Wednesday, February 20, 2008
USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon at battle
The Flag of the War of 1812
In the Trinity Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia there is a monument which bears this inscription.
“Neither the fury of battle, the anguish of a mortal wound, nor the horrors of approaching death could subdue his gallant spirit, his dying words were “
“Don’t Give Up The Ship”
Buried here is the famous Captain James Lawrence, who was mortally wounded in the combat that lost to the United States the Frigate Chesapeake to HMS Shannon.
But this is not the story of Captain Lawrence, but of a Schuylkill Countian who was onboard the Chesapeake and was the last remaining officer to put up a fight. This little story is about Francis B. Nichols.
To get a grasp on what happened on that June afternoon in 1813
The Chesapeake left Boston Harbor on June 1st, 1813. The two ships sailed several miles off shore, where the Shannon slowed to await the Chesapeake, who was flying a special flag that proclaimed “Free Trade and Sailors Rights” in recognition of America’s pre war of 1812 against British Policy. Around 6 PM the ships opened fire on each other, both getting hits, but the Shannon’s guns were doing more damage than the Chesapeake’s. Casualties were crippling on the quarterdeck of the Chesapeake. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded by small arms fire and had to be taken below giving his final order, “Don’t Give Up the Ship.”
The two ships came to together; The British boarded the quarterdeck of the Chesapeake, where they meet a fierce resistance. Casualties were heavy, 60 killed on the Chesapeake and about 30 on the Shannon. The British showed great abilities in boarding and hand to hand fighting. The Chesapeake was captured and taken to Halifax Nova Scotia.
The story related by Nichols son Henry is another one of those great historical tidbits that seem to be lost and forgotten.
MEMOIR OF FRANCIS BOUDE NICHOLS.
BY HENRY KUHL NICHOLS.
Francis Boude Nichols was the eldest son of Major William Nichols, of the Continental army. He was born November 5, 1793, in Pottstown, Montgomery county, Pa.; baptized Francis and adopted the middle name of Boude, being the maiden name of his grandmother Hillegas ; died at Pottsville, Pa., June 30, 1847. He was appointed a midshipman in the United States navy June 18, 1812; served in Perry's flotilla at New London, Conn.; also served under Captain Evans, and then transferred to frigate Chesapeake, Captain James Lawrence, and was in the engagement between that ship and the Shannon, off the Massachusetts coast, June I, 1813 ; was severely wounded in the breast by a musket ball, which he carried to his grave; was taken prisoner to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and paroled June, 1813. His wound compelled him to resign from the navy, when he took up the study of medicine. In 1820 he removed to Orwigsburg (then the county seat of Schuylkill county), when he was appointed by Governor Heister register and recorder of deeds, etc., to the county. He bought a large body of coal lands, where the present town of Saint Clair* now is, which he started to develop and became a miner of coal, and lost most of his property in the panic of 1837. He was the first president of the Miners' Bank, of Pottsville; first captain of the First Schuylkill County Cavalry, and district deputy-grand-master of the Masonic Order; a devout Episcopalian, and many years senior warden of Trinity Church, Pottsville. He married January 30, 1814, in Christ Church, Philadelphia, by Right Rev. William White, D. D., Anna Maria Nichols (his cousin), daughter of General Francis Nichols, of the Continental army. The following incident seems too romantic to put in print: but being directly connected with the affair, I can readily vouch * for it. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the last name of the party, as he always went by the name of " Billy," but I called him " Daddy Whitebeard," owing to the fact that his head and beard were snow-white. It was a very cold night in the winter of 1843, snowing terribly. I was sitting with my father in the parlor, where we were toasting our feet in front of the grate (in those days houses were not heated throughout), when the doorbell rang, and being so stormy my father directed me to answer the bell, not waiting for the servant. I went to the door and found a small man literally white from head to foot. I was so startled that I shut the door in his face and returned to the parlor. My father asked me who was there, and on my telling him, he directed me to admit the man at once, as the storm was very severe. I returned, and allowed the man to come in ; took him into the parlor just as he was, and then kept a respectful distance from him, as he looked much like Santa Claus. After warming him up, my father asked him what he was doing in Pottsville, etc. He replied that there were some of his connections working in the mines, and that he had left England to find them and obtain work. Father asked him what life he had led, and his reply was, " Been a sailor all my life." After questioning him, he stated he had been a sailor on the frigate Shannon, and was in the engagement against the Chesapeake. As my father was fully advised as to this particular fight, he questioned the fellow very closely, and he described the fight accurately. He said one thing he regretted was killing a little "middy," who had charge of the Chesapeake at the close of the fight, as all the higher officers were either killed or disabled. My father asked him to describe the position on deck that the " middy " had when shot, and where he was. He said: " I was in the shrouds and he was pretty well aft, giving orders to several sailors." The description tallied so accurately that my father laughingly replied : " The ' middy' still lives ;" and, taking the old sailor by the hand, told him that he was the boy that he had shot, and showed him the wound in his breast. "Billy" spent the night at our house, and the next day my father took him to the mines, put him in charge of the stables and mules, and kept him till he died.
Jenkin Evans Discharge, Held at the HSSC
A member of the 15th KIngs Hussars re-enactment group
http://www.xvld.org/ The 15th Web site.
This is the uniform that Jenkin Evans would have worn.
Jenkin Evans of the 15th Kings Hussars
In the October 5, 1839 issue of the Pottsville Miners Journal was a lone obituary which had the headline:
In this borough on Thursday last, Mr. Jenkin Evans, aged 61. His funeral will take place, without further invitation, at 4 o’clock this afternoon.
In his humble walk of life, Mr. Evans will be much missed in our community, he was one of those persons of all work, so often seen in small towns, as it were identified with it, always employed and understandably performing his duty. He was a native of Wales and had served for 25 years in the British Army, as a private in the 15th Hussars. He was at the battle which decided the fate of Napoleon, and often showed his Waterloo Medal, with all the pride of an old soldier. On the last anniversary of this engagement, he wore it, with a proud and glowing spirit, and recounted to us many interesting anecdotes of the day. Having obtained, after the continental war, an honorable discharge from the service, on account of age, he immigrated to this country, and has resided some years in this vicinity. Notwithstanding his age, with youthful ardor, he joined the First Troop of Schuylkill County Cavalry, and sat his charger on the last parade, as firmly as the youngest member.
By his own desire, the war warn veteran we be buried with military honors, and buried in compliance with his dying request, in such a manner, that when the partner of his life is called to follow him her coffin may repose on his! “Alas poor Jenkin!” If a warm heart, an honest conscience, and an affectionate disposition, can command the countersign to pass into the camp of eternal peace, the old soldier has now grounded arms before the mercy seat of heaven.
The funeral of Jenkin Evans will take place this afternoon from his late residence in Adams Street. The Troop, National Light Infantry and the Washington Yeager’s, will parade at their several Quarters at 3’o’clock, and the funeral will move precisely at 4 o’clock. The citizens generally are invited to join the procession without further invitation.
The Troop parade dismounted, the Yeager’s with side arms, and the Light Infantry fully equipped, with three rounds of blank cartridges.
In the Historical Society of Schuylkill County is Jenkin Evans actual military discharge, printed on a cloth like material with the original Royal Seal. Also held in the Society is his Waterloo Medal.
This medal was the first award issued to all ranks, and set a precedent for the issue of campaign medals. It was awarded to all those who served at the battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo 16th-18th June 1815.The battle is well-known, and a wealth of literature on the subject is available. The most sought-after awards are, as usual, those to officers and to casualties. In addition, medals to cavalry regiments are popular, especially those to the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), who made a famous charge during the battle. Awards to members of Colville's Division consisted of the 35th, 54th, 59th and 91st Foot. Some 39,000 of these medals were issued, 6000 were issued to Cavalry; 4000 to Guards; 16,000 to Line Regiments; and 5000 to Artillery. In addition, there was the usual contingent of supply personnel, and a 6,500 strong contingent of the King's German Legion. This latter group played an important part in the battle and suffered high casualties, The medal itself was always issued in silver and is unusual in that the head of the Prince Regent is shown, whilst all other campaign awards show the head of the relevant king or queen. The reverse depicts the figure of Victory. Originally, the suspension was by a steel clip and ring, but as this was unattractive and prone to rust, many recipients had suspenders fitted privately. The naming is always in large impressed Roman capitals, with stars at the beginning and end of the naming to fill up any free space. The ribbon is of crimson, with blue edges. - This roll is a list of recipients of the Waterloo Medal, issued to all who took part in the battle, including the King's German Legion. Lists are arranged by regiments/corps, placed in order of precedence, and in most cases broken down into companies or troops (cavalry) within regiments and battalions, each identified by its officer commanding. In some units casualty details are given. The staff are shown separately.
According to his discharge Jenkin enlisted in the 15th Kings Hussars on April 3, 1803 at the age of eighteen. His discharge also states that he served in the Army for the space of 24 Years and 50 days. From the 25th of May 1803 to 13 May 1827. And that he was discharged in consequence of .... age and being worn out!...... That his General Conduct as a soldier has been...Extremely Good. And he served in the Peninsula at Corunna, and in all the campaigns of 1813 and 1814! At the time of his discharge he was 43 years of age.
When Jenkin enlisted in the 15th they were known as Light Dragoons and in 1805/7 they were converted to Hussars. The hussars were a prominent cavalry force in the Napoleonic wars (1796 - 1815). As light cavalrymen mounted on fast horses they would be used to fight skirmish battles and for scouting. Most of the great European powers used the hussar within their military forces. The armies of France, Austria, Prussia and Russia had included hussar regiments since the mid-18th century. In the case of Britain four light dragoon regiments were converted to hussars in 1805. Hussars were notoriously impetuous and Napoleon was quoted as stating that he would be surprised for a hussar to live beyond 30* due to their tendency to become reckless in battle, exposing their weaknesses in frontal assaults. The hussars of Napoleon created the tradition of sabrage the opening of a champagne bottle with a saber, something that is still popular in France to this day the uniform of the Napoleonic hussars was made up of the pelisse: a short cloak which was often worn slung over one shoulder and fastened with a cord. This garment had a fur edging and was extensively adorned with braiding (often gold or silver for officers) and several rows of multiple buttons. Under this was worn the dolman or tunic which also was decorated in braid. On active service the hussar normally wore reinforced breeches which had leather on the inside of the leg to prevent them from wearing due to the extensive riding in the saddle. On the outside of such breeches, running up the outside was a row of buttons, and sometimes a stripe in a different color. In terms of headwear the common hussar wore either a shako or fur Busby the colors of dolman, pelisse and breeches varied greatly by regiment, even within the same army. The Napoleonic hussar was armed with a brass hilted sabre and sometimes with a brace of pistols although these were often unavailable.
Jenkin would have served with 15th throughout the whole of the Napolenoic War, serving in Penninsula, Spain and Portugal and the famous battle of Waterloo. I wonder what stories and tales old Jenkin could have told. I can only imagine sitting down and listening to a man who served for nearly 25 years in the cavalry. Oh for the want of a time machine.
Jenkin was initially buried in the cemetery behind the Episcopal Church. Actually the church is now on top of where is grave would have been. At the back entrance to the church.
Jenkin was married to Sara Hand at the beautiful church of Saint Martin in Birmingham, England on the 13th day of February 1817. By C.W. Wineford Minister.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Unknown Soldier from Haven or surrounding area.
I just picked up this CDV on Ebay, primarily because the fellow was from Schuylkill Haven, as the back of the CDV states. But no name, maybe somewhere out there in the world someone might know who it is. I HOPE. Anyway the badge on his hat looks like it might be a Ninth Corps badge, although it is hard to see, which would make him either a member of the 50th PVI Co. C probably or the 48th PVI. Anyway it was a good find. I like that Chin beard.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The Allison Brothers And The Monument In Port Carbon
THE ALLISON BROTHERS AND THE BEAUMONT BROTHERS
FIGHTING FAMILIES FROM SCHUYLKILL COUNTY.
During the Civil War their were many families who supplied sons to the Union cause. Here in Schuylkill County we had two families that supplied 4 members of the same family the Allison family from Port carbon and the Beaumont family from St. Clair. The first family is an interesting story. The Allison Brothers and Mrs. Allison.
Almost all Civil War Historians have heard the story of the letter President Lincoln wrote to the mother of supposed 5 sons slain in battle. Mrs Lydia Bixby.
In the fall of 1864, Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew wrote to President Lincoln asking him to express condolences to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, a widow who was believed to have lost five sons during the Civil War. Lincoln's letter to her was printed by the Boston Evening Transcript. Later it was revealed that only two of Mrs. Bixby's five sons died in battle (Charles and Oliver). One deserted the army, one was honorably discharged, and another deserted or died a prisoner of war.
The authorship of the letter has been debated by scholars, some of whom believe it was written instead by John Hay, one of Lincoln's White House secretaries. The original letter was destroyed by Mrs. Bixby, who was a Confederate sympathizer and disliked President Lincoln. Copies of an early forgery have been circulating for many years, causing many people to believe they have the original letter.
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
By rights this letter should have been addressed to Mrs. Agnes Allison, because she did have four sons who were killed in battle. And they were all from Port Carbon.
Mother Allison and the Allison Brothers.
Agnes (Smart) Allison:
Born Scotland 1809
Married Andrew Allison, 1828 in Aragask, Scotland
Andrew died August 2, 1845
She lived in the U.S. for 30 years:
July 4, 1908 monument was erected in her honor at Port Carbon, Pa. For being the mother of
4 sons lost in battle during the Civil War, by her granddaughter Anna Starrett Brown.
Alexander Allison: 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers Company C.
1. 26yrs old
Occupation a blacksmith.
2. Member of the Marion Rifles, of Port Carbon. 1861
3. Enlisted on 7 Sept. 1861, 96th P.V.I. Co. C
4. Mustered in as a Sgt. on 23 Sept. 1861, 96th P.V.I. Co. C
5. 2nd Lieut. 1 May 1863. 96th P.V.I. Co. C
6. Alexander was promoted to 2nd Lieut. when Lt. Sam Russel took command of Company H., two days before he was wounded in action at Salem Church, whence he would die from the effects of a musket ball passing through his right side. He died in the Union Hospital at Potomac Creek Bridge on the 5th of May, 1863.
7. Never married, was responsible for the support of his widowed mother, Agnes, whom he sent $10. 00 a month to.
Obituary June 6, 1863
Miners Journal, Pottsville Pa.
We regret to learn of the death of Lieut. Alexander Allison, of Co, C, 96th Reg. P.V. which occurred May 5, at Acquia Creek hospital, from the effects of a wound received while in action, at Salem Heights, near Fredericksburg, on May, 3. Lieut. Allison served during the three months service in the 6th regiment, under Col. Nagle. After their return he enlisted in the 96th regiment, and was in all the engagements on the Peninsula and before Richmond. He was severely wounded at the storming of Cramptons Pass. In the late attack at Fredericksburg, while the regiment was in line and under a severe fire from the enemy’s batteries he received his commission as 2d Lieut. of his company. He was with the regiment for its gallant charge on the 3rd of May, by which an important position was gained, and on the same day, in the terrible encounter in the woods near Salem Church, he received a ball in his right side, causing a mortal wound. His brother, Corporal John Allison, of the same company, was killed in the same action. The company is commanded by Capt. I.E. Severn, and suffered severely in this engagement. Out of twenty-two men including officers, who went into action, one officer and three privates were killed and five wounded. The death of Lieut. Allison and his brother is deeply regretted. Their kind dispositions and fine soldiering qualities made many warm friends who mourn their loss. At the time they enlisted they both resided in Port Carbon with their mother, who has still two sons in the service.
John Allison, Corporal, 96th Pennsylvania Company C.
1. 23 years old
2. Enlisted on 4 September 1861, 96th P.V.I. Co. C
3. Mustered in as a Corporal 23 September 1861, 96th P.V.I. Co. C
4. Killed in action at Salem Church, Fredericksburg Virginia, May 3, 1863.
George Allison, Sgt. Co. K 56th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
1. 33 years old.
2. Enlisted 1861
3. Mustered in 1861
4. Died from the effects of wounds received at Spotsylvania Court House May 23, 1864.
James Allison. Pvt. 48th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Company G.
1. 28 years old.
2. 5’6” Light complexion, blue eyes, sandy hair.
3. Member of the Keystone Rifles of Port Carbon April, 1861 3 month volunteer.
4. Occupation a boatman.
1. 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company M: Enlisted Jan. 1, 1862
2. Discharged January 15, 1863 by reason of being thrown against the pommel of his
saddle very hard, causing the retention of urine requiring the use if a catheter for 4
3. Enlisted in 48th, P.V.I. Company G February 1864.
4. Killed in Action Grove Church, Va. June 3, 1864
Salem Church, May 3, 1863
On May 3, 1863 after a short rest the 96th P.V.I. received orders to attack confederate positions along the wooded ridge west of Fredericksburg near the old Salem Church. The 96th was placed to the left of the Orange plank road leading west out of Fredericksburg. On their left was the 5th Maine and on their right was the 121st N.Y. along with the 23 N.J. just touching the road. Also on the right of the road consisted of the 1st N.J. and 3rd N.J with the 16th N.Y, 95th Pa. and 119th Pa in reserve. 6 companies of skirmishers advanced in there front. Leading the ten companies of the 96th was Lt. Col Lessig. This fight would prove to be one of the most costly the 96th would engage in. Advancing in line of battle the 96th entered a heavy wooded area. Concealed in trenches beyond the woods were soldiers of Gen. Cadmus Wilcox’s Alabamians. As the 96th exited the woods a heavy volume of musket fire erupted from the trenches as men of the 8th Alabama stood in two ranks and opened fire on the advancing 96th. Capt. Jacob Haas company commander of G Company described the fight:
As we got in the edge of the woods I saw a few rebels
Skirmishers popping at our skirmishers. I told my men
to take plenty of room and leave a pace between each
file. We passed on and within 30 paces of the field on
the other side of the woods, suddenly I saw two lines of
battle of the “Rebs” rise to their feet. I ordered my men
to put a volley which they did with fine effect. And then
the circus commenced. We fired as fast as we could and
Johnny reb done the same.
Volley after volley was fired but the 96th could not break the rebel position, during this fight Lieut. Alexander Allison was ordering his men to load and fire, at some time a rebel soldier fired his musket and a musket ball entered his right side knocking him down with a painful wound that would cause his death two days later. Its not known whether John Allison was killed before Alex was wounded. But during this heavy fire fight with Minnie balls flying in every direction John was dropped and instantly killed. William Madara another Corporal of Company C was hit squarely between the eyes and instantly killed.
The fight was very costly to the 96th having 16 men killed and 54 wounded, and 9 men listed as missing or captured. Retreating back through the woods the 96th would fire a final volley at the rebels in defiance. Alex was probably carried back to the hospital at Acquia Creek were he was laid out with the rest of the wounded from fighting in and around Fredericksburg. He would die two days later on the 5th of May with the grief in his heart at the fact of knowing that his younger brother was also killed. In all probability William Madara and John Allison were left on the field of battle and buried by the rebels. Sometime in May Mrs. Allison would receive the news that two of her sons were killed in battle.
Spotsylvania Court House
George Allison served for three years with the 56th P.V.I., he served in all the campaigns that the 5th Corps was involved in, George was also a Gettysburg veteran. In the Spotsylvania campaign of 8-21 May, 1864 George would be severely wounded and die in hospital on the 23rd of May, 1864 the third son of Mrs. Allison to die in combat.
Company G, 48th P.V.I.
Killed in Action at Grove Church, Va.
June 3, 1864
After serving over 2 years in the military, and being seriously injured, what made James Allison re enlist will never be known. Although one can speculate that it had something to due with the death of his three brothers. James had spent his first enlistment as a cavalry man with the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, being severely injured in 1863. In February 1864 he would march off to battle as an infantry man with Company G, of the 48th P.V.I. and his career with this regiment would be short lived. On March 12, 1864 the 48th left Pottsville and rendezvoused with the 9th Corps in Annapolis Md. On May 3rd 1864, the Army of The Potomac crossed the Rapidan and began a series of battles in the Wilderness and around Spotsylvania were his brother George had been killed. On May 5, the Battle of the Wilderness would begin and last throughout the month, James would be engaged in many fights with the 48th throughout this time period. Then on June 3rd James and Company G would be involved in a very severe engagement with the rebels near a place called Grove Church, Va. were the regiment would suffer 10 men killed and over 60 men wounded. Robert Reid a member of James’s company wrote a brief narrative of the fight that took the life of the final Allison brother:
“ Skirmishing and artillery firing took place daily, and
on the 3rd of June we were very actively engaged at
Shady Grove Church. It rained a little the night before
and after breakfast of coffee and hardtack we dried our
blankets at the fire, and at seven o’clock in the morning
had formed line of battle, company “E” being deployed
as skirmishers to the front. The Ground over which we
were ordered to advance was a clear field, and at once
we were ordered to advance, guide center, the skirmishers
in our front. They crossed the gully which intervened
between us and the enemy; we followed closely after;
and, as the skirmishers arose on the high ground again,
they meet those of the enemy, drove them back on their
entrenched line of battle and took a few prisoners out
of an old log house, who had not had time to get
away. Before we got into action we could see the
skirmishers, dropping fast from the destructive fire
of the enemy. We were ordered to halt and commence
firing, the enemy being about eighty yards to our front,
behind a line of breastworks, with a battery. Things
soon became lively for all hands.
“In addition to heavy infantry firing from the enemy,
we were subjected to a galling fire of grape and canister.”
While crossing that open field on the morning of June 3rd, James was struck by either a musket ball or piece of canister and instantly killed. He would become the last and final Allison killed in the line of duty, and bring grief and sorrow to his mother for the last time during this Civil War.
THE 88TH PENNSYLVANIA REUNION PHOTO
PART TWO…………..BEAUMONT BROTHERS OF ST. CLAIR.
On February 7th , 1864 John Beaumont a private in company A of the 88th P.V.I. who was a native of St. Clair wrote this letter to the Pottsville Miners Journal.
Camp of the 88th Reg, P.V. Culpeper Va.
Editors Miners Journal: By the time this reaches you, we will be on our way home having re-enlisted as veteran volunteers. We will start from this place tomorrow. Our corps went out yesterday on a reconnaissance across the Rapidan, as I write I hear heavy cannonading.
Part of this regiment is from Philadelphia, and part from reading. I am a native of St. Clair, Schuylkill County. No citizens of Schuylkill need be ashamed of here for she has done nobly in this rebellion, in giving men and money to up hold the laws. There are four of us in this regiment from St. Clair. In the Battle of Gettysburg, one of my brothers was killed; another was wounded, and I was captured and taken to Richmond.
I feel rejoiced to know that we will soon see the loved ones at home, after a long absence. I have been in the service f my country two years and six months, but I am not tired of it, and am removed to try three more years of it, if necessary. I entered the service when the rebellion first began, and I am determined to see it ended. But I must close now, have to go on guard.
Unfortunately 21 year old John Beaumont would not see the end of the war a little over four months later John is killed at Petersburg, Va. On June 18, 1864.
During the Battle of Fredericksburg 26 year old George Beaumont the oldest of the brothers was wounded. The action he was wounded in is taken from Bates history.
At daylight on December 13th orders were received to advance the brigade, which was promptly done. General Taylor ordered the Eighty-eighth to go forward to the brow of a hill to silence a battery which was annoying the troops by a flank fire. On reaching the hill it poured in a volley, but in return received a severe fire of canister, by which a number of men in the color company were wounded, causing the regiment to fall back under cover of the hill. Again forming on the right of the brigade, the whole line moved forward, making an effective charge and taking a large number of prisoners. The fighting now became general and other brigades of the division charged, the Eighty-eighth keeping in position on the right after the balance of the brigade had gone to the rear. The ammunition having been exhausted and supports failing to come up, with the entire corps, it was forced back to the Bowling Green Road. Here the line was re-formed, and marched a short distance to the left, where it remained until midnight, and was then placed on picket. A little later it was quietly withdrawn from the picket line, and on marching to the rear, found that the whole army had re-crossed the river. It quickly followed, and at daylight the bridges were removed. The loss during the battle was seven killed and forty wounded.
Then on July 1st, 1863 the the first of the Beaumont brothers was killed. 24 year old William.
After forced marches, marching in one day thirty-two miles, it arrived on the field on the 1st of July. The brigade was commanded by General Baxter, of Michigan, Robinson's Division, Reynolds' Corps. A portion of the corps having encountered the enemy, the brigade which had been on picket the previous night, was hurried forward, and filing to the left of the town, passing in the rear of the seminary, was brought into position on a ridge to the right of the line beyond the railroad cut and in readiness for an attack; but it had been only a few minutes in line when the enemy was discovered advancing on the left flank. To about-face and right half wheel was the work of a moment, and immediately heavy volleys of musketry were given and received at short range. The fight raged furiously, and the enemy succeeded in gaining a hollow within easy musket range. After two hours of severe fighting, his lines having been repeatedly re-enforced, orders were given to charge, when the brigade dashed forward across an open field in the face of a heavy fire, taking nearly the whole of one of his brigades prisoners, the Eighty-eighth capturing the colors of the Sixteenth Alabama and Twenty-third North Carolina regiments. Discovering a heavy skirmish line of the enemy, supported by lines of battle advancing, the command fell back to its first position. It now became painfully apparent that the ammunition was nearly exhausted. The enemy soon began to press heavily upon front and upon both flanks. The only alternative left was to fall back, and the order was accordingly given. The enemy followed in close pursuit, driving the division through the town, pouring in a constant fire. No opportunity was given to re-form until it reached Cemetery Ridge, where light breast-works of rails were thrown up. After reaching it, darkness soon closed in and all sounds of battle ceased.
William is buried at Gettysburg, in the main Cemetery.
THE 88TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS IN THE WAR FOR THE UNION 1861-1865 WRITTEN BY JOHN D. VAUTIER (PAGE194):
ABOUT ELEVEN P.M., LIEUTENANT LAWRENCE CAME TO US AND ASKED IF WE KNOW WHAT DARK OBJECT THAT WAS MOVING ABOUT FIFTY YARDS IN OUR FRONT. WE HAD NOT NOTICED ANYTHING, BUT COULD SEE IT PLAINLY WHEN POINTED OUT. WE WENT OUT ABOUT TWENTY YARDS TO ASCERTAIN ITS IDENTITY, BUT COULD NOT MAKE IT OUT, WHEN LAWRENCE SAID HE WOULD FIRE AT IT ANYHOW, WHICH HE DID, MAKING AN EXCELLENT SHOT IN THE DARKNESS, AND HIT A COW THAT WAS GRAZING THERE, WHICH BELLOWED FEARFULLY ANDRAISED SUCH A RACKET THAT THE ENEMY THOUGHT WE WERE CHARGING THEM, FOR THEIR WHOLE LINE OPENED A HOT FIRE AT ONCE, BUT THEY GENERALLY OVERSHOT US. AN HOUR OR SO LATER I WAS WATCHING FOR A SHOT, WHEN FARTHER TO MY RIGHT I SAW THE FLASH OF A REB GUN THAT APPEARED TO BE HIGHER THAN THE OTHERS,AS THOUGH HE WERE STANDING ON THE RIFLE-PITS. I TOOK QUICK AIM AT HIS FLASH AND CAUGHT HIM SOMEWHERE, FOR HE YELLED LUSTILY FOR A BIT. DIRECTLY WE NOTICED SOME EXCITEMENT AMONG OUR BOYS, AND FOUND THAT THE REB'S BULLET HAD STRUCK ONE OF THE BEAUMONT BROTHERS IN THE FOREHEAD, KILLING HIM INSTANTLY.
On June 18, 1864 in front of Petersburg brother John was killed while charging the enemy. By reading the history it almost sounds as though John was killed by artillery fire.
In front of Petersburg. On the night of the 17th, it pushed forward under a heavy artillery fire in support of a portion of the corps which had been actively engaged. On the morning of the 18th, the regiment advanced slowly, crossing the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad, and driving the enemy's skirmishers into their main line of works. About five P. M., the whole corps charged upon his entrenchments. The Eighty-eighth was in advance and after getting within sixty yards of his first line, was compelled to lie fiat upon the ground, a terrific fire of artillery being centered upon that portion of the line. Night coming on, slight earth-works were thrown up with the aid of bayonets, the regiment being so far in advance of the rest of the division that it could not be withdrawn or re-enforced. The colors were sent to the rear, Sergeant Ewing, of Company IB, who had originally enlisted as a drummer boy, crawling back with them. About midnight small spades were sent out to the command, the bearers being compelled to crawl along the ground, the enemy's sharp-shooters having complete control of the position. By daylight, sufficient entrenchments had been thrown up to afford some protection, and in the afternoon the regiment was relieved. Arriving at the railroad, it was ordered to the left of the brigade, and compelled to march over an exposed piece of ground, upon which his sharp
Brother Charles the youngest of the Beaumont brothers enlisted in the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry’s company A. Company A was made up of men mostly from the St. Clair area.
The 7th Pa. Cav fought in the western theatre of the war.
Charles had a long military career first enlisting in Co. H of the 129th Regiment in August of 1862, having fighting at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Then he enlisted in the 39th Pa. Militia in July of 1863, And finally mustered in to Company A of the 7th Pa. Cav. On Feb. 9, 184 and M.O. on the 23 of August 1865. he died in St. Clair on Jan 25, 1903 at St. Clair and is buried at odd fellows cemetery.
Just received this great find from the Great Grandson of Charles Beaumont. Bill Beaumont, who has given this interesting obituaries. Of two of the Beaumont boys.
KILLED BY THE FALL OF A LUMP OF COAL DOWN A SHAFT-ON MONDAY MORNING LAST ABOUT 11 O’CLOCK GEORGE BEAUMONT, EMPLOYED AT THE ST. CLAIR SHAFT,J.G. NORTHHALL PROPIETOR, WAS INSTANTLY KILLED ATTHE BOTTOM OF THE SHAFT WHILE REMOVING A WAGON FROM THE CAGE, BY A LUMP OF COAL FALLING ON HIS HEAD FROM THE TOP OF THE SHAFT, A DISTANCE OF BETWEEN FIVE AND SIX HUNDRED FEET. HE RESIDED IN ST. CLAIR, WAS A RETURNED SOLDIER, AND A GOOD CITIZEN HE LEAVES A WIFE. HIS REMAINS WERE INTERRED ON THURSDAY ATTENDED TO THE GRAVE BY POST NO. 47, G.A.R., EAGLE TEMPLE OF HONOR, AND THE WORKINGMEN’S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION. (POTTSVILLE MINERS JOURNAL)(DIED 11/30/1868)
DEATH OF CHAS. C. BEAUMONT A VETERAN OF THE CIVIL WAR FROM OUR ST. CLAIR CORRESPONDENT AGAIN ARE WE CALLED UPON TO RECORD THE DEATH OF A VETERAN OF THE CIVIL WAR. ONE BY ONE THE RANKS OF THE OLD COMRADES ARE BEING VISITED BY THE GRIM REAPER AND THEIR RANKS THINNED AS THEY GO TO ANSWER THE LONG ROLL CALL. SUNDAY MORNING THE SPIRIT OF CHAS. C. BEAUMONT, ONE OF OUR TOWN’S BEST AND STAUNHEST CITIZENS, WAS GIVEN UP TO ITS MAKER MR. BEAUMONT 10 DAYS AGO CONTRACTED A HEAVY COLD WHICH DID NOT YIELD TO MEDICAL TREATMENT AND LATER RESULTED IN HIS DEATH. OUR TOWN COULD BOAST OF FEW MEN WITH AS VALUABLE AND HEROIC A WAR RECORD AS MR. BEAUMONT POSSESSED. BORN IN TOWN 59 YEARS AGO, HE HAS RESIDE HERE EVER SINCE. HE CAME OF A FAMILY OF SOLIDERS AS HISTORY PROVES FEW FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY SHEDDING MORE BLOOD THAN DID THE BEAUMONT BOYS. AT THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR OF THE REBEILLION THE FOUR BEAUMONT BROTHERS WERE AMONGST THE FIRST VOLUNTEERS WHO RUSHED TO THE DEFENCE OF THERE COUNTRY AND ITS FLAG, OF THESE, WILLIAM DIED ON THE BLOODY FIELD OF GETTYSBURG,JOHN WAS SLAIN AT THE BATTLE OF PETERSBURG, AND GEORGE WAS WOUNDED AT GETTYSBURG, AND DIED LATER AT ST.CLAIR, AND CHARLES, THE YOUNGEST OF THESE HEROES WAS WOUNDED WHILE ON THE SKIRMISH LINES AT SALMA, ALABAMA. HE SERVED MORE THAN THREE YEARS IN THE ARMY ENLISTING JULY 27, 1862, AND BEING MUSTERED OUT AUGUST 23, 1865. HE WAS A BRAVE SOLIDER, FEARLESS AND WRITTEN COMMENDATIONS OF HIS SUPERIOR OFFICERS FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION. THE REGIMENTS HE SAW SERVICE IN WAS THE 39TH AND 129TH PENNA. VOL. INF. AND THE FAMOUS 7TH PENNA. CAVALRY. AS A CITIZEN HE WAS UPRIGHT, OF A QUIET DISPOSITION, A MAN WHO WAS BETTER KNOWN AT HOME THAN ON THE STREET, AND WHO BY HIS STERILING QUALITIES MADE LEGIONS OF FRIENDS. FOR MANY YEARS HE TOILED IN THE MINES UNTIL 10 YEARS AGO HE WAS INJURED AND OBLIGED TO RETIRE. FROM 1897 TO 1900 HE WAS MAYOR OF OUR TOWN AND PROVED A FAITHFUL OFFICER, EARNEST IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS DUTIES. FOUR YEARS AGO HE WAS THE SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT FOR THE MAIL ROUTE BETWEEN HERE AND WADE AND DAILY MADE HIS TRIP OVER THE MOUNTAIN. HE IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIDOW, TWO SISTERS, MRS. WM. WIGGAM, AND MRS. WM. R. MASON, OF TOWN, AND THE FOLLOWING CHILDREN: W. LINCOLN, FOREMAN ON THE DAILY JOURNAL, AT ASBURY PARK, N.J.: JOHATHAN AND JOHN, MARRIED, RESIDING IN TOWN, AND MATTIE, MARGARET, ELMER, HARRY AND MARY AT HOME. THE FUNERAL WILL TAKE PLACE ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AT 2:00 O’CLOCK. THE FUNERAL WILL BE ATTENDED BY ALL THE MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS OF TOWN. MR. BEAUMONT FOR MANY YEARS WAS A SERGEANT IN K CO., 8TH REGT., N.G.P. INTERMENT WILL BE MADE IN THE ODD FELLOWS CEMETERY. (POTTSVILLE MINERS JOURNAL) (DIED 1/25/1903)
Once Again Thank You,
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
General George Washington Deitzler…
As students of the American Civil War and the men and women who served from Schuylkill County we are well aware of General James Nagle, Mexican War veteran, Washington Artillerist, First Defender, 48th P.V.I. If you want to discuss this man you need to get with John Hoptak, he will fill you in on his service. We also had General George C. Wynkoop, from the famous Wynkoop family. Commissioned on April 19, 1861 as a Brigadier General. In charge of the 1st, 2nd,3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiments early in the war. Although his career as a General was short lived, being mustered out on August 1, 1861, he is best known for his service as the fighting fearless Colonel Of the famed 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Old George C. is one of my favorites from the war. He is buried along with his son Nicolas in the Presbyterian cemetery n Pottsville. I actually have transcribed his letters to his wife which at some point I will post here. Then there is General Benjamin Christ another one of my favorites. He served as a private in the 5th Pennsylvania a three months regiment in 1861. Christ worked his way up to Lt. Col. in the same regiment. On return Christ reentered the service and was commissioned Colonel of the 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was recommended and brevetted Brigadier General by General Burnsides. General Christ during his service was wounded three times. And also we have General Joshua K. Sigfried, who served in the 6th P.V.I. and later helped organize the famous 48th P.V.I. After the actions of the 48th at Petersburg, he was brevetted a Brigadier General by President Lincoln for his gallantry in action. If you want more on General Sigfried visit John Hoptak’s Blog on the 48th Pa. Oh yea almost forgot General Henry Pleasants also, 48th P.V.I. Architect of the Petersburg Mine. See John’s 48th Blog also.
Now for the subject of this post Brigadier General George Washington Deitzler? Who the heck was he? Well in all my Civil War research, all of my reading the news from the Miners Journal 1859-1865, all the studying of the regiments, soldiers of Schuylkill County, I am embarrassed to say I never heard of General Deitzler. Now my main excuse is he left Schuylkill County in 1855! Ok that will take away my embarrassment. All fun aside this man was INTERESTING!
The other day I was googling books and I came across a book entitled The National Cyclopedia of American Biography and came across George Washington Deitzler. soldier, statesman. He was born at Pine Grove,- Schuylkill county, Pa.,
Nov. 30, 1826. He received the ordinary education to be obtained at the district schools
of his time, and in February, 1855, removed to Kansas. He allied himself with the Emigration aid society of Boston, and took an active interest in politics, and in promoting the interests and aims of the free-state party. He was a co- worker with Amos A. Lawrence, EH Thayer, and Charles Robinson, und belonged to the conservative wing of the free-state party, as opposed by James H. Lane and John Brown, radicals. He was delegated by his companions to go to Boston and procure rifles for the protection of the settlers against the active opposition of the pro-slavery advocates. He obtained an order from the Aid society in Boston, and with it obtained a quantity of Sharp s rifles, which he had boxed and marked "books," and carried with him back to Kansas. (These rifles wee known as Beecher’s Bibles. They were sent to Kansas by H, W, Beecher an abolitionist who had Deitzler deliver them. Abolitionists believed rifles possessed more moral value than a hundred bibles.)This was early in April, 1855, and before John Brown had reached Kansas, and before his sons, who came there early in the spring, had in their possession any arms save two squirrel-guns and a revolver. Deitzler made Lawrence his headquarters, and was active in supporting the efforts of the free-state party in securing a territorial government and a constitution for the projected state. In the spring of 1856, in one of the various movements made by the pro-slavery party to provoke the free-state party to collision with the Federal forces under Col. E. V. Sumner, stationed in the state to maintain order, the sheriff was shot by some unknown party, and the shooting charged to the free-state party. The district court, in the second week in May, 1856, indicted for treason Deitzler, together with ex-Gov. Leeder, George W. Brown, George V. Smith, Henry H. Williams, James H. Lane, S. N. Wood, Gains Jenkins and Charles Robinson. On May 21st they were arrested and imprisoned; Reeder, however, escaped in disguise, and for some reason that history may in the future disclose, Lane and Wood were missing from the roll of prisoners who were placed in the custody of the U. S. officers. On Sept. 10th they were released, and returned to Lawrence, where they were received with an ovation. In 1857 Deitzler was elected to the Kansas house of representatives, and was chosen speaker. He was re-elected in 1859. At the beginning of the civil war he was appointed Indian agent by President Lincoln. His name did not come to the senate for confirmation until Lane had taken his seat as a senator from Kansas, and he opposed the confirmation of the appointment, and the president withdrew it. Deitzler raised the 1st regiment Kansas volunteers, and was made it’s colonel, and fought so bravely at the battle of Wilson's creek, where he commanded the 3d brigade, composed of the 1st Iowa, 1st and 3d Kansas volunteers, and 200 mounted home-guards, that he was made brigadier-general Nov. 29, 1862. He was afterward unable to do field duty on account of ill- health, and resigned his commission Aug. 22, 1863, and in 1864 was made major-general of the Kansas state militia. He was mayor of Lawrence, and treasurer of the University of Kansas. At one time he engaged in business as an Indian trader, James H. Lane being a silent partner in the concern. The antagonism between him and Lane arose from some facts known by Deitzler, growing out of the partnership, that, if exposed, would disgrace Lane. After Lane’s suicide, Deitzler, under the date of May 31, 1884, wrote from Oro Blanco, Arizona Territory, proposing to give to the world these facts, but he met his death from injuries sustained by being thrown from a carriage before he had carried out this purpose. He died near Tucson Arizona, April 11, 1884.
During the Battle of Wilson’s Creek fought on August 10, 1861, near Springfield Missouri between Union forces and the Missouri State Guard. This was the first major battle of the war west of the Mississippi River, sometimes it is referred to as “The Bull Run of the West.” The Union had 258 men KIA, 873 WIA, 186 MIA and the CSA Missouri Guard lost 279 KIA, 951 WIA. The battle was actually won by the Missouri Guard but they were not able to purse the retreating Union forces. During the battle Deitzler was shot in the front of his right leg just above the knee, the bullet struck the bone causing great pain and blood loss. He was carried from the field to Springfield Missouri, and then to Rolla where the bullet was removed eight months after he was wounded. The ball was flattened against the bone. When the wound healed it left his joint very weak. He was then deemed unfit for duty. From Medical Histories of the Union Generals. Jack D. Welsh.
Before the war Deitzler married Anna Maria Reinhart in Lebanon, they had two children. He remarried in 1865 in Lawrence, Kansas to Anna Maria Neill from Virginia, they had five children together.