Sunday, June 30, 2019

Yankee Prisoners

My last two posts were about African American soldiers who served in the Army of the James and were wounded in fighting north of the James River during Gen. Grant's Fifth and Sixth Richmond-Petersburg Offensives. Those Sixth Offensive actions included fighting in October along the Darbytown Road.

While searching through period newspapers about captured Union soldiers a while back I located the above short article in the October 29, 1864 issue of the Richmond Daily Dispatch. It claims that the fighting on the 27th and 28th (sometimes called the Second Battle of Fair Oaks) netted 575 Union prisoners, which included 6 captains and 7 lieutenants.

Giving the names and the regiments of these officers allows the researcher to see what corps, divisions, and brigades these men served in and thus find out who was likely heavily engaged.

The officers listed here served primarily in the XVIII Corps, and mainly in the divisions of Gilman Marston and the brigades of John Raultson (13th New Hampshire); Edgar M. Cullen (10th New Hampshire, 96th New York, 118th New York, 5th Maryland). Others were in the division of Charles Heckman and Edward Ripley's Brigade (8th Maine), and Harrison Fairchild's Brigade (19th Wisconsin, 148th New York).

It appears that, at least for the officers captured, that Cullen's Brigade saw especially hard service in that fight. I'll have to re-consult secondary sources such as Hampton Newsome's Richmond Must Fall: The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, October 1864 to gain a clearer picture of the action.

Primary sources such as this one are key in leading me toward finding individual soldier accounts of their capture experience during the 1864 Richmond and Petersburg fighting, which will hopefully fill a void in the campaign's scholarship. 

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