Dr. John Wyeth, who documented the exploits of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry in the latter portion of the Civil War, started out as a private in the 4th Alabama Cavalry of Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s corps. Wyeth was present at the June 27, 1863 Battle of Shelbyville, Tennessee, during the Tullahoma Campaign. Shelbyville was an overwhelming Union victory, where Col. Robert H. G. Minty’s single brigade, augmented by two additional regiments, shattered Wheeler’s command, routed it, and sent Wheeler himself flying headlong into the deep, rushing waters of the Duck River to escape capture.

Pvt. John A. Wyeth, 4th Alabama Cavalry.

Writing in 1898, Wyeth left this vivid description of the mounted fighting at Shelbyville. It’s too good of a …

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Here’s the next in my infrequent series of profiles of forgotten cavalrymen of the American Civil War.

George S. Acker was born near Rochester, New York on December 25, 1835. In 1839, his family relocated to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he lived the rest of his life. “He was a bright and chivalrous young man,” recalled a local resident. He worked in a Kalamazoo hotel before the outbreak of the Civil War, where he was a “popular assistant.”

With the coming of war, he decided to enlist. He helped to recruit a company of the 1st Michigan Cavalry and was commissioned a captain. While serving in the 1st Michigan Cavalry, Acker “took an active part in the contests at Winchester, Orange …

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William Douglas Hamilton was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland on May 24, 1832. He immigrated to the United States with his parents and two siblings six years later, and the family settled on a 200-acre farm near Newark in Licking County, Ohio. Two uncles had had settled in Ohio three years earlier, and parents followed their brothers to America, settling in a a Scottish enclave that developed along the National Road in Central Ohio.

As a youth, he worked on the farm and then taught school to earn his way through college and then law school. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan College in Delaware, Ohio and from the Cincinnati Law School in 1859. He then established a law office in Zanesville …

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It’s been a very long time since my last post, and even longer since my last Forgotten Cavalrymen profile. I’ve been working on the February 11, 1865 Battle of Aiken, South Carolina, which will spur several of these profiles. Here’s the first one, of Lt. Col. Matthew Van Buskirk of the 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry.

Matthew Van Buskirk was born in Buckmantown, Clinton County, New York, on January 1, 1835. He was the son of Lorenzo Dow Van Buskirk and Louisa Van Buskirk, and had one brother, Albert, born March 20, 1841 (Albert Van Buskirk was killed in action at the Battle of Drury’s Bluff near Petersburg, Virginia on May 16, 1864). After completing his education, the young man relocated …

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My old friend and fellow cavalry historian Bob O’Neill has started a new blog that I want to recommend to you. Bob is THE authority of the cavalry battles in the Loudoun Valley of Virginia during the Gettysburg, and that’s one of the focuses of the blog, which is called Small but Important Riots. That’s the title of Bob’s excellent but LONG out of print on these engagements from 1993. Bob’s working a new edition–truly excellent news for those of us interested in these fascinating engagements–and has also written a very good book on the cavalry division assigned to the defenses of Washington until just before the Battle of Gettysburg that I commend to you.

Bob’s new blog, which I …

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An 1876 portrait of Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade. Many of Meade's possessions are in this collection

An 1876 portrait of Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade. Many of Meade’s possessions are in this collection

From Philly.com today:

Civil War Museum transfers collection to Gettysburg with Constitution Center exhibit planned
Updated: May 4, 2016 — 3:22 AM EDT
by Stephan Salisbury, Culture Writer

The homeless Civil War Museum of Philadelphia, steward of what scholars regard as one of the finest collections of Civil War materials anywhere but possessing no place to display them, reached an agreement Monday to transfer ownership of its roughly 3,000 artifacts to the Gettysburg Foundation, the private, nonprofit partner of the National Park Service.

At the same time, the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall has agreed to mount a permanent exhibition exploring the

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I just found a very interesting tidbit….

A certain Gettysburg licensed battlefield guide has stated a theory that Farnsworth’s Charge occurred a mile or so away from where traditional accounts place it. I’ve always maintained that that theory is just that–a theory. J David Petruzzi and I wrote a very lengthy essay rebutting this theory that appears as an appendix to the second edition of my book Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, the content of which was largely based on the words and comments of the veterans of the battle.

I just found a new one. In this one, a private of the Fifth Corps, wrote, “During this time the Union cavalry made its appearance on our left in rear …

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AlfieIt’s an open question as to who was the worst, biggest, most pathological liar: Alfred Pleasonton or Phil Sheridan. Both were incapable of telling the truth, and both were known for prevaricating in the interest of self-promotion. As I have described him here previously, Pleasonton was a lead from the rear kind of a guy who was a masterful schemer and political intriguer. Pleasonton was the sort of guy who would start a fight on the playground and then step back and watch the chaos that he had started. And he was known for telling whoppers in the hope of promoting himself and his moribund career; his persistent lying and scheming ultimately cost him his command with the Army of …

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Yesterday was the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Morton’s Ford, fought on February 6, 1864. I had wanted to get something posted yesterday, but I was presenting at a symposium and then had a 7.5 hour drive today to get home. So, unfortunately, this is a day late. Let’s hope it’s not a dollar short. 🙂

Waren-MFFor a larger view of this map, please click on it.

Second Corps division commander, Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays, whose troops fought at Morton's Ford

Second Corps division commander, Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays, whose troops fought at Morton’s Ford

This is a brief but comprehensive article on the battle written by Clark B. “Bud” Hall that appeared in the :

“A Curious Affair:” The Battle of Morton’s Ford, February 6, 1864 Proceeding south on Batna Road (Rt.

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One of my partners in the law firm where I practice law mentioned to me last week that he had an ancestor who was a Civil War soldier, and that one of his letters home had survived. Those sorts of things always interest me, so, at my request, John brought me a copy of the transcription of the letter today. After reading it, and realizing that its content was both very rare and very interesting, I asked John for permission to share it here on the blog. Thanks to John Cook for giving me permission to do so.

John’s ancestor was Maj. Alonzo W. Baker of the 139th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.The 139th Ohio Infantry was organized at Camp Chase in …

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