Friday, June 7, 2019

Arrival of Rebel Officers

Although it does not seem that Union newspapers published articles about their battlefield captures quite as readily as their Confederate enemies, I found the above short one in the Washington National Intelligencer in its August 25, 1864 issue.

After two previous days of fighting (Aug.18 and 19), on August 21, Gen. William Mahone's Division launched furious assaults against the newly entrenched Union soldiers of Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's V Corps during the Battle of Weldon Railroad. In the desperate attempt to drive the bluecoats away from their bulldog grip on the railway near Globe Tavern, Gen. Johnson Hagood's and Gen. Nathaniel Harris's brigades, along with others, dashed themselves against the works enduring heavy casualties. Hagood's Brigade lost over half its men killed, wounded, or captured.

Among the captured in Hagood's Brigade was Lt. Col. Julius A. Blake of the 27th South Carolina. Blake's service records show he was previously wounded, possibly in the Battle of the Wilderness, and admitted to the Episcopal Church Hospital at Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 7 for a slight injury to the forehead. He was then transferred to the South Carolina Hospital in Petersburg. He returned to duty on May 10.  By June 17, he was back in a Petersburg Hospital for an intermittent fever, but returned to his unit by July 3. After his capture at Globe Tavern, he was sent to Fort Delaware prison. He was exchanged in November 1864 and received a 30 day furlough, spent in Savannah and Charleston. Apparently some controversy arose about overstaying his leave and Gen. Hagood requested his removal from the military rolls. Blake received a court martial on March 4, 1865, and the board recommended Blake be reinstated to his regiment. Blake's name does not appear with those who received paroles at Appomattox. One wonders what happened to him.

Another Confederate lieutenant colonel captured in the battle, and noted in the article, was Seneca McNeil Bain of the 16th Mississippi of Harris's Brigade, commanded this day by Col. Joseph M. Jayne. Bain enlisted early in the war, May 1861, as a lieutenant. He worked his way up the chain of command to be second in charge of the regiment by the time of his capture. Interestingly, although not noted in the article, the colonel of the 16th, Edward C. Councill, was also captured after being wounded in the right knee. Councill died while in confinement on September 10 and was buried in Alexandria, Virginia. During the fight, the 16th suffered tremendous causalities, particularly those captured. In fact, one source stated that the 16th lost "6 field officers, 5 line officers, and 101 enlisted men." Quite a loss of one battle.

As the article notes, Major James R. Bell of the 12th Mississippi was also gobbled up in the action. Bell joined up in April 1861, a very early war enlistment. He received his promotion to major in the spring of 1864, before the meatgrinder of the Overland Campaign. Bell, too, ended up being sent to Fort Delaware prison. He was released in June of 1865, presumably after taking the oath of allegiance. 

No comments:

Post a Comment