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? 



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


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.