Sometimes You Are Missing the Forest

While looking for some trees in a forest, sometimes you are missing the forest.

This is what happened with Alexander Bennett’s next battle after Golding’s Farm on 26 June 1862. There were two more battles that he was in three days later. 

Savage’s Station on the 29th and White Oak Swamp on the 30th.  Soldiers must have been elated to fight again…

This is a Website that sums up the Seven Days Battles.

June 29

On June 29 Confederates south of the Chickahominy River found the Union trenches empty and started their pursuit. Longstreet and A. P. Hill marched twenty miles in the heat to be in position. But Huger received conflicting orders and spent his day marching. Jackson believed he was to stay north of the Chickahominy instead of crossing the river and heading south and east as Lee had intended. Magruder alternated between aggression and worry that Union troops would attack him, in part causing Huger’s back-and-forth marching.

Eventually Magruder attacked the Union rear guard at Savage’s Station, formerly McClellan’s advance base. Union general Samuel Heintzelman continued his retreat, leaving behind Union general Edwin V. Sumner’s Second Corps and another division—more than enough troops to stop Magruder despite an initial Confederate success. The rest of McClellan’s army and the trains continued toward the James during the day, and the rear guard followed that night.

June 30

June 30 was the culmination of Lee’s pursuit plan. Despite the disorder of June 29, his pieces were in place for a glorious victory. McClellan kept more than half of his army near the Glendale crossroads, which was vital to the retreat because most of the major roads from the Richmond area to the James River converged there. Jackson and D. H. Hill would, by their presence, force the Union troops guarding White Oak Swamp Bridge to remain north of Glendale, attacking them if possible. Huger would do the same on the Charles City Road. Longstreet and A. P. Hill, joined by Magruder if the latter could move quickly enough, would then drive toward the Willis Church Road south of Glendale to cut McClellan’s retreat route.

Once again Longstreet and A. P. Hill performed well while the other generals struggled. Jackson contented himself with a bombardment at White Oak Swamp Bridge, allowing thousands of Union troops to reinforce the Glendale lines. Huger’s failure was on a smaller scale but just as complete. Magruder spent June 30 as Huger had spent June 29, marching to no effect. So Longstreet and Hill attacked unsupported, and broke the Union line initially before Union reinforcements made possible by Jackson’s and Huger’s failures pushed them back. While the exhausted Confederates rested, the victorious Union troops joined the remainder of the army on the relatively safe high ground at Malvern Hill.

More info on this site.

Savage’s Station   

Other Names: None

Location: Henrico County

Campaign: Peninsula Campaign (March-September 1862)

Date(s): June 29, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Edwin Sumner [US]; Maj. Gen. John Magruder [CS]

Forces Engaged: Divisions

Estimated Casualties:   4,700 total (US 2,500 wounded were captured)

Description: Fourth of the Seven Days’ Battles. On June 29, the main body of the Union army began a general withdrawal toward the James River.  Magruder pursued along the railroad and the Williamsburg Road and struck Sumner’s Corps (the Union rearguard) with three brigades near Savage’s Station.  Confederate Brig. Gen. Richard Giffith was mortally wounded during the fight.  Jackson’s divisions were stalled north of the Chickahominy. Union forces continued to withdraw across White Oak Swamp, abandoning supplies and more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital.

Result(s): Inconclusive

CWSAC Reference #: VA019


Estimated Casualties:   4,700 total (US 2,500 wounded were captured)


Glendale/White Oak Swamp   

Other Names: Nelson’s Farm, Frayser’s Farm, Charles City Crossroads, White Oak Swamp, New Market Road, Riddell’s Shop

Location: Henrico County

Campaign: Peninsula Campaign (March-September 1862)

Date(s): June 30, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William Franklin, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan [US]; Gen. Robert E. Lee, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]

Forces Engaged: Armies

Estimated Casualties: 7000 total


Glendale – This is the fifth of the Seven Days’ Battles. On June 30, Huger’s, Longstreet’s, and A.P. Hill’s divisions converged on the retreating Union army in the vicinity of Glendale or Frayser’s Farm.  Longstreet’s and Hill’s attacks penetrated the Union defense near Willis Church, routing McCall’s division. McCall was captured.  Union counterattacks by Hooker’s and Kearny’s divisions sealed the break and saved their line of retreat along the Willis Church Road. Huger’s advance was stopped on the Charles City Road.   “Stonewall”  Jackson’s divisions were delayed by Franklin at White Oak Swamp. Confederate Maj. Gen. T.H. Holmes made a feeble attempt to turn the Union left flank at Turkey Bridge but was driven back by Federal gunboats in James River. Union generals Meade and Sumner and Confederate generals Anderson, Pender, and Featherston were wounded. This was Lee’s best chance to cut off the Union army from the James River. That night, McClellan established a strong position on Malvern Hill.

White Oak Swamp – The Union rearguard under Maj. Gen. William Franklin stopped Jackson’s divisions at the White Oak Bridge crossing, resulting in an artillery duel, while the main battle raged two miles farther south at Glendale or Frayser’s Farm.

Result(s): Inconclusive

CWSAC Reference #: VA020


Estimated Casualties: 7000 total


The Ashleys

Never got around to talk about the Ashleys.

I believe this is the right time to talk about that family.

Ashleys are in fact Dufresnes and they are of French-Canadian descent.

Ida Ashley seen here on her wedding day is the daughter of Arthur Ashley and Mary Archambeault.

wedding Henry Combe edited

We know everything about the Archambeault family thanks to Carl and his brother Frank Junior who shared pictures and information.

Remember Frank’s kitchen notes…?

Arthur Ashley married Mary Archambeault on August 21, 1882, in New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts. They had three children that I found: William, Ida and Ernest.

The three children are on the wedding picture.

I found Ernest E. Ashley in the 1940 U.S. Census in Middletown, Connecticut with his wife Mary J. and two children, Frances M. and Robert. Ernest is the young boy in the first row.

William is just behind his sister Ida.

Wedding Ida Ashley

Almost all the people on this picture have been identified except for the young women in the back row.

So what about the Dufresnes? Arthur Ashley was the son of Louis Dufresne and Delphine Lépine.

I did not go any further on that search since I never got any request from any descendants.


Putting a Smile on Your Face

That’s the only reason behind this blog created in 2009 after Doris visited where her ancestors once lived.

Click here.

2009-09-15 Maison Chaumont 1She had found my blog Nos ancêtres created in January 2008. That blog was a way to share what knowledge I had acquired about ancestors that lived in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines a little village founded in 1787.

I moved to Ste-Anne-des-Plaines in 1981 and I still live there though I still feel as a stranger in that little town. That would need some more explanations but that’s beside the point on this post.

My blogs, and I have many, were created to put a smile on your face and make your warm all inside when you read them…

Well most of the time.

Lovely Rita

This is a post I wrote last year. It was about lovely little Rita. When you read once more Diane’s message, this post is most touching.

thought I would let you know that my aunt Rita Hazel, only daughter of Leo and Ida Combe passed away about a month ago.  I think she was 91 or 92.  The only sibling left is Henry Combe, my wonderful father.

Carl wrote me again about his ancestors and their relatives.

He had this information about someone named Rita.

He also mentioned the Combe and the Ashley families in his e-mail.

I had to look it up in the more than 100 photos Robin has scanned in 2011 where most of the pictures were of the Bleau and the Combe family.

I found little Rita.

Lovely Rita… circa 1924

Rita is there with her cousins and her two brothers… Joe, with his mouth opened, and Henry on the far right.

thought I would let you know that my aunt Rita Hazel, only daughter of Leo and Ida Combe passed away about a month ago.  I think she was 91 or 92.  The only sibling left is Henry Combe, my wonderful father.


Rita Hazel

April 23, 1922 – February 7, 2013

Rita Hazel, wife of the late Charles Hazel of Hartford and daughter of the late Ida and Leo Combe of Middletown, died Thursday February 7th at Middlesex Hospital with her loving family by her side. She was born on April 23, 1922. She attended St. John’s School, Woodrow Wilson High School and Morse Business College in Hartford.

In 1966, she took a position at Middlesex Hospital as secretary to the Vice President of Finance, with whom she was with for 24 years. She retired in 1990, after which she volunteered at the Hospitals Information Desk for 18 years.

She is survived by a son, Stephen Hazel and his fiancé, Robin of Portland, a daughter, Sheila White and her husband, Ken of Meriden, a daughter, Donna Milardo and her husband, Dave of East Hampton, her brother, Henry Combe of Old Saybrook and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by three brothers, Anthony Combe of Cromwell, Joseph Combe and Edward Combe of Middletown. She had nine grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Rita Combe 1

Call Them Distant Relatives… Rita Hazel

Someone just informed me in a comment just made that Rita Hazel has passed away.

Diane wrote this…

thought I would let you know that my aunt Rita Hazel, only daughter of Leo and Ida Combe passed away about a month ago. I think she was 91 or 92. The only sibling left is Henry Combe, my wonderful father.

This is the wedding picture of Leo Combe and Ida Ashley.

Leo Combe and Ida are Rita Combe Hazel’s parents.

Sylvia Bleau Combe is besides Ida who is next to her mother Agnes Alexandre. Agnes is the daughter of my great-grandaunt Philomene Lagasse (Lagacé).

Back in 2007 when I started looking for my ancestors I did not know she had existed.

These people became a big part of my family since then. There are no more distant relatives of mine…

Rita Combe 1Rita Combe Hazel

When to Stop Searching for Ancestors?

Whenever you feel like it. But it’s hard to resist that temptation to dig deeper and deeper.

Ron DepatieOne reader on the French version of this blog gave us a hand and found some information on Gladys Melanson and on Vera Anita Hiatt, William Melanson Junior’s wife.

Vera married three times.

I sent this information to Ron. I also sent him the information on Gladys and her husband Harry Gray.

This is what my reader found…

Henry Carson-Gray

So when to stop searching for ancestors?

1940 US Census William Melanson

William Melanson draft card

Probably never because you are never sure that what you have found is the right information.

Clara’s Children

Clara would have had four children: William, Freda, Gladys, and Ella.

1911 Clara Doucet

1911 Canadian Census in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Ella Madeleine, born in March 1910, died as an infant. I found that information from two sources.

On the Internet…

The person who wrote this seems to known what he or she is talking about.

Descendants of William MELANSON

1 William MELANSON
b: Bet. 1880 – 1900 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Reference #: 18873

.. +Claire Doucet
b: Bet. 1880 – 1900
Reference #: 18871

2 Elfreda Melanson
b: Abt. 1917
Reference #: 18863

…. +Edward Mason
b: Abt. 1915
m: 16 Mar 1937 in St-Enfant Jesus, Montreal, Quebec
Reference #: 18850
Father: Kinick John Mason
Mother: Delia Aubin

2 Gladys Marie Melanson
b: 1907 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Reference #: 45559

…. +Henry Gray
b: 1904 in Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia
m: 10 Jul 1928 in Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Reference #: 45560
Father: James Gray
Mother: Marie Pettipas

2 Ella Madeleine Melanson
b: Mar 1910 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
d: 19 Sep 1910 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Reference #: 43672

All the above information is correct, except some birthdates.

Next source, the Mormons’ Website… where I found Ella.

Family Search Ella Melanson 1910

Is Ella the daughter of William Melanson Senior and Clara Doucet? Am I on the right track?

I think so.

So many questions still for my good friend Ron.

And what about Gladys who married Henry H. Gray?

Nothing yet…

And the father William Senior?

A clue found in Aberdeen City, North Dakota, in 1920.

1920 William Melanson North Dakota

1920 William Melanson North Dakota mod

William Melanson, lodger, male, white race, 37, married, immigration in 1883 (false information given?), knows how to read and write, born in Nova Scotia, father and mother also born in Nova Scotia…

It’s probably the same man, but we will never be sure unless someone contacts me one of these days.

Maybe a descendant of William Junior Melanson and Vera Anita Hiatt?

What Happened to Junior

Good question…

No easy to track down people with few clues.

William Melanson Junior was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia around 1906.

I was lucky to find him, but I know how to get lucky using the Mormons’ site.

Family Search William Melanson Junior 1924

No image is available of the marriage certificate of  William Melanson, son of William H Melanson and Clara Douett (sic), born in Yarneaut (sic), N.S., Canada.

No doubt about it, he’s our man.

William Melanson, son of William H Melanson and Clara Doucet, born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, married Vera Anita Hiatt on October, 28, 1924 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, in Iowa, U.S.A.

Now, what has become of his father of whom we lose track around 1911?

Another good question.