Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fiddler’s Green: Theophilus F. Rodenbough

This is an entry that I've been working on for quite some time, off and on. Some of the sources were hard to find, and there were always "a couple more things" that I wanted to check on or delve deeper into before I posted it. So here at long last is the entry on someone whom I greatly admire.

Theophilus Francis Rodenbough was born on November 5, 1838 in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was the eldest of two sons of Charles Rodenbough, a wiring manufacturer, and Emily Cauffman of Philadelphia. He attended private schools, had private tutors, and completed a course of English literature and mathematics at Lafayette College in 1837.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, President Lincoln appointed Rodenbough a second lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment of Dragoons on March 27, 1861, at the request of Andrew H. Reeder. Reeder, a native and fellow resident of Easton, was prominent in the Republican Party for his service as the governor of Kansas in the late 1850s.

Lieutenant Rodenbough was initially assigned to Company E, but several months would pass before he joined the regiment. He served as the post adjutant and quartermaster of Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania until January 1862. He was promoted to first lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoons on May 14, 1861.

When he finally joined the regiment in January 1862, he was assigned to Company H. He immediately assumed command of the company as its assigned captain, Alfred Pleasonton, was on detached service. During the peninsula campaign he commanded Company H and often the squadron consisting of it and its sister company. He distinguished himself on several occasions, most notably during the battle of Gaines Mill. He was promoted to captain in the 2nd US Cavalry on July 17, 1862.

He and his company were part of Captain Thomas Hight’s squadron captured by Fitz Lee’s brigade following the second battle of Bull Run on August 31, 1862. He was paroled a week later, and exchanged on September 21, 1862 at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia for Samuel Y. Finley of the 6th Florida Infantry.

Recognized for his ability despite this setback, he was assigned to command one of the regiment’s two new companies, Company L, when they were authorized on September 24, 1862. He was sent north Pleasant Valley, Maryland to recruit and organize his company October 1862 to January 1863. He and his new company spent the remainder of the winter on picket duty near Falmouth, Virginia.

Captain Rodenbough and Company L participated in Stoneman’s Raid, during which he led a column of nearly 300 members of his own regiment and the 5th U.S. Cavalry to destroy a bridge over the South Anna River near Louisa Court House. The following month, he was slightly wounded and had two horses shot out from under him at Beverly Ford during the battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863.

When regimental commander Wesley Merritt was promoted to brigadier general later that month, Rodenbough assumed command of the regiment. This left his company without officers, as he had been the only officer present since Stoneman’s Raid. Captain Gordon returned to take command of the regiment on July 6th. Rodenbough served with distinction throughout the Gettysburg campaign, including actions at Upperville, Williamsport, Boonsboro, Funkstown, Falling Waters, Manassas Gap and again at Brandy Station at the end of July.

He accompanied the regiment and the rest of the brigade to Camp Buford at Giesboro Point for refitting in September, where he finally received additional officers for his company. His first lieutenant was a guest at Libby Prison, but his second lieutenant, Charles McMasters, was previously featured in a Fiddler’s Green entry. Captain Rodenbough spent the winter of 1863 performing picket duty with his regiment near Brandy Station. At times during the fall and winter, he performed as an “acting field officer,” according to the regimental muster rolls.

Rodenbough was again in command of his regiment for the beginning of Sheridan’s cavalry campaign in the spring of 1864. He was commended for his performance at Todd’s Tavern, as well as fighting in engagements at Culpeper Court House and Old Church during the spring.

Captain Rodenbough led the advance of the Regular Brigade with his regiment at the battle of Trevillian Station on June 11, 1864. He was wounded during the battle, and turned command of the regiment over to Captain David Stanley. In 1893, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for the battle. His citation reads “for distinguished gallantry in action at Trevillian Station, Va., June 11, 1864, where he was severely wounded while handling his regiment with skill and valor.”

Rodenbough was back in command of his regiment several weeks later, and led his regiment in the great charge that decided the battle of Opequon or Third Winchester on September 19, 1864. He was severely wounded in the right arm and his horse killed while leading the regiment’s charge. His right arm was amputated later that day.

First Sergeant Conrad Schmidt of Company K rode forward and rescued his wounded commander, earning a Medal of Honor. The citation reads “Went to the assistance of his Regimental Commander, whose horse had been killed under him in a charge, mounted the officer behind him, under a heavy fire from the enemy, and returned him to his command.” First Sergeant Schmidt’s actions served as the inspiration for the painting “Sergeant’s Valor” by Don Stivers.

Captain Rodenbough was brevetted major, regular army, for gallant and meritorious services during this battle. Following the battle, he served on general recruiting service in Philadelphia until April 1865 while recuperating from his wounds.

Rodenbough was brevetted lieutenant colonel on March 13, 1865 for gallant and meritorious service during the war, and colonel on the same date for gallantry and meritorious service in the battle of Todd’s Tavern, Virginia. He was further brevetted brigadier general, regular army, for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of Cold Harbor. In his recommendation for this brevet, General Sheridan wrote the following:

“Colonel Rodenbough was one of the most gallant and valuable young officers, under my command, in the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac. He was constantly in the field with his regiment, the 2d U.S. Cavalry (a portion of that time in command of it), from the spring of ’62 up to the time of his being wounded whilst gallantly leading his regiment at the battle of the Opequan, September 19, 1864.” On April 13, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers for gallant and meritorious service during the war.

Rodenbough was granted a leave of absence from the regular army at the recommendation of General Sheridan to accept the colonelcy of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry on April 29, 1865. Rodenbough was transferred from the regiment to command the 3rd Provisional Cavalry (Pennsylvania), a provisional brigade consisting of regular and volunteer units, on June 24, 1865. He served there and in command of the district of Clarksburg, West Virginia until honorably mustered out of volunteer service on October 31, 1865.

Returning to his regular army rank of captain, Rodenbough served on Major General Dodge’s staff during the winter of 1865 as the inspector general for army forces in Kansas and the territories at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He then rejoined his regiment at Fort Ellsworth, Kansas in May 1866 and was employed with his company constructing Fort Harker until September 1866.

Upon the reorganization of the army in the summer of 1866, he was promoted to major of the new 42nd US Infantry on July 28, 1866. He was involved in organizing the regiment from September to November 1866, then commanded the post of Plattsburg Barracks until the following December. He subsequently commanded the post of Madison Barracks, New York until 1869.

Major Rodenbough also served on boards for the selection of a magazine fed gun, the examination of officers, and reportedly “the investigation of the case of the first colored cadet at West Point.” I assume this indicates the court martial of Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper of the 10th U.S. Cavalry in 1870, but could not locate verification of this.

Rodenbough retired from the army at his own request at the rank of colonel on December 15, 1870, “with the full rank of the command held when wounded.” He was retired again, as a Brigadier General, U.S.A., on April 23, 1904, according to that year’s Army Register.

Theophilus Rodenbough married Elinor Frances Foster in New York City on September 1, 1868. Their eldest daughter died in childhood. His son, James Foster Rodenbough, was living in Easton and working as a civil engineer with the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company at the time of his father’s death. His daughter, Nina, married and lived in New York City.

Following his retirement, Rodenbough became the most prominent American cavalry historian of the 19th Century. His books began with a history of his regiment with From Everglade to Canyon with the Second Dragoons in 1875. Other works included Afghanistan or the Anglo-Russian Dispute (1882), Uncle Sam’s Medal of Honor (1887), The Bravest Five Hundred of ‘Sixty-one (1891), August Leaves from Family Trees (1892), and Sabre and Bayonet (1897). The Bravest Five Hundred and Sabre and Bayonet were revisions of his earlier work on Uncle Sam's Medal of Honor. His most ambitious work culminated in 1896 with the release of The Army of the United States: Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-In-Chief, which he edited with active duty Major William Haskin. He also authored several articles in the Cavalry Journal, and served on the editing committee of the history of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry published in 1909. His final literary efforts were in editing several volumes of the ten volume Photographic History of the Civil War, published in the year of his death.

In addition to his writing, Rodenbough held many prominent positions following his retirement. He served as the Deputy Governor of the U.S. Soldiers’ Home in Washington, D.C. through the end of 1871. He then worked as the General eastern Agent of the Pullman Car Company from 1872 to 1873. From 1876 to 1877, Rodenbough was the Associate Editor of the Army and Navy Journal and the Corresponding Secretary of the Society of the Army of the Potomac in 1878. He was an assistant inspector general for the state of New York from 1879 to 1882. He worked from 1878 to 1893 on the Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States as secretary, then editor and vice president. He was also the Chief of the Bureau of Elections for the city of New York from 1890 to 1892.

Theophilus F. Rodenbough died in New York City on December 19, 1912. He is buried in Easton, Pennsylvania.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 529.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume I (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1873), pg 434.

Pierce, Frederick Clifton. Foster Genealogy. New York: Press of W.B. Conkey Company, 1899. Pages 973-974.

Rodenbough, Theophilus F. Autumn Leaves from Family Trees. New York: Clark & Zugall, 1892. Pages 153-155.

Rodenbough, Theophilus F. From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1875)

Rodenbough, Theophilus F., ed. History of the Eighteenth regiment of cavalry, Pennsylvania volunteers New York: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1909.

Wittenberg, Eric J. Glory Enough For All. Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, Inc., 2002.

Wittenberg, Eric J. The Union Cavalry Comes of Age. Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, Inc., 2003.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's With All the Digital History Chatter?

The discussion about the role of digital history continues on several blogs, most notably Cenantua's Blog and Bull Runnings. I made some of the comments below on Robert's blog this morning, but wanted to get them up here for those who don't do "comment-delving".

Someone, I think it was harry, made the observation that no "established historians" (I put it in quotes to forestall the discussion on what the term means and who it should encompass, not to belittle said individuals in any fashion) had as yet joined the discussion. In all fairness, they may simply be unaware of it. I think it would be very interesting to hear what someone like the folks at Civil Warriors have to say about the discussion, but I agree with Robert that it’s interesting enough in its own right. These discussions have made me spend many hours thinking about such things when I otherwise might not have.

After looking at Robert’s and Harry’s sides of the discussion and spending a great deal of time thinking about them, I still find myself somewhere in the middle. I (now) see Robert’s points about the potential for web-based history, and different directions that it can go. The possibilities are fascinating, and limitless for those with the proper training. Enough so, in fact, that Craig Swain and I have been discussing a limited scale virtual battlefield experiment. At the same time, I appreciate Harry’s points about the value of narrative history.

Despite the approach utilized, I think sooner or later it's going to come back to narrative history in some form or fashion. Even the virtual battlefield is going to offer some sort of narrative history at some point, I believe. Younger folks may go right after the animation-centric parts of a site, while more mature viewers will key in on the more traditional narrative.

And I don't see anything wrong with this. The point of the whole exercise, after all, is to bring more people to view the history. And if it does that, through narrative, animation, virtual experience or anything else, then I'm all for it. As long as it remains properly researched and sourced history.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Digital History Blogging --- Format

As noted here and elsewhere, there’s been quite a discussion going on in the blogosphere about blogging, digital history and their relationships. Commentary can be found at Bull Runnings, Cenantua’s Blog, Draw the Sword, and others. The result has been an extremely interesting and illuminating discussion on the possible roles of blogging and digital history. It’s even spawned a wiki for further group discussion, thanks to Brian Downey. This posting is intended to address presentation format, not content.

Robert over at Cenantua’s Blog had an excellent post yesterday on formal and informal digital history. My concept of digital history at the beginning of discussion was that formal digital history is a completed work able to stand on its own that usually has its own website. A blog is an online journal, which by its very nature is an informal medium. At first blush, the two don’t appear to mix. The aforementioned Mr. Downey, for example, separates his formal work to the Antietam on the Web website, while his more informal postings appear on his blog, Behind Antietam on the Web. Both sides are great, but they're separate.

As in most cases, however, there is middle ground. Someone (I think it was Robert or Harry) recently coined the phrase “information compilation blog.” I didn’t particularly care for the title at first, but after some thought it describes my blog’s goal. Several good ones out there include Bull Runnings, Draw the Sword and To the Sound of the Guns. I hadn’t really done much comparison, but the more I looked into it, the more convinced I became that a blog is not necessarily exclusively informal. Some are intentionally informal, those that take the more traditional path of the blog as web journal. Others try to be more formal and present only “finished” pieces. Some, such as Eric’s Rantings of a Civil War Historian, do both as the mood strikes. That’s only fair, it’s the author’s blog to do with as he or she wills.

All types definitely have their place. Robert had an excellent point yesterday about the value of being able to “look over the historian’s shoulder” and get an idea of what they’re seeing and thinking through their blog as they’re writing their books. I couldn’t agree more, as such posts are some of my favorites from Eric’s blog. Others have deliberately developed this hybrid blog that is both formal and informal.

I am now convinced that an information compilation blog will be most effective as one of these hybrids. I shy away from “musts” and “shoulds,” as any author is free to do with their blog as they will, but I truly believe this is the most effective way to convey the information for such a blog. I didn’t realize it at first because I thought of it as simply a hobby, but I write this blog for readers. I’m trying to make information available, to educate those who wish to learn more about my subject. Since this is the case, I should make that information as readily available to the reader as possible. If it’s difficult for the reader to locate information on my blog, it’s not being effective.

Thus, I think the optimal format, in my particular case, is a blend of formal pages of information with informal postings on whatever I deem appropriate. The formal postings, since they are intended as history, should be correctly attributed and cited. Several blogging programs out there (not unfortunately, this one) provide the ability to post to pages within the blog, so I’ll be looking into them. I don’t think posting itself will change a great deal, but how the information is stored on the site will.

Christmas in November

Every once in a while, the stars line up just right and provide a real treat, usually when one isn't looking for it. I was incredibly fortunate this weekend, one of those nice coincidences that make me eager to see the sunrise each morning.

It all started with a need for some quality adult time with my wife. We have a 17 month old, so there aren't huge amounts of adult time. Not that I don't love the little guy to death and spoil him unmercifully, but any parents out there know what I'm talking about. Also, work's been an absolute bear lately -- one day off last pay period, two days the one before that. So we prevailed upon grandma and grandpa to babysit (which unsurprisingly required absolutely no armtwisting) so we could go to lunch and goof around town for a couple of hours.

My wife wanted to have lunch at a place she was very familiar with downtown where I hadn't been. As we walked up to the place, I noticed a used bookstore right next door. I mentioned that we'd have to stop in after lunch. We had a very good lunch (she's nearly always right about restaurants), and she reminded me as we were leaving that I wanted to look in the bookstore before we went home. It's small, independently owned store, and has only been open for a couple of months.

As we walked in the door, I noticed some volumes of the Official Records along the top of the bookcases across the room. I'm enough of a Civil War junkie that my wife even recognized them on sight and asked, "Are those what I think they are?" I agreed that they were and strolled over to take a look while she chatted with the owner. Once I reached the shelf, I saw that they were volumes 1-20. Curious. I turned around, and there they were down the tops of the bokkcases on the other wall. It was an entire set, well over half of them still in shrink-wrap. Definitely not something I ever expected to see in Colorado.

The OR's something I've always enjoyed, in an abstract sort of way. I've used it extensively in college libraries, and my wife bought me a cd version a couple of years ago for Christmas. But I like books. I like the feel of them, the smell of them. Being able to pull up reports from the cd is nice, but it's not the same as being able to open a book and look at them in print. Call me old-fashioned. One way is faster, the other is more fun to me. But I digress.

I never thought I'd own a full set, didn't really think it would be practical. I've collected a few individual volumes that specifically interested me such as the ones on Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Wilson's Creek, and always have an eye out for others that might help my research. particularly on the Western Theater. But the whole thing? 130 volumes? Where would you put them all? And it would be price-prohibitive. $3,500 plus shipping from North Carolina? Not going to happen. But this is, after all, what libraries are for.

So we looked around the store, found a couple of books (for some reason I've never read Sears' Gettysburg, but I have it now), and went up to the counter to check out. I asked him idly how much the volumes of the OR that he had on display were.

"Well," he said. "I resolved when I moved from my last location to this one that I was going to be a book seller, not a book collector. Now that is a complete set, and it's a lot of books, but I'll sell it to you for $x."

My wife looked at me. I very carefully did not look at my wife. We talked with him some more and then left, promising to return. The Civil War section was small but pretty good, and he has a really good collection of westward expansion books (my undergrad concentration). Trying to encourage return visits, the owner gave my wife a 20% off card for her next visit.

So we get into the car to drive home, and my wife asks, "That was a really good price, wasn't it?" Carefully watching the road, I replied that it was an extremely good price, and how much the set would cost new. She mulled this over for a half a block or so before telling me to turn around, that I'd better appreciate this, that it would be my present for Christmas, anniversary, etc. And back we went.

After telling me to check and make sure the set was complete, she talked to the owner. Veteran shopper that she is, she not only got the set at the already low price, she talked him into giving her the 20% off as well. So I am now the proud owner of an entire set of the OR for the price of just over $500 including tax.

Yes, my wife is pretty wonderful. Not only has she tolerated my time and space-consuming hobby, she has aided and abetted it. This is truly above and beyond the call of duty. And she even thought it necessary to ask if she'd spoiled my Christmas because I knew what I was getting!

My son will get to learn about the Civil War from the OR, from the comfort of his own home. Between these and the copy of the Golden Book I found last summer, I figure he's a lock for a Civil War scholar. And I plan on spending just a little bit of time with them in the meantime. Now I just have to figure out where to put them all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Move to the Sound of the Guns

Craig Swain has a couple of fantastic posts on forming Civil War databases over on his blog To the Sound of the Guns. It's a little bit of a stretch to follow it all, but I'm definitely learning things. Hopefully it will help with the 6th US Cavalry history project that I seem to be neck-deep in.

These two posts aside, I still heartily recommend Craig's site. The Historical Marker Database is growing by the day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Makes A "First String" Cavalry Leader?

I've recently tried to explore on a couple of the discussion boards why the Union cavalry in the western theater was perceived to be led by the "second string". I think there are several reasons for this, among them, the fact that the theater was (and continues to be) overshadowed by the war in the east and the fact that late in the war it was where unpopular and unsuccessful cavalry leaders were sent. I have a theory or two about this, but the thought that has been pestering me all day is a working definition of what differentiates a "first string" cavalryman from the "second string."

With a few moments' thought, I can easily come up with several examples of cavalry leaders that I would consider first string: Buford, Stuart, Hampton, David Gregg, and Minty, to name a few. So what is it that characterizes these leaders?

Here are a few items for my litmus test just off the top of my head, I'm sure we can come up with others.
1. Aggressively maintain contact with the enemy
2. Keep higher headquarters informed over time
3. Ability to "read the brown" when looking at maps and visualize terrain and how it affected movement (ex: use of gaps and passes during the retreat/pursuit from Gettysburg)
4. Willingness to fight for intelligence when necessary

The Union cavalry division commanders during the Gettysburg campaign are a good example, the corps commander (Pleasonton) not so much. Minty and Wilder at Chickamauga are others, though Wilder commanded mounted infantry not cavalry. I personally don't think Sheridan is, primarily due to the Wilderness when he left his boss all but blind about the enemy to his immediate front.

I'm very curious about others' thoughts on what made first string leaders, and who you think would make the team. There is no limit on numbers other than by qualification.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Effective Blogging

There's a great discussion going on about different ways to store information on blogs and how to make them more useable to researchers over at Harry Smeltzer's Bull Runnings, for anyone who might be interested. The link is right here.

I've been very intrigued by some of the ideas there, which could cause a chgange of address for this blog over the holidays. Stay tuned for more information.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fiddler’s Green: Isaac M. Ward

Isaac M. Ward was born in Scott County, Kentucky in 1834. He attended local schools and worked as a bootmaker prior to his enlistment in the army. Isaac was enlisted into Company A, 1st US Cavalry by Lieutenant Riddick in Decatur, Ohio on January 26, 1857. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’6” tall, with light hair, hazel eyes, and a fair complexion.

Ward served for the next four years on the frontier in Company A, receiving promotions to corporal and sergeant. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he accompanied his regiment as it moved to Washington, DC. After Company A reached Washington, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the 6th US Cavalry on October 23, 1861. The 6th US Cavalry's acting commander, Lieutenant Colonel William Emory had commanded the 1st Cavalry at the outbreak of the war, and may have had something to do with the appointment.

Lieutenant Ward joined his new regiment that same month, and was assigned to Company A. The following month he was assigned to Company F, where he served through the peninsula campaign. He trained with the regiment throughout the winter of 1861, and accompanied them to the peninsula for their first campaign the following March.

In August 1862, Lieutenant Ward was assigned as an aide de camp to General Pleasonton, on whose staff he served until the following April. Ward was promoted to first lieutenant on October 20, 1862. He returned to his regiment in April 1863, just in time to command Company A during Stoneman’s raid.

Lieutenant Ward was killed at the head of his squadron of Companies A and M near Beverly Ford during the battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863. The squadron was charging in support of a flanked line of the regiment’s skirmishers. He was shot through the chest while attempting to capture a Confederate battle flag in close fighting. He is buried at Culpeper National Cemetery in Culpeper, Virginia.


Carter, From Yorktown to Santiago, pages 86

Crouch, Richard E. Brandy Station, page 241

Enlistment documents, Isaac M. Ward

Heitman, page 1001

Henry, Volume II, page 215

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fiddler’s Green: James F. Wade

James Franklin Wade was born in Jefferson, Ohio on April 14, 1843. His father, Senator Benjamin F. Wade, was a senator from Ohio during the Civil War, and a harsh critic of President Lincoln. Following Lincoln’s assassination, he was President Johnson’s acting vice president, and came within one vote of becoming president. Had Andrew Johnson been impeached, Wade would have succeeded him as president.

James was educated in local schools and working in the community when he received an appointment as a 2nd lieutenant in the 6th US Cavalry from the state of Ohio on May 14, 1861, which he accepted on June 24, 1861. His initial assignment was as a recruiting officer for the regiment in his home state. He was responsible for recruiting the majority of Company B, primarily from Cleveland and Columbus, through October 1861. Upon joining the regiment, oddly enough, he was assigned to Captain Charles Russell Lowell’s Company K.

Lieutenant Wade trained with his regiment during the winter of 1861-1862, learning his new trade. When the regiment went to war on the peninsula in the spring, however, he was transferred to the staff of Brigadier General Emory, commander of the 1st Brigade of the Cavalry Reserve of the Army of the Potomac. He returned to the regiment following the campaign. By October 1862, he was commanding the company, as Captain Lowell had been assigned to General McClellan’s staff.

Lieutenant Wade continued to command company K through the winter and the spring of 1863, including Stoneman’s Raid in May. He performed exceptionally well at the battle of Brandy Station, earning a brevet promotion to captain on June 9, 1863 for gallant and meritorious service at Beverly Ford, Virginia. Following Brandy Station, he and his company were detached from the regiment for service at Cavalry Corps headquarters. The company was returned to the regiment following the battle of Fairfield, but Wade remained on special duty on General Pleasonton’s staff for the next several months.

Lieutenant Wade was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 6th US Colored Cavalry on May 1, 1864. This marked the beginning of 23 years of service as a leader of colored cavalrymen. On September 19th, he was promoted to colonel and command of the regiment. He received a brevet promotion to major on December 19, 1864 for gallant and meritorious service in action at East Marion, Tennessee. Wade received further brevets to lieutenant colonel and colonel on March 13, 1865 for meritorious service during the war, and yet another to brigadier general of volunteers on February 13, 1865 for gallant service in the campaign in southwestern Virginia. How he was brevetted to brigadier general before lieutenant colonel and colonel is unclear.

James was honorably mustered out of volunteer service on April 15, 1866 and returned to the 6th US Cavalry, where he was promoted to captain two weeks later on May 1st. He didn’t stay there long, however. On July 28, 1866, he was promoted to major in the newly forming 9th US Cavalry on July 28, 1866, which he accepted on September 17th. This was one of the “Buffalo Soldier” regiments which later became famous for their service on the frontier. Major Wade was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the 10th US Cavalry on March 20, 1879.

Wade left the buffalo soldiers with his promotion to colonel of the 5th US Cavalry on April 21, 1887. He served ten years as the commander of this regiment before he was promoted to brigadier general, US Army on May 26, 1897. During the Spanish-American War he commanded a troop assembly area in Tampa, Florida. Wade was promoted to major general of volunteers on May 4, 1898. Two days later, he assumed command of the Third Corps at Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia. Following the armistice in August, he became a member of the Cuban Evacuation Committee to oversee the removal of Spanish forces from Cuba and Puerto Rico.

General Wade was honorably discharged from volunteer service a second time on June 12, 1899, and served in the Philippines from 1901 to 1904. He was promoted to major general, US Army on April 13, 1903. After his service abroad, General Wade returned home to command the District of the Atlantic from Governors Island, New York in December, 1904.

Major General Wade retired on April 14, 1907, after 46 years of service. His eldest son, John P. Wade, followed him into the cavalry. He was a captain in the 2nd US Cavalry at the time of his father’s retirement.

James returned home to Jefferson, Ohio following his retirement, where he actively served his community. He was a director and vice president of a local bank and member on the local school board.

James Franklin Wade died on August 24, 1921 in Jefferson, Ohio, after several months of poor health. Both his sons were still serving in the army at the time of his death, one as a colonel, the other as a major.


Heitman, page 991

Powell, page 619

New York Times article, April 15, 1907.

The Jefferson Gazette, August 25, 1921, as accessed from http://theusgenweb.org/oh/Ashtabula/war/JamesFWadeObit1908.html on October 21, 2008.