Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fiddler’s Green: Richard Wall

Here’s the profile of another cavalryman from the southwestern theater of the war, Richard Wall of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry. I thought I would have this posted several days ago, but he kept popping up in the regimental monthly returns as I worked my way through them. Robert, thanks for your inquiry, and I hope this answers some of your questions.

Richard Wall was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1827. He immigrated to the United States, and was working as a miner in San Antonio, Texas when he was enlisted into Company C, Regiment of Mounted Rifles by Lieutenant Alfred Gibbs on December 1, 1855. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’7” tall, with gray eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. During his first enlistment, he was promoted to corporal and sergeant in the same company. On December 1, 1860, he was re-enlisted into Company C by Captain Dabney Maury at Fort Marcy, New Mexico.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Sergeant Wall remained with his company and regiment, and was soon promoted to first sergeant. 1861 was a year of long marches but relatively little fighting for the company. According to the regiment’s annual return, they marched 1,147 miles, but had only three small engagements with Indians and a lone skirmish against invading Texans north of fort Thorn, NM on September 25, 1861.

First Sergeant Wall was placed on special duty as an acting second lieutenant with his company in January 1862, one of three noncommissioned officers so assigned. This was an unorthodox assignment, made necessary by the lack of officers present for duty. Several officer appointments had made, but the new officers hadn’t reached new Mexico yet, and five of the six companies in the field had no officers.

On February 21, 1862, acting lieutenant Wall fought with his company at the battle of Valverde. Major Thomas Duncan commanded the regiment on the field, and commended Wall in his official report on the battle for actions “characterized by the greatest zeal and coolness.”

Following the battle, Company C was ordered north to Fort Union. They mustered only 26 enlisted men under Wall’s command. During the march, they were attacked by Indians on the night of March 3rd in Comanche Canon, NM. Wall and Bugler Piggot were wounded, and Private Patrick Hart was killed. They fought at the battle of Glorietta Pass later in the month, in a squadron with Company K under Captain Joseph Tilford.

Not long after the battle, the regiment was ordered to march to the western theater of the war, joining the General Grant’s Army of the Tennessee in November. Wall was officially appointed a second lieutenant on July 17th, but word of the promotion did not catch up with the regiment until December 17th, when he was discharged to receive the appointment at Memphis, TN. He was assigned to Company E.

Lieutenant Wall fought with his regiment in Tennessee and Alabama in 1863. He earned a brevet promotion to first lieutenant on November 15, 1863 for gallant and meritorious service in action near Tuscumbria, AL. He received an official appointment to first lieutenant three months later, on February 15, 1864.
The following month, the regiment was transferred to St Louis, MO. They spent the summer of 1864 fighting in the Department of Arkansas, where they remained through the end of the war. Lieutenant Wall was promoted to captain on December 24, 1866.

Shortly thereafter, the regiment was reassigned to duty in New Mexico. Captain Richard Wall died in Santa Fe of unknown causes on July 28, 1868, and was buried the same day in Santa Fe National Cemetery, section C, site 479.

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