Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Memorial and Visitor Center for New Market Heights

Received an email from my friend and former co-worker Lauren Burke, who has been involved in an effort to secure funds for a memorial and visitor center on the battlefield of New Market Heights, where, in 1864, an assault on the Confederate entrenchments by U.S. Colored Troops earned fourteen African American infantrymen the Medal of Honor. Lauren has teamed up with a friend, who works for U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott. Rep. Scott, who represents Virginia's Third District, has this item listed in his FY2010 Appropriations request list:
Henrico County, Virginia
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

$10,000,000 - New Market Heights Memorial & Visitors Center - The Battle of New Market Heights fought on September 29, 1864, remains among the lesser known engagements of the Civil War. Its significance, in American military history and African-American history deserves recognition. 14 Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to African-American-American soldiers who fought in the Battle of New Market Heights. The funds will be used for land acquisition, site preparation and toward construction of a memorial and visitor’s center at New Market Heights, adjacent to the Richmond National Battlefield Park in Henrico County, Virginia.
Lauren, a Washington, D.C.-based photographer, is collecting images of the fourteen men who received the Medal of Honor. Check out her Flickr photostream on the subject. She is looking for photos of these four men:
Alfred B. Hilton
Sergeant, Company H, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date. At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at:------. Birth: Harford County, Md. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: When the regimental color bearer fell, this soldier seized the color and carried it forward, together with the national standard, until disabled at the enemy's inner line.

Miles James
Corporal, Company B, 36th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 30 September 1864. Entered service at: Norfolk, Va. Birth: Princess Anne County, Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Having had his arm mutilated, making immediate amputation necessary, he loaded and discharged his piece with one hand and urged his men forward; this within 30 yards of the enemy's works.

Charles Veale
Private, Company D, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Portsmouth, Va. Birth: Portsmouth Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Seized the national colors after 2 color bearers had been shot down close to the enemy's works, and bore them through the remainder of the battle.

Edward Ratcliff
First Sergeant, Company C, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: James County, Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation. Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy's works.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alert Flickr Member Spots Officer

An alert Flickr member, bch10, saw my carte de visite of 1st Lt. Robert S. Robertson of the Ninety-third New York Infantry, and left a comment that included a link to a Library of Congress image of the regiment's officers and non-commissioned officers, noting that Robertson sat front and center.

I downloaded the high-resolution, archival version of the image from the LOC (use this link, then enter call number LC-B817- 7515) and enlarged it to see the detail. I instantly recognized two of the other officers in the group, sending shivers through me.

The second man seated to Robertson's left is Capt. Dennis Edwin Barnes of Company C, who died in action during the Battle of the Wilderness. His image is in my Photostream. The officer with the sideburns standing behind Robertson's right is 1st Lt. Waters Whipple Braman of Company H. Braman later became a captain, and served as an aide-de-camp to generals David Birney and Gershom Mott. Braman's photo is not in my Photostream, but is included in Union Faces.

Robert Stoddart Robertson left the Ninety-third to become an aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Nelson A. Miles in December 1863. Five months later, during the Wilderness Campaign, near Corbin’s Creek, a Confederate charge broke the Union line. Robertson rallied the men, turned back the enemy attackers, and later received the Medal of Honor for his actions. Three weeks later, at Totopotomoy Creek, while carrying orders to a front line position, he suffered a serious leg wound that ended his military service. After the war he settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and served as lieutenant governor from 1886-1888. His full profile will appear in an future issue of Civil War News.

A detail of the LOC image is shown here. Sepia-toned portraits from my collection overlay it. (Note: The Barnes image was part of my collection for a short time. Purchased on eBay from Daniel Lorello, it has since been returned to the state of New York).

Labels: , , , , , , , ,