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Henry Stark was a merchant from Sycamore Illinois. The "founding Colonel" of the the 52nd Illinois Infantry Regiment was Judge Isaac G. Wilson from Geneva, Illinois.

Wilson resigned before 1861 ended because of illness. Also, John Christopher of the U.S. Army, who mustered the 52nd, threatened to turn the judge over to a grand jury for overcharging the government for horses bought for the local calvary regiment. (see Fold3) https://www.fold3.com/image/299554224

Major Henry Stark and Lt. Col. Wilcox signed a letter claiming fraud over rations before leaving for Missouri. (see Fold3)

At Shiloh Wilcox was home sick and Stark was in command when the 6th dawned. By the afternoon Stark was "relieved" by Col. Sweeny from command. He resigned a few weeks later. The stories were that he was "injured" on the movement forward, possibly by a "falling limb" (not impossible given the descriptions of trees being felled by cannon fire).

Anybody know anything more? There are hints that Stark lost his nerve, not a mortal sin, imho, given what he must have seen on the way forward. He did not return to service. But having a leaderless regiment in the chaos did not help the Union cause.

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Rbn3

To be honest, I never paid close attention to the 52nd Illinois because it seemed to be one of those regiments "that didn't quite make it into the fight." Most of my bias is due to poor reporting of the actions involving the 52nd Illinois -- to be sure --  but there is also this: the 52nd Illinois seems to have had such a problem with their leadership that "Fighting Tom" Sweeny was parachuted into command of the regiment about February 7th. (Sweeny had made a name for himself in actions against the Rebels in vicinity of St. Louis.) On duty at Smithland Kentucky during the Siege of Fort Donelson, the 52nd Illinois arrived at Fort Donelson on February 17th (after the surrender) and was tasked with escorting thousands of prisoners north to Chicago's Camp Douglas. Stopping at St. Louis for a week prior to assignment to Pittsburg Landing, the 52nd Illinois arrived in Tennessee about March 20th: Colonel Sweeny was promoted to Brigade Command (3rd Brigade of WHL Wallace's 2nd Division) and LtCol John S. Wilcox was restored to command of the 52nd Illinois. Unfortunately, Wilcox became unwell (and may have returned to Illinois prior to April 6th.) And the senior man (who was elevated to command of the regiment) was Major Henry Stark.

On the morning of April 6th, General WHL Wallace sent Tuttle's 1st Brigade forward down the Eastern Corinth Road, with Sweeny's 3rd Brigade behind Tuttle. McArthur's 2nd Brigade was dispatched to the left of Hurlbut (where the 9th Illinois and 12th Illinois were supposed to support Willard's Battery). And along the way, WHL Wallace took bits of McArthur's Brigade and sent individual regiments on special assignments: the 13th Missouri was sent west to support Sherman's right (at Owl Creek Bridge); the 14th Missouri (a.k.a. Birge's Western Sharpshooters) was sent west (with the 81st Ohio) to guard Snake Creek Bridge. From Sweeny's Brigade, the 7th Illinois and 58th Illinois were sent forward to extend Tuttle's Line along the Sunken Road to the west. The remainder of Sweeny's Brigade was held in reserve (or in support of Cavender's Artillery.) Eventually, the 8th Iowa was moved forward and left, to fill a gap between Prentiss' right and WHL Wallace's left; the 50th Illinois, and then the 57th Illinois were sent to the far left to support McArthur. The 52nd Illinois was finally sent north and west to support McClernand's sixth position [DW Reed pages 50-51.] While moving into position, the 52nd Illinois became entangled with Wharton's Cavalry (near the head of Tilghman Ravine.) Then about 4:30 the 52nd Illinois was involved in repelling Pond's force... after which the regiment "retired to the Siege Guns in Grant's Last Line."

Unfortunately at this time, this is all I've been able to find IRT 52nd Illinois Infantry: no Shiloh after-action report, and no particulars on performance of individual leaders (except Sergeant Edward Spalding, who was awarded the Medal of Honor thirty years after his actions at Shiloh, Day One.)

Regards 

Ozzy

 

References:  Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged, by DW Reed (1911)

http://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/dyers/052inf.html  Dyer's History of 52nd Illinois

http://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/fs/052-fs.html   Roster of 52nd Illinois

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Donelson_Union_order_of_battle  very generous mention in Fort Donelson OOB with Cook's 3rd Brigade

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiloh_Union_order_of_battle  Shiloh Union OOB (see 2nd Division)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_William_Sweeny  "Fighting Tom" Sweeny

http://archive.org/stream/battleofshilohor00unit#page/n133/mode/2up   Atwell Thompson map of 1900

 

 

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So many libraries, so little time.

You are certainly right about the lack of command continuity in the 52nd. 

Captain Edwin Anson Bowen (1831-1900)  was put in charge by Sweeny at 3:30pm, but he probably led the Regiment all day, de facto. The Huntington has his papers.

http://catalog.huntington.org/search?/dShiloh%2C+Battle+of%2C+Tenn.%2C+1862+--+Personal+narratives./dshiloh+battle+of+tenn+++++1862+personal+narratives/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/frameset&FF=dshiloh+battle+of+tenn+++++1862+personal+narratives&1%2C%2C2

There is this brief sketch:  Historical memoranda of the 52nd Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers : from its organization, Nov. 19th, 1861, to its muster out ... on the 6th day of July, 1865. 

https://archive.org/details/historicalmemora00swad

Also this fascinating man, Jerome Davis (who carried the 52nd's colors at Shiloh and at one point was left for dead), who was in command of the 52nd near the end of the war and was with it from the start.

https://archive.org/details/davissoldiermiss00davirich

This last is a masters thesis that was a first effort. It does utilize some sources I have not seen before. Also, it addresses the "Where was Sweeny?" question. Wallace relied on Sweeny as his most experienced brigade commander but Sweeny seems to have free lanced some. Of course he was not the only one and he may have simply been forced to rely on his own assessments.

https://minds.wisconsin.edu/handle/1793/45667

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Rbn3

Probably the best analogy I can use to describe the 52nd Illinois at Shiloh, Day 1, was "they were in the eye of the hurricane, with the tempest swirling all around them... until they joined that tempest late in the afternoon."

Tony Willoughby captured Bjorn Skaptason's excellent discussion of Tom Sweeny's "wanderings" at Shiloh, Day 1 (which may have have led to the Confederate push up the right side of WHL Wallace) http://shilohdiscussiongroup.com/index.php?/topic/1396-general-whl-wallace-unheralded-defender-of-the-hornets-nest-video/#comment-9496

It is difficult to know just when Sweeny relieved Major Stark of command... and was it due to injury, or something else? May have to find a letter from a member of the 52nd Illinois.

All the best

Ozzy

 

 

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I forgot to mention that Edward Spalding was Albert Spalding's cousin...both from Byron Illinois. I recall you are a cricket man though.

p 26 of  https://archive.org/details/davissoldiermiss00davirich

"Camp Lyon [named for Gen Lyon then recently KIA at Wilson's Creek where Sweeny was (as always) wounded],

Geneva, Oct. 18th, 1861.

Dear Sister:
We are faring very well and all the boys are rapidly gaining
flesh. We have singing, dancing, boxing, ball-playing,
lyceums and prayer-meetings for our amusements. . . . We
are Company I, the color company of the regiment, and in
line of battle will be on the right center, the place where
the fiercest attacks will be made. . . . We will soon have
our uniforms and expect to move in two weeks to Missouri.
Affectionately yours, Jerome."

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Rbn3

While looking for soldiers' letters of the 52nd Illinois from someone who might have observed what happened to Major Stark on April 6th, I've run across a few potential leads, including Laurens W. Wolcott (33 known letters, on file with the Gilder Lehrman Institute); Charles H. Watson (letters mentioned in "Regimental History website"); and John S. Wilcox (who is indicated as present at Shiloh in his article published by The Elgin Gazette.)

References below...

Ozzy

http://bentley.umich.edu/legacy-support/civilwar/civilwar_search.php?nameid=523  (Scroll to bottom of page for Wolcott)

http://www.gilderlehrman.org/collections/89bc63e3-5ffe-49fe-ba30-813894917920   Wolcotts file at Gilder Lehrman

http://the52ndillinois.com/Regimental History.htm   Watson letters mentioned at top; LtCol Wilcox article 1/4 way down page.

 

N.B.   Early professional baseball player (inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame) Albert Spalding is believed to have been taught the game by his cousin, Edward, who was home in Illinois convalescing from wounds received at Shiloh. Baseball (New York Rules) appears to have been played at Benton Barracks, Pittsburg Landing and in various Southern POW camps by Federal soldiers; and baseball was on the ascendancy before the Civil War began (and went from strength to strength after the war concluded) while cricket, which was also played in America before the Civil War, diminished in popularity and was virtually gone in America by 1865. (It could be said that the Civil War killed American cricket.)

I've also found evidence indicating Football was played by soldiers during the Civil War (way before the "official" beginning of Rutgers vs. Princeton in 1869.)

 

 

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Thanks!!! I will check those out.

Actually John Wilcox was not there, though his newspaper account suggests otherwise. His brother William was there. John was back in Chicago "on business" on April 6 and 7. This is another question mark about the leadership of the 52nd. Sweeny apparently had been put in as their leader because of this wobbly command structure. Many questions arise about the character of members of the Union command. David Stuart was there trying to recoup his reputation after being named as "the other man" in one of the messiest divorces in Illinois history. The woman involved was a member of the prominent Connecticut Corning family. It took Orville Hickman Browning's brilliant summation argument for Stuart to prevail in court. Browning's published diary describes the details. McArthur was caught after the war in a large fraud after Grant made him post master of Chicago. Hurlbut was involved in illicit cotton trade during the war, allegedly. 

Even Professor Hicken (Illinois in the Civil War) seems to have been taken in by Wilcox. For John Wilcox's whereabouts, see:

https://minds.wisconsin.edu/handle/1793/45667

John Wilcox was a Lt. Col. and would have assumed command by rank when Sweeny was made brigade commander. One can never be sure, but why else would the seemingly over-matched Major Stark be in command and then why would a mere captain (Bowen) be put in his place?

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A little more about John Shuler Wilcox.

He came from a large New York family. His brother Sylvanus was 15 years older than John. Sylvanus had been a Cadet at West Point until poor health forced him to resign, even though he was ranked fifth in his class.  His "Point" roommates were H. W. Halleck, R. Q. Butler, Stewart Van Vliet and Schuyler Hamilton, grand son of Alexander. Halleck later married Hamilton's sister. In 1861, at the Planters House in St. Louis, Sylvanus met Hamilton going up the stairs and accompanied him to Halleck's room. Sylvanus was a great friend of these gentlemen, and on meeting them Halleck exclaimed "Wilcox, I thought you were dead."

Sylvanus recovered his health and was a long time Judge in Kane County, Illinois, and thus a colleague of Isaac Wilson who formed the 52nd Illinois.

https://archive.org/details/biographicalreco00sjcl         p 245-7

John Shuler Wilcox was involved with the pre-war Continental Guards in Elgin, Illinois, that had been trained to drill by Elmer Ellsworth. In this he was associated with Col. William Francis Lynch of 58th Il, an Irish buddy of Thomas W. Sweeny. John had attended Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he met and married his wife. Lombard (later absorbed into Knox College) was the Alma mater of Carl Sandburg who wrote that brief and somewhat rambling six volume biography of Lincoln). Before that John attended the Elgin Academy (where 52nd Lt. Col. Jerome Davis hoped to attend but could not for financial reasons). John was on the Elgin Academy Board of Trustees for 20 years and served as its President.

John Wilcox was a pillar of the Elgin community, serving on many community boards. He was active in the GAR and other Veteran organizations. He died at the home of his daughter in Los Angeles at the age of 93.

The 52nd Illinois ("The Lincoln Regiment") suffered 170 killed, wounded, and missing at Shiloh. They may have been late to the party, but they were last in the line of reserve Regiments moving up and were camped far to the rear. They had a Medal of Honor winner in Spalding. Wilcox seems likely not to have been on the Shiloh field as he is not mentioned in contemporary reports, his inexplicable later recorded recollections not-with-standing. It would have been his job to write the battle report.

One can conjecture that a profound sense of guilt for not being there with his friends caused his lapse in honesty. Or there is more information yet to be found.

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Rbn3

I've run across a terrific resource for Illinois newspapers and am in process of reviewing issues for 1862 of the Elgin Weekly Gazette. In the April 16th edition of that paper [Page 1, Column 5, 1/4 way down column] is an article submitted by LtCol John S. Wilcox detailing information received from his brother, William Wilcox (1/Lt Co.G of 52nd Illinois Infantry.) In the last paragraph of the article, LtCol Wilcox reports:  "I was ordered to Chicago by General Halleck just before the battle. I was taken sick on my way home and am now confined to my house in Elgin..."

Regards

Ozzy

Reference:  http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/ref/collection/newgailbord01/id/13935  Elgin Weekly Gazette for Wed. 16 APR 1862

http://www.idaillinois.org/ui/custom/default/collection/default/resources/custompages/bin/edi.php?collection=newgailbord01&startrec=51   Year 1862 for all issues of Elgin Weekly Gazette [provided by Illinois Digital Archives, a service of Illinois State Library]

http://www.idaillinois.org/   Illinois Digital Archives [home]

 

 

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I have delved into that archive in the past...very tedious! Mostly I was looking for Col Lynch and found some good stuff. You are a better man than I. 

Unfortunately (for us) the Aurora Beacon News is still in print. Therefore none of the free or paid newspaper archives have digitized it. As you well know, writing letters to the editor back home was a past time for many Civil War soldiers, officers and enlisted. Private Pinder of the 52nd wrote often to the Beacon, for example. I have been to the Aurora Public Library in the past to look at microfilm, but that was a Gold Rush project.

Your finds "prove" the Wilcox absence...the stuff cited below came close.

Barto to Sister, April 27, 1862, Alphonso Barto, folder 1; With Colonel Sweeny in command of the Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox gone to “Chicago on business,” Major Henry Stark became the acting regimental commander, and Barto--as senior captain--acting major and second in command. This is just the beginning of the disarray in regimental leadership that would result in both “the company captains act[ed] in concert” and no one being in command to write an after-action report; Philander to Editor, April 5, 1862, James Compton Biographical Folder C-33; Davis, 41.

When I looked at the issue you found I realized I had seen it before when looking for Col. Lynch. I even bookmarked it but failed to check my book marks! I, myself, am an Alumnus of the Elgin Academy. I see that Jerome Davis's messmate Sgt Samuel Anderson mentioned in a couple places including the Wilcox letter. Anderson was an Academy student and was to enter the ministry, which Davis did...being one of the first missionaries to Japan. Before that he asked to be sent to a place "so hard no one else will take it." Davis graduated from Beloit College, founded by Aratus Kent, first missionary in Galena, Illinois. Davis got the quote cited from Kent who said it to Timothy Dwight his Prof at Yale. They sent Davis to Cheyenne, and Davis called the place "Hell on Wheels" in his memoir.* It was the western terminus of the Union Pacific when he got there! Shades of the Rock Island Bridge again and Doc Durant. Small world then.

"I am the most miserable mortal imaginable." This re-affirms my affection for Wilcox.

BTW, also see George Doney of Co K, 52nd who speaks about being on the battle field at 9am. The 52nd was not so late to the party!

*The memoir was actually assembled by his son but from Lt. Col. Jerome Davis's letters. 

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Rbn3

I got side-tracked by research into a rumour of a "surrender demand" on April 6th at Pittsburg Landing (which turned out to be not true. But it was "pure research" of the kind Library workers thrive on, so was a good diversion from the day-to-day...) 

I'm still looking for more information IRT Major Henry Stark, and am certain something interesting will turn up.

You make mention of "interesting connections," and that's one aspect of Civil War research that I find compelling: the interconnectedness of it all. No one stayed in one locality; many of the same sites witnessed multiple battles (or had previously been battlegrounds during the Revolution or War of 1812); and there are the interesting friendships and family connections; and ties between "that time" 155 years ago and today. Some examples:

  • the friendship between Buckner and Grant (who find their previous roles as "needing help" and "offering help" reversed at Fort Donelson); Buckner was stationed at Bowling Green before relocating to Fort Donelson;
  • the game of Baseball (played at Pittsburg Landing and at Corinth) and its connection to the Spalding Family and the city of Rockford (which also was briefly home to Elmer Ellsworth and the Rockford Greys, forerunner to the Zouave organizations that found utility in 1861)
  • the game of Football (under development during the Civil War) and first played in its recognized form in New Jersey... but the first recognized contest of the NFL took place in Rock Island, Illinois at Douglas Park in September 1920 [Rock Island Independents vs. St. Paul Ideals]
  • Rock Island: site of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River (beating out rival -- and favored -- Memphis.) Memphis: delayed in getting her bridge for thirty years, probably due to the Civil War; yet her second bridge was named the "Rock Island Bridge."
  • Spalding Sporting Goods, with ties to Rockford but based (for a while) in Chicago... and now based in Bowling Green, Kentucky (site of the Confederate state capital during the Civil War, and base for General A.S. Johnston's Department No.2) has a subsidiary named Sherrin... which makes footballs and other gear for Australian Rules Football (with the main franchise umbrella for 18 professional teams titled "AFL")

Six degrees of separation 

Ozzy

 

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Rbn3

Since I was running into one dead end after another IRT Henry Stark (no record of him in Illinois at find-a-grave, either) I had a look on familysearch.org and found his 1860 Census record for Sycamore (with wife, Elizabeth, listed). In Civil War Pensions, found his record [Major, 52nd Illinois Infantry], applied for Invalid Pension from domicile of Pennsylvania in 1892. Henry Stark was born in Pennsylvania about 1827, moved to Illinois before the Civil War, and appears to have returned to Pennsylvania sometime after 1862:   

Fv8nukAnEAAAAASUVORK5CYII=

 

Elizabeth Stark applied for a Widow's Pension in 1899.

Ozzy

familysearch.org Census result:    http://familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&query=%2Bgivenname%3AHenry~ %2Bsurname%3AStark~ %2Bbirth_place%3APennsylvania~ %2Bbirth_year%3A1825-1828~ %2Bresidence_place%3A"Sycamore%2C Illinois"~ %2Bresidence_year%3A1855-1862~ %2Brecord_country%3A"United States"  

 

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Rbn3

Continued search of back-issues of Elgin Weekly Gazette turned up two unexpected gems in edition of May 7th 1862 [Page 1, Column 5, near top of column]. Titled "The 52nd" this article reports that "Colonel Wilcox left on Monday to rejoin his regiment."  In the next article below ["Extract of letter from E.S. Wilcox written April 25th"] is this report:  "Major Stark is now sick. I think he has tendered his resignation... Captain Bowen commands the regiment."

Link below

Ozzy

 

Reference:  http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/ref/collection/newgailbord01/id/13950   Elgin Weekly Gazette 7 May 1862

 

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Thanks again!

There is a Stark Avenue in Sycamore. Henry was in partnership with his brother Marshall as a merchant. They all came from Pennsylvania and were descended from General Stark author of the "Live Free or Die" motto of New Hampshire and the hero at Bennington, Vt.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Bk80AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA403&lpg=PA403&dq=Stark+Sycamore+Biographical&source=bl&ots=MkDWFTwEnQ&sig=gUOdraVR_kshfw86Q-Anb1EbKss&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjvhfTWqLrSAhVCzoMKHVdQBmcQ6AEIJTAC#v=onepage&q=Stark Sycamore Biographical&f=false

Maybe I am over reading it, but Edward Wilcox's use of "now" instead of "still" might be telling.

The rumor that Stark coined the Wisconsin motto of "Eat Cheese or Die" is decidedly untrue.

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From: http://www.elginhistory.com/eaah/

"Gus Kothe of Elgin, a lieutenant in the 58th, learned of the developing battle from the heavy cannonading, followed by the sound of small arms fire. When the regiment neared the battle line, his company's captain suddenly became ill and Kothe assumed command. Panic was commonplace among the green troops that morning, and hundreds of frightened Union stragglers headed toward the river to huddle under the bluffs or to attempt swimming to safety on the eastern shore. "The Major was of no account," reproached one Elgin officer of the 52nd, "& we had no leader."13

13 William Wilcox to John S. Wilcox, April 25,1862. Wilcox papers, ISHL."

As brutal as published accounts of individual opinions of others could be, some redacting was done by some newspaper editors. The above quote is drawn from an actual letter and it apparently does not mention a wound or injury of Major Stark. I now have to look into Gus Gothe and his captain in the 58th. Still, the actual "facts" are always in doubt. Given the enormously high illness rate, especially dysentery, there must have been many men who tried to answer the long drum roll who just could not. 

 

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Rbn3

Nothing earth-shattering to report, just various collections/individual letter-writers who may have witnessed conditions in 52nd Illinois at Pittsburg Landing and subsequently:

http://the52ndillinois.com/Regimental History.htm   History of 52nd Illinois by Katherine L. Arbon. This site records several significant letter writers, in particular, Private Charles H. Watson, Company E. (Katherine includes her contact details, and may have more information IRT Major Henry Stark.)

http://www.rarebooks.nd.edu/digital/civil_war/letters/   Civil War letters on file with Notre Dame University Special Collections. Includes letters from 15th Illinois and 52nd Illinois, but most are not available online (requiring drive to South Bend, Indiana.) For 52nd Illinois, see "Parks Family Correspondence" (which reports holding letters of Isaac Parks of Company C through last letter of March 25th 1862.)

http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/sic_civilw  Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) Civil War manuscript collection (has access to letter written by Isaac Parks of Company C from Pittsburg Landing on March 30th 1862.)

http://www.bataviapubliclibrary.org/local-history/civil-war-letters--diaries.aspx#DCNewton   Batavia Historical Society has possession of several letters written by Company D members D.C. Newton and James, Jason and Legore Prindle. Several letters available for viewing online. Contact details provided for Batavia Historical Society.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160613/submitted/160619624/   Excerpt of 20 Feb 1862 letter from Captain D.C. Newton to wife, detailing his current duty (guarding over 700 Confederate prisoners taken at Fort Donelson.) "Although the prisoners are well behaved," Newton indicates he has gotten only four hours sleep in the past three days. At time of writing the letter, Captain Newton was aboard the steamer Tecumseh, enroute to St. Louis.

http://www.nps.gov/shil/upload/Charles-Watkins.pdf  Corinth Interpretive Centre report on visit from "relatives of Charles Watson."  Details provided indicate Corinth Interpretive Centre may possess letters or diary from 52nd Illinois.

Of the above, Katherine L. Arbon (History of 52nd Illinois) and Batavia Historical Society are most promising...

Ozzy

 

 

 

Edited by Ozzy
Fixed a broken link...
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Ironies again. From the Batavia Hist site:

"James P. Prindle (1841 – 1916), of Batavia, Illinois, served as a Sergeant in the 52nd Illinois Infantry, Company D. He enlisted in September 1861 at age 21, in the same regiment as his brothers Jason R. Prindle and Legore Prindle, and his brother-in-law D. C. Newton. He took part in the Battle of Pittsburg Landing (Battle of Shiloh). He was discharged an invalid in July 1862, after falling ill with measles, mumps, and fever. "

I feel like I know the Prindle brothers almost personally. For about 25 years I worked at the desk used by James P Prindle's son, James Prindle, Jr. Junior (born 1876) was the book keeper for the US Windmill Company (Batavia had several wndmill factories) and when he retired he took the desk home. It is a huge walnut roll top with secret compartments and drawers with a matching walnut chair. After James Jr's death the desk was sold through a shop located in the old D.C. Newton house in Batavia.

I still have the desk in storage.

I have contacted ND to see if I can get copies of the pre-battle Parke letters. Isaac Parke's died a month after the battle...for some reason those letters to his wife are at the Abraham Lincoln Library in Springfield and excerpts have been printed. 

Thanks, as always.

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What follows is the transcribed Letter of April 10th 1862 from Mary Prindle Newton, wife of 29-year-old Captain Don Carlos Newton of Batavia, Illinois [she was home in Batavia with their toddler daughter, May, while her husband and brothers were away in the 52nd Illinois, Company D.] Captain Newton had written a letter to Mary on April 8th (included in the Batavia collection) but it had not arrived before this letter was sent:

Batavia  April 10th 1862   Thursday Eve

My Dear Husband

Mr. Mayborne sent me word tonight that he starts for Pittsburg Landing tomorrow morning at 11 and as you seem to be so unfortunate about getting my letters I thought I had better send a note by him. I hardly know what to write I believe I am nearly beside myself with grief and anxiety.

The news from the battle field is perfectly heart-rending I cannot help feeling that some of my loved ones have fallen; that they have not seems impossible for the carnage was tremendous. I cannot help crying when I think of Legore [her younger brother] he never ought to have gone. That he fought as long and as bravely as any I do not doubt for a braver boy never lived.

How many hearts and homes this Battle has made desolate God grant that mine be not among the number. When I think of anything happening to you I feel as if that would be more than I could bear. I have begun to look for a letter from some of you -- if tomorrows mail does not bring news from you I shall be bitterly disappointed. I cannot wait much longer. I feel now at times as if my brain were on fire and not a tear comes to my relief. If I could only weep I should feel so different. I try to bear up as bravely as I can but there is not much use in trying when such a terrible sorrow as this is to be borne. When I think how many thousands are sharing my anxiety and grief I feel as if my own sorrow was selfish but for all that I cannot conquer my feelings. Mother seems to have a presentiment that Orrin is wounded or has fallen...

[Letter on record in http://www.bataviapubliclibrary.org/local-history/civil-war-letters--diaries.aspx#DCNewton click on link to "Letters written by Mary Prindle Newton to D.C. Newton, March-November 1862"]

Ozzy

 

 

 

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J.H. Mayborne was the enrolling officer for Kane County...April 1862 was a bad month for him. He later was paymaster in St. Louis. Among the mug shots you will see Farnsworth, A Wilcox, and I.G. Wilson who recruited the 52nd. 

Enrolled men 1862 Mayborne.JPG

Kane Judges and lawyers.JPG

Mayborne.JPG

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Rbn3

In case you haven't found it yet, see Mary Prindle Newton's letter (page 2) of April 19th 1862... IRT LtCol Wilcox and Major Stark [Use the above links at Batavia Historical Society.]

Ozzy

 

N.B.  http://box2.nmtvault.com/Batavia/jsp/RcWebImageViewer.jsp?doc_id=bcdee906-cf38-4831-9508-4fc1a77a6048/obat0000/20160513/00000002&pg_seq=1&search_doc=  

When I first attempted to copy this link, I was unable: should be the transcribed Page 2 of April 19th Letter from Mary Prindle Newton to Captain D. C. Newton. [Just tried it, and Link takes you to top of "thumbnails" with desired Letter page 1 and 2: scroll down to thumbnails 37, 38, 39 and 40 -- the original letter is difficult to read, but transcript is accurate.]    

Cheers

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ozzy
Link attached.

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The letters do indicate that a "dispatch" (her word) had reached Mary Prindle Newton about Stark being a "coward" (her word). She writes that "you had mentioned nothing about it" or to that effect. (Captain Newton signed letters as "Don" and she addressed him as "Carl" - his name was Don Carlos Newton (apparently no relation to the general with the same given and middle names). None of this is of much importance, except that it might be an example of the belief  of many that the "honorable" way to handle such issues was through silence. This seemed true among both officers and enlisted men. 

Mrs. Starck traveled with Lois Wilcox to St. Joseph, Mo. in January 1862 and spent some time in the camp of the 52nd, according to the Gazette's correspondent in the 52nd. These visits were quite common. Mrs. Wallace was at Shiloh in time to be with him at his death. Belle Reynolds is another famous example. Mrs. Grant was often with the General, etc.

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Rbn3

Although Mary Prindle Newton's April 19th letter to her husband is not proof of "what happened to Major Stark at Shiloh," it is indicative of what was being reported to the folks back home... and as we know, not all reports are true. The fact that Captain D.C. Newton did not spread the rumour is commendable: a man's reputation was at stake.

In my research on Major Stark, much circumstantial evidence has been uncovered (including the May 7th 1862 edition of Elgin Weekly Gazette, page 2, top of column 4 is the article "From the Fifty-second") which lists the name of every man killed or wounded of the 52nd Illinois at Shiloh, and was compiled by Chaplain B. Thomas. Because it was prepared for an Illinois audience, this record must be accurate; I compared it against D.W. Reed's casualty numbers in "Battle of Shiloh and Organizations engaged," page 91, and the numbers are pretty close. However, they are not exact. For one, Chaplain Thomas records "18 missing men" while D.W. Reed records only nine (this could be due to "missing men" being found, and their numbers added to totals of wounded or KIA .)  But the Total Casualty Figures are also different: Thomas records 153 casualties, while Reed records 155. 

Why is the above important?  "What is a casualty."  According to my dictionary, a casualty is "anyone killed, injured, captured, or missing, in action against an enemy." The problem arises with "injured" vs. "wounded."  Does being struck "by a spent ball" count as a wound? Does tripping and injuring your knee while running forward in a charge? Does "being hit in the head by a falling branch?"

Of this last, the best known example (from my reading) is General Grenville Dodge: struck in the head by a branch brought down by Confederate artillery fire during the Battle of Pea Ridge. (second paragraph of "Iowa's Greatest General" in  http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/history/us-history-biographies/grenville-mellen-dodge ). And yet when I went in search of this reported injury/wound, I ran across other reports indicating "Dodge was wounded in the side and hand at Pea Ridge" (Eicher and Eicher "Civil War High Commands"  http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Fs0Ajlnjl6AC&pg=PA861&lpg=PA861&dq=grenville+m.+dodge+eicher+and+eicher&source=bl&ots=QdOrpXsvfM&sig=0RKVRMFn2m0Sr26fn-Eqeut4NLs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjn3L_Ki8PSAhUHspQKHWjECDQQ6AEIITAC#v=onepage&q=grenville%20m.%20dodge%20eicher%20and%20eicher&f=false   page 211). 

Dodge went on to become a trusted advisor to General Grant; while Henry Stark resigned from the Army, briefly returned to Illinois... and wound up in Pennsylvania. Was it because no one believed his story about being struck in the head? Was he struck in the head?

Yours to ponder...

Ozzy

 

 

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While reviewing Andrew Hickenlooper's MOLLUS article on Battle of Shiloh, contained in Volume 5 of the Ohio Commandery papers, found this inclusion on the bottom of page 406:  "Personal Reminiscence of William T. Sherman"

"History with its busy fingers is already gathering all these events and loading our shelves with volumes; but to us, the living actors and witnesses, how feeble seem the pictures they have drawn. Who but a living witness can adequately portray those scenes on Shiloh's field, where our wounded men mingled with rebels, charred and blackened by the burning tents and underbrush? Who can describe the peculiar zizzing of the minie ball; or the sudden horror of plunging shot shattering the strong oak as with a thunderbolt, and beating down horse and rider to the ground?"

Although I have encountered occasional mention of "falling tree limbs, broken by artillery fire" at Shiloh, I have yet to find recorded the name of a single soldier brought down by a tree limb at Shiloh (except Henry Stark.) Interesting then, that General Sherman says it happened (to somebody.)

Ozzy

 

Reference:  http://archive.org/stream/sketcheswarhist01unkngoog#page/n418/mode/2up   MOLLUS article

 

 

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Rbn3

Excellent find! These 1862 letters contain a treasure trove of information IRT conditions at Pittsburg Landing, Leaders (and acting-leaders) and rumours of “Halleck is coming…” (expressed mid-March 1862.) The changed camp ground of 52nd Illinois is of interest; as is Captain Newton’s knowledge of surrounding terrain and neighboring camps. Knowledge of the operation against Island No. 10 and the likelihood of guerrilla war expressed.

Interesting mention of “clearing woods and cutting down trees” but no mention of doing anything with the felled timber (think abattis.)

Also interesting that Don Newton had "knowledge of all the regiments from Illinois at Pittsburg Landing" but failed to mention the arrival of BGen Benjamin Prentiss.

And interesting that Colonel Wilcox was briefly brigade commander.

Thanks for sharing these well-written letters!

All the best

Ozzy

 

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