Posted by: TC Maurice | September 14, 2022

September Meeting Zoom Recording

Robert Jenkins discusses the battle of Peachtree Creek. Click on the link below for the Zoom recording.

The Battle of Peachtree Creek

Then enter Passcode: L@15VZ=7

Posted by: TC Maurice | September 2, 2022

Meeting Announcement

When: September 14th 2022

Where: La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230 AND on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 851 6228 2013
Passcode: 067847
You can call 1-646-931-3860 then enter meeting ID: 851 6228 2013 then passcode: 067847

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Robert Jenkins

Topic: The Atlanta Campaign

Robert D. (“Bob”) Jenkins, Sr. is an attorney practicing in Dalton, Georgia, where he has maintained a general and civil trial practice since 1990.  Bob was graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1987 with a B.B.A degree in Business Management with Minors in History and Geography.  Bob received his Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University in 1990 and regularly practices in the courts throughout Northwest Georgia.

A native of Chamblee, Bob began pursuing his biggest hobby, the study of the Civil War, while he was in fourth grade when he chose War in Georgia as his Social Studies project.  He was hooked, so much so that by high school his teachers would ban the Civil War as a topic for any further research projects or book reports.  During the past twenty years, Bob has meticulously researched the Western Theater of the War, and he has uncovered many letters, diaries, articles and accounts which have remained out of the public’s eye for over 100 years.  

In 2013, Bob Jenkins completed a book titled The Battle of Peach Tree Creek, Hood’s First Sortie, (Mercer) University Press, Macon, GA: 2013), the first of its kind which incorporates biographical information about the participants and previously unpublished photographs, maps, and diagrams, and he has included a detailed casualty list for all known Union and Confederate losses including charts depicting unit losses by regiment, brigade, division and corps which help to provide a more clear picture of what happened on that bloody Wednesday afternoon near a mill named Collier, a hill called Cardiac, and a village known as Buckhead.  Replete with numerous maps which help the reader to follow along today’s bustling city streets and neighborhoods of north Atlanta’s subdivisions, the book provides references to both the Civil War Era and the present-day locations of events.  It was published by Mercer University Press.

In 2014, Bob completed a second book, titled To the Gates of Atlanta, (Mercer University Press, Macon, GA: 2015), which focuses on the events in the Georgia Campaign between the Confederate victory at Kennesaw Mountain and the Federal triumph at Peach Tree Creek. Published by Mercer University Press, it was released in February 2015.

In 2016, Bob wrote an extensive article on the Battles for Dalton which was published in the Blue and Gray Magazine’s January 2016 (Vol. XXXII, Issue 1) issue. He has given numerous tours and lectured on several battles in Northwest Georgia during the Atlanta Campaign, including Dalton, Resaca, Peach Tree Creek and Ezra Church.

Bob’s knowledge of the Battle of Franklin is also extensive as he has traveled to study the battlefield for over 20 years and he has done extensive research on the battle including visiting various archives and libraries throughout the nation and collaborating with local historians and preservation groups concerning such projects as the Collier Farm, Loring’s Charge and the Eastern Flank (formerly the golf course) acquisitions.  Bob was a pioneer in the 1980s and 1990s in expanding the communities’ understanding of the importance of events on the right portion of the battlefield where his ancestors fought in Loring’s Division.

Currently, Bob is President of Save the Dalton Battlefields, LLC and is Vice Chair of Whtifield County’s Historic Preservation Commission where he has led efforts to preserve and protect civil war earthworks and sites in and around Dalton.  Through their efforts, the County has acquired and opened Mill Creek Gap Park, Potato Hill Park and Rocky Face Ridge Park.

Our Treasurer’s Report from Pete Zuhars: 

Beginning Balance          $2,356.35

Dues                                         30.00

Book Raffle                             13.00

                                          $2,399.35

Speaker Fee                      -240.00

Speaker Expenses            -150.00

Ending Balance               $2,009.35

The “Real” Horse Soldiers
Presentation by Timothy B. Smith
Civil War author, lecturer and guide
Professor, University of Tennessee Martin
August 10, 2022
Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable
Report by Tom Ayres

The title of Timothy Smith’s talk was a play on The Horse Soldiers, a 1959
film directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne and William Holden. The
film was based on a 1956 novel of the same title (subtitle – A Novel of the
Civil War) by Harold Sinclair. Sinclair’s novel is loosely based on Benjamin
Grierson’s raid through Mississippi in 1863. Ford took further cinematic
liberties with facts of the actual raid. The cast of the film included the
beautiful Constance Towers, who portrayed a character named Miss Hannah
Hunter of Greenbrier. Her character “has no historical counterpart,” as one
account of the film observed. In other words, she was completely made up.
Smith enjoyed pointing out the many historical fictions of the film. But he
also cited the scenes and occurrences in the film that actually took place.

The real Benjamin Grierson was a music teacher from Illinois when the Civil
War broke out. In the film John Wayne played a railroad engineer named
John Marlowe. William Holden played Major Hank Kendall. The character
Kendall was based on was an actual Union Army surgeon Erastus Dean Yule,
who stayed behind during the raid and was captured tending to Union
soldiers who were too sick or wounded to continue.

As mentioned, the real Grierson was a music teacher, band leader and a
produce grocer in Jacksonville, Illinois. He traveled around organizing
amateur bands and even wrote a campaign song for Abraham Lincoln in 1860,
an inauspicious beginning for a soldier who would go on to lead one
of the most celebrated cavalry raids of the war. Grierson had no military
experience, did not attend the U.S. Military Academy and had an aversion to
horses, having been kicked in the face by a horse as a youth. He let his
facial hair grow quite long to hide the scar. But he was intelligent,
resourceful and imaginative.

On the eve of the famous raid through Mississippi that bears his name,
Grierson could not have been farther removed. Shortly before the raid
commenced, he was at home in Illinois playing with his children. A cable
arrived, ordering him to report to Tennessee immediately. Rushing to his
post near Memphis, Grierson reported on April 16. What a night that must
have been. The next day he led his three regiments out of La Grange,
Tennessee, into northwest Mississippi.

A raid had been discussed for some months. Anything to divert attention
from Ulysses S. Grant’s so-far unsuccessful attempts to besiege Vicksburg,
the belt buckle of the South and the key to opening the Mississippi River to
unfettered Union control.

Grierson led some 1,700 men of the 2nd Iowa regiment, under Edward
Hatch; the 7th Illinois, under Edward Prince; and, the 6th Illinois, under
Reuben Loomis. Also, there was a battery, of sorts, with six two-pound
Woodruff (pop guns) guns.

Grierson was to destroy everything he could, as most cavalry raiders do, and
to attract and draw soldiers away from Lieutenant General John C.
Pemberton. Most importantly, Grierson was to destroy portions of the
Southern Railroad, which was Vicksburg’s lifeline to Alabama and the greater
Confederacy. All rail routes north into western Tennessee were controlled by
the Union.

Pemberton had already sent almost all of his cavalry east to help Braxton
Bragg oppose the Tullahoma campaign of William Rosecrans from
Murfreesboro south toward Chattanooga. Pemberton was also dealing with
conflicting commands to hold Vicksburg or abandon it. Confederate
President Jefferson Davis said hold it; Pemberton’s commander Joseph E.
Johnston said give it up. It’s hopeless. So, Pemberton stayed.

But Grant had been totally stymied. Six attempts from November 1862 to
April 1863 to get near Vicksburg had failed.

Grierson’s brigade headed into the hill country of eastern Mississippi, virgin
territory as the citizens had not seen the war up close and personal.
Grierson used only a compass and a small map of Mississippi although he did
find and use guides along the way. Imagine 1,700 horsemen thundering into
your town or plantation to bivouac.

Preceding the main body of riders were scouts, better known as “butternut
guerrillas,” due to their dressing in Confederate uniforms. These scouts
were led by Sergeant Richard Surby. Their task was to survey the
countryside for passable roads and farms to spend the night, the level of
opposition, farms to scavenge food and feed and the proximity of
Confederate soldiers. For the first few days this was easy pickings as the
regiments passed through Ridley, New Albany, Montpelier and Starkville.
They covered 30 miles the first day.

On April 18 the riders crossed the Tallahatchie River at three points. A
battalion of the 7th Illinois met rebels at New Albany attempting to destroy
the bridge. The rebels were driven off, and repairs were made to the bridge.
The horsemen burned a mill at Ponotoc and engaged with Confederates. On
April 20 they were 80 miles inside Mississippi.


Hatch headed east to cut the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Hatch encountered the
2nd Tennessee regiment and fought at Palo Alto cemetery. The Iowans’
superior rifles drove off the Tennesseans, enabling them to destroy track at
Okolona and Tupelo. Hatch and the 2nd Tennessee met again near
Birmingham on April 24. After a two-hour battle, Hatch retreated across
Camp Creek and burned the bridge. The exhausted rebels gave up the
chase. Hatch returned to La Grange with 600 horses and mules, led by
civilians, and claimed to have inflicted 100 rebel casualties, while suffering
only 10.


With Hatch on a diversion to the east, Grierson, with about 950 men, headed
south toward the Southern Railroad between Meridian and Jackson. The
reduced brigade rode hard through Louisville and across the Pearl River to
Philadelphia to reach the railroad at Newton Station, the tactical target of
the raid, on April 24. Troopers under Lieutenant Colonel William T. Blackburn
arrived first. They set ablaze two locomotives and 25 freight cars filled with
commissary stores and ammunition headed for Vicksburg. They burned
down the depot and tore up track far to the east toward the Chunky River.
Finally, they burned additional stores and 500 muskets. Among the booty
seized in the town was whiskey, which the riders consumed in large
quantities.

Having accomplished the second objective, escaping from converging
Confederates became the next priority. Pemberton received conflicting
information about how many men Grierson commanded. Pemberton
dispatched slow-moving infantry who never could catch up in force to their
mobile foes.


After resting, Grierson’s men made it to Hazelhurst, due south of Jackson at
current-day I-55. They wrecked the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern
Railroad. After a fight at Union Church, the raiders spent the night at
Spurlock Plantation, the only surviving plantation house on the raid’s
itinerary.

Grierson left the plantation at 6 a.m., crossed the Leaf River and at Raleigh
captured the county sheriff and confiscated $3,000 in cash. On April 27 they burned boxcars.
The fire got out of control and threatened to engulf the town.
Grierson’s men helped townspeople fight the blaze.

Grierson intended to head north to join Grant at Grand Gulf, but pursuing
Confederates convinced him to get to Louisiana as soon as possible. On
April 30 he headed south destroying bridges, water tanks and trestle works.
At Bogue Chitto station they burned the station and 15 freight cars. At
Summit it was 25 freight cars in flames and a supply of government sugar.
On May 1 the raiders made it into Louisiana and, ultimately, Baton Rouge on
May 2.

The riders had covered 600 miles in 16 days, killed an estimated 100
Confederates, tore up 50 miles of railroad track, destroyed 3,000 arms and
captured 1,000 mules and horses. The brigade lost three men killed, seven
wounded, five men left behind and nine missing. Among the dead was
Lieutenant Colonel Blackburn, who was killed leading a charge against the
9th Louisiana Partisan Rangers at Walls Bridge, the brigade’s final action in
Mississippi.

William Tecumseh Sherman called the raid “the most brilliant expedition of
the war.”


Posted by: TC Maurice | August 1, 2022

Meeting Announcement

When: August 10th

Where: La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230 AND on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 820 1788 7381
Passcode: 244288
You can call 1-646-931-3860 then enter meeting ID: 820 1788 7381 then passcode: 244288

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Dr. Timothy B. Smith Ph.D Mississippi State

Topic: Grierson’s 1863 Mississippi Raid

Benjamin Grierson’s Union cavalry thrust through Mississippi is one of the most well-known operations of the Civil War. There were other simultaneous operations to distract Confederate attention from the real threat to Vicksburg posed by U. S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, but Grierson’s operation, mainly conducted with two Illinois cavalry regiments, has become the most famous, and for good reason. For 16 days (April 17 to May 2) Grierson led Confederate pursuers
on a high-stakes chase through the entire state of Mississippi, entering the northern border with Tennessee and exiting its southern border with Louisiana. The daily rides were long, the rest stops short, and the tension high. Ironically, the man who led the raid was a former music teacher who some say disliked horses. Throughout, he displayed outstanding leadership and cunning, destroyed railroad tracks, burned trestles and bridges, freed slaves, and created as much damage and chaos as possible. Grierson’s Raid broke a vital Confederate rail line at Newton Station that supplied Vicksburg and, perhaps most importantly, consumed the attention of the Confederate high command. While Confederate Lt. Gen. John Pemberton at Vicksburg and other Southern leaders looked in the wrong directions, Grant moved his entire Army of the Tennessee across the Mississippi River below Vicksburg, spelling the doom of that city, the Confederate chances of holding the river, and perhaps the Confederacy itself.

Novelists have attempted to capture the large-than-life cavalry raid in the popular imagination, and Hollywood reproduced the daring cavalry action in The Horse Soldiers, a 1959 major motion picture starring John Wayne and William Holden. Although the film replicates the raid’s drama and high-stakes gamble, cinematic license chipped away at its accuracy. Based upon years of research and presented in gripping, fast-paced prose, Timothy B. Smith’s The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid through Mississippi captures the high drama and tension of the 1863 horse soldiers in a modern, comprehensive, academic study. This talk, based on the book, will bring you along for the ride.


Timothy B. Smith (Ph.D. Mississippi State University, 2001) is a veteran of the National Park Service and currently teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. In addition to numerous articles and essays, he is the author, editor, or co-editor of twenty books, including award winners Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg  (2004), Shiloh: Conquer or Perish (2014), and The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi (2018). He has recently published books on the May 19 and 22 Vicksburg assaults as well as the Vicksburg siege, and he is now working on a new biography of Albert Sidney Johnston in addition to more Vicksburg volumes. He lives with his wife Kelly and children Mary Kate and Leah Grace in Adamsville, Tennessee.

Our Treasurer’s Report from Pete Zuhars: 

Beginning Balance          $2,631.35

Dues                                          55.00

Book Raffle                              20.00

                                            $2,706.35

Speaker Fee                         -$200.00

Speaker Expenses               -$150.00

Ending Balance                  $2,356.35

Emory Upton in Myth and Modern Memory
Presentation by Tyler McGraw
Former intern with the Fredericksburg Spotsylvania National Military Park
Founder of the blog Crossroads and Crossfire
Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable
July 13, 2022
Report by Tom Ayres

Cadet Emory Upton graduated from West Point, eighth in a class of 45, on
May 6, 1861. Eighteen days later, as a 21-year old, newly-minted second
lieutenant, he reported for duty with the 5th U.S. Artillery at Manassas in
northern Virginia on the eve of the first major battle of the Civil War. It was
either the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time.
Who was this young U.S. Army officer? Upton was born August 27, 1839, on
a farm near Batavia, New York, in Genesee County between Rochester and
Buffalo. He was the tenth child, of 13, and sixth son of Daniel and Electra
Upton, devout Methodists, during the “burned over” religious revival era of
upstate and western New York as citizens adjusted to the commercial and
social changes wrought by the Erie Canal (Governor DeWitt Clinton’s ditch),
which opened in 1825.

Upton was inspired as a youth to pursue a military career by reading the
exploits of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Upton sought an appointment to West Point, but he was rebuffed by
Congressman Benjamin Pringle, of the 27th Congressional District, a banker
and judge in Batavia. Pringle told Upton that the young man needed
seasoning away from his family. Upton chose to enroll at Oberlin College in
Ohio, the ultra-liberal school that admitted both women and blacks in the
early 19th century. At Oberlin he studied under the famous evangelist
Charles G. Finney.
At West Point in 1856 a rumor made the rounds that Upton had had
“relationships” with black women at Oberlin. Fellow cadet Wade Hampton
Gibbes of South Carolina insulted Upton over the issue, and the two fought a
duel with swords. Upton was slashed in the face, one of the many wounds
he would suffer in uniform. Gibbes is credited (among many other claimants
to the “honor”) with firing the first shot at Fort Sumter in April 1861 that
started the Civil War.

At Blackburn’s Ford during the battle of Manassas Upton was wounded in the
arm and side but refused to leave the battlefield, an early indication of his
spirit and dedication.
Upton was a voluminous letter writer to his family during the war. McGraw
read and displayed several of these letters to his sisters, expressing his
views on secession and his movements on the field.
During George McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign of early 1862 Upton was
lauded for his command of the VI Corps artillery reserve. During the
Maryland campaign at Crampton’s Gap of South Mountain and Antietam in
September 1862, he led the artillery brigade of the First Division of the VI
Corps.

In October 1862 Upton took command of the 121st New York infantry
regiment from Herkimer and Otsego counties. The regiment would take part
in 25 battles, including the disastrous Union defeat at Fredericksburg in
December 1862. Upton’s corps marched 35 miles in a single night from
Manchester, Maryland, to Gettysburg in July 1863 but was kept largely in
reserve at Little Round Top. The 121st N.Y. was engaged in the battle of
Salem Church on May 3-4, 1863, that was part of the Chancellorsville battle.
At Rappahannock Station in Virginia during the Bristoe Campaign in
November 1863, Upton devised a new tactic of assaulting an entrenched
enemy position. Rather than advance as a long, strung out, ragged line,
firing as they went, Upton had his men bull-rush the rebel position in
massed columns, not stopping to fire. The new maneuver worked brilliantly,
overwhelming a portion of the rebel line, aided by Upton faking the
Confederates into thinking that his assault was backed by a full brigade
behind him.

This approach blossomed at Spotsylvania Courthouse in May 1864 during
Ulysses S. Grant’s monumental Overland Campaign against Robert E. Lee.
Confederates were formed in a salient, also known as the Mule Shoe
Crescent or Bloody Angle. Upton’s 12 regiments hit the Confederate line like
a fist, capturing cannons and taking 1,000 prisoners. But the initial strike
was not supported, Upton’s force was unable to hold its position and had to
retreat. Upton suffered a minor wound during the battle.
At Cold Harbor near Richmond on June 3, 1864, Upton expressed his disgust
at the waste of Union lives, “foolishly, wantonly sacrificed,” in his words, by
Grant’s inept plan.

At Opequon Creek, the third battle of Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley
on September 19, 1864, the Union army under Philip Sheridan won a major
victory. But casualties on both sides were enormous, including Upton. He
went home to New York to convalesce.

After recovering, Upton went to Nashville and participated in James H.
Wilson’s successful cavalry raid into Alabama and Georgia in March and April
1865, as the was was winding down. Wilson’s objective was to destroy as
many Southern manufacturing facilities as he could. And he succeeded,
destroying the Oxmoor and Irondale iron furnaces in Birmingham, the C.B.
Churchill and Company foundry in Columbiana and the Shelby Iron Works. A
detachment burned the Roupes Valley Ironworks at Tannehill and the Bibb
Naval Furnace at Brierfield. And they burned the University of Alabama.
Wilson routed Nathan Bedford Forrest at Montevallo, Plantersville and
Ebenezer Church. At Selma on April 2, Upton took part in another rout of
Forrest’s men. Wilson’s men spent a week in Selma destroying everything
related to the rebel war effort, then occupied Montgomery on April 12.

While Lee had already surrendered, rebels farther south had not. Wilson
headed east to Georgia to continue the destruction. At West Point on April
16, young poorly-armed rebel defenders were no match for veteran federal
soldiers with repeating rifles. That same day Upton took Columbus and
burned a incomplete ironclad ram, the CSS Jackson. This is considered the
final battle of the war. On April 20 Wilson took Macon without a fight.
After the war Upton’s military career reached new heights. Also, he had
time to marry. He married Emily Norwood Martin on February 19, 1868, but
she fell victim to tuberculosis and died March 29, 1870.
Upton set upon what would his life’s work: reforming the regular army. As
commandant of West Point from 1870 – 1875 and then superintendent of
theoretical instruction at the Army artillery school, he had time to
contemplate and formulate his reforms. He also traveled extensively
abroad, mainly in Europe, studying military organizations, favoring the
Prussian model. After his travels, he completed “The Armies of Europe and
Asia.”

In 1881 or so, he started suffering from debilitating headaches, likely due to
a brain tumor. While commanding the 4th U.S. Artillery at the Presidio in
San Francisco, he committed suicide on March 15, 1881. He never
completed his treatise “The Military Policy of the United States from 1775,”
but what he had written became the basis for what became known as the
Root Reforms.

Upton was buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York. His statue
graces the entrance to the Genesee County courthouse. And a plaque with
his likeness is attached to the monument of the 121st N.Y. Regiment at
Gettysburg.


Major General James H. Wilson wrote the following tribute of Upton in 1895
in an introductory article for a book titled The Life and Letters of Emory
Upton.

“Upton was as good an artillery officer as could be found in any country, the
equal of any cavalry commander of his day, and, all things considered, was
the best commander of a division of infantry in either the Union or the rebel
army…He was incontestably the best tactician of either army, and this is true
whether tested by battle or by the evolutions of the drill field and parade. In
view of his success of all arms of the service, it is not too much to add that
he could scarcely have failed as a corps or army commander had it been his
good fortune to called to such rank…No one can read the story of his brilliant
career without concluding that he had a real genius for war, together with all
the theoretical and practical knowledge which any one could acquire in
regard to it. Up to the time when he was disabled by the disease which
caused his death he was, all things considered, the most accomplished
soldier in our service. His life was pure and upright, his bearing chivalric and
commanding, his conduct modest and unassuming and his character
absolutely without blemish. History cannot furnish a brighter example of
unselfish patriotism, or ambition unsullied by an ignoble thought or an
unworthy deed. He was a credit to the State and family which gave him
birth, to the military academy which educated him, and to the army in which
he served. So long as the Union has such soldiers as he to defend it, it will
be perpetual.”

Posted by: TC Maurice | July 4, 2022

Meeting Announcement

When: July 13th

Where:  La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230 AND on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84599002901?pwd=aW9kcWw1UytQb0NpZkZhOENoWGN0UT09

Meeting ID: 845 9900 2901

Passcode: 879983

You can call 1-312-626-6799 and then enter Meeting ID: 845 9900 2901 and Passcode: 879983

Speaker: Tyler McGraw

Topic: Emory Upton

Mr. McGraw is a former intern with Fredericksburg Spotsylvania National Military Park. He lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia and attended American Military University, and worked on Capitol Hill. He also the founder of the thought provoking blog, Crossroads And Crossfire.

Treasurer’s Report from Pete Zuhars: 

Beginning Balance               $2,717.49

Paid Dues                                  125.00

Book Raffle                                 20.00

                                               $2,862.49

Zoom Renewal Fee                 -161.14

Speaker Expense                      -70.00

Ending Balance                    $2,631.35


Tullahoma Campaign of 1863

A presentation by Eric Wittenberg

June 8, 2022

Based on his book, written with David A. Powell,

“Tullahoma – The Forgotten Campaign

That Changed the Course of the Civil War

June 23 – July 4, 1863”

Report by Tom Ayres

An unidentified Alabama soldier, atop Lookout Mountain overlooking Chattanooga, composed a letter describing the recently concluded Tullahoma Campaign, from the Confederate perspective.  The letter was published in the Mobile Register, and later reprinted on August 13, 1863, under the heading “The Retreat of Bragg’s Army,” in the Nashville Daily Press.

“After thirteen days of unparalleled sufferings, consisting of forced marches, hard work, sleepless nights, drenching rains, barefoot walking over stoney roads, hunger, famine, heat by day and cold by night, we have succeeded in escaping from the terrible Yankees, and put, as a peace-maker between them and us, the surging current of the deep, wide, majestic Tennessee (River).  Here we rest our broken down bodies for a brief season, and hope to recuperate our exhausted strength, and repair, in some degree, our heavy losses in articles of clothing and camp equipage.

“Our sufferings have been awful beyond description.  For seven consecutive days and nights, we had wet feet and wet shoes, which were not once dry during the entire week.  Our clothes, too, were wet all the time.  The roads were horrible.  Without sleep, without adequate food, often without water, we marched, worked, stood in line of battle, in mud and water, stood guard all the night, and suffered for thirteen days all that humanity can suffer in the flesh.  It is ended now, but it will require weeks to restore us to our former morale, for we are greatly exasperated and demoralized.”

                                         *    *    *

Major General William Starke Rosecrans, from Sunbury, Ohio, just north of Columbus, enjoyed a rare, and brief, era of good feelings with his superiors in Washington, D.C., in early 1863.  His Union Army of the Cumberland, if it hadn’t decisively defeated Confederates at the battle of Stones River, outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee, December 31, 1862 — January 2, 1863, it had driven Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee from the field, south by 50 miles to the Elk River.   Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a quarrelsome and vindictive character at best, wrote Rosecrans on January 7, “There is nothing you can ask within my power to grant to yourself or your heroic command that will not be cheerfully given.”  This benevolent tone would change drastically in the months ahead as Rosecrans sought more and more resources for his campaign in East Tennessee.

Rosecrans’s success at Stones River came on the heels of the appalling Union disaster at Fredericksburg.  So, official Washington was looking to wring all the positive energy it could out of Rosecrans’s success.

Rosecrans was born in 1819 and, despite very limited formal education, was admitted to West Point, where he excelled, graduating 5th in his class of 51 in 1842.  His one-time roommate was none other than a future foe — James Longstreet.  In fact, the class of 1842 produced 29 generals in the upcoming war.  Based on his high class ranking, Rosecrans was assigned to the prestigious engineer branch, where he excelled in teaching at the military academy and in supervising construction at Newport, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.  But he missed battlefield experience during the Mexican War.  Sensing that his career had plateaued, Rosecrans resigned his commission in 1853.  He went into business where he excelled.  He founded a kerosene refinery in Cincinnati, but a lamp exploded in 1857, severely burning him.  It would take 18 months of recovery.  The resultant scarring left him with a permanent smirk.

Rosecrans was back in uniform in 1861, and he performed well in West Virginia and at Iuka and Corinth in Mississippi.  But he was outspoken and publicly critical of fellow infantry commanders whom he felt did not support him.  Ulysses S. Grant, being one.  This was not a wise career move.

Rosecrans was personable, outgoing, capable and well liked by his subordinate senior commanders and men alike.  In one speech to some of his men, he advised, “Soldiers, fire deliberately, aim well and shoot to kill.”  But as one associate noted, he tended to become “overwrought” under the stress of battle.  And he could explode in temper tantrums.  At times he would blather incomprehensible orders.  This would sink his battlefield command career at Chickamauga in September 1863 when he pulled out the center of his line to support General George Thomas, who didn’t need the help.  Into the breach rushed the corps of his old roommate Longstreet.

The Army of the Cumberland was cobbled together in early 1863 and organized into three corps, commanded by major generals:  XIV (George Thomas), XX (Alexander McCook) and XXI (Thomas Crittenden).  McCook, one of 17 members of the famous Fighting McCooks clan in Union blue from northeast Ohio, was the only one of the three with a spotty record.  Rosecrans’s hand-picked cavalry commander David Stanley faced a daunting task.  Union cavalry in this army was woefully neglected and in major need of riders, having a complement of only 4,549 in January 1863, growing to 6,389 in March.  Confederate riders were easily triple this number.

Rosecrans had to depend on railroads for supplies as the rivers in East Tennessee were undependable.  Initially, Confederate cavalry forces under Joe Wheeler, Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Hunt Morgan wreaked absolute havoc and destruction on federal rail lines and supplies.  But this advantage would soon dissipate as Union riders gained momentum and superiority.

Rosecrans’s counterpart was Braxton Bragg, born March 22, 1817, in Warrenton, North Carolina.  Like Rosecrans, Bragg finished fifth in his class (1837) at West Point.  He went to the artillery branch and fought against Seminoles in Florida before joining Zachary Taylor in Texas.  Having performed well in the Mexican War, he was promoted to brevet major in 1846 and was lauded for his performance at Buena Vista in February 1847.  Frustrated later with not getting an assignment he wanted, he resigned in 1856 and went to Louisiana to grow sugar cane.  When the state seceded, he was appointed brigadier general and at Shiloh in April 1862 he had resounding success on the rebel right flank.  Based on this record he was given command on the Army of Tennessee where he excelled in training and designing structure.  But cracks started to appear when he invaded Kentucky in the summer of 1862.  After winning the battle of Perryville, he ceded the state to the Union army and fled into Tennessee.  In battle, observed fellow North Carolinian Henry Heth, Bragg “lost his head” when confronted with the enemy.  By the time of the Tullahoma campaign, Bragg appeared much older than his 46 years.  Observers used the following terms to describe him:  sickly, cadaverous, haggard, gloomy, despondent.  Bragg had an uncanny knack for making enemies, of his own allies.  Many (most) of his subordinate senior officers hated him.  His two corps commanders Leonidas Polk, the Episcopal bishop who founded the University of the South, and William J. Hardee discussed, but did not commit, mutiny against Bragg.  Due to his many retreats, morale among his men hit bottom.  Dissension reigned as many officers doubted Bragg’s ability to make rational decisions.  Plagued by chronic diarrhea, Bragg broke out with a rash of boils during the Tullahoma campaign.

Bragg’s cavalry units, once the bright spot of the army, deteriorated over time.  Forrest refused to serve under Wheeler, hence the two had to be kept apart.  And Morgan, considering himself a free agent, simply abandoned his post and launched a foolhardy raid into southern Indiana and Ohio, resulting in a total loss of his force, mainly to captures.  This act of self-aggrandizement denied Bragg some 2,500 cavalrymen he really needed.

The true diamond in the rough for the Union army in this campaign was John T. Wilder.  A very close second was his fellow cavalry officer, the Irishman Robert Horatio George Minty.

Wilder was born January 31, 1830, in Greene County, in the Catskill Mountains of eastern New York.  Military service was in his blood.  His great-grandfather lost a leg at the battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolution.  Wilder’s grandfather replaced his father in the Continental army.  Wilder’s father fought in the War of 1812.  Restless, Wilder left home, virtually penniless, at age 19 and landed in Columbus.  He found work at a foundry and excelled as a draftsman, pattern maker and millwright.  In 1857 he moved to Greensburg, Indiana, and set up his own foundry.  Success followed.  By 1861 he owned half of the largest foundry operation in the Midwest, with mills in six states.  At age 31 he was a rich man and a recognized authority in hydraulics, holding many patents.  When the war broke out, he joined the 17th Indiana volunteer infantry, after donating two cannons from his foundry to an artillery battery.  He was elected captain and in April 1862 colonel.  In November 1862 he commanded a brigade of 3,000.  He received approval to mount his entire brigade and was able to do so after appropriating horses and mules from neighboring farms.  Loyal Unionists received vouchers for compensation.  Rebel sympathizers received nothing. 

Including in his mounted brigade was artillery Captain Eli Lilly, a pharmacist from Greencastle, Indiana, who went on to found the world-famous pharmaceutical company of the same name.  Lilly’s gunners gained a reputation for pinpoint accuracy.

Wilder did not follow normal regulations.  Thinking regular muzzle-loading rifles were totally inefficient, he went to the bank and bought seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles for his entire brigade.  (These rifles used a cylindrical magazine that slid into the stock, allowing seven shots to be fired without reloading.)  His troopers voted to reimburse him through deductions in their modest monthly pay.  Shamed, the War Department repaid Wilder and his men.  These repeating rifles would prove devastating in the weeks and months ahead.     

He also eschewed the standard cavalry charge with riders wielding sabers.  Too messy and wasted too many lives.  Instead, Wilder’s men rode to a position, dismounted and fought as infantry.  His batteries favored canister and grapeshot as more effective killers of the enemy.

After the war Wilder continued his streak of enormous success in business.  He settled first in Rockwood, Tennessee, (during the war he had observed that areas of East Tennessee were promising sites for mining coal and iron) and later moved to Chattanooga in 1867 where he founded an iron works. He built the first two blast furnaces in the South at Rockwood, and in 1870 started a company in Chattanooga to make rails for railroads.  From 1884-1892 he constructed the Charleston, Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad while living in Johnson City, Tennessee.  He also helped establish the manufacturing suburb of Carnegie.  Wilder also built the 166-room Cloudland Hotel near the summit of Roan Mountain that was served by his narrow gauge railroad.

Wilder was elected mayor of Chattanooga in 1871 but had little interest in this post and resigned after a year.  He moved to Knoxville upon being appointed a federal pension agent and was later commissioner of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.  He died in Jacksonville at age 87 and was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga.

Robert Horatio George Minty was born in 1831 in County Mayo, Ireland, the son and grandson of British army soldiers.  Minty himself would be a third generation British soldier.  He emigrated to Ontario to join his family and found employment with the Great Western Railroad, transferring to the Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad in 1858.  With prior military experience, he was appointed major of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, later transferring to the 3rd Michigan and finally the 4th Michigan as colonel.  At Corinth he would lead his men on a dashing saber charge, in what would become his signature, and highly successful, tactic in battle.  He was the exact opposite of Wilder.  In December 1862 Minty took command of a brigade that included the 4th Michigan, 7th Pennsylvania, the 4th U.S. and the Chicago Board of Trade battery.  He pursued Bragg after Stones River and began a series of stunning routs of Confederate units, starting in January 1863 repelling and routing an attack by Wheeler and Forrest, capturing 130 rebels.  In March, dispatched to clear out rebels threatening rail lines, he led another saber charge that killed 28 of the enemy and captured more than 150, without firing a shot.  Bragg complained to Rosecrans that Minty’s men were sharpening their swords, a practice he called barbarous.  Rosecrans was unmoved.  On June 27 at Shelbyville, Minty’s men overwhelmed Wheeler, forcing his cavalry into the Duck River.  Many drowned.  Wheeler jumped into the river on horseback from a high bank but escaped death and capture.  Minty would go on to excel at Chickamauga and during the rest of the war.  Miraculously, he survived 109 battles and skirmishes, not by being cautious but charging thunderously into the teeth of the enemy.  Unfortunately, after the war he sullied his reputation by maintaining two wives and families.  He died in 1906.

                                    *      *        *

The Army of Tennessee reached its “apogee,” in the words of Wittenberg, in early May 1863.  Officially, it had 52,000 “effectives” and 57,000 “present for duty,” including 15,125 cavalry under Wheeler and Earl Van Dorn.  This army held a grand review in Tullahoma on April 11, an event, described by one of Bragg’s staff lieutenants, as “beyond all doubt the grandest of the war.”  But things only got worse.  Lee’s army in Virginia needed food unavailable in its stripped fields.  Lieutenant General John Pemberton’s measly 6,000 defenders of Vicksburg desperately needed reinforcements against Grant’s thousands.  Bragg responded by sending 3,500 infantry, three batteries and 2,000 cavalry with Joe Johnston.  And he sent John C. Breckinridge’s division with 6,000 to Vicksburg.  Bragg was probably glad to get rid of one of his harshest critics.  In all, Bragg’s army had lost some 12,000 to Mississippi.  To add insult to injury Morgan’s cavalry of 2,500 crossed the Ohio River into Indiana on July 8.  He was soundly defeated at the battle of Buffington Island in southeast Ohio on July 19 and captured with his entire command at West Point, Ohio, on July 26.  Earlier, his brother-in-law Basil Duke’s 800 men were captured en masse providing rear guard protection while Morgan dashed north.

And in a bizarre incident on May 7, Dr. George Peters put a bullet in the back of the head of Earl Van Dorn, who was staying at Peters’s home in Spring Hill.  Van Dorn was suspected of having an affair with Mrs. Peters while the doctor was out of town.  Bragg appointed Forrest to replace Van Dorn.

Bragg responded by digging entrenchments and improving defenses at Wartrace, Shelbyville and Tullahoma.  Bragg was clearly on the defensive.

By June 20 Rosecrans had a force of about 79,000, including a greatly expanded cavalry complement of 608 officers and 13,000 men.  He was ready to attack.  The rocky terrain prevented him from advancing in an orderly manner.  Rocky gorges and steep ravines constituted the Highland Rim.  Travel would have to proceed piecemeal in a southerly direction and go through several gaps, (west to east):  Guy’s, Liberty, Hoover’s and Gillie’s.  Rosecrans’s goal was to turn Bragg’s right (east) flank, but first he made a feint to his right to draw Bragg to Shelbyville.  At 2 a.m. on June 23, Major General Gordon Granger, head of the Reserve Corps, received orders to move out at dawn with his 10,000 men and 5,800 cavalry.  He swung way west and then due south, encountering some Georgians near Rover, driving them back.  Meanwhile, Brigadier General Richard Johnson’s brigade entered Liberty Gap.  On June 24 the rains came, in sheets and buckets, and never stopped, turning streams and rivers into torrents, making ponds out of fields and turning roads into quagmires, swamping wagons up to the axles and men and beasts up to the knees.

Colonels John F. Miller and August Willich through June 25 clawed their way up steep slopes to get at Lucius Featherston’s Arkansans, overwhelming them with far superior numbers.

But Bragg’s problems would multiply at Hoover’s Gap where Wilder’s men would earn the title “Lightning Brigade,” a nickname they would carry with distinction through the rest of the war.

In what Wittenberg calls “the single sharpest engagement of the entire campaign,” Rosecrans sent his most trusted subordinate George Thomas and his XIV Corps into Hoover’s Gap to seize and hold the vital Manchester Pike and the route to Tullahoma.  First in was Wilder’s brigade opposed by “Old Reliable” William J. Hardee and Joe Wheeler, who was to Bragg but whose riders were considered undisciplined and prone to looting.

At 4 a.m. June 24 Wilder set out with 2,000 men and Lilly’s gunners.  The XIV Corps followed.  To Wilder’s surprise the gap was lightly defended.  Confederate breastworks on either side of the gap were undefended.  Wilder gambled and decided to take the entire gap, which he did, but this put him 12 miles ahead of Thomas.  Lilly came up and placed his guns on the highest ground.  Hardee ordered Major General Alexander Stewart to retake the gap.  Stewart received his orders while having lunch with his wife Harriet at Fairfield.  Imagine his surprise!

By 3 p.m. Stewart, who had only two of his four brigades, was bearing down on Wilder’s position.  This was the first test in battle of the Spencer rifles.  At one point the 72nd Indiana infantry was able to direct enfilading fire on a force of charging rebels.  Wilder observed later than the Confederates fell to the ground “to escape the tornado of death which was being poured into their ranks.”  A staff officer arrived with orders for Wilder to fall back.  He refused despite the threat of arrest.  By 4 p.m. Major General Joseph Reynolds division arrived to support Wilder.  The gap and this part of the road to Manchester were in Union hands.

Next, Wittenberg calls it the Union “left hook” from June 24 – June 27.  Rosecrans chose the XXI Corps of Thomas Crittenden (namely the divisions of Thomas Wood and John Palmer) to arrive in and occupy Manchester (via Gillie’s Gap) on June 26 and take control of the crossings of Duck River.  Rain greeted the corps at 8 a.m. as they stepped off and laid waste to their plans.  As it turned out, on June 26, mired in deep mud, Crittenden had his men destroy everything (wagons included) except the wagons necessary to carry provisions, weapons and ammunition in order to speed their ascent of a slippery road.  Wilder, the hero of Hoover’s Gap, was on the move, outflanked some rebels at McBride’s Creek and with two brigades of infantry secured Matt’s Hollow.  His brigade spent the night of June 26 four miles north of Manchester, entering the town the next morning.  Wood and Palmer were still struggling with the flooded roads.  The entire XIV rolled into Manchester at daylight June 28.  At 6 a.m. June 28 the beleaguered XXI was near the town, the last corps to arrive.  Though weather and road conditions played havoc with Rosecrans’s schedule, his army was now a mere 11 miles north of Tullahoma.

When it became known that Rosecrans’s forces were on the move on June 23-24, Bragg made no immediate reaction, uncertain what Rosecrans’s exact plans were, when the federals advanced on Liberty and Hoover’s gaps.  When informed of Union cavalry headed to Manchester, he did send two regiments of cavalry in that direction.  But he had no real plan.  At 2 p.m. June 26 Hardee sent a message to Bragg that federals had turned Alexander Stewart’s left flank, sending him in retreat to Wartrace.  Shelbyville was abandoned on the morning of June 27.  Official word came at 11 p.m. June 28 that William Martin’s cavalry had been “utterly defeated” at Shelbyville.

How did that happen?  Robert Minty’s brigade, augmented by infantry from Granger’s corps, for a total of 13,000 men, broke camp at dawn in June 26.  Joe Wheeler’s cavalry had been given the daunting task of providing rear guard protection for Leonidas Polk’s army scurrying across the Duck River.  Wheeler was alone, with Morgan on his Ohio raid and Forrest farther north, dealing with soggy roads.  First, Minty drove out rebels guarding Guy’s Gap.  They reformed three miles north of Shelbyville but were driven into the town.  Wheeler formed his paltry 600 men around the courthouse square.  But it was no contest though a hot one at times.  Forrest never appeared.  Repeated headlong charges, notably by the 7th Pennsylvania, sent Wheeler’s men heading to the one open bridge over the river.  “The rout was most disgraceful through the streets of the town,” wrote one Texas soldier.  Many Confederates were trampled as they fled in confusion toward the bridge.  A New York newspaperman wrote, “The scene at the bridge beggars description.  Men and horses crowded upon it (in) inextricable confusion, the stream filled with rebels struggling to gain the opposite bank.”  On his horse Wheeler jumped into the river from a 15-foot-high bank.  An estimated 300 Confederates were killed and 30 officers and 599 men captured.  Minty, with a single brigade, had trounced an entire corps of veteran cavalrymen.  Remarkable is the only word to describe it.

With control of the Duck River, it was time for the federals to strike deeper into Bragg’s territory.  For this task Rosecrans chose Wilder to penetrate below the Elk River and cut the railroad supplying Bragg’s army.  Speed was of the essence.  Wilder took no wagons.  His men carried their own rations and tied sheaves of wheat for the horses behind their saddles. 

Artillery and infantry followed.  Wilder left Manchester at 6 a.m. on June 28.  His force covered 58 miles that day, tearing up 300 yards of track and a depot near Decherd.  Farther south they destroyed a rail spur at University Place, home of the University of the South.  Although Bragg’s army was on the move south to Tullahoma, Wilder was vulnerable to some 40,000 Confederates.  Forrest attacked him at University Place, forcing Wilder to retreat in a harrowing escape all the way back to Manchester on June 30.  He had not lost a single soldier.  Bragg shifted his base to Tullahoma.  Wilder had failed to disrupt the rail traffic, and Confederates dismissed his raid as a failure.  But psychologically Bragg realized that he was vulnerable to being flanked and cut off.

Bragg had a well-defended position at Tullahoma.  Most everyone expected a major battle to occur there.  After receiving a series of reports of Union forces moving to cut off his retreat routes, Bragg decided to abandon the town on June 30.  It took his army 24 hours to reach and cross the Elk River at noon July 1.

Rosecrans ended his pursuit of Bragg on July 4, a date that coincided with Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg.  The Confederate cause was hopeless, but the war would continue for another two years.  When Bragg’s army limped into Chattanooga, Union forces were in firm control of two-thirds of Tennessee.  On his retreat Bragg had told an associate, “This is a great disaster.”  By Civil War standards Union casualties during the campaign were minuscule:  11 officers and 73 men killed; 31 officers and 442 men wounded; one officer and 12 men captured.  Confederate casualties are very hard to determine:  possibly as high as 5,000, many of whom were deserters.  At one point a Union quartermaster reported handling 1,634 prisoners, of whom 66 were deserters and of whom 96 immediately joined the Union army.

Wittenberg characterized Rosecrans’s moves as “a meticulously coordinated campaign of deception and maneuver.”  Bragg:  “a picture of indecision.”  Some of the blame for the initial delay in responding to Rosecrans rests with Wheeler.

Posted by: TC Maurice | June 1, 2022

Meeting Announcement

When: June 8th

Where:  La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230 AND on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 849 6424 0207
Passcode: 892919
If you are calling in, dial+1-646-558-8656, and then use the Meeting ID and Passcode set forth above.

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Eric Wittenberg and Dave Powell

Topic: Tullahoma

Our speakers are Eric Wittenberg and Dave Powell, and their topic is the Tullahoma Campaign.   Most of you know our fellow Roundtable member Eric Wittenberg. Eric is a highly acclaimed author of over 20 Civil War-related titles, many of which focus on the Union cavalry.  Eric is also a fine practicing business attorney in Columbus.  Dave Powell is a war game designer, map maker, battlefield guide extraordinaire and author. David A Powell is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (1983) with a BA in history. He has published numerous articles in various magazines, and more than fifteen historical simulations of different battles. For many years, David’s focus has been on the epic battle of Chickamauga, and he is nationally recognized for his tours of that important battlefield. David, his wife Anne, and their trio of bloodhounds live and work in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He is Vice President of Airsped, Inc., a specialized delivery firm.

Eric and Dave worked together on Tullahoma: The Forgotten Campaign that Changed the Course of the
Civil War
 

Our Treasurer’s Report from Pete Zuhars: 

Beginning Balance              $2,917.49

Paid Dues                                 75.00

Book Raffle                               15.00

                                              2,992.49

Speaker Fee                          -175.00

Speaker Expenses                -115.00

 Ending Balance                 $2,717.49

January was the beginning of our Roundtable’s fiscal year, so please pay your dues ($25 for an individual and $30 for a family). Thank you for all the support you have provided that has allowed the Roundtable to survive through COVID-19 and continue to present topics of interest to our members.

I have attached Tom Ayres’ report from our May meeting when Matt Borders presented to us on the Faces of the Union Soldiers at South Mountain and Harpers Ferry. Tom has dug a little bit deeper into a few of the soldiers Matt described in his presentation.  As always, “Good Job” Tom!

Faces at South Mountain & Harpers Ferry

By Matthew Borders and Joseph Stahl

Presentation by Mr. Borders on May 11, 2022

Report by Tom Ayres

Ernest Snowwhite (Schneeweiss in his native language) was born in Hamburg, Germany, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1849.  He found work as a distiller in the long tradition of his home country.

When the Civil War broke out, he joined the 7th Pennsylvania Reserves (from Philadelphia and neighboring counties).  The regiment (also known as the 36th Pennsylvania volunteer infantry) was mustered in on July 27, 1861.  When Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia entered Maryland in early September 1862, Snowwhite had risen to sergeant.  His regiment was part of I Corps and assigned to take Turner’s Gap, one of the four wind gaps (the others were Fox’s, Crampton’s and Frosttown) of South Mountain in western Maryland.  Facing Confederates behind stone walls, the 7th was able to rout and send Confederate defenders fleeing.

Snowwhite survived the hot action at South Mountain but was not so lucky at Antietam days later.  He was shot in the right thigh September 17 but survived and was promoted to second lieutenant in November 1862, in time for the terrible Union defeat at Fredericksburg.  Contrary to the overall Union debacle at Fredericksburg, the 7th covered itself in glory, capturing 100 rebels and the battle flag of the 19th Georgia infantry, the only such prize during the battle.  The tables turned at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864, when the entire regiment was surrounded, resulting in the capture of 272 officers and men.  Tragically, the enlisted men were shipped to Andersonville, Georgia.  Many of the officers went first to Macon, Georgia, and then to Charleston where they were placed in the line of fire to deter Union cannon shots into the city.  Snowwhite, on the other hand, was sent to Camp Asylum for officers at Columbia, South Carolina, on the grounds of the local insane asylum.  The prisoners were evacuated as William T. Sherman’s vast army approached the city.  Snowwhite was paroled on March 1, 1865, on the eve of the Confederate surrender.  He found work after the war as a bookbinder in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and later lived at the Soldiers Home in Dayton, Ohio.

In all, the regiment suffered 218 fatalities:  three officers and 80 men killed in combat, 135 others mainly to disease, including 67 at Andersonville.

Snowwhite’s story is one of 30 profiles of Union soldiers at South Mountain and Harpers Ferry in Borders’ and Stahl’s latest book.  This work follows a similar approach in their account of ordinary soldiers who fought at Antietam.  Using photos of the men (from the popular and affordable Carte de Visite (calling or visiting card) format in vogue at the time), the authors describe experiences of the men before, during and after the war.  Borders, a graduate of Michigan State in historical preservation, is a park ranger at Monocacy battlefield in Maryland.  This was his second appearance at the Roundtable.

Borders featured 10 soldiers in his presentation at the meeting.  Following are briefs accounts of several of them, in addition to the information about Ernest Snowwhite above.

George Frank Lemon, born in 1822, was sergeant major of the 1st New York volunteers in the Mexican War in 1847.  After the war, in 1848, he transferred to San Francisco as second lieutenant and post adjutant.  Active politically, he was a member of the local council and held a variety of city offices.  In the course of his political activities, he developed a blood feud with attorney and gunslinger William H. Graham.  On July 1, 1851, this notice placed by Graham appeared in the San Francisco Herald, “I hereby post and publish George Frank Lemon as a scoundrel, villain, liar and poltroon, and declare him to be out of the pale of gentlemen’s society.”  The source of the dispute is lost to the mists of history.

A duel followed.  Each man survived, though wounded.  With the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, Lemon traveled to Washington, D.C., with a California delegation to attend the inaugural ceremony in 1861.  Lemon moved to New York, where in 1861 he enlisted in the 32nd New York volunteer infantry.  He was mustered in as a major on May 31.

At the battle of South Mountain, Lemon was wounded in the left thigh.  The gunshot broke his femur.  He was taken to the hospital at Burkittsville, Maryland.  He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on October 22.  Thought to be recovering, Lemon’s left leg started to bleed, likely from the femoral artery.  Doctors were unable to stop the bleeding.  His left leg was amputated at the thigh on November 9.  He died 12 hours later.

The 17th Michigan volunteer infantry was formed in Detroit in the summer of 1862.  A member of the 17th was Hiram Simpson, who was mustered in on August 16.  The regiment marched to Washington, D.C., where Simpson was promoted to first sergeant on September 13.  The 17th was assigned to Colonel Benjamin Christ’s brigade of Orlando Willcox’s division in the IX Corps under Jesse Reno.  By September 13 the regiment had moved to Middletown at the base of South Mountain.  The regiment, on the verge of its first action — a major one at that — could not have been greener — never under fire and had barely broken in its gear and weapons.

Willcox’s division was ordered to Fox’s Gap.  On the morning of September 14 the Kanawha division of the IX Corps assailed and dislodged the Tarheel brigade commanded by Brigadier General Samuel Garland, who was mortally wounded in the fight.

At about 4 p.m., following an horrific shelling from rebel artillery, the 17th, with about 500 strong, moved up the gap back and forth across Old Sharpsburg Road.  After sweeping aside rebel skirmishers and silencing their artillery, the 17th arrived at the flank and rear of Thomas Drayton’s Georgia and South Carolina brigade.  Behind a stone wall the 17th directed galling fire on the rebel brigade, inflicting 650  casualties, a loss of 50 per cent of the brigade.  One of those killed in action was Lieutenant Colonel George S. James of the 3rd South Carolina battalion, who is credited with firing the signal shot that commenced the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861.  The attack was so successful that the 17th regiment earned the moniker “Stonewall” regiment.

Simpson was wounded in the leg at the gap and was out of action recuperating from his injury until he returned to duty in January 1863.

Charles Jarvis was born on August 21, 1821, at Weathersfield, Vermont.  After private tutoring and a boarding school education, he enrolled at the University of Vermont at the age of 14, the youngest member of his class.  Graduating in 1839, he studied law at a private practice in Salem, Massachusetts.  But he returned home to help his father upon the death of a brother.  At Brattleboro he helped raise a company of the 9th Vermont regiment in March 1862.  The regiment was mustered in on July 9, 1862, and Jarvis was chosen as captain.  The regiment served at Winchester, Virginia, until retreating to Harpers Ferry.  In the third Confederate attempt to take Harpers Ferry, Stonewall Jackson and A.P. Hill drove Union forces off Maryland and Loudoun Heights and bombarded Union troops under Colonel Dixon S. Miles on Bolivar Heights.  Miles was in a strong position but had failed to adequately defend the other heights.  On September 15, 1862, the entire Union force of 12,700 surrendered to Jackson.  It was the largest Union surrender of the war and the largest single surrender of U.S. forces until Bataan in the Philippines during World War II.

Upon his exchange Jarvis was paroled to Camp Douglas at Chicago but rejoined the regiment as a major at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1863.  The regiment traveled to the New Bern area of coastal North Carolina.  On a scouting expedition Jarvis was killed by guerrillas on December 1, 1863.

Posted by: TC Maurice | May 11, 2022

Meeting Announcement

When: May 11th

Where:  La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230 AND on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84976587144?pwd=bTBnUzBJUmpZUDRXb1VMa2NIbTNtZz09

Meeting ID: 849 7658 7144

Passcode: 125470
If you are calling in, dial+1-312-626-6799, and then use the Meeting ID and Passcode set forth above.

Topic: The Faces of Union Soldiers at South Mountain and Harpers Ferry

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Matt Borders

Our Treasurer’s Report from Pete Zuhars: 

Beginning Balance           $3,139.49

Dues & Donations               + 75.00

Book Raffle                           + 33.00

Speaker’s Fee                      -200.00

Speaker’s Food/Lodging    -130.00

Ending Balance                 $2,917.49

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