Sunday, March 21, 2010

Capt. Wiley C. Patrick's Death near Foster's House, GA

Wiley C. Patrick, son of Meredith and Rebecca Williams Patrick, was born on December 9, 1835 in Magoffin County, KY. In 1861, when the Civil War broke out, Wiley decided to cast his lot with the Union. He left his wife Polly Huff Patrick and three small children and made his way to Louisa in Lawrence Co.,KY, were the 14th KY Infantry Regiment was forming at Camp Wallace. He filled an original vaccancy as 1st Lieutenant in Co. I, 14th KY Infantry [US] and joined the regiment for duty on November 10 and was mustered in at Camp Wallace on December 10, 1861. On May 5th, 1863 he was promoted to Captain of Company I. His brother Elijah later served in the same company, as did a great number of other Magoffin County boys.

In April 1864, the 14th KY received orders to join Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. On May 23, the regiment arrived at Cass Station, GA and within days proceeded to join the 23. Army Corps, also known as Army of the Ohio, at the front near Burnt Hickory. Continuous fighting and skirmishing became the order of the day while Sherman's Army slowly wound its way through Georgia. Hastily dug trenches and thrown up breastworks barely protected the men from Confederate sharpshooters who made it quite dangerous for the men to move about freely even if it was only to get a drink of water from a nearby creek.

On June 2, 1864, the 14th KY participated in an engagement that would result in the regiment's first heavy casualties during this campaign. Among them would be Captain Wiley C. Patrick. The following is an account of events that ultimately, on this fateful day, led to his untimely death at the age of 28.

During the previous night, General Schofield, commander of the 23. Army Corps, received orders from General Sherman to turn the Confederate right, "so as to get on the waters of Alatoona Creek", about 2 miles northeast of Pickett's Mill. Rain began falling early in the morning and after all the necessary preparations were completed, Schofield's troops began moving at 8 a.m. in rear of left on the Alatoona road to the extreme left of Sherman's Army until they reached the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, near Cross Roads Church (also known as Burnt Church), and then turned east.

The 14th KY formed the extreme left of the front line of Strickland's Third Brigade (Hascall's Division), two lines deep. This was a very dangerous position as it left the regiment exposed on the flank. Progress was slow and frequent halts were necessary because of the almost impenetrable loblolly pine forest which was so dense that the men were unable "to see two rods" or see those on their right or left. Only with great difficulty did the skirmish line move in accord with the line of battle, which was directed by compass. The brush was so thick and interlaced that neither man or horse could force a way through it. The soldiers had to march around the brush, re-connect and rectify the direction and resume their advance once more.

Once the troops left Alatoona road, their advance was sharply contested by dismounted Confederate cavalry all through the woods. Around 10 a.m., after passing over the divide separating Pumpkin Vine Creek and its branches from Alatoona Creek, the 14th KY reached open ground near the creek's west side - a little swampy valley - and went into position. The Confederate batteries, situated at an entrenched line on the east side of Alatoona Creek, obtained good range of the Union troops and began throwing a galling fire in every direction, sweeping the valley at intervals and making it unpleasantly hot for the massing lines who were finally ordered to lie down. Stretcher bearers were continuously filing by with their ghastly loads.

At 11 a.m., the 14th KY was ordered to be ready to charge the Confederate line which was anxiously received by the men of the regiment. Almost simultaneously, heavy clouds had gathered and "Heaven's Artillery opened in grand style". The rain increased in intensity and was pouring from the dark and gloomy sky above, making it difficult for the men to load their guns. The lightning flashed and cut in zigzag streaks, and for a time the roar of the thunder and the enemy's cannon mingled so that it was hard to tell one from the other. While lying on the muddy ground, the men were soaked to their skin in a short time. Finally, after what appeared to be an eternity, the actual order came down the line to move forward and charge the enemy's works and the men started "hooping and holowing and shooten". The 14th KY attacked with vigor and with a sharp fight turned the enemy's flank, driving them back about two miles across Alatoona Creek, which was muddy and swollen by the rain to the depth of three feet. Hascall's division pressed on and began to develop the line of the enemy's works at James Foster's house, near the junction of Burnt Hickory and Marietta roads with the Dallas and Acworth road. The 14th KY's left rested within 150 yards of the enemy's fortifications, from which the Confederates fired grape, canister, solid shot and shell. Company A, under command of Captain James C. Whitten, formed the skirmish line in the immediate front and advanced to within 50 yards of the masked enemy's battery.

In the charge upon the enemy's works, Captain Wiley C. Patrick was killed while leading Company I. Finding the enemy's works too strong, the men layed down under a shower of grape shot. Six or eight shells burst among members of Captain Patrick's company, wounding several. A shell also seriously injured Captain Whitten in his right hip, disabling him for the duration of his service. The bullets, as one member of the 14th KY described it," was a flying as putner as fast as I ever saw it hale.." Eventually, a lodgment was made by the 14th KY at Foster's house, despite stubborn resistance by the Confederates.

Around 4 p.m., the storm finally had passed and as night began to fall, the sun "unexpectedly shone out for a few moments as it retired behind the hills in a blood-red sheen of glory, leaving a few moments later a darkened earth behind, made doubly gloomy by the brightness of the disappearing luminary". A further advance was found to be impracticable and after a hard day the men of the 14th KY hastily began to entrench their line and barricaded for the night.

For Captain Wiley C. Patrick, the fighting was over. In their subsequent reports, Colonel G. W. Gallup, commander of the 14th KY, called Patrick "noble and gallant", while Colonel Silas Strickland, commanding brigade officer, found him to be "a most brave and gallant officer." His body was buried by his comrades near the battlesite where it remained until 1866, when his brother Elijah Patrick made the trip back to Georgia to recover the remains. Arriving at Atlanta, Elijah Patrick hired an oxen team and with several men, proceeded to Captain Patrick's burial site and removed the body. It was placed into a pine box, which was taken back by train to Catlettsburg, KY and then transported to Magoffin County by wagon.

Wiley C. Patrick's body was re-intered in the Meredith Patrick Cemetery. A white stone monument marks the grave. One of the inscription reads: Capt. Wiley C. Patrick of Co. I, 14 Reg. Kentucky Vol. Infantry, Born Dec. 9, 1835, Fell in Action June 2, 1864. During Captain Patrick's burial, a Georgia pine seed that had accidentially clung to the body, was lowered into the grave as well. Over the years, it grew into a tall strong tree until it finally had to be cut down. A tree stump is all that remains today - a silent reminder of the tragic death of one of Magoffin County's finest.

On Memorial Day weekend 2001, Captain Wiley C. Patrick was honored with a special ceremony by the 14th KY Heritage Society, the Magoffin County Historical Society and the KY Department SUVCW.

A new Georgia pine seedling, specially obtained by a 14th KY descendant from near the battlefield where Captain Patrick fell, was planted at his gravesite. Several family members were in attendance for the ceremony.

Photo of Captain Wiley C. Patrick courtesy Bob Kinner.
Photos of Memorial Service courtesy of Connie Wireman.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Unsung Heroes - Women During the Civil War

March is Women's History Month. This blog is dedicated to all women and their accomplishments during the Civil War.

During the tumultuous years of the Civil War, women who did not have a right to vote, own property and had few civic liberties of their own, unified in support of the war efforts and assumed an active part. The determination, grit and devotion with which these women served their country was astounding, yet often overlooked.

Women may not have had a voice in the political process or a part in the military actions of the day, but the Union ladies of Greenup, Greenup Co. KY did not hesitate to show their patriotism and voice their opinions to Hon. William C. Ireland, a local Kentucky state representative:
On behalf of Union loving women of Greenupsburg we beg of you to accept the accompaying banner as a slight token of their regard for you as a man and a pariot. Whilst the women of our Country are not permitted to engage in political or military strife, they can approve the acts of the true Statesman and applaud the deeds of the gallant general; excercising this right let us assure you that your course in the Legislative Halls of our noble State meets with our most cordial approbation, and we confidently trust that in the future, as in the past, your efforts may be directed against any measure which may tend to bring the horrors of civil war into Kentucky.
In conclusion let us hope that the present unhappy condition of our beloved country may soon end, and that "not one stripe may be erased nor one star obliterated from our glorious flag.
Believe us
Your friends

Women's patriotism was felt and much appreciated, even in Washington, DC. In January 1862, Congressman John Wadsworth from Mason Co. KY urged Mrs. Ireland and Kate Ross, both from Greenup Co. KY, to travel to the nation's capital, "to give our Presidential Court a little brilliancy." He further stated, "it is a Christian duty urges them them to come here Certainly if they are Union women."

Both Kate Ross, the wife of L. D. Ross, prominent lawyer and furnace owner, of Greenupsburg and Mrs. Parmelia D. Robb Ireland, wife of Hon. William C. Ireland, a state representative and later Provost Marshall from Greenup Co. KY, supported the Union cause with fervor throughout the war.

In September 1862, General George W. Morgan and his 10,000 men strong 7th Division marched from Cumberland Gap to the Ohio River in 16 days and arrived at Greenup on October 3, 1862, starved and half-naked. The soldiers soon found that, "the ladies were baking bread - not ordinary loaves, but nice fine cakes, such as KY ladies delight to spread before chosen guests. One lady, Mrs Ross, baked more than 200 pounds of fine flour, and then, as though regretted that it was not better, spread it out before the Twenty-sixth Brigade, anxious to do still more. The readers can not imagine how well that bread tasted."

Mrs. Ross and Mrs. Ireland also formed the Greenup Aid Society with the other Greenup Union ladies. In 1863, the following women were members:
Mrs. Kate Ross
Mrs. Parmelia D. Robb Ireland
Mrs. Rice
Mrs. Elizabeth Vandyke, wife of Augustus C., Iron manufacturer
Mrs. M. W. Moss
Mrs. Winters
Mrs. Seaton
Mrs. Davidson
Mrs. S. A. Ellis, wife of Dr. Samuel Ellis
Mrs. Myers
Mrs. Pratt
Mrs. Hellen A. DeBard, wife of Dr. A. D Debard
Mrs. Carolina Smutz [Schmitz], wife of John Smutz, a saloon keeper in Greenupsburg. Both were natives of Baden, Germany
Mrs. Culbertson
Mrs. L. H. C. Robb, wife of J. M. Robb, clerk
Mrs. M. A. Rye, wife of merchant H. M. Rye
Miss Hockiday

During the organization of the 14th KY Infantry in the fall of 1861, women found ways to support the soldiers. Charlotte C. Culver, a well-to-do widow in Catlettsburg, made her house and property available to the regiment, perhaps as headquarters or as a hospital.

In October 1861, Elizabeth Pennington, wife of the local miller H. Pennington, was baking for the regiment for two weeks since the soldiers had "no means of baking bread."

Soon, the women were also involved in caring for the sick. An act passed by Congress on Aug. 3, 1861 made their participation, although limited, possible.

AN ACT providing for the better organization of the military establishment...
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That in general or permanent hospitals female nurses may be substituted for soldiers when, in the opinion of the Surgeon-General or medical officer in charge, it is expedient to do so, the number of female nurses to be indicated by the Surgeon. General or surgeon in charge of the hospital; the nurses so employed to receive forty cents a day and one ration in kind, or by commutation, in lieu of all emoluments except transportation in kind.

Among the women who cared for the sick in the 14th KY in 1861 were Mrs. Elizabeth Steele Frasher, wife of Captain Oliver M. Frasher, Co. C, 14th KY Infantry, as well as Mrs. Hughs, wife of a recruit from Morgan Co. KY, who, in the end, did not make it into the ranks of the regiment.

Many women also organized Soldiers Aid Societies, as in Greenup County. These organizations were instrumental in gathering and distributing items to the hospitals and battlefield.
Not only would the women knit socks and mittens, make uniforms, and distribute blankets and reading material but also took it upon themselves to raise money to support their organizations. Hospitals were supplied with necessities such as crutches, bandages and linens, as well as clothing, pillows, bedticks, even furniture. They also also provided fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, condensed chicken and milk, pickles to aid the recovery of the sick.

During Garfield's Eastern KY Campaign, the Soldiers' Aid Society of Northern Ohio, founded by women in Cleveland, Ohio, as a first of such organization in the nation on April 20, 1861, sent much needed supplies to the 18th Brigade Hospital in Ashland, KY in early 1862, as well as to the regimental hospitals of the 42nd OVI in Paintsville and Louisa, KY.

In February 1862, the patriotic Ladies of Ironton and vicinity contributed two large boxes of goods to the relief of the destitute soldiers of the 14th Kentucky Regiment who were stationed at Paintsville. The boxes contained 27 comfortables, 17 quilts, 8 coverlids, 140 pairs of socks, and some nice mittens, soft flannel shirts, drawers, etc.- One soldier in the regiment remarked that, "the contributions from our Ohio sisters were received with great satisfaction."

The Ironton Soldiers Aid Society also cared for the sick soldiers at the 18th Brigade Hospital in Ashland.
In April 1862, Post Surgeon B. F. Elder acknowledged the receipt of supplies from the following ladies:
To Miss Trumbo, Miss Margaret Trumbo, Mrs. W. H. Kelley, Mrs. A. J. Trumbo, Mrs. J. Trumbo, Ms. C. Austin, Mrs. L. Austin, Mrs. W. Collins, Mrs. W. Kelley, Mrs. Joshua Kelley, Mrs. G. Dovel, Mrs. M. A. Adams -
Ladies: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of boxes and jars containing fruits, chickens, butter, etc. etc. for the use of the sick in this hospital, for all of which we are exceedingly grateful. Please accept our thanks, and those of the sick soldiers under our charge, for the delicacies received.

The ladies provided chickens, cold beef, veal, ham, and chipped beef. Other goods included eggs, butter, milk and rusk [a hard bread] as well as cornbread and mush.

The Brigade Hospital had been set up in the Aldine Hotel in Ashland, an imposing five story structure, built by the Kentucky Iron, Coal & Manufacturing Co. in 1857. Women were hired to do the washing and the sewing society bought 190 yards of muslin to make bedsheets and shirts, and volunteers stitched two afternoons a week.

The ladies of Ashland, Kentucky also took an active part in caring for the sick soldiers.
Mrs. Hannah Weis, wife of Dr. Weis
Mrs. Mahala Warner wife of Larkin Warner, farmer
Mrs. Harrietta Means, wife of John Means, industrialist
Mrs. Narcissa R. Martin, wife of E. W. Martin, cashier at Ashland Bank
Mrs. Mary A. Gore, wife of Thomas Gore, book keeper
Mrs. Mary I. Martin, wife of A. C. Martin, clerk

In 1864, Rebecca Moore Gallup, wife of Colonel George W. Gallup, 14th KY Infantry, commander of the Eastern KY Military District, visited the soldiers in the hospitals.
On April 15, 1864, she wrote, "Mrs Philips has been quite sick. Dr. Philips took me to see those woundid [sic] soldiers. poore [sic] unfortunate men I am sorry for them. I was introduced to him as Mrs Col. G. and he held his hand out and said he was glad to have us come to see him - it cheered him up."

Numerous other aid societies were active during the Civil War throughout the state of Kentucky. In April of 1862, when the 14th KY Infantry arrived in Lexington, the ladies from the city's Soldiers Aid Society, as one soldier noted, "came to our rescue and filled as near as strangers could, the places of mothers and sisters." They supplied food in abundance as well as cared for the sick in the hospital.

Mrs. Ella Dewees Cochran, wife of Col. John C. Cochran, commander of the 14th KY Infantry, who resided with her family near the hospital, "was among the foremost in kind attention to the sick soldiers of the 14th regiment," noted one soldier of the 14th KY.
Mrs. Cochran was a very patriotic woman and took a great interest in the events that were taking place. "She is a Heroic Woman", praised one of the officers in the 14th Ky Infantry, "and Says She does not want the Col to Resign as long as there is a Vestige of the Old Flag Remains."

Some of the women chose to share their husband's fate and accompanied them during their service in the field, even if it was sometimes just for short periods of time. Mrs. Rebecca Moore Gallup and Mrs. Anna Frederick Mims, wife of Captain David Mims, 14th KY Infantry, visited their husbands at Cumberland Gap during the summer of 1862. Clarissa Keeton, wife of James Keeton as well as John Kitchen's wife Mary were in camp visiting their husbands in the 14th KY Infantry while the regiment was stationed at Danville, KY during the winter months of 1862/1863. Mary Kitchen also accompanied the men on their march to Louisville, caring for James Poe, a wounded soldier.

At times, these women would become unwilling participants of important military events as was the case with Anna Meachum, wife of 14th KY Assistant Surgeon Dr. Franklin Meachum. When Morgan's Division evacuated Cumberland Gap in September 1862, attempting to march to the Ohio River, Dr. Meachum voluntarily remained behind, caring for the sick in the hospital. His wife, who was eight months pregnant and not able, for obvious reasons, to make the march with the soldiers, remained with her husband and was accordingly captured by the Confederates. She remained at Cumberland Gap where she gave birth to a healthy son on October 28, 1862.

Ten other women, however, accompanied Morgan's Division on their
march from Cumberland Gap and endured the same hardships as the men. One of them was Sarah Taylor.

In general, women were not allowed to serve in the army but Sarah Taylor, 18 year old step-daughter of Captain Dowden of the 1st Tennessee Infantry, was one of the few exceptions. When the Civil War began she was determined to follow her step-father into the service and served as daughter of the 1st Tennessee Infantry, sharing with the men all the dangers and hardships. According to a contemporary writer, Sarah Taylor became "quite the idol of the Tennessee boys". Mounted on a horse, she carried a highly finished regulation sword and two silver-mounted pistols in her belt, being a master of both type of weapons. Their uniforms were often very similar to the uniforms of the field music of the regiment. As the “daughter of the regiment”, these women commanded the respect of soldiers in ways that other types of camp followers could not.
Though non-essential to fighting regiments, they performed some important duties and gave a wounded or sick soldier immediate attention. In some known instances they carried the colors into battle for their regiment.

Also accompanying Morgan's Division were a group of women refugees who had fled their homes in Barboursville to escape the invading Confederate forces under Kirby Smith. Amelia Cain White Adams was the wife of Captain George Madison Adams and mother of Major Hugh W. Adams, both members of the 7th KY Infantry who served under Gen. George W. Morgan. She was accompanied by her daughters Kate White Adams, Jennie Ballinger, Sallie Letcher and Sue Joplin, with a year-old baby, George Joplin, as well as a nurse and the family’s faithful servant Hiram. After an all night ride, the group was finally able to join Morgan's column near Manchester, KY.
The identity of the remaining three women is at this point unknown which continued research may uncover.

Circumstances during the Civil War forced women to abandon their more traditional roles as wives and mothers, tending to their families. Now Women worked to manufacture arms, ammunition, uniforms, and other supplies for the soldiers. On the home front, they took the place of their husbands and tended to their farms, ploughing, planting crops and harvesting and took care of their live stock. Often left on their own without the protection of their husbands and sons, they were subjects to raids by contending armies as well as guerrilla bands.

America Marshall, wife of William "Doby Bill" Marshall's of Co. D, 14th KY lived with her family on Brushy Fork of Gun Creek in Magoffin Co. KY. The house had been searched a number of times for food, clothing and money. She finally augured a hole in the wall of their log house and put her money in it. Then she drove a peg into the wall and hung her washtub over the spot to keep the soldiers from finding the money.

Frances Elam, mother of Lt. Richard M. Elam of Co. I, 14th KY Infantry, lived on the family farm at Gordon Ford in Horse Shoe Bend of the Licking River in Morgan Co. KY. Due to the family's Union sympathies the farm was raided and Richard’s mother driven off. "they have taken all of our stock and has run Mother away from home and now she is at Portsmouth Ohio and is doing well ther[sic]," noted her son in December 1862.

The Civil War effected all the women in this country on some level and even more so in Kentucky. Regardless of what roles women assumed, their contributions made an enormous impact and proved invaluable to the war effort. Their patriotism, and sacrifices as well as their triumphs should never be forgotten.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Captain Reuben Patrick and the Williams Gun

Captain Reuben Patrick and the Williams Gun

The story of Captain Reuben Patrick's capture of the famous Williams Gun in Eastern Kentucky during the Civil War never fails to stir up interest and curiosity. His exploits were widely publicized and his display of courage and daring became legendary.

Patrick, a native of Magoffin Co. KY, commanded a small company of home guards and scouts who scoured the mountains for rebels and kept a vigilant eye on his foes. His family were strong Union supporters from the beginning of the war. An older brother, Elijah, served as scout and guide for General "Bull" Nelson during his Eastern
Kentucky Campaign in the fall of 1861. His younger brother Wiley C. Patrick was a lieutenant and later captain of Co. I, 14th KY Infantry. Reuben often worked with detachments of the 14th KY Infantry and was able to provide vital information to the commander of the Eastern KY Military District, on the Big Sandy River at Louisa, KY.

In March of 1863, General Humphrey Marshall entered Eastern Kentucky with a mounted force and, after a march of several days, arrived at Ivyton, Magoffin Co. on March 20, 1863, and bivouacked. During the night, Captain Reuben Patrick, whose residence was only a few miles away, crept up to Marshall's camp and waited until the sentinel fell asleep. Roaming through the sleeping camp, Patrick discovered the Williams Rapid Fire Gun. It was on loan to Humphrey Marshall by a private individual, who was having it tried, with the view of selling it to the Confederate government.
Captain Patrick immediately decided to relieve the general of this rare piece of artillery. Being afraid that rolling it out of camp would awaken the enemy, Patrick quietly unscrewed the cannon from its frame, lifted it from its carriage and carried it into the nearby woods and laid it alongside of an old log, carefully camouflaging it with leaves.

The following morning the Confederates were astounded when they found the carriage but not a trace of the cannon barrel. A thorough search was conducted but nothing was found and thus Marshall grudgingly had to move on empty-handed. The incident was a source of embarrassment to Humphrey Marshall and the loss of the gun rankled deep in Marshall's breast for years.

After the Confederates had left the area, Captain Patrick returned and took charge of the carriage that had been left behind by the Confederates. He reassembled the cannon and rolled it to his home on Burning Fork where Patrick kept it hidden for nearly a month.

On April 17th, 1863, McLaughlin's Squadron were ordered out to reinforce a detachment of the 14th KY Infantry who had captured a number of prisoners in Magoffin Co. Kentucky. When the troopers arrived, Captain Reuben Patrick retrieved the Williams gun from its hiding place and soon the group was headed for Louisa, with Patrick astride the cannon. When they arrived in town, Patrick received quite a reception. "Muskets barked,[and]cannon roared their appreciation of their brave deed."

When the 14th KY Infantry left Eastern Kentucky in May of 1864 to join Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign, Colonel George W. Gallup, 14th KY Infantry, had no intentions of leaving the gun behind at Louisa. He ordered Lt. Jacob M. Poage, Co. E, 14th KY Infantry, to take it to the arsenal in Frankfort, which was done immediately.

On display at the Kentucky Military History Museum, 2008

The Williams Gun was the first machine-gun type weapon ever used in combat. It was built for the Confederate War Dept. in Sept. 1861 by Confederate Captain R.S. Williams from Covington, KY. The rapid fire gun was first used at the Battle of Seven Pines in May 1862, and it worked so well that the War Dept. ordered 42 more of them.

This gun was crank operated, and was a very light artillery piece, and fired a one pound 1.57 cal projectile. It had a range of 2,000 yards. The gun was operated by a lever, that was attached to a revolving cam shaft, which rotated a cylinder. Each time the cylinder turned, a cartridge was dropped into the breech and a sliding hammer hit the cartridge's percussion cap. It took three men to fire this gun at a rate of 60-65 rounds per minute. One man aimed and fired the gun, the second one put a paper cartridge into the breech, and the third man put on the percussion cap. The biggest problem with this gun was overheating, which made the breech jam because of heat expansion. It was the only one of the rapid-fire arms to utilize the gases from the fired round to help operate the mechanism. It was a curious piece and weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds.

After the war, the Williams Gun was on display at the Old Arsenal in Frankfort, KY until 1890 when Captain Patrick decided to take it home to Salyersville for a Patrick reunion. The gun remained in Magoffin County and was displayed on the lawn of the Patrick home until 1950, when John Arnett, Patrick's great-grandson, moved it to Cleveland Heights in Ohio. In 1977, Arnett presented the gun to Nicky Hughes, curator of the Kentucky Military History Museum and Gen. William R. Buster, executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society.

John Arnett, great-grandson of Captain Reuben Patrick (left) and
Humphrey Marshall, great-grandson of General Humphrey Marshall.

It has been on display at the Kentucky Military History Museum and is presently part of the Kentucky Historical Society's exhibition, Kentucky's Military Treasures.