Tour Coming Up Soon!

28 04 2019

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We’re only two weeks out from our In the Footsteps of the 69th New York State Militia at First Bull Run tour. Just a few quick points to bring up:

  • This is a FREE tour. As such, everything is on your own. If you feel compelled to make a donation to the park, you can do so at the Visitor’s Center – they have a box for that.
  • We’ll meet at the Stone Bridge parking lot at 9 AM, on Saturday, May 11. From there, we will proceed by foot across Matthews Hill to Henry Hill.
  • We’ll break for lunch when we get to the Visitor’s Center on Henry Hill. That lunch is on your own. You may choose to carry your lunch with you to this point. Or, if you have a friend with another vehicle, you may want to leave that vehicle on Henry Hill and ride in a second vehicle to the starting point. That way, you can have your lunch waiting for you on Henry Hill. This also might allow you to opt out of the retreat portion of tour.
  • The TOTAL distance of the tour is about 5 miles over rolling ground. Keep this in mind in your planning.
  • The tour is rain or shine. Dress for the weather. Consider that we will be walking through fields and whatnot, and this is May. Tick spray, drinking water, long pants, comfortable and sturdy footwear, are all recommended. At this time, I have no sway over nature.
  • Keep your eye out here for any handouts for the tour. They will not be provided on site. You can choose to print them out or download them to your preferred device.

I look forward to seeing you all on May 11. Facebook indicates we’ll have somewhere between four and four hundred people on this tour. That is to say, I have no idea who’s going to show up other than my fellow guides and me.





Same Old Same Old for $500, Alex

15 04 2019

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What is Ron Chernow’s “Grant?”

For all the literary skill Ron Chernow possesses, there are some old Civil War myths he accepts unquestionably – and uncited – in his Grant book. Mostly about peripheral characters. T. J. Stiles did something similar, IMO, in his Custer book (though he did a better job of footnoting). Yes, I know. Custer won awards. [To correct an earlier version of this post, Stiles did not blurb Grant.]

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read Chernow’s book. It depends on your level of exposure to the subject matter. To explain further, read this post. And here is my preview of Chernow’s book written back when it came out.

I’ll probably give up on this one (I gave up on Custer, too), but I’m not sure yet. I’m up to Iuka and Corinth.





Busy April

10 04 2019

 

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Real life is cramping my style right about now, so while I have this chance I’ll remind you that I have two speaking engagements this month. You can find them and any other of my engagements by following the Book Me, Danno! link in the banner above, but briefly I’ll be at the GAR Hall in Peninsula, OH, on Thursday evening, April 25, and at the Carnegie Free Library (which also has a GAR hall, coincidentally) in Carnegie, PA, on the following Saturday, April 27.

Don’t feel any pressure to attend both of these events – I’ll be presenting essentially the same program at both, with a little more emphasis on blogging at the second. This is a program – The Future of Civil War History – I’ve given a couple of times before, but it’s a very, umm, organic program and won’t ever be the same twice.





Pre-Tour Reading: 69th NYSM Command

9 04 2019

Head on over to Damian Shiels’s Irish in the American Civil War for this read on The Men Who Led the 69th New York on the Bull Run Battlefield.

The tour is May 11. Remember, rain or shine. We’ll meet at the Stone Bridge parking lot at 9 AM. Dress for the weather.





Everything You Need to Know About…

7 04 2019

…the recently unearthed soldier remains at Manassas National Battlefield Park.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?457702-10/soldier-remains-manassas





Pvt. Wilbur D. Cook, Co. E, 13th New York Infantry, On the Return of the Regiment from the Field

19 03 2019

WAR CORRESPONDENCE.
———-
After the Battle – Letter from Wilbur D. Cook, of Capt. Schoeffel’s Company.

Mr. Cook, who was left in charge of the camp and the sick, writes his parents as follows.

Camp Union, Va.,
Monday, July 22 – 10 A.M.

I suppose you are aware that our troops have been beaten, and have retreated to their old camp. I never saw such hard looking men in my life, as those that came in this morning. – We have lost batteries, wagons, and many of our men are taken prisoners. Our loss in killed and wounded, as near as I can find out, is about 1,000. Only half our company have returned; but we know of but one of them being killed – Wallace Shove. He was shot in the breast.

Gen. Scott had made an order forbidding any of the troops crossing the river; and it is thought that Washington is now in danger of being taken.

Our regiment was the last one to leave the field, where they did good execution. Tell the people of Rochester that their colors are safe yet, though there are some bullet holes in them.

The sight of the returning troops was one I never saw before, and I never wish to see the like again. Apprehensions were entertained that Fort Corcoran will be attacked by the Rebels to-night or to-morrow night, and we shall all back into that place in an hour or two.

I am well, but greatly fatigued.

Your Son,
W. D. Cook

Rochester Evening Express, 7/25/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

13th New York Infantry Roster (see Cook, Wilber D.) https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/13th_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf

Wilbur D. Cook at Ancestry.com  





Capt. Adolph Nolte, Co. C, 13th New York Infantry, On the March and Blackburn’s Ford

18 03 2019

WAR CORRESPONDENCE.
———-
The March from Camp Union, and the Battle of Thursday

Camp near Centreville,
July 20, 1861.

I wrote in my last that we left Camp Union on the 16th. The columns started at 2 P.M., during the greatest heat, and marched through a dense forest, that was interrupted only by a few farms, towards Vienna, where, as is well known, Gen. Schenck attacked a masked battery with a locomotive.

We encamped with our tents in a swampy meadow ground, and at 6 o’clock next morning started again. Our march was a very difficult and tiring one. Artillery, baggage, cavalry and infantry crowded each other in a miserably narrow and rough forest road, which was seldom wide enough for two wagons to pass each other. Every moment the column halted. They had to stop and start again on a trot, stop again, and then march for miles in the greatest heat of the sun without a drop of water. The march was executed without the least regard for the men. Where there was water, we passed by. – Where there was none, we halted for hours in the most burning heat. If a well or spring was found at a little distance from the road, they said there was no time to bring water, and when (???) an hour in the burning heat.

During the march we were informed that Fairfax Court House had been evacuated, and accordingly our column passed along more to the right on the direct road to Manassas Junction. – In the afternoon we passed a rebel intrenchment which had been abandoned. The wood was blocked up at several places, with fallen trees, and their removal took considerable time. Towards evening we passed a place of about 20 houses, from which all the inhabitants had left. Only a few negroes remained. It seems as if the inhabitants had left in the greatest haste, and detachments of the 79th regiment began knocking to pieces everything left, and finally set fire to a house, which burned down.

On the approach of night, we came to a place where, on the very same day, the rebel troops had been encamped. We found their fires still burning. That day we had gone at least 16 miles. In the greatest heat and heavily loaded, and we threw ourselves, completely tired, upon the ground. In the same night we were twice started up by false alarms. The next morning we marched upon Centreville, which is situated about seven miles from Manassas Junction. Before Centreville we found some intrenchments abandoned by the rebels. Most of the inhabitants had left the place, and nothing was to be got there. Even the pump handles had been removed from the pumps.

At the head of the column marched a Wisconsin and the 12th Syracuse regiments. The latter came out from the forest about a mile and a half from Centreville upon a plateau, which formed a hill towards the opposite forest. It as suddenly saluted with a hail of canister and musket balls, which, from a masked battery and position, fell suddenly upon them. In spite of the experience of Bethel and Vienna, our Syracuse friends had unheedingly fallen upon the enemy’s cannons and muskets. The command was given to advance in battle order. The regiment formed with difficulty and advance, but when it had come to within fifty paces of the enemy’s position it was received with such a shower of canister and musket balls that it dispersed in all directions. They scattered through the whole forest, and five hours later, when we met with the rest of the regiment, there were not 200 men together.

One will ask now, why was not this attack supported? The answer is, because the brigades which followed were nearly three miles be[hind?].

After the Syracuse regiment had been repulsed a light battery was pushed forward to disperse the enemy’s artillery.

Our regiment, with the rest of those that constituted the brigade, lay about three miles behind the scene of action. We heard the cannon fire for nearly two hours until about 2 o’clock we received orders to advance. We advanced by way of Centreville and then we marched in quick and double quick time for two miles upon a narrow path through the dense forest. The heat was horrible and the dust was so that we nearly suffocated. I washed my mouth several times with a draught from my canteen, and from the pap that I spit out, one might have baked together a whole German Principality. When we arrived at the border of the forest, before which our guns operated, our regiment was placed to right and left of the road in the wood to await further orders. We were about 20 paces from the border of the forest. The cannonading was redoubled and ball from 6 and 12 pounders and cannister, whizzed like hail over our heads and struck the ground a few paces behind us. The cannonading kept up about an hour, more or less. Take it all in all, our men behaved well under their first baptism of fire. – We lay flat on the ground. When the first balls struck the branches and trees above our heads, it is true that several polite bows were made to these coarse fellows. Once when a charge of cannister whizzed over the heads of the middle division, about half a dozen tried to fall back in the rear. But half a score [?] brought them back immediately into line. Several of the men made curious faces behind the trees, but most made fun of it; and more quietness and indifference was shown than could be expected from green troops. In this position, in which we received all the balls that were intended for our artillery, which was placed on the border of the forest, we remained for more than an hour. In vain we hoped for an order to advance and try our Remington Rifles. Toward four o’clock, the artillery fire on our part was stopped, ostensibly because our guns could find no position to fire with advantage upon those of the enemy.

At last we found our column again, and went slowly back through the forest without having lost a man. On the way we found the dead and wounded of the Syracuse Regiment, 15 or 20 in number. With those of other regiments, the Ohio and Wis. There may have been thirty. One of the Syracuse regiment had one half of his head torn away sideways by a 6 pounder, so that upwards from the under jaw, there was nothing to be seen but a mass of raw flesh, blood and crushed bones. Another had his abdomen torn by a piece of shell, in a most horrible manner. The poor fellow begged for a drink of brandy, which I gave to him, as the surgeon told me he could not live for another hour. Others had musket balls in their breast or shoulders, and some had their feet crushed.

We went back to Centreville and from there a mile in advance towards the right flank of the enemy, where we took up our position. We spent here the 19th of July under hits or bushes – and to-day the 20th, we are not likely to go further. Since yesterday considerable regiments have come from Washington, so that the army will be 60,000 or 70,000 strong. Some heavy howitzers have also arrived to enable us to fire upon the enemy’s batteries from a greater distance. Our regiment lies to-day at the extreme advance post of the right flank, and when we move will be the vanguard. We shall then see whether we shall fare any better than the Syracusans.

Manassas is about 7 miles from here, and the entrenchments of the enemy are not a mile from us. We do not expect any movement to-day, but tomorrow (Sunday) we shall have a horrible sacred concert in spite of the ordinances of his Honor the Mayor of Rochester. Until then, good bye.

Rochester Evening Express, 7/25/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

13th New York Infantry Roster

Adolph Nolte at Ancestry.com

Adolph Nolte at Fold3

Adolph Nolte at FindAGrave