Sunday, August 30, 2020

New York Tribune on USCTs and Confederate Prisoners at Petersburg

A couple of months ago I shared a couple of posts about 1st United States Colored Troops (USCT) Chaplain Henry McNeal Turner and his mention of some USCTs not taking prisoners during the June 15, 1864, attacks at Petersburg. Turner in dispatches to the Christian Recorder commented that some USCTs refused to accept Confederate soldiers' surrenders that day, and that "over Jordan would be the best place for them, and sent them there with few exceptions." 

The June 15 Petersburg acts of atrocity came largely in reciprocation for the Fort Pillow massacre, which occurred in West Tennessee on April 12, 1864. In that earlier action, an integrated garrison of USCTs and white Unionist Tennessee troops on the Mississippi River refused a surrender demand by forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest and his soldiers, perhaps frustrated with their inability to capture a fortification at Paducah, Kentucky, a few weeks earlier, successfully stormed Fort Pillow and mercilessly killed many of the black soldiers who attempted to surrender when continued resistance was determined futile. 

Word of the atrocities at Fort Pillow spread quickly through the newspapers and made their way to the USCTs then serving in east central and southeast Virginia. It was in their assaults upon the earthworks at Petersburg where they yelled "Remember Fort Pillow!" as they made their charges and captured several Confederate positions along the Dimmock Line of defensive earthworks.

Recently, while reading some of the Petersburg Daily Express articles, I came across a mention of an article from the New York Tribune that spoke of the USCTs killing Confederate prisoners at Petersburg. Curious to see if I could find said referenced article, I combed the late June 1864 editions of the Tribune on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America digital database and finally found the article. It appeared on page one of the June 21 edition. The main section referencing the incident is clipped and shown above. 

In it the reporter, "Our Special Correspondent," only identified by the initials "W. H. K," either heard the referenced conversation first hand, or had it relayed to him, that Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler's chief of staff, Col. John W. Shaffer, shared a brief conversation with a USCT sergeant. The unnamed sergeant from a regiment that goes unmentioned states that the USCTs lost a good number of officers and men in the attack. Shaffer then asked how many prisoners were captured. The sergeant responds "Not any alive, Sir." The correspondent then mentions that Maj. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith, commander of the Army of the James' XVIII Corps added: "They [USCTs] don't give my Provost-Marshal [in charge of captured prisoners] the least trouble, and I don't believe they contribute toward filling and of the hospitals with Rebel wounded;" implying the USCTs offered no quarter to wounded enemies. It is difficult to tell if Smith's comments came at the time of the conversation between Shaffer and the USCT sergeant or at another time.

There appears to be enough evidence given through the accounts of different individuals that atrocities against prisoners of war did occur on June 15, 1864 at Petersburg. However, its origin was not there and its end was not there. At the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864, just a little to the left of the June 15 fighting, the USCTs would again invoke the memory of Fort Pillow in their charge, but like Fort Pillow they would endure the atrocities. On September 29, 1864, at both New Market Heights and Fort Gilmer, reports of atrocities against USCTs would again appear in soldiers' accounts from both sides. 

War does terrible to things to its participants, and some of its participants do terrible things in wars.       

Monday, August 24, 2020

Wanted Immediately


While browsing through the June 30, 1864, edition of the Petersburg Daily Express, I came across the above advertisement. It was posted by Maj. Charles J. Wallach, who was apparently in the role of quartermaster. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out much about him or at what level of quartermaster he served.

With this advertisement Wallach sought 100 enslaved or free people of color "with axes, for cutting wood near the city." My initial question is what was the purpose of this timbering project? Being that the ad appeared in the summer, it does not appear that the wood was going to be used for warming fuel. Although, I suppose it could have been used to fuel the many railroad engines running to, from, and through Petersburg. However, one problem with that is that much of the timber around Petersburg consists of pine trees, which do not burn as well for steam production as well as hardwoods. 

I suspect that what these axe men were being asked to cut were the woodlots around the city to create clear fields of fire for Confederate artillery and infantry defensive positions. This advertisement was placed rather early in the Petersburg Campaign, so there was still plenty of tree coverage that needed removed. Having defoliated clear fields of fire not only ensured that potential attackers would not have timber shields to hide behind, they also would not have the advantage of assaults while being concealed.

One wonders how many of these African American wood cutters ended up being recruited for the project and how long they stayed in this role. The ad promised good wages and rations. But the wages went to the owners of those enslaved men who participated, and the risks seemed to outweigh the rewards to the free men of color. Did some laborers end up wounded and killed while doing this work? Did some of the enslaved successfully escape to Union lines? If so, did some become soldiers in the United States Colored Troops? 

There are always many more questions than answers with these types of primary sources, but their existence still gives us some valuable insights into the past.     

Friday, August 21, 2020

Dying Far From Home – Pvt. John Henry Gough, Co. D, 38th USCI, and Pvt. Thomas Gough, Co. F, 38th USCI

The Chesapeake Bay area proved to be a particularly fruitful recruiting ground for the United States Colored Troops. Generations of tobacco agriculture had significantly depleted the region’s soil, and a transition to grain crops in the antebellum years produced a perceived surplus of enslaved laborers. Many of these individuals ended up being either sold, or moved with their migrating owners, to the ever expanding “Cotton Kingdom.” However, the region still had a large African American population, both free and enslaved. When the Civil War began, Federal control of the bay area resulted in tens of thousands of black men, women, and children assisting the Union war effort in multiple ways, which they obviously viewed to their advantage.  

Thousands of the region’s military age men enlisted in United States Colored Troops regiments, like the 4th, 7th, 9th, 19th, 30th, 36th, and 38th who were either raised from or stationed in the area. Medal of Honor recipients Christian Fleetwood (4th), William H. Barnes (38th), James H. Harris (38th), and Decatur Dorsey (30th) all came from the bay section of Maryland. Barnes and Harris both hailed from St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

Six men in the 38th USCI with the last name of Gough (apparently pronounced Goff) are also among the men from St. Mary’s County. Two of the six died from the wounds received at the Battle of New Market Heights. The family relationship between Thomas A. Gough and John Henry Gough (if one existed) is unknown. It is quite possible they were either brothers or cousins. Although they were in the same regiment, and hailed from the same county, they enlisted three months apart and ended up in different companies. However, they are of similar age, were the same height, and same complexion. We’ll look at each soldier individually.

John Henry Gough was only 20 years old when he enlisted on February 27, 1864, in Great Mills, Maryland. John’s enlistment papers describe him as 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and of “dark” complexion. Noted as “farmer,” before enlisting, he was likely enslaved before joining up. John had probably not traveled far in his first 20 years, as he gave his birthplace as St. Mary’s County. He officially mustered into the U.S. service on March 7, in Norfolk, Virginia. 


John’s time in the blue uniform would span just a little over seven months. His records reveal no illness, no absences, no detached duty. He did not received any promotions. It appears that he always answered roll calls with, “present.” However, during the intense fighting at the Battle of New Market Heights on September 29, 1864, John Henry received a serious wound in one of his shoulders. Removed from the battlefield and taken to the XVIII Corps base hospital at Point of Rock, Virginia, John died from his wound on October 4. His soldier’s Final Statement lists no personal effects.

Pvt. Thomas A. Gough enlisted at age 22 into Company F of the 38th USCI on May 17, 1864 at Leonardtown, Maryland. His physical description mirrors that of John Henry Gough exactly. He officially mustered in on May 22 in Norfolk. In service for even less time than John Henry, the comments on Thomas’ muster card for September-October 1864 reads: “Died of wounds rece’d in a charge on the enemy’s works Sept 29, 1864.”

Pvt. Thomas Gough’s discharge for death document provides some insight into the wounds he received in the courageous charge at New Market Heights. Shot through the right lung and right arm, Thomas—like John Henry Gough—left the battlefield clinging to life, but obviously in tremendous pain. Transported to the XVIII Corps base hospital at Point of Rocks, he endured the amputation of his right arm. Thomas held on to his life until October 13.

Apparently both men received burials in the Point of Rocks hospital cemetery on Bermuda Hundred. Later removed, and now occupying graves only a row and a few short steps apart, they now rest in peace in plots 3707 and 3699 respectively in the City Point National Cemetery.

Only two decades of life makes for excruciatingly short existences for these two soldiers. The principles they fought for, and sacrificed their lives for, should ideally bring them a measure of recognition and the thanks of a nation. Their marked graves in a national cemetery helps. Bringing their courageous stories to a wider audience, and thus creating awareness of their service is one of the goals of the Battle of New Market Heights Memorial and Education Association. Help us remember them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

"Killed": A Soldier's Obituary


Following the Battle of the Crater, several soldier's obituaries appeared in the issues of the Petersburg Daily Express. The one above eulogizing Pvt. Robert Fuqua of Company K, 12th Virginia Infantry appeared in the August 8, 1864 edition. 

The bonds that these soldiers formed though the difficulties that they endured in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield proved extremely strong. That, combined with the fact that many of the men fighting in the counterattacking units under Brig. Gen. William Mahone came from the Petersburg area, makes sense that their comrades would want their friend's deaths announced and to express it with sentiments similar to those above. 

Robert Fuqua appears in the 1860 census living in Petersburg's West Ward in his mother's household. The 34 year old baker and his brother, James, a 26 year old finisher along with several boarders occupied the house. Although I was not able to find confirmation, I would guess that Pvt. Fuqua is buried in Peterssburg's Blandford Cemetery.   

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Enslaved Refugees from Wilson-Kautz Raid Recaptured and Advertised

One of the great things about the research process is finding unexpected information. For example, this evening, while browsing through period newspapers for articles about prisoners captured during the Petersburg Campaign, I happened upon an advertisement enumerating enslaved individuals, their owners, and the counties they came from. The ad ran in the July 29, 1864 issue of the Petersburg Daily Express.

For a little context, the named enslaved people on this list fled farms and plantation across Southside Virginia following the Federal cavalry during the week-long Wilson-Kautz Raid. Part of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Second Offensive, the raid began on June 22, 1864, from just southeast of Petersburg. The primary goal of the raid was to disrupt travel on the region's railroads and thus cut Confederate communications utilizing the remaining railroads coming into Petersburg and Richmond supplying Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

The 5,500 cavalrymen under Brig. Gen James H. Wilson and Brig. Gen. August Kautz rode along the Weldon Railroad, and at Ream's Station broke west to Dinwiddie Courthouse. They then made north to Ford's Station on the Southside Railroad and followed it west. They were at Blacks and Whites (present day Blackstone) by the following day. Tearing up track here and there along the route, at Burksville Station the riders switched their attention to the southeast route of the Richmond and Danville Railroad. They engaged Confederate forces at the Staunton River Bridge at the Charlotte/Halifax County line. Checked by the Southerners, the raiders turned back east.

Along the route the raiders collected an assortment of horses, mules, and wagons piled full of foodstuffs, personal loot, and enslaved men, women, and children. By June 28, the raiders were at Stony Creek Station on the Weldon Railroad. A wild ride north was stopped on June 29 at Ream's Station by Confederate infantry under Brig. Gen. William Mahone and cavalry under Brig. Gens. Fitzhugh Lee and Wade Hampton. The exhausted raiders were not able to put up much of a fight and were routed, resulting in hundreds of Wilson's cavalry becoming prisoners. Gobbled up with the raiders were scores of the enslaved; ever so briefly free, now recaptured. Kautz and some of his Union cavalry were able to make a better getaway to the southeast, but still lost soldiers and refugees.

These listed recaptured enslaved people were probably taken from the Kautz group. They first were sent to Hicksford (present day Emporia) and then to Weldon, North Carolina, by the Confederate authorities  where they were held for their owners to come claim them. 


The raid encompassed some 350 miles along their circular route. As shown in the advertisments the enslaved came from counties such as Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Prince Edward, Brunswick, Charlotte, Lunenburg, and Mecklinburg. The raid was viewed by the Confederates as a failure due to its disastrous end, but the Federals believed that the temporary disruption to the railroad traffic was worth the loss of captured Union soldiers. The raid was certainly not decisive for either side. For the captured refugees, those who returned to slavery were forced to endure several more months of bondage before freedom came with Union victory and Lee's surrender at Appomattox. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Wounded USCTs Captured at the Crater Advertised in Petersburg


Back in March 2019, I shared an advertisement that ran in the Richmond Daily Dispatch listing the names of over 80 United States Colored Troops soldiers captured at the Battle of the Crater. The purpose of the ad was to alert the former owners of the men in order to potentially come claim them. 

A similar ad, albeit with fewer soldiers, ran in the Petersburg Daily Express on August 8, 1864. The list in the Daily Express enumerates 18 men. It also lists their owner's name and where they claimed to come from. The advertisement states that these soldiers were at the Poplar Lawn Military Hospital in Petersburg, which was located on South Sycamore Street, where Poplar Lawn Park is presently. The ad appears to have been authorized by Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, former governor of Virginia who authorized the hanging of John Brown.

Conducting searches by their names on, I was able to track down five of 18 soldiers and corroborate their wounding and capture at the Crater. Knowing the USCT regiments who fought at the Battle of the Crater helped me find those men relatively quickly. Interestingly, I found one listed man, William J. Cornish, in the 28th USCI (at regiment in the battle), but who according to his service records remained present with his regiment. Could it be that a comrade used Cornish's name as an alias? Hmmmmmmm.

The five men from the list who I was able to locate are as follows:

Pvt. Edward Turner, 18, from Baltimore, Maryland. Turner was a waiter before enlisting in Company D, 30th USCI on February 25, 1864. His service records state that he was missing in action on July 30 and "known to be badly wounded." Another notes states that Turner was sent to the Confederate States Military Prison Hospital in Richmond, and was wounded in the right arm. That arm was apparently amputated at the shoulder joint on August 14. In addition, compensation claims from Turner's owner, John R. Holliday (as also shown in the ad) appear in Turner's service records. Turner was manumitted by Holliday upon his enlistment, so he was technically not enslaved at the time of his capture. It is interesting that he would claim he had an owner to the Confederate authorities. Holliday received $300.00 for Turner's emancipation. Sadly, Turner died in the Confederate prison hospital on September 23, 1864. 

Pvt. Robert Banks, 22, served in Company G, 23rd USCI. He was born in Petersburg and enlisted in Washington D.C. One wonders how Banks felt about fighting outside of his hometown on July 30, 1864 at the Crater. Banks' occupation is noted as laborer. His service records state: "Captured July 30 . . . taken to Richmond and put in the employ of the gov[ernment] as teamster, rejoined the co[mpany] May 20, [18]65." Banks appears to have mustered out with the 23rd USCI in Texas in November 1865. Another document in Banks' service records notes his owner as William Bland (as also shown in the ad) and that Banks was delivered to Dickinson and Hill (Richmond slave traders) on October 2, 1864. Did Banks escape? Was he liberated when Richmond fell? Another document only gives a hint of a clue. A card states "Request that the within named escaped Pris[nor] of War be cared for until further orders." It is dated April 29, 1865 from Washington D.C.

Pvt. Samuel Green, 21, joined Company I, 23rd USCI on May 16, 1864, in Washington D.C. He was a laborer before enlisting and was born in King and Queen County, Virginia. In his records it states: "Captured by the rebels at the battle of Petersburg July 30, 1864. Escaped and returned to his Co[mpany] about April 18,1865. Discharged at Camp Lincoln, Va. 5-25-65 by reason of gunshot wound in left arm . . . ." Documents in Green's records indicate he was believed to be dead, but obviously his demise was greatly exaggerated. One document says that Green was delivered to his owner, a Major Bland in King and Queen County. Did Green make a second getaway from enslavement? It appears so! 

Pvt. Robert Brown, 20, of Company C, 23rd USCI was born in Prince Georges County, Maryland, and enlisted on February 6, 1864. Brown's records unfortunately do not provide much information. One card states, "Missing in action before Petersburg, Va. July 30, '64."

Pvt. George F. Medley, Company C, 23rd USCI, was the eldest of the men I was able to locate. He was 29. Get this though, he enlisted in Washington, D.C. on July 15; only two weeks and one day before the Battle of the Crater. He was serving as the substitute for a Samuel P. Gates. Like Edward Turner, Medley was eventually transferred to the Confederate Military Prison Hospital in Richmond. And like Turner, he was suffering from a wound in the right arm, and also similarly, Medley, died at the hospital, only on September 6, 1864.

I remain curious why more of these men are not identifiable in regimental service records. If anyone has ideas in addition to my supposition of aliases, I would be interested in hearing them. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

USCT Petersburg Trench Art


It is commonly said that soldier life consists of months of boredom punctuated with moments of terror. That saying goes for just about any conflict, but pertains particularly well to the Civil War’s Petersburg Campaign of 1864-65. After a grueling month and a half of almost constant combat between the Union’s Army of the Potomac and the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia in the spring of 1864, during what is known as the Overland Campaign, the contending forces transitioned into a dig in, attack, and counterattack mode of combat around Petersburg and Richmond. The fighting started in June 1864 and lasted until April 2, 1865; almost ten months of wear and tear on the soldiers.

 Between active army movements, soldiers manned their earthen fortifications and sought ways to pass the time. Many soldiers wrote letters to loved ones back home and read return mail voraciously, while others volunteered for detached duty details to keep themselves occupied. Some men played camp games, and others created pieces of “trench art,” while waiting for their call to action.

A soldier who bided his time in creative contemplation was Isaac J. Hill of Company D, 29th Connecticut Infantry. The 29th Connecticut was one of the handful of African American regiments—like the famous 54th Massachusetts—who maintained their state designation after the Union military established the United States Colored Troops (USCT). The 29th Connecticut was initially part of the X Corps, and later part of the all-black XXV Corps, both in the Army of the James.

Isaac J. Hill, born a free man of color in Union County, Pennsylvania, enlisted on January 6, 1864, in Norwich, Connecticut. Hill’s service records indicate that he was 35 years old and 6 feet tall, and had been a minister before entering the service. Hill’s comrade in the 29th Connecticut, Sgt. Alexander Heritage Newton wrote about some of their regiment’s experiences at Petersburg.  “We were soon in front of Petersburg, Va., looking upon the doomed city. We were greeted by a shell from the rebels, or Grey Backs, as we sometimes called them. It fell near the colonel, who was sitting on his horse at the right of the brigade. We countermarched and fell back to the woods, where we remained until 5 o’clock, when orders were received from the general to fall back to the fort and protect the pontoon bridge.” Later Newton writes: “Once again we marched in front of the horrible pit, Petersburg. Some of the whites said, see they are taking these colored soldiers to the slaughter pen. Truly, they had said so, for I never saw such a scene the first night. Shot and shell were raining fast around us.”

Private Hill’s trench art creation is a match safe, used to hold his fire starting devices, at that time often called Lucifers. Hill’s match safe, carved out of beef bones, decorated with a brass Union uniform button and a small brass ring, is mounted on a painted wooden base. This small, and at first glance, seemingly insignificant artifact, actually provides us with yet another piece of evidence about the experience of African American soldiers at Petersburg.

Isaac J. Hill survived the war and mustered out of service on October 24, 1865, in Brownsville, Texas.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Paying a High Price: Casualties for the 36th USCI at the Battle of New Market Heights


During the fighting at the Battle of New Market Heights, as Corporal Miles James of Company B, 36th United States Colored Infantry (USCI) maneuvered through abatis defenses and approached the Confederate earthworks, he received a grievous wound to the left upper arm. Somehow, James was able to gather up enough physical strength and determined courage to stand his ground and continue to load and fire his rifle with only the use of his right arm, all while cheering his charging comrades. Corp. James endured a field amputation, and after recovering, he was able to receive special permission to remain with his regiment until he received a disability discharge on October 13, 1865—over a year after his wounding. Unfortunately, James died in 1871 due to complications from his New Market Heights wound.

The 36th USCI paid a high price at the Battle of New Market Heights. Combing through the soldiers’ service records for the regiment, and with help from the roster appendix to James K. Bryant II’s fine history of the regiment, I was able to gather a list of the men killed in action, fatally wounded, and those wounded who survived. I have included their rank, name, company, age at enlistment, place of birth, place of enlistment, and any additional information provided in their service records.

I have placed an asterisk by the names of those soldiers Bryant lists in his roster as wounded at New Market Heights but who I was unable to corroborate with the information in their compiled service records. Mr. Bryant may have had access to additional sources such as pension records that I did not.  

Killed in Action:

Pvt. Abraham Blango, Co. H, 34, Beaufort Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. John Bunyan, Co. C, 18, Plymouth, NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Jonas Capps, Co F, 22, Princess Anne Co., VA; Norfolk, VA

Corp. Glasgow Carr, Co. D, 24, Greene Co., NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. Miles Crickman, Co. G, 41, Norfolk Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA

Sgt. William Etheridge, Co. H, 24, Roanoke Island, NC; Roanoke Island, NC; “being struck by a shell”

Pvt. Simon Gaylord, Co. F, 23, Washington, NC; Washington, NC

Pvt. Samuel Gregory, Co. F, 22, Perquimans Co., NC; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Charles Lauringhouse, Co. E, 29, Edgecombe, NC; Washington, NC

Pvt. Roderick McCoy, Co. F, 21, Westmoreland Co., Point Lookout, MD

Pvt. Claiborne Miller, Co. A, 21, Hertford Co., NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. Edward M. Montague, Co. K, 21 Gloucester Co., VA; Yorktown, VA

Pvt. Quince Odin, Co. H, 21, Martin Co., NC; Plymouth, NC; “being hit by a minie ball”

Corp. Isaac Overton, Co. F, 22, Pasquotank, NC; Roanoke Island, NC

Pvt. William H. Parker, Co. C, 25, Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA

Corp. Grey Peyton (aka Paton), Co. D, 27, Pitt Co., NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. William Redding, Co. H, 18, Martin Co., NC; Plymouth, NC; “being hit by a minie ball”

Pvt. James Roberts, Co. K, 20, [King and] Queen Co. VA; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. William Sharpless, Co. H, 20, Craven Co., NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. John Simmons, Co. D, 20, Princess Ann Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA; “gun shot wound”

Pvt. Spencer Whitehouse, Co. D, 19, Princess Ann Co., Va; Portsmouth, VA; “gun shot wound”

Pvt. John Young, Co. B, 19, Norfolk Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA

Fatally Wounded:

Pvt. Henry Bell, Co. I, 20, Northampton, VA; Hampton, VA; died 9-30-1864 from wounds

Pvt. Elijah Cherry, Co. G, 30, Bertie Co., NC; Plymouth, NC; died 10-27-1864 from wounds

Pvt. Richard Cherry, Co. C, 40, Edgecombe Co., NC; Washington, NC; died 10-10-1864 from wounds

Corp. Aaron Mitchell, Co. F, 29, Pasquotank Co., NC; Washington, NC; died 10-17-1864 from wounds

Pvt. Hamilton Pitman, Co. B, 27, Edgecombe Co., NC; Washington, NC; died 11-15-64 from wounds

Pvt. Frank Satchen, Co. H, 18, Beaufort, NC; Washington, NC; died 12-21-1864 from wounds

Corp. Cudjoe Woodhouse, Co. G, 29, Currituck Co., NC; Roanoke Island, NC; died 10-6-1864 from wounds

Wounded Survived – Adjutant

Adj. Richard F. Andrews, 27, Lynn, MA; Promoted to captain of Co. D 10-21-1864

Wounded Survived – Co. A

*Pvt. London Brockett, 38, Currituck Co., NC; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Romulous Cooper, 25, Hertford Co., NC; Plymouth, NC

*Pvt. Charles Mullen, 20, Hertford Co., NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. Julius (Jule) Taylor, 19, Bertie Co., NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Alexander Wiggins, 42, Martin Co., NC; Plymouth, NC; disability discharge on 12-1-1865 for bone resection of left upper arm. “The arm is nearly useless.”

Wounded Survived – Co. B

Pvt. John W. Butt, 44, Norfolk Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

*Pvt. Lucius Graves, 19, James City Co., VA; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Miles Grimes, 24, Pitt Co., NC; Washington, NC

Pvt. George James, 18, Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA

Corp. Miles James, 34, Princess Anne Co., VA; Norfolk, VA; amputation of left arm, disability discharge 10-13-1865; Medal of Honor and Butler Medal recipient

Pvt. James T. Johnson, 23, Suffolk Co., VA; Norfolk, VA

*Pvt. Peter Jones, 33, Halifax Co., NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. William Taylor, 19, Caroline Co., VA; Norfolk, VA

Wounded Survived – Co. C

Pvt. Henry Clay, 20, Whitford, NC; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. Willis Dempsey, 22, Elizabeth City, NC; Portsmouth, VA; disability discharge on 6—1865 from effects of gunshot wound to right elbow

Pvt. Peter Downing, 41, Lee’s Mills, NC; Plymouth, NC; disability discharge on 2-10-1865 due to amputation of right arm

*Pvt. Abner Farnshaw, 21, Princess Anne Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA

1st Lt. Edwin Gaskill, 20, joined 36th as 2nd Lt. on 5-17-1864

Corp. Rufus Mayo, 29, Plymouth, NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Calvin McClenney, 32, Nansemond Co., VA; Washington, NC; “gunshot wound both thighs;” returned to duty 2-10-1865

Pvt. Edward Phelps, 19, Washington, NC; Plymouth, NC; disability discharge on 6-18-1865, “loss of use of right hand the result of a gun shot wound”

Pvt. Thomas Wilkinson, 18, Washington, NC; New Bern, NC; hospitalized in Philadelphia, deserted from hospital on 1-15-1865

Pvt. Alexander Wilson, 32, Plymouth, NC; Plymouth, NC

Wounded Survived – Co. D

Pvt. Amos Franks, 19, New Bern, NC; New Bern, NC; disability discharge on 6-17-1865 for “gunshot wound of right shoulder and shell wound of right leg”

Pvt. James Jenkins, 22, Nashville, NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. Saunders Norfleet, 30, Bertie Co., NC; Norfolk, VA  

Pvt. Otis Oliver, 18, Norfolk, VA; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. William Parker, 22, Gates Co., NC; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Isaac Pritchett, 22, Camden Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. Jacob Whitfield, 25, Whitehall, NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Allen Wiggins, 20, New Bern, NC; New Bern, NC

Wounded Survived – Co. E

Pvt. Thomas Adams, 23, Essex Co., VA; Point Lookout, MD

Pvt. William Almstead, 18, Gloucester, VA; Norfolk, VA

*Pvt. Solomon Atwood, 18, Princess Anne Co., VA; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Anthony Collins, 33, Norfolk, VA; Norfolk, VA; disability discharge on 6-1-1865 due to “amputation of left thigh the result of gunshot wound”

Pvt. Peter Cornick, 22, Princess Anne Co.; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Solomon Edwards, 46, Isle of Wight, VA; Norfolk, VA

*Pvt. Byron Gowns, 22, Greeneville, NC; Washington, NC

Pvt. Madison Grimes, 19, Fount Hill, VA, Point Lookout, MD; disability discharge on 4-18-1865 for injury to “right wrist and of fingers of right hand form gunshot wound”

Pvt. Samuel Hall, 21, Duplin Co, NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. Shadrick Land, 21, Princess Anne Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. Richard Robb, 21, Essex Co., VA; Point Lookout, MD

Pvt. William Simpson, 23, Baltimore, MD, Norfolk, VA; disability discharge on 10-25-1865 for “complete anchyloses of right elbow joint caused by gunshot wound”

Pvt. Rhone Smithedge, 20, Plymouth, NC; New Bern, NC

Pvt. Peter Thomas, 20, Portsmouth, VA; Norfolk, VA; disability discharge on 3-15-1865 for “wounded in the shoulder . . . and has been unfit for any duty as a soldier ever since”

*2nd Lt. Isaac Thurlow, 20, appointed 5-31-1864, previously served with 32nd Massachusetts

*Pvt. Turner White, 19, Pasquotank Co., NC; Norfolk, VA

Wounded Survived – Co. F

*Pvt. Albert Banks, 27, Southampton, VA; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Samuel Gregory, 18, Perquimans Co., NC; Roanoke Island, NC; disability discharge on 5-17-1865 for “paralysis of left arm from injury to brachial nerve by a [gunshot] wound of neck”

Pvt. Owen Harris, 28, Princess Anne Co., VA; Norfolk, VA

Pvt. Riley Midget, 18, Currituck Co., NC; Roanoke Island, NC

Wounded Survived – Co. G

*Pvt. Henry Augustus, 18, Pasquotank Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

1st Lt. Francis Bicknell, 20, Weymouth, MA; joined 36th on 6-24-1864, promoted to captain on 10-22-1864

*Pvt. Joseph Diggs, 24, James City Co. VA; Yorktown, VA

Corp. James Gallop, 32. Currituck Co., NC; Roanoke Island, NC

*Pvt. Thomas Hawkins, 21, Richmond Co., VA; Fort Monroe, VA

Pvt. John Horne, 20, Richmond Co., VA; Point Lookout, MD

1st Sgt. Anthony Pool, 20, Surry Co. VA; Yorktown, VA

Corp. Wilson Stogley, 20, Perquimans Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

*Pvt. [Drummer] Henry F. Willis, 15, Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA

Wounded Survived – Co. H

Corp. George Baysmore, 28, Bertie Co., NC; Plymouth, NC; disability discharge on 1-17-1866 for “gunshot wound of right forearm, injuring the ulna, and also of the right hip injuring the femur”

Pvt. John Brown, 21, New Bern, NC; New Bern; disability discharge on 5-4-1865 for “Disability caused by gun shot wound. ‘Minie” Ball entered inner side of middle portion of left thigh, passing through course of sciatic nerve posterior to femur and emerged on opposite and outer side of thigh. All muscles of leg . . . paralyzed.

Pvt. Edward Brumser, 22, Currituck Co., NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. James Edwards, 36, Pitt Co., NC; Plymouth, NC; disability discharge on 3-20-1865 for “gunshot wound of right shoulder fracturing head of humerus (which was resected) causing partial auclylesis of shoulder joint”

Corp. Shadrack Keys, 37, Martin Co., NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Katon Perry, 26, Pasquotank Co., NC; Plymouth, NC

Pvt. Joseph Swan, 23, Martin Co., NC; Washington, NC; gunshot wound both thighs but returned to duty and mustered out the with regiment

Pvt. James Tankard, 19, Beaufort, NC; Washington, NC

Pvt. Joseph Walford, 37, Plymouth, NC; Plymouth, NC

Wounded Survived – Co. I

1st Lt. James B. Backup, 20, Roxbury, MA; appointed to position on 8-13-1863, formerly of 39th Massachusetts, disability discharge on 1-23-1865 for “gunshot wound through left chest . . . also partial paralysis of right leg”

*Pvt. Frank Land, 32, Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. Edmund Price, 35, Gates Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

*Pvt. Wilson Reed, 23, Currituck Co., NC; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. William Smith, 29, Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA

Pvt. Joseph Wright, 22, Petersburg, VA; Hampton, VA

Wounded Survived – Co. K

Pvt. Frank Cornick, 21, Princess Anne Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA; disability discharge on 3-27-1866 for “wounded in action in right arm” and “right arm amputation at shoulder joint.”

Corp. Samuel Crofts, 18, Petersburg, VA; Hampton, VA

*Pvt. Isaac Kellen, 26, Norfolk Co., VA; Portsmouth, VA

Sgt. Andrew Nelson, 18, King William Co., VA; Yorktown, VA

*Pvt. Jefferson Valentine, 19, Beaufort Co., NC; New Bern, NC

Twenty-two killed in action, seven fatally wounded, and eighty-one wounded. This list was not produced in attempt to sensationalize the pain these men suffered, but rather to acknowledge the sacrifices they were willing to endure to ensure the death of slavery, show themselves men and worthy of citizenship and thus the guarantees of the Constitution, and to maintain the Union of the states. It is also hoped that this enumeration helps descendants make connections with their ancestors. Courageously done 36th!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

The Petersburg Campaign section of my library seems to constantly grow. New studies have been coming out regularly over the last decade or so that give us new angles to think about and cover subjects previously under examined.  Adding to the expanding body of scholarship on Petersburg is Sean Michael Chick's The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864, which was published in 2015. I borrowed this book to read about three years ago, and found it helpful in better understanding both army's movements during those initial four day of fighting, so I am happy to add a copy of it to my personal library.

At our book club at work we last read Civil War Places: Seeing the Conflict through the Eyes of Its Leading Historians. It was an excellent choice for discussion. We all enjoyed it so much that we decided to next read the similarly structured Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War, which is also edited by J. Matthew Gallmand and Gary W. Gallagher. Instead of the field's top historians choosing a personally special place, as in the Civil War Places book, they choose a period photograph to write about in Lens of War. I can't wait to start turning the pages on this one.

The Hampton Roads area of Virginia has so much significant African American history. It is where not only the first Africans arrived in British North America in 1619, it also where the Civil War seeds of emancipation were sown with Gen. Benjamin Butler's refusal to return three refugee former enslaved men to their owner. "Freedom's Fortress," aka Fort Monroe, played an important part in the United States Colored Troop story, too. These historical topics and many others get well deserved attention in Cassandra Newby-Alexander's An African American History of the Civil War in Hampton Roads

A book that has been on my "wishlist" for quite a while is Richard M. Reid's Freedom for Themselves: North Carolina's Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era. However due to its high price, I've had to put it on hold, hoping I would come across a good used copy. But recently I learned that the University of North Carolina Press was offering a steep discount sale, so I snatched up a copy. Several of the African American regiments that fought at the Battle of New Market Heights had North Carolina origins, so it relevance to my research is clear. The book coves the experiences of the 35th, 36th, and 37th US Colored Infantry regiments, and the 14th Heavy Artillery. All came from the Old North State and ended up making a name for themselves during the conflict. 

I've always been interested in Civil War military intelligence and how it was conducted. Who doesn't like espionage and intrigue? With the recent publication of Major General George H. Sharpe and the Creation of American Military Intelligence in the Civil War by Peter G. Tsouras, we can now get a fuller understanding and appreciation of the Bureau of Military Information and the man who created and headed it. The information he provided to the Union helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the Federal forces and ultimately secure victory.

Happy reading!