Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Colonel Thomas W. Sweeny & Private Murry.

Thomas William Sweeny.

Birth: Dec. 25, 1820
Death: Apr. 10, 1892
Photo provided by John "J-Cat" Griffith.

Civil War Union Brigadier General. Born in Ireland, he moved to America in 1832 and settled in New York City. He joined the Baxter Blues, militia company in 1843, his unit fought in the Mexican War and his right arm was amputated after being wounded. After he recuperated, he fought against Native Americans in the Southwest and on the Great Plains. When the Civil War began, he was stationed in St. Louis, Missouri and became Brigadier General of Missouri's volunteers. While fighting at Wilson's Creek, he was wounded, carried off the field and returned to action in January of 1863. He led troops at Fort Donelson, was wounded at Shiloh, fought at Corinth and led a division in the Atlanta Campaign. After the war, he remained in the Army and retired a Brigadier General of Regulars in May, 1870.

Colonel Sweeny, give a battle report on the operations of October 3-6, 1862, in this report he made this statement about private (? ) Murry.

Private Murray, of Company E, Fifty-second Illinois, when the regiment fell back from the redan, he refused to retire, saying "it was Colonel Sweeny's orders to hold the fort to the last." He was ordered by a rebel captain to surrender, and upon his refusing to do so was fired at and wounded in the captain's revolver; whereupon Murray shot him dead. He was then attacked by a private, whom he also dispatched. He brought off the captain's revolver as a trophy of his bravery. By this time our troops rallied, came to his rescue, and drove the rebels out of the redan.

Note. If you know who this Murry was I would like to know, so I can add the information to this page. My address can be found in my profile.

Update 11-15-2012.

I was given this information by Tood Theiste who I would like to thank.

He was Charles Murray, a 21 year-old, single, Irish-born laborer who was living in Rockford when he enlisted in Company E.  His exploits were described in a portion of the _New York Times_ article "Personals" published in the November 8, 1862 edition.  He died on January 8, 1864 at the army hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

On October 4, the Fifty-second was posted to the battery's immediate south (left), with the rest of their division stretched along the railroad to their left.  After the division on the battery's right was swept away and the battery captured, the Confederates appeared behind the Fifty-second's right flank.  LTC John Wilcox then ordered the regiment to retreat--with the rest of the division following suit.  Falling back about 200 yards, the regiment (and division) rallied, lost their color bearer, and then counterattacked.  They recaptured the battery and used the battery's cannon to fire some rounds at the retreating Confederates.

In Rosecrans' after-action reports and press releases he castigated Davies Division for this retreat, as he happened to be nearby and saw it--having not seen any of their excellent fighting the rest of the battle.  As a result, it makes sense for the division's reports to highlight the valor and courage displayed by the men throughout the battle.  It worked too, for when the various reports came in, Rosecrans later apologized for his rash statements.

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