Robert Hitchcock

22 05 2010

The letters from Lt. Robert Hitchcock, USMC to his parents prior to the Battle of Bull Run were part of a larger article published in the March/April, 1992 Civil War Times Illustrated.  The article consisted of several Hitchcock letters, annotated by David M. Sullivan and including biographical information on Hitchcock.

Robert Emmett Hitchcock: born 9/29/1839 Shoreham, VT; B. S. Norwich University, 1859; appealed to Vermont congressional delegation for a Marine Corps commission 4/1861; drilled recruits of 2nd VT Volunteer Infantry, Waterbury, VT 4/61 – 5/61; reported to Marine Barracks, Washington DC 6/12/61, and appointed 2nd Lt. to date from 6/5/61; with 1st Lt. Alan Ramsey commanded Company C of four companies of the battalion assigned to Porter’s brigade of Hunter’s Division of McDowell’s Army, 7/16/61; while providing support to Hasbrouck’s section of Griffin’s Co. D, 5th U. S. Artillery on Henry House Hill during Battle of First Bull Run, struck in the face by a Confederate shell and killed instantly, 7/21/61; body assumed buried by Confederates on the field and not recovered; memorial in Lakeview Cemetery, Shoreham, VT.

 

Photos from Findagrave.com.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





Bull Run in the News – Kenton Harper, 5th VA

6 03 2010

Due to the transient nature of online newspaper urls, I’m going to depart from my custom of simply linking to OPW (other people’s work) and reproduce in its entirety this article from Staunton’s News Leader.  Kenton Harper was colonel of the 5th VA Infantry in Jackson’s Brigade (which means he was not “one of Bee’s officers”).

Kenton Harper Left Large Footprint in Staunton

By Charles Culbertson • mail@stauntonhistory.com • March 6, 2010

The moment was not going well for Confederate forces in the first major land battle of the Civil War. A coordinated Union attack at 11:30 a.m., July 21, 1861, had driven forces under Gen. Barnard Bee to the Henry House Hill near Manassas and was on the verge of breaking the line.

Suddenly, one of Bee’s officers — 60-year-old Col. Kenton Harper of Staunton — approached him and pointed out the presence of five regiments of Virginia troops under Col. Thomas J. Jackson that had just arrived on the scene.
Bee quickly made his way to Jackson and said, “The enemy are driving us,” to which Jackson reportedly replied, “Then, sir, we will give them the bayonet.”

At that point Bee is said to have shouted to his men, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me!”

Some have claimed that Bee’s statement was perjorative — that Jackson was “standing there like a damned stone wall.” Whatever he said or how he meant it — we will never know, for Bee was mortally wounded moments later — his command rallied with Jackson’s men, who routed Union forces and helped win the First Battle of Manassas for the South.
Jackson, of course, received the immortal sobriquet, “Stonewall.”

It is unlikely that Bee was being critical of Jackson. Harper, a renowned Staunton publisher, politician, soldier and farmer, had little reason to either like Jackson or to portray him in a favorable light. Just before his death at age 66 in 1867, Harper told the editor of the Staunton Spectator that Bee’s words had been:

“Rally here! Look how these Virginians stand like a stone wall!”

Harper’s experience with the quirky professor from Virginia Military Institute began in April 1861. A major general in the Virginia state militia, Harper was given command of the 5th Virginia Infantry Regiment and marched out of Staunton with 2,400 men to seize the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

The assault was a success, with Harper’s men salvaging thousands of muskets, as well as milling machines, lathes and other supplies. Later that month, Harper was replaced in favor of Jackson, a move that irritated Harper and angered many of the officers serving under him.

He was further alienated from Jackson when, in September 1861, Jackson denied him leave to be by his dying wife’s side.

But Harper was bigger than his grievances, having forged a long and fruitful career through diligence, honor and competency. He continued to serve the Confederate cause despite fragile health that was exacerbated by the rigors of war.

Born in Chambersburg, Pa., in 1801, Harper grew up in the printing business, learning the trade from his father, who published the Franklin County Repository. In 1823, he moved to Staunton where he purchased the Republican Farmer and changed its name to the Staunton Spectator.

In 1836 Harper began serving as a state legislator and, in 1840, filled a year’s term as Staunton’s mayor. When the U.S. went to war with Mexico in 1846, Harper was appointed a captain in the 1st Virginia Infantry, commanding the Augusta County volunteers in the northern frontier of Mexico.

Although he never saw action, his “soldierly demeanor was so marked” that he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and given a military governorship in Parras, Northern Mexico. He was officially commended for the manner in which he conducted himself in that post.

Mustered out of service in 1848, Harper returned to Staunton where he sold the Spectator to the Waddell family. Soon he was appointed under President Millard Fillmore as U.S. agent to the Chicasaws at Fort Washita in the Indian Territory, a post he administered with distinction. His service there led to an appointment as assistant to the Secretary of the Interior — a post held by another Staunton resident, Alexander H.H. Stuart.

At the end of his term, Harper returned to Staunton where he worked his Augusta County farm, “Glen Allen,” and served as the president of the Bank of the Valley. By 1860 he was a major general in the Virginia state militia, a post that led to his military involvement in the Civil War.

After Jackson refused him permission to visit his dying wife, Harper resigned his commission and returned to Staunton for her funeral. He was again elected into the state legislature and, in 1864, was re-appointed as a colonel. Forming a regiment from reservist companies, he led them in battle at Piedmont and again at Waynesboro.

Two years after the war, Harper contracted pneumonia. Some of his last words were reported as, “I would not live always; I ask not to stay.” He died on Christmas Day, 1867.

Upon his death, the newspaper he had founded wrote, “His memory we should not willingly let die, his example of a virtuous life and peaceful death should long remain to point to each of us the lesson of the fineness he so truly illustrated.”

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





Shockoe Hill Cemetery’s Bull Run Dead

26 02 2010

Friend Robert Moore sent me some links to lists of Union POW’s memorialized in Richmond’s Shockoe Hill Cemetery.  These men died in captivity and were buried along outside the east wall of the cemetery (thanks to reader Jeffry Burden).  They were disinterred and moved in 1866 to Richmond National Cemetery.  The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) erected a marker to them in 1938, and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) put up another one in 2002.  See photos here.

Turns out there are a lot of names on those lists that are or may possibly be of men who were captured at First Bull Run – actually, a surprising number.  This will take a little time, but I’ll try to put the list together and post it here.  For now, you can find the names of all the identified soldiers here.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





McDowell Descendant

11 02 2010

Last night I received an email from a great-great-granddaughter of Irvin McDowell, Cynthia Payson Hartdegen:

Hi,

My sister sent me your blog about my great-great-grandfather, Irvin.  Family lore has it that he tried to dissuade Lincoln from fighting at Bull Run, believing it unwinnable.  Lincoln allegedly believed that the soldiers needed a battle and offered to take responsibility for the likely loss.  “Caesar can do no wrong” McDowell said (according to my grandmother, Madeleine McDowell Greene), and owned responsibility for the rout. 

I was interested in your report of his Grandfather – was that Samuel?  His portrait hangs in my library.

Thank you for your research, and comments.

Cynthia

Cynthia was referring to this article in which I commented on Michael Hardy’s recent biographical article on McDowell.  I replied to Cynthia’s email, and received a response in which she detailed her relationship to McDowell.  While she’s not aware of the existence of any of his papers at this point, hopefully we can flesh-out the General a bit in the future.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





Bull Run Images for Sale

31 01 2010

Here’s a link to a nice CDV of a veteran of the First Massachusetts wounded at First Bull Run, John Baxter.  Per www.henrydeeks.com, Baxter was wounded in the left thigh on July 21, 1861.  It can be yours for $150.

Also available here on the same site is this image of New York Congressman Alfred Ely, taken prisoner at Bull Run (I wrote a little bit about it here).  Price is $85.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





Gruesome Yard Sale

17 01 2010

I received the following from John Hennessy this evening.  Like him, this is something I’ve never heard of before.  The 12th Alabama was not attached to Ewell’s brigade until after the battle.  Your comments are encouraged.

Here’s a little thing that falls into the realm of the obscure and the  bizarre.  The letter is from When I Think of Home: The Civil War  Letters of William Harrison “Tip” Crow, ed. by Dewayne R. Welborn, Owasso, OK, 1996.  page 17-18.  Letter to his father, August 24, 1861,  from Manassas.   Crow was in the 12th Alabama.

Dear Father

there has been something else come up of which I wish to inform you I wrote you a letter yester day but every hour here brings up something new   Order issued by the Colonel that the clothes of the dead men to be sold   Thomas’ showel [shawl] and coat have to be put  up at the highest bidder and sold and if it had not been just eh kindness of our Captain [Higgins] his shirts would have been sold  he had to give them in according to the order but he did not and told me to keep them    I wanted the showel and I in tend to have it as I will make some man pay 12 dollars for it    I here some of them talking about biding for it but I dont [want] any body els shal have his things to stroe about….Lem is going to get hte coat   this is one thing that hurts me to think Tom and I have always been to gether and have been like brothers and now I have to pay a big price to get his things….  I do think we have the most tiranical officers at the head of this Regiment that ever men were under but you [know] that it won’t do to say any thing    experienced me that have been in the service before say they never heard of dead men’s clothes being sold before….

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





W. C. Tunstall, Co. D, 5th AL

7 11 2009

Reader Maxwell Elebash of Tuscaloosa, AL provided this letter written by his ancestor, and wrote the below biographical sketch:

Wiley Croom Tunstall was born 16 Dec. 1839 in Greensboro, AL (then Greene County but now Hale). His parents were Dr. James L. Tunstall of King William Co. VA and Eliza Ann Croom. He married Augusta Elizabeth Hobson (sister of Edwin L. Hobson of 5th Alabama) 10 Dec. 1862. They had five children. I am descended from their daughter Cammie Tunstall.

Wiley attended the University of Alabama and also Hampden-Sydney College. Post war he was a cotton planter in Hale County, member of the Alabama Legislature and served as Railroad Commissioner 1885-1895. He died in Anniston, AL 8 Aug. 1916 and is buried in Greensboro Cemetery.

Interestingly one of his wife’s sisters was married to Sydenham Moore, Col. of the 11th Alabama Inf. was MWIA at Seven Pines. Her mother was a sister of Lt. Col. John Clarke Mounger of the 9th Georgia Infantry KIA at Gettysburg attacking the Wheatfield on day two. One of Mounger’s sons was killed at Chancellorsville (14th Georgia Inf.) and the remaining two were killed in the Wilderness (8th Georgia Inf.).

Per G. Ward Hughes (ed.), Voices from Company D: Diaries by the Greensboro Guards, Fifth Alabama Infantry Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia:

Tunstall, Wiley C. (c. 1840, Alabama-1916).  In 1860 living with his mother, who reported $40,000 in real estate and $90,000 in personal estate, including eighty-six slaves; enlisted April 25, 1861, in Greensboro; third lieutenant in April 1862; resigned in October, 1862, citing chronic diarrhea; in 1880 married with five children.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





Irvin McDowell in America’s Civil War Magazine

4 11 2009

mcdowellThe January 2010 issue of America’s Civil War magazine features an article by author and fellow blogger Michael Hardy, Irvin McDowell: The Most Unpopular Man in America.  Let me start by saying that Mr. Hardy is a fine writer, and this article is a good read.  Not a lot gets written about McDowell (see here), and anything that starts a discussion of the man is a good thing.  However, since some of the opinions or characterizations in the article are generally at odds with my own as stated here on several occasions, I think I’m obliged to address them.  I’ll add that I’m at odds with just about everybody over these issues, not just Mr. Hardy.

I: McDowell’s Rank

Mr. Hardy writes that McDowell’s promotion to brigadier general displeased Winfield Scott; that Scott would have preferred the promotion went to Joseph Mansfield, and that Mansfield held a rank superior to McDowell.  All-in-all, these facts are true, but their juxtaposition implies that Scott’s objection was born strictly of preference.  As I pointed out here, rank and seniority weren’t the most important things in the antebellum army – they were the only things.  As a 1st lieutenant and brevet major who never had a field command, McDowell was very low on the army’s totem pole.  Mansfield, for example, had been a full colonel since 1853.  I think Scott’s problems with McDowell’s elevation make a little more sense in light of this fact.

II: McDowell’s Connections

Mr. Hardy also writes that in the early days of the Lincoln administration, McDowell “quickly impressed Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, a fellow Ohioan.”  As I discussed here, I’m not sure that this “impression” was as serendipitous as is generally assumed.  McDowell’s grandfather was a politico in Kentucky, his father had been mayor of Columbus, and McDowell himself had attended the U. S. Military Academy, indicating some political influence or connection.  As Mr. Hardy points out, McDowell was also a cousin by marriage of Ohio Governor William Dennison.  Later, McDowell would take an active role in preparations for the marriage of Chase’s daughter Kate to Rhode Island Governor William Sprague, and later still Ohioan James Garfield would name a son after McDowell.  I think pre-war political connections and the role they may have played in McDowell’s meteoric rise in 1861 need to be examined more closely.

III: McDowell’s Plan

This is the big one.  Mr. Hardy, like most every other person who has written about First Bull Run before him, casts McDowell in the passive role of a man whose plans were undone by circumstances beyond his control:

But the key to McDowell’s plan was out of his hands.  Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston had 11,000 men in the Shenandoah Valley.  Union Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson and his 15,000 man army stationed near Harpers Ferry would have to prevent Johnston from reinforcing the Confederates at Manassas.  A Federal victory depended on Patterson’s success in the Valley.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that this summary of McDowell’s plan is one with which I disagree vehemently.  The reason for its amazing staying power in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary can be found in the various testimonies before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and in the Committee’s report (find it all here).  “What?”, you ask, “Are you saying Johnston’s arrival did not spell defeat for the Federal forces?”  No, what I’m saying is that McDowell’s plan, while assuming Patterson’s success, did not depend on it; because, as I explained here, the plan also assumed that all available CSA forces would be forwarded to the Bull Run line, bringing the force there to 35,000 troops.  That’s maybe a little more than McDowell actually wound up facing, including Johnston.  (In addition, after reading McDowell’s plan you’ll see that it neither anticipated nor depended on celerity as attendant to success.)

These issues aside, I think the article is good and raises some interesting points.  Check it out.

Photo from this site.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine





Charles D. Lyon and a Call for Stuff

19 08 2009

There’s a new biographical sketch of Lt. Charles D. Lyon of the 3rd Michigan Infantry up at Men of the Third Michigan Infantry.  The sketch includes an excerpt letter that the site owner attributes to Lyon, reprinted in the Grand Rapids Enquirer in July, 1861, describing the action at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18.  Check it out.  If anyone has the article and would like to share it for inclusion in the Resources here, let me know.  In fact, if you have any newspaper articles, letters, diaries or memoirs you’d like to contribute to the Resources, by all means drop me a line!





Daniel Webster Littlefield

3 08 2009

Steve Soper over at Third Michigan Infantry Research Project has put up a biography of Daniel Webster Littlefield, who was present with the regiment at First Bull Run.  The post includes a letter from Littlefield that covers July 11-21, 1861.  I’m trying to get permission to include the letter and bio here as part of the resources, but am having some trouble getting in touch with Steve.  Check out his blog, which showcases a growing database of biographical information on members of the regiment.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 838 other followers