Question of the Week: 5/18-5/24/2020

Let’s give those regimental or staff officers some attention this week…

Who is your favorite Civil War officer who did not promote to general during his lifetime? Why?

11 Responses to Question of the Week: 5/18-5/24/2020

  1. Daniel Leasure of the 100th Pennsylvania. Outstanding leader and brigade commander, but ill health (starting with a wound at Second Manassas and malaria in Mississippi, concluding with a wound at Spotsylvania) held him back.

    Honorable mention to John T. Wilder of the 17th Indiana and Lightning Brigade, and Edward Fowler of the 14th Brooklyn.

    1. As you indicate, the 100th moved around all over the place but trouble always found it – Secessionville, Second BR/Chantilly, Jackson, Knoxville, the Overland Campaign, Petersburg..

  2. James Keith Boswell a engineer officer under Jackson. Killed in 1863 at Chancellorville..

  3. Captain Patrick Gregg, 58th Illinois, Co.K
    At the Battle of Shiloh, after holding out all day, the 3000 remaining stalwarts defending the Hornet’s Nest along with Brigadier General Benjamin Prentiss were totally surrounded and forced to surrender; and contributing most to that total of captives were four regiments: 12th Iowa, 14th Iowa, 23rd Missouri and 58th Illinois. Marched away as prisoners to Corinth, and transported by train to Southern prisons, the captured soldiers endured half rations and poor sanitation, which facilitated dysentery and camp fever. After a few weeks, the men began to die at the rate of one per day; and a couple of weeks later that increased to two per day… But worst of all, there was no telling how long the confinement would persist. And men continued to get sick and die.
    The Confederate authorities decided to allow a commission of prisoners to go North to Washington and see if a prisoner exchange could be negotiated; one of the three officers popularly selected was Patrick Gregg. The Irish immigrant, who had worked as a doctor in Rock Island before the war, departed Selma Alabama in May; and in company with the other commissioners met with President Lincoln. The President counselled patience: “An exchange agreement is in the works.” And Captain Gregg’s two companions accepted personal exchange, and departed for their pre-war homes. But Patrick Gregg refused the offer of personal exchange, and demanded to see the President alone. At the end of their meeting, after learning full details of the condition of the prison camps, and deteriorating health of the men, Captain Gregg was sent away, to return to confinement.
    As one captive later recalled: “One July day we espied the tall form of Captain Gregg, marching up to our prison gate; he was in possession of a bag of gold (one month’s pay for every officer in captivity) and boxes filled with clothing [to replace the rags many were forced to wear.]”
    But perhaps most important: Captain Gregg reported his news received from President Lincoln of the pending prisoner exchange (subsequently called ‘Dix-Hill Cartel’) to General Prentiss. And the President’s words, the money, and the clothing were subsequently shared with men held in three separate camps, providing HOPE for the future. The surviving Shiloh prisoners (and Captain Gregg) were finally returned North in October 1862.

  4. Mike
    That is one neat story of unselfish, willing, captivity. Gregg should have received far more than a Generalship!! Thanks. If you ever write a book about Gregg, i will be in line to purchase it. Was he a relative?

    1. Timm
      I first encountered Patrick Gregg while researching three relatives in the 12th Iowa, who benefited from the Captain’s selfless devotion (they were held at Camp Oglethorpe, Georgia, one of the other sites that received money for food, and clothing.) A friend has been working on “The Good Doctor, Patrick Gregg” for the past two years. Meanwhile, an excellent source for Shiloh prisoner stories and more detail regarding Captain Gregg is “A Perfect Picture of Hell” by Genoways & Genoways (2001).
      Kindest Regards
      Mike Maxwell

  5. “HENRY EDWARD YOUNG (1831-1918) was Judge Advocate General on the staff of Robert E. Lee. A Grahamville, South Carolina native, he was a Charleston lawyer before the war. He served on the staffs of Confederate Generals Drayton, D.R. Jones, R.H. Anderson and J. Longstreet. Assigned to the headquarters of the Army of Northern Virginia, he served General Robert E. Lee as Assistant Adjutant General (AAG). In the last year of the war, he was a Judge Advocate General. Promoted to Major in 1864. He was offered the post of Judge Advocate General of the CSA but declined when Gen Lee requested that Young stay on his staff.

    As a retired military lawyer myself, I have a warm spot for judge advocates in the midst of war.

  6. Captain Joseph Gregg, Company I, 137th New York Infantry. Killed on Culps Hill at Gettysburg.

  7. 1st. Lt. Jackson Via 36 Va Inf. present thru all the war. Except for 1 furlough in Aug. 1863. Listed as commending , the Regt. Sept. 64. Still trying to see how a Lt did that. ?Captured at Waynesboro Va 65 P.O.W. Ft Delaware Rel. July 65 Believed he died soldiers home age 56 in Richmond 1886 possible from war related factors .

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