William Rufus Barlow was conscripted into Confederate service in August 1862 and assigned as a Private to Company B of the 18th North Carolina Infantry. He was slightly wounded in his first action, at Sharpsburg in September 1862, and was afterward with his Company until captured at Spotsylvania Court House, VA in May 1864. He ended up in the prison at Elmira, NY and died there of pneumonia in January 1865.

This fine photograph of him is from a family researcher, shared online on WikiTree.

There’s a superb discussion about Barlow’s family and a collection of his wartime letters in Company Front (Issue 2, 2013) [pdf], the journal of The Society for the Preservation of the 26th Regiment North Carolina Troops, from Locke W. “Skip” Smith, Jr.

Mr Smith described the photo above:

The firearm held by Private Barlow in this image is a rapid-fire “sidehammer” Colt Model 1855 Revolving Carbine, in a rare variant known as the “Artillery Model.” This .56 caliber weapon never gained wide acceptance due to its propensity to “chain fire,” or discharge all five chambers of its firing cylinder in one dangerous explosion. This problem may have in part prompted the Federal government to transfer sixty of these long arms to the State of North Carolina on May 7, 1859, and Barlow’s carbine may be one of that number. Other images of North Carolina Confederate soldiers armed with this weapon can be seen in Mast’s State Troops and Volunteers, images 2.67, 4.2.12, and 5.4.11. A saber type bayonet could be fixed to this “Artillery Model” carbine. In this typical early war image Barlow appears in civilian clothing with a 6-pointed “secession star” device affixed to his low-crown bowler hat.

I’ve seen a number of these rifles in soldiers’ photographs. Perhaps they just made good photographers’ studio props, not that they had wide use.

I’ve also recently seen a large number of Sharpsburg veterans who died at Elmira. All of them said to have died of pneumonia. I wonder if that was really the case, or was it lazy medicine or lazy medical record-keeping? Pneumonia wasn’t the most common cause of death at other prison camps.

Private John Henry Libben did not impress his commanding officer at Antietam.

Lieutenant Peter C Hains later wrote of his battery, “M” of the 2nd United States Artillery:

All the men of the company behaved with their accustomed coolness and courage with one exception, Private Litten [sic], who was not at all remarkable for coolness or courage.

Language not often found in an officer’s after-action report.

Libben served with the battery until discharged at the end of his enlistment in March 1864 and he enlisted in the US Marine Corps immediately afterward, in April. He was promoted to Sergeant and spent the last part of his enlistment (c. 1866-68) aboard the beauty above – USS Vanderbilt. I expect he gathered some coolness and courage by then.

This photograph of USS Vanderbilt is online from the US Naval History and Heritage Command.

Here’s an unusual view: the enlisted men of Battery M, 2nd United States Artillery at Culpeper, VA in September 1863. One of these men is probably Corporal Michael Frain, who was wounded at Antietam the year before. Corporal Frain had first enlisted back in 1854 and he served in Battery M to November 1873.

I found that great photograph while looking into an officer of the battery who was a Sergeant when they were in action at Antietam.

He was Terrence M. Reilly of Glasgow, Scotland. He enlisted in 1857 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 2nd US Artillery in March 1863. That’s him without a hat in the front row in the picture below, also taken at Culpeper in 1863. Both photographs are online from the Library of Congress.

Thanks to Jim Rosebrock for the pointer to Reilly in a bio sketch he posted to the Antietam Guides Facebook page.

This is Creswell Archimedes Calhoun Waller of Greenville, SC from a photograph published in the Greenwood Evening Index of 3 March 1910.

He was a Private in the 2nd South Carolina Infantry at Sharpsburg in September 1862. He later rose to be a Captain in the 36th Georgia Infantry and was a successful business man and politician in Greenwood after the war.

He was one of 8 children – 7 boys, one daughter – of Albert “Squire” Waller and Jane Elizabeth Creswell “Betsy” Waller, who had a substantial and successful plantation near Greenwood before the war. Many of the boys had interesting names like Creswell, who was named for his mother’s family, the Greek mathematician, and the US Senator from South Carolina. Among his brothers were Codrus D., Cadmus Garlington, and Pelius Augustus Waller, who was killed at Olustee, FL in February 1864.

Two of his brothers were also at Sharpsburg, and both were killed.

Robert Aurelius Waller was Captain of Company B of the 8th Florida Infantry and commanded the regiment briefly after Colonel Coppens was killed, but was himself shot down near the Sunken Road “with the colors of the regiment draped over his shoulders.”

Private James Leonidas Waller was with Captain Garden’s Palmetto Light Artillery at Sharpsburg and was mortally wounded by an exploding shell. He died in October at a hospital in Winchester, VA.

Columbie et Guyanes (1870)

26 February 2021

Doctor Thomas Smith Waring, late Assistant Surgeon of the 17th South Carolina Infantry was living in Venezuela in 1870. Like thousands of other ex-Confederates, he’d left the United States after the Civil War, perhaps hoping to recreate something of the Confederacy in South America.

By 1880, though, he, like most of the ex-pats, was back in North America. He practiced medicine in Colleton County, South Carolina to his death in 1901.

The map above, by P. Bellier, Paris, c. 1870, was sold by Sephora Antiques in May 2020.

The capacity of the [US Army Hospital Steamer] ‘Connecticut’ was four hundred patients. She made altogether forty-seven trips and conveyed eighteen thousand nine hundred and nineteen (18,919) patients.

One of those patients was Private George Perry Williams of the 17th South Carolina Infantry. He’d been captured at Petersburg in March 1865 and was a prisoner at Point Lookout, MD. Although probably not previously wounded, in late July he had “partial paralysis of left side of body,” and was sent to a hospital in Washington, DC aboard the Connecticut. He was finally released in August 1865.

George had a tough early life, too. In October 1843, when he was 5, his father Rev. Martin Jones Williams (b. 1806) was murdered – poisoned by arsenic. His mother Sarah Kearse Williams (1807-1865) was tried for the crime but not convicted, for lack of evidence to prove it was her. She later had children with at least 2 men but did not remarry. She was from a wealthy and influential family but by 1850, when George was 12, she’d lost her land and the slaves her father had left her in 1838.

The quote above is from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (1870), online from the US National Library of Medicine. The picture of the US Army Hospital Steamer Connecticut is from Miller’s Photographic History of the Civil War (Vol. 7, 1911), online from the Hathi Trust. Georges’s postwar photo below is from Charles L.D. Carlson, SCV Camp 842.

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Another soldier of the 17th South Carolina got a trip on a USA Hospital Steamer, in May 1865.

Private Nicholas Welsh of Company I was wounded at Turner’s Gap and at the very end of the war at Appomattox Court House on 9 April 1865, after which he was sent to a hospital in Washington, DC on the State of Maine, seen below. That photograph is from the collection [pdf] of the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

These are Thomas Marion Carroll and 3 of his 11 or 12 children: his youngest, Martha Julia/Jane Carroll (1899-1985), Henderson M. Carroll (1893-1963), and Addie Priscilla Carroll (later Harrison, 1888-1966).

Addie had 7 children of her own, one of whom must have written ‘Mama” on this photograph, which was shared to the Family Search database by a descendant.

Thomas was 17 years old when he enlisted as a Private in Company F of the 17th South Carolina Infantry in November 1861. He was at Turner’s Gap on South Mountain and at Sharpsburg in September 1862 and fought with his regiment until captured at Petersburg, VA in March 1865. He was afterward a farmer in Rutherford County, NC for about 40 years.

Pvt Samuel L Johnston

21 February 2021

Here’s Private Samuel Lee Johnston who enlisted a month after his 17th birthday as a Private in Company E – the Indian Land Tigers – 17th South Carolina Infantry in November 1861. Johnston’s is one of the few happy-ending stories I’ve seen recently: he survived the fight at Turner’s Gap on 14 September 1862 and the rest of the war without apparent injury, and went home in April 1865 after the surrender at Appomattox Court House.

He lived to be 75 and had at least 9 children with two wives.

His photograph is a garage sale find shared on his Findagrave memorial by user Lanie in 2014.

Private Henry Jonathan Coleman, Jr was one of at least 8 Coleman brothers in Company B of the 17th South Carolina Infantry during the war. Four of them did not survive it.

Henry was wounded at Turner’s Gap on South Mountain in September 1862 but did survive the war, and he married Harriet Elizabeth Porter in 1866. They had 6 children. Their undated photographs here were shared by Angela Christine Saunders, online in the Family Search database.

Military execution

19 February 2021

At the end of his life Henry Jerome, known as Pete, was “a man of mature years, short in stature, and of quiet demeanor.”

He was born and raised in Connecticut, but married a South Carolina woman, had three children with her, and lived in South Carolina before the war. He enlisted as a Private in Company A of the 17th South Carolina Infantry in November 1861 and was wounded at 2nd Manassas in August 1862. He was in action at Turner’s Gap on South Mountain, MD on 14 September, but was listed as a deserter on the 18th.

In December 1863 he returned to his Company from his second time being absent without leave and he was executed for desertion in May 1864. The clipping [pdf] above is from the Edgeville Advertiser of 11 May 1864, online from the Library of Congress.