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- Jan 16, 2015
On July 4, 1863, seriously wounded Confederates who could stand the travel during the retreat were placed into army ambulances and wagons (frequently empty forage or ammunition wagons), or even in private conveyances that had been confiscated in Pennsylvania. Below three examples (more to follow later) identify the type of vehicle, the occupants, their regiment and other details. The source is always one of the wounded occupants, as noted. Rarely identified is the teamster who drove the vehicle, although he was usually a member of the same regiment.
The data was pulled together to better understand how the wagon train of wounded was organized, determine the fate of the wounded (whether they recovered to serve again), the segregation of officers from enlisted men, and other details of the journey itself. It is not that common to find sources who mention their travel companions, which I suppose may be attributed to the utter misery of the journey and exhaustion of the occupants, who were just trying to survive a grueling ordeal, all the while facing the threat of attacks by Federal cavalry. It appears the route took them to Williamsport, Maryland by early July 6, and subsequently across the Potomac once the water level dropped, and thence to Winchester, Virginia, with onward travel to either the railroad terminus at Staunton (bound for Richmond), or other hospitals in Virginia.
A. Wagon, carrying five wounded of the 22nd North Carolina Infantry:
Captain Gaston V. Lamb, Company I, wounded by gunshot in both thighs on July 1, his second wound of the war. He was admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 21, and was furloughed five months later. Lamb returned to the army and was wounded a third time in the left leg at Jericho Mills on May 23, 1864. He surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.
Captain Joseph T. Conley, Company B, wounded on July 3. He made it only as far as Winchester, where he died on July 29. His effects, consisting of $13.20, were given to his father.
Second Lieutenant Oliver M. Pike, Company L, wounded by gunshot in right foot on July 1. He was admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 21 and two days later was furloughed for 60 days. As of November 15, 1864 he was serving as a conscript officer in North Carolina.
Sergeant William W. Cunningham, Company H, wounded on July 1. He was captured in a hospital in Jordan Springs, Virginia on July 26, and died on July 31.
Private A. J. (Aurelius James) Dula, Company A, wounded on July 2 by a shell in both legs and by another shell fragment in the foot, while lying down in the line of battle. Assistant Surgeon Benjamin A. Cheek gave Dula a choice of going back in a wagon or staying behind to be captured. He elected to ride. Dula said they received nothing to eat or drink until they arrived in Williamsport on July 6. Late the same afternoon, while the teamster’s fight was in progress nearby, Dula crawled out of his wagon and onto the ferry boat to cross the Potomac. He was admitted to Chimborazo Hospital #5 in Richmond on July 15 and transferred to Raleigh on July 28. Dula returned to the army and was captured at Jerusalem Plank Road on June 22, 1864. He was exchanged at Boulware’s Wharf on February 20, 1865. He recalled his experiences in 1908.
(Sources: Private A. J. Dula, Civil War Incidents, Old Fort, North Carolina, September 22, 1908, Duke University Libraries, Special Collections, Section A; Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg)
B. Wagon, carrying six wounded, all from Company H, 4th Texas Infantry:
Private Zack Landrum, shot through the thigh above the knee on July 2, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 24, but it seems all of the Texans were soon forwarded to the Texas Hospital in Richmond. Zack wrote letters to his mother from Winchester, Virginia on July 15, and from Richmond on August 24, noting that he and five others from his company rode in a wagon to Williamsport. They drove without stopping or anything to eat. Landrum continued the journey to Winchester in an ambulance. He was admitted to General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 24. Landrum did not identify his five comrades, but the following four from his company were probably with him until Williamsport:
Private F. G. King, severely wounded in the shoulder, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 19. King was present with his regiment by early 1864.
Private Robert Rankin, finger shot off, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 19. He eventually returned to his regiment.
Private James H. Sharp, contusion of the foot, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 19. He was killed June 22, 1864 in the trenches before Petersburg.
Private John H. Talliaferro, gunshot wound in the thigh, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 15. He was honorably retired on July 8, 1864.
(Sources: Letters of Zack Landrum, Robert L. Brake Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA; Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg; http://www.civilwarrichmond.com/general-hospitals/general-hospital-9)
C. Wagon, carrying at least five wounded of Company I, 8th Georgia Infantry:
1st Lieutenant John C. Reid, gunshot wound right knee, admitted July 13 to General Hospital #4 in Richmond. While halted in Cashtown, an unidentified woman dressed his wound and gave him bread, honey and milk [it might have been Eliza Stem, the wife of a local physician, Dr. William C. Stem]. Reid asked “if she was a copperhead and she pleasantly replied that she would not yet declare her sentiments.” At Greencastle, on July 5, their wagon narrowly escaped a raid by Federal cavalry; they were saved by Confederate infantry assigned to guard the train.
2nd Lieutenant Columbus Heard, gunshot left side of abdomen. After traveling a short distance, Heard had to be left behind at Cashtown, where he was captured and sent to the Union General Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania. He was exchanged on March 22, 1865.
3rd Lieutenant John Wesley McClesky, gunshot wound in the leg, admitted to General Hospital Charlottesville, Virginia on July 12. He returned and was commanding the company as of mid-1864.
Private Thomas J. “Tom” Oliver. He was at the hospital in Gordonsville, Virginia as of August 8, 1863.
Copelan. It is not clear which Copelan/Copeland - there were several. Reid says it was “Billy” but that is not supported by William Copelan’s Compiled Service Records.
(Sources: Diary of 1st Lt. J. C. Reid, on file at Gettysburg National Military Park; Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg)
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