The Battle of New Market took place in 1864, on this day in history

Battle summary below provided by the Civil War Trust | Read more on their site

“In conjunction with other spring 1864 offensives against strategic points in the Confederacy, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel to move up the Shenandoah Valley along the Valley Turnpike to destroy the railroad and canal complex at Lynchburg. Union control of the strategic and agriculturally rich valley was a crucial part of Grant’s plans. Receiving word that the Union Army had entered the valley, Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge pulled together all available troops to repulse the invaders and gathered his forces near Staunton. Breckenridge decided to take the offensive and attack Sigel, and moved his army north towards New Market. The morning of May 15th, Breckenridge’s men met Sigel’s army just north of the town. At a crucial point, a key Union battery was withdrawn from the line to replenish its ammunition, leaving a weakness that Breckinridge was quick to exploit. He ordered his entire force forward, including many young cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, and Sigel’s stubborn defense collapsed. Threatened by the Confederate cavalry on his left flank and rear, Sigel ordered a withdrawal, burning the bridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River behind him.  Sigel retreated to Strasburg and was soon replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter.”

Click here to peruse a photo gallery of pictures of New Market on Flickr.

German immigrant joins 183rd Ohio and faces the elephant at Franklin and Nashville

George Schuch of the 183rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Co E was at Franklin.

George Schuch(k) Spelled Schuck in most records Schuch on his gravestone and his family went by Schuch.

10th OVI I Co Sgt transfered to 10th OVI D Co as a Pvt Enlisted in 174th OVI then the unit was combined with 183rd OVI E Co First Sgt then reduced to Sgt after one month.

George Schuch was born in Germany in 1827. Moved to Cincinnati, Oh. Enlisted in the 10th OVI (3 month)  June 1861 and then 10th OVI ( 3 year) Fought in W. Va and then returned to Cincinnati in Dec 1861 Went AWOL and was later Declared a deserter. He returned to the Unit in May 1863 and forfeited all pay and allowances. He fought in the Tennessee campaign.

May 1864 Placed in stockade awaiting General Court Martial by his Commander. Charges unknown. He was acquitted of the charges but the stockade did not get the paperwork and he was held in jail for six weeks until he wrote the Judge Advocate asking to be told why he was being held. The Captain found he was acquitted and ordered his release to be sent home to be Mustered out as his enlistment had expired.

He enlisted again in the 174th OVI in Sept 1864 the 174th was combined into the 183rd OVI in Oct 1864 and he was appointed First Sergeant then one month later he was replaced as First Sergeant and reduced to Sergeant. He fought in the Spring Valley-Franklin-Nashville battles and later joined Sherman in the Carolina’s till the end of the war. He Mustered out in July 1865.

He returned to Cincinnati, Oh . He was admitted into the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Dayton Ohio in 1880 and received a pension of $10 a month in 1897 later increased to $12 a month for rheumatism and heart problems. He died in the National Home and was buried in the Military Cemetery at the home in Dayton Ohio.

Submitted by Keith Schuch
grunt087@yahoo.com

16th Ohio soldier fought at Vicksburg, survived the war

Guest blogpost: Ron Coddington | Publisher of Military Images Magazine

WITH THE 16TH OHIO AT VICKSBURG.—John Caskey Hall (1842-1907), pictured here, served in the 16th Ohio Infantry from 1861 to 1864, during which time he worked his way from a private to sergeant in Company C. He fought in the June 3, 1861, Battle of Philippi, W.Va., considered by some as the first land battle of the Civil War.

Hall went on to participate in the Vicksburg Campaign. He suffered a concussion in the May 19, 1863, assault on the formidable defenses of Vicksburg — the first of two failed attacks by the Union army that prompted Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to ay siege to the fortress city.

Hall also served in the 102nd Ohio Infantry.

After the war he returned to his home in Wooster, Ohio, where he operated a coal business. He wed in 1874 and started a family that grew to include a daughter and two sons. His wife died in 1897, and he remarried.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/8026096@N04/19224871880/

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This day in 1862 one of the greatest escapes in the Civil War took place

Robert Smalls (1839 – 1915) was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, on April 5th, 1839, in a slave cabin behind his mother’s master’s house on 511 Prince Street. In 1862 he escaped from Charleston harbor aboard a steamer called the Planter with his family and several friends too. The boat had to pass by five Confederate check-points and then surrender its contents to the northern Naval fleet out in the harbor where it was blockading the important southern port.

His escape succeeded and Robert would meet Abraham Lincoln personally a couple weeks later. Lincoln was quite impressed with a black man, also a slave, who had learned how to pilot and navigate the coastal waterways around Charleston. Smalls was eventually handsomely rewarded with bounty-money. Lincoln also allowed Admiral DuPont to offer Smalls the position of Captain of the Planter, though an official commission was not permitted at the time. Nonetheless, Robert Smalls became the first black Captain of a U.S. Naval vessel.

Three months later Smalls would visit Abraham Lincoln in the White House to plead the opportunity for blacks to fight for the Union. Just days afterwards Lincoln approved the raising of the first black troops in the Blue uniform and Robert Smalls was instrumental in helping to start the 1st South Carolina Infantry of U.S. Colored Troops.

Join the Robert Smalls Facebook Group

Smalls would go on to pilot the Planter for the Union cause and take place in several important engagements around Charleston and the Sea Islands. After the Civil War he was elected among a few other blacks as they became the freshman class of blacks to serve as U.S. Congressmen.

Robert Smalls’ story is an amazing one of courage, determination, sacrifice, risk and reward – from slavery to Congressman!

Charleston celebrated the amazing feat on the 150th anniversary with several community engagements. Read these articles:

See my visual guide to Robert Smalls and Beaufort

25+ pages of news coverage of the 150th Anniversary weekend in one PDF here.


A new book has just been published on Robert Smalls titled, Be Free or Die: The amazing story of Robert Smalls’ escape from slavery to Union hero, by Cate Lineberry. Order from Amazon.

Facing death rather than enslavement—a story of one man’s triumphant choice and ultimate rise to national hero

It was a mild May morning in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1862, the second year of the Civil War, when a twenty-three-year-old slave named Robert Smalls did the unthinkable and boldly seized a Confederate steamer. With his wife and two young children hidden on board, Smalls and a small crew ran a gauntlet of heavily armed fortifications in Charleston Harbor and delivered the valuable vessel and the massive guns it carried to nearby Union forces. To be unsuccessful was a death sentence for all. Smalls’ courageous and ingenious act freed him and his family from slavery and immediately made him a Union hero while simultaneously challenging much of the country’s view of what African Americans were willing to do to gain their freedom.

After his escape, Smalls served in numerous naval campaigns off Charleston as a civilian boat pilot and eventually became the first black captain of an Army ship. In a particularly poignant moment Smalls even bought the home that he and his mother had once served in as house slaves.

Be Free or Die is a compelling narrative that illuminates Robert Smalls’ amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman. This captivating tale of a valuable figure in American history gives fascinating insight into the country’s first efforts to help newly freed slaves while also illustrating the many struggles and achievements of African Americans during the Civil War.

Gen J.E.B. Stuart dies from his mortal wounds at Yellow Tavern, on May 12, 1864

“The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864, at a vital crossroads in Henrico County, only six miles north of the Confederate capital of Richmond during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Part of Union general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, the cavalry battle resulted from Philip H. Sheridan’s quest to track down the famous Confederate trooper J. E. B. Stuart and “whip” him. Stuart, like Robert E. Lee, preferred to be on the offensive and immediately set out after Sheridan, but by the time he caught up with him at an inn called Yellow Tavern, his outnumbered force was hard-ridden and tired. The Confederate cavalry fought hard for a full day, and as Stuart rode up and down the front lines in the driving rain to rally his men, a Michigan sharpshooter shot the general in the side. Fitzhugh Lee then took command, but was forced to withdraw. Stuart died the next day . . .”

Text excerpted above and full article from The Encyclopedia of Virginia

See this article by The Civil War Trust too.

Yellow Tavern Illustration

An artist’s rendering of the Battle of Yellow Tavern depicts the opposing forces engaged on horseback. While much of the fighting along the Telegraph Road between Lomax and Merritt was dismounted, the climax of the battle prior to Stuart’s wounding was characterized by mounted charges and counter-charges.

Manufacturing comparison between North & South in 1860?

The North had about 101,000 factories in 1860, compared to the South’s 21,000. The border states had 9,000.

There were just over 1.1 million factory workers in the Northern factories, while the South had just ten percent of that; 111,000 factory workers. 70,000 factory workers lived in the border states.

There was 20,000 miles of railroad in the North and 9,000 in the South.

The four largest-revenue producing northern railroads on average operated 80% more track miles and generated 80% more revenue per mile than the four largest southern railroads in 1860.  Railroads of the Civil War, Clark, p. 12.

Source: National Park Service (InfoGraphic only)