloped through the streets of Memphis firing off shots at Union troops.  They did not find the generals, although one, Union Major General Cadwallader Colden Washburn made his escape to Fort Pickering in his night shirt.  Union troops were able to prevent the attack on the Irving Block Prison, and so after two hours Forrest withdrew his men.  The Confederates cut the telegraph wire, gathered supplies, a large number of horses and about 500 Union prisoners.

Union Major General Stephen Augustus Hurlbut, the commander of the Union Army of Gulf said of Forrest after the raid, "There it goes again! They superseded me with Washburn because I could not keep Forrest out of West Tennessee, and Washburn cannot keep him out of his own bedroom!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

They Held The Field

The Battle of Lovejoy’s Station was fought in the Clayton County, Georgia area August 20th 1864 and was a part of the Atlanta Campaign.

Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry was making raids in North Georgia and Tennessee, when Union Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick made a raid on the Confederate supply lines.  Beginning on August 18th 1864 the Union cavalry hit the Atlanta & West Point Railroad taking out a section of track.  Kilpatrick then moved through Jonesborough where they hit the supply depot on the Macon & Western Railroad burning supplies.

The Union cavalry reached Lovejoy’s Station on August 20th 1864, and began destroying track and supplies.   Confederate Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne’s division marched into town engaging Kilpatrick’s cavalry.  The battle went on into the night, before the Union cavalry had to retreat to prevent being surrounded.  Each side lost about 250 men, but Lovejoy is thought to be a Confederate victory as they held the field when the fighting ended and had the railroad back running in two days.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Walked Right In Carrying A Rifle

Christopher Miner Spencer walked into the White House August 18th 1863 carrying one of his Spencer rifles, to see President Abraham Lincoln.

Christopher Miner Spencer was born June 20th 1833 in Manchester, Connecticut.  He was apprenticed to work at 14 for the Cheney Brother’s as a machinist.  He developed his Spencer Repeating Rifle in 1860, but was unable to get it into Union army use.  On August 18th 1863 Spencer walked into the White House, past the sentries carrying one of his rifles with cartridges and into President Abraham Lincoln’s office.  The two them discussed the gun, and the next afternoon Lincoln, Spencer, Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton and other officials met out on the Mall where they participated in target shooting using the gun.

After that meeting the Union ordered around 13,000 Spencer rifles, along with 58 million rounds of ammo.  Union General Ulysses S Grant said the Spencer rifle was "the best breech-loading arms available".  Many of the Civil War veterans returned home with their Spencer.

Demand for the rifle fell after the war ended, and Spencer was unable to make enough money cover his investments.  The Spencer Repeating Rifle Company went bankrupt in 1868.  The company’s assets were bought by Oliver Winchester.  Spencer went on to develop other quality gun, such as the Spencer Pump Action Shotgun, as well as inventing things like the Steam Powered Buggy and the first automatic screw machine.  Spencer died January 14th 1922 in Windsor, Connecticut.

If you would like more information, check out Christopher Spencer’s Horizontal Shot Tower

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Confederates Hold Control

A Confederate force defeated a small Union detachment August 17th 1864 at the Battle of Gainesville in Gainesville, Florida.

The fighting during the Battle of Gainesville occurred in the town square with many of the locals watching from the windows of the Beville house on August 17th 1864.  About 350 Union men made up of parts of the 75th Ohio Mounted, Company B of the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry and Battery A of the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy artillery.  Under the command of Colonel Andrew Lintner Harris occupied the Gainesville, Florida.  The Union would face about 290 Confederates under the command of Captain John Jackson Dickison.  Dickison’s force was made up of parts of the 5th Florida Cavalry Battalion and local militia.

Harris’ troops arrived in the town after a long march in the summer heat of Florida.  Dickison hit the Union men before they had time to fully deploy.  The fighting went on for over 2 hours, before the Union troops were forced to retreat.

Union losses were high with 28 killed, 5 wounded, 274 missing or captured.  They also lost 260 horses and a cannon.  Harris and the remains of his men escaped.  The Confederate losses were light in the battle with only 8 men killed or wounded.  Gainesville, Florida remained under Confederate control for the remainder of the war.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Killed Leading His Men

Confederate Brigadier General John Randolph Chambliss Jr was killed August 16th 1864 at the Second Battle of Deep Bottom.

John Randolph Chambliss Jr was born January 23rd 1833 in Hicksford, Greensville, Virginia.  He attended West Point, graduating 31st out of 52 in the class in 1853.  He received a commission of Second Lieutenant, and taught cavalry tactics at military school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  The next year Chambliss resigned his commission and returned to the family home.  From 1858 through 1861 he was a member of the Virginia militia.

In July 1861 he would be commissioned the Colonel of the 13th Virginia Cavalry.  In November 1862 his regiment was assigned to be part of General William Henry Fitzhugh “Rooney” Lee’s cavalry.  At the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9th 1863, Chambliss’s men were located at Beverly Ford.  His 50 man unit drove the Union cavalry in their front into the river taking a number of prisoners.  After Rooney Lee was wounded and Colonel Solomon Williams was killed in the battle Chambliss took over command of the brigade.  Riding into Pennsylvania with Confederate General JEB Stuart, he was in the cavalry battle at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30th 1863.  Chambliss’s brigade also saw action at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3rd 1863 out on East Cavalry Field.  He continued to lead the brigade in the Battle of Bristoe Station, and would be promoted to Brigadier General.

While leading his men on the Charles City Road east of Richmond, Virginia during the Second Battle of Deep Bottom on August 16th 1864 Chambliss was killed.  His body was left on the Union side of this line and was buried by Union men.  The next day under a flag of truce Confederate General David M Gregg sent a detachment of Confederates across the line to retrieve Chambliss’ body for burial in Emporia, Virginia in the Chambliss Family Cemetery.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fighting In Missouri

The Battle of Lone Jack happened in Jackson County, Missouri August 15th and 16th 1862.

Union Major Emory S Foster moved his 800 hundred men from Lexington, Missouri to Lone Jack.  Upon moving in they come up against 1,600 Confederate troops under the command of Colonel John Trousdale Coffee.  On August 15th 1862 about 9 pm the Union force attacked the Confederate camp sending the soldiers scattering.

Early the next morning Foster was told that a large Confederate force was advancing.  They attacked and over the course of five hours of fighting Foster was wounded and the Union troops were forced to retreat.  They returned to Lexington.

Although the battle was a Confederate victory, they were forced to leave the area by the advance of a large number of Union troops.

If you’re interested in reading more, check the Lone Jack Historical Society web page.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Would Not Surrender The Symbols of Pride

The 16th Maine Infantry was organized in Augusta, Maine and was mustered into service August 14th 1862, for a term of three years.

The 16th Maine Infantry was organized with Colonel Charles W Tilden as its commander.  They were mustered into Union service August 14th 1862 and arrived in Washington, DC a few days later.  They went into active duty immediately in Maryland.  The 16th was assigned to General John Gibbon’s Division of the First Corps. 

The first action for this regiment was at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where they had 427 men present, losing 27 killed, 170 wounded and 34 missing.  The next time the men of the 16th saw heavy fighting as the Battle of Gettysburg, where the 16th went in with 248 officers and men and ended the battle with 2 officers and 15 men able to report for duty.  They saved their flags as the Confederates closed in on the men on July 1st 1863 by tearing up the colors into small pieces.  As Abner Small of the 16th said, “For a few last moments our little regiment defended angrily its hopeless challenge, but it was useless to fight longer.  We looked at our colors, and our faces burned. We must not surrender those symbols of our pride and our faith."  The men hid the pieces on their person there by depriving the Confederates of capturing the flags.  In March 1864 the 16th was transferred to the Union Fifth Corps, serving in General Samuel W Crawford’s Division.  The men would see hard fighting at the Battles of Spotsylvania, Hatcher’s Run and others.

During the three years of service 1,907 men served in the 16th Maine.  They had 181 killed in battle or die of wounds.  578 men were wounded in action.  259 of the 16th died from disease.  76 good men of Maine would die in Confederate prison of war camps.

Monday, August 13, 2012

She Returned To Work After The War

The side-wheel steamer the USS Monohansett, which had been working as a ferry for Martha’s Vineyard, was chartered by the Union August 13th 1862.

The Monohansett was built in New York at the Thomas Collier shipyard in 1862 for the New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamboat Company.  She was 182 feet long and 28 foot wide with a draft of 9’ 6”.  She made her first trip to the Martha’s Vineyard Edgartown wharf on June 1st 1862.  Only two month latter she became the USS Monohansett when she was chartered by the Union Government on August 13th 1862.

The Monohansett was used the move military dispatches for the Union fleet operating in the Cape Hatteras, Wilmington, Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River area.  She would be used as Union General Ulysses S Grant’s dispatch boat as well as the headquarters at City Point.  President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary used the boat while in the City Point area near the end of the war.

After the war ended the Monohansett returned to her work as a ferry for Martha’s Vineyard.  When the then President Grant visited Martha’s Vineyard in 1874 he used the boat again.  She was wrecked while going between Boston and Gloucester in a heavy fog in June 1904.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It Would Use To Much Ammunition

The Billinghurst Requa Battery gun; an early rapid-fire gun, was given a public test August 12th 1862 with hopes of finding finical backing.

The Billinghurst Requa Battery gun was invented by a dentist, a Doctor Joseph Requa who had been apprenticed at 16 to William Billinghurst.  In 1861 Requa began to think about how to design a rapid-fire gun and he talked to his mentor Billinghurst about the idea.  Together they come up with and built a scale model of the gun on July 11th 1861.  When the gun was well received they built a full scale prototype.

The Billinghurst Requa had twenty-five .58 caliber rifle barrels each mounted together on a light metal frame that could be elevated for firing range.  This frame was then placed on a two wheeled carriage.  It was loaded with a clip that held 25 rounds, and could be reloaded and fired 7 times a minute.

Requa took his gun to Union General James Wolfe Ripley April 22nd 1862, but Ripley wouldn’t consider the use of the Billinghurst Requa.  He felt that the gun would use up to much ammunition.  Requa then went to President Abraham Lincoln with several demonstrations of the gun, which were favorably received.

In need of money to produce their weapon Billinghurst and Requa arranged a public demonstration of the gun August 12th 1862 in Rochester, NY.  The gun hit its target, a barrel floating in the Genessee River about 1,800 away in distance.  Billinghurst and Requa found enough backers to have 50 guns produced.

The gun was used during the Battle of Cold Harbor, the Siege of Petersburg and as protection of the bridges leading into Washington, DC.  The gun was made obsolete shortly after the war as new firearm technology came along.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ending Confederate Recruiting

Colonel Odon Guitar
The Battle of Compton’s Ferry was fought August 11th 1862 along the Grand River in Missouri.

Confederate Colonel John A Poindexter commanding about 1300 men was trapped up against the Grand River in Missouri near the Compton Ferry by Union Colonel Odon Guitar.  The Union troops caught the Confederates as they were trying to cross the river.  Eight rounds fired from the Union artillery sent Poindexter’s men into a complete rout.  Poindexter would be captured in early September after having been wounded.

This small battle effectively put an end to the Confederate recruiting operations in northwest Missouri.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Union Germans In A Confederate State

A confrontation between German Immigrants in Texas and Confederate soldier would turn deadly August 10th 1862, and become known as the Nueces Massacre.

The Hill Country of Texas was heavily settled by Germans who fled their country in 1848 when a revolution there failed.  These “Forty-Eighters” opposed slavery as practiced by their neighbors, but for the most part stayed out of Texas politics.  That is until Texas succeeded from the Union.

Confederate troops under the command of Captain James Duff were sent into the Texas Hill country in April 1862 to disband groups of Union loyalist and enforce the Confederate draft laws.  Duff ordered that all men must take an oath of allegiance to Confederacy or they would be considered traitors.  When very few of the German men took the oath, Duff had dozens arrested, their homes burned and as many as 20 men hanged.

68 Germans following Fritz Tegener decided in August 1862 to go to Mexico, where they hoped  to travel to Union territory.  Duff’s men learned of the groups move and pursued them.  The Confederates caught up with the Germans near the Nueces River in Kinney County on August 10th 1862.  In the fight that followed 19 of the German were killed and 15 wounded.  As the Germans retreated to the hills 9 of their wounded had to be left behind.  At first the Confederate cared for the wounded Germans, along with their own wounded, but at some point during the afternoon the nine wounded Germans were taken outside of camp and killed.

An account that was written by one of the Confederates stated that, “Some of the more humane of us did what we could to ease the sufferings of the wounded Germans. They had fought a good fight, and bore themselves so pluckily I felt sorry I had taken my part against them. We bound up their wounds, and gave them water, and laid them as comfortably as we could in the shade. Poor creatures, how grateful they were!

I hurried over to where we had left the German wounded to see how they were getting on, and was surprised to find them gone. Asking what had become of them, I was told they had been moved to a better shade a short distance away. With this answer I was quite satisfied, and never dreamed the brutes with whom I served would be guilty of foul play, especially after the gallant fight the enemy had made.

Just then one of our wounded called for water, and I brought him some from the cool spring. As I was giving it to him, the sound of firing was heard a little way off. I thought at first they were burying some of the dead with the honors of war; but it didn’t sound like that either. Then, possibly it might be an attack on the camp; so I seized my rifle and ran in the direction of the firing. Presently I met a man coming from it who, when he saw me running, said, “You needn’t be in a hurry, it’s all done; they shot the poor devils, and finished them off.”

“It can’t possibly be they have murdered the prisoners in cold blood!” I said, not believing that even Luck [a villainous -- to the diarist's mind -- lieutenant] would be guilty of such an atrocious crime. “Oh, yes; they’re all dead, sure enough — and a good job too!” Feeling sick at heart, though I hardly even then credited his report, I ran on, and found it only too true.

It seems they were asked if they wouldn’t like to be moved a little way off into better shade. The poor creatures willingly agreed, thanking their murderers for their kindness. They were carried away, but it was to the shade and shadow of death, for a party of cowardly wretches went over and shot them in cold blood.”

If you are interested in reading more about the The Nueces Massacre, also known as the Battle of the Nueces is a good web site.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Well Deserved Tribute

Confederate General Charles Sidney Winder was killed during the Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9th 1862.

Charles Sidney Winder was born October 18th 1829 Easton, Talbot, Maryland.  He attended St John’s College in Maryland before becoming a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1846.  He graduated in 1850 in the middle of the class, taking an appointment to 4th United State Artillery.  He would see action in the Indian Wars while stationed in Washington Territory.

When the Civil War started Winder resigned from the United State Army and accepted an appointment to Captain on March 16th 1861 in the Confederate Artillery.  He became the Colonel of the 6th South Carolina Infantry July 8th 1861.  Moving into the Shenandoah Valley with a promotion to Brigadier General on March 1st 1862, he served under Confederate General Thomas J "Stonewall" Jackson.  Winder commanded the Fourth Brigade a part of Ambrose Powell Hill’s Division.

During the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9th 1862, Winder’s men held the left flank of the Confederate line.  He was on the line directing the fire of the Rockbridge Artillery when he was hit by a shell in his left side, the shell nearly severed his left arm.  Winder was taken to the rear and would die a few hours later.  In death he was not left to rest, being buried first at Orange Court House, and then moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, before his family moved him again to the family cemetery at Wye House, Easton, Maryland.

Confederate General Robert E Lee wrote of Winder, “I can add nothing to the well-deserved tribute paid to the courage, capacity, and conspicuous merit of this lamented officer by General Jackson, in whose brilliant campaigns in the valley and on the Chickahominy he bore a distinguished part."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Execution

Confederate soldier Frisby McCullough was executed following the Battle of Kirksville on August 8th 1862, charged with being a guerilla fighter.

Frisby McCullough was born in New Castle County, Delaware March 8th 1828 the son of James and Delia [Pennington] McCullough.  When he was 12 the family moved to Marion County, Missouri.  When the California gold rush started in 1849 McCullough caught the fever and moved to California, living there for the next five years.  Upon returning to Marion County he married in 1856 to Eloise Randolph.

When the Civil War started McCullough joined the Confederates serving under General Thomas Green.  He saw action at the Battle of Lexington before moving on to recruit for Confederate General Sterling Price in northeastern Missouri in 1862.  McCullough became sick after the Battle of Kirksville, riding alone he was caught by Union troops and he surrendered to them.  He was moved to the town of Kirksville where he was accused of fighting as a bushwhacker without a military commission.

A court was convened by Lieutenant Colonel W F Schaffer.  When asked McCullough admitted to lacking a commission at that time as his rank as Lieutenant Colonel in the Missouri State Guard had expired.  He was found guilty, and given 15 minutes to write a letter to his wife.  McCullough asked to be allowed to give the order to shot, and as such his last words, “What I have done, I have done as a principle of right. Aim at the heart. Fire!”  He was not killed by the first volley and history has come down saying that either he was killed by the second volley or dispatched by a pistol shot.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Active Blockading Ship

Lieutenant Joseph Couthouy
The USS Kingfisher was purchased by the Union Navy August 2nd 1861 and placed under the command of Acting Lieutenant Joseph P Couthouy.

The first ship known as the USS Kingfisher was bought by the Union Navy August 2nd 1861.  She was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard October 3rd 1861 and placed under the command of Acting Lieutenant Joseph P Couthouy.  She was sent immediately to Key West, Florida to be part of the Gulf Blocking Squadron.

The Kingfisher along with the USS Ethan Allen worked in cooperation on several missions in early 1862, including the capture of a ship bound to Nassau, Bahamas with a cargo of turpentine and taking the Confederate sloop the Mary Nevis.  The Kingfisher sent a landing party in at ST Joseph, Florida to destroy the salt works located there.  In December 1862 she was ordered after a refitting in Boston, Massachusetts to be part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.  The Kingfisher would run aground March 28th 1864 at Combahee Bank in ST Helena Sound, South Carolina.  She filled with water and was abandoned there on April 5th 1864.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Young Napoleon

Confederate Major Joseph White Latimer died August 1st 1863 from wounds he received during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Joseph White Latimer was born August 27th 1843 in Oak Ridge, Prince William, Virginia.  He was attending the Virginia Military Institute and was in his second year at the school when the Civil War started.  While at VMI Latimer was taught artillery tactics by Thomas Jonathan Jackson.

When the war started Latimer left the school to join the Confederacy where he started in 1861 with the Richard Hampden Artillery.  He saw his first action in 1862 in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign as part of Confederate Major General Richard S Ewell’s division and was commissioned First Lieutenant.  Latimer distinguished himself and was given command of a battalion.  He was commanding at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862.  In March 1863 he received a promotion to Major, with Ewell referring to him as “Young Napoleon”, however for most the nick name became “The Boy Major”.  His promotion placed him in Confederate Major Richard Snowden Andrew’s Battalion a part of Confederate Major General Edward “Allegheny” Johnson’s Division.  Andrew was wounded at the Battle of Stephenson’s Depot and this placed Latimer in command at the Battle of Gettysburg.

On the afternoon of July 2nd 1863 Latimer’s command was located on Benner’s Hill and was heavily engaged with Union artillery on Steven’s Knoll and East Cemetery Hill.  Latimer’s position on Benner’s Hill was exposed and while moving his guns off, he was wounded in the arm, the shot killing his horse which pinned him underneath.  Latimer was taken to the Daniel Lady Farm where his right arm was amputated.  When the Confederates retreated from Gettysburg he was moved to Winchester, and then again as the Union troops perused to Harrisonburg, Virginia.  While at the home of ETH Warren Latimer developed gangrene, he died August 1st 1863.  He is buried in Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.