Tuesday, August 17, 2010

General Theophilus Hunter Holmes.

A gentleman had asked me to look into General Theophilus Hunter Holmes. I told this gentleman I had very little on him. However after I looked over the information I found I had more then thought, I was about to delete the information, then I thought that some of my readers may also be interested in the info, so I decided I should make a page out of the information. Those of you looking into him may find the information interesting.

Theophilus Hunter Holmes.
Birth: 1804.
Death 1880.
Father: Gabriel Holmes
Mother: Mary Hunter
Wife: Laura Jane Wetmore, marriage: 16 JUN 1841,Cumberland,North Carolina.


Elizabeth Wetmore Holmes, birth: 16 MAY 1842 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York.

Mary Maria Holmes, birth: 25 DEC 1843 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York.

Theophilus Hunter Holmes, birth: 17 DEC 1844 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York.

Gabriel Holmes, birth: 25 JAN 1848 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York..

Wetmore Holmes, birth: 02 MAR 1850 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York.

Laura Lydia Holmes, birth: 18 NOV 1851 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York.

Hardy Lucien Holmes, birth: 15 JUN 1855 Of Governor'S Island, , New York, New York.

Burial: MacPherson Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Fayetteville, Cumberland County
North Carolina.

1830--Cadet Theophilus H. Holmes, to be Brevet Second Lieutenant, 7th Regiment of Infantry, 1st July, 1829.

1831--Seventh Regiment of Infantry.
Br. 2d Lt. Theophilus H. Holmes to be 2d lt., 1 July, 1829

1834--Appointment, Dragoons.
Theophilus H. Holmes, late of the 7th Infantry, to be 2d lieutenant, 4 March, 1833.

1835--Seventh Regiment of Infantry.
Second Lt. Theophilus H. Holmes to be 1st lt., 26th March, 1835.

1836--First lieutenants.
Theophilus H. Holmes, of North Carolina.

1839--Seventh Regiment of Infantry.
First Lieutenant Theophilus H. Holmes to be captain, 9th December, 1838.

1847--JAMES K. POLK.
Washington, 2d March, 1847.
To the Senate of the United States:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with the accompanying documents, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 27th ultimo, requesting to be informed "why the name of Captain Theophilus H. Holmes was not sent in for brevet promotion amongst the other officers who distinguished themselves at the military operations of Monterey." The report of the Secretary of War discloses the reasons for the omission of the name of Captain Holmes in the list of brevet promotions in my message of the -- ultimo. Upon the additional testimony in Captain Holmes's case which has been received at the War Department, and to which the Secretary of War refers in his report, I deem it proper to nominate him for brevet promotion. I therefore nominate Captain Theophilus H. Holmes, of the 7th Regiment of Infantry, to be major by brevet, from the 23d September, 1846, in the Army of the United States.

1856--Eighth Regiment of Infantry.
Captain Theophilus H. Holmes, of the Seventh Regiment of Infantry, to be major, March 3, 1855.

1861--Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865.
To be brigadier-generals.
Theophilus H. Holmes, of North Carolina.

1861--Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865.
Theophilus H. Holmes, North Carolina.

Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes, to be lieutenant-general to date October 10, 1862, North Carolina.

Holmes, Theophilus Hunter. N C. NC. Cadet Mal. Sept l825, (44) out of class ;bvt. 2 1t, and 2 It., 7 inf. 1 July 1829; 1 It 26 Mar 1835; adjt.,9 Aug to 9 "Dec 1838; capt., 9 Dec 1838; maj. 8 inf., 3 Mar 1855; bvt. Maj. 23 Sept 1846 for gal con in the several conflicts at Monterey Mex; resd 22 Apr 1861; It gen C S A war 1861 to 1865; died 20 June 1880.

Numbers 14. Report of Lieutenant General Theophilus H. Holmes, C. S. Army, commanding District of Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK, ARK., August 14, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to the lieutenant-general commanding the following report of the attack made by me upon Helena on July 4, 1863:

In the month of June, 15, 1862, the Federal forces under General Curtis, from the attempted invasion of Arkansas, betook themselves to the city of Helena and there fortified. Since that time it has been constantly and heavily garrisoned by Federal troops. The possession of this place has been of immense advantage to the enemy. From it they have threatened at all times an invasion of Arkansas, thereby rendering it necessary that troops should be held in position to repel such invasion. From it they have controlled the trade and sentiments of a large and important scope of country.

It has been to them a most important depot for troops in their operations against Vicksburg. In view of these great advantages to them, of the great embarrassment to my movements elsewhere, arising from the proximity of a large and threatening army, and of the deleterious effect on that portion of the State cursed by their presence, it was deemed of very great importance that they should be driven from this their only stronghold in Arkansas. As a means of raising the siege of Vicksburg, and of keeping the Mississippi River closed, in the event of the surrender of that city, the policy of the move was perfectly apparent. Move over, from information considered reliable in my possession, the capture of Helena by the forces at my disposal seemed perfectly practicable.

On June 14, 1863, I telegraphed to Lieutenant-General Smith that I believed I could take the place, and asked his permission to attack it. Two days after, I started to Jacksonport, there to consult with Generals Price and Marmaduke and to make the necessary preliminary arrangements. The result of this interview was the following orders: Price's command, consisting of General McRae's Arkansas and General Parson's Missouri brigades of infantry, constituting Price's division of Missouri cavalry, Marmaduke's division, to rendezvous at Cotton Plant, and Brigadier-General Fagan's Arkansas brigade of infantry at Clarendon, on June 26 (Friday) whence, by converging roads, the two columns would move in the direction of Helena. I also informed General [L. M.] Walker, commanding brigade of cavalry in the vicinity of Helena, of my intention, and directed him to allow no ingress to the place.

Upon my return to Little Rock, I found that General Smith had fully sanctioned my proposed attack, and that the Secretary of War and written a strong letter suggesting, advising, and urging it. Thus encouraged, on June 26 I proceeded to Clarendon and assumed command of the expedition. From unavoidable necessity, consequent on rain, high water, and wretched roads, General Price's command did not reach its rendezvous for four days after the date fixed, thus giving the enemy abundant notice of my approach. General Fagan arrived at his place of rendezvous (Clarendon) on the 26th. As soon as the troops were in position, I proceeded toward Helena, on the morning of July 3.

Having received full, accurate, and reliable information of the forces and fortifications of the enemy in Helena, and the topography of the surrounding country, I here made the final dispositions for the attack. That information disclosed that the place was very much more difficult of access, and the fortification very much stronger, than I had supposed before undertaking the expedition, the features of the country being peculiarly adapted to defense, and all that the art of engineering could do having been brought to bear to strengthen it. The fortifications consisted of one regular work heavily armed with siege guns, and four strong redoubts mounted with field pieces and protected by rifle-pits, on suburban hills (see the map).

The disposition for the attack was as per following order:

The attack on Helena will be made to-morrow morning at daylight, and as follows:

1st. Major-General Price, in command of McRae's and Parsons' brigades, will proceed by the best route, assume position, assault and take Graveyard Hill at daylight.

2nd. Brigadier-General Walker, with his cavalry brigade, will in like manner, proceed to the Sterling road, where he will hold himself in position to resist any troops that may approach Rightor Hill; and when that position is captured, he will enter the town and act against the enemy as circumstances may justify.

3rd. Brigadier-General Fagan will proceed by the best route, assume position, and take the battery on Hindman Hill at daylight.

4th. Brigadier-General Marmaduke will proceed with his command by the best route, assume position, and take Rightor Hill at daylight.

This plan of attack was fully concurred in by all my general officers, and the part assigned to each accepted with alacrity.

Between 11 and 12 o'clock at night, the troops began to move to their respective positions, whence to assault in the morning. General Fagan detached a regiment from his brigade and sent it forward to the right on the lower Little Rock road, to occupy the attention of the enemy in the rifle-pits below the city, and to protect his flank in case of an attack from that quarter. Three detached companies of cavalry, under Captain [W. B.] Denson, were ordered to act as vedettes in the plain south of the city, and to transmit to General Fagan rapid information of any attempt to flank him. His artillery was also sent forward on this the only practicable road, with the hope that it might assist in creating a diversion and thereby aid the general movement. I took position a little after daylight on the graveyard ridge, one-half mile from the fortifications (a central point), there to await the development of the attack.

Soon after daylight, Brigadier-General Marmaduke drove in the pickets of the enemy in his front and assaulted Rightor Fort. It is believed that a strong, vigorous, and sudden attack on this fort would have been successful, but some delay occurring, a heavy force of the enemy appeared on his left flank and rear, and held him perfectly in check during the whole day. It was the peculiar duty of Brigadier-General Walker to have prevented this movement on the part of the enemy, and, as represented by General Marmaduke, the same could have been easily accomplished. No satisfactory reason has been given by General Walker why this service was not rendered. This attack, being most remote, was not under my personal supervision, and was too distant for me to give specific orders.

The assault on the first line of rifle-pits in front of Hindman Hill was made a few minutes after daylight. General Fagan, at the head of his brigade, charged gallantry over four lines under a deadly fire from the rifle-pits and guns on his front, and a most disastrous enfilading fire from Graveyard Hill, on the left, previous to the attack by General Price. Having driven the enemy from and carried the fifth and last line of rifle-pits, the brave men who had followed him thus far, overcome by sheer exhaustion, resulting from the inordinate exertion of their difficult charge and the intense heat of the day, were unable to proceed farther. A charge upon the fort was, nevertheless, attempted, and failed. The brigade thereupon took shelter behind the inner line of breastworks, anxiously awaiting assistance. This assistance never arrived. Major-General Price did not make his attack till after sunrise, and more than an hour after the time named in the order. As an explanation of this delay, his report states that, finding when he had gotten within 1 1/2 miles of the position he had been ordered to take, his division would arrive upon the ground prematurely, he ordered a halt, and resumed his march at dawn of day. His troops, when brought into position and ordered forward, behaved magnificently, charging rifle-pits and breastworks without a falter, and taking the hill without a halt.

As soon as the works were carried, I rode rapidly into them. Finding the guns in the fort had been rendered useless by the enemy before being abandoned, I at once dispatched one of my staff to the rear to bring up some artillery. Owing to the impracticability of the roads, this could not be effected in time.

Perceiving the position of the gallant Fagan and his command, I ordered Brigadier-General Parsons, the only general officer present, to proceed at once to attack the Hindman fort in the rear. Everything was in confusion, regiments and brigades mixed up indiscriminately, and the order was not attended to. Immediately afterward I sent an order to General Price to the same effect, and then returned to my headquarters. Two or three hundred yards in the rear I passed Brigadier-General McRae, who had not joined his brigade since the assault. I ordered him at once to the fort. It seems that General McRae was the officer designated by General Price to go to General Fagan's assistance. After much delay he proceeded on this duty, but utterly failed to render the slightest aid, making no attempt to assault the hill. Not having been advised of this order for General McRae, and being impatient of the delay, I proceeded again to the fort on graveyard Hill, where I found General Parsons with only 300 or 400 men of his brigade. He informed me that General McRae had been ordered to the relief of General Fagan. That officer was nowhere to be seen, while General Fagan, with greatly reduced force, was being assaulted and driven back by the enemy, largely re-enforced. Under these circumstances, at 10.30 a. m. I ordered the troops to be withdrawn. My retreat from Helena was effected in the most perfect order and without the slightest demoralization of any kind.

May whole force engaged in this expedition amounted to 7,646. My loss, as near as is ascertained, is 173 killed, 687 wounded, 776 missing; total, 1,636. See reports of division and brigade commanders, forwarded herewith.
I write this report with a deep pain. I commanded brave, gallant, and willing troops, and should have succeeded in the capture of Helena, for though the difficulties were very great, they were not insurmountable, and the misfortune of a failure was in a very great measure consequent on the men not being well in hand after success. Most of my los in prisoners resulted from not restraining the men after the capture of Graveyard Hill from advancing into the town, where they were taken mainly without resistance. If instead of this the regiments and brigades had been reformed instantly, the capture of Hindman Hill and consequently of the town would have been of easy occurrence.

I cannot close this report without expressing my obligations to His Excellency Harris Flanagin, Governor of Arkansas, who accompanied me and had my confidence during the whole campaign. I owe to his cool, discriminating judgment many valuable suggestions. His presence, confidence, and zeal had no little influence on the spirit and energy of the Arkansas troop. He and Colonel Gordon N. Peay, adjutant-general of the State, acted as volunteer aides-de-camp on my staff during the battle.

As the expedition failed, which should have succeeded, I refrain from all expressions of commendation, believing that the brave officers and men who distinguished themselves will willingly forego the applause due to them in consideration that our beloved country reaped no benefit from their exploits.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


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Anonymous said...

I am doing a research paper for my P.H.D in History I have been trying to find a the family link between Anna Helen Holmes (1810 to 1885)and Theophilus Hunter Holmes ( 1804 to 1880 )...I have unable to find anything....does anybody have any relieable information concerning this?.....please send it to hleek2003@yahoo.com