Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, NY

For this post, a trip through Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, NY and a number of famous Civil War soldiers who are interred there.

The grave of Major General George H. Thomas, "The Rock of Chickamauga."  One of the most well known officers of the Civil War, Thomas actually hailed from Virginia.  At the outbreak of the war his family was shattered with his allegiance to the Union.  The fractures were never repaired with his siblings, even after the war ended.  Thomas died in April of 1870 and was laid to rest here.  In attendance of his funeral were approximately 10,000 people, including Generals Meade, Hooker, Sheridan, Rosecrans, Schofield and Sherman.  President Grant and his cabinet were also in attendance.

The grave of Private William Henry Freeman, 169th New York Infantry.  As you can see by his plaque, he is a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  He won the award because of his actions in 1865 during the attack on Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  The brigade color bearer went down and he picked up the flag, continuing forward through a hail of shot and shell.

Here lies Colonel George Lamb Willard.  Willard was born in New York City and served in the Mexican War and antebellum army.  He became Colonel of the 125th New York Infantry and shared its fate through the debacle at Harpers Ferry in September of 1862.  After being paroled, the unit finally rejoined the Army of the Potomac in time for the Gettysburg Campaign.  Willard, being the senior officer, commanded the Third Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps.  On the evening of July 2, Willard's Brigade filled the gap in the Union line on Cemetery Ridge and careened head long into Barksdale's Mississippians in the Plum Run Valley.  After driving back the Confederates, Willard ordered his men back towards the top of the ridge when a shell came screaming in and hit the Colonel, killing him instantly.

Corporal Edwin Moss Jr., Company H 104th New York Infantry - Moss was wounded at Antietam and captured at Weldon RR in 1864.  He died at the young age of 32 and one can only ponder if it related to his war wounds.

Brevet Major General Joseph Bradford Carr - Carr worked in the Tobacco industry before the war in Troy, NY.  At the war's outbreak he recruited the 2nd New York Infantry, of which he became the Colonel.  He served through many of the Eastern Theater's greatest battles and eventually commanded a Brigade in the Third Corps, which he led at Gettysburg and was wounded.  Eventually Carr led a division but because of appointment issues with rank he was moved by Grant to the 18th Corps under Butler where he served the rest of the war, commanding a division of African-American soldiers.

The view from Oakwood Cemetery across Troy, NY and the Hudson River Valley. 
Brigadier General William Badger Tibbits - His father was the mayor of Troy, NY.  Before the war he attended law school and when the war broke out he helped to recruit a company of Carr's 2nd New York Infantry, for which he became its Captain.  He served at Big Bethel, on the Peninsula, at Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, by which time he was the regiment's Major.  In 1864 he re-enlisted as the Colonel of the 21st New York Cavalry and he commanded a Brigade at the battle of New Market in The Valley.  He then commanded a division as Colonel and was finally promoted to Brigadier General at the close of the war.  

Reuben Richards mustered into the 12th New York Independent Battery in September of 1862.  The battery was part of the Army of the Potomac's Artillery Reserve and saw action on numerous battlefields.  He was captured at Petersburg in June of 1864 and mustered out in June of '65.

Captain Thomas F. Sheldon, 125th New York Infantry - Commanded Company A and was captured at Harpers Ferry in September of '62.  He served with the regiment through the war and was discharged for disability in September of 1864.
2nd Lt. Charles Sheldon, 12th New Hampshire - He enlisted in 1862 with Company G of the 12th New Hampshire Infantry.  He was promoted to Sergeant and was wounded on July 2, 1863 along the Emmitsburg Road at Gettysburg.  In June of  1863 he was acting as the company's 2nd Lieutenant and he was mortally wounded in the leg at Cold Harbor (his leg was amputated).  He died of complications from the amputation, receiving his 2nd Lt.'s commission, too little, too late, on July 16, 1864.  He lays side by side with his brother.

Colonel Daniel D. Tompkins - He was a West Point Graduate and commissioned Colonel in 1856 in the Quartermaster Department.  He was serving as the Assistant Quartermaster General in Brooklyn, NY when he died of disease in February of 1863 at the age of 63.

Major General John Ellis Wool - Wool was born in 1784 and served as a Major (and was wounded) in the War of 1812.  He became a Brigadier General in 1841 and participated in the Mexican War, choosing the battlefield at Buena Vista, for which he was Brevetted Major General.  He commanded the Department of the East and Pacific on different occasions before the Civil War.  At the outbreak of the Civil War he was commanding Fortress Monroe.  He was given command of the Department of Virginia until May of 1862.  He was then commissioned Major General and sent to Baltimore to command the Middle Military Department.  He was then moved to New York City, where in July of 1863 he commanded the troops who quashed the Draft Riots.  Finally in August, after a storied military career, he retired and died in 1869.

Soldier's Plot at Oakwood Cemetery - There are men from the 54th, 66th, 77th, 125th, and 132nd New York buried here as well as men from the 57th PA, 4th MN and numerous other veterans from all our wars.

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