|Unit History Project|
Appendices provided by Thomas J. Ebert
FIELD AND STAFF
WARDWELL G. ROBINSON, Colonel
Note--- The names of some of the enlisted men of the regiment seem to be mis-spelled but they are here reproduced as they appear upon the authentic muster-in rolls. It has not been deemed advisable at this late day to attempt corrections.
Rosters are not in alphabetical order.
Joel S. Palmer, Captain
William S. Morse Captain
James W. Parkhurst Captain
Syleverster R. Town Captain
John Sheridan Captain
[The following is reproduced from the War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 43, Part I, pp. 225-230]
Report of Col. J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry,
HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., THIRD DIV., SIXTH ARMY CORPS,
MAJOR: I have the honor to report, in compliance with orders, the movements and operations of the Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, at the battle of Cedar Creek, Va. on the 19th of October, 1864.
The Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, occupied a position in two lines on the left of the other two divisions of the corps, connecting on its left with the right of the Nineteenth Corps. The Nineteenth Corps was in the center of the army, the Eighth Corps or Army of West Virginia, being upon the extreme left, the whole army facing Cedar Creek. The troops of the division were to the right of the turnpike about half a mile and not to exceed one and a half mile from Middletown. Marsh Run, which in places was difficult to cross, flowed through a ravine a very short distance in the rear of the division and divided the main body of the troops of the Nineteenth from the Sixth Corps. The troops of the division consisted of two brigades, commanded previous to the 19th of October 1864, First Brigade by Col. William Emerson, One hundred and fifty-first New York Volunteers; Second Brigade, by myself, and the divisions by Gen. James B. Ricketts. The First Brigade was located upon the right and Second Brigade upon the left of the division. The aggregate strength present for duty in line was 151 officers and 3,818 enlisted men. On the morning of October 19, at early daybreak, some firing was heard upon the right of the army and soon after rapid firing was heard in the direction of the extreme left of the army. Being placed under arms, tents struck, and wagons packed, and preparations made for meeting and emergency. Immediately after the troops were formed in front of their camp, Capt. A. J. Smith, acting assistant adjutant general, Third Division, with others of the division staff, reported to me with orders from General Ricketts to assume command of the division, General Ricketts having assumed command of the corps, General Wright being in command of the army. I at once turned over the command of the Second Brigade to Col. William H. Ball, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, and assumed command of the division. The firing continued to grow more rapid upon the left of the army, and it soon became apparent that the enemy designed to bring on a general engagement. I received an order from General Ricketts to move the division to the turnpike, and commenced the movement, but soon after received an order to reoccupy the late position and look out for the right, as the First and Second Divisions of the corps had been ordered from the right across the run on the turnpike and to the support of the left of the army. The firing continued to grow more rapid upon the left and extended to the rear, parallel with the turnpike and toward Middletown. The troops upon the left had fallen back from their position in disorder, and, with small bodies of cavalry, army wagons, pack animals, &c., had crossed Marsh Run and were rushing through the lines of troops; it was only by the greatest exertions of officers that the lines could be preserved. While moving the troops back to their late position orders were received to take the hills opposite the rear of the camps of the divisions. When this order was received the enemy had gained them and a portion of my command had opened fire upon him. Colonel Ball was ordered to take the position with his brigade. The rear line of the Second Brigade, faced by the rear rank, was ordered to charge the hills, and orders were given to the other troops of the division to follow in close support. The troops advanced in excellent order, not withstanding a heavy fire from the enemy, but just after the advance had crossed the stream the troops of the Nineteenth Corps broke in disorder and fell back along the stream and in such numbers as to impede the farther progress of the movement and temporarily throw the advance line into some confusion. Fearing the danger of getting my command into disorder, and at the same time ascertaining that the enemy had turned the left of the army and were already advancing and threatening the rear, the troops were withdrawn from the charge and a rapid fire opened upon the enemy, which stopped his farther progress in my front. So great were the number of broken troops of the other corps that for a time the lines had to be opened at intervals in order to allow them to pass to the rear. In consequence of the necessary movements of the morning of the divisions of the Sixth Corps were separated and were obliged to fight independent of each other. The Third Division, having faced about, became the extreme right of the army. A number of guns belonging to the Sixth Corps were posted upon the hills to my left. These guns, under command of Captains McKnight and Adams, and under the direction of Colonel Tompkins, chief of artillery of the Sixth Corps, were admirably handled and rapidly fired, although under heavy and close musketry fire of the enemy. After over 100 artillery horses had been shot the enemy succeeded in capturing a portion of the guns, having approached under cover of the smoke and fog from the left, which was unprotected. A charge was ordered and the guns were retaken, three of which were drawn off by hand; others were left in consequence of being disabled, but were subsequently recaptured. The regiments principally engaged in this charge were: the Tenth Vermont (of the First Brigade), commanded by Col. William W. Henry, and Sixth Maryland (of the Second Brigade), commanded by Capt. C. K. Prentiss. Great gallantry was displayed in this charge by officers and men. The rebels were fought hand to hand and driven from the guns. A position was were taken upon the crest of a ridge facing the enemy, who by this time had thrown a force across Marsh Run, near its mouth, and were advancing along Cedar Creek upon my right. The right of the Third Division was extended to near Cedar Creek, and the left rested a short distance from Marsh Run. A heavy fire was kept up for a considerable period of time, and the enemy were twice driven back, with heavy loss. Orders were received from Major-General Wright in person to charge forward and drive the enemy, and the movement was commenced, and in consequence of the disorder into which the enemy had previously been thrown the movement bid fair to be a success; but, owing to the enemy’s appearance in heavy force upon the left flank of the division, the charge was soon suspended and the troops withdrawn slowly to a new position. The battle raged with great fury, the line slowly retiring in the main in good order from one position to another. My line was at no time driven under orders, and each time after the enemy had been repulsed in all attacks from the front. About 10 a.m. the troops reached a road that ran parallel to my line and at right angles to t he turnpike and a short distance to the rear and right of Middletown. The troops had been withdrawn not to exceed one mile and a half from the position occupied in the morning. At this hour the enemy suspended further attacks, but concentrated a heavy artillery fire upon the troops. In retiring almost all the wounded of the division were brought off, and but few prisoners were lost. From this position, the division was moved, under orders, to the left and formed connection with the Second Division, Sixth Corps.
After General Ricketts was wounded Brig. G. W. Getty assumed command of the corps, from whom I received orders. The First Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton, was formed upon my right. Many of the troops thrown into disorder early in the engagement were reformed and brought into line; those of the Nineteenth Corps were formed upon the right of the army. It was known to be about 10:30 a.m. that Major General Sheridan had arrived upon the field and had assumed command of the army. Major-General Wright resumed command of the Sixth Army Corps. Unfortunately, Colonel Emerson, commanding the First Brigade, failed to keep connection with the Second Brigade of the division during a march to the rear, in consequence of which some delay took place in getting into proper position. As soon as a position was taken up a heavy line of skirmishers was ordered forward from the Second Brigade to cover the front of the division. Colonel Ball, commanding Second Brigade, accordingly ordered forward the One hundred and tenth Ohio and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under the command of Lieut. Col. Otho H. Binkley. They took up a position about 300 yards to the front, and along the outskirts of the woods. Desultory firing and skirmishing were kept up.
The enemy about 1 p.m. attempted another advance and after a brisk fight with the skirmishers caused them to fall back to the main line. The attack was then immediately repulsed, and the skirmishers retook their former position. A small detachment of the Army of West Virginia, under the command of Col. R. B. Hayes, of the Twenty-third Ohio, was formed upon the left of the Third Division and connected with the right of the Second Division, Sixth Army Corps, the left of which rested upon the Valley turnpike, about one mile in rear of Middletown. The troops remained in position until 3:15 p.m., when a general advance was made, the order to do so having been received by me from General Wright. Immediately after the advance commenced the troops of the Army of West Virginia were withdrawn from the line, leaving a short interval between the left of my line and that with of General G. W. Getty, commanding Second Division. In accordance with instructions from Major-General Wright my line was ordered to dress to the left in the general advance and close up all intervals. Specific instructions were given by me to brigade commanders to dress their troops to the left in the advance, leave no intervals, and to be careful to avoid dressing them too rapidly and closely. The troops commenced the division moved forward in splendid style and very rapidly. It soon encountered the enemy in great strength and well posted. The enemy opened a deadly fire with artillery and musketry upon the troops, but for a time they continued the advance, although suffering heavy losses. The order to avoid massing the troops in the advance was not complied with by the First Brigade, the troops of which, after coming under fire, dressed hastily, and in some confusion, to left and soon became massed behind and merged into troops of Second Brigade. In addition to the confusion that necessarily ensued the right was left unprotected. The greater portion of the division, after returning the enemy’s fire vigorously for a short time, temporarily gave way. To the failure to keep the troops properly dressed and to the fact that the Third Division moved forward too rapidly and in advance of the troops upon its right I mainly attribute the failure to succeed in this advance. The troops upon my left also temporarily gave way. The division lost very heavily in this attack. Not to exceed five minutes elapsed before the troops had been halted and were again charged forward. The enemy this time gave way and were forced back several hundred yards, when he again took up a position behind a stone fence upon the face of a hill sloping toward my troops. The division charged forward to a stone fence which was parallel to the enemy’s position and about 250 yards distant therefrom. An open field lay between the opposing troops. A stone wall extended at right angles from the right of my line to the left of my enemy’s. A sharp and fierce musketry fire was kept up between the contending forces for about three-quarters of an hour. Orders were received from Major-General Wright in person to charge I ordered Colonel Emerson to send a competent staff officer with volunteer soldiers along and under cover of the stone wall upon the right of the line, with orders to throw themselves upon the enemy’s left and open an enfilading fire upon him. This order was immediately carried out and had the desired effect. Capt. H. W. Day, One hundred and sixth New York Volunteers, and brigade inspector of the First Brigade, was charged with the execution of the order. His gallant conduct on that occasion was highly meritorious, and for which he deserves promotion. Lieut. Col. M. M. Granger, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Volunteers, volunteered to assist in this strategic movement. As soon as troops could reach the flank of the enemy and at once charged across the open ground, driving him in utter rout from his position. A considerable number of prisoners were taken in this charge, also small arms and two battle-flags. Leander McClurg, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, captured the battle flag of what he supposed to have been the Forty-fourth (rebel) Virginia Regiment, which he was forced to give up to a staff officer, not since recognized by him. Corpl. Daniel P. Reigle,  Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, captured a battle-flag from a color bearer of the enemy. The enemy retreated precipitately, throwing away guns, accouterments, &c., in their flight. He was closely pursued by the infantry to and across Cedar Creek. His columns were completely routed, disorganized and demoralized. Troops of this division were the first to plant colors upon the works along Cedar Creek, which had been abandoned in the morning. The cavalry of the army was hurled upon the broken and flying troops of the enemy after he crossed Cedar Creek. Night came on and the infantry gave up the pursuit. The abandoned and disable guns and caissons of the corps were retaken upon the ground upon which they had been left in the morning.
The cavalry, in pursuit of the enemy, captured many of the substantial fruits of the great victory which had been so richly earned by the hard fighting of the infantry soldiers. The loss in killed and wounded of the cavalry, compared to that in the infantry, was light, which of itself proves upon whom the burden of the battle rested and was borne.
At dark troops, under orders, went into their respective camps, from which they had been called up in the morning. Many officers and soldiers spent the night in ministering to their wounded and dying comrades. Instances were not a few where the miscreant enemy had stripped the persons of our wounded of clothing, and left them without covering upon the ground. The bodies of the dead were generally robbed of all clothing and effects. It may be said, however, that many of the bodies of the enemy’s dead had been robbed and stripped by their own troops. A rebel officer was killed, upon whose body was found clothing and other private effects of Capt. E. M. Ruhl, Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, who was mortally wounded in the morning.
Considering the unfortunate circumstances under which the battle commenced in the morning, and its long and sanguinary character, too much praise cannot be given to officers and soldiers. Col. William H. Ball, commanding Second Brigade, showed superior judgment, coolness, skill and gallantry. Col. William W. Henry, Tenth Vermont, Lieut. Cols. M. M. Granger, One hundred and twenty-second, and Otho H. Binkley, One hundred and tenth Ohio, James W. Snyder, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Charles M. Cornyn One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, and Aaron Spengler, One hundred and tenth Ohio, together with many others, were particularly efficient in the discharge of their important duties.
It is impossible to mention names of the many who displayed acts of distinguished gallantry. The Ninth New York Heavy Artillery and a battalion of the One hundred and eighty-fourth New York Volunteers commanded by Maj. (now Lieut. Col.) James W. Snyder and Maj. W. D. Ferguson, for their noble behavior deserve to be specially mentioned. The former regiment had several hundred recruits and conscripts who had just entered the service. The battalion of the One hundred eighty-fourth New York had never before been engaged.
It is painful to mention the bad conduct of Lieut. Col. Charles G. Chandler, Tenth Vermont, Maj. G. G. Voorhes, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Volunteers. These officers shamefully deserted their comrades in arms, and went to the rear without authority or good cause. Captain Bargar had just received a leave of absence. He abandoned his company while it was in actual combat with the enemy, and under his leave of absence attempted to shield himself from shame and disgrace.
Staff officers of brigades were very efficient in the performance of their duties. Lieuts. Jim A. Gump, acting assistant adjutant-general, J. T. Baker (now Capt.), brigade inspector, R. W. Wiley, acting aide-de-camp, Second Brigade, and Capts. Charles H. Leonard, assistant adjutant-general, H. W. Day, brigade inspector, First Brigade, are among the most conspicuous. Lieutenant Gump was mortally wounded and has since died.
Capts. Edgar M. Ruhl, Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, L. D. Thompson, Tenth Vermont, and Orson Howard, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery; also Lieuts. W. D. Ross, Fourteenth New Jersey, Augustus Phillips, One hundred eighty-fourth New York, Orrin D. Carpenter, and John Oldswagger, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, and Thomas Kilburn, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, were killed while valiantly discharging their duties. Capt. Wesley Deveney, One hundred and tenth Ohio and others of the division have since died of their wounds.
Lieut. R. W. Wiley, acting aide-de-camp on Second Brigade staff, was the only officer captured in the division: he mistaking the location of troops, rode into the enemy’s lines.
Of the good conduct of the division staff I cannot speak in too high terms. Capt. Andrew J. Smith, acting assistant adjutant general, throughout the whole action displayed great bravery, skill and judgment. Capt. Osgood V. Tracy, division inspector, Capt. George B. Damon, judge advocate of division, and Capt. Anson S. Wood, chief of pioneers (engineers?), each carried orders faithfully and gallantly in the thickest of the battle. Each member of the division staff was especially efficient and active in preserving lines, keeping up and urging on the troops. Capt. George J. Oakes, acting ordnance officer of the division, deserves much credit for his energy and efficiency in supplying the troops with ammunition.
Robert Barr, Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania, chief surgeon of division, W. A. Child, Tenth Vermont, and William M. Houston, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, chief surgeon of brigade, with the other medical officers of the division deserve high commendation for their great skill and energy in taking care of and ministering to the many wounded.
Forty-three officers and 632 enlisted men were killed and wounded in the division.
A summary of casualties by brigades is hereto appended.
Copies of brigade and regimental reports are herewith transmitted.
I am, major, with high esteem, your most obedient and humble servant,
[The following report by Maj. William D. Ferguson on the activities of the four companies of the 184th NY Volunteers in the Battle of Cedar Creek is reproduced from the War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 43 Part I, p. 241]
Report of Maj. William D. Ferguson, One hundred and eighty-fourth New York Infantry, of operations October 19
HDQRS. DETACHMENT 184TH REGT. NEW YORK VOLS.,
CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from headquarters First Brigade, Third Division,
Sixth Army Corps, calling for a synopsis of the operations of my detachment
in the action of October 19, 1864. I would respectfully forward the following
Organization of troops in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, commanded by Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U. S. Army, December 31, 1864
DEFENSES OF BERMUDA HUNDRED
Bvt. Maj. Gen. Edward Ferrero
First Brigade -
Col. WILLIAM HEINE
Second Brigade -
Lieut. Col. G. DE PEYSTER AUDEN.
Provisional Brigade - Col WILLIAM M. MCCLURE.
Siege Artillery - Bvt. Brig. Gen. HENRY L. ABBOT
SEPARATE BRIGADE - Col. WARDWELL G. ROBINSON
Fort Pocahontas - Maj. WILLIAM H. TANTUM
Harrison’s Landing - Lieut. Col. WILLIAM P. MCKINLEY
Fort Powhatan - Col. WILLIAM J. SEWELL
War of the Rebellion, Series I v. 42 Part III pp. 1127-1128
(From Thomas R. Lounsbury’s Yale Book of American Verse, 1912, No. 150)
Up from the South at break of day
And wider still those billows of war,
But there is a road from Winchester town,
Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering South,
Under his spurning feet the road
The first that the general saw were the groups
Hurrah! Hurrah for Sheridan!
"ACCOUNT OF SHERIDAN’S RIDE"
Hiram Dutcher, who in the season of navigation is the tender at lock No. 17, Oswego canal, relates the most stirring incident of the War of Rebellion that came under his personal attention, the famous ride of Sheridan at the Battle of Winchester, October 19, 1864. In relating the incident, he said “I went out with the 184th from Oswego, and during the battle we up a part of the Sixth Army Corps. The rebels got into our lines in the early morning and before we knew what was going on the front lines were broken and began to fall back. We were in the last row and behind us was the cavalry. We got the order to fall in and then to advance. Then we got the order to lie down and how did we hug the ground. Finally, an order came to fire and fall back in order. We did as directed but soon there was crowding, the line wavered and then we were in full retreat with the cavalry leading the way. We had retreated about six miles and thousands of men were scattered in all directions when suddenly there was a shout that Sheridan was coming. I was in a field about a quarter of a mile from the turnpike. As Sheridan saw the groups of stragglers he turned his horse from the road jumped a low rail fence and came up to where we were standing. He rode a black horse with a white hind foot. He was one of those short-backed animals, strong and fleet. The poor fellow was covered with foam. I was tying a handkerchief around the fingers of a Pennsylvania soldier when Sheridan come up. He heard one of the boys call me “Dutch” and calling out “Come along Dutch, help me to rally these men and we’ll be sleeping in our old camp ground tonight. He was as good as his word. At eleven o’clock that night we had regained our position, taken nine hundred prisoners, and forty-two pieces of artillery. I will never forget that appearance of Sheridan as he road through those broken columns of straggling soldiers. He was covered with dust, waving his sword about his head in an ecstasy of enthusiasm and calling upon the boys to rally. No tongue can tell and no pen describe the feeling of that came over those retreating and vanquished soldiers who that day fought every inch of that battlefield twice. I remember how I felt when I saw Sheridan leading the way down the turnpike with members of his staff two or three hundred yards in the rear. All doubt and fear vanished. The fact that Sheridan was with us was enough. No harm could come to the troops with Sheridan in our midst. I believe that I felt that he could almost turn the wrath of God so great was my confidence in the man that day. I can’t describe it, but thousands of others must have felt as I did, for they rallied to a man and the day was save. In my opinion was the most stirring war incident ever chronicled in any country at any time.”
From the 184th Regiment:
We announced yesterday the receipt of a communication form A. H. Walker, of the above regiment, which we stated would appear in our issue to-day. Mr. W’s letter was dated Sept. 20th and was written on board transport and contained no intelligence subsequent to the arrival of port of the regiment at City Point. A correspondent writes us from Washington under date of the 23d inst., giving later information and we therefore withhold Mr. Walker’s letter.
Companies A, B, D, and F of the 184th were, at the date of this letter, encamped in the rear of Fort Bennett, about one mile distant from the Georgetown or Acqueduci Bridge, and are under command of Major Ferguson. Lieut. Phillips was acting as Adjutant. On the 23d the boys were receiving their arms and equipments and all appeared to be in the happiest mood. The four companies mentioned are on detached duty, and had received orders to proceed to Winchester for the purpose of guarding rebel prisoners. They muster about three hundred and sixty men.
Four Companies Engaged in the Late Battle
Gallantry of the 6th Army Corps
On Saturday we stated our belief that Companies A, B, D and F, of the 184th Regiment were engaged in the late battle at Fisher’s Hill, where Sheridan obtained his brilliant victory over Longstreet and Early. We based our belief on the correspondence of a member of Co. D, who, under the date of Oct. 16th, state that the above companies had been brigaded in the 3d Division, 6th Army Corps. The New York Herald of Saturday published a graphic account of the battle, together with a list of casualties in the 3d Division of the 6th Army Corps. The 6th and 19th Army Corps bore the brunt of the battle and to them is mainly entitled the credit of restoring honor to our arms from the chaotic confusion into which our troops were thrown during the early part of the day. The Herald correspondent says the gallant men of the 6th Corps stood in front of the rebel artillery with the most perfect unconcern, although at times they were ordered to lie down and let the iron ball pass over them. Then, when the rebel lines advanced, they returned yell for yell and volley for volley. When hardly pressed the solid column appeared to melt away, but not to retreat --- The wearers of the grecian cross appeared to have forgotten how to retreat and to feel that the salvation of the army depended on their standing firm; for after falling back a few yards the column would be again formed and the battle renewed.
The following casualties in Companies A, B, D and F, are reported in the
Herald. No names of killed are given, and we cannot therefore state definitely
any of our brave boys have been called upon to surrender their lives in their
From the 184th Regiment --- The following letter from Col. Robinson will be read with interest.
Post Headquarters, Harrison’s Landing
Editor Oswego Commercial Times:
The weather here is delightful. Two or three frosts have tinted the forest trees delightfully, and one may travel far before seeing so fair a landscape as is presented to view from this post.
The officers of the regiment have labored under many difficulties, and among them, not the least, is that we have no Surgeon, no Chaplain, and no Regimental colors. It seems to me that if the good people of our country only knew that their friends and relations were entirely without medical aid except such transient assistance as we might happen to secure, that they would not rest until this deficiency, at least was supplied. I trust it may never be the fate of any there to be placed in the position we now occupy.
Soon after my reaching the regiment, I drew up the necessary papers required by the Regulations, and signed by every officer of the companies now with us, securing to the Rev. Mr. Post the position of Chaplain. These papers I forwarded some time ago. We have no Chaplain yet.
I am informed by officers that the State furnishes colors to regiments from New York. Acting under this information, I several weeks ago asked for the colors from the Adjutant-General, but as yet we are without colors. However, whether we have Surgeon, Chaplain or colors, I believe the men of the 184th will do their duty. A portion have already been baptized by fire, and the rest I believer will not falter in the same ordeal.
I am fearful, from all I can learn, that Col. Harney was killed at the last advance made by General Grant towards the Southside road. I am informed he left the regiment to obtain some information. Some heavy firing was heard in the direction that he took, since which time he has not been seen or heard from. With this exception, there was no other casualties in the 147th.
W. G. ROBINSON
Body Robbed of Clothing and Valuables on Battlefield
The Palladium yesterday noted the discovery of an old revolver bearing the name of Lieut. Augustus Phillips of Co. D 184th New York Volunteers, which had been missing since the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. In the history of the 184th, written by Wardwell Robinson, late commanding, and delivered at the reunion of the regiment at Oswego Falls, June 5, 1895 some interesting facts relative to the Battle of Cedar Creek and Lieutenant Phillips are given. The Lieutenant prior to receiving his commission in the regiment, which was raised in 1864, was a clerk in a clothing store in this city. Scarcely a month after the One Hundred and Eighty-Fourth went out, four companies, among them Company D, in which Lieut. Phillips served, engaged in the Battle of Cedar Creek, while the remainder of the regiment, with Col. Robinson in command, was at City Point.
The battle nearly resulted in a Confederate victory, and would have been successful had it not been for Sheridan’s famous ride from “Winchester, twenty miles away.” Lieutenant Phillips was acting as the Adjutant of the regiment and was severely wounded early in the engagement. Two unknown privates started to remove him from the field but he died before he could be carried to Federal lines.
As the Confederates were at that time pushing back the Union troops on the battlefield but was recovered when the fighting ceased. It had been stripped of all clothing and valuables by one of the human vultures who made a business of prowling around after battles to rob the dead. The revolver now recovered was probably obtained by one of the thieves referred to and sold, eventually finding its way to New Orleans.
Source: Oswego Daily Palladium, Saturday evening, November 27, 1897.
A REICL OF THE WAR
A Revolver Recovered After Thirty Years
Was presented to Lieutenant Augustus Phillips When He Went to the Front in the 184th Regiment in 1864 And Which He Carried When Killed at Cedar Creek In Fall of That Year Found in a New Orleans Locksmith Shop Received Here Yesterday
The TIMES yesterday made brief mention of the receipt of the revolved presented to Lieutenant Augustus Phillips of this city when he went to the front in the 184th in 1864 and which was recovered in the shop of an old locksmith in New Orleans, La. about a month ago by Dr. W. H. Watkins of that city, after it had lain in the shop for many years.
Lieutenant Phillips was well-known in this city, where he resided, and is still remembered by many of our citizens.
The 184th was organized on proclamation by President Lincoln on July 18, 1864, when five hundred thousand additional troops were asked to serve an enlistment of one year. It was a very critical state of the war when the outlook was very dark for the northern army. The 184th regiment was organized by Col. W. G. Robinson of this city, and his history of the regiment, delivered by him at the encampment held at Oswego Falls, June 5, 1895, fully and concisely describes the part it took in the strife.
Lieutenant Phillips was a member of Company F (actually “D”) and his comrades say an excellent officer. He was a member of the Frontier City Lodge F. & A.M. and when he left this city it was presented with a revolver by some of his brother Masons. The inscription on the handle says that it was presented by Oswego Lodge 127 and to ascertain the reason why the lodge should have made the presentation is what is mystifying to Mr. Wilcox and other prominent masons. Nevertheless, the revolver was presented and carried by the lieutenant until taken from his lifeless body when he lay upon the field after the battle of Cedar Creek. It was on the 19th of October 1864 that this battle took place.
“Lieutenant Phillips” says Col. Robinson in his history, “was acting adjutant of the detachment, and was wounded early in the engagement. Two privates (whose names I am unable to obtain) had started to remove him from the field of battle, but they had not proceeded far when he died, and at that time the Confederates being on the advance and the Federals retiring, his body was left on the field of battle. After the battle was over, the body was recovered, but it had been stripped of everything save a part of the underclothing. I understand Lieutenant Phillips was buried on the field of battle. It is said that a day or two preceding his death, Lieutenant Phillips seemed to be laboring under a premonition of some personal disaster to himself.”
The confederates who stripped the body of Lieut. Phillips took with them the revolver that has now been recovered after so many years. Probably being short of funds the revolver was pawned and eventually found its way to the shop of the New Orleans locksmith. The locksmith had the weapon in his possession for many years before Dr. Watkins discovered it. It was about a month ago that Dr. Watkins made the discovery. He is probably a member of the masonic fraternity which prompted his action in writing the secretary of Oswego Lodge 127 and asking for particulars. S. B. Wilcox who has been secretary of this lodge for the past nineteen years, looked over the records but was unable to find the name of A. Phillips, but did find the name on the books of Frontier Lodge. Mr. Wilcox sent this information to Dr. Watkins and asked him to forward the relic and it arrived this morning. It is a revolver in the style of 1864. It has six chambers and is a thirty-eight calibre. In this days, cartridges were unknown, revolves and guns alike being loaded with powder and ball and percussion caps used. Although of an antiquated pattern, the revolver is in excellent condition and could do good service even now. Accompanying the revolver was the following clipping from a New Orleans paper:
“Every month or two from the several sections of the country once occupied by the troops of the blue and the grey during the turmoil and strife of some thirty-five years since; comes the news of relics unearthed; relics having histories and others wreathed in naught but sentiment and dimming recollections. Such a relic came to light in this city a week or two ago. Dr. W. H. Watkins while in the shop of a modest locksmith remarked about the quantity of old stuff hung upon the dingy walls of the little shop. The man of the keys commented on the truth of this observation and pushing toward an old (newspaper gone) … only distinguishing mark which made the weapon different from any other. Upon the brass strap of the hilt was inscribed the words, “Presented to A. Phillips by Oswego Lodge 127, Oswego, N.Y.” Dr. Watkins got leave to take the pistol home with him, and he at once initiated inquires as to the whereabouts of Phillips. Writing to Oswego Lodge he received a reply from the secretary saying that I have been secretary of the Oswego Lodge for nineteen years and have no record of A. Phillips.
He suggested that Dr. Watkins contact the G.A.R. and from that organization a letter was received from Colonel Robinson of that very regiment to which Phillips belonged. The writer was post commander of the G. A. R. post. He said that the pistol had been presented to Phillips on his going to war, and that the owner had given up his life at Cedar Creek. The old officer asked that the weapon be sent to the post where it will be placed in the archives. Dr. Watkins will forward … (the rest of the article is lost.)
Source: Oswego Daily Times, Saturday evening, November 27, 1897.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History