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The Valiant Hours; Narrative Of “Captain Brevet,” An Irish-American In The Army Of The Potomac

The Valiant Hours; Narrative Of “Captain Brevet,” An Irish-American In The Army Of The Potomac

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The Valiant Hours; Narrative Of “Captain Brevet,” An Irish-American In The Army Of The Potomac

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353 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Nov 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781786254351
Formato:
Libro

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“Thomas Francis De Burgh Galwey was born in London, England, in 1846, of an Irish family, one of the oldest branches of the Burkes of Galway. The family came to this country in 1851 and settled on a farm just outside of Cleveland, the site now being on Euclid Avenue. When the Civil War broke out, Galwey enlisted in the Hibernian Guard Company of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was a slim, beardless youth only 5 feet 4 inches tall, but with a restless, lively spirit which soon won him promotion to corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant. His dark hair and snapping black eyes, as well as his effervescent and courageous spirit proclaimed his Gaelic ancestry, of which he was intensely proud.

During the war Galwey meticulously made daily entries in his diary, a series of small leather-covered notebooks which he carried in his knapsack. From time to time he transcribed these notes into a larger book. Both of these journals have been preserved, and constitute the bulk of this narrative. The editor has simply changed the diary form to that of a narrative, adding a few notes here and there to clarify the background. Galwey’s original sketch-maps have been reproduced, and a few others of the same type added. In transcribing his notes to the larger journal, Galwey frequently switched back and forth between the present and past tense. Some of this has been retained, to preserve the contemporary flavor and authenticity.

The last chapter contains some additional biographical data contributed by Colonel Geoffrey Galwey, the author’s son. It deals with Thomas Galwey’s life after the war and sheds further light on the character and activities of a fascinating personality.” - Foreword.
Pubblicato:
Nov 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781786254351
Formato:
Libro

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The Valiant Hours; Narrative Of “Captain Brevet,” An Irish-American In The Army Of The Potomac - Thomas Francis Galwey

This edition is published by PICKLE PARTNERS PUBLISHING—www.picklepartnerspublishing.com

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Text originally published in 1961 under the same title.

© Pickle Partners Publishing 2015, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Publisher’s Note

Although in most cases we have retained the Author’s original spelling and grammar to authentically reproduce the work of the Author and the original intent of such material, some additional notes and clarifications have been added for the modern reader’s benefit.

We have also made every effort to include all maps and illustrations of the original edition the limitations of formatting do not allow of including larger maps, we will upload as many of these maps as possible.

THE VALIANT HOURS

by

THOMAS FRANCIS GALWEY

Eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Narrative of Captain Brevet, an Irish-American in The Army of the Potomac

Edited by

COLONEL W. S. NYE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS 4

FOREWORD 5

LIST OF MAPS 6

1—OUR FIRST CAMPAIGN 8

I Become a Soldier 8

Off to the Front 9

A Useless March 10

We Build Fort Pendleton 12

Guarding the Railroad 12

Our First Advance on Romney 13

Our First Skirmish 14

A Retreat 15

We Capture Romney 16

A Murder 17

Withdrawal From Romney 17

2—WE JOIN THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC 19

Trying to Catch Stonewall Jackson 19

Ordered to Falmouth 19

Back to the Shenandoah 19

Battle of Port Republic 20

Shipped to the Peninsula 21

Harrison’s Landing 21

Withdrawal from the Peninsula 23

After Second Bull Run 24

3—ANTIETAM 28

The March North 28

Through Frederick 29

Battle of South Mountain 29

We Reach Antietam Creek 30

The Battle of Antietam 31

Roulette Farm and Sunken Road 31

After the Battle 36

Harpers Ferry 36

4—THE FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 38

Burnside Replaces McClellan 39

March to Falmouth 40

Battle of Fredericksburg 41

Attack Against the Stone Wall 44

We Withdraw 46

5—WINTER INTERLUDE 1862-1863 49

Picket Duty 49

Camp Routine 50

Burnside’s Mud March 51

The Fenians 52

An Irish Wake 53

Irish Divertissements 53

Temporarily Company Commander 55

Review for the President 56

On Leave 56

I Return to the Front 58

6—MARCHING TO GETTYSBURG 61

An Old Battlefield 62

The Dice Roll 62

Wagon Train Guards 63

Into Maryland 64

Straggling 64

Approaching the Battlefield 65

7—BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG 68

We Take Position 68

We Go Into Action 69

A Night on the Battlefield 69

The Bliss Barn is Burned 72

Skirmisher’s Fire 73

Timorous Troops 73

The Preliminary Cannonade 74

Longstreet’s Assault 76

The Climax 77

Our Losses 78

End of the Battle 79

Fourth of July 80

8—BACK TO VIRGINIA 81

9—RIOT DUTY IN NEW YORK 86

10—ON THE RAPIDAN 93

Outpost Duty 95

Marches and Countermarches 96

Democracy in Action 97

11—THE BATTLE OF BRISTOE STATION 99

The Affair Near Auburn 99

The March Along the Railroad 100

The Battle of Bristoe Station 101

We Continue the March 103

On the Old Bull Run Battlefield 103

Return to the Rapidan 104

12—THE MINE RUN CAMPAIGN 106

Into the Wilderness 106

An Encounter with Wade Hampton 107

A Fight with Ewell’s Men 109

The Mine Run Lines 111

We Retreat Again 113

Back Across the Rappahannock 114

13—WINTER QUARTERS 116

The Fighting Irish 116

Road Building 116

The Holidays 116

Outpost Duty 117

Reconnaissance in Force 118

A Surgeon’s Adventure 120

Recruiting Duty 120

Back to the Front 122

14—BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS 124

The March to Chancellorsville 124

The First Day’s Battle 124

The Second Day 125

End of the Fighting 128

15—BATTLE OF SPOTSYLVANIA COURT HOUSE 129

A Fruitless Attack 131

Getting New Ammunition 132

A Change of Position 132

Bloody Angle 133

A Field Hospital 135

I Return to the Front 136

The Fighting Slackens 136

I Command the Regiment 136

We Assault the New Enemy Position 137

Back of the Ny Again 138

Another Execution 139

A Change of Base 139

More Picket Duty 139

16—THE ADVANCE TO PETERSBURG 141

The Battle of the North Anna 141

Another Flank Movement 143

On Totopotomoy Creek 144

Cold Harbor 145

On the Petersburg Front 147

Our Service Ends 149

17—AFTER THE WAR 150

CAPTAIN BREVET: AN HONORARY TITLE, BY COLONEL GEOFFREY GALWEY 151

A Man of Learning 152

Captain Sapristi 152

The Fenian 153

A Duel 155

Embarrassing Parents 155

Coney Island Picnic 156

Bivouacs 158

Honest Tom 159

Integration 159

REQUEST FROM THE PUBLISHER 163

FOREWORD

Thomas Francis De Burgh Galwey was born in London, England, in 1846, of an Irish family, one of the oldest branches of the Burkes of Galway. The family came to this country in 1851 and settled on a farm just outside of Cleveland, the site now being on Euclid Avenue. When the Civil War broke out, Galwey enlisted in the Hibernian Guard Company of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was a slim, beardless youth only 5 feet 4 inches tall, but with a restless, lively spirit which soon won him promotion to corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant. His dark hair and snapping black eyes, as well as his effervescent and courageous spirit proclaimed his Gaelic ancestry, of which he was intensely proud.

During the war Galwey meticulously made daily entries in his diary, a series of small leather-covered notebooks which he carried in his knapsack. From time to time he transcribed these notes into a larger book. Both of these journals have been preserved, and constitute the bulk of this narrative. The editor has simply changed the diary form to that of a narrative, adding a few notes here and there to clarify the background. Galwey’s original sketch-maps have been reproduced, and a few others of the same type added. In transcribing his notes to the larger journal, Galwey frequently switched back and forth between the present and past tense. Some of this has been retained, to preserve the contemporary flavor and authenticity.

The last chapter contains some additional biographical data contributed by Colonel Geoffrey Galwey, the author’s son. It deals with Thomas Galwey’s life after the war and sheds further light on the character and activities of a fascinating personality.

Thanks are due Mr. Wayde Chrismer, of Bel Air, Maryland, for a critical reading of the manuscript, and numerous helpful suggestions.

—W. S. NYE

LIST OF MAPS

All the maps in the book except the endpapers and Maps 1, 14, and 15 are facsimiles of those drawn by the author in the diary which he carried in his haversack.

Endpapers, front—Northern Half of Theater

Endpapers, rear—Southern Half of Theater

May 1. Area of Operations in West Virginia

Map 2. Garnett’s Retreat from Carrick’s Ford, July 13-15, 1861

Map 3. The First Advance on Romney

Map 4. Action at Ball’s Crossroads, September 2, 1862

Map 5. Position of the 8th Ohio at the Sunken Lane, Antietam

Map 6. Position of 8th Ohio in Cornfield West of Roulette’s on Afternoon of September 17, 1862

Map 7. Location of 8th Ohio Prior to the River Crossing at Fredericks-burg

Map 8. Attack of the 8th Ohio at Fredericksburg

Map 9. Position of 8th Ohio at Gettysburg

Map 10. The Charge of Pickett, Pender, and Pettigrew

Map 11. The Affair Near Auburn, October 14, 1863

Map 12. Battle of Bristoe Station

Map 13. Affair at Robertson’s Tavern

Map 14. Mine Run

Map 15. Battle of the Wilderness

Map 16. The Wilderness to Petersburg

MAP 1. AREA OF OPERATIONS IN WEST VIRGINIA.

1—OUR FIRST CAMPAIGN

IT IS SUNDAY, April 14, 1861. As I was coming from Mass this morning I saw bulletins posted everywhere announcing the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Large crowds were gathered in front of each bulletin board, people peering over one another’s heads to catch a bit of the news. All seemed of one mind. Everyone talked of war.

Yet most were of the opinion that the war could not last long. The South was sparsely settled, and a good many of the white people were still strongly in favor of the Union. And, besides, if the worst should come the Negroes would take part with the Union Army which, at the very least, would proclaim the liberation of the slaves. So the people talked. The day has been one of continued excitement which has lasted far into the night.

I Become a Soldier

The next day, Alec Cobb and I went to the armory of the Cleveland Grays, thinking of enlisting with them. But they did not seem to me to be the sort of stuff that soldiers are made of, so I went away. They refused to take Alec on the ground that he was too young. I was only 15 myself!

In the evening I went to the armory of the Hibernian Guards. They seemed to like me, and I liked them. So together with Jim Butler and Jim O’Reilly, I enlisted with them. My name was the first on the company’s roll to enlist. I didn’t tell them that I was only fifteen.

So I became a soldier.

Two days later we marched from the armory to Camp Taylor, on the corner of Kinsman and Hudson Streets. Jabez W. Fitch, late U. S. Marshal and now a brigadier general of the State Militia, is in command. Our company is mustered into the service of the United States as Company B, 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, our period of service to be three months. For the next two weeks we drilled incessantly every day, and continued to organize the units of the regiment. We were issued no weapons. On May 2 we moved by rail to Camp Dennison, 15 miles north of Cincinnati, which was named for the Governor of Ohio. We detrained in a drizzling rain and marched out to a big wheat field in soggy bottom-land, where several regiments were in camp. We had no tents, so most of the companies bedded down in the mud and wet grass and tried to sleep in the rain. Luckily the men of our company were given shelter for the night in some shanties built by an Irish company in the 11th Ohio.

General Jacob D. Cox was in command of this camp.

I was on furlough during the second week of June. When I returned to camp I signed up as a three-year man, upon which I was given another week’s furlough, again spent at home in Cleveland. When I got back to the company I found that I had been made Second Sergeant. In a little over two months I had gone from private to corporal to sergeant.

There was considerable delay in issuing us clothing and equipment. It was not until the second week of July that we were issued wooden guns, wooden swords, and cornstalks with which to drill and mount guard. We went to parade in our shirts, still not being fully uniformed. Soon after this, however, our unit, which had been remustered for three years, was issued Enfield rifles. Our company and Company D were drilled to serve as skirmishers for the regiment.

Off to the Front

On July 8, less than three months after we had been mustered into the Army, we were sent to Columbus, where we were issued our other equipment for field service. Then we were loaded into old box cars and shipped toward Grafton, Virginia, {1} some 70 miles southeast of Wheeling. Some time after midnight the train stopped and let us off at a place called Fetterman, two miles short of Grafton. We bivouacked here for the rest of the night.

A good deal of excitement was caused this morning, July 12, by someone reporting that a Secession flag was being displayed from a neighboring hill. With everyone else I ran to take a look. Couldn’t make out what it was, and I never heard any more about it. However, there have been some rumors about fighting at a place called Laurel Mountain. {2}

Stories are going the rounds concerning tremendous fortifications and that greatest of all bugbears, masked batteries afloat, whatever a masked battery is. Finally the day’s excitement reached a climax by an alarm on the outpost line. The whole command turned out under arms for what proved to be a false alarm.

The next day we resumed our trip east by rail, stopping for a couple of hours in Grafton, where along the sides of the road were many signs of war. The crowds at the station were eager for news, but we knew no more than they did. Towards noon as we approached the Cheat River, reports of an engagement somewhere not far off began to take shape. At Rowlesburg, 25 miles east of Grafton, our company was put off the train with orders to march through Cheat River Valley to support someone. But before the train could start again the order was countermanded and we got back on the train. Most of the time from then on we were on our knees gathered at the car doors (we were in old freight cars) with our fingers on the triggers of our guns, ready upon the first alarm to fire at anything.

About four in the afternoon we arrived at Oakland, 25 miles northeast of Rowlesburg, in the southwest comer of Maryland. Here we got off the train and started to march to West Union, some sixteen miles by road to the southwest. We made about eight miles, the night being hazy at first but drizzling toward morning. This, our first march, seemed to us to be a very hard one!

Sunday, July 14. We woke up at four this morning. Everything was excitement. We double-quicked almost all the way to Red House, down the road a short distance. Had we known it, and continued on the night before, we could have cut off some of Garnett’s defeated force which was trying to join other Confederates who were near Romney. Garnett’s men had passed Red House shortly before daylight. Had we been there we could have taken this broken little force without any great effort. We did follow them for five miles, picking up a great many stragglers dressed in gorgeous state militia uniforms—gray and gold tinsel—all of them half dead from hunger and fright.

We halted at a ruined house, The Chimneys, where our officers held a council of war. After learning that we were within two miles of the enemy they decided to turn back to West Union and there await reinforcements before annoying the enemy further. This enemy, broken and disheartened, had halted at the covered bridge where the Northwest Turnpike crosses the North Branch of the Potomac. We thought that there were about 1100 of them. We turned back, but marched only as far as Red House, where we went into camp.

A Useless March

At eight o’clock in the evening of the next day we again set out in pursuit of Garnett’s force. About midnight we crossed the covered bridge, having made only about six miles in four hours! Here we saw some prisoners who had been taken by our cavalry. These prisoners were a continual source of wonder to us, but they were quite indifferent to us. We marched until far into the night and went into bivouac at Stony Creek, seven miles from the covered bridge.

On Tuesday the 16th we are still marching. I would give anything for relief from carrying my knapsack. The other men are full of terrible oaths and threats, nearly a fourth of them straggling for miles back along the road. Those of us who keep up with the column, toiling along footsore and aching in every bone, are tempted every moment to join the stragglers. This business of marching is new to us; we haven’t been trained for it nor hardened to it. But it is something to which we will have to accustom ourselves, willy nilly.

MAP 2. GARNETT’S RETREAT FROM CARRICK’S FORD, JULY 13-15, 1861.

Our General, Hill, makes us a speech—or rather he makes one to those who are farther back in the column, ‘tis said, promising that towards dark we shall come to a certain rich man’s house where we shall find plenty to eat, and good water for our camp. This speech, if he really made one, spreads amongst us and cheers us for a time. At length, utterly exhausted and aching in every joint, and hungry, thirsty, and sleepy, we arrive after dark at the rich man’s house. Throwing ourselves on the ground we are soon asleep.

The next day, the 17th, we are up at dawn and under arms. We are divided now into two bodies, the advance consisting of those fortunate ones who are in good condition, the reserve being those weary, footsore fellows who can scarcely drag themselves along. We continue marching until within two miles of Petersburg, when we turn back in the direction from which we have just come. It seems that on account of Hill’s dilatory movement, not having pursued Garnett on Sunday, our present march is useless. {3} Next morning we hear that General McClellan has ordered us back to Red House. We continue our retrograde movement in that direction and camp at nightfall at the entrance to Simon’s Gap. Tonight I am sergeant of the guard on picket.

On the following day we march leisurely back to Red House and go into camp. Here we stay for several days, drilling and doing fatigue duty. The latter consists mostly of throwing up a line of breastworks where the Northwestern Turnpike crosses the backbone of the Alleghenies. Colonel H. G. DePuy was in mortal fear of an attack, though we later learned that there were no rebels of any consequence within a hundred miles of us. His fear was generated in his own mind.

Next morning while climbing a fence I thought I heard a sound like cannonading. I listened intently. It was not rapid, but came at long intervals, and sounded as if it were in the direction of Manassas. And yet Manassas is seventy miles to the east of us! {4}

We Build Fort Pendleton

After staying several more days at Red House, we moved again in the direction of the covered bridge over the North Branch of the Potomac. We took position on the heights here and began, under the direction of some U. S. Engineers, to construct a rather extensive line of works near the house of a Major Pendleton. These works were christened Fort Pendleton, but we called it Camp Maggotty Hollow. We stayed here for several weeks, Colonel DePuy being replaced by Lieut. Col. Charles A. Park.

During our stay at Fort Pendleton camp fever and dysentery swept through the regiment. Our company, the only one composed of men from the city, was scarcely affected at all, showing that countrymen are not more hardy than city boys.

Guarding the Railroad

Finally after a good rest and a thorough reorganization we set out for Oakland, where our field service had begun. At that point we got aboard the cars and went back to Grafton where, changing trains, we were sent to Webster, a few miles to the south. Here we remained for a few days, when we were detailed to guard the line of the B & O Railroad. Our company was assigned to Fairmont, 15 miles northeast of Grafton, where there were two bridges, one an iron railroad bridge and the other a handsome suspension bridge which connected Fairmont with the village on the other side of the Monongahela. Here we passed a number of pleasant days watching for bushwhackers and small marauding parties with which that part of Virginia was then infested.

Presently we were sent back to guard the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad again, once more at New Creek Station or Paddytown. When we arrived, about midnight, the place was almost in a panic. The railroad employees and civilians of the town had packed up everything in preparation for flight from the expected advance of Angus MacDonald’s Confederate troops from Romney. It was a very exciting night, but towards daylight they let us go to sleep, and we didn’t wake up until far into the day. We passed the next ten days here without any further excitement except a series of false alarms along the picket line. Being green soldiers we were very much subject to such alarms, not from cowardice but because we weren’t used to the night sounds which one can hear all during the hours of darkness. Usually it was my lot to be on picket duty at the water tank at Bridge 21, where the constant ripple of the waters of the shallow river and the fantastic shape of the fleecy clouds passing over a moonlit heaven were apt to cause a watchfulness and nervousness not unlike that of a child in a dark room. Some of the alarms were caused by sentinels who mistook cows and flocks of grazing sheep for the enemy.

Our First Advance on Romney

Late the afternoon of September 20 orders came for a night march. We returned from Piedmont, cooked our rations and packed our knapsacks. About eleven we set out to capture Romney, eighteen miles to the east. Shortly before dawn we arrived about a mile from Mechanicsburg Gap. While the infantry column halted, a few cavalrymen were sent forward to feel the way. A hidden enemy fired a few shots at them whereupon they returned to us at a gallop.

Our whole force of eleven hundred men consisted of part of the 4th Ohio Infantry, part of our own 8th Ohio, a company of cavalry, and one artillery piece. Lieutenant Colonel Cantwell, 4th Ohio, was in command. When the cavalrymen returned, Colonel Cantwell formed the two regiments alongside the road in ambuscade. Then he ordered our company into the gap to draw the enemy into this ambush. Our captain, William Kenney, led us down to the edge of the hamlet of Mechanicsburg, at the mouth of the gap. Here we opened fire as best we could at an enemy who lay concealed at the other end of this little cluster of houses. In a few minutes they fell back and we moved up into the gap without seeing anything more of them.

When we had penetrated into the gap for some distance we came to a blacksmith’s shop beside the road. Here we were overtaken by a scout named Jarboe, who brought orders for us to return to the command. When we got back, the regiment, together with some of the cavalry, set out by a mountain road leading off to the left, which was said to go to a ford over the South Branch of the Potomac about midway between Romney and Springfield. I was told that the distance was ten miles. But I don’t know about that, since I slept as I marched.

MAP 3. THE FIRST ADVANCE ON ROMNEY.

Our First Skirmish

We arrived at the ford about four in the morning. A heavy mountain mist was hanging down over everything. Suddenly we heard the voices of two men talking at the ford. One was Jack Sheppard, who had been sent ahead as a scout, and had gotten across to the other side of the stream. As we learned later, the conversation was between Jack and a Confederate cavalryman who was guarding the ford. The talk did not go far before it degenerated into shooting!

We were at once ordered forward at the double-quick. Such a splashing of water,

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