Sunday, March 30, 2008

Getting to the Peninsula, Part 2

Captain Kautz's diary contained more details on the regiment's cruise to the Peninsula as it progressed.

“March 28. – The rest of the regiment embarked this morning, and the steamer, loaded with troops, began to take the schooners in tow, without a reference, however, to what company or squadron they belonged, and I lost sight of Balder. About 2 o’clock my schooner was taken in tow. We were towed down as far as Mathias Point and there the steamer anchored. We are not going to make a very rapid passage. Captain Mercer is the skipper, a pious Jerseyman from Cape May. The steamer Long Branch has us in tow.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

One item nearly always found in personal accounts is the weather conditions. This personal detail, important to the person riding or fighting or sleeping in it, is often absent from historical accounts.

“March 29. – We reached the mouth of the Potomac and anchored about dark. Since noon a snow storm has been prevailing and the atmosphere is so thick that we cannot possibly travel after night. Nothing of note transpired. My health is improving. There has been a considerable snowfall, and it now lies three inches deep on the docks.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

In a message to Major General McClellan from the steamer Commodore on the 29th, Assistant Adjutant General S. Williams stated, “All the regular cavalry except the Second Regiment has now embarked.” (OR, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt III, pg 51)

“March 30. – The weather did not promise very fair this morning but the wind was favorable, and with steam and sail together we reached Hampton Roads and anchored without any event of importance. We found the harbor full of vessels.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Co A & E, 4th US Cav Strength on the Peninsula

Someone had asked me a few weeks ago if I knew the strength of the two companies from the 4th US Cavalry which served with the Army of the Potomac through the winter of 1862-1863. I'm pretty sure the question was intended specifically for the Antietam campaign, but can't for the life of me remember who it was that asked. A bit of poking around last weekend (while looking for something else, naturally) turned up the following extracts from Army of the Potomac returns:

March 31, 1862
Present for duty: 4 officers, 104 enlisted men
Aggregate present: 113
Aggregate present and absent: 145
(OR, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt II, pg 53)

June 20, 1862
Present for duty: 4 officers, 101 enlisted men
Present for duty, equipped: 102
Aggregate present: 111
Aggregate present and absent: 144
(OR, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt III, pg 238)

July 10, 1862
Present for duty: 4 officers, 99 enlisted men
Present for duty, equipped: 100
Aggregate present: 109
Aggregate present and absent: 143
(OR, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt III, pg 312)

August 10, 1862
Present for duty: 5 officers, 125 enlisted men
Present for duty, equipped: 127
Aggregate present: 150
Aggregate present and absent: 231
(OR, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt III, pg 367)

Getting to the Peninsula, Part 1

On this day in 1862, the 6th Cavalry began embarking on ships to move with the rest of the Army of the Potomac to Fortress Monroe on the peninsula in Virginia. Captain August Kautz of Company B provides an account of the move from his diary, which will be featured here for the duration of their trip.

“March 27. – The regiment marched down to the wharves at Alexandria to-day and after much delay, a portion were embarked. My company was first embarked on two schooners, I with a portion of the company on the North Halifax and Balder on the Kasbee. We were hauled out into the stream but did not get off. Captain Savage’s family was here to see us embark but bade us good-bye in the afternoon. The weather is very fine and we should be making the best of our way down the river. A portion of the regiment had to camp on the wharves.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

2nd Lt Christian Balder was temporarily attached to Company B this month, in the absence of both of the company’s assigned lieutenants. He was normally assigned to Company G. Lieutenant McQuade had died in prison in December, and Lieutenant Herbert M. Enos was still in New Mexico at Fort Union. Captain Savage commanded Company H.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bates Letters - March 25, 1863

Note: Wherein Charlie discovers the true feelings of reverence that western soldiers hold for the Army of the Potomac.

Camp near Murfreesboro
March 25th 1863

Dear Parents,

I have at last got to the end of my journey for a time at least, and now we are all together. That is, the regiment is all here except Companies H and F who are on their way here from Fort Kearny. We got here day before yesterday and to-day commenced our duties with the regiment. Ours is the only regiment of regular cavalry in the western army, and they are considered equal to four regiments of southern men. Everybody here talks about the gallant deeds of the “Fourth” in the battles and skirmishes here, and laughs at the “Army of the Potomac” and their actions. They think the eastern troops have done nothing but eat soft bread, potatoes and all the goods of the commissary, while occupying comfortable quarters, leaving the western troops to do all the fighting.

There is no use in my trying to argue with them or to mention any of the battles of the east to prove the “Army of the Potomac” not altogether worthless. If I mentioned Fredericksburg they are ready to prove that the western boys done all the fighting there. Ditto for Malvern hills, Antietam, and all the rest, so at last I am half persuaded that we have been in the wrong shop all the while, and this is the true field of play.

The rebels are getting troublesome in our front here and skirmishing is going on all the whill (sic). The guerillas, too, are trying to bother the Rail-Road and wagons between here and Nashville. We escorted a train of Sixty wagons (sic) up from Nashville and had the luck to come through safe, but some poor fellows of sutlers got burnt out on the road only two hours ahead of us. The troops here have an idea that they are going through to new Orleans without any trouble but I have my own ideas about it. I shouldn’t wonder if General Rosencrans (sic) was to wake up some fine day and find Bragg had played a first of April trick on him and got in his rear.

I am now acting as “Camp-Kettle-Sergeant,” or “Cracker boss” for the Company, for that is what the men call the Commisary Sergeant, and so shall not be in much danger of losing my precious life unless Morgans (sic) guerillas get hold of the train. If that happens I must trust to the speed of my new Bucephalus. That reminds me to tell you that of the poor horses now in the service none can be worse than those we got in Cincinnatti (sic). Of all ages, color, and sex, low in flesh and high in bone, well broke, in wind and limbs such another lot never got together to make the owners swear and others laugh. But good bye for now and remember me to all. I remain your Affect. Son
Charles E. Bates

(Direct) Co E 4th U.S. Cavalry, camp near Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Be sure and put in the U.S.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Organizing for Combat

On this date in 1862, Special Orders No. 90 were issued from the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac near Alexandria Seminary, Virginia. According to the orders, “the cavalry serving with the army is assigned to duty as follows.”

Two or three regiments of volunteer cavalry were assigned to each of the five corps. The rest of the cavalry, including the regular regiments, were organized into the two brigades of the Cavalry Reserve.

“The Cavalry reserve will be commanded by Brig. Gen. P. St. George Cooke, U.S. Army, and will consist of two brigades, as follows:

“First Brigade, to be commanded by Brig. Gen. W.H. Emory: Fifth U.S. Cavalry, Sixth U.S. Cavalry, Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Colonel Rush.

“Second Brigade, to be commanded by Col. George A.H. Blake, First Cavalry: First U.S. Cavalry, Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Colonel Gregg, now serving with Porter’s division, Third Army Corps; Barker’s squadron of Illinois Cavalry, Captain Mann’s company of Oneida Cavalry.” (Official Records, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt III, pg 36)

Not too exciting in and of itself, but this does set up the next series of posts on the movement of the 6th US Cavalry to the Peninsula.

Friday, March 21, 2008

6th Cavalry - March 1862

The 6th Cavalry finally began campaigning in March 1862. They remained in camp at Camp East of the Capitol until the 10th, then received abrupt orders to break camp and move. As Captain August Kautz of Company noted in his diary,

“March 10. – At breakfast this morning the order came to march at 11 with three days’ provisions and forage. We were, of course, very busy until the hour to leave. I could not pack up all my things. It rained a good portion of the day. It was after dark when we reached Fairfax Court-House.” (Supplement to the OR, Vol 1, pg 361)

By the end of the month, the majority of the regiment would be on the Peninsula near Fortress Monroe. Company C, not yet at full strength, remained in Washington. Captain Brisbin of Company L was in Philadelphia this month, still recruiting his company, along with 1st Lt Henry Tucker. The regiment's assigned strength this month was 890 officers and enlisted men in the ten active companies.

Of the 42 officers assigned, only 23 were listed as present for duty, including Assistant Surgeon J.H. Pooley. 12 of the missing 14 were on detached service. March saw the sudden departure of the regiment’s commander, LtCol William H. Emory. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on March 27, 1862 and assigned to the command of the 1st Brigade, Cavalry Reserve, Army of the Potomac. He took two other officers from the regiment with him. Lieutenants Joseph Audenried and James F. Wade were appointed to his staff the following day as assistant adjutant general and aide de camp respectively. Major Lawrence A. Williams assumed command of the regiment. Captain David McM. Gregg was promoted to colonel of volunteers and commanding the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Captain August Kautz was sick at Fortress Monroe at the end of the month, and 2nd Lt Andrew Stoll was sick in Washington.

The regiment had 849 enlisted men at the end of the month, but only 745 present for duty as campaigning began. Health conditions improved in the camp as the weather improved. A total of 58 troopers were sick, the majority of them absent in hospitals from Pittsburgh to Washington. 33 continued to serve on extra duties away from the regiment, mostly as teamsters for the Quartermaster Department. Two were in arrest or confinement. Two troopers were absent on leave, and one was absent without leave.

Private Jackson Loyd enlisted in Company H on March 19, 1862. Frank Gormley was transferred from Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant to private in Company E on March 1st. Sergeant Chas. Gilliams of Company M was advanced to 2nd Chief Bugler and assigned to the regimental staff. Corporal William Shorts of Company K was discharged by order on March 22nd in Alexandria, and four privates were discharged for disability.

Eleven men deserted from the regiment this month, all of them during the last ten days of the month as the regiment was embarking for the peninsula. Two soldiers died in March. Private James McCormick of Company I died in the hospital at Camp East of the Capitol on March 6th. Private John W. Jones of Company G died of disease in Alexandria, Virginia on March 18, 1862.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Writers, Beware of Blogs

I discovered this warning to writers about the perils of blogging to their craft and productivity and thought it worth sharing. Although "Vampires of the Internet" is a rather dramatic title, I think the author has some good points and the piece applies as much to nonfiction writing as fiction writing. Perhaps more, when one takes into account the research time necessary for historical writing.

Fortunately, I'm nowhere near the level of 'writer' as yet (though striving to leave the realm of 'hack'), so this blog will go on.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Francis McAtamney

Note: It seemed appropriate to post an entry for an Irish cavalry trooper on St Patrick’s Day, and we’ve been at work on Frank for quite a while now. I am deeply indebted to Patty Millich and Michael Higgins for the information contained in this entry. Patty appears to have been infected by the cavalry bug, and continues to turn up interesting cavalry tidbits. Michael’s done a great job of piecing together the family history on both sides of the Atlantic, and I encourage you to visit his website which is contained in the source list.

Francis McAtamney was born in the townland of Tirhugh, County Derry, Ireland in 1836. He was the oldest son and second oldest child of Hugh and Mary McAtamney. The family emigrated from Ireland in 1848, arriving in Philadelphia aboard the Arab on May 11th. The family settled in Washington township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Francis’ father was naturalized in 1853, and his mother died in January 1854.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, three of the four McAtamney sons enlisted in the Union Army. Francis enlisted as a private in Company F, 28th Pennsylvania Infantry on July 1, 1861 at Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. Bernard enlisted in Company A, 55th Pennsylvania Infantry (“Washington Rifles”) on August 28th, and Hugh enlisted in the same company on September 17th. It doesn’t appear as if any of the three returned after the war. The youngest brother, John, was too young to enlist at age nine.

The 28th PA was somewhat unique in that the regimental commander, Colonel Geary, had arranged for a battery of artillery to be raised with and attached to the infantry regiment. Francis served in Company F until October 3rd, when he was transferred at the order of the regimental commander to this artillery battery, commanded by Captain Joseph M. Knapp. He was one of several 28th PA soldiers transferred to bring the battery up to full strength.

Francis served with the battery for a year before again changing units. On October 27, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, 6th US Cavalry at Knoxville, Maryland. He was sworn into the regiment by the adjutant, Second Lieutenant Albert Coats, for the remainder of his original enlistment instead of a normal 3 year term. He apparently didn’t inform the battery of his intentions, as he was listed on their muster rolls as absent without leave for the remainder of the year. The War Department later amended the battery’s records with a note stating “the charge of desertion against this man is erroneous and is removed. He was enlisted in Co. ‘K’ 6th U.S. Cavalry October 27, 1862.”

I found the examining surgeon’s comments on the enlistment form interesting: “I certify, on honor, that I have minutely inspected the recruit, Francis McTamney previously to his enlistment, and that he was entirely sober when enlisted; that, to the best of my judgment and belief, he is of lawful age; and that, in accepting him as duly qualified to perform the duties of an able-bodied soldier, I have strictly observed the Regulations which govern the recruiting service. This soldier was blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion, is 5 feet 6 inches high.”

A few days before Francis’ enlistment in the 6th cavalry, his brother Hugh was killed in fighting at Pocotaligo, South Carolina on October 22, 1862.

Private McAtamney served with his new regiment throughout the campaigns of 1863. He was with his company on detached service at Cavalry Corps Headquarters in July, and missed the regiment’s mortal encounter at Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

Frank McAtamney apparently decided that he’d had enough as the spring campaign of 1864 was getting underway. He and another soldier who had joined Company K from Knapp’s Battery, Private John M’Cully, deserted at Fredericksburg, Virginia on May 13, 1864. Five days later, his other brother, Corporal Bernard McAtamney, was wounded and captured during fighting at Drewry’s Bluff. He died in prison in Richmond twelve days later.

Frank McAtamney never returned to the regiment. He surfaced briefly at the U.S. Army General Hospital in Annapolis, Maryland in December 1864. He reported that he was a member of the 6th US Cavalry, and the hospital wouldn’t have been able to refute this. He was treated for scurvy from December 19-23, then placed on furlough for the holidays. He didn’t return, and was again reported as a deserter February 7, 1865. At that point he is lost in the mists of history.

Note: in various records, the surname is spelled McAtamney, McTammany, McTamany, McTamney, often by Frank himself!


Higgins, Michael. McAtamney family history information website:

McAtamney, Francis. Enlistment papers, Knapp’s Battery, NARA (copies courtesy of Patty Millich)

McAtamney, Francis. Enlistment papers, Company K, 6th U.S. Cavalry, NARA (copies courtesy of Patty Millich)

Muster Rolls, 6th U.S. Cavalry, M744, NARA

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Hugh McQuade

Note: I'm indebted to McQuade descendants Hugh T. McQuade and John M. Hayes for their assistance in putting this entry together.

Hugh McQuade was born in Ireland in 1832. His parents immigrated to New York several years later. He had at least one elder brother, John, who later became a contractor and official of Tammany Hall in New York City.

Hugh enlisted in the Regiment of Mounted Rifles on August 11, 1851. He served in the regiment for the next ten years, as a private, corporal, sergeant and finally first sergeant of Company F. He was commended for his conduct during an expedition against the Navajo Indians in October 1858.

McQuade was also one of the original appointees as an officer of the newly-authorized 3rd U.S. Cavalry. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the regiment on May 14, 1861. He never joined his regiment, however. On June 3, 1861, he received a commission as a captain in Company F, 38th New York State Volunteers (“Scott Life Guard”). The regiment was raised in New York City.

McQuade’s regiment fought on the Union right at the battle of Bull Run in July, eventually supporting Griffin’s battery. Possession of the guns changed hands several times during vicious fighting. The regiment’s commander during the battle, Lieutenant Colonel Addison Farnsworth, reports “The brave Captain McQuaide, while cheering on his men, fell from a severe wound in the leg” and “subsequently fell in to the hands of the enemy” (OR, Ser I, Vol 2, pg 416).

Captain McQuade’s leg was later amputated, and he remained in Confederate custody in a Richmond prison. He was deemed too ill to survive the exchange process, and in November reported “not expected to survive wounds received at the battle of Manassas (OR, Ser II, Vol 2, pg 132).

During the trial of the crew of the Confederate privateer Enchantress, Captain McQuade was initially one of the Union officer prisoners held as hostages against the execution of the rebel crew as pirates. Acting Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin later ordered wounded officers exempted as hostages. (For an excellent account of the Enchantress incident, see Ranger John Hoptak’s excellent blog post here)

On December 24, 1861, Hugh’s brother John McQuade petitioned the New York City board of aldermen “requesting the President of the United States, if not incompatible with the public interest, to take measures for the release of Capt. Hugh McQuade, of the regular army, now confined as a prisoner at Richmond.” The petition would be too late, however, as Hugh died two days later as a result of his wounds on December 26, 1861.

The 6th Cavalry, meanwhile, never realized what had happened. He wasn’t listed on the regimental muster rolls until December 1861, when he was assigned as a second lieutenant in Company B and listed as whereabouts unknown. This continued until July 1862, when he disappeared from the rolls without comment.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 681.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume II (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1873), pg 146.

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, as noted within text.

New York Times, December 24, 1861.

Muster Rolls, 6th U.S. Cavalry, NARA, M744

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More on the Letter-Writer

I stumbled onto a bit more information yesterday on Charles E. Bates, the gentleman from the 4th US Cavalry whose letters are featured here. While cruising through the Heritagequest site (thanks again for the tip, Brian!), I found George S. Burnham's Record of the service of Connecticut men in the army and navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion, published by Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company in Hartford in 1889. Contained within the book were some highlights of Charlie's career.

He enlisted in Company E on December 30, 1857, listing New Haven as his city of residence. He was promoted to corporal May 1, 1859, and sergeant August 24, 1860. He was reduced to the ranks (private) on October 3, 1860. He was promoted to corporal for the second time on January 1, 1862, and sergeant again on October 25, 1862. He reenlisted as a veteran on December 18, 1862. He was again reduced to the ranks on October 12, 1865. Bates was discharged at the end of his term of enlistment on December 18, 1865.

I also found two more folks from the 6th Cavalry and several from the 2nd. It always nice to find these gems, however accidentally.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bates Letters - March 12, 1863

Note: In which we find Charles still en route to join the rest of the regiment, and pleasantly surprised about conditions in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Ohio
March 12th 1863

Dear Parents,

I have a chance to write you a few lines, enough to let you know that I still live and as for health, mine is the top of the market. My company has been since the 28th of February getting to here from Port Tobacco, and if we have good luck we shall get to the “Army of the West” about the 20th of this month. This afternoon we shall go on board of a steamboat, bag and baggage, and tonight I am off for Memphis or Nashville. I dont (sic) know which. Our trip this far has been rather a sloppy, slow coach affair, and I shall be glad when it is over. There are terrible rumors and misgivings abroad about Rosencrans (sic) army. And some of the citizens here begin to think of a skedaddle, in anticipation of Bragg’s coming.

We are living at the “soldiers home” here, a place fitted up at the time Morgan and Bragg started for the north, after dodging Buell. We came to the city night before last but I have been so busy that I have not had time to look around much, one thing though I have noticed. Whenever any of our Sergeants walk along the streets, the sentinels never fail to salute them. Perhaps they do it for fun but my impression is that they are so unaccustomed to the sight of a clean and well dressed soldier they take us for some new rank of Officers, or perhaps for some foreign soldiers.

I expected to find the gutters running with blood, and the air hideously filled with the dying squeals of expiring porkers but am agreeably disappointed. The city looks like any other business city and if hogs are slaughtered extensively it is done out of sight.

I have to draw rations for the men this afternoon so you must excuse any more writing. Give my love to all and let me know about the law suit.

I am affectionately
Charles E. Bates

Direct to Co. “E” 4th U.S. Cavalry,
Nashville, Tenn.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Peter McGrath

Peter McGrath was born in Ireland, and his family later immigrated to the United States. He enlisted in the Regiment of Mounted Rifles on September 11, 1851. He served in the regiment in New Mexico Territory for the next ten years, as a private, corporal, sergeant and finally first sergeant of Company I. He was commended for his conduct during an expedition against the Navajo Indians in October 1858.

McGrath was one of the original appointees as an officer of the newly-authorized 3rd U.S. Cavalry. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the regiment on May 14, 1861. He never joined his regiment, however. Like all of the officers appointed to the regiment from New Mexico save one, McGrath never left the territory. Trained officers were in short supply, and McGrath was kept busy training and leading volunteers over the next several months.

Peter McGrath was promoted to first lieutenant, 6th U.S. Cavalry on October 24, 1861. This is interesting, since he’s listed on the regiment’s muster rolls as a second lieutenant assigned to Company A whose whereabouts are listed as unknown until February 1862.

On March 9, 1862, Lieutenant McGrath was assigned to a light battery composed of two 12-pound howitzers and two 6-pound guns commanded by Captain John F. Ritter of the 15th U.S. Infantry.

McGrath’s battery fought in the action at Pigeon’s Ranch, or Apache Canyon, New Mexico Territory, on March 28, 1862. Lieutenant McGrath was mortally wounded during the action, and died of his wounds on May 1, 1862.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 667.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume II (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1873), pg 143.
Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, as noted within text.

Muster Rolls, 6th U.S. Cavalry, NARA, M744

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume 9, pgs 539-540.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


No, nothing toxic in sight, it just seemed like a good attention gathering headline. Brian Downey noted yesterday that he's received a lot of help lately from genealogists fleshing out some of his Antietam personalities. Maybe there's something in the water, or the weather patterns of late, because I have been the fortunate recipient of a good deal of aid from family historians as well.

Patty Millich has been unrelenting in her search for information on her ancestor, Francis McAtamney, and the officer who enlisted him into the 6th US Cavalry, Lt. Albert Coats. Coats has appeared here over the last week, and Frank will once we track down a few more clues.

John Herberich has amassed an amazing amount of research on his ancestor of the same name who served with the 4th US Cavalry during the war, and has been kind enough to share his work. It has been very helpful as I try to follow the two regiments in the western theater during the war.

Ranger John Hoptak had a post recently that caught my eye because it mentioned one of the original officers appointed to the 6th US Cavalry, Hugh McQuade. Through the comments from that post, I've come into contact with two of McQuade's descendants, John Hayes and Hugh T. McQuade, who have been very generous in sharing what they've learned about their ancestor. Hugh too will be featured later this month.

Interacting with people about their ancestors is one of the most rewarding things about this blog, and definitely one of the things that I enjoy the most. Thank you all again for your help!

Albert Coats addendum

Given the wealth of information turned up by super-sleuth Patty Millich since my original post on Albert Coats, I’m posting an addendum. Many thanks, Patty, for all of your hard work gathering all of this additional information! We now have a better-rounded view of the man.

Albert Coats was born to a farming family in February of 1837, the fifth of nine children. He grew up in Perry Township, Allen County, Ohio, just southeast of Lima. His parents had moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania, according to census records.

During the war, Lieutenant Coats was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 6th U.S. Colored Cavalry Regiment on September 19, 1864, but didn’t muster into the regiment until January 8, 1865.

After he resigned his commission, Coats settled in Arkansas. In 1870, he and his wife, Amanda, lived in McConnell township, Chicot County, Arkansas. Amanda was a fellow Ohioan, born in November of 1829. Oddly, his occupation is still listed as soldier during this census.

By 1880, the Coats family had moved to Little Rock. Albert and Amanda had no children. He worked as a carpenter and she worked as a grocer. In 1893 and 1894, they lived in the Eickhoff block of North Litter Road in Little Rock, where he worked a s a druggist and furniture maker.

In 1900, Albert and Amanda lived in Hill township, in North Little Rock. After the 1900 census, they again vanish into the mists of time.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Charles McMaster

Charles McMaster was born in Ireland. He enlisted in the 1st U.S. Cavalry on November 22, 1858. He served as a private, corporal, sergeant and first sergeant in Company I, 1st (later 4th) U.S. Cavalry for the next five years.

It appears that First Sergeant McMaster won his commission through bravery and gallantry in battle. He is mentioned in the Official Records multiple times prior to his commissioning. The first time was in the report of Captain Elmer Otis, acting regimental commander, on the battle of Stones River. “No one could have acted more bravely than First Sergt. Charles McMasters, of Company I” (OR, Ser I, Vol20, Pt I, pg 650). He was again commended by his regimental commander, Captain John B. McIntyre, for “gallantry and soldierlike conduct” during fighting near Salem, Tennessee on June 24th, 1863. First Sergeant McMaster was mentioned in the report of brigade commander Colonel R. H. G. Minty for his conduct three days later in fighting near Shelbyville. “First Sergeant McMaster, I Company, Fourth U.S. Cavalry, was conspicuous for his gallant conduct in the charge on the battery, and is honorably mentioned by Captain Davis (OR, Series I, Volume 52, page 423-4).

He was appointed a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry on August 10, 1863, but didn’t learn of the appointment until ten days later. He departed the 4th Cavalry on August 20th, and moved east to join his new regiment.

He joined the 2nd Cavalry at Camp Buford in September 1863, and was assigned as the acting adjutant until November. He served with the regiment in the vicinity of Mitchell’s Station, Virginia until May 1864. During the summer of 1864, he fought with his regiment in the battles of Todd’s Tavern, Yellow Tavern, Meadow Bridge, Hawes’ Shop, Cold Harbor, Trevillian Station and Deep Bottom through August 1864.

Lieutenant McMaster was assigned with his regiment to Major General Philip Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah at the end of the summer, where he fought in the actions of Smithfield, Berryville, Newtown, and the battle of Winchester.

He was promoted to first lieutenant, 2nd U.S. Cavalry on September 19, 1864. Four days later, he and his men encountered an ambulance train under attack by an element of Mosby’s Rangers near Front Royal. Lieutenant McMaster was mortally wounded while charging at the head of his men, and died in Winchester, Virginia on October 15, 1864. Merritt's report in the OR states that he was captured, robbed, then shot in the head. Rodenbough, Heitman and Henry all state that he was mortally wounded and died later in Winchester.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 677.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume II (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1873), pg 306.

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, multiple volumes, as noted.

Rodenbough, T.F., From Everglade to Canyon With the Second United States Cavlary (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1875), page 479.