Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Yankees in the Attic

Posted in Genealogy, Memory by Andy Hall on July 2, 2011

Not my attic, as it happens, but my wife’s. It’s hardly a surprise, but it’s good to be able to confirm specific names and dates, rather than some vague understanding passed down by oral history. It appears that her great-grandfather’s two older brothers, James Bradley Ridge and George B. Ridge, both fought for the Union during the Civil War. Bradley, aged about 17, enlisted in Co. K of the 5th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry on July 21, 1861, and served with the regiment until discharged on July 5, 1865. His older brother George, age about 19, enlisted in the same company in January 1862, and served through the end of the war. He was promoted to Corporal in June 1865, and mustered out of the regiment on July 19, 1865 at Alexandria, Virginia.

The 5th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was originally composed of companies formed in response to that state’s governor’s call for volunteers in April 1861. These units were disbanded after Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops in May 1861, and reorganized themselves as the First Regiment, Colt’s Revolving Rifles, with famed gun maker Samuel Colt as their prospective colonel. The new regiment was quartered on the grounds of the Colt Patent Fire Arms Company at Hartford, but when Colt determined that the regiment should enlist as regulars, the new recruits refused. So the First Regiment of Colt’s Revolving Rifles was disbanded (again) and immediately reformed (again) as the 5th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. And they never did get their Colt Revolving Rifles.

As part of the Army of the Potomac, the 5th Connecticut took part in Pope’s campaign in northern Virginia, and were heavily engaged at the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862. On that day Pope’s army ran smack into that of Stonewall Jackson. After initially pushing back the Confederate line, a swift counterattack by A.P. Hill’s troops turned the course of the action late in the day. The 5th Connecticut, in the thick of the fighting near a local landmark known as “the cabin” (below), lost 48 men killed or mortally wounded, 67 wounded and 64 captured, or 179 of the 380 men present — 47.1% casualties. The regimental history notes ruefully that these losses were “as large as all the rest of its battle service put together,” and among the highest of any Connecticut regiment during the entire war.

“Charge of Union troops of the left flank of the army commanded by Genl. Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain,” by Edwin Forbes. Library of Congress.

The regiment was present at Second Manassas (Bull Run), and the following year in the Chancellorsville and Gettysburg campaigns. After Gettysburg, the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Cumberland, where in 1864 it participated in Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. According to its regimental history, the 5th Connecticut led the column of Sherman’s army that marched into Atlanta on September 2, 1864, after that city’s surrender:

September 2d. We all move forward toward the city of Atlanta, leaving our tents standing. Our regiment has the advance, and the Fifth Regiment Connecticut Veteran Volunteers have the honor of being the first Union regiment to march through the streets of the city of Atlanta. We have certainly earned the honor, for we have made a long and tedious campaign, having been 112 days and nights continually under fire, sleeping many nights in the trenches, fighting at every opportunity, always holding the ground and routing those opposed to us, and finishing the campaign with great honor to ourselves, to the State and to the General Government.

General Sherman says that we will rest in the city for thirty days, and I believe him.

Federal troops occupy former Confederate defensive works at Atlanta. A diarist in the 5th Connecticut recorded on September 10, 1864, “have visited the lines of fortification built by ourselves and the rebels around this city, and also looked around the city. Terrible destruction by shot and shell everywhere.” Library of Congress.

The 5th Connecticut went on to participate in Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” and in fighting up through the Carolinas in 1865. Bradley Ridge was reported missing after the Battle of Averasboro in North Carolina in March 1865, but eventually returned to the regiment. (I have not yet received his CSR, so don’t know the specifics, or if he was captured by Confederate forces.)

That particular line of my wife’s family has a long tradition of military service — her grandfather was gassed with the AEF during World War I, her dad served in the wars in Korea and Vietnam, her brother flew on medical evacuation missions during Desert Storm, and so on. Now that list goes a little farther back, still.



3 Responses

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  1. Tim from Alabama said, on July 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Cedar (Slaughter) Mountain or Cedar Run (Creek)

    I am a Vietnam Vet. Dad was a WW II Vet. Granddad was a WW I vet. His Granddad was in the 48th Alabama Infantry and his grave at Old Bethel Baptist cemetery in Forney, Alabama on the Georgia line a few feet from a veteran of the Georgia Brigade in A P Hills Light Division. Both are marked by foot markers placed placed by the SCV. (My great grandfather is buried at Hebron Baptist Church cemetery in the family plot at Key on the road to Centre.)

    Ggggrandpa gave three sons to the 48th Alabama, Company H, The Cherokee Grays. The oldest, John Morgan, was killed when the left (Garnett) was folded in at Cedar Mountain by the attack of Banks. The youngest, Garland, died in Cherabusco Hospital in Richmond in December after surviving Groveton, Second Bull Run and Antietam. Grandpa was “sick in hospital” until the day Garland died. He was returned to duty during the Fredricksburg campaign. The 47th and 48th were moved from Talliferro’s Brigade in Jackson’s Division to Law’s Brigade in Hood’s Division by the January reorganization of the army. They were in Suffolk with Longstreet during Chancellorsville. He was “present for duty” at Gettysburg and Chicamauga and wounded and captured at the Wilderness near where Longstreet and Jenkins were shot. (One archive index card says Spottsylvania Court House but they did happen almost in unison so the fact is he spent the last year of the war in Point Lookout Maryland prison hospital and lived until October 1, 1886.)

    His descendant married a descendant of the 44th Alabama, Company F. Go figure.

    Therefore both direct paternal and maternal ancestors were at Devils Den in the Vally of Death and survived to fight at Chicamauga.

    The paternal ancestor came up missing at that point. I believe he was killed in a surprise night assault on the bank of the Tennessee River just below Chattanooga proper after September 17th. The report reads of unexpected odds resulting in many being buried alive or dead in trenches. We have not found any record of him since although his widow did marry a man named Jones right after the war who made a half hearted attempt to help raise his six year old step son. My great uncle told me his grandfather moved in with his brother. The census record does show ggrandpa changing his residence to a slightly older head of household with the same last name later.

    That makes three solidly researched and documented Civil War ancestors out of a possible 16 to 32 or so. We are known as a nation of record keepers. Some were too young and some were too old. I feel there are more direct ancestors, not counting uncles, out there in library and cyberspace. But without firm leads by way of positive brother and sister name identification, the risk of diverting off on a proverbial “wild goose chase” can make for a wasted effort. Still looking for the occasional clue though.

    According to the OR, Company H was used on pickett duty for the advance on Devils Den, The Slaughter Pen and Big Round Top through Rose Woods 148 years ago today.

    They are expecting four million people there two years from now. Hopefully not on the same day. I refuse to stand in a line that long at General Picketts all you can eat buffet.

  2. Tim from Alabama said, on July 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Oh yeah, almost forgot.

    The 44th was mustered in at Selma in Dallas County in March 62′. They trained there for a month then rode a train to Richmond to join three Georgia brigades in Rans Wright’s Brigade in May as the lone Alabama regiment. (Lee did not like Wright because he was a drinker. He was later punished with only three Georgia brigades instead of four. That is how Lee rated you as a commander. He gave Longstreet more brigades than Jackson after The Seven Days for a job well done. Jackson lost brigades for his deployment to find Pope in northern Virginia after the only real suspect performance of record.)

    Grandpa in the 48th was mustered in at the train depot at Loachapoka near Auburn University. (We’re number one!) That was in April so they were diverted in Montgomery from a train to Missisippi to one bound for Ashland, Virginia in June. Jackson picked them up on his way to Manassas through Groveton by way of Cedar Mountain. Grandpa did not get sick until Antietam. I figure he was allowed to stay with Garland until it was no longer necessary. The date of death and return to duty for both is the same exact day. Go figure.

    • Bob Hubbard said, on May 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Tim, just ran across this. I, also, am a son of Alabama, and my great grandfather was 1st Sgt. of Company K, 48th Alabama, He enlisted in 1961, but apparently in the 7th Alabama who were to form the cadre of the 48th in 1862, He fought all through the war, was never wounded, sick or captured. He was proud to say he ‘stacked arms with Bobby Lee at the Courthouse.

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