Saturday, December 01, 2012


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Commander George Upham Morris was born in Massachusetts, June 3, 1830, and died at the Jordan Alum Springs, in Virginia, in August, 1875. He was the son of Commodore Charles Morris, one of the best known and most respected of our older naval officers, both on account of personal character and professional ability.

Commander Morris entered the navy as midshipman in August, 1846; became lieutenant in September,1855;, and was promoted commander July 25, 1866.

When the iron-clad ram " Merrimac" came out from Norfolk, on the 8th of March, 1862, and attacked the " Congress" and " Cumberland" at Newport News, Morris, who was executive-officer of the last-named ship, was in temporal command, and distinguished himself in the highest degree by his conduct on that occasion. "As her guns approached the water's edge," said the Secretary of the Navy in his annual report, " her young commander, Lieutenant Morris, and the gallant crew stood firm at their posts and delivered a parting fire, and the good ship went down heroically, with her colors Flying."

It was but a very few minutes from the time the " Merrimac's" ram struck the vessel until she was at the bottom. A large number perished with the vessel, but m. in)- of the officers and men, Lieutenant Morris among them, managed to reach the shore, where they manned the batteries in the intienchnients, to resist Magrudcr's force, coming from Yorktown to cooperate with the " Merrimac."

In May, 1862, Commander Morris was ordered to the command of the steam gun-vessel " Port Royal." In her he had an engagement with a nine-gun battery on the James River, and was subsequently wounded during an engagement with Fort Darling.

In February, 1864, he was engaged with Fort Powell, at Grant's Pass, in the " Port Royal."

Commander Morris was retired less than a year before his death, the date of which is given above.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Benjamin Trumbull Kneeland.

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Benjamin Trumbull Kneeland.

Birth: 1825, Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York.
Death: 1905, Nunda, Livingston County, New York.
Benjamin had a son, George Kneeland.
Spouse: Harriet Niles Kneeland (1826 - 1910.)
Burial: Hunts Hollow Cemetery, Portage, Livingston County, New York.

BENJAMIN T—Age, 37 years. Enrolled, July 29, 1862, at Suffolk, Va.; mustered in as surgeon, July 29, 1862, to serve three years; mustered out, June 30, 1865, at Clouds Mills, Va.; commissioned surgeon, November 1, 1862, with rank from July 28, 1862, original.

A note from the regimental history.

None of us will ever forget our thorough medical examination by Surgeon Kneeland; how he stripped, pounded, pinched, and pulled us, examining every limb, bone, muscle, and tooth, tested our hearts and lungs, accepting only those he could pronounce " sound as a new silver dollar".

Colo. Freeman Conner, Battle Report.

Numbers 200. Reports of Lieut, Colonel Freeman Conner, Forty-fourth New York Infantry.


LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action taken by this regiment in the engagement on July 2: About 4 p. m. our regiment, Colonel J. C. Rice commanding, was placed in position on Round Top hill, with the Eighty-third Pennsylvania on our left and the Sixteenth Massachusetts on our right. Company B was immediately thrown out as skirmishers. When they had advanced about 200 yards, they met the enemy advancing in three lines of battle. Orders were immediately given by Captain L. S. Larrabee, commanding the company, to fall back upon the battalion. It was while executing this order that that faithful and brave officer was shot through the body and instantly killed, being the first officer that this regiment ever had killed in battle. The enemy continued to advance until the first line came within about 40 yards of our line. Upon their first appearance we opened a heavy fire upon them, which was continued until they were compelled to retreat. After they had disappeared in our immediate front, we turned our fire upon those who had advanced in the hollow to our right, and continued it until we were out of ammunition.

After we had been engaged about one hour, Colonel Vincent, commanding brigade, was wounded, and the command fell upon Colonel J. C. Rice, and the command of the regiment upon myself. We remained in our position until the next morning about 8 a. m., when we were relieved by Colonel Hayes, Eighteenth Massachusetts. We were then moved to the right about three-eights of a mile, and formed in line of battle, the Sixteenth Michigan on our left and the Twentieth Maine on our right. I regret to add that in addition to Captain Larrabee, whose death I have already noticed, the officers are called upon to mourn the loss of First Lieutenant Eugene L. Dunham, Company D, a brave and efficient officer, who was instantly killed during the heavy firing from the enemy in our front. Captain William R. Bourne, Company K; Captain Bennett Munger, Company C; Adjt. George B. Herendeen; First Lieutenant Charles H. Zeilman, commanding Company F, and Second Lieutenant Benjamin N. Thomas, Company K, were wounded, the latter, it is feared, mortally. It affords me great pleasure to be able to state that both officers and men behaved with the greatest coolness and bravery, not a single case of cowardice having come to my ear.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
FREEMAN CONNER,Lieutenant Colonel, Comdg. Forty-fourth New York Volunteers.

Names of those from the 44th., New York Infantry.

RICE, JAMES C—Age, 30 years. Enrolled, September 3, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as lieutenant-colonel, September 13, 1861; as colonel, July 4, 1862; discharged, August 23, 1863, for promotion to brigadier-general,
U. S. Vols.; commissioned lieutenant-colonel, September 3, 1861, with rank from same date, original; colonel, July 21,1862, with rank from July 4, 1862, vice S. W. Stryker, resigned.

CONNOR, ( Conner ) FREEMAN.—Age, 25 years. Enrolled, August 8, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as captain, Co. D, September 13, 1861; as major, July 4,1862; as lieutenant-colonel, July 14, 1862; wounded in action, December 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Va.; discharged for wounds, April 3, 1863; reinstated and mustered in as lieutenant-colonel, May 12, 1863; wounded in action, May 8, 1864, at Laural Hill, Va.; mustered out with regiment, October 11, 1864, at Albany, N. Y.; prior service as first lieutenant, Co. D, Eleventh Infantry; commissioned captain, October 12, 1861, with rank from August 12, 1861, original; major, July 21, 1862, with rank from July 4, 1862, vice E. P. Chapin, promoted; lieutenant-colonel, September 9, 1862, with rank from July 14, 1862, vice E. P. Chapin, promoted colonel, One Hundred and Sixteenth Regiment; commissioned colonel but not mustered, September 5, 1863, with rank from August 27, 1863, vice J. C. Rice, promoted.

DUNHAM, EUGENE L.—Age, 23 years. Enrolled, August 8, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as first sergeant, Co. D, August 30, 1861; mustered in as second lieutenant, August 19, 1862; promoted first lieutenant, April 16, 1863; killed in action, July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; commissioned second lieutenant, November 11, 1862, with rank from August 19, 1862, vice H. D. Burdick, resigned; first lieutenant. May 30, 1863, with rank from April 16, 1863, vice B. K.. Kimberley, promoted.

BOURNE, WILLIAM R.—Age, 26 years. Enrolled, August 20, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as first sergeant, Go. K, September 5, 1861; mustered in as second lieutenant, May 14, 1862; as first lieutenant, December 18, 1862; as captain, January 11, 1863; wounded in action, July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; discharged for disability, October 9, 1863, at Washington, D. C; commissioned second lieutenant, July 21, 1862, with rank from July 4, 1862, vice O. D. Gaskill, promoted; first lieutenant, January 14, 1863, with rank from December 18, 1862 vice 0. D. Gaskill, resigned; captain, February 25, 1863, with rank from January 11, 1863, vice 0. A. Woedworth, resigned.

MUNGER, BENNETT.—Age, 41 years. Enrolled, August 11, 1862, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as captain, Co. C, October 3, 1862; wounded in action, July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; discharged on consolidation, October 11, 1864; commissioned captain, November 11, 1862, with rank from October 14, 1862, vice W. H. Revere, resigned,

HERENDEEN, GEORGE B.—Age, 27 yearn Enrolled, August 16, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. D, August 30,1861; promoted sergeant-major, October 6, 1861; mustered in as second lieutenant, Co. I, April 1, 1862; as first lieutenant, Co. B, August 19, 1862; as first lieutenant and adjutant, February 10, 1863; mustered out with regiment, October 11, 1864, at Albany, N. Y.; commissioned second lieutenant, April 19, 1862, with rank from April 3, 1862, vice E. D. Spencer, resigned; first lieutenant, January 14, 1863, with rank from August 19, 1862, vice C. E. Royce, promoted; first lieutenant and adjutant, February 25, 1863, with rank from December 18, 1862, vice H, Kelley, promoted.

ZEILMAN, CHARLES H.—Age, 24 years. Enrolled at Albany, to serve three years, and mustered in as first sergeant, Co. F, August 8, 1861; as second lieutenant, July 25, 1862; as first lieutenant, December 25, 1862; •wounded in action,
July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa., and May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, Ya.; mustered out with company, October 11, 1864, at Albany, N. Y.; commissioned second lieutenant, October 28, 1862, with rank from July 25, 1862, vice J. B.Webber, appointed adjutant, One Hundred and Sixteenth Infantry; first lieutenant, January 14, 1863, with rank from December 21, 1862, vice 0. W. Gibbs, promoted; captain, not mustered, January 27, 1864, with rank from September 20, 1863, vice G. E. Royce, appointed lieutenant-colonel of colored troops.

THOMAS, BENJAMIN N.—Age, 19 years. Enrolled, August 20, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. C, October 5, 1861; promoted corporal, January 1, 1862; sergeant, May 1, 1862; first sergeant, August 1, 1862; transferred to Co. K, October 26, 1862; mustered in as second lieutenant, December 27,1862; wounded in action, July 2,1863; died of his wounds, July 8, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; commissioned second lieutenant, January 11, 1863, with rank from December 27,1862, vice W. R. Bourne, promoted.

LARRABEE, LUCIUS S.—Age, 24 years. Enrolled, August 8, 1861, at Albany, to serve three years; mustered in as first
lieutenant, Co. B, August 10, 1861; as captain, September 19, 1861; wounded in action, August 30, 1862, at Groveton, Va.; killed in action, July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; prior service as first lieutenant in Co. F, Eleventh Infantry; commissioned first lieutenant, October 12, 1861, with rank from August 8, 1861, 'Original; captain, October 12, 1861, with rank from September 31, 1861, vice S. W. Stryker, promoted.

Update 12-9-2012.

The following information is given by Linda Mott.

Col. Conner, S W. Stryker, and Capt. Lucius S. Larrabee were all former members of the Chicago Cadets, a militia group formed during the late 1850’s in Chicago, IL. The group was led by Col. Elmer Ellsworth and utilized French military tactics called “Zouave.” The Chicago Cadets of 1859 aka Chicago Zouave Cadets were so successful with their displays that the group went on a whirlwind tour across 21 US cities, principally, New York City, Boston and West Point the summer of 1860. Ellsworth, resigned from the group shortly after the tour, but would later remember his cadets when war was declared. He asked Conner, Stryker, Larrabee and Ed Knox (also there’s about 6 more Chicago Cadets) to help train his NYC firemen recruits the (11th NYVI) after war was declared in April of 1861. These 4 men and the other 6 were given positions of 1st LT in the 10 companies formed. Ellsworth appointed the fire chiefs who had signed on as the Company Captains. Not all of the men Ellsworth asked to help would stay with the 11th NYVI. However Conner, Larrabee and Knox remained through the 1st Battle of Bull Run in July 21, 1861, later resigning not long after. They again appear with the 44th NYVI formed in Aug. of 1861. The rest you’ve posted with the exception of Ed Knox who isn’t mentioned in the Battle Report.

The Battle Report about the action at Gettysburg must have been difficult for Col. Conner to write. He and Lucius Larrabee had been together since the late 1850’s in Chicago, IL.

Linda Mott.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Philip Coombs Mason.

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Philip Coombs Mason was bom in the old seaport town of Newburyport, Mass., March 5, 1834. He was the youngest son of WiUiam S. and Abigail (Jackman) Mason, there being two older sons and a daughter in the family. His father and grandfather (William Mason) fought in the war of 1812, and his grandfather was captured and confined in Dartmoor prison, in England, as a prisoner of war. All of his ancestry were of the typical New England stock.

The coat-of-arms in the possession of the family bears the emblems of the Scottish and English. It is known that the Masons were among the first settlers of Newburyport. Both grandfathers of Philip were seafaring men, and William S. Mason, his father, was for many years captain of the trading ship "Nikola" of Newburyport, and did an extensive business with Russia and other foreign countries.

Lieutenant Mason received his education in the Newburyport schools. After leaving high school, he learned the photograph business of Mr. John McArthur. When the Civil War broke out he was one of the first volunteers to go from Newburyport in Company A of the Seventeenth Regiment. By faithful and meritorious service he rose from first sergeant in the old company to second and first lieutenant which latter promotion came to him on July 8, 1863.

He participated in all the engagements of the old regiment and was mustered out with it in 1864. After serving his time in the war. Lieutenant Mason took up the photograph business in Newbern, N. C, where he remained until a serious illness compelled him to return North. In 1867, he married Sarah L., daughter of Benjamin French of Salisbury, Mass. She, too, came of old New England parentage, whose ancestors came to this country in 1640. Both paternal and maternal grandfathers distinguished themselves in the Revolutionary War.

During President Grant's administration, Lieutenant Mason was appointed United States Gauger of Internal Revenue under Mr. Charles C. Dame, collector of Newburyport. He remained in the service twelve years, when, through change of administration, he lost his position. After a lapse of twelve years, however, he was reinstated in his old position, where he remained until November, 1903, when illness compelled him to give it up in order to regain his health.

Lieutenant Mason was a member of Post 49, G. A. R., of Newburyport, and one of its past commanders, but he has resided in Somerville for nearly twenty-five years.

(A brother officer of the Seventeenth contributes the following more full account of Lieutenant Mason's war service.)

"At the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, Lieutenant Mason joined the company known as the 'City Grays,' and after having helped to organize and drill the company for several weeks, he was appointed first sergeant of it. As first sergeant he went to the seat of war in Company A of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the company being commanded by CaptainDavidF. Brown of Newburyport and Captain Henry Splaine of Haverhill.

"He was promoted second Heutenant September 25, 1862, and first lieutenant July 8, 1863. At the expiration of his term of  enUstment, he was mustered out of service August 3, 1864, at Lynnfield, Mass. During his three years of service he never lost a day on accoimt of sickness. He was an ideal first sergeant, was an intrepid and gallant lieutenant, a good drillmaster, a judicious manager, and never neglected to look after the interests of Company A and the others with whom it was his privilege to serve. He was on every march, and in every fight that his regiment took part in during his term of service.

"Many first sergeants, it may be said were not as fortunate as Mason for with him, when everything else failed, an appeal to the Hibernian tent was invariably successful. No matter whether they were tired or hungry, these men were always ready to help Sergeant Mason out of a difficulty. All he had to say was, 'Boys, I must have two men for special duty. I know it isn't your turn. but, then, what am I going to do?' At that announcement all would spring to their feet and say; 'Sure, Mr. Mason, we will do am^thing in the world for you.'

These conditions and doings, as may be judged, brought about a feeling of mutual regard and respect between Mason and his Hibernian friends. A treaty of reciprocity was established between them, and Mason kept his end of the treaty as sacredly as the others did theirs. He did many acts of kindness for them, saved some of them from getting into trouble, and when it did happen that one of them did get into trouble. Mason would be the first one at headquarters to make a special plea in his behalf. It often appeared to the writer that Mason, like the Geraldines of old, was more Irish than the Hibernians themselves, and that the Hibernians were more Yankee than Phil Mason himself.

"Many of the officers and sergeants joked Mason about the happy and handy relations existing between him and his Irish friends; but at that early stage of their lives they evidently had not studied environment and its effect upon human conduct.

"The friendship thus formed between Phil and his comrades, it may be added, was continued into the private life of both succeeding their war service, and both parties never tired of telling of instances illustrative of their mutual service and good will. So much did these influences attend Phil Mason for years after his army service that one day be became father of a beautiful boy, and, behold, the child was born on St. Patrick's day. Served him right.  So much for environment association." Of Lieutenant Mason's three children, two of them are alive at this writing, and are most usefuland respected members of the community: Miss Abbie Daniels Mason and Mr. Arthur French Mason.

Henry A. Merchant, 23th., Pennsylvania Infantry.

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Henry A. Marchant, First Lieutenant company H., transferred to company F., May 1, 1862.

Henry A.Marchant, first Lietutenant, company F., mustered in August 2, 1861, for 3 years.  Promted to Captain of company I., January 1863.

Henry AMarchant, Captain, company I., transferred from company F., Killed ay Cold Harbor June 1, 1864.

The following came from the 23rd., regimental history.

CAPTAIN MARCHANT, Twenty-third Pennsylvania, in 1861, gave the men of his company special instructions as to the use of the turnaque in case of a wound to stop the flow of blood until given aid by the surgeon. He was killed at Cold Harbor, and when found, he had first been wounded in the thigh and had applied the turnaque with his twisted pocket handkerchief, but was afterwards riddled with balls. He was a most gallant soldier and a true gentleman, highly respected by all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Major Robert G. Rider, 85th., Illinois Infantry.

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MAJOR ROBERT G. RIDER was born in Ravenna, Portage county, Ohio, March 14, 1831, attended Jefferson college at Cannonsburg, and studied medicine at Washington college, Washington, Pa. He removed to Illinois in 1855 and the following winter attended a course of lectures at a medical college, Dubuque, Iowa. He began the practice of his profession at Mobile, Ala., but returned to Illinois some three years later, and at the beginning of the War of the Rebellion was practicing medicine at Havana, in Mason county.

He enrolled Company K and was elected captain of that company at its organization, commanded the company at the battle of Perryville, through the Kentucky and Murfreesboro campaigns, and was promoted to be major of the regiment April 6, 1863. He was appointed provost marshal when the brigade was assigned to garrison duty at Murfreesboro, Tenn., but returned to duty with the regiment when the brigade was ordered to Nashville to prepare for an active campaign at the front. When In the assault on Kennesaw mountain .Colonel Dilworth was called to command the brigade, the command of the Eighty-fifth devolved upon Major Rider. He retained command of the regiment until disabled by a gun shot wound in the head at the assault upon the enemy's lines at Jonesboro, Ga. Recovering, at least partially, from his wound he resumed command of the regiment, which he led in the march to the sea. He resigned at Savannah, Ga., December 19, 1864.

Returning to Havana he resumed the practice of medicine, which he continued until 1880, when he removed to Mount Ayr, Iowa. In 1884 he retired from the active practice of his profession, but resided in Mount Ayr to the time of his death, which occurred on November 14, 1899.

Name: RIDER, ROBERT G. Rank; CPT. Company; K. Unit; 85 IL US INF. Age: 32. Joined When: JUL 18, 1862. Joined Where; MASON CO, IL. Period; 3 YRS. Muster In; AUG 27, 1862. Muster In Where; PEORIA, IL. Remarks: PROMOTED MAJOR MAY 30, 1863.

Name; RIDER, ROBERT G. Rank: MAJ. Company; HQ. Unit; 85 IL US INF. age: 32 joined When: MAY 30, 1863. Joined Where: BRENTWOOD, TN. Joined By Whom; GOV OF ILL. Period: 3 YRS. Muster In: MAY 30, 1863. Muster In Where; NASHVILLE, TN. Remarks: RESIGNED DEC 19, 1864.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

George A. Blanchard, 85th., Illinois.

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CAPTAIN GEORGE A. BLANCHARD was born in Henderson, Jefferson county, New York, May 14, 1833, and with his parents, Aaron and Anna Blanchard, removed to Illinois and settled in St. Charles in Kane county, in 1838. He served for a time as deputy sheriff and circuit clerk of Kane county, married Amanda Walker, March 17, 1857, and removed to Havana, in Mason county, where he engaged in general merchandise. He assisted in recruiting Company C, and at the organization of the company was elected first lieutenant. He was promoted to be captain February 7, 1863, and commanded the company until captured at the battle of Peach Tree creek, Georgia, July 19, 1864. He was held in various rebel prisons until the close of the war, and was honorably discharged May 15, 1865. Upon his return to Havana he was appointed master in chancery for Mason county, holding the position until 1868, when he was elected circuit clerk. At the close of a four-years term he became the secretary of the Springfield and Northwestern railway, and was serving in that capacity when he died May 4, 1875.

Name: BLANCHARD, GEORGE A. Rank: 1LT. Company: C. Unit: 85 IL US INF. Personal Characteristics. Residence: HAVANA, MASON CO, IL. Age: 29. Height: 5' 5. Hair: BROWN. Eyes: BLUE. Complexion: LIGHT. Marital Status: MARRIED. Occupation: ROUST ABOUT. Nativity: WATERTOWN, JEFFERSON CO, N. Y. Service Record. Joined When: JUL 23, 1862. Joined Where: MASON CO, IL. Joined By Whom: CPT BLACK. Period: 3 YRS. Muster In: AUG 27, 1862. Muster In Where: PEORIA, IL. Remarks: PROMOTED CAPTAIN.

Name: BLANCHARD, GEORGE A. Rank: CPT. Company: C. Unit: 85 IL US INF. Personal Characteristics. Residence: HAVANA, MASON CO, IL. Age: 29. Height: 5' 5. Hair: BROWN. Eyes: BLUE. Complexion: LIGHT. Marital Status: MARRIED. Occupation: ROUST ABOUT. Nativity: WATERTOWN, JEFFERSON CO, N. Y. Service Record. Joined When: MAR 7, 1863. Joined Where: NASHVILLE, TN. Joined By Whom: GOV OF ILL Period: 3 YRS. Muster In: MAR 30, 1863. Muster In Where: NASHVILLE, TN. Remarks: HONORABLY DISCHARGED MAY 15, 1865.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thomas J. Haddock, Indiana

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Thomas J. Haddock, Was mustered in December, 1861, and served three years. He is now (1895) living in Lowndes, Wayne county, Missouri.

Name: Thomas J. Haddock.
Age: 20.
Date Enrolled: 1861/12/21.
Where Enrolled: Princeton, Indiana.
Regiment: 58.
Company: K.
Discharge Date: 1864/12/03.
Notes: Wounded & taken prisoner at Chicamauga.
Authors note.  More can be found on him and his family, at the siye of ( Find a Grave.)

Monroe Key Indiana.

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Monroe Key.
Birth: Sep. 4, 1841.
Death: Feb. 16, 1932.
Wife: Eliza Somers Key (1847 - 1936)
Children: Nellie Key (1874 - 1961) Anna T Key (1879 - 1934 Carrie Key (1884 - 1886)
Burial: Oak Hill Cemetery, Patoka, Gibson County, Indiana.

Monroe Key was mustered in at Camp Gibson as Sergeant of Company C; was promoted to 2d Lieutenant of that Company, October i, 1864, and was with the Regiment until its muster out. Since leaving the army, Lieutenant Key has made his home in Gibson county. He was elected Sheriff of the county in 1888, and re-elected in 1890, serving four years altogether. He then retired to his farm near Patoka, where he now resides.

Name: Monroe. Age: 19. Date Enrolled: 1861/10/01. Where Enrolled: Princeton, Indiana. Regiment: 58. Company: C. Discharge Date: 1865/07/25. Notes: Sgt.; 2nd Lt., December 19, 1864. Veteran Volunteer, February 14, 1864.