Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial

Hamilton C. Ingles

Here we are, on April 12th, 2011, on the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Four brutal years of  hand-to-hand combat, almost 700,000 Americans dying for their beliefs. (And, amazingly, southerners still act as though they won. Leave it to Johnny Reb!)

Living in Maryland most of my life, I’d be considered “southern,” seeing how we’re south of the Mason-Dixon. Mere technicality. So many slaveowners here freed their slaves after the Revolutionary War that Union sentiment was strong. The economics are what truly decided a Marylander’s loyalty.

Not so a few miles north in PA. Our Ingles ancestors were Union through and through. My kids' great-great-great-grandfather, Hamilton C. Ingles, served in the 14th Pennsylvania Calvary, Company F from August 29, 1862 until May 30, 1865, after the war ended.

Union Cavalry Camp ca 1863

Hamilton was born in 1843, so he was not yet 20 years old when he enlisted into the Army. (His brother Jacob was 25 when he drafted into the 101st PA Infantry in 1864, serving only 3 months). He was paid a $25 bounty at that time, signing on for 3 years.

Hamilton married Rebecca Laughery, of Dunbar, two weeks before his regiment left in November.

Company F was recruited near his hometown in Uniontown (Fayette County) by Sheriff Calvin Springer and James J. Jackson - later Captain and first lieutenant respectively. The regiment was made up of boys or young men from several communities, but a few of the officers were younger than the average age of the enlisted men. Their Colonel, J. M. Schoonmaker, when elected Colonel was only twenty years and four months old. (Read more about him HERE…he was awarded the Medal of Honor after the war!)

J. M. Schoonmaker

The Fourteenth Pa. Cavalry was officially mustered into the service of the United States November 23rd, 1862. They went to Hagerstown, MD, for outfitting and training. December 28, they went from there to Harpers Ferry, VA where they camped on the Charlestown Pike and picketed all approaches.

Early in May, 1863, most headed to Grafton, VA, joining several other regiments in holding the towns of Phillippi, Beverly & Webster and protecting the B&O Railroad there. On July 2nd they were sent to assist “Mudwall” Jackson’s troops at Beverly, and by the 4th, succeeded in driving the enemy back.The same day, due to the ongoing battle at Gettysburg, they were ordered back to Webster and from there to Cumberland by rail and then to Williamsport. They attacked, losing 5 wounded, backed up to Md, then advanced in a few days to Winchester and succeeded in destroying a rebel bridge at Falling Waters.

General Averell

The 4th of August, led by Gen. Wm. W. Averell,  they moved on what was known as the Rocky Gap Raid, to destroy saltpeter and gunpowder mills there, marching through the Alleghenys to Moorefield, WV. From there they pushed the rebels east past  Warm Springs, VA.

Hamilton had managed to remain unscathed thus far. Then came a pivotal battle at White Sulphur Springs.
 “On the morning of August 26, Averell and his men set out for White Sulphur Springs, a resort town just across the West Virginia border that was near a gunpowder mill. At Rocky Gap, just two miles before coming to White Sulphur Springs, the Union troopers came across 1,900 Confederate infantry deployed across the road. The Rebels, commanded by Col. George S. Patton (grandfather of the WWII Gen. Patton!), had been ordered to prevent the Yankees from reaching White Sulphur Springs and had arrived at Rocky Gap just before Averell's men. The Southerners rapidly blocked the road and awaited an attack. Averell was quick to respond; he dismounted his men and sent them forward in repeated attacks on the Rebel line.
The battle raged fiercely throughout the day, but Patton's men repulsed each assault upon their line. Each side slept on the field, and in the morning Averell again sent his men forward through the heavily wooded terrain to attack the Southern defenders. Once again Patton's troops repulsed the Union attacks ; before noon Averell, having given up the contest as well as the attempt to reach White Sulphur Springs, retreated back to the north. Union losses at Rocky Gap were 26 killed, 125 wounded, and 67 missing. Southern losses were 20 killed, 129 wounded, and 13 missing." (Co. F’s Lt Jackson was injured there.)
 You can read more about this battle on the WSS Battle site HERE.

Junction of Anthony's Creek and the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.
The road in center was filled with the dead and wounded. The old house has a shell hole in the end of it.

By this point in the 14th’s duty, they had been engaged for 27 consecutive days and covered over 600 miles!
It was at White Sulphur Springs that Hamilton later claims his eyes became injured by dust they deliberately stirred up. On his request for pension/disability, he says:
The first battle at that place, thus a parcel of them were sent to the rear to sweep the road with brush and make all the dust they could to deceive the rebels and make them believe they had reinforcements and his eyes were injured by the dust in them and it filled them. And it has caused almost a loss of sight eyes are and have been weakening ever since. He also had a bone broke in right hand at Pleasant Valley Maryland by striking at his horse and also had chronic diarrhea.”

They went to Beverly for a rest, where they stayed until November first. They marched south on the Droop Mountain Raid, where they succeeded to drive the rebels back as far as Lewisburg, ending Confederate resistance in WV. The 14th headed back by train to New Creek to head for winter quarters, but on Dec 8th, were called out on a week-long hard march to destroy the Va and Tennessee Railroad. They succeeded in destroying $2-5 million in property & supplies, causing the enemy to surround them in a capture attempt. Averell skillfully avoided that fate despite horrible weather conditions and fatigue, having traveled 345 miles.

The men had walked the soles right off their shoes, due to icy conditions in which they had to lead their horses. Their clothes were in tatters, so the War Dept issued them a complete suit as a gift for their outstanding service. This is believed to be the only instance of this kind during the war.

They had a well-deserved rest until April, and spent the spring chasing rebels constantly. In June, they met heavy losses in Maryland, but by July, they had the enemy on the run down through Virginia.

September saw Sheridan’s brilliant engagements in the Shenandoah Valley, of which the 14th participated and, although victorious, suffered heavy losses.

It was during September that Hamilton was suffering from diarrhea and spent 5 weeks at the Clarysville Hospital near Cumberland, for treatment. It has been reported that twice as many soldiers on both sides of the conflict died of disease as were killed in combat or wounded and died. Some died of the infections of childhood that they were first exposed to in the army, especially rural soldiers who had not built up immunities. Camp diseases like dysentery, malaria, and diarrhea spread through the troops in camps and in hospitals.

Once Hamilton was discharged from the hospital, he was assigned to duty in the Remount Camp in Pleasant Valley, MD until he went to Alexandria to be  mustered out on May 30, 1865. (Likely, this is when his hand was broken.) Curiously, Rebecca gave birth to their first child, Ellen, on August 17, 1865.

The 14th Penna Regiment lost in total 2 officers and 97 enlisted men, killed and mortally wounded,  and 296 Enlisted men by disease. Total 395.
You can read Hamilton's Pension file HERE and his pay record HERE.

Hamilton applied for pension due to disability in April,1889. He received $50/month until his death in 1922, and his widow,  Rebecca,  received $30 from then until her death in 1925.

The Ingles family has a long history of military service to their country. Hamilton's son, George, served 3 years in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War; his grandson Percy Ingles served in Europe during World War I, his great grandson Robert C. Ingles served in WWII, great-great grandson Chris Ingles and great-great-great grandson Chris Ingles have served as well. And that is just the direct lines!

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  1. Great post and fascinating story. That's a lot of ground they covered. Love the pictures, too, especially the interior of the hospital (although I have a feeling they weren't always so orderly). Well done!

  2. Wow, that's great! I'm trying to learn more about Civil War era Pennsylvania because I can't seem to find my husband's ancestor in the army records (then again, he would've been about 45 years old).

  3. Great post and photos, Peggy.
    Thank you for submitting it for the Challenge.

  4. Hello, My 3rd great-grandfather is Jacob Ingles, Hamilton's older brother. I'm curious to know if you have any information about Jacob and Hamilton's parents and heritage? I grew up hearing the story of how Jacob disappeared after the Civil War and his wife thinking him lost to the war married William Ogle who adopted George Ingle/Ogle (my 2nd great-grandfather.) It turns out that some of the story is true - some not, of course. But I would love to learn more about my Ingle ancestors should you have any information. Best, Angela