Archive for the ‘American Civil War’ Category

Anson Croman and the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stedman

March 25, 2015

20thMarch231865

Orange arrow pointing to ellipse, upper center: March 23, 1865 position of the 20th Michigan at Battery Number 9 just north of Fort Stedman two days before the battle.

Click on image for larger version.

Original base map in the public domain with additions by The Siege of Petersburg Online

Since June, 1864, General Grant had been extending the Union siege lines southwest of Petersburg and north of Richmond. That had stretched the Confederate forces to the breaking point.

In January, 1865 the Union had captured Wilmington, North Carolina and closed the last major Confederate port. That cut off more of the few supplies that were still making it around the Union siege lines.

Robert E. Lee realized the Union siege of Petersburg and Richmond was about to result in the capture of both cities and his army.

He decided to launch an attack on the eastern end of the Union lines at Petersburg to open a gap for a break out to the south.

On the morning of March 25, Lee’s forces attacked and  captured Fort Stedman.

Union forces, including the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment immediately counterattacked, closed the gap in their lines and recaptured Fort Stedman.


FortStedmanSidneyKing[1]

Sidney King’s mid-20th century painting of the March 25, 1865 Union counterattack at Fort Stedman.

The 20th Michigan would be at the edge on the lower right.

Public domain image from the National Park Service.

The 20th Michigan suffered five wounded.

The Confederate escape route to the south was now blocked and Confederate resistance to the Union siege was on the verge of collapse.


stedmantoday 

Fort Stedman today.

Public domain image from the National Park Service’s Petersburg National Battlefield

Links, sources, and more information:

1865: Anson Croman and the Civil War


If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment

Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-HA

Anson Croman 150 Years Ago: August to December, 1864

January 23, 2015

150 years ago  Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment continued to serve in the Siege of Petersburg Virginia, south of Richmond.

By August, 1864 they could only muster about 85 men for duty. When the 20th Michigan began service in July, 1862 it had 1012 enlisted men and officers.


After the defeats in June and July, 1864, General Grant ceased frontal assaults on the Confederate defenses of Petersburg.

Instead he sought ways to cut off the railroads supplying Richmond and Petersburg and force the Confederates to extend their lines to the breaking point.

The IX Corps with the 20th Michigan were part of that campaign including:

August 19 to 21: The Weldon Railroad south of Petersburg connected the besieged Confederates with their last major port of Wilmington, North Carolina.

After a series of battles, the Union captured a section of the Weldon Railroad.

That forced the Confederates to extend their trenches, unload their supply trains further south, and haul supplies by wagon using a longer route to the west.


globetavren

Globe Tavern on the Weldon Railroad Battlefield.

Public domain photo from the Library of Congress.


August 25 During the Battle of Ream’s Station, the 20th acted as rear guard for the II Corps.

August 26 until September 30: The 20th was among the units that constructed fortifications to hold the captured sections of the Weldon Railroad southwest of Petersburg.

September 30: Battle of Poplar Springs, Church, Virginia. Captain Blood and Adjutant Siebert of the 20th Michigan were among the fatal casualties.

October 2: Skirmish at Pegram Farm.

October 8: Reconnaissance in force on the Boydton Plank Road.

October 27 and 28: Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Va.

During this period Col. Cutcheon was promoted to command of the 27th Michigan and Major C. B. Grant became commander of the 20th. Col. Cutcheon’s history is among the sources used to tell Anson Croman’s story.

November Presidential Election: Results from the 20th Michigan: 153 for Lincoln and 35 for McClellan.

The number of troops who voted (188) is higher than the number of men available for duty as it probably includes soldiers convalescing from wounds and disease.

About November 30:   The 20th Michigan was transferred to Battery Nine on the extreme right of the Army of the Potomac along the Appomattox River.


Links to sources and for more information:

The story of the Twentieth Michigan infantry, July 15th, 1862 to May 30th, 1865. Embracing official documents on file in the records of the state of Michigan and of the United States referring or relative to the regiment. Compiled by Bryon M. Cutcheon.

Record of service of Michigan volunteers in the civil war, 1861-1865.Michigan. George H. Turner, Adjutant General’s Office.

Election Returns By Regiment, 1864 Presidential Election: IX Corps, Army of the Potomac

The Siege of Petersburg Online:


If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment

Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-G1

150th anniversary of the 20th Michigan in the Battle of the Crater

July 29, 2014

By June 12, 1864 the Confederates stopped the Union forces outside of Petersburg, Virginia. The Union ceased assaulting Petersburg and switched to a siege.

In an attempt to break into Petersburg, IXth Corps Union troops with coal mining experience dug a tunnel  to place a mine under Confederate fortifications just east of Petersburg.

One hundred fifty years ago on July 30, 1864 the mine was exploded and Union troops assaulted Confederate positions. Among them was our Civil War ancestor Anson Croman in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment.


20th Michigan’s position (ORANGE CIRCLE) and direction of the attack to the west of the crater from the mine explosion.

Fair use of image from The Battle Atlas of the Civil War © Time-Life Books

Contemporary drawing of the Union assault on The Crater. The 20th Michigan is to the left out of this picture.

Image in the public domain.


The Confederates held and quickly closed the gap created by the explosion and assault.

The 20th Michigan lost 5 killed, 26 wounded, 16 captured, and 2 missing.


The opening scenes of the novel and movie Cold Mountain depict the Battle of the Crater


Racial War

During the Battle of the Crater when African-American Union troops attempted to surrender, the Confederates summarily executed some on the field.

The Confederates considered African-American Union troops to be racially inferior escaped slaves engaged in a slave insurrection and therefore not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war.

Those who were not executed would be sold into slavery.

The Confederates also threatened to try and execute any captured European-American officers who commanded African-American troops. The Confederates claimed those officers were inciting slave rebellion. The Confederates decided not to proceed with trials when the Union threaten retaliation against Southern POW officers.


For more information:

From the National Park Service:

The Crater

From Anson Croman and the Civil War:

1864


The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.

Anson Croman served in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment


Permanlink

Shortlink

The Civil War letters of Anson Croman’s comrade Dwight Brewer

January 18, 2014
Dwight Brewer

Undated photo of Dwight J. Brewer (1842 to 1881), Company F, 20th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Photo © Dennette D. McDermott

None of Anson Croman’s, our Civil War ancestor, letters if any have survived.

However, the letters of Dwight D. Brewer from Jackson, Michigan who served with Anson in Company F, 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment have survived.

His 2nd great-granddaughter, Professor Dennette D. McDermott, just published facsimiles of her ancestor’s CIvil War letters.

The Civil War Letters of Dwight J Brewer

© Dennette D. McDermott

In his letters Dwight does not mention Anson Croman.

However Dwight’s letters give insight into both the routine and the combat experiences that Anson would have shared and reported home to family and friends.


A model for sharing family history artifacts.

While Dwight’s letters may be a historical footnote in the Civil War’s broader context, they are deeply meaningful to families such as ours who have no other way to get such an intimate and personal look at what our ancestor experienced.

For that we are very grateful to Professor McDermott’s sharing.

The same occurred with my late father’s WWII service. If he wrote letters home none have survived. As did Professor McDermott, another family shared with my family a privately published collection of letters from their family member who served in the same battalion but different company as my late father.

What Professor McDermott has done is a model for what other families can do with their historical artifacts especially letters.

Too many are sold to private collectors or simply thrown away. Such items are best donated to historical societies, archives, libraries or museums where they will be available for other families researching their history, especially those such as mine with holes in our family’s records that can only be filled with the help of other families.


In late 1863 at Knoxville, Tennessee Dwight contracted smallpox and remained in a hospital when the 20th Michigan was redeployed to Virginia.

For the rest of the war, Dwight served at Knoxville. After his recovery his duties included growing vegetables for the patients in the hospital. As a farmer, he’d have been skilled at that.

At the end of the war, he was discharged from Nashville and returned to Michigan.


Dennette D. Mc Cermott at the Michigan monument, Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi.

Dennette D. McDermott at the Michigan Memorial, Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi. Our ancestors served together there from June to August. 1863 prior to their deployment to Knoxville, Tennessee.
Photo © Dennette D. McDermott


For more information:

The Civil War letters of Dwight J. Brewer

Vicksburg National Miltary Park

Michigan Memorial at Vicksburg, Mississippi

Anson Croman and the Civil War


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-lJ

%d bloggers like this: