Fowler’s Report

14 11 2008

The after action report of E. B. Fowler of the 14th Brooklyn was printed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on March 17th, 1901.  I was alerted to this by reader Linda Mott in a comment to this post.  For now, you can find the article here, but I will be posting the text separately since it’s an interesting story.





#33a – Lieut. Col. E. B. Fowler

14 11 2008

Report of Lieut. Col. E. B. Fowler

Brooklyn Eagle, March 17, 1901, p. 6

Arlington Heights

July 23, 1861

In accordance with regulations I submit the following of the action of the regiment in the late battle before Manassas, July 21, 1861.  We entered the field through the opening made for railroad and advanced on the field in line of battle to the road leading through the enemy’s lines, up which road we advanced by the right flank, and halted with our right resting near a brick house to the corner of a road leading to our left.  The enemy then placed a battery at the top of the hill commanding the road and poured upon us a terrible fire of shot and shell.  We then, by order of Colonel Porter, advanced up the road leading to our left.

When we arrived opposite the woods on the right of the road we received a severe and continued fore of musketry from a force in ambush in the woods, whom we could not see.  Our men returned partially the fire and retired behind the fence and reformed.  A mounted officer from Griffin’s battery then appealed to us to protect that battery, saying that if we did not give them our aid the battery would be lost.  We then formed in rear of the battery and it was withdrawn.  We then being under a heavy fire from the enemy and our men being exhausted, retired from the field for about ten minutes.  We then advanced in line and flanked the road leading into the enemy’s lines.  We then, by order of Colonel Porter, took position in front and below Griffin’s battery.  After remaining here some time under fire from the enemy’s battery, we then, by order of General McDowell, advanced in line up the hill on the right of the road leading through the enemy’s lines and met the Zouaves retreating in disorder.  We continued our advance within forty yards of the enemy’s infantry, who were then advancing up the ravine in column of division.  the fire of the battalion was directed on their leading division with terrible effect, the entire division being cut down.  They then deployed and delivered their fire on us, which, together with a cross fire from the bushes and the shot and shell from their battery, were so severe that we were compelled to retire.  We reformed near the road and advanced again to the top of the hill and were again compelled to retire, firing as we retreated.  On crossing the road a battery opened on us from the right, compelling us (with the example of others retreating) to retire from the field in disorder, the greater portion of the Army then being in rout.  About 300 men formed on the road, but in the panic again became separated and came straggling into camp.

I regret to say that in the last charge Colonel Wood was severely wounded.  He was carried several miles by the men and afterward placed in an ambulance.  The last account we had of him was in the ambulance near the Bull’s Run bridge when the retreating column was fired into.  Major Jourdan deserves especial praise for the bravery he displayed on the occasion and the officers and men generally displayed great courage and enthusiasm.  Our loss appears to be very severe, but will be probably by stragglers coming in.

Respectfully submitted,

Lieutenant Colonel E. B. Fowler

Commanding Fourteenth Regiment, N. Y. S. M.

Colonel Porter

Commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Army of Virginia





Own a Piece of History

1 11 2008

Too rich for my blood, but check out this group of items from a member of the 14th Brooklyn, who was in the regiment at the time of First Bull Run.  The belongings of Captain C. H. Morris of Co. K are up for auction by Heritage Auction Galleries – absentee bidding ends November 20.  Hat tip to Paul Taylor at With Sword and Pen.  Anyone with any info on Captain Morris please chime in – I haven’t turned up anything on him yet.

UPDATE – Reader Mike Peters contributes:

Charles H. Morris, 30, “enrolled” in the 14th Brooklyn to serve 3 years on 18 April 1861. Mustered in as 2nd Lt. of Company H on 23 May 1861. Became Captain on 16 July 1861. Was discharged for disability 18 January 1863.  (From the 14th’s regimental history, The History of the Fighting Fourteenth, compiled by Tevis and Marquis.  Anybody know where I can find a digital copy?)

Here’s the detail of Morris’ CDV from the above Heritage Auctions photo:





Paydirt!

31 10 2008

Reader Linda Mott left the following comment on this post:

I ran across an article written about the 14th Brooklyn’s missing report and their actions at Bull Run. The report had been misplaced, and found forty years later. According to the article, the report and other papers found with it were forwarded to the War Veterans Association. The report was finally published 40 years later in the Brooklyn Daily Leader on Mar. 17, 1901. The Brooklyn Public Library has some of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspapers online. Their website is: http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/

There are other articles about the 14th Brooklyn regiment if one has the patience to search for them. It’s best to search by subject rather than dates. However, the article about the report can be located by date. If not successful try “Old Bull Run Report”. The report is written by Lt. Col. E. B. Fowler. Just thought I’d pass this along, and thank you for the OR’s their organization and presentation are wonderful. I had been looking them up at e-history.com from OSU very tedious. Have you looked there for the Supplemental Volume with the later reports? The site has the atlases and several Supplemental Volumes.

Lo and behold, following Linda’s tip I found the report on page 6 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for Mar. 17, 1901.  I’ll post the report and the text of the Daily Eagle article later.

As an aside, there are two different supplements we are talking about.  Linda is I think referring to Series III, Vol. 2 of the ORs, which contains supplemental reports and correspondence not filed where they should have been filed in the rest of the ORs.  It’s part of the set referred to as The Official Records.  I’ve already posted all the reports from that volume, that pertain to First Bull Run.  When I refer to The Supplement, I’m talking about the Broadfoot set compiled much more recently.

Thanks Linda!





Private Lewis Francis, 14th Brooklyn

21 09 2008

Medical/Surgical History – Part III, Volume II, p.154

Chapter X – Wounds And Injuries Of The Lower Extremities

Section II – Wounds And Injuries Of The Hip Joint

Amputations At The Hip Joint

The next case is exceptional inasmuch as the amputation and reamputation followed a bayonet stab in the knee instead of shot injury.

 

Photo – Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries

FIG 113 – Cicatrix sixteen months after a reamputation at the right hip, succeeding amputation for a bayonet stab through the knee.

CASE 331.–Private Lewis Francis, Co. I, 14th New York Militia, aged 42 years, was wounded July 21, 1861, at the first battle of Bull Run, by a bayonet thrust, which opened the right knee joint. He received not less than fourteen other stabs in different parts of the body, none of them implicating the great cavities. He was taken prisoner, and conveyed to Richmond and placed in hospital. One of his wounds involved the left testis, which was removed on July 24th. On October 28, 1861, his right thigh was amputated at the middle, on account of disease of the knee with abscesses in the thigh. The double-flap method was employed. The stump became inflamed and the femur protruded. An inch of the bone was resected and the flaps were again brought together. In the spring of 1862 the patient was exchanged and sent to Fort Monroe. Thence he was transferred to a Washington hospital, and thence, in March, 1862, to his home in Brooklyn. There was necrosis of the femur, and in May, 1862, its extremity was again resected by a civil surgeon. On October 28, 1863, Francis was admitted to the Ladies’ Home Hospital, New York. Necrosis had apparently involved the remaining portion of the femur. On May 21, 1864, Surgeon A. B. Mott, U. S. V., laid open the flaps and exarticulated the bone. The patient recovered rapidly and had a sound stump. He was discharged August 12, 1864. On October 1, 1865, a photograph, from which the accompanying wood-cut (FIG. 113) was taken, was forwarded by Surgeon A. B. Mott to the Army Medical Museum. Dr. Mott reported that the pathological specimen of the exarticulated femur was stolen from his hospital. For some months after his discharge Francis enjoyed good health; but then the cicatrix became unhealthy, pus was discharged through several sinuses, and there was bleeding from the slightest irritation. In March, 1867, a messenger was sent to his residence, 54 Hamilton Street, Brooklyn, and found him in very poor health. He had been unable to leave the house since November, 1866. On April 12, 1867, he was visited by Dr. E. D. Hudson, who reported him as then confined to his bed. There was a large ulcer at the upper outer angle of the cicatrix, which communicated with extensive sinuses; there was a fistula-in-ano also. The pus from the different fistulous orifices was thin, oily, and ichorous. There could be little doubt that there was disease of some portion of the innomi-natum. The patient was much emaciated, and had a cough with muco-purulent expectoration. His pulse, however, was not frequent, and he had a good appetite. In May, 1867, it was reported that his general condition had somewhat improved. In March, 1868, Pension Examiner J. C. Burdick, of Brooklyn, reported that this pensioner was “permanently helpless and required the constant aid of a nurse.” On May 30, 1874 (Decoration Day), and the day prior, at a preparatory parade of the veterans of his regiment, he was particularly active. The day after this unusual exercise, May 31, 1874, he died suddenly while at table.(2) This statement from the Brooklyn Union, June 1, 1874, is corroborated by the records of the Pension Bureau.

(2) Circular No. 6, S. G. O., 1865, p. 49. Circular No. 7, S. G. O., 1867, pp. 52, 65. HAMILTON (F. H.), Treatise on Military Surgery, 1865, p. 629.





John Clay Brown

20 09 2008

John Clay Brown of the 14th Brooklyn (NYSM) is the author of this letter describing the condition of corpses discovered on the battlefield of First Bull Run on his return there in March, 1862.  At the time of the battle he was a private in Company D.  Biographical information, the letter, and the photo below are courtesy of Dr. Thomas Clemens of Keedysville, MD.  When he enlisted in the 14th Brooklyn, he was 5′ 6″ tall, with blue eyes, auburn hair and light complexion.  Brown’s pension file includes various depositions, indicating he was a color bearer at the Battle of Groveton on August 18, 1862, where he suffered sunstroke which eventually forced him from the ranks and sent him to hospital in Washington.  He returned to his regiment, with the flag he had kept in his possession, in time to participate in the Battle of Antietam.  He remained with the regiment throughout the winter and spring, and was wounded and captured at Gettysburg.  After imprisonment at Libby Prison and Belle Isle in Richmond, he was exchanged in September 1863, after which he rejoined the 14th Brooklyn.  At the end of his three year enlistment, he signed on for another three year hitch, doing so in part for a $900 bonus.  In May 1864, the 14th Brooklyn was consolidated into the 5th New York Veteran Infantry.  On June 2, Brown was again captured, at Bethesda Church.  In South Carolina, he fell from a railroad car injuring his back.  He was released from the prison at Andersonville, GA on December 13, 1864, weighing just 85 pounds.  While recovering and awaiting exchange in Annapolis, MD, Brown learned he had been promoted to lieutenant in command of Company I of the 5th NY Veteran Infantry.  He rejoined the regiment and was present at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.

After the war, Brown suffered from the physical effects of his service and was unable to do heavy labor.  He suffered dizziness from his sunstroke and wore a truss for a hernia.  He had a light mercantile business for a time, and applied for a pension in 1884.  When the pension was granted in 1886, Brown was living in Newburgh, NY.  He moved west, with the last residence in the pension records being Talent, OR.  His date of death and place of burial are not known.

John Clay Brown: Born 10/4/1842; raised Brooklyn, NY; enlisted in 14th Booklyn (NY) State Militia (later desingated 84th NY Infantry) on 4/18/1861; mustered into Company D 5/23/1861; wounded and captured, 7/1/1863, Gettysburg, PA; POW Libby Prison and Belle Isle, Richmond, VA; returned to company, date unknown; re-enlisted 2/12/1864; transferred to Company A, 5th NY Veteran Infantry when 14th Brooklyn consolidated into that regiment in 5/1864; captured 6/2/1864 at Bethesda Church, VA; POW Andersonville, GA, 6/8/1864; paroled Charleston, SC 12/13/1864; mustered as 1st Lieutenant, 5th NY Veteran Infantry 5/17/1865; mustered out of service 8/21/1865 Hart’s Island, NY.  Date and place of death and interment unknown.

Sources: http://www.14thbrooklyn.info/DBROWN.HTM (9/20/2008); letter and biographical information provided by Dr. Thomas Clemens, copies in site owner’s collection.





Pvt. John Clay Brown, 14th Brooklyn, on his Return to the Battlefield

18 09 2008

This is an exerpt of a letter written by a member of Company D, 14th Brooklyn recounting his return to the First Bull Run battlefield in March of 1862, around the time of many of the photographs you can view here.  A transcription of this letter was provided to Bull Runnings by Dr. Thomas Clemens of Keedysville, MD.  This post includes a short biography and photograph of the author, John H. C. Brown.  Only the greeting, the first paragraph, part of the third paragraph, and closing are reproduced below.  The “Sister” to whom the letter is addressed is Brown’s friend Mary Emma Chalmers, Dr. Clemens’ great-great grandmother.  See the full letter here.

Virginia, March 24th, 1862

Dear Sister,

Having great confidence in you abilitys of endurance I even now dare to address you even at this late hour.  You wrote me long ago and although some time in coming, notwithstanding, I determined to answer it immediately.  But dear Sister you know, or at least believe me your well known brother?  That I had a good chance I would have wrote before, but enough of this, Nuff cid.  You are aware that we left our old camp last week and proceeded to Fair Fax, a distance of fourteen miles in a heavy rain and mud ankle-deep.  excuse me?  Well half way Enos and I fell out and after a rest of twenty minutes we again trudge on, soon however unable to walk further, I took my boots off and put on my shoes.  This was when I arrived in Fair Fax, at which place I rested a few minutes and as I gazed upon the [fifty?] earthworks erected by the rebels I though[t] Did they think the Army of the Potomac would halt before that [ ? ]  They could not have thought that, it was but a faint to keep us back to allow them to have more time.  Well we pressed on and halted three miles this side of Centreville, at which place we formed Brigade again, stacked arms (loaded), and then after having a cup of hot coffee I laid down, wet, tired and sick after offering a prayer to God to take care of my friends, the army and myself and slept [sweetly?] I might say.  Well next morning we awoke to find that the rebels had left and in their retreat had blown up both of the large bridges at Bull Run and also Cobb [Cub] run.  Well after being there the third day we all donned our red pants and marched to Centreville there we stacked arms and the Gen. gave us leave to visit the old Battle ground.  It was a long walk, eight miles, but as we want to see the old field where we fought and some of us fell, it did not seem so far.  Well we arrived there about one oclock, and a tear would come as I would notice not one, two, yes ten of [ ? ] our boys unburied, all not one had a head on, oh the rebels will feel the effect of our sorrow when we meet them again.  How soon that meeting will take place I do not know but we hope [ ? ] the sooner the better.  The next day we sent a squad of men to bury them and mark the spot also where they lay.

[Second paragraph]

Mary, I hope you are well and doing well.  I often think of you and all the folks and of my sabbath school.  I long to see them again and hear their voices singing prayers to God.  What a blessed work teaching those little minds the way to everlasting life.  They, the teachers are doing as great a work as I, they are training their minds for heaven and I one of the wandering flock, defending my country, defending them and their parents from harm and danger, for I am sure if the rebels could gain the day they would hesitate at nothing.  They would, as they have done already, break the laws of God and man but the race is nearly run, they have but a few short days to live and so have some of us, but if we are I feel [ ? ] it will be a glorious fate, but for them they will die in ignominity and shame, a disgrace to God and to their country.

[Fourth paragraph]

[Fifth paragraph]

Your affectionate friend,

John C. Brown

N.Y.S.M.





Out, Damn’d Spot! Out, I Say!

13 05 2008

When it comes to First Bull Run, historians and other chroniclers of the battle have a lot in common with Lady MacBeth: they tend to see red where there is no red, or at least it’s not where they think it is.

I’m making my way through Joseph Glatthaar’s General Lee’s Army (see here).The first four chapters, while they have lots of really good information, were a real chore to read.  They remind me of George Rable’s Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!, which also contains lots of good stuff but could have been just as, if not more, effective in about half or two thirds the length.  Perhaps Glatthaar grew so enamored of the anecdotes he turned up he was loathe to part with them, with the result being that the relative importance of the various points being made is blunted.  Anyone frustrated with the seemingly excessive “stuff” that infuses Russell Beatie’s books should be similarly irked with the first four chapters of General Lee’s Army.  They should be, anyway.

But let’s get back to The Scottish Play, and how it applies to Glatthaar’s book.  In chapter six, the narrative framework of the story of Lee’s army – actually, the forerunners of Lee’s army – gets us to First Bull Run.  On page 55 the author writes:

Men of the 13th Virginia jumped off the train [at Manassas Junction on July 21] and raced to the sound of gunfire.  A private reported that “the dust was so thick that we could not see a man five paces immediately in front of us.”  Choking on dirt and craving water to soothe parched mouths, they eagerly rushed onward nevertheless.  Stragglers and wounded called out to them to “pick off the red pants [11th New York Infantry (Zouaves) and 14th New York Infantry], that they had injured us more than any other part of the enemy.”  But to their great dismay, they never got the chance.  By the time they reached the main battlefield, their comrades had swept the field.  The only Yankees in red pants they met were prisoners of war.

And they were also only members of the 14th Brooklyn.  As discussed several times on Bull Runnings (most notably here), the 11th New York Fire Zouaves were not wearing red pants at Bull Run.  Most of their Zouave pants had worn to tatters by then, and the majority of the men sported standard issue blue trousers.  In addition, the 11th New York Zouave uniform consisted of gray jackets, gray pants and red firemen’s shirts.  Not red pants.  They never wore ‘em.

It’s difficult to tell from the footnoting method (one note at the end of a long paragraph with a number of cites for the whole paragraph) whether Glatthaar used a participant’s identification of the regiments, or if he interpreted the description to apply to the 11th and 14th NY himself.  I really, really hate these footnotes.  But I’m willing to forgive them and the glacial pace of the first four chapters – and a disappointing, dismissive, pedestrian description of Joseph E. Johnston – because, like I said, there’s a lot of good stuff in General Lee’s Army.





Withers’ Report

18 04 2008

Just a couple of things to notice about Withers’ report: I’m pretty sure his is the only Confederate report I’ve posted so far that specifically identifies the 14th Brooklyn (NYSM), and Withers even goes so far as to refer to them – correctly – as Chasseurs.  Once again we see the misidentification of a Union battery as Sherman’s Battery.  In this case I think Withers was actually referring to Ricketts’ Battery.  And note also the claim regarding Union forces displaying a Confederate flag.  Most likely the confusion was the result of the very similar appearance of the Confederate First National flag (the Stars and Bars) to Old Glory.  It’s also possible that the troops in question (probably gathered about the Stone House) were waving a captured flag.  But I have seen nothing so far to indicate that they were purposely displaying one to deceive the enemy.





Kershaw’s Report

21 02 2008

Col. Joseph B. Kershaw’s regiment, the 2nd SC, captured the colors of the First Maine Infantry during the battle.  As noted in Kershaw’s report, the banner was adorned with the Maine state motto, Dirigo – a Latin word meaning “I Lead” or “I Direct”.  While some sources link this motto to the fact that Maine once was the only state to hold its elections in September, it seems more likely that its choice was associated with the Polar Star, which leads mariners on the open sea to safe harbor.  The word is part of the official seal of the state (below).

dirigo.gif

 

Kershaw also mentioned some bad behavior by Federal Zouaves:

The escape of so many of the zouaves to our rear was accomplished by their lying down, feigning to be dead or wounded, when we charged over them, and then treacherously turning upon us. They murdered one of our men in cold blood after he had surrendered, and one attempted to kill another of our number who kindly stopped to give him water, supposing him wounded.

There are lots of reports of less than honorable behavior by both sides at Bull Run, and I’ll have more to say about that later.  But for now, perhaps some confirmation of the above can be found in the Historical Sketch of the Nottaway Grays, afterwards Company G, 18th Virginia Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia.  The 18th was part of Cocke’s Brigade, under Col. Withers, who is mentioned in Kershaw’s report as acting in concert with his command.  A future captain of the company, Richard Irby, wrote:

Soon the scene of the hottest part of the day’s battle was reached.  This was where Bee’s men had been driven back and the famous Stonewall Brigade had turned the tide.  Here the red-breeched Federals were lying thick, dead and wounded.  The first man killed in our Regiment was shot by one of these men as the line swept by him.  It was a spiteful act, and he did not live long to repent it, for as soon as he had fired, Major Cabell shot him down with his pistol.  This occurred in the thick pines.

The stories fit together.  The 18th VA and Kershaw’s command fought together.  Kershaw wrote his report five days after the battle, but Irby wrote his sketch in 1878.  And as discussed here, there’s a good bit of confusion surrounding the Zouaves of the 11th NY and the Chasseurs of the 14th Brooklyn.  Did Irby refer to the red-breeched Federals because that’s how he remembered it, or did he add it for effect?  Did Kershaw see Fire Zouaves of the 11th NY (who did not wear red pants), or did he see red trousered members of the 14th Brooklyn?

Beats me.

I haven’t been able to track down the identity of the Maj. Hill who brought the battalion of cavalry to Kershaw, or to whose staff he was attached.








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