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  1. 1 point
    Well Done, Hank! Ran across the identities and shared mission of these men while searching for the remaining members of General Albert Sidney Johnston's Staff at Battle of Shiloh. All of these men claimed to be affiliated with the Confederate Los Angeles Rifles (which acted as bodyguard for the South's most promising General in June 1861 as he made his way across the desert from California to join the Confederate cause in Texas. All of the other men are acknowledged as being present at Shiloh, and their roles during the Battle are clearly recorded. But what about Alonzo Ridley? Born in Maine in 1826, and living in Massachusetts until 1849, reports of Gold drew Ridley to California. But like most of the 49ers Ridley was unlucky, and had to find another occupation. He tried his hand as Indian agent, Indian fighter, and finally became Undersheriff for Los Angeles. With the eruption of the Secession Crisis back east, Alonzo Ridley helped institute a Militia Company in California that supported the Rebel cause. The Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, created at behest of Southern supporter George Gift early in 1861 soon had Alonzo Ridley elected as Captain. The most noted service of the Los Angeles Rifles was acting as bodyguard for General Johnston, getting him safely across the desert to Texas, following which the unit disbanded. But while George Gift became an officer in the Confederate Navy, and other members found positions in the Confederate Army, it appears Alonzo Ridley remained with General Johnston, and accompanied him to Richmond. The first record of Ridley after arriving in Texas is at Bowling Green, Kentucky where “he organized a group of scouts.” [This may be coded language for “Captain Ridley organized General Johnston's bodyguard” ] because this is the role the “scouts” performed, in company with General Johnston south from Bowling Green, through Nashville, to the line of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, and west to Corinth. At Shiloh, Captain Ridley and his band may have grown impatient with hovering near Albert Sidney Johnston; there is one report that “Ridley's Scouts had detached themselves to take part in the fight, and rode to the Tennessee River.” Unfortunately, this “detachment” may have occurred just prior to General Johnston receiving a fatal wound. No mention is made of Ridley or the Bodyguard with Beauregard's Army after the death of General Johnston: Captain Ridley next turns up in Galveston, Texas where on January 1st 1863 he is recorded as taking part in the capture of USS Harriet Lane. As Major of the 3rd Arizona Regiment, Alonzo Ridley took part in actions in Texas and Louisiana until his capture on 28 June 1863 at Fort Butler, Donaldsonville, Louisiana. He remained a prisoner at Johnson's Island, Ohio until the end of the war. After embarking on another colorful career in Mexico, Alonzo Ridley returned to the United States about 1880. He died in Tempe Arizona in 1909. References: “Major's Confederate Cavalry Brigade” [Masters Thesis of 1991] by James T. Matthews (Texas Tech University) pages 45 - 63. Confederate Agent: a discovery in History (2015) by James D. Horan. One of Morgan's Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter (2011) http://www.militarymuseum.org/LosAngelesMountedRifles2.html Los Angeles Rifles and Captain Ridley https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fri57 Alonzo Ridley after Battle of Shiloh. N.B. Alonzo Ridley is credited with creation of “Buckner's Guides” about OCT 1861 (another name for Ridley's Scouts, aka Ridley's Bodyguard).
  2. 1 point
    Knowing that Wickliffe and Hardcastle were part of the party that crossed the desert from California with Albert Sidney Johnston it appeared that was the connection. A simple search of the other two revealed they also were part of Johnston's entourage. Brewer showed up on the SNMP facebook page. Ridley survived the war and lived till 1909 but Brewer was killed in Virginia in 1864. Hank
  3. 1 point
    As we know, the operation against Forts Henry and Donelson, combined with destruction of the railroad bridge on the Tennessee River south of Fort Henry, “turned” Fort Columbus. And that Rebel stronghold was evacuated end of February (completed 2 MAR 1862). But, there were other Rebel Forts that were turned during the Civil War: Island No.10 – This extremely strong position, occupying an S- bend in the Mississippi River was nearly surrounded by swamp (keeping infantry away.) Over seventy guns kept Union gunboats from attempting to force their way through the S- bend for the longest time. But the Achilles heel to Island No.10 was the protective swamp: a passage (Bissel's Canal) was cut through the swamp above Island Number 10 that looped west and south to re-enter the Mississippi River below Island No.10 at New Madrid (and New Madrid was captured earlier by John Pope marching his army across forty miles of swamp to reach that Rebel position.) Bissel's Canal allowed empty steamboats to reach Pope's Army at New Madrid for transport to the back of the Rebel defenses. And when Commander Walke's USS Carondelet “ran the gauntlet” at night, over sixty guns blazing away as he made the attempt, and reached Pope in early April 1862, the Carondelet provided the necessary protection for the transports loaded with Pope's men to make their passage: Island No.10 was turned at that point (and the garrison, unable to evacuate, surrendered April 8th.) Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip – Defending the Mississippi River below New Orleans, complete with barrier chain and fire rafts, and protected by a number of gunboats, these two powerful forts were surrounded by swamps that kept enemy infantry away. Flag-officer Farragut (in cooperation with David Porter's Mortar Schooner fleet) battered Forts Jackson and St. Philip from two miles away and eventually felt confident to break the barrier chain and attempt to race his heavily armed wooden ships upriver between the two forts, and past the Rebel gunboats. In process of executing the night passage, all of the Rebel gunboats were neutralized, with the loss of one U.S. Navy vessel sunk. The Forts Jackson and St. Philip remained strong and lethal; but once Farragut got north of them (with Porter's fleet south of them) the “Rebel position was turned.” And the two Rebel forts surrendered on 28 April 1862 (and New Orleans surrendered soon afterwards.) Vicksburg. Each attempt by Williams and Grant to dig canals, re-channel the Mississippi River and leave Vicksburg high and dry was an attempt to turn Vicksburg... but the canal digging did not succeed. Instead, Vicksburg was passed, besieged, and ultimately forced to surrender (with food supplies almost exhausted.) Up until the day of surrender, the Rebel position remained strongly defended and effective in challenging ships on the Mississippi River.
  4. 1 point
    Continuing in Chapter 8 of his Personal Memoirs, Sheridan records, “On the morning of 27 May 1862 Captain Alger (later to become Governor of Michigan), arrived at General Halleck's HQ and delivered me a telegram [appointing me Colonel of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry.] But, General Halleck was not ready to release me for service with the volunteers until official word returned from Washington. After a while, I grew impatient with waiting, and pressed my case for active service in the field. “General Halleck finally consented; but as I was departing to take command of my cavalry regiment, General Halleck informed me that the 2nd Michigan Cavalry had been ordered out as part of a column in pursuit of the enemy fleeing south from Corinth...” Why is this important? It appears that Sheridan's 2nd Michigan, officially part of General John Pope's force, was detached for service under Rosecrans pursuing Beauregard's Army south, as that Army withdrew through Rienzi, Booneville, Baldwyn... [And the OR 10 page 671 and OR 11 pages 236- 278 make fascinating reading: regular reports coming from Rosecran's pursuit, to Pope's HQ, to Halleck (who forwards the most interesting details via telegraph from his HQ at Corinth to Secretary of War Stanton in Washington; and Stanton replies in real time.) Most intriguing is a report from Pope to Halleck on 9 June 1862 (the day pursuit of the Rebels is abandoned) in which Pope replies, “I have just heard from Colonel Sheridan. He is in Baldwyn with his regiment, having pushed his advance toward Guntown...” Did Philip Sheridan's green cavalry unit play a role in the faulty reporting, (“The Rebel Army is dissolving before our eyes”) that led to abandonment of the pursuit on June 9th? [OR 11 page 278.] References: OR 10 and OR 11 (pages cited) SDG topic "Pope or Grant" post of 1 SEP 2018 "Pope in the West" https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4362/4362-h/4362-h.htm Personal Memoirs of General Philip Sheridan, chapters 7 - 9.
  5. 1 point
    Stumbled upon the above information IRT architect Otto Matz while searching for confirmation that Philip Sheridan had been put to use by Colonel George Thom (only to find that Sheridan did not make maps, but rebuilt roads south of Pittsburg Landing.) https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4362/4362-h/4362-h.htm Personal Memoirs of General Philip Sheridan Chapters 7 and 8.
  6. 1 point
    Well done, Mona! Captain Sheridan was indeed on the staff of Henry Halleck, and got himself “ordered to Pittsburg Landing” (but too late to take part in the Battle of Shiloh.) But, there is more to the story... Philip Sheridan was one of those officers who found himself “out West” as the Secession Crisis unfolded; and he left San Francisco to return east at about the same time General Albert Sidney Johnston departed California (except Johnston took the overland route, while Sheridan took the steamship to the Isthmus, then from Aspinwall to New York City.) Assigned to the 13th U.S. Infantry, Captain Sheridan headed for Missouri, and while in St. Louis in early November, dropped in to “say Hello” to Major General Henry Halleck (who had just taken over command, and had his HQ there.) MGen Halleck decided he needed an audit of General Fremont's papers and expenditures and Captain Sheridan, with recent experience with quartermaster duties, was put onto the job. Halleck appears to have been satisfied with the quality of Sheridan's work; and Captain Sheridan was next assigned to General Curtis, in a similar QM capacity. And Philip Sheridan, who was reknowned for short temper, impatience and “being argumentative at inappropriate times,” had a falling out with General Curtis in March 1862. Captain Sheridan got himself reassigned to Halleck; and General Halleck sent him north to acquire horses. It was while in Chicago that Captain Sheridan learned of the Battle of Shiloh, and got himself orders to Pittsburg Landing (and upon arrival MGen Halleck put Philip Sheridan under control of Colonel George Thom. But instead of making maps, Captain Sheridan was assigned to improving and building roads.) And along the way, Philip Sheridan struck up a friendship with General William Tecumseh Sherman: by early May, it appeared that General Sherman had come through with a Colonelcy for Sheridan, in command of a new Ohio regiment. But that fell through. Shortly afterwards, the Governor of Michigan (who happened to be in Tennessee visiting Michigan regiments) took notice of the “available West Point graduate” Philip Sheridan, and offered him Colonelcy of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry... which Sheridan accepted. And Colonel Sheridan took part in the March on Corinth. Reference: Personal Memoirs of Philip Sheridan, pages 120- 144.
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