The Hardtack Regiment

Bi-Monthly Email Newsletters by Mark H. Dunkelman




2005 Newsletters




HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

August 2005

Dear Descendant of the 154th New York,

Since a large majority of you are online, I’m inaugurating a bi-monthly e-newsletter to keep you up to date on my work to commemorate the service of our ancestors of the 154th New York.

Here’s a report on our 20th Annual Reunion, which was held at the Medora Ball Historical Museum in Otto, Cattaraugus County, New York, on Saturday, July 16, 2005.

About a hundred descendants and friends gathered on a hot and humid afternoon in Otto and filled the museum, the former Congregational Church. During the registration hour the growing crowd was entertained by the period music of City Fiddle, a talented duo consisting of Phil Banaszak (great-grandson of First Lt. Alexander Bird of Co. F) and his wife Gretchen on guitar, mandolin, and, of course, fiddle. Seven new descendants were registered at the reunion: Marybelle Beigh and Frances Anderson of Westfield, N.Y., (related to Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E); Sharon D. Hegyi of Angola, N.Y. and Helen (Jones) Coleman of Tempe, Arizona (descendants of Cpl. David S. Jones of Co. K); William A. Street of Fallston, Maryland and Richard Weishan of East Otto, N.Y. (descendants of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H); and James L. Bird of Cattaraugus, N.Y. (great-grandson of Alex Bird). Welcome to all of you; it’s great to add you to the roll to represent your ancestors.

In addition to Helen Coleman and Bill Street, other out-of-state residents present at the reunion included Rhonda Means of Conover, North Carolina (Pvt. Henry Clark, Co. D); James Byrk of Plattsmouth, Nebraska (Pvt. Curtis Wing, Co. B); Carol Adams of Richardson, Texas (Surgeon Dwight W. Day); Daniel Langhans of Elizabethville, Pennsylvania (Cpl. John Langhans); Brett Hawkins of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin (Second Lt. William H. Lincoln and Pvt. William Hawkins, Co. B); Steven Bassett of Plymouth, Michigan (Cpl. George Basssett, Co. D); Elizabeth Suraci of Orleans, Massachusetts (Surgeon Henry Van Aernam); Celeste Taber of McFarland, Wisconsin (First Lt. Stephen Welch, Co. C); and Shirley Rogers of Rockledge, Florida (Pvt. Harvey Earl, Co. H).

Thanks to them and to everyone who attended the reunion. Your devotion to your ancestor’s memory is much appreciated! Thanks too to those of you who brought photographs and relics of your ancestor for copying. And thanks to those who made contributions toward the reunion expenses. I forgot to pass the hat at the reunion, but the kind and generous donations I received both through the mail and in person covered my costs.

Our program was on “Religion and the Chaplains.” As I stated in my introduction, when I decided to hold the reunion at the Otto museum —— site of our first two reunions, in 1986 and 1987 —— it occurred to me that because the old church was the parish of the 154th New York’s second chaplain, William W. Norton, it would be appropriate to honor Norton and his predecessor, Chaplain Henry D. Lowing, former minister of the Napoli Congregational Church. After explaining how Lowing became the regiment’s first chaplain, I presented biographical sketches of both chaplains. While I narrated, my partner and Hardtack Regiment co-author, Mike Winey, read all the quotes from soldiers’ letters and diaries, including excerpts from the wartime letters of both Lowing and Norton. Years ago I had the good fortune to obtain from the collectibles market a half-dozen of Norton’s wartime letters to a daughter. The Lowing letters surfaced recently. My thanks to Robert Lowing of Lancaster, Pa., Chaplain Lowing’s great-great-grandson, for sharing with me the Lowing letters and three fine postwar portraits just weeks before the reunion —— a most timely addition to our 154th New York archives.

After sketching the lives and service of the two chaplains, we outlined the role of religion in the regiment: How religion offered great consolation to the God-fearing; how faith enabled religious soldiers to survive; how religious soldiers pleaded for the prayers of their families and prayed for their loved ones at home; how Christian soldiers found solace in the Bible; how devout soldiers bemoaned the infrequency of organized services; how they were tormented by abuse they suffered at the hands of irreligious comrades; and how they took pride in their ability to simultaneously serve God and country. As Sgt. William Charles of Co. F wrote, “Those soldiers that love to read their Bibles are the men that can be depended upon everywhere. They are true on the battlefield and always faithful on guard.”

If anyone is interested, I can send you the presentation notes as an attached file.

As usual, the reunion ended with the roll call of descendants. I was particularly pleased to lead it off this year because of personal reasons. A month before the reunion my appendix burst, leading to a nine-day hospital stay and a still-continuing recuperation. This hit me when I was still recovering from surgery less than three months earlier to remove a malignant tumor from my right kidney. With two major operations within three months, I had a bad spring, and the reunion was just the thing to make me feel better. I’m pleased to report that recent testing has shown me to be cancer-free. I’m ready to join you at reunions for years to come! Look for information about next year’s reunion in a future issue of Hardtack Regiment News.



 

HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

October 2005


Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Thanks to all of you who responded positively to the first newsletter. I appreciate your support! There’s been a lot of activity in the past two months, so let’s get right to it.
Mike Winey sent me prints of the photos he took at our Otto reunion. Our thanks to the descendants who shared images of their ancestors with us: Phil Banaszak of Buffalo for three postwar photos of Alex Bird, and sisters Clara and Martha Jones of Salamanca for a portrait of their grandfather David S. Jones and his wife. (Incidentally, congratulations to Phil, who with his wife Gretchen entertained us during registration hour at the reunion, on his recent election to the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame.) These were fewer photos than we’ve copied at previous reunions, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t appreciated — or that the well has run dry. I’m sure there are many more portraits of members of the 154th New York out there waiting to be discovered and copied and added to the archives.

My thanks also go to friend Pat Cullen of Cattaraugus for presenting me with the warrant as sergeant of James McStay of Co. D, given to McStay in Atlanta in November 1864, shortly before the regiment began the March to the Sea. A warrant is similar to a commission, but it is for non-commissioned officers; an official New York State document, printed with blanks to be filled in with the name of the recipient, rank, date, etc. Descendants have shared with me copies of a couple of 154th New York warrants, but this is the first original I’ve added to the archives. Pat found the McStay warrant in an antique shop near the Delaware shore, in a stroke of luck. As Pat told me the story, he and his family were vacationing at the beach. One afternoon he decided to do a little antiquing. Something drew him to this particular shop, and within a minute after entering, he had the McStay warrant in his hands. I very much appreciate his kindness and generosity in presenting it to me. McStay enlisted July 26, 1862, at Franklinville, to serve three years and was mustered in as private, Co. D, on September 24, 1862. He was promoted corporal on December 27, 1863, and sergeant on November 1, 1864 (hence his warrant); he mustered out with the regiment on June 11, 1865 near Bladensburg, Maryland.

And thanks to friend Phil Palen of the Gowanda Area Historical Society, who presented me with a postwar photograph of Edgar Shannon, which he found at a yard sale. Shannon enrolled at age 21 on August 1, 1862, in his hometown of Leon, and was mustered in as a private of Co. B. He was wounded in action at Chancellorsville; promoted to sergeant on November 13, 1863; mustered in as first lieutenant and quartermaster on March 15, 1864; and mustered out with regiment near Bladensburg. The first 154th New York relic I ever purchased — way back in the 1970s — was Shannon’s wartime identification disc, so it’s nice to complement it with his portrait. Friends Alberta McLaughlin of Frewsburg, N.Y., and Timothy Shaw of Cheektowaga, N.Y., have shared with me Shannon’s wartime letters to his sweetheart, Francelia Hunt of Leon. Edgar returned to Leon after the war and married Francelia in 1866. He ran a successful dry-goods store and served as town supervisor and state assemblyman. Shannon died in 1882 at the age of forty. Five direct descendants currently represent him on our roll.

Speaking of descendants, nine have been added to the roll since the reunion: Donald Nelson-Nasca of Fairport, New York (Pvt. James D. Quilliam, Co. E); Brett Hawkins Jr. of Marina del Rey, California (Pvt. William Hawkins, Co. B); Burton Herrington of Friendship, New York (Pvts. Warren and Charles Bradley, brothers, Co. G); Ken Burhanna of Kent, Ohio (Pvt. James Stone, Co. E); Ron and Todd Jones of Fairport, New York (First Lt. Stephen Welch, Co. C); Robert Bires of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who teaches at a school located on the battlefield (Pvt. Mervin P. Barber, Co. E); Carl Shrader Jr. of Norristown, New Jersey (Cpl. Nicholas Cook, Co. G); and Jan Tarbet of Lake Zurich, Illinois (Cpl. Newell Burch, Co. E). Welcome to you all!

A significant addition to the archives comes thanks to Judith Wachholz of River Falls, Wisconsin, who kindly shared with me copies of more than thirty wartime letters of her great-grandfather, Pvt. James W. Clements of Co. E. Clements was a steady, dutiful, uncomplaining soldier. He was captured at Chancellorsville and after his exchange rejoined the regiment at Bridgeport, Alabama. Then he and three other members of the 154th were detailed to help construct several small steamboats that plied the Tennessee River to run supplies from the railhead at Bridgeport to Chattanooga. James rejoined the regiment in time to take part in the Atlanta campaign. He made the marches with Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas and was mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end. Among many interesting passages in his letters is one written in Atlanta on September 7, 1864: “There is lots of women around here, but they’re most all built like a ten-foot slab — a little round in the belly and rather dark complexion, but I think the cause of that is chewing tobacco and snuff.”

My winning bid in an eBay auction added several items to the archives: a souvenir ribbon from the 154th’s 14th annual reunion, which was held in Otto in 1901, a GAR membership badge, and a couple of GAR reunion badges from Kansas. With them came an undated photo, taken by an Ellicottville man, of numerous veterans at a reunion. A number of familiar faces, including that of Pvt. Asa Wing of Co. G, indicate the photo is of a reunion of the 154th and Co’s. I & H of the 37th New York. Three multi-story buildings in the background (one of which houses the Buffalo Loan Trust and Safe Deposit Co.) lead me to guess it was taken at the 154th’s 1897 reunion in Buffalo, which coincided with the National Encampment of the GAR. The man I bought these items from purchased them at a yard sale in Kansas. It seems that the veteran to whom they belonged lived in the Sunflower State in his later years, but to date I haven’t been able to identify him. Maybe he was Bradford H. Wood, a former corporal of Co. B who died in Topeka in 1928.

While I was in western New York this summer I visited the new Cattaraugus County Historical Museum in Machias. The Civil War displays include items relating to Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell and Sgt. Amos Humiston of the 154th New York. Since my visit, the saddle of Col. Patrick Henry Jones, which has been cleaned and restored, has gone on display in the museum on a professional mount in a special exhibit case. For many years the saddle had moldered in the basement of the old museum in Little Valley; it was restored through a grant from the Lower Hudson Conservation Program. If you haven’t visited the museum yet, please stop by. It’s located at 9824 Route 16 in Machias and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The museum is manned by Cattaraugus County Historian Carol Ruth, Curator Evelyn Penman, and volunteers.
My son Karl, who does a great job maintaining the Hardtack Regiment web site for me, graduated in May from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He got a job and a new apartment in Dallas and my wife Annette and I went down in August to visit. While there we got together for lunch with Carol Adams, who lives in the Dallas area and is related to Surgeon Dwight W. Day of the 154th. Carol has been busy writing a family history centering on Surgeon Day’s wife, “Aunt Tibb.” Of course it includes much on the doctor and his activities in the Civil War. Among the anecdotes is one related by Carol’s father, Lee Towne Adams of Forestville, New York, who got it in person at age ten from his eighty-year-old Aunt Tibb: “At the battle of Chattanooga, a tall good-looking blonde Scandinavian boy was brought into his tent . . . and he took off the boy’s arm and patched him up and they removed him. Fifteen minutes later, the very same boy was back, but with the other arm shattered, and Dwight Day thought he was having hallucinations. Twenty-six years later, in 1890, he and Aunt Tibb were attending the annual reunion of the Grand Army of the Republic in Chicago. As a prominent figure, he and Aunt Tibb were in the reviewing stand. The parade was led by two handsome blonde twins in their 40s — one with his left arm off and one with his right arm off.”

On the weekend of September 9-11 I attended a seminar in Gettysburg put on by the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides on the First Day of the battle, specifically, on the retreat through the town by the 1st and 11th Corps. Among the Licensed Battlefield Guide presenters was friend Sue Boardman, who receives this newsletter. She and the other Guides did an excellent job in relating much information in an enthusiastic and entertaining fashion. During the seminar tours I was honored by requests to speak about the 154th’s role in the battle, my Coster Avenue mural, and the Amos Humiston story. Guide Charles Fennell, who led the 11th Corps portion of the tours, is a champion of the stand of the 154th New York and the other regiments of Coster’s Brigade in the brickyard fight on July 1, 1863. He pointed out that the 154th had one of the highest casualty rates of any regiment that took part in the battle. If you visit Gettysburg, I’d strongly recommend that you hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to conduct your tour; they ride in your car and direct you over the battlefield and stop at all of the key points. They also will tailor a tour to suit your interests. You could, for example, request stops at Coster Avenue to see the 154th’s monument and my mural, at the nearby Humiston monument, and at East Cemetery Hill, site of the fighting on the evening of July 2, 1863, and of the former Homestead orphanage buildings.

On September 2, I was pleased to be the guest on Civil War Talk Radio, which is hosted by Civil War historian Gerald Prokopowicz of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. I described how my interest in the 154th developed and discussed with Gerry various aspects of my latest book, Brothers One and All. To listen to the program, visit:

http://www.impedimentsofwar.org/singleshow.php?show=202

Look for some book news in December.

 


 

HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

December 2005


Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

In mid-October a committee at Louisiana State University Press cast a formal vote to publish my next book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers. It is tentatively slated for the Fall 2006 list, so it should be out by this time next year. The book collects human interest stories of a dozen members of the 154th New York: Cpl. Joel Bouton, Co. C; Pvt. Milton Bush, Co. K; Cpl. Martin Bushnell, Co. H; Pvt. William Chittenden, Co. D; Capt. Alanson Crosby, Co. D; Capt. John Griswold, Co. F; Pvt. William Hawkins, Co. B; Pvt. Alvin Hitchcock, Co. A; Pvt. Barzilla Merrill, Co. K Pvt. Clark “Salty” Oyer, Co. G; Pvt. Francis “Blind” Patterson, Co. G; and Pvt. Oscar Wilber, Co. G. While the book is accurate, well-documented historical nonfiction, it is presented as a short-story collection, bursting with the drama, surprises, excitement, and appeal of fiction. The subjects are ordinary men, common soldiers largely unheralded in their day and long since forgotten, whose gripping stories reveal some of the awful fates that awaited Civil War volunteers. Look for more information about the book in future newsletters.

In the meantime, I’’m hard at work on another book of 154th New York history — about which more later.

Recently added to the archives is an original engraving of the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, in which the 154th was heavily engaged, suffering 55 casualties in its charge up the mountainside. The engraving, after a drawing by the talented Civil War sketch artist Alfred R. Waud, originally appeared in an 1886 publication, Mountain Campaigns in Georgia, or War Scenes on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, a booklet published by that railroad to promote travel by veterans who had campaigned in the South during the war. I got it at a good price in an eBay auction. The same engraving appears on page106 of The Hardtack Regiment.

Three descendants have been added to the roll since the last newsletter. Mary B. Ray of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, is a step-granddaughter of Cpl. Newell Burch of Co. E. Mary’s grandmother, Lois Bunker, was Burch’s second wife; they married in 1897. Burch, who had survived Belle Island and Andersonville prisons after his capture at Gettysburg, attended the meeting of his G.A.R. post in Menomonie, Wisconsin, on the evening of May 16, 1908, where, according to the local newspaper, he “appeared in exceptionally good spirits. He awoke about four o’clock [on May 17] and went to the bath room. His continued absence alarmed Mrs. Burch. Reaching the bath room, she found Mr. Burch, dead.”

Elaine Zimmer of Schenectady, New York, is a second cousin twice removed of Quartermaster Edgar Shannon; a grandniece of First Sgt. Marshall H. Shannon, Cpl. Truman S. Shannon, and First Sgt. George J. Mason, all of Co. K; and a great-grandniece of Second Lt. Philander W. Hubbard of Co. K. Elaine is a dedicated genealogist who has done a lot of work in updating the Shannon, Mason, and Hubbard family histories.

David Wheeler of Lansing, Michigan, is related to the second wife of Pvt. Truman Hinman of Co. B. I’ve always had a particular interest in Hinman, because he and my great-grandfather John Langhans were friends. They both enlisted on September 9, 1864, at East Otto, and made the marches with Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas. Langhans mentioned Hinman several times in his letters home. Hinman left two sons when he died in East Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in 1934. I’ve never been able to link up with direct descendants, and my hope is that David will track them down as he continues his genealogical investigations.

My thanks to Kenneth Burhanna of Kent, Ohio, for sharing the pension papers of his great-great-grandfather, Pvt. James Stone of Co. E, which Ken obtained from the National Archives. Before, all I knew of James Stone was his military service record: Age 33 years; enlisted August 22, 1862, at Ripley, Chautauqua County, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. E, September 24, 1862; wounded and captured in action May 2, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia; paroled May 14, 1863, at City Point, Virginia; discharged for disability September 29, 1863. The pension papers add many details to his story.

James Stone was discharged, oddly enough, from Stone General Hospital in Washington, D.C. Back home in Ripley, he applied for a pension in August 1864. A surgeon’s certificate filed in support of his application stated, “He was wounded in the [left] Hip by a Minnie Ball passing through the thigh and shattering the [femur] bone. . . . He has been, & is now lame so that he walks with difficulty & his foot swells habitually. He has not been able to perform active labor since he was wounded.” James was granted a pension of $2.66 per month.

By 1872, James was a resident of North East, Erie County, Pennsylvania, but he was enrolled at the Grand Rapids, Michigan Pension Agency, indicating he split his time between the two places. “As I grow older my limb increases in numbness,” he stated. Being illiterate, he signed his affidavits with an X. By 1886 he was living in Westport, Brown County, Dakota Territory; his pension had been raised to $6 per month. Now he was enrolled at the Pittsburgh agency, indicating his checks were sent to his North East address. By 1890 he was living in the town of Murray, South Dakota (it had become a state the previous year). In 1892, however, he listed his residence as Findley Lake, Chautauqua County, New York. But by the next year he was back in South Dakota, living in Aberdeen. His pension had been raised to $10 per month when he died at North East on January 4, 1894. He is buried in Findley Lake Cemetery, Mina, New York.

James Stone’s pension file is highly unusual in that it doesn’t mention his family. Why it doesn’t is a mystery, because his widow could have applied for a pension after his death, as was common. Had she done so, the pension file would have included information about her, their marriage, and their children.

According to Ken Burhanna, James was 23 years older than Nancy Helen Dodge, who at age 17 gave birth to their first child in 1870. At the time, James was apparently in Illinois, while Nancy was in Findley Lake. They had married and were living in Michigan by the time of the 1880 census, having had two more children. “No further record of them as a family unit has been discovered,” Ken writes. Nancy returned to North East to raise the children, Guy, Leroy, and Emma Jane (called Jennie). James appears to have left her and the children behind during his stays in South Dakota. Nancy Stone never remarried after James’s death; in the 1920 census she was living with Jennie in North East and was identified as a widow. Nancy died in North East on May 10, 1922.

Most veterans of the 154th New York, and the surviving family members of soldiers who died in the war, obtained pensions. If you haven’t done so already, I’d encourage you to order copies of your ancestor’s pension file from the National Archives. (I have a complete list of the regiment’s pensioners and can let you know if your ancestor applied for one.) You can now order the copies online. Go to the NA’s website:

http://www.archives.gov/index.html

It used to be easy to find your way around the site, but they changed it recently and made it harder. Here’s how to get where you want to go:

On the left side of the main page, under “Research and Order,” click on “Order Copies.”

Scroll down a bit to “To order, you can either:” and click on 1. “Order Online.”

Click on “Proceed to Order Online!”

Under “Archival Records and Microfilm,” click on “Made-To-Order Reproductions.”

Click on “Military Service and Pension records.”

You’ll notice two options: “Federal Military Pension Applications –– Complete File” for $37, or “Federal Military Pensions –– Pension Documents Packet” for $14. I’d strongly urge you to order the complete file. The packet will only give you eight documents; the complete file will give you all of the documents in the file and leave no stone unturned. You will learn much about your ancestor’s postwar life and family from his pension file.

And if you do order your soldier’s pension file, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to share copies with me. I’ve got a couple of large boxes full of 154th New York pension records, many of them shared with me by descendants, but I’ve never gone about systematically collecting every soldier’s file. With hundreds of them to gather, the cost is prohibitive—and I’d need a barn to store them in!

 


 

2006 Newsletters

 



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

February 2006

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that our 21st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2006, at the Allegany Community Center in Allegany, Cattaraugus County, New York. Our program will commemorate Stephen Welch and Charles W. McKay of Allegany and Co. C — the only members of the 154th to be awarded the Medal of Honor. More about the reunion as the event approaches.

There are eleven Welch descendants on the roll, and I hope most if not all of them will be with us in Allegany as we honor their ancestor. Until just a few weeks ago, I had never connected with McKay descendants. Now, thanks to the volunteer efforts of genealogical researcher and 154th friend Mary Bridges of Amherst, New York, two descendants of Charles McKay have been located: great-granddaughter Jacqueline Smid of Oceanside, California, and her son David Gunther of Imperial, California. Both were unaware of their ancestor’s Civil War service and the fact that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor. I was pleased to share with them portraits of McKay, his obituaries, and his memoir of the war. Mary is searching for other McKay descendants, and I hope some will be on hand at the Allegany reunion. I also hope to determine the whereabouts of McKay’s Medal of Honor. The Welch descendants have preserved his Medal, and a photograph of it appears on page 151 of The Hardtack Regiment.

Also new to the roll is Robert Vincent of Alpharetta, Georgia, great-great-great-grandson of Cpl. Hiram Vincent of Co. K, and the first to represent his ancestor. Hiram Vincent was 40 years old when he enlisted on August 30, 1862, at Persia, to serve three years; he mustered in as a private of Co. K on September 25, 1862; and was promoted corporal prior to April 10, 1863. Vincent was captured at Gettysburg and died at Richmond as a prisoner of war on February 7, 1864. He left a wife and several children.

Elaine Zimmer of Schenectady, New York, provided contact information for another new addition to the roll, Paul Spas of Ashville, Chautauqua County, a great-grandson of First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K. Elaine also kindly shared three wartime letters of Mason, her granduncle. They join a file of twelve letters previously shared by Mason’s great-granddaughter, Juliet Mason of Russell, Pennsylvania. In one of the new letters, written after the Battle of Chancellorsville, Mason discusses the case of First Sgt. Stiles B. Ellsworth of Co. K, who was wounded three times in the fighting. When the regiment retreated, Ellsworth was left on the field, presumed to be dead, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Captain Arthur Hotchkiss of Co. K listed Ellsworth as killed, and so it was reported back home in the Cattaraugus Freeman newspaper. But after several days Ellsworth was paroled together with other severely wounded members of the regiment and returned to the 154th at its camp near Stafford Court House, Virginia. From there Mason wrote, “S. B. Ellsworth left this morning for Washington, he is on the gain. . . . It was wrong to of reported Stiles killed and I told the captain that it was wrong in the time of it and it is a big joke on him. There was Stiles and 3 others reported killed and I told the captain that they did not get a scratch. He says he shall look out how he reports killed next time.” Ellsworth was promoted to first lieutenant but discharged because of his wounds in August 1864. Mason was promoted to first sergeant, wounded at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war.

Thanks too to DeAnne Rowe of Loveland, Colorado, for sharing a portrait of her great-grandfather, First Lt. and Quartermaster Edgar Shannon, as a civilian. It’s the third portrait of Shannon to be added to the archives, including a wartime, in-uniform pose.

In response to my plea in the last newsletter, the following descendants shared copies of their ancestors’ pension papers or summaries thereof: Marvel B. Delehaye of Plaquemine, Louisiana, great-grandniece of Cpl. Samuel C. Hamilton of Co. I; Paul Bishop of Little Valley, New York, collateral relative of Cpl. Andrew J. Oyer of Co. G; and Larry Pearson of Anchorage, Alaska, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Augustus Cochran of Co. A. Thanks for sharing!

I managed to pick up a couple of 154th New York items on eBay in the past month. One is a letter from Harlin E. Locke to his girlfriend, Miss Ellen J. Martin of Machias, Cattaraugus County. Harlin enlisted at age 21 on July 30, 1862 at Machias, to serve three years, and was mustered in as a musician in Co. D on September 24, 1862. His letter was written from the 154th’s camp at Fairfax Court House, Virginia, on October 19, 1862, shortly after the regiment’s arrival at the front. He had just received a letter from Ellen. “I was so glad,” he wrote, “that I could not cry but I kissed it and read it over and over again.” He also wrote (spelling and punctuation corrected): “Ell, I do not bunk with my company now; I have to bunk with the musicians on the right of the regiment. Well, I go up and see the boys and Hiram [Martin, Private, Co. D, Ellen’s brother] & Hank. We talk about home and the night I left there every day. . . . We have lots of fun sometimes and some very sober times. We take turns at that. When I am lonesome they sing and train like the Old Harry and when they are so, then I go in. So we are company for all of us. But I steal away now and then and look at sweet Ell [her photograph] and think of the past times and have a good old crying spell and then I go and wash up and feel all right. But never can I forget that one that I left behind. . . . I would give $100 in a minute if I had my honorable discharge, but I do not think that we shall stay down here long for I think that this will be settled up and when we do come we will know how to appreciate a home or friends too. There is not an hour in a day but what I think of you and home too. We have slept on the ground every night since we got here, but when it is fair weather we do not care, but when it rains then we think of those sweet homes that we left to come and fight for our country. We have a little tent to lay under to keep the dew off and rain, but the air whistles through so we have lots of fresh air. . . . You would laugh to see us a-cooking and to see us set the table on the ground. Well, soldiering is tough enough without recommending it to anybody. We get good living now and all we can eat so we can stand it when we get enough to eat. . . . Now Ell, keep up good spirits for I do. I read a chapter in my testament every day [and] put my trust in [a] higher power than man. Ell, [I wish] that I could kiss thy sweet lips and more but it is not for me to say whether I shall or not but I hope that it is my lot to come back again and see all my friends. Goodbye —— here is one kiss for you.” He then made a graphic representation for a kiss that I’ve never seen before: an 8 within a circle. Harlin survived the war, mustered out with the regiment on June 11, 1865, near Bladensburg, Maryland, and married Ell two months later, on August 17, at Machias.

Harlin and Ellen Locke had six children, but there are no Locke descendants on the roll. The surfacing of this one letter begs the question: Where is the rest of the Hiram Locke-Ellen Martin correspondence?

The other item I picked up is yet another variant of the famous carte de visite of the Humiston children. Since my book Gettysburg’’s Unknown Soldier came out, I’ve been collecting different editions of the image. This one is the fifteenth version that I’ve found. Here’s how I classify it: carte de visite by Wenderoth & Taylor, Philadelphia, Pa., pre-identification horizontal version, rectangular print.

An eBay auction that left me in the dust was for a sixth-plate tintype of Captain Joseph B. Fay of Co. E. It sold to someone whose eBay pseudonym is ““g-quest”” for the unbelievable price of $1,624.99. Luckily, the Portland Historical Museum in Brocton, Chautauqua County, has a carte de visite copy of the same tintype, which friend Phil Palen copied for me several years ago. This tintype fetched an obscenely high price because it was identified and, more important, because Fay was a Gettysburg casualty. Any connection to Gettysburg raises the price of Civil War memorabilia. Remember, folks — your images and other relics of your ancestors of the 154th New York are worth more than money! Think of what Capt. Alfred W. Benson of Co. D said at the 154th’s first regimental reunion in 1888: “We meet among the hills, dotted over with homes, where old photographs sent from the front are guarded as richest treasures.” Please don’t sell your ancestor’s precious Civil War legacy!

Another photograph of a Hardtack came my way via a collector in New Hampshire who contacted me to ask for help in identifying it — he couldn’t make out the last name of the subject’s signature. He was Pvt. Doctor E. Isham of Co. E, whose left foot was shot away by an exploding shell at Chancellorsville. Isham survived the injury and the subsequent amputation. A lifelong resident of Westfield, Chautauqua County, he died at the Soldier’s Home in Bath, New York, in 1919. I was able to make a trade for the carte de visite, which was produced by Mathew Brady’s New York studio. Years ago friend Don Ryberg of Westfield allowed me to copy another print of this carte, which he subsequently presented to Isham great-granddaughter Barbara Abbey of Westfield. The Isham portrait appears on page 172 of The Hardtack Regiment.

On January 19 I had the pleasure of presenting a talk, “Lincoln Through the Eyes of a Civil War Regiment,” at the Providence Public Library, given in conjunction with an exhibit, “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation.” The exhibition, organized by the Huntington Library and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, is traveling to only forty libraries in the United States. Because of time constraints, I focused my talk on two subjects: the 154th’s reaction to Lincoln’s review of the Eleventh Corps on April 10, 1863, and the response to the assassination in April 1865. My presentation was well received by the attendees, who peppered me with questions until it was time to vacate the library.

As mentioned in a previous newsletter, I’ve been working on a new book. It’s really consumed me lately, and I’ve been putting in up to 16-hour days working on it. I’ll tell you about it in a future newsletter. And there will be other book news as 2006 progresses. Look for the next issue in April.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

April 2006

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The last newsletter announced the addition to the descendants roll of Robert Vincent of Alpharetta, Georgia, great-great-great-grandson of Hiram Vincent of Co. K. Since then Rob has kindly donated to the archives transcripts of 54 wartime letters and a fine wartime portrait of his ancestor. The letters form one of the more sizable collections to be added to the files in recent years. Thank you, Rob, for sharing this window into Hiram Vincent’s war.

Hiram’s letters reveal him to be a serious, solemn, and sober soldier, who attended to his duties and endured the hardships of soldier life conscientiously and without complaint. Like many of the men who left wives and children at home, he wrestled with the conflict between duty and family. As he explained to his wife, Wealthy, in a letter of October 16, 1862, “I love you and it was through sense of duty that I left and came as I did. Still I do not love you any the less.” Five months later, on March 29, 1863, Hiram wrote to Wealthy, “I sometimes think it was wicked in me leaving you as I did, but I cannot help what is past. I am still loyal to you, my dear wife and children, and hope the time is not far distant when we can be united at home.” Hiram also struggled with the immorality prevalent in camp. “You have no idea of the amount of iniquity that is carried on here,” he informed Wealthy on January 27, 1863. On February 15 he elaborated. “After seeing what I do here, I am more disgusted than ever with drunkenness. I have seen men here with their hands tied behind them to a tree for getting drunk and disturbing the camp. There is many a man that gambles and loses all of his wages and all he can get besides that have families at home that need all their earnings. The thought that I have a respectable family at home is enough to keep me guarded against any such iniquity and prompts me to try and save all I can while here.” In Hiram’s last letter from the field, written June 28, 1863, at Middletown, Maryland, he offered assurances to his family: “Do not worry about me. Be as easy as you can. I must close now by saying I will be as careful of myself as I can. You all do the same. My love to you all. No more at present.” Three days later, Hiram was captured at Gettysburg. His next three letters were written from the prison camp on Belle Island, in the James River opposite Richmond. Then Wealthy received a letter from Richmond dated February 5, 1864, written by Joseph G. Wheat, an Ohioan who worked in a Richmond hospital: “By request of H. Vincent I take the first opportunity to inform you of his death. He said tell my mother God bless her, that she has been very dear to me and may God keep her until she shall meet me in Heaven. Tell my dear wife and children God bless them, to meet me in Heaven. He came to the hospital Dec. 9th. Disease, diarrhea, and died Feb. 4th about nine p.m.”

Thanks to Gary R. Byar of Traverse City, Michigan, for a copy of his 549-page book, Ancestors and Descendants of Curtis Sherwood Pinney, and a supplementary CD-ROM. Several 154th descendants have presented me with similar family histories over the years. Gary’s is really an exceptional effort, chock-full of reproductions of photographs, maps, and documents. Gary is Pinney’s great-great-grandson. Curtis and his brother Chauncey G. Pinney both enlisted in their hometown of Freedom, Cattaraugus County, and served in Co. D. Chauncey was severely wounded at Gettysburg; Curtis was detached after the battle and served as a nurse in the hospital. Assistant Surgeon Dwight W. Day wrote, “Chauncey was shot through the chest; a portion of the lower tube of the left lung protrudes through the wound — he will probably die. Curtis is all right, and is taking care of his brother.” Curtis was promoted to corporal before the March to the Sea and mustered out with the regiment. Chauncey at that time was absent at an Elmira hospital. Ironically, Curtis died in 1915; Chauncey outlived him by six years, dying in 1921.

Thanks also to Carolyn Ames Simons of Phoenix, Arizona, for sharing copies of Byron G. Abell’s pension file and genealogical data. Abell enlisted in Arkwright, Chautauqua County, and served as a private in Co. F. He was admitted to the Price Street Hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, on November 20, 1862, suffering from pneumonia, and discharged for disability on January 28, 1863, at an army hospital in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Two descendants have been added to the roll since the last newsletter. Dr. William Victor Burlingame of Hillsborough, North Carolina, is a great-grandson of Pvt. Victor M. Burlingame of Co. A. Dr. Burlingame is a psychologist who teaches at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and occasionally works at the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, which includes the old Insane Asylum near which the 154th New York camped during its occupation of the city in 1865. Virginia C. Kirchoff of Cheboygan, Michigan, is a great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Calvin Crawford of Co. C, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived his imprisonment to be mustered out in May 1865 at McDougall Hospital in New York City’s harbor.

I’ve published two articles since the last newsletter. “Eager to hear encouraging words, the men of the 154th New York Infantry became soldiers of fortune” appears in the May 2006 issue of America’s Civil War magazine. This short article relates the fad that swept the regiment in February and March 1863 at the winter camp at Falmouth, Virginia, of visiting fortune tellers in nearby regiments. Soldiers quoted in the article include Stephen Welch (also pictured), Alansing Wyant, James Clements, Peter Mount, Harvey Earl, George Newcomb, Joel Bouton, John Adam Smith, and Marshall Bond.

“‘The Worst Sight I Ever Saw’: The 154th New York Infantry at the Battle of Peachtree Creek” appears in the May 2006 issue of North & South magazine. This lengthy article quotes Milon Griswold, Emory Sweetland, Marcellus Darling, Lewis D. Warner, William Harper, Alfred Benson, Reuben Ogden, Charles Abell, Henry Van Aernam, John Wellman James Clements, Samuel Woodford, Joshua Pettit, Milton Scott, and Addison Scutt. Pictured are Sweetland, Darling, Benson, Warner, Van Aernam, Lt. Col. Dan B. Allen, and Col. Patrick Henry Jones. Both magazines are currently available at Border’s and Barnes and Noble bookstores.

I’ve obtained (via eBay) yet another variant of the Humiston children carte de visite. This one was produced by Frederick Gutekunst of Philadelphia as a vertical version, with the children’s names printed on the front and “The Soldier’’s Children” blurb appearing on the reverse.

Those of you familiar with the blogosphere won’t be surprised to hear that there are several Civil War blogs up and running these days. I’m pleased to note that my book Brothers One and All has been singled out by a couple of the bloggers, Kevin Levin and Andy MacIsaac, as a favorite regimental study. Links to their comments:

http://www.cwmemory.com/2006/11/15/civil-war-top-10/

http://maineheavies.blogspot.com/2006/01/more-on-regimental-histories.html

http://maineheavies.blogspot.com/2006/03/brothers-one-and-all-and-beyond.html

Speaking of the World Wide Web, I am very lucky to have a great Webmaster — my son, Karl. Last Christmas he presented me with the www.hardtackregiment.com domain name. It takes the place of the old AOL website. It has an easily remembered URL, it loads much faster, and visitors no longer have to put up with pesky ads. Karl has just completed a major redesign of the site. Stop by and have a look. If you have any corrections or additions to your ancestor’s listing, please let us know.

I’ve accepted an invitation to speak to the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society on Wednesday, July 18, 2006. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Barker Library on the corner of Main and Day streets in Fredonia. I hope to see some of you there.

Finally, a reminder: Our 21st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, July 15, 2006, at the Allegany Community Center in Allegany, Cattaraugus County. Our program will honor Alleganians Stephen Welch and Charles W. McKay, the only members of the regiment to be awarded the Medal of Honor. If it’s a free date for you, please plan on joining us.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

June 2006

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Our 21st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2006, at the Allegany Community Center in Allegany, Cattaraugus County. The center is at the corner of Main (Route 417) and First streets. Our program will honor Alleganians Stephen Welch and Charles W. McKay, the only members of the regiment to be awarded the Medal of Honor. We will learn about the heroic act that earned them the honor, and the surprising manner in which it was granted. I’ll be (postal) mailing you an invitation in a couple of weeks. Please join us at the reunion next month in Allegany to represent and remember your ancestor.

I pay the substantial reunion expenses out of my own pocket and rely on donations from you to help out. Because there is a hefty rental fee to use the Allegany Community Center, this year’s costs are adding up to much more than usual. (And I forgot to pass the hat at last year’s reunion!) So your contribution will be most welcome.

Thanks to Virginia Kirchoff of Cheboygan, Michigan, for providing a biographical sketch of her ancestor Pvt. Calvin Crawford of Co. C. After the war he moved west to Kankakee, Illinois. On March 27, 1869, Calvin fell out of a boat while helping to raft some logs down the flood-swollen Iroquois River near Chebanse, Illinois, and drowned. “I saw my father after he was taken from the water,” Calvin’s daughter Emma later testified. “His remains were brought into our house and he was taken to the cemetery in a boat.” Calvin, who was twice married, left his second wife and several children.

Considering the sad circumstances of Calvin Crawford’s death made me think about other members of the 154th who died in accidents after the war. Over the years I’ve gathered about 200 obituaries of members of the regiment (together with biographical sketches and genealogical data of many others), but the dates and circumstances of death of many members remain unknown to me. Consequently, the following list of 154th New York veterans killed in accidents is no doubt incomplete. Those marked by an asterisk were on a similar list compiled by E. D. Northrup for his unpublished regimental history. Unless otherwise noted, the place of death was in New York State:

Cpl. Oziah F. Adams, Co. D, at a horning, March 18, 1871, Lyndon.*

Pvt. Jacob Michael Bargy, Co. G, in a railroad accident, 1882, place unknown.*

First Sgt. Francis M. Bowen, Co. I, in a wagon accident, September 10, 1914, on the Jo Jo Road, McKean County, Pennsylvania.

Pvt. Seth W. Covell, Co. H, in a street car accident, 1912, Seattle, Washington.

Pvt. Justice Cross, Co. E, head was crushed while placing blocking under a half-finished house, August 15, 1883, Brocton.

Pvt. Orrin O. Dalrymple, Co. F, by a tornado that struck the annual town picnic, August 25, 1904, Stockton.

Cpl. Ellis W. Day, Co. D, thresher accident, June 16, 1903, place unknown.*

Cpl. David A. Frank, Co. G, railroad accident, date and place unknown.*

Pvt. Patrick Garvey, Co. F, killed by railroad engine (reportedly while drunk), date and place unknown.*

Pvt. Henry A. Hill, Co. D, hit by train, May 5, 1899, Hinsdale.

Sgt. Peter Messinger, Co. A, car inspector for Erie Railroad, crushed by train, July 4, 1904, Salamanca.

Pvt. Thomas J. Moore, Co. I, by railroad cars, January 30, 1893, Salamanca.*

Pvt. Eliasaph Parker, Co. C, kicked in head by horse, September 29, 1903, Alva, Oklahoma.

Cpl. Gilbert M. Rykert, Co. C, killed by train, April 9, 1900, Westfield.

Pvt. John Wheeler, Co. D, hit by wind-driven board while building a barn, date and place unknown.*

Pvt. Robert J. Woodard, Co. C, perished with four family members in house fire, February 9, 1917, Sugartown.

Surely some veterans of the regiment suffered from what is now called post-traumatic stress syndrome, and one wonders if some of the reported railroad accidents were actually suicides. I’m aware of only two 154th veterans who committed suicide: Pvt Orville Larkin of Co. G (December 24, 1894, East Otto) and Pvt. Charles M. Randall of Co. E (August 22, 1895, Ripley). Both men shot themselves in the head. There is no evidence that their suicides were related to their military service. But it seems certain that veterans of the regiment were victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome, other psychological disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, and the like, in addition to the many physical maladies they suffered dating from their service — and I think it is very likely that some of the men succumbed to the misery and intentionally took their own lives.

Several new descendants have been welcomed to the roll since the last newsletter. Patricia Raun Bass of Clearwater, Florida, is a great-grandniece of Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E, who was mortally wounded during the Atlanta campaign (more about him below). June M. (Kennedy) Patterson of Roanoke, Virginia, is a great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D, who rescued the colors at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and was the regimental color-bearer from then until the end of the war. Laura Dennis of Omro, Wisconsin, is a great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Charles R. Wilber of Co. I, one of five Wilber cousins who served in the 154th. G. Mark Buttles of Suffolk, Virginia, is a great-grandson of Pvt. Henry Buttles of Co. F and the first to represent his ancestor on the roll. Carol Barber of Brockway, Pennsylvania, is a collateral relative of Cpl. Benjamin F. Phillips of Co. D and Pvt. George W. Phillips of Co. I (the Machias GAR post was named in his honor). My thanks to Carol for sharing her fifteen-page genealogical survey of the “Descendants of George Phillips.” Sean Power of Holbrook, New York, is a collateral relative of Sgt. Augustus A. Shippy of Co. B, who was killed at the Battle of Dug Gap. The Shippy family lived in Otto, Cattaraugus County. All four of Augustus’s brothers served in the Union army (Augustus was the only one in the 154th). Sean is descended from brother Eugene Shippy of the 85th New York. Augustus died unwed and childless, so his representatives on the roll are necessarily collateral relatives.

The May 2006 issue of Civil War Times magazine included an article by Don Holtz and Darryl Davis that quoted excerpts from James Quilliam’s wartime letters and reproduced his only known portrait. Years ago, Quilliam’s great-granddaughter, the late Edithe Nasca of Fredonia, shared transcripts of his letters and his portrait with me. I’ve quoted from Quilliam’s letters in articles and in Brothers One and All. Holtz and Davis used a portion of the letters that are housed at the library in Westfield, Chautauqua County. Other letters are in the possession of Edithe Nasca’s son, Donald Nelson-Nasca of Fairport, New York, who is in the process of putting together an annotated and unabridged version of the entire set of letters.

A woodcut of General Patrick Henry Jones has been added to the archives. It appeared as an illustration in the May 15, 1869 issue of Harper’s Weekly, with an accompanying article announcing Jones’s appointment as postmaster of New York City by President Ulysses S. Grant (a plum patronage job). I obtained this particular clipping at a good price on eBay. I also have a complete copy of that issue of the popular newspaper that I picked up several years ago. I hope eventually to find a copy of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of the same date, which carried a variant portrait and article about General Jones.

I also picked up yet another version of the Humiston children carte de visite on eBay. This one was published by E. and H. T. Anthony of New York City, the nation’s largest photographic supply house during the Civil War era. Never before having seen an Anthony example of this carte, I was surprised when it turned up. Because they were such a big firm, one would think that Anthony-produced Humiston children cartes would be common, but the opposite is the case. I can only guess that they gave the carte a small print run, ceding the market to the Philadelphia photographers.

On April 26, as part of the “Rhode Island Voices” program of the North Kingstown (RI) Free Library, I read a chapter from my forthcoming book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers (about which more below). On May 24 I had the pleasure of addressing the Central Massachusetts Civil War Round Table in Worcester. It was my second appearance before that group; I spoke to them in April 2003 on my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier. This time my topic was “Thirty Years (Plus) of Studying a Civil War Regiment.” I received some nice feedback from the attendees and it was especially gratifying to learn that almost half of them had been to Coster Avenue in Gettysburg and had seen my mural there.

A reminder: I’ll be speaking to the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society on Tuesday, July 18, 2006. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Barker Library on the corner of Main and Day streets in Fredonia. I hope to see some of you there.

Finally, some book news. Louisiana State University Press is publishing a paperback edition of Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment. The official publication date is this September, but it will be available before then. Meanwhile, reviews of the book continue to appear. A recent one, in the Winter 2005 issue of The Historian, was written by the best-known Civil War historian yet to review the book, James I. Robertson Jr. Dr. Robertson, a professor of history at Virginia Tech, is the author of many works, among them the best modern biography of Stonewall Jackson and a study of the war’s common soldiers, Soldiers Blue and Gray. In his review he paid a nice tribute to the regiment: “Even though the 154th New York did not come into being until eighteen months after the war began, its gallantry and sacrifice were outstanding.” Of the book he stated, “This study is a path-breaking work as well as a good read.”

This fall LSU Press will also publish my new book, War’s Relentless Hand. It too will be available before the official October 2006 publication date. Look for flyers to arrive in the mail for both books from LSU Press sometime in the next few months. Visit my Web site for more information about both books and links to their listings at the LSU Press site and on amazon.com.

Look for a reunion recap in the August issue.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

August 2006

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

More than 100 people gathered at our 21st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York in Allegany, Cattaraugus County, on Saturday, July 15. In addition to New York State residents, attendees were present from California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Things got off to a bit of a rocky start when members of the Allegany Engine Company — from whom we were renting the Community Center — didn’t show up until a few minutes before 1:00 p.m., when the registration was to start. In the meantime, we were locked out of the place. Consequently a number of early arrivals had to wait in whatever shade they could find on a hot day. (Thank you for your patience!) I jokingly asked each new arrival if they happened to have any burglary tools with them. When an AEC member finally showed up and let us inside, we found they hadn’t prepared the hall as they had promised. So we had to set up the chairs and move around the tables. As a result, the early part of the registration hour was somewhat chaotic. Luckily, City Fiddle was on hand for the second straight year. Phil Banaszak (descendant of First Lt. Alexander Bird, Co. F) and his wife, Gretchen, were in period costume as they entertained the growing crowd on fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. Thank you, Phil and Gretchen, for your great music-making!

This year my presentation was on “Stephen Welch, Charles McKay, and the Medal of Honor.” I related the lives of Welch and McKay — both Allegany residents when they enlisted — and their service in the 154th New York. I quoted both men in describing their roles in the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864. After the 154th New York was driven back down the mountainside, the two were asked by Maj. Lewis D. Warner to rescue Cpl. George W. Greek of Co. C, a member of the color guard who had been wounded in both legs and was lying between the lines, unable to move. Welch and McKay went to Greek under fire, rolled him onto a piece of tent or a blanket (accounts differ), and carried him to safety. It was for this act, “in voluntarily risking their lives in rescuing, under fire of the enemy, a wounded comrade lying between the lines,” that the two were awarded the Medal of Honor in the postwar years. After giving a brief history of the Medal of Honor (which was initiated during the Civil War), I described how McKay applied to the War Department in 1893 for the medal to be awarded to himself and Welch for their rescue of Greek. McKay’s affidavit was endorsed by Minnesota’s U.S. Senator Cushman K. Davis and forwarded to Washington. But the application was rejected and McKay was informed he needed to supply affidavits from “some parties other than the ones interested.” Consequently McKay secured affidavits from Maj. Warner and Cpl. Daniel M. Wright of Co. C, who had witnessed the act. Those affidavits were sufficient to prove the case, and in April 1894 the medals were issued and sent by registered mail to the two veterans. Welch and McKay were the only two members of the 154th New York to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

A sad postscript to the story — George Greek died of his wounds on May 14, 1864, at a hospital in Chattanooga. He is buried in Grave #1369, Section C, of the Chattanooga National Cemetery. (In addition to a souvenir ribbon, reunion attendees received a sheet listing Greek and the 54 other casualties the 154th suffered at Dug Gap.)

Ten Welch descendants were on hand as we honored their ancestor in his hometown, and they led off the roll call: Carolyn, Peg, Joe, and Eliza Stoltz; Jim, Fred, Tom, and Kyle Welch; Mary Jean Davis; and Celeste Taber. (Also on hand was Celestine Welch, mother of Jim, Fred, Tom, Mary Jean, and Celeste.) Jim Welch brought his ancestor’s Medal of Honor with him from Florida, and those in attendance got to take a look at it. It was great to have so many Welch descendants present at the reunion, and a pleasure to have Stephen Welch’s Medal of Honor on hand, too.

I had hoped to have McKay descendants and his Medal of Honor present as well. Friend and genealogical researcher Mary Bridges tracked down two McKay descendants in California in the year before the reunion. I wrote to them this past January and sent them big packets of information about their ancestor. But I never heard back from them. Apparently they don’t have any interest in family history. Too bad for the memory of Charles McKay! Their apathy makes the Welch descendants’ pride in Stephen Welch all the more meaningful.

The whereabouts of McKay’s Medal of Honor is unknown. Someone suggested it may have been buried with him, which is a strong possibility.

My sincere thanks to all the descendants who made donations towards the reunion expenses. The response this year was the strongest ever. Many of you sent checks via the mail, and the reunion attendees gave generously when I passed the basket. I very much appreciate your consideration and support.

Three days after the reunion, on Tuesday, July 18, I gave two talks in Chautauqua County. In the afternoon I spoke to seventeen fourth to sixth graders who were attending a Civil War history-theme day camp at the Fenton History Center in Jamestown. Their program was called Camp Brown, after the organizational rendezvous of the 154th and 112th New York regiments in the summer of 1862. Having written a booklet about Camp Brown (which the Fenton published in 1996), I was able to tell the kids some stories about the camp. I enjoyed meeting them and their teacher, Dan Lewis. Fenton Director Joni Blackman later stated, “The children’s Camp Brown has been such a success that we are thinking about making an adult Camp Brown for the fall.” After my presentation, Joni kindly gave me a tour of the building — the former home of congressman, governor, and senator Reuben E. Fenton — which is well worth a visit when you’re in Jamestown. In the evening I spoke to the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society in the Barker Library in Fredonia. My topic was “Researching Civil War Soldiers.” Of course, I wove in an account of my work researching and writing about the 154th New York. Thanks to CCGS member Barbara Wise of South Dayton for inviting me to speak to the group.

Many new members have been added to the roll since the last newsletter. Those who enrolled via the Hardtack Regiment Web site include Juanita Brewer of Granby, Missouri, and Tracye Tripp of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, great-granddaughter and great-great-great-granddaughter, respectively, of Pvt. Eliseph Parker, Co. C; Wesley MacDonald of Simi Valley, California, great-great-great-grandnephew of First Sgt. Henry F. Whipple, Co. H; Cindy Wolfe of Corinth, Texas, great-great-grandniece of Pvt. Byron Crook, Co. A; Thomas Dibble of East Amherst, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. James D. Quilliam, Co. E; brothers Don McGavern of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Keith Allen McGavern of Shawnee, Oklahoma, great-great-grandsons of Stephen Welch (tracked down by Mary Bridges); Donald Crawford of Fife Lake, Michigan, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Calvin Crawford, Co. C; Trisha Donovan of Banning, California, collateral relative of Cpl. Hiram Vincent, Co. K; and Jackie Schultz, great-great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. Samuel D. Woodford, Co. I..

Enrolled at the reunion were Alexander Robinson of Punta Gorda, Florida, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. John L. Reynolds, Co. C; Robert J. Foster of Allegany, New York, great-grandson of Cpl. Orton Rounds, Co. C; Robert E. Osgood of Schuyler, Virginia, great-great-grandson of Cpl. William W. Osgood, Co. C; Steve Bull of Machias, New York, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Eason W. Bull of Co. D; Dianne Shaul of Gowanda, New York, great-great-great-grandniece of Eason Bull; and Dorothy Banaszak of Cowlesville, New York, granddaughter of First Lt. Alexander Bird of Co. F (and mother of City Fiddle’s Phil).

A descendant who didn’t make it to the reunion instead made it to the front page of the Sunday, July 30 New York Times. Donald L. Hotchkiss Jr. of Las Vegas, Nevada, is a collateral descendant of Cpl. George W. Hotchkiss of Co. A, and, by extension of the other Hotchkisses who served in the 154th: Capt. Arthur Hotchkiss, Co. K; Cpl. Ephriam H. Hotchkiss, Co. C; Pvt. Orange Hotchkiss, Co. D; and Pvt. Stephen Hotchkiss, Co. D. Don has thoroughly researched roughly 500 Hotchkisses who served in the Civil War on both sides, and back in 2004 arranged the 121st Reunion of the Hotchkiss Family Association in Gettysburg. In the Times article, “So Big and Healthy Nowadays, Grandpa Wouldn’t Know You,” Don was used as an example of how present-day Americans are considerably larger — averaging three inches taller and fifty pounds heavier — and far more healthy — with far fewer chronic illnesses and a longer life span — than our ancestors of the Civil War era. I think this phenomenon is common knowledge, but this fascinating article lays out scientific evidence of the changes and offers some theories as to why they’ve occurred. Much of the article’s findings were based on the research of Dr. Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago, who studied the pension records of a random sample of 50,000 Union veterans. According to Fogel, humans in the industrialized world have undergone “a form of evolution that is unique not only to humankind, but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of humans who have ever inhabited the earth.” Don Hotchkiss put it in simpler terms: “In the past 145 years, we’ve ballooned up.”

Thanks to friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for sharing some recently obtained documents of Pvt. Stephen R. Green of Co. E. They include a portion of a letter by Green describing the Battle of Chancellorsville, where he was taken prisoner; a letter of May 20, 1865, from the regiment’s war-end camp near Alexandria, Virginia; a note to his wife circa July 1863 instructing her to copy notes of his service and excerpts from his letters in a journal (Green was intent on recording the 154th’’s history; see Brothers One and All, 246-7); a diary covering December 5, 1863, to January 1, 1864, including the march to the relief of Knoxville, perhaps the hardest march the regiment ever made; and a letter to Green from a certain Jackson of Brocton, Chautauqua County, inquiring whether it would be worth his while to bring a load of boots to offer for sale to the regiment. These Green letters augment 46 of his letters that Phil and I have independently obtained over the years. Apparently the letters left family hands and have been scattered in the collectibles market. Phil now has 29 of Green’s letters, I have 20, and no doubt there are others out there that we are unaware of. Unfortunately, I’ve never connected with any Green descendants, nor have I found a photograph of him.

Thanks to Virginia Hobbs of Security, Colorado, for sharing a postwar photograph of her great-grandfather, First Lt. Alexander Bird of Co. F. In the photo, Bird is wearing the small round bronze GAR membership button in his left lapel, identifying him as a proud Union veteran. Alex wasn’t camera-shy. This is the fourteenth picture of him in my 154th New York portrait albums, more by far than any other member of the regiment.

Thanks to Elaine Zimmer of Schenectady, New York, for presenting mounted copies of two warrants of George J. Mason as sergeant in Co. K. Warrants are similar to the commissions that officers received, but they were for non-commissioned officers. Copies of several 154th New York warrants are in my files, including those of Newton Adelbert “Dell” Chaffee as quartermaster sergeant and William W. Pemberton as commissary sergeant. I have three original officers’ commissions: those of John C. Griswold as first lieutenant and captain, and of Henry Van Aernam as surgeon.

I’ve published two articles since the last newsletter. “The Strange Case of Thomas Drayton” tells the story of a soldier who enlisted in the 154th New York in July 1864 but never served a day with the regiment, even though on a couple of occasions circumstances brought him within walking distance of the 154th. The article appeared in the August 2006 issue of North & South magazine (Volume 9, Number 4). “Resurrecting a Regiment” appeared in the August 2006 issue of The Civil War News. It’s a summary of my work over the years to recover the memory of the 154th. (I’’d be happy to send a copy of “Resurrecting a Regiment” to anyone who sends me a self-addressed, stamped envelope.)

Louisiana State University Press has issued its Fall 2006 catalog, which includes my new book, War’’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers, to be published in hardcover in October, and my last book, Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment, to be published in paperback in September. (Just a few days ago I received a copy of the Brothers One and All paperback, so it should be available soon. Books are generally available in advance of their official publication date.) Pages for both books can be found at the LSU Press Web site — www.lsu.edu/lsupress/ (click on Books) — and at www.amazon.com. Both sources can be accessed via my Hardtack Regiment Web site.

Reviews of Brothers One and All continue to appear. Here’s what two recent reviewers had to say about the book. On Point: The Journal of Army History declared, “Mark Dunkelman’s research is an extremely important resource for the student of nineteenth century military society and culture in the United States.” The Journal of American History said, “More than just telling the story of the Hardtack Regiment, Dunkelman’s Brothers One and All is a masterly account of how these men became comrades-in-arms.”

Look for more book news in the next newsletter.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

October 2006

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers. At its simplest, the book is a collection of gripping human interest stories about a dozen members of the 154th New York: Cpl. Joel M. Bouton, Co. C; Pvt. Milton M. Bush, Co. K; Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell, Co. H; Pvt. William F. Chittenden, Co. D; Capt. Alanson Crosby, Co. D; Capt. John C. Griswold, Co. F; Pvt. William Hawkins, Co. B; Pvt. Alvin Hitchcock, Co. A; Pvt. Barzilla Merrill, Co. K; Pvt. Clark E. “Salty” Oyer, Co. G; Pvt. Francis “Blind” Patterson, Co. G; and Pvt. Oscar F. Wilber, Co. G. Many other members of the regiment are mentioned in the twelve tales, which touch on many aspects of the 154th’s service, soldier life, the trials and tribulations of the loved ones at home, and other facets of Civil War history.

Noted Civil War historian Steven E. Woodworth writes of War’s Relentless Hand, “Mark Dunkelman has done it again—produced another truly outstanding book that transcends the narrow confines of a single regiment or a handful of soldiers to speak eloquently of the meaning and impact of the Civil War in the lives of ordinary Americans. This is one of the best Civil War books I’ve ever read.”

For more information about the book, please visit its page on the Louisiana State University Press Web site:

The book is also listed at amazon.com, where it’s offered at a 34% discount.

War’s Relentless Hand is my fourth book of 154th New York history. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to delve so deeply into the regiment’s history and relate it to such a wide audience in my books and articles. For that I have you to thank, for sharing with me the wartime letters and diaries and other materials of your ancestors — the raw materials from which I’ve crafted my work. I’m currently hard at work on a fifth book, and I will tell you about it in future editions of the Hardtack Regiment News.

In other book news, Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment has been published in paperback by LSU Press. The hardcover edition is now out of print. Folks who want to obtain a hardcover copy should be able to find it at various venues for a while, but gradually it will become harder to find — and more expensive. (One bookseller already has it listed at $99.88.) The paperback edition will remain available for the foreseeable future. It too can be found on the LSU Press Web site and on amazon.com. Links to both sites are on the Books Page of my Hardtack Regiment Web site:
People often ask me about the availability of The Hardtack Regiment, which was published in 1981 by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. It has long been out of print. Copies are hard to find, and when they do come on the market, they are fetching high prices. A recent search of amazon.com and abebooks.com turned up three copies for sale, at $149.95, $200, and $230. You can read the book and not spend a cent, however, by borrowing it on interlibrary loan through your local library. Twenty-five years after it was published, The Hardtack Regiment holds up, I think, as a solid introduction to the 154th New York’s history. The late great Civil War historian Bruce Catton kindly read the book in manuscript back in the 1970s and wrote, “Exactly the sort of job that was done back in the ‘80s and ‘90s when various regimental survivors’ associations would collect letters, diaries and so on in order to make regimental histories. It has an authentic ring.”

Several descendants have been added to the roll since the last newsletter. Welcome to:

Sue Benzinger of Merritt Island, Florida, great-great-granddaughter of First Lieut. Stephen Welch, Co. C, who we honored at our 2006 reunion.

Kate Harkness Zaharchuk of Phoenix, Arizona, great-grandniece of Cpl. Truman Harkness of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg, died as a prisoner of war in Richmond, and is one of only two of the 154th’s Richmond POW fatalities to be buried in a marked grave.

Rhonda E. Visingard of Davenport, Florida, great-great-granddaughter; her father Gaylord Visingard, also of Davenport, great-grandson; and Gaylord’s sister, Roberta Thornburg of Conway, South Carolina, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Wallace Cole of Co. I. He was another Gettysburg captive, but one who survived his imprisonment, was paroled in December 1863, and was mustered out with the regiment at the close of the war. My thanks to Rhonda for sharing two obituaries of Wallace, who died in Tioga, Pennsylvania, in 1933.

Roberta Thornburg is 154th New York descendant #1,000 to be entered onto the roll!

There’s a fascinating story to Wallace Cole and his descendants. In the postwar years, Wallace became a tuba player who traveled with circuses by wagon. His son James was a musician and actor who had his own traveling road show. James’s daughter — Gaylord and Roberta’s mother — was an actress and singer who married an actor, musician and dancer who traveled with the Ziegfield Follies and later appeared in western movies and had his own traveling Wild West show. Gaylord, Roberta, and Rhonda continued the family show business tradition into the fourth and fifth generations. Gaylord still performs an intriguing act under the stage name Gaylord Maynard. Check out his Web site:

Jerry Hinman of Darby, Montana, and his brother Alvie T. Hinman of Lolo, Montana, great-grandsons of Pvt. Truman Hinman of Co. B. I’ve always had a special interest in Truman Hinman, because he was a friend of my great-grandfather John Langhans. They enlisted together on September 9, 1864, in East Otto and were with the 154th for Sherman’s marches through Georgia and the Carolinas. John mentioned Truman several times in his letters home. My thanks to genealogical researcher and 154th friend Mary Bridges of Amherst, New York, for putting me in touch with Jerry and Alvie. And thanks to Alvie for sharing a fine postwar portrait of Truman Hinman It shows him wearing a small round button in his left lapel — his Grand Army of the Republic official membership button. These bronze buttons were made from Confederate cannon barrels captured after the war. In tiny detail, they depicted a soldier and sailor shaking hands, with Lady Liberty between them, a freed mother and child at their feet, and two flags, an eagle, and a battle axe in the background. Along the rim of the button were inscribed “Grand Army of the Republic” and “1861-Veteran-1865.” Many of the postwar photographs in my 154th New York portrait albums depict the veterans wearing these small round buttons in their left lapel, as per regulations, identifying them as proud veterans of the Union army.

Betty Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Augustus V. Laing of Co. H. Laing also was a friend of John Langhans — in fact, Gus and his brother William Laing were John’s tent mates. Betty, who just discovered her Laing ancestry, is married to Charles Pettit, who has long been on the roll to represent his great-grandfather, Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A. As Charles told me, “It had to be fate that Betty and I married since we both had relatives in the same regiment.”

Tom Adams of Lapeer, Michigan, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Henry Randall of Co. B, a Perrysburg enlistee who was at the front for his entire service (less a ten-day furlough) and mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end.

Mary Ann Ebner of West Point, New York, great-great-granddaughter of First Lieut. Alexander Bird of Co. F, one of the best documented soldiers of the regiment. Mary Ann’s mother, Ginny Hobbs of Security, Colorado, and uncle, Bill Wilmoth of Alameda, California, have both long been on the roll, together with eleven other Bird descendants.

Doug Chadwick of Modesto, California, great-grandson of First Lieut. Clinton L. Barnhart of Co. E. Doug kindly shared an autobiography by Barnhart, written in 1914 and updated in 1921, and a nice postwar portrait of him. Barnhart was thrice wounded during his service: slightly in the thigh and scalp at Chancellorsville, by a contusion in the shoulder at Resaca, and severely in the thigh at Lost Mountain (a.k.a. Pine Knob or Gilgal Church). The last mentioned wound led to Barnhart’s discharge from the service. Doug recalls his mother telling him that when her grandfather used to visit her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, “he would show the kids the deep hole (from scarring due to the ever-present infection) in his thigh . . . and then have the kids put their finger in the hole!”

Which reminds me of a story shared by Ed Markham of Bainbridge Island, Washington, grandnephew of Cpl. (and Brevet First Lieut.) Philo A. Markham of Co. B. Markham was wounded in the right arm at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and the limb was amputated the same day by Surgeon Henry Van Aernam. As a boy, Ed used to visit the aged Philo and his wife Julia at their daughter’s home in Orchard Park, New York. Young Ed was fascinated by Philo’s long, flowing beard, Julia’s diminutive stature, and an old curio table covered with watches, spectacles, and other clutter. “And best of all,” Ed related, “was when Uncle Philo would finally roll up the shirt sleeve and reveal the stump of the arm shot off in the Civil War, then proceed to draw a face on the end (somewhat below the elbow joint), then properly flex the muscles to the wonderment of the young witnesses as the cartoon on the stump moved about — and then the sly and bemused grin of Uncle Philo.”

Are there any other stories out there about veterans playing with their wounds to amuse the youngsters?

Thanks to Don McGavern of Calgary, Alberta, great-grandson of Stephen Welch, for an 18-page history of the Welch-McGavern family (a work in progress) and postwar portraits of Stephen and his wife Louisa. The photo of Stephen is the same one published in the 1901 book Deeds of Valor, which chronicled the exploits of soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor. It’s good to add a fine quality copy print of this particular pose, courtesy of Don, to the 154th New York portrait albums.

And thanks to Krista Shackleford of Bladenboro, North Carolina, great-great-great-granddaughter of Stephen Welch, for the gift of a letter Stephen wrote to a son on March 5, 1900. In it Stephen discussed a recent heavy snowstorm “which made plenty of shoveling,” home matters, and the drilling of oil wells in the Allegany area. Although it has no Civil War content, I’m pleased to add an original letter in Stephen Welch’s impeccable handwriting to the regimental archives.

Speaking of Stephen Welch, the September 2006 issue of The Civil War News printed my account of our July reunion in Allegany, “154th N.Y. Group Honors Medal Recipients.”

Thanks too to Donald Crawford of Fife Lake, Michigan — great-great-grandson of Pvt. Calvin Crawford of Co. C — and his wife Donna for sending a nice series of sixteen photos of the 154th’s monument at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg and my adjacent mural.

Five years after its restoration, and eighteen years after it was painted in Providence and installed in Gettysburg, the Coster Avenue mural has been holding up well. On September 12-13 my artistic partner, Johan Bjurman was in Gettysburg and he gave the painting a good scrubbing and a fresh coat of marine spar varnish. The mural should now be able to withstand the elements nicely for several more years. Johan tells me that during the time he was working on the painting, a number of visitors came by to view it.

A close-up photograph of the 154th’s monument and the mural and a brief account of the Coster/Hays-Avery fight appear in a new book, Gettysburg: Sentinels of Stone, by Timothy T. Isbell (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006). The photo is one of 85 pictures of Gettysburg monuments included in the book.

Plans for next year’s reunion have already been made. The 22nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2007, at the pavilion in Lakeside Park in Mayville, the Chautauqua County seat. Mark your calendar! It will be a joint reunion with descendants of the 112th New York, the regiment that was raised in Chautauqua County at the same time as the 154th. We held a joint reunion with the 112th folks back in 1996 at the Fenton History Center in Jamestown, and it will be good to meet with them again. Thanks to Joel Babcock, who had ancestors in both the 112th and 154th (Pvt. Edward D. Coe and Sgt. Harrison Coe, Co. F), for making the reunion arrangements. Joel has posted an excellent Web site devoted to the 112th Regiment:


Look for the next installment of the Hardtack Regiment News in December.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

December 2006

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

This edition’s top story is the discovery of a substantial collection of wartime letters of Sgt. Samuel DeForest Woodford of Co. I. Woodford’s great-great-great-granddaughter Jackie Schultz of Hamden, Connecticut, informed me that the letters were at the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It turned out that the letters were microfilmed there back in 1971. The CWS provided me with copies made from the old microfilm, and I’m currently in the process of transcribing Woodford’s letters. The quality of many of the copies is poor. Consequently, a lot of the approximately 65 letters are very difficult to read — a good portion of them are negatives — and it’s proving to be one of the tougher transcription jobs I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, Woodford had excellent handwriting, which helps. Even better, some more recent developments promise some relief.

With the letters was an explanatory note stating they had been shared in 1971 by a Mr. Noyes W. Alger of Highmore, South Dakota. Figuring Mr. Alger was a Woodford descendant, I did some research and contacted Barry Alger of Highmore, Noyes Alger’s son, who informed me his father was deceased but that the Woodford letters are still in the family’s possession. Barry is Woodford’s great-grandson. Barry is also an Augustana College alumnus. He has kindly offered to take the letters to his old school so that better quality copies can be made. With the welcome cooperation of Barry Alger and Center for Western Studies director Dr. Harry Thompson, I should eventually be able to produce a complete set of transcripts of the Woodford letters. It will be a matter of time.

I’m grateful to Jackie Schultz for letting me know about the Woodford letters. They are not listed in the Library of Congress’s National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (probably because they are not the originals), so chances are I would not have come across them had Jackie not informed me about them.

Woodford was a married man and father when he enlisted at Salamanca at age 27 years. He mustered in as corporal, was promoted sergeant, was captured at Gettysburg, paroled five months later, captured for a second time at Peach Tree Creek, escaped from the enemy, and finally was mustered out with the regiment on June 11, 1865, near Bladensburg, Maryland. Now the bare bones of his service record can be fleshed out with his own observations of the war as contained in the letters to his wife. Take for example this passage from his letter of November 29, 1862, in which he expresses a common disillusionment with the Union war effort of that particular time period:

“I tell you Mary there is a different feeling in the armey to what there was three months ago there is not as much patriotism in the whole armey of the Potomac as would fill the eye of a cambric needle they can see the vast amount of rascality that is carried on. It is nothing but one vast field for speculation & you may depend it is well cultivated. There is one thing certain this war will not be closed till the people take the matter into their own hands I do not know but if the head managers of this thing know how I feel and write about it They would be tempted to start me for the Rip Raps or some other secure place. but they may rest assured that I onely utter the sentiments of ninety nine one hundredths of the whole armey. You may ask any soldier you meet how he likes the way the war is managed & they will tell you it is nothing but a humbug from beginning to end. They are all perfectly tired of it and the only wonder to me is knowing the feelings of the men they can keep them here.”

It should be remembered that despite the negativity Woodford expressed in that passage, he stuck with the regiment, was twice captured and imprisoned, and mustered out with the 154th at the war’s end.

A few days after I received the letters, I received copies of Woodford’s pension file from George Levy of Elgin, Illinois. Mr. Levy is working on a book about the New York State military depot at Elmira, in the course of which he discusses the escape from the Confederates by Woodford and a couple of other companions (one of whom mustered in at Elmira). Together with some reminiscent letters Woodford sent to E. D. Northrup, his pension documents and wartime letters make him a well-documented soldier.

In addition to Barry Alger, descendants added to the roll since the last newsletter include:

Jacob Langhans of McKinleyville, California, great-great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, and my second cousin twice removed, and Jacob’s grandfather, Howard Langhans of Oceanside, California, great-grandson of John Langhans.

Brothers Jon Bozard of Burlington, New Jersey, and David Bozard of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, great-great-grandnephews of Pvt. Ashbel L. Bozard of Co. C and collateral relatives of Cpl. Truman Harkness of Co. H. Ashbel Bozard’s service with the 154th New York was brief — he was discharged for disability on December 29, 1862 — but he re-enlisted in 1864 and served until the end of the war with the 188th New York.

Janine Smith of Fort Worth, Texas, and her brother Mark H. Smith of Aledo, Texas, great-great-grandchildren of Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K, one of the Gettysburg captives who suffered imprisonment at Belle Island and Andersonville and lived to tell of it.

Ian Groat of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, a fourteen-year-old great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. John Groat of Co. G, and Ian’s father, Evan. John Groat holds the distinction of being the only man to enlist twice in the 154th New York. His first enlistment ended in June 1863 when he was discharged for disability. He re-enlisted in September 1864, made the marches through Georgia and the Carolinas under General Sherman, and was mustered out at the end of the war. During his two times as a member of Co. G, John served alongside his brother, Esley Groat.

William Worster of Milford, Ohio, great-grandson of Pvt. George N. Love of Co. F, who was at the front during his entire term of enlistment, serving much of the time as a teamster at the regimental, brigade, and corps level.

Dixie Hulings of Centerville, Pennsylvania, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Alonzo Langmade of Co. I, a deserter who took the alias Daniel Andrews in the postwar years. Langmade/Andrews died in 1894 and is buried under the Andrews name in Riverside Cemetery in Tionesta, Forest County, Pennsylvania.

Neil Warner of Windsor, California, great-great-great-grandson of Lt. Col. Lewis D. Warner, commander of the regiment for much of the latter part of the war. Neil’s father, the late Charles W. Warner III, kindly shared Col. Warner’s diaries for 1864 and 1865 with me and permitted me to transcribe them. Warner’s diaries are outstanding and I use them often in my work.

Thanks to Alvie Hinman of Lolo, Montana, for sharing a second postwar portrait of his great-grandfather, Pvt. Truman Hinman of Co. B. Truman is wearing a big grin in the picture, a rarity in the 154th New York portrait albums.

Thanks to Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for sharing copies of articles from the Gowanda Enterprise regarding veterans of the 154th New York. Both articles date from 1886. One reports that Surgeon Henry Van Aernam (a former Congressman and Commissioner of Pensions) had been indicted on a fraud charge involving a real estate transaction. The second reports that the parents of Pvt. Franklin L. Goodrich of Co. B were granted a pension of $12 a month and $2,200 in arrears for their son, who was captured at Gettysburg and died of chronic diarrhea as a prisoner of war at Andersonville. “Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich have been the parents of 19 children,” the item states, “18 of whom lived to grow up.” Phil also provided a copy of an obituary for Capt. Simeon V. Pool of Co. B, who died on October 18, 1895, in his hometown of Otto, Cattaraugus County, at age 58. Of course the obituary includes an account of Pool’s service.

Thanks to Charles and Betty Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, for sharing photos of the grave marker of Betty’s great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Augustus V. Laing, in the Eddyville Cemetery on the Toad Hollow Road in the Cattaraugus County town of Mansfield. Similarly, thanks to Don Hotchkiss of Las Vegas, Nevada, for sending photos of the headstones of a number of 154th veterans buried in Steamburg Cemetery, town of Coldspring, Cattaraugus County. Don is related to the five Hotchkisses who served in the 154th. One of them, Cpl. George W. Hotchkiss of Co. A is buried in Steamburg. George was discharged for disability in February 1863 at a hospital in my adopted hometown of Providence, R.I.

I’ve got a good-sized collection of photos of headstones of 154th New York veterans, but it’s far from complete and I welcome more. Do you have a spare photo of your ancestor’s grave site? If so, I’d be pleased to add it to my files. Speaking of regimental burial sites, look for a future newsletter report regarding Don Hotchkiss and a 154th New Yorker buried in Coldspring.

Virginia E. Hobbs of Colorado Springs, Colorado, kindly donated a copy of her newly-published book, First Lieutenant Alexander Bird: Surviving Iron Hail with the 154th N.Y. Volunteers. It’s full of photos of Alex and members of his family, with brief captions that explain the various relationships. Published by an online outfit – – it’s a high quality publication, a nicely-bound hardcover with glossy pages and good photo reproductions. Thanks, Ginny! I’m pleased to add it to my library.

On October 12 I had the pleasure of addressing the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table in Brunswick, Maine, on “Thirty (Plus) Years of Studying a Civil War Regiment.” To those of you less familiar with Civil War history, Chamberlain was an outstanding soldier best remembered today as commander of the 20th Maine in the fighting on Little Round Top at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, an effort that earned him a leading role in Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels and the movie adapted from it, Gettysburg. Brunswick was Chamberlain’s home town. A statue of him stands opposite his restored home there. It was my second appearance before the Chamberlain group; I related the Humiston story to them after Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier was published in 1999. They appeared to appreciate my talk and a number of them bought copies of my new book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers.

Early reviews have had good things to say about War’s Relentless Hand. Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, said, “Dunkelman’s excellent storytelling and characterizations make this, his fourth book about the 154th, attractive to military buffs and general readers alike.” The Providence Journal stated, “In resurrecting these 12 brave ghosts of the 154th, Dunkelman has done himself and them proud, while at the same time creating a book that will long stand as an important contribution to our understanding of the Civil War.” I hope you’ll have a chance to read the book.

For the past couple of years I’ve been working on my fifth book of 154th New York history. It’s tentatively titled Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. I’ve got enough wartime letters and diaries and memoirs by members of the 154th to tell their side of the story of the two great marches. My goal in the book is to include the stories of the Southerners the regiment encountered along the way. I’ve had good success so far in locating sources. In January and February 2007 I’m going to make a research trip, closely following the 154th’s route through the three states, spending much time in various repositories, visiting sites the regiment passed, meeting people I’ve contacted during my research, and speaking in a half-dozen towns along the way.

I’m extremely excited about this book. Stories about my great-grandfather marching with Sherman to the sea were what sparked my interest in the Civil War and the 154th New York in the first place, and so this book is really a return to the roots of my interest. The two controversial campaigns offer plenty of topics to cover. Those of you familiar with the fewer then twenty pages devoted to the campaigns in chapters 9 and 10 of The Hardtack Regiment will be amazed at how much more I’ve found out about the 154th’s role in the marches — let alone the experiences of the Georgians and Carolinians in the regiment’s path. It’s a most dramatic story.

As a result of my trip, the February 2007 edition of the Hardtack Regiment News will be sent later in the month.

Finally, a reminder: The 22nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York, a joint reunion with descendants of the 112th New York, will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2007, at the pavilion in Lakeside Park in Mayville, the Chautauqua County seat.

 


 

2007 Newsletters

 


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

February 2007

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

For more than a year I’ve been working on a book tentatively titled Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. I’ve long had enough material to present a complete account of the marches from the 154th’s point of view. What I’ve been seeking for the past year-plus are the stories of the Southerners along the regiment’s route through the three states. To that end, I recently completed a lengthy research trip that took me over that route.

I left Providence on January 5 and returned home on February 20. In between I drove 3,877 miles, taking me to Atlanta, then on to Savannah, then up through the Carolinas to Goldsboro and Raleigh, North Carolina, then on home. Along the way I followed as closely as possible the route the 154th New York took on the two marches. I also spent a considerable amount of time in various repositories, among them the Georgia Archives in Morrow, the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, and many smaller libraries along the way. I presented a lecture, “Marching with Sherman: The Story Behind a Book-in-Progress,” at seven stops along the way: in Social Circle, Milledgeville, and Bartow, Georgia; Winnsboro, Chesterfield, and Cheraw, South Carolina; and Snow Hill, North Carolina. The trip was a resounding success, a once-in-a-lifetime excursion that I’ll treasure forever. I gathered much material to use in the book and met many folks along the way who had stories to share with me. Everywhere I went I was kindly welcomed, although I also found that memories of Sherman’s march still rankles among certain Southerners. I took 378 photographs of sites along the way, and kept a journal and sketchbook to chronicle the trip. I’ll be including impressions of the trip in the finished book, but hope to present details at some less distant point on my Hardtack Regiment Web site. In the meantime, on to other news.

Another substantial collection of letters has been added to the 154th New York archives, thanks to Ron Meininger of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Doing business as Antebellum Covers, Ron deals in historic American paper, autographs, and artifacts (see www.antebellumcovers.com). Late in 2006 he acquired a set of 52 wartime letters written by Pvt. George Eugene Graves of Co. D, plus six pre- and postwar letters by Graves and seven letters by writers related to Graves. Knowing of my interest in the 154th, Ron immediately contacted me to notify me of his find. Better yet, he kindly offered to provide me with transcripts of all the letters before he offered them for sale. And better yet, when I offered him in trade a non-154th item I had been saving for years for precisely this type of situation, he offered me a very generous credit toward the Graves letters of my choice. I was thus able to add 31 of the original wartime letters to my own collection. And I can use the rest of the letters in my work, credited to Ron.

I think it’s rare for dealers to be so understanding as Ron has been in this case, and it’s not the first time he has helped me in this fashion. Years ago Ron acquired 38 wartime letters written by First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden of Co. G. When I contacted him and explained my work on the 154th New York, Ron very kindly provided me with photocopies of all the McCadden letters, which I transcribed. I was only able to afford four of McCadden’s letters when Ron auctioned them off, but thanks to him I was able to add the content of the letters to the archives and credit the letters to his collection when I used them in my work. So twice now Ron Meininger has enriched the 154th New York archives with his generosity. Thanks, Ron!

Graves was a Franklinville widower who enlisted at age 39 and served throughout the 154th’s term of service. He sent this set of letters to his fiancee, Celia Smith; the two were married in Franklinville in July 1865, shortly after Graves returned from the war. During the early period of his service he was Co. D’s bugler. Later he served as clerk in the regimental and division hospital. Of course, his letters offer hundreds of detailed little pictures of life in the 154th, as in this quoted passage from a letter of April 1, 1863, in which he discusses the merits of two officers of Co. D, the recently resigned First Lt. Marshall O. Bond (of Franklinville) and Capt. Harrison Cheney:

“Now Cel I want to tell you about Marsh Bond. I understand there is a considerable excitement there about the manner in which he left this Regiment. It is true that he had charges preferred against him which I am happy to say were false and I know it. The very first specification was false and they found it to be so and could not prove anything and they were obliged to let it drop. Marsh was thought a great deal of in the company. The man that made the complaint was Noel Pool’s son from Springville [Capt. Simeon V. Pool of Co. B]. He is a Capt. now, and one that the boys all hate. There is no dishonor attached to Marsh at all. There are meaner men in this Regt. than Marsh and I wish we could get rid of them. Capt. [Harrison] Cheney has just heard that they have got the news at Machias that he gets drunk and swears terribly. It is hurting his feelings. There is not a word of truth in it. I tell the Capt. not to mind what the people say in the North, that we are in Virginia for other purposes than to be talking about our neighbors. It is some fool that can’t find anything else to write. If you hear anyone say anything disrespectful about Capt. Cheney, I want you to show this to them and perhaps it will put a stop to false reports. He is a man that is thought as mush of as any man in the Regt.”

Incidentally, the Bond/Pool episode is described in detail in Bond’s diary, which I transcribed from the original in the collection of the New York State Library in Albany.

Just before I left on my Southern trip I finished transcribing the Samuel DeForest Woodford letters, described in the December 2006 newsletter. Considering the poor quality of many of the copies I had to work with, I left very few blanks in the transcripts. Most of them were clustered in particularly poor-quality copies. The collection consists of 63 letters covering Woodford’s entire term of service, including his capture at Gettysburg and again at Peachtree Creek, and an account of his escape from the enemy after a stay in Andersonville prison following his second capture. Taken together, the Woodford and Graves letters push the total number of 154th New York letters located, copied, and transcribed to more than 1,600.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the December 2006 newsletter:

Karen Rinke of Willmar, Minnesota, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Samuel DeForest Woodford of Co. I.

Laurie Lycett of Silver Creek, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K. Laurie has inherited some of Smith’s veteran’s ribbons and medals.

Dean Sample of Graniteville, South Carolina, great-grandson of Pvt. Samuel Bryant of Co. H, who was captured at Chancellorsville and twice wounded during the Atlanta campaign. Thanks to Dean for sharing a fine photograph of Bryant and his family taken in Randolph, Cattaraugus County, circa 1885.

Richard C. Heath of Jamestown, New York, whose ancestor Sgt. Ebenezer Heath of Co. F was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, dying on July 27, 1863. Ebenezer’s body was embalmed and sent home and laid to rest in Steadman Cemetery, North Harmony, Chautauqua County.

Thanks to Raven Thomas of Oelwein, Iowa, for sharing a fine postwar studio portrait of her great-great-great-grandfather, Cpl. Abner Thomas of Co. I. Thomas enlisted at Salamanca and was mustered out with his company at the war’s end. It’s great to add his image to the 154th New York portrait albums.

Thanks to friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for sharing copies of several newspaper articles about members of the 154th New York. One described a riot at a Gowanda saloon in September 1862. Four ruffians from “South Woods” beat up the bartender and a customer and were arrested the next day. One of them was Franklin Wilkins, who had enlisted on August 14, 1862, as a private in Co. B, 154th New York and was on leave of absence from Camp Brown in Jamestown. When the four were given a preliminary examination in Gowanda, “Wilkins, through the connivance of outside parties, suddenly skedaddled from the court room, vaulting on a saddled horse standing near the door and ‘put,’ Constable Warner after him. The prisoner was a soldier on furlough, and succeeded in reaching his Regiment at Jamestown, where he now is.” Wilkins remained with the 154th until he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in September 1863. Articles from 1889 issues of the Gowanda Herald described how Benjamin Wilkinson, former private of Co. K, was granted a pension increase and then declared incompetent to manage his affairs; how John Adam Smith of Co. K was proud of his service, including the almost two years he spent as a prisoner of war; and how Andrew G. Park, former sergeant of Co. B, stored a dynamite cartridge (which he was using to blow up pine stumps) in his kitchen match box, where his wife accidentally ignited it, “blowing off two fingers and thumb of the left hand and filling the face and body of Mrs. Parks with minute pieces of the exploded cartridge.” Mary D. Hall Park (she and Andrew were married on New Year’s Day, 1866) survived the accident.

Thanks to Dave Onan of Fort Myers, Florida, for providing a photo of the grave site of his ancestor Second Lt. Warren Onan of Co. C in the Prairie Home Cemetery in Moorhead, Minnesota; to Peggy Strickland of Templeton, California, for a photo of the gravestone of her husband Chuck’s ancestor, First Sgt. Francis Strickland, in Bunker Hill Cemetery, Coldspring, Cattaraugus County; and to Gary Henderson of Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia, for photos of the headstone of his great-great-grandfather, First Lt. Alexander Bird of Co. F, in Sunset Hill Cemetery, Ellicottville, New York.

And thanks to blogger Chris Wehner, author of “Blog 4 History: American History & Civil War History” (http://www.blog4history.com/), for his kind words about my work in a post of December 4, 2006. Chris discussed my two most recent books. “I do not believe any other regimental history stands close to Brothers One and All in its examination of the average soldier, his toils, follies, and hardships,” he wrote. Regarding War’s Relentless Hand, he stated, “Dunkleman’s passion for this regiment cannot be overstated. His writing style has always been one of the things that draw me to his books, and here he does not disappoint. Each ‘story’ reveals surprisingly new details about the men and at times the regiment. Each story provides context and illuminates the others. But most importantly, the narrative of the ‘twelve tales’ creates a kind of psychological architecture that helps us get inside the thoughts, passions, and suffering of the average soldier.”

More reviews of War’s Relentless Hand will appear in the April 2007 newsletter.

Finally, a reminder: The 22nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York, a joint reunion with descendants of the 112th New York, will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2007, at the pavilion in Lakeside Park in Mayville, the Chautauqua County seat.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

April 2007

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Robert Kelley of Jackson, New Jersey, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Francis Patterson of Co. G, whose story is told in my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand.

Ron Cross of Whitby, Ontario, Canada, a collateral relative of Cpl. Philo A. Markham, another soldier I’ve written about (“Philo Markham’s Long Walk,” Civil War Times Illustrated, March-April 1995, an article edited with Phil Palen). Markham was taken prisoner at Gettysburg, lost an arm at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, and was brevetted a first lieutenant at the end of the war.

Deb Normandin of Holton, Michigan, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Sidney D. Pierce of Co. I., who spent much of his service hospitalized and lived in Nebraska in the postwar years.

Neil Ferguson of McKinleyville, California, a collateral relative of Pvt. Wellman P. Nichols of Co. C, one of a half-dozen Potter County, Pennsylvania men who came to Cattaraugus County and enlisted in Co. C. Nichols was captured at Chancellorsville, went absent without leave (with the aforementioned Francis Patterson) on his way to rejoin the regiment in the west, was severely wounded in the back by a shell fragment during the siege of Savannah, and was mustered out in October 1865 at Elmira.

Thanks and congratulations to Don Hotchkiss of Las Vegas, Nevada, related to the five Hotchkisses who served in the 154th New York (Arthur, Ephriam H., George W., Orange, and Stephen) for an outstanding act that commemorates another member of the regiment. In August 2006 Don was visiting the Bunker Hill Cemetery near Steamburg in the township of Cold Spring, Cattaraugus County, when he noticed a slate headstone in dire need of replacement, its inscription barely legible. The stone marked the grave of Pvt. Alexander McDonald of Co. A, a native Canadian who enlisted at age 33 years at South Valley, was captured at Gettysburg, and after parole died of disease on November 3, 1863, at Annapolis, Maryland. His body was shipped home for burial. He left a wife but no surviving children. Don Hotchkiss, who is commander of his Sons of Union Veterans camp and the department’s graves registration officer, contacted the Veterans Administration and took the necessary steps to acquire a new headstone for McDonald, which is now in place. Great work, Don!

Thanks to Jack Torrance of Gowanda, New York, for forwarding one of the most unusual 154th New York portraits ever to surface. It’s a postwar photograph of Pvt. Alexander Lake of Co. A, who enlisted at South Valley at age 26 and was discharged for disability in May 1864 at David's Island, New York Harbor. In itself, there is nothing remarkable about this tintype — but the way it is mounted is most unusual. It is set behind dark blue fabric covering Lake’s canteen, on which is embroidered in gold thread his initials and “Co. A 154th Reg.” Thus Lake’s portrait combines with a relic of his service to create an object expressive of his pride in his military career and in his old regiment. It’s a great addition to the 154th New York portrait albums. Jack Torrance’s wife, Susan, is a great-granddaughter of Lake’s Co. A comrade, Cpl. William H. H. Campbell.

Thanks to Janine Smith of Fort Worth, Texas, for copies of the military records from the National Archives of her great-great-grandfather, Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K. And thanks to Dixie Hulings of Centerville, Pennsylvania, for copies of the pension file of her great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Alonzo Langmade of Co. I, which relate an interesting story. To begin with, Langmade’s name was actually Daniel Andrews; he used an alias on enlisting “for the reason that he did not want his mother and friends to know that he enlisted.” He applied for a pension in 1880, claiming he had been wounded in the left leg at Antietam as a member of the 54th New York. Trouble was, he had not served in that regiment, nor had the 54th New York fought at Antietam. In 1890 he reapplied for a pension, stating correctly that he had served in Co. I of the 154th New York, adding that he had been wounded in the left leg, “causing amputation above the knee,” and was discharged in Philadelphia in July 1864. In an affidavit he swore his leg had been amputated in 1888 as a result of his Antietam wound — although the 154th New York, like the 54th, had not served in that battle. War Department records revealed that Alonzo D. Langmade was sent to a general hospital from the 154th’s camp near Haymarket, Virginia, in November 1862, suffering from typhoid fever, that he returned to duty with the regiment in May 1863, and that he deserted on August 18, 1863. Consequently, his claims for a pension were rejected on the grounds that he was a deserter who had never been discharged from the service. But examining surgeons testified that he indeed had been wounded by a gunshot and that “after [the] limb was amputated the ball was found in the part taken off.” Which begs the question — who shot Daniel Andrews/Alonzo Langmade, and when?

Speaking of pension records, the aforementioned Janine Smith has notified me of a regrettable development. Since 2000, folks have had two options in ordering Civil War pension files from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They could order a "Pension Documents Packet" consisting of eight documents containing genealogical information for a fee of $14.75. Or they could order the "Full Pension Application File" for $37. By far, most people chose the Full Pension Application File option. In FY 2006, NARA completed 7,700 orders for full files, compared to approximately 2,600 orders for the packet.

Now NARA is proposing fee increases for reproductions of all sorts of records, including Civil War pension files. The cost of a Pension Documents Packet will rise to $25. The cost of a Full Pension Application File will rise to a whopping $125!

The $37 fee for a complete pension file was determined by NARA's estimate that the average page count per Civil War pension file was 40 to 50 pages. Now, a NARA study has found that files can include "up to 200 pages or more." Hence the gigantic fee increase.
Pension files can indeed run to 200 or more pages. But many do not. My great-grandfather's complete file, for example, includes 29 pages. A flat fee of $125 for a complete file will be grossly unfair to many people ordering their ancestors' pension records. Because of the wide range of page counts in Civil War pension files, the fairest fees would be per-page and not fixed.

Note that NARA has invited comments on the proposal, which must be received by April 27, 2007. I hope that you will join me in raising a loud voice in protest of this unfair fee increase. And if you’ve been thinking of ordering your ancestor’s pension file, do it soon!

Another 154th New York document was added to my collection via eBay. It was written by First Lieutenant and Quartermaster Edgar Shannon in Atlanta on September 7, 1864, and sent to another quartermaster, Capt. Bickford: “Please let the bearer have One (1) Canteen of Whisky, & oblige.” With this note came an envelope addressed in Shannon’s hand to his fiancee, Miss Frant (Francelia) Hunt of Leon, Cattaraugus County. Forty of Edgar’s letters to Frant survive today in the collections of Timothy Shaw of Cheektowaga and Alberta McLaughlin of Frewsburg, New York.

Reviews of my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers, continue to appear. David Neville wrote in Military Images magazine, “After reading War’s Relentless Hand, the reader cannot but come away with the feeling that he knows these 12 men well, and is all the better for it.”

Writing in The Civil War News, reviewer Blake A. Magner called War’s Relentless Hand “a fascinating volume.” He added, “The detail Dunkelman gives is amazing and the stories of these soldiers run the gamut from heart-rending to amusing while covering most of life’s experiences in between. . . . Dunkelman writes well and the stories flow smoothly, holding the reader’s attention. . . . Dunkelman has done a fine job of collecting the tales of 12 men who served and I recommend War’s Relentless Hand for those readers interested in the common soldier of the Civil War.”

Historian Kevin Levin, in his blog “Civil War Memory,” discussed the book in an entry titled “Placing A Stone On A Grave.” He stated, “To be honest I was a little wary of this book. It does not have the analytical rigor of his regimental study [Brothers One and All], which is somewhat surprising for an academic press book. It will be interesting to see if reviewers harp on that alone. I say that because if they do dwell on that alone they would have missed something that I am still trying to put my finger on. Books on the common soldier are nothing new and the number and sophistication continues to increase with each passing year. That said, there is something attractive about a stripped down study of average soldiers without the analytical framework. Each chapter begins with a trip to a cemetery which the author narrates. At first I found it to be distracting but then I was reminded of a common practice in the Jewish tradition, which involves placing a stone on the grave being visited. It is both a sign of respect and a sign that someone was present. In a way Dunkelman's book functions along similar lines.” Read Mr. Levin’s comments in their entirety:

http://www.cwmemory.com/2007/01/10/placing-a-stone-on-a-grave/

Finally, a reader names James P. McCorry had this to say on the book’s page at Amazon.com: “There are no stories of generals and strategy here. The author has crafted a well written book that reminds us of the personal side of the war and of the heroism of the individual soldiers of the 154th infantry. In fact this is representative of any unit. This is nuts and bolts history at its best. This book is excellent and deserves a wide readership.”

Mark your calendar: The 22nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York, a joint reunion with descendants of the 112th New York, will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2007, at the pavilion in Lakeside Park in Mayville, the Chautauqua County seat.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

June 2007

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 22nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York Volunteers will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2007, at the Pavilion at Lakeside Park in Mayville, the Chautauqua County seat. This year we will hold a joint reunion with descendants of members of the 112th New York, the Chautauqua County regiment raised in tandem with the 154th in the summer of 1862. After their organization, the two regiments left Camp James M. Brown in Jamestown and went on to very different careers in the Union army, not meeting again until near the end of the war, in North Carolina in March 1865. In our program, I’ll present an overview of the 154th New York’s history and Joel Babcock, a descendant of members of both regiments, will relate the 112th’s service.

For the third consecutive year, City Fiddle will entertain us during the 1 to 2 p.m. registration period with instrumental music from the Civil War era. The group consists of Phil Banaszak and his wife, Gretchen, of Buffalo, playing fiddle and guitar. Phil is a great-grandson of First Lt. Alexander Bird of Co. F. He and Gretchen are outstanding musicians, so arrive early and enjoy their performance.

My thanks to Joel Babcock, who made the arrangements to hold this year’s reunion in Mayville. Joel is a collateral relative of Pvt. Edward D. Coe and Sgt. Harrison Coe (brothers) of Co. F, 154th, and a great-grandnephew of Cpl. Robert L. Coe and great-great-grandson of Pvt. James Rhodes of the 112th. Harrison Coe and Robert Coe both were killed in the war, Harrison in cold blood after he was captured by the Confederates in Greene County, North Carolina, in March 1865, and Robert at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, June 1, 1864. Joel has posted a great Web site on the 112th Regiment:

This will be the second time 112th New York descendants have joined us. The first was at our 11th reunion in 1996, when we met at the Fenton Historical Society in Jamestown for a program on Camp Brown, the rendezvous of the two regiments. About twenty 112th descendants joined us then; that number will likely increase this year. Every descendant attending the reunion will receive a souvenir ribbon.

Thanks for a great contribution to the reunion to Charles Wasson of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, great-grandson of Pvt. Danford L. Hall of Co. I. Chuck owns Kay Berry, a firm that makes ornamental stone goods for home and garden. His company is producing about thirty special stones engraved with my drawing of the 154th New York’s crescent-shaped monument at Chancellorsville, which has now stood witness to the regiment’s role on the battlefield for eleven years. This depiction in stone (which includes the inscriptions from both sides of the monument) is a nice commemorative piece and remembrance of the 154th New York and its Chancellorsville casualties, among them Chuck Wasson’s ancestor Danford Hall, who was severely wounded and captured.

We will raffle off these stones at the reunion as a fund raiser. We’ll also accept donations as usual toward the reunion expenses, and if you’re not able to attend and would like to help the cause, your contribution is also welcome. I very much appreciate your generous support over the years in helping me cover expenses that have risen annually.

I won’t be selling books at the reunion. My two most recent books are still available, Brothers One and All in paperback and War’s Relentless Hand in hardcover from Louisiana State University Press. They can be purchased at a discount from amazon.com or can be ordered directly from the publisher by calling toll-free 1-800-861-3477. I’ll be happy to sign any books you bring to the reunion.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be mailing you an invitation to the reunion. Please join us to represent and remember your ancestor of the 154th New York. I hope to see you in Mayville on July 14!

Welcome to William Osterstuck of Barrington, New Hampshire, great-great-grandson and namesake of Pvt. William Osterstuck of Co. I, who was captured at Gettysburg and died of chronic dysentery at Andersonville in March 1864, soon after the prison opened — he is buried in Grave #12. William had two brothers who served in the 154th, Emery, who was mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end, and John, who was discharged for disability in February 1863 at Philadelphia.

Thanks to Charles L. and Peggy Strickland of Templeton, California, for two photographs of Chuck’s great-great-grandfather, First Sgt. Francis Strickland of Co. I, who lost his right arm at Gettysburg (see his portrait on page 188 of The Hardtack Regiment). A wartime tintype pictures Strickland before he was wounded, and a postwar photo depicts him as Assistant Doorkeeper of the New York State Assembly in 1873.

Thanks to Katy Heyning of Madison, Wisconsin, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Francis M. Bowen of Co. I, for sharing several portraits of Francis and his brother Moses Bowen Jr. (Pvt., Co. B), including cartes de visite of the two as younger men. (A wartime portrait of the Bowen brothers, together with a postwar portrait taken at a family reunion in 1912, appeared in Brothers One and All.)

Thanks to Judy Martin of Arlington, Virginia, for photos of the grave sites of a number of members of the 154th, taken in Cattaraugus County and in northern Virginia. Judy and her husband, Wes, own a property once owned by Pvt. Thomas Reagan, Co. G, in Allegany. Among the many 154th New York graves Judy photographed recently were two in the Fredericksburg (Virginia) National Cemetery: Pvt. Levant F. Barber of Co. I and Pvt. Fayette Dutcher of Co. B, both of whom died of typhoid fever. Many other members of the 154th, among them the Chancellorsville dead, are buried in unknown graves at Fredericksburg. Judy took photos of the graves of Pvts. Evander Evens of Co. C, Henry L. Hewitt of Co. E, Aaron W. Moffett of Co. C and Austin Munger of Co. F at Alexandria National Cemetery; and the headstones of three 154th men buried in Arlington National Cemetery: Pvt. Morris Keim, Co. I; Pvt. John L. Myers, Co. D; and Cpl. Philander Olds, Co. E. Judy also photographed in Olean’s Pleasant Valley Cemetery and Limestone Cemetery in Carrollton during visits to Cattaraugus County. Along the way, Judy turned up a death notice for Pvt. Eliasaph D. Godfrey of Co. C, who worked in the Pension Department in the postwar years and was one of the longer-lived veterans of the regiment, dying in 1937.

Thanks to Lois Lyon of Prosser, Washington, for a copy of the obituary of her great-grandfather, Pvt. John Sperling of Co. K, who died at age 89 in Rhodes, Iowa. The headline reads, “Sound Taps for G.A.R. Member.” Sperling was among a handful of men who enlisted in the 154th in March 1865, when the war was nearly over, and consequently were transferred to the 102nd New York when the 154th was mustered out. Lois also shared an article on the Rhodes American Legion Post that included a couple of photos of Sperling, the town’s last Civil War veteran.

A letter of Quartermaster Edgar Shannon was added to my collection via an eBay auction in mid-April. Shannon addressed it to his future wife, Francelia “Frant” Hunt, on September 7, 1864, soon after Atlanta was taken. Colorful quotes from this letter regarding the city, its women, and the 1864 election have found their way into my book-in-progress, Marching with Sherman. Work on this book has occupied a good deal of my time since the last newsletter and although I’ve made a lot of progress, I still have a long way to go.

I’ve published two articles since the last newsletter. “East Meets West” appeared in North & South magazine, Vol. 10, No. 1 (May 2007): 48-56. It describes rivalries between Union corps and armies of the eastern and western theaters as experienced by the 154th New York. “The Doctored Botticher” was published in Military Images magazine, Vol. 28, No. 5 (March/April 2007):17-19. It examines the print by Otto Botticher, “Sherman at Savannah,” in the collection of the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum in Machias, which was altered to include a portrait of Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones.

On April 4 I had the pleasure of presenting a talk on “Forty Years (Plus) of Studying a Civil War Regiment” at the East Lyme (CT) High School, as part of a history lecture series sponsored by the school’s history club and the town’s historical society. The old-timers in the audience asked questions after my talk while the students sat silent. I was pleased to hear days later from my teacher host Jim Littlefield that the kids’ response was positive.

On April 20 and 21 I appeared at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Bowling Green, where I had the pleasure of meeting several other Civil War historians and participating with some of them in a panel discussion. Prior to the festival, on April 10, I appeared (via phone) on a Bowling Green radio show to discuss my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand. My wife and I had a nice visit to warm springtime Kentucky, where we wove in a visit to friends in Louisville.

Thanks to Chris Wehner of Colorado for interviewing me on “Blog 4 History: American History and Civil War History,” on April 7. Chris asked me questions about the origins of my interest in the 154th New York and how my work to commemorate the regiment’s history has evolved.

It’s been a busy couple of months. Look for a reunion report in the next issue.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2007

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Our 22nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York came off very nicely on the shore of Chautauqua Lake in Mayville, the Chautauqua County seat, on Saturday, July 14. The pavilion at Lakeside Park, with its shuttered windows open to pretty views of the lake and pleasant breezes on a lovely day, proved to be a great place to hold the reunion. About 120 descendants and friends of the 154th New York and its sister regiment, the 112th New York, filled the pavilion to represent and remember their Civil War soldier ancestors.

For the third year in a row, City Fiddle entertained the growing crowd during the registration period with old-time music on the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. Our thanks to Phil Banaszak (descendant of Lt. Alex Bird) and his wife Gretchen for sharing their talents with us again this year.

I introduced the program by explaining that the 112th and 154th Regiments were connected by being organized together in the summer of 1862, the 112th entirely from Chautauqua County and the 154th largely from Cattaraugus. Once the regiments left the designated rendezvous, Camp Brown in Jamestown, their paths didn’t cross again until March 1865 in North Carolina, where for a few days they were camped in near proximity. In the postwar years, veterans of the two regiments held one joint reunion, in Jamestown in 1905.

After giving a brief outline sketch of the 154th’s history, I introduced Joel Babcock, descendant of members of both regiments and the person who made the arrangements to hold the reunion in Mayville. Joel read a poem that had been read at a reunion of the 112th at Point Chautauqua, visible across the lake from our meeting site. Then he presented an overview of the 112th’s service. Anyone at the reunion who listened to our recital of the casualties endured by the 154th at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and in the Atlanta campaign, and by the 112th at Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Chaffin’s Farm, and Fort Fisher, know that the heavy losses sustained by the two regiments caused endless heartache in homes throughout Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

A happy and touching moment occurred during our roll call when two women, best friends during their girlhood, embraced on seeing each other for the first time in forty years.

The attractive Chancellorsville monument commemorative stones kindly donated by descendant Charles Wasson – – drew a lot of attention. Stones were presented to Joel Babcock for his help in setting up and participating in the reunion, to Phil Banaszak for his music-making, and to Mike Winey, my long-time partner in the study of 154th New York history and co-author of The Hardtack Regiment. Then the remaining 27 stones were raffled off. At one stone per winner, virtually everyone who bought a ticket won a stone.

Fifteen 154th New York descendants were added to the roll at the reunion, and as many if not more 112th New York descendants enrolled as well. Our hope is that the 112th folks will see fit to establish their own series of reunions and continue to honor their ancestors on an annual basis.

All in all it was another successful reunion on a gorgeous summer afternoon in Western New York. My thanks to all who attended, and to all who so kindly and generously sent donations and bought raffle tickets to help support the cause. I’m deeply grateful to you for your kindness.

The following descendants enrolled at the reunion:

Donald Banaszak of Stockton, New York, great-grandson of First Lt. Alexander Bird of Co. F.

Catherine E. Vellam of Jamestown, New York, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Patrick Foley, Co. K.

Margaret Ann Bentley Frasier of Bradford, Pennsylvania, great-granddaughter of Pvt. Samuel Simmons, Co. H.

Jack F. Green of Randolph, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. John C. Green, Co. K.

Mary Kula of Portville, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. John Miller, Co. D.

Cindy LaRusch of Clarendon, Pennsylvania, descendant of Pvt. James D. Quilliam, Co. E.

David Strickland of Bemus Point, New York, great-great-grandson of First Sgt. Francis Strickland, Co. I.

Delores Mentley of Gowanda, New York, great-grandniece of Pvts. George and Linden Tingue, Co. B.

Jamie Rocque of Silver Creek, New York, descendant of Pvt. Barzilla Merrill, Co. K.

Arthur M. Sherwood of Charlottesville, Virginia, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Barzilla Merrill, Co. K.

Alan J. Jones of Mayville, New York, and David Jones of Randolph, New York, great-grandsons of Cpl. David S. Jones, Co. K.

Jennie Hotchkiss of Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania; Sherwood Livermore of Randolph, New York; and Susan Wells of Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, all collateral descendants of Cpl. George W. Hotchkiss, Co. A. A large Hotchkiss contingent was led by Donald L. Hotchkiss Jr. of Las Vegas, Nevada, who has catalogued all the Hotchkisses who served in the Civil War (North and South) and was attending his first reunion.

Welcome also to these descendants, who found us via the Web site.

Allen Nicks of Kenmore, New York, descendant of First Lieutenant Clinton L. Barnhart of Co. E, who was twice wounded and captured at Chancellorsville and wounded again two times during the Atlanta campaign.

David Keith of Sterling, Massachusetts, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Hiram Keith of Co. H, who enlisted at South Valley and was mustered out with the regiment at the close of the war.

Chuck and Peggy Strickland of Templeton, California, have completed a labor of love by publishing the wartime letters of Chuck’s great-great-grandfather, First Sgt. Francis Strickland of Co. I, in a book titled The Road to Red House. It includes forty of Strickland’s letters together with family background material and photos. Although bothered by various ailments throughout his service, Frank Strickland stuck with his company and survived the bloody battle of Chancellorsville. But Frank was wounded at Gettysburg and his right arm was amputated, which led to his discharge. His letters nicely complement the recently discovered letters of Samuel DeForest Woodford, like Strickland a member of Co. I from the Red House area of Salamanca. The two men often mentioned their “Salamanca Squad” messmates: Asher Bliss Jr., William Cone, Sylvester V. Dunbar, James D. Frink, Benjamin Lee, George W. Robinson, and Abner Thomas. Company I, formerly a sparsely-documented company, is now well documented by these two substantial letter collections. The Road to Red House is available online. For information, visit the Stricklands’ Web site:

Thanks to Doug Chadwick of Modesto, California, for providing a fine postwar studio portrait of his great-grandfather, the aforementioned First Lt. Clinton L. Barnhart of Co. E, and copies of other Barnhart photos.

Thanks to Michael Kelly of Memphis, Tennessee, for forwarding a photograph of his great-grandfather, Pvt. Spencer Kelley of Co. H, which Michael received from his cousin Patricia Boehmer of Grass Lake, Michigan. It’s great to add Spencer Kelley’s image to our 154th New York portrait albums. Michael also supplied me with Spencer’s date and place of death, November 21, 1903, Petoskey, Michigan.

Thanks to friend Ken Ursin of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, for sharing his collection of documents of Capt. James L. Harding of the 154th, who served as acting assistant inspector general of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Corps, to which the 154th belonged. Harding apparently saved his official papers, which have been divided and sold. Years ago I purchased a small collection of Harding’s ordnance reports and the like from a Massachusetts antiques dealer. Ken’s documents include Harding’s inspection reports and miscellaneous correspondence. Mike Winey, my Hardtack Regiment co-author and a Mechanicsburg resident, visited Ken to examine the documents, and Ken kindly provided photocopies of transcripts of the entire set.

Thanks to Brent Clark of Fort Worth, Texas, for an obituary of his great-great-grandfather Private Otis D. Rhodes of Co. B, and for copies of the thick pension files of Rhodes and Brent’s great-great-great-grandfather Pvt. Henry S. Clark of Co. A.

Reviews of my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers, continue to appear. The New York Military Affairs Symposium Review called it “a valuable read for anyone interested in the life of the common soldier in the war.” Derek W. Frisby of Middle Tennessee State University closed a lengthy and incisive assessment of the book in the Spring 2007 edition of the Civil War Book Review with these words: “Perhaps no regiment has a better champion than the 154th New York has in Dunkelman. Future historians would be wise to take note of his novel approach of giving a full accounting of . . . antebellum, wartime, and postwar experiences within a single regiment. We can better understand and personalize the conflict from this type of study and glean how the Civil War and its memory have shaped us as well.”

Finally, a review in the August 2007 issue of Civil War Times stated, “If other regimental historians got to know the men in their units as well as Dunkelman has his, none have so capably applied what they learned to the broader worlds of Civil War soldiering. With War’s Relentless Hand, Dunkelman risks drifting from the sure path cut in broader-reaching regimental histories by narrowing his focus to a mere dozen of his familiar New Yorkers. Instead, his typically deft exploration of Civil War history from the bottom up illuminates the effect of the war on soldiers and their families and produces an entertaining addition to a valuable body of work. . . . Its content is lively, touching and timeless, and any readers who are drawn to the war’s human side should seek it out.”

Last issue I started sending this newsletter to friends I made in the South during research for my book-in-progress, Marching with Sherman. In response one of them, Brannen Sanders of Putnam County, Georgia, suggested I change my salutation to “Dear Descendant or Friend (or Descendants of Former Hosts) of the 154th New York.” Brannen lives on the homestead of his ancestor James Denham, who had a large plantation and tannery and shoe factory that was occupied and burned by the 154th’s division during the March to the Sea. All that’s left of the factory is the tall smokestack. When I first spoke on the telephone with Brannen and made an appointment to meet with him the next day, he closed by requesting, “Don’t bring any matches.”

Work on Marching with Sherman has taken a back seat recently as I’ve been busy with pre- and post-reunion work and indexing the recently acquired George Eugene Graves, Samuel DeForest Woodford, and Francis Strickland letters. I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the book.

Thank you for your interest!


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2007

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Virginia Taylor Canella of St. Petersburg, Florida, grandniece of Pvt. Oscar M. Taylor of Co. E, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war in Richmond. His remains were recovered by his brother (an unusual occurrence for a deceased prisoner of war) and returned to his hometown of Portland, Chautauqua County, where they rest in Portland Evergreen Cemetery. Thanks to Virginia and her husband, Ross, for sharing transcripts of three wartime letters, two by Oscar Taylor and one by his company comrade Pvt. Elial W. Skinner. All three letters were sent to Oscar’s cousin, Miss Bethiah Taylor. Skinner’s letter was written October 26, 1862, at Fairfax Court House, and describes tents “fluttering like sheets in the wind” during a storm and a breakfast of “cold pork Muddy at that and hard tack.” Taylor’s letters are dated January 3, 1863, at Falmouth, and May 9, 1863, at Brooks Station, Virginia. The latter contains a fine account of the 154th New York at the Battle of Chancellorsville and includes some previously unknown details. For example, Oscar wrote, “We dropped their Cullars three times before we left the ground.” In other words, before the 154th retreated from the rifle pit at the Buschbeck Line, the regiment’s fire caused three Confederate flags to fall to the ground, their color bearers either killed or wounded. The Canellas also shared an antiwar poem written in June 1864 by a civilian in Portland, Chautauqua County. It closes, “I bid my friends a kind goodnight / Praying that we may guide the ship aright / That history’s page in future time / May cease with human blood to chime.”

Steve Fogg of Clyde, North Carolina, a great-great-grandnephew of Sgt. Asa Brainard of Co. F, who, together with his son Calvin (Pvt., Co. F), formed one of eight father and son duos in the 154th. Both of the Brainards were transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. (A wartime photograph of them posing together appears in Brothers One and All.)

Michael C. Stone of Fredonia, New York, a descendant of Pvt. Barzilla Merrill of Co. K, who was killed, along with his teenaged son, Pvt. Alva Merrill, at Chancellorsville. Barzilla Merrill is one of the members of the regiment chronicled in my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers.

Jeff Wilber of Waterville, Maine, a collateral relative of Pvt. Oscar F. Wilber of Co. G, who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville and nursed at Armory Square Hospital in Washington by Walt Whitman. I’ve related Oscar’s story several times (see below) and told it in full in War’s Relentless Hand.

Joline Locke Lee of Monument, Colorado, grandniece of Musician Harlan E. Locke of Co. D, who aside from a lengthy hospital stay after the movement to Thoroughfare Gap, Virginia, in November 1862, was present with the regiment until the muster-out in 1865. Joline kindly shared genealogical notes on Harlan Locke and his family.

Tim Swanson of Vancouver, Washington, great-grandson of Pvt. Denzil J. Clarke of Co. B, who enlisted in 1864 and made the marches through Georgia and the Carolinas under General Sherman. Clarke was one of a handful of members of the 154th who previously served in the 37th New York. Tim kindly shared a postwar portrait of his ancestor and summaries of his service records with both regiments.

A belated thank-you to Cindy LaRusch of Clarendon, Pennsylvania, for sharing at our recent descendants reunion a fine wartime portrait of her ancestor, Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E. It complements nicely a Quilliam civilian pose that had long been in my 154th New York portrait albums, shared with me by the late Edithe Nasca of Fredonia. James Quilliam was severely wounded during the Atlanta campaign and died of his wounds on July 8, 1864, at Nashville, Tennessee. He is buried in Section J, Grave #13750, of the Nashville National Cemetery.

Thanks to James A. Crosby of DeKalb, Illinois, great-grandnephew of Captain Alanson Crosby of Co. D, for sharing photos of Andersonville and sites of the Atlanta campaign that he took during a recent visit to Georgia. Captain Crosby is one of the soldiers I chronicled in my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand. He was mortally wounded on June 16, 1864, near Mud Creek in Cobb County, Georgia.

Thanks to Tracy Jock of Sinclairville, Chautauqua County, New York, for sharing a fine wartime portrait of her husband Freeman Jock’s namesake and great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Freeman Easterly of Co. I. Easterly was captured at Gettysburg and survived his imprisonment, being mustered out with his company at the end of the war. He died in 1913 in Machias, Cattaraugus County.

When Pvt. Anson N. Park of Co. B died of disease in March 1864 at Lookout Valley, Tennessee, his passing was commemorated by his comrade Pvt. David S. Jones of Co. K in a five-stanza poem (published on page 169 of my book Brothers One and All). Now, almost a century and a half later, Jones’s great-grandson and namesake, David Jones of Randolph, New York, has set the poem to music and recorded it, accompanied by a band of family members on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and bass. David has composed an appropriately plaintive melody for his ancestor’s lyrics and the musical arrangement is also apt. My thanks to David for a CD of “Brave Anson’s Fall,” and for devoting his talent to the production of the song.

Recently I picked up on eBay a nice letter by Surgeon Henry Van Aernam of November 22, 1864, sent to John Manley, the Washington official who was called “The Soldier’s Friend” for his aid to Cattaraugus County soldiers and their families. At the time of writing, Van Aernam had resigned his commission and had returned from Atlanta to his Franklinville home as Congressman-elect. With his letter Van Aernam enclosed an allotment check for Lt. Charles W. Church of the 154th, and remarked on the soldiers’ good spirits as the regiment embarked on the March to the Sea.

I published another article since the last newsletter. “Specimen Soldiers” appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Military Images magazine, a special issue devoted to Civil War medical photography. It tells the stories of Cpl. Jerome Averill of Co. K and Pvts. Michael Walsh, Co. I, and Oscar F. Wilber, Co. G. All three soldiers received gunshot wounds that required amputation of a limb. In each case, the men’s shattered bones were kept as medical specimens, and today they are preserved in the collections of the National Museum of Health and Medicine of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington. Photographs of the bone fragments, the only extant images of the three men, illustrated the article.

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I recently learned of another member of the 154th in addition to Oscar Wilber who was visited by Walt Whitman in a Washington hospital. The following quote from Whitman’s hospital notebook appeared in Charles I. Glicksberg, editor, Walt Whitman and the Civil War, originally published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1933 and reprinted by Perpetua (A. S. Barnes) in 1963: “A bottle of cherry brandy for a bad case of diarrhea. To John Bechtle (Ward H) Co. G, 154th N.Y. gave my picture, book & papers.” Bechtle was 24 when he enlisted in August 1862, at Olean as a private in Co. He was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in July 1863 and was mustered out in June 1865 at Washington, D.C.

I’ve made a lot of progress recently on my book Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. Look for more about it in the next newsletter.

Finally, our 23rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York is set for Saturday, July 12, 2008, at the American Legion Post hall in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County. Our program will honor Patrick Henry Jones, the long-time colonel of the 154th who was promoted to brigadier general toward the end of the war. General Jones was the regiment’s most prominent officer and I’ve long wanted to honor him in his adopted hometown of Ellicottville. It will happen next summer and I hope you’ll join us at the reunion to learn more about Jones’s rise to prominence in both his military and civilian careers.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2007

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I am very close to finishing my fifth book of 154th New York history. It’s called Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, and the title summarizes the story. I started work on this book three years ago, so I’m glad to be approaching the finish line.

I spent the week of October 21 in Washington, D.C., on the final research trip for the book. Working at the National Archives, I had two goals. The first was to locate documents in the records of the Southern Claims Commission (SCC). In the postwar years, Southerners who had lost goods during the war to the Union army could put in a claim for recompense. To receive it, they had to prove their loyalty to the Union cause. Most were unable to do so. Consequently, most of the roughly 22,300 claims made were barred or disallowed by the SCC.

All of the SCC claimants are listed in a book, Southern Loyalists in the Civil War: The Southern Claims Commission, by Gary B. Mills (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2004). Before my trip, I went through Mills’s book and made a list of all of the claimants from the counties in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina that the 154th had passed through on the Sherman marches. Then I compared the names on that list to those of property owners depicted on the 20th Corps maps of the marches. I then created a boiled-down list of claimants whose county and surname matched those on the maps. At the National Archives, I went through the SCC records of those particular property owners and made copies of sixteen pertinent files. The documents generally list the property lost to the Yankees and its value, and occasionally add details of the Southerners’ encounters with the foragers. In the end, however, the SCC files proved to be minimally useful for my purposes.

My second search was more fruitful. It concerned an incident that occurred while the 154th was in North Carolina. In late March 1865, the regiment made a trip from Goldsboro to Kinston to load wagons with supplies. On the return trip, foraging parties from the regiment scoured the countryside for provisions. A couple of the groups ran into Confederate cavalry and were captured. On March 26, 1865, near Speight’s Bridge Post Office in Greene County, two of the captives, Sgt. Harrison Coe of Co. F and Cpl. Job B. Dawley of Co. K, were killed by the enemy. For years I was unaware of the circumstances of the captures and killings until I turned up accounts by survivors in the E. D. Northrup papers. I summarized my findings in an article, “Death to All Foragers,” in the August 2002 issue of American History magazine, and I am retelling the story in Marching with Sherman.

It turned out that Coe and Dawley were killed by a squad of the 6th Georgia Cavalry that was roaming the countryside dressed in Union blue uniforms (which is how they got the drop on the 154th men). After my article appeared, Coe relative Joel Babcock of Clymer, Chautauqua County, established contact with Richard Cofer of Brooksville, Florida, a descendant of a member of the 6th Georgia Cavalry. Joel put me in touch with Richard, who in turn kindly shared some helpful material on his ancestor’s regiment, including military records of the 6th’s colonel, John R. Hart. Those papers indicated that Hart was arrested at the close of the war and charged with permitting the murder of two Union prisoners by members of his command. The question was, were the two murdered men Coe and Dawley? The vague summaries in the Hart documents left the question unanswered. I hoped to find the answer in Washington.

Union provost marshal files at the National Archives solved the mystery. It turns out that Hart was arrested for allowing the murders of an officer of the 175th New York and a Confederate deserter at Wilson, North Carolina, on April 15, 1865. Thus the murders of Coe and Dawley went officially unrecorded and unpunished.

In addition to tracking down those two sources, I had enough time left over at the archives to go through the letter books of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Corps — to which the 154th belonged — in which I found some useful material regarding the two campaigns. All in all, I covered all the bases I wanted to in Washington, and more.

Luckily for me, my good old friend Chris Ford lives in the Washington suburb of Fairfax, Virginia. Chris and I have known each other since our high school years in Amherst, outside of Buffalo, when we discovered we were both interested in Civil War history (although from opposite perspectives; Chris is of Confederate descent). In the intervening years, I’ve stayed with Chris several times while conducting research in Washington, which of course has been great for me. You’ll find him listed in the acknowledgments of all four of my Civil War books, and now he’ll be in the fifth. My thanks to Chris and his wife, Michelle, and son, Wesley, for once again putting me up and putting up with me.

On returning home I got to work incorporating my new findings into the manuscript, and by Thanksgiving I had finished writing. I’m currently designing some maps and I want to go over the entire manuscript a final time before I submit it for publication, but it should be off to the publisher before the next newsletter is issued.

My goal in Marching with Sherman is to present both sides of the story of the marches, that of the 154th New York and that of the Southerners along the regiment’s path. Thanks to those of you who shared your ancestors’ wartime letters and diaries, I had ample material to present the regiment’s perspective. I’ve been able to do the same for the Southerners thanks to the many friends I made in Georgia and the Carolinas during my six-week research trip earlier this year. They shared materials and stories with me, invited me into their historic homes, guided me on tours of their hometowns, and offered help, encouragement, and friendship that I treasure. To my Southern friends, thank you! You are often in my thoughts.

People often ask me when Marching with Sherman will be published. From the submission of the manuscript to the publication of the book, the process takes about two years. My guess is that it will come out in 2010. In the meantime, I’ll provide progress updates here.

In other news, in response to the last newsletter, Larry Pearson of Anchorage, Alaska, informed me that his great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Augustus Cochran of Co. A, died on September 29, 1894, in Ipswich, South Dakota and is buried in Ipswich Cemetery there, vital statistics that have since been added to my Web site. If your ancestor’s listing is incomplete and you can supply the missing data, please do.

A correction: In the last newsletter, the fine wartime portrait of Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E that was copied at the reunion was mistakenly attributed. It was shared by Quilliam relative Marybelle Beigh of Westfield, Chautauqua County. Thanks, Marybelle, and sorry for the slip-up.

Thanks to Catherine Vellam of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, for sharing a postwar photograph of her great-grandfather, Cpl. Patrick Foley of Co. K, together with Cpl. Dudley Phelps of the same company and other veterans. Catherine brought the picture to the reunion for copying; my print arrived recently from Mike Winey. We had a poor reproduction of the same image in our 154th New York portrait albums, and it’s good to have this better quality print to replace it.

Another photo Mike took at the reunion was of a sword brought by Patricia Wilcox of Fairport, New York, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Thomas R. Aldrich of Co. B. Mike described it as a ceremonial sword patterned after the M1860 Staff & Field sword, used by Aldrich in the postwar years. “It is not a GAR sword,” Mike notes, “but probably was used for GAR functions.” As noted in Brothers One and All, Tom Aldrich was an active mover in GAR and 154th veterans’ affairs. Thanks to Pat for bringing the sword to the reunion for us to document.

Thanks to Tim Swanson of Vancouver, Washington, for copies of documents from the military and pension files of his great-grandfather, Pvt. Denzil J. Clarke of Co. B.

Thanks to Ray Wagner of Olean, Cattaraugus County, for sharing an excellent postwar portrait of his great-grandfather, Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D, posing with wife Mary Jane (Day) Williams. Unlike the traditional pose of married couples of the late nineteenth century — with the husband seated and the wife standing, her arm on his shoulder — the Williamses posed seated together closely, their heads leaning together and touching. It’s the pose of a loving couple. I’m especially glad to add this picture to my 154th New York portrait albums to complement the image of Allen that appeared in The Hardtack Regiment, a detail from a group photo of veterans of the 154th at their Gettysburg monument. Allen Williams was a true hero of the 154th. After color-bearer Sgt. George Bishop of Co. C was killed planting the regiment’s national flag on the crest of Rocky Face Ridge at the Battle of Dug Gap on May 8, 1864, and several members of the 154th were killed or wounded in attempting to rescue the flag, Allen succeeded in reaching it and bringing it safely off the mountaintop. He was promoted to sergeant on the spot and served as color-bearer thereafter until the end of the war.

Thanks to Donald A. Stevens of Wilson, New York, great-grandnephew of Second Lt. Coryelle G. Stevens of Co. A and indefatigable documenter of New York State Civil War soldier’s graves, for a photograph of the toppled headstone of Pvt. Andrew Mearns Jr. of Co. A in the Rogers Road Cemetery, Centerville, New York.

Thanks to Mildred Simpson of Westfield, Chautauqua County, for War Department statements of the service records of her great-grandfather Capt. John C. Griswold and his nephew Sgt. Milon J. Griswold of Co. F, issued to a relative in 1931.

Recently I obtained on eBay an “Arrears of Pay and Bounty Certificate” in the case of Pvt. Oscar M. Taylor of Co. E, who after his capture at Gettysburg died as a prisoner of war in Richmond. The certificate stipulated that $203.98 in bounty and back pay should be paid to Oscar’s brother and sister. That this document surfaced now is an interesting coincidence. As related in the last newsletter, I had just heard from Oscar’s grandniece, Virginia Taylor Canella of St. Petersburg, Florida, who shared a couple of Oscar’s wartime letters with me. It was a pleasure to provide Virginia with a copy of this document to add to her files.

Welcome to the following descendants, newly added to the roll:

Brothers Donald Wilcox of Cortland, New York; David Wilcox of Flagstaff, Arizona; and Richard Wilcox of Richmondville, New York, great-grandsons of Cpl. William E. Jones of Co. F. Jones was one of the small group of Welshmen that served together in Co. F. He was captured at Gettysburg and endured a long imprisonment at Belle Island and Andersonville. Earlier this year, Don Wilcox donated a collection of his ancestor’s papers to the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum in Machias, including Jones’s enlistment and discharge documents, a wartime diary and letters, a postwar reminiscence, and portrait photographs.

A reminder: We will honor Brigadier General Patrick Henry Jones at our 23rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York on Saturday, July 12, 2008, at the American Legion Post hall in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County. If you already have your 2008 calendar, mark the date.


 

2008 Newsletters

 



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2008

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Early in December I sent the manuscript of my next book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, to Louisiana State University Press, the publisher of my last two books. As of yet, I haven’t received the results of the first step in the publication process, an editorial review. Look for more news about Marching with Sherman in forthcoming newsletters.

For the first time in fifteen years, I find myself not working on a book of 154th New York history. It’s a strange feeling!

I’ve long said that I considered Marching with Sherman to be the fifth in a planned quintet of books on the 154th New York, following The Hardtack Regiment, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, Brothers One and All, and War’s Relentless Hand. I’ve got ideas for other books, but I don’t feel able to produce them. The problem in each case is a lack of source material.

For example, I think a good book could be written about the 154th New York in its first battle, Chancellorsville. Such a study could analyze the psychological state of soldiers both before and after the transforming event of their “baptism of fire.” It could explore the corrosive effects of anti-German prejudice on esprit de corps and morale within the 11th Corps and the army at large. And it could examine the regiment’s role in the often-misinterpreted action at the key “Buschbeck Line” during Stonewall Jackson’s famous flank attack that shattered the 11th corps, a legendary part of the battle. Thanks to many of you, I’ve got a thick file of accounts and reflections on Chancellorsville from the letters and diaries of members of the 154th. But it’s not quite enough to flesh out a full-length book (and I’ve already used portions of it in Brothers One and All). All things considered, the Chancellorsville story might better be told in an article.

My long-time partner in studying the 154th, Mike Winey, suggested another topic that appeals to me greatly: an examination of the Cattaraugus and Chautauqua County home front and its relationship to the regiment. Again, the problem is a scarcity of source material. I’ve already used some good material on this topic in Brothers One and All, and the excellent stories of Mary Jane Chittenden and Susan Griswold in War’s Relentless Hand. Beyond those sources, there is little to go on. Other home front accounts are virtually nonexistent. Few newspapers from the two counties survive. Cattaraugus County soldiers and their families wrote more than 4,000 letters to the “Soldier’s Friend,” John Manley, which would provide a treasure trove of material — but Manley’s papers are not known to survive. There is an immense collection of U.S. Sanitary Commission papers, including thousands of letters from soldiers’ families, at the New York Public Library, and chances are 154th New York material could be culled there. But that would require a time-consuming search in an expensive city that I regrettably cannot afford to undertake. A book on the home front seems to be an elusive dream.

The book I’ve wanted to write for the longest time is a biography of Patrick Henry Jones (1830-1900). Without a doubt, Jones was the most prominent member of the 154th New York. During a distinguished military career that began in 1861 in the 37th New York, he rose from second lieutenant to major of that regiment, to colonel of the 154th, to brigadier general of United States Volunteers. He was one of only twelve native Irishmen to achieve the rank of general in the Union army during the Civil War (excepting those who were awarded brevet generalships). In the postwar years, like many others, he parlayed his outstanding service record into a political career of elective and appointive offices.

I’ve been working for the past couple of months transcribing all of the references I’ve gathered over the years on General Jones, assembling them in an annotated chronology of his life. (To date it runs to about 150 single-spaced pages.) Jones is, I admit, a minor figure in American history. But I think he is nonetheless a fitting subject for a biography. He served in the two major theaters of the Civil War and participated in important battles and campaigns thereof. He offers a prime example of the importance of military service to the assimilation and acceptance of immigrants and to the postwar careers of veterans. He was a significant figure in the rise of the Irish as a political force in New York City in the age of the Tweed Ring (which he opposed). He knew notable men of his day, including Generals Grant and Sherman and Horace Greeley, among many others. His political and legal work involved him in some notable corruption cases — the tarnish on the Gilded Age — through which he emerged with his reputation as an honorable man intact. He inadvertently became involved in one of the most sensational criminal cases of the era. His was truly a rise from obscurity to prominence during a momentous period. For a decade of the postwar years he was often in the public eye. Then, in a sad twist of fate, he fell from positions of importance back into obscurity, apparently plagued by alcoholism. When he died a eulogist declared, “His memory shall not fade among men.” But that is precisely what happened.

I’ve written brief biographical sketches of Jones in The Hardtack Regiment and in articles in the Lincoln Herald, America’s Civil War, and Military Images magazines. One stumbling block has prevented me from tackling a full-length biography: the absence of his papers. After his death, according to his widow, they were destroyed by mice. In the absence of his papers, Jones would be regrettably mute in a biography. I’ve located some of his correspondence in the collections of various repositories, but not enough to suffice. No doubt more could be culled from the papers of Sherman, Greeley, and others — but that would require lengthy research trips to New York, Washington, and elsewhere, trips that I unfortunately can’t afford to make. (Time-consuming newspaper searches would also have to be made in New York.) So a book about Jones seems likewise to be out of grasp.

As previously announced, we will honor General Jones at our 23rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York, which will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, July 12, 2008, at the American Legion Post hall in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County. Think ahead to a warm summer day in Ellicottville, and plan on joining us then. As hinted above, Jones’s story is a fascinating one. I hope you’ll be with us in his adopted hometown to hear the details.

Even though I’m not currently writing a book of 154th New York history, my work on the regiment continues — and it will as long as I’m able. One of its most pleasant aspects is hearing from descendants of members of the regiment, receiving material on their ancestors through their kindness, and sharing with them what I have. Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Ann R. Koelling of Haddonfield, New Jersey, great-granddaughter of Pvt. James Hannigan (borne on the rolls as Hanegan) of Co. I, one of the many members of the 154th captured at Gettysburg. He survived his imprisonment and was mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. Ann kindly shared with me James’s military and pension records from the National Archives, some family documentation, and a postwar photograph of James with a large family group posed at Rock City in Olean, Cattaraugus County.

Gary Moore Chapel of Austin, Texas, great-grandson of Pvt. Sidney Moore of Co. D, who was wounded and captured at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864, and imprisoned at Andersonville until he escaped and made his way back to the regiment on August 3 of that year. Few prisoners were successful in escaping from Andersonville, and Moore’s story is well documented compared to others. Gary added to that documentation when he shared for the archives a wartime portrait of Sidney Moore, and a letter written by Sgt. Frederick L. West of Co. D to Sidney’s sister, informing her of her brother’s capture.

Ian Sherman of Charlotte, North Carolina, great-great-grandson of Sgt. Niles H. Sherman of Co. C, who enlisted at Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, as a 21-year-old, was mustered in as a private, was successively promoted corporal and sergeant, and was mustered out with the regiment at the close of the war.

I recently added to my collection a wartime carte de visite of Quartermaster Edgar Shannon of the 154th, purchased from a collector in Texas. It’s the same image that was published on page 186 of The Hardtack Regiment. The photograph was taken by Moulton and Larkin of Elmira, New York, presumably at the end of the war. The very first 154th New York artifact I ever purchased, back in the early 1970s, was Shannon’s identification disk, so I’m pleased to have his wartime portrait to complement it.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2008

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

In the last newsletter I mentioned ideas I had for books on various aspects of 154th New York history, and the reasons I felt I could not undertake them. The one I most wanted to write, I said, was a biography of General Patrick Henry Jones — but I felt constrained by the absence of his papers. Well, I’m now working on a Jones biography. Here’s how it came about.

You’ll remember that we will commemorate General Jones at our 23rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York, which will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, July 12, 2008, at the American Legion Post hall in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County. In preparation for the reunion, I began to assemble an annotated chronology of Jones’s life, including references to his postwar career that I had gathered years ago from the New York Times. Looking to add to that record, I began a more extensive search in the Times’s online searchable archives. I turned up a lot of material — enough to convince me that, despite the absence of Jones’s papers, ample sources could be gathered on which to base a biography.

To convince myself further, I made an exploratory research trip to New York City on the last weekend of February. At the New York Public Library I copied some rare sources and began a search of the New York Herald. In its pages I found some great stuff, including interviews with Jones at some key moments of his postwar life. Other New York newspapers — including some aimed at Irish-Americans — will no doubt yield other riches, especially the New York Tribune, edited by Jones’s friend Horace Greeley.

Another problem was solved when my nephew Jake Rowland and his wife Allison kindly offered to put me up during future research trips at their apartment in Astoria, Queens. Jake is a talented photographer — check out his Web site at — who took my portrait for the dust jacket of War’s Relentless Hand. He and Allison and their adorable toddler daughter Mia live just a few blocks from a subway line that can carry me to within a few blocks of the library, so commuting will be easy. I’m going to make my first extensive research trip later this month and will report on my progress in the next newsletter.

I am very, very excited about this book. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years, and to finally be at it — and to know that an interesting and entertaining book can be the result — has me happy. I’m looking forward to engaging in new areas of study, such as the Irish-American experience and New York city and state politics in the postwar era. And I’m looking forward to telling curious stories of sawdust swindlers and a head-money scandal, among others. For the next couple of years, I’ll be living closely with General Jones, and reporting my progress to you via this newsletter.

My Jones biography will fall into a pattern in my work that has evolved spontaneously. My first book, The Hardtack Regiment (co-authored with Mike Winey), told the collective story of the 154th New York. My second, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, told the individual story of the celebrated martyr Sgt. Amos Humiston. My third book, Brothers One and All, returned to the collective story, while the fourth, War’s Relentless Hand, again chronicled individuals. My next book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, is another collective account, to be followed by an individual story in the Jones biography.

My interest in Civil War history in general and the 154th New York in particular was stoked as a teenager during the years of the Civil War Centennial. It was then that I took my first tentative steps in studying the war and researching the regiment. By the time I finish researching and writing the Jones biography and it goes through the publishing process, it most likely will be released during the war’s sesquicentennial, from 2011 to 2115. There were times in my life that I doubted I’d see those days, but now I’m in hopes that I will.

Speaking of Marching with Sherman, I’m still waiting to receive reports from LSU Press regarding the manuscript. I hope to have definitive word to share in the June newsletter.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Kenneth L. Lotter of Wellsville, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Harris Lamb of Co. C, who was captured at Gettysburg and transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps after he was paroled and exchanged.

Beth Burch of Jeddo, Michigan, great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. Matthew Lippert of Co. I, who was captured at Chancellorsville, paroled and exchanged, rejoined the regiment, and served until the muster-out at Bladensburg, Maryland, in June 1865.

Jason S. Crosby of Tonawanda, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Willard H. Crosby of Co. D, one of the 1864 recruits who joined the regiment at Atlanta and made the March to the Sea. At Savannah in January 1865, Crosby was sent to the hospital with kidney disease. He then was sent to a hospital in Beaufort, North Carolina, where he died of dropsy on March 11, 1865. The 31-year-old farmhand left a wife and two daughters (ages 5 and 2) at home in Ashford, Cattaraugus County. Forty-seven days after her husband died, Charlotte Crosby gave birth to a son and named him after his late father. Jason Crosby’s son is also named Willard in honor of his soldier ancestor.

Steve Hathaway of San Diego, California, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Curtis S. Pinney of Co. D, who served together with his brother Chauncy. When Chauncy was badly wounded at Gettysburg, Curtis remained at the hospital to nurse his brother, who survived. (See Brothers One and All, 144-5.) Curtis eventually rejoined the regiment, made the marches under Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas, and was mustered out at the end of the war. Steve Hathaway is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard; his wife Kim contacted me initially as she worked on family history.

Thanks to my old friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for sharing an obituary of Cpl. Patrick Foley of Co. K from a 1922 issue of the Gowanda Enterprise.

Long-time readers of this newsletter know that since Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier was published in 1999, I’ve been collecting variations of the famous carte de visite photograph of the three children of Sgt. Humiston. These cartes were copies of the ambrotype found in Amos’s hand as he lay dead at Gettysburg, and they helped lead to his identification. Recently I obtained one published by an unknown photographer before Humiston and his family were identified. That makes it unusual — all the other pre-identification cartes I’ve found have photographer’s imprints. Beyond that, however, this carte is unique in that it’s tinted. I’ve never seen another like it, and it’s a nice addition to my collection.

On March 18 I spoke on “Lincoln Through the Eyes of a Civil War Regiment” to the Cranston Historical Society here in Rhode Island. My talk was a distillation of the program I presented at our 16th Annual Reunion back in 2001 in Westfield, Chautauqua County. It’s always a pleasure for me to share a bit of 154th New York history with an audience.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2008

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 23rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York Volunteers will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, 2008, at the American Legion Post Hall on Mechanic Street in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, New York. There will be no registration period this year — I’m going to try a different method to smooth things along and eliminate the bottleneck that invariably forms at the registration table. So the proceedings will begin promptly at 1 p.m. and run approximately two to three hours.

Our program will honor Patrick Henry Jones, native Irishman, Ellicottville resident, colonel of the 154th New York, and brigadier general commanding the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps. As mentioned in the last newsletter, I’m currently working on a full-length biography of General Jones. I’m looking forward to sharing with you the story of his Civil War service and his fascinating postwar career.

As usual, my partner Mike Winey will have his copy stand and camera set up at the reunion. If you have photographs or relics of your 154th New York ancestor to share with us, please bring them to be documented.

You’ll receive a reunion invitation via postal mail in a couple of weeks. Please join us in Ellicottville to represent and remember your ancestor of the 154th and the regiment’s most prominent soldier, General Jones. I hope to see you then!

Every year I pay the substantial reunion expenses out of my own pocket and rely on donations from you to cover the costs. This year there is a special incentive to contribute, thanks to Charles Wasson of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, great-grandson of Pvt. Danford L. Hall of Co. I and owner of Kay Berry, a firm that makes ornamental stone goods for home and garden. Last year Chuck’s firm produced a number of special stones engraved with my drawing of the 154th New York’s crescent-shaped monument at Chancellorsville, which we raffled off at our Mayville reunion. Chuck has thirty more of the stones in his warehouse. He will ship one of the stones to each of the first thirty people to send me a donation toward the reunion expenses. So please consider making a contribution and receiving one of these attractive commemorate stones in appreciation of your support. Thank you in advance — and thanks to Chuck Wasson for his generosity in supplying and shipping the stones.

As of this writing, Louisiana State University Press has sent me one of two expected reports on the manuscript of my next book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. It calls for revisions, which I will be addressing soon. To my Southern friends — the academic publishing process is lengthy and slow. I haven’t forgotten you and am looking forward to conveying news of the book’s publication when the time comes.

In the meantime, I’m at work on the Jones biography. I spent the week of April 20 in New York City doing research for the book. I searched thirteen city newspapers covering the postwar years on microfilm at the New York Public Library, and copied hundreds of pages of references to Jones. It was intensive work — I entered the library each day when it opened and emerged when it closed, having worked continuously throughout the day without taking a lunch break. My findings further convince me that Jones’s story is one well worth telling. I’m excited to be putting it together, and am looking forward to sharing it with you in brief at the reunion.

My stay in New York was made pleasant by the hospitality of my nephew Jake Rowland and his wife, Allison, and daughter, Mia, who put me up at their apartment in Astoria. I also enjoyed visits with my niece, Jennifer Rowland, and her fiancee, Frank Gambino. Thanks, kids! The day I arrived Jake met me in Manhattan and took a photograph of me by the great Augustus Saint-Gaudens statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, which will adorn the dust jacket of my next book, Marching with Sherman. I mention the statue in the book, so an author’s photo taken there seemed fitting.

As a young man, Patrick Henry Jones dabbled in journalism before he began the study of law in Ellicottville under the tutelage of Addison G. Rice, the eventual organizer and provisional colonel of the 154th New York. During that time period, the rest of Jones’s family — his parents and six siblings — moved west and eventually settled in Dakota County, Nebraska, as part of a Roman Catholic colony. In starting to research this aspect of the Jones family history, I sent a letter to the Dakota County Genealogical Society and in return was contacted by an avid chronicler of the county’s history and early families. Gary Sides of Dakota City kindly shared with me material from his Jones family files that will be helpful to me as I work on the early chapters of the book. My thanks to Gary, who has been added to the mailing list as a friend of the regiment.

Thanks too to Timothy W. Lake of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Alexander Lake of Co. A, for providing photographs of Alex’s canteen, covered in blue cloth in the postwar years and adorned with a photographic portrait of Alex and his name, company and regiment embroidered in gold thread. It’s a unique relic and a standout example in our 154th New York portrait albums.

One descendant has been added to the roll since the last newsletter. Welcome to Chris C. Pinney of Schulenburg, Texas, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Curtis S. Pinney of Co. D. Chris’s middle name is Curtis in honor of his ancestor, and he has a gold pocket watch that Curtis carried — according to family legend — on Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Recently I had the good fortune to obtain by auction a letter by Chaplain Henry D. Lowing, one of many he must have written after the 154th’s wounded were recovered from the battlefield of Chancellorsville to notify Cattaraugus and Chautauqua County families of their loved one’s fate. This is the first such letter to turn up. Lowing wrote on May 18 to the wife of Pvt. George P. Southeron of Co. A, a 44-year-old from Humphrey, Cattaraugus County, to inform her that her husband had been wounded “near the hip the ball passing in on the left side and coming out on the right but so near the surface that we are in hopes it will not prove fatal.” Southeron had suffered much during his ten-day stay on the battlefield and during the ambulance ride to the division hospital, but six days later he was feeling more comfortable and he was well cared for. “He says that in all his suffering Jesus has been a friend that sticketh closer than a brother and has comforted him in all his trials,” Lowing reported. Six days after Lowing wrote, Southeron died of his wounds.

I ordered the Southeron pension file from the National Archives to find out more about his family. It turns out that Southeron married a widow (and mother of one son), Eliza Elizabeth Arnold, in Middlefield, Otsego County, New York, in 1834. They moved to Cattaraugus County at an unknown date. They had no children of their own. She applied for a pension less than a month after George died, but because she did so using her middle name (which she commonly went by), the granting of her pension was delayed until 1868, when she was admitted to the rolls at a rate of $8 per month.

This July will mark the 125th anniversary of the Women’s Relief Corps as the official auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, the great Union veterans’ organization that counted many of our ancestors among its members. Today the WRC is affiliated with the successor to the GAR, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. There is only one WRC branch left in New York State — Dennison Corps of Franklinville, Cattaraugus County. Anyone interested in learning more about the SUVCW or WRC should contact Jerry and Lorraine Orton, active members of the respective groups and recipients of this newsletter. They can be reached at:



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2008

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Seventy-five descendants and friends signed in as we held our 23rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York at the American Legion Post in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, on Saturday, July 12. Following some introductory remarks by Ellicottville town historian Mary Elizabeth Dunbar, I presented an overview of the life of the regiment’s most prominent soldier, Patrick Henry Jones, long-time colonel of the 154th, brigadier general, and subject of my planned biography, still in its early research stage. While I covered Jones’s military service in some detail, much of my talk concerned his postwar career, which had many fascinating aspects. I also displayed several Jones artifacts from my collection, including two wartime cartes de visite (his only known wartime photographs), a signed military document and a postwar letter, a portrait published in Harper’s Weekly when Jones was appointed postmaster of New York City by President Grant, and his Colt Model 1862 Police five-shot revolver, engraved with his name and regiment on the backstrap. Our roll call revealed folks from near and far representing scores of the regiment’s soldiers; the soldier with the most relatives present appeared to be Ellicottville’s own Alexander Bird.

Among the attendees was Joan Popyack of San Diego, California, with her daughter Carol, son Michael, and grandson Daryn, Californians all, and descendants of Pat Jones’s younger brother Thomas B. Jones, who served in the Civil War with the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry. The Popyacks were the only Jones relatives present at the reunion — local relatives Tom O’Hare of Williamsville, Tom Krampf of Hinsdale, and Carl Timme of Olean were unfortunately unable to attend. Afterwards the Popyacks, researcher friend Mary Bridges, my wife Annette and aunt Floris Dunkelman Sarver and I made a trip to Randolph, where General Jones owned a property from 1868 to 1872. At the Jones house on Jamestown Street we met the current occupant, Aaron Ling, whose family has owned the place for three generations. After a pleasant discussion with Aaron about the home’s history we headed over to the Randolph Cemetery to visit the grave of Anna Jones, the daughter of Patrick and Sarah and twin of their youngest of two sons, who was born in June 1866 and died that November. The sleuthing of Mary Bridges revealed Anna’s existence, which heretofore had been unknown. Visiting the family sites with the Jones relatives was a perfect follow-up to the reunion.

Thanks to Thomas Warner of Angelica, New York, who brought several images of Bosley family members to the reunion, including a fine wartime image of George H. Bosley, who served in the 3rd New York Infantry and as a medical cadet before becoming the 154th’s assistant surgeon from January 1865 to the end of the war. Tom kindly permitted me to photograph the image to add to my 154th portrait albums.

Thanks to old friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for bringing to the reunion the Persia town clerk’s roster of the town’s soldiers and sailors, now in the collection of the Gowanda Area Historical Society. The listings in the slim ledger book, compiled at the end of the war, provided the hitherto unknown birthdays of several of the 154th New York men who enlisted in Persia (which have since been added to the Hardtack Regiment Web site). Those listings are particularly welcome, because Persia is one a few Cattaraugus County townships whose town clerks’ rosters are missing from the collections of the New York State Archives in Albany.

To all who contributed toward the expenses of the reunion, my sincere thanks. In thirty-plus years of work researching 154th New York history, I’ve spent much more than I’ve made from my publications. I’ve never done this work looking to make money. But your generosity enables me to present the reunions without additional loss, which I very much appreciate, and it’s a tangible testament of your devotion to your ancestor’s memory. The first thirty donations came by mail before I left for western New York, and each of those contributors have been sent a Chancellorsville monument commemorative stone by Chuck Wasson’s firm Kay Berry. My thank to Chuck for providing and shipping the stones. I received many nice thank-you notes from the folks receiving the stones, telling me they are placing them in special places and indeed making them into shrines to their ancestors — many of whom were Chancellorsville casualties.

I spent the day before the reunion at the Cattaraugus County Museum in Machias, searching antebellum Ellicottville newspapers for mentions of Patrick Henry Jones. I had some success, but much remains to be done there and I’m looking forward to getting back at some point. I was pleased to meet Brian McClellan, the new museum curator, and had a special treat when Brian’s predecessor, Lorna Spencer, stopped in. Before her retirement, Lorna had helped me many times over the years when the museum was still in Little Valley, and it was great to see her again. I also enjoyed taking another look at General Jones’s saddle, which was restored a couple of years ago and is now on display. I’m pleased to add Brian McClellan and Cattaraugus County Historian Sharon Fellows to my e-mail list of friends of the 154th. And thanks to Brian for sending me copies of two poems by Sgt. James Byron Brown of Co. B, known to his comrades as “Brown the Poet.” These examples of Brown’s poems “The Soldier’s Farewell: An Acrostic” and “Army Song of the Cattaraugus Boys” were pasted into an old scrapbook recently donated to the museum. I discussed both poems in my article “Brown the Poet,” published in the May-June 1995 issue of Military Images magazine.

Thanks to Elaine Zimmer of Schenectady, New York, for sharing a recent article from the Randolph Register reprinting an obituary of her collateral relative First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K, who died at age 92 in April 1933.

Thanks to Patricia R. Bass of Clearwater, Florida, for sharing photos of the headstones of her great-granduncle Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E, his company comrade Pvt. George Clifford, and Pvt. Milton H. Bush of Co. K (whose story I told in my most recent book, War’s Relentless Hand). The three — together with three other members of the 154th — are buried in the Nashville National Cemetery in Tennessee. Thanks to your help, over the years I’ve built up quite a file of photos of 154th New York headstones, but it’s far from complete. Additions are welcome.

Thanks (again) to Phil Palen for sharing a death notice and postwar portrait of Cpl. John M. Dawley, Co. K. The original image was donated to the Gowanda Area Historical Society museum by Mary Dawley Crane of Cold Spring, New York. (That’s the Cold Spring across the Hudson from West Point, not the Cattaraugus County township of the same name.) Mary, John Dawley’s great-granddaughter, is now entered on the roll to represent him and his two brothers, Job B. and Russell B., who also were members of Co. K. My thanks to Mary for sharing photos of John M. and Job B. Dawley’s headstones (the latter a cenotaph) in the Ruggstown Cemetery in Perrysburg, New York.

Welcome to Mary Dawley Crane and to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Bob Everts of North Chili, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Moses B. Lamb, Co. G.

Carol Cole of Lakewood, New York, great-granddaughter of Pvt. Cyrel Seekins, Co. H.

Maxine Tanner of Franklinville, New York, related to Pvt. Warren J. Hadley, Co. G.

Clifton C. Stone of Salamanca, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Albion P. Johnson, Co. G.

Carol Popyack of Bloomington, California, collateral relative of Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones.

Chad Neal of West Valley, New York, great-great-grandson of First Lieut. Alexander Bird, Co. F.

Karen Streif of Madison, Wisconsin, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Charles H. Field, Co. B.

Carol A. Hansen of West Valley, New York, great--granddaughter of First Lieut. Alexander Bird, Co. F.

Garett Johnston of Billings, Montana, great-great-great-grandson of Sgt. Charles C. Jewell of Co. C.

Paula D. Jones of Lewiston, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. John A. Johnson of Co. H.

Recently I obtained at auction a letter written to his wife by Pvt. William F. Chittenden of Co. D from Harewood Hospital in Washington on December 26, 1862. Somehow this letter was separated from 42 other Chittenden letters that I purchased years ago, together with 23 letters that Mary Jane Chittenden sent to her husband. Those letters formed the basis of my chapter on the Chittendens in War’s Relentless Hand. In his December 26 letter, Chittenden commented on the difficulty of obtaining a discharge, but stated, “The graft of soft-soaping is one of value here. I have seen men as well and healthy as when they entered the service discharged just because they could tell a pitiful story.” Chittenden, who was too ethical to resort to lying, remained in the hospital for months before he was discharged in June 1863.

Finally, I’m pleased to relate that I received the report of Mike Parrish, editor of Louisiana State University Press’s “Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War” series, on my Marching with Sherman manuscript, and I’ve started my final revision in accordance with his suggestions and those of the anonymous outside reader. After an eight-month hiatus, it’s great to be back at work on the book. Look for more news about Marching with Sherman in the next edition.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2008

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The past two months were busy and took me far from home. I spent much of August working on the final draft of Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, revising it according to the suggestions of an outside reader and Mike Parrish, the editor of Louisiana State University Press’s “Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War” series. Then I went over it a second time to give it a final brushing-up. Having waited a long time to get to this step, I couldn’t keep myself away from the work, most often waking up at 5 a.m. ready to go and putting in fourteen hour days. The result is a tauter and more cohesive manuscript. I shipped it off to LSU Press on August 26. About a week later, Hurricane Gustav ravaged Baton Rouge, and the Press offices suffered extensive wind and water damage. They have moved into temporary quarters, where they might remain for as long as six months. What effect the disruption will have on the production schedule remains to be seen. Look for more news about Marching with Sherman in the December newsletter.

For the past month or so I’ve been working with George Skoch of Fairview Park, Ohio, on the maps for Marching with Sherman. Good maps will be an important component of the book, and George is the man to provide them. He is a well-respected cartographer whose work has appeared in numerous Civil War books (including Brothers One and All). I’ve provided him with five rough sketches to work from, and he’s turning them into polished, easy-to-read, finished maps.

In September I tackled a project as a favor to researcher and writer Valerie Josephson, who is working on a Web site containing biographical sketches of Civil War medical officers. My subjects, of course, are the 154th New York’s regimental surgeons Henry Van Aernam and Dwight W. Day, and assistant surgeons Corydon C. Rugg and George H. Bosley. I’ve long wanted to honor the 154th’s medical staff at one of our annual descendants reunions — and spurred by my work on their biographies, I’m hoping to do so next year at our 24th. To the men named above should be added Hospital Steward C. Harry Matteson, and many other soldiers who cared for the regiment’s sick and wounded on a regular basis, like Second Lieutenant Warren Onan of Co. C, who commanded the brigade ambulance corps for most of his service, and Private Emory Sweetland of Co. B, who worked in the regimental and division hospital for most of his. When Valerie posts the four 154th biographies, I’ll pass along a link to her site.

Late in September my wife, Annette, and I made a five-state tour of the Missouri River valley and eastern Kansas, initiated when I was invited to speak to the Civil War Round Tables in Kansas City and Topeka. While I was that far west, I wanted to visit Dakota County, Nebraska, which figures into my biography-in-progress of Patrick Henry Jones. Jones’s entire family, parents and six siblings, left him behind in western New York in 1853 and moved west. They encountered a Catholic priest in Iowa and joined him in establishing an Irish-American settlement, St. John’s, in Dakota County. They were real pioneers and although the colony petered out, the family remained in the area (for the most part). We visited the site of the St. John’s community, the graves of Patrick’s parents in the hilltop St. John’s Cemetery near the village of Jackson, and their home near Willis. We also visited other Jones family sites, all the while expertly guided by Gary Sides of Dakota City, the authority on the county’s history. Gary had previously shared with me material from his Jones family file — he has files on all of Dakota County’s pioneering families and places, among other topics. Our thanks to Gary for a great tour of the area and for another pleasant evening when we bumped into him across the river in Sioux City, Iowa.

My talks to the two Kansas Civil War groups were on “Fifty Years in Pursuit of a Civil War Regiment,” a general overview of my work on the 154th New York. Annette and I stayed in Topeka with our friends Tom and Deb Goodrich, the only husband and wife team I’m aware of working in the Civil War history field. Between the two of them they’ve written numerous books, made plenty of public appearances, and led many tours. They gave Annette and I great tours of Topeka and sites relating to John Brown and the Civil War era in eastern Kansas, and hours of great conversation. Deb also kindly interviewed me on her daily morning radio show. Thanks for a fine time, Tom and Deb! All in all, we had a most enjoyable trip to an area of the country we were unfamiliar with and we got to some interesting places: St. Joseph, Missouri, of Pony Express and Jesse James fame, where we went to a rodeo; Lewis and Clark trails and sites along the Missouri River; beautiful Ponca State Park in Dixon County, Nebraska; the scenic Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska; and the world-class National Music Museum on the University of South Dakota’s campus in Vermillion, with its fantastic collection of instruments — all the while immersed in a landscape unusual to us, often a patchwork of immense corn and soybean fields.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Linda C. Rinehart of Centennial, Colorado, great-great-granddaughter of First Lieutenant Alexander Bird of Co. F.

Esther Vargas of Oxnard, California, great-great-granddaughter of Sergeant Allen Williams of Co. D, the regimental color-bearer from when he rescued the flag at Rocky Face Ridge until the end of the war. Esther contacted me on the eve of a visit to Gettysburg.

Michael B. Buttles of Landrum, South Carolina, and his father Gordon L. Buttles of Hampton, Virginia, great-grandson and grandson, respectively, of Pvt. Henry Buttles of Co. F.

Matthew J. Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, great-great-great-grandson of Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A.

Richard R. Imes of Beverly Hills, Florida, great-great-grandson of Pvt. William E. Witherell of Co. I. Thanks to Richard for sharing an obituary of Witherell and a genealogical chart of his ancestors and descendants.

Theron Clark of McBain, Michigan, great-great-great-grandnephew of Sgt. Horace T. Clark of Co. G. Clark was wounded in the thigh at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864. According to his record in the regimental roster published by the New York State Adjutant General, he died of his wound on December 25, 1864. That is a mistake, as I discovered when I went through my files to assemble material on Clark — he was actually discharged on account of his wound on December 28, 1864, at Camp Dennison, Ohio.

Timothy Cochran of Andover, New York, great-grandson of Pvt. Augustus G. Cochran of Co. A, one of the 1864 recruits who made the marches through Georgia and the Carolinas under General Sherman.

Thanks to Barbara King of Hamburg, New York, and Ruth Towne of Forestville, New York, sisters and great-granddaughters of Pvt. Amos McIntyre of Co. B, for presenting me with a postcard to McIntyre from H. H. Hardesty & Co., dated June 25, 1900, informing him to expect delivery of Volume 2 of the book Presidents, Soldiers, Statesmen. Volume 1 of this book was a standard history of the United States; Volume 2 included biographical sketches of Civil War veterans who subscribed to purchase the two-volume set. Each veteran provided the information for his sketch, and editions were published to cover particular regions. I’ve turned up three different editions of the work containing sketches of veterans from Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, including 95 members of the 154th New York, but this is the first such correspondence to a veteran from the publisher to turn up. McIntyre’s biographical sketch states that he was wounded in the shoulder by a shell fragment during the siege of Savannah, a fact not recorded elsewhere.

Another 154th New York letter turned up on eBay and has been added to the archives. My thanks to friends John DuBois and Nick Picerno — historians respectively of the 136th New York and the 10th/29th Maine — for bringing it (and other items in the past) to my attention. The letter was written at McDougall General Hospital at Fort Schuyler, New York, on December 17, 1863, by Sgt. Norman H. Gray of Co. A to his Cousin Jane. In it, Gray refers to the lingering effects of his Chancellorsville wound. “I mist my good leg that I had when I left home,” he wrote. “I didnot realize how bad it was being a Cripple untill I got whare I wanted both legs it is hard to think of climing the rough and crooked paths of this world limping but I have all the confidence in my ability to make a living I think it will be so that I can walk with a cane and it may be without any thing by limping some.” Gray recovered from his wound and was with the regiment at the muster-out. His letter includes some other interesting content. With it came another letter from a relative named Helen to her sister, dated at Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, on November 9, 1862, which mentions Gray and has some interesting content of its own. “This is going to be a very hard winter,” she wrote, citing high prices (butter 25 cents a pound) and low wages. “It looks rather dubious to me. . . . It will be rather hard for poor folks.”

Speaking of eBay, a copy of my first book (co-authored with Mike Winey), The Hardtack Regiment, sold there on August 28 for $39.25. The buyer got a bargain — the eight copies available at that time on my favorite out-of-print book Web site, abebooks.com, ranged in price from $70.29 to $230.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2008

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Two books are in the works. One is at the publisher, the other is still in the early research stage.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, I sent the revised manuscript of Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York off to Louisiana State University Press in late August. It arrived in Baton Rouge shortly before Hurricane Gustav ravaged the region; the Press’s offices were badly damaged by wind and water, and the operation was forced to move into temporary quarters. In the process, my manuscript was lost. Consequently I sent another copy at the end of October. I’m awaiting the next step; look for more news in the February 2009 edition.

Meanwhile, work continues on the Patrick Henry Jones biography. On the first weekend in October I had the great pleasure of attending the marriage of my niece, Jennifer Rowland (great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H and a frequent attendee at past reunions before her move to New York City) to Frank Gambino of Astoria, Queens. The wedding took place on Long Island, and the hotel we stayed at was just a few miles from Garden City, so I was able to weave in a research visit for the Jones book. Here’s the connection: Garden City was a planned community, the brainchild of the fabulously wealthy department store magnate A. T. Stewart. Its Cathedral of the Incarnation was meant to be a memorial to Stewart’s memory and to house his tomb. But the church was unfinished when Stewart died in 1876, so his remains were temporarily buried in the graveyard at St. Mark’s Church in Manhattan’s Bowery (at Second Avenue and East Tenth Street). Stewart’s corpse was stolen from that churchyard in November 1878. General Jones became involved in the notorious case — against his will — the following year, when the ghouls contacted him to act as an intermediary in their quest for a ransom. After lengthy and tangled negotiations, Jones was instrumental in arranging for the return of Stewart’s remains, which are now buried beneath the altar in the cathedral’s basement Chapel of the Resurrection. We visited the cathedral, now the seat of the Episcopal diocese of Long Island, after Sunday services on October 5 and took a look at Stewart’s last resting place. The Stewart grave robbery case was the most sensational episode in Jones’s life (and in my estimation a crucial turning point in his life), and will make for an intriguing chapter in my book.

My time since the Long Island trip has generally been spent taking notes from and transcribing some of the many newspaper articles relating to Jones that I turned up during my spring research trip to New York City. The articles offer extensive commentary on the Stewart grave-robbery story and many other aspects of General Jones’s postwar career. I’ve made a lot of progress on them and am almost ready to starting digging into another layer of sources. There’s still a long way to go on the Jones book, however. Several nagging questions need to be answered and they will be tough ones to crack. More searching must be done in newspapers and manuscripts. I’ve got a lot of background reading to do. As I’ve been saying to folks, I’ll be living with General Jones for the next few years.

In the last newsletter I mentioned The Civil War Surgeons Memorial Web site established by researcher and writer Valerie Josephson of New Jersey. The biographical sketches that I submitted to Valerie of the 154th New York’s surgeons and assistant surgeons — Henry Van Aernam, Dwight W. Day, Corydon C. Rugg, and George H. Bosley — have been posted to the fledgling site. Here’s a link that will take you to them:

http://www.civilwarsurgeonsmemorial.org/biographies/ny_biographies/ny_biographies.htm

Welcome to the following three descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter. Note the interesting but not surprising fact that all three of their soldier ancestors were casualties at the regiment’s first (and costliest) battle, Chancellorsville.

June Hy of North Tonawanda, New York, great-great-grandniece of Pvt. Barzilla Merrill of Co. K, who was killed at Chancellorsville together with his teenaged son, Pvt. Alva Merrill of the same company. The Merrills’ story is told in my latest book, War’s Relentless Hand.

Melissa Woods of Wenham, Massachusetts, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Perry Wheelock of Co. E, who was captured at Chancellorsville, paroled and exchanged prior to the end of 1863, and mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end.

Charles B. Young of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Jerome E. Young of Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, a son and father duo who are great-grandnephew and grandnephew respectively of Sgt. James D. Frink of Co. I, who was wounded and captured at Chancellorsville but also was with the regiment at the muster-out.

My thanks to Jim Schultz of Rochester, New York, and Jay Hall of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, for providing vital statistics on their ancestors Cpl. David S. Jones of Co. K (Schultz) and Pvts. John D. Campbell and Byron Crook of Co. A (Hall). Said statistics have been added to the rosters on the Hardtack Regiment Web site.

Thanks to Jerry Rowan of the Bradford, Pennsylvania, area, for sending me a photograph of the headstone of Pvt. Loren Phillips of Co. D in Bradford’s Willow Dale Cemetery. Phillips’s place of burial was previously unknown. Jerry informs me that many of the graves at Willow Dale were moved there from Kinzua and Corydon when the Kinzua Dam was built. Phillips was one of the Gettysburg captives, but he survived his imprisonment and was mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end.

Thanks also to Don Stevens of Wilson, New York, for providing a photo of the headstone of Cpl. Luther Stanley of Co. A, in the East Randolph (New York) Cemetery. Don, a great-grandnephew of Second Lieutenant Coryelle G. Stevens of Co. A, has for years been documenting the grave sites of New York State Civil War veterans with great dedication. He’s provided me with many photos of 154th headstones in the process, which I much appreciate.



2009 Newsletters


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2009

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

My next book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, continues its slow progress toward publication at Louisiana State University Press. As of this writing, the revised manuscript is in the hands of the outside reader for a reevaluation. I should have more news regarding the book in the next newsletter.

Meanwhile, work continues on my biography of Patrick Henry Jones. Before he was commissioned colonel of the 154th, Jones served in the 37th New York, rising from second lieutenant to major of that regiment. Recently I’ve been taking notes from the letters of two members of the 37th, William C. Green and William Bird Jr. Green’s letters came from Emory University in Atlanta; Bird’s from the Martin County Historical Society in Fairmont, Minnesota, where he spent his postwar years. Bird, like Jones, was from Ellicottville, and his letters have some useful references to Jones. Two of Bird’s brothers, James W. and Alexander, served under Jones in the 154th, and Alex Bird is well represented on our descendants roll.

In the last newsletter I mentioned Jones’s involvement in the A. T. Stewart grave robbery case, clearly the most sensational episode of his life. I’ve since discovered that a book about the case, The Missing Corpse: Grave Robbing a Gilded Age Tycoon by Wayne Fanebust, was published in 2005 by Praeger. (Coincidentally, Praeger published my second book, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, in 1999, and also published a Stewart biography, Alexander T. Stewart: The Forgotten Merchant Prince, by Stephen Elias, in 1992.) The Missing Corpse is a well-researched and vividly written account of the complex case. I contacted Wayne, a resident of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and we’ve since corresponded and swapped material on the Stewart incident. It turns out that Wayne is finishing a Civil War book of his own, a study of the so-called Fighting McCook family of Ohio, which contributed more than a dozen members to the Union army, including four generals. (Wayne and I also discovered that we’re both musicians.) Wayne will be a valuable sounding board to me as I continue to investigate Jones’s role in the grave robbery case.

From Wayne’s book I learned about the work of the late Harry E. Resseguie, whose interest in department stores led him to research Stewart, often described as the father of the modern department store. Resseguie researched and wrote a Stewart biography, but failed to have it published. (Shades of E. D. Northrup and his history of the 154th!) I discovered Resseiguie’s papers were at the Baker Library of Harvard Business School and made a trip to Boston to look through them. Unfortunately, Resseguie’s primary interest was not the grave robbery but the long and complex wrangling over the Stewart estate after the multimillionaire died. Most of Resseguie’s unpublished manuscript was devoted to those squabbles; his chapter on the grave robbery was comparatively brief.

With my work done at the Baker Library, I crossed the Charles River to Cambridge to meet another recent contact. Errol Morris is an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who writes a column about photography, “Zoom,” for the online version of the New York Times. Recently he read Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, tracked me down, and sent me an e-mail. “The book is extraordinarily interesting and deeply moving,” he wrote. “I am interested in the ‘parallel’ stories of how [Amos] Humiston’s identity was revealed and your amazing efforts to uncover the story about the man himself.” Errol plans to write about this in his Times column and as a chapter in a subsequent book. I’m deeply grateful to him for his interest, because mention of Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier in his column will give the book more attention than it’s received elsewhere in the entire decade since it was published. Furthermore, having familiarized myself with Errol’s films and writings since he contacted me, I’m satisfied that he will dig deeply to reach the story’s core (as he perceives it) and dig widely to unearth other issues of interest. Look for more news about this in future editions. In the meantime, check out Errol’s Web site and Zoom columns to sample his fascinating work:

Thanks to Gary Byar of Traverse City, Michigan, for sharing a wartime letter written by his great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Curtis S. Pinney of Co. D, who wrote to his mother on December 12 and 13, 1863, from the regiment’s camp at Lookout Valley, Tennessee. Pinney arrived there after a lengthy absence from the regiment, having been detailed to tend the wounded (including his brother Chauncey) after the battle of Gettysburg. When Pinney arrived in Lookout Valley, the 154th was away on the march to the relief of Knoxville. He found a few convalescents who had been left behind. He moved into his captain’s old tent and was comfortable despite heavy rains and half rations. Like other members of the regiment, he judged the region around Chattanooga to be “a very hard Country.”

Thanks to Lois Lyon of Prosser, Washington, for sending me a full-sized reproduction of the large “Easel-Shaped Monument” lithograph inscribed with the service record of her great-grandfather, Pvt. John Sperling of Co. K (who was transferred to the 102nd New York after his brief service with the 154th), and two related Iowa veterans. This lithograph was a commercial product offered to veterans to commemorate their service. I described another example (which commemorated Pvt. Mervin P. Barber of Co. E) briefly in Brothers One and All: “Proceeds from sales of the lithograph presumably were intended to fund the construction of the monument itself — an ornate and allegorical artistic monstrosity that was never built, and most likely was just a come-on to get veterans to purchase the lithograph and an accompanying book.” Sperling’s example was dedicated to his wife and presented to their daughter.

As he has for the past thirty years, Phil Palen of Gowanda sent some items for the archives, a list of regimental veterans living in Michigan in 1891 and a 1915 obituary of Andrew G. Park of Co. B. The last item I received on Park also came from Phil: an 1889 Gowanda Herald article about Park putting a dynamite cartridge “in a matchbox in his kitchen for safe keeping until the morrow” — a careless act that led to dire consequences the following morning when his wife struck match to cartridge and was pierced by 42 shrapnel shards. (She survived.) Among the 18 old soldiers living in Michigan were the following, all represented by descendants on the roll: Pvt. George Bassett (Middleville) and the aforementioned Cpl. Curtis S. Pinney (Chestonia), both of Co. D, and Lieut. Clinton L. Barnhart of Co. E (Charlotte).

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Elaine Stone-Arthur of Alexandria, Virginia, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Albion P. Johnson of Co. G, who was discharged for disability in February 1863 (months before the 154th was stationed at Alexandria following the Gettysburg campaign).

Brad Frank of Geneva, Ohio, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H. A West Point graduate (Class of 2002), Brad served for five years with the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment out of Fort Hood, Texas, and is currently serving in the National Guard. “War’s Relentless Hand really hit home following my second tour to Iraq,” Brad informed me. “I found it very interesting that through all of the years, being a soldier at war hasn’t really changed all that much. The human element seems to stand the test of time.”

Jeffrey McCracken of Oswego, New York, great-great-great-grandson of First Sergeant William H. Casten of Co. B. Casten mustered out with the regiment on June 11, 1865, presumably was discharged with the rest of the 154th at Elmira on June 23, and died from an as yet unknown cause less than two weeks later, on July 4, shortly after reaching home. He is buried in Treat Memorial Cemetery in his hometown of Leon, Cattaraugus County.

Michael Giblin of Mount Prospect, Illinois, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Addison Stone of Co. I, a Portville soldier who was sent sick to a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 1864 and was discharged there in May 1865 suffering from consumption, “with frequent attacks of hemorrhage from the lungs.” Stone survived his illness and died in Nebraska in 1904.

Dawn Bennink of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, collateral descendant of Pvt. Jackson Hoisington of Co. F, whose self-inflicted gunshot wound in the foot on October 14, 1862, led to his discharge five months later.

Jane Osborne of Fredonia, Chautauqua County, New York, great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived imprisonment at Belle Island, Andersonville, and elsewhere — and commemorated the ordeal by carving a pipe bowl featuring a palmetto, shackles, and inscriptions.

Welbie Houghton of Lyman, South Carolina, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Judson Cummins of Co. B, one of the September 1864 enlistees who joined the regiment at Atlanta and marched with Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas. Welbie lives well west of his ancestor’s track through the Palmetto State.

“Gettysburg Daily” is a graphic blog that posts photographs of the battlefield and borough on a daily basis. A recent series of postings showed Gettysburg houses that were struck by artillery fire during the battle — and the projectiles are still embedded in their walls. Two of them, the John Kuhn house at 221 North Stratton Street and the Crass-Barbehenn house across the street at 218 North Stratton, are adjacent to the site of Kuhn’s brickyard, site of the 154th New York’s battle on the afternoon of July 1, 1863. Coster Avenue, the smallest parcel of the Gettysburg National Military Park, runs off of North Stratton Street and includes that portion of the brickyard housing the regiment’s monument. Those of you who have visited the area will recognize the two houses, both of which are depicted in my Coster Avenue mural:

In his “Round Table Review” column in the December 2008 issue of The Civil War News, Matthew Borowick described my September appearances at two Civil War Round Tables in Kansas in an article titled “A Speaker’s Perspective.” On January 10 I spoke to the Roger Williams Masonic Lodge in Cumberland, Rhode Island, on “Abraham Lincoln Through the Eyes of a Civil War Regiment.” This talk is a condensed version of my presentation at our 2001 descendants reunion in Westfield, Chautauqua County, which commemorated “The Regiment and the President” in the hometown of Grace Bedell, the little girl who suggested that Lincoln grow a beard and was rewarded with a kiss from the president-elect when his train stopped in Westfield on its journey from Springfield to Washington. I’ll be giving this talk again as this Lincoln bicentennial year continues to unfold.

This edition of the newsletter is being sent to an expanded number of friends, including several Civil War historians I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or communicating with in recent years. Some background for you: In more than three decades of research and writing, I’ve had the good fortune to connect with 1,089 descendants of members of the 154th New York. I began issuing the bi-monthly newsletter in August 2005 to keep them informed of my activities to chronicle our ancestors. From the beginning, I also sent it to interested friends, many of them Western New Yorkers with a passion for history. The mailing list has since been expanded to include professional historians that I’ve met, hence the new additions. I hope you find it of interest. If you prefer not to receive it, drop me an e-mail and I’ll remove you from the mailing list.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2009

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that the 24th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, August 22, 2009, at the VFW hall in Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, New York. Our program will commemorate the regimental medical staff: Surgeons Henry Van Aernam and Dwight W. Day, Assistant Surgeons Corydon C. Rugg and George H. Bosley, Hospital Steward C. Harry Matteson, and other soldiers who cared for the sick and wounded as hospital attendants, ambulance drivers, and the like. We’ll learn about their duties and hear about their experiences in their own words. Most members of the regiment were treated by the medical staff at some point during their service, so it’s fitting that we recognize them. Please plan on joining us at the reunion to represent and remember your ancestor.

Thanks to Dorothy Farnham DeSha of Franklinville, great-great-granddaughter of Surgeon Henry Van Aernam, for making the arrangements to hold the reunion in her ancestor’s home town.

This week Academy Award-winning film maker Errol Morris is posting his essay drawn from my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston in his “Zoom” column on photography in the online New York Times. The first of the five-part piece went up March 29, so it’s midway through as of now. Take a look here:

Read the parts in order, and take a look at the comments, which are overwhelmingly positive. Leave a comment, if you’re inclined to do so. You can also communicate with Errol via the Contact page on his Web site. He’s told me that he’s thinking about the possibility of making a Humiston film. Drop him a line and encourage him:

Approximately 35 men enlisted in the Chautauqua Couty town of Charlotte to serve in what became Company F of the 154th New York. Four of the company’s veterans are buried in Sinclairville’s Evergreen Cemetery: Sgt. William J. Allen (a cenotaph; he was killed at Chancellorsville), Pvt. Blythe Erwin, Sgt. John M. Irvin, and Pvt. James Prentice. In 1909 a statue of a Civil War infantryman was donated by the G.A.R. and dedicated on Memorial Day to honor area soldiers. It stood until the 1960s, when it was stolen. Now a dedicated Sinclairville family — Diman Smith, his wife LouAnn, and their daughter Ivory Fishgold — is leading a fund raising drive to replace the statue. They’ve raised more than $4,000 to date. I’m hoping you generous 154th descendants and friends will help put them over the top. Descendants of Company F men should particularly rally to this cause. Donations can be mailed to Sinclairville Soldier Monument Fund, P.O. Box 865, Sinclairville, NY 14782. For more information e-mail LouAnn Smith at and visit the Web site at:

Work continues on The Perils of Prominence: Patrick Henry Jones in Nineteenth Century America, as I’ve tentatively titled my biography. I spent another week in New York City in February gathering material from newspapers at the New York Public Library and finding some great stuff. I also went through the papers of Horace Greeley held there and at the New York Historical Society. The famous editor of the New York Tribune was one of Jones’s political patrons and was instrumental in securing Jones’s appointment by President Grant as Postmaster of New York City. While I found some helpful references to Jones in the NYPL Greeley collection — including a significant recommendation letter to Greeley from General Sherman — it contained no correspondence between Greeley and Jones. I hope to turn up some when I examine Greeley’s papers at the Library of Congress in Washington and the New York State Library in Albany (where there are other materials to search as well). Smaller Greeley collections are scattered elsewhere, including the Fenton History Center in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, and I am checking them all. A library at the University of Rochester had no Greeley/Jones letters, but did have some letters from Jones to the New York State political boss Thurlow Weed — and so the hunting and gathering continues. During my stay in New York, my nephew Jake Rowland and his wife Allison and daughter Mia put me up again at their place in Queens, and my niece Jen Gambino and her husband Frank gave me a couple of fun evenings away from the library microfilm readers. Thanks, kids! Since my return from New York I’ve been taking notes from the material I turned up there and doing background reading, including Robert C. Williams’s fine biography Horace Greeley: Champion of American Freedom (New York University Press, 2006) and Stephen Elias’s A. T. Stewart biography. Both men figured prominently in Jones’s life, although in Stewart’s case it was as a corpse.

For an interesting story about Horace Greeley and a member of the 154th, keep reading.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Jim Scheppan of Fairfax, Virginia, collateral relative of Sgt. Ebenezer Heath of Co. F, who was severely wounded in the side on July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg and died of the effects later that month, on July 27. His remains were brought home and he was buried in Steadman Cemetery, North Harmony, Chautauqua County, New York. A funeral sermon was preached at a Presbyterian church and published in the Chautauqua Democrat on August 12, 1863. My thanks to Jim for sharing a transcription of it that he made from microfilm. The minister made some biographical remarks about Heath, quoted a chaplain who had visited him in the Eleventh Corps hospital before he died, offered his sympathy to Heath’s bereaved widow and siblings, and launched into an impassioned and bellicose defense of the Union cause and condemnation of the Confederacy. Many such sermons were preached in memory of the regiment’s deceased, but just a couple survive, so the Heath sermon is a welcome addition to the archives.

David W. Shomers of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived a lengthy imprisonment at Belle Island, Andersonville, and elsewhere before being mustered out at the end of the war at Elmira, New York. Dave kindly shared with me some documents from Smith’s pension file, including affidavits from his company comrades Cpl. Patrick Foley and Pvt. John Donnelly stating that Smith attempted to escape from Andersonville, making it as far as Fort Valley, Georgia (about 35 miles north of the prison), before he was shot in the left knee, recaptured, and returned to the stockade. (The only member of the 154th to successfully escape from Andersonville was Pvt. Sidney Moore of Co. D, as recounted in The Hardtack Regiment and Brothers One and All.)

Melody Press Sloan of Dewittville, Chautauqua County, New York, great-grandniece of Pvt. Philander B. Sickler of Co. K, a nineteen-year-old from Perrysburg, Cattaraugus County, who died of typhoid fever at a Baltimore hospital on December 28, 1862, and is buried at Loudon Park National Cemetery in that city.

Peter Mason of Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom, a collateral relative of First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K, one of only eleven members of the regiment who were listed as present for duty on every single bi-monthly muster roll during the regiment’s term of service. Peter joins a handful of descendants from countries other than the United States.

Kevin Lippert of Grand Ledge, Michigan, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Matthew Lippert of Co. I, who was captured at Chancellorsville but was with the regiment for Sherman’s campaigns, including the marches through Georgia and the Carolinas.

The New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs operates the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project. Recently the 154th New York’s regimental or state flag was featured as the “Flag of the Month.” The caption to the picture of the vandalized flag read, “On May 30, 1865, near Bladensburg, Maryland, the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry received the regimental color seen here from Governor Reuben Fenton on behalf of Cattaraugus County. Made by Tiffany & Co., the blue, silk flag features painted Revolutionary War battle scenes, including the battle at Lexington, Massachusetts from the 1863 engraving, First Blow for Liberty, by A.H. Richie, and battle honors commemorating the regiment’s entire service beginning with Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 1863. A flag restorer in 1965 sandwiched the flag between nylon net. Three years later, the flag suffered permanent damage while on loan for exhibition when someone tore away the flag’s lower fly corner and most of the fringe. The flag restorer then added blue polyester fabric and fringe to disguise the losses. State Parks textile conservators removed the 1965 netting treatment and 1968 repairs to realign displaced painted fragments and to better stabilize the painted areas.” Thanks to my relative Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, for informing me of this. The photo Mike Winey took of the flag, which appeared on page 146 of The Hardtack Regiment, is the only known image of the banner before it was mutilated. Visit the Web site at:

Thanks to Lois Lyon of Prosser, Washington, for sharing an unidentified newspaper clipping about her great-grandfather, Pvt. John Sperling of Co. K. “Wharf Rat Now Respected Iowan” tells the amazing story of Sperling, who was orphaned by the age of six, whereupon “with some other waifs he ‘bummed’ his way to Buffalo and from there to New York City, where he became a wharf rat, finding food enough to keep body and soul together in the ash and slop barrels of the better-to-do and a nest to pass the night in anywhere that offered.” John was blacking boots at the office of the New York Tribune when an editor asked him if he would like to learn to be a printer. “Sperling had never been to school a day in his life, didn’t know one letter of the alphabet, but Mr. Greeley agreed to the experiment and a letter ‘a’ was pasted on the 14-year-old boy’s hand just back of the thumb and he was instructed to look at it every time he had a chance. When this was learned another letter was substituted until all were mastered.” The article goes on to state that Sperling was in the Tribune office during the terrible draft riot of July 1863, when “a mob raided the plant, threw Sperling and other employees down the stairways, and cases of type after him.” Sperling recalled that when he enlisted in March 1865, he was allowed to take a silver quarter which was sitting on a drumhead. Not surprisingly, Sperling was a strong supporter of Greeley in his 1872 race against incumbent Ulysses S. Grant for the presidency (a race that put the aforementioned Postmaster P. H. Jones in a quandary.). Sperling died at age 89 in Rhodes, Iowa.

Thanks to Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, a frequent contributor of material to the regimental archives, for another addition — a copy of a clipping found in a Chaffee family scrapbook at the Gowanda Historical Museum. It’s from a Salamanca newspaper, the Cattaraugus Republican, of November 25, 1904, containing the address delivered by former Quartermaster Sergeant Newton A. “Dell” Chaffee at the 154th’s annual reunion in Ellicottville a couple of months earlier. In his speech, Chaffee told again the story of how the 154th got the nickname “Hardtack Regiment” by cheating the German members of its brigade in trading used coffee grounds for good hardtack. He also offered a lengthy explanation of the “fraternity of brotherhood” the men formed during their service, in a passage I wish I could have quoted from for my study of regimental esprit de corps, Brothers One and All. Chaffee closed by saying, “Do people wonder why the old soldiers persist in holding these reunions? Why they every year meet to decorate their comrades’ graves? Do they wonder at the strong bonds of comradeship existing between the veterans of the war? If they are ever called upon to experience what you passed through, which we pray God to forbid — then, and not until then, will their questions all be answered, and they will know then what true fraternity means.”

I was pleased to hear from Dr. Harry F. Thompson, Director of Research Collections and Publications at The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that the wartime letters of Sgt. Samuel DeForest Woodford of Co. I had been donated to the center by Lucille Alger and her son Barry (Woodford’s great-grandson). A year or two ago I transcribed Woodford’s letters from poor-quality copies made from microfilm at the center, shot decades ago. After tracking down the Algers, I learned that they wanted to donate the letters to an appropriate repository, and suggested the center. Woodford, who was captured twice during his service (at Gettysburg and Peach Tree Creek), spent much of his later life in South Dakota, and died in nearby Ireton, Iowa, in 1913.

Janine Smith of Fort Worth, Texas, great-great-granddaughter of the aforementioned John Adam Smith, blogs about her business of photo restoration and genealogy and has been posting about her Civil War ancestor and his regiment. Visit her blog at and check the posts beginning Wednesday, January 28, 2009. Janine informs me that a great many readers “are really loving the historical posts.” If any of you have posted information about your 154th New York ancestors on the Web, please let me know and I’ll make note of it in future newsletters.

A certificate for the discharge of Pvt. Cyrus Hamilton Hudson of Co. F was recently added via eBay to the archives. Hudson enlisted at age 23 on August 28, 1862, at Charlotte, Chautauqua County, and was discharged for disability at Washington on December 29, 1862. A tent mate described the diminutive “Ham” (5 feet, 2 inches tall) as “that little dancing Hudson.” Regimental veterans remembered him primarily as “a singer of smutty songs.” He survived whatever malady led to his discharge and died in 1899.

Another item up for bids on eBay went elsewhere. It was a walking stick presented to former Sgt. Charles W. McKay of Co. C by the G.A.R. post and Women’s Relief Corps of Wahpeton, North Dakota, in 1909. Together with First Lieutenant Stephen Welch of Co. C, McKay was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1894 for an act the two committed thirty years before — the rescue under fire of the wounded Cpl. George W. Greek of their company at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia. (We commemorated the two for their feat at our 2006 descendants reunion, held in Welch’s hometown of Allegany, Cattaraugus County.) McKay’s walking stick, with an ornate and engraved fourteen-carat gold head and a silver tip, sold for $1,000. As much as I’d like to purchase every 154th New York item that comes onto the collectibles market, I simply can’t afford to do so.

The very first piece of 154th New York history that I published was an article, “Western New York's Hardtack Heroes,” which appeared in the Buffalo Courier Express Magazine on June 30, 1974. Recently I heard from the magazine’s editor, Bob Naylor, now retired and living in Roanoke, Virginia. Astonishingly, he remembered a passage from the article, a moving quote by Pvt. Levi D. Bryant of Co. G explaining to his wife that he hadn’t sent her a souvenir of Sherman’s marches because his heart wasn’t hard enough to rob women of their little keepsakes. Bob is now writing fiction, and plans to weave a story around Bryant’s comments, which have stuck with him now for thirty-five years. The Bryant quote subsequently found its way into The Hardtack Regiment (135), and it will appear again in Marching with Sherman. (I hope to have news about that book for you next time.)


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2009

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

When the last newsletter was issued, Academy Award-winning film maker Errol Morris was in the midst of posting his five-part series, “Whose Father Was He?”, in his blog on photography in the online New York Times. The essay, based on my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, summarized the story of Amos Humiston and his family, explored how I came to write the book, and veered off on some interesting tangents. I’m very grateful to Errol for his passionate interest in the Humiston story and the sensitive and thought-provoking reflections in his essay (which might find its way into a book). Errol’s series no doubt brought the Humiston story to its widest audience yet. More than six hundred people from all around the world left comments on the five parts, almost all of them positive. The Humiston story continues to touch hearts whenever it is told — and Errol Morris told it well. If you haven’t had a chance to read “Whose Father Was He?” you can do so here:

I spent May 11 through 14 in Albany doing research in the New York State Library for my Patrick Henry Jones biography. I copied an inch-thick stack of material from newspapers, the papers of Governor and Senator Edwin D. Morgan, the wartime letters of a Cattaraugus County private of the 37th New York, city directories, and rare books. I also visited the Court of Appeals, which is housed in the building formerly known as State Hall, built in 1842. After Jones was elected Clerk of the Court of Appeals in November 1865, he carried out his official duties in State Hall until August 1868, when he was appointed by Governor Reuben E. Fenton as register of the city and county of New York to replace the deceased Charles G. Halpine (also known by his nom de plume Private Miles O’Reilly) — which gave Jones’s political career a boost. Jones apparently lived in hotels when on duty in Albany. His home is listed at Ellicottville, Randolph, and New York City in the Albany directories for 1866-1868. They were transitional years, taking him from Cattaraugus County to Manhattan via Albany as his political clout grew.

While in Albany I visited the Capitol and saw the 154th New York’s regimental flag, which together with several other New York State Civil War banners is on special display there. The descriptive signs included portraits of Lieutenant Colonel Lewis D. Warner and Captain Arthur Hotchkiss. The 154th’s flag has been stabilized by restorers, but it will forever miss its lower right corner, having lost it to the hands of a vandal in the 1960s when carelessly displayed.

As of this writing, I’ve yet to receive from Louisiana State University Press the outside reader’s report on my Marching with Sherman manuscript. The lengthy delay has been frustrating and is compounded by a recent report in The Chronicle of Higher Education which stated that the Louisiana legislature has prosed a $40 million cut in LSU’s budget. If passed, that measure could put the future of LSU Press in doubt and leave Marching with Sherman homeless. Time will tell; I’ll keep you updated here.

The Smith family of Sinclairsville, Chautauqua County, continue their efforts to raise funds to replace the Civil War statue that was stolen in the 1960s from the village’s Evergreen Cemetery. Your donation would be most welcome. Mail it to: Sinclairville Soldier Monument Fund, P.O. Box 865, Sinclairville, NY 14782. For more information e-mail LouAnn Smith at and visit the Web site at:

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Paula M. Sanders of Sweet Home, Oregon, great-great-granddaughter, and Grace A. Case of Webster, New York, great-granddaughter of Sgt. William O. Case of Co. E, who was captured at Chancellorsville, wounded slightly in the shoulder at Chattanooga, and mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end. Paula and Grace are the first descendants to represent Case on the roll; such descendants are doubly welcomed. Grace kindly shared with me copies of documents from Case’s pension file and some biographical data, welcome additions to the archives.

Scott Andersen of Weatherford, Texas, is a collateral relative and the first to represent Warner D. Shaw. Although Shaw enrolled to serve as first lieutenant and quartermaster on the organization of the regiment, for reasons unknown he was not accepted and never commissioned or mustered in. Still, he’s carried on the regimental roster compiled by the New York State Adjutant General’s Office. My thanks to Scott for providing Shaw’s vital statistics. Warner D. Shaw’s son William H. Shaw served as quartermaster of the 154th New York’s sister regiment, 112th New York, and was brevetted a captain for his work as brigade quartermaster. Warner’s nephew and namesake Warner Shaw served in the 112th as a corporal in Co. A and a clerk at brigade headquarters; he was discharged with hemorrhaging lungs in June 1863 and died in Jamestown that year. After his aborted attempt to join the 154th, Warner D. Shaw apparently never served.

The June 2009 issue of Civil War Times magazine included a feature on the “Top 10 Experiences in Gettysburg,” “The War’s Most Famous Town.” One of the ten was Coster Avenue, site of the 154th New York’s monument and my mural depicting the fighting at Kuhn’s brickyard (a portion of which was pictured). The item read, “Overlooked — Although Coster Avenue is marked on the National Park Service’s battlefield brochure, few visitors venture out to find it. Don’t make that mistake. You won’t want to miss the ‘hidden’ monuments and a large, impressive mural that depicts the fighting on July 1.”

“Dunkelman should be commended for his longtime work on the 154th, but War’s Relentless Hand is not a work of academic history,” wrote a reviewer in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Southern History (three years after the book was published). He’s right — I’m not an academic, although the book was published by an academic press. The reviewer chided me for poor documentation, purple prose, and overstating “basic facts of history.” Yet he also wrote, “Forty years of Dunkelman’s work on the regiment shines through an excellent narrative. . . . This book is an enjoyable read.”

This review is of the Jekyll and Hyde variety. I’ve been on both sides of the process. For the past decade I’ve been reviewing books for the Providence Sunday Journal (searchable at if you’re interested). Most of them have been on Civil War history but in recent years I’ve become more eclectic. I’ve been a wide-ranging reader all my life, and although I continue to read a lot of history, I like to branch out when reading for pleasure into other areas of nonfiction and the occasional novel. My latest review was of an excellent book by Andrea Wulf titled The Brother Gardeners, which examined the intercontinental trade in plants among botanists in the eighteenth century.

Finally, a reminder — the 24th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place on Saturday, August 22, 2009, at the VFW Hall in Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, New York. Our program will commemorate the regimental medical staff, which treated most of the members of the 154th at some point. Descendants of the surgeons, assistant surgeons, and other soldiers who tended the sick and wounded will read from their ancestors’ writings. Please plan on joining us at the reunion to represent and remember your ancestor. Look for an invitation to arrive via postal mail about a month before the reunion.

Reunion expenses total several hundred dollars. If you see fit to support the effort with a donation, it will be most welcome.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2009

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 24th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 22, 2009, at the VFW Post 9487 Hall in Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, New York. Our program will commemorate the regimental medical staff — the surgeons, assistant surgeons, hospital stewards, ambulance corpsmen, nurses, and other attendants who cared for the 154th’s sick and wounded. Brief biographical sketches will introduce a half-dozen of the medical staffers. We will learn about their duties and experiences in their own words, read in some cases by their descendants. Emphasis will be placed on their work at Gettysburg and in the Atlanta campaign. Their testimony will, of course, touch on some of their many patients.

At some point during their service, virtually every member of the regiment had encounters with the medical staff. Please join us in Franklinville to represent and remember your ancestor and to honor the men who looked after his well-being with dedication and compassion.

If you have photographs or relics of your ancestor you have yet to share with us, please bring them to be documented and added to the regimental archives.

Last year we did away with the registration period and the event flowed much more smoothly. We’ll do the same this year, with the program beginning promptly at 1 p.m. I hope to see you then. Here’s how to get to the Franklinville VFW:

From the North: Follow Route 16 South to Franklinville. At 2/10ths of a mile past the “Village of Franklinville” sign, turn left onto Green Street. (The Episcopal Church and Fire Hall are on either side of Green Street.) At the end of Green Street, turn left onto Pine Street and go another 2/10ths of a mile to a Y fork in the road; take the right-hand road and immediately on the left is the VFW hall and parking lot.

From Interstate 86: Take Exit 27 and follow Route 16 North approximately 14 miles. A half-mile north of the only traffic light in Franklinville, turn right onto Green Street and follow the directions as given above.

As mentioned in the last newsletter and the reunion invitation, every year I pay the substantial reunion expenses out of my own pocket and rely on donations from you to cover them. To those who responded with contributions, my sincere thanks. Your generosity is most appreciated. Other donations will be received with gratitude.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

David Edstrom of Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. William Millholen of Co. G, who was captured at Chancellorsville, shot in the finger (which was amputated) at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. David is the first descendant to represent Millholen on the roll.

Sue Clark of Vestal, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Merrick Price of Co. K, who was discharged for disability in December 1862. According to a biographical sketch and his obituary, Price obtained a furlough from Camp James M. Brown at Jamestown to return to Cattaraugus County to get married. The wife of a regimental comrade, however, stated that Price ran the guard to make his wedding date. Sue is Price’s first representative on the roll.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris has optioned the media rights to my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, paving the way for a movie based on the Humiston story. This exciting development comes ten years after the book was published. Look for more news about this as time passes.

Errol’s New York Times essay based on the book continues to draw feedback. David Heald, an Episcopal priest and hospice chaplain in Maine, writes a blog titled “My Morbid Obsession: Death in Antebellum America, the Civil War, and Today.” In his post “Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier,” Heald commented on Morris’s interpretation of the Humiston story:

http://my-morbid-obsession.blogspot.com/2009/06/gettysburgs-unknown-soldier.html

On June 23 I shared the Humiston story with an audience of senior citizens at the Attleboro (Massachusetts) Council on Aging. My presentation was recorded on video to be shown on the local public access cable channel.

After a long delay, I received the outside reader’s second report on my Marching with Sherman manuscript. It calls for more revisions, which I’m planning to address. It’s been quite a while since I went over the manuscript, and I’m looking forward to refining it. I’m bound and determined to shape it to the reader’s satisfaction, which will open the way for its publication. In the meantime, the dire fiscal threat to Louisiana State University Press mentioned in the last newsletter has abated. In fact, the Press is currently having a summer sale of its books, offering them at a discount — but on its Web site only. Brothers One and All (in paperback) is marked down to $13 and War’s Relentless Hand (in hardcover) to $23. See

Research continues for my Patrick Henry Jones biography, with investigations concentrating on his term as clerk of the New York State Court of Appeals. It was Jones’s first political office; he was elected to the post on the Republican ticket in the fall of 1865, just months after the war ended.

Civil War historian, teacher, and blogger Chris Wehner maintains a Web site called Soldier Studies, which includes a series of essays on Civil War soldiers’ lives. Chris kindly asked me to contribute to the series, which I did with a piece titled “‘With a Trembling Hand and an Aching Heart’: Letters of Notification of Death and Condolence.” Years ago I submitted an earlier version of this article to one of the popular Civil War magazines. The editor rejected it, saying it was too depressing for the readership to bear. Hearing that, I considered the article a success. You can read it here:

A letter written on April 18, 1863, by Pvt. Job B. Dawley of Co. K has been added via eBay to the archives. It’s the third Dawley letter to surface, which begs the question: What happened to the rest of his correspondence? Written on Camp John Manley printed letterhead and sent to an unknown recipient, Dawley’s letter explained that six days earlier the regiment had moved up the Rappahannock River to Kelly’s Ford (in an opening gambit of the Chancellorsville campaign), leaving Dawley behind sick. “The division hospital has been moved about 2 miles from where it was to within about ½ mile of Brooks Station,” Dawley wrote, “so I am now where I can hear the cars. I walked down to the station & back yesterday. It is the farthest I have walked & I felt about tired out when I got back.” He added, “We do not have anything here fit for a sick man to eat.” Dawley recovered and was promoted to corporal in 1864. He was captured in March 1865 during a foraging expedition in North Carolina and was executed by the enemy. I described the incident in “Death to All Foragers,” an article in the August 2002 issue of American History magazine, and it will be told again in Marching with Sherman.

Look for a reunion report in the October edition.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2009

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Every year I look forward to the annual reunion of descendants of the 154th New York with anticipation, but this year I felt some extra excitement because I knew I had put together a program that was powerful and would move people — which proved to be the case. Our 24th annual reunion was held on August 22 at the VFW hall in Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, New York. Eighty-seven descendants and friends signed in and filled the meeting room. Our program honored the regimental medical staff. I introduced the subject by describing the duties of the surgeons, hospital stewards, nurses, and ambulance corpsmen, and how other members of the regiment were assigned to assist them in caring for the sick and wounded. Then I presented biographical sketches of the medical staff officers while their descendants read passages from their writings about their work.

Surgeon Henry Van Aernam’s letters recounting the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg were read respectively by his great-granddaughters Dorothy DeSha of Franklinville and Betty Suraci of Orleans, Massachusetts. Dave Onan of Fort Myers, Florida, read an affidavit written by his great-great-grandfather, Second Lieutenant Warren Onan, who commanded the brigade ambulance corps for much of his service. A letter that Assistant Surgeon Dwight W. Day wrote after Gettysburg was read by Mike Winey in the absence of Day descendants. Mike also read some reminiscences of Assistant Surgeon Corydon C. Rugg, who fearlessly attended the wounded at Gettysburg and during the Atlanta campaign. Biographical sketches of Hospital Steward C. Harry Matteson and Assistant Surgeon George H. Bosley had to suffice, as none of their writings are known to survive. Writings by Private Emory Sweetland of Co. B, who spent most of his service as a nurse and steward in the regimental and division hospitals, were read by two of his great-grandchildren. Bob Barnes of Fredonia, Chautauqua County, quoted from Sweetland’s letters written after the battles of Gettysburg and Pine Knob, Georgia. Kathy Seber of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, read a speech Sweetland gave in the postwar years describing hospital work, and a reminiscence he made three decades after the Pine Knob fight that uncannily echoed his wartime letter — the memories being indelible. As usual, the program ended with the roll call, with all the descendants present identifying themselves and their ancestor.

My thanks to the descendants who attended and especially to those who took part in the program. In reading their ancestors’ words, they brought the quotes to life and gave them an immediacy that linked us to our ancestors’ generation. The power of those passages was made evident in the often audible responses of the audience. Special thanks to Dorothy DeSha for arranging to hold the reunion in Surgeon Van Aernam’s hometown, and to Franklinville’s VFW Post 9487 for permitting us to meet in their hall and waiving the usual rental fee.

Thanks to descendants and friends who brought items of interest to the reunion. Chris Longcore of Grand Rapids, Michigan, presented me with documents from the pension file of his great-granduncle, Pvt. Hamilton Longcore of Co. I, a Gettysburg captive who died as a prisoner of war in Richmond, where he is buried as an unknown in the Richmond National Cemetery. Chris also shared photos of a cenotaph to Hamilton in Pinewood Cemetery, Tyrone, Michigan. Grace Case of Webster, New York, fittingly shared a written postwar statement of her great-grandfather, Sgt. William O. Case of Co. E, regarding his hospitalization and treatment for chronic diarrhea and fever. Patrick Cullen, curator of the American Museum of Cutlery in Cattaraugus, brought an English-made knife that was carried during the war by Pvt. Hiram Straight of Co. C (whose complex case as a patient was coincidentally described during the program). Long-time friend Phil Palen of Gowanda brought in a postwar portrait of Cpl. John M. Dawley of Co. K that was new to us, and Mike Winey copied it for our files. Mike later sent me photos he took of the reunion crowd, as did friend Bill Watkins, deputy town historian of Machias and volunteer at the county historical museum there.

Thanks too to the many descendants who responded to my pleas for contributions to cover the reunion expenses. Despite — or perhaps because of — the depressed economy, donations this year were stronger than ever. About forty descendants and friends sent contributions, and the reunion attendees responded heartily when I passed the basket. Thanks to your generosity, the expenses were covered and some extra cash went toward other research endeavors.

Next year we will hold our 25th annual reunion, a milestone that calls for something special. If you have an idea for a reunion program, please let me know. Your input is welcome.

I spent the week preceding the reunion doing research for my Patrick Henry Jones biography at the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum in Machias, searching through old newspapers and finding a trove of material, much of it pertaining to Jones’s service with the 37th New York. A particularly exciting find was his letter of June 9, 1862, which was printed in the Cattaraugus Freeman, published in his hometown of Ellicottville. In it he stated that his brother Richard “is still in the South — perhaps in the Confederate army.” This adds credence to postwar reports by Jones’s sister and veterans of the 154th regarding Richard Jones’s service in the rebel army. Some miscellaneous materials were also added to the archives during my work at the museum, including reunion accounts and obituaries of Pvts. George Eugene Graves and Delos Phillips of Co. D.

Thanks to my aunt Floris Sarver for putting my wife Annette and me up once again at her Getzville home (our home away from home) during our stay in Western New York. We also enjoyed getting together with my old Buffalo high school friend Chris Ford and his wife Michelle and son Wesley, who were in town for a vacation. Chris was my first Civil War friend, although he came to the subject from a different perspective (his mother was descended from a Kentucky Confederate). As teenagers, Chris gave me the Gettysburg guidebook that first introduced me to the Amos Humiston story. I’ve visited a number of the 154th’s battlefields with Chris over the years, among them Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, and Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia. Chris and his family have been acknowledged in all four of my books for their kindness in putting me up at their Fairfax, Virginia, home during research trips to Washington. On their way home this summer, the Fords stopped at Gettysburg to check on my mural at Coster Avenue — which, they report, is holding up well with the exception of a few dings and some weathering.

In August I also spent three days at the O’Neill Library at Boston College, which has a run of the Boston Pilot newspaper on microfilm. Patrick Henry Jones’s father subscribed to this paper aimed at the Irish Catholic immigrant community, and it influenced him to move the Jones family (excluding Patrick) west, eventually helping to found Father Jeremiah Trecy’s colony in Dakota County, Nebraska. I found some very helpful material in this newspaper, including some reports on the Trecy colony.

A pre-reunion trip in August took Annette and I to a wedding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We took advantage of an extra day to tour the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. What does Yellowstone have to do with the 154th New York? As related in War’s Relentless Hand, the two young sons of Pvt. William F. Chittenden of Co. D fell sick with diphtheria while their father himself was sick at the front, causing Chittenden and his wife Mary Jane much mental anguish. The two boys recovered, however, (as did their father) and went on to attain prominence as adults. Hiram Martin Chittenden attended West Point (being appointed to the Academy by Congressman Henry Van Aernam) and eventually became a brigadier general in the army. As an engineer officer, he developed the road system in Yellowstone and chronicled the early years of the park in a book published in 1895. Seeing the rugged landscapes over which the park’s roads run impressed me all the more with Chittenden’s accomplishment. A bridge and a road there are named in his honor.

September was largely given over to revising my Marching with Sherman manuscript. I made considerable progress but still have a way to go. I think I’m finally on the right track with this book and I hope that will prove to be the case when the manuscript is again reviewed.

On September 17 I addressed the Olde Colony Civil War Round Table in Dedham, Massachusetts, on my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier and how it came about. It was the fourth time since 1994 that I addressed the group, and it was a pleasure to return. As usual, the story of Amos Humiston and his family moved the audience.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Jack R. Preston of Lyman, Nebraska, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Isaac Bryant of Co. H, a native Englishman who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. Isaac had four brothers who served in the Union army, including Samuel Bryant who served with him in Co. H. Jack is the 1100th descendant to be enrolled, and the first to represent Isaac Bryant. A fifth generation rancher in Lyman, Jack made the trip east and was present at our reunion. He brought two of Isaac Bryant’s wartime letters to be added to the archives. In the first, written on Christmas Day 1862, Bryant described the animosity men of Co. H felt toward their commander, Capt. John F. Nelson. “There is not one man in the Company but what hated the Capt.,” Bryant wrote. “When he comes out of his tent the men that is standing around look at each other and says there comes that G-d d–n bulldog.” Nelson “lived off the mens rations” (he was supposed to supply his own) and “would draw the mens rations of whisky and get drunk while we was on the march then he would be all the time saying close up g-d d–n you.” About three months later, on March 9, 1863, Bryant noted, “Our Capt. has got back [from a leave.] he came and shook hands with all the men in the company he acts very kind and oblidging he seems to be quite a different man now than he was when he went away.” But Nelson didn’t remain with the 154th for long; a week after Bryant wrote, he resigned his commission and was discharged.

Olin Hotchkiss of Strongsville, Ohio, great-great-grandson of Capt. John C. Griswold of Co. F, who was wounded and captured at Chancellorsville (but initially reported killed), and whose story was told in detail in War’s Relentless Hand.

Kathleen McManigle Bowersox of Fairport, New York, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Addison Stone of Co. I, who was hospitalized at Louisville, Kentucky, in March 1864 and discharged there with consumption at the close of the war.

And welcome to these descendants, enrolled at the reunion:

Kathleen M. Snyder and Bryan Snyder of Olean, New York, great-granddaughter and great-great-grandson of Pvt. George Isaman of Co. I, who enlisted at Hinsdale and was discharged for disability in February 1863 at a Washington hospital.

Dan King of St. Louis, Missouri, great-grandson of Surgeon Henry Van Aernam.

Ken DeLong of Franklinville, New York, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Edward C. Worden of Co. B, who lost a finger at Gettysburg, was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, and died in February 1865 at a hospital in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

Steve Teeft of Buffalo, New York, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. William S. Tefft of Co. C, who was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in April 1864 and was mustered out in June 1865 at Point Lookout, Maryland. Steve is director of Echoes Through Time, a military museum and learning center in Williamsville, New York, and a member of the Sons of Union Veterans and the Buffalo Civil War Round Table.

Welcome too to friend Betty Benjamin of the Lyndon Enhancement and Preservation Society. Eleven residents of this then-and-now rural Cattaraugus County town enlisted in the 154th New York; another three enrolled elsewhere. It’s good to be in touch with another group of history lovers in a regimental hometown.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2009

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The past two months I’ve been revising my Marching with Sherman manuscript. Things have been pretty quiet otherwise, affording me plenty of time to work on the book. I’ve made good progress, but still have a long way to go. I might finish it before the next newsletter, but I haven’t set any deadlines and will devote as much time as it takes to work it into proper shape.

In the meantime, three letters by Cpl. Job B. Dawley of Co. K surfaced recently, one of which I was able to use in the book. That is especially fortuitous, because Marching with Sherman describes how Dawley and a dozen or so other members of the regiment were captured while foraging in North Carolina in March 1865 and Dawley was executed by his captors. For that reason it’s especially satisfying to include Dawley’s voice in the book. I have friend William Marvel of South Conway, New Hampshire, to thank for Dawley’s letters. The author of a dozen outstanding books of Civil War history (including the best one ever written about Andersonville prison, which I’ve recommended to a number of you), Bill came across the letters at the Yale University Library, where they were misidentified as written by John B. Dawley of the 159th New York. When their content indicated to Bill that they were probably 154th New York letters, he contacted me. One of the letters has a good description of the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia; another has some fine remarks regarding the regiment’s stay in Savannah. Including these three, six of Dawley’s letters to a younger brother have been located to date, leaving me to wonder where the rest of them went. My thanks to Bill Marvel for notifying me about these letters.

Here’s a thank-you that should have appeared in the previous newsletter. At our descendants reunion in Franklinville, Phil Palen delivered to me on behalf of Dave Hornburg a panoramic photograph of a large group of Civil War veterans at the dedication of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley on September 7, 1914. Dave, who lives in Olean, has an eagle’s eye (and talons) for historical artifacts relating to the area, and somehow he obtained this rare photo. The 154th New York held its reunion in conjunction with the dedication ceremony, so there are plenty of regimental veterans in the long line of old soldiers. I know of only two other extant copies of the photo — one in the new county museum in Machias and the other in the historical museum in Phil’s hometown of Gowanda. Now a copy resides in the 154th New York archives. Many thanks to Dave Hornburg for this much-appreciated gift.

Incidentally, while I was in Western New York I did some work in Little Valley and stopped by the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building. As many of you know, it was the county historical museum from its dedication in 1914 until it was abandoned a few years ago. I started visiting the place in the early 1970s and was saddened as the years passed and the county chronically neglected the building and finally decided to abandon it and move the museum to Machias. I objected to the move on two main points. First, the Little Valley building was dedicated to the memory of the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors and consequently is Cattaraugus’s most significant Civil War monument. Second, it makes more sense to have the county historical museum in the county seat. The old building sits directly across from the county office building, where genealogical researchers have to go to research in the old deed books. We 154th descendants signed a petition at a previous reunion protesting the planned move and presented it to the county legislature, to no avail. The Little Valley building now sits abandoned. I hope my Cattaraugus contacts will keep me informed of any developments regarding it. There have been rumors that it will be torn down. If that ever happens, it will be to Cattaraugus County’s shame. That building should be preserved in memory of the county’s Civil War veterans, to whom it was dedicated.

On a related topic, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) recently announced it has received a signed contract from a landowner to purchase an 80-acre farm on the Chancellorsville battlefield for $1.525 million. The CWPT is the largest group of its type striving to save Civil War battlefields before they are lost to development — a real danger at Chancellorsville. The organization has lined up state and federal matching grants for two-thirds of the purchase price, leaving $516,667 to raise. The tract in question, the Wagner farm, incorporates the position of the Busckbeck Line north of Route 3. The Buschbeck Line consisted of Col. Adolphus Buschbeck’s 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 11th Corps (including the 154th New York), and rallied elements of the rest of the corps, which had been crushed by Stonewall Jackson’s famous flank attack on the evening of May 2, 1863. The 154th anchored the left flank of the Buschbeck Line, on what today is the 42-acre Grenn property south of the road. Our monument to the 154th New York stands on the Virginia Department of Transportation right-of-way on the south side of the highway, abutting the Grenn property. The Wagner farm stretches directly opposite the monument on the other side of the road. Preservation of the Wagner farm will go a long way, I believe, toward the eventual preservation of the Grenn property — the hallowed ground where the 154th fought. I’ve made a donation to the cause, and I hope you will see fit to do likewise. For more information about the CWPT’s effort, including maps and photos, please visit their Web site:

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Dr. C. L. M. (Chuck) Carnrike of Locust Grove, Virginia, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. William Garlock of Co. B, who was captured at Chancellorsville and deserted from the parole camp at Annapolis a couple of months later with two comrades of Co. B. Chuck lives just four miles from where his ancestor was captured.

Bill Spiking of Lees Summit, Missouri, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Thomas D. Spiking Jr. of Co. F, who served as a sharpshooter, teamster, and cook during his service. He was captured during the March to the Sea and escaped from the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Florence, South Carolina. In the postwar years Spiking claimed to have been a Union spy and attempted to publish a book about his exploits.

Michael R. Hanson of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Curtis S. Pinney of Co. D, who was captured at Gettysburg and stayed on after his release to care for his brother and company comrade Chauncey, who had been badly wounded (as recounted at our most recent descendants reunion and in Brothers One and All).

Nate Babcock of Kittery, Maine, a collateral relative of Sgt. Harrison Coe and Pvt. Edward D. Coe of Co. F. Harrison Coe was captured twice — at Chancellorsville and during the Carolinas campaign; on the latter occasion he (together with the aforementioned Job Dawley) was killed by the enemy. Edward Coe was wounded at Gettysburg and transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. An Iraq War veteran, Nate is the son of the late Joel Babcock, who arranged our joint reunion with 112th New York descendants in 2007 — and consequently Nate is descended from members of the 112th as well.

Kathie Thom of Blue Earth, Minnesota, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Martin M. Pratt of Co. B, who served most often as a teamster and mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end. Kathie keeps Pratt’s uniform buttons, spoon, and tintype on display in a special shadow box she had made to hold them.

Dawn Hoisington Bennink of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, joined the roll early this year to represent her collateral relative Pvt. Jackson Hoisington of Co. F. In the months since then, Dawn has discovered that she is related to seven other members of that Chautauqua County company: Capt. John C. Griswold, Sgt. Augustus Burnham, Cpl. James P. Skiff, and Pvts. Byron Abell, James D. Emmons, Cyrus Hamilton Hudson, and William A. Scott. In Brothers One and All I discussed the extensive kinship connections in the regiment (pages 26-7), and it would appear that some of their descendants have carried on the tradition. Several on the roll are related to more than one soldier, and there are married couples who are both descended from members of the regiment.

My best wishes to you all for a healthy and happy holiday season.



2010 Newsletters


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2010

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Another generally quiet period has provided me with plenty of time to work on revising the Marching with Sherman manuscript. After giving it one extensive overhaul, I concluded some background reading and went over my southern sources again. Now I’m going over it a final time, tying loose strands and tightening up the writing. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I should finish it before the next newsletter is issued. I’m finally on the right track with this book and I look forward to sharing future news about it.

My definition of a quiet period is this – for the first time since I started this newsletter in August 2005, two months have passed and I haven’t heard from a single “new” descendant of a member of the 154th New York. To date, in roughly four decades of work, I’ve connected with 1,112 descendants. Surely there are more out there. I often wonder how many – there must be tens if not hundreds of thousands. In any case, I could hear from one today, or tomorrow. It makes checking my e-mail exciting, never knowing when I will hear from another regimental descendant.

Much of my time during the first month of the year was spent getting used to a new computer. Having used a PC since the early 1990s, I switched to an Apple. Our son Karl Dunkelman was home over the holidays and helped me set it up. We only had serious trouble with a single file, but it was a crucial one – the regimental roster and index, which I created back in the ‘90s in the now defunct Windows application Cardfile, and had been using in a bastardized version on my last computer. About half of the 1,065 entries were transferred to the iMac, while the others disappeared. Go figure. In any case, I had to reconstruct the missing entries. To give you an idea of what that entailed, here are the first and last entries in the roster:

ABBEY, ORANGE J.

Age 21 years. Enlisted September 3, 1862, at Conewango, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. H, September 25, 1862; promoted corporal prior to April 10, 1863; captured in action July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; died of acute diarrhea, June 15, 1864, at Andersonville, Ga.; buried in Grave #2038, Andersonville National Cemetery.

Index: NA; Aldrich account; DBO; EDN; TCR Conewango; Biog.

ZIMMER, KARL

Age 26 years. Enlisted August 6, 1862, at Olean, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. C, September 24, 1862; wounded in wrist in action May 15, 1864, at Resaca, Ga.; mustered out June 3, 1865, at Louisville, Ky.

Index: C. W. McKay account; 1905; DoD; EDN.

Each soldier’s service record is drawn from the roster published in 1905 by the New York State Adjutant General, amended here and there with other details (such as Abbey’s cause of death and place of burial). The index tells me where mentions of that particular soldier are to be found, often using abbreviations to keep the entries short (NA for military and/or pension records from the National Archives, DBO for orders found in the descriptive books, EDN for the papers of Edwin D. Northrup, TCR for Town Clerk’s Records, and so on).

Needless to say it was time-consuming and tedious work to make more than 500 such entries, but at the same time I appreciated the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the men and their records. I use these records frequently – when I hear from a new descendant, for example, it’s easy for me to provide him or her with the service record. And now the roster file is formatted so that it can eventually be added to the Hardtack Regiment Web site.

Karl has maintained the Web site for me since we posted it back in 1999. In the decade since, it’s connected me to hundreds of descendants of the 154th, which has been great. I generally refrain from inserting personal news in these pages, but on this occasion I have to make an exception. On New Year’s Eve, Karl became engaged to Megan Kuntz of Winter Park, Florida. The two have known each other since their student days at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Late last year Karl moved from Texas to Orlando, where he now is a project manager for Lightmaker, a global, award winning, full service digital media company. My wife Annette and I are proud of his character and accomplishments and very pleased that he’s found the love of his life in dear Megan. We’re looking forward to the Dunkelman/Kuntz wedding (no date set yet).

Thanks to Jim Scheppan of Fairfax, Virginia, for sharing the pension file of Lucy Heath, widow of Jim’s collateral relative, Sgt. Ebenezer Heath of Co. F, who was mortally wounded at Gettysburg. Lucy Heath was granted an $8 per month pension on her husband’s death. Thanks too to Jim for a DVD of photos he took during two trips to Gettysburg, including pictures of the 154th’s monument at Coster Avenue and my adjacent mural depicting the regiment’s fight.

Thanks to Kathie Thom of Blue Earth, Minnesota, for sharing a wartime photograph of her great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Martin M. Pratt of Co. B. Pratt was a teamster for much of his service and he wore a pair of heavy gloves with large gauntlets to pose for his portrait.

Thanks to Bill Spiking of Lees Summit, Missouri, for sharing copies of the pension documents of his great-great-granduncle, Pvt. Thomas D. Spiking Jr. of Co. F. This file is particularly valuable in that it includes official records that reveal Spiking was captured during the March to the Sea at Sylvania, Georgia, on December 3, 1864, and was paroled at Wilmington, North Carolina, on February 10, 1865. Neither Company F’s muster rolls nor other sources documented Spiking’s capture, so it’s great to know about it — and to be able to mention it in Marching with Sherman. (Only one other member of the regiment, Pvt. Leonard L. Hunt of Co. B, was captured during the march through Georgia, although three others were nabbed during the siege of Savannah.) Bill also kindly provided DeKalb County, Missouri, probate court records that show (as do documents in the pension file) that Tom Spiking was assigned a guardian and admitted to the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2 in St. Joseph in his later years.

Thanks to Charles R. Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, great-grandson of Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A, for presenting me with a copy of a book titled Sherman Takes Savannah by H. Ronald Freeman (Savannah: Freeport Publishing, 2007) – a book I was unaware of until Charles informed me of it.

Thanks too to my friend and fellow Rhode Island Civil War Round Table member Wayne Rowe of Tiverton, Rhode Island, who returned from a Remembrance Day trip to Gettysburg with photos of the 154th’s monument and my mural at Coster Avenue, and of Amos Humiston’s headstone, monument, and visitors’ center display. Wayne also shared a Humiston account from a book that was new to me – one of many that has been published since Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier came out in 1999.

Finally, my thanks go to those of you who sent me holiday greetings, often accompanied by kind comments about my work. I appreciate your good wishes and support!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2010

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that the 25th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, 2010, at the Seneca Theater at 10 Main Street in downtown Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, New York. Our program will commemorate the regiment’s role in the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864. Although much smaller in both scale and loss than the 154th’s battles with the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, Dug Gap – fought only four days after the opening of the Atlanta campaign – cost the regiment more casualties than any other action it engaged in while serving in the western theater. Approximately 240 soldiers were present and 55 of them were killed, wounded, or captured, a 23% casualty rate. Veterans took pride in the 154th’s part in the battle, during which the national colors were planted atop the mountain and rescued after several bearers were killed or wounded. In the postwar years two veterans of Co. C, Stephen Welch and Charles McKay, were awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing a wounded comrade while under fire at the battle (as remembered at our 2006 reunion in Allegany).

William E. Goodman, 154th descendant and Town of Salamanca Historian, kindly made the arrangements to hold the reunion at the Seneca Theater, and negotiated to have the rental fee reduced by half. Thanks for your help, Bill! Bill’s great-granduncle, Pvt. Jefferson A. Goodman of Co. A, was captured at Dug Gap and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville. (When we commemorated the regiment’s Andersonville prisoners at our 1997 reunion at the Seneca Theater, Bill took part in the program.) In the postwar years, our veteran ancestors held most of their regimental reunions in Salamanca – it was a rail hub and consequently easy to get to – and it seemed appropriate for us to hold our milestone 25th reunion there too. Look for more details about the event in future newsletters. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions. And please plan on joining us in Salamanca on August 14 to represent and remember your ancestor of the 154th New York.

After half a year of steady work, I finished revising my Marching with Sherman manuscript at the end of February and sent it off to LSU Press in early March. The book combines four strands of the literature on Sherman’s campaigns – accounts in regimental histories, studies from the southern perspective, newly emerging examinations of myths and legends of the marches, and accounts by postwar travelers along the route – to form a new hybrid. I think this approach frames the overall picture nicely, and I’m pleased with the result. Now to await the outside reader’s report.

Long time readers of this newsletter know that this book has had a rough time on the road to publication. I’ve been working on it for years and (having had an easy time with my previous two books) had not expected the difficulties. I’ve now been requested to revise it twice. I shipped copies of a draft to LSU Press in Baton Rouge in August 2008 just before Hurricane Gustav hit and drove the press’s staff out of their offices, in the process of which the manuscripts were lost. Then there was an inordinate wait for the outside reader’s second report. But I hope the largest obstacles are behind me. LSU Press has published my last two books and I trust they will eventually publish this one, even if I have to revise it two more times. This book is a particularly neat fit with them in that William Tecumseh Sherman was the first superintendent of the military academy that evolved into Louisiana State University. Look for more news about Marching with Sherman in future newsletters.

After a short break to catch up on some routine business, I got back to work on the Patrick Henry Jones biography, taking notes from the Boston Pilot material I gathered last year. It’s a rich source on the tangential tale of the Jones family in Iowa and Nebraska. When I finished that work, I started taking notes from the Cattaraugus County newspaper material I copied last summer at the county historical museum in Machias. It’s a treasure trove for information on Jones’s Civil War service as well as other aspects of his life.

An interesting item came to me from Tanya Sheehan, a photographic historian at Rutgers University, whose forthcoming book Doctor Photo: The Medicine of Photography in American Culture mentions the Humiston story. In her research, Tanya read through the complete run of The Philadelphia Photographer, a journal whose first issue (January 1864) included a poem on the Humiston story. It was written before Amos Humiston was identified by means of the photograph of his children, which it misidentified as a carte de visite rather than an ambrotype. I referred to the poem in Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier (144 n.9, 168). Tanya discovered a significant second Philadelphia Photographer article in the August 1865 issue. Titled “The Story of a Carte de Visite,” it’s a first-person account of the manufacturing of one of those photos, from its birth in a Prussian paper works to finished product, given in extensive and complex detail. Along the way we find “faint lines could be discovered; now the plaid in a little dress, and immediately little hands and feet and faces, and as if coming up from a mist, three beautiful children appeared seated close beside each other.” Much more processing takes place before we are asked at the end, “Need I tell you more?” The carte then proceeds to reveal it is a famous one indeed. “How I was placed in the breast pocket of one of our noble heroes, as he left his darling trio and their precious mother, to go defend his flag and their homes from the invader? How he kissed me, and pressed me to his bosom before and after battle, and how the hot tears often fell upon me? How the relentless bullets came along, whispering death and destruction and sparing me entered his noble breast, and felled him to the earth? How his eager hands grasped me, and held me before his eyes until his last prayer for them was sent to heaven? Need I tell you all this? Nay! the story is an old and never-to-be-forgotten one. Your first issue told the tale; I need not repeat it . . .” The Humiston name was never mentioned. The fame of the story and the children’s unforgettable faces had rendered their identity unnecessary. It’s surprising that a local and technical professional journal would twice misidentify the type of photograph Amos Humiston was found with, but so it happened. Thank you, Tanya, for sharing this interesting article.

On February 8 I had the pleasure of addressing a receptive group of residents of the Epoch Assisted Living facility here in Providence on “President Lincoln Meets the Boys,” quoting from soldiers’ letters regarding Lincoln’s April 1863 review of the 11th Corps and the assassination. I particularly enjoyed talking with one gentleman in attendance that knew his Civil War history.

On February 13 I was pleased to be one of twenty descendants of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H present at the 90th birthday party of one of them, my aunt Floris Dunkelman Sarver, in Getzville, New York, outside of Buffalo. Another forty or fifty relatives and friends were on hand for the celebration. Those of you who have attended our 154th New York descendant reunions are familiar with my aunt – she has only missed one of the two-dozen to date (if I remember correctly). As I explain in the very personal introduction of Marching with Sherman, Floris and my late father, Harold Dunkelman, grew up on a farm in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, with their parents and maternal grandfather Langhans. The stories he told them during their youth about marching with Sherman, and the relics they inherited after their parents’ deaths, were the catalysts that inspired my lifelong study of the 154th. I regret that my father – who died in 1972 – did not live long enough to see the results of my work. On the other hand, I’m very pleased that Aunt Floris has been around to see it all. I treasure her as my living link to John Langhans and the 154th, and a wonderful surrogate parent to my sister Amy Dunkelman Rowland and me. I’m looking forward to seeing Aunt Floris again this summer and having her with us at yet another reunion to represent our ancestor.

At first I thought I’d keep it a secret until the book was published. Then I thought about telling her at her big birthday party. But for some reason, now seems like the right time to let my Aunt Floris – a dedicated reader of this newsletter – know that I’ve dedicated Marching with Sherman to her. It’s really a small token of my appreciation for all she’s done for me over the years. I love you, Aunt Floris!

On St. Patrick’s Day I addressed the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table (a group I founded in 1992 and have largely led ever since) at the William Hall Library in Cranston on “Patrick Henry Jones: Forgotten Irish Hero.” I’ve talked to them on each of my books and find them to be a helpful focus group, so to speak. I outlined the biography for them and they all agreed I have a story to tell.

Thanks to Christopher Odegard of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for sharing a photo of a veteran’s identification badge worn in the postwar years by Franklin Weaver, former private of Co. F. Chris’s wife is Weaver’s great-granddaughter.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Terry Sweeney of Alden, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Hiram Keith of Co. H, who was hospitalized for much of his service but recovered in time to make the marches under Sherman.

Martha Maxon “Marti” West of Minburn, Iowa, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Malcolm McKeig of Co. E, who spent much of his service on detached duty as a butcher in the regimental, brigade, division, and corps commissary departments.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2010

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

During the past two months, work on the Patrick Henry Jones biography gave way to preparations for our upcoming reunion. As announced in the April newsletter, the 25th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, 2010, at the Seneca Theater, 10 Main Street, Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, New York. Our program will commemorate the regiment’s role in the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864.

Descriptions of the battle by the following members of the regiment will be read at the reunion: Cpl. Thomas R. Aldrich, Co. B; Lieut. Col. Dan B. Allen; Cpl. Marcellus W. Darling, Co. K; Cpl. Job B. Dawley, Co. K; First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden, Co. G; Pvt. Charles W. McKay, Co. C; Pvt. James D. Quilliam, Co. E; Pvt. Henry J. Rice, Co. F; and Major Lewis D. Warner.

I always like to involve descendants in the program, so I’m seeking nine volunteers to read these brief passages. You need not be related to one of the above named soldiers to volunteer, but preference will be given to their descendants. Please volunteer only if you are certain you can attend the reunion and honor the commitment. I will send you the passage in advance so you can familiarize yourself with it. I hope you’ll see fit to take part in the program, and I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Reunion invitations will be mailed in mid-July. Of the 832 descendants currently on the roll, I only have e-mail addresses for 386, fewer than half. Consequently I continue to send invitations by postal mail to reach everyone, including roughly 50 friends of the regiment.

Printing and mailing the invitations, having the souvenir ribbons made, and paying a rental fee for the theater total several hundred dollars in expenses that I pay out of my own pocket. If you would like to make a contribution to help defray those costs, it would be most welcome.

I’ve prepared an 11” x 17” illustrated information sheet about the Dug Gap battle that will be given to everyone attending the reunion. I’ll also send one to everyone who makes a donation, or sends me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and requests one.

Our 25th Annual Reunion is a significant milestone, and I hope we have a large turnout in Salamanca. Please consider joining us then to represent and remember your ancestor of the 154th New York.

I finished taking notes from the Cattaraugus County newspapers for the Jones biography. I had thought about going to Washington this spring to do research at the Library of Congress, but circumstances prevented it. I’m hoping to get there this fall. In the meantime, I intend to start writing the Civil War chapters, for which research is largely complete.

Thanks to long-time friend Ronda Pollock of the Portville Historical and Preservation Society in Portville, Cattaraugus County, for an unidentified newspaper article about the dedication of a “Soldier’s Memorial Tablet” in the Portville Presbyterian Church in 1896. The bronze plaque lists the names of 175 Portville men who served in the Civil War, including, of course, members of the 154th New York. About 175 veterans attended the dedication ceremony, including Col. Lewis D. Warner of Portville. We held our 1999 reunion in the church, which figured in the Amos Humiston story – the topic of that year’s program.

Martha Maxon “Marti” West of Minburn, Iowa, kindly forwarded scans of two wartime photographs of her great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Malcom McKeig of Co. E. The originals (which appear to be tintypes) belong to a cousin. One of them is a standard portrait of McKeig; the other depicts him with his two young daughters. Mike Winey and I have found plenty of postwar photos of 154th New Yorkers with their families, but this is the first wartime photo to turn up of a member of the regiment posing with his children. (Excluding the one of father and son Asa and Calvin Brainard, sergeant and private in Co. F, reproduced in Brothers One and All.) It’s a particularly touching pose, and makes one thankful that McKeig survived the war to return to his little girls.

McKeig’s brings to 244 the number of individual members of the regiment for whom a portrait has been located and copied – 23% of the total of 1,065 men who served. Of the 244, 104 men posed as soldiers in wartime portraits. There are multiple portraits of many of the individuals – thirteen of First Lieutenant Alex Bird of Co. F alone, from his army days to his later years. Mike Winey and I have long thought that most of the men were photographed at some point in their lives, so there are a lot more portraits to be located. It’s an exciting prospect – you never know what’s going to turn up. Thanks to Marti West for bringing Malcom McKeig’s image to light.

By coincidence, three descendants sent me pictures of the 154th New York’s monument and my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg. Bob and Betty Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, sent photos from a recent visit, including shots of the Amos Humiston memorial on North Stratton Street and his grave marker in the National Cemetery. Bob is a great-grandson of Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A; Betty is a great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Augustus V. Laing of Co. H. Pat Bass of Clearwater, Florida, had her grandson, Jason Wohlfehrt, e-mail a set of 27 photos. Pat is a great-grandniece of Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E, who was wounded in the head at Gettysburg but recovered, only to be mortally wounded during the Atlanta campaign. Finally, Frances Ortwein of Buffalo, New York, great-grandniece of Pvt. Eason W. Bull of Co. D, sent a DVD of video footage shot during a visit in 1993. Bull wasn’t present at Gettysburg – he had died of disease four and a half months earlier at winter camp. Thanks to Bob and Betty, Pat and Jason, and Fran for sharing this material.

Thanks to friend Joe Rokus of Locust Grove, Virginia, great-grandnephew and namesake of a soldier of the 29th New York (which was brigaded with the 154th), for sending photos and a report on our monument to the 154th at Chancellorsville – something Joe has done periodically over the past few years. The monument remains in great shape and when Joe went by again a day or two later, the area around it was freshly mowed. Joe kindly left a small American flag by it, which is much appreciated.

A disappointment occurred on April 17, when a broadside announcing the regiment’s fourth annual reunion sold on eBay for $485 – but not to me. I wonder if the buyer has a connection to the 154th, or to a member of Companies H and I of the 37th New York. (Those companies held their annual reunions in conjunction with the 154th.) The flyer advertised a two-day event at the end of July 1891 at Lime Lake, featuring a basket picnic, “good instrumental and vocal music,” addresses by veterans and local dignitaries, and reduced fare on all railroads for the veterans. It’s only the second reunion broadside I’ve seen. The other, announcing the first annual reunion, is pictured in Brothers One and All. I put in what I thought was a substantial bid for the broadside, but to no avail. Needless to say, it’s extremely disappointing to me when the rare 154th New York item that comes on the market goes elsewhere.

A happier transaction occurred on April 29, when I purchased a postwar portrait of Capt. Joseph B. Fay of Co. E for $20 on eBay. Old friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, tipped me off to the image. The seller found it in a photograph album of members of the New York State Assembly in 1867. She tore the album apart and cut up the photos to offer them for sale, two by two (there’s one on each side of the page; Fay is paired with an assemblyman from New York City), at twenty bucks a pop. It is deplorable that she demolished this intact and no doubt rare album, but in this case I can’t really complain – I’m pleased to have Fay’s image at such a reasonable price. There are three wartime images of Fay in the 154th New York portrait albums, and another postwar pose.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

William R. Shomers of East Otto, Cattaraugus County, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived lengthy imprisonments at Belle Island and Andersonville.

Cassie Sweet of Reston, Virginia, great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. James R. Sweet of Co. A. He enlisted at Carrollton and was discharged for disability in March 1863 at a Washington hospital.

Cy Goodremote of Springville, New York, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Eason W. Bull of Co. D, who died of disease at the regimental hospital Near Brooks Station, Virginia, in February 1863 and is buried in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery.

John Thomas of Spokane, Washington, great-great-grandson of Pvt. James MacFarling of Co. D, who was captured at Gettysburg and paroled, only to be wounded during the Atlanta campaign while on the skirmish line on June 18, 1864. “He was struck by a musket ball just above the ankle,” Major Lewis D. Warner wrote, “the ball lodging between the bones.” MacFarling’s wound resulted in an amputation and his discharge. John is the first to represent him on the roll.

Cindy Welch of Cincinnati, Ohio, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Calvin Brainard of Co. F, who enlisted with his father, Sgt. Asa Brainard, forming one of eight pairs of fathers and sons who served in the regiment. The Brainards were both eventually transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. As mentioned above, their photo – courtesy of descendant Sandra Chase of my first hometown, Williamsville, New York – appeared in Brothers One and All.

Penelope Farlee Anderson of Henderson, Nevada, a great-granddaughter of William A. Farlee, a freckle-faced young private of Co. H who during the course of the war was promoted to sergeant, sergeant-major, and first lieutenant and adjutant, and the brevet rank of captain.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2010

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Approximately 850 invitations to the 25th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York went into the mail about two weeks ago. I’m hoping for a strong turnout on this milestone occasion. Our program will start promptly at 2 p.m. I will give some background on the circumstances leading up to the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia (May 8, 1864). Then we will listen to ten readings by descendants and friends from accounts of the battle by members of the regiment. Here’s the lineup:

Mike Winey of Mechanicsburg, Pa., my co-author of The Hardtack Regiment, will read the official report of Lieut. Col. Dan B. Allen, written the day after the fight. Deborah Wilcox Mabry of Fairport, N.Y., will read the postwar memoir of her great-great-grandfather Cpl. Thomas R. Aldrich of Co. B. Elaine Zimmer of Schenectady, N.Y., will read a letter from Cpl. Marcellus W. Darling of Co. K. Elaine is collaterally related to two other soldiers who, like Darling, were from Leon: Quartermaster Edgar Shannon and First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K. Bill Shomers of East Otto, Cattaraugus County, a great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Adam Smith of Co. K, will read a letter from Smith’s company comrade Cpl. Job B. Dawley. Long-time friend and historical researcher Phil Palen of Gowanda, N.Y., will read from letters of First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden of Co. G. Friend and genealogical researcher Mary Bridges of Amherst, N.Y., will read from a postwar memoir by Pvt. Charles W. McKay of Co. C. Tom Dibble of East Amherst, N.Y., will read a letter by his great-granduncle Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E. Kathleen McManigle Bowersox of Fairport, a great-granddaughter of Cpl. Addison Stone of Co. I, will read a letter by Pvt. Henry J. Rice of Co. F that was published in the Fredonia Censor. Jean Goto of New York City will read a letter written by her great-great-great-grandfather Maj. Lewis D. Warner. Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, N.Y., like me a descendant of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, will read a newspaper account of a 1910 visit to the old Dug Gap battlefield by a party of regimental veterans, including our ancestor.

After Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, Dug Gap was the regiment’s third costliest battle. Like those two much larger engagements, Dug Gap was a decisive tactical defeat for the regiment. Still, it was remembered as a proud moment in the 154th’s history. Under great duress, the regiment had reached the palisades at the crest of the mountaintop and planted its colors atop them. A string of heroes had been killed and wounded trying to rescue the fallen flag. The fortunate corporal who carried it off unscathed was promoted to sergeant on the spot and carried the banner for the rest of the war. Meanwhile, two members of the regiment carried off a badly wounded comrade under fire and in the postwar years received the Medal of Honor for their act – the only members of the regiment to be thus awarded. At the reunion, the words of the soldiers themselves will describe it all.

The program will close with the traditional roll call, in which the attendees will identify themselves and their ancestors. This is the true heart of the reunion, when each of us can salute the memory of our 154th New York ancestor. I hope you’ll be with us in Salamanca to represent and remember yours.

My sincere thanks to the 25 descendants and friends who have sent donations to help cover the reunion costs. Your generous support is much appreciated!

A few days before the reunion, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11, I’m giving a talk at the Olean Public Library, 134 North Second Street. My topic will be “Adventures of a Civil War Historian,” and I’ll be relating some great stories of unusual happenings during my years of research. The event is open to the public and I hope to see you there. My thanks to Tom Krampf of Hinsdale, a collateral descendant of Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones, who made the arrangements.

On our way to a wedding in Florida, my wife, Annette, and I made a stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to visit her brother. By prearrangement, I had made a date to tour the 154th New York’s area battle sites with James H. Ogden III, Historian at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Oddly, it wasn’t until we were flying south from Providence that a thought occurred to me: We were going to be within roughly forty miles of Rocky Face Ridge, and a side trip into Georgia was imperative. So on the morning of June 8, Annette and I took I-75 South from Chattanooga to Exit 333 for Dalton, Georgia. After lunch, we drove up Rocky Face Ridge on the Dug Gap Battle Road. On our way up the rugged mountainside, we passed the Dalton/Whitfield County Convention Center and a road running to a wannabe housing development, indicating the mountain’s rough terrain isn’t immune to development threats. At the ridge’s crest, we came to the 2.5 acres of the Dug Gap Battle Park, preserved by the Whitfield County Historical Society and the Dalton Civil War Round Table. Beyond a small parking area, paths through the woods lead to sections of the palisades of immense boulders that give the ridge its name, as well as some intact Confederate breastworks.

This was my third visit to the Dug Gap battlefield. My first occurred in 1970. Annette and my old Buffalo friend and fellow Civil War enthusiast Chris Ford accompanied me. Chris was living in Kentucky at the time, and when Annette and I visited him, the three of us decided to make a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Chattanooga and Dug Gap battlefields. My second visit occurred in November 1983, when I climbed the ridge following the 154th’s path, guided by the president of the Dalton CWRT. The day was cool, the trees were leafless and the underbrush had withered, making for a relatively easy climb. On this my third visit, a month to the day following the anniversary of the battle, the weather was hot, the undergrowth was tangled, the terrain was treacherous, and I was 27 years older, so I didn’t cover as much ground. Still, it was good to be at Dug Gap just two months before our commemoration of the battle at the reunion, and to realize once again what an impossible task it was for the regiment to take that mountain, the most challenging battlefield terrain our ancestors ever encountered. Here are a couple of views of the typical huge, jutting boulders that make up the palisades:

palisades boulders

palisades boulders alt

From Dug Gap we drove back to Chattanooga in time to meet Jim Ogden in a downtown parking lot at 4 p.m., as arranged. Jim then kindly gave us five hours of his time and led us on a step-by-step tracing of the 154th New York’s movements in the October 28, 1863, skirmish at Wauhatchie and the November 23-25, 1863, Battle of Chattanooga. The hill the regiment charged at Wauhatchie (see page 92 of The Hardtack Regiment) has survived the passage of time largely unscathed, but it is private property owned by the railroad (which has clipped off one of its corners) and off limits to the public. In this view taken from the back of a WalMart parking lot, the hill appears in the center, with Lookout Mountain looming over it in the background to the right:

hill

With the exception of a large swath of Lookout Mountain (where the 154th New York did not fight), National Park Service holdings on the Chattanooga battlefields are piecemeal and tiny. The city has covered many of the sites of troop movements and encounters, with just a few scattered C&CNMP “reservations” marked with monuments to be found. (Jim surprised me by stating that no Civil War-era building is still standing in the city of Chattanooga.) The 154th’s primary action in the battle occurred in skirmishing near Citico Creek on November 23 and 24, 1863. The site of that action has long since disappeared under Chattanooga’s extensive rail yards. Of all of the 154th New York’s battlefields, this one has been the most permanently and irretrievably altered:


From this sad landscape Jim led us to the area where the old Western and Atlantic Railroad skirted Chickamauga Creek, where the 154th moved to on November 25 as the battle closed:

railroad crossing

From there we headed back toward downtown and made our final stop at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, where we visited the graves of the seven members of the 154th known to be buried there. The cemetery is in a beautiful hilltop location with sweeping views in all directions. As the sun was setting, Jim led me to the various headstones to pay my respects. Here is one example, Grave #1770, Section F, which contains the remains of Cpl. James Monroe Carpenter of Co. K, who died of disease on July 20, 1864, in a Chattanooga hospital:

James M Carpenter Grave

The cemetery visit was the perfect way to end a great tour. I thank Jim Ogden for the generous gift of his time and expertise in giving me such a thorough introduction to the Chattanooga area sites of the 154th New York. It is greatly appreciated.

I’m still waiting to receive what I’m told will be the final report on my Marching with Sherman manuscript—which will call for drastic cutting in its length. In the meantime, I’ve started writing my Patrick Henry Jones biography. As I anticipated, my thorough and digitized note taking is making the composition flow smoothly. I still have to get to Washington to dig up more sources that will inform the postwar chapters of the book, but in the meantime I can get a lot done on the antebellum and Civil War years.

Thanks to friend Tanya Sheehan of Rutgers University for a transcript of an article on “The Children of the Battlefield” from the July 2, 1864, issue of The Christian Recorder, an African-American newspaper published in Philadelphia. The article quotes in full James G. Clark’s prize-winning poem and song.

Thanks to Cattaraugus County Historian Sharon Fellows for copies of the 1865 diary of Cpl. William E. Jones of Co. F, one of a group of Welshmen from Freedom, Cattaraugus County, who formed a small ethnic enclave in the regiment. It’s particularly gratifying to add Jones’s diary to the archives, because it had only recently been recovered after having been stolen from the museum last year. Together with other materials, the diary was donated to the museum in 2007 by Jones’s great-grandson Donald Wilcox of Cortland, New York, who now lives in Gettysburg. In transcribing it, I found that it opens with Jones at home on a furlough. He had been captured at Gettysburg and endured imprisonment at Belle Island and Andersonville before being released. Late in January Jones traveled to the Parole Camp at Annapolis, Maryland; in February he was transferred to Camp Distribution in northern Virginia, and later that month he was shipped to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he remained until mid-April, when he sailed to Wilmington, North Carolina, and proceeded overland to Raleigh, where he rejoined the 154th. He remained with the regiment thereafter until its muster-out and return home. A few days after he reached home, his mother died. E. D. Northrup interviewed Jones in 1893 and copied his diary entries covering his imprisonment, so he is a well-documented member of the regiment.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Two descendants of Lieut. Col. Lewis D. Warner: Jean Goto of New York City, great-great-great-granddaughter, who will read his account of Dug Gap at the reunion, and great-great-granddaughter Martha Clancy of East Otto.

Marilyn Hintz of the Cattaraugus County seat, Little Valley, great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H.

I hope to see you at the reunion!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2010

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Approximately 115 descendants and friends of the 154th New York gathered on August 14 at our 25th Annual Reunion to commemorate the service of our ancestors at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864. Thanks to all who turned out and to Bill Goodman for making the arrangements to hold the reunion at the Seneca Theater in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, New York. Bill is related to Pvt. Jefferson A. Goodman of Co. A, who was captured during the battle and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Georgia.

Thanks to the volunteers who read passages from soldiers’ letters describing the battle: Mike Winey of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Deborah Wilcox Maybry of Fairport, New York; Elaine Zimmer of Schenectady, New York; Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York; Mary Bridges of Amherst, New York; Tom Dibble of East Amherst, New York; Kathleen McManigle Bowersox of Fairport, New York; Jean Goto of New York City; and Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, New York. They all did an excellent job in reading the soldiers’ expressive accounts. Reading the soldiers’ words, the readers took us back to that day in May 1864 on a Georgia mountaintop.

Over and over, the letters stressed the difficulty of climbing the steep slope under fire, the regiment’s charge on the palisades at the crest, and the fight to save the flag after Sgt. George Bishop of Co. C was killed planting it on the summit. Pvt. Henry J. Rice, for example, wrote two days after the battle and his letter was published in the Fredonia Censor on June 8, 1864. There are no Rice descendants on the roll, so Kathie Bowersox read Henry’s letter at the reunion: “Dear Friends: Thank God, I have once more a chance to write to you. I have once more passed through the ‘leaden hail.’ When we were about two miles from Shell Rock Mountain, we formed a line of battle, sent out skirmishers, and then followed them up. Our skirmishers met no opposition until they got to the foot of the mountain; then the Rebs let them have it, and they waited till we came up. The hill was very steep and covered with loose stones and scrub oaks, and our men were nearly tired out when they got there. Well, we started up the mountain. At a short distance from the foot, Henry Munger was shot through the neck; he was not three feet from me at the time. We advanced slowly, and kept concealed as much as possible, for every time a man showed himself, the Rebs were sure to shoot at him. At last a few of us got to the top ledge and lay there. Not a man dared show himself. Colonel Allen, who was with us, ordered us to charge. He gave the word and up we went. When we rose up they fired a terrible volley into us. I succeeded in reaching the top and ran to a little tree a few feet in advance. The color bearer came up and was shot through the head. A corporal who lay by the side of me caught the colors and jumped back behind the ledge of rock. In a few moments I looked around and saw that the line had broken and was retreating down the hill, the Rebs pouring a shower of lead after them. I got down the hill as quick as I could. I fell and hurt me some, but not a bullet touched me.” The 154th suffered 55 casualties out of about 240 men engaged in the battle, roughly one out of every four. (Henry Munger, a private of Co. F, died January 8, 1865, at a hospital in Madison, Indiana.)

Thanks to the many people who made donations toward the reunion costs. Forty-five descendants and friends sent checks and the reunion attendees contributed substantially in cash. To all who helped, your generosity enabled me to recoup my expenses and tackle some other work. I very much appreciate your kindness.

As usual, Mike Winey had his copy stand and camera set up at the reunion and this year he copied photos of two members of the 154th, both of them new to our portrait albums. Thanks to Bob Everts of North Chili, New York, for sharing a late-in-life portrait of his great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Moses B. Lamb of Co. G, and to Michael Giblin of Mount Prospect, Illinois, for bringing a photo of Cpl. Addison Stone of Co. I posed with his wife and four sons circa 1895. It’s great to put faces to Lamb and Stone’s names.

I’m out of reunion ribbons, but I still have a dozen of the information sheets that picture and describe the Battle of Dug Gap. If you’d like one, send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I’ll mail one to you.

A few days before the reunion, on August 11, I gave a talk titled “Adventures of a Civil War Historian” at the Olean Public Library. It recounts unusual events that have happened to me during my decades of work on the 154th New York—starting with my discovery of Mike Winey’s master’s thesis in Cooperstown, New York, on my birthday in 1970, and going from there. The crowd seemed to enjoy it. I gave the talk a second time on September 16 to the Olde Colony Civil War Round Table in Dedham, Massachusetts. They seemed to like it too. They’re going to broadcast it on their local cable channel. I’m thinking “Adventures” might make a good reunion program one of these years.

During my time in western New York I visited the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum in Machias. Their holdings include a diary, some letters, and two portraits of William E. Jones, one of the Welsh men from Freedom who served together in Co. F. As reported in a previous newsletter, I had already transcribed the diary. Now Curator Brian McClellan permitted me to copy the two pictures. (Thanks, Brian!) One was already a copy print, made from a wartime image. The other is a tintype of Jones as a postwar civilian. Jones descendant Donald Wilcox, who donated the materials to the museum, lives in Gettysburg. Jones was one of the many members of the regiment who were captured at Gettysburg and endured lengthy imprisonments at Belle Island, Andersonville, and elsewhere.

Speaking of Gettysburg, I made my first visit there in several years from September 30 to October 4 to attend the 10th Annual Image of War Seminar sponsored by the Center for Civil War Photography (CCWP). I’m a charter member of the group, but this is the first of their seminars that I’ve attended. It featured excellent presentations and battlefield tours by Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith, Garry Adelman of the Civil War Preservation Trust, Wayne Motts, director of the Adams County Historical Society, CCWP President Bob Zeller, and CCWP Director John Richter. I had met or corresponded with all of them except Garry and it was nice to renew acquaintances. A highlight of the seminar was a three-hour talk by William A. Frassanito, the photo historian extraordinaire, describing the occurrences that led to the publication of his landmark book Gettysburg: A Journey in Time. Bill was one of my advisors during the development of my Coster Avenue mural and it was good to see him again after the passage of quite a few years. I also enjoyed meeting and talking with North Carolinian Rick Walton, historian of the 6th North Carolina, a regiment that fought the 154th at Kuhn’s brickyard on the First Day at Gettysburg.

As soon as I arrived in Gettysburg I made a beeline, as usual, for Coster Avenue. The mural is showing some wear and my artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I have to get back to Gettysburg before too long to do some maintenance work on it. I want it to look as good as possible for the 150th anniversary of the battle in 2013.

My thanks to friends Paul Kallina and Carolyn Quadarella for once again welcoming me to stay at their North Stratton Street home, which is just a few doors away from Coster Avenue. I’ve stayed with them every time I’ve been in Gettysburg ever since they invited me to make a presentation about the mural to the Lincoln Group of D.C. in 1999. They also put Johan and me up for two weeks when we restored the mural in 2001. I’ve always enjoyed their company and needless to say it’s great to be able to stay so close to Coster Avenue, a place that means so much to me. Thanks, Paul and Carolyn!

During my time in Pennsylvania I did research for my Patrick Henry Jones biography at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle. I had two goals. The first was to copy the diary of Cpl. Nelson Loomis of the 37th New York, Jones’s first regiment. This I did. My second goal was to see if I could ascertain why Jones’s election in 1866 to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) was voided at an unknown date. I was dismayed to learn that the MOLLUS records have yet to be archived and are unavailable to the public. When I explained my plight to an archivist, however, she promised to look through the New York Commandery records to see what she could find. I hope to hear from her before too long—and I hope she turns up what I’m looking for.

Thanks to sisters Barbara King of Hamburg, New York, and Ruth Towne of Forestville, New York, great-granddaughters of Pvt. Amos McIntyre of Co. B, for the gift of his Manual of Bayonet Exercise, written by General George B. McClellan (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1862). Amos inscribed it nicely on an inside page, “Mr Amos A. McIntyre Co B 154 NYSV 2 Brig. 2 Div 20 AC the armey of Georgia under Maj General Wm. Sherman.” Apparently Amos carried the book with him on the March to the Sea.

Thanks to old friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for a copy of an article, “At Gettysburg,” from the June 1, 1916, issue of the Gowanda News. It includes reminiscences on the battle’s fiftieth anniversary by Pvt. Alfred B. Price of Co. A.

I had the high bid—at a reasonable price—in an eBay auction for the commission as first lieutenant of Stiles B. Ellsworth of Co. K, issued by New York State’s Governor Horatio Seymour. It’s dated April 14, 1864. Ellsworth was a civil engineer living in Conewango, Cattaraugus County, when he enlisted. While serving as first sergeant of Co. K, he was wounded four times and left for dead on the Chancellorsville battlefield. After he was paroled he rejoined the regiment at Chattanooga. He only served four months as an officer before he was discharged for disability caused by wounds in August 1864.

Thanks to Brian and Maria Green of Kernersville, North Carolina, dealers in Civil War memorabilia, for offering me—at a fair price—a letter written by Pvt. Job B. Dawley of Co. K at Lookout Valley, Tennessee, on April 9, 1864. I’m pleased to add it to the archives. In it Dawley mentioned that he was tenting with Cpl. George Bailey and Sgt. John W. Waters of his company. He also noted, “We are living pretty well here now & we have a ballplay about every day & a dance about every other night.”

An irresistible urge came upon me and I’ve been working on the first draft of my Jones biography. As usual when this happens, I’ve been intently focused and putting in long hours. During the past two months I’ve written seven of the ten chapters. This for me is really rapid work, and I attribute it to a new method. I created a digital file of my sources, including citations. The writings of Jones and other important figures I reproduced verbatim; secondary sources I summarized from my notes. I did the same with the many newspaper articles. Significant articles were transcribed word by word; less germane items were summarized. All together, the material formed a 477-page, single-spaced chronology of Jones’s life. It took a long time to do, but the effort was worth it. I then went through it and copied and pasted the relevant material into each of my ten planned chapters. Since then it’s been relatively easy to go through the sources, one by one, chapter by chapter, to write the narrative and to create the notes as I go along.

I’m more convinced than ever that Jones’s life is a story worth telling. There will be a good book in it, but I’ve got to complete more work. I’ve still got research to do in Washington and New York, and some of my findings, together with background reading I’ve yet to do, should alter this draft significantly. If I can locate more of Jones’s correspondence in the collected correspondence of his contemporaries, I should be able to take my interpretations to a deeper level. And I hope that more digging will reveal the answers to some nagging questions. All in all, I’m very excited about this book. It goes in a lot of different directions for me. It’s been fun to learn about many new topics.

This burst of writing has come at a good time, because I’ve yet to receive the final report on my Marching with Sherman manuscript. Once I do, I’ll get back to work on what I hope will be the final revision of that book. It is past time for me to wrestle it into shape for publication.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Mark S. Williams of Hinsdale, New York, great-grandnephew of Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D, who rescued the colors at Dug Gap and carried them for the rest of the war.

Martha Foulke of West Union, South Carolina, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Joel Thurber of Co. B, who enlisted at East Otto on September 9, 1864—the same date and place as my great-grandfather, John Langhans, who mentioned Thurber in his letters home as one of “the Otto boys.” Martha kindly shared a tintype of Joel as a civilian, a welcome addition to the portrait albums.

Enrolled at the reunion:

Richard L. O’Hare of Bath, New York, first cousin three times removed to Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones, who was injured in a fall from the palisades at Dug Gap.

Kathleen R. Madison of Jamestown, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Hiram Keith, Co. H.

Michael J. Crick of Salamanca, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Franklin J. Crick of Co. A.

Daniel H. Nickerson of Clymer, New York, a collateral relative of First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K, who was wounded in the head at Dug Gap.

Mary Ellen Campbell of Little Valley, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Langhans, Co. H.

William Morrison of Arcade, New York, great-great-great-grandson of Cpl. Gilbert Diltse (Diltz) of Co. D, who was killed in the fight for the colors at Dug Gap.

This brings the total number of descendants enrolled to date to 1,131.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2010

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

This edition of the newsletter will be shorter than usual. The past two months have been hectic and I haven’t been able to do as much writing as I would have liked (despite the fact that my regimental-related correspondence has been slow). Several of you have commented about how busy this work keeps me, but believe it or not I have a life beyond Civil War history—and recently it has taken precedence over work on my two books in progress. Here’s how it went. The weekend after my return from Gettysburg we hosted a party for about sixty guests, most of them out-of-towners, to celebrate the engagement of our son and his fiancée. Houseguests lingered for the next week. Over the following weekend I spent four days in the hospital with an attack of ischemic colitis and some complications. Recovered in time to celebrate my birthday and, a few days later, enjoy meeting Civil War historian Jeffry Wert, who came to address the annual dinner meeting of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table, a group I founded in 1992 and have been generally running ever since. The weekend after that we were in Fort Worth, Texas, for the wedding of our son’s former college roommate and future best man. A couple of weeks later we had a houseful when my sister and her family were here for Thanksgiving weekend. For the past dozen years or so I’ve been reviewing books for the Providence Sunday Journal, and I finished a few more during this period. Along the way we had a number of things go wrong around the house, resulting in visits from various sorts of workmen, and I did the big fall cleanup of our garden, together with the everyday routine household stuff. All told, it drastically reduced my writing time.

As I vowed when I sent off my Marching with Sherman manuscript, I’ve also been playing music more often. I’ve been playing the pedal steel guitar for more than thirty years and the dobro for less than ten. I’ve been trying to sit down with one or the other or both on a daily basis. It’s been several years since I was last in a band, but recently I’ve linked up with a couple of guitarists—one of them a near neighbor—and have been playing with them. I’m in touch with another neighbor who plays the banjo, but have yet to sit down with her. Since last spring I’ve also been doing some artwork in the form of a sketchbook and accompanying journal chronicling my sightings of blue jays, long my favorite bird and a totem of sorts to me. It’s been fun to draw again. So, it’s been a busy time for other endeavors. Still, there are a couple of significant developments to relate.

After a long wait, I received the final report from LSU Press on my Marching with Sherman manuscript. It praises the manuscript highly, but calls for it to be cut considerably in length. I intend to undertake the rewrite as soon as I complete another project . . .

Which is the first draft of my Patrick Henry Jones biography. I completed the eighth chapter, a lengthy and complex one I call “Fine Horses and Head Money.” It recounts two scandals that enmeshed Jones during his heyday. The ninth chapter, concerning the A. T. Stewart grave robbery case, will also be long and intricate. The tenth and final chapter, concerning Jones’s increasingly dismal later years, will be shorter and more straightforward. I want to complete those two chapters before I turn my attention back to Marching with Sherman—and once I finish that task, I’ll return to work on the Jones book. I have more research and background reading to do, after which it will be a relatively easy matter to incorporate my findings into this first draft.

Thanks to John Thomas of Spokane, Washington, for sending photos of the grave of his great-great-grandfather, Pvt. James MacFarling of Co. D, in Spokane’s Riverside Cemetery. And thanks to two friends for photographs of two other far-flung 154th New York veterans’ graves. Marlynn Olson Ray of Penn Run, Pennsylvania, shared a picture of the headstone of Pvt. Moses Bowen Jr. of Co. B in the Orlando Cemetery in the Cattaraugus County town of Mansfield. Bowen died in 1920. Wayne Fanebust of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sent a photo of the grave in Yankton Cemetery, in Yankton, South Dakota, of Sgt. James O. Copp of Co. F, who died in 1915.

One of the attendees at the Center for Civil War Photography’s recent Gettysburg seminar, a Californian named David Richardson, took the first 3D photos I’ve ever seen of the 154th New York’s monument and the mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg. When you go to the Web site, follow the top link “CCWP 2010 Seminar photos by David Richardson” to the first grouping of photos, “City Tour.” Three Coster Avenue shots finish the tour. As I mentioned to David, I’ve always appreciated the fact that, except from the most acute angles (rendering it greatly distorted), a viewer can’t take in the entire mural without seeing the monument—that the monument intrudes its reality on the mural’s artistic vision.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Betty Lou Gleason of Greer, South Carolina, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Horace Howlett of Co. K, who accidentally cut his foot with an axe in March 1863 and served thereafter in the Veteran Reserve Corps. He was an eyewitness to Lincoln’s second inauguration and left a fine account of the day’s celebration. Betty Lou is also a great-grandniece of William H. Casten of Co. B, who rose from private to first sergeant and was commissioned—but never mustered in—as a second lieutenant.



2011 Newsletters


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2011

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I finished the first draft of my Patrick Henry Jones biography on December 17, 2010. It totals 308 doubled-spaced pages; the notes take up 70 of them. The length will grow slightly when I complete my research and background reading and add new material.

Since then I’ve been working full time on the final revision of Marching with Sherman. I’ve been over the manuscript once and will have to go over it a second time to finish trimming it to the requested length. I anticipate the second go-around will be less time consuming than the first and hope to finish it before I issue the next newsletter. But I have no intention of rushing it, so we’ll see.

Via eBay auctions (and at bargain prices), I made three additions to the 154th New York archives. The first is a souvenir ribbon from the Regimental Association’s 23rd annual reunion, held in Little Valley on August 30, 1910. According to a newspaper account, about sixty veterans attended. They marched to the Methodist Episcopal Church and had dinner, after which there were addresses and poetry recitations. The Rev. Marcellus W. Darling of Chicago, former sergeant of Co. K, made some remarks. The reunion closed with a spirited singing of “John Brown’s Body.”

The second and most significant addition is a collection of 27 wartime letters to his father written by Arthur Hotchkiss, originally first lieutenant of Co. C until promoted to captain of Co. K in March 1863. They are the first substantial collection of 154th New York letters that has come up for bids on eBay. I’m going to transcribe them after I finish revising Marching with Sherman and will comment on them in a future newsletter. I’m looking forward to getting to know Hotchkiss and learning about his experiences. Thanks to friend Nick Picerno of Bridgewater, Virginia, a devotee of the 1st, 10th, and 29th Maine Regiments, for bringing them to my attention.

The third item is a simple calling card signed by Alfred W. Benson, who was mustered in as a private of Co. D and mustered out at the end of the war as captain of Co. D. he was commissioned—but never mustered in—as major. Along the way he was severely wounded and captured at Chancellorsville. He moved to Kansas in the postwar years and was a mayor, judge, state legislator, and U.S. senator. He also gave the outstanding oration at the 154th’s first annual reunion. The card is a nice memento of a prominent member of the regiment.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Gail Dedrick of New York City, the first to represent her great-great-grandfather, Pvt. Benjamin Kilburn of Co. B, who was captured at Chancellorsville but paroled twelve days later. He was away from the regiment at the end of the war, when he was mustered out at Elmira in June 1865.

Earl H. Rice of Waldorf, Maryland, a retired U. S. Army captain, Civil War re-enactor, and great-grandson of Pvt. Henry J. Rice of Co. F, who was hospitalized several times during his service but mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. After the Battle of Gettysburg he was assigned to duty nursing the wounded.

J. L. D. (Laurie) Woodruff of Toronto, Ontario, collateral relative of Pvt. Joel W. Woodruff of Co. G, an 1864 recruit who died of edema on March 25, 1865, at Goldsboro, North Carolina. Laurie has created two websites of interest—a Woodruff family tree and the Essential Civil War Curriculum, which he developed and donated to the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. Here are links:

http://woodrufffamilytree.com/

http://www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com/

Ruth Ann Hoffman of Denver, Colorado, great-great-granddaughter of the regiment’s second chaplain, William W. Norton, who joined the 154th at Atlanta and served until the war’s end. Ruth has preserved Norton’s commission, his muster-in roll, a postwar newspaper portrait, and the last sermon he preached at the Congregational Church in Otto, Cattaraugus County, before he left for the front. She kindly shared copies of all of them, together with her transcription of the sermon.

All in all, a good start to the year, the first of the four-year Civil War Sesquicentennial. I’m excited to see what the rest of the years will bring.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2011

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that the 26th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2011, at the Cattaraugus County Museum at 9824 Route 16 in Machias, New York. I will present “Adventures of a Civil War Historian,” sharing stories of unusual—and sometimes seemingly magical—incidents that have occurred during my fifty years of studying our ancestors’ regiment. I’ll also show artifacts connected with the events. I gave this talk at the Olean library last summer and have given it a couple of times since (see below) and audiences have enjoyed it. I hope you can join us on July 16 in Machias to represent and remember your ancestor. Look for more reunion news in the June newsletter and the invitation, which will go out in mid-June.

I’ve long wanted to hold a reunion in conjunction with the county museum, and this will be the year. Those of you who have visited the museum know that several 154th New York artifacts are displayed there including Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones’s saddle and the paisley robe Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell of Co. H wore while convalescing from his Atlanta campaign wound (you can read his story in my book War’s Relentless Hand). This year, to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, museum curator Brian McClellan is planning special exhibits of Civil War material, with an emphasis on 154th New York artifacts to be on display during our reunion. If any of you have items you’d be willing to share for exhibit, please contact Brian at BJMcClellan@cattco.org

Cattaraugus County Historian Sharon Fellows forwarded a March 27 Olean Times Herald story about the upcoming reunion and museum exhibits, together with a proclamation by the Cattaraugus County Legislature of March 23, 2011, recognizing the county’s more than 3,500 Civil War soldiers and sailors and specifically citing “the valiant efforts of the 154th New York Infantry Regiment,” referring to the regiment’s role at Gettysburg and its heavy losses during the war. It also kindly recognized my work in documenting the regiment’s history, for which I’m deeply humbled and grateful.

After a lot of intensive work, I finished the final revision of my manuscript, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, and sent it off to Louisiana State University Press on March 1. Much of the effort was in cutting it to a manageable length, but I also took the opportunity to refine my arguments and tighten my prose. Look for more news about Marching with Sherman in the June newsletter.

Since sending off Marching with Sherman I’ve been back at work on my Patrick Henry Jones biography, using sources pertaining to Jones’s political mentor Reuben E. Fenton and to his first regiment, the 37th New York, and taking notes from secondary sources.

I transcribed and indexed the recently acquired wartime letters of Arthur Hotchkiss, first lieutenant of Co. C and captain of Co. K. They included three letters written by Hotchkiss’s brother, Cpl. Ephraim Holbrook Hotchkiss of Co. C, who was captured at Gettysburg and died of chronic diarrhea as a prisoner of war at Richmond. Arthur’s letters reveal him to be patriotic and somewhat ambitious, but the same malady that killed his brother sent him to the rear during the Atlanta campaign, after which he served on detached duty at Fortress Rosecrans in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, while the 154th made the marches with Sherman. Hotchkiss’s letters were generally written to his parents, most often to his father, who was assistant chief of the New York State Bureau of Military Statistics in Albany. In a couple of letters, Hotchkiss revealed dissatisfaction with his life before the war. “My great fault in life was my being in too great a hurry to be a man, too anxious to become rich,” he wrote in a letter of advice to his teenaged son from his first marriage. “The consequence was I failed in both and have had a hard and unhappy life.” He went on to success, however, as a pioneer resident of northern Colorado and died at Fort Morgan in 1911. Hotchkiss’s letters touch on a great variety of subjects and include several comments that are useful for my Jones biography.

Thanks to Scott Hilts of Arcade, New York, for sharing a fine wartime image of Capt. Joseph B. Fay of Co. E, together with a picture of a button from Fay’s uniform coat and a letter he wrote at Libby Prison on December 21, 1863, months after his capture at Gettysburg. Scott sent the material via my long-time partner, Mike Winey.

Thanks to Paul Parkinson of Wenonah, New Jersey, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Konrad Reitz of Co. G, for posting some pictures he took at the 154th New York battle sites at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in the past couple of years. Reitz was wounded and captured at Chancellorsville.

The latest addition to the regimental archives was a real bargain on eBay. It’s a copy of the 1862 engraving of Camp Seward, the 154th’s first camp in Virginia, by L. N. Rosenthal of Philadelphia (pictured on page 29 of The Hardtack Regiment). This is the second copy in my collection; I’ll tell how I obtained the first in my talk at the reunion. The lateral borders of this example were cut down at some point to fit it into a nicely carved old frame, but the central image and inscriptions are complete. It’s yellowed quite deeply, probably from being backed by an acidic material over a number of years. I took the new backing off hoping to see an inscription on the reverse of the print, but found nothing. This slightly marred piece of regimental history was mine for only $27.50.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Sharon Spencer of Yorkshire, Cattaraugus County, New York, great-great-grandniece of First Sgt. Ambrose F. Arnold of Co. D, who was killed in action in the fight to save the colors at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia.

Christopher Goodman of Allegan, Michigan, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Jefferson A. Goodman of Co. A, who was captured at the Battle of Dug Gap and died of scorbutus at the Andersonville prison camp. He is buried in Grave #7342 in the Andersonville National Cemetery.

Bruce Dineen of Salamanca, New York, and his daughter Allison Dineen of Frederick, Maryland, great-great-grandson and great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Samuel W. Simmons of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived an escape attempt from the Belle Island prisoner of war camp only to die months later of fever on New Year’s Day 1864.

On a non-154th related matter, the Rhode Island General Assembly has established a state Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission and I’ve been honored with an appointment to it as the founder and president of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table (established 1992). Speaking of the RICWRT, on March 16 I gave my “Adventures of a Civil War Historian” talk to the group at its regular meeting place at a library in Cranston, Rhode Island. I’m looking forward to sharing my stories with you at our reunion in Machias on July 16!


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2011

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 26th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2011, at the Cattaraugus County Museum at 9824 Route 16 in Machias, New York. Our program: “Adventures of a Civil War Historian,” in which I’ll share stories of unusual—and sometimes seemingly magical—incidents that have occurred during my fifty years of studying our ancestors’ regiment, and show a variety of artifacts connected with the events. I gave this talk at the Olean library last summer and have given it a couple of times since (see below) and audiences have enjoyed it. The Cattaraugus County Museum, which is sponsoring our reunion, will have a special Civil War exhibit on display, and music will be performed and refreshments served. Descendants, I hope you can join us on July 16 in Machias to represent and remember your ancestor. Friends, please join us as we mark the occasion.

Mike Winey will have his camera and copy stand set up at the reunion, ready to photograph any pictures or artifacts to add to the archives. If you have something to share with us, please bring it along.

I pay the reunion expenses out of my own pocket and pass the hat at the event to help defray the costs. If you’re unable to attend but would still like to contribute, your donation will be most welcome.

I’ll be speaking twice in Cattaraugus County during the week preceding the reunion, and hope to see some of you then. On Wednesday, July 13, I’ll talk to the Randolph Historical Society about Amos Humiston, his family, and the tragic circumstances that made them celebrities in Civil War America. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Randolph Municipal Building, 72 Main Street.

I’ll make a presentation on Patrick Henry Jones, subject of my biography in progress, to the Ellicottville Historical Society at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, at the Ellicottville Memorial Library, 6499 Maples Road (which begins as Mechanic Street as it runs off of Elizabeth Street in the village), opposite the American Legion hall. Please join us if you can.

The most important event of the past two months occurred on Saturday, April 30, when Karl Dunkelman, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, was married to Megan Kuntz in Naples, Florida. It was a momentous time for a devoted young couple and their families and friends on a beautiful weekend that was enjoyed by one and all in attendance, including yours truly, the groom’s father.

Karl pointed out to me that there were 154 guests at the wedding. Could I somehow weave a regimental strand into the wedding weekend? On page 47 of The Hardtack Regiment is a drawing of the winter hut occupied by Cpl. Marcellus W. Darling of Co. K at Stafford Court House, Virginia, from February through April 1863. Darling’s son, Jay N. Darling, made the sketch in 1896, before he became a nationally famous, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and environmentalist (he designed the first duck stamp), known by the nickname Ding. In 1934 President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Darling director of the U.S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida is the only such refuge in the country named after an individual. Thanks to Ding’s grandson Kip Koss of Key Biscayne, Florida, I’ve got several books about Darling and his art. I had long wanted to visit Sanibel and see the refuge, and we had an extra day in Florida, so I was able to do so—although our visit was much too short. I hope to get back someday to explore more fully that beautiful place. Since last year, when I began to keep an illustrated journal of sightings of my favorite bird—blue jays—I feel a closer connection to Darling.

I’m pleased to announce that Louisiana State University Press has formally accepted Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York for publication. It will be my third LSU Press book. Long-time readers of this newsletter know that I struggled long and hard with this one, which will make its publication all the more welcome. It will be out next spring. Look for details in future newsletters.

The week after the wedding Annette and I went to New York City to attend the opening of a friend’s art show. I was able to spend a couple of days doing research for the Jones biography. I turned up a couple of his letters in the papers of John A. Dix in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, and a couple of letters sent to him by Chester A. Arthur in Arthur’s letter press books at the New-York Historical Society. In the 1874 election, Dix, like Jones a former Civil War general and a Democrat-turned-Republican, was the incumbent governor of New York but was defeated, while Jones was elected register. Arthur was collector of the port of New York while Jones was postmaster, the men occupying the top two federal patronage dispensaries in the city. I expect to find more Jones correspondence in Arthur’s papers at the Library of Congress. Thanks to my niece and her husband, Jennifer and Frank Gambino, for putting us up in their Queens apartment during our stay.

On May 9 I had the pleasure of addressing the Varnum Continentals at their headquarters in the Varnum Armory in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. My topic was the ever-popular story of Amos Humiston.

Speaking of Amos Humiston, his story was told once again in the film Gettysburg, which premiered on May 30 (Memorial Day) on the History Channel. I let you all know about this show in an e-mail and many of you said you’d be watching. What did you think? Because the film used the experiences of eight soldiers to tell the story of the battle, it was necessarily a fragmentary and impressionistic account of a complex event—but to its credit, it didn’t claim to tell the whole story. I liked the fact that the filmmakers chose lesser-known soldiers rather than often-chronicled subjects like Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The computer generated imagery of the battlefield and town was impressive, if isolated from the rest of the film. The overall production values were solid. The expert commentary (including that of friends Garry Adelman and Jim McPherson) was fine. The combat scenes—which comprised much of the film—were gritty and generally believable, if often sparse as to the number of soldiers involved (a common failing of most Civil War movies). The emphasis on the casualties and carnage was fitting.

Of course I was pleased that the filmmakers chose to include Amos Humiston’s story, and that I received credit for my small contribution. Obviously they used my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier (or Errol Morris’s “Whose Father Was He?” essay in the New York Times, drawn from my book) for the quotes from Amos’s letters and poem. The power of the Humiston story is evident in the fact that the film closed with the discovery of his corpse. The filmmakers made no effort to replicate the environs of Kuhn’s brickyard, where the 154th New York made its stand, or Judge Russell’s lot, where Amos was found. And they exaggerated Amos’s role in covering the retreat of the 11th Corps. Some of their depictions were purely imaginary, as when Amos was “surrounded” and engaged in a bayonet fight before he was shot. Others, while possible, are also not documented: Amos kissing the photograph of his children before he expired, bleeding to death, found by a young girl. And two statements were egregious (albeit common) errors. The ambrotype of the children was not “a present from his wife on his way to war,” but had been received by Amos about a month before the battle. And the picture was not “widely printed in newspapers,” which had yet to develop the halftone process that enabled them to reproduce photographs. I was relieved, however, that Amos did not appear in a truck ad, as did fellow Gettysburg legend John Burns. Despite its flaws, I’m glad that Gettysburg brought Amos’s story to its widest audience yet. But it left much of the saga untold, especially the tale of the Gettysburg orphanage inspired by Amos’s devotion. A great movie about Amos Humiston is yet to be made.

I regret that David Humiston Kelley did not live to see his great-grandfather’s story portrayed in the film. Dave, who died on May 19 at age 87, was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met—he did important work in deciphering Mayan hieroglyphs, coauthored an encyclopedia of archaeoastronomy, and wrote on world calendar systems, trans-oceanic prehistoric contact, and genealogy. I met Dave a number of times in the Boston area with his fellow Humiston descendant Allan Cox of Medford, Massachusetts. We made memorable trips together to Humiston sites in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, and to Gettysburg for the 1993 dedication of the Amos Humiston monument, when we stayed at the Homestead portion of the old orphanage. And in 1997 I spent a week at Dave’s home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, doing research for my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier in his trove of Humiston family materials. It was a pleasure to become Dave’s friend over the course of the years, and I will miss him.

Thanks to friend Sue Martin of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, for sharing a letter of her ancestor Franklin T. Saunders of the 6th New York Cavalry, in which he mentioned Patrick Henry Jones entering a hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, in August 1863, “to have his eyes treated.” According to Jones’s pension records, he was suffering from a case of amaurosis, or temporary blindness. Saunders’s letter is the only other known mention of the ailment.

Thanks to Ray Wagner of Olean, New York, great-grandson of Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D, for a photo of the 154th’s monument at Chancellorsville, sent on the anniversary of the battle (May 2). The monument looks great in the verdant spring landscape and was decorated with flags and flowers by people who care. Allen Williams was a corporal when he rescued the national flag at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia; he was the regimental color-bearer from then—when he was promoted to sergeant on the spot—to the end of the war.

On the subject of Dug Gap, I was pleased to hear from friend Marvin Sowder of the Dalton (Georgia) Civil War Round Table, who I met back in 1983 when I visited the area to see the battlefield. (My second visit. My first was with wife-to-be Annette and old Buffalo friend Chris Ford in the early 1970s.) Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s I was making paintings of Civil War scenes while I developed the design for my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg. I did one depicting the 154th New York reaching the crest of Rocky Face Ridge and donated it to the Dalton CWRT. They hung it in the library room of the Crown Gardens and Archives, where it did not receive a lot of notice. Marvin recently had the painting reframed and hung in the Civil War room of the Hamilton House Museum, where many patrons see it. “It is awesome when the story is told about the Battle of Dug Gap while pointing to the painting,” Marvin told me. “It becomes a part of the story.” Thank you, Marvin, for taking care of my depiction of a momentous moment in the history of the 154th.

I was also glad to hear from friend Donald Pfanz, historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, who informed me he had indexed the 154th New York letters and other writings regarding the Battle of Chancellorsville that I had donated to the park a while back. Don told me that the 154th materials would soon be integrated into the park’s manuscript collection, where they will be available to students of the battle in perpetuity.

I added an old book to my library, one that I had not heard of before. It came to me via an eBay auction, at a good price. It’s titled In Memoriam, William T. Sherman and it contains the “Proceedings of the Senate and Assembly of the State of New York, on the Life and Services of Gen. William T. Sherman, Held at Harmanus Bleecker Hall, Albany, March 29, 1892.” James B. Lyon, the state printer, published it that year. Among the members of the joint committee of the legislature that arranged for the commemoration were State Senator Commodore Perry Vedder and Assemblyman James S. Whipple. Vedder was a captain in the 154th and led Co. H during Sherman’s March to the Sea. During the Carolinas campaign he served as provost marshal of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, to which the 154th belonged. Whipple was the son of First Sgt. Henry F. Whipple of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville. The younger Whipple was a frequent speaker at postwar reunions of his father’s regiment and delivered the main address at the dedication of the regiment’s monument at Gettysburg in 1890. Another of the assemblymen on the committee was James W. Husted, who described himself as an “intimate friend” of Patrick Henry Jones in postwar New York City.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Debra McCrary Heinonen of Walworth, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Sidney Moore of Co. D, who was captured at Dug Gap and escaped from the notorious Andersonville prison—the only known member of the regiment to escape from there.

Craig H. Lippert of Warren, Michigan, great-grandson of Cpl. Matthew Lippert of Co. I, who was captured at Chancellorsville, paroled and exchanged, rejoined the regiment before the Chattanooga campaign, and was present the rest of the way, mustering out with his company at the end of the war.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2011

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

“Many turn out for reunion of NY’s 154th descendants,” read the headline on the front page of the Olean Times Herald a few days after the July 16 event. The paper estimated about 150 descendants attended our 26th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York at Machias, and another 100 or so visited the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum during the day. It was a very warm Saturday, but a steady breeze blew through the shade in the tent under which we met and kept things comfortable. My thanks to everybody who attended, and to Cattaraugus County Historian Sharon Fellows, Museum Curator Brian McClellan, and the museum board for arranging to hold the reunion on the museum grounds. Thanks too to Brian for setting up an excellent Civil War exhibit in the museum. I’m also grateful to James Kimball, a music professor at SUNY Geneseo, who entertained the audience before the reunion program with period songs, including several directly related to the 154th New York, and to reenactors Larry Kilmer, Tom Schobert, and Steve Teachman, who sweated it out in their wool uniforms.

I enjoyed sharing my “Adventures of a Civil War Historian” with the audience. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s one of the stories I told. Several years ago my friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, happened to be at an antique show in Ohio when he spotted a framed obituary, illustrated with a photograph, of my great-grandfather. The front-page headline of that September 25, 1929, issue of the weekly Ellicottville Post read, “John Langhans, Civil War Veteran, Dies. Was Corporal in Old 154th and Was On Famous March With Shreman [sic] To Sea.” Phil bought it and notified me by e-mail of the find. I responded that it must have been a long-past family member or friend who framed my ancestor’s obituary. No, Phil told me, the woman who sold it had the old frame and wanted to put something old into it to sell it—and she just happened to have a copy of that particular issue of the extremely rare Ellicottville Post handy, and decided that John Langhans’s obituary was fitting. Phil sold it to me at cost ($35) and it’s hung on my office wall ever since. I’ve always found the entire chain of circumstances to be extraordinary—that somehow that obituary of my ancestor, hidden away in Ohio, should find its way into my hands through that series of events. The tale is a good example of the kind of stories I related at the reunion. I’ve had many magical and memorable experiences gathering 154th New York material over the years.

During the roll call, one of the attendees asked how he could obtain a veteran’s headstone for his ancestor. The Veterans Administration has a program to place headstones or markers on the unmarked graves of veterans. Information can be found at the VA’s Web site www.va.gov, which includes an application form. The VA now provides period headstones, appropriate for marking a Civil War veteran’s grave. My relative and fellow descendant of John Langhans, Brad Frank of West Valley, New York, has offered to assist anyone interested in obtaining such a stone. If you’re interested, contact him at brad.frank@us.army.mil.

My sincere thanks to the many descendants and friends who made donations to cover the reunion expenses, both through the mail and at the event. Your generosity is much appreciated.

The special Civil War display in the museum included a large charcoal-type postwar photograph of Ira Wood, a private of Co. A—one of several images Mike Winey copied during the reunion. Although the Wood portrait is part of the museum’s collection, I had never seen it before, although I transcribed 28 of Wood’s wartime letters, also part of the museum’s collections, back in the early 1970s. Wood’s service with the regiment was brief; he was discharged for disability in February 1863 at David’s Island in New York Harbor. Quotations from his letters can be found in The Hardtack Regiment and Brothers One and All.

Prior to the reunion I enjoyed sharing the stories of Sgt. Amos Humiston with the Randolph Historical Society on July 13, and Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones with the Ellicottville Historical Society on July 14. I thank Fritz Miinte of the former group and Cathy Lacy of the latter for inviting me to speak.

Work continues on the P. H. Jones biography. I’ve been revising the manuscript in accordance with background reading on New York State and national politics, the Greenback-Labor Party (with which Jones flirted), the Fenians (ditto), the impact of malaria on the Civil War (Jones was a sufferer), and biographies and autobiographies of Jones’s contemporaries Horace Greeley, Alexander T. Stewart, Roscoe Conkling, Edwin D. Morgan, Edwin A. Merritt, and Chauncey M. Depew. I’ve got more background reading to do, and an important research trip to Washington to make, before I’ll be ready to finish the manuscript. And I’m planning another trip for this book that I’ll report on in the next edition of the newsletter.

Thanks to Scott Andersen of Weatherford, Texas, for sharing a portrait of his collateral ancestor Warner D. Shaw. According to the roster of the 154th New York published by the New York State Adjutant General, Shaw enrolled in Albany at age 49 to serve three years and was mustered in as first lieutenant and quartermaster on September 12, 1862, but he was not accepted or commissioned and consequently was not an official member of the regiment.

Thanks to Jan Tarbet of Lake Zurich, Illinois, great-grandniece of Cpl. Newell Burch of Co. E, for alerting me to a photo of Burch’s tin plate on the online “Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database.” It has a landscape painted on its front and an inscription on the back: “This Tin Plate is what I ate my breakfast dinner and supper on for nearly three years, 1862 to 1865 (when I could get any to eat.) It was at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, was a prisoner with me from July 1/63 to April 21st 1865. Was 7 months on Belle Island, 13 months in Andersonville and a short time badly scattered especially with Howard at Chancellorsville. N. Burch.” The plate is in the collections of the Dunn County Historical Society in Menomonie, Wisconsin, where Burch spent his later years.

Thanks to Byron Sheldon of Herndon, Virginia, whose wife Diane is a collateral relative of First Sgt. Almon L. Gile of Co. C, for sharing a deposition by Pvt. Robert J. Woodard of Co. C dated March 30, 1865, testifying that he was a fellow prisoner of war with Gile at Andersonville, and that he helped to bury Gile after Gile died. Byron found the deposition in July 1978 while he was cleaning out the family farm in Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County.

Thanks to Clark Casler of Maracaibo, Venezuela, for a copy of the obituary of his ancestor Second Lieut. Alonzo A. Casler of Co. G, who died in 1917 at age 76 years, 6 months, and 18 days.

Thanks to aforementioned friend Phil Palen for sharing postwar photos of First Lieut. Salmon W. Beardsley of Co. E, which he found in a genealogy of the Wheeler family, and of Sgt. Winfield S. Kenyon of Co. B, which he found in the book Coldspring, a historical novel based on the murder of Kenyon’s daughter near Randolph in 1935. They are the first known images of both men. Phil brought both books to the reunion so Mike Winey could copy the portraits. Beardsley, who also served in Companies G, K, and A, was captured at Chancellorsville and discharged in March 1864; he spent his later years in Nebraska. Kenyon was captured at Gettysburg, but mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war.

I recently discovered that noted artist Keith Rocco, whose Civil War paintings I admire, did a portrait of Sgt. Amos Humiston a couple of years ago. Prints are being offered as a fundraiser by the Artist Preservation Group, a nonprofit that supports historic preservation efforts (www.artistpreservationgroup.com). At $50 postpaid for a 9” x 12” print, it’s a good deal. The edition is limited to 150 and I got No. 120. Rocco depicts Humiston standing in front of one of the brick kilns at Gettysburg, his foot on a brick, in a nonchalant pose that he never got to strike on July 1, 1863. A miniature maker, inspired by Rocco’s depiction, made a detailed Humiston figurine for the same group.

Speaking of Sgt. Humiston, I added another carte de visite of his children to my collection through an eBay auction at a good price. It’s a pre-identification example by an unknown photographer—no backmark. I have only one other such, which unlike this one is hand tinted.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Mary Anna Harbeck of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, great-great-granddaughter of Major Harrison Cheney. Cheney recruited every man of Co. D and was its captain before his promotion to major. He was captured at Gettysburg but escaped from the Confederates nine days later and was a fugitive for 22 days before he reached the Union lines. He was dismissed from the service owing to his absence but later reinstated.

Judy Freed of White Lake, Michigan, great-great-grandniece of Pvt. Samuel W. Simmons of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived an escape attempt from Belle Island (which killed his fellow escapee and company comrade, Pvt. Alfred Matteson), only to die months later of fever on January 1, 1864.

Sandy Powers of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, great-granddaughter of Pvt. Israel Rickards of Co. D, who lost a finger at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, but stuck with the regiment to the close of the war.

John D. Maus of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a collateral relative of Pvt. Joel W. Woodruff of Co. G, an 1864 enlistee who died of edema on March 25, 1865, at Goldsboro, North Carolina, leaving a wife and four children at his home in East Otto, Cattaraugus County.

Richard C. Lamb of Leesburg, Florida, great-grandson of Pvt. Moses B. Lamb of Co. G, who named the first son born to him after the war William Sherman Lamb (Richard’s grandfather) in honor of his former commander.

These descendants enrolled at the reunion:

John K. Cole of Jamestown, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Cyrel Seekins of Co. H, who is pictured with his wife Phoebe Jane in The Hardtack Regiment.

Vincent E. O’Hare of Angola, New York, collateral relative of Brig. Gen. Patrick H. Jones.

Gladys M. Sheer of North Java, New York, granddaughter of Pvt. Sidney Moore of Co. D, who was captured at Dug Gap and became the only member of the regiment known to have escaped from Andersonville prison.

Ernest Kinney of Sinclairville, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Charles E. Whitney of Co. I, who was captured twice (at Chancellorsville and Dug Gap) and represented the regiment as a survivor at the dedication of the New York State monument at Andersonville prison in 1914. Ernest kindly brought a number of Whitney relics to the reunion, including his silver star Twentieth Corps badge, ribbons from various reunions and the dedication of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 1895, and a cane commemorating his Andersonville imprisonment. Mike Winey photographed all of them for the archives. As the Whitney treasure trove demonstrates, there is always more to be discovered.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2011

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Ever since I began work on the Patrick Henry Jones biography, I knew that I had to visit Ireland, where he was born and spent his first ten years. It was important to me to see the place he had come from, to absorb the landscape and get a sense of the Irish character, albeit well more than a century later. My chance came recently. Here’s how it happened.

My wife Annette has a second cousin, John Hannah, who lives with his wife Sandy in Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, England. John has three daughters – Kaye, Ruth, and Liz – by his first marriage. We’ve exchanged several visits with the Hannahs over the years, and Ruth spent a summer with us during her teenage years while attending a program at Annette’s and my alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. John and Sandy knew of my desire to visit Ireland. When they invited us to attend Kaye’s September 24 wedding in Bulwell to Lloyd Fuller, they also offered to accompany us on a weeklong holiday on the Emerald Isle.

So after the wedding, the four of us set off for Wales, where we took the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. The next morning we spent touring the County Westmeath ancestral sites of the Jones family – Clonmellon, where church records chart the Joneses’ births and marriages for several generations; the hamlets of Killallon, Kilgar, and Archerstown; and Mullingar, the county seat, where the Joneses were living when Pat was born. Much of the countryside was little changed, although the housing was sleekly modern, owning to Ireland’s recent economic boom (now gone bust). Along the way residents recommended a couple of local historians for me to contact, and I picked up some helpful works of local history at a Mullingar bookstore.

We continued our tour of southern Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry (including the Gap of Dunloe), Blarney (to visit the castle and to kiss the famous stone), and in Cork, where we spent an enjoyable evening with friend Damian Shiels, author of the blog “Irish in the American Civil War” http://irishamericancivilwar.com/ and his fiancee Sara Nylund. Damian has been helpful to me in suggesting sources via correspondence, and it was a pleasure meeting him and Sara in person.

As those who have been there know, Ireland is a beautiful place. We packed a lot in during our two weeks overseas (from September 20 to October 4) and enjoyed our visit immensely. I kept a journal of our trip, which also included intriguing visits to sites in England and Wales. Thank you John and Sandy Hannah for great times in memorable places!

Incidentally, Kaye and Lloyd’s wedding made the local paper. Take a look:

http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/news/local-news/welcome_to_the_craziest_wedding_reception_of_year_1_3834593

Before our trip, I continued work on the Jones biography, weaving in background material on Irish and Irish-American history. I also took several days to list the entries for the index to Marching with Sherman, so I’ll be ready to insert the page numbers when it comes time to check the galley proofs. The book is on LSU Press’s Spring 2012 list, and I’ll keep you informed of developments.

Back in the spring of 2009, Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris published his five-part essay “Whose Father Was He?” in the New York Times online. It offered a penetrating analysis of the Amos Humiston story, inspired by the famous photograph of Amos’s three children, and told the story behind the story—how I came to write my second book, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier. Slightly revised, the essay now appears with several others in Errol’s new book, Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography) (New York: Penguin Press). My thanks to Errol for his continuing interest in the Humiston story, his sensitive interpretation of it, his kind depiction of my part in it, and for a warmly inscribed copy of the book. If you’ve ever considered the meaning behind a photograph, you will enjoy Errol’s thought-provoking work: http://www.errolmorris.com/

I never tire of sharing the Humiston story. On September 3 I related it at the “Civil War Living History Encampment” at the Governor Sprague Mansion in Cranston, Rhode Island, sponsored by the Elisha Dyer Camp No. 7, Department of Rhode Island, Sons of Unions Veterans of the Civil War, of which I’m a member. And on October 5 – the day after our return from England – I told the story again to the Attleboro (Massachusetts) Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Yet another variation of the Humiston children carte de visite has been added to the archives through an eBay auction. The Tyson Brothers of Gettysburg, who partnered from 1859 to November 1865 (as well documented by Bill Frassanito in his book Early Photography at Gettysburg), produced this one. The carte bears an orange, two-cent revenue stamp marked, “Tyson 1865,” and a handwritten inscription reading, “Three Children whose picture was found on the Battle field of Gettysburg.” One end of the mount was trimmed at some point, probably to fit the image in an album. It is the first copy of the image I’ve come across, although Frassanito told me of the existence of others.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Edwin Wilson of Traverse City, Michigan, a collateral relative of Cpl. Gerritt S. Wilson of Co. B, who was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on the same day the regiment fought at Gettysburg.

Larry Jones of Owosso, Michigan, great-grandnephew of Pvt. George C. Wickes of Co. A who was discharged for disability in October 1863.

Denny Whitmore of Machias, New York, who is related to three members of Company I: First Lieut. George C. “Guy” Waterman, Sgt. Samuel D. Woodford, and Pvt. Asher Bliss Jr.

Cheri Mancuso of Conewango Valley, New York, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Winfield Scott Kenyon of Co. B, who was captured at Gettysburg but rejoined the regiment and was present at the muster-out. Cheri is the co-author of the book Coldspring, which relates the 1935 murder of Kenyon’s daughter and her husband and includes a postwar portrait of Kenyon. A native of Salamanca, Cheri spends most of her time in California, where she has made a name for herself as a psychic. See her Website: http://www.mediumcheri.com/

Wesley Boutwell of Lakeland, Florida, great-great-grandnephew of First Sgt. Ambrose F. Arnold of Co. D, who was killed at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, while attempting to rescue the fallen colors on the mountaintop.

Robert Earl White Jr. of Hamburg, New York, great-great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. George W. Bailey of Co. D, who was discharged for disability in January 1863 at Baltimore.


HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2011

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that Louisiana State University Press has put its Spring 2012 catalog online, and it includes my next book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York, which will be published in April and will carry a price tag of $39.95. I’ll have more on the book in future newsletters, but in the meantime, here’s a link to its page on the LSU Press Website:

http://lsupress.org/books/detail/marching-with-sherman/

Amazon.com will offer it at $26.37, and indicates it will be out on April 2:

http://www.amazon.com/Marching-Sherman-Carolinas-Conflicting-Dimensions/dp/0807143782/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322707689&sr=1-2

Although I’ve been a member of the Center for Civil War Photography (http://www.civilwarphotography.org/) since its inception more than a decade ago, I had never attended one of its annual seminars until last year in Gettysburg. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to attend this year’s event, which took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee—site of another battlefield of the 154th New York. The 11th Annual Image of War seminar was equally enjoyable as last year’s event. I was in Chattanooga from October 20 to 24, sandwiching the three-day seminar between two travel days. CCWP President Bob Zeller and VP Garry Adelman (both friends of the 154th) and the other staffers and volunteers do a great job in putting together outstanding programs and battlefield tours. This year they hit the jackpot by having Jim Ogden, historian at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, lead the tours and participate in the programs. (As related in the August 2010 newsletter, Jim gave my wife Annette and me a great tour of 154th New York sites in the Chattanooga area the previous June.) The depth and breadth of Jim’s knowledge of history in general and the Civil War in particular was obvious. He gave us a concise overview of the Chickamauga campaign and battle (it was my first visit to that battlefield) and guided us to sites on Orchard Knob, Rossville, and Lookout Mountain. Highlights of our visit to the latter included a trip down a steep, rocky gorge to the foot of Lula Falls and back up again (my legs ached for the better part of a week after the climb), and a visit to Point Lookout, a rock outcropping atop the mountain that offers majestic views of Chattanooga and the surrounding countryside and was a popular spot for Civil War soldiers to pose for photographs. Kentuckian Wendell Decker, an expert in nineteenth-century photographic techniques, took a ferrotype of the group posed on the famous spot. Garry Adelman, historian at the Civil War Trust, also imparted a lot of information during the tours in his own inimitable style. In addition to the battlefield tours, there were informative slide shows in two and three dimensions of photos from the war’s western theater. Friend and Gettysburg expert (and Licensed Battlefield Guide) Tim Smith gave an interesting presentation on battlefield monuments, comparing those of east and west and noting similarities between the two. Another enjoyable aspect of the seminar was interacting with the other attendees, including friend Rick Walton of Wendell, North Carolina, who re-enacts with the 6th North Carolina—a regiment that fought the 154th on the First Day at Gettysburg.

It was especially meaningful for me to be in Chattanooga on October 21, the birthday of my great-grandfather John Langhans. He was in Chattanooga, on his way to join the 154th at Atlanta, on October 21, 1864—his twenty-first birthday. That day he wrote to a younger brother, “I suppose you know that today is my birthday. I should like to be [home] in Otto today just on account of my birthday, but I shall have a good deal of fun here. After dinner I am going downtown with [William] Perkins and [William] Laing, and we mean to have a good time.” (What the three did was unrecorded.) John returned to Chattanooga with a party of 154th New York veterans in November 1910 to attend the dedication of the New York Peace Monument on Lookout Mountain. “Just down from Lookout Mt. after the dedication of this Monument,” he wrote on a picture postcard to his daughter. “It was a fine day, had a large crowd were mixed up some with the Johnie Reb.” My guess is it was on that occasion that he picked up some acorns, which he saved in an envelope marked in his hand, “Lookout Mt.” It was another beautiful day when I visited the monument, and I likewise picked up a few acorns from beneath a nearby oak as a keepsake. I kept a journal of all the activities the CCWP packed into three days. All in all, I greatly enjoyed this year’s seminar and another visit to Chattanooga.

On November 1 I had the pleasure of relating the Amos Humiston story to the Shoreline Civil War Discussion Group at the Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Thanks to two western New Yorkers, Tom Place of West Valley and Steve Teeft of Buffalo (great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. William S. Tefft of Co. C), for taking on a special task. A few years ago the two established “Echoes through Time,” a Civil War museum and reference library housed at the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville. Now Tom and Steve have enrolled in the Gettysburg National Military Park’s “Adopt a Position” program to “adopt” Coster Avenue, the site of the 154th New York’s monument (plus a monument to the 27th Pennsylvania and markers to Coster’s Brigade and the 134th New York). Twice a year they will travel to Gettysburg to clean up and care for Coster Avenue in whatever way is needed. For their first task, they’ve chosen to replace the badly weathered sign introducing the mural. My artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I plan to get to Gettysburg within the next year or so to restore the mural, and I hope to coordinate our visit with one by Tom and Steve. They would welcome any 154th descendants or friends who would like to assist in their task. For information, e-mail Tom at trpcsa@gmail.com or Steve at director@echoesthroughtime.com. For information about the “Adopt a Position” program, see:

http://www.nps.gov/gett/supportyourpark/adopt-a-position.htm

Thanks to friend Damian Shiels of Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, for adding two 154th New York-related posts to his blog, “Irish in the American Civil War.” The first is on Pvt. Barney McAvoy, Co. G, 154th New York. When Damian and I met in Cork in September, he expressed an interest in Barney, a native of County Clare who was one of the men over the age of 45 who fibbed about their ages to enlist in the regiment. Barney was about 66 years old when he joined the 154th! (He is pictured and mentioned in my book Brothers One and All.) You can read Damian’s McAvoy post here:

http://irishamericancivilwar.com/2011/10/22/senior-citizen-soldier-private-barney-mcavoy-154th-new-york-infantry/

In the other post, Damian kindly allowed me to make this plea for Jones material:

http://irishamericancivilwar.com/2011/11/07/general-patrick-henry-jones-an-exciting-new-biography-and-appeal/

Thanks to friend Wayne Fanebust of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for sending an item regarding Pat Jones that appeared in the November 17, 1874 issue of the Dakota Herald of Yankton, Dakota Territory. Wayne authored The Missing Corpse, the 2005 account of the A. T. Stewart grave robbery, which is how we came to be in touch.

Thanks to Bob Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, great-grandson of Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A, for sharing obituaries of Joshua, his wife, Sabra, and his parents Amos and Rebecca. Amos was the 154th’s original sutler, and as such he “endured many of the hardships and privations of those days,” according to his obituary.

On back-to-back days in early November I had the pleasure of meeting two historians whose work I admire. On November 4 Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic, spoke on his new book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, at the Providence Athenaeum. I’ve reviewed a couple of his books and met him once briefly, so I recognized him when Annette and I encountered him on the street. We were able to talk for quite a while before he took the podium, and he nicely took the time to hunt through the crowd (the room was packed to hear him) to find an attendee he had met who was working on a Sherman project and introduce us. His talk was well received and sparked a good Q&A session. I enjoyed spending some time with him.

The Rhode Island Civil War Round Table’s nineteenth annual dinner meeting took place on November 5. I founded the group back in 1992 and have been serving as its president for the past several years. This year our speaker was Kevin Levin of Roslindale, Massachusetts, who is one of the most prolific, influential, and stimulating of the Civil War bloggers. I’ve been reading Kevin’s work for years and have corresponded with him on occasion, but this was our first meeting in person. He kindly agreed to come to Providence a few hours ahead of time so we could talk, which was most enjoyable. His presentation to the RICWRT, on “Civil War Memory and the Sesquicentennial,” was well received by the audience and provoked a lot of questions and discussion. Kevin had some kind words about my work when he announced his appearance on his blog: http://cwmemory.com/2011/11/04/rhode-island-civil-war-round-table/

Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris invited me to attend his talk at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on November 30 (last evening). The subject: his new book, Believing Is Seeing, in which he discusses the Humiston story and how I came to write Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier. Annette and I stuck around afterward until Errol was done signing books so we could say hi. Although he and I communicated a lot when he was working on his essay, I had only met him once before in person and it was nice to see him again. Errol’s book will fascinate anyone interested in photography:

http://www.amazon.com/Believing-Seeing-Observations-Mysteries-Photography/dp/1594203016/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322706612&sr=1-1

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Joanne Nye of Loudon, Tennessee, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Sidney Moore of Co. D, the only member of the regiment known to have escaped from Andersonville. It’s of interest to note that Sidney and the rest of the 154th marched through Loudon during the Knoxville campaign.

Finally, here is a request from descendant Dave Onan. If any of you can help him out, please do:

My name is David Onan of Fort Myers, FL. I am researching the ancestry of Col. Warren Onan of Allegany NY who was my g-g-grandfather. I would like to share information with any person who has struggled on the same path. The conditions below describe who you would be.

1) You are a descendant of a 154th volunteer.

2) The ancestors of that 154th volunteer resided this side of the Atlantic before 1730.

3) You have traced the ancestors to a point of origin in Ireland or Scotland.

Or

4) If you tried and failed, how far did you get; ie, found the surname in Ireland or Scotland but could not make a lineage link.

Thank you, David Onan.



2012 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2012

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

For many years, my wife Annette and I have been in the habit of going out for dinner with Mike and Bonnie Winey after the annual 154th New York descendants reunion, accompanied by various family and friends. It was at a restaurant table after last year’s reunion that Mike announced he had bone marrow cancer. Since then his health steadily declined. I’m sorry to report that Mike died on January 28, 2012.

Many of you descendants got to know Mike over the years during his regular attendance at our reunion with his trusty camera and copy stand. Many of you in the Civil War community knew him during his many years as curator of Special Collections at the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, where he oversaw the largest collection of Civil War photographs in the country and helped many an author illustrate many a book.

My name is linked with Michael J. Winey’s as coauthors of The Hardtack Regiment, our history of the 154th New York. I’ve told the story many times of how I happened on Mike’s thesis on the regiment during a chance stop in Cooperstown, New York, while traveling on my birthday in 1970. I thought I was the only person on earth interested in the 154th until that serendipitous occurrence. Now I discovered a professional historian shared my interest. Inspecting his thesis, I saw that Mike had uncovered sources I hadn’t, and vice versa. It took me a year and a half to muster the courage to write to Mike and propose collaboration on a history of the 154th. He readily agreed. In the summer of 1973 I made the first of what are since annual trips to Western New York in search of material. About five years later I spent a week or so with the Wineys in Mechanicsburg and Mike and I fleshed out his thesis with observations from the soldiers’ letters and diaries I had located during my research trips, creating the first draft of our book. The hunt for a publisher was a long and frustrating one, but Mike and I knew about Edwin D. Northrup’s failed attempt at a 154th New York regimental history a century before, and we were determined to see our project through to completion. Finally I linked up with Fairleigh Dickinson University Press and the book was published in 1981. The reviews were good and Mike and I were gratified by the reception. In the three decades since, he and I remained partners in the hunt for and study of materials relating to the 154th New York and we shared many satisfying moments.

We first met in person when Mike was at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in Harrisburg, before his move to the USAMHI. It was obvious from the start that personally he and I had little in common. If you have a copy of The Hardtack Regiment, look at our authors’ photos on the back for a definition of two different people: I’m shaggy in denim, Mike is crew cut in plaid. Over the years, neither of us changed essentially, but we never let our differences get in the way of our friendship. We were both devoted to the memory of a particular Civil War regiment and with that as its basis, we had a friendly, positive, long-lived partnership. We amused each other, I think. I’ve always been grateful that Mike came into my life when he did and helped propel me to the work I’ve done since. He changed me in a profound way. Mike’s passing marks the end of an era. I’ll miss him.

Since the last newsletter I was summoned for six weeks of grand jury duty commencing December 12. Luckily for me, the court closed down for two weeks over the holidays—and the folks at LSU Press sent me the Marching with Sherman page proof at the start of that break. So I was free to give it a thorough going-over and to complete the index well before the deadline. But as I was finishing the work, I fell ill. It hit me on December 28. I finished my work on the book around 3 a.m. of December 29 and immediately drove myself to the hospital emergency room. (Annette was in Florida visiting our son, Karl, on a trip I couldn’t make because of the grand jury duty and the book deadline.) A CT scan revealed what I suspected—a severe attack of diverticulitis, an affliction that has troubled me for years. I was in the hospital until January 3 and saw in the New Year there. On January 4, I was back at the courthouse on grand jury duty, which lasted until the twentieth. I found similarities between the hospital and grand jury experiences: Long periods of waiting for something to happen, bad and sad outcomes, inefficiency and waste, and bungling with technology. I was glad to get back home and back to work.

A word about Marching with Sherman—it looks good. I like the way the book is designed. The gallery of illustrations and the maps look nice. LSU Press always does an excellent production job with its publications, so the book will make a handsome addition to your library (or your electronic reader). It will be available in April, and I’ll have details in the next newsletter.

Here are some upcoming dates to note on your calendar. On Thursday, June 28, 2012, I’ll speak to the Buffalo Civil War Round Table at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY 14086. On Friday, June 29, I’ll give a talk at the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum, 9824 Route 16, Machias, NY 14101. And on Saturday, June 30, the 27th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at the Norton-Chambers American Legion Post, Route 16, Hinsdale, NY 14743. I’ll talk about my new book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. Look for more details about these events (and the book) in the April newsletter.

Congratulations to Ed Havers of Olean, New York, for obtaining a headstone from the Veterans Administration to honor his granduncle, Pvt. Devillo Wheeler of Co. I. Devillo was about six weeks shy of his sixteenth birthday when he enlisted at his hometown of Allegany in August 1862. When the regiment arrived in Virginia, he quickly became homesick. “Old Allegany is the place for me,” he wrote on a print of Camp Seward he sent home to his parents. “Let it be ever so humble there is no place like home,” he wrote on another occasion. “When I hear the brass band play ‘Home Sweet Home’ in the evening it makes me think of home.” Like so many other 154th New York men, Devillo was captured at Gettysburg. Confined on Belle Island in the James River opposite Richmond, he was sent to Hospital 21 in the city on November 3, 1863. It’s likely he died there, but he is listed as having “no further record.” Assuming he died in Richmond, his remains would have eventually been reinterred in the Richmond National Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Now, thanks to Ed Havers, Devillo will be remembered in his hometown with a stone placed in Allegany Cemetery, where the young soldier’s brothers are buried. Ed is planning on a dedication ceremony in late spring or early summer. I’ll make note of it in a future newsletter.

Thanks to Ken Young of Anchorage, Alaska, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Chester D. Strickland of Co. K, for sharing fine postwar portraits of Chester and his wife Emeline (Nash) Strickland. The images are cabinet cards taken by G. W. Scott of Gowanda, New York. Chester Strickland was wounded and captured at Chancellorsville and discharged for disability in October 1863 from at hospital at Washington.

Thanks to Jack Sharrar, Director of Academic Affairs at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, for calling me out of the blue one evening to ask if I was familiar with a play by Paul Shyre called “A Whitman Portrait.” I wasn’t, and was most interested to learn about it because Shyre included Walt Whitman’s account of his interaction with Pvt. Oscar F. Wilber of Co. G—subject of Chapter Twelve of my book War’s Relentless Hand. I purchased a copy of the play from Amazon.com and found that it was first performed in New York City in 1966. Shyre’s Whitman recited verbatim the Wilber account accompanied by a slow, longing harmonica solo. Then an actor voiced Oscar’s reply to Whitman—a bit of poetic license, as no such reply is documented. I wish I had known about the play when I wrote War’s Relentless Hand. I’m pleased, however, that it finally came to my knowledge, and that it came to me from someone in the theatrical world.

Thanks to Jim Tavis and Marty Willis, fellow members of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table (founded by yours truly in 1992), for their thoughtfulness. At our January meeting, Marty gave me a CD of “Who Would Not Be a Soldier?” my September 2005 appearance on Civil War Talk Radio (linked to on my website). Jim gave me a couple of snapshots of my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg, which he had visited recently.

Thanks to friend Mike Russert of Cambridge, New York, for sending a grouping of 154th New York letters he copied at the New York State Library and Archives in Albany. A few that were new to me caught my eye. One was a plea from hometown neighbor Lemeul Jenks of Gowanda on behalf of a promotion for Newton Chaffee—a quest that I wrote about in Brothers One and All (218-19). Another was a letter from the Reverend James D. Harris, a private in the 154th, seeking a transfer to another regiment while stationed in New York City. Harris is a real mystery man—he enlisted in Chautauqua County in September 1864 but never was assigned to a company or joined the regiment. This is the first document relating to him to turn up. There’s also a poignant July 1865 letter from hospitalized Pvt. Hiram S. Lockwood of Co. E pleading the adjutant general for a copy of his descriptive list so he could be discharged. He had been wounded at Rocky Face Ridge and treated in the Union field hospital, but somehow captured later that night. He had been released in April and described himself as “a poor soldier.”

Three more items were added to the archives via eBay. The first was a cover (envelope) addressed to “Miss Frankie Norton, Otto, Cattaraugus Co. N.Y.” from her father, inscribed “Soldiers Letter, W. W. Norton, Chaplain 154th N.Y.V.” It’s postmarked Cincinnati, November 12 [1864], and is stamped, “Due 3 cts.” It’s almost an exact duplicate of another cover I obtained years ago together with six of Norton’s wartime letters to his daughter, and as such I’m pleased to have it. While the covers are interesting ephemera, the letters are valuable primary source material. I quote from Norton’s in my forthcoming book, Marching with Sherman. My thanks to friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, and Tim Barton of Leland, North Carolina, great-great-grandson of Pvt. George Williams of Co. H, for bringing the Norton cover to my attention.

On August 23, 1869, the new postmaster of New York City, Patrick Henry Jones, a recent appointee of President U. S. Grant, wrote to his counterpart at the customhouse, Collector Moses H. Grinnell, recommending Brevet Brig. Gen. Addison Farnsworth as a sound soldier and Republican Party stalwart, in a typical plea for political patronage. As postmaster, Jones was flooded with similar requests from the friends of job seekers. Jones material is very rarely seen, so I was pleased to obtain his letter. I’m getting to where I can make out most if not all of his abysmal handwriting.

Years ago a relic collector named Wendall Lang Jr. allowed Mike Winey to photograph an identification stencil Lang had dug at the site of one of the 154th New York’s winter camps in Stafford County, Virginia. The soldiers used such stencils to mark their personal belongings. This one was marked “A. H. Goulding, Co. F, 154 N.Y.S.V.” It belonged to Pvt. Abner H. Goulding, a 22-year-old single farmer when he enlisted at Arkwright in August 1862. He was captured at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1862, and paroled at City Point less than two weeks later on May 14, but he died on May 18 at the Second Division Hospital of typhoid fever. Goulding’s stencil is the only relic of his ever to turn up. I’ve never found any of his wartime letters or a photograph of him. However, mentions of him in the letters of his comrades present a rather sad tale.

Goulding’s company comrade Pvt. James D. Emmons noted during the movement to Thoroughfare Gap in November 1862, “Ab is now quite sick he does not stir out much he is taken medisen for the fever.” Later that month Emmons reported that Goulding was getting better, but in February 1863 he noted that Goulding was again sick in the regimental hospital. In March Emmons reported that Goulding was still in the hospital, and that he had stolen items sent from home and meant for Emmons, and also had forged a letter purportedly from his mother pleading for a furlough for her son. “Ab has not got one friend in the company,” Emmons wrote. “There is not one that will go to the hospital to see him since he stole my box if he ever comes back to the company they would if they could kick him clear home for they thinks that he is a disgrace to the company all of the boys in the hospital perfectly hates him but enough of that.” On April 2, 1863, Emmons wrote, “You will soon be Blessed by the presence of Mr A H Goulding for he has got his papers for a discharge or they are very nearly ready to give him so if he can stand the georny he will soon be at home he is rather bad off they say he is failing all of the time but he is around yet his papers was sent to the capt to be signed yesterday and now sent back signed all right.” On April 12, First Lieutenant John C. Griswold of Co. F wrote, “Abb Goulding will get his discharge in a few days I expect his papers has gone to headquarters for approval. He is reduced to a skeleton almost by chronic diarrhea.” But Goulding’s discharge didn’t come through in time for him to avoid the Chancellorsville battle. James Emmons, who had apparently reconciled with Goulding, wrote on May 27, “I saw him the day he died. It was enough to scare anyone he was the purest mortal that I ever saw he was perfectly rational then and said he felt some better but I was well aware that he could not live.” So go the stories associated with the owner of the beat-up, long buried stencil that now joins the regimental archives.

Work has continued on the Patrick Henry Jones biography in the form of background reading on the Charlie Ross kidnapping case (which rivaled the Stewart grave robbery as a crime sensation of the 1870s; the two cases share several interesting parallels) and Horace Greeley (Jones’s political patron).

Since 1998 I’ve been reviewing books for the Providence Journal, until recently confining myself largely to Civil War-related tomes. A few years back I branched out to review whatever caught my fancy. (After reading and writing Civil War history all day, I often prefer to read other subjects for pleasure, either in fiction or nonfiction.) Anyway, all the Civil War books the paper receives wind up in my hands. (Most of them I donate to our Rhode Island Civil War Round Table’s book raffle.) A recent volume was a coffee-table book published by the National Geographic Society titled The Untold Civil War. It appeared to be the type of general interest overview that might include a reference to the Humiston story, but a check of the index revealed no listing for Amos or his family. So I was surprised when I looked through the book and toward the end came to a section titled “Children of War,” illustrated with the famous image of the Humiston children. However, in this rendition of the story, the family name was misspelled “Hamiston,” and Amos’s wife Philinda became “Philanda.” The brief account included other inaccuracies. So the Humiston story continues to be told, and misconceptions about it continue to circulate.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2012

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my fifth book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. Here’s a link to its page on the Louisiana State University Press website:

http://lsupress.org/books/detail/marching-with-sherman/

And to its page at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Marching-Sherman-Carolinas-Conflicting-Dimensions/dp/0807143782/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322707689&sr=1-2

A quick search of my correspondence reveals I started work on this book in January 2005, so it’s been a long haul. Back in the early 1970s, when I began research for The Hardtack Regiment, I never imagined writing several other books. I didn’t plan to make the study of the 154th New York my life’s work. But after The Hardtack Regiment was published, I realized there was more to the 154th’s story. I became convinced I could use the materials you have so kindly shared with me to make a useful contribution to the historical record. Without design on my part, my books have fallen into an alternating pattern. The Hardtack Regiment, written with Mike Winey, told the collective story of the 154th as a whole. My second book, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, told the individual story of Sgt. Amos Humiston, the subject of the most famous human-interest story to emerge from the regiment. My third book, Brothers One and All, returned to the collective view in an examination of regimental esprit de corps. War’s Relentless Hand, my fourth book, switched back to individual stories of a dozen members of the regiment. Marching with Sherman, of course, returns to the collective perspective. And my sixth book will tell another individual tale, that of Patrick Henry Jones.

It’s been a most gratifying experience to research and write these books (and articles), and I have to once again thank all of the descendants and others who have shared materials and otherwise helped me over the years. 154th New York finds have become sparser recently, but I firmly believe more exciting surprises await discovery. I look forward to sharing them with you.

My work on the Jones biography continued with more background reading and manuscript revising. I also turned up a very significant source—the reminiscences of Jones’s younger sister regarding the family’s early years in America, which turned up in an article in a 1931 issue of the Iowa Catholic Historical Review. I’m very excited about the Jones book and am looking forward to getting to Washington to finish my archival research.

Thanks to those of you who sent condolences in response to my announcement in the last newsletter of the death of Mike Winey. I was honored to write a tribute to Mike for the Civil War News. It was published in their March-April 2012 issue and is reproduced here:

I was a recent art school graduate who wanted to write a history of my great-grandfather’s Civil War regiment when I happened to stop on my birthday in 1970 at the New York Historical Association in Cooperstown and discovered Mike Winey’s master’s thesis on the history of that very regiment. This serendipity led to a partnership and friendship that transformed my life.

When I contacted Mike in 1972, he readily agreed to my proposal to collaborate. When we met, we found we had little in common. I was a shaggy artist; Mike was a crew-cut curator. But we shared a deep interest in Civil War history and a passionate devotion to a particular regiment, the 154th New York. With that as its basis, we had a positive, long-lived partnership, never letting our differences get in the way of our friendship. Mike was forthright, opinionated, exuberant, emphatic, and knowledgeable. His resolve buttressed my spirits during setbacks on the road to publication. We met our goal when our book The Hardtack Regiment was published in 1981.

Since then, Mike and I continued to share 154th New York finds, building a large archives of regimental material while engaging in a copious correspondence over four decades. For twenty-plus years Mike was a steady attendee at our annual regimental descendants’ reunion in Western New York, his camera and copy stand at the ready to record the attendees’ treasures. His vehicle was always easy to spot with its Pennsylvania license plate reading “154 NYVI.”

When I first met Mike, he was working for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in Harrisburg. In 1974 he became curator of Special Collections at the U.S. Army Military History Institute (USAMHI) at Carlisle Barracks, where he oversaw the largest collection of Civil War photographs in the country. It was there that he engaged in a project that is a great legacy to the American people.

During the heyday of Mike’s project, the USAMHI photographic collection numbered about a million images, covering all periods from the Mexican War through the present day, and it was growing by some 3,000 photographs every month. About 85,000 of the images were Civil War photographs. The richness in soldiers’ portraits inspired Mike. “I saw the potential,” he told me in 1993, “since we had about 40,000 images of individual soldiers of the Civil War, to have a central place in the United States where one could go to find a photograph of a Civil War soldier.”

So Mike copied the portraits from his personal collection, and that of his associate Randy Hackenburg, and of local friends, and it mushroomed. Collectors shared images by the hundreds. Institutions offered access to their holdings. Genealogists spread the word. Civil War Round Tables pitched in. In person and by mail, a daily average of eight Civil War soldier (or veteran) portraits arrived at the USAMHI for copying. Each image was photographed and developed professionally, with the donor receiving a complimentary 8” x 10” print. It became commonplace to find the USAMHI credited for the illustrations in Civil War books. Requests for prints of soldiers’ portraits arrived in Carlisle from around the world.

Mike’s goal was to copy a portrait of all 3.47 million men who served in the Civil War. He fell short, of course, but the thousands of images he copied in the course of his project form a collection that fittingly commemorates those depicted and will benefit the public for generations to come.

* * * * *

Thanks to Earl H. Rice, of Waldorf, Maryland, Captain, U.S. Army, retired, and great-grandson of Pvt. Henry J. Rice of Co. F, for giving my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg a cleaning during a recent visit. My artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I plan to get to Gettysburg to do a complete restoration of the mural, but as yet we’re not sure when. I want to complete the work so the painting looks as good as possible for the sesquicentennial of the battle in July 2013.

Thanks to Bruce Dineen of Salamanca, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Samuel W. Simmons of Co. H, and particularly to Bruce’s daughter Allison Dineen of Frederick, Maryland, for providing copies of documents from the Simmons pension file obtained at fold3.com. Samuel Simmons was captured at Gettysburg and confined on Belle Island in the James River opposite Richmond. In October 1863 he and company comrade Pvt. Alfred Matteson attempted to escape by crossing the river. Matteson was drowned; Simmons made it to shore but was nabbed by the Confederates and returned to the island. He died of fever in January 1864.

Please make note of these upcoming events. I hope to see you at one or more of them:

Thursday, June 28, 2012: I’ll speak to the Buffalo Civil War Round Table about Marching with Sherman at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY 14086.

Friday, June 29, 7 p.m., I’ll give a talk on Amos Humiston at the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum, 9824 Route 16, Machias, NY 14101.

Saturday, June 30, 10 a.m., I’ll speak at the ceremony at the Allegany Cemetery, Maple Street, Allegany, NY 14706, dedicating the cenotaph to Pvt. Devillo Wheeler of Co. I.

Saturday, June 30, 2 p.m., the 27th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at the Norton-Chambers American Legion Post, Route 16, Hinsdale, NY 14743. I’ll talk about Marching with Sherman. Look for more details about these events in the reunion invitation (to be sent via postal mail at the end of May) and the June newsletter.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Cristie Herbst of Lakewood, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. John Jackway of Co. E, who was wounded at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge and had a finger amputated as a result. After a lengthy hospitalization, he rejoined the regiment in April 1865 and was mustered out two months later. I met Cristie back in 1973, when she was a cub reporter for the Jamestown Post-Journal and interviewed me as a wannabe author doing research for The Hardtack Regiment. Her article served to connect me with several descendants of members of the 154th, who in turn shared valuable resources with me. Today Cristie is the paper’s editor. It’s nice to reconnect with her after the passage of almost four decades.

John Spengler of North Collins, New York, great-great-grandnephew of brothers Austin and Henry A. Munger, both privates of Co. F. As related in my book Brothers One and All, Austin died of disease at a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, in November 1862. Henry was severely wounded in the neck at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, on May 8, 1864, and died in January 1865 at a hospital in Madison, Indiana. The Munger brothers left no direct descendants, so John represents them—as so many members of the regiment are represented—as a collateral relative. John informs me that of the brothers’ seven siblings, four died young—and their parents died just a few years after the Civil War during a smallpox epidemic. Tragedy for the Munger family transcended the war.

Travis Bullard of Saratoga Springs, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John M. Dawley of Co. K, who was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in September 1863 and served therein to the end of the war. John is mentioned in my books Brothers One and All and Marching with Sherman in conjunction with the death of his brother and company comrade, Cpl. Job B. Dawley, captured and killed by the enemy in North Carolina the month before the war ended.

Craig Langhans of Springville, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2012

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 27th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, 2012, at the Norton-Chambers American Legion Post on Route 16 in Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, New York. My presentation will be on my new book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. I will also offer a tribute to my late partner Mike Winey.

A limited number of copies of Marching with Sherman will be offered for sale at a discount at the reunion (and at my June 29 talk at the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum, see below). In addition, Louisiana State University Press is offering the book (and all of its Civil War titles) at 40% off in a special sale that runs until June 25. This is a better deal than Amazon.com offers. You can order online at www.lsupress.org or call 800.848.6224 and use the code 04CIVILWAR.

My relative Merrie Ann Yosua of Bel Air, Maryland (newly added to the roll, see below) has handcrafted and donated three small quilts and a number of other items to be raffled off at the reunion. Each attendee will receive a complimentary ticket, so everyone has an equal chance of winning a prize. Merrie’s brother Bill Street of Fallston, Maryland, will conduct the raffle.

I will pass the hat at the reunion as usual. Your kind donations help me to recoup my expenses for the event, which amount to several hundred dollars. I very much appreciate your support—thank you!

I’m looking forward to speaking at several other events in Western New York. Please join me if you can:

6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 28: “Marching with Sherman,” Buffalo Civil War Round Table, Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY 14086.

7 p.m., Friday, June 29: “Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, Amos Humiston,” Cattaraugus County Historical Museum, 9824 Route 16, Machias, NY 14101.

10 a.m., Saturday, June 30: Dedication of marker to Pvt. Devillo Wheeler, Co. I. Allegany Cemetery, Maple Street, Allegany, NY 14706.

Much of my time since the last newsletter was spent recovering from surgery on April 6. Since 1989 I’ve suffered repeatedly from attacks of diverticulitis—more than a half-dozen of them over the years—and when the most recent one put me in the hospital for six days around New Year’s, I decided then and there to have an operation to remove a portion of my colon and reduce the prospect of future attacks. This time I was in the hospital for six days. By the end of my stay I was walking the halls so often that the nurses joked I should run errands for them. On returning home I kept walking more each day, resumed playing music, tended the garden, caught up on reading, and generally took it easy, so my recovery came along nicely.

Because I have the e-mail addresses of only about half of the descendants on the roll, I continue to send reunion invitations through the postal mail. Many of you will receive one, but most of the friends will not. For them, here is how I summarized the past year in the invitation:

This year got off to a sad start with the death of Mike Winey at age 70 on January 28. He informed us after last year’s reunion that he had cancer. Mike and I were steadfast partners since 1972 in researching the 154th New York. Many of you got to know him at our reunions or through correspondence. This will be the first reunion he will miss in many years—and we will miss him. I was honored to write a tribute to Mike for The Civil War News and I will share it with you at the reunion.

Seven years of work culminated in the publication of Marching with Sherman. Photographs, documents, and relics too numerous to list were added to the regimental archives. Work continued on the Patrick Henry Jones biography, highlighted by a trip to his ancestral homeland in Ireland. I gave talks on various topics in a variety of places. I revisited the Chattanooga battlefield during the Center for Civil War Photography’s annual seminar. In his new book Believing Is Seeing, Errol Morris related the Amos Humiston story and how I came to tell it in his inimitable style.

Twenty-three descendants were enrolled since the previous reunion, bringing the total carried to date to 1,165.

The publication of Marching with Sherman has stirred some publicity. Ads have appeared. Friends Drew Wagenhoffer and Kevin Levin mentioned the book in their Civil War blogs but have yet to review it (as I hope they will). I wrote a brief guest post for LSU Press’s blog, illustrated with four of the drawings from the journals of my 2007 southern trip. You can see it here:

http://blog.lsupress.org/guest-blogger-mark-h-dunkelman

Sherman historian and friend Thom Bassett interviewed me for the website GoLocal Prov:

http://www.golocalprov.com/lifestyle/civil-war-author-mark-dunkelman-traces-shermans-march-in-new-book/

A review of Marching with Sherman in The Civil War News stated, “By systematically marrying the known activities of the 154th New York to civilian accounts about the same places, the book conveys a better sense of specific Union activities and the resulting civilian experience than most accounts of Sherman’s marches. This dual approach is a valuable contribution, allows ample reflection on the hard realities of Sherman’s marches, and deserves an audience for trying to sort out fact and fiction on these matters.”

I’m also pleased to report that Marching with Sherman will be a featured offering this summer of the History Book Club, the Military Book Club, and Book of the Month Club 2.

An unusual image was added to the portrait albums courtesy of a copy print from Dr. Stanley Burns and The Burns Archive in New York City of a carte de visite depicting a handsome Pvt. Benjamin Reynolds of Co. C, seated with his left pant leg hitched up and his sock pulled down to reveal a grouping of sores on his shin. He is holding a finely lettered chalkboard listing his name, company, regiment, and case number. The photo was one of many assembled to document medical cases by Dr. Reed B. Bontecou, director of Washington’s Harewood Hospital. Dr. Burns has included the Reynolds portrait in his book, Shooting Soldiers: Civil War Medical Photography by R. B. Bontecou (New York: Burns Archive Press, 2011). Reynolds had gangrene when he was photographed, but it didn’t prevent him from eventually deserting from a hospital in Philadelphia. Two of Benjamin’s brothers—Charles and John L.—also served in Co. C; both were discharged for disability in 1863. The Reynolds brothers were from Portville, Cattaraugus County.

An exceptional document was added to the archives in a bargain picked up on eBay; I was the only bidder and paid less than twenty dollars for it. It is one of E. D. Northrup’s flyers, dated June 3, 1878, announcing his plans to write a history of the 154th New York. The only other one of these I’ve ever seen is in Northrup’s papers at Cornell University. On October 2, 1893, Northrup wrote a letter on the flyer’s verso to the secretary of the Batavia, New York, Masonic lodge, inquiring whether Sgt. Andrew Martin Keller of Co. D was a member of the lodge. (Keller is pictured in The Hardtack Regiment.) A follow-up Northrup letter of October 7 was also included. They are the first Northrup materials I’ve seen outside of his collection at Cornell, and are—needless to say—an outstanding addition to my collection. They also contain some fascinating information about Keller, who was both a fraternal Mason and a stonemason. Like so many members of the regiment, he was captured at Gettysburg and imprisoned at Belle Island and Andersonville. At both places he was assigned to work outside to construct the camp bake ovens. At some point he met and helped a sailor who was an expert tattoo artist and had a supply of needles and India ink. The sailor gave Keller tattoos on each forearm—the Masonic emblem on one, the crucifixion on the other. In 1894 Northrup arranged for Keller to have his prison tattoos photographed. Keller was reportedly pleased with the resulting pictures. Which begs the question: Where are the Keller tattoo photos today? The Northrup Papers at Cornell were disappointingly void of any photographs whatsoever. Keller apparently lived with his daughter, Carrie (Mrs. W. L.) Myrick, in Delevan, New York; perhaps Myrick descendants have saved a set of the odd pictures. I’d love to turn them up some day and write an article about Keller.

I shared an original copy of the page from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of January 2, 2864, depicting an artist’s imaginary rendering of the death pose of Sgt. Amos Humiston (reproduced in both The Hardtack Regiment and Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier), with a production company working on a documentary film by Ric Burns titled “Death and the Civil War.” I’m told it’s largely based on Drew Gilpin Faust’s book on the subject, This Republic of Suffering, which included the Frank Leslie’s image and a brief reference to the Humiston story, and was the conduit that led Errol Morris to my Humiston book and to me. The film is scheduled to broadcast on PBS this fall on WGBH’s “American Experience” series. I’m sure PBS stations will promote it widely. My impression is that Burns’ reference to the Humiston story will be brief and parenthetical, leaving a great Humiston film yet to be made. The Tony and Ridley Scott production “Gettysburg” that aired on the History Channel and summarized Amos’s story certainly came up short. Would my filmmaker friend Errol Morris agree with that assessment?

On April 10, the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest Civil War battlefields preservation organization, announced it had partnered with the Georgia Battlefields Association, the Friends of Resaca Battlefield, and The Trust for Public Land to purchase 51 acres of land on the battlefield of Resaca, Georgia. The site includes the location of Captain Max Van Den Corput’s Confederate battery. It was those four guns the 154th New York unsuccessfully attempted to remove from the Confederate earthworks on the night of May 15, 1864 (see pages 110-11 of The Hardtack Regiment). The Civil War Trust plans to deed the property to Gordon County, which will interpret the site and provide visitor services. Although the Trust has closed on the property, it still must raise $75,000 before the project is complete. It is a very rare occasion when 154th New York battlefield land goes up for sale. Please consider making a donation to the Civil War Trust specifically toward the Resaca purchase, so that descendants of the 154th can visit the site for decades to come. I’d also urge your support of the Georgia Battlefields Association and the Friends of Resaca Battlefield (I’m a member of all three groups). Thanks to descendant Doug Chadwick of Modesto, California, great-grandson of First Lieutenant Clinton L. Barnhart of Co. E, for informing me of the purchase. For info about the preservation groups, see their websites:

http://www.battlefields.org/

http://www.georgiabattlefields.org/

http://www.resacabattlefield.org/FoRstart.html

The Civil War Trust is also raising funds to purchase a fourteen-acre tract on the site of Stonewall Jackson’s flank attack on the 11th Corps at Chancellorsville, about a half-mile west of the position held by the 154th New York on the Buschbeck Line. This is another worthy cause for us to support. A matching grant turns every dollar donated into five dollars. For details, visit the CWT’s website.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Merrie Ann Yosua of Bel Air, Maryland, great-great-granddaughter, and Robert W. Gowin of Springfield, Virginia, great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H. As related above, Merrie made the quilts and other items that we will raffle off at the reunion.

Floy Zittin of Cupertino, California, great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. Giles N. Johnson of Co. B, who was wounded in the right foot at Gettysburg, which resulted in the amputation of toe and bone and Johnson’s discharge for disability in June 1864. New York State awarded him with the brevet rank of second lieutenant. Floy is a talented artist who specializes in painting birds. You can see her work at her website:

http://www.floyzittin.com

Floy kindly shared with me a transcript of a letter Giles sent to his sister from the hospital at Camp Dennison, Ohio, on April 27, 1864. He reported that his health was as good as it ever was and he was walking quite well with the help of a cane. He expected to be transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, but was instead discharged.

Finally, thanks to my son, Karl Dunkelman, for refurbishing my website. He’s done a great job with it from the start and I’m grateful for his efforts on my behalf.

I hope to see you at the reunion!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2012

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

It’s been an exceptionally busy, productive, and enjoyable couple of months since the last newsletter. Let’s get right to it . . .

The 27th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York came off very nicely. About ninety people attended on June 30 at the Norton-Chambers American Legion Post in Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, New York. Thanks to Hinsdale historian and 154th descendant Diana Dutton for arranging the use of the post, and to the post members for allowing us to meet without charge in their facility. It’s a fine place for our purposes (this was our second reunion there)—plenty of parking, a one-story building without steps, lots of room inside, and some treats including hardtack courtesy of Diana and the Hinsdale Historical Society. And a cordless microphone, which is ideal for the most important part of the reunion, the roll call, our traditional end to the day in which the descendants identify themselves and their ancestors. As the microphone was passed around the room, everyone came through loud and clear. As usual a good number of soldiers were represented, with some having several descendants on hand. (By the very nature of the reunion, small family reunions coincide. The linking of relatives has been a very pleasant part of my work.) A number of attendees were from out of state. I opened the program by reading my tribute to Mike Winey. Then I talked about my new book, Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York. Copies of the book sold out quickly before the program began. Thanks to Jean Bretzin of Portville Books and Collectibles for ordering them, and friend Ronda Pollock of Portville for handling sales at the reunion and at my talk the night before.

An enjoyable feature of this year’s reunion was the raffle of quilts and other items made and donated by Merrie Ann Yosua of Bel Air, Maryland, great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H. Merrie was unable to attend the reunion, so the raffle was conducted by her brother Bill Street of Fallston, Maryland. Bill invited the two youngest members of the audience to help with the drawing, and the girls did a good job. At the end of the raffle, Bill surprised me with a present: a special quilt made by Merrie, which is a beautiful memento of the occasion.

Thanks to everyone who made donations toward the reunion expenses, through the mail or at the event. Once again your generosity enabled me to cover my costs. I sincerely appreciate your support.

I had a busy time in Western New York. On June 28 I spoke on Marching with Sherman to the Buffalo Civil War Round Table at their meeting at the Opera House in Lancaster, New York. I’ve made presentations to the Buffalo CWRT several times, but this was my first visit in years. There was a nice turnout and it was enjoyable to see some old friends again. I was pleased to receive a “McKinley Cup,” which the Buffalo CWRT presents to its speakers: a reproduction tin cup of the type carried by Civil War soldiers. It’s my second one, and I hope it won’t be the last.

On June 29 I spoke on “Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, Amos Humiston,” at the Cattaraugus County Museum in Machias. Thanks to Brian McClellan, museum curator, for arranging my talk. I spoke outdoors to an audience seated on chairs on the lawn on a pleasant evening. It was an honor for me to speak at the museum, which has a special display devoted to the Humiston story. Thanks to aforementioned friend Ronda Pollock and her husband Tom for treating Annette and I to dinner and the night’s stay at their Portville home.

The next morning, June 30, I had the honor of giving the main address at the dedication of a memorial in Allegany Cemetery on Maple Street in Allegany. It is a marker to commemorate Pvt. Devillo Wheeler of Co. I, who enlisted at age fifteen, was captured at Gettysburg, died as a POW in Richmond, and was buried as an unknown. Knowing this, his grandnephew, Edward Wheeler Havers of Olean, arranged to have a headstone for Devillo placed in the family plot. Ed and his wife Mary planned a fitting ceremony to honor Devillo. Allegany’s mayor spoke. There was a religious service conducted by husband and wife clerics, and a VFW burial service complete with firing squad and Taps, played on two bugles as a round in perhaps the best version I’ve ever heard. Then I spoke, summarizing Devillo’s brief life and quoting from his letters (which I found in the Wheeler pension file at the National Archives). I finished my speech by showing the print of Camp Seward that Devillo had sent to his father soon after reaching the front. On the back of it the homesick boy wrote, “Old Allegany is the place for me.” Thanks to the dedication of Ed Havers, Devillo is now remembered back home.

Between the Wheeler ceremony and the reunion, Annette and I enjoyed lunch with Paul Spaeth and Dennis Frank of the Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University. Years ago, Mike Winey and I agreed that our two overlapping collections on the 154th New York should go to the same repository, and that repository should be in Cattaraugus County, where eight of the regiment’s ten companies were raised. The way we saw it, the 154th was Cattaraugus County’s most representative regiment; the county was its home; its legacy should be preserved there; St. Bona is the only university in the county; and the Friedsam Library is the ideal place for our collections to be properly conserved and presented to the public. With Mike’s passing, we’re a step closer to formalizing our relationship with SBU, so I was pleased to get together with Paul and Dennis. I’m looking forward to the day when I can announce that the Dunkelman/Winey Collection on the 154th New York has been established at SBU.

It was a great pleasure for me to have my aunt Floris Dunkelman Sarver on hand at the Buffalo CWRT talk and the reunion and to acknowledge her as an important and benevolent influence on my life. I was proud to dedicate Marching with Sherman to her. She’s 92 years old and in great shape and as sharp as ever. As is tradition, Annette and I and my sister Amy all stayed with Aunt Floris during our time in Western New York for a pleasant family reunion. We love you, Aunt Floris!

An idea for a future reunion: Seat the descendants in groups by ancestor’s company. That could break up the occasional couple. This year, for example, Charles and Betty Pettit attended from Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s descended from Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A; she’s descended from Pvt. Augustus V. Laing of Co. H. Laing was a tent mate of my great-grandfather Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, so Betty could sit with my folks. Among them is Dan Langhans, who is also in a “mixed marriage,” to a descendant of First Lieutenant Alex Bird of Co. F.

Thanks to Ernest Kinney of Sinclairville, Chautauqua County, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Charles E. Whitney of Co. I, who brought three fine postwar portraits of his ancestor to the Wheeler ceremony to be copied. In all three pictures, Whitney, a survivor of Andersonville prison, is wearing badges and ribbons related to his veteran-hood, and in one he is wearing the engraved silver 20th Corps star badge that Ernest brought to last year’s reunion to be photographed. My wife, Annette, did a good job copying the images and I’m pleased to add prints to the 154th New York portrait albums.

Thanks to Jack Green of Kennedy, New York, for bringing to the reunion the Enfield bayonet and scabbard carried by his great-great-grandfather, Pvt. John C. Green of Co. K, an 1864 enlistee who served during the Sherman campaigns.

Thanks to friend Mark Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherdstown University in West Virginia, for sending a photo of his barn—which was standing on Chapel Road when the 154th New York and the rest of the 2nd Division, 11th Corps marched past it on July 1, 1863, on the way to Gettysburg. Mark also sent pictures of a painted garden statue of a Union infantryman identified on his knapsack as a member of the 154th New York. I told Mark that I’ve heard of garden gnomes that wander, and asked if his has ever taken off for points south like Chancellorsville, Atlanta, or Savannah.

Thanks to friend Susan Dennis of the Smithsonian Associates for reprinting a review in their e-newsletter, “Civil War 150,” of my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier. The review, by Ellen Breezy of Arlington, Virginia, first appeared back in 1999, the year of the book’s publication. The current issue led me to an interesting website centered on Coster Avenue in Gettysburg, site of the 154th New York’s fight on July 1, 1863. The site, created by Andrew Askins and Caitlin Kostic, graduate students at Shippensburg University, includes an overview of the Brickyard Fight, the Humiston story, my mural, and more. Take a look:

https://sites.google.com/site/costeravenuebeyond/Downhome

Thanks to friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for telling me about a postwar letter (with cover) of Principal Musician Orville Bishop for sale on eBay. Bishop wrote in June 1869 to a justice of the peace in Newburgh, New York, seeking information about a newspaper publisher there. Although the content doesn’t relate to his Civil War service, I’m pleased to have the letter as a relic of Bishop.

Thanks to Bill Watkins of Machias, New York, trustee at the Cattaraugus County Museum, for a manila envelope stuffed with copies of newspaper articles he’s come across during his work at the museum. Among them were some postwar reminiscences of a member of the 37th New York that were helpful for my Jones biography, and an interesting 1870 relating of the Humiston story.

On June 8 I had the pleasure of discussing Marching with Sherman with historian Gerry Prokopowicz on his Civil War Talk Radio show. Our conversation also touched on the origins of my work, our annual descendants reunion, this newsletter, and music. It was my second time on the show, which is an honor—only a handful of guests have been on more than once. Thanks, Gerry! Links to both conversations are on my website, and here’s a link to the recent one:

http://www.impedimentsofwar.org/singleshow.php?show=823

I spent the week of June 10 in Washington, D.C., on a final research trip for my Patrick Henry Jones biography—a trip I’ve wanted to make for the past couple of years. At the Library of Congress I looked through the collected correspondence of William T. Sherman, Hamilton Fish, Horace Greeley, John A. J. Creswell, Roscoe Conkling, and Thurlow Weed, finding useful material in all but the Weed papers (I’ve already turned up good Weed material in his papers at the University of Rochester). At the Library of Congress I also copied the entire manifest of the ship that carried the Jones family to America in 1840 and, in the Law Library, turned up documentation regarding a bill relating to Jones that was introduced in Congress in 1878. In the Rare Book room I examined the account of the Stewart grave robbery in the New York Illustrated Times, a sensational scandal sheet of its day. At the National Archives I copied Jones’s compiled service records with the 37th and 154th New York regiments and as brigadier general, and his medical records. I also looked through several collections, finding the most significant trove in the so-called Commissions Branch File (Letters Received by the Commission Branch of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1863-1870), which included correspondence relating to Jones’s promotion to brigadier general. I finished my work at the library of the National Postal Museum, where I turned up a couple of gems. One was a reproduction, in an obscure old book, of a montage of portraits of early New York City postmasters, including Jones. The original montage was owned by the New York Post Office, but when I inquired about it back in 1974 and more recently in 2008, it could not be found. I was excited to see what it looked like; the Jones portrait is new to me, albeit unusable in its greatly reduced and poorly reproduced state. Another rare book contained an illustration credited to an 1871 article about the New York Post Office in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. On checking the article at the Library of Congress, I was pleased to find a drawing of Jones in the postmaster’s office that will make a great illustration for the book. All in all, it was a productive trip. For convenience’s sake I stayed at a bed-and-breakfast on Third Street SE on Capitol Hill, just a few blocks away from the Library of Congress and the Capitol South Metro stop, but on succeeding nights I visited my old friends Bob Sherman and Chris Ford and their families in their northern Virginia homes. Chris and Bob are mentioned in Marching with Sherman as would-be collaborators on my second attempt to follow the route of the march. It was nice to see them and take a break from the intensive days of work. I was fortunate to visit the area before the destructive storms that struck just a couple of weeks later and left many without power for days during a brutal heat wave, including my Virginia friends.

After I got home from the reunion and caught up on correspondence, I wove the newly found Washington sources into the Jones manuscript. Because my new finds consisted of illuminating details but nothing requiring massive changes, the work went relatively quickly. Then I went over it entirely once again. I typically was consumed by it and put in long days until I finished. Since then two historians—both friends who receive this newsletter—have kindly critiqued the manuscript, making valuable suggestions for its improvement. A third historian is about to review it, and I hope to have a fourth do the same for me. Once I have all the recommendations in hand, I’ll revise the manuscript accordingly and give it another thorough going-over, taking as much time as is necessary. Then I’ll submit it for publication. I’m more convinced than ever that the Jones book will be a valuable contribution to the historical record. We’ll see how it plays out.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Debbie Splawski of Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania, great-grandniece of Allen Williams, the corporal of Co. D who rescued the national flag at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge Georgia, was promoted to sergeant on the spot, and remained color-bearer until the end of the war.

Shannon S. Treier of Milford, Ohio, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Adam Goodemote of Co. D, an Ashford man who enlisted in September 1864, made the marches with Sherman, and was mustered out at the war’s end.

Karen Dix Wojahn of Orange, California, great-great-grandniece of Cpl. Orange J. Abbey of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville.

Ellie Meacham of Livingston, Texas, great-grandniece of Pvt. James W. Washburn of Co. C, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Richmond. Thanks to Ellie for sharing one of James’s wartime letters and fragments of several others, together with photos of a carved and inscribed bone ring that James sent to his father during the war. With the full letter was a “Miscellaneous Enigma” created by James, a word puzzle that when solved would reveal the names of two of the regiment’s captains. Sample clue: “My 16, 14, 10, 15 is a kind of grain.” I figured one of them out—the answer was Washburn’s own captain, Lewis D. Warner.

Jeff Sherman of Charlotte, North Carolina, great-great-grandson of Sgt. Niles H. Sherman of Co. C, who was captured at Chancellorsville but served until the muster-out, and Jeff’s father, George Sherman of Fredonia, New York.

Basil Cheney of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Donald H. Cheney of Ormond Beach, Florida, great-grandsons of Captain (later major and—although never mustered as such—lieutenant colonel) Harrison Cheney, who recruited every man of Co. D in 1862 and was captured at Gettysburg but escaped and was a fugitive for twenty-two days before reaching the Union lines. Incidentally, Ormond Beach is named after the former Floridian James Ormond, the Confederate officer who served at Andersonville prison and whose family encountered the 154th New York in Atlanta, as recounted in Marching with Sherman. (I was going to mention that in a footnote, but it got cut.)

Marlynn Olson Ray of Penn Run, Pennsylvania, collateral relative of Musician James C. Helms of Co. A. Marlynn, formerly of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, is a long-time friend who just recently discovered the connection to Helms.

Joyce Rouba of Trenton, New Jersey, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Charles H. Field of Co. B. Joyce attended the reunion with her two sisters, Karen Streif of Madison, Wisconsin, and Gloria Sluyter of Bolivar, New York. Their late father, Vernon E. Field of Allegany, was a regular reunion attendee for many years and, having become a writer late in life, presented the author with his reminiscences of his grandfather’s Civil War stories, which I used as a source for Marching with Sherman.

And welcome to these descendants, who enrolled at the reunion:

Elberta J. Billsborough of Rixford, Pennsylvania, great-granddaughter, and Dennis Everitt, Lennard C. Everitt, and Kenneth Everitt of Olean, great-great-grandsons of Pvt. William Swartz of Co. I, who died of disease in December 1862 at a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, and is buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Cody Elliott of Fredonia, New York, collateral relative of Pvt. Eason W. Bull of Co. D, who died of disease at the regiment hospital near Brooks Station, Virginia, in February 1863, and is buried in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery.




HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2012

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Work on my Patrick Henry Jones biography has been in a temporary lull. This summer, three historian friends kindly agreed to critique my manuscript. I chose them because of their areas of expertise. James Marten of Marquette University has written fine books on children and the Civil War and Union and Confederate veterans in the Gilded Age. (His book The Children’s Civil War inspired me to launch what became a twelve-year career reviewing books for the Providence Sunday Journal.) My emphasis is on Jones’s Gilded Age life, hence my wish to have Jim review the manuscript. In addition, he is working on a project similar to mine, a biography of a famous Union veteran of the era, Corporal James Tanner. Jim found time before classes started to read my manuscript and made valuable recommendations, both general and specific, for its improvement.

A second reader, Robert C. Williams of Center Lovell, Maine, echoed Jim Marten’s general comments in his likewise helpful critique. My wife Annette and I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and his wife Ann at their home on September 23 when an engagement party in a nearby town took us to Maine on the first weekend in autumn. Bob is the author of a recent biography of Jones’s political patron Horace Greeley, which is why I initially contacted him. He’s also written extensively in Russian, American, and European history, and is the author of a popular textbook, The Historian’s Toolbox: A Student’s Guide to the Theory and Craft of History, based on his years teaching at Williams College, Bates College, and Washington University in St. Louis, and as professor of history and dean of the faculty at Davidson College in North Carolina. Bob kindly gave me a copy of the book and I’m benefiting from reading it. It’s the college history course I never took. Bob and Ann had made a trip to Ireland shortly before he read my manuscript, which put him in the perfect mood, he told me, to read Pat Jones’s story.

Any day I expect a review from Barnet Schecter of New York City. I first met Barnet when he came to Providence in September 2006 to speak to the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table about his book The Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America. Barnet has also written about New York City during the Revolutionary War and conducted tours of city historical sites. Pat Jones’s postwar life—which forms the bulk of my manuscript—was spent largely in New York City, and Barnet’s local history knowledge makes his opinion one well worth seeking.

I’m looking forward to incorporating changes suggested by these historians when I revise the manuscript. I’m setting no deadlines; I will take as much time as needed. In the meantime I’ve been getting other facets of the book in order—obtaining permissions and collecting illustrations, including the front page of the New York Illustrated Times of November 23, 1878, with seven vignettes of the A. T. Stewart grave robbery, which to the best of my knowledge has not since been reprinted.

Although I’ve attended to the usual correspondence and this and that (see below), this period of not writing has given me time to play more music on my pedal steel guitar and dobro, tend my garden and enjoy the outdoors, do some traveling, and enjoy life in general during a period of pleasant weather. But Civil War history always lurks and I’ve also spent time on matters of the aforementioned Rhode Island CWRT and our state Civil War sesquicentennial commission.

Marching with Sherman was a featured selection of the History Book Club in its August 2012 catalog. It’s the first of my books to be a HBC pick. Thanks to friend Earl McElfresh of Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York, Civil War map expert and rock n’ roll fiction author extraordinaire, for sending me a copy of the catalog.

On September 14 I had the pleasure of sharing the Amos Humiston story with the Narragansett Bay Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America in Warwick, Rhode Island. On September 25 I told it again to the Greater New Bedford (Massachusetts) Civil War Round Table at the Fort Taber Military Museum. As usual, the touching tale was well received by both audiences. Thanks to the GNBCWRT for presenting me with a DVD of my talk.

The Humiston story went unmentioned in the excellent PBS American Experience film by Ric Burns, “Death and the Civil War,” which aired on September 18. Mention was made, however, of the fact that in their dying moments, soldiers clutched photographs of their loved ones. And to illustrate that statement, Steeplechase Films used an image I shared with them—“An Incident of Gettysburg—The Last Thought of a Dying Father,” an artist’s imaginary depiction of the death pose of Sgt. Amos Humiston, as published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper on January 2, 1864. At least Amos’s image was included in the film, if his case—by far the most famous of its type—was not specifically mentioned. To the best of my knowledge, the “Last Thought” woodcut had never been reproduced before I included it in The Hardtack Regiment and a subsequent article in Civil War Times Illustrated. Since then it’s been reproduced a number of times, including in This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust’s book upon which the Ric Burns film was based.

Thanks to Ed and Mary Havers of Olean for a DVD of the Devillo Wheeler memorial service held last June 30 at the Allegany Cemetery. I’m pleased to add it to my files.

Thanks to Floy Zittin of Cupertino, California, for a CD containing the pension records of her ancestor, Sgt. Giles N. Johnson of Co. B. The National Archives is now offering the option of hard copies or a CD of pension files, and Floy is the first 154th New York descendant I’m aware of to go for the second option. Presumably, the digital files created are being archived and will be available to future inquirers, saving wear and tear on the original documents.

Thanks to David Wing Snyder of Hilton, New York, for copies of two documents relating to the service of his great-grandfather, Pvt. Asa S. Wing of Co. G, who was once wounded and twice captured during an eventful career as a soldier. You can read about Wing’s second capture in Marching with Sherman.

Thanks to Rich Hanson of New Lisbon, Wisconsin, great-great-great-grandson of First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K, studying for a master’s degree from Norwich University, for sharing a paper he wrote on “How Jomini’s Principles of War Impacted the Brickyard Fight on July 1, 1863.”

Thanks to Jack Green of Kennedy, New York, for clarifying that the Enfield bayonet he brought to our reunion did not belong to his great-great-grandfather Pvt. John C. Green of Co. K (as reported in the last newsletter), but to a person unknown.

Thanks to Sue Morgan O’Rourke of Millersville, Maryland, great-great-grandniece of Pvt. Benjamin D. Morgan of Co. F, for presenting me with a copy of R. Rebecca Morris’s new book A Low, Dirty Place: The Parole Camps of Annapolis, MD 1862-1865, published by the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society of Linthicum, Maryland. This well-researched book will be helpful to me when I revise my Patrick Henry Jones manuscript, because Jones was at Camp Parole from late July to the end of October 1863, spending much of that time in command of a battalion of paroled prisoners.

Thanks to friend Hugh Harrington of Milledgeville, Georgia, for providing a copies of the August/September and October 2012 issues of “The Dispatch,” the newsletter of the Civil War Round Table of New York. The first included a lengthy quote from page 46 of Marching with Sherman under the headline, “Sherman’s Men’s Deeply Resented Tactic.” The second, “How Did Southerners in Sherman’s Path Survive?” quoted a passage from pages 47-48 of the book.

Thanks to Diana Dutton of Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, the great-great-great- granddaughter of Cpl. Orton Rounds of Co. C, who arranged for our most recent reunion, for notifying me that The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2013 contains a version of the Humiston story. It’s one of “13 Little-known Facts About the Battle of Gettysburg,” compiled by Jeff Baker. His paragraph misspells Philinda Humiston’s name and repeats the oft-told but mistaken tale that she ran the Gettysburg orphanage. But his errors in the Humiston account pale in comparison with his assertion that Union general John Sedgwick was killed at Gettysburg after claiming that enemy sharpshooters could not hit an elephant from their distant position. That fateful statement was uttered at Spotsylvania, Virginia, on May 9, 1864.

Thanks to friend William A. Frassanito of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for notifying me that the earliest known portrait of the Humiston children taken in Gettysburg was not made by Tipton & Myers (as stated in the caption to the photo in my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier), but must have been a second-generation copy print. I’ve known Bill for many years. He consulted with me during the development of the Coster Avenue mural and reviewed and endorsed my Humiston book. Bill is widely regarded as the premier historian of Civil War photography and especially of photography at Gettysburg, and is the author of several renowned books, all of which I highly recommend.

Thanks to friend Wayne Fanebust of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, author of The Missing Corpse, a book about the Stewart grave robbery, for sharing some newspaper articles related to the story.

Thanks to friend Damian Shiels of Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, for providing copies of some rare source materials I can use in my account of Patrick Henry Jones’s Irish years. Anyone interested in the Irish in the American Civil War should take a look at Damian’s long-running blog: http://irishamericancivilwar.com/

Thanks to my friends at the Buffalo Civil War Round Table for reprinting a 1993 article by the late Ben Maryniak in their newsletter. “More on the namesakes of local G.A.R. posts” quoted an account I provided on the two GAR posts, in North Collins and Ellicottville, that were named in honor of First Lieutenant and Adjutant Samuel C. Noyes Jr., who was killed at Chancellorsville. When the 154th’s respected surgeon Henry Van Aernam died in 1894, Ellicottville’s post changed its name to commemorate him, thus having the distinction of having two namesakes from the same regiment. Ben did great work in tracking down the stories behind GAR post names, and many, many other facets of Civil War history. I had the pleasure of visiting his home in Lancaster once and what a treat it was to tour his impressive library. Ben was a kindred spirit. He is truly missed.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2012

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that the 28th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at the world-famous Chautauqua Institution. Here’s how it came about. Once every five years I like to hold the reunion in Chautauqua County rather than Cattaraugus, to reflect the ratio of companies raised in each county—two and eight, respectively. So we were due to return to Chautauqua for a reunion, and I’ve long thought that to hold one at the Chautauqua Institution would be great. When I checked their website, I discovered their programming for that week in July will center on “America 1863.” Knowing that, I made a proposal to hold the reunion there, which was welcomed by the Institution’s vice president and director of programming, Marty Merkley, and archivist and historian, Jon Schmitz. They are planning other Civil War-related events to coincide with the reunion, including a band concert and living history performance. It will be a memorable afternoon at a storied site, one not to be missed. Look for more details next year. In the meantime, mark your calendar, and visit the Chautauqua Institution’s website for information about this important place in American cultural, educational, and religious history:

http://www.ciweb.org/

A few days after Thanksgiving, I received the review of my Patrick Henry Jones manuscript from historian Barnet Schecter of New York City. In general his comments echo those of the other two historians, Jim Marten and Bob Williams, who have done me the great favor of critiquing the manuscript. With their suggestions in hand, I’m now ready to undertake a revision that will result in a much better book. My sincere thanks to Barnet, Jim, and Bob for the time and effort they expended on my behalf.

Within hours of sending the October newsletter, I heard from Donald L. Hotchkiss Jr. of Las Vegas, Nevada, collateral descendant of Cpl. George W. Hotchkiss of Co. A and chronicler of all the Hotchkisses, North and South, that fought at Gettysburg. Don voiced his intent to recruit a group to portray Co. K of the 154th New York at the reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, which will take place from July 4 to 7, 2013 (unfortunately conflicting with our reunion). Don explained that owing to his long-time involvement in the hobby, he had fifty sets of Union army uniforms, tents, and accoutrements, and eighteen muskets, to help outfit the proposed group. He asked me to put out a call for volunteers among the descendants and friends, which I did in a special mailing. Within hours after it was sent, Don received responses from a dozen interested people. As of this writing, he has about twenty-five volunteers, a number of them descendants. You can contact Don at: cpth65eng@aol.com

The Fall 2012 issue of The Civil War Book Review included a complimentary review of Marching with Sherman by Kevin Dougherty, a professor at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. You can read it here:

https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cwbr/vol14/iss4/18

On October 2 I talked about Marching with Sherman with the Shoreline Civil War Discussion Group in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. It was my second time speaking to that attentive, knowledgeable, and inquisitive group. Its members include a native Georgian, who added a Southern perspective to our conversation.

On October 12 I had the pleasure of sharing the story of Sgt. Amos Humiston with the Capital District Civil War Round Table in Watervliet, New York, a large group that does great work raising funds for Civil War battlefield preservation. Annette and I extended the trip with visits to old friends scattered around upstate—East Chatham, Hillsdale, Olivebridge, and Tuxedo Park—during nice fall weather.

On October 17 I benefited from a presentation to the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table by historian Brian Matthew Jordan of Gettysburg on his forthcoming book, When Billy Came Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War. I’ve long thought that the veteranhood of Civil War soldiers was a relatively neglected topic (an exception being the new book by aforementioned friend Jim Marten, Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America). I’m pleased that Brian is addressing it. In short, based on a study of pension records, he argues that 40 to 60 percent of Union veterans were maladjusted, showing signs of alcoholism, drug addiction, and what we call post traumatic stress disorder, and that they were often shunned, scorned, or feared by the general population. I touched on some of this in certain stories in War’s Relentless Hand. In Brothers One and All, however, I neglected to point out that not all Civil War soldiers shared in esprit de corps, that there were those who shunned veterans’ affairs in the postwar years, that didn’t join the regimental association or their local GAR post. This issue also figures in my biography of Patrick Henry Jones, and I’m glad that Brian is addressing it.

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) held its 127th Congress in Rhode Island on the third weekend in October and I spoke to several of the members on the afternoon of October 21 at the Governor Sprague Mansion in Cranston. MOLLUS was founded at the end of the Civil War as an organization of officers of the Union army and navy, and is continued today by their descendants. I told the group about “A MOLLUS Mystery.” Brigadier General Patrick Henry Jones was elected a first class member of New York Commandery No. 1 on April 4, 1866. At an unknown date, his election was voided—that is, he was dismissed from MOLLUS. Why this happened is uncertain. Among the MOLLUS members who heard my talk was Commander-in-Chief Jeffry C. Burden of Richmond, Virginia. He told me that Jones could have been blackballed at the whim of an enemy among the members, or dismissed for some infraction or misbehavior minor or egregious. Some MOLLUS records are at the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, but for the past couple of years I’ve been told they were being processed and were unavailable to the public. Faced with this dilemma, I wrote to Dr. Richard J. Sommers, Chief Historian and long-time colleague of my late partner Mike Winey, who explained that while the collection has not been strictly off-limits to researchers, it was badly jumbled during a move. Dick has kindly been looking through the collection on my behalf and also directed me to the head of the New York Commandery, with whom I’ve lodged an inquiry.

On the first weekend of November I had the pleasure of a brief visit from Gerry Prokopowicz, chair of the History Department at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, who came to speak at the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table’s annual dinner meeting. Gerry is also the host of Civil War Talk Radio and has twice interviewed me on the show. I had met him before, when he attended my talk in Snow Hill, North Carolina, in February 2007, and it was a pleasure to see him again. Links to both Civil War Talk Radio conversations are on my website, link below.

Speaking of my website, my thanks to friends Tom Place and Steve Teeft of the Echoes Through Time Learning Center and Civil War Museum in Williamsville, New York, for asking me to write a brief history of the 154th New York to add to their website. I was so pleased with the result, I asked them if I could also include it on my website, and they readily agreed. I’ve long thought a brief history of this sort would be a valuable addition to the site, so I’m grateful to Tom and Steve for providing the inspiration. Visit the Echoes Through Time site here:

http://echoesthroughtime.com/

And check out my “Brief History” on the Hardtack Regiment website, link below. Thanks to my son and Webmaster Karl Dunkelman for updating the site, and for friends William Marvel and Errol Morris for endorsements that enhance it. And look for another enhancement to the site currently in development.

Speaking of websites, Andy Turner of Gatehouse Press, publisher of Gettysburg Magazine, blogs daily on a Civil War subject. On November 28 his topic was “Civil War Sites: Coster Avenue.” It includes illustrations.

One thing I loved about my late partner Mike Winey was his constant insistence that the well of 154th New York documentation and artifacts would never run dry, that there is always more material out there awaiting discovery. I believe that too. It makes every day exciting with potential discovery. Of course, finds don’t occur on a daily basis. Which is why when they happen, they are all the sweeter.

John Jackway Cards

Take the wonderful picture reproduced above. Thanks to Christie Herbst, editor of the Jamestown Post-Journal and great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. John Jackway of Co. E, for sharing this portrait of Jackway (at right) and two companions. Jackway was a lifelong commercial fisherman on Lake Erie (it was listed as his occupation when he enlisted in 1862 at age nineteen), hence the scene in the painted backdrop. Note the men are using an old rudder as a card table. This evocative image is the first portrait of Jackway to show up. Did he send a tintype home from the front during his service? None has as yet surfaced. Jackway lost a finger at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and after a lengthy period of hospitalization was with the regiment at the muster-out. He had plenty of opportunities to be photographed during his service. I’d love to juxtapose a portrait of the young soldier with that of the old fisherman. It could happen any day! Meanwhile, here’s a thought. Who are the other two old-timers? Could they be fellow Civil War veterans, perhaps even company comrades? Company E was recruited from Chautauqua County’s lakeshore townships, so it’s plausible.

Speaking of Mike Winey, his extensive collection of militaria was sold on November 10 by the Conestoga Auction Company of Manheim, Pennsylvania. There were 699 lots up for bids, and many of them consisted of more than one item. The offerings included 350 uniforms dating from the Indian Wars to Operation Desert Storm, 150 pieces of headgear, a large quantity of nineteenth and twentieth century insignia, Civil War accoutrements, swords and bayonets, firearms, a Civil War bullet collection, and a large reference library. In all of this vast collection, there was only one 154th New York item listed—a silver folding double-edged spoon allegedly carried by Capt. Matthew B. Cheney of Co. G. I put in a bid for it by phone that I thought was high enough to get it, but I was outbid. I don’t regret this, because my hope is that the auction yielded the best results for Mike’s widow Bonnie.

Thanks to friend Wayne Rowe of the Rhode Island CWRT for notifying me of yet another telling of the Amos Humiston story. “Whose Father Was He: A Father’s Love at Gettysburg,” by Kathleen Logothetis, was drawn from my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier and appeared on October 17 as a post on the “Emerging Civil War” blog, “Giving a voice to the next generation of Civil War historians.” I’m pleased Ms. Logothetis saw fit to relate Amos’s story.

Thanks to friend Ronda Pollock of Portville, Cattaraugus County, for a copy of “The Homespun Collage,” the October 2012 newsletter of the Portville Historical and Preservation Society, containing an article about “All Roads Lead to Portville,” a play staged in August to observe the town’s 175th anniversary. The presentation of course included the story of Portville’s most famous Civil War soldier, Sgt. Amos Humiston, told from the perspective of his wife and three children, played by local residents. Mary Frair Kichman portrayed Philinda Humiston and read Amos’s poem “To My Wife,” which I reproduced in full in Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier.

Thanks to Rick Leisenring, curator of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York, for contacting me and notifying me of his intention to include the Humiston story in an exhibit on the Battle of Gettysburg that he is planning for next March. I was pleased to share with him scans of Humiston materials from my collection and I’m glad to know the tale will be told once again.

How many times has the Humiston story been related? The best answer might be: Countless. A Google search for “Amos Humiston” reveals about 54,300 results. I have no doubt that Amos’s tale will continue to be told on a regular basis.

Thanks to friend Hugh Harrington of Milledgeville, Georgia, for sending me the November issue of “The Dispatch,” the newsletter of the Civil War Round Table of New York, which contains an excerpt from Marching with Sherman. It’s the third consecutive issue to quote from the book. Someone in the CWRTNY appears to like it.

Welcome to the following descendants, who were added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Tressa Perkins of Oakland Park, Florida, great-granddaughter of Pvt. Thomas Regan of Co. G, a native of County Kerry, Ireland, who was badly wounded at the Battle of Dug Gap but survived to be mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end.

Lois Bowen Blakeslee of Valparaiso, Florida, a relative of brothers Sgt. Francis M. Bowen of Co. I and Pvt. Moses Bowen Jr. of Co. B, who were pictured as soldiers and as senior citizens in Brothers One and All.

Ron Hood of Biddeford, Maine, great-great-grandson of Sgt. Amos Humiston of Co. C. Ron’s great-grandfather was Fred Humiston, the youngest of the three children—the one seated in a high chair between his two siblings in the photograph that made them famous.



2013 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2013

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Most of the time since the last newsletter has been spent revising the manuscript of my Patrick Henry Jones biography. As usual, once I got started I couldn’t pull myself away from it and I worked on it day and night, seven days a week. The recommendations of the three historians who kindly reviewed it for me were so similar and so specific that the revision went relatively smoothly. (Thank you Jim Marten, Bob Williams, and Barnet Schecter.) The result is a much-improved manuscript. I finished it on January 18 and got it off to LSU Press the next day. It’s roughly 375 pages long; the last 100 pages contain the notes and bibliography, so I think it is acceptable length-wise. Look for more news about The Perils of Prominence: Patrick Henry Jones in Nineteenth-Century America in future newsletters.

Don Hotchkiss reports thirty men, eight women, and one child have registered to portray Company K of the 154th New York at the Gettysburg 150th anniversary reenactment. There is still time for anyone interested to volunteer. Don can provide uniforms, tents, and muskets. If you’re interested call Don at 702-875-1893 or e-mail him at cpth65eng@aol.com

The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, an organization active in preserving Civil War sites, has purchased a ten-acre property on the south side of Route 3 on the Chancellorsville battlefield. It is situated to the east of the site where the 154th New York fought and where the regiment’s monument stands. Members of the regiment crossed the newly acquired CVBT property in retreat when they were driven from the rifle pit at the so-called Buschbeck Line on the evening of May 2, 1863. For more information on the CVBT, visit the group’s website:

http://www.cvbt.org/

I was the only bidder for an envelope addressed to “Mrs. Mary J. Chittenden, Yorkshire Center, Catt. Co., N.Y.,” and also marked “5th Oct. 14th.” It had a Washington, D.C. postmark. It was, of course, sent from Pvt. William F. Chittenden of Co. D to his wife and enclosed—as his notation indicated—one of his early letters from Virginia. I obtained William and Mary’s wartime correspondence years ago and it served as the basis for my chapter on the family in War’s Relentless Hand, so I’m pleased to add this stray cover (purchased for less than three bucks) to the collection.

Thanks to friend Kevin Levin, author of the “Civil War Memory” blog, for naming Marching with Sherman the “Best Campaign/Battle Study” of 2012. You can read Kevin’s list of favorites here:

http://cwmemory.com/2012/12/16/best-of-2012/

Speaking of Marching with Sherman, I was pleased to see it listed in a bibliography for the first time (to my knowledge) in a new book by Stephen Davis, What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta (Mercer University Press, 2012). Davis included several quotes from the book. His book—which I have yet to read—appears to be the definitive word on the subject.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Bruce W. Beeson of Wimauma, Florida, great-grandnephew of Second Lieutenant Alexander McDade of Co. E. Bruce kindly shared copies of the documents in Alexander’s pension file. The story they tell reminds us of the sufferings of the regiment’s prisoners of war. McDade was wounded in the right forearm and captured on July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg. A Confederate surgeon dressed his wound. He was taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, which he described as a “filthy Hole.” He was in Libby for nine months, suffering from pain, swelling, and stiffness in his limbs extending to the small of his back. From Libby he was sent to Danville, Virginia, then in May 1864 to Macon, Georgia. There he was afflicted with scurvy, which affected his eyesight, his teeth, and his mental stability. As he later put it, he “suffered every thing that a human being could” and “came as near dying as any man could and live.” From Macon he was sent to Charleston, South Carolina, where a Dr. M. S. Moore treated him. Then he was sent to Columbia, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, where he remained until he was paroled on March 1, 1865, and sent to Camp Parole in Annapolis, Maryland. He received a leave of absence and returned to his home in Westfield, Chautauqua County. A Westfield doctor noted he was so debilitated that “but little exercise or any excitement prostrates him and causes him to keep [to] his bed, that his nervous system is very excitable, and his memory seriously impaired.” On the expiration of his leave he returned to Annapolis and was sent to the 154th, with which he was mustered out on June 11, 1865, near Bladensburg, Maryland. The South Carolinian Dr. Moore happened to visit Westfield in 1866 and encountered McDade in the street. The two immediately recognized each other and reminisced. Moore recalled that while at Charleston McDade was “in a terrible condition with scurvy and that he was in body and mind terribly shattered.” McDade was an expert blacksmith, but as a result of his infirmities, he sometimes was unable to shoe a horse and had to hire extra help as a consequence of his condition. The greatly debilitated veteran died April 18, 1909, and is buried in Westfield Cemetery.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2013

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Sending off the manuscript of my Patrick Henry Jones biography in late January ushered in a period of relative quiet. As I’ve been promising myself since I finished Marching with Sherman, I’m devoting more time nowadays to making music, which—like studying Civil War history and creating artwork—has been a passion of mine since my youth. I play the pedal steel guitar and the dobro. I’ve played in bands since I was a kid, but it’s always been a sideline for me. Now I want to take it to another level, and I have the time to devote to it. It’s a rare day that I don’t have some Civil War business to attend to, but not writing a book (for the first time in many years) affords me extra time to play music and I’m devoting a few hours each day to the instruments. Most recently I’ve been playing dobro to accompany an unusual singer here in Providence, Richard Hurley, who won’t perform in public but has been recording himself singing and playing his favorite songs in his basement for the past twenty-plus years. Rounding out our trio is a guitar player, Scott Stenhouse, who is my musical twin and lives around the corner from me to boot. I met Scott through a mutual friend and he and Richard invited me to join them. The Gorton Street Irregulars have put together three CDs in the past three years and are close to finishing a fourth. If anyone’s interested, let me know and I’ll send you a sample song.

Can playing music make me a better Civil War historian and writer? As the celebrated neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks writes in his latest book, Hallucinations, “Music calls upon many more areas of the brain than any other activity.” So I’ll interpret that as a yes. And speaking of music . . .

Thanks to Pamela Passamano of Rural Rhythm Records in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, for a complimentary copy of a CD titled “God Didn’t Choose Sides: Civil War Stories about Real People.” It’s a collection of thirteen original songs by various artists “about lost loved ones, acts of kindness, selflessness, faith, family values and brotherhood.” The second song on the CD is “A Picture of Three Children,” inspired by the Humiston story. It’s composed by Paula Breedlove and Mark “Brink” Brinkman and performed by Russell Moore. Like the rest of the songs on the album, it’s done in a country/bluegrass style, with guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, and nice vocal harmonies. Professionally performed and produced, it’s a well-crafted tribute and, to the best of my knowledge, the only modern-day song inspired by the Humiston story. (A contemporary poem about the tale has been published.) Two other songs on the album deal with the other most famous Gettysburg human-interest stories: “The Legend of Jennie Wade” and “Old John Burns.” My thanks to friend Deb Bisel of Topeka, Kansas, for arranging to have Ms. Passamano send me the CD. If you’re interested, contact Pamela Passamano at Rural Rhythm Records, P.O. Box 750, Mount Juliet, TN 37121, e-mail ruralrhythmpam@yahoo.com website: http://www.ruralrhythm.com/

Thanks to friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for informing me of an image of Pvt. Edgar Lattin of Co. B on the New York State Military Museum’s website. How this image eluded me until now is a mystery. Years ago Mike Winey copied the 154th New York images from that collection but somehow overlooked Lattin, probably because he is primarily identified as a member of Co. D, 179th New York, with which he served following his July 30, 1863 discharge from the 154th at a Virginia convalescent camp. In an interesting coincidence, Lattin was wounded a year later to the day as a member of the 179th at the Battle of the Crater near Petersburg, Virginia. He was discharged for the second time in December 1864. Lattin is the 254th member of the regiment represented in the portrait albums. You can see his picture here:

http://nyheritage.nnyln.net/cdm/singleitem/collection/nysmm/id/2537/rec/2

A new book will be of interest to those descendants whose ancestors were confined at the prisoner of war camp near Millen, Georgia, to which many of the Andersonville survivors were moved as Sherman penetrated deeper into Georgia. The World’s Largest Prison: The Story of Camp Lawton (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2012) is by Dr. John K. Derden of East Georgia State College. I shared regimental materials with John for his book and consequently Thomas R. Aldrich, Marcellus W. Darling, and William Hawkins are represented in it. The book is a fine overview of the prison camp’s brief history and includes an account of recent archeological investigations that have uncovered artifacts at the site.

On the subject of books, thanks to friend Damien Shiels of Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, for the gift of a copy of his new book, The Irish in the American Civil War (Dublin: The History Press Ireland). Damian has been my Irish ally during my work on the Patrick Henry Jones biography. His book is drawn from his blog postings, which date from 2010. You can find Damian’s blog here:

http://irishamericancivilwar.com/

Don Hotchkiss of Las Vegas, Nevada, who has recruited and is largely outfitting a group of thirty-plus reenactors to represent the 154th New York at the Gettysburg reenactment on July 4-7, has put together a tentative schedule, which includes travel from Nevada and elsewhere to Pennsylvania. In addition to the reenactment, the group plans assemblies at the regiment’s monument at Coster Avenue and the Humiston monument on North Stratton Street. For information, contact Don at cpth65eng@aol.com

An eBay auction that ended on March 29 offered a New Testament published by the American Bible Society of New York in 1861. Inscribed in pencil on the flyleaf was “Capt. Lewis D. Warner Co. C 154th NYVI.” The trouble was, the inscription wasn’t in Warner’s handwriting. I’m very familiar with Warner’s hand—I transcribed his wartime diaries and have numerous examples of his signature in my files—and he didn’t write that inscription. (He routinely signed “L D Warner.”) I posed a question regarding this to the seller. She informed me the Bible was obtained at an estate sale last summer—which tells us nothing—and theorized Warner’s wife or a regimental comrade might have made the inscription—which is far-fetched. I’ve seen plenty of Civil War letters and diaries and have a sense of the era’s handwriting styles, and this inscription looked to me like early twenty-first century handwriting rather than nineteenth century, and quite fresh to boot. The seller included the magic word “Gettysburg” in the listing’s title, and consequently somebody paid $115.29 for an item with a dubious provenance. Caveat emptor!

In February I welcomed visits from two historian friends. Barnet Schecter, who kindly reviewed the manuscript of my Jones biography, came from New York City to deliver a lecture at Brown University on his new book, George Washington’s America: A Biography Through His Maps, and found time to spend with Annette and me at our home. Dr. Christian B. Keller, Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, came here at my invitation to address the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table. As co-author of Damn Dutch: Pennsylvania Germans at Gettysburg (Stackpole, 2004) and author of Chancellorsville and the Germans: Nativism, Ethnicity, and Civil War Memory (Fordham University Press, 2007), Chris is a leading scholar of the Eleventh Corps, to which the 154th New York belonged. After corresponding with him for a few years, it was a pleasure meeting him in person and discussing Civil War history and other matters.

In March I had the pleasure of a visit from Seth Vogelman of Ma’ale Adumim, the Israeli settlement in the West Bank that has grown to be a sizable suburb of Jerusalem. Seth is a descendant of Ignatz Wasserman, a lieutenant in the 29th New York, a regiment that served together with the 154th New York in the First Brigade, Second Division, Eleventh Corps. Seth first contacted me back in 1997 and we’ve corresponded frequently over the years. We met once before, in Gettysburg in October 2002, when I was there for the rededication of my mural at Coster Avenue.

A reminder: the 28th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will be held Saturday, July 6, 2013, at the world-famous Chautauqua Institution. Details will follow in the June newsletter and the paper invitation, to be sent around the same time. I’ve been told by the folks at the Institution to expect a sizable crowd of guests for the program, so I hope we have a large turnout of descendants to demonstrate our devotion to our ancestors’ memory. For information about the Chautauqua Institution, visit their website:

http://www.ciweb.org/

I have two other speaking dates before the reunion. On Thursday, May 9, I’ll make a presentation on Marching with Sherman to the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table in Brunswick, Maine. This will be my third visit to the group (the previous ones being in 1999 and 2006) and I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to Independence Day, when I’ll talk about Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York. Rick Leisenring, the museum curator who invited me to speak, has put together a special display on the Humiston story for an exhibit on Gettysburg. If any of you are in the vicinity for either of these talks, please stop by.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Patti Johns Brown of Lake Forest, California, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Horace H. Howlett of Co. K, who injured himself with an ax and was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. Serving with the latter in Washington, D.C., he witnessed Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration. I told his story in detail in “For Old Abe and the Union, Of Course: Horace Howlett, a Staunch Union Man,” Lincoln Herald, Fall 1996.

Diana Taylor of Cincinnati, Ohio, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Joseph Cullen of Co. B, who was once court-martialed as related in Brothers One and All and was captured in North Carolina in March 1865, as related in Marching with Sherman. A postwar photograph of Cullen appeared in The Hardtack Regiment. I also have a wartime image of him that I shared with Diana.

Ryan H. Haywood of Ann Arbor, Michigan, great-great-grandson of Cpl. James B. Haywood of Co. E, who was captured at Chancellorsville and wounded at Resaca but nevertheless mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. Ryan kindly shared with me transcripts of eight of James Haywood’s wartime letters to his wife and son. The earliest letters were sent from the parole and convalescent camps at Alexandria, Virginia, after his capture at Chancellorsville and subsequent parole. A letter of November 12, 1863, details the regiment’s march from Bridgeport, Alabama, to Lookout Valley, Tennessee, which opened the famous “Cracker Line” and included a skirmish at Wauhatchie on October 28. The amount of detail James included in his account of the fight makes me wish more of his letters concerning significant events still survived. For example, other soldiers’ letters describing the Wauhatchie fight reveal that the one man wounded in the action was Pvt. Hiram Straight of Co. C, who lost his little finger. James adds the interesting detail that Straight thought he was wounded by friendly fire from the 73rd Pennsylvania, which made the charge in conjunction with the 154th New York. Two letters and a fragment cover James’s hospitalization after his Resaca wound. The last two letters, written in April 1865, comment on the Carolinas Campaign. I wish I had access to them when I was working on Marching with Sherman. James remarked on the plight of South Carolinians with compassion, noting, “every thing that is eatable is taken where the army passes and innocent women & children suffer with the guilty.” He observed, “There has [been] few houses burned in this [State of North Carolina] but in South Carolina there is a black streak the whole route. I am thankful it never has been my duty to fire any thing except Rail Roads.” Haywood mentioned a dozen of his Co. E comrades in his letters. This small sampling of letters reveal Haywood to be a straightforward chronicler with a sense of humor and a man who missed his family but was determined to do his duty in the service. As he put it in a letter after his wounding at Resaca, “I want to return to the regiment as soon as I can walk.” The Haywood letters bring the total number of 154th New York wartime letters located to more than 1,700. My sincere thanks to Ryan for sharing them with me.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2013

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 28th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at the world-famous Chautauqua Institution, on Route 394 in Chautauqua, New York. From noon to 12:30 p.m. we will gather at the Hall of Philosophy. There at 12:30 I will make a presentation on “The Hardtack Regiment at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg,” followed by the roll call of descendants. From 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. Thursday Morning Brass will present a Civil War music concert at the Hall of Christ.

This year marks the sesquicentennial of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, the regiment’s first battles and by far the most costly in casualties. Many of you are related to soldiers of the 154th who were killed, wounded, or captured at those battles. Whether your ancestor was a Chancellorsville or Gettysburg casualty or not, please join us to represent and remember him on this 150th anniversary of a momentous year. Our reunion kicks off a week of programs at Chautauqua devoted to “America 1863,” and Institution officials inform me that we can expect a number of guests at the reunion. Let’s show them our devotion to the 154th’s memory with a strong turnout.

Invitations will be mailed to all of the descendants and Western New York friends in a few days. To attend the reunion, you will have to purchase an afternoon gate pass for $13 valid from noon to 8:00 p.m. Parking is $8 for the day. You can purchase tickets in person the day of the reunion, or in advance by calling the ticket office at 716-357-6250 (mention code 154th when purchasing tickets). Because it will cost you to attend the reunion this year, I will not solicit donations to cover expenses. The pass will provide you with the opportunity to tour the grounds and take in other events, should you please. Chautauqua is an important place in American religious, cultural, and educational history, a significant site for our reunion.

During the afternoon, a few copies of my books Brothers One and All and Marching with Sherman will be available for purchase.

Speaking of my books, Marching with Sherman and War’s Relentless Hand—together with many other LSU Press Civil War books—are on sale at 40% off until June 25.

A couple of days before the reunion, on July 4 at 2 p.m. I’ll give a talk about Amos Humiston at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York. I’m looking forward to spending Independence Day in the Finger Lakes region. If you’re in the area, please stop by.

On May 4 I shared the Humiston story with a small but appreciative audience at the Burrillville Historical Society’s Civil War Expo in Pascoag, Rhode Island. None of the attendees had heard the tale before. It never fails to move listeners.

On May 9 I made a presentation on Marching with Sherman to a large audience at the Joshua L. Chamberlain Civil War Round Table in Brunswick, Maine, spurring a lively question-and-answer session afterward. Annette and I took the opportunity to make a long weekend of our trip to visit old friends in Maine.

On May 16 I enjoyed a visit from Kevin Levin of Boston, who was here to address the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table about his book Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder. Does the 154th New York have a connection to the Crater, which was fought by the Army of the Potomac well after the regiment’s transfer from that army to the western theater? Well, yes it does. The former captain of Company A, Baker Leonard Saxton, was killed at the Crater after reenrolling as a first lieutenant in the 179th New York. Kevin maintains one of the most widely read Civil War blogs, which I’ve been following since its inception. You can read it here:

http://cwmemory.com/blog/

Thanks to Ryan H. Haywood of Ann Arbor, Michigan, great-great-grandson of Cpl. James B. Haywood of Co. E, for sharing copies of the Haywood pension file. Haywood died of heart disease in Brocton, New York, in 1876 and his widow, the former Julia Ann Skinner, applied for a pension three years later. She was granted $8 per month. Documents in the file state that Haywood was disabled in the postwar years, rendering him unable to practice his profession as a blacksmith. Three regimental comrades made depositions in his case, including Captain Joseph B. Fay and Corporal Thomas K. Bambrick of Co. E and Assistant Surgeon Corydon C. Rugg.

The National Archives has raised the cost of purchasing copies of a complete pension file to $80. It can be money well spent. If you are interested in obtaining your ancestor’s pension records, drop me a line and I’ll send instructions on how to go about it.

Thanks to friend Lance Ingmire of the New York State Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee for inviting me to contribute to a planned book on soldiers buried in Albany Rural Cemetery. I wasn’t aware that any members of the 154th New York were buried there until Lance informed me that Major Jacob H. Ten Eyck was. Ten Eyck was the outsider—formerly a captain in the 3rd New York Infantry, the “Albany Regiment”—who was commissioned to replace the original major, Samuel G. Love, who had resigned. When Ten Eyck showed up in the 154th’s camp, the other officers protested his appointment and signed a petition to that effect that was endorsed by Colonel Patrick Henry Jones. Ten Eyck consequently resigned after serving with the 154th for just eight days. I briefly summarized the Ten Eyck case in Brothers One and All and went into more detail in an article, “‘A just right to select our own officers’: Reactions in a Union Regiment to Officers Commissioned from Outside Its Ranks,” Civil War History, March 1998. So I wrote a biographical sketch of Ten Eyck for Lance’s planned book. Lance also shared a wartime portrait of Ten Eyck from the collection of the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs. This is another image that escaped Mike Winey’s eye (like that of Edgar Lattin, described in the last newsletter), because Ten Eyck was identified as a member of the 3rd rather than the 154th. I’m pleased to add his wartime portrait to the albums. You can see it here:

http://24.39.195.147/dbtw-wpd/images/photographs/PA.1999.0014.2566.jpg

A second thanks goes to Lance Ingmire for informing me of a wartime photo of Pvt. Blythe Erwin of Co. F, which appears on the American Civil War Database website credited to a certain Henry Pomerantz. Erwin, who enlisted at Charlotte, did not last long with the regiment—he was discharged for disability in February 1863 at Philadelphia. (His brother Hugh Erwin, who enlisted with him, died of fever in Georgia in June 1864.) This appears to be a nice image and I hope to connect with Mr. Pomerantz to obtain a better quality copy than this one made from the ACWD website:

 

Thanks to Russell Payne of Frewsburg, New York, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. Justus Wright of Co. H, who died of disease in April 1863, for sending a link to an online tribute to his ancestor written by a relative, Doug Mainwaring (see below). The story takes an interesting twist and lands us onstage with a young Wright descendant in a performance at Ford’s Theater in Washington. You can read Doug’s essay here:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/04/let_us_die_to_make_men_free.html

Thanks to friend Damian Shiels of County Cork, Ireland, for another post on a member of the 154th New York on his blog “Irish in the American Civil War.” This one is about Pvt. Richard O’Neill of Co. F, who was wounded in the head at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, and died of his wound twenty days later at a Virginia hospital. Damian’s post also related the story of another native Irishman and member of the 11th Corps who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. You can read it here:

http://irishamericancivilwar.com/2013/05/02/150-years-ago-the-human-cost-of-chancellorsville-for-two-irish-women/

May 2 was a day for reflection this year, on the sesquicentennial of the bloodiest day in the 154th New York’s history. Come to the reunion to learn more about it.

Thanks to Dawn Hoisington Bennink of Jamestown, New York, for sharing a photograph of Pvt. Jackson Hoisington of Co. F and his family taken on the occasion of his wedding anniversary in 1916, with the group posed in their Sunday best in a field, a buggy in the background. Jackson was the first known member of the regiment to wound himself with a gunshot, as related in The Hardtack Regiment and Brothers One and All.

At last report, Don Hotchkiss had signed up 34 men and 8 women to represent the 154th New York at the Gettysburg reenactment this summer. Don has done a tremendous amount of work to organize and equip the group. If you’re unable to attend the reunion, consider attending the reenactment in Gettysburg. For information, please contact Don at cpth65eng@aol.com

Just released is a special magazine to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg, put out by i-5 Publishing, a new California outfit. “Gettysburg: 150th Anniversary” includes my article, “The Unidentified Father,” which relates the Humiston story. I’d imagine this publication is available on newsstands and at bookstores.

Since the 1999 publication of Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, I’ve tried to catalog new versions of the Humiston story as they appear. The growth of the Internet has made this impossible in a practical sense. A Google search for “Amos Humiston” yields about 40,000 results. A similar search under “Books” at Amazon.com brings up a more reasonable 27 legitimate results. Recently I added two of these publications to my library. The Graphic History of Gettysburg: America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013) by Wayne Vansant is what used to be called a comic book. It repeats the canards that newspapers published the Humiston children’s photo during the search to identify their father (depicting a reader peering at one) and that Philinda Humiston was the first matron of the Homestead orphanage in Gettysburg. So You Think You Know Gettysburg? The Stories Behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America’s Most Epic Battles (John F. Blair, 2010) by James and Suzanne Gindlesperger is more accurate. It catalogs in color photos and brief text dozens of spots on the battlefield (with GPS coordinates), including the “Kuhn’s Brickyard Mural” and the “Amos Humiston Monument,” with text apparently derived from my book.

Early in my research for the Patrick Henry Jones biography I did a search of the New York Times online archives and extracted numerous articles relating to his postwar years. Subsequently I used those key dates to locate mentions of him in numerous other newspapers. In the files of the Irish-American newspaper on microfilm at the New York Public Library I found a number of pertinent articles. It didn’t occur to me at the time to check the Civil War years for material on Jones’s first regiment, the 37th New York (also called the “Irish Rifles”). Recently Damian Shiels (see above) informed me that the Irish-American was posted online at Genealogy Bank, one of many old American newspapers (and other sources) available and searchable on that site. So I subscribed and did a search and found numerous articles relating to the 37th, many of them soldiers’ letters. I then did a search for Jones in particular during the postwar years—in all the newspapers that are archived on the site—and turned up about sixty articles that would have otherwise escaped me. If you’re interested in searching in old newspapers, Genealogy Bank is a good place to start:

http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/

The Library of Congress website also has searchable newspapers—some six million pages worth. A Jones search there yielded more than a dozen new items, a few of great value (including one regarding Jones’s role in the A. T. Stewart grave robbery case). The Library of Congress site includes newspapers not found on Genealogy Bank, and vice versa, so it was worthwhile checking both sites. Here’s a link to the Library of Congress site:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

I’ve since woven the new information from the newspaper articles into my manuscript. All told, they have added some depth to my biography. My favorite quote from the Irish-American is from a letter written by an anonymous member of the 37th New York in August 1862. He was referring to Jones’s likely promotion: “We are, I am afraid, likely to lose our gallant major, whose distinguishing characteristics can be more accurately summed up in Latin than in English: Suaviter in modo fortiter in re”—gentle in manner, resolute in action, a quote from the Italian Jesuit priest Claudio Acquaviva (1543-1615). Two months later, the gentle but resolute Jones was commissioned colonel of the 154th New York.

I couldn’t resist making a similar search of all the Genealogy Bank newspapers for references to Amos Humiston (and Dr. J. Francis Bourns, and the keywords “ambrotype children Gettysburg”). About forty articles that were new to me turned up. Most of them were reprints of the “Whose Father Was He?” and other widely circulated stories. The most interesting item was an article titled “Somebody’s Father” in the April 28, 1897 issue of the Northern Christian Advocate, published in Syracuse, New York, and reprinted from a publication called Blue and Gray (with which I’m not familiar). It purports to have been written by an anonymous member of the burial squad that found and buried Amos. Although it doesn’t mention Amos by name, it is unmistakably meant to relate the Humiston story. As it contradicts all the documented accounts of the finding of Amos’s body, however, and furthermore mistakes the number of Humiston children, and states the ambrotype was buried along with Amos, I classify it as fiction. Even so, considering it was written thirty years after the fact, it indicates the immense emotional impact the Humiston story made on America. Here it is:

I think that one of the saddest incidents of the war which I witnessed was after the battle of Gettysburg. Off on the outskirts, seated on the ground with his back to a tree, was a dead soldier. His eyes were riveted on some object held tightly in his hands. As we drew nearer we saw that it was an ambrotype of two small children. Man though I was, hardened through those long years to carnage and bloodshed, the sight of that man who looked on his children for the last time in this world, who, away off in a secluded spot, had rested himself against a tree that he might feast his eyes on his little loves, brought tears to my eyes which I could not restrain had I wanted. There were six of us in the crowd, and we all found great lumps gathering in our throats and mist coming before our eyes which almost blinded us. We stood looking at him for some time. I was thinking of the wife and baby I had left at home, and wondering how soon, in the mercy of God, she would be left a widow and my baby boy fatherless. We looked at each other and instinctively seemed to understand one another’s thoughts. Not a word was spoken, but we dug a grave and laid the poor fellow to rest with his children’s picture clasped over his heart. Over his grave, on the tree against which he was sitting, I inscribed the words: “Somebody’s Father. July 3, 1863.”

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Peter Meyers of Hamburg, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Augustus Cradler of Co. D, a late war enlistee who was transferred on the muster-out of the 154th to the 102nd New York Infantry. My thanks to Peter for sharing a copy of a rare booklet published in 1944 by its author, Ottamar Hamele, titled And They Thanked God: A Chronicle of Pioneering in Western New York. Hamele’s booklet describes the struggles of his ancestors in establishing a farm in Ashford, Cattaraugus County. He relates how Augustus and his stepfather lived in a cave while clearing land in preparation for planting and building a log cabin for the family to inhabit. The hardships our pioneer ancestors endured are well chronicled in this booklet, which is a valuable addition to the biographical files.

Doug Mainwaring of Montgomery Village, Maryland, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. Justus Wright of Co. H, who died of disease on April 30, 1863. A link to Doug’s tribute to Justus appears above.

I hope to see you at the reunion.




HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2013

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 28th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York took place on July 6 at the Hall of Philosophy at the Chautauqua Institution. While it was a pleasure to hold the reunion at such an important place in American social and cultural history, I was concerned about the turnout because this was the first reunion folks had to pay to attend—the Institution charges an entrance fee. But we drew a sizable crowd, a typical reunion turnout. About eighty descendants representing roughly forty soldiers signed in. As usual, some were from distant states. Descendants who newly enrolled at the reunion are listed below. Guests upped the crowd to well over a hundred. Thanks to Marty Merkley, Vice President and Director of Programming, for permission to hold the reunion at Chautauqua and seeing that things ran smoothly. Thanks to Jon Schmitz, Chautauqua’s Historian and Archivist, for a thoughtful introduction. After I explained the circumstances that led to the 154th New York’s tremendous losses at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, we held our roll call, which demonstrated how many members of the regiment were lost in the two battles; many of the descendants present represented Chancellorsville or Gettysburg casualties. The roll call also served as a comment and question-and-answer period. As the reunion ended, the Thursday Morning Brass Band began playing Civil War music nearby. Hearing the old tunes was a pleasant way to finish our event, leaving plenty of daylight in which to explore the Institution’s charming cottage-lined byways and glittering lakefront. All in all it was a most enjoyable day at Chautauqua.

Although I intentionally did not solicit contributions to cover the reunion costs this year (because of the entrance fee), a dozen descendants and friends saw fit to make donations anyway. My sincere thanks to them for their generosity.

Two days before the reunion, on Independence Day, I had the pleasure of sharing the Amos Humiston story at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York. I thank museum curator Rick Leisenring for the invitation and for mounting a nice Humiston display for the Gettysburg sesquicentennial. I was pleased to find that Rick and I had a number of mutual friends in the Civil War community, including my late partner Mike Winey. Rick gave Annette and me an instructive tour of the museum’s extensive collections and with his wife Jo Anne treated us to an enjoyable dinner at a nearby inn.

A week after we returned from Western New York, Annette and I flew to Georgia for a brief Marching with Sherman book tour, about which more below.

While one group of regimental descendants and friends was meeting at the Chautauqua reunion, another gathered in the vicinity of Gettysburg to reenact the battle that occurred there 150 years ago. Here’s an after-action report from Don Hotchkiss, organizer and commander of the 154th New York group at the Gettysburg reenactment, to his troops:

I am moved and deeply honored to have participated in this event with you all. You are truly great Americans, as one TV host likes to say, and I am just so proud of you and what we accomplished. Your conduct was exemplary. You soldiered on in the face of some very bad weather and with a minimum of training, pulled off the grand daddy of all CW events with style, class and in such as way as to reflect great credit and honor on our ancestors. I believe they were watching us and were well pleased. . . . I would like to say to you all that participating in this event was something that almost defies my ability to comprehend and explain. You had to be there to understand.

My sincere thanks to the ladies for the cooking. There were no leftovers. The food quality was far above anything I expected could be prepared under field conditions. Fresh baked biscuits and strawberry and rhubarb pies, venison sausages. Really!! The 154th never had it so good. And we even had hardtack! There were no complaints even when the humidity was over the top and the rainwater was running out of our shoes and down our backs. Everyone got along and we all pulled together. The camp was loose enough to allow time for other activities and structured enough to look like a CW camp.

On the battlefield we did what we were asked to do and we ended up doing many things many other reenacting units never get to do at events. We were placed in the line, pulled out to form a reserve, moved and then shoved into a hole on the fly. We refused a flank. We charged, we fell back and we took some prisoners. We almost even captured a confederate flag and we saved our own. All this by a bunch of guys who never worked together and who had not trained as a CW soldier. At the end of the event we could stack arms with the best of them and change from a front of 4 to a column of 2's, cross a bridge and then back to 4s. We did a right into line and made it look good. We crossed a stream and held our ground. We laid down under the cannons firing over our heads. The Lieutenants had to take over command and keep it all going and our active duty Army Sergeant got a shot of old time Army life. We served with brothers and cousins, fathers and sons and schoolmates. Just like the men of the 154th did. Imagine their despair after Chancellorsville and Gettysburg with so many swept away. Perhaps now not such a strain to understand and to grasp. How sad and yet how privileged are we that we could meet and do this together. No other unit out there was made up of descendants.

I am still in shock and I am trying to process it all. You guys are something else and I feel we all became friends. I hope we can share our photos and as Chris Piney suggested, maybe we should think about an Atlanta reenactment in 2014 as that was where the 154th was sent after Gettysburg. We were not just another reenacting group. We took time to visit the monuments of the 154th, the cemetery and the Sgt Humiston monument and had a special time with fire department guys.

Congratulations to Don Hotchkiss and his company—many of them descendants of members of the 154th New York—for representing our ancestors at the Gettysburg commemoration. My relative Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, New York, made a point of visiting the 154th New York’s monument at Coster Avenue at 3:45 p.m. on July 1, 150 years after the regiment made its stand. Scott was also with the entire group for the visit to Coster Avenue on July 3. His accounts, with pictures:

http://www.tiggerly.blogspot.com/2013/07/gettysburg-150th-anniversary-july-1-2013.html

http://www.tiggerly.blogspot.com/2013_07_03_archive.html

Another 154th New York re-enactor who blogged about the experience is Chris Pinney of Schulenburg, Texas, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Curtis S. Pinney of Co. D.

Friend Ronda Pollock of Portville, Cattaraugus County, sent this article from the Olean Times Herald about four local participants anticipating the Gettysburg event:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_e18d2f06-dcd1-11e2-875e-001a4bcf887a.html

Speaking of Sergeant Humiston, in the last newsletter I mentioned that I published an article, “The Unidentified Father,” in a magazine titled “Gettysburg: 150th Anniversary,” put out by i-5 Publishing. I’ve seen five or six similar one-off Gettysburg magazines on newsstands. Not surprisingly, three of them included brief Humiston accounts.

I also found a longer Humiston article by one Kevin Hymel in the premier issue of a magazine called Civil War Quarterly. Hymel’s article was closely cribbed from my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier—although a reader would never know that, as no acknowledgment of my work was given. What a rip-off!

Dave Onan of Fort Myers, Florida, great-great-grandson of Second Lieutenant Warren Onan of Co. C, recently wrote, “My relatives are turning up in Find A Grave and it has been an interesting project to get the family there along with pictures. While it is not exactly their purpose to be a scrap-book, they offer to link to spouses and parents. This makes browsing a family possible, and fun.” Dave added links to two examples (which he did not post), Warren Onan and his son-in-law, Charles W. McKay, the former sergeant of Co. C who was awarded the Medal of Honor:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=17928014

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8657875

As I remarked to Dave, “The biographical sketches that accompany the grave photos can be unreliable. The account of Lieutenant Onan's service contains many inaccuracies. And I find it disturbing that people reproduce images taken from other websites without giving them proper credit or citations. In this case, the two portraits of Onan were taken from your own website, were they not? Such is the intellectual anarchy of the Internet. Use it with caution!”

Another Find A Grave link was sent by Bunny Averill of Erie, Pennsylvania, great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. Jerome Averill of Co. K. This one is for the grave of First Lieutenant Isaac T. Jenkins of Co. E, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war in Richmond. Bunny provided a note from a book published by the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society that quotes an old diary or journal as stating that a funeral was held for Jenkins on September 13, 1863, and he was buried in Quincy Cemetery, Ripley, New York. This indicates that his family procured his remains from Richmond and brought them home for burial, and that his Quincy memorial is not solely a cenotaph:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=17920702

Thanks to Sharon and Harold Spencer of Yorkshire, Cattaraugus County, for the gift of the 1865 book Life and Death in Rebel Prisons by Robert H. Kellogg. Kellogg served in a Connecticut regiment and was confined at Andersonville at the same time as many members of the 154th New York. Sharon is a great-great-grandniece of First Sgt. Ambrose F. Arnold of Co. D, who was killed at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia.

Thanks to Vicki Hitchcock of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, for a clipping from the Randolph Register regarding a display at the town’s historical society of items relating to the prisoner-of-war experiences of Captain Benjamin G. Casler of Co. A. In addition to artifacts from Libby Prison, the collection includes the bullet that wounded Casler at Chancellorsville, removed from his lung during the 1883 autopsy. And thanks to Fritz Miinte and Mike Stewart of the Randolph Historical Society for providing me with pictures of the drawings from the Casler collection.

Thanks to friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for sharing a postwar portrait of Principal Musician Orville Bishop. It’s the first picture of him to turn up. Bishop was captured at Chancellorsville as a private in Co. A before he became one of the regiment’s two principal musicians in 1864.

On June 18-19 Annette and I enjoyed a visit from Chris Mackowski of Eldred, Pennsylvania, who was here to give a talk on the Battle of Chancellorsville to the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table. Chris splits his time between St. Bonaventure University in Cattaraugus County, where he’s a professor of journalism and mass communication, and Virginia, where he gives tours at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. In other words, he regularly inhabits two places that are important to me. The F&SNMP encompasses the Chancellorsville battlefield; the late Mike Winey and I agreed to leave our 154th New York collection to SBU. I enjoyed showing Chris my 154th New York archives and a bit of Providence and at his request we visited the whaling museum and seamen’s bethel in New Bedford, which I hadn’t seen since doing research for my Humiston book. I found the museum much expanded and improved; its scrimshaw room is exquisite. If you’re ever in southeastern New England, don’t miss a visit to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. And if you’re ever at Chancellorsville and Chris is available to give a tour, take him up on it.

Thanks to Buffalo News reporter Scott Scanlon (see above), I’m pleased to be in touch with another new friend, Matthew Pinsker, professor of history at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he has developed “House Divided,” an online “Civil War Research Engine.” Matt has used the Humiston story to train K-12 teachers to teach Civil War history. Here are links to the main page of the House Divided site and to specific Humiston material:

http://housedivided.dickinson.edu/

http://housedivided.dickinson.edu/sites/blogdivided/2013/06/11/teaching-history-engaging-the-past-through-the-story-of-amos-humiston/

http://housedivided.dickinson.edu/sites/civilwar/gettysburg-virtual-tour/

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Suzanne C. Murphy of Rockingham, Australia, a collateral relative of First Sgt. George J. Mason of Co. K, who was wounded in the scalp at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and commanded his company during Sherman’s March to the Sea. Suzanne is the second Australian on the roll, joining Gary Henderson of Hawthorn East, great-great-grandson of First Lieutenant Alex Bird of Co. F.

Joan Markham Greenlee of Gowanda, New York, great-grandniece of Cpl. Philo A. Markham of Co. B, who was captured at Gettysburg, lost an arm at Dug Gap, and was brevetted a first lieutenant by New York State.

Nancy Bargar of Lakewood, New York, great-grandniece of Pvt. Lowree D. Bargar of Co. F, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Richmond.

Richard Boon of Olean, New York, collateral descendant of one of the many pairs of brothers who served in the 154th: Pvt. John A. Willover of Co. G, who was captured at Gettysburg, and Pvt. William Willover of Co. I, who was wounded during the Atlanta campaign. Both brothers survived to be mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war.

Gary Smith of Montgomery, Alabama (the first capital of the Confederate States of America), great-great-grandson of Cpl. Frank Smith of Co. F, who was wounded in the knee and captured at Gettysburg, endured imprisonment, and was discharged for disability in February 1864. He returned to his home in French Creek, Chautauqua County, on one leg.

John Willover of West Chester, Pennsylvania, great-great-grandson of Pvt. William Willover of Co. I (see above). Together with Scott Frank and Linda Harle-Mould (descendant of First Sgt. Frank Strickland of Co. I), John was at the 154th New York’s monument at Coster Avenue at 3:45 p.m. on July 1, the 150th anniversary of the regiment’s battle in Kuhn’s brickyard.

The following descendants enrolled at the reunion:

Douglas Bargar of Jamestown, New York, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Lowree D. Bargar of Co. F, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war.

Maxine Terhune of Salamanca, New York, great-granddaughter, and Diane Adams Brady of Glenview, Illinois, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Joseph Cullen of Co. B, who is well represented on the roll.

Alex Kyler of Frewsburg, New York, great-great-grandnephew of Sgt. James D. Frink of Co. I, who was wounded and captured at Chancellorsville.

Lois I. Jones of Lewiston, New York and Charlotte H. Kaumeyer of Colorado Springs, Colorado, both great-great-granddaughters of Pvt. John A. Johnston of Co. H, a late war enlistee who made the marches under Sherman.

Kristy Markham of Hamlin, New York and Chuck Markham of Gowanda, New York, both descended from Cpl. Philo A. Markham of Co. B, who was captured at Gettysburg and lost an arm at Dug Gap.

Two new friends signed in at the reunion: Mark Goldman of Buffalo, New York, author of two books on the city of my youth, then and now; and Cindy Keeley of the Portville Historical and Preservation Society (and descendant of a member of the 9th New York Cavalry).

Lois Jones represents a milestone—she is Descendant #1200 on the roll. How many are out there? I’ve often wondered. Tens of thousands, I’d imagine.

Last to report, but certainly not least, the Georgia trip. As mentioned above, Annette and I flew to Atlanta on July 17. That night I spoke about Marching with Sherman at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum. My talk was sponsored by BATL, an organization seeking to raise funds to renovate Atlanta Civil War monuments. On the next three days, as we followed (roughly) the 154th New York’s route from Atlanta to the sea, I repeated the performance at the Historic Preservation Society of Social Circle, the Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, and the Washington County Historical Society’s Brown House Museum in Sandersville—all towns the regiment passed through. Then Annette and I spent a couple of days sightseeing in Savannah before flying home on July 23. It was a whirlwind trip, but most enjoyable. We were greeted warmly everywhere and my presentation and book proved to be popular. (I had given the talk to appreciative northern audiences, and wondered how it would go over in the South.) Best of all, I got to introduce my wife to some friends I met during my 2007 research trip, and we were privileged to enjoy their hospitality. My thanks to Georgian friends Henry Bryant of BATL in Atlanta; Bob Bailes and Dena Johnston in Social Circle; Tom and Susan Whitley in Jersey; Hugh and Sue Harrington in Milledgeville; Lyle and Sarah Lansdell and Jim and Diane Davie in Sandersville; and Jim Jordan in Savannah for helping to make our visit memorable. Special thanks go to the Whitleys and Lansdells for welcoming us to their antebellum homes.

My talk discusses several legends that emerged in southerners’ memories of Sherman’s march. I was astonished to receive a friendly reception for this heresy. But so it happened. At Sandersville I stepped to the middle of a crowded room and said, “A descendant of one of Sherman’s soldiers, surrounded by Georgians. Who brought the tar and feathers?” A big laugh, and we were amicable thereafter. Unlike our first attempt at following the 154th’s route—the disastrous chigger-plagued trip of July 1978—Annette and I had a wonderful time in Georgia in July 2013. I’m thinking of writing it up. (Are any editors interested?)

The Civil War Sesquicentennial has proved to be a busy time, and I imagine it will continue for the next two years. I’m looking forward to them! I’m thankful to be engaging in Civil War history work a half-century after I began acting on my youthful interest in the subject during the centennial. I never thought during that 1964 visit to the National Archives how often I would return in the years to come.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2013

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Having received the review of my manuscript by T. Michael Parrish, editor of Louisiana State University Press’s “Conflicting Worlds” Civil War series, I’m back at work on the Patrick Henry Jones biography. Mike requested that it be reduced in length and that I place greater emphasis on the challenges and opportunities facing nineteenth-century Irish Americans. Mike suggested some books for me to consult in making the revision, and I’m working my way through them now.

Marching with Sherman received a positive review in The Journal of Southern History by Jacqueline Glass Campbell of Francis Marion University, author of the highly regarded book When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front. She described Marching with Sherman as “a highly readable book that has ambitious aims,” and concluded, “Although this book will appeal more to a general readership than to academics, Dunkelman is to be commended for his command of the literature. He is extremely well versed in the most up-to-date scholarship, and his integration of historiography in no way interrupts the flow of his account. Dunkelman states that he found his southern audiences most receptive once he had convinced them that he intended to include southerners’ side of the story. He has fulfilled that promise, and in doing so he has achieved his own, perhaps very personal, version of reunion.”

Allen C. Guelzo is a highly regarded historian and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is also the author of a new book, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. On page 11 I found this: “A soldier in the 147th New York chuckled sardonically to himself at the ineptness of his company’s captain. He ‘went out with us on Battalion Drill yesterday and got so befuddled he could not do anything, so we drilled or skedaddled about for half and hour, then came back to camp.’” I recognized that quote—it’s from page 211 of my book Brothers One and All and refers to Major Dan B. Allen of the 154th New York, not to a captain in the 147th. Guelzo correctly cited my book in his endnote, but his careless error in the narrative had me looking askance at the rest of his book. Guelzo’s account of the brickyard fight is short and routine. He states “some 148 men” of the 154th were captured. I don’t know where he found that figure; the actual count was 173 captured. He commits a sin of omission by not mentioning the part Coster’s brigade took in repelling the Confederate attack on East Cemetery Hill on the evening of July 2. He misdates the transfer of the 11th and 12th Corps to the western theater of the war. He mentions the John Burns and Jennie Wade human-interest stories, but neglects to mention Amos Humiston (although he cites Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier in an endnote). Guelzo is a facile writer, although he has an unfortunate habit of making unattributed quotes. While it’s always good to review the history of a complex battle, in my estimation Guelzo’s book is no improvement on the single-volume Gettysburg studies by Stephen Sears and Noah Andre Trudeau. And for the fighting on July 1, 1863, nothing beats Harry Pfanz’s Gettysburg—The First Day.

An eBay auction brought a typewritten statement by Calvin A. Brainard to the archives. It reads, “Enlisted at the age of 16, with my father who was 39, in Co. F, 154th N.Y. Volunteers, and served during the war. I saw Mr. Lincoln many times and especially when out horseback riding, in which he was conspicuous wearing a hight hat on some occasions. I was in Washington the 9th of April, 1865, when Lee surrendered and also five days later, when Mr. Lincoln was assassinated, two most important and opposite events that could have happened.” The statement is rubber-stamped “Calvin A. Brainard Sen Vice Com in Chief GAR 1927to 1928.” A picture of Calvin and his father, Asa, as soldiers appears in Brothers One and All.

A recent addition to my library is Photography and the American Civil War by Jeff L. Rosenheim. This massive tome is the catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It includes the famous carte de visite of the Humiston children and cites Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier. I was pleased to find that it also includes several quotes from my article “Precious Shadows: The Importance of Photography to Civil War Soldiers, as Revealed by a Typical Union Regiment,” which appeared in the July-August 1994 issue of Military Images magazine. Consequently the 154th New York has a presence in the book beyond the ubiquitous Sgt. Humiston. Soldiers quoted include First Lieutenant John C. Griswold and Sgt. William Charles of Co. F and Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E.

Thanks to Gary Smith of Montgomery, Alabama, for obituaries, a biographical sketch, and the pension records of his great-great-grandfather Cpl. Frank Smith of Co. F, who was captured at Gettysburg, endured imprisonment, and was discharged in 1864 from a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, disabled by “spinal disease of an obscure character.” He lived until 1895.

Thanks to Steve Fogg of Clyde, North Carolina, great-great-grandnephew of the aforementioned Sgt. Asa Brainard of Co. F, for copies of the voluminous pension files of Asa and his son Calvin.

Thanks to friend Wayne Rowe of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table for sending a link to yet another Humiston account, “150 Years from Gettysburg: Children of the Battlefield,” from Ancestry.com.

And speaking of the Humiston story, thanks to Michel Patzer of Pilgrim Studios in North Hollywood, California, for a complimentary DVD of “Ghosts of Gettysburg,” an episode of the television show “Haunted History.” Last year I shared copies of the pictures of Amos Humiston and his children with Pilgrim for the production, so I was interested in seeing the end result. About a third of the 45-minute program was devoted to the Humiston story—more specifically, to the Homestead orphanage and the cruelties inflicted upon the children by the matron Rosa Carmichael. According to the talking heads interviewed on the show—including a historian I never heard of and some tour guides and “paranormal experts”—the former Homestead building that is now the Soldier’s National Museum at 777 Baltimore Street is a hotbed of ghostly activity, with the spirits of mistreated Civil War-era orphans perpetrating all sorts of shenanigans. I’ve always said I’d share Humiston material with anyone who wants to relate the story, but this balderdash makes me wonder if that policy is wise. Now, Pilgrim Studios is planning an episode of the popular Syfy Channel show “Ghost Hunters” on Gettysburg, to include the Humiston tale and the pictures I provided. Stay tuned for news about the show—if you dare!

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Janet M. Douglass-Nuzum of Miamisburg, Ohio, great-great-granddaughter of Principal Musician Orville Bishop. Originally a private in Co. A, Bishop was captured at Chancellorsville and paroled and exchanged before becoming principal musician in January 1864. In addition to sharing the portrait of Orville Bishop mentioned in the last newsletter, Janet has also shared his obituary, genealogical information from the family bible, and Orville’s handwritten reminiscence of his Civil War service. “I wish to leave this record to my posterity,” he wrote, “hoping my children will preserve it and hand it down to later generations.” So they have—and now, thanks to Janet, it fittingly is included in the 154th New York archives.

Reginald Harbeck of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, great-great-great-grandson of Major Harrison Cheney, who singlehandedly raised Co. D and was captured at Gettysburg but managed to escape from the enemy and find his way back to Union lines, and Reg’s children Thomas Harbeck and Naomi Harbeck, both students at the university at Langley, British Columbia.

Bruce Baldwin of Holliston, Massachusetts, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Alexander R. Dillingham of Co. D, who was present with the regiment on every bi-monthly muster roll but one (October 31, 1863), which noted he had been left in camp at Bridgeport, Alabama, when the 154th marched toward Chattanooga. He was not absent for long and he remained present for duty until the muster-out at the end of the war. Dillingham was mortally injured in a workplace accident at a woolen mill in Arcade, New York, in 1884.

Marissa Myers Shorey of Ashburn, Virginia, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. William H. Seeker of Co. K, who died of typhoid fever in November 1862 and is buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. A cenotaph to Seeker is in the Cottage Cemetery in his hometown of Dayton, Cattaraugus County.

Melissa Mosby of New Carlisle, Ohio, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. William Swartz of Co. I, who died of disease in December 1862 and, like William Seeker, was buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery in Washington. Melissa is also a collateral relative of Capt. Alanson Crosby of Co. D, who was captured at Gettysburg and escaped from the enemy, only to be mortally wounded during the Atlanta campaign. Crosby’s story is told in detail in War’s Relentless Hand. Melissa kindly shared with me several documents relating to William Swartz, and an interesting letter Crosby wrote in the late 1850s while apparently teaching school in Mascoutah, Illinois. In it he related resisting the plea of a fair young maiden to repent his sins at a religious revival, telling her he would rather embrace her than embrace the opportunity to repent.

Kenneth E. Machemer of Silver Creek, Chautauqua County, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Charles Anderson of Co. E, a native of Sweden who was present for most of the regiment’s service, often on daily duty as company cook.

Emmett Bryson of St. Joseph, Missouri, great-great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Thomas D. Spiking Jr. of Co. F, who was captured during the March to the Sea, confined at the prisoner of war camp in Florence, South Carolina, and was paroled and returned to the regiment during the Carolinas Campaign.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2013

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Since the late 1990s, my partner Mike Winey and I planned to leave our collection on the 154th New York to the Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University. We both felt that the material belonged in Cattaraugus County, where most of the regiment was raised. And we agreed that St. Bonaventure, as the only institution of higher education in the county, was the best place to house the material. A visit to the library and meeting with director Paul Spaeth in 2002 convinced us our choice was sound. The breadth of the library’s Special Collections, their Web presence, and the fine facilities impressed us. And so the decision was made: The Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection on the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry would be established at St. Bonaventure University.

After Mike died in January 2012, his widow, Bonnie, and son, Robert, packed his 154th files in boxes and stored them at their home in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

This September I made a proposition to Paul Spaeth and University Archivist Dennis Frank: That the Dunkelman/Winey Collection be formally established in the summer of 2015 in conjunction with the 30th annual reunion of descendants of the 154th New York and the last year of the Civil War sesquicentennial. Both gentlemen readily agreed to the plan.

Consequently, on November 16, my wife, Annette, and I rendezvoused with Dennis Frank at the Winey home in Mechanicsburg, where we loaded a dozen or so boxes of Mike’s materials and thirteen more of mine into Dennis’s van for the trip to St. Bonaventure. The shipment included several original artifacts that Mike had obtained over the years. I delivered two boxes containing all my books and articles, and ten boxes of my correspondence from 1961 to 2010. Because Mike and I shared all the regimental material we turned up, there is a lot of duplication. So for the time being I am retaining all of the primary and secondary source materials at my home to continue my work. I also have a large collection of original artifacts that I want to hold on to for now—but eventually all of my collection will join Mike’s at St. Bona.

Paul and Dennis amplified my suggestion of the 2015 reunion/collection inauguration. They are now planning an accompanying academic seminar, a special exhibit, and Civil War and public history courses that will utilize the materials. It will make for a special time.

The date has been set: The 30th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York and the Inauguration of the Dunkelman/Winey Collection will take place at St. Bonaventure University on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us then for this landmark occasion.

And if you’ve been wondering who to leave your 154th New York legacy to in the form of original photographs, letters, diaries, and relics, please consider donating them to St. Bonaventure to join the mass of regimental material in the collection. If you have thoughts in that regard, please let me know and I can put you in touch with Paul Spaeth and Dennis Frank, who can provide information on proceeding.

Of course, we will hold another reunion in the interim, and I’m pleased to announce that our 29th Annual Reunion will be held on Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the American Legion Post 409 in Gowanda, New York (site of our 1993 reunion focusing on the regiment’s musicians). Next year’s reunion will center on the Atlanta Campaign, 150 years after our ancestors fought at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, Gilgal Church, and Peach Tree Creek. Look for more news about the reunion as the event draws nearer.

I thank my cousin Paul Sarver of Macungie, Pennsylvania, and his wife, Katherine, for hosting Annette and me during our Pennsylvania trip. Like me, Paul is a great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H. I also thank my old friend Phil Palen of Gowanda for his help in setting up the 2014 reunion (as he did back in ’93).

My regular work on the Patrick Henry Jones biography has been temporarily put aside while I’ve been consumed by an important historic preservation project. As you know from my previous e-mails, on October 23 the Cattaraugus County Legislature voted to use $125,000 in casino revenue to demolish the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building and the adjacent Board of Elections building in Little Valley. The Memorial and Historical Building housed the county museum until 2004, when it moved to Machias. (I protested that move in a letter to the county legislature, to no avail.) Since then the memorial has sat vacant. The legislature’s decision to tear down the two connected buildings was first reported in the Olean Times Herald and brought to my attention by friend Kyle Stetz, a Cattaraugus County native currently living in North Carolina, where he works at a state historic site. I immediately sent this e-mail to the twenty-one county legislators and the Olean and Salamanca newspapers:

On September 7, 1914, more than two hundred Civil War veterans gathered on Court Street in Little Valley to dedicate the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building. Accompanying them was a large crowd of citizens. James S. Whipple, the son of a soldier who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville, opened his main address with these words: “One need only to observe the number of people who have assembled here to appreciate the fact that all of you consider this more than an ordinary occasion. The day, the purpose for which you are here should and will be long remembered.” And so Cattaraugus County’s most representative and significant Civil War monument was dedicated. The veterans meant for their memorial to stand for the ages. Now, a little less than a century later, on October 23, 2013, the Cattaraugus County legislature voted to demolish the Memorial and Historical Building, betraying the trust of the county’s Civil War veterans. As the great-grandson of one of those veterans, I can only say: Shame on Cattaraugus County!

Kyle Stetz and I have continued to protest the plan, investigate the situation, and seek ways to thwart the destruction and preserve the memorial. Three allies have since joined us as an informal committee: Nancy Bargar of Lakewood, New York (great-grandniece of Pvt Lowree D. Bargar of Co. F, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war); Larry Kingsbury of McCall, Idaho (related to Cpl. Orange J. Abbey of Co. H, another Gettysburg captive who died as a POW, and Pvt. Eason W. Bull of Co. D, who died of disease); and Tom Vossler of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), a Licensed Battlefield Guide, co-author of the new book A Field Guide to Gettysburg, and former director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute. Tom is a native of Western New York and related to two soldiers of the 64th New York, which included six companies from Cattaraugus County. One of them was Capt. Henry Van Aernam Fuller, who was killed at Gettysburg. He was the nephew of Surgeon Henry Van Aernam of the 154th.

When this situation arose I sent e-mails to all of you, asking that you contact the county legislators to protest their plan. Many of you did so—the legislature reportedly was flooded with e-mails and letters of protest from 154th New York descendants. I extend sincere thanks to those of you who wrote. Many of you spoke eloquently about the courage, patriotism, devotion, and sacrifice of our ancestors as commemorated by the memorial. In this you echoed James Whipple in his 1914 dedicatory address. Whipple—the son of First Sergeant Henry F. Whipple of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville—said this: “We dedicate this structure with our hearts full of love and loyalty for our country, and wish it ever to stand, signifying the deathless patriotism of American soldiers and sailors and their loyalty to the Stars and Stripes.”

Our voices were heard. On November 20 the county legislature’s public works committee agreed to put a temporary hold on the demolition until further consultation with those of us that oppose it. In the meantime, I enlisted the help of the Landmark Society of Western New York, one of the oldest and most active historic preservation organizations in the country. Accompanied by Nancy Bargar, a LSWNY team toured the Memorial and Historical Building inside and out on November 19. At this time we are awaiting a report from them that will determine our next course of action. It’s worth noting that a LSWNY representative described the Memorial and Historical Building as “highly significant,” “really interesting and remarkable,” and “by far, the most sophisticated building in that village.”

I’ll keep you informed of developments in this historic preservation fight.

On October 17 I had the pleasure of delivering the keynote address at the 50th Annual Department of History Symposium, “Gettysburg Resurrected,” at Rhode Island College in Providence. I titled my talk on the Humiston story “From Frank Leslie to Errol Morris: The Saga of an Oft-Told Gettysburg Tale.” The A.P. United States History class from nearby Lincoln High School and their teacher, Ms. Grace Small (a colleague of mine on the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission), joined the college students and faculty in the audience. The Lincoln students put together a short video list of the day’s lectures:

http://animoto.com/play/0XWvfsjCGK5w0sEXUBuimA

On October 22 I gave a talk on Marching with Sherman to the Greater New Bedford (Massachusetts) Civil War Round Table. It was my second appearance before that group. I thank them for the opportunity, and for a DVD of my presentation.

Speaking of presentations, a new page has been added to my Hardtack Regiment website listing the talks I’ve given to various groups since 1990. I enjoy making these appearances and spreading the word about 154th New York history. You can find the list here:

http://www.hardtackregiment.com/presentations-on-the-154th-new-york.html

Thanks to my son, Karl Dunkelman, for posting the new page. Working on my website is a busman’s holiday for Karl, who is a project manager for a cutting-edge digital web design firm called Lightmaker:

http://www.lightmaker.com/

On November 2 I had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Davis of Atlanta, Georgia, who came to Providence as the special guest speaker at the annual dinner meeting of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table (over which I preside). Steve gave us a dynamic presentation on his recent book What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta, which I’ve recommended in a previous newsletter. I greatly enjoyed discussing Civil War history with Steve, who knows the subject well.

Thanks to friend Ronda Pollock of the Portville (NY) Historical and Preservation Society for sending a copy of the group’s September 2013 newsletter, which contained an article about the Peckham family, including Pvt. John A. Peckham, Co. C’s drummer, and four of his cousins who served in other regiments.

Thanks to friend Chris Mackowski of St. Bonaventure University, who contributes to the “Emerging Civil War” blog, for a posting titled “Autumn Guard,” featuring photos of the Civil War monument in the Allegany (NY) Cemetery:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2013/10/05/autumn-guard/#more-9825

On seeing Chris’s post, I shared this:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2013/10/08/the-original-autumn-guard/#more-9916

Thanks to Barbara King of Hamburg, New York, great-granddaughter of Pvt. Amos McIntyre of Co. K, for sending photos taken during a recent trip to Gettysburg, showing the deteriorated condition of my mural at Coster Avenue. I’ve been well aware of the sad state of the painting from other photos and reports. My artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I had hoped to get to Gettysburg to restore the mural before the sesquicentennial of the battle this past July, but we were unable to make the trip. Johan is planning a stop in Gettysburg in early December (on his way to a Florida vacation) to assess the damage and we are looking at Spring 2014 to do the work. This will be the second time we’ve given the mural a complete restoration since it was installed in 1988, the first being in 2001.

A related development concerns Echoes Through Time, the Western New York group that has “adopted” Coster Avenue in Gettysburg, thereby agreeing to take periodic care of the property and its monuments. In recent years, Echoes Through Time had made two trips per year to Gettysburg, in the spring and fall. This fall the group had to cancel its trip because of the regrettable government shutdown. They plan to return in the spring to repair the fence that surrounds the site. They would welcome any volunteers who wish to join them. If you’re interested in helping out, contact friend Tom Place at trpcsa@gmail.com.

Thanks to Kenneth E. Machemer of Silver Creek, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Charles Anderson of Co. E, for sharing a page from the typescript of a memoir written by Martin Sigman of the 64th New York. In it Sigman wrote, “After the Battle of Fredericksburg we heard that the 154th NY Vols. were in camp a few miles northeast of us in the direction of Stafford Court House. Our regiment had many acquaintances in that regiment so a few of us got a pass and made them a visit. We were all glad to see each other and had a good visit. They just got here about the time the battle was over. They said they could hear the firing while the battle was going on.” It’s worthwhile to note that the 64th New York was known as the “Cattaraugus Regiment,” because of its six Cattaraugus companies. But eight of the 154th’s ten companies enlisted in Cattaraugus, making it the county’s most representative regiment. Incidentally, I discussed these inter-regimental visits in Brothers One and All (pages 188-89).

Thanks to Tim Barton of Leland, North Carolina, great-great-grandson of Pvt. George Williams of Co. H, for the gift of a booklet titled “Letters Home: A Collection of Original Civil War Soldiers’ Letters,” featuring materials from the Alan Sessarego collection and published in Gettysburg in 1996. Surgeon Henry Van Aernam of the 154th New York wrote three of the letters included in the booklet. There’s an interesting background story to the Van Aernam letters. In 1967, Joseph and Eileen Aspinwall, proprietors of the Pavilion Center (NY) Antique Shop, purchased the contents of the former Van Aernam home in the Cattaraugus County town of Franklinville from Van Aernam’s grandchildren. As Eileen Aspinwall later related, “In cleaning out a blind attic under the eaves we found [the letters]—in an open wicker basket where they had lain for 100 years. They were in very bad condition a lot of them unreadable stained eaten-up etc. & had to be destroyed.” Forty-three letters survived and wound up in Sessarego’s hands. He in turn sold them to the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, where they’ve been ever since. I’ve quoted from them frequently in my writings on the regiment.

Speaking of letters, an eBay auction brought me another letter (with envelope) by Pvt. William F. Chittenden of Co. D, whose correspondence with his wife Mary Jane (Wheeler) Chittenden formed the basis of a chapter on the family in my book War’s Relentless Hand. This stray four-page letter was written at Camp John Manley on April 16 and 18, 1863. The regiment had marched to Kelly’s Ford in a preliminary move of the Chancellorsville campaign, but Chittenden had been left behind as a convalescent, waiting to be sent to a hospital. Over the two days, he filled four large pages with ruminations. Among other things he wrote, “This war will not last forever though many precious lives will be lost before that happy day arrives and many who are so fortunate as to get home again will learn lessons of value to them which could not have been learned any other way but it is a hard school and costly teacher to many a poor fellow . . . There is nothing going on to divert ones mind from the loneliness of his condition and this has a tendency to depress rather than enliven ones spirits . . . I can no longer be of any service in the Army and to stay here and drag my life out seems to me to be useless.” Within a few days Chittenden was admitted to the division hospital, where he was discharged for disability on June 3, 1863.

Thanks to friend Ed Worman of Whitesville, New York, for photographs of the headstone of Pvt. Timothy Glines of Co. C in the East Sharon Cemetery in Shinglehouse, Potter County, Pennsylvania. Glines was one of a group of Potter County men who crossed the state line to enlist in the 154th New York. He survived the war and died in 1892.

In a recent installment of Civil War Talk Radio, friend Gerry Prokopowicz interviewed historian Steven J. Ramold of Eastern Michigan University. Impressed by what I heard, and having a strong interest in the experiences of the common soldier, I purchased Ramold’s books Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline in the Union Army and Across the Divide: Union Soldiers View the Northern Home Front. I was pleased to find that Ramold had cited my work in both books. It’s a source of satisfaction when the 154th New York finds a place in the writing of other historians.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Pam Garvey-Firth of Colonie, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Patrick Garvey of Co. F, one of the regiment’s native Irishmen, who was captured at Chancellorsville and twice wounded during the Atlanta campaign (in the thigh at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge and in the hand near Dallas). Patrick was hospitalized thereafter until the end of the war, when he mustered out with the regiment. During that time, a muster roll notes, he incurred $10 in transportation costs. When I speculated to Pam that he probably returned home on furlough, she informed me that his young wife had died during that period, and he likely returned home to bury her. In the June 1865 New York State census, the couple’s two-year-old son was living with his maternal grandparents. Another sad story from our Civil War . . .

Sherri Turner of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, great-great-granddaughter of Henry D. Lowing, the regiment’s first chaplain. He and his successor, Chaplain William W. Norton, were commemorated at our 20th annual descendants reunion in 2005.

Linda C. Rinehart of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, great-great-granddaughter of First Lieutenant Alexander Bird of Co. F, who led the veterans in giving three cheers for the flag at the 1914 dedication of the now endangered Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building.




2014 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2014

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce an exciting addition to my Hardtack Regiment website: A Geography of the 154th New York, an interactive map on which you can follow the regiment from its organization at Camp James M. Brown in Jamestown, New York, from place to place everywhere it served through the end of the war. The Geography is the work of William Spiking of Columbia, Missouri, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Thomas D. Spiking Jr. of Co. F. Bill, a professional geographer, proposed the project to me in November 2012 and he has worked on it since then. I thank Bill for a great job in crafting a map that covers the regiment’s entire service and demonstrates its vast sweep. Here’s a link to the Geography page:

http://www.hardtackregiment.com/154th-new-york-map.html

For best results, you should click on the “View Larger Map” link below the map. Note that the different colored dots mark places of the regiment’s various campaigns. Click on a dot on the map and a box appears identifying the place, the date the regiment was there, and what happened there. At the bottom of the box, click on the “Zoom to” link and repeat until you’re as close as you can get. To close the box, click on the “X” on the upper right. You can also use the plus and minus signs at the upper left of the map to zoom in and out. Click on “Basemap” at the top of the page to choose from nine different map styles, including satellite imagery. And check this out—you can go anywhere in the world using the Geography! In addition, it includes a search function. I’ve had a lot of fun going here and there using the Geography.

Thank you, Bill Spiking, for a great addition to my website!

I’m back at work on my biography of Patrick Henry Jones and making steady progress on revising the manuscript. I’m glad to make the effort, knowing a better book will result. Jones’s life had an amazing sweep and I’m excited to relate it.

In the last newsletter I reported that about thirty boxes of materials had been delivered to the Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University to initiate the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection on the 154th New York. The formal inauguration of the collection will be held on August 1, 2015, in conjunction with the 30th annual 154th descendants reunion. In addition, the university is planning some special courses, an academic seminar, and a special exhibit to coincide with the event. In the meantime, University Archivist Dennis Frank has put on display some of the items relating to the 1864 campaigns in Georgia.

In the last newsletter I also wrote about the endangered Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, New York, which was dedicated in 1914 to the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors and served until 2004 as the county historical museum. Last October the Cattaraugus County Legislature voted to demolish the building, which is the county’s most prominent Civil War memorial. At my urging, many of you wrote to county legislators requesting they reverse their decision. As a result, the county put the demolition plans on hold. In the meantime, at my instigation, professional staff from the Landmark Society of Western New York toured the building and prepared a memo regarding it, which they will present to county administrators and legislators. A meeting between LSWNY staffers and county officials will presumably take place this month, after a new legislative public works committee is formed. In the meantime, the county legislature held its first meeting on January 19, during which Minority Leader James Boser (Democrat, District 7, Allegany) stated that the Memorial and Historical Building issue would have to be addressed this year. He added, “This building has generated more correspondence than anything I have seen in ten years.” Look for more news to come about this significant historic preservation cause.

Thanks to friend Gardiner H. “Tuck” Shattuck Jr. of Warwick, Rhode Island, for a series of photos of the Coster Avenue Mural taken during a visit to Gettysburg last December. The mural is in poor shape and in dire need of a restoration. My artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I have been talking about doing the work this spring. Incidentally, Tuck Shattuck was the person who enabled me to connect with Amos Humiston’s descendant Allan Cox, who shared Amos’s wartime letters with me, which made feasible my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier. Errol Morris related the entire sequence of events in his essay, “Whose Father Was He?” It is accessible on my website.

Speaking of Amos Humiston, on December 12 I spoke about Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier at the Providence Public Library. My talk was one in a series of lectures held in conjunction with a national traveling exhibition, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.”

Thanks to my relative Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, for an 18-song CD by his band, Rush the Growler, a folk music trio in Western New York. One of the tunes is “Army Song of the Cattaraugus Boys,” a composition by Sgt. James Byron Brown of Co. B. Brown published three poems during his service and was known in the 154th as “Brown the Poet.” He cleverly published “Army Song” in a second version for the “Chautauqua Boys.” (I discussed Brown’s work in Brothers One and All and an article in the May-June 1995 issue of Military Images magazine). For information on Rush the Growler and their CD (which has strong Irish influences), visit the band website: www.rushthegrowler.org

An eBay auction in December brought my Christmas present—a tintype of Pvt. Joel Williams of Co. K. A 37-year-old married farmer, he enlisted at Perrysburg, where he lived in the postwar years in the village of Versailles. He was captured at Gettysburg but paroled a month later and returned to duty early in 1864. After the fall of Atlanta, “being ineffective for field service,” he was detailed as an assistant at the division hospital, which duty he performed until the end of the war, when he was mustered out with the regiment. He died in 1897 and is buried in the Versailles Cemetery. The tintype, a trimmed full plate with some tinting, depicts him in uniform holding his musket. It surfaced at an estate sale in upstate New York.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Margaret McGee-Smith of Kenmore, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Justus Smith of Co. H, who died of disease in April 1863.

John H. Jewell of Guilderland, New York, fourth cousin five times removed of Charles C. Jewell of Co. C, who enlisted as a private, was promoted corporal and sergeant, and mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war.

Stacey Stahl of Windermere, Florida, great-great-grandniece of Pvt. Fayette Dutcher of Co. B, who died of typhoid fever in May 1863 at the regimental hospital near Stafford Court House, Virginia.



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2014

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

On March 14 representatives of the Landmark Society of Western New York (LSWNY), “one of the oldest and most active preservation organizations in America,” met with Cattaraugus County officials regarding the imperiled Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. You’ll recall that although our ancestors and veterans of other regiments dedicated the building in 1914 as a monument to the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors, last year the county legislature voted to demolish it, an action put on hold because of protests from many of you. After inspecting the building last November, the LSWNY prepared a memo advocating the preservation and reuse of the building. The county maintains that a restrictive covenant in the deed of the property to the county prevents the sale of the building. According to the LSWNY, that severely limits preservation options. The LSWNY described its meeting with county officials as a positive step and awaits the county’s response. I’ll relay future developments as they occur. For more on the LSWNY: http://landmarksociety.org

In mid-February I finished revising my Patrick Henry Jones manuscript and sent it off to Louisiana State University Press, publisher of my three most recent books. I’m very pleased with the revision and am excited about retrieving Jones’s story from obscurity. Look for more news about The Perils of Prominence: Patrick Henry Jones in Nineteenth-Century America in future newsletters.

With the exception of an account of the Humiston saga in one of last year’s special Gettysburg publications, it’s been seven years since I last published an article. Now I have four of them forthcoming in the next year and a half. I’ll keep you posted as they appear.

In the meantime, the latest issue of Blue & Gray magazine (Vol. XXX, No. 3, 2014) focuses on “Gettysburg’s Town Fight,” of which the brickyard fight, pitting Coster against Hays and Avery, was the major clash of infantry. It includes numerous maps and illustrations. Its driving tour includes stops at Coster Avenue and the Humiston memorial, with photos of both. It can be ordered through their website:

http://www.bluegraymagazine.com

As revealed in Blue & Gray’s photograph (on page 65), my mural at Coster Avenue is in rough shape—dingy and worn. Other friends have given me pictures and reports of its sad condition. My artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I plan to fix it this year. Reports to follow.

Thanks to Tim Finton of Bethesda, Maryland, great-grandson of Sgt. James Russell Sweet of Co. A, for a copy of a tribute to his father, Col. James Robert Finton, who passed away in January and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In his tribute, delivered at a memorial luncheon at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, Tim linked his father with Sergeant Sweet, honoring the memory of both men and observing that the 154th New York’s first camp in Virginia, Camp Seward, was situated on the grounds of today’s country club, not far from the cemetery.

Congratulations to Bill Parke of Buffalo, New York, great-great-grandson of Sgt. Andrew G. Parke of Co. B, for arranging a tribute to Andrew’s cousin Pvt. Anson N. Park of Co. B. The ceremony was held in Cattaraugus County on March 22, 2014—150 years to the day after Anson died of measles at the 154th’s winter camp at Lookout Valley, Tennessee. (His body was shipped home for burial; see Brothers One and All, 169.) The tribute took place at the Wesley United Methodist Church and Park Lawn Cemetery in the Wesley area of Dayton, the Park family’s home community. The observances included music and an address at the church, a procession to the nearby cemetery, placing of a wreath on Park’s grave, a musket salute, and additional remarks.

In his work for the commemorative ceremony, Bill Parke has turned up two photographs purportedly of Anson Park. Both came from relatives. The catch is they depict two different men. But which one—if either—is Anson Park? Can the provenance be traced? That is the question, which at this time remains unanswered.

A stereoscopic photograph of the Humiston children copyrighted by Gettysburg photographer William H. Tipton in 1886 was added to the archives. I got it on eBay. It depicts the three children during their years at the Homestead orphanage in Gettysburg; Frank and Fred are wearing military-style jackets. This was the first time I’ve seen this stereo card up for bids, indicating it is rarer than the earlier but plentiful carte de visite copies of the famous ambrotype portrait of the children found in their father’s hands. The back of the card includes a summary of the Humiston story and the lyrics to James G. Clark’s song “Children of the Battle Field.”

Another eBay find was a certificate from the Register’s Office of the City and County of New York dated August 27, 1868 and signed by Register Patrick H. Jones. This seemingly mundane document is actually a nice souvenir of an important step in Jones’s political career. About two weeks earlier he had accepted the appointment as register by his political ally Governor Reuben Fenton to finish the term of the recently deceased Charles G. Halpine, one of the most famous Irish Americans of his day, best known by his nom de plume of Private Miles O’Reilly. In that era, the register was by far the highest recompensed public servant in America, earning much more than the president. Jones took the office agreeing to donate his income (which ran until the end of the year) to Halpine’s widow and children. The public, and especially the sizable Irish community, esteemed his act of generosity and remembered him for it. His short first tenure as register, represented by this document, was an important step in his political career. Jones material is very rare, so I was pleased to snare it.

Friend Brannen Sanders lives at the old James Denham homestead near Eatonton, Georgia. During Sherman’s March to the Sea the 154th and the rest of its division camped on the Denham place on the night of November 20-21, 1864. In the morning they set fire to Denham’s large tannery and shoe factory, which supplied the Confederate army. I met Brannen during my research trip for Marching with Sherman back in 2007 and we’ve been in touch since.

Brannen is a member of the North-South Skirmish Association and has hosted N-SSA events at Denhamville. The N-SSA is a live-fire marksmanship competition. Unlike reenactors, who fire blanks at each other, N-SSA participants fire live rounds of minie balls and other projectiles at targets. Brannen notes that a group of eight or more can apply for membership as a N-SSA unit, and offers his help if any 154th New York descendants wish to form a unit to represent the regiment. If you’re interested, drop Brannen a line at southron129@gmail.com. He also suggests that descendants would enjoy seeing N-SSA skirmishes held by the 1st U.S. Artillery in Cattaraugus County on May 2-4 and July 25-27 of this year. They take place at 3040 Elm Street, Franklinville, NY 14737. For more information on the N-SSA, visit their website:

http://www.n-ssa.org

In the last newsletter I welcomed Margaret McGee-Smith of Kenmore, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Justus Wright of Co. H, who died of disease in April 1863. I mistakenly referred to him as Justus Smith and apologize for the error.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Michael VanCuren of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, great-great-grandson of Cpl. William W. Osgood of Co. C, who was captured at Gettysburg but survived imprisonment to be mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end. Two of his brothers served with him in Co. C, Edwin R. Osgood, a private who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Richmond in December 1863, and Stephen Osgood, a private who was wounded in the hand at Chancellorsville and transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2014

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 29th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the American Legion Post 409, 41 Mill Street, Gowanda, New York 14070. Our program will commemorate the regiment’s role in the Atlanta Campaign, told in the words of the soldiers themselves: Cpl. Job B. Dawley, Co. K, on the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge; Cpl. Marcellus W. Darling, Co. K, on the Battle of Resaca; Pvt. Colby M. Bryant, Co. A, on the Battle of New Hope Church; Major Lewis D. Warner on the situation on June 1 near Dallas, the Battle of Pine Knob, and the situation on July 1, near Marietta; Pvt. William D. Harper, Co. F, on the Battle of Peach Tree Creek; First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden, Co. G, on the Siege of Atlanta; and Cpl. Milon J. Griswold, Co. F, on the Fall of Atlanta. I will relate the campaign’s background. Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, and Phil Palen, Village of Gowanda Historian, will read the passages from the soldiers’ letters and diaries. Attendees will receive the usual souvenir ribbon and a map of the campaign. The program will begin promptly at 2 p.m., without a prior registration period. Look for additional details in the invitation, to be mailed in early July. Please plan on joining us at the reunion to represent and remember your ancestor of the 154th New York.

I’m pleased to announce that my biography of Patrick Henry Jones has been accepted for publication by Louisiana State University Press and will appear on their Spring 2015 list, meaning it will be available by around this time next year. Look for news about the book’s progress in future newsletters. It now has a new title: Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician.

My article “A Regiment Redeemed,” about the 154th New York’s part in the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, appeared on the “Disunion” series in The New York Times on May 9:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/a-regiment-redeemed/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

As related above, we will hear again about Dug Gap at our reunion. Many of you will remember our 25th Annual Reunion in Salamanca in 2010 was entirely devoted to the battle, after Chancellorsville and Gettysburg the third costliest in casualties the regiment suffered during the war. For more on Dug Gap, see below.

On May 15 I had the pleasure of talking about Marching with Sherman with the Olde Colony Civil War Round Table in Dedham, Massachusetts. None of us could remember how many times I had spoken to the group. This was my sixth, dating back to 1994.

The latest image added to my collection came to me in a surprising fashion. Since its inception in 2011, I have served a secretary of the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission. One of my duties is overseeing our website.

One of the features of the site is a Portrait Album containing photographs of Rhode Island soldiers from the collection of Leo Kennedy of Greenville, Rhode Island, a former National Commander in Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Recently Leo sent a group of images to be added to the Album. One of them depicted a sergeant whose unit was unknown. The carte de visite was taken by a Newport, Rhode Island photographer. Leo bought it years ago because of its Rhode Island backmark and ever since had wondered in what unit the soldier served. It was signed on the front J. Byron Brown. Well, as soon as I saw it I knew it was Sgt. James Byron Brown of Co. B, 154th New York. A previously discovered but different wartime portrait of Brown matched the subject in Leo’s version, and the signature on Leo’s carte matched that on Brown’s handwritten letter applying for a furlough to meet friends in Newport. Brown was known to his comrades as “Brown the Poet” for having published several of his poems. I published an article about him—“Brown the Poet,” Military Images magazine, May-June 1995—and wrote about him in Brothers One and All: 21, 22. Consequently it was great to see this second portrait. Leo kindly parted with the image and it’s a great addition to the archives.

Another acquisition on eBay was a signature of Surgeon (and Congressman and Commissioner of Pensions) Henry Van Aernam clipped from an album page. Van Aernam included his hometown: Franklinville, N.Y. I was the only bidder for the item and consequently got it for a song.

As of this writing, there is no further news regarding the imperiled Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. As reported in the last newsletter, representatives of the Landmark Society of Western New York (LSWNY) met in March with Cattaraugus County officials and urged the building’s preservation and reuse. Since then the LSWNY team has been awaiting a response from the county people.

County Attorney Thomas Brady has stated that the county is prohibited from selling the building to private interests owing to a covenant in the deed of the property to the county. If so violated, the entire property—which includes a large park that covers the rest of the block on which the building stands, and the County Center and County Jail across the street—could revert back to the family that deeded it to the county:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_64257692-5272-11e3-bd01-0019bb2963f4.html

So, who deeded the property to the county?

According to William Adams, editor, Historic Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus County, New York (Syracuse: Lyman, Horton & Co., 1893): 763: “In 1867 John Manley donated the site of five acres to the county, and the new county buildings were completed thereon in the spring of 1868. Since then Little Valley has enjoyed the benefit and distinction of being the capital of Cattaraugus County.” (The county seat was moved to Little Valley from Ellicottville.)

Who was John Manley?

Here’s how I described him in my book Brothers One and All: 57-58: “No individual did more to aid the men of the 154th than John Manley, universally known as ‘the Soldier’s Friend.’ A native of Maine, Manley brought his family to the Cattaraugus County town of Little Valley in 1851. At the outbreak of the war he was a clerk in the federal Interior Department in Washington. In the nation’s capital, at nearby Virginia army camps, and back home in Cattaraugus County, Manley worked constantly and conscientiously on behalf of the county’s soldiers, without seeking or receiving compensation. He mastered the intricacies of the War Department’s bureaucracy and expeditiously cut red tape to obtain discharges, bounties, pensions, and back pay . . . Manley visited the camps on a regular basis and sent lengthy reports on Cattaraugus soldiers to the county press. During the war, he received more than four thousand letters from soldiers and their families. He helped organize the New York State Soldiers’ Relief Association in Washington and was secretary of its executive committee throughout the conflict.”

What would John Manley, “The Soldier’s Friend,” think about Cattaraugus County’s plan to demolish the Memorial and Historical Building?

And speaking of the building, what will its status be on September 7 of this year, the 100th anniversary of its dedication? The Cattaraugus County Museum is planning a commemoration to mark the date. Will the building being commemorated still be standing?

http://www.cattco.org/events/2014/09/07/100-years-cattaraugus-county-museum

Thanks to Jack Torrance of Gowanda, New York, for sharing a scan of a postwar image of his wife, Sue’s, great-grandfather, Cpl. William Henry Harrison Campbell of Co. A. It’s Campbell’s only known portrait and I’m pleased to add it to my albums. Jack also shared obituaries of Campbell, who was captured at Chancellorsville and spent much of the latter part of the war hospitalized. He was discharged at Nashville, Tennessee, in May 1865. His brother John D. Campbell served as a private in the same company and was likewise captured at Chancellorsville, but John deserted from the Convalescent Camp at Alexandria, Virginia, in October 1863.

Thanks to Kristine Raia, associate producer at Pilgrim Studios in North Hollywood, California, for a DVD of “Orphans of Gettysburg” from Season Nine of the Ghost Hunters television show. The episode featured the Humiston story, focusing on the Homestead Orphanage part of the tale. I shared pictures of Amos Humiston and his children with the production company and consequently got a complimentary DVD out of the deal. In addition to the Soldier’s National Museum—part of the former orphanage—the Ghost Hunters crew visited the Jennie Wade House, the Farnsworth House, and a portion of the battlefield, in all of which they claimed to detect paranormal activity. Frankly, it’s mumbo jumbo to me, but it’s another telling of the Humiston story, however skewed.

Thanks to friend Jim Ogden, Historian at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, for standing in for us in Georgia on May 8, 2014, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Dug Gap. As best he could on modern roads, Jim followed the route of Geary’s division to Rocky Face Ridge and up its steep side to the site of the battle. Dug Gap was the 154th New York’s first fight of the Atlanta campaign, and it proved to be the costliest as well—almost a quarter of the men became casualties. Long time readers of this newsletter will recall that Jim Ogden gave Annette and me an excellent tour of the regiment’s whereabouts in the Chattanooga campaign in June 2010, and I toured with him a second time in October 2011 at a Center for Civil War Photography seminar in Chattanooga. I’m grateful to Jim for remembering the Dug Gap battle. It’s easily overlooked among the larger engagements that soon erupted in Georgia and Virginia.

Thanks to Wayne Augustine of Chicago, Illinois, for sending me a photo of the headstone of Cpl. Almon B. Dodge of Co. C in the Wineconne, Wisconsin town cemetery. Dodge’s marker identifies him as “Judge,” but nobody of that name served in the 154th. I initially thought the marker misstated the regiment, but it turned out to be the surname that was incorrect. Wayne solved the mystery by identifying Dodge.

In the last newsletter I related the tribute Tim Finton of Bethesda, Maryland, paid to his late father, Col. James Robert Finton, and Colonel Finton’s grandfather Sgt. James Russell Sweet of Co. A. I mistakenly referred to Tim’s father as Sweet rather than Finton and apologize for the error.

The first steps have been taken to produce a new version of my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg. Look for more news about this project in future newsletters.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2014

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Approximately 125 descendants and friends of the 154th New York filled the meeting room of American Legion Post 409 in Gowanda, New York, for our 29th Annual Reunion on August 2. My thanks to my relative Scott Frank—fellow descendant of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H—and old friend Phil Palen—Village of Gowanda Historian—for their help in reading passages from the letters and diaries of members of the regiment describing the various actions of the Atlanta Campaign. They included Cpl. Job B. Dawley, Co. K, on the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge; Cpl. Marcellus W. Darling, Co. K, on the Battle of Resaca; Pvt. Colby M. Bryant, Co. A, on the Battle of New Hope Church; Major Lewis D. Warner on the situation on June 1 near Dallas, the Battle of Pine Knob, and the situation on July 1, near Marietta; Pvt. William D. Harper, Co. F, on the Battle of Peach Tree Creek; First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden, Co. G, on the Siege of Atlanta; and Cpl. Milon J. Griswold, Co. F, on the Fall of Atlanta. As I mentioned in my background remarks, by marching into fallen Atlanta, the 154th New York achieved perhaps its most significant victory of the war—one that helped to ensure the reelection of Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1864.

Reunion attendees received a map of the campaign and a list of the regiment’s casualties in the various engagements (which totaled 111 out of roughly 240 at the start of the campaign) in addition to a souvenir ribbon. Each family group was also presented with a quilted item (wall hangings, table runners, Christmas stockings) made by John Langhans’s great-great-granddaughter Merrie Ann Yosua of Bel Air, Maryland, who kindly donated her handiwork to the cause. Each item was made from material that reproduced Civil War-era patterns. Merrie and her brother, Bill Street of Fallston, Maryland, also presented me with a special quilt adorned with a picture of our ancestor John Langhans—a keepsake of the reunion that I treasure.

The reunion also served as the release party for a new CD, “A Song For Our Own: Songs by, for, and about the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry.” Scott Frank and his band Rush the Growler (http://www.rushthegrowler.org), augmented by ten other musicians, perform twenty-five numbers on the recording, and the package includes a twenty-page illustrated booklet giving background information about the various songs. Among the musicians performing on the CD are several 154th descendants: award-winning fiddler Phil Banaszak (First Lieutenant Alexander Bird, Co. F); drummer Silas Hudson Bunce (Principal Musician Silas W. Bunce); and vocalist Debbie Bouquin (Pvt. Eason Bull, Co. D). I was honored to play a dobro solo of “Rock of Ages,” which closes the album. The hymn was sung by a choir of women at the dedication of the regiment’s Gettysburg monument on July 1, 1890, hence its inclusion. I’ll have more news about the CD in future newsletters, but in the meantime you can learn more about it by contacting Scott at cpl_otter@yahoo.com.

My thanks go to the dozen or so descendants and friends who mailed donations toward the expenses of the reunion, and the dozens who contributed cash at the event itself. Thanks to your generosity, I covered my substantial expenses. I sincerely appreciate your kindness!

After a day of visiting family in Buffalo, I returned to Cattaraugus County on Monday, August 4, to visit St. Bonaventure University. Back in 2002, my late partner Mike Winey and I decided to leave our collection on the 154th New York to the university’s Friedsam Memorial Library. Last November, University Archivist Dennis Frank and I rendezvoused at the home of Mike’s widow, Bonnie, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and Dennis carted about twenty boxes of Mike’s and my papers, and other materials, back to St. Bona. During my recent visit I met with Dennis and Library Director Paul Spaeth and toured the library and the Quick Center for the Arts—the latter will be the site of our 30th Annual Reunion on August 1, 2015. Dennis, Paul, and I are planning a special exhibit to be held in conjunction with the reunion. Look for more information about the St. Bona event in future newsletters.

During our time in Cattaraugus County, my wife, Annette, and I also enjoyed visiting the Gowanda Area Historical Society’s museum with its curator Phil Palen, and our friend Ronda Pollock of the Portville Historical and Preservation Society, one of the most active and accomplished of the area’s local historical groups.

August 5 found us in East Butler, Pennsylvania, for a meeting concerning the restoration of my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg. I’ll leave it at that for now—but look for more news about the mural in upcoming newsletters.

Prior to the reunion, work continued on Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician, in checking over the copy-edited version of the manuscript and other routine prepublication matters.

On June 6 I was in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for the debut of the documentary film “American Journey: The Life and Times of Ed Bearss.”

http://smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/tickets/reserve.aspx?performanceNumber=229118

Long-time readers of this newsletter will recall that Ed, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service and legendary battlefield guide, arranged for the donations that funded the 2001 restoration of the Coster Avenue mural. Ed is one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met and I was pleased to be there for the debut of his biopic. I also had a chance to briefly discuss the current mural restoration project with him. Within a week or two after I saw him, Ed collapsed on East Cemetery Hill while leading a tour in Gettysburg. He had a pacemaker installed on or about his 91st birthday. Two weeks later, he was back at it, regaling visitors to a historic site. In recent years, Ed has spent hundreds of days annually leading tours of American historic sites. Judging from his schedule of upcoming tours, he has no plans of slowing down. If you ever get a chance to tour with Ed Bearss, don’t miss it!

On June 9 I was in New York City and made a trip to Staten Island to visit the grave of Patrick Henry Jones in St. Peter’s Cemetery. It was my first visit since the late 1970s, when I posed by Jones’s headstone for the author’s photo on the jacket of my first book, The Hardtack Regiment. I decided it would be appropriate to strike the same pose for the Jones biography. There’s sadness to Jones’s final resting place. He’s by himself; his devoted wife, Sarah, died twelve years after he did and is buried in Philadelphia. They had two sons, but what happened to them is unknown. I also visited the modest cottage at 3 Ann Street in Port Richmond that was the Joneses’ (rented) home for the last fifteen years of General Jones’s life. Although he suffered a decline in his later years, Pat Jones’s previous decades were marked by considerable achievement as a soldier and politician. I’m very excited to be resurrecting his memory in my forthcoming book.

Thanks to William T. Hunt of Salamanca, New York, great-great-grandson of First Sgt. Henry F. Whipple of Co. H, for sending a clipping from the Salamanca paper reprinting an item from its May 31, 1889 issue: “A committee of the 154th N.Y. Vols. met in Salamanca Tuesday (May 28), and made a contract with W. B. Archibald of Fredonia for a granite monument to be erected on the battle field of Gettysburg to commemorate the part that regiment took in that memorable conflict. The monument is to be of granite, 20 feet 5 inches high, and will cost $1,500.” It’s the first reference I’ve seen to Archibald as the monument’s fabricator. Henry Whipple was captured at Gettysburg and died of pneumonia at the notorious Andersonville POW camp in Georgia. His son—Bill Hunt’s great-grandfather—James S. Whipple delivered the main address at the dedication of the 154th’s Gettysburg monument on July 1, 1890.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Marcia Copeland Jowers of Wylie, Texas, great-granddaughter of Cpl. James Copeland of Co. D, who was captured at Chancellorsville and wounded in the face at Dug Gap. After the Battle of Chancellorsville, Surgeon Henry Van Aernam reported, “Jimmy Copeland, our boys say, is the bravest of the brave.”

Kelli Whitmer and her mother Annabelle Woodworth Whitmer of Salamanca, New York, descendants of Cpl. Franklin J. Crick of Co. A. Annabelle’s late mother Ethel Woodworth shared a beautiful wartime portrait of Crick with me during my early researches in Cattaraugus County, and it appears in The Hardtack Regiment. (For more on Crick, see below.)

Beth Hultman of Brockport, Pennsylvania, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. William Willover of Co. I, who was wounded severely in the leg near Kennesaw Mountain during the Atlanta campaign, but was mustered out with the regiment.

Sandee Ostheller of Warsaw, Missouri, collaterally related to Pvt. Evander Evens (Evans) of Co. C, who was the first member of the regiment to die in Virginia, in a hospital at Alexandria on October 17, 1862, fifteen days after the 154th’s arrival in the state.

Steven Sherman of Copperas Cove, Texas, great-great-grandson of Sgt. Niles H. Sherman of Co. C, who was captured at Chancellorsville but survived to be mustered out with the regiment.

And welcome to these descendants, enrolled at the reunion:

Marley Press Burek of Perrysburg, New York, great-grandniece of Pvt. Philander B. Sickler of Co. K, who died of typhoid fever on December 28, 1862, at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and is buried in Section A, Grave #1429, Loudon Park National Cemetery in Baltimore.

Jack Wilson of Gowanda, New York, great-grandnephew of Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell of Co. H, who was wounded during the Atlanta Campaign and died of related causes in June 1866. Bushnell’s story is told in detail in my book War’s Relentless Hand.

Darren Rhodes of Great Valley, New York, who is related to two members of the regiment: Pvt. James Hale of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and discharged in October 1863, and Cpl. Franklin J. Crick of Co. A, who mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. Darren’s late father, Gary Rhodes, brought Franklin Crick’s Enfield rifled musket to our very first reunion in 1986, and Darren brought it with him this time, giving folks a chance to see and heft the weapon carried by our ancestors. Crick had carved a crescent and star—badges of the Eleventh and Twentieth Corps, respectively—into the stock of the musket, a touch that helps to confirm a member of the regiment carried it.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2014

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m making an urgent plea to my history-loving friends in Cattaraugus County. Despite our repeated protests, the imperiled Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley appears to be doomed to destruction. County administrators and officials have repeatedly dismissed our protests and the advice offered by the Landmark Society of Western New York (LSWNY). One of the reasons is that many of us are “outsiders,” that is, not Cattaraugus County residents.

I’m urging all of you, Cattaraugus County residents in particular, to once again write to the county officials and let them know you protest their plan to tear down the memorial dedicated to our ancestors. It would also be helpful to drop a line to the Olean Times Herald or the Salamanca Press or other Cattaraugus County newspapers.

As LSWNY Preservation Planner Caitlin Meives put it, “None of us can make a difference without local support. If there aren’t people in the County demanding that this building be saved, we’re dead in the water. Even just a handful of voters could make a huge difference.”

We need Cattaraugus County residents to lead the charge to save the county’s most important Civil War memorial!

To recap recent developments: On September 12 I sent all of you an e-mail, co-signed by 154th New York descendant Nancy Bargar and friend Kyle Stetz, requesting that you contact Cattaraugus County officials and ask them to consider the preservation plans advocated by the LSWNY—plans the county had ignored. (If you reopen that e-mail, you’ll find the names and e-mail addresses of the pertinent county officials.) As a result of your communications, county officials once more addressed the issue:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_2abf22a2-3afe-11e4-ac7c-f7a92b15c3be.html

On September 17, the Olean Times Herald published our e-mail:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/commentary/article_c94944f6-3dbb-11e4-971c-47479a4ac86e.html

That same day, the county legislature appointed a special subcommittee to address the issue. The subcommittee proposed to demolish the memorial, to use parts of the building to make a new Civil War monument, and to PUT UP A PARKING LOT ON THE SITE!

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_309c1080-3f4b-11e4-9a5e-a70e57d28aa2.html

The subcommittee’s plans drew this response from Caitlin Meives, Preservation Planner at the LSWNY, and me:

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/article_d2ad4ce6-425b-11e4-94f0-dfcf3bb10f3d.html

On September 19, I discovered that the New York State Senate has passed a “Veterans’ Memorials Preservation Act,” currently under consideration in the Assembly, which would prohibit the county from tearing down the memorial:

http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S3869-2013

That discovery led to this article:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/cattaraugus_county/article_ea323af6-4329-11e4-888e-5b054fac2982.html

But county officials continue to cling to their proposal to destroy the memorial and put up a parking lot:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_69acfd10-4a5b-11e4-8f2e-8fdacc4db9a2.html

And I continued to speak up for the memorials’ preservation:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/cattaraugus_county/article_bac9162a-4d62-11e4-9960-b73996e67447.html

And so the situation currently stands. Note that the legislature will again discuss the issue in two days, on Wednesday, October 8. If Cattaraugus County residents don’t fight for the preservation of the Memorial and Historical Building, someday they will see a parking lot where the memorial has stood for a century. Please, please, please join the fight to save the memorial.

Thanks to Mark Williams of Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, for sharing a transcription of the wartime diary of his great-granduncle Pvt. Allen Williams of Co. D. Mark in turn obtained copies of the transcript from Allen’s great-granddaughter Cynthia Whited (see below). It is the twenty-sixth 154th New York diary to be added to the archives. Although there are earlier notations, Williams commenced his daily entries on November 10, 1862 and continued them to May 10, 1863. Thus they cover the expedition to Thoroughfare Gap, the several marches and camps thereafter, and the Chancellorsville campaign. Williams was subsequently promoted to corporal and, after rescuing the regiment’s flag at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, to sergeant. He remained the color-bearer until the end of the war. An introduction to the transcript, which was made by Williams’ grandson circa 1960, tells an interesting story. In 1917 W. A. Schrader was living in Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, with his maternal grandparents, Allen and Mary Jane Williams. As he wrote years later

I had been lamenting the fact that at age 16 I was not considered old enough to enlist in World War I. Grandfather Williams got out this Diary from his desk and gave it to me to read and to keep. At the same time he said, “I know just how you feel. I was your age when I was writing this. But let me tell you—War is not all glory. It is mostly drilling and waiting, and marching and waiting, and just plain waiting. You read this and you will see what I mean.”

As related in previous newsletters, I occasionally pick up 154th New York artifacts on eBay. Recently a search for items using the keyword “154th” turned up a reference to a member of the regiment in a book by one Elvira J. Powers titled Hospital Pencillings; Being a Diary While in Jefferson General Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind., and Others at Nashville, Tennessee, as Matron and Visitor (Boston: Edward L. Mitchell, 1866). Original copies of the book are scarce and expensive when found, but it is widely available as a paperback reprint, which was fine for my purposes. Powers was a native of Massachusetts who entered the nursing service in April 1864. Her diary recorded the following encounter on the evening of September 23, 1864, at Clay Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky:

While passing round and speaking to the patients, I found one man who was able to sit up but suffering from scrofula and heart disease; and upon inquiring what State he was from, learned that he was from Cattaraugus County, New York. And furthermore that he was a member of the 154th, which I had seen when it was starting for the South, and that his captain was an old school acquaintance—Captain [Harrison] Cheney. It was C. R. Brown, of Machias. While talking with him of other friends in the regiment, whose acquaintance I had made in school at Randolph, a young fellow approached and exclaimed:
“You from Randolph, New York?”
And upon receiving a reply in the affirmative, with the addition of “more recently,” he exclaimed, as he extended his hand with an emphatic nod,

“Why, that’s my home!”

The action, manner and tone evinced the fact that he appreciated “home” as few besides soldiers can. And so it came to pass, that the rapid questions and answers revealed the fact that we had both been students at the same dear old Randolph Academy, and had each many of the same dear old friends. And I fancy we talked and felt as if we were the joint proprietors of all Randolph Academy—professors, teachers and students combined, and each was greatly rejoiced to meet the other partner in the concern.

While we were talking the matron came up and asked if he had “found somebody he knew.”

“Why, yes,” said he emphatically, “I’ve found an old friend.”

“I thought you were doing better,” she responded.

“Oh, yes,” he replied, “I was nearly well before, and now this will cure me sure!”

He was quite right about our being old friends, as the trifling fact of our having never met before was not the least in the way. And our relationship was very much nearer than between those two individuals, who upon meeting in a foreign land, ascertained the pleasing fact that the dog of the grandfather of the one had once run across the garden of the grandmother of the other.

Charles R. Brown was a 30-year-old shoemaker when he enlisted at Machias on August 14, 1862. He was mustered in as a private in Co. D (every member of which was enrolled by Captain Harrison Cheney). Brown was absent sick in a Washington, D.C. hospital from November 1862 to the summer of 1863, thereby missing the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and returning to duty in August. He then was assigned to daily duty as company cook and shoemaker. But he was back in the ranks for the opening of the Atlanta campaign. Captain Alfred W. Benson of Co. D recorded in his diary on May 12, 1864, after the regiment marched through Snake Creek Gap, Georgia, “C. R. Brown of my co. failed to arrive at night—he threw away his gun in the late fight [at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge] & since has lurked in the rear.” Brown deserted the regiment for good eleven days later, on May 23. But he either was apprehended or turned himself in, to have his encounter with Miss Powers in Louisville as described above. Brown was mustered out on June 5, 1865 at a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. He awarded a pension in the postwar years and died in 1909.

The Randolph Academy and Female Seminary was founded in 1848 and opened in 1850, the first principal being Samuel G. Love, the future first major of the 154th New York. In 1866 the institution’s name was changed to Chamberlain Institute after a generous benefactor. It is now the site of Randolph High School.

Thanks to Robert Abell of Cassadaga, Chautauqua County, for a photograph of his great-grandfather, Pvt. Byron Abell (Abelles on the New York State Adjutant General’s roster), delivered at the reunion. Abell is depicted together with sixteen other employees of the cement works at Burnhams near Cassadaga about 1896. Carolyn Ames Simons of Phoenix, Arizona, great-granddaughter of Pvt. Jonathan M. Ames, unassigned, shared the image with Robert. It is from a booklet titled Septquicentennial Memory Book 1821-1996, Town of Stockton, New York.

Thanks to friend Dr. James S. Brust of San Pedro, California, for sharing some documents relating to Alice Humiston—the little girl in the famous photograph clutched by her father, Sgt. Amos Humiston, as he died at Gettysburg—and her niece and namesake, Alice M. Humiston, relating to their lives and deaths in California. In years past, Jim kindly visited and photographed both Alices’ graves for me in Glendale and did the same for the Los Angeles grave of Clark E. “Salty” Oyer, subject of a chapter in my book War’s Relentless Hand. Jim and I connected because of his deep and abiding interest in nineteenth-century photography and prints, which attracted him to the Humiston story. He has written many articles on nineteenth-century iconography and co-authored the highly regarded book Where Custer Fell: Photographs of the Little Bighorn Battlefield Then and Now:

http://www.amazon.com/Where-Custer-Fell-Photographs-Battlefield/dp/0806138343/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408457307&sr=8-1&keywords=james+s+brust

On October 3 I had the pleasure of speaking about Marching with Sherman to members of the North-South Skirmish Association at their property called Fort Shenandoah, near Winchester, Virginia. The N-SSA is akin to the Civil War re-enacting community in that its members dress in period uniforms, but they don’t re-enact battles or camp life. Instead, they hold marksmanship competitions, shooting live rounds from original or reproduction black powder weapons ranging from revolvers to muskets to artillery. They hold regional competitions around the country (including at Franklinville, Cattaraugus County) and twice a year they hold national competitions at Fort Shenandoah. At the latter, they have a historian give a talk and this year they invited me to speak at their Fall Nationals. I had never been to a N-SSA event, so it was a most interesting visit for me. I also got to weave in a visit to my sister and brother-in-law, Amy and Dan Rowland, at their home in The Woods in nearby Hedgesville, West Virginia, and to my cousin (and fellow John Langhans great-grandson) Paul Sarver and his wife, Kay, at their historic home in Macungie, Pennsylvania. For information about the N-SSA:

http://www.n-ssa.org

A previous trip in late September took Annette and me to Dallas, Texas, where we squeezed in an all-too-brief visit to Carol Adams and her husband Bruce Buchanan at their home in nearby Richardson. Bruce runs The Stewpot in downtown Dallas, which serves the city’s homeless population. Carol is a collateral descendant of Surgeon Dwight W. Day, which is how we initially connected. During the eight years our son, Karl, was a resident of Dallas, Annette and I became friends with Carol and Bruce. We also had a memorable visit with them several years ago at Carol’s childhood home in Forestville, Chautauqua County. Beyond our 154th New York connection, Carol and I share a bond as writers. Her work is fascinating:

http://www.caroljadams.com

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Melinda Lucas-Debo of East Aurora, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. Orton Rounds of Co. C, who after lengthy hospitalizations was present throughout the campaigns in the western theater and mustered out with the regiment at the close of the war.

Robert C. Hilson of Cloquet, Minnesota, great-great-grandson of Pvt. John Paugh of Co. I, who was wounded at Gettysburg, died of his wounds fifteen days later, and was buried in New York Section C, Grave 70 of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

Cynthia Whited of Spencerport, New York, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D. It is Cyndy who has preserved and shared the transcription of Allen’s diary. She also shared another great addition to the regimental archives, this photograph of Allen Williams and his family circa 1900. This image is made extra special by the presence of the flag behind the old color bearer. Thanks, Cyndy!

Williams family

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2014

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

On November 18 the New York Times published my article “An Encounter Along Sherman’s March” as part of its “Disunion series. You can read it (and comment on it) here:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/an-encounter-along-shermans-march/#more-155003

Louisiana State University Press has posted its Spring 2015 catalog online, including my forthcoming book Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician:

http://lsupress.org/books/detail/patrick-henry-jones/

The book is also listed on Amazon.com, where it will be available at a discount:

http://www.amazon.com/Patrick-Henry-Jones-Politician-Conflicting/dp/0807159662/ref=cm_lmf_tit_7

Note the May 18, 2015 publication date. I’ll provide additional details when the time comes.

Nothing I’ve ever been involved with in my lifelong work to chronicle and commemorate the service of the 154th Regiment has saddened and disappointed me like the Cattaraugus County Legislature’s decision to tear down the Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley—the county’s most significant Civil War monument—to put up a parking lot. Entering the memorial for the first time in the early 1970s I couldn’t help but feel a deep reverence for the place, which served as the county’s historical museum and housed so many relics of the county’s Civil War soldiers. Over the years I learned from the historians and curators and volunteers who worked there that the legislature was neglecting to maintain the building properly. Then came the county’s decision to pour $1 million into the Stone House in Machias and move the museum there. At that time (2004), the legislature resolved to destroy the memorial building in Little Valley—a decision I protested in a letter to the legislators. The memorial sat vacant until the current crisis erupted in November 2013, when the legislature voted to use $125,000 in casino funds to demolish the memorial. In previous newsletters and e-mails, I’ve informed you of developments since then. Your protests stopped demolition plans temporarily, but the county has dismissed them—as it has dismissed the preservation advice offered by the Landmark Society of Western New York (LSWNY) and the Veterans’ Memorials Preservation Act, which is pending in the State Assembly. It appears that the powers that be in Cattaraugus County do not care about public opinion, professional preservation advice, possible state law, or—most seriously of all—the memory of the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors, to whom the memorial was dedicated. Instead of a unique, distinctive, and historic Civil War memorial, they would rather have a parking lot!

To recap developments since the last newsletter . . .

On October 8, Nancy Bargar, who has been working closely with me in the preservation fight since its inception, asked the legislature to delay for a month a vote on removal of asbestos from the memorial—the prelude to demolition. The legislators voted 11-6 against the delay:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/article_de5fd07a-4fb9-11e4-b7e0-63a7e362d250.html

That same day, the Olean paper published an eloquent plea for preservation by Kyle Stetz, my other long-time partner in this battle. Unfortunately Kyle’s letter was not posted online. Six days later the paper published a letter from Alan J. Robison of Salamanca, who has been active in local historical affairs, urging the memorial’s preservation and reuse:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/commentary/article_acb63e92-547d-11e4-af16-5f875c6acb4e.html

On October 17, I sent another e-mail to the county legislators and all of you asking, “Why is Cattaraugus County in a sudden rush to destroy the Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley?” The next day I sent to the same recipients images of the Memorial Building in its heyday juxtaposed with a picture of a parking lot over the caption, “Which of these is the most appropriate Civil War memorial?”

On October 19, Legislator Carl Edwards of Limestone wrote to me and to others and declared he stands with us in seeking to preserve the Memorial and Historical Building. Your many letters strongly influenced his decision. Carl offered to lead the local fight for preservation. I notified you of his decision on October 28 and received words of support and offers to aid the effort from several of you.

On October 30, friend and preservationist Tom Stetz of Allegany (Kyle’s father) visited the county museum in Machias and copied a brief history of “The Old Museum” by former museum board member Stanley Waite, which adds to our knowledge of the memorial’s history, and three photographs taken on the day the memorial was dedicated, September 7, 1914, including one beauty which shows the original glass dome to good effect. According to Waite’s history, the dome—which gave the building architectural balance and distinction—was removed in 1956 “because it leaked and provided too much light.” It seems to me that the removal of the dome probably led to many of the subsequent leakage problems that plagued the memorial. Incidentally, the photos Tom shared show that the cannon that stood in front of the memorial was there before the building was constructed. Here’s the photo referred to above:

Cattaraugus County Memorial Dedication 2


Also on October 30, friend Chris Mackowski, a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University who has worked as a historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, contributed this impassioned essay on the Memorial and Historical Building to the Olean Times Herald and to the Emerging Civil War blog:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2014/10/30/paving-over-civil-war-memory-in-the-sesquicentennial-season/

Chris followed up on November 6 with this piece:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2014/11/06/the-men-of-cattaraugus-county-why-they-fought/

On November 18, Nancy Bargar, Carl Edwards, and Tom Stetz met in Salamanca and formed a committee dedicated “to have the legislature preserve and maintain the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building.” Tom Stetz chairs the committee. It was noted that contrary to previous assertions by the county attorney, there appear to be no valid deed restrictions on the property owned by the county. This fact must be made known to all of the county legislators. Tom Stetz’s Freedom of Information appeal has been granted, which will enable him to view the property’s title abstract. Potential committee members were named and upcoming legislative meetings identified.

In the meantime, the county opened the asbestos abatement project for bids, which will close December 8. Should a contract be awarded, the work is supposed to be finished by April 1. Removal of the asbestos—which is found in the window sashes as well as the plaster on the walls and ceilings—would be the first step toward total demolition of the Memorial.

On November 24 the preservation committee met again in Salamanca and adopted the name Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP). Joining Chairman Stetz were Legislator Carl Edwards, Salamanca resident Alan Robison, and three descendants of members of the 154th New York: Nancy Bargar of Lakewood, Clark Casler of Jamestown, and Cynthia Whited of Spencerport. CAMP members plan to attend the next meeting of the county legislature on December 3.

CAMP welcomes additional members. It’s especially important that Cattaraugus County residents join the cause. As Legislator Edwards notes, “Elected officials mostly listen only to their constituents. The main reason that the recent blitz of letters to the Cattaraugus County legislators failed was because most were from outside of the county. The letter blitz did not convey a major interest from the county constituency. Had ninety percent of those letters been from county citizens, I guarantee you that we would not have needed to organize our committee. We’d be well on the path to a renewed monument.”

To my friends in Cattaraugus County: The preservation of the Memorial and Historical Building can only be achieved if you speak up. If you want to join the cause to preserve Cattaraugus County’s most prominent Civil War memorial, please call CAMP Chairman Tom Stetz at 716-373-1439 or e-mail him at twstetz@verizon.net

Speaking of historic preservation, the Civil War Trust needs to raise $495,000 to preserve 479 acres of the Chancellorsville battlefield, worth $4.6 million, in an impressive $9.29 to $1 match. The target property stretches from the jumping-off point of Stonewall Jackson’s troops in their famous flank attack of May 2, 1863, around to the southwest to Route 3, encompassing a portion of the northerly segment of the Buschbeck Line. That is not far from where the 154th New York fought anchoring the southern end of the Buschbeck Line. Purchase of this property will ensure the entire site of the northern portion of the Buschbeck Line will be preserved in an area of Virginia always under threat of development. I hope that the 42-acre property where Dowdall’s Tavern once stood and the 154th fought will also eventually be made safe from development.

Chris Mackowski has written several volumes in the Emerging Civil War Series of brief battle histories published by Savas Beatie. Soon to come is his book, co-authored with Daniel T. Davis, Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. At Chris’s invitation, I wrote a foreword for the book:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2014/11/04/coming-soon-from-the-emerging-civil-war-series-the-first-day-at-gettysburg/

Thanks to the aforementioned Nancy Bargar for forwarding a portrait of her great-granduncle, Pvt. Lowree D. Bargar of Co. F, which a distant relative, Arthur James Howe III, had posted on Ancestry.com. Bargar was captured at Gettysburg and according to the diary of his company comrade and fellow captive Cpl. William E. Jones, he was sent sick from the Belle Island prison camp to Richmond in October 1863. In June 1865 Clara Barton included him in a list of missing New York State soldiers, but a month later his widow applied for a pension, having learned that he died at Richmond in January 1864. This image depicts him before he enlisted:

Lowree D. Bargar

Thanks to friend Kay Jorgensen, editor and publisher of the Civil War News, for mentioning the ongoing fight to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in her regular column, “Paging Through,” in the November 2014 issue of the paper.

That issue of the Civil War News also carried a full-page ad for an auction of the holdings of the Soldiers National Museum in Gettysburg, which is going out of business after fifty-five years. The museum’s original owner was Cliff Arquette, the show business personality known as Charlie Weaver. Before the building was altered and became a museum, however, it was the Homestead orphanage, the institution inspired by the Humiston incident. My book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston pictured the building as both orphanage and Cliff Arquette’s Soldiers Museum.

Next door to the Soldiers National Museum stands the Homestead lodging for tourists, another former orphanage building. Mary Ruth Collins, who died on October 21 of this year at age 92, ran the Homestead from 1987 until more recent years. My thanks to friend Walt Powell, Executive Director of the Mayflower Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and former Director of Planning and Historic Preservation for the Borough of Gettysburg, for notifying me of Mary Ruth’s death. As I wrote to Walt on hearing the news, this truly marks the end of an era. Allan Cox, the great-grandson of Amos Humiston who shared his ancestor’s wartime letters with me—the key that enabled me to write my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier—died on May 31 of this year. David Humiston Kelley, the other great-grandson whose help was invaluable to me, died on May 19, 2011. I treasured the friendship of both Allan and Dave. We shared some special moments together, including a memorable trip to Humiston family sites in Jaffrey, New Hampshire on June 28, 1993. Just days later, Dave and Allan and other Humiston descendants and friends from the Humistons’ hometown of Portville, New York, gathered at the Homestead for the July 3, 1993 dedication of the Humiston monument. Staying with Mary Ruth in that place with that group on that occasion—I realized at the time that it was one of those precious and unforgettable moments in life that doesn’t come often.

Speaking of Gettysburg, thanks to Beth Hultman of Brockport, Pennsylvania, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. William Willover of Co. I, for pictures taken during her visit on Veterans Day to Coster Avenue and the 154th New York’s monument.

And speaking of Coster Avenue, look for news in future newsletters of a new version of my mural, to be installed next spring. It will replace the extremely dilapidated original, which is now twenty-six years old.

Christmas is coming, and if you’re puzzling over what to give to a certain relative or friend, here’s a suggestion. In the August 2014 newsletter I mentioned a new CD by my relative Scott Frank and his band Rush the Growler, “A Song for Our Own: Songs by, for, and about the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry.” I highly recommend it. As the title indicates, virtually all of the songs are “by, for, and about” our ancestors’ regiment. The renditions are very well done both vocally and musically, and the accompanying 20-page booklet relates the background of the various tunes. They include:

“Three Camps (from Reveille),” a camp duty call performed on fife and drum.

“We Are Coming, Father Abraham,” a popular song of the summer of 1862, when the regiment was raised.

“Army Song of the Cattaraugus Boys,” composed by Sgt. James Byron Brown of Co. B, known to his comrades as “Brown the Poet.”

“The Brave Soldier,” composed by Pvt. Andrew G. Park of Co. B.

“The Soldier’s Welcome,” composed by Edward R. Jones, brother of Pvt. David S. Jones of Co. K.

“The Soldier’s Farewell,” another composition by Brown the Poet.

“The Friends I Left Behind Me,” composed by Second Lieut. Philander W. Hubbard of Co. K.

“Tactical Commands,” “Assemble” and “Commence Firing,” performed on fife and drum.

“Chancellorsville,” composed by First Lieut. John F. Wellman of Co. G.

“This Father and Son,” composed by Mrs. Betsey Phelps Howlett, mother of Pvt. Horace H. Howlett of Co. K, about Pvts. Barzilla and Alva C. Merrill, father and son killed at Chancellorsville.

“To the Color,” another camp duty call as performed by drummer Silas Hudson Bunce (great-grandson of Principal Musician Silas W. Bunce) and fifer Walt Sweet at our 8th Annual Reunion in 1993.

“The Children of the Battle Field,” the James G. Clark composition inspired by Sgt. Amos Humiston of Gettysburg fame.

“The Unknown Soldier (Who Is He?),” the William H. Hayward and William G. Horner composition inspired by Sergeant Humiston.

“A Song of Belle Island,” verses by an unknown composer about the prisoner of war camp in the James River opposite Richmond, found in the papers of Cpl. Newell Burch of Co. E, who was incarcerated on the island.

“The Starving Prisoners in Richmond,” another composition by Edward Jones.

“Our Banner,” more verses by Brown the Poet.

“Another Home Is Smitten,” composed by Pvt. David S. Jones to commemorate Pvt. Anson N. Park of Co. B, who died of measles in March 1864.

“Battle Hymn of the Republic,” perhaps the era’s most memorable song.

“The Battle Cry of Freedom,” another popular song of the war, sung by our ancestors when they marched into the fallen city of Atlanta.

“The White Star Division,” written by one J. P. Harris and dedicated to the “Freedom Boys” of the regiment.

“Song of the 20th Corps,” written by an Ohioan who served in the corps to which the 154th belonged.

“Yankee Doodle,” the familiar tune played by the regiment’s fife and drum corps when the regiment occupied Atlanta.

“Marching Through Georgia,” the popular Henry Clay Work composition regularly sung at regimental reunions.

“When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea,” by Samuel H. M. Byers, sung by the soldiers during the war.

“America” and “Rock of Ages,” sung by a choir of women at the dedication of the regiment’s Gettysburg monument on July 1, 1890. I was privileged to contribute a rendition of the latter on dobro to close the album.

The CD is available from Scott Frank for $13 including postage. Make your check out to Scott Frank and send it to him at his home: 37 Danielle Drive, Cheektowaga, NY 14227. If you have any questions, contact Scott at cpl_otter@yahoo.com. You can also order the CD through the band’s website, using PayPal:

http://www.rushthegrowler.org/a-song-for-our-own--the-154th-ny.php

The band has just posted a video of their performance of “Marching Through Georgia.” You can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3V8VGjieyg

On we go to 2015 and the last year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. In the meantime, happy holidays to you all. And thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



2015 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2015

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Normally I welcome descendants new to the roll at the end of the newsletter, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Welcome to Grace Elizabeth Dunkelman of Winter Park, Florida, great-great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H—and my first grandchild. She joined her parents, Megan and Karl Dunkelman, on December 9, 2014. My wife, Annette, and I were pleased to be there for her arrival, and for a subsequent visit around Christmas. Baby, mother, and father are all doing well.

Thanks to Terry Johnston, editor-in-chief of The Civil War Monitor, for including a profile of my work in the Winter 2014 issue of the magazine. “Witness to the 154th,” by Jenny Johnston, was based on an hour-long phone interview she conducted with me last fall. It’s the second installment of a new department called “Living History,” which presents the stories of people “who in some way have devoted a part of their lives to [the] study, memory, interpretation, or preservation” of the Civil War. It was an honor to be included, and Jenny did a great job writing the article. If you’re interested, the magazine is available at Barnes & Noble. If you send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope, I’ll send you a copy of the article.

There have been noteworthy and positive recent developments in the fight to save to Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley:

On December 1, the Olean Times Herald reported the organization of CAMP—Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_ba49d13c-7970-11e4-a079-2b5aa8d5f9d3.html

On December 3, CAMP Chair Tom Stetz appeared before a meeting of the county legislature’s Public Works Committee and made an eloquent plea for a one-year delay in demolishing the Memorial to explore preservation possibilities:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_ab9dfb78-7be0-11e4-a25f-63be8d1c4977.html

On December 8 the bids for asbestos removal were opened. Two days later the county legislature met, but no action was taken on the bids. The legislature then adjourned for the year, to reconvene and reorganize on January 7, 2015. In the meantime, indications were that CAMP would be granted a delay:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_4bee45be-8240-11e4-871e-c7a5358fd43c.html

On December 12 the Olean Times Herald published a letter supporting CAMP from Paul Spaeth, Director of the Library, and Dennis Frank, University Archivist at St. Bonaventure University—the gentlemen who oversee the Dunkelman and Winey Collection on the 154th New York.

On December 13 I wrote to the seventy Cattaraugus County residents on my e-mail lists asking them to join CAMP. CAMP’s numbers consequently grew.

As the holidays approached, CAMP member Gail Bellamy placed a wreath on the Memorial’s door—a sign that the place was in our thoughts.

On January 5, 2015, the Jamestown Post-Journal published a front-page article by reporter Jim McCarthy, “Historic Battle,” recounting the preservation struggle to date and the formation of CAMP, noting it had grown to about thirty members.

CAMP held a meeting in Little Valley on January 7 and then attended the county legislature’s organizational meeting, where CAMP members held informal conversations with various legislators. Chair Tom Stetz reported, “CAMPERS left the County building feeling that we made a positive impact on everyone present and that CAMP is slowly gaining more County support for our preservation efforts.” Two days later, CAMP applied for a $3,500 grant from the Landmark Society of Western New York to fund a feasibility study, to be conducted by the Clinton Brown Company Architecture firm of Buffalo, specialists in historic preservation:

http://clintonbrowncompany.com

On January 11, Olean Times Herald reporter Rick Miller—who has been following the story closely since it began—had a front-page story summarizing the recent developments:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_ccee123e-9942-11e4-8560-ab6c41d14b2f.html

On January 23, Caitlin Meives of the Landmark Society of Western New York notified Tom Stetz that the LSWNY grant committee had awarded CAMP $2,500 to fund the feasibility study, leaving $1,000 to be raised. On January 26 LSWNY Executive Director Wayne Goodman sent Chair Stetz a formal letter acknowledging the grant. The county legislature was made aware of the grant at its meeting on January 28.

As of this writing, CAMP has had a major impact in the struggle to preserve, restore, and reuse the Memorial and Historical Building. The group has caused the county to continue to delay its demolition plans and to avoid awarding an asbestos abatement contract. It has promised the county it would come up with practical plans to achieve its goals, and with the awarding of the LSWNY grant it has taken a significant step closer to that goal. During its brief existence, the organization has grown to about fifty members. I’m sending this newsletter to all the CAMP members. I hope you find it of interest. (If you’d rather not receive it, just let me know and I’ll remove you from the mailing list.)

CAMP welcomes new members, whether they live in Cattaraugus County or elsewhere. If you would like to join the effort, please e-mail your name, postal mailing address, and a message of support to Tom Stetz at twstetz@verizon.net. Your e-mail will be used to bolster CAMP’s case with the county legislature and in applying for grants, and Tom will keep you updated with the latest news in this ongoing historic preservation crusade.

Thanks to Bill Parke of Buffalo, New York, great-great-grandson of Sgt. Andrew G. Park of Co. B, for providing copies of Park’s military and pension records, obtained during a visit to the National Archives in Washington. Bill also shared the records of Andrew’s cousin, Pvt. Anson N. Park of the same company. Andrew was captured during the Carolinas Campaign; Anson died of disease in March 1864. Details about the former are found in my book Marching with Sherman; about the latter in Brothers One and All.

Thanks to Mike Movius, vice president of the Puget Sound Civil War Round Table in Washington State for sending photos of the headstones of brothers First Sgt. Harrison Covell of Co. H (in Newport Cemetery, Newport, Washington) and Pvt. Seth W. Covell of Co. H (in GAR Cemetery, Snohomish, Washington), and of Sgt. James MacFarling of Co. D (in Greenwood Memorial Terrace cemetery in Spokane). Harrison was wounded twice, at Gettysburg and Dug Gap; Seth was captured at Chancellorsville. James was captured at Gettysburg and wounded during the Atlanta Campaign. Mike and his associates are engaged in a project to document Civil War monuments and veterans buried in their state. He learned of my interest in the 154th from the Civil War Monitor article mentioned above.

Dennis Frank, University Archivist at St. Bonaventure University, sent word that three student interns have been working with the late Mike Winey’s portion of the Dunkelman and Winey Collection on the 154th New York at the university’s Friedsam Memorial Library. They have been moving papers to archival boxes and folders and identifying ways to use the material in gaming applications. They will be creating a web presence for the collection and scanning the many images. University officials are also planning an academic conference to be held in conjunction with our descendants’ reunion. Remember the date: Saturday, August 1, 2015. Look for more reunion announcements in upcoming newsletters.

In Marching with Sherman I wrote, “The abandoned Confederate fort in which the 154th camped on its second night in the city [of Atlanta, after its fall in September 1864,] is now a hilltop school in the residential Grant Park neighborhood.” In the journal of my 2007 research trip I was more specific, locating the school at the intersection of Grant and Pavilion streets. I was pleased to find my deduction to be correct according to a groundbreaking new book by Lawrence Krumenaker, Walking the Line: Rediscovering and Touring the Civil War Defenses on Modern Atlanta’s Landscape (Marietta, GA: Hermograph Press, 2014), which confirms the location as “the likely site” of the fort, one of 36 forts in the ring of Confederate defenses surrounding Atlanta.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Sandra Mader of Lyman, South Carolina, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Benjamin Micle (spelled Michle on the rolls), who was discharged for disability in April 1863.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2015

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

Early this month I’ll be traveling to Western New York on a multipurpose trip. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, I’ll give a talk on “Lincoln Through the Eyes of a Civil War Regiment” at SUNY Fredonia, in the Horizon Room of the Williams Center. The talk is open to the public, so if you have a chance, please join us. In subsequent days I will deliver materials for this summer’s special exhibition at St. Bonaventure University (see below) and meet with CAMP Chairman Tom Stetz for an update on the imperiled Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building (also discussed below).

Plans are jelling for the 30th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York, which will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, 2015 at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. In conjunction with the reunion, SBU plans to hold an academic conference, “The Civil War: Regional, Regimental, and Personal Experiences.” I invite my academic friends to consider the call for papers to be presented at the conference. Deadline for submissions is April 15. The day will also mark the formal inauguration of the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection on the 154th New York at SBU, with a special exhibit of regimental artifacts on display at the Quick Center for the Arts. Saturday evening a barbeque dinner and concert by Rush the Growler will take place, with the band performing tunes from their album of songs relating to the 154th New York. While the reunion is free, there are charges for the other activities. SBU will also provide housing on campus for a nominal fee. Details can be found here:

http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/civil_war_conference.html

Early in February I reviewed the proof and completed the index for my next book, Patrick Henry Jones: Irish America, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician, which will be published in May by Louisiana State University Press. For many years I daydreamed about writing a Jones biography, thinking it a story worth telling. I began work on it more than seven years ago. It’s gratifying to know that the book will soon appear. In his heyday, Jones was firmly in the public eye. I’m pleased to bring his story back to light:

http://lsupress.org/books/detail/patrick-henry-jones/

My latest article, “Hard Luck Regiment: The Life and Times of the 154th New York Infantry,” was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Military Images magazine. It includes portraits from my collection and profiles of Pvt. Charles Haupt, Co. K; Lt. Col. Henry C. Loomis; First Lt. Horace Smith, Co. H; Pvt. Ariel H. Wellman, Co. B; and Pvt. Devillo McBride, Co. E. For information about the magazine:

http://militaryimagesmagazine.com

There have been more positive developments in the fight to preserve the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley.

On February 4, the county legislature’s Public Works Committee (PWC) agreed to grant Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) six months to make progress on its mission. They also agreed to sponsor a resolution authorizing their chairman to sign a letter of support for CAMP’s efforts:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_b6615a9e-ad01-11e4-8c06-376ba5bae96b.html

CAMP met the next day and the members present signed a letter accepting the $2,500 grant from the Landmark Society of Western New York. The group also elected a treasurer (Juanita Ried), appointed a media coordinator (John Scarano), and discussed plans on several fronts.

When the PWC met on February 18, the legislators tabled the resolution to provide CAMP with a letter of support:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_47914720-b89e-11e4-8247-6b63bbaaa965.html

Two days, later, CAMP Chair Tom Stetz authorized Clinton Brown Company Architecture of Buffalo to commence the feasibility study funded largely by the LSWNY grant.

Early in March, CAMP launched its website, the handiwork of Media Coordinator John Scarano:

http://cattcomemorial.com

Note that the website has a section, “Veteran Biographies,” to which you can contribute your ancestor’s image and service record. Please do—the more the better! (Don’t have a scan of your ancestor’s image? You can obtain one from St. Bonaventure University, where student interns have been scanning the photographs in the Dunkelman and Winey Collection. Write to University Archivist Dennis Frank at dfrank@sbu.edu for details.)

On March 15, reporter Rick Miller—who has covered the story closely since the beginning—summarized recent developments in the Olean Times Herald:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_10d227f8-cabf-11e4-8a51-8b2171eee7a5.html

If you haven’t already joined CAMP, please do so by visiting http://cattcomemorial.com or by e-mailing Chair Tom Stetz at twstetz@verizon.net with your postal mailing address and a brief statement of support.

Thanks to Mike Edge of Snow Hill, North Carolina, for sharing about fifty articles mentioning the 154th New York that he turned up on Newspapers.com, a subscription service. Mike is affiliated with the Greene County Museum in Snow Hill and as such arranged for me to give a talk there during my 2007 research trip for Marching with Sherman. He also gave me a great tour of Greene County sites, including the area around Speights Bridge, where the Confederates executed Sgt. Harrison Coe of Co. F and Cpl. Job B. Dawley of Co. K after capturing them during the Carolinas Campaign. The articles Mike sent came from papers scattered around the country and include obituaries, notes about veterans, retellings of the Humiston story, and miscellanea. (I was pleased to see Patrick Henry Jones described as a “Well Known Irishman” in the headline of his obituary in the Williamsport [PA] Sun-Gazette; my biography argues that Jones was one of the best-known Irish Americans of his day.) Thank you, Mike, for these additions to my files.

Thanks to Sandra Mader of Lyman, South Carolina, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Benjamin Micle (Michle on the rolls) of Co. G for sharing a copy of his certificate of disability for discharge, dated April 16, 1863, at Kelly’s Ford, Virginia. It included a note by Surgeon Henry Van Aernam stating that Micle was suffering from “an abscess in the right thigh, terminating in a fistulous opening resulting from a fracture of the right femur (near the middle,) which was imperfectly reduced—The fracture occurred six years ago.” These are details not to be found in the summary of Micle’s service in the New York State Adjutant General’s regiment roster (which can be found on my website). Capt. Matthew B. Cheney and Col. P. H. Jones also signed the document.

Thanks to CAMP member E. Brooke Harlowe of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, for sharing scans of a pamphlet, “In Remembrance of Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Woodford,” which reproduced obituaries of Samuel Deforest Woodford and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Fuller. Woodford, a sergeant of Co. I, was captured twice during his service, at Gettysburg and at Peach Tree Creek. A few years back I transcribed a large collection of his letters from microfilm held be The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I was the only bidder in an eBay auction for a pension certificate of Pvt. Merrick Price of Co. K, who was discharged for disability on December 10, 1862, at Fairfax Court House, Virginia. The 1923 document raised Price’s pension to $72 per month.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Claudia Ciucci of Salisbury Mills, New York, great-great-granddaughter of First Lieutenant Homer A. “Dell” Ames of Co. A, who rose through the ranks from private and was wounded at the Battle of Pine Knob, Georgia.

The last newsletter opened with the announcement of the birth of my first grandchild in Florida. This edition, unfortunately, closes with the news of the death of my aunt Floris Dunkelman Sarver on February 6 in Williamsville, New York. She was 95 years old. I dedicated Marching with Sherman to Aunt Floris. As I wrote in the acknowledgments, she had been a wonderful surrogate parent to my sister, Amy, and me since the deaths of our parents many years before—“loving, kind, wise, and supportive.” She had an encyclopedic knowledge of and passion for our family history. She was my living link to our Civil War ancestor, John Langhans, who died when she was nine years old. (She remembered the circumstances clearly: The family was cooking breakfast in their farmhouse at the foot of Jackman Hill in Ellicottville on the morning of September 19, 1929, when they heard a thump above them on the second floor. Grandpa Langhans had dropped dead at the age of 85.) I’ll never forget the night more than fifty years ago, during my teenage years, when I visited Aunt Floris’s house to transcribe John’s wartime letters by hand onto a yellow legal pad. Nor will I forget the precious gifts she gave me over the years in the form of relics of Grandpa Langhans’s service and veteranhood. In the decades since our parents died, when Amy and I visited Buffalo, Aunt Floris’s home was our home. We had many enjoyable times there. Many of you will recall that Floris was a regular attendee at our descendants’ reunions until recent years, when declining health made her enter an assisted living facility. Even so, she retained her interest in family history right up until the end. Needless to say, her passing leaves a great void in my life. I will never cease to miss her, but I’ll always remember her with fondness and gratitude.

Annette and I and Amy and her husband Dan Rowland attended the funeral in Buffalo on Presidents Day weekend. Winter had Western New York firmly in its grip. Temperatures dipped from the single digits into the subzero range and a snowstorm on Saturday unfortunately reduced attendance at the wake and service. It reminded me of the time fifteen years before when the Sarver and Dunkelman clans gathered in Buffalo to celebrate Aunt Floris’s eightieth birthday, which resulted in an often-told story. We made a trip to Cattaraugus County to visit the Langhans/Dunkelman farm and the cemetery in Plato where John Langhans and many other relatives are buried. A heavy snow was falling by the time we reached the cemetery. We waded through knee-deep snow to look at the various headstones. Suddenly, Annette and I plunged into armpit-deep snow. We had stepped into a partially dug grave, which turned out to be awaiting a relative.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2015

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 30th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place on Saturday, August 1, 2015, at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. The day will also mark the formal inauguration of the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection on the 154th New York at the university. The schedule:

2 p.m.: Descendants reunion in the Rigas Theater of the Quick Center for the Arts. Our program will include a brief overview of the events of 1865, a reading by descendant Scott Frank of Cpl. John Langhans’s letter describing the Grand Review in Washington, D.C., a reading of Col. Lewis D. Warner’s farewell address to the regiment by his descendants Lee Spencer and Jean Goto, and our usual roll call. Mike Winey’s wife, Bonnie, and I will also describe the partnership and decades of work that led to the establishment of the collection at SBU.

3:45 p.m.: Opening of special exhibit of regimental artifacts from the collection in the Quick Center galleries.

4:15 p.m.: Panel discussion, “Looking Back at the War,” with Civil War historians Eric Wittenberg, Kris White, and Dan Davis, moderated by Chris Mackowski, in the Rigas Theater.

5 p.m.: Viewing of special exhibits from the collection in the Friedsam Memorial Library, and visiting and relaxing.

6 p.m.: Barbeque dinner and concert by Rush the Growler, performing numbers from their CD “A Song For Our Own: Songs by, for, and about the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry,” in a tent outside the Magnano Center/Hickey Dining Hall.

Please note: While the rest of the day’s events are free, the dinner and concert costs $30 per person.

Overnight housing is available on campus, with several package options.

Registration and prepayment are necessary to attend the dinner and concert or to reserve accommodations. Use the online registration form at the above website. Registrations must be made by July 29.

Paper reunion invitations will be sent around July 1. (I only have e-mail addresses for about half of the more than 800 descendants on the roll, so I continue to send paper invitations to all.) Please join us at this very special reunion to represent and remember your ancestor of the 154th New York.

During my time in Western New York I’ll be giving two talks about my new book (see below): at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 2 at the Allegany Area Historical Association, 25 North Second Street in Allegany, and at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5 to the Ellicottville Historical Society at the Ellicottville Memorial Library, 6499 Maples Road in Ellicottville. All are welcome to attend and I hope to see you then.

I’m pleased to announce my new book, Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician, has been published by Louisiana State University Press. Thanks to the folks at the Press, it’s a good-looking book. Jones was the long-time commander of the 154th New York (he had previously served with the 37th New York), and while I offer a thorough summary of his service in two chapters, most of the book concerns his postwar career as one of the best-known Irish American politicians in New York City—and how his prominence diminished after some unfortunate entanglements. I’m pleased to bring his story to light in a comprehensive fashion. Here’s a link to the book’s page at Amazon.com, where it is offered at a discount:

http://www.amazon.com/Patrick-Henry-Jones-Politician-Conflicting/dp/0807159662/ref=cm_lmf_tit_7

In other publication news, I was privileged to write the foreword to a new book by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis, Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg July 1, 1863. As part of the Emerging Civil War Series of books published by Savas Beatie, it serves as a fine introductory account of the First Day’s fighting (which cost the 154th New York so severely), combined with a tour guide to its sites. It includes a chapter on the brickyard fight and Coster Avenue and an appendix on the Humiston story, including photographs of both, so the 154th is well represented. It too is available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Fight-Like-Devil-Gettysburg-Emerging/dp/1611212278/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432663909&sr=1-1&keywords=fight+like+the+devil

This year I made a rare springtime trip to Western New York. On April 8 I had the pleasure of giving a talk on “Lincoln Through the Eyes of a Civil War Regiment” at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Friends Phil Palen, Craig Senfield, and Vincent Martonis joined a large group of students in the audience. My thanks to Jennifer Hildebrand and Mary Beth Sievens of the History Department for inviting me to speak and giving me a warm introduction.

On April 9 I delivered the materials for the special exhibit to Evelyn Penman at the Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure. I’m looking forward to seeing the regimental artifacts on display in that fine facility. That day I also met with Paul Spaeth, Director, and Dennis Frank, Archivist, at Friedsam Memorial Library, to discuss reunion plans. I also met Caitlin Goodwill and Dan Leopold, the student interns who have been working on the Dunkelman and Winey Collection, scanning images and creating a database including each individual member of the regiment. Eventually it will all be available on the Internet. It’s gratifying to know that the materials the late Mike Winey and I gathered over decades of work are being catalogued in a manner that will make them accessible to scholars and others interested in Civil War history.

Also on April 9 I visited Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) Chair Tom Stetz at his home in Allegany. The latest developments in CAMP’s mission, the fight to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley:

On April 15, CAMP met in Little Valley and among other issues discussed formalizing the organization, establishing a bank account, and what to do about the county’s ambiguous response to CAMP’s request to hold an event at the Memorial on Memorial Day (the county had suggested CAMP hold its event at the museum in Machias, 23 miles away, and placed other impediments that seemed intended to squelch CAMP’s plans).

On April 21, friend Garry Adelman, Director of History and Education for the Civil War Trust, the leading national Civil War battlefield preservation organization, wrote a letter expressing the Trust’s support of CAMP’s mission. Because the Trust’s mission is limited to saving battlefields, their support of CAMP can only be moral rather than financial, but it’s good nevertheless to have this prestigious organization in our corner.

On April 22, Clinton Brown and Jill Nowicki of Clinton Brown Company Architecture, the Buffalo historic preservation architecture firm, visited and examined the Memorial and Historical Building.

On April 25, the Olean Times Herald summarized recent developments in this article:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_b10fc68c-eb01-11e4-8cab-3fa4c4b18115.html

On April 26, CAMP member Deb Everts published an update, “C.A.M.P. Group Moves Ahead to Formal Status,” in the Jamestown Post-Journal. A transcription can be read on the “Memorial Building in the News” page of CAMP’s website.

On May 20, CAMP announced its upcoming Memorial Day ceremony in Little Valley:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_bcfaa9d6-fea6-11e4-836d-e77da47738a6.html

The ceremony was a resounding success:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_9e7ebdd8-047f-11e5-be6e-d77a0a3900c2.html

Look for more news of positive CAMP developments in the August newsletter. In the meantime, visit the CAMP website (http://cattcomemorial.com) and join us in this important historic preservation cause.

Thanks to Shannon Treier of Milford, Ohio, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Abraham Goodemote of Co. D, for sharing a biographical sketch of her ancestor from Charles Almanzo Babcock, Venango County Pennsylvania: Her Pioneers and People (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Company, 1919). It’s a welcome addition to my biographical files.

Thanks to friend Marvin Sowder of the Civil War Round Table of Dalton, Georgia, for a historical sketch he wrote about the Dalton Confederate Cemetery, which contains the remains of four unidentified Union soldiers. Marvin theorizes that they might be victims of the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, and consequently could include one or more of the five members of the 154th New York who were killed in the fighting.

Thanks to Dustyn Dubuque, graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, for a copy of his Master’s thesis, “The Diary of Newell Burch: How a Man of Resources Survived the Civil War and 21 Months as a Prisoner of War.” Burch, a corporal of Co. E, was captured at Gettysburg and survived a lengthy imprisonment at Belle Island in Virginia and Andersonville, Georgia. Dustyn’s thesis focuses on Burch’s Andersonville experiences.

Thanks to friend and CAMP member Kyle Stetz for sharing pictures of two recent acquisitions. One is a badge of Dayton’s Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 367, which was named for Pvt. Barzilla Merrill of Co. K, who was killed at Chancellorsville together with his teenaged son Pvt. Alva Merrill. Unfortunately the ribbon maker mistakenly printed the post name as “Brazille,” misspelling Merrill’s first name and omitting his surname. Nonetheless it’s a nice memento and the only example of a Dayton GAR ribbon I’ve ever seen. The other is a paper badge from the 14th annual reunion of the Cattaraugus County Veterans’ Association, which was held in Ellicottville in 1882. A newspaper account of the reunion, which Kyle also provided, stated the largest contingent consisted of 154th New York veterans, and, interestingly, that a Confederate veteran of a North Carolina regiment was also in attendance.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Linda Schutte of Trumansburg, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D, who saved the flag at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and of Pvt. William Osterstuck of Co. I, who was captured at Gettysburg and died of chronic dysentery as a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Georgia, where he is buried in Grave #12 of the Andersonville National Cemetery. And thanks to Linda for sharing a nice photograph of Allen Williams in 1918, posing on a porch seated in a wicker rocking chair with three relatives of different generations, including Linda’s three-month-old future father, held in his great-grandfather’s arms. Behind the two is a small American flag, a most appropriate backdrop for the veteran regimental color bearer.

Robert Mattson of Eagan, Minnesota, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Romanzo Moore of Co. A, who was wounded in the leg at Dug Gap and died later the same day at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Robert is also more distantly related to Cpl. John Felch of Co. D, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Savannah, Georgia, in October 1864, and to Cpl. Civilian Manwaring of Co. D, who was discharged for disability in February 1863 at a Washington, D. C. hospital.

Randall D. Gustafson of Warren, Pennsylvania, great-grandson of Pvt. Calvin Wright of Co. A, who was discharged for disability in March 1863 from a hospital in Washington, D.C.

Chayil Branda of Trinity, Florida, great-great-great-granddaughter of First Sgt. Joseph Leonard of Co. A, who was discharged for disability in December 1863.

Lois Griffith of Columbus, Indiana, great-great-granddaughter of the aforementioned Pvt. Barzilla Merrill of Co. K. (I told the Merrills’ story in War’s Relentless Hand.)

Sgt. Matthew G. Leonard, USMC, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, great-great-great-grandson of First Sgt. Joseph Leonard of Co. A, mentioned above.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history! I hope to see you at our reunion.




HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2015

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 30th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York and the formal inauguration of the Dunkelman and Winey Collection at St. Bonaventure University on August 1 were most gratifying. We had a fine turnout. Approximately 125 people turned out for the events, from as far away as San Diego, California. In the reunion program, I gave a brief summary of my work researching the regiment since my childhood, Bonnie Winey described the lengthy involvement of her husband and my long-time partner, Mike Winey, and Paul Spaeth, Director of the Friedsam Memorial Library, and Dennis Frank, University Archivist, related the acquisition of the collection, work with it to date, and long term plans for it. John Scarano, CAMP webmaster, presented an overview of that organization’s development and activities (see below). Then came the historical portion of the program. My relative Scott Frank of Cheektowaga, New York, read excerpts from the letters of our ancestor Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H describing the Grand Review in Washington in May 1865 and his reflections on the end of the war. Lee Spencer of New York City read the farewell address that her ancestor Lieut. Col. Lewis D. Warner delivered to the regiment the day before the men were discharged and returned home. The reunion ended with the traditional roll call, during which the descendants identified themselves and their ancestors.

This Olean Times Herald reunion report includes a short video:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_04b6c7b6-38bb-11e5-b0b6-7b7e60b6c83b.html

Following the reunion I joined a panel of Emerging Civil War historians including Kris White, Dan Davis, Derek Maxfield, and Eric Wittenberg (via Skype) in a discussion, “Looking Back at the War,” moderated by St. Bona professor Chris Mackowski:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2015/08/03/ecw-panel-at-st-bonaventure-university-looks-back-at-the-150th-and-the-war/

James Brookes, a graduate student at the University of Nottingham in Great Britain, then presented “The Last and Most Precious Memento,” an analysis of portrait photography and the Union soldier. I had the pleasure of meeting James the previous day at the Friedsam Library, where he was using materials from the Dunkelman and Winey Collection.

Between the various presentations, attendees viewed the special exhibit mounted by Assistant Director Evelyn Penman in the Quick Center for the Arts and other exhibits put together by student interns Dan Leopold and Caitlin Goodwill in the Friedsam Library.

Approximately eighty people attended the al fresco barbeque dinner on a beautiful evening and were entertained by songs “by, for, and about” the 154th New York as performed by Scott Frank’s band Rush the Growler. It was a pleasant ending to an eventful day.

SBU student Amelia Kibbe (Class of 2017) contributed an excellent article about the Dunkelman and Winey Collection to the Summer 2015 issue of the university’s magazine. It can be found here, beginning on page 14:

http://www.sbu.edu/sbucustom/Magazine/Summer2015/

My thanks to everyone who attended the reunion, the folks at SBU for their work in arranging for and hosting the events, to those descendants who bought books, and to those who generously sent donations to help cover the costs.

Thanks to John H. Jewell of Guilderland, New York, a collateral descendant of Sgt. Charles C. Jewell of Co. C, for sharing information about and two postwar photographs of his ancestor. One depicts Jewell and his wife, Lucy; the other shows him with a son, grandson, and infant great-grandchild. They are the first images of Jewell to be added to the regimental portrait albums.

Thanks to friend Larry Kilmer of Olean, New York, for sharing a copy of a letter by Nelson P. Wheeler of Portville, New York, which states, “Humiston is supposed to be dead as nothing has been heard from him since the battle of Gettysburg.” This dates the letter to some time before Amos was famously identified in November 1863.

Thanks to friend Dave Hornburg of Olean for copies of documents relating to Pvts. Ashbel Bozard and John L. Reynolds of Co. C, letters of First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden of Co. G (December 26, 1863) and Pvt. George W. Newcomb of Co. K (March 6, 1863), and for sharing a tintype of Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell of Co. H, who is clad in a New York State-style jacket and wearing the white crescent badge of the Second Division, Eleventh Corps—a beautiful addition to the regimental portrait albums.

And special thanks to Chris C. Pinney of Schulenberg, Texas, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Curtis S. Pinney of Co. D, for making the first donation to the Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York at St. Bonaventure—a postwar veteran’s medal that belonged to his ancestor. From now on, Pinney’s medal will be safely kept together with the Collection’s other regimental artifacts, and identified as Chris’s contribution. Descendants—if you have 154th New York artifacts and are uncertain where to leave them, please consider donating them to the Collection, where they will be appropriately housed and well cared for.

On August 2 I had the pleasure of talking about my new book, Patrick Henry Jones, to the Allegany Area Historical Association, and I did so again on August 5 to the Ellicottville Historical Society. My thanks go to Marcie Potter of the AAHA and Dawn Westfall and Ellen Frank of the EHS for the invitations to speak.

My thanks also to friends Tom and Ronda Pollock of the Portville Historical and Preservation Society for hosting my wife, Annette, and me for the days around the reunion, and for arranging an enjoyable get-together with the aforementioned Larry Kilmer and his wife, Kim, and old friend Earl McElfresh of Olean (Civil War mapmaker and map historian extraordinaire) and his wife, Michiko.

In other news, Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) continues its mission to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. Early in June CAMP established a fund with the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, which allows all donations to CAMP to be tax deductible. The Foundation acts as the conduit for donations, with CAMP maintaining control over the funds. Tax-deductible donations can be made by check payable to: Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation (with memo line to read “restricted to CAMP”) and mailed to Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, 120 N. Union Street, Olean, NY 14760, or through the “Donate” page on CAMP’s website (http://cattcomemorial.com/).

Also in early June the Cattaraugus County American Legion passed a resolution in support of CAMP’s mission, which can be read on the CAMP website. To date, unbelievably, the county legislature has refused to allow the resolution to be read into the record.

CAMP had a table at the reunion. Chairman Tom Stetz informed me that numerous attendees signed the petition in favor of preserving the Memorial, and made more than $300 in donations to the cause. Thank you for your support!

CAMP also had a table at the Cattaraugus County Fair in Little Valley. I was pleased to help to man it for several hours on two days as we collected signatures on petitions and informed fairgoers about the Memorial’s plight.

Thanks to CAMP Webmaster John Scarano and Cheri Mancuso, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Winfield Scott Kenyon of Co. B, for hosting a cookout for CAMP’s directors at their scenic home in Conewango Valley. I enjoyed meeting my allies in this important historic preservation fight. Look for more CAMP news in the October newsletter.

Thanks to Paul Hughes of the Westmeath Examiner, published in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland, for a copy of the May 16, 2015 issue of the newspaper containing his article “Clonmellon native was a US Civil War general,” about Patrick Henry Jones and my biography. Thanks too to Paul for an article he published in the May 1, 2010 issue of the paper, “The mystery of General Jones.” Jones spent the first seven years of his life in County Westmeath.

Thanks to Tim Swanson of Daphne, Alabama, great-grandson of Pvt. Denzil J. Clark of Co. B, for copies of Clark’s military and pension records from the National Archives. Clark was a September 1864 enlistee in the 154th who had seen previous service in the 37th New York.

Thanks to friend Nick Picerno of Bridgewater, Virginia, for purchasing a 154th New York letter at the July relic show in Gettysburg and selling it to me at cost. Nick is as passionate in seeking the history of the 10th and 29th Maine Regiments as I am about the 154th. Pvt. Stephen R. Green of Co. E wrote the letter to his wife on August 29 and 30, 1863, while he was at the parole camp in Alexandria, Virginia, following his capture at Chancellorsville. In it he mentions company comrades Pvt. James B. Haywood, Pvt. Reuben R. Ogden, Capt. Joseph B. Fay, and learning of the death in Richmond of First Lieut. Isaac T. Jenkins in the pages of the Washington Chronicle newspaper. Obviously a large collection of Green’s letters was broken up at some point. With the addition of this one, I have 21 in my collection and a friend in Western New York has 29, making 50 in all. It’s likely there are more of them floating around out there somewhere.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Jeff Dennis of Brockport, New York, collateral descendant of Pvt. Jeptha Beebe of Co. D, who was killed at Chancellorsville.

Rachel Muller of San Jose, California, great-great-great-granddaughter of First Lieut. Cooley A. Murdock of Co. H, who was discharged in February 1863.

Eric Houston of Knoxville, Tennessee, great-great-great-grandson of Cpl. Orton Rounds of Co. C, who was mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end.

Jim Guild of Fresno, California, a collateral relative of five members of the 154th: Sgt. Charles L. Guild of Co. C, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Richmond in December 1863; his brother Pvt. Willis M. Guild of Co. C, who was killed at Chancellorsville; First Sgt. Henry F. Whipple of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and died of pneumonia at Andersonville prison in July 1864; and brothers Pvt. Francis M. Rounds of Co. C, who died at Fairfax Court House in November 1862, and Cpl. Orton Rounds of Co. C—the only one of Jim’s regimental relatives who survived the war.

Several other descendants contacted me during my absence or signed up at the reunion, and I’ll catch up with them in the October newsletter. In the meantime, thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2015

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

My mural adjacent to the 154th New York’s monument on Coster Avenue in Gettysburg was installed and dedicated in 1988, the 125th anniversary of the battle. It was in great shape for a number of years before it began to deteriorate owing to exposure to the elements. So in September of 2001, my artistic partner Johan Bjurman and I went to Gettysburg, scraped off the peeling marine spar varnish, and repainted and re-varnished the entire mural. The “Bearss Brigade,” the friends and followers of the Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service and legendary battlefield guide, Ed Bearss, funded that effort at Ed’s request. The mural looked good for a number of years before deterioration set in once again. For several years now, I’ve been aware of its deplorable condition. The question was what to do about it.

Johan and I faced two choices. One was to go to Gettysburg and do the necessary repairs and repaint the entire thing, like we did back in 2001. But we knew if we did that, we would be looking at repeating the process several years down the road, when the mural deteriorated yet again. (And for years we’ve been joking about repainting it when we’re even older men than we are now!) So we began to consider choice number two: To find some way of reproducing the mural that would hold up much better and much longer than the original. When a friend of my wife’s asked me is I had ever thought of reproducing the mural on glass, I was initially skeptical. But I met with a local glass company, Lucid Glass Studio of East Providence, Rhode Island, which had worked with another artist. They told me about a process called Dip-Tech, which uses ceramic inks to create the image on glass, which is then heat-treated, fusing the ink right onto the glass. And because the image is applied to the back of the glass, it has protection from the front (and is consequently easy to clean if need be). Standard Bent Glass of East Butler, Pennsylvania, does the Dip-Tech production. Lucid and Standard Bent had worked together before on another artistic effort. Both firms said they could do the job, with Standard Bent to fabricate the mural and Lucid to oversee the project and install it. Like the original painting, it would be made in a number of sections that would fit together to make the whole.

This seemed to be the solution we were looking for. With that decided, we needed a digital image for Standard Bent to work with. When the mural was restored back in 2001, an outfit took digital photos of it to make a print. They retained the files, so we had them to work with. But a local Rhode Island digital reproduction firm, Iolabs, informed us that the files were insufficient to be blown up to the necessary size without losing focus. The solution was to make a roughly 15-foot-long-print from those files, and paint over that print to create a new image to photograph and produce new files. Repainting also gave us the chance to make some changes in the image itself, the most important of which was to show the Confederate line at the far right of the mural extending across a field and outflanking the left of the Union line. Johan, being a better and faster painter than I am, did the paint-over. It looked great, and Iolabs reproduced it beautifully. I’ll attach an image here:

Coster Avenue Mural


So the files went to Standard Bent and after some adjustments were made with the color, the mural was ready to go into production. With that, Johan and I were ready to go to Gettysburg to remove the old original mural to make way for the new. We went separately, because Johan and his wife, Miriam, wanted to visit a relative of hers on the way.

Several years had passed since I was last in Gettysburg. When I arrived on Thursday, September 24, I immediately went to the Visitor Center to pick up a new map of the battlefield. There I found the NPS is giving away a set of eight cards relating to the battle, meant for children. One of them depicts the Humiston children and summarizes the story on the reverse, so I took a set for the files. I then went out to Coster Avenue and spent the rest of the day greeting visitors and neighbors and checking in with the folks at Coldsmith Roofing, owners of the building to which the mural is attached. I spent the night—and all of my stay—in an apartment at the home of friend Sue Cipperly, conveniently located around the corner from Coster Avenue on North Stratton Street. (I had stayed with Sue’s former neighbors, friends Paul Kallina and Carolyn Quadarella, on prior visits from 1999 until they moved a couple of years ago.)

Friday, September 25: In the morning I went into town to see what had happened to the two buildings that once housed the orphanage inspired by the Humiston story. The former Homestead Lodgings for tourists is now “Civil War Tails at the Homestead and Diorama Museum,” but was closed every time I went by. I was told that it features a display of ceramic cats (hence the “Tails” part of its name). Next door, 777 Baltimore Street used to be the Soldiers National Museum (and before that, Cliff Arquette’s Soldiers Museum; during the battle, it was Gen. Oliver Otis Howard’s headquarters). The phony façade that used to front it is gone, and the building now looks more like it did in the nineteenth century. But it now houses Ghostly Images of Gettysburg, one of several operations that conduct ghost tours that have become ubiquitous at night in the borough. Inside I found a book that discusses haunting in and near the former orphanage buildings, and—to my surprise and amusement—at Coster Avenue, where speculation has the ghosts emerging from their images in the mural!

Around 10:30 Friday morning Johan and Miriam Bjurman arrived and he and I immediately set to work taking down the old mural. Around noon a reporter and photographer from the Gettysburg Times visited and interviewed me and took pictures of us working. Things proceeded smoothly until mid-afternoon. Johan and I were carrying one of the heavy steel rails on which the mural was hung when he tripped and fell heavily into the stack of removed panels. It was obvious he was badly hurt and Miriam rushed him to Gettysburg Hospital, where x-rays revealed he had three broken ribs. During the rest of the day I managed to remove the remaining panels and lower wood and steel rails by myself, leaving just the upper steel rail and some brackets to be removed.

(Johan’s injury was eerily reminiscent of an incident that occurred when we originally installed the mural in 1988. While carrying one of the mural sections I tripped in almost the exact same spot and injured my knee and wound up in Gettysburg Hospital! X-rays were negative on that occasion, but I was crippled for the rest of the time we were in town. I still have a knot on my knee from that accident.)

Saturday, September 26: The injured Johan and Miriam started back to Rhode Island, planning to take two days to make the trip so that Johan wouldn’t need to spend too much time in the car per day. That morning’s Gettysburg Times had the mural story and picture on the first page, above the fold and—astonishingly—above a story about the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia. That morning I also met Mike Coldsmith, owner of the business and building after his father Roy’s retirement, and he told me his workmen would remove the top rail on Monday—a big relief to me, as I’m not good on ladders.

I continued to work cleaning up around the wall, sweeping its surface and cutting brush from its perimeter. I also spent a lot of time talking with visitors to Coster Avenue. Among them were Terry Lee Hartzell and his wife, Linda, of Middletown, Pennsylvania. I had a long chat with them, in the course of which I said that the old mural sections were free for the taking, and we posed for some photos with the center section of the mural, the panel depicting Amos Humiston beneath the national flag. That afternoon Sue Cipperly brought over her circular saw and we cut the image of Amos from that panel for me to take home as a souvenir. I loaded it into my car and soon after called it a day.

Sunday, September 27: I went to Coster Avenue to see who would show up and to my astonishment found the nineteen remaining mural sections were gone! It turned out that Terry Lee Hartzell had posted on a Facebook “Gettysburg Past and Present” page about the old mural and its availability to whoever wanted it, and as quick as that some local folks had picked it up: Darah Gardner, a Gettysburg College graduate and photographer; Doug Stephens, proprietor of the Victorian Carriage Company, which offers horse-drawn carriage rides in the borough and horseback rides on the battlefield; and Dustin Heisey of Columbia, Pennsylvania. They felt the old mural was worth preserving, as they explained to me in subsequent meetings.

Monday, September 28: I used the free time to walk from Coster Avenue out the Harrisburg Road to Howard Avenue—site of the 11th Corps line on July 1, 1863—and over it to the Carlisle Road and back to town. That afternoon I visited the National Cemetery and the graves of 154th New York men buried there.

Tuesday, September 29: In the morning I met the team from Lucid Glass Studio at Coster Avenue. They spent the day putting up tarps to cover the work area (it had started to rain off and on, as it would for the rest of our stay) and installing the steel and wooden rails that would hold and support the glass sections of the new version of the mural. Among the visitors this day were George Yurick and Geraldine Rebello, who had befriended Johan and me when we did the 2001 restoration.

Wednesday, September 30: The Lucid Glass team finished preparing the hardware and battened down the tarps because of high winds. That night Sue and I went to the Reliance Mine Saloon to see Bill Frassanito, Civil War photographic historian extraordinaire and one of my advisors during the research and design of the mural, with whom we closed the place down at midnight.

Thursday, October 1: I arrived at Coster Avenue at 5:45 a.m. and found the first truck had arrived from Standard Bent Glass. When the Lucid Glass team arrived later, they unloaded the first seven sections of glass. They had them installed and sealed by mid-afternoon. But the second truck from Standard Bent did not arrive until 8:30 p.m. I wasn’t there when that happened. The Lucid Glass team had bought lights so they could finish the installation that night. Meanwhile, Sue and I had gone to the Adams County Historical Society to see Bill Frassanito and Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith, who kindly gave me copies of documentation showing additional houses were on Stratton Street at the time of the battle. After that we took the orphanage ghost tour and I got the opportunity to crouch in the stone walled basement “dungeon” where the cruel matron Rosa Carmichael reportedly shackled and chained misbehaving orphans as punishment. We got back to Coster Avenue around 10 p.m. I had told the Lucid Glass team about the supposed haunting of Coster Avenue. Figuring I’d have a little fun with them, hidden in the darkness beyond the tarps, I let out a moan. “What the @#&% was that?” one of them cried. But that was the end of the fun and games.

It turned out that the second shipment of glass panels included five that were incorrectly printed, with the upper portions lighter than they should be. This was dismaying, but there was nothing to do but install them anyway. Standard Bent Glass will now have to make new panels to replace the flawed ones, and the Lucid Glass team will have to return to Gettysburg to install them. When that will happen is uncertain. I’ll keep you posted in future editions of this newsletter.

Here are links to sites with photographs of the mural, both old and new:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/leonandloisphotos/sets/72157656949221944

https://www.facebook.com/wayne.rowe.79/posts/1039913669363609

In other news, Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) continues in its mission to preserve, restore, and reuse the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. At our 154th New York descendants reunion, CAMP obtained 51 signatures on a petition of support and received $375 in donations. Thank you! At the Cattaraugus County Fair, down Court Street from the Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, 675 people signed the petition and made contributions totaling $320:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_a612caae-4100-11e5-ba05-1be8d45d51f3.html

On August 27, the Cattaraugus County American Legion presented a letter and resolution in support of CAMP’s mission to the County Legislature:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_e00d41ba-4c74-11e5-b2fc-cb491a6e06b6.html

On September 1 the Olean Times Herald announced CAMP’s intention to present the Clinton Brown Company Architecture report to the County Legislature’s Public Works Committee:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_bd502d06-505f-11e5-acc8-4b4828d71d3e.html

On September 2 the presentation to the Public Works Committee was made. CAMP Chairman Tom Stetz wrote, “I feel CAMP just had its ‘Gettysburg Battle’ in the sense that the tide has turned in CAMP’s favor,” adding that there was “a very positive vibe before, during and after the meeting.” Reporter Rick Miller summarized the happenings in the Olean paper:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_43b8b7b0-51f4-11e5-a884-e30c9c0f081e.html

To learn more about CAMP, visit our website at http://cattcomemorial.com/

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Bonnie Snyder Brinson of Bradenton, Florida, great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. James R. Sweet of Co. A, who was discharged for disability from a Washington, D.C. hospital in March 1863.

Pamela Bigelow Johnson of Austin, Texas, great-great-grandniece of brothers Pvt. James Hale of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and discharged after his parole, and Pvt. William Hale of Co. H, who died at Camp James M. Brown in Jamestown around the time the 154th was leaving for the front—becoming the regiment’s first fatality.

Sally Forgensi of Fairport, New York, great-granddaughter of Cpl. Richard H. Kerr of Co. D, who was twice wounded—at Gettysburg and Peach Tree Creek—and consequently was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, from which he was mustered out in July 1865 at Indianapolis, Indiana. Sally shared with me a wartime image of her great-grandfather, which is a great addition to the 154th New York portrait albums, a postwar photo of Kerr with his family, and information about his descendants.

Janet Davie of The Villages, Florida, collateral descendant of the Osgood brothers of Co. C: Cpl. Edwin R. Osgood, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Richmond in December 1863; Pvt. Stephen Osgood, who was wounded in the hand and head at Chancellorsville and transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps; and Cpl. William W. Osgood, who was captured at Gettysburg, paroled, and the only one of the three to be mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end.

Kevin Harsch of Ann Arbor, Michigan, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. Lorenzo F. Bush of Co. I, who was mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. Kevin kindly shared a wartime image of his ancestor, which is another great addition to the regimental portrait albums.

Julie Ioannone of Gilbert, Arizona, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Michael Moriarty of Co. G, who was absent sick in the hospital at Jeffersonville, Indiana, from May 1864 until the regiment’s muster-out.

Norm Burmaster of Bellefontaine, Ohio, great-grandnephew of Capt. Matthew B. Cheney of Co. G, who was wounded and rescued a flag of a sister regiment at Gettysburg, and was mustered out owing to his wound in July 1864. Norm shared a carte de visite portrait of Cheney, another wonderful addition to the albums. That makes three wartime images of members of the 154th New York that have surfaced in the past month or so—more than have turned up in such a short period of time in many years. (It’s times like this that I really miss my late partner Mike Winey, who would have been thrilled to see these “new” images.)

And welcome to these descendants, added to the roll at the reunion at St. Bonaventure:

Dillan Rhodes of Olean, New York, collateral relative of the aforementioned Hale brothers and of Cpl. Franklin J. Crick of Co. A, who made it all the way to the muster-out, and whose Enfield rifled musket has been preserved by Dillan’s branch of the family.

Sharon Patrician of Sacramento, California, great-grandniece of Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones, subject of my recent biography.

Connie M. Lockwood of Randolph, New York, collateral relative of Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell of Co. H, whose right lower leg was amputated after he was wounded during the Atlanta campaign, which injury resulted in his death in June 1866. I told Martin’s story in detail in War’s Relentless Hand.

James A. Lockwood of Ashville, New York, great-great-grandson of Cpl. Charles H. Field of Co. B, who mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war and lived until 1932.

Finally, for those who like to plan ahead . . . The 31st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York is set for Saturday, July 30, 2016, in the village of Cattaraugus. And two days before, on Thursday, July 28, I’ll be speaking at the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum in Machias as part of the “Summer at the Stone House” series of programs. I’ll have more news about both events when the time comes.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2015

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

On November 21 Patrick Alfonso, a recent graduate of St. Bonaventure University and an employee of the Quick Center for the Arts there, delivered to me the materials I had loaned for the special exhibit of 154th New York memorabilia at the Center, which ran from our reunion in August into November. It’s great to have everything back and my office walls once again covered with regimental artifacts. My thanks to Evelyn Penman of the Quick Center for mounting and overseeing the exhibit and carefully packing everything up for the return trip. Eventually, of course, all of those materials and many more will be making a final trip to a permanent home at St. Bonaventure.

I gave talks on my Patrick Henry Jones biography on October 6 to the Shoreline Civil War Round Table in Old Saybrook, Connecticut; on October 27 to the Greater New Bedford (MA) Civil War Round Table; and on November 19 to the Olde Colony Civil War Round Table in Dedham, Massachusetts.

The first American review of Patrick Henry Jones that I’m aware of appeared in the November 2015 issue of The Civil War News.

The book was also reviewed in the Fall 2015 edition of Civil War Book Review:

http://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cwbr/vol17/iss4/16/

I appreciated some kind comments about the book and my work on friend Kevin Levin’s “Civil War Memory” blog:

http://cwmemory.com/2015/11/03/new-to-the-civil-war-memory-library-1103/

The lead story in the November issue of The Civil War News reported on the installation of the new version of my mural at Coster Avenue.

The article notes, five of the mural’s fourteen glass panels were misprinted. New panels have been printed by Standard Bent Glass to replace the flawed ones and shipped to my partners at Lucid Glass Studio here in Rhode Island. A team from Lucid will soon be making the trip to Gettysburg to make the switch.

In another Gettysburg story, Main Street Gettysburg is an organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Historic Gettysburg for the benefit of its citizens, businesses, and visitors:

http://www.mainstreetgettysburg.org

Main Street Gettysburg’s Baltimore Street Historic Pathway Revitalization Project is seeking to raise funds to paint a “vintage sign” on the former orphanage building at 777 Baltimore Street—the orphanage inspired by the story of Sgt. Amos Humiston of the 154th New York. For details:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1956766773/national-soldiers-orphanage-homestead-gettysburg-p?ref=hero_thanks

Something I neglected to mention in the August 2015 newsletter: During my stay in Ellicottville I visited beautiful Sunset Hill Cemetery and photographed the graves of the eleven 154th New York veterans buried there. Atop one of the aptly named cemetery’s hills stands a three-tiered stone pedestal, which today holds an urn filled with geraniums. I believe it was the base for a now-vanished statue of a standing solider, Cattaraugus County’s first Civil War monument, dedicated in 1883. About 500 veterans attended the ceremony and were treated to a dinner prepared by Ellicottville women. When the monument disappeared is uncertain; one story says it was taken down during a World War II scrap drive.

In news about CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation), the group approved by-laws at its October 1 meeting and designated officers in preparation to incorporate in New York State, a necessity to apply for IRS 501(c-3) status. CAMP also agreed to question the candidates for the Cattaraugus County Legislature regarding their position on preserving the Memorial and Historical Building.

On October 9, CAMP members made a presentation at a luncheon of the Salamanca Area Senior Citizens. The next day, CAMP representatives Tom Stetz, John Scarano, and Nancy Bargar were interviewed on WGWE Radio 105.9 FM, the Native American-owned station in Salamanca. You can listen to it on the CAMP website (link below).

On October 13, Cattaraugus County Attorney M. Mark Howden informed CAMP Chairman Tom Stetz by letter that “no proposed legislation is being considered at this time to demolish” the Memorial, but, “The Legislature requests that your organization refrain from any attempts to list the property as an historic landmark, as the property is owned by the County.”

In mid-October CAMP sent a letter to the 27 candidates for the Cattaraugus County Legislature asking them to state their position on the Memorial issue. Nine candidates responded, with all but one indicating support for preserving the Memorial. Their responses are posted on CAMP’s website.

On October 26, the Landmark Society of Western New York announced that the Memorial and Historical Building was one of its 2015 “Five to Revive” properties, “significant historic properties whose rehabilitations can become catalytic projects for the neighborhoods and communities that surround them.”

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_387f0ea2-7c66-11e5-a977-37b5d249c161.html

http://landmarksociety.org/2015/10/2015-five-to-revive-announced/

http://www.twcnews.com/nys/rochester/news/2015/10/27/western-new-york-landmark-society-announces--five-to-revive-.html

CAMP’s mission was publicized in articles in the Buffalo News, the Ellicottville Times, and the Salamanca Press. The group held a Veterans Day ceremony at the Memorial:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/article_13292154-8956-11e5-b5c9-c7b14eca8d46.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov1zqDd9iFc&feature=youtu.be

On November 23 an essay I wrote, “An Imperiled Civil War Memorial,” was posted on The New York History Blog:

http://newyorkhistoryblog.org/2015/11/22/an-imperiled-civil-war-memorial/

The February 2016 issue if Civil War Times magazine carries a full-page summary of the crisis surrounding the Memorial and Historical Building, “New York Threatens to Pave Over the Past.”

For more information about CAMP, please visit the group’s website: http://cattcomemorial.com

Thanks to friend Larry Kilmer of Eldred, Pennsylvania, for sharing a copy of the August 30, 1862 issue of the Olean Times, which includes accounts of the formation of the 154th New York.

Thanks to Robert Grandchamp, a member of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table who currently lives in Vermont, for a photograph of the headstone of Cpl. Thomas Mason of Co. I in the Togus National Cemetery, Chelsea, Maine. Mason was captured at Chancellorsville, wounded at Pine Knob, and discharged for disability in March 1865. He died at the Togus National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1881. The Togus Home, founded in 1867, was the oldest of an eventual ten such establishments across the country. Seven veterans of the 154th are buried in the National Cemetery in Bath, New York, site of the Soldiers Home closest to Western New York. Ten veterans of the regiment died at the Bath Soldiers Home but are buried elsewhere.

Thanks to friend Chris Mackowski for sharing my account of the new Coster Avenue Mural with the readers of his Emerging Civil War blog:

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2015/10/08/gettysburg-mural-gets-new-life/

Thanks to Linda Schutte of Trumansburg, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. William Osterstuck of Co. I and Sgt. Allen Williams of Co. D, for a report of her visit to Coster Avenue in Gettysburg on October 29 (my birthday) and a photo of the newly-installed mural. I always appreciate hearing from folks who visit the 154th’s monument.

Thanks too to Coster Avenue neighbor and friend Sue Cipperly for reports and photos of the mural and other Gettysburg scenes.

Congratulations to Cheri Mancuso of Conewango Valley, New York, for submitting a photograph of her great-grandfather, Sgt. Winfield Scott Kenyon of Co. B, to the Olean Times Herald, where it appeared in the “Saluting Our Veterans” section of the Veterans Day edition.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Allyson Krieger of Allegany, New York, and her brother Stanley G, Krieger of Portsmouth, Virginia, great-great-great-grandchildren of Pvt. John A. Johnston of Co. H, one of the September 1864 enlistees who marched with Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas and was mustered out with the regiment in June 1865.

John Fadden of Penn Yan, New York, collateral descendant of Cpl. Orange J. Abbey of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and died of acute diarrhea on June 15, 1864 as a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Georgia. He is buried in Grave #2038 of the Andersonville National Cemetery.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



2016 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2016

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

On the morning of December 15, 2015, Mark Moran and Kevin Dyer of Lucid Glass Studio installed the five replacement glass panels on the Coster Avenue Mural in Gettysburg, thus completing another chapter in the saga of that project. Now visitors to the mural will see it the way it should be. Thanks to Gettysburg friend Leon Reed for sharing photos of the switch. His pictures, collected at Flickr, amount to a documentary of the two-part installation of the glass mural:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/leonandloisphotos/sets/72157656949221944

I authored the “Preservation News” column in the January 2016 issue of the Civil War News. My article, “A Collection Finds A Home,” described how and why the late Mike Winey and I decided to leave our 154th New York collection to St. Bonaventure University. Civil War News editor and publisher Kay Jorgensen, together with her late husband Pete, were kind to me since the paper was founded in April 1989, publicizing the regimental descendant reunions and my Gettysburg mural, reviewing my books, and publishing my bylines. A new editor/publisher, Jack Melton of Georgia, is taking over.

On January 12 I made a presentation on Patrick Henry Jones at the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. It was a pleasure to relate General Jones’s story to an audience interested in Irish American history in the city where he had his heyday as a politician.

I was the winning bidder for an item offered by a North Carolina auction house, a penny song sheet with a poem, “Our Banner, An Acrostic,” by Sgt. J. Byron Brown of Co. B, known to his comrades as “Brown the Poet.” Byron’s acrostic spells “Harewood Hospital,” an army facility in Washington, D.C. J. Magee of Philadelphia published the song sheet in two colors (red and blue), with a decorative border, two flags, and the motto “Liberty and Union Forever.” I’ve written about Brown’s poetic efforts; my article “Brown the Poet” in the May-June 1995 issue of Military Images magazine included an image of the “Our Banner” acrostic from the collection of my late partner Mike Winey.

Another addition to the collection was purchased on eBay. It’s a pin-back button with an inscription, “Department of Kansas, G.A.R., Washington, D.C., Oct. 6th, 1902,” and a wreath of sunflowers surrounding an image of Lieut. Col. Henry C. Loomis (who, after his resignation in 1863, subsequently served as the regimental sutler). In 1871, Loomis settled on a homestead in Cowley County, Kansas, where the little city of Winfield grew. Loomis was town site commissioner and became a member of Winfield’s board of trade and the first county clerk, as well as serving several terms as Winfield’s mayor. He was Department of Kansas commander when the Grand Army of the Republic held its national encampment in Washington in 1902, when the button was made. According to Loomis’s obituary in the Winfield Daily Courier of October 16, 1905, “His administration [as department commander] was one of the most successful in its history. He was able to report at the close a net gain in membership for the first time in fifteen years. At the national encampment in Washington the department made the finest showing of any.” Years ago a Loomis relative presented me with a collection of seven postwar portraits of the lieutenant colonel (and one of his elaborate grave in Winfield), so the button is a nice and unique addition to the Loomis iconography.

Thanks to John Fadden of Penn Yan, New York, for turning up a wartime portrait of his ancestor, Cpl. Orange J. Abbey of Co. H, in Abbey’s file at the Andersonville National Historic Site. It’s always great to put a face to a name, and now that can be done for Abbey, the first man alphabetically on the 1,065-man regimental roster, who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville.

Thanks to Marlynn Ray of Penn Run, Pennsylvania, and Dunedin, Florida, a collateral relative of Musician James C. Helms of Co. A, for reminding me of a photo in her 1996 book A Guide to Burial Sites, Cemeteries and Random Stones in Cattaraugus County, New York which depicts the standing soldier statue in Sunset Hill Cemetery atop its distinctive three-tiered pedestal. I’ve got two postcard views of the statue with veterans of Ellicottville’s GAR post standing in front of it and consequently obscuring the base. So I appreciated Marlynn’s reminder and compared the photo in her book to the one I took this summer of a three-tiered pedestal that holds a plant-filled urn, confirming they are one and the same. Incidentally, according to a newspaper report, motion pictures were taken at Sunset Hill’s Memorial Day ceremony in 1916, but no copy is known to survive.

Thanks to friend Lyle Lansdell of Forest Grove Farm in Sandersville, Georgia, for a couple of booklets, “The Brown House Museum Art Exhibit: The Civil War in Washington County” and “Occupation of Sandersville.” The 154th New York passed through Sandersville during Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Lyle kindly shared family stories with me for my book Marching with Sherman. I wrote about our ensuing friendship for the “Disunion” series in the New York Times:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/an-encounter-along-shermans-march/?_r=0

Thanks to Kevin Harsch of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for sending a photograph of the headstone of his ancestor Pvt. Lorenzo Bush of Co. I in the Hinsdale (NY) Cemetery.

Thanks to Joe Rokus, a descendant of a member of the 29th New York (with which the 154th was brigaded) who lives near the Chancellorsville battlefield in Virginia, for photos and updates on the condition of the 154th’s Chancellorsville monument, which Joe has provided for several years. Our monument to the regiment on its bloodiest battlefield continues to stand strong in excellent shape.

Thanks to Dustyn Dubuque, a museum manager and administrator with two Wisconsin county historical societies, for sending a picture of a ladder badge worn by Cpl. Newell Burch of Co. E in the postwar years. The badge is in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, which also houses Burch’s wartime diary. Dustyn used the Burch materials to write his master’s thesis for the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire; he is planning to develop the thesis into a book. Historian John Q. Imholte transcribed the Burch diary many years ago, and in the early 1970s the Minnesota Historical Society provided me with one of Imholte’s typescripts for my regimental research. Burch was captured at Gettysburg and wrote vividly about his incarceration in the prisoner of war camps at Belle Island and Andersonville.

Thanks to Noel Kline, adjunct faculty at Harrisburg (PA) Area Community College, for sharing a series of photos taken at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg on January 11. Noel is preparing to teach a course on death and dying that will examine the Amos Humiston story, among others. He frequently takes photographs in Gettysburg.

Noel’s photos were taken on a sunny day, with the mural at its most reflective. Friend Sue Cipperly of Gettysburg took a series of pictures on January 17, which was overcast, with fewer reflections the result.

Battle of Gettysburg Buff dot Net’s current newsletter includes a story about the mural.

Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) continues its mission to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. As December 2015 opened, CAMP faced a crucial meeting with the County Legislature’s Public Works Committee about the fate of the Memorial:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/meeting-slated-for-civil-war-monument-in-little-valley/article_da54257e-994d-11e5-ac93-8fe14775c67a.html

Then, at the December 4 meeting, a bombshell—the county was determined to demolish the memorial:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/county-pulls-the-plug-on-c-a-m-p-preservation/article_1f14fa08-9a48-11e5-a4fa-6337bc2038d9.html

A vote by the full county legislature loomed:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/camp-chairman-asks-supporters-to-attend-legislature-meeting-wednesday/article_862a317a-9d6a-11e5-a417-b3bf62c82f5d.html

The outlook seemed bleak. But when called on, you rallied with e-mails to the legislators protesting the planned destruction. This time your voices were heard and acknowledged. Thank you for your input! On December 9, the legislature voted against demolishing the Memorial. CAMP Chair Tom Stetz noted, “One thing that influenced the vote was the large number of e-mails the legislators received.”

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/lawmakers-grant-reprieve-to-civil-war-monument/article_b779d934-9efe-11e5-82e7-c3afaab8f79c.html

As the year neared its end, Cattaraugus County Historian Sharon Fellows contributed an op-ed piece to the Olean Times Herald that asked, “Can county afford to preserve the memorial building?”:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/commentary/rtw-can-county-afford-to-preserve-the-memorial-building/article_a4663250-aa4a-11e5-a88b-a3e3ca47259c.html

Note that about a third of Sharon’s article quotes a 1909 newspaper editorial questioning the cost of the proposed Memorial and Historical Building. That is of value in showing that there was some opposition to the construction of the Memorial. But Sharon neglected to note that such opposition was minimal and that the county legislature approved the $13,000 appropriation to build the Memorial by overwhelming margins.

The Olean Times Herald declared CAMP’s quest one of the top ten stories of 2015.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

LTC (Ret) Steven H. Warren of Peachtree City, Georgia, collateral relative of Pvt. Alonzo Zeliff of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and paroled and mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war. Steven has identified 210 of his ancestors who served in the Civil War (only one of them a Confederate).

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!





HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2016

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’ve often said that you never know when something will turn up. That was proved in the most incredible fashion on February 10. It resulted in the most fantastic find in the fifty-plus years that I’ve been searching for the 154th New York’s legacy.

That evening friend and fellow CAMP member Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, contacted me and told me he was “99.9 percent sure” that a tintype of my great-grandfather Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H was up for bids on eBay. One look at the image confirmed that Kyle was right. The tintype was obviously taken on the same occasion as the carte de visite of John that was reproduced in my books The Hardtack Regiment and Marching with Sherman (and in Joseph Glatthaar’s outstanding book The March to the Sea and Beyond), an image that came from an old family album and was bequeathed to me many years ago by my late aunt Floris Dunkelman Sarver. Bell & Brother Photographers of 480 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. took both the CDV (as revealed by its backmark) and the tintype (a fragment of the photographer’s label is still attached to the back). I believe the images were made between May 25 and June 12, 1865, while the 154th New York was camped outside of Washington after the Grand Review. Here is the carte de visite on the left, and the sixth-plate tintype on the right:

John Langhans John Langhans and Friend


What’s fascinating about the tintype is that John is posed with his hand on the shoulder of an unidentified friend. Who is he? It’s a long shot, but I hope to determine the identity of Bandaged Thumb, as I’ve come to call him.

After what was for me a nerve-racking week, the auction closed at 11:44 a.m. on February 17 and I had the high bid at the astonishingly low amount of $45 ($49 with postage). I had put in a maximum bid much higher than that to be sure I got the tintype, but it proved to be unnecessary. I told my wife, Annette, that every 154th New York veteran in heaven must have arranged all the circumstances that brought this one of a kind image into my collection. I can’t thank Kyle Stetz enough for coming across the image, recognizing my great-grandfather, and immediately letting me know about it. I truly feel blessed.

My quest to identify Bandaged Thumb might be futile, but I have to try. The seller, unfortunately, could tell me nothing about where the tintype came from—which could have been a valuable clue. To the best of their recollection, it arrived in their shop in a box full of other stuff.

It would seem logical that Bandaged Thumb was one of John’s regimental comrades, but that’s not necessarily the case. John wrote a couple of letters to his brother while the 154th New York was camped near Washington in the spring of 1865. Unfortunately he didn’t mention being photographed during that time, but he did mention a couple of friends being around. One was Pvt. William (“Willie”) Perkins of Co. B, who enlisted together with John on September 9, 1864 at East Otto. According to pension records, however, Perkins was the same height as John, and Bandaged Thumb is several inches shorter, so Perkins can’t be Bandaged Thumb. In a letter of May 28, 1865, John stated, “Al. Mason was here to day.” I believe that to be Pvt. Albert W. Mason of Co. A, 188th New York. Mason was another Cattaraugus County man and September 1864 volunteer (he enlisted at Mansfield on September 5). So he is a possibility, but of course Bandaged Thumb could be some other friend who went unmentioned in John’s letters.

Earlier on February 10 I learned of another great discovery from Norm Burmaster of Bellefontaine, Ohio, great-grandnephew of Capt. Matthew B. Cheney of Co. G. As documented in the E. D. Northrup papers, at the battle of Chancellorsville a piece of shrapnel broke off the tip of Cheney’s sword; he sent the tip home to his wife as a souvenir. Norm informed me he had connected with a cousin, Carol Cheney Lashley of McCook, Nebraska, who had Cheney’s sword. Carol sent Norm pictures, which he forwarded to me, showing the sword broken off at the tip. With the sword was a typewritten tag made by Cheney’s grandson Wendell Cheney, stating “Presented to Capt. Matthew B. Cheney, at Baltimore, Md. in 1863. Tip blown off at Chancellorsville by confederate shrapnel while he wore it in 1863.” Apparently the tip has gone missing.

My article “A Collection Finds a Home,” was published in the January 2016 issue of the Civil War News.

The March 2016 issue of the Civil War News carried a story, “Coster Ave. Mural Project Completed,” with two photos of the Lucid Glass team installing the final panels. The article quotes me as saying that while some visitors don’t like the reflections in the glass image, “I’ve grown to like them, even the way they appear in photos. There’s something about melding today’s world with 1863 at that particular spot, where today’s world is so prominent in the surroundings, that I find appealing.” An article and pictures about the mural also appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of the Battle of Gettysburg Buff E-Newsletter. I’m greatly pleased that the mural is once again in good shape, and should remain so for years to come.

For the first two months of 2016, there was no important CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) news to report. But then the Cattaraugus County Legislature formed a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) to meet with CAMP to discuss the fate of the Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. Before meeting with CAMP, the SPC Chairman, Matthew Keller (C-Olean), announced the SPC would inspect the Memorial on March 30. (Thanks to the first person to send me the link to the following article, Ed Payne of Burien, Washington, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. Justus Wright of Co. H, who died of disease in April 1863.)

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/cattaraugus-co-legislators-will-tour-war-monument/article_e9292c6c-f5c2-11e5-9e40-f3ea4a2485dc.html

Three CAMP representatives accompanied the SPC and county administrators on the inspection of the Memorial and attended the SPC meeting thereafter:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/county-officials-c-a-m-p-views-talks-about-saving/article_cb885a56-f6f9-11e5-980d-a32718b8e648.html

Thanks to Marcia Ann Jowers of Wylie, Texas, great-granddaughter of Cpl. James Copeland of Co. D, for a photo of his headstone in Hamilton Cemetery, Van Buren, Michigan. Copeland died on May 2, 1920, the 57th anniversary of his capture at Chancellorsville. A few days after the battle Surgeon Henry Van Aernam wrote, “Jimmy Copeland, our boys say, is the bravest of the brave.” Copeland was later wounded in the face at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, but he survived to be mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war.

Thanks to Kevin Harsch of Ann Arbor, Michigan, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. Lorenzo F. Bush of Co. I for sharing a wartime image of Bush, which was provided by his aunt Sallie Gardner. Bush is pictured wearing his cartridge box and bayonet, but rather than his musket he is holding a small revolver, most likely a photographer’s prop. Kevin had previously shared another wartime image of Bush, and it’s nice to add this second pose to the regimental portrait albums.

Thanks to Silas Hudson Bunce of Ventura, California, great-grandson of Principal Musician Silas W. Bunce, for the latest addition to the regimental archives: Bunce’s warrant (akin to a commission) as principal musician signed by Lt. Col. Lewis D. Warner and Adjt. William A. Farlee on June 7, 1865, with rank to date from January 1, 1864. Bunce’s Grand Army of the Republic badge is nicely framed with the warrant. Some of you will remember our 8th annual descendants’ reunion at Gowanda in 1993, commemorating the regiment’s musicians, during which Hudson—a professional musician—played the drum and introduced us to the camp duty calls that regulated our ancestors’ lives as soldiers.

Thanks to Jan Tarbet of Lake Zurich, Illinois, for photos of the Bible and tin plate carried through his entire service by her great-granduncle Cpl. Newell Burch of Co. E, who was captured at Gettysburg and survived seven months on Belle Island and thirteen months at Andersonville prison. The relics are held at the Dunn County Historical Society in Menomonie, Wisconsin, where Burch spent the latter years of his life.

Congratulations to Mike Winicki of Olean, New York, for launching a website, We Love Gettysburg. Mike is related to Cpl. Emerson M. Wiltse of Co. D, who was wounded in the shoulder in the brickyard fight on the First Day at Gettysburg. A link to the site:

http://www.gettysburg-online.com

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Rob Wilson of Rochester, New York, collateral relative of Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell of Co. H, whose Atlanta campaign wounding resulted in the amputation of his leg and his death in June 1866. I told Martin’s story in detail in my book War’s Relentless Hand.

Looking ahead, I’ll be giving talks on Patrick Henry Jones at the Cattaraugus County Museum (Stone House) in Machias at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, and on a topic to be determined at the Echoes of Time Learning Center and Civil War Museum in Springville at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29. And our 31st annual descendants reunion will take place at 2 p.m. at the Cattaraugus Firemen’s Club in the village of Cattaraugus. All are welcome and I hope to see you at one or more of the events.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!




HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2016

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 31st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2016, at the Cattaraugus Firemen’s Club, 150 South Street, Cattaraugus, NY 14719. Our program will remember the regiment’s ten companies, labeled alphabetically from A to K (there was no Company J), examining their makeup and noting their distinctions. We’ll seat ourselves by company. My book Brothers One and All explored regimental esprit de corps, the group-bonding spirit that inspired the men to form a cohesive unit. The ten companies composing the regiment had equally tight ties. It’s their perspective that we’ll examine at the reunion.

I’m pleased to report that St. Bonaventure University has posted a website for the Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York:

http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/civil_war/154th_site.html

It’s exciting to see the site up and running. A tremendous amount of work went into compiling it, for which I’m deeply grateful to everyone at SBU who took part. It includes an entry for every member of the regiment represented in the collection by letters, diaries, obituaries, relics, portraits, and the like. As of yet the textual materials have not been digitized, but many of the portraits are reproduced on the site. Because Mike Winey and I shared virtually everything on the 154th that we found in our decades of partnership, our individual collections are largely duplicates. So the bulk of it, from Mike’s collection, is listed on the site. But eventually the collection will include much unique stuff of mine, including the makings of my books and Gettysburg mural, a sizable hoard of regimental memorabilia, and a good-sized library.

Descendants and friends are welcome to attend talks I’ll be giving on the two evenings preceding the reunion. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, I’ll be summarizing my latest book, Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician, at the Cattaraugus County Museum (Stone House), on Route 16 in Machias, New York:

http://www.cattco.org/events/2016/07/28/patrick-henry-jones-mark-dunkelman

At 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29, I’ll make a presentation on “Gettysburg’s Unknown Solider: The Story Behind the Story of Amos Humiston” at the Echoes Through Time Learning Center and Civil War Museum at 39 East Main Street in Springville, New York:

http://www.echoesthroughtime.org

Descendant Steve Teeft (great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. William S. Tefft of Co. C) and friend Tom Place run Echoes Through Time. As part of a program of the Gettysburg National Military Park, their group has “adopted” the monument to the 154th New York at Coster Avenue. On May 21 they spent a few hours sprucing up the grounds, followed by a lunch and a tour of the battlefield. Echoes Through Time also announced some upcoming round trip motor coach tours, originating in Western New York. They have seats available for a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield from July 8 to 10. On August 1-3 they will tour Harpers Ferry, Antietam, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. On August 29 and 30 their tour will encompass the Remington Arms Museum in Ilion, New York, the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, and the Springfield Armory and the Smith & Wesson Factory and Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts. On November 3 to 5 they are offering U.S. military veterans a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield, focusing on “Western New York at Gettysburg.” Anyone interested in the adopt-a-monument program or the tours should contact Tom at 716-957-2740 or Steve at 716- 870-0174.

I was pleased to draw attention to two members of the 154th, Cpl. Martin D. Bushnell of Co. H and Pvt. Henry Wulff of Co. B, in a Memorial Day article by Rich Place, “Casualties of war stretch beyond battle,” in the Salamanca Press. Both Bushnell and Wulff died after they were discharged from causes contracted during their service, making them uncounted casualties of the Civil War. Rich’s article included a portrait of Bushnell and a photo of Wulff’s headstone in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Plato:

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/casualties-of-war-stretch-beyond-battle/article_c98b7292-233b-11e6-8f84-dbb8a8e02ad0.html

Speaking of Memorial Day, CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation), which has been patiently awaiting further interaction with the Cattaraugus County Legislature, held its second annual Memorial Day ceremony at the endangered Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/holiday-event-held-at-memorial/article_d52e0156-26e6-11e6-9877-d77cdd638297.html

Late in April another 154th New York item turned up on eBay. It’s a postcard sent by a regimental veteran, postmarked at Red Rock, Pa., to a relative in Conewango Valley, Chautauqua County, on Christmas Eve, 1907. One would think that the veteran would have chosen a Christmas-themed card, but he sent a card seen more often around Memorial Day—a GAR badge suspended over crossed flags adorned with a GAR hat and crossed saber and musket, above an inscription: “H B Day U.S. Sloop of War Vandalia South Atlantic Squadron 1861&2.” Harland B. Day served as an orderly sergeant aboard the Vandalia in the bombardment and occupation of Port Royal, South Carolina, in November 1861. He was discharged from the navy in June 1862; two months later he enlisted at Conewango to serve in the 154th. Among the regiment’s pensioners, he was the only one who also saw naval service. A private in Co. K of the 154th, he was assigned to duty as a stretcher-bearer in the brigade ambulance corps on November 13, 1862, and remained on duty there until the end of the war, when he was mustered out with the regiment.

Thanks to Jack Torrance of Gowanda, New York, whose wife Sue is a great-granddaughter of Cpl. William Henry Harrison Campbell of Co. A, for a photograph of Campbell’s headstone in the Steamburg Cemetery, Coldspring, New York.

Thanks to Glenn R. Day of Tucson, Arizona, great-grandson of the aforementioned Harland B. Day, for scans of Day’s discharges from the navy and the GAR.

Thanks to friend Noel Kline of the Harrisburg (PA) Area Community College for sending a link to this article in the Hanover (PA) Evening Sun, which reports on a May 28 ceremony to commemorate the Homestead orphanage in Gettysburg, which was inspired by the story of Amos Humiston:

http://www.eveningsun.com/story/news/2016/05/28/gettysburg-orphanage-honored-150th-anniversary/85083716/

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

James M. Snyder of Durham, North Carolina, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Samuel W. Simmons of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg, survived but failed an attempt to escape from Belle Island, and died as a prisoner of war at Richmond on January 1, 1864.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2016

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I returned home yesterday (August 1) after several busy days in Western New York. My wife, Annette, and I drove from Providence to Buffalo on Wednesday, July 27. On Thursday morning, July 28, we drove to Cattaraugus County. Our thanks go to Cheri Mancuso, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Winfield Scott Kenyon of Co. B, and John Scarano, CAMP vice president, for hosting us in their Conewango home during our stay in the county. We enjoyed ourselves in the Amish country. Thanks for your hospitality, John and Cheri!

Thursday afternoon John and Cheri hosted the annual meeting of CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation), the group seeking to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, which was dedicated in 1914 to the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors. See below for exciting CAMP news!

On Thursday evening I had the pleasure of talking about General Patrick Henry Jones as part of the Cattaraugus County Museum’s “Summer at the Stone House” series of programs in Machias. My thanks to Museum Archivist Brian McClellan for inviting me to speak:

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/civil-war-author-mark-dunkelman-discusses-recent-book/article_247cff30-582b-11e6-b2e2-1306812335c6.html

On Friday, July 29, we enjoyed a lunch with Paul Spaeth, director of the Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University, home of the Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York. We were sorry that illness prevented University Archivist Dennis Frank from joining us.

Friday evening I gave a talk about my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier at the Concord Historical Society in Springville, sponsored by the Echoes Through Time Civil War Museum and Learning Center as part of their Western New York Civil War Society programming. My thanks go to Echoes partners Steve Teeft (great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. William S. Tefft of Co. C) and Tom Place for inviting me to speak. I enjoyed seeing the collections on display at Echoes Through Time, which are extensive, wide-ranging, and impressive. (By the way, Echoes Through Time will host our 2017 descendants reunion; date and program to be decided.)

At Springville, artist and Civil War enthusiast R. Leigh Walker of Getzville, New York, presented me with an image he created which paired an old photograph of the 154th New York’s Gettysburg monument with silver foil renderings of the monument and a marching Sgt. Amos Humiston. It’s an unusual piece and I like it very much. Thank you, Leigh, for your thoughtful gift.

The 31st Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York took place on Saturday, July 30 at the Cattaraugus Firemen’s Club in the village of Cattaraugus. My thanks go to friend Patrick Cullen of Cattaraugus for making the reunion arrangements. Our program remembered the regiment’s ten companies. This reunion was unique. The approximately sixty attendees were grouped according to their ancestor’s company. Company H had the most representatives with fifteen; Company I went unrepresented. Some companies had single representatives. John Jewell of Guilderland, New York, represented his collateral ancestor Sgt. Charles C. Jewell of Co. C; Pam Garvey-Firth of Colonie, New York, represented her great-great-grandfather Pvt. Patrick Garvey of Co. F; Norm Burmaster of Bellefontaine, Ohio, represented his great-granduncle Capt. Matthew B. Cheney of Co. G; and Jean Rae Erskine of South Dayton, New York, represented her great-great-grandfather Sgt. James M. Mathewson of Co. K. Dorothy DeSha of Franklinville and three grandchildren represented their ancestor Surgeon Henry Van Aernam and the Field and Staff. Descendants from Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida, and California were on hand. My wife took a photo of the entire group, which will be posted on my website. The different format was fun, but as usual the reunion was sobering. We were constantly reminded of the human cost of our ancestors’ service.

My thanks go to Barry Cassevoy of Jamestown, New York, for bringing a fine early portrait of his ancestor Pvt. Justus Rich of Co. B to be copied at the reunion. It’s an excellent addition to the regimental portrait albums.

My thanks go to the several descendants who sent donations to help defray the reunion expenses, and to the many who contributed at the reunion. Your support and generosity is much appreciated.

In earlier news, on June 15 I had the pleasure of sharing General Jones’s story with the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table, a group I founded in 1992.

The Summer 2016 issue of Military Images magazine contained my article “Finding My Great-Grandfather,” about the tintype of John Langhans and an unidentified friend that turned up on eBay (as related in my April 2016 newsletter). It included a great full-page reproduction of the tintype and a smaller reproduction of its companion carte de visite.

The same issue of Military Images carried an article by the magazine’s editor and publisher, Ron Coddington, titled “At Gettysburg, Life Imitates Art.” In it, Ron discussed a poem titled “The Carte de Visite,” in which a photograph of a fallen soldier, found on his corpse, is recognized under serendipitous circumstances by his young wife. I mentioned that poem in my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston (pages 171-72). Because I discovered the poem in John Truesdale, The Blue Coats, and How They Lived, Fought and Died for the Union (Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1867), I speculated that it might have been inspired by the Humiston story. Ron’s article, however, dates the poem from August 1862, almost a year before Amos Humiston died at Gettysburg.

An eBay auction yielded yet another version of the carte de visite of the Humiston children. Photographer J. C. Glenn of Mercer, Pennsylvania, produced this one. On the front is printed, “The Soldier’s Children,” but there is no other explanatory inscription. Was this example made before or after Amos Humiston was identified? I don’t know. Mercer is in the far western part of the state, a long way from Philadelphia, where the majority of Humiston children images were produced. This particular example is quite grubby, and at some point someone damaged it by inking in the children’s hair, but I got it for a reasonable price and am glad to have it as another example of the widespread popularity of the “Children of the Battlefield.”

Speaking of the Humiston story, I was in a supermarket check-out line when I saw a Time-Life publication titled “The Civil War: On the Front Lines, from Fort Sumter to Appomattox.” I thumbed through it, figuring it might include the familiar tale, and it did—a two-page spread on “The Children of the Battlefield,” with a reproduction of the famous photo of little Frank, Alice, and Fred Humiston.

The latest issue of Blue & Gray magazine has a review of my book Patrick Henry Jones by Robert Grandchamp, author of nine Civil War books, who wrote, “This book is a superb biography of a little-known Civil War general who although largely forgotten today, was a giant in his times. As always, Dunkelman has done a fantastic job mining long-forgotten archives to bring Jones back to life. The result is a readable and detailed biography of a forgotten warrior.”

Here’s a look at how the 154th New York collection at St. Bonaventure was used in a “Game Building” assignment in a Public History Class at the university:

http://www.processhistory.org/game-building/

Thanks to friend Vince Martonis, Town of Hanover Historian in Chautauqua County, for selling me two soldiers’ portraits from an album of cartes de visite that he obtained in June. One I immediately recognized as First Lieut. Horace Smith of Co. H, as it appears to be a copy made by photographer A. Miner of Olean of an identical hard image in the collection of the Ischua Valley Historical Society in Franklinville that I copied back in the 1970s. In it Smith is wearing the white star badge of the Second Division, Twentieth Corps, meaning it was taken after April 1864. The other CDV, taken by W. H. Cranston of Olean, depicts a youthful looking officer, standing and holding his sword. He has what appears to be the lozenge or diamond badge of the Third Corps attached to the side of his hat. Olean men formed part of Co. H of the 71st New York, which served in the Third Corps, so it’s possible this officer was in that unit. I appreciate Vince’s consideration in notifying me about the images and readily parting with them. I’m pleased to add them to the archives.

Thanks to friend Joe Rokus, who lives near the Chancellorsville battlefield in Virginia and keeps an eye on the 154th New York’s monument there, for sharing an article he wrote, “The 29th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment: A Forgotten German Regiment in the Struggle to Preserve the Union,” which was published in the Winter 2006 issue of On Point: The Journal of Army History. The 29th and 154th Regiments served together in the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 11th Corps, so I’m pleased to add Joe’s article to the archives. Joe’s interest in the 29th was stirred by the knowledge that his great-granduncle Antonius Rokus served in the regiment as a private of Co. H.

Thanks to friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, for sending an image of Charles E. Whitney, a veteran of Co. I, holding the flag of Ira Thurber Post, No. 584, of Allegany, New York. The original is a photo postcard from the collections of the Allegany Area Historical Association. Whitney was twice captured, at Chancellorsville and Dug Gap, after which he was confined at Andersonville. He and comrade Robert J. Woodard represented the 154th New York in 1914 at the dedication of New York State’s monument in the Andersonville National Cemetery.

There is surprising news from CAMP, which met with the county legislature’s Strategic Planning Committee on June 22 and was informed that the county was awaiting a report from an inspection of the Memorial that was carried out by the New York State Department of State (not the Department of Labor as mentioned in this newspaper article):

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/inspection-of-civil-war-memorial-and-historic-building-clouds-future/article_f8570948-3901-11e6-99f9-078ebcf6e5ac.html

On June 10 a Code Compliance Specialist from the New York State Department of State Building Standards and Codes Western New York Regional Office inspected the Memorial and Historical Building and declared it a “Structure Unfit for Human Occupancy,” and ordered it vacated (which it has been since 2004). Cattaraugus County was notified in a letter of June 20 that it had until July 30 to remedy a list of violations. CAMP did not learn of the inspection and condemnation, however, until a month later, on July 21—just days before a crucial meeting of CAMP and the Strategic Planning Committee on July 26:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/legislature-committee-camp-to-discuss-civil-war-memorial/article_8abbe6fa-52f2-11e6-a853-0f783cab3964.html

At this point I was extremely pessimistic. The state had condemned the Memorial, which seemed all the reason the county needed to proceed with its demolition plan. But at the July 26 meeting, the Strategic Planning Committee stated its intention to sell the Memorial to CAMP! This was a tremendous surprise, because the county had previously maintained that a “reverter clause” prevented such a sale. So in one fell swoop, CAMP was assured that the Memorial would not be destroyed, and that from all appearances, CAMP will become its new owner:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/cattaraugus-county-legislature-panel-recommends-memorial-sale/article_3bc5893e-53ba-11e6-9638-fff8f7b99a1b.html

CAMP held its annual meeting on July 28 (at which I was elected to the board of directors). The group now enters a whole new phase. Stay tuned for further developments, and please consider supporting the cause:

http://cattcomemorial.com/

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

William P. Gmelin of Rochester, New York, great-great-great-grandson of Pvt. Michael Walsh of Co. I, who was wounded and captured at Chancellorsville and had his right leg amputated; the bones of his ankle have been preserved as a specimen at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. Thanks to Bill for sharing genealogical data and a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania “Record of Burial Place of Veteran,” which pinpoints Walsh’s final resting place (he died in 1874) as St. Joseph’s Cemetery in New Brighton.

Paul G. Mosher of Lexington, North Carolina, great-great-great-grandson of Sgt. Samuel Hogg of Co. H, one of only eleven soldiers of the regiment who was listed as present on every single bimonthly muster roll from the muster-in in 1862 to the muster-out in 1865—this despite being wounded at the Battle of Chattanooga.

Jason Lakomec of Vestal, New York, a collateral relative of First Sgt. Henry F. Whipple of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and died in July 1864 of pneumonia as a prisoner of war at Andersonville. He is buried in Grave #3084 of the Andersonville National Cemetery.

Thomas Decker of Salamanca, New York, collateral relative of Capt. Alanson Crosby of Co. D, who was mortally wounded during the Atlanta campaign. Mr. Decker enrolled at the reunion in Cattaraugus.

The next edition of the newsletter will go out on or about October 1. In the meantime, I’ll be giving a talk on the Humiston story at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, at the G.A.R. Hall, 53 East Middle Street in Gettysburg, sponsored by Historic Gettysburg Adams County. I’m planning to spend the following day, Wednesday, September 21, at Coster Avenue, site of the 154th’s monument and my mural. If any of you happen to be in Gettysburg at that time, I hope to see you.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



 

HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2016

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

On September 20 I had the pleasure of talking about the Amos Humiston story and my mural at Coster Avenue to a packed house at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall on East Middle Street in Gettysburg. Among the attendees were three knowledgeable Englishmen on a tour of American Civil War sites (not their first) and a busload of Indianans. A group called Historic Gettysburg Adams County, the current owner of the GAR Hall, sponsored the event. My thanks go to Regina Hollar of HGAC for the invitation to speak.

I spent much of September 21 greeting visitors at Coster Avenue and telling them about the brickyard fight and my mural depicting it. It’s almost exactly a year since the new glass version of the mural was installed and I was delighted to see it looking as good as new. My hope is that it will continue to look that way for years to come. Among the visitors was the busload of Indianans who had attended my talk the previous evening, and a separate busload from Indianapolis. And the last visitors of the morning were two fellow native Western New Yorkers, one of whom graduated from St. Bonaventure University, home of the Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York. It was a pleasant coincidence.

My wife, Annette, and I enjoyed staying with friend Sue Cipperly during our brief time in Gettysburg. Thanks, Sue! And during our trip we also enjoyed visits with two other great-grandchildren of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H—my cousin Paul Sarver (and wife Kay) of Macungie, Pennsylvania, and my sister Amy Rowland (and husband Dan) of Hedgesville, West Virginia.

I briefly got up to East Cemetery Hill during our time in Gettysburg to again see the two former Homestead Orphanage buildings, both of which have been taken over by frivolity. The one at 785 Baltimore Street now houses “Civil War Tails,” which reportedly includes a diorama of the battlefield with cat figurines standing in for soldiers. I’m not sure if I was relieved or not, but it was closed. (As I mentioned in my HGAC talk, I dread seeing a dead cat soldier clutching a picture of three kittens in his paw.) Next door at 777 Baltimore, “Ghostly Images of Gettysburg” was open for business, but their tour that night was of the Jennie Wade House rather than the Orphanage, so I was spared a second visit to the basement dungeon. I did buy a couple of books, however: Haunted Gettysburg by Carol Starr and Mark Sarro, and Ghost Soldiers of Gettysburg by Patrick Burke and Jack Roth, both of which discuss the intertwined Humiston and orphanage stories. I feel compelled to collect these books, because—unfortunately—they and the ghost tours are probably the main way the Humiston story is disseminated today. I’ve only glanced through the books, but it seems neither of them claim, as another publication does, that ghosts emerge from their images in the Coster Avenue mural to haunt the battlefield at night.

Thanks to George Yurick of Gettysburg, who befriended Johan Bjurman and I when we restored the mural in 2001, for photos of the new version. And my thanks go to Steve Hammond of Crofton, Maryland, a descendant of Col. Max Einstein of the 27th Pennsylvania, for early photos of that regiment’s Gettysburg monument and that of the 154th New York. Steve also shared pictures of a Bible in which a member of the 27th Pennsylvania inscribed, in the minutes before the brickyard fight erupted, “On our left artillerymen ready their lanyard. I am praying and hoping that the attack of the rebels of missing us. Gettysburg July first. God help us.” The soldier, Cpl. Emil Preiser of Co. E, was mortally wounded in the fight and died several days later at the Eleventh Corps hospital.

A couple of eBay finds were good additions to the archives at reasonable prices. One was an unusual example of the well-known carte de visite of the Humiston children. This one was not mounted on the usual bristol board; the print was instead affixed to an album page, and cut from the album, shearing in half a portrait of a woman on the other side. Below the image is a handwritten description, copied verbatim from the 1865 and 1867 CDVs by Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown of Philadelphia. Why the print is missing its mount is a mystery. It’s probably the oddest of the Humiston children cartes that I’ve collected.

The other welcome eBay acquisition was a May 15, 1869 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, which contains a portrait and biographical sketch of Patrick Henry Jones, then the recently appointed postmaster of New York City. I already had the issue of Harper’s Weekly of the same date, which also included a biographical sketch and portrait of Jones, so I’m pleased to also have the Frank Leslie’s. The woodcut portraits of Jones in the two publications were based on photographs (by a photographer named Rockwood) apparently taken, based on his clothing, at the same sitting. But I’ve never seen either image in photographic form.

Speaking of eBay finds, the August 2016 issue of Battlefield Photographer: The Journal of the Center for Civil War Photography contains an article by CCWP President Bob Zeller titled “Another CCWP Member Finds His Ancestor’s Photo on eBay.” It relates how I obtained the tintype of my great-grandfather Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H and an unidentified friend who I call “Bandaged Thumb” about six months after fellow CCWP member Larry Kasperek similarly won an eBay auction for a tintype of his great-grandfather Calvin Benjamin Pratt of the 64th New York—another Cattaraugus County soldier—and how friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, had a hand in both transactions. It was an amazing series of events! Incidentally, I’ll be attending the CCWP’s annual Image of War seminar in Gettysburg later this month, and will be seeing several recipients of this newsletter then. Look for a report in the December edition.

Thanks to new friend Leigh Rydberg of St. Paul Park, Minnesota, for sharing notes made by Second Lieutenant James W. Bird in his copies of books published by the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga, a three volume set commonly called New York at Gettysburg, and a single volume called Slocum and His Men. The latter book, for example, contains an account of the mock legislature held by officers of Sherman’s army in the State House in Milledgeville, Georgia, during the March to the Sea (see Marching with Sherman, page 64). Bird noted, “I was in the galery. Gen. Kilpatrick was appointed a committee of one to get the Governors signature to the bills.” In the Gettysburg volumes, Bird noted, “Wommen brought water out” as the regiment marched through town on its way to the fight at Kuhn’s brickyard on July 1, 1863. He added, “I had a drink from one while bullets was flying up the street.” Oddly, Bird made some mistakes in his notes regarding the 154th’s position in the brickyard fight. Leigh found two postcards tucked into the books. One was from Jim’s brother Alexander Bird, first lieutenant of Co. F, sent from Chattanooga in November 1910 when Alex and a party of regimental veterans (including my great-grandfather) were there to attend the dedication of the New York State Peace Monument on Lookout Mountain. I was pleased to learn that Leigh is an artist and filmmaker who was an artist-in-residence this past spring at the Gettysburg National Military Park. I’m glad to be in touch with her.

Of interest in regard to the above: Some years ago Jennifer McCadden of Lakeside, Oregon, great-great-granddaughter of First Sgt. Richard J. McCadden of Co. G, provided me with copies of pages of her ancestor’s copy of Augustus Choate Hamlin’s 1896 book The Battle of Chancellorsville with notes in the margins by Dick McCadden and Jim Bird. The two men lived in the same town—Fairmont, Minnesota—for a period during the postwar years.

Thanks to my relative Bill Street of Venice, Florida, great-great-grandson of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H, for photos of the Coster Avenue mural and Amos Humiston monument taken on a visit to Gettysburg.

Thanks to Joe Rokus, 29th New York descendant and Virginia resident, for placing flags by the 154th New York’s Chancellorsville monument and sending pictures of it.

Thanks to Bill Watkins of the Cattaraugus County Museum in Machias, New York, for sharing an article, “G.A.R. Meeting,” from the April 29, 1897 issue of the Cattaraugus Star. It chronicled a meeting of Cattaraugus County GAR posts in advance of the National Encampment, which was held that summer in Buffalo. I have a photograph of what I believe to be the Cattaraugus County veterans at the Buffalo encampment, taken by an Ellicottville photographer, but I’m not sure about the identification.

Thanks to Howard Mark Whitney of Conway, South Carolina, collateral relative of Pvt. Charles E. Whitney of Co. I, for sharing six outstanding postwar photos of Whitney, both individual portraits and family group shots. Whitney was twice captured, at Chancellorsville and at Dug Gap, after which he was incarcerated at Andersonville. In a couple of the photos he is wearing the Andersonville Survivor’s Medal presented to the veterans who attended the dedication of the New York State monument there in 1914.

Thanks to Rex Hovey of Mint Hill, North Carolina, a descendant of Surgeon Bleecker L. Hovey of the 136th New York, for sharing a letter and affidavit by Surgeon Henry Van Aernam of the 154th New York in support of the pension claim of Hovey’s widow, Marilla. Van Aernam and Hovey both worked in the 2nd Division, 11th Corps hospital as brigade surgeons. After the Battle of Gettysburg the two treated the mortally wounded Confederate general Lewis Armistead at the 11th Corps hospital at the George Spangler farm, where several members of the 154th perished. Van Aernam’s writings reveal that Marilla Hovey served as a nurse in her husband’s brigade hospital.

Welcome to the following descendants, entered on the roll since the last newsletter:

Holly Ray of Brookfield, Ohio, great-great-great-granddaughter of Capt. Joseph B. Fay of Co. E, who was captured at Gettysburg and endured a lengthy stay in Richmond’s Libby Prison before his release was arranged by a Chautauqua County woman whose brother was a wealthy southern railroad superintendent. Holly is a Civil War enthusiast who does living history and shared a nice photograph of her in Civil War period costume posed by the 154th’s monument and my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg (thanks, Holly!).

Michael E. Mentley of Crownsville, Maryland, great-great-grandnephew of brothers Pvt. George B. Tingue and Pvt. Linden Tingue of Co. B. George was captured at Chancellorsville and eventually mustered out with the regiment; Linden was discharged for disability in March 1863 from a hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Jeffrey R. Barnes of Smyrna, Tennessee, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Emory Sweetland of Co. B, who served as a hospital attendant for much of his service and was an eyewitness of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in November 1863.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2016

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

On October 5 I had the pleasure of appearing on Civil War Talk Radio, hosted by Gerry Prokopowicz of East Carolina University. It was my third time on the show; I’ve also met Gerry twice in person, once in Snow Hill, North Carolina, during the research trip for my book Marching with Sherman, and once here in Providence when he addressed the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table at our annual dinner meeting. On this episode of CWTR we discussed my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg, the fight by Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, New York, and my most recent book, Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician. I appreciate Gerry’s interest in my work, past and present. Here’s a link to a podcast of the program:

http://www.impedimentsofwar.org/singleshow.php?show=1306

On October 21-23 I enjoyed attending the 16th Annual Image of War Seminar put on by the Center for Civil War Photography (CCWP):

http://www.civilwarphotography.org

I’ve been to two previous CCWP seminars—in Gettysburg in 2010 and Chattanooga in 2011. This year’s seminar returned to Gettysburg and focused on the photographs taken on the battlefield in 1863. During the daytime we visited spots on the battlefield where the photographs were made; at night we saw the images projected indoors, in both 2- and 3-D. Unfortunately, not a single photograph was made of the 11th Corps’ battlefield north of the town in 1863. (The earliest known photographs of Coster Avenue, where the 154th New York fought in the brickyard fight, were taken in the 1890s, after the erection of the regiment’s monument.) Nonetheless, I enjoyed visiting other parts of the battlefield and viewing the 3-D photographs taken at those precise sites. It’s always great to hear the informative and entertaining talks given by our guides, friends Garry Adelman and Tim Smith, whose knowledge of the battle, the battlefield, the town, and the photographs never ceases to amaze me. Thanks, Garry and Tim! I also enjoyed seeing friend and CCWP president Bob Zeller again, and other folks I had met at previous seminars. And I was pleased to meet Larry Kasperek of Bay Village, Ohio, who (as noted in the last newsletter) obtained a tintype of his Cattaraugus County Civil War soldier great-grandfather, Pvt. Calvin Benjamin Pratt of the 64th New York, on eBay shortly before I had the good fortune to obtain the tintype of my great-grandfather Cpl. John Langhans of the 154th New York and an unidentified friend (“Bandaged Thumb”) in an eBay auction—and friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, had a hand in both instances.

I had a couple of chances to visit Coster Avenue during my time in Gettysburg. While I was there several visitors came by, including friend and fellow CCWP seminar attendee Kim Brace of Manassas, Virginia, and friend Noel Kline of the Harrisburg Area Community College, who is planning a course on thanatology (the study of death) that will examine of case of Sgt. Amos Humiston, subject of my second book, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier.

During some free time on East Cemetery Hill I noticed that the Civil War Tails at the Homestead Diorama Museum at 785 Baltimore Street was open:

https://civilwartails.com

This building and the one next door at 777 Baltimore Street (now Ghostly Images of Gettysburg) formerly housed the Homestead orphanage for children of Civil War soldiers, the institution inspired by the story of Amos Humiston. Because of the Humiston connection, I always visit these sites when I’m in Gettysburg. I stopped by the Homestead Lodging for Tourists numerous times during the years the late Mary Ruth Collins ran it. In 1993 I had the memorable experience of staying there with Humiston descendants and Cattaraugus County friends in town for the dedication of the Humiston monument on North Stratton Street. In the past two years I’ve been by Civil War Tails several times, but always found it closed until my recent visit. I met Rebecca Brown, who with her twin sister Ruth developed the museum. In their childhood they started sculpting cats dressed as Civil War soldiers. Since then the feline population has exploded. Rebecca kindly showed me the various dioramas she and her sister had created of various Civil War battles and scenes, all of them with cats standing in for soldiers. The Brown sisters describe their approach to Civil War history as “quirky and fun.” Others might call it irreverent and iconoclastic. I frankly don’t know what to make of it. The sisters are careful to make the topography and battle lines of their dioramas accurate, but the frivolity of the cat/soldiers is unmistakable. One thing is certain: Their unique museum has received a lot of publicity, with coverage on NPR, in the Washington Post, and on the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” blog. I admire the Brown sisters’ devotion to and passion for history, in particular the history of the Homestead. Images of the orphanage and the Humiston children adorn the museum walls. They’ve also given the place a much-needed sprucing-up. When I told Rebecca (I didn’t meet Ruth) about my work on Amos Humiston, she said they were thinking about a special Humiston exhibit. So it’s possible that future visitors to Gettysburg will find a diorama of a dead cat holding a picture of his three kittens in his paw.

As usual, I enjoyed being back in Gettysburg for the umpteenth time. Thanks to friend, CCWP member, and patron of the arts Sue Cipperly for putting me up and putting up with me once again.

I got to see CCWP founder and president Bob Zeller again on the second weekend in November, when he came to Providence to deliver his presentation “The Grand Review: Discoveries and Explorations in Civil War Photography” at the annual dinner meeting of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table. Thanks for a great show, Bob, and for your devotion to the wonders of Civil War photography.

My thanks go to CCWP member John Banks for interviewing me about the Coster Avenue Mural and posting it on his blog, together with cool panoramic photos, an interactive map, other illustrations, and links to more information. You can find it here:

http://john-banks.blogspot.com/2016/11/hidden-gettysburg-q-with-coster-avenue.html

On November 15 I had the pleasure of talking about the Coster Avenue Mural and showing examples of it (including my original one-inch-to-one-foot scale pencil sketch) at the Cranston (RI) Historical Society.

On October 26, CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) and the Landmark Society of Western New York held a workshop in Little Valley to discuss the preservation of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building.

Thanks to John Fadden of Penn Yan, New York, collateral relative of Cpl. Orange J. Abbey of Co. H (who was captured at Gettysburg and died as a prisoner of war at Andersonville) for photographs of the headstones of several members of the regiment. Five of them are buried in the Bath (NY) National Cemetery: Pvt. Alfred D. Babcock of Co. B; Pvt. (George) Washington Drayton of Co. G; Pvt. Samuel Long of Co. H; Capt. Henry Martin of Co. C; and Pvt. Joseph M. Woodworth of Co. A. According to my records, two other members of the regiment are buried in the Bath National Cemetery—Almon Deforest Reed of Co. G and Sgt. William Wilson of Co. G—but they weren’t located in the cemetery’s records. At least eight other members of the 154th died at the Bath Soldiers’ Home but were buried elsewhere. It’s of interest to note that Samuel Long was the regiment’s only known veteran of the Mexican War. John also sent a photo of the headstone of Pvt. Wilkes J. Miller of Co. A in the Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York. That national cemetery, which is embedded in the sprawling Woodlawn Cemetery, contains more than 10,000 graves, among them almost 3,000 Confederate soldiers who died at the prisoner of war camp in Elmira.

Thanks to 29th New York descendant Joe Rokus for placing two flags by the 154th New York’s Chancellorsville monument and sending a nice picture of the scene.

Thanks to friend Hugh T. Harrington of Gainesville, Georgia, for a copy of his new book, co-authored with Alexandra Filipowski, The Boy Soldier: Edwin Jemison and the Story Behind the Most Remarkable Portrait of the Civil War (Westholme Publishing):

https://www.amazon.com/Boy-Soldier-Jemison-Remarkable-Portrait/dp/1594162646/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477430518&sr=1-2&keywords=the+boy+soldier

I was pleased and honored to write a foreword for the book. It relates the brief life of a young Confederate soldier whose daguerreotype portrait—which I first saw as a twelve-year-old in The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War—has often been described as haunting. Hugh and I have been frequent correspondents ever since he helped me considerably during the research for my book Marching with Sherman and we had a memorable adventure at Turnwold plantation in Putnam County, Georgia. Thanks for the book, Hugh—it looks great!

And thanks to Hugh as well for a copy of a review of Marching with Sherman from the July 2015 issue of The South Carolina Historical Maagzine. From the review by Marc Dluger of Northern Virginia Community College: “Harkening back to the regimental histories of the late nineteenth century, Dunkelman portrays the events of Sherman’s march in a unique style that allows him to explore its full impacts and ramifications. He combines the 154th New York’s trail of ruin with the southern perspective, locating primary sources that pinpoint shared experiences. Undertaking such a research project was ambitious, and the thought-provoking results lead the narrative in an unexpected direction.”

Thanks to longtime Buffalo Civil War Round Table member Jack Hornung of Akron, New York, for parting at a reduced price with a monthly return of clothing, camp and garrison equipage received and issued by Capt. Simeon V. Pool of Co. B during the month of May 1865. I always like to add these documents to the archives as examples of the voluminous paperwork Civil War officers had to contend with.

Thanks to Robert Hilson of Cloquet, Minnesota, great-great-grandson of Pvt. John Paugh of Co. I, for sending a report and photos of an October visit to Gettysburg, where Paugh was mortally wounded and is buried in the New York Section of the National Cemetery. When Robert was planning his trip I suggested he hire a licensed Battlefield Guide at the Visitor Center. He did and had the good luck to have the aforementioned Tim Smith guide his family on a tour of the battlefield concentrating on 154th New York-related sites—according to Robert, “a wonderful adventure.”

I’m grateful to a young Civil War enthusiast in California, Jamin Gjerman, for tipping me off to an eBay auction for a March 1863 letter written at Stafford Court House, Virginia, by a soldier who signed himself “Uncle Sams Boy.” The envelope was addressed to the writer’s brother: Albert Dawley, Perrysburg, Cattaraugus County, New York. After some sleuthing, Jamin determined the writer had to be one of two brothers serving in the 154th New York, Job B. or John M. Dawley, both members of Co. K. (A third brother, Russell B., also served in Co. K, but had been discharged before the letter was written.) Thanks to Jamin, I was able to purchase the letter cheaply. Lucky for me, I already had a few of Job Dawley’s letters to Albert, including one with an envelope obviously written in the same hand. Apparently a collection of his letters was broken up at some point, and individual ones have surfaced from time to time. The new acquisition was certainly written by Job. It mentions members of his company and a rumor that the German officers commanding the brigade, division, and corps—Buschbeck, Steinwehr, and Sigel—had resigned, which he considered the loss of three good commanders. He was right about Sigel, who had resigned earlier in the month, but Steinwehr and Buschbeck retained their commands. As I describe in Marching with Sherman, just weeks before the war ended Job Dawley was captured and executed by the enemy during the Carolinas Campaign.

Thanks to Holly Ray of Brookfiled, Ohio, great-great-great-granddaughter of Capt. Joseph B. Fay of Co. E for sharing a beautiful wartime full length standing portrait of him in uniform with sword and accouterments. It is the fourth wartime portrait of Fay to turn up.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Guy Spilman of Frederickstown, Ohio, great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. James D. Quilliam of Co. E, who was wounded at Gettysburg and mortally wounded at the Battle of Pine Knob during the Atlanta campaign.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



 

2017 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2017

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’ve sent thanks to the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides at the Gettysburg National Military Park for a generous donation toward the expenses of the new glass version of the mural at Coster Avenue. In a letter accompanying the contribution, ALBH Treasurer Jim Cooke wrote, “We value your mural and your efforts in showing to our Gettysburg visitors an important feature of this great and terrible struggle where so many gave ‘the last full measure of devotion.’” I have great respect for the Licensed Battlefield Guides and I’m grateful to them for taking visitors to Coster Avenue. I’ve encountered them often there over the years. If you visit Gettysburg, I’d highly recommend you hire a LBG at the GNMP Visitor Center. They can offer you whatever type of tour you like; their knowledge of and passion for the battle and the battlefield is comprehensive and admirable.

Some great acquisitions have been added to the 154th New York archives. A number of years ago I purchased from a Massachusetts antiques dealer a collection of 30-some documents relating to Capt. James L. Harding of the 154th New York, who served as acting assistant inspector general of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Corps, to which the regiment belonged. The collection included invoices of ordnance and ordnance stores, abstracts of materials, quarterly returns, receipts, and a muster-out roll of Co. C, which Harding commanded at the end of the war. Ten years ago my late partner, Mike Winey, obtained transcripts of more than 20 additional Harding documents in the possession of Ken Ursin of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (Mike’s hometown). Harding had obviously saved his official papers, which had subsequently been broken up and sold. On December 13 of last year I got a call from Paul Brzozowski of Fairfield, Connecticut, a dealer in historic American documents and letters, who informed me he had for sale a collection of 60-plus Harding documents. We made a deal, and I added this collection of Harding documents to the archives. As it turns out, they include all but seven of the Ursin documents; apparently Mr. Ursin parted with them during the past decade. (What happened to the other seven I have no idea.) Altogether, the Harding documents include special, general, and circular orders, his letters of advice as brigade inspector general, applications for leaves of absence, muster rolls, autograph letters by Surgeon Henry Van Aernam and Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones, a hand-drawn map of the area around Hanging Rock and Clyburn’s Store in South Carolina, a receipt from a North Carolina man for payment by Harding for a gray stallion, and Harding’s commissions as second lieutenant and captain, among many other papers.

Harding’s letters of advice are particularly interesting in assessing the condition of the troops at given times. For example, during the Atlanta campaign he reported on June 24, 1864, “Since the inspection of May 21st this Brigade has been almost uninterruptedly engaged in marching fighting or erecting fortifications. These protracted labors aggravated by exposure to heavy and incessant storms have produced their natural results in the physical exhaustion of the troops. But both officers and men though severely tried by the toils and exposure of the campaign are still zealous and determined and will cheerfully make whatever further efforts the exigencies of the service may demand. Ammunition, arms and accoutrements are in good condition. The clothing is well worn and the men having had no opportunity for washing and being very poorly supplied with soap [are] in a very uncleanly state. A new supply is much needed. The troops have been supplied with full rations of coffee, sugar, bread and meat. The continued sameness in diet is severely felt, and symptoms of scurvy have appeared in the command owing to the total exclusion of vegetables from the rations.” Harding went on to describe sanitary conditions, sickness, and the poor condition of the brigade’s overworked and underfed mules and horses.

Two days after making a deal for the Harding documents, friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, notified me that a Grand Army of the Republic uniform identified to Pvt. Calvin A. Brainard of Co. F was up for sale on eBay. (The same Kyle Stetz who informed me of the eBay auction of the tintype of my great-grandfather, as related in the April 2016 newsletter.) I purchased the uniform, which the seller found at an antiques market in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence, New York. It includes a double-breasted coat, pants, and kepi. The kepi and jacket have labels of M. C. Lilley & Co. of Columbus, Ohio, a leading manufacturer of “Military and [Fraternal] Society Goods.” Brainard’s initials and name are written inside the garments and on a slip of paper found in one of the pockets. The kepi apparently was purchased well before the other two items; it shows considerable wear, while the jacket and pants are pristine. A great wartime photograph of Calvin and his father, Asa Brainard, who also served in Co. F, appears in my book Brothers One and All. Calvin was active in the GAR. In 1922 he was elected commander of the Department of New York; he was the only member of the regiment to achieve that honor. He also served as Senior Vice Commander in Chief of the national GAR in 1927-1928. I think it’s especially neat that the uniform belonged to such an influential GAR man. Brainard lived in Buffalo in the postwar years and died there in 1936. He and his father are both buried in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.

I have a typewritten statement signed by Calvin Brainard, who also served in the Veteran Reserve Corps, in which he stated, “I saw Mr. Lincoln many times and especially when out horseback riding, in which he was conspicuous wearing a high hat on some occasions, I was in Washington the 9th of April, 1865, when Lee surrendered and also five days later, when Mr. Lincoln was assassinated, two most important and opposite events that could have happened.”

Searching for more information on Calvin Brainard I discovered a file on him listed in a finding aid to the Theodore C. Cazeau Grand Army of the Republic Collection at the Lavery Library at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. On making an inquiry, Michelle Price, Special Collections Librarian there, promptly sent me scans of documents in the Brainard file, which indicate he also lived for a time in the postwar years in Rochester as well as Waukegan, Illinois.

Thanks to friend Rick Leisenring, Curator of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York, for the gift of a penny song sheet “Our Banner: An Acrostic, Harewood Hospital,” by Sgt. J. Byron Brown of Co. B. Brown published a handful of poems during his service, including this one; I documented them in an article, “Brown the Poet,” in the May-June 1995 issue of Military Images magazine. Thanks too to Rick for sharing images of Amos Humiston and his children from his collection, a couple of which were new to me. Rick is close to finishing a book titled A Most Unusual Souvenir: Charitable Photographs of the Civil War Era. It will, of course, include the famous carte de visite of the Humiston children, which were sold to benefit the bereaved family and later the Homestead orphanage in Gettysburg, the institution inspired by the Humiston story.

Speaking of the Humistons, another welcome addition to the archives came via eBay. As I related in my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston, sheet music of James G. Clark’s song “The Children of the Battle Field” was published by the Philadelphia firm Lee & Walker in two editions. The first came out in April 1864 and featured a rather crude lithograph of the famous image of the Humiston children on its cover. A second edition was published in October 1864 and included a much finer lithograph of the children set within a flag-motif shield draped in foliage. I’ve long had a copy of the early edition and have looked for years for the later one. It finally turned up on eBay and I’m pleased to add it to the collection.

The website for the Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York at St. Bonaventure University has been corrected and expanded and posted on a new server. It’s still a work in progress, but much improved. Check it out and bookmark it:

http://archives.sbu.edu/civil_war/154th_site.html

Here are two nice postings from the Emerging Civil War blog by Amelia Kibbe (who wrote about the Dunkelman and Winey Collection for the Summer 2015 issue of SBU’s magazine). The first is about my friend Earl McElfresh of Olean, proprietor of the McElfresh Map Company and author of the highly regarded book Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999):

https://emergingcivilwar.com/2016/12/20/mcelfresh-maps-the-civil-war-in-watercolor/

The second is about my friends Tom Place and Steve Teeft (descendant of Pvt. William S. Tefft of Co. C) and their Echoes through Time Learning Center in Springville, New York, which is devoted to Civil War history. I’m pleased to announce that Echoes through Time will be hosting the 32nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York in Springville this summer. Look for details in future newsletters:

https://emergingcivilwar.com/2017/01/06/echoes-through-time-new-york-states-only-civil-war-museum/#more-161349

Wait a minute, you might say. Aren’t all the descendant reunions held in either Cattaraugus or Chautauqua County, where the regiment was raised? Well yes, that is usually the case. And Springville is in Erie County. But there is precedent! In 1993 and 2014 we held the reunion at the American Legion hall in Gowanda, the village that straddles Cattaraugus Creek, partly in Cattaraugus County and partly in Erie County—and the hall is on the Erie County side. (Incidentally, in 2018 the reunion will return to Chautauqua County.)

My wife, Annette, and I enjoyed a visit and dinner with friend Kim Brace of Manassas, Virginia, who was in Providence on business. Kim is a member of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table and the Center for Civil War Photography. When we were both in Gettysburg for the CCWP’s annual seminar last October, Kim visited Coster Avenue to see my mural. During his Rhode Island visit, I was pleased to give him a look at my collection of regimental materials.

The latest news is good from CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) in its effort to save, restore, and reuse the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, as reported in the Olean Times Herald:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/camp-grateful-for-progress-in-saving-civil-war-memorial/article_97092602-c679-11e6-9bbf-c34496bb9b7c.html

In a Page One article in the Olean Times Herald of December 29, 2016, Cattaraugus County Legislature Chairwoman Paula Stockman was quoted as saying she hoped for a resolution to the long-running issue of the Memorial and Historical Building. “I want to thank Tom Stetz and the CAMP organization for their work on the Civil War monument. Working with CAMP has opened doors to an amicable ending that works for everybody.”

On January 10, 2017, at a special term of the Cattaraugus County Supreme Court, Judge Jeremiah J. Moriarty III ordered, adjudged and decreed that the conditions in the 1866 deed covering the site of the Memorial and Historical Building were discharged, which means that the county will now be able to transfer title of the site if it wishes. The county had long argued that a clause in the deed prevented such a transfer; this decision makes it possible for the county to transfer title of the Memorial to CAMP. Things are looking up for the CAMP cause!

A new CAMP member, Spencer Morgan of Angola, New York, and Villa Maria College in Buffalo, has kindly volunteered to direct a social media campaign on CAMP’s behalf. Spencer is also new to the 154th New York descendants roll as a collateral relative of Pvt. Oscar F. Wilber of Co. G, who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville and nursed in his dying days by Walt Whitman, who wrote of the experience (as chronicled in my book War’s Relentless Hand). Spencer remembers seeing Oscar Wilber’s shattered femur during a childhood visit to the Armed Forces Museum of Pathology in Washington, D.C., where it is archived as a medical specimen. Check out and bookmark Spencer’s postings for CAMP on Facebook and Instagram—one of these days you might see your ancestor’s portrait posted:

https://www.facebook.com/cattcomemorial

https://www.instagram.com/cattcomemorial/

Finally, some personal news . . . I’ve had three lifelong passionate pursuits. One, of course, is researching and writing Civil War history, specifically resurrecting the stories of our ancestors of the 154th New York and documenting the regiment’s history. Another is making artwork. From the third grade at Martin Luther School in Buffalo I was considered the class artist, and I had a great art teacher at Amherst Central High School in the late Dr. Victor Roger Lalli, who in retirement from teaching created the wonderful “Buffalo, My City” series of watercolors.

Doc was a tremendous influence on my life. When he initiated a collection of student artwork and an annual art award at ACHS in 1965, I was the first recipient. More importantly, he steered me to the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where I met Annette and have lived ever since. I consider my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg the culmination of my serious work as an artist.

My other lifelong passion is playing music. Since I was a teenager, I’ve played other people’s music in other people’s bands. I’ve enjoyed doing it, but now I’m engaged in a musical project that is fulfilling me like no other has before. Back in the 1980s, in an unstoppable burst of creativity, I wrote 65 songs. I always wanted to do something with them, but the bands I was in weren’t interested—all they wanted to do was covers. Through a combination of fortuitous circumstances, however, I met three musicians who saw worth in my compositions and joined me in April 2014 to form a band to perform them. Since then I’ve been inspired to write another 75 songs. We call ourselves Clip Clop and our entire repertoire consists of my compositions.

I like lots of kinds of music, but my truest love is old-school country music. Clip Clop is a simple four-piece string band: me on lead vocals and pedal steel guitar and dobro; my great singing partner Sarah Kelley on lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Scott Stenhouse on lead guitar and backup vocals; and Page Stites (Sarah’s husband) on stand-up bass. Although my musical inspirations for Clip Clop are the classic country duettists, epitomized for me by Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn, our music is evolving in its own direction. To witness the transformation from lyrics on paper to full-fledged songs is tremendously exciting for me. I feel blessed to focus on my music at this stage of my life. It had long been a sideline for me, and it’s great to concentrate on it in my senior years.

After rehearsing for more than two years, Clip Clop played our first public gig on January 19 at a bar here in Providence. We met with an enthusiastic reception and my hope is it was the first of many gigs to come. If any of you are interested in hearing one of our songs, drop me a line and I’ll send you a sample.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2017

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that the 32nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at Fiddler’s Green Park on North Buffalo Street in Springville, New York 14141, site of the village’s Civil War monument. (If it rains, we’ll hold the reunion nearby in Goddard Memorial Hall at 86 Franklin Street, the Town of Concord Town Hall.) My friends at Springville’s Echoes Through Time Learning Center and Civil War Museum, Tom Place and 154th descendant Steve Teeft, are sponsoring the reunion. Our program will remember our ancestors as veterans—how they commemorated their Civil War service in the organizations they joined, the monuments they erected, the reunions they held, the trips to their old battlefields, the relics they preserved, and the memoirs that they wrote. In addition, I’ll display artifacts from my collection relating to various regimental veterans. Our ancestors who survived the war carried the experience with them for the rest of their lives, and we will explore their postwar remembrance of their service in detail. Descendants and friends will receive an invitation about a month in advance of the reunion. I hope that you will join us at the reunion to represent and remember your Hardtack Regiment ancestor.

Thanks to Jolene Hawkins of the Lucy Bensley Center, the Research Library of the Concord Historical Society in Springville, for a transcript of a letter by Pvt. George Eugene “Gene” Graves of Co. D to a certain “Friend [Henry] Wadsworth,” dated December 29, 1862, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Graves recapped the 154th’s movements since arriving in Virginia two months before, including crossing the Bull Run battlefield (where he “was struck with a sort of dread that I shall never forget”) and fraternizing with the friendly Confederates across the Rappahannock River. He then engaged in some philosophical musings that reflected the depression that smothered the Army of the Potomac after the disastrous battle of Fredericksburg. He described the way the war was being waged as “one of the most disgraceful wars that the American people was ever guilty of getting up,” and pessimistically added, “We can’t ever whip them [the Confederates] back in to the union again.” He then asked how northerners would react if a rebel army would invade the North and plunder and strip families of livestock and provisions. Not one man of a hundred in the Union army could tell what he was fighting for, Graves asserted. “They can’t keep this army in the field six months longer,” he predicted, “for they [the soldiers] say that if it is not settled that they [will] throw their arms down and go home.” More hard times were to come—in the form of the futile Mud March—before the hapless Ambrose Burnside was replaced as commander by Joe Hooker and the army’s morale lifted from its lowest point of the war. It’s great to add Graves’s letter to 52 other of his wartime letters already in the archives, 32 of them originals and the other score in transcript.

Thanks to Noel Kline, who teaches at the Lancaster (PA) Campus of the Harrisburg Area Community College, for sharing a brief podcast of the Amos Humiston story, which he uses for his course on “Death and Dying.”

Thanks to my Rhode Island Civil War Round Table friend Wayne Rowe for letting me know that a person posting as “Civil Warscapes” had put up a description and four photos on Facebook of my mural at Coster Avenue in Gettysburg. Thanks too to RICWRT friend Jack Richer for sharing photos of the mural that he took during a recent visit to Gettysburg. And thanks to RICWRT member Tom Foley for pictures of documents from the New York State Archives in Albany which describe and diagram the site of the 154th New York’s Gettysburg monument. From them I learned that John Kuhn—whose brickyard became a battlefield on the First Day at Gettysburg—still owned the property adjacent to Coster Avenue circa 1890, when the monument was dedicated.

Speaking of monuments, thanks to Jay A. Rarick, Past Camp Commander of the Irish Brigade Camp No. 4, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for sharing a “Civil War Memorial Assessment Form” for the 154th New York monument at Chancellorsville. Last year marked the twentieth anniversary of the monument’s installation and dedication. The assessment form describes it as “well maintained.” And thanks to friend and 29th New York descendant Joe Rokus, who lives near the Chancellorsville battlefield, for keeping an eye on the monument, replacing missing flags when needed, and sending photographs. The monument continues to stand strong.

Thanks to friend Robert Grandchamp of Jericho, Vermont, for notifying me of a booklet for sale on Amazon.com, which I’ve added to the archives: By-Laws of Col. James M. Brown Camp, Div. of N.Y., S. of V., U.S.A. Jamestown, N.Y. (Jamestown: J. A. Bergwall, 1892). Jamestown’s Sons of Veterans camp was named in honor of the officer who also lent his name to the rendezvous camp where the 112th and 154th New York Regiments were organized in the summer of 1862. At least three Sons of Veterans camps in Cattaraugus County were named after officers of the 154th New York: Portville’s Col. L. D. Warner Camp, No. 23; Ellicottville’s Patrick Jones Camp, No. 65, which was formed in 1902; and Franklinville’s, named after Surgeon Henry Van Aernam.

Thanks to Jay Stencil, past president and long-time member of the Joshua L. Chamberlain Civil War Round Table in Brunswick, Maine, for summarizing my book War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers in the group’s March 2017 newsletter. I’ve made presentations to the JLCCWRT in 1999, 2006, and 2013 and hope to return to Brunswick to give another talk.

I’ve discovered a couple of reviews of my book Patrick Henry Jones: Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician. In the August 2016 issue of The Journal of Southern History, Nancy Schurr of Chattanooga State Community College wrote, “Dunkelman does an admirable job of recovering the life of a man who rose from obscurity to become a prominent Democrat-turned-Republican politician. Along the way, the author convincingly argues that Jones’s life illustrates both the promise and peril of the Gilded Age . . . Dunkelman is at his best when he connects the ups and downs of Jones’s life to the vagaries of Gilded Age politics . . . Dunkelman has succeeded in rescuing an important nineteenth-century hero and political figure from obscurity and at the same time has offered a compelling narrative of one man’s journey through the twists and turns of the Gilded Age.” In the Fall 2016 issue of the Journal of American Ethnic History, Bryan McGovern of Kennesaw State University wrote, “Jones’s remarkable life can illuminate a great deal about the mid- to late nineteenth century. In this well-researched and well-crafted biography, Dunkelman provides the basic context of how Jones fit into various nineteenth-century groups. In doing so, the author demonstrates the complexities of contemporary society and the various hats individuals wore in different spheres . . . Dunkelman is most proficient at weaving a narrative that illuminates the life of a relatively obscure, but important, historical figure. He has adroitly mined the archives and articulates a biographical chronicle that is both interesting and informative. It will appeal to readers, particularly history buffs fascinated by the Civil War, Irish America, and political intrigue. For the professional historian, it is also a valuable piece of work that will need to be contextualized and analyzed to ascertain more profound findings.”

CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) continues its effort to save, restore, and reuse the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. Recent developments, as reported in the Olean Times Herald:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/camp-applauds-decision-clearing-way-for-civil-war-memorial-and/article_2a7e82da-f017-11e6-a73b-c3d8734bdf27.html

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/here_and_now/county-s-additional-percent-sales-tax-passes-committee/article_b601f7e4-ff0b-11e6-9ca7-6bbc6edeab3e.html

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Gary Belcher of Marcellus, New York, great-great-grandson of Pvt. William Osterstuck of Co. I, and Gary’s son Derek Belcher of Dansville, New York. Osterstuck was captured at Gettysburg and died of chronic dysentery on March 5, 1864 at the Andersonville, Georgia prison camp. He is buried in Grave #12 at the Andersonville National Cemetery.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2017

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 32nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at Fiddler’s Green Park on North Buffalo Street in Springville, New York 14141, site of the village’s Civil War monument. (If it rains, we’ll hold the reunion nearby in Goddard Memorial Hall at 86 Franklin Street, the Town of Concord Town Hall.) My friends at Springville’s Echoes Through Time Learning Center and Civil War Museum, Tom Place and 154th descendant Steve Teeft (great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. William S. Tefft of Co. C), are sponsoring the reunion. Our program will remember our ancestors as veterans. We will explore how they commemorated their Civil War service in the organizations they joined, the monuments they erected, the reunions they held, their trips to old battlefields, the relics they preserved, and the memoirs that they wrote. I’ll display artifacts relating to various regimental veterans. Descendants and friends will receive a hard copy invitation with details in a couple of weeks. Please plan to join us at the reunion to represent and remember your Hardtack Regiment ancestor.

In regimental historical news, a major mystery concerning the 154th New York’s colors seems to be solved. First, some background . . . E. D. Northrup was the Ellicottville lawyer and eccentric who wrote a history of the regiment in the postwar years, but failed to have it published. (I told Northrup’s story in detail in my book Brothers One and All.) Northrup also wrote a brief “Historical Sketch” of the 154th that was published in the massive three-volume set commonly called New York at Gettysburg. In it Northrup correctly stated that James W. Bird rescued the 154th’s state flag in the aftermath of the brickyard fight on the First Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. An editorial footnote—the origin of which is murky—added that “it is told” a soldier of the 134th New York carried off the national flag of the 154th. My late partner Mike Winey and I accepted that assertion and repeated it in our book The Hardtack Regiment. But years later, when I discovered and examined the Northrup papers, I came across references stating the 154th’s national flag had been captured at Gettysburg. These corroborated wartime statements I had turned up concerning the loss by Maj. Lewis D. Warner, Assistant Surgeon Dwight W. Day, and Pvt. George J. Mason of Co. K. I reported those findings in Brothers One and All and an article, “Additional Notes on the 154th New York at Gettysburg,” in the July 2003 issue of Gettysburg Magazine.

Who captured the 154th’s national flag at Gettysburg remained a mystery to me until mid-April of this year, when I received an e-mail from Thomas L. Elmore of Midlothian, Virginia, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a lifelong student of the battle. Tom had come across this passage in the book Four Years in the Saddle (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1866), by the Maryland Confederate cavalryman Colonel Harry Gilmor, describing the events of the afternoon of July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg:

Soon we heard the yell of a line-of-battle charge; then, at intervals, heavy volleys; and at length the face of the earth seemed covered with blue-coats, all running toward the town of Gettysburg in the wildest confusion, with the gray-jackets after them, keeping up a constant fire . . . Too much excited to remain longer with the guns, I placed Captain Emack in command of the battalion, took Welch and Dorsey with me, and started at half speed after the running masses. We dashed in among them, and had no difficulty in stopping just as many as we pleased. But few shots were fired at us, and those by the Feds, too much fluttered [sic] to take aim. Near the edge of the town was a regiment, apparently in a very disorganized condition, but still holding on to their colors. In we dashed among them, slashing right and left. Most of them gave up, or, rather, threw down their arms, and continued on. A small squad of ten or more rallied around their colors. We dashed at them; two fired upon us, but so wildly that neither horse nor man was struck. They presented their bayonets, but, after knocking these aside and cutting down two or three of them, the rest surrendered. Welch would have taken the flag, but, as the man lowered it, his horse, alarmed, shied off, and I grasped it before he could wheel. It belonged to the 149th New York.

In this last particular, Gilmor was mistaken. The 149th New York belonged to the 12th Corps and was not on the battlefield on the afternoon of July 1. Although several national flags were captured from Union regiments that day—including that of the 149th Pennsylvania—none of them fit into Gilmor’s narrative except for that of the 154th New York. And Gilmor’s account fits closely with those of veterans of the 154th. In his postwar memoir, for example, Pvt. Charles W. McKay of Co. C described two mounted Confederate officers at the gateway to Kuhn’s brickyard who slashed at the fleeing Yankees with their swords. Tom Elmore, who has analyzed Gilmor’s Gettysburg account closely, notes that while he was mistaken regarding certain details—such as the flag belonging to the 149th New York—he was apparently accurate with the substance of his assertions. I’m convinced that Harry Gilmor captured the 154th New York’s national flag, and hope someday to find corroborative evidence. Collections of Gilmor’s papers are in the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, and perhaps more can be learned there. In the meantime, my thanks to Tom for alerting me to Gilmor’s account and thereby clearing up a significant mystery surrounding the 154th’s colors.

Gilmor is the subject of a biography by Timothy Ackinclose, Sabres and Pistols: The Civil War Career of Colonel Harry Gilmor, C.S.A. (Gettysburg: Stan Clark Military Books, 1997). I obtained a copy of the book and from it I learned that in 1882, a year before Gilmor’s death, he received communications from former Union general Henry A. Barnum, who had commanded the 149th New York. Barnum informed Gilmor that the 149th had never lost a flag and had not arrived on the Gettysburg battlefield until the evening of the First Day. Barnum asked that Gilmor write a formal correction that would be attached to the flag’s “torn and riddled fold” as it lay on display to the public. If correct, that would indicate the flag remained in Gilmor’s possession at the time, and apparently was on display in his hometown of Baltimore.

An additional note regarding the 154th’s national flag at Gettysburg . . . A regiment’s colors were sacred emblems, symbolic of the unit itself, to be protected at all costs by the color guard, which inevitably was the target of enemy fire. To lose a flag in battle was considered a humiliation. E. D. Northrup knew that the 154th lost its national flag at Gettysburg, but he chose not to mention that fact in his “Historical Sketch” in New York at Gettysburg. Whether Northrup or some other source provided the inaccurate footnote information that a soldier of the 134th rescued the 154th’s flag is uncertain. Also uncertain is how Northrup would have addressed the subject in his full-length regimental history. It appears, however, that Northrup in essence engaged in a cover-up in the New York at Gettysburg omissions and assertions.

At this point, what happened to the 154th’s national flag after Gilmor captured it remains a mystery—one I hope will be solved by an examination of the Gilmor papers in Maryland. An intriguing note in the Northrup papers states that the “Rebs” returned the flag in the postwar years, either to General Patrick Henry Jones or a regimental committee, but I’ve yet to find documentation to support that assertion.

In other news . . . Thanks to Bob and Betty Pettit of Charlotte, North Carolina, for the gift of a fine wartime carte de visite photograph of Pvt. Augustus V. Laing of Co. H. Betty is Laing’s great-great-granddaughter; Bob is a great-grandson of Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A. I’m particularly glad to add this image of Gus Laing in uniform to my collection and the 154th New York portrait albums, because he and his brother William Laing Jr., also a private of Co. H, enlisted together with my great-grandfather John Langhans in September 1864, and the three men tented together when they joined the regiment at Atlanta. In addition, Gus Laing had previously served from June 1861 to June 1863 in the 37th New York. Years ago the late David C. Laing of Eden, New York, shared fine postwar portraits of the Laing brothers with me, and it’s great now to also have this wartime photograph of Augustus in the collection. The image came from a Laing family album, and with it Bob and Betty also presented me with several other soldiers’ portraits: Harvey H. Giles of the 4th Maine Infantry, Charles T. Hudson of the 11th Massachusetts Infantry, Edwin A. Willcox of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, and a soldier identified only as “Bennie.” Giles and Hudson served with Gus Laing (when he was with the 37th New York) in the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Giles and “Bennie” inscribed their cartes “To Laing,” indicating they were friends. So, presumably, was Hudson. How Willcox knew Laing—his 14th Connecticut served in the 2nd Corps—is uncertain. In addition to the soldiers’ portraits, the Pettits gave me a bust view CDV of Horace Greeley, the famous newspaper editor, crusader, and presidential candidate who was the postwar political patron of the aforementioned Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Jones, the longtime commander of the 154th New York. (An image of Greeley appeared in my Jones biography.) I appreciate the Pettits for their kindness in presenting me with these photographs.

Thanks to Scott Hilts of Arcade, New York, for a scan of a carte de visite by W. H. Cranston of Olean, New York, for which Scott outbid me in an eBay auction. The image depicts Major Lewis D. Warner of the 154th New York and an unidentified officer posing atop Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. (It is inscribed “L. D. Warner” on the reverse.) I’ve long known that Warner posed for such a photograph, but I hadn’t seen it until it appeared on eBay. The background: After the Union forces took Lookout Mountain in the “Battle Above the Clouds” during the fighting at Chattanooga in November 1863, an enterprising photographer, Robert “Royan” M. Linn, established a studio atop the mountain and did a great business taking pictures of Union soldiers posed on Point Rock, from which the mountain plummets precipitously for hundreds of feet to the distant Tennessee River and the city of Chattanooga. On January 17, 1864, when the regiment was camped in Lookout Valley, Warner recorded in his diary, “Made a trip to Lookout Mountain on Horse back Weather warm & Pleasant Sat for Ambrotype upon the extreme point. Returned to camp about sunset.” Three days later Warner left for his Portville, New York home on a leave of absence. On February 3 he noted, “Wife, self and boys [their two young sons] went to Olean to get the boys photographs.” I suspect it was then that Warner ordered carte de visite copies made of the Lookout Mountain ambrotype. Because an ambrotype produces a mirror image, the carte de visite copy shows Point Rock facing left, the opposite of how it is usually depicted. Unfortunately, Warner did not mention the companion who posed with him on the mountaintop. He looks like First Lieutenant John Mitchell of Co. D, but I can’t say for sure. In any case, it’s great to see this image that I’ve been aware of and wondered about for years, and I appreciate Scott sharing the scan with me. Chances are Warner was not the only member of the regiment to pose for Linn’s camera, but his photograph is the only known extant example.

Henry C. Loomis has been on my mind recently. Loomis was a veteran of the 64th New York who became lieutenant colonel of the 154th, resigned after the battle of Chancellorsville, returned to the regiment in the unlikely role of sutler, and was a prominent resident of Winfield, Kansas, and active in veterans’ affairs in the postwar years. In late April my eagle-eyed friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, notified me of a photograph album up for bids on eBay that included an unidentified carte de visite of an officer that Kyle recognized as Loomis. It was very similar to the image of Loomis that appeared in The Hardtack Regiment. Not wanting to pay too high a price for the single image, I unfortunately was outbid for the album. A few weeks later, friend Robert Grandchamp of Jericho, Vermont, told me about a photo postcard for sale by a Massachusetts antiques dealer that purportedly depicted Loomis as an Abraham Lincoln impersonator:

http://www.jamesmountainantiques.com/product/abraham-lincoln-look-alike-g-a-r-veteran/

One look at the postcard was enough to convince me the subject—“Colonel Loomis of Kansas”—was not Henry C. Loomis. I have several postwar portraits of Loomis, who was fuller of face and body and wore a different style of beard than the gaunt Lincoln impersonator. I also have several obituaries and biographical sketches of Loomis, none of which mention that he had a penchant for impersonating Lincoln. When I told Kyle Stetz about this he did some searching and came up with a newspaper article that positively identified the Lincoln impersonator as “Colonel” Elmer Loomis of Girard, Kansas, a veteran of the 177th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (who wasn’t a colonel in the war; the title was an honorific). Whereupon I notified the sellers and they changed the description on their website. According to one source, Elmer Loomis met Lincoln while working as a nurse in a Washington hospital and the president took him to lunch at the White House. In the postwar years Elmer played up his resemblance to Lincoln, dressing like the martyred president and impersonating him at national encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic (hence the photo postcard). His neighbors called him “Uncle Abe.”

Thanks to friend and fellow Buffalo native (and Bills fan) George J. Bryjak of Bloomingdale, New York, for an inscribed and signed copy of his new book, Voices from the Civil War: North and South, Men and Women, Black and White. George taught sociology and criminology at the University of San Diego for 24 years before retiring to the Adirondack Mountains. After writing sociology textbooks, scholarly articles, newspaper op-ed pieces, and one-act plays, George turned to short story fiction. At his request, I reviewed George’s Voices manuscript and, liking what I read, provided this endorsement: “Combining a creative imagination with an in-depth knowledge of Civil War history, George Bryjak has molded twenty-six diverse characters of the era and breathed life into them. In authentic voices, they tell us of the horrors and heartaches, the suffering and sadness of America’s bloodiest conflict. Their stories range beyond standard accounts of great armies and battles and generals to intimate terrain—the individual, personal tales of everyday people caught in a cataclysm.” George’s last story concerns a fictional veteran of the 154th New York who, like so many of our ancestors, was captured at Gettysburg and suffered imprisonment at Belle Island and Andersonville. For information about the book, e-mail George at bryjak@verizon.net.

Thanks to John Everett Jones of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, who is researching early Swedish immigrants who settled in Chautauqua County, New York, and Warren County, Pennsylvania, for information about the two natives Swedes who served in the 154th New York. Mr. Jones notified me that Pvt. Charles Anderson of Co. E was born in Saby parish, Jonkopings Ian, Sweden (rendered here without umlauts), and arrived as an immigrant in New York City on August 9, 1856. Less is known about Pvt. Elias B. Skone of Co. E—who was killed at Chancellorsville—but Mr. Jones indicates an Irish immigrant family in Portland, Chautauqua County, adopted him. Mr. Jones has a website devoted to his study, including this posting on the region’s Swedish Civil War soldiers:

http://www.jamestownswedes.org/2014/11/

Thanks to Bruce Dineen of Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, great-great-grandson of Pvt. Samuel W. Simmons of Co. H, for a photograph of the cenotaph of Pvt. Delancey Welch of Co. C in the Allegany (NY) Cemetery. Welch was a Gettysburg captive who died as a prisoner of war in Richmond on February 28, 1864, and was buried as an unknown in the Richmond National Cemetery. His cenotaph notes that he was 17 years, 11 months, and 4 days old when he died.

I was interested to hear from Amy Kopecki of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who wrote to ask about a print that was preserved in an old family Bible. It is the exquisite Robert Whitechurch engraving of the Humiston children, which I described and pictured in my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston. Unlike the plentiful carte de visite copies of the ambrotype of the children that Amos held when he died at Gettysburg, Whitechurch’s engraving is extremely rare—Ms. Kopecki’s and my own are the only two known extant copies. Did Whitechurch donate the proceeds from the sale of the engravings to the Humiston family, or the subsequent drive to establish the Homestead orphanage in Gettysburg? We don’t know, but it seems likely. One of these days I’d love to find out more about the Whitechurch print.

CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) continues to make progress in its mission to preserve the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, which was dedicated in 1914 to the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors. On April 5 a joint meeting of the County Legislature’s Public Works and Strategic Planning Committees agreed to auction the building, determined the size of its lot, expressed a determination to expedite the sale, and indicated the auction will include restrictions and conditions that will favor CAMP as the successful bidder. They also promised the buyer use of five dedicated parking spaces in the current adjacent parking lot. The county is expected to issue the bid document any day now.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Brian F. Geiger of Bessemer, Alabama, great-great-great-grandson of the aforementioned Pvt. Samuel W. Simmons of Co. H, who was captured at Gettysburg and made a dramatic escape from the prisoner of war camp on Belle Island in the James River opposite Richmond (as related on pages 121-22 of War’s Relentless Hand), but was recaptured and died of fever on New Year’s Day 1864.

Steven G. Brown of Gig Harbor, Washington, great-grandson of Pvt. Charles R. Brown of Co. D, who deserted during the Atlanta campaign and was discharged in June 1865 at a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Last but not least, welcome to Caroline Hannah Dunkelman of Winter Park, Florida, great-great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H—and my second grandchild (joining her older sister Grace Elizabeth Dunkelman, age two and a half). Caroline arrived at 5:22 a.m. on May 3, weighing in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces, measuring 22 inches in length. She’s a beauty! She and her mother, Megan, are doing well, as are her older sister and her dad, my son Karl.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



 

HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

AUGUST 2017

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

The 32nd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York passed off pleasantly on Saturday, July 15 in Springville, New York. We met in front of the beautiful Civil War monument in Fiddler’s Green Park in the center of the village on a fine day. My thanks to Tom Place and Steve Teeft of Springville’s Echoes Through Time Learning Center and Civil War Museum for hosting the reunion and getting everything set up in the park. About fifty descendants and friends attended the reunion. My presentation was on “Our Ancestors as Veterans.” I discussed their involvement in veterans’ organizations such as the Cattaraugus Soldiers’ Union, the Cattaraugus County Branch of the United Service Society, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. I noted the nine members of the regiment who were GAR post namesakes, and gave a brief history of a typical post, Ellicottville’s Samuel C. Noyes Jr. Post 232 (later called Henry Van Aernam Post). GAR posts were instrumental in erecting soldiers’ monuments throughout Cattaraugus County, and I enumerated eight of them. I mentioned Sons of Veterans groups that were named after regimental members. Then I discussed the regimental association and its reunions, and its work to erect the regiment’s monument at Gettysburg. In relating the story of the Cattaraugus County Veterans Association, I noted that its lasting monument was the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. I then announced some big news from CAMP (see below) and introduced CAMP President Tom Stetz and my wife, Annette, who presented Tom with a framed image of the Memorial she had fashioned from felt. Then I talked about visits the veterans made to their old battlefields, the relics they preserved, commercial products they purchased to commemorate their service, and the memoirs and other accounts they wrote of their wartime deeds. I briefly noted the work E. D. Northrup did to research and write a history of the 154th, and his failure to publish it. I closed by noting that not all veterans participated in the activities I had outlined. Some preferred to bury their wartime experiences deep in their memory.

I thank Jolene Hawkins at the Lucy Bensley Center, the Research Library of the Concord Historical Society in Springville, for gathering and displaying newspaper articles about members of the regiment from postwar issues of the Springville Journal, and giving the copies to me after the reunion to add to my files.

My sincere thanks goes to the descendants who made donations toward the reunion expenses either through the mail or in person at the reunion. Your generosity is much appreciated!

After the reunion, Annette and I enjoyed dinner and catching up on news with CAMP’s Tom Stetz and Phil Palen of the Gowanda Area Historical Society, who has been active in the successful ongoing restoration of Gowanda’s landmark Hollywood Theater. During our time in Western New York we also enjoyed visiting friends Ronda Pollock of the Portville Historical and Preservation Society, Paul Spaeth and Dennis Frank of the Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University, and Bill Watkins of the Cattaraugus County Museum and Research Library in Machias, where a selection of beautiful old polychrome lithographic county fair posters was on display. At the museum Annette managed to get a reflection-free detail of a portrait of Second Lieut. George L. Winters of Co. H, which was framed behind glass and also inside a glass case. Winters, who lost an arm at Gettysburg, served as sheriff of Cattaraugus County in the postwar years. We also spent an evening with three fellow descendants of Cpl. John Langhans of Co. H—my nephew Justin Rowland and his children Jude and Sadie, residents of Buffalo’s vibrant Elmwood neighborhood.

An eBay auction in June added another image to the archives at a reasonable price. It’s a bust view carte de visite of a striking looking Sgt. James H. Ryder of Co. B, taken by G. W. Roseberry of Alexandria, Virginia. Ryder enlisted at age eighteen and was badly wounded in the thigh and captured at Chancellorsville. Paroled two weeks later, in September 1864 he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. Some veterans of Co. B remembered him contemptuously, declaring him a “no good” “sucker” of the company’s captain, Dan B. Allen, which perhaps was a factor in Ryder’s promotion from private to sergeant on New Year’s Day 1863. Ryder’s image wasn’t new to me. My late partner Mike Winey years ago copied the same image from the collection of the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs. Still, it’s nice to have a signed original for the collection. Ryder was a New Albion man. He died in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1921. I haven’t investigated his later life, nor have I connected with any of his descendants.

A tip from friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, led to a July eBay acquisition of a bust view carte de visite of Lieut. Col. Henry C. Loomis by Mathew Brady’s New York studio. The carte was unidentified as to subject, but Kyle recognized Loomis and notified me soon after it was posted. No bids had been made, so I was able to strike a “buy it now” deal with the seller. My collection includes a lot of Loomis material, so I’m pleased to add this image to the rest.

On June 26 I was glad to wish a happy 94th birthday to Ed Bearss, chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service, legendary battlefield guide, and the man whose followers made a donation that made possible the 2001 restoration of my mural at Coster Avenue. Ed has spoken and written kindly about the mural and my other work, and provided an endorsement of my book Brothers One and All. I didn’t expect to reach him when I called his home in Arlington, Virginia, figuring he’d be on the road leading another tour of historic sites, and was pleased when he picked up and told me he had returned from a trip just the day before. If you’re unfamiliar with the name Edwin C. Bearss, google it and learn about a man who has been called an American treasure.

Thanks to Jim Welch of Auburndale, Florida, for a photo of a marker at the grave of his great-great-grandfather First Lieutenant Stephen Welch in Allegany Cemetery. The marker, which was donated by the local American Legion post, relates that Welch was awarded a Medal of Honor. At our 21st annual descendants reunion in 2006, we honored Welch and Pvt. Charles W. McKay for being awarded the Medal in recognition of their rescue of a wounded comrade at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia. Jim Welch was one of several Welch descendants who attended the reunion, and he had his ancestor’s Medal of Honor with him.

Thanks to friend and 29th New York descendant Joe Rokus, who lives near the Chancellorsville battlefield, for keeping an eye on the 154th’s monument there, replacing flags, and sending reports and photos on its condition. Joe’s latest dispatch indicates the monument has some slight discoloration, which will bear watching.

Thanks to Gary Emerson of Odessa, New York, for a copy of the June 2017 issue of The Chemung Historical Journal, published by the Chemung County Historical Society in Elmira, containing his article “The Great Swindle: ‘Blind’ Patterson and the Union Pension Fraud.” Gary’s article summarizes the story of Pvt. Francis Patterson of Co. G, who as “Blind” Patterson was involved in the largest Civil War pension scandal of the postwar era. I told Patterson’s story in detail in my book War’s Relentless Hand, which was the main source for Gary’s article.

There is momentous news from CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation). On June 1, CAMP received bid specifications for the auction of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, which was dedicated to the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors in 1914 and has been vacant since the county historical museum moved out in 2004. The bid opening was set for June 30, when it was revealed that CAMP was the lone bidder!

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/c-a-m-p-submits-lone-bid-for-building/article_d9665c22-6246-11e7-9bfc-03ebab6df95a.html

On July 19, the County Legislature’s public works and finance committees passed two resolutions clearing the way for the sale of the Memorial to CAMP:

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/county-moves-to-sell-catt-co-memorial-and-historic-building/article_76813380-6e1b-11e7-8b8e-7bfa90b122de.html

A week later, on July 26, the full Cattaraugus County Legislature passed the two resolutions regarding the sale of the Memorial to CAMP:

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/c-a-m-p-saves-civil-war-memorial-from-wrecking/article_95d8349a-72c6-11e7-81ff-13b45b4993d1.html

Once the county and CAMP sign the necessary papers, the transfer will be complete. Then, as CAMP president Tom Stetz has remarked, the hard work will begin—raising funds for a thorough restoration and determining a fitting use for the restored Memorial.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Tom Cheney of Fayetteville, New York, great-grandnephew of Capt. Matthew B. Cheney of Co. G, who was wounded at Gettysburg while rescuing a flag of the 134th New York and discharged a year later for a disability caused by his wound. Tom joined us at the reunion.

Kimberly Marcott Weinberg of Bradford, Pennsylvania, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. William Willover of Co. I, who was severely wounded in the leg during the Atlanta campaign but remained with the regiment at the muster-out. Kimberly also joined us at the reunion.

Brothers Seth and Caleb Corona of Rochester, New York, great-great-grandnephews of Sgt. Augustus A. Shippy of Co. B, who was killed at the Battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, while attempting to rescue the flag when color-bearer Sgt. George Bishop was killed after planting it on the mountaintop. Four of Augustus’s brothers also served in the Union army, including the Coronas’ great-great-grandfather Cpl. Eugene Shippy of the 85th New York.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

OCTOBER 2017

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

In October 2013, the Cattaraugus County Legislature voted to demolish the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, which was dedicated to the county’s Civil War soldiers and sailors, including our ancestors of the 154th New York. When I notified you of that decision, you bombarded the legislators with protests and put a halt to their plans. In 2014 CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) was formed with the goal of saving and restoring the Memorial. In the last newsletter I reported that the county legislature had approved the sale of the Memorial to CAMP. Since then CAMP’s board of directors (of which I’m a member) unanimously voted to proceed to acquire the Memorial. The closing will take place in Little Valley on October 4. Then will begin the task of raising funds for the restoration. When that time comes, I’ll be asking you to contribute to the cause. In the meantime, for more information about CAMP, please visit the website, link below.

I’m pleased to report that I have a new publication in the works titled Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue: The Brickyard Fight and the Mural. Some of you have a copy of the eight-page booklet, The Coster Avenue Mural in Gettysburg, which I published after the mural was installed in 1988. It has long since been out of print. Since then there have been two new versions of the mural, and I thought it was time for a new and greatly expanded version of the booklet. In it I go into much more detail about the battle in and around John Kuhn’s brickyard on the afternoon of July 1, 1863, and the development and various versions of the mural. It will also contain numerous photographs. I’m glad to announce that Gettysburg Publishing will publish the book next spring, which will mark the mural’s 30th anniversary:

http://www.gettysburgpublishing.com

Check out the July 21 and August 3 postings about the project on Gettysburg Publishing’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Gettysburgpublishing/

I’m also glad to announce that I’ll debut the book in Gettysburg next spring. On the evening of Tuesday, April 17, 2018, I’ll speak about the mural and show artwork for it at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall on East Middle Street, sponsored by Historic Gettysburg Adams County. I hope to make other appearances while I’m in Gettysburg. I’ll include a list in the April 2018 edition of the newsletter.

Since its inception in 1979, I’ve subscribed to Military Images magazine:

http://militaryimagesmagazine.com

Over the years I’ve contributed a dozen articles to the magazine about members of the 154th New York, plus an interview (in the November-December 1993 issue) of my late partner, Mike Winey, during his heyday as curator of Special Collections at the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, where he oversaw the largest collection of Civil War photographs in the country. I’ve made a more modest contribution to the current Autumn 2017 issue, which includes a survey of photos of Civil War veterans posing with World War I soldiers and sailors (“Blue, Gray, and Khaki”). I contributed a real photo postcard from my collection of Pvt. Charles E. Whitney of Co. I, a survivor of Andersonville prison, with an unidentified doughboy. A similar photo of Major Harrison Cheney posing with his doughboy grandson and namesake, shared with me in the 1970s by the younger Cheney, appeared in The Hardtack Regiment.

I’ve long been a member of the Center for Civil War Photography and have had the pleasure of attending a couple of their annual Image of War seminars (Chattanooga in 2011 and Gettysburg in 2016):

https://civilwarphotography.org/ccwp/

Recently I corresponded with several CCWP members about the Humiston story, which resulted in the September 29 posting on their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/civilwarphotography/

Personally, I’ve avoided Facebook and other social media. I joke that I follow antisocial media. Actually, I’m on the computer a lot for my Civil War history work—I don’t want to spend more time chained to it than necessary. That said, my band, Clip Clop, has put up a Facebook page so if you’re a Facebook person and are so inclined, like us!

https://www.facebook.com/clipclopband/

I was the sole bidder for an autograph album that belonged to Dudley L. Page, a veteran of the 33rd Massachusetts. It contained seventeen autographs, including those of James W. Bird, Hiram A. Martin, and William E. Witherell of the 154th New York. The 33rd Massachusetts served with the 154th in the 20th Army Corps, and the other signatures in the book are also of members of 20th Corps regiments, including the 5th Connecticut, 33rd New Jersey, 55th Ohio, and 29th Pennsylvania. On what occasion or occasions did Page collect the autographs? Grand Army of the Republic encampments? Gettysburg reunions? Who knows? It’s a mystery. There are also three signatures clipped from Civil War documents of staff officers, including Henry W. Perkins, assistant adjutant general in the 20th Corps. The album is in nice shape, with marbled endpapers and a pen (without a nib) in a special holder.

Thanks to friend Joe Rokus for continuing to keep an eye on the 154th New York’s monument on the Chancellorsville battlefield. Joe sent photos showing that the discoloration on the monument that he reported several months ago had vanished. He theorizes it was caused by heavy pollen that has since washed away. Joe is a descendant of a soldier of the 29th New York, which formed the right flank of Buschbeck’s brigade (the 154th was on the left flank) on the evening of May 2, 1863.

Thanks to Bill Spiking of Saint Joseph, Missouri, for articles from the King City (MO) Chronicle regarding Bill’s great-great-granduncle Pvt. Thomas D. Spiking Jr. of Co. F. They relate sad stories, of a suicide attempt by Spiking in 1898 (he subsequently was hospitalized in an insane asylum), his death in 1901, and the accidental killing of his widow in 1904 by his son and namesake.

Thanks to Bruce Dineen of Salamanca for a photo of the headstone of Cpl. Shepherd N. Thomas of Co. A in the Sugartown Cemetery in Great Valley. Thomas was captured at Gettysburg, paroled at Lookout Valley, Tennessee in December 1863, and mustered out in June 1865 at a hospital in Buffalo.

Thanks to long-time friend Phil Palen of the Gowanda Area Historical Society for a scan of a photograph of Amos Kysor and his wife taken in Long Beach, California, in 1928. As a corporal of Co. K, Kysor was captured at Chancellorsville, paroled two weeks later, and mustered out in May 1865 at Elmira, New York. He died in Long Beach in 1934.

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Stephen Morgan of Danbury, North Carolina, great-great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Benjamin D. Morgan of Co. F, one of the “Welsh Boys” from Freedom, who was captured at Chancellorsville, paroled two weeks later at City Point, and deserted while on his way to rejoin the regiment. Stephen is also a great-great-grandnephew of Pvt. Henry Hagadone (Hagerdon) of Co. B, who deserted on June 25, 1863, near Jefferson, Maryland, while the regiment was on the march that took it to Gettysburg.

A digression . . . Several of my southern correspondents wrote and asked for my opinion about the removal of Confederate monuments in the South, both before and after August 12, when the issue took a deadly turn with the ugly riots and killing in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here is how I replied to all of them; this was written before August 12, but I stand by my belief that monument removal is a local matter:

The removal of Confederate monuments in the South is a complex issue. Although I understand the desire of certain portions of the population to remove them—certainly the activists among African Americans—I’m opposed to their removal. I think the best suggestions have been to somehow contextualize them to make it plain they were erected to perpetuate Lost Cause mythology and consequently rationalize an immoral cause—the perpetuation of slavery, which was the foundation of the Confederate States of America. But who am I to say, as the great-grandson of a Union soldier and a lifelong resident of the North? If the people of New Orleans or Charlottesville or other towns deem it proper to take down the monuments, it’s their decision. I don’t think they are erasing history; they are making history. The people who are erasing history in this country are the so-called educators who spend too little time teaching American youth about our history and civic responsibilities.

And I’ll say this about the staunchest present-day defenders of the Confederacy—they don’t have a leg to stand on. They will talk in circles and lie through their teeth to avoid admitting the truth—that the Confederacy was formed to perpetuate race-based slavery, and thus was a morally bankrupt proposition.

If by making these statements I just wore out my welcome in Georgia, so be it!

By the way, check out the current issue [October 2017] of Civil War Times magazine, which includes the comments of fifteen historians on the question, “What should happen to Confederate monuments?”

This so-called erasing of Confederate history is not a new topic. Check out this blog posting by my friend Kevin Levin:

http://cwmemory.com/2017/07/31/the-long-retreat-of-confederate-heritage/

Note that this “erasing” is instigated in every case by Southerners themselves, not some wily Yankee agitators!

Neo-Confederates loudly trumpet that they preach “heritage, not hate,” but their Nazi and Ku Klux Klan allies in Charlottesville show that to be a hollow assertion. If you look into the history of Confederate monuments, you’ll find that many of them were erected in the twentieth century as symbols of white supremacy—potent reminders to the black population as to who remained in charge in the South. As others have pointed out, the effect that the Charleston church murders had on display of the Confederate flag is now being echoed by the effect of Charlottesville on the fate of Confederate monuments.

I’ll close these observations with an irony: I saw several Confederate flags on display this summer while driving around Cattaraugus County, New York, home to most of the members of the 154th . . .

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



 

HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

DECEMBER 2017

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation) has great news. On October 4, the group made the final payment, filed the necessary papers, recorded the deed, and became the owner of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. Thus successfully closed the first phase of CAMP’s mission—to ensure that the county did not demolish the Memorial as it had planned. Rick Miller of the Olean Times Herald, who has covered the Memorial story since it began in 2013, filed this story:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/camp-buys-cattaraugus-county-civil-war-memorial/article_03f84d7c-a96b-11e7-825e-fb4eea555cce.html

This article by CAMP member Deb Everts in the Jamestown Post Journal adds details:

http://www.post-journal.com/news/local-news/2017/10/changing-of-the-guards-2/

On October 10 I wrote to you with the good news and asked you to make a donation to CAMP, which needs funds to stabilize the Memorial, pay for the utilities, hire a historic preservation architectural specialist, and lay other groundwork for the complete restoration. To those of you who responded with contributions, many thanks! If you haven’t given yet, please consider making a tax-deductible donation in memory of your ancestor. Donations come to CAMP through the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, and can be made by check through the mail or online. Information on how to donate is found here:

http://cattcomemorial.com/donate/

CAMP member and 154th New York descendant Cynthia Whited (great-granddaughter of Color Sergeant Allen Williams of Co. D) has set up a Go Fund Me page, and you can donate to CAMP there too:

https://www.gofundme.com/relight-the-dome-of-courage

The Go Fund me development was covered in this Rick Miller story in the Salamanca Press:

http://www.salamancapress.com/news/c-a-m-p-starts-gofundme-page-for-initial-memorial/article_aa3e365c-bd74-11e7-a671-9765cc631c95.html

Thanks to friend Gerry Prokopowicz, host of Civil War Talk Radio, for plugging the CAMP cause on the October 11 episode of his weekly show:

http://www.impedimentsofwar.org/singleshow.php?show=1407

As Gerry stated, all the donations he receives until the end of the year will be turned over to CAMP. He continued to plug the effort on succeeding shows. Thanks for your support, Gerry!

This interview of CAMP President Tom Stetz by Emerging Civil War blogger Daniel Welch relates CAMP’s mission to date:

https://emergingcivilwar.com/2017/11/11/cattaraugus-county-memorial-preservation-update/

In the February 2017 issue of the newsletter, I reported that I had purchased more than sixty documents relating to Capt. James L. Harding of the 154th New York, who served as acting assistant inspector general of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Corps. In October the gentleman who sold the Harding collection, Paul Brzozowski of Fairfield, Connecticut, a dealer in historic American documents and letters, notified me he had turned up six additional Harding documents. We struck a deal and I added them to the regimental archives. All six date from 1865. On March 7 Army of Georgia commander Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum informed his command of strong Unionism among North Carolinians and stated, “It should not be assumed that the inhabitants are enemies to our Government and it is to be hoped that every effort will be made to prevent any wanton destruction of her property or any unkind treatment of citizens.” On March 20 Harding submitted a “letter of advice” noting that while the soldiers of the 2nd Brigade were in need of shoes, socks, and trousers, they were well provided with meat and cornmeal by foraging parties, and were blessed with good health, physical condition, and morale. On April 28, 20th Corps commander Maj. Gen. Joseph A. Mower issued orders for the march from Raleigh to Washington. The war being over, “There will be no foraging upon the country, private property will be respected, and soldiers will not be allowed to enter dwelling houses.” Apparently that order was not scrupulously obeyed, because on May 1, 2nd Division commander Brig. Gen. John W. Geary ordered each of his three brigade commanders to detail safeguards for houses along the route of the march. On May 9, Geary issued directives for his command’s march the next day through the fallen capital of the Confederacy, Richmond. “Caps and badges must be worn throughout, and the persons, clothing, arms, and accoutrements of the men be clean and neat. The usual honors and salutes will be paid.” On May 20, Geary notified his command of the upcoming Grand Review in Washington. “This will be the greatest and probably the final pageant of the war,” he wrote, “and will attract thousands of our Northern friends to witness it. The General Cmdg. Division wishes to impress upon every officer and soldier in this command the importance of making the finest display possible. This Division has been justly noted in this Army for its excellence on Review. Here we come in comparison again with our old comrades of the Army of the Potomac, and here too we can bear off the palm by timely attention and preparation. Let no pains be spared in making the most complete preparations for this Review.” Apparently Geary’s men took his orders to heart. The Washington Chronicle said of Geary’s command at the Grand Review, “This was the crack division of the Corps. Their almost-perfect marching and fine soldierly bearing met with frequent plaudits along the line of march.”

I was the only bidder in an October eBay auction and consequently got a bargain for a souvenir ribbon from the 21st Annual Reunion of the 154th and Co’s I & H 37th Regimental Association, which was held at Salamanca, New York on August 6, 1908. I have nine other of these regimental reunion ribbons from various years, including two handed down to me from my great-grandfather. At the time of the 1908 reunion, Amos B. Weast, a former sergeant of Co. D, was president of the regimental association; First Lieutenant Alex Bird of Co. F was secretary. Cattaraugus County observed its centennial in 1908, and apparently the reunion coincided with the main celebration (the 64th New York held its reunion in Salamanca the same day). According to a newspaper announcement of the 154th’s reunion, “The organization will be assigned a place in the centennial parade, which will start at 10 a.m., and carriages will be furnished for all the veterans.” I’ve never researched the centennial observance, but I’d imagine photographs were taken of the parade. If so, I’d love to see photos of the Civil War veterans taking part.

Two November eBay auctions brought three new Humiston cartes de visite to my already sizable collection. One is the portrait of Amos Humiston, retouched to appear as a soldier, by the Philadelphia photographer Frederick Gutekunst. I have one of these in which the explanatory inscription on the back states that “the copies are sold in aid of the Orphan’s Homestead. J. Francis Bourns, Sec’y, Philadelphia, Pa.” This new one states, “the copies are sold for the assistance of the dependent orphans,” in other words, the Humiston children—meaning this one predates the other. Another Gutekunst carte depicts little Frank, Frederick, and Alice in a different format than other examples in my collection. This carte and the one of Amos both came from the same seller, no doubt found together in an album. The third carte is also by Gutekunst, without any inscriptions, indicating it was produced before the devoted father and his family were identified. With these additions, I now have two different cartes of Amos and twenty-three variants of the carte of the children. Each image tells the story yet again.

Another November eBay purchase added to the archives a 31-page postwar memoir of his service by Pvt. Stephen R. Green of Co. E. About two months before, friend Nick Picerno of New Market, Virginia, notified me that a woman in Front Royal, Virginia, had the memoir and wanted to sell it. In conversations by phone and text, she and I were unable to agree on a price. Then she listed it on eBay at a very high “buy it now” price, without any takers. She lowered the price considerably and relisted it; still no takers. Then she lowered the price a third time, which brought it within my range, and we made a deal. A number of Green’s wartime letters were already in my files, so I’m glad to have the memoir to accompany them. In my book Brothers One and All I noted that Green made a special effort to record the 154th’s history in his diary and letters, and urged his wife to keep a scrapbook of regimental news. That he retained his recollections is evident in his memoir, which was written from memory during a period when he was away from home, but is nonetheless comprehensive and vivid. Take, for example, his account of the third day of the Battle of Chattanooga, November 25, 1863:

Nov 25 1863 Near morning Co. E had orders for the skirmish line. we was expected to advance the line or to form a new one. Co. E A little before daylight crossed a field to the woods where some of our men were posted. then crossed Rail Road into woods where one man and I were posted others went on. about that time it was getting light enough to see a little the Rebs saw us and begun fireing at us we soon learned there was many of them in the woods. Wm Covey the man with me said “I am hit” I got him behind the roots of a tree turned over he was wounded in the hand. I could see the Rebs going out of the woods behind some R.R. ties a few rods up the track. A Sergeant returned with orders to go back acrost R.R. to the men left there. I thought of the men behind the ties and more going I said the sooner we go the better come on. so many shot at me the others did not follow. when I got acrost our men had gone. I had to go acrost a field 50 or 60 rods to get out of the way, with 40 men or more fireing at me I got a ball through my haversack two through coat, but not a scratch. We had three men wounded. We learned where they were. formed a new line and flanked them. took some prisoners. It was evening when we learned that our flag and men was on the Ridge. the Rebels gone or prisoners

Thanks to Cristie Herbst of Westfield, New York, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. John Jackway of Co. E, for an unusual postwar photograph of Jackway’s brother-in-law and company comrade, Pvt. Dudley H. Beadle. In the photo, which is in the collections of the Chautauqua County Historical Society in Westfield, Beadle is decked out for some special but unknown occasion, with a decorated top hat and what appears to be a sprig of greenery attached to his jacket. It’s the first image to surface of Beadle, who was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in November 1864.

Thanks to Judy Martin of Allegany, New York, for a reproduction of a postwar portrait of Pvt. Thomas Regan (Reagan) of Co. G and his family, circa 1887. I had a poor quality copy of the image in my 154th New York portrait albums, and it’s nice to replace it with this good quality scan. Regan was badly wounded in the left lung at the battle of Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, but managed to recover and was mustered out with the regiment at the end of the war.

Thanks to Jolene Hawkins of the Lucy Bensley Center in Springville, New York, for an advertisement for their “Fashionable Tailoring Establishment,” placed by Constant Graves and his son George E. Graves—a future private of Co. D, 154th New York—in the Springville Express of Saturday, November 23, 1844. According to a Graves biographical sketch and obituary, his family living in Cooperstown, New York, when George was born in 1823, and he came to Cattaraugus County in 1858. But this ad shows that the family was in Western New York by the 1840s. Graves was a tailor his entire life. Like Stephen Green, as mentioned above, Graves was concerned with recording the regiment’s history as it unfolded. As I noted in Brothers One and All, Graves “surveyed some of the regiment’s battlefields after the fighting stopped, mapped the positions of the 154th and other regiments and batteries, and recorded the date, number of casualties, weather, distances between landmarks, and so on.” Unfortunately, none of Graves’s maps are known to survive.

Thanks to the English historian Ron Field and Osprey Publishing (Oxford, UK) for a complimentary copy of his new book, Silent Witness: The Civil War Through Photography and Its Photographers. I contributed images of the Humiston children and Amos Humiston to the book, and Ron referred to my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier for his account of the Humistons. He also cited my article “Precious Shadows: The Importance of Photographs to Civil War Soldiers, as Revealed by a Typical Union Regiment,” which appeared in Military Images magazine. Silent Witness is a sumptuous book, with many color illustrations (both cartes de visite and so-called hard images—daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes—were sometimes hand-tinted). If you’re interested in Civil War photography, Ron’s book offers a good overview, and is a bargain to boot:

https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Witness-through-Photography-Photographers/dp/1472822765/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508007880&sr=1-1&keywords=ron+field+silent+witness

Thank you to James S. Pula, Professor of History at Purdue University Northwest, and publisher Savas Beatie (El Dorado Hills, CA) for a complimentary copy of Volume 1 of Jim’s new book, Under the Crescent Moon with the XI Corps in the Civil War. This first volume covers “From the Defenses of Washington to Chancellorsville, 1862-1863.” The 154th New York was assigned to the Eleventh Corps and served with it at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Chattanooga and Knoxville campaigns until April 1864, on the eve of the Atlanta campaign, when the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were merged to form the Twentieth Corps. Jim used my books The Hardtack Regiment and Brothers One and All and two articles as sources, together with 154th New Yorkers’ letters in repositories, so the regiment has a solid presence in his book. Members listed in the index include William Charles, Alanson Crosby, James Emmons, William Harper, Amos Humiston, Isaac T. Jenkins, Patrick Henry Jones, Alva Merrill, Dwight Moore, George W. Newcomb, Isaac N. Porter, Addison Rice, Horace Smith, Emory Sweetland, Henry Van Aernam, and Lewis D. Warner. There are photographs of Jones, Sweetland, and Van Aernam. I was pleased and honored to review Jim’s manuscript and provide an endorsement for the book, which is available at a discount from Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Under-Crescent-Moon-Corps-Civil/dp/1611213371/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508941971&sr=1-5&keywords=james+s+pula

On the first weekend of November I was pleased to meet Stephen D. Engle, professor of history at Florida Atlantic University, and his wife, Stephanie, when they came to Providence for Steve to speak to the annual dinner of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table about his new book, Gathering to Save a Nation: Lincoln and the Union’s War Governors (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016). I’ve been aware of Steve’s work for some time—I purchased his biography of Franz Sigel, the first commander of the Eleventh Corps, when it was published in 1993. My wife, Annette, and I enjoyed our time with the Engles, which included a visit to Providence’s signature event, Waterfire, and the nearby equestrian statue of General Ambrose E. Burnside.

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Nancy Adams of Forestville, New York, collateral relative of Surgeon Dwight W. Day.

Marianne Brown Lord of Cincinnati, Ohio, great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. Giles N. Johnson of Co. B, who was wounded in the foot at Gettysburg, suffered an amputation, and was discharged for disability.

I’ll close this edition with a personal note. Annette and I enjoyed celebrating my 70th birthday on October 29 with our son, Karl, his wife, Megan, and our two adorable little granddaughters, Grace and Caroline, at their home in Winter Park, Florida. Sixty years ago, as a ten-year-old in 1957, my imagination captured by stories and relics of my great-grandfather, Cpl. John Langhans of the 154th New York, I asked for a copy of the newly reprinted memoirs of General William Tecumseh Sherman as a birthday or Christmas gift. Within the next few years I would build a little collection of Civil War books with the autobiography of General Oliver Otis Howard (in two volumes), the works of Bruce Catton, and others. But I had no idea that in the future I would have the good fortune to connect with more than 1,200 descendants of members of my ancestor’s regiment, would locate, copy, and transcribe more than 1,700 of the soldiers’ letters, 25 of their diaries, hundreds of their photographic portraits, and a great mass of other material relating to them—let alone publish six books and dozens of articles about various aspects of the regiment’s history. It’s been an amazing journey, and a highly gratifying one. And I couldn’t have done it without you, the descendants and friends of the regiment, and many others who have left us but are still held dearly in my heart.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



 

2018 Newsletters



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

FEBRUARY 2018

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce that the 33rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York will take place on Saturday, August 25, 2018, on the grounds of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building on the corner of Court and Seventh Streets in Little Valley, New York. The reunion will be hosted by CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation), which now owns the Memorial and attached Board of Elections building. Our program will focus on the drive to restore the memorial, which was dedicated to our ancestors of the 154th New York and their soldier and sailor comrades from Cattaraugus County, but we’ll also welcome a special guest who will debut a special memento to aid the cause. Look for details in future issues of the newsletter.

CAMP continues to seek funding to stabilize the Memorial/BOE complex, pay for the utilities, hire a historic preservation architectural specialist, and lay other groundwork for the complete restoration. Donations to CAMP are tax-deductible. Information on how to contribute can be found here:

http://cattcomemorial.com

My late partner Mike Winey used to say that the well would never run dry when it came to memorabilia of the 154th coming to light. Although the rate of relics surfacing has slowed somewhat in recent years, it hasn’t diminished entirely. The new year of 2018 is off to a great start with a number of items added to the archives. And I continue to hear from “new” descendants of members of the regiment, which is always exciting.

I made the only bid in an auction for a document extracted from a book of congressional reports. The committee on invalid pensions recommended passage of a bill to declare Louisa A. Brigham as the “former widow” of Cpl. George W. Bailey of Co. G, a Gettysburg captive who had died in Andersonville in 1864, and reinstate the pension she had relinquished when she married one Walter E. Brigham in 1872. The committee’s minority reported that the rules prohibited such a move, and questioned her current marital status with Brigham. They voted to table the bill. The majority argued that Walter Brigham tricked Louisa into marrying him; “that she lived with him only eight months, and left him because he mistreated her, drank hard, and failed to provide for her, and that since their separation she has supported herself by her own labor.” Presumably Louisa got her pension; the Bailey file would hold the answer. I’ve never sent for it. I’ve gathered a goodly number of the regiment’s pension files, but they are a small amount compared to how many were created. The ideal would be to have all of them on microfilm, like I have the regimental descriptive books, muster rolls, and miscellaneous papers, but even then the cost would be prohibitive.

A gentleman in Rochester, New York, advised me that his cousin had some 154th New York documents for sale, and a deal brought five muster rolls relating Co. B to the archives—including musters of officers Capt. Simeon V. Pool, First Lieut. James L. Harding, and Second Lieut. Byron A. Johnston. With them were a couple of documents relating to other regiments, which I returned to the sellers.

Thanks to Marcia Copeland Jowers of Wylie, Texas, for a photograph of her great-grandfather Cpl. James Copeland of Co. D in his later years, together with his family. Copeland was captured at Chancellorsville and wounded in the face at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia. After the Chancellorsville battle, Surgeon Henry Van Aernam wrote, “Jimmy Copeland, our boys say, is the bravest of the brave.”

Thanks to Cyndy Whited of Spencerport, New York, great-granddaughter of Color Sergeant Allen Williams of Co. D, for a photo of the Williams family circa 1909-1910. In it Williams is wearing several ribbons and badges of a Civil War veteran. Cyndy also shared a photo of Allen Williams’ postwar ladder badge. These badges were popular among the veterans, who purchased them to identify their unit. They consisted of three or four metal segments chained together vertically by links, resembling a ladder (hence the name). This example is unusual in that it includes inscriptions of Williams’ name and the star badge of the 20th Corps. Williams is depicted wearing different badges in postwar photos, but not this one.

Thanks to friend Kyle Stetz of Charlottesville, Virginia, for a scan of a recent acquisition, a wartime carte de visite of Alanson Crosby, who served as a first lieutenant, adjutant, and captain in the 154th. Crosby was captured at Gettysburg and made a daring escape from the Confederates, only to be mortally wounded during the Atlanta campaign. I told his story in detail in my book War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers. Previously, only one image of Crosby was known to exist—the bust image included on the montage of regimental officers made at the end of the war (and reproduced in War’s Relentless Hand and The Hardtack Regiment). This new image depicts Crosby three-quarters length standing with his arms crossed and is inscribed on the front, “Yours always my friend A. Crosby.” The photographer was Thomas H. Johnson, but where he operated is unknown. Kyle and I both guess the picture was likely taken in Elmira, New York, while Crosby was on duty there for several months after his Gettysburg adventure. The new Crosby image is a great addition to the 154th New York portrait albums.

The Dunkelman and Winey Collection of the 154th New York is not the only Civil War collection at St. Bonaventure University. Recently my long-time friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, donated a large collection of the wartime letters of Adrian Fay, a Great Valley man who served in the 105th and 94th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiments:

http://archives.sbu.edu/civil_war/Adrian_Fay/index.html

Phil pieced together the collection—which includes 175 letters—from various sources over more than two decades. Of interest to us is Fay’s mention of the 154th Regiment and members thereof in a number of his letters. As a Cattaraugus County man, he knew and mentioned several of them, including his first cousin, Cpl. Charles H. Field of Co. B. A June 8, 1863 letter from Field to Fay is included in the collection. It contains Field’s summary of the Battle of Chancellorsville: “Well Adrian I got out of the fight al right but I had a pretty narow chance for it. Our regt went into the fight with 500 men and came out with 250 so you see that half wer killed wounded and taken prisoners. You said you had been in six or seven battles and never run but once. Well Add I had to run the first one I went in to but I wunt any to blame for that. Our regt fought well but you see the way it was the rebs attacted a division in front of us. They run right back through our lines. Two regts of our brigade fired one or two rounds & then run. About half of another regt run. That left our regt and a half of another to fight it out. We give them the best we had in the house untill they had flanked us on both sides then we had to fall back through a cross fire of grape and canister and shell & rifle balls. I tell you I don’t want to get into another such place.”

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Sarah Fadlaoui of Ellicott City, Maryland, great-great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Sidney Moore of Co. D, who was captured at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, and was the only known member of the regiment to successfully escape from Andersonville prison.

Jonathan Harrington of Ocean, New Jersey, great-grandnephew of Pvt. Edward G. Harrington and Pvt. Horace B. Harrington of Co. F (brothers) and Pvt. Dennis A. Brand of Co. D. The Harrington brothers were September 1864 enlistees and were mustered out with the regiment at the war’s end. Brand was captured at Chancellorsville and paroled before he was killed in action during the Atlanta campaign.

Alice Edwards of Erie, Pennsylvania, great-great-granddaughter of Pvt. Jacob M. Vedder of Co. G. Alice, a professor of Spanish at Mercyhurst University, kindly shared her transcriptions of fifteen of Vedder’s wartime letters, which had been copied verbatim into a notebook by his wife. Like my great-grandfather John Langhans, Jacob was one of the September 1864 enlistees, and his letters provide a new timeline for the trip the volunteers made from Dunkirk, New York, to Atlanta, where they joined the regiment. It’s exciting for me to learn details about that trip to the front and the subsequent marches under General Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas. I now know, for example, that the enlistees received their uniforms at Elmira and their muskets at Chattanooga on their way to Atlanta. At the conclusion of the March to the Sea, Jacob informed his wife, “Savannah has a lot of pretty girls. The women of the city are all rather good looking much better than I’ve seen in the South before.” (One wonders what Harriet Vedder thought of that information!) Near the end of the Carolinas Campaign he wrote from Goldsboro, North Carolina, “We have had a long march and endured many hardships but we have done much damage to the rebels. We left in South Carolina nothing but heaps of ruin. Sherman let slip the dogs of war all over the state. South Carolina is one broad field of desolation. Nothing was spared.” Shortly thereafter, Jacob noted a soldier was executed on March 31, 1865, after having been convicted by court martial of the rape of a seventy-year-old woman. (The rapist was Pvt. James Preble of the 12th New York Cavalry.) “Damn him it served him right,” Jacob wrote of Preble, “and there is others who ought to be served the same way. In South Carolina [crimes were committed] which if known would disgrace the army and the whole Union cause in the eyes of the whole civilized world. But the dark deeds are all kept still and but few knew the truth.” Jacob was an expressive and informative writer, and his letters are a great addition to the archives. (I wish I had access to them when I wrote Marching with Sherman!) Thanks, Alice!

Betty-Jean Pechtel Hathaway of Bennington, Vermont, great-granddaughter of Sgt. Amos B. Weast of Co. D, who served throughout the war and mustered out with the regiment at Bladensburg, Maryland, in June 1865.

Wendy Ellis Morrison of Bloomington, Minnesota, great-great-grandniece of Pvt. Henry Ellis of Co. H, who enlisted at age eighteen in Little Valley and was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. According to a document Wendy shared with me, Henry had three brothers and all of them served in the Civil War. One was killed in action in addition to Henry.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

APRIL 2018

Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

I’m pleased to announce the imminent publication of Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue: The Brickyard Fight and the Mural. This 50-page booklet from Gettysburg Publishing is a greatly expanded and all new version of the 8-page booklet I self-published after the Coster Avenue Mural was installed in 1988, which has long since been out of print. For years the old, original mural was in such bad shape that I hesitated to draw attention to it. Frankly, it was an embarrassment. When the new glass version of the mural went up in 2015, however, I once again was ready to urge people to see it, and I knew the time was right for an updated booklet. I’m very pleased with the result. I thank Kevin Drake of Gettysburg Publishing for giving me much input as to its look. It’s very gratifying to me to see Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue published on the thirtieth anniversary of the mural. It contains detailed accounts of the fight at Kuhn’s brickyard on the First Day of the battle and the development of the mural more than a century later. It includes 53 illustrations, more than half of them in color, among them my early sketches for the mural and subsequent painted versions. It also contains a brand-new map, and endnotes to the text. The front cover features my final pencil sketch for the mural and the artwork created by my artistic partner Johan Bjurman for the glass version. The back cover is graced by a rare early photograph of Coster Avenue and endorsements from Peter S. Carmichael, Professor of History at Gettysburg College and Director of the Civil War Institute, and Garry Adelman, author and Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg. Front and back covers can be seen in the March 1 posting of Gettysburg Publishing’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Gettysburgpublishing/

Look for information about ordering the booklet in the June edition of the newsletter, and at the Gettysburg Publishing website:

http://www.gettysburgpublishing.com

In the last chapter of my book Brothers One and All I told the story of Edwin D. Northrup, the Ellicottville lawyer who appointed himself historian of the 154th New York and worked for more than twenty years on a regimental history, only to fail to have it published. Northrup’s manuscript is not known to survive. In my book I speculated it might have been destroyed in a fire that swept through his office in 1917, two years before he died. Now, a document that I recently acquired indicates that Northrup’s manuscript survived him. It’s a letter from Calvin A. Brainard, a veteran private of Co. F, to a Miss Northrup, dated October 30, 1921. At the time, Brainard was chairman of the Memorial and Executive Committee of Buffalo’s Grand Army of the Republic. The letter reads:

“Yours of the 26th rec’d – also the box – I realize now why your cousin suggested to me to go out and see the manuscript however am glad now it is hear and I shall go through it thoroughly as I can find time – which will be limited for awhile – but I will take good care of it and as soon as I can form an opinion about the publication will let you know - I imagine it can be cut down some but will know better after examining it – am glad to get it and wish to thank you for your cooperation.”

Miss Northrup, I believe, was E. D. Northrup’s daughter Ellen Northrup, who ran a millinery shop beneath Northrup’s law office in the brick block in Ellicottville. And the lengthy manuscript I believe must have been her father’s history of the 154th, which E. D. Northrup estimated would fill 900 to 1200 double-columned pages. What other manuscript would Miss Northrup send to a veteran of the regiment her father had labored for so long to chronicle? It appears she wanted Brainard to review the manuscript and help arrange for its publication. If this speculation is correct, it begs several questions. Did Brainard review the manuscript as he promised? Did he attempt to find a publisher for the book? (If he did, he didn’t succeed.) Did he return the manuscript to Miss Northrup or keep it? And the question I’ve asked ever since I learned of Northrup’s history back in the 1970s—what ultimately happened to the manuscript?

I’ve often said how different my life would have been had Northrup’s history been published. Chances are my great-grandfather John Langhans, a devoted veteran of the 154th, would have bought a copy. The book quite likely would have been on the shelves of my family’s home in suburban Buffalo during my childhood. Would it have interested me as much as the stories and relics that my father and aunt shared with me of their grandfather? One thing is for sure—it wouldn’t have driven me to do what I’ve done in researching and writing about the 154th New York. And the fact that my late partner Mike Winey and I were aware of Northrup’s failed attempt to publish a history of the regiment made us all the more determined to see our own history in print, which we succeeded in doing with the publication in 1981 of The Hardtack Regiment.

My thanks go to friend Kyle Stetz of Keswick, Virginia, for notifying me of the Brainard-Northrup letter and offering to part with it for a reasonable price. Coincidentally, Kyle is the fellow who told me that a tintype of my great-grandfather was up for bids on eBay (which I was able to obtain for only $45). Kyle also told me that Calvin Brainard’s GAR uniform was for sale on eBay, which I also added to the archives. Incidentally, Calvin enlisted together with his father, Asa Brainard; they were one of eight pairs of fathers and sons who served in the 154th. A photograph of the two of them appears in Brothers One and All.

In the January 2000 issue of North & South magazine I published an article titled “A Reflection of Their Own Image,” which chronicled the occasions when members of the 154th New York fraternized with their Confederate enemies. I noted, “Like many regiments of North and South, whenever the 154th New York came in close proximity of the enemy at the front—elsewhere than on the battlefield, of course—fraternization was the rule.” Among those occasions was the time the regiment faced the Confederates across the Chattahoochee River in Georgia, from July 7 to 17, 1864. Sgt. Joshua R. Pettit of Co. A recorded in his diary on July 11, “I was down to the river today and seen the Rebs and talked with them.” Two days later Pvt. Emory Sweetland of Co. B recorded, “Our pickets are on one side of the river and the Rebs on the other & by common consent all fireing between pickets has ceased for the present & Johneys & Yanks bathe in the same stream & carry [on] quite a trade in coffee, sugar & tobacco.” On July 14 Major Lewis D. Warner wrote to the Olean Times, “The pickets are along the water’s edge, and they are on very good terms, and quite a traffic has sprung up in the articles of coffee and tobacco. The rate of exchange agreed upon is, as I am informed, one pint of coffee for three plugs of tobacco. The Rebel officers try to prohibit this sort of intercourse, but with little effect. They are no doubt fearful of the effect on their men. There are no such fears entertained with regard to our boys.”

Knowing of the confabs on the Chattahoochee, you can imagine how pleased I was recently to come across a letter from a Confederate soldier who signed himself “Georgian” in the July 21, 1864, issue of the Savannah Daily Morning News, which contained this passage:

For three days we occupied an outpost on the hill rising from the [Chattahoochee] river and within rifle shot of it. The pickets of the two armies occupied opposite banks of the river. These very prudently agreed not to fire on each other, and commenced an active trade in tobacco. I heard the opening of the negotiation, which was amusing. A Yankee came up to the top of a knoll without his gun, and called out, “I say, rebs, will you trade tobacco for coffee?” An answer in the affirmative having been given by our men, he said, “Don’t shoot me,” and with the utmost confidence came unarmed to the river bank. This man belonged to the 154th New York regiment. He stated it to have come out eleven hundred strong, and that it now numbered ninety-six men. What an idea of the fearful waste of human life occasioned by this war does this fact indicate. The first Yankee was soon joined by others, and in a short time there were one or two hundred trading, bathing in the river, laughing and joking. The agreement not to fire on each other was certainly proper, but no intercourse should be held with the wretches who are doing the work of fiends rather than men.

Fraternization between Billy Yank and Johnny Reb can be considered poignant when we think of how they slaughtered each other on the battlefield. It seems certain that the laughing, joking soldiers from both sides splashing in the Chattahoochee that July day considered each other men rather than wretches or fiends.

Yet another carte de visite of the Humiston children came to me at a bargain price in an eBay auction. It’s the twenty-sixth variant of the image in my collection. This example of “The Children of the Battle Field” is the one by Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown of Philadelphia, with a printed notice by Dr. J. Francis Bourns dated September 23, 1865. I already had one of those, but what sets this example apart is a handwritten inscription on the reverse in red and purple ink, which reads, “January 1869 Presented to Henry Clemens by East Liberty Presb. Sab. School for collecting One 00/100 dollar.” Sunday schools raised money to support the Homestead orphanage in Gettysburg, which the Humiston incident inspired. In my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier I noted, “By the beginning of 1869, 546 Sunday schools, from sixteen different states, had contributed at least $25 each.” The inscription on this carte is the first I’ve seen that links it directly to the Sunday school fundraising campaign, and consequently it’s a great one to have.

Thanks to Ted O’Reilly of the New-York Historical Society Library’s Manuscripts Department for a PDF of a letter of December 7, 1871, to New York City Postmaster Patrick Henry Jones—subject of my 2015 biography—from Woodhull, Claflin & Company, Bankers and Brokers, and Editors and Publishers of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly. Folks knowledgeable about nineteenth-century American history will recognize the names of the stockbrokerage firm—the first owned by women—and the newspaper of Victoria Woodhull and her sister Tennessee Claflin, notorious radical feminists, suffragettes, and “free love” advocates, and—in Victoria’s case—1872 presidential candidate, with Frederick Douglass as her running mate. Incidentally, free love, as Richard White defines it in The Republic for Which It Stands, his history of the United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, “simply meant the freedom of men and women to follow their hearts, making and dissolving relationships as their affections changed.” When Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly broke the sensationally scandalous story of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher’s adultery with Mrs. Elizabeth Tilton in 1872, the sisters drew the ire of the anti-pornography crusader Anthony Comstock. Comstock in 1873 lobbied Congress to pass legislation banning obscene materials from the mails. When President Grant signed the bill on March 3, 1873, Comstock became a special agent of the U.S. Post Office, charged with hunting down smut, in which he was extremely successful. Those developments took place toward the end of Jones’s service as postmaster—he resigned on March 15, 1873, to take effect April 1. Ever since reading a biography of the fascinating Victoria Woodhull, I’ve wondered about any interactions between Jones and Woodhull and Claflin (and Comstock, for that matter). This letter shows that he did indeed deal with the sisters. It reads:

We are receiving, continually, complaints of the non-reception of our Packages of Books sent through the P.O. To one place we have remitted three separate times and neither one was ever delivered. The complaint is becoming too frequent to remain unnoticed. They are certainly deposited in your office. What becomes of them[?]

What sort of books were the women attempting to send? We don’t know. But a hint might be contained in a single word written on the letter (not in Jones’s hand) in red pen, which indicates what happened to the books: “Detention.”

Thanks to Leon Reed of Gettysburg for a copy of his new book, Stories the Monuments Tell: A Photo Tour of Gettysburg, Told by Its Monuments (Gettysburg: Little Falls Press, 2018). I met Leon in the autumn of 2015, when my old mural at Coster Avenue was taken down and replaced by the new glass version. At that time, Leon made an extensive photographic record of the process:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/leonandloisphotos/sets/72157656949221944

After reviewing the proofs for Leon’s book, I was pleased to provide this endorsement for it:

Leon Reed has created an inventive way to learn about the battle through the stone and metal monuments erected to commemorate the soldiers and veterans. In translating the monuments’ stories, Leon gives us new ways of looking at these works of art, and of understanding the battle they represent.

The book, which has 116 pages and more than 500 color photographs, is available for $20 plus $2.50 for shipping. You can order one directly from Leon. Contact him at leonsreed@gmail.com or at 205 Old Mill Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Thanks to Jolene Hawkins of the Lucy Bensley Center in Springville, New York, for scans of a letter sent from the Bureau of Pensions in 1896 to an attorney in West Valley, New York, inquiring whether Andrew J. Oyer—a former corporal in Co. G who died in 1890—left a widow. Well, it turns out that Andrew had a checkered marital history. According to an Oyer family history and genealogy, he abandoned his first wife, Lavina Widrig Oyer, circa June 1875. In 1888 he married a certain Lizzie Gross in Iowa. Within two years Andrew was back in Cattaraugus County, but without Lizzie. Whether the two divorced or not is uncertain. She had remarried by 1896 and was then still living in Iowa. The Oyer pension file—which I’ve never ordered—probably contains considerable correspondence about his marital status.

Thanks to 29th New York descendant Joe Rokus, who lives in Virginia near the Chancellorsville battlefield, for replacing the flag next to the 154th New York’s monument there after the previous one was blown away in high winds. The granite monument, of course, still stands strong.

Thanks to historians Gerry Prokopowicz and Jim Pula for kind comments about my work made when the former interviewed the latter on the March 28 episode of Civil War Talk Radio. The topic was Jim’s book Under the Crescent Moon with the XI Corps in the Civil War, which I discussed in the December 2017 newsletter.

Remember, the 33rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York is set for Saturday, August 25, 2018, on the grounds of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, New York, hosted by CAMP (Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation). Details to come in the June and August newsletters, and in the invitation, to be sent a month in advance of the reunion.

If you haven’t already, please consider a donation to CAMP, which as the owner of the Memorial and Historical Building/Board of Elections complex is in need of funds for operating expenses. Contributions can be made through the CAMP website:

http://cattcomemorial.com

Welcome to the following descendants, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Dennis Morgan of Allegany, New York, collateral relative of Pvt. Oscar F. Wilber of Co. G, who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, nursed and written about by Walt Whitman, and chronicled by me in a chapter of my book War’s Relentless Hand.

Makaia Papasergi-Scott of Churchville, New York, great-great-great-granddaughter of Cpl. Orton Rounds of Co. C, an Allegany enlistee who made it unscathed to the muster-out, unlike his brother and company mate Pvt. Francis M. Rounds, who died of disease on November 30, 1862, at Fairfax Court House, Virginia.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



HARDTACK REGIMENT NEWS

JUNE 2018


Dear Descendant or Friend of the 154th New York,

My new publication, Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue: The Brickyard Fight and the Mural, has been released. I’m very pleased with it. In addition to a detailed summary of the battle at John Kuhn’s brickyard on the afternoon of July 1, 1863, it includes a comprehensive account of the development and the three versions of the mural. Kevin Drake, the owner of Gettysburg Publishing, gave me carte blanche when it came to both the text and the illustrations, and allowed me to suggest the design of the front and back covers. The 50-page booklet includes 53 photographs, about half of them in color, and a handsome map by George Skoch (who did the maps for a couple of my previous books). Among the photos are portraits of members of the 154th New York and early images of the regiment’s monument, which was dedicated on the battle’s anniversary in 1890. Some of my early sketches for the mural are reproduced, as are images of all three versions. It’s very satisfying for me to see the booklet published this year, which is the thirtieth anniversary of the painting, installation, and dedication of the original mural.

The book is available at the Gettysburg Publishing website:

http://www.gettysburgpublishing.com

It’s also available from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Gettysburgs-Coster-Avenue-Brickyard-Fight/dp/0999304917/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523107518&sr=1-1&keywords=Gettysburg%27s+Coster+Avenue

And you can “like” it at this Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/GettysburgsCosterAvenueTheBrickyardFightandMural/

My wife, Annette, and I made a trip to Gettysburg in mid-April for the book’s debut. We had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Drake in person for the first time, as well as his delightful mother, Anastasia. I did book signings at the Gettysburg Heritage Center on Steinwehr Avenue and the Jennie Wade House on Baltimore Street. At the Gettysburg Heritage Center, I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the old faded sections of the original mural on display behind the table at which I sat. I also gave a talk to a full house at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall on East Middle Street, sponsored by Historic Gettysburg Adams County. My thanks go to Regina Hollar of HGAC for the invitation; it was the second time I spoke there, and both were memorable occasions for me. I showed my final one-inch-to-one-foot scale pencil sketch and the final oil painting for the new glass version of the mural done by my artistic partner Johan Bjurman. It was a pleasure to meet many of the attendees who purchased books and asked me to sign them, including some Licensed Battlefield Guides, who are responsible for a good proportion of the visitors to Coster Avenue. The Gettysburg Times provided some nice publicity, and Kevin and I met at Coster Avenue with representatives of one of the popular Civil War magazines (about which more in a later issue). Once again Annette and I stayed with our friend Sue Cipperly and enjoyed our time with her. Thanks, Sue! We also got to say hello to Rebecca and Ruth Brown, proprietors of Civil War Tails at the Homestead Diorama Museum on Baltimore Street, which was part of the Homestead orphanage, inspired by the Humiston story. We enjoyed meeting Debra Markle, a docent at the Gettysburg Railroad Station, which now is a well-cared-for Gettysburg Foundation property. We saw another friend in Gettysburg, about which more below. During the trip we also visited elsewhere with a couple of 154th New York descendants; my sister Amy Rowland and her husband, Dan, at their home in Hedgesville, West Virginia, and my cousin Paul Sarver and his wife, Kay, at their home in Macungie, Pennsylvania. Our stay in West Virginia coincided with a visit by my oldest Civil War history-loving friend, Chris Ford of Fairfax, Virginia, and his wife, Michelle, and son, Wesley. Amy, Dan, Chris, and I are all former residents of Buffalo, New York, so it was appropriate that snowflakes were flying on the last day of our visit in West Virginia.

During my time in Gettysburg I was pleased to meet two descendants of members of the 154th New York. Donald Wilcox, great-grandson of Cpl. William E. Jones of Co. E, who was captured at Gettysburg, is the only 154th New York descendant I’m aware of who lives in Gettysburg. Brad Coe of Hellam, Pennsylvania, is the great-grandnephew of Pvt. Edward D. Coe and Sgt. Harrison Coe, brothers who served in Co. F. Edward Coe was wounded in the left arm at Gettysburg, which led to his being transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. Harrison Coe was captured and executed by the Confederates during the Carolinas campaign, as related in my book Marching with Sherman.

I mentioned above that the Gettysburg Times publicized my HGAC talk at the GAR Hall. A picture of Regina Hollar and me in front of the mural by staff photographer Darryl Wheeler appeared on the front page of the newspaper the day of the event. Darryl also took a bunch of other photos of me at Coster Avenue. After I had left Gettysburg, one of them was printed in large size (eleven by twelve inches) on the front page of the newspaper’s Saturday “Faces” section. It’s funny—my picture has been on the front page of the Gettysburg paper a few times over the years. That’s a big deal, right? Well, maybe not! More than once when that has happened I’ve had breakfast at the Lincoln Diner, where the daily paper always sits on the counter, but none of the waitresses or patrons recognized me. The publication of the larger-than-life-sized “Faces” portrait might have drawn a different reaction. Renowned Civil War photographic historian William Frassanito described it as “spectacular,” and said he was “shocked and awed” when he saw it. So folks in Gettysburg might have noticed me after it appeared, but I was already out of town! My anonymity in Gettysburg remains assured.

Gerry Prokopowicz, host of Civil War Talk Radio, gave a nice plug for the book during the introduction to his show on April 25. Thank you, Gerry, for your continuing support of my work.

Back home, I was pleased to tell my friends of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table about the book and show them my pencil sketch at our meeting on May 16.

I’m looking forward to future visits to Gettysburg. Next month, on July 1 and 2, I’ll be there to sign books at the Gettysburg Heritage Center from 2 to 4 p.m. on both days. I’ll also give a talk there from 4 to 5 p.m. on July 1. It will be the first time in many years I’ve been in Gettysburg for the anniversary of the battle. If you happen to be in town to visit the battlefield and have some free time, stop by and see me.

I’ve been invited to serve on the faculty for the 2019 Summer Conference of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. The conference has been held annually for more than thirty years, and brings together public audiences and leading historians for small group discussions, battlefield tours, panel debates, and lectures on the Gettysburg College campus. It generally draws a crowd of more than 300 attendees composed of Civil War buffs, teachers, National Park Service rangers, and folks with a passion for history. As of now, the plan is for me to lead a tour of the sites associated with Coster’s brigade, which will of course include Coster Avenue and my mural and the Amos Humiston monument, among others. I consider it a great honor to be invited to participate in the conference and am looking forward to it.

During our mid-April Gettysburg trip we met with renowned sculptor Gary Casteel at his new gallery and studio on Baltimore Street, between the old Homestead orphanage buildings and Evergreen Cemetery:

http://casteelsculpturesllc.com

Gary has been producing a series of miniature replicas of regimental monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield. I got to see his latest work in progress—the monument to the 154th New York. This replica will be offered to us descendants and friends of the regiment in conjunction with this year’s reunion, which Gary plans to attend. And Gary will kindly donate a portion of the profits to Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP)! Look for a flyer for the replica to arrive with your reunion invitation, and information about it to appear in the August edition of the newsletter.

A reminder: the 33rd Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York is set for Saturday, August 25, on the grounds of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, New York. Invitations will be sent via postal mail about a month in advance of the reunion, which will be hosted by CAMP. Our program will hark back to two momentous events in the regiment’s postwar history: the dedication ceremonies for the Gettysburg monument in 1890 and the Memorial and Historical Building in 1914.

My thanks to long-time friend Phil Palen of Gowanda, New York, for a photograph of the former home of Barzilla Merrill and his family on Cottage Road in Dayton, Cattaraugus County, New York. Barzilla Merrill and his teenaged son Alva served as privates in Co. K. Both were killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. I have a special place in my heart for Barzilla Merrill. His voluminous wartime letters were among the first I located, copied, and transcribed, and they brought him vividly to life. Using his letters, I tried to convey his personality as best I could in the chapter on him in my book War’s Relentless Hand. As I wrote there regarding Barzilla’s letters, “In page after page of reporting and philosophizing, he conveyed his war with plainspoken brilliance.”

Speaking of Chancellorsville, past newsletters mentioned how Joe Rokus, a 29th New York descendant who lives near the battlefield, keeps an eye on the 154th New York’s monument there. Recently Joe noticed the flag he had placed by the monument was missing, so he replaced it. Driving by a few days later, he was surprised to see a second flag waving next to the monument. It’s nice to know that Joe—and others—care about the monument and what it represents.

Thanks to Marianne Lord of Cincinnati, Ohio, great-great-granddaughter of Sgt. Giles N. Johnson of Co. B, for sharing a photograph of her ancestor and a large group of Civil War veterans at Devil’s Den in Gettysburg at an unknown date. Johnson’s is the only face I recognize, which begs the question as to the composition of the group, several of whom are wearing Grand Army of the Republic insignia. Johnson was wounded in the right foot at Gettysburg; his big toe and metatarsal were amputated, which led to his discharge for disability in June 1864. He is also present (kneeling at far right) in the photograph of sixteen veterans at the 154th’s Gettysburg monument that is reproduced on page 150 of The Hardtack Regiment and page 18 of Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue.

To my surprise, I was the only bidder in an eBay auction for a stereoscopic photograph by renowned Gettysburg photographer William H. Tipton of the “Soldiers’ Orphans Home, Children at Play” (No. 611), which depicts the kids frolicking in the yard next to the two buildings that comprised the Homestead orphanage. This image, credited to the National Archives, appeared in my book Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston, but I didn’t have an original of it until now. It was the story of Sergeant Humiston and his three “Children of the Battle Field” that inspired the founding of the Homestead.

For the past five years, Olean Times Herald reporter Rick Miller has covered CAMP’s effort to save the aforementioned Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. Here are his latest reports on the cause, including CAMP’s plans for an observance on Memorial Day:

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/c-a-m-p-continues-efforts-to-save-civil-war/article_dc6715c0-51a5-11e8-91ad-337bddd18d63.html

http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/c-a-m-p-memorial-to-play-part-in-little/article_386a17c6-6157-11e8-a274-c77aeb0c8fe0.html


CAMP needs your support! Visit this website for more information:

http://cattcomemorial.com

Welcome to the following descendant, added to the roll since the last newsletter:

Patricia Krebs of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, great-great-granddaughter of Henry D. Lowing, who served as the regiment’s first chaplain until he was discharged in January 1864.

Next month this newsletter will start its fourteenth year of publication. My son, Karl Dunkelman, who takes care of my Hardtack Regiment website for me, has archived all the past issues on the page here.

Thank you for your interest in Hardtack Regiment history!



 

 

 

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A Brief History of the 154th New York

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