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Hey all! Velma here. I know, I know. I’ve been seriously lacking in the family history posting. But I’m hoping to make it up to everyone over the next weeks and months.
Today is all for the Civil War Buffs out there. Today I’m posting a selection of my family’s representation in the War of Northern Aggression (that’s Confederate Tennessean for Civil War). Members of my ancestral line fought at some of the most famous and infamous battles in the war. I think it’s awesome that a few of them were in the vicinity of Appomattox when General Lee surrendered. That’s some serious history right there. I also found it interesting that Rebel Private Smith was fighting at Chickamauga, where the Yankee Captain Drake was taken prisoner.
If you’re looking to solve the mystery of your family’s Civil War Soldiers, I recommend starting at the NPS Soldiers and Sailors Database. Remember that there may be more than one soldier with your ancestor’s name, so there are other ways to find out exactly which Regiment and Company they were in. Try searching on Family Search. It’s free. I found my information in Tennessee Soldier and Widow Pension Records, US Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917, 1894 Michigan Census, and 1890 Union Veterans Schedule, among other sources. If you have an Ancestry.com account you can find the records there too, and are able to attach them to your family tree.
1. William Henry Grizzard (1826-1911) (Great Great Great Grandfather)
William Henry Grizzard, son of Thomas Ambrose Grizzard and Nancy Lewis, fought with the 11th Battalion, Tennessee Calvary (Gordon’s) as a Private in Company D. The 11th Cavalry Battalion [also called 10th Battalion] was organized in January 1862, with six companies. The men were recruited in Giles, Davidson, DeKalb, and Smith counties. By April 1862, when it was assigned to General N.R. Beall’s Brigade in the Army of the Mississippi, it contained 32 officers and 357 men. Later, when the battalion merged into the 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, William was a Sergeant in Company D, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel W.W. Gordon and William S. Hawkins. I’m still rooting out what battles they were involved in.
2. Josiah Richard “Dick” Smith (1837-1930) (Great Great Great Grandfather)
Josiah, son of Joseph “Josiah” Smith and Michel “Mickey” Shepherd, was born in Tennessee in April 1837. He enlisted as a Private in the 5th Regiment, Tennessee Calvary (McKenzie’s), Company F.
5th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry (McKenzie’s), was organized in December, 1862, using the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion as its nucleus. The men were from the counties of Polk, Hamilton, Meigs, McMinn, Bradley, Cocke, Hawkins, and Blount. It served in Scott’s, Humes’, H.B. Davidson’s, and H.M. Ashby’s Brigade. After skirmishing in Kentucky the unit fought at Chickamauga, McMinnville, Shelbyville, and Philadelphia. Later it was involved in various conflicts in Kentucky, Alabama, and Georgia, and then took part in the campaign of the Carolinas. The regiment surrendered with the Army of Tennessee. Its commanders were Colonels George W. McKenzie and John B. McLin, Lieutenant Colonel John G.M. Montgomery, and Major John L. Backwell.
1. Nathaniel Leonard Corbin 1828-1888 (Great Great Great Great Grandfather)
Nathaniel, son of Nathaniel Corbin and Nancy Ormrick, enlisted as a Private in Company K of the 9th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery on 16 August 1862 in Ira, New York. He was promoted to full Corporal on 26 April 1864 in Washington, D.C.
The 9th Regiment was organized at Auburn, New York as the 138th Regiment New York Infantry and mustered in September 8, 1862. The Regiment left New York for Washington, D. C. on 12 September 1862, where they remained on garrison duty until May 1864. During that time they build and garrisoned Fort Mansfield, Fort Bayard, Fort Gaines and Fort Foote. They were relieved on 18 May 1864 and ordered to join the Army of the Potomac in the Field. Company K was involved in The Rapidian Campaign, The Siege of Petersburg, Sheridan’s Shenandoah Campaign, Appomattox Campaign 28 March-9 April, including being present at Appomattox Court House on April 9th for the surrender of General Lee and his army.
Drake Brothers (Great Great Great Great Uncles)
Bronson, my great, great, great, great grandfather may have died in 1862, but the Drake family was well represented in the Union Army by 4 of his brothers. In 1859, Byron joined the 2nd U.S. Artillery as an Army Regular. In 1862, George, Lewis and Milton (aka Milan/Milon) enlisted the 22nd Regiment, Michigan Infantry. Sadly, the Drake family lost both George and Milton in 1864.
1. Byron Drake, son of Lewis Franklin Drake and Mary Broadwell, was born 27 February 1838. He enlisted as a private in the 2nd U.S. Artillery (Regular Army), Battery G, on 5 October 1859. He served five years, fought at the Battle of Bull Run, Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Fredricksburg, Battle of Gettysburg, and mustered out on 5 October 1864. After his time in the Army, Byron returned to Michigan and became a carpenter.
2. George B. Drake, son of Lewis Franklin Drake and Mary Broadwell, was born 21 June 1841. He enlisted in the 22nd Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Company B as a private. He gave his life on 20 August 1864 during the Siege of Atlanta, Georgia.
3. Lewis B. Drake, son of Lewis Franklin Drake and Mary Broadwell, was born 18 May 1830. He enlisted in the 22nd Regiment, Michigan Infantry, as a Sergeant and mustered out as a Captain. He served in both Company D and Company G. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. He returned to Michigan after the war.
4. Milton M. Drake, also Milan M. or Milon M. Drake, son of Lewis Franklin Drake and Mary Broadwell, was born 9 May 1832. He enlisted in the 22nd Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Company B as a private. He gave his life on 22 April 1864 near Chattanooga, Tennessee. At the time of his death, he was a Corporal.
The 22nd Regiment, Michigan Infantry was organized at Pontiac, Michigan, and mustered in August 29, 1862. The Regiment left Michigan for Kentucky on 4 September 1862. They were involved in the Battle of Chickamauga, Siege of Chattanooga, and the Siege of Atlanta, Georgia. The Regiment was attached to the Engineer Brigade in November 1863 and were engaged in building a road from Chattanooga to Brown’s Ferry and laying a pontoon bridge for the crossing of Sherman’s army.
5. George W. Nicholson 1845-1923 (Great Great Great Grandfather)
George, son of John S. Nicholson and Paulina F. Fuller, enlisted in the 2nd Regiment, Massachusetts Cavalry as a private in Company K on 12 August 1862 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. After the War, in the 1880’s, he settled in Owosso, Michigan.
Company K was organized at Camp Meigs, Readville, Massachusetts. They left for Baltimore, along with Companies, A, B, C and D, and then moved to Fortress Monroe, 12-18 February 1863. They were then moved to Gloucester Point, Virginia on 19 February. There they were attached to Calvary Command, 4th Army Corps, Department of Virginia. There they were engaged in picket, outpost, and scouting duty until July of 1863. It was there that George was shot in the right leg. He was mustered out on 4 March 1863 in Farnsworth, Virginia.
George enlisted in the Union Army the second time on 4 January 1864. But this time he was a private in Company I of the 20th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry. The 20th Massachusetts Infantry was organized at Readville 29 August to 4 September 1861. When George arrived they were attached to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, until March, 1864. They were then attached to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, until the end of his duty. He was involved in the Campaign from the Rapidan to the James, Siege of Petersburg. He was also among those present at Appomattox Court when General Lee surrendered. He mustered out in June of 1865. In 1881, George moved to Owosso, Michigan.
Hope you enjoyed this!
When my Nana asked me to help her with family tree research in like 1996, I was totally not interested. I listened to what she had uncovered and found it interesting. I did not want to look stuff up, UNTIL she called me with a mystery she couldn’t solve. Then I was hooked. I had to solve the mystery. I started researching and finding things out. My inner nerd still does a happy dance when I can solve a mystery. (Makes me feel like Velma…the smart one from Scooby Doo).
I really love finding out about my ancestors stories, where they lived, what they did for a living, what they believed & stood for and any personal anecdotes about their lives. I love finding out how my family fits into American history. I love it when I find the answers and solve the puzzle. But many times, I end up with more questions than answers, and that just drives me on to solve the mystery.
One of my favorite mysteries is George W. Nicholson, 1845-1923. He’s my great great great grandfather and a Civil War Veteran. Can you imagine what kind of stories he could tell you living from pre-Civil War to the beginning of the Roaring 20’s? I’d love to be able to talk to him about his experiences or read letters or journals he wrote. Those kinds of things to a genealogist are priceless and precious.
Since I don’t have a detailed journal of Grandpa George’s every move, I had to hunt up any records I could find. Let me tell you, this man has been quite the challenge! He’s still one of those mysteries that I NEED TO solve. I just recently found out that he died in the Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 22 May 1923. He was just 2 months shy of 78 years old. He lived in the Soldier’s home from at least 1910, as he’s listed as a resident on both the 1910 & 1920 Federal Censuses.
I kept searching and found that Grandpa George was born 4 July 1845 on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts to John S. and Paulina F. (Fuller) Nicholson. The family is listed on the 1850 Federal Census as living in Nantucket. George is most likely named for his Uncle George, John’s brother. All I know about his childhood is that his father, John, went to California during the gold rush when he was a small boy. John is listed on the California State Census for 1852, but his family isn’t. Since John sometimes worked as a carpenter and sometimes as a mariner (a person involved in seafaring work), I wonder if he went to California for a specific job or if he went to California to strike it rich. I wonder how the family felt about John’s trip to California. (See….more questions than answers). No matter why he went, John was back in Massachusetts by 1855, per the Massachusetts State Census.
The Veteran’s Schedule of 1890 tells me that Grandpa George enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 17. He first enlisted with the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Company I on 13 August 1862. He served with Company I until March of 1863. He was then registered with 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, Company K. He served with Company K from 4 January 1863 through 30 June 1865 when he mustered out. The record shows that he was wounded. From what I can discern, it looks as though he was wounded and sent home in March of 1863, and then when he recovered he enlisted again with the 2nd MA Cavalry.
Knowing what regiments he was in means that I can look up the regiment and find out which battles he fought in. Personally I think this is super cool.
20th Inf, Co I: http://www.civilwarintheeast.com/USA/MA/MA20.php
2nd Cav, Co K: http://www.civilwarintheeast.com/USA/MA/MA2cav.php
The next time he is listed on a document is his marriage record 29 October 1884. What was he up to between 1865 and 1884? I’m very curious why he left Nantucket and what made him decide to go to Michigan. And when???? I wonder how he met his wife Katie (Anna Katherina Schneider). I also wonder about Katie. I know from their marriage record that Katie was a German immigrant who came from the city of Wesel. Katie was born in 1864 and died in Owosso sometime between 1892-1895. That’s all I know about her. George married his 2nd wife, Laura Gue, on 14 July 1895. Laura was a widow. At the time of their marriage, George’s three children were 10, 7 and 3. His eldest, John Henry, is my great great grandfather.
I want to find the census records from 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900 because I think that would help me answer some of my questions about how and when Grandpa George went to Michigan. But as of now I’ve not had any success finding him on any censuses except the aforementioned 1910 and 1920 censuses.
Are you interested in family tree research? I have some good links for finding information, some of which are free. I am willing to share tips and such if people are interested. Truthfully, I can talk for days about family tree research, but if no one’s interested, I won’t. (Then again this is MY blog…so I might anyway….MUAH-HAHA-HA).
That’s all for now. Have a Trrrific Tuesday!