Gracie's salient at Peterburg

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#1
I am searching for a description of how the regiments and battalion in Gracie's Brigade were situated at Petersburg in December of 1964. I know where Gracie's salient is located but I am trying to specifically locate the 43rd Alabama. Can somebody point me at a source or sources that have the information? The brigade included the 59th and 60th Alabama and the 23 Battalion, Alabama Sharpshooters. Heading for Richmond in a few weeks and want to know who I'm standings with when I get there. Many thanks!
 

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#2
If you haven't done so, I'd suggest reaching out to the Petersburg National Battlefield staff before your visit. Unlike Colquitt's Salient further north, Gracie's isn't as easily accessible. The Salient is a pet project for park archaeologists, though, and you can read more about their study of it here - http://www.petersburgproject.org/a-strange-sort-of-warfare-underground.html.

Arthur E. Green's Gracie's Pride: The 43rd Alabama Infantry Volunteers (Shippensburg, PA: Burd Street Press, 2001) quotes from the company muster rolls in an attempt to place the regiment. On page 23 he says that in July and August Company A "was with the regiment in the trenches before Petersburg, Virginia, on that part of the line east of and touching the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. The company's bomb proof is out on the Railroad embankment." In January-Ferbruary 1865, he quotes the muster roll as stating, "The company has been stationed since last muster occupying its position in the right of the 43rd Alabama Regiment and Gracie's Brigade in the trenches before Petersburg at a point 150 yards from the mine opening since July 10, 1864, and to the right of it. During this interval a new line had been completed extending from the mine to the branch and 30 paces inward of the one established on the right of June 12th [I think this should be night of July 12th] and the regiment put in position behind it, the old line being leveled."

I believe the mine referenced is not the infamous Crater, but the countermine at Gracie's Salient. The NPS staff did a great job matching up historic photographs with modern Lidar of that area here - http://www.petersburgproject.org/gracies-salient-group.html.
 
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#3
If you haven't done so, I'd suggest reaching out to the Petersburg National Battlefield staff before your visit. Unlike Colquitt's Salient further north, Gracie's isn't as easily accessible. The Salient is a pet project for park archaeologists, though, and you can read more about their study of it here - http://www.petersburgproject.org/a-strange-sort-of-warfare-underground.html.

Arthur E. Green's Gracie's Pride: The 43rd Alabama Infantry Volunteers (Shippensburg, PA: Burd Street Press, 2001) quotes from the company muster rolls in an attempt to place the regiment. On page 23 he says that in July and August Company A "was with the regiment in the trenches before Petersburg, Virginia, on that part of the line east of and touching the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. The company's bomb proof is out on the Railroad embankment." In January-Ferbruary 1865, he quotes the muster roll as stating, "The company has been stationed since last muster occupying its position in the right of the 43rd Alabama Regiment and Gracie's Brigade in the trenches before Petersburg at a point 150 yards from the mine opening since July 10, 1864, and to the right of it. During this interval a new line had been completed extending from the mine to the branch and 30 paces inward of the one established on the right of June 12th [I think this should be night of July 12th] and the regiment put in position behind it, the old line being leveled."

I believe the mine referenced is not the infamous Crater, but the countermine at Gracie's Salient. The NPS staff did a great job matching up historic photographs with modern Lidar of that area here - http://www.petersburgproject.org/gracies-salient-group.html.
Thanks! I knew that the actual location for Gracie's brigade is not where the marker sits today and that much of Gracie's area is not accessible today. I haven't reached out to the Park in a few years. I should try again, just to see what is new.
 
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#4
I've come across a reference in the OR's of Union officers loving deserters from that area, as I recall they felt they had the most reliable information.

I'd love to see what you turn up, my GG-Grandfather lost his middle finger somewhere around there when he was in the 60th Alabama.
 
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#5
As you can see from this map, the ABT purchased the land west of the railroad.

second-petersburg-map-925.jpg


As with a lot of preservation projects, the accessibility and interpretation is yet to come, but I'd hope the Park Service staff would assist in getting you to the salient. And you're right, the Gracie's Salient marker is actually at Colquitt's Salient. The walking trails don't cross over Poor Creek.

1864-06-18 - First Maine Heavy Artillery, Hiking Trail Guide (2018-06-18 draft).png
 
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#6
As you can see from this map, the ABT purchased the land west of the railroad.

View attachment 306306

As with a lot of preservation projects, the accessibility and interpretation is yet to come, but I'd hope the Park Service staff would assist in getting you to the salient. And you're right, the Gracie's Salient marker is actually at Colquitt's Salient. The walking trails don't cross over Poor Creek.

View attachment 306305
Outstanding, informative and very helpful map. I presume you are the Edward Alexander who made it. If so, congratulations on your fine work. Are your maps published somewhere?
 
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#7
I've come across a reference in the OR's of Union officers loving deserters from that area, as I recall they felt they had the most reliable information.

I'd love to see what you turn up, my GG-Grandfather lost his middle finger somewhere around there when he was in the 60th Alabama.
His name? I'd like to add the digit note in my notes.
 
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#8
As you can see from this map, the ABT purchased the land west of the railroad.

View attachment 306306

As with a lot of preservation projects, the accessibility and interpretation is yet to come, but I'd hope the Park Service staff would assist in getting you to the salient. And you're right, the Gracie's Salient marker is actually at Colquitt's Salient. The walking trails don't cross over Poor Creek.

View attachment 306305
My understanding from a conversation with a park ranger a few years back is that the Gracie area has severe insect and snake overcrowding. I am specifically looking for troop placements in the first week of December, 1864.
Gracie was killed 12/2/64 and he was with the 43rd Alabama at the time of his death.
 
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#10
A friend of mine who also had an ancestor in the 60th made this up for me. Its a little off as he only had data, and didn't get to see pictures of the original till after he made them. But since the subject is up I'll share a photo of it.

Now I wonder if he still makes flags...

20150625_194858.jpg
 

redbob

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#11
My understanding from a conversation with a park ranger a few years back is that the Gracie area has severe insect and snake overcrowding. I am specifically looking for troop placements in the first week of December, 1864.
Gracie was killed 12/2/64 and he was with the 43rd Alabama at the time of his death.
Severe insect and snake overcrowding, well then the map is as close as I need to get. Good information to know about a location.
 
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#12
A friend of mine who also had an ancestor in the 60th made this up for me. Its a little off as he only had data, and didn't get to see pictures of the original till after he made them. But since the subject is up I'll share a photo of it.

Now I wonder if he still makes flags...

View attachment 306634
Very nice. I have seen the original flag of the 59th Alabama and I THINK I also saw the 60th, not sure.
 
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#13
He name was John Wilson Pepper of Co. D of the 60th Alabama, I can't recall off hand what his company was in Hilliard's Legion.
Legion's 3rd Battalion, Company F. I show him enlisting at 17 as a substitute for I.L. McGirigh. I show him wounded, did not know the nature of the wound. I show him unmarried and a farmer at the time he joined the CSA.
I really appreciate your info, thanks!
 
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#14
Legion's 3rd Battalion, Company F. I show him enlisting at 17 as a substitute for I.L. McGirigh. I show him wounded, did not know the nature of the wound. I show him unmarried and a farmer at the time he joined the CSA.
I really appreciate your info, thanks!
I can probably fill in some blanks of his life, his "legend" still lives large in my family. But the age of 17 on enlisting is interesting, family stories have him 16, and him as a substitute is news to me. Thanks that's interesting! I need to do more research into his service.

Supposedly he walked barefoot to enlist, (over the unbelievable distance of a hundred miles, I personally don't buy it, but I buy the barefoot part he was a devout Primitive Baptist), and was proud of his service the rest of his life. I met some distant cousins a year or so ago who actually knew him, and had heard a couple of war stories from him as children, one he told them was of Chickamauga, and all they could remember of him talking of Chickamauga was he told them of how, "Where we were there were so many bodies covering that field you could walk across and never touch the ground." After that most of his stories are forgotten. After Appomattox for some reason he spent the rest of 1865 in Northern Georgia, and all is known is he met my GG-Grandmother, a half Cherokee, before returning to Alabama to live and farm. According to more family lore sometime during Reconstruction a carpetbagger came out repeatedly to "purchase" his land, and finally one night when he was there Grandpa Pepper, as he still known as, grabbed a hoe and killed the carpetbagger. After that it was decided to move to Texas as his uncle Arthur Pepper, (only a couple of years older and had served in I think it was the 34th or 35th Alabama Infantry and was captured at Nashville) had moved there before him and spoken well of it, so the growing Pepper family relocated to Texas. He first settled in Harmony Hill, (where he is buried), and later moved down the road to Chalk Hill where he set up a saw mill, a dipping vat for cattle, a General Store, and farmed. Chalk Hill Cemetery was originally founded on a piece of land he donated to the small town, and has a monument to him near its gate, (one Confederate monument I'd fiercely defend more than any other).

As for his later life, he would walk either to nearby Lee's Creek, or the Sabine River to fish, always barefooted, (that finally had bad consequences when a snapping turtle bit one of his toes off), and farming or tending to his business interests. He was extremely devout, and the church along with the school and a house or two in town all had their lumber come from his mill, (all except the church are in ruins now), but by all accounts he was also extremely proud of his Confederate service. Apparently sometime in the early 1900's a yankee preacher came to town, and it resulted in just about the only time he didn't go to church which caused concern. After services he was found in front of his house in a chair with a musket swearing he'd kill the first d***yankee to set foot on his property. He was well known and highly respected, with some folks thinking he was odd, as he'd loan money to black people when they needed it. a couple of years ago I happened to meet a very elderly black women who was telling her, I assume, great-grandkids during a living history we were doing in nearby Henderson to not assume folks with Confederate flags were racist, as when she was born her family was destitute and it was a Confederate veteran who loaned her parents money and let them take what they needed from his store, I inquired about this to her, and had a laugh when I found out it was my own GG-Grandfather John Pepper! His marriage to my GG-Grandmother ended with her passing in 189? and a few years later he remarried and that wife passed away in the early 1920's with John Pepper dying in 1930. For the funeral he asked to buried in white like both of his wives, beside them, and my G-Aunt told me when I was little, before her passing, it was the funniest funeral she ever went to, because it poured down rain and as a little girl she thought it was so funny to see so many grown men in their Sunday best getting knee deep in mud to push the horse drawn hearse out of the mud. He had 12 children by my GG-Grandmother, and 4 more by his second wife, making for 16 kids total!

Growing up his life and its stories were captivating to me, my Dad had told me when he was twelve them being poor, the aunt he spent a lot of time living with had him wear Grandpa Pepper's uniform he wore home from Appomattox one winter because he had no coat, (he said it wasn't very warm, and after making some uniform item from the same English blue-gray kersey I agree), and my Dad, Uncle and their cousins played cowboy's and indians with his pistols, and Confederate money. I spent years trying to track down those items, the pistols were supposedly destroyed from their playing with them so much, and the coat remained elusive to me, all I knew was it was Grandpa Pepper's trunk. I finally found it and the fate of his uniform, as apparently after my Dad wore it he had so many pants tore up from his going through barb wire fences, (and with that I learned where I got the habit), and my aunt took it apart for repairing his cloths.

If your looking for any info on uniforms worn by Hilliard's Legion or the 60th Alabama, my years long "hunt" may be beneficial. As for the uniform coat my Dad had wore I'm almost certain from descriptions it was most likely a collar trim variant of a imported Peter Tait uniform. As for early War, there's once was a picture of John Pepper in uniform from early on, and descriptions of that picture, (I'm hunting now hunting for the picture) match up with the early War Alabama jackets like the one worn by one John Young Gillmore of the 3rd Alabama Infantry, so there's another Hilliard's Legion uniform with the other two variants I've found in pictures of Hilliard's Legionnaires.

An article featuring the Gillmore jacket- http://adolphusconfederateuniforms.com/state-of-alabama-quartermaster-uniforms-1861-1864.html
 
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#15
Outstanding, informative and very helpful map. I presume you are the Edward Alexander who made it. If so, congratulations on your fine work. Are your maps published somewhere?
Indeed, and thanks! 34 black and white maps I made accompany Will Greene's recently published A Campaign of Giants, the first of a three-volume Petersburg campaign study.
 
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#16
My understanding from a conversation with a park ranger a few years back is that the Gracie area has severe insect and snake overcrowding. I am specifically looking for troop placements in the first week of December, 1864.
Gracie was killed 12/2/64 and he was with the 43rd Alabama at the time of his death.
UPDATE: There is a path through the Gracie Salient now, it is walkable. There is tall grass in the area, not sure if the path is a beaten path through the grass or a dirt walking path. Hope to see it next week.
 
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#17
UPDATE: There is a path through the Gracie Salient now, it is walkable. There is tall grass in the area, not sure if the path is a beaten path through the grass or a dirt walking path. Hope to see it next week.
UPDATED UPDATE: We ended up getting the long-lat numbers, plugging that in to the Garmin and walking to the marker. I did not see flank markers. Unsure now where Gracie's (later Moody's) position actually was but the marker is in the area. The path is easily walkable and we took the usual precautions with bug spray. Most of the distance covered was via a formal pathway. The last bit was in a grassy area but the footpath was worn enough that I was comfortable about walking through there without concerns for snakes. This was our first trip to Petersburg/Richmond. We had to slog through some rain but we enjoyed it anyway.
 



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