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“What significant experience in support of the Confederacy do the following men, present at Battle of Shiloh, have in common?”

 

LtCol Richard H. Brewer (Brewer's Battalion of Mississippi and Alabama Cavalry)

Capt Alonzo Ridley (Ridley's Scouts, sometimes called “Ridley's Bodyguard”)

Capt Nathaniel W. Wickliffe (Staff officer)

Major Aaron Hardcastle (3rd Mississippi Battalion)

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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

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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).

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