Former Confederate Officers in postwar U. S. Army

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John Hartwell

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My question: were there any in the years between 1865 and 1898?

All I've been able to find are the well-known ones (all general officers) from the SpamWar: Joseph Wheeler, Fitzhugh Lee, Joseph Rosser, and Matthew Butler. Also Col. William Oates apparently held Brigadier General's rank in 1898. But they all only went back into uniform after 33 years of civilian life, more as a means of attracting southern volunteers than any actual value they might have had on the battlefield. Also, several ex-Confed. generals served as Adjutant Generals of their state militias.

But, what about junior officers? Did any of them see Federal service during the Indian wars period? I know that the army was downsized soon after the war, and there were more than enough Union officers than were needed. But, did any eventually join?

Many southerners became US officers, since cadets from the formerly seceeded states were admitted back into West Point in 1868, but these were not former Confederate soldiers.

jno.

Added by edit: The same question as pertains to naval officers...
 
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cash

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My question: were there any in the years between 1865 and 1898?

All I've been able to find are the well-known ones (all general officers) from the SpamWar: Joseph Wheeler, Fitzhugh Lee, Joseph Rosser, and Matthew Butler. Also Col. William Oates apparently held Brigadier General's rank in 1898. But they all only went back into uniform after 33 years of civilian life, more as a means of attracting southern volunteers than any actual value they might have had on the battlefield. Also, several ex-Confed. generals served as Adjutant Generals of their state militias.

But, what about junior officers? Did any of them see Federal service during the Indian wars period? I know that the army was downsized soon after the war, and there were more than enough Union officers than were needed. But, did any eventually join?

Many southerners became US officers, since cadets from the formerly seceeded states were admitted back into West Point in 1868, but these were not former Confederate soldiers.

jno.
I've never seen any documentation on it, but John Ford thought there were some, serving under assumed names, of course, such as this from "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon:"

Sgt. Tyree: [after the fight at Sudrow's Well] Sir, would you take a look at Trooper Smith?

Pvt. John Smith aka Rome Clay: [mortally wounded] Don't bother about me, Captain. Trust you'll forgive my presumption... I'd like to commend the boy here... for the way he handled this action. In the best tradition of the cavalry, sir.
Sgt. Tyree: [to Pvt. Smith] I take that very kindly, sir.
Pvt. John Smith aka Rome Clay: Captain Tyree! Captain Tyree!
Captain Nathan Brittles: Speak to him.
Sgt. Tyree: Thank you.
[comes to attention]
Sgt. Tyree: Yes, Sir. Sir! Sir!
Captain Nathan Brittles: [realizes that Smith has died] I'm afraid he can't hear you, Captain.

---------------------------------------

Captain Nathan Brittles: [while burying the dead] I also commend to your keeping, Sir, the soul of Rome Clay, late Brigadier General, Confederate States Army. Known to his comrades here, Sir, as Trooper John Smith, United States Cavalry... a gallant soldier and a Christian gentleman.
 

AndyHall

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7148.jpg


There was also Sergeant Beaufort, the translator, in Ford's Fort Apache:

Colonel Thursday: I'm for it, captain. How many men will you need?

Captain York: One, sir. Sergeant Beaufort.

Sergeant Major O'Rourke: Private Beaufort, sir.

Colonel Thursday: Why him?

Captain York: He speaks Spanish, so does Cochise. My Apache has its limits.

Colonel Thursday: Shouldn't you take another officer instead?

Captain York: Sergeant Beaufort was a...

Sergeant Major O'Rourke: Private Beaufort, sir.

Captain York: Private Beaufort was a major in the Confederate Army, an aid to Jeb Stuart.

Colonel Thursday: I remember Cadet Stuart.

Reading that dialogue doesn't do it justice. There's a subtle humor in it that really rings true.

 
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cash

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7148.jpg


There was also Sergeant Beaufort, the translator, in Ford's Fort Apache:

Colonel Thursday: I'm for it, captain. How many men will you need?

Captain York: One, sir. Sergeant Beaufort.

Sergeant Major O'Rourke: Private Beaufort, sir.

Colonel Thursday: Why him?

Captain York: He speaks Spanish, so does Cochise. My Apache has its limits.

Colonel Thursday: Shouldn't you take another officer instead?

Captain York: Sergeant Beaufort was a...

Sergeant Major O'Rourke: Private Beaufort, sir.

Captain York: Private Beaufort was a major in the Confederate Army, an aid to Jeb Stuart.

Colonel Thursday: I remember Cadet Stuart.

Reading that dialogue doesn't do it justice. There's a subtle humor in it that really rings true.


And Captain York was later Lt Col York in Rio Grande--with another actor playing Quincannon. Quincannon was a character in all three of the John Ford Cavalry Trilogy movies.
 

redbob

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I have always understood that "Galvanized Yankees" were enlisted personnel and not officers, but I find it reasonable that Officers may have enlisted into the Union ranks as enlisted personnel after the war. And a finer trilogy would be hard to find in the world of black and white movies.
 
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TerryB

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Don't know about ex-CS officers, but a former USCT named Charlie Jordan (enlisted Nashville 1864) won the Medal of Honor fighting Apaches in the 1880s. Perhaps we need a thread to look into how many more of them served out West. If I recall, Jordan was in the 10th US Cav, or a sister regiment.
 

M E Wolf

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The Life And Campaigns
Of Major-General J. E. B. Stuart
Commander Of The Cavalry Of The Army Of Northern Virginia

by
H. B. Mcclellan, A.M.
Late Major, Assistant Adjutant-General And Chief Of Staff Of The Cavalry Corps, Army Of Northern Virginia



The Life and Campaigns of Major-General J.E.B. Stuart
Roll Of The Second Regiment Virginia Cavalry.
THOS. A. TIBB, wounded at Buckettsville, Md., dismissed from the regiment; enlisted in Preston's battery; promoted for gallantry to First Lieutenant; after the war joined 7th U.S. Cavalry; was killed in battle with the Indians at Washeta, Indian Territory. A dashing, handsome youth.

M. E. Wolf
 

cash

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THOS. A. TIBB, wounded at Buckettsville, Md., dismissed from the regiment; enlisted in Preston's battery; promoted for gallantry to First Lieutenant; after the war joined 7th U.S. Cavalry; was killed in battle with the Indians at Washeta, Indian Territory. A dashing, handsome youth.
Excellent find.
 
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M E Wolf

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All,

This 'isn't' exactly what is inquired about, e.g. U.S. Military Service post-ACW but, its a 'sort-of' cases

I highly doubt if we'll get an accurate number of how many former Confederate officers, NCOs and military men joined up into the U.S. military (wearing the blue uniform). Majority of bios read though, most went back to their civilian profession prior to the war and or pursued law, personal business, railroads, some went to the Egyptian Army and served in a military capacity there, many went into farming, civil service, teaching/education, good many went into politics, some became ministers and, in some cases representatives of the U.S. Government in a ambassador/minister situation. Some became sheriff or marshal in their residential area.

Confederate Military History, Vol. 6
BIOGRAPHICAL.
Brigadier-General E. Porter Alexander, a native of Georgia, was appointed to the United States military academy from that State, and was graduated in I857 as brevet second lieutenant, corps of engineers. He served at West Point as assistant instructor in practical military engineering from October, 1857, to March, 1858, when he went on duty in the field with the Utah expedition. Returning to the military academy near the close of 1858, he remained until 1860, first as assistant instructor, next as assistant professor of engineering, then as instructor in the use of small. arms, military gymnastics, etc., and finally was attached to a company of engineer troops at West Point. Afterward he was a member of the board for the trial of small-arms, and assistant engineer in the construction of the defenses at Alcatraz island, San Francisco harbor. In 1861, when it became evident that war could not be avoided, Lieutenant Alexander resigned his commission in the army of the United States, and, on April 3d entered that of the Confederate States as captain of engineers. He was on the staff of General Beauregard as engineer and chief of signal service from July 1st to August, 1861, acting in this capacity at the first battle of Manassas. Subsequently, until November 8, 1862, he was chief of ordnance of the army of Northern Virginia. He was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of artillery in December, 1861, and colonel of artillery in December, 1862. From November 8, 1862, to February 26, I864, he commanded a battalion of artillery of Longstreet's corps, composed of the batteries of Eubanks, Jordan, Moody, Parker, Rhett and Woolfolk. At Fredericksburg
he so arranged the artillery of Longstreet's corps as to sweep every approach to Marye's hill. To General Longstreet he remarked, "We cover that ground so well that we will comb it as with a fine tooth comb. A chicken could not live on that field when we open on it." The artillery did do fearful execution on the dense masses of Federal troops who tried to carry that position. At Chancellorsville he was present in command of his battalion of artillery. At Gettysburg he commanded the reserve artillery of Longstreet's corps, and with his battalion prepared the way for Pickett's great charge on the third day of that fateful battle. When Longstreet went to Georgia in September, 1863, Colonel Alexander was with his forces, but did not reach Chickamauga in time to take part in the battle. He acted as chief of artillery for Longstreet in the Knoxville campaign, and in subsequent movements in east Tennessee until ordered back to Virginia. On February 26, 1864, he was commissioned brigadier-general, and he served as chief of artillery of Longstreet's corps until the surrender at Appomattox, participating in the battles of the Overland campaign, and in those of the long protracted siege of Richmond. After the war he was professor of mathematics and of civil and military engineering in the university of South Carolina from January, 1866, to October, I869, and president of the Columbia oil company from October, 1869, to May, 1871. He then began a successful career in railroad management, as superintendent of the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta railroad until October, 1871; as president of the Savannah & Memphis railroad company until 1875, and subsequently as president and general manager of the Western railroad of Alabama, and of the Georgia railroad and banking company. He was vice-president of the Louisville & Nashville railroad, 1880-82, capital commissioner of the State of Georgia, 1883-88, and from 1887 to 1893 president of the Central railroad and banking company and Ocean steamship company. He is the author of a treatise on "Railway Practice," and historical papers, such as "The Great Charge and Artillery Fighting at Gettysburg," and "Longstreet at Knoxville."

-----------------
Confederate Military History, Vol. 11
BIOGRAPHICAL.

Brigadier-General William Steele was born at Albany, N.Y., in 1819; was educated at the United States military academy, and graduated in 1840. He was first assigned to the Second dragoons, stationed in Florida. He served in the military occupation of Texas, and with gallantry in the Mexican war, and on May 9, I846, was promoted
first lieuenant. In the desperate battles of Contreras and Churubusco he won great distinction by his quick and decisive action and dashing bravery, and earned the brevet of captain. While in Texas, in 1851, he was commissioned captain. He was then sent to New Mexico, where he rendered valuable service until 1854, when he was detailed to Kansas, Dakota and Nebraska, where he was engaged in various expeditions against the Indians. He resigned his commission in the United States army in May, 1861, to join the Confederate army, and was appointed colonel of the Seventh Texas cavalry. During the expedition to New Mexico, early in 1862, under Gen. H. H. Sibley, he was in command in the Mesilla region, sent on expedition to Tucson, and held his post to the last. He was promoted to brigadier-general September 12th, and in January, 1863, he was assigned to command of the Indian Territory, where his energy in organization and administration won this commendation from the President: "His service was efficient and of inestimable value." In March, 1864, he was assigned to command of the defenses at Galveston, but soon afterward took part in the Red river campaign, and, after the death of Gen. Thomas Green, commanded a division of cavalry. In reporting the operations following the battle of Pleasant Hill, Gen. Richard Taylor said: "It is difficult to estimate the importance of the service rendered by Wharton, Steele and Parsons." In 1867, General Steele settled at San Antonio, Tex., and became a commission merchant. For some years after the war he was adjutant-general of the State, and in that office rendered valuable service. He died at San Antonio, January 12, 1885.
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Dave Wilma

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One of Custer's servants was a former Confederate soldier and Custer often joked about the man hauling Yankee coal. Being a servant would have been good duty and Custer certainly could have sent him back to his troop for regular duties.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment discriminated against former Confederate officers becoming commissioned officers until 1898. I'm willing to bet that "Trooper Smith" was artistic license as was burial beneath a CBF made of red flannel. Touching scene though and useful to build the setting and characters. I still love that scene more than 50 years after first seeing it.
 
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