Fill Bare Trees With Family History

A New Kid on the Blog…

Harthouse on Main

We Fill Bare Trees With Our Family History

I like the image suggested by this photo

for the presence of “family trees” in our lives.

We hope to people a forest, one name at a time, one tree at a time,

and sometimes the long looks backward seem like a trek through

cold and snow until we find someone and can place

them in the foliage of our memories.  James Hart

.

This post may not be of vital interest to readers who find this blog

through WordPress or other searches, but I am providing it here

for family members who may be recommended to it, and because

it will eventually be useful to track information about family

members that I will write about in the future, once I have determined 

a form or style to preserve information found in family history documents.

My sons have been urging me for some time to write our family’s

history into…

View original post 811 more words

About the Impact of the Civil War on Canada

This is what Claude Bélanger writes in his conclusion.

The original is here.

Conclusion

 

On the whole, the Civil War was beneficial to Canada. Though the United States abrogated the Reciprocity Treaty in 1866 primarily to punish Britain for its benevolent neutrality towards the Confederacy, and the Fenian raids gave Canadians a fright, the war promoted British North American unity. The possibility of invasion and the loss of reciprocal trade paved the road to Confederation. In a way, the war helped craft the British North America Act of 1867 and furnished a welcomed respite from American expansionism. Even Canada’s official name was affected by the conflict. Indeed, the Fathers of Canadian Confederation chose not to further irritate the United States by giving their new nation the rather ambitious name of “Kingdom” of Canada and chose the more humble “Dominion” instead. The Civil War also brought a brief but intense period of economic prosperity to Canada.1

A further consequence of the Civil War, strongly lamented in French Canada, was that military service became the gateway to assimilation for many Franco-Americans. As would be the case in all of America’s wars, the armed services proved to be a powerful agent of Americanization. Like Major Mallet, many Franco-Americans were assimilated in the army.

For the next fifty years or so, French Canadian and Franco-American veterans of the conflict held reunions periodically. In the year he founded L’Union continentale (1893), Jean-Baptiste Rouillard made a rousing call in favor of Canada’s annexation to the United States at a Civil War meeting held in Montreal. Thereafter, the reunion became increasingly emotional as Rémi Tremblay recited his poem, Le drapeau du 14e, dedicated to his former regiment, which, ironically, he had deserted from on more than one occasion.2

After the two world wars, the Civil War is the third largest conflict in which French Canadians have fought and died since the fall of New France in 1760. This is despite relentless clerical and political censure back home and the fact that the conflict did not concern French Canada in any direct way. For generations of Franco-Americans, the Civil War took on a special importance. Veterans were revered as a living testament to Franco-American courage and patriotism. In later years, the Franco-American contribution to the Union cause was frequently cited as proof that French Catholics could become loyal Americans and that Franco-American blood had also watered the Liberty Tree.

© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College

A Truce in My Civil War Story

Someone needs help with some of her ancestors.

She sent me this message.

Hi Pierre,
I have attached two pictures.  One is my 2nd great-grand uncle, James Edward Newcity (brother to my 2nd great grandfather).

James Edward Newcity

The other is an unknown named girl.

girl

Notice the darkness of the skin around the eyes and dark eyes as this trait has been passed down through the family.   I have one uncle and two aunts that have this same feature.

Now that brings me to the picture of the girl taken in Bristol, New Hampshire.  I found this cabinet card on ebay but without a name.  I have been watching this picture on Ebay since September and it just kept haunting me, so I finally decided to buy it.   It is uncanny how much she favors one of my aunts, the same dark circles, dark eyes and even the similar nose.  Several relatives from Vermont went to New Hampshire, Connecticut and Mass.

Here are just few possible family names she might belong to.

James Newcity had two daughters:
Flora who married Judson M. Buskey
Elida who married Edward Augustus Ryals

James’ sister Adelia Newcity married Antwine (Rousseau) Brooks and Charles Brooks. The last record I have for Adelia and Charles is in New Hampshire and she had three daughters.

Eunice M.  married John T Cairns and Oscar E Clements
Ophelia May married Hibbard Ernest Hiscoe (daughter Ida Florence married Henry J Lupien)
Ida Pearl married Ernest Robinson Cowley

Thanks in advance and have a nice day,

S.

If those names ring a bell or if those two pictures are familiar, write me a comment, and I will get in touch.

Edward Newcity and mystery woman

As a footnote to this, someone in that family died in Gettysburg. If you want to know more, click here.

After First Bull Run… Warwick Creek

First Bull Run… Warwick Creek?

Never heard of those places before I heard Alexander Bennett had deserted the Union army in September 12, 1863 after the New York riotings.

I just got curious about him deserting. Then I found out that he was not the only one who did.

He does not have to feel ashamed nor his descendants for that matter.

No way!

What were the battles in which Alexander Bennett took part as a Private in the 2nd Vermont Infantry after First Bull Run?

 4/6/1862, Warwick Creek, VA

    4/16/1862, Lee’s Mill, VA

    6/26/1862, Golding’s Farm, VA

    6/29/1862, Savage’s Station, VA

    6/30/1862, White Oak Swamp, VA

    9/14/1862, Crampton’s Gap, MD

    9/17/1862, Antietam, MD

    12/13/1862, Fredericksburg, VA

    5/3/1863, Marye’s Heights, VA

    5/4/1863, Salem Heights, VA

    6/5/1863, Fredericksburg, VA

    7/3/1863, Gettysburg, Penn.

After the battle of Gettysburg, Alexander Bennett deserted when he was stationed with the 2nd Vermont Infantry around New York to guard against riotings.

Do you remember this from the last post?

Roughly half a million Union soldiers and sailors were foreign-born. Indeed, a large proportion of the immigrants were of military age and there was a higher proportion of males among the foreign-born than in the general population. Proportionally, they could furnish more soldiers than native-born America. The sheer numerical importance of foreign-born recruitment has given rise to a persistent Southern myth that “the majority of Yankee soldiers were foreign hirelings.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. While the foreign-born contribution to the Union cause was crucial and increased with time, it was not as massive as some historians have claimed it to be. In fact, foreign-born men, who accounted for about a quarter of the servicemen, represented roughly 30 percent of the males of military age in the Union states. Immigrants were thus under-represented in the Union forces. Catholics, especially the Irish, were the most under-represented group in proportion to population. This can be explained in part by the Democratic allegiance of a majority of American Catholics and by their opposition to Republican war goals and policy, especially emancipation and conscription. In New York City, Irish resistance to military conscription spawned the infamous draft riot of 1863, which terrorized the city and left at least 105 people dead. To this day, it remains the worst riot in American history.

Seeing what was happening in New York was probably what broke the camel’s back for Alexander Bennett. You have to remember how people were enlisted in the first place…

poster Company G

So what about the battle of Warwick Creek, the second battle Alexander Bennett, a French-Canadian, took part in? 

790px-Yorktown1862

Yorktown

Hard to find information, but I managed to find this.

Civil War battles in Virginia 1862

Other Names: None

Location: York County and Newport News

Campaign: Peninsula Campaign (March-September 1862)

Date(s): April 5-May 4, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan [US]; Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston [CS]

Forces Engaged: Armies

Estimated Casualties: 320 total

Description:

Marching from Fort Monroe, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s army encountered Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder’s small Confederate army at Yorktown behind the Warwick River. Magruder’s theatrics convinced the Federals that his works were strongly held. McClellan suspended the march up the Peninsula toward Richmond, ordered the construction of siege fortifications, and brought his heavy siege guns to the front. In the meantime, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston brought reinforcements for Magruder. On 16 April, Union forces probed a weakness in the Confederate line at Lee’s Mill or Dam No. 1, resulting in about 309 casualties. Failure to exploit the initial success of this attack, however, held up McClellan for two additional weeks, while he tried to convince his navy to maneuver the Confederates big guns at Yorktown and Gloucester Point and ascend the York River to West Point thus outflanking the Warwick Line. McClellan planned for a massive bombardment to begin at dawn on May 4, but the Confederate army slipped away in the night toward Williamsburg.

Result(s): Inconclusive

I found this information about the battle here. It’s about another Vermont Regiment.

March 10, 1862, the regiment broke camp and entered upon its first field work, the Peninsula campaign.  Embarking at Alexandria on the 23d, it landed at Fortress Monroe on the 24th, and on the 4th of April commenced its march up the Peninsula, arriving in front of the enemy on Warwick Creek on the next day.  On the 6th the regiment was for the first time under fire in support of a battery, during a demonstration made by the division upon the Confederate works.  It was, however, subjected to no loss, and it was not until the 16th of April, at Lee’s Mills, that it received its “baptism of fire.”  On that day the right wing crossed Warwick Creek, through water up to the waist, under a severe and galling fire, and attacked the enemy’s works.  At the moment of success it was decided to abandon the attack and they were ordered to retire.  The loss of the regiment in this battle was 23 killed and mortally wounded, and 57 wounded, the bulk of the loss being from the right wing.  Thereafter the regiment remained in sight of the enemy, doing picket duty, during the remainder of the month of April, with no incident worthy of note, except that on the 29th it made a reconnoissance resulting in a slight skirmish.  Lieut. A. M. Nevins of company G was mortally wounded, and a man in Company K wounded.

I wonder how Alexander Bennett felt after Warwick Creek.

What About French-Canadians During the Civil War?

This link is most interesting.

Preface

This booklet was written in an effort to better acquaint Franco-Americans with their outstanding contribution to American life. Indeed, it is partly up to Canadian historians to reveal this heritage to French Canada’s often neglected and overlooked diaspora. For too long, Franco-Americans have remained the “forgotten Americans.” This study seeks to help remedy this unfortunate oversight.

French America’s past is at the crossroads of Canadian and American history. As such, a brief survey of the growth of Franco-American communities during the Civil War years and of French Canada’s role in the United States’ most violent and costly conflict seemed a good starting point for a more general reflection on the historical place of French Canadians in America.

On the whole, the events surrounding French Canada’s reaction to and participation in the American Civil War also offer an ideal example of the constant interplay between Canada and her great neighbor. As the conflict drew thousands of adventuresome French Canadians south, it also had a profound effect on the constitutional, political, military and intellectual development of Canada. Truly, the Civil War was a crucial event in Canadian history and should be treated as such.

Franco-Americans in the Civil War Era is the first booklet in a bilingual series called “Études sur l’histoire des relations canado-américaines/Studies in the History of Canadian-American Relations” that explores various aspects of the historical relationship between Canada and the United States. The series’ goal is to provide the reader with a more holistic understanding of Canadian and American history.

Indeed, as a Canadian historian, my research has convinced me that our history cannot be studied in a vacuum. The writing of Canadian history must acquire a continental dimension. For too long, Canadian and American scholars have looked at the 49th parallel as if it were something akin to the Great Wall of China. I would argue for a more holistic or continental approach to Canadian and American history. The simple realities of North America proscribe isolationism. A quick glance at a physical map of our continent will reveal far more north-south geographical convergences than divergences. As such, our common border is, in a sense, nothing more than an arbitrary line traced across our continent by nineteenth-century diplomats. On a demographic level, Canada and the United States have never been truly separate entities. The inhabitants of our two great nations have constantly been on the move and have mingled in a most remarkable way. Seventy years ago, about one American in thirty-seven was of Canadian birth or parentage (almost one in three in New Hampshire and a little more than one in four in Maine) and roughly one Canadian in thirteen was of American birth or parentage (around one in four in Alberta and one in five in Saskatchewan).1 Moreover, our economies have been inextricably linked since the mid-nineteenth-century. Finally, on a yearly basis, millions of tourists cross our shared border.

However, despite the tremendous attraction of the United States, Canada has remained independent. In a way, Canada exists in defiance of continentalism. Indeed, it is entirely clear to me that Canada’s greatest achievement has been to resist the cultural, social, demographic, economic and geographic forces that bind our two nations together and remain a separate political entity.

For the sake of clarity and continuity, I have decided to use a certain number of anachronisms in this booklet. During the 1860s, the term Franco-American did not yet exist. Nonetheless, I have used “Franco-American” instead of “French Canadian living in the United States” for obvious reasons. “Quebec” and “Ontario” are used to describe what was then known as the Canadian sections of Canada East and West. “Canada” is used for what was in fact the Province of Canada, which contained the most settled areas of the present day provinces of Quebec and Ontario. “British North America” is used in reference to the totality of the British colonies and possessions in North America as they stood in 1861 (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, the Province of Canada, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Rupert’s Land, and the North West Territories).

This study has benefited from the criticism and encouragement of several scholars. My mother, Janice Kelly-Bélanger and father, Professor Claude Bélanger of Marianopolis College (Montreal), commented on an early draft and offered a great deal of encouragement. Professors Desmond Morton, Gil Troy and Brian Young of McGill University and Professor Pierre Trépanier of the Université de Montréal have also provided me with useful and perceptive comments. My colleague Michel Ducharme offered pertinent and constructive criticism. I would also like to thank Antoine Godin and Dominique Foisy-Geoffroy for their invaluable technical assistance. This study was made possible by a graduate fellowship granted by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

D.-C. Bélanger
Montreal, Quebec
June 24th, 2001

In his introduction, this is most revealing…

Roughly half a million Union soldiers and sailors were foreign-born. Indeed, a large proportion of the immigrants were of military age and there was a higher proportion of males among the foreign-born than in the general population. Proportionally, they could furnish more soldiers than native-born America. The sheer numerical importance of foreign-born recruitment has given rise to a persistent Southern myth that “the majority of Yankee soldiers were foreign hirelings.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. While the foreign-born contribution to the Union cause was crucial and increased with time, it was not as massive as some historians have claimed it to be. In fact, foreign-born men, who accounted for about a quarter of the servicemen, represented roughly 30 percent of the males of military age in the Union states. Immigrants were thus under-represented in the Union forces. Catholics, especially the Irish, were the most under-represented group in proportion to population. This can be explained in part by the Democratic allegiance of a majority of American Catholics and by their opposition to Republican war goals and policy, especially emancipation and conscription. In New York City, Irish resistance to military conscription spawned the infamous draft riot of 1863, which terrorized the city and left at least 105 people dead. To this day, it remains the worst riot in American history.4 

Shaping a Volunteer Army

More about First Bull Run.

This was the first major land battle of the armies in Virginia. On July 16, 1861, the untried Union army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell marched from Washington against the Confederate army, which was drawn up behind Bull Run beyond Centreville. On the 21st, McDowell crossed at Sudley Ford and attacked the Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill. Fighting raged throughout the day as Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill. Late in the afternoon, Confederate reinforcements extended and broke the Union right flank. The Federal retreat rapidly deteriorated into a rout. Thomas J. Jackson earned the nom de guerre “Stonewall.” By July 22, the shattered Union army reached the safety of Washington. (source)

Click here.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the U.S. Army consisted of just 16,000 men — fewer than 200 companies, nearly all of which were stationed west of the Mississippi River. Although made up of trained career soldiers, a force of this size was insufficient for the scale of conflict the Civil War promised to be. Understanding this, upon the bombardment of Fort Sumter by Confederate forces, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to quell the insurrection.

Accommodating such a surge in the ranks would be additionally complicated by the fact that much of the officer corps were Southerners by birth and chose to resign their commissions and throw their lots in with the Confederacy. Of the roughly 820 West Point graduates on active duty at the outbreak of the war, 184 enlisted in Confederate service. Former officers then living as civilians also returned to military service at the outbreak of the war, with 99 of them heading to Richmond.

To fill out the command structure, both sides relied on appointments, often made by state governments to complete their burgeoning regiments of volunteers. Often termed political officers, since they were typically installed by the governor, these men came from a wide variety of backgrounds and, accordingly, were widely divergent in their abilities and successes.

All new soldiers, officers and enlisted men alike, had to learn the basics of military training. Former businessmen, politicians, doctors and lawyers spent their evenings pouring over field manuals and treatises on tactics and other martial matters. Their days were spent on the parade grounds, learning to drill along with their men. For recruits of all ranks and stripes, camp life could be dull; the reality of learning to march and form lines of battle did not match the romanticized imaginings of war they had harbored. Veteran officers insisted these skills, though tedious, could be the difference between life and death on the battlefield, but the green troops found this difficult to believe.

The grim realities of war came home to roost following the First Battle of Manassas. Having now “seen the elephant,” the new soldiers understood that by making the tasks of marching, deploying and firing second nature, they were able to function as a unit. The heat of combat also exposed several other major obstacles for the new fighting forces to overcome.

At this early stage of the war, uniforms for the two sides had not been standardized. Raised by their individual states, many regiments wore uniforms reminiscent of their state militias, creating a veritable rainbow on the battlefield as various units — on both sides — sported elements of navy, royal and sky blue; gray; green; red and gold. In several instances, the friendly fire incidents that resulted from the ensuing confusion had decisive results. In response, the Confederacy put formal dress regulations into effect in September 1861, stating that trousers, jackets, caps and greatcoats should all be gray.

The map of the battle.

First Bull Run

I know very little about the Civil War. The North the South, Lincoln, the Union Army, the Confederate Army…, but then I am only a French Canadian born in the late 1940s.

What I know though is that Alexandre Benoit was a private with the 2nd Vermont Infantry and that he was present at First Bull Run. That’s sufficent enough to get any relative interested in First Bull Run and to start looking at that first battle. I am not related to Alexander Bennett, but then, maybe I am, because I have not found his parents.

This text about First Bull Run is taken from this Website. I will add pictures and hyperlinks as I go alongside Private Benoit.

The Battle of First Manassas   (First Bull Run)

Cheers rang out in the streets of Washington on July 16, 1861 as Gen. Irvin McDowell’s army, 35,000 strong, marched out to begin the long-awaited campaign to capture Richmond and end the war.

Irv_mcdowell

It was an army of green recruits, few of whom had the faintest idea of the magnitude of the task facing them. But their swaggering gait showed that none doubted the outcome. As excitement spread, many citizens and congressman with wine and picnic baskets followed the army into the field to watch what all expected would be a colorful show.

These troops were 90-day volunteers summoned by President Abraham Lincoln after the startling news of Fort Sumter burst over the nation in April 1861.

Call to arms

Called from shops and farms, they had little knowledge of what war would mean. The first day’s march covered only five miles, as many straggled to pick blackberries or fill canteens.

McDowell’s lumbering columns were headed for the vital railroad junction at Manassas. Here the Orange and Alexandria Railroad met the Manassas Gap Railroad, which led west to the Shenandoah Valley. If McDowell could seize this junction, he would stand astride the best overland approach to the Confederate capital.

On July 18 McDowell’s army reached Centreville. Five miles ahead a small meandering stream named Bull Run crossed the route of the Union advance, and there guarding the fords from Union Mills to the Stone Bridge waited 22,000 Southern troops under the command of Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard.

Fort-Sumter-PGT-Beauregard-9

McDowell first attempted to move toward the Confederate right flank, but his troops were checked at Blackburn’s Ford. He then spent the next two days scouting the Southern left flank. In the meantime, Beauregard asked the Confederate government at Richmond for help. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, stationed in the Shenandoah Valley with 10,000 Confederate troops, was ordered to support Beauregard if possible. Johnston gave an opposing Union army the slip and, employing the Manassas Gap Railroad, started his brigades toward Manassas Junction. Most of Johnston’s troops arrived at the junction on July 20 and 21, some marching directly into battle.

Joejohns

On the morning of July 21, McDowell sent his attack columns in a long march north towards Sudley Springs Ford. This route took the Federals around the Confederate left. To distract the Southerners, McDowell ordered a diversionary attack where the Warrenton Turnpike crossed Bull Run at the Stone Bridge. At 5:30a.m. the deep-throated roar of a 30-pounder Parrott rifle shattered the morning calm, and signaled the start of the battle.

McDowell’s new plan depended on speed and surprise, both difficult with inexperienced troops. Valuable time was lost as the men stumbled through the darkness along narrow roads. Confederate Col. Nathan Evans, commanding at the Stone Bridge, soon realized that the attack on his front was only a diversion. Leaving a small force to hold the bridge, Evans rushed the remainder of his command to Matthews Hill in time to check McDowell’s lead unit. But Evans’ force was too small to hold back the Federals for long. Soon brigades under Barnard Bee and Francis Bartow marched to Evans’ assistance. But even with these reinforcements, the thin gray line collapsed and Southerners fled in disorder toward Henry Hill. Attempting to rally his men, Bee used Gen. Thomas J. Jackson’s newly arrived brigade as an anchor.

jackson

Pointing to Jackson, Bee shouted, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” Generals Johnston and Beauregard then arrived on Henry Hill, where they assisted in rallying shattered brigades and redeploying fresh units that were marching to the point of danger.

About noon, the Federals stopped their advance to reorganize for a new attack. The lull lasted for about an hour, giving the Confederates enough time to reform their lines. Then the fighting resumed, each side trying to force the other off Henry Hill. The battle continued until just after 4p.m., when fresh Southern units crashed into the Union right flank on Chinn Ridge, causing McDowell’s tired and discouraged soldiers to withdraw.

At first the withdrawal was orderly. Screened by the regulars, the three-month volunteers retired across Bull Run, where they found the road to Washington jammed with the carriages of congressmen and others who had driven out to Centreville to watch the fight. Panic now seized many of the soldiers and the retreat became a rout. The Confederates, though bolstered by the arrival of President Jefferson Davis on the field just as the battle was ending, were too disorganized to follow up on their success. Daybreak on July 22 found the defeated Union army back behind the bristling defenses of Washington.

That was Alexander Bennett first taste of battle. His commander was captured.

I told you all about him last time.