Discussion Searching for the names of the officers awarded the Kearny Cross Medal

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...They are listed below, along with my best guess as to their correct identity:

#44, "Lieut. L. D. Bunipers", 57th Pennsylvania Infantry (Lorenzo D. Bumpas?)
#108, "Lieut. Fred. Althan", 38th New York Infantry (Frederick D. Althouse?)
#162, "Lieut. James Emri", 99th Pennsylvania Infantry (James Ennis?)
#211, "Lieut. Wm. Hall", 3rd Maine Infantry (William H. Hale?)
#216, "Lieut. J. W. Hart", 20th Indiana Infantry (Isaac W. Hart?)
#263, "Lieut. J. B. Schuler", 87th New York Infantry (John D. Schuller?)
#274, "Capt. J. Louis Maynard", 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry (Timothy L. Maynard?)
...
If I see it correctly your guesses are in accordance with the regimental muster rolls, right? Transcription errors are sadly frequent; and once they´re in the system they used to get copied countless times. So you really have a point with that.
 
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spinnin4s

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I just acquired an original Kearny medal #309 to a 1st Lt. R. H. Millar (could be wrong on the spelling-hard to read the engraved script). Medal mounted in an old glass frame along with an Army of the Potomac medal. Both with original ribbons and bars. Would appreciate any information on the recipient? Will try to get decent photos.
 

spinnin4s

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I just acquired an original Kearny medal #309 to a 1st Lt. R. H. Millar (could be wrong on the spelling-hard to read the engraved script). Medal mounted in an old glass frame along with an Army of the Potomac medal. Both with original ribbons and bars. Would appreciate any information on the recipient? Will try to get decent photos.
 

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spinnin4s

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Sep 23, 2017
I think I found him:
R. Howard Miller, 1st Lt. Co. E. Wounded at Petersburg VA June 22, 1864. Any chance there exists a photo of him?
 
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Bob Velke

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Beautiful medal!

Robert Howard Millar
(He spelled it with an "A" even though government records show "E")
Lt, Co. E, 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry
Born 3/16/1837 in Glenshaw, Allegheny Co, PA.
Died 2/1/1899 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Buried : Greenwood Cemetery, Glenshaw, PA.

millar_r_howard_@$urp_#766.jpg

millar_r_howard_$cwsi(2)_#766.jpg
miller_r_howard_$cwpi_#766.jpg
millar_r_howard_$ts_#766.jpg

obituary.jpg

Photo is from Gilbert Adams Hays' "Under the Red Patch: Story of the Sixty Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864." (Pittsburgh: Sixty Third Pennsylvania Volunteers Regimental Association, 1908).
Obituary is from The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Feb 1899, pg 11.
Tombstone photo is from FindAGrave.com.
 
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GFSnell3

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Hi Bob:
Did you ever finish you book? I'm interested in how the soldiers were nominated and selected for the Kearny. Was paperwork submitted? Does that paperwork still exist and if so where is it found? I'm assuming the soldiers who won the Kearny did so for bravery so are these deeds recorded somewhere? I'm particularly interested in H.H. Shaw and Albion Kennerson - both of Company D of the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment (along with Woodbury Hall - but I don't think he actually was awarded the Kearny). Any info you or anyone else can share would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Bob Velke

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Did you ever finish you book?
Finish? Ha.

"The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."
- Lewis Carroll

The criteria for the Kearny Medal (for officers) was very much different than for the Kearny Cross (for privates and non-comms). Every officer (in theory) who served under Kearny and whose record was "without stain" qualified for the Medal while common soldiers were awarded the Cross for gallantry or "meritorious and distinguished" service.

J. D. Bloodgood of the 141st PA said that the cross was awarded to "two or three of the survivors of each company, upon the recommendation of the company commander" and Charles Mattocks of the 17th Maine said that “Four men from each Co. of the Div. received one, upon the recommendation of the Captains.” There was some sour grapes among the non-recipients, claiming that some of the medals were awarded not because of bravery but merely because the recipients "happened to stand in the good graces of their company commanders."

But some regiments awarded the cross by vote. The only record of actual vote counts that I've found was by Pvt. John McAlees regarding the 1st Rhode Island Artillery: "Battery E selected William Torpy from the right section, John McAlees from the centre section, Albert N. Colwell from the left section. Martin Harvey was selected by a vote of the battery, the others by vote of the sections. The vote in the left section stood twenty for Colwell, ten for Harvey, four for Lewis, and one each for three others whose names are not recorded. The names of those not selected in the right and centre sections and the number of votes they received, are not on record."

I have been through many of the relevant regimental books at the National Archives. They contain the handwritten orders and records for each regiment, including General Order #48 which lists the first recipients, but I've not found any other records of the actual votes.

Nor is there usually a record of the actual deed - or even the specific battle - for which the soldier received the cross (including Henry Shaw and Albion Kennerson, I'm afraid). Most of the crosses were awarded immediately after Chancellorsville but, in doing so, G.O. #48 cited the gallantry of the men of the division (as a group) at the battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Glendale, Malvern, Manassas, Chantilly, Fredericksburg, The Cedars, and Chancellorsville.

Woodbury Hall is an interesting case study. I'll deal with him separately in the next message.
 
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Bob Velke

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Woodbury Hall - but I don't think he actually was awarded the Kearny
Starting with a side note, I will point out that I generally refrain from saying that any of the officers' medals was "awarded." A committee of fellow officers identified those who qualified, designed the medal, contracted with a company to manufacturer it "at $15 each," and resolved to order and distribute them - but there was no discussion of who would pay for them and no record that they were ever actually ordered or distributed as a group. (Gen. Birney and a citizen of Philadelphia purchased the soldiers' crosses several months later but there's no evidence that Birney had anything to do with the officer's medal - except that he received one.). In fact, there's some evidence that individual officers purchased their own medals, the officer's committee having made the point to "take bonds from the manufacturers of the medal, sufficient to prevent them from disposing of the same to persons not entitled to wear it."

Now, as to Woodbury Hall, he was promoted to 2nd Lt., Co. D, 3rd Maine Inf. in June of 1862 (and to 1st Lt. a year later) so he served under Kearny and would seem to qualify for the officer's Medal. But he is not listed by the officer's committee as having qualified for it. Some researchers point to the fact that Woodbury Hall was Court Martialed, this "stain" being the supposed reason for his being omitted from the official list of qualifying officers. But I pulled that Court Martial record and (1) it didn't happen until 1864 and (2) he was acquitted.

What's more, the US Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle, PA has this photo which it identifies as 1st Lt. Woodbury Hall and he is clearly wearing the medal:
hall_woodbury_@@$hec_#798_r154_small.jpg


The officer's committee did identify a "Lt. Wm. Hall" of the 3rd Maine (no company given) as qualifying for the medal. But I haven't found a service record of any kind for a Lt. William Hall.

Some researchers point to this pension index card as evidence that William Hall (aka Heald) of the 3rd Maine existed:

hale_william_h_$cwpi_#668_small.jpg


But I pulled that pension file and it is for William Hale (the handwriting is easily misread). What's more, Hale didn't enlist until 1864 and never rose above the rank of Private.

It is worth pointing out that in the nearly 100 pages of Lt. Woodbury Hall's pension file, he, his widow, examining doctors, and other witnesses only refer to him as Woodbury, never William. His extensive service record - not to mention his tombstone - also refers to him only as Woodbury.

From the weight of the evidence, one might easily conclude that the committee meant to say Woodbury, not "Wm." It would be far from the first time that the committee's report contained a misspelling. I hesitate only because one prominent and respected Kearny scholar claims that the photo above is, indeed, of William.

I haven't finished my research on him but if you have any information about Lt. William or Woodbury Hall, I would be happy to hear it.
 
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GFSnell3

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Starting with a side note, I will point out that I generally refrain from saying that any of the officers' medals was "awarded." A committee of fellow officers identified those who qualified, designed the medal, contracted with a company to manufacturer it "at $15 each," and resolved to order and distribute them - but there was no discussion of who would pay for them and no record that they were ever actually ordered or distributed as a group. (Gen. Birney and a citizen of Philadelphia purchased the soldiers' crosses several months later but there's no evidence that Birney had anything to do with the officer's medal - except that he received one.). In fact, there's some evidence that individual officers purchased their own medals, the officer's committee having made the point to "take bonds from the manufacturers of the medal, sufficient to prevent them from disposing of the same to persons not entitled to wear it."

Now, as to Woodbury Hall, he was promoted to 2nd Lt., Co. D, 3rd Maine Inf. in June of 1862 (and to 1st Lt. a year later) so he served under Kearny and would seem to qualify for the officer's Medal. But he is not listed by the officer's committee as having qualified for it. Some researchers point to the fact that Woodbury Hall was Court Martialed, this "stain" being the supposed reason for his being omitted from the official list of qualifying officers. But I pulled that Court Martial record and (1) it didn't happen until 1864 and (2) he was acquitted.

What's more, the US Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle, PA has this photo which it identifies as 1st Lt. Woodbury Hall and he is clearly wearing the medal:
View attachment 324691

The officer's committee did identify a "Lt. Wm. Hall" of the 3rd Maine (no company given) as qualifying for the medal. But I haven't found a service record of any kind for a Lt. William Hall.

Some researchers point to this pension index card as evidence that William Hall (aka Heald) of the 3rd Maine existed:

View attachment 324702

But I pulled that pension file and it is for William Hale (the handwriting is easily misread). What's more, Hale didn't enlist until 1864 and never rose above the rank of Private.

It is worth pointing out that in the nearly 100 pages of Lt. Woodbury Hall's pension file, he, his widow, examining doctors, and other witnesses only refer to him as Woodbury, never William. His extensive service record - not to mention his tombstone - also refers to him only as Woodbury.

From the weight of the evidence, one might easily conclude that the committee meant to say Woodbury, not "Wm." It would be far from the first time that the committee's report contained a misspelling. I hesitate only because one prominent and respected Kearny scholar claims that the photo above is, indeed, of William.

I haven't finished my research on him but if you have any information about Lt. William or Woodbury Hall, I would be happy to hear it.
This is fantastic information, Bob. Thank you kindly. I had no information about Woodbury Hall being court-martialed and would be very interested in any information you have on that episode. Here is my information about Woodbury from my own research on Company D of the 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It's written in prose style (and is still in draft - so forgive me my poetic license).

Woodbury Hall
1st Lieutenant, Sergeant, Corporal

As the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment trudged through the rain and slosh of south central Pennsylvania, the veteran regiment numbered 14 officers and 197 enlisted men, less than a fifth of its full strength. Plagued by disease and injury, the regiment still felt the sting of heavy losses at the Battle of Chancellorsville two months earlier.

Company D, under the command of Captain Alfred S. Merrill and 1st Lt. Woodbury Hall, mustered just 21 soldiers for the 1 July 1863 march to outskirts of a Gettysburg, a town nestled among low hills and pastures near the Potomac River. The troops plodded 14 hard miles before setting up camp for the night.

Woodbury noted in his diary, a black leather pocket-sized tome, that the weather was “warm and sultry” and that the “1st Corps had a skirmish, took 1500 prisoners.”[1] During camp, Company D was likely paired with another company, as Companies B, H, and I of the 3rd Maine no longer had any officers.

On 2 July 1863, as the sluggish heat and humidity burned into afternoon, the 3rd Maine had already survived a severe attack by Alabama troops. Still reeling from heavy casualties, the regiment was ordered into a peach orchard along Emmitsburg Road with the 2nd New Hampshire Infantry Regiment. The two regiments were placed in the orchard because it was a higher ground, but they were positioned at a right angle to the rest of the III Corps putting them in a vulnerable location where they could be attacked on two fronts.

At 4 p.m., four South Carolina regiments attacked the 3rd Maine’s front and then regiments from Mississippi struck them from the rear and right flank. The 3rd Maine quickly changed its line to face Emmitsburg Road in order to prevent the overwhelming Confederate forces from breaking the back of the III Corps. As the 3rd Maine dug-in to meet the Mississippi soldiers, “it received withering fire. The color company (K) was just forming on the prolongation of the line, when, struck by an enfilading volley, it literally melted away.”[2]

The fighting was so extreme that when the orchard owners returned after the battle they found their barn burnt to cinders, their farmhouse riddled with thousands of bullets, dozens of corpses hastily buried in shallow graves, and 48 dead horses rotting in the summer heat. A 12-pound artillery shell was lodged into the trunk of large cherry tree in front of their home.[3]

At the end of this terrible day of fighting, Woodbury scribbled in his diary: “We lost about 4 men killed.” Woodbury returned later to change the four to a five and later still crossed out the five to replace it with a six.[4] Of the 210 men who fought for the 3rd Maine at Gettysburg on this day a paltry 97 reported in that night. “One half of the others were lying on the field, dead and wounded.”[5]

The next day, on 3 July 1863, the 3rd Maine was ordered off the front lines to protect the 2nd Division of the II Corps. Woodbury noted in his diary, “Supporting a battery, a heavy battle at Gettysburg going on.”[6] He likely heard the artillery fire and volleys of gunshots ringing in the distance, but the fight at Gettysburg was over for Woodbury and the battered remains of the 3rd Maine.

Woodbury Hall was born on 3 August 1832 in Georgetown, Maine, but as a young child moved with his family 14 miles north to Woolwich, a town located across the Merrymeeting Bay from Bath. Woolwich was heavily forested and provided a lot of the timber necessary for the shipbuilders in Bath. When Woodbury moved there the population of the town was fewer than 1,400 people.

His father, Thomas Oliver Hall, was a farmer. He married Sarah Elizabeth Higgins of Bath on 7 July 1825 and they sired seven children of which Woodbury was the fourth. His siblings were Margaret Jane born in 1825, Sarah Elizabeth born in 1827, William James born in 1829, Thomas Stacey born in 1835, Charles Baker born in 1840, and George Washington born in 1844.

Woodbury’s family had resided and farmed in Maine for two generations, his grandfather John Hall Jr. moving north from North Carolina to the rocky coast of Maine at some point before 1790. What brought him to Maine is not known.

Woodbury’s great grandfather John Hall Sr. was born in North Carolina in 1747. John Hall Sr. was a thrice married grower who owned two African-American slaves in 1790 and three African-American slaves in 1800. He was also a veteran of the American Revolution. Woodbury’s great great grandfather Joseph Hall was Virginia born and moved to North Carolina where he owned several hundred acres of land and he, too, probably owned slaves.

In 1850, at the age of 18, Woodbury lived on his parents’ farm in Woolwich and worked as a laborer. The household included his father Thomas Oliver, 46, his mother Sarah Elizabeth, 44, and his siblings Margaret Jane, 25, Sarah Elizabeth, 23, William James, 21, Thomas Stacey, 15, Charles Baker, 10, and George Washington, 6. Also living with them was William G. Tibbetts, 25, and his son Melvin Tibbetts, eight months.

On 18 September 1853, Woodbury wed Mary Elizabeth Dodge in Woolwich. Mary Elizabeth was the second of five children born to Jonathan Basa Dodge and his wife Deborah (Dodge). She was born on Christmas Eve, 1834 in Sedgwick, Maine, a coastal town 100 miles north of Bath. Her father was a farmer and a lobsterman as well as a former Corporal for a brief stint in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812.

Woodbury and Mary Elizabeth raised six children together: Marietta born in 1857, Edgar Woodbury born in 1859, Elizabeth (known as Lizzie) born in 1861, Frederick E. born in 1866, Isabelle D. (known as Bell) born in 1868, and Thomas Oliver born in 1870.

On 28 October 1859, at the age of 27, Woodbury received a U.S. Seaman’s Protection Certificate in Bath and likely became a fisherman or lobsterman for a short time before taking employment in Bath as a carpenter in one of the many shipbuilding firms in Bath. In 1860, at the age of 29, he worked as a ship carpenter and lived in Woolwich. His household included his wife Mary, 26, and two of his children Marietta, 3, and Edgar Woodbury, 1.

At the age of 29, Woodbury enlisted in the U.S. Army on 25 April 1861. He volunteered at the same time as his uncle William H. Higgins, the younger brother of his mother and a fellow ship carpenter in Bath. Woodbury mustered with Company D as a Corporal on 4 June 1861 while his uncle made sergeant.

Woodbury, however, would rise quickly through the ranks due to his firm hand and dedication to duties. Woodbury made 2nd Sergeant on 21 September 1861. He was promoted again to 2nd Lieutenant on 15 June 1862. And finally, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 26 October 1862 (with his Uncle William reporting up to him as 2nd Lieutenant).

Woodbury’s rise was not without controversy. It strained his relationship with Higgins, his volatile uncle who was eager for a promotion and popular with the rank and file soldiers. Woodbury, however, had the support of Captain William H. Watson.

“Serg’t Woodbury Hall the person I recommended for Second Lieut. has always performed his duties well and faithfully and shown himself to be a good soldier in times of danger. His moral character is irreproachable. I consider him in every way worthy of a commission, which I trust will soon be granted,” Watson wrote.[7]

On 5 February 1862, Watson was forced by his superiors to hold an election among the enlisted men of the company to determine who would be promoted to 1st and 2nd Lieutenants. The men voted en masse for Higgins, Woodbury’s uncle. Of the 50 votes cast Higgins received 37 for 1st Lieutenant, and Alfred S. Merrill received 34 for 2nd Lieutenant. Not a single vote was recorded for Woodbury.[8]

Yet, Watson’s adamant support, and his dislike of Higgins, swung the day. Higgins temperamental disposition likely didn’t help his case either. Merrill was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and Woodbury to 2nd Lieutenant. The decision rankled Higgins and the rest of Company D. Private John Lakin wrote a letter of protest to the governor on behalf of the rest of the company.

“It was with pain and astonishment that we was informed last evening that Sergt. Woodbury Hall of this Company was commissioned a 2 Lieutenant,” the letter states. “This way of doing things that we can’t comprehend, now be it known that Woodbury Hall is not our choice. He’s obnoxious to the Company, but let that pass now. We humbly pray that Sergeant William H. Higgins of this Company may be commissioned a First Lieutenant according to our vote.”[9]

The protest, however, fell on deaf ears and no change was made.

On 29 December 1863, Woodbury’s father Thomas Oliver died at the age of 59. He left his estate of $2,000 to his wife Sarah. His was buried at Franklin Cemetery in Vienna, Maine.

Woodbury ended up the commanding officer of Company D for several weeks after the death of Captain Merrill at the Battle of Spotsylvania in May of 1864. Woodbury was mustered out of the service with the rest of the three-year volunteers of the 3rd Maine on 28 June 1864 when the regiment was disbanded.

Two of Woodbury’s brothers also fought in the war. Thomas Stacey enlisted in the U.S. Army on 10 September 1862 for a nine-month term. He mustered with Company F of the 28th Maine Infantry Regiment as the 1st Lieutenant of the company. He mustered out of the service with an honorable discharge in Augusta on 31 August 1863. His brother George Washington enlisted for one year as a private with 7th Maine Infantry Regiment.

After the war, Woodbury moved inland to Vienna, Maine, leaving behind ship carpentry and instead followed his father and grandfather’s footsteps to become a farmer. Vienna was a small farming village of less than 750 people speckled with ponds. In the mid-19th century, Vienna, 60 miles due north from Bath, had two churches: one Methodist and the other Baptist, one schoolhouse, and two gristmills.

In 1870, Woodbury owned 92 acres of farmland and 30 acres of woodland along a creek not far from Parker Pond. The farm was valued at $2,000, below average in Vienna. He claimed a $100 worth of farming equipment. His farm consisted of two horses, five milk cows, four oxen, four other cattle, 25 sheep, and one pig. His livestock was valued at $945. His farm in 1870 yielded 74 bushels of Indian corn, 53 bushels of oats, 49 bushels of barley, 9 bushels of peas and beans, and 233 bushels of potatoes. His yield produced $686. At this time, Woodbury was 37 years old and his family was: his wife Mary Elizabeth, 36, and his six children Marietta, 13, Edgar Woodbury, 11, Lizzie, 9, Fred, 4, Isabel, 2, and Thomas, four months old.

On 16 April 1873, his oldest daughter Marietta wed James Lewis Prescott in Vienna. She was 16 years old and James was 21. They had one son – Woodbury’s first grandchild James Bradley Prescott – born in 1882. He went by the nickname Leslie.

Woodbury’s mother Sarah Elizabeth died on 22 May 1879 in Vienna at the age of 72. In 1880, at the age of 48, Woodbury lived in Vienna on his farm. His household included his wife Mary Elizabeth, 46, and his children Edgar, 21, Fred, 14, Isabell, 12, and Thomas, 10.

Woodbury applied for an invalid veteran’s pension on 20 September 1889. In 1890, he registered as a veteran in Vienna. He lived in the northern section of town and suffered from both asthma and heart trouble.

In 1900, at the age of 67, Woodbury and Mary continued to live in Vienna. They had been married for 46 years. His grandson Leslie L. Prescott lived with him and helped farm the homestead. He was wealthy enough at this point to have a servant Clara Ambridge, 17, living with him.

Woodbury died of heart disease on 6 February 1903 in Vienna. He was 70 years old. He was buried in North Vienna Cemetery with an upright stone and flag provided by the GAR. Inscribed on his gravestone is “Lieut. Co. D 3rd Me. Vols.”

His wife Mary Elizabeth applied for a widow’s pension from the U.S. Army on 6 March 1903.


[1] Woodbury Hall, Unpublished Civil War diary.
[2] Maine at Gettysburg: Report of the Maine Commissioners, (Portland, Maine: The Lakeside Press, 1898), 131.
[3] William Kerrigan, “The Sherfy Peach Orchard,” American Orchard Blog, July 1, 2014, https://americanorchard.wordpress.com/tag/gettysburg/.
[4] Hall, Unpublished Civil War diary.
[5] Maine at Gettysburg: Report of the Maine Commissioners, 132.
[6] Hall, Unpublished Civil War diary.
[7] William H. Watson, Letter dated January 17, 1862 (Courtesy of Maine State Archives).
[8] William H. Watson, Letter dated February 5, 1862 (Courtesy of Maine State Archives).
[9] John Lakin, Letter dated February 7, 1862 (courtesy of Maine State Archives).
 
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Bob Velke

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Very interesting stuff about Woodbury, thanks! Where did you find his unpublished diary? What period of time does it cover?

Here are the pages about his Court Martial for deserting his post in the face of the enemy.
courtmartial_Page_1.jpg
courtmartial_Page_2.jpg
 

GFSnell3

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I found his diary on sale at an online auction house. It was up for thousands of dollars and I couldn't afford to buy it. But they had several entries uploaded and I screen grabbed them. I asked the house if they could provide me with a transcript for research purposes, but they ignored me. My great great grandfather also fought with the 3rd Maine - Corporal Charles F. Snell - and I have his diary from 61-65.
 

GFSnell3

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About Woodbury's court martial. Do you know if he was convicted? What was his punishment? And where did you get the paperwork on the court martial? Is there an online database with that information? Thanks!
 
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Bob Velke

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The court-martial index is only in a notebook at the National Archives in D.C. (and then you can pull the full Court Martial file). But Woodbury Hall is not there. Those pages are from his service record.

He wasn't convicted or he wouldn't have been honorably mustered out a month later nor would he have received a pension. After reviewing hundreds of Court Martial records, I find that very few of them were convicted, especially officers. Many claimed that petty charges were brought against them merely because their commander didn't like them or as a way of exerting power or discipline - not because they expected the charges to stick. I think that there was some truth to that.
 
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