Thursday, May 05, 2011

They Drown In The CIvil War.

When one joins the army, drowning may have been the farthest thing from a soldiers mind. But the soldier would soon learn that there was a good possibility that he could drown. When I hear the name Army, I think of Marching, riding horses or wagons, being on water would be the farthest thing from my mind. Water played a big part in the army, to travel long distances they used steam ships, and for transporting prisoners from place to place, and if one wanted to attack a fort on a Island they had to use boats.

You were always in danger when near the water. One tactic used by both sides was if you had your enemies back to the water you keep moving forward till they were forced into the water. Then it became a turkey shoot, those that couldn’t swim drown, and those that could swim may make it if they were lucky enough not to be shot. In one attack 1300, were forces into the water, 500 hundred drown.

The second Indian Home Guards was faced with this kind of attack, where 250, drown. One of the officers was later heard to say; “All Indians young and old, can swim, only a third of whites can.”

Even if you were lucky enough that you didn’t have to enter the water, there was still a chance of drowning. Pontoons bridges broke apart and bridges collapse, you may even be faced with a flash flood. When the army was on the march they had to cross many rivers. When they came to a river they may find the bridge over crowded with hundreds of troops, and it could take days to cross, they would take too the water. Upon entering the water a soldiers horse may become panicky and drown and the soldier would be carried away in the swift current. There were times when they came to a river and found it to high, but some soldiers that were good swimmers would give the river a try, only to find they couldn’t fight the current and drown.

Not all drawings were accidental, case in point. The was a officer who was some what of a trouble maker, and was ordered not to go too this one flag of truce, well he went and was no officer nor gentleman. Later he was ordered to Headquarters to face charges, a few minutes after the boat left dock the officer jumped over board and drown. The were a few cases of suicides by drowning.

1. Private Huston Mayfield, Second Indian Home Guards, Company F, drowned in the Arkansas.

2. Private George Epart, Company H, Thirtieth Indiana Volunteers.
Read the account of No.3.

*3.Private David Lampa, Company K, Thirtieth Indiana Volunteers.

The Indiana recorders state he died February 1, 1863 at Richmond, VA. while A Prisoner.
This statement is not true here is the true account on how he died.

Annapolis, Md., February 5, 1863, Lieutenant-Colonel SANGSTER, Commanding Post, Annapolis, Md.

SIR: In compliance with your request I have the honor to report the following in regard to an accident which occurred to paroled (Federal) prisoners while on their way from their prison to the railroad for City Point to meet flag-of-truce steamer New York, January 27, 1863. The detachment of 800 paroled (Federal) prisoners left the prison at about 4. 30 a. m. and on their way to depot while crossing the canal bridge, an iron structure over which 1,000 of our men had passed the day before, gave way and precipitated about 100 men into the canal.

4. Manley Knowlton, private, First Kansas Infantry, company D., is reported on the company roster as being killed in action on May 10, 1863, Caledonia, La. In truth he was a orderly for Major William Y. Roberts, and was unfortunately drowned in trying to swim a bayou on the field of battle while carrying a dispatch from Captain Wheeler to Major Roberts.

5. Thomas G. McClelland, Captain, Third Illinois cavalry, company H., died May 11, 1862, drowned while on duty, crossing the White river.

6. First Lieutenant or Captain Alais Babo, or Baba, company C or G., and Second Lieutenant Reynhold or Reinhold Wesselhoeft, company C., or G., of the Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry.

I have put these two men together for this story, couldn’t be told without one or the other.

October 1861.

Captain Babo and Lieutenant Wesselhoef under took to swim the river without taking off their uniforms, their shoes, or their equipments even pistols. Nevertheless they seemed to be doing well until, immediately after a volley was fired, one of them was heard to exclaim in German that he was shot, and that was the last that was seen of either of them until Lieutenant Wesselhoef ’s body was discovered thirteen days after wards in the river, some twenty miles below. As there was no wounds upon it, it is probable that Captain was the one shot, and his devoted friend had lost his life in trying to save him.

7. The steamer Brother Jonathan was wrecked off Crescent City, Cal., July 31 [30], and Brigadier General George Wright, U. S. Volunteers and colonel Ninth Infantry, was drowned. He was en route for his new command the Department of Columbia. He formerly commanded the Department of the Pacific.

8. Captain H. I. Hodges, assistant quartermaster of volunteers, in endeavoring to communicate with the gun-boats, was accidentally drowned by the upsetting of a canoe; no further information in regard to his fate has ever reached me.

9. January 12,1864., Here I lost First Sergeantt. Bernhard Kraft, Company K, and his horse by drowning. Bernhard Kraft, Sergeant, Third Indiana cavalry, Co. K., The roster says he drowned January 12, 1863.

10. Captain W. W. Mead; he was shot from his horse and drowned in the river.
In the official records it states he was of the New York First Cavalry, no record could be found.

11. Crossing the South Branch of the Potomac at Petersburg over a ford that was very rocky and swift, we had the misfortune to have three of our horses and their riders swept down the stream. One, William Evans, of Company F, was drowned. It’s stated in the official records that he was of the Sixth Virginia, Cavalry.

12. Steamer H. Von Phul, April 22, 1863. J. H. Miller & A. B. Tuner, thought to be drowned.

13. March 25, 1863, U. S. steam ram Lancaster. Orderly Sergeant, William [H.] McDonald was drowned. While in our yawls, making our escape from the sinking wreck.

14. Joseph Meyer, private, 29, Boston, enlisted Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, company C., July 18, 1861, drown October 21, 1861.

15. Emery A. Mellen, Sergeant, 24, Boston, enlisted Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, company G., August 8, 1861, drown October 21, 1861.

16. John P. McKay, private, 30, Boston, enlisted Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, Company (?), August 24, 1861, drown October 21, 1861.

17. William Paul, private, 26, Carver, enlisted Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, company (?), August 5, 1863, drown in the Boston Harbor while attempting to desert.

18. Richard Key, Private, 7th. Kansas, Cavalry, Company B., Home Atchison, enlisted September 5, 1861, Mustered in September 5, 1861., Drowned in the Missouri river, January 1, 1862.

19. George Hamilton, private, 7th. Kansas, Cavalry, Company E., Home Chicago Ill., enlisted August 6, 1861, mustered in August 6, 1861. Drowned in Missouri river May 28, 1862, near Waverly, Mo.

20. Charles Dowd, private, 7th. Kansas, Cavalry, Company E., Home Chicago Ill., enlisted January 1, 1864, mustered in January 1, 1864. Drowned in Black River, Mo., May 13, 1865.

21. Joseph Sutton, private, 7th., Illinois infantry, company H., enlisted July 25, 1861, mustered in July 25, 1861. Drowned Cairo. Ill., January 19, 1862.

22. Urias Humphries, private, 7th., infantry, company I., Drowned, New River, South Carolina, January, 1865.

23. Harvey E. Bennett, recruit, 8th., Ill., infantry, company C., enlisted December 1, 1863, mustered in December 17, 1863. Drowned July 24, 1864, from steamer B. M. Ronyan.

24. Daniel Croley, private, 11th., Ill., infantry, company D., home Winnebago Co., enlisted October 24, 1861. Drown December 9, 1861.

25. George W. Allen, First Kentucky Cavalry, Co. (?), enlisted & mustered in at Lebanon Ky., January 1, 1863. Drown in the Licking River, April 30, 1864.

26. Fred Nave, private, 25th. Ohio, infantry, company K., Age 40, enlisted February 26, 1864, 3 years, Drowned June 27, 1864, at Jenkins Island.

27. James Hunter, private, 26th., Ohio infantry, Age 27, enlisted 22, 1864. Drowned October (?), 1862, in the Ohio River, by falling from a steamboat.

28. James Bostley, private, Second New York, regiment Mounted Rifles, company A., Age 41, enlisted September 22, 1863, 3 years, home Loclport. Drowned October 18, 1863, in the Erie Canal.

29. Alpheus M. Woodard, private, 5th., New York, Artillery, home Pinckned, Age 18, enlisted August 4, 1862, 3 years. Drowned at Sacketts Harbor, August 31, 1862.

30. William Joek, Detroit, enlisted company F., 17th., Michigan infantry, July 15, 1862, at Detroit, for 3 years, Age 19, mustered in August 26, 1862. Accidentally drowned July 1, 1864, buried in National Cemetery. New Albany Indiana. Grave No. 864.

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