Charles White and the Civil War

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Charles White

Charles was the son of James and Abigail White.  He was born March 19, 1843, at Montville. Cayuga County, New York.He is listed in the 1850 Moravia census as living with his parents.  He is seven years old.He is listed in the 1860 Moravia census as living with his parents and attending school.  His occupation is apprentice cooper.  His father James was a cooper.In the 1870 census, he is listed with a wife and one child and with a brother George.  His occupation is sawyer.Charles answered President Lincoln’s first call for volunteers in 1861.  He joined the New York Volunteers who were later part of the Army of the Potomac. White was a fifer in the Fife and Drums Corps.His unit was                

Company I   

111 Regiment       

New York Volunteers

2nd Brigade

3rd Division

2nd Army Corps 

Army of the Potomac 

Charles was one of ten children of James and Abigail White

1. Nancy                        1835       

2. Lucinda                      1837   

3. Levi                            1839                 

4. Melinda                      1841                 

5. Charles                       1843                 

6. Lucy Ann                   1845                 

7. George                       1847                  

8. Marritte                      1849                  

9. William                      1852                 

10. Frank                      1855  

The Battle of the Wilderness

Education is not a passive experience.  H.F. Shinn

The Battle of the Wilderness, fought from May 5 to May 7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition against Lee's army and, eventually, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia. The battle was tactically inconclusive, as Grant disengaged and continued his offensive.While waiting for the arrival of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's First Corps, which had been posted 25 miles (40 km) to the west to guard the crucial railroad junction of Gordonsville, Lee pushed forward his Second Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, and the Third Corps under the command of Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill, in an effort to engage Grant before he moved south. The Confederates were able to do this, and on May 5, both Ewell, on Lee's left flank, and Hill on the right, clashed with Union soldiers.On the left, Ewell met up with the V Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, and fought it to a standoff. For much of the day, Ewell's 20,000-man corps actually held a slight numerical advantage on this part of the field. But on the right, Hill was hit hard and driven back by the Union II Corps under Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock and a division from the VI Corps. He held his ground, however.On May 6, Hancock, now commanding close to 40,000 men, resumed the attack on Hill's corps, while heavy Union reinforcements on Ewell's front prevented Lee from sending Second Corps men to aid Hill. By late morning, Hancock had driven Hill's corps back more than two miles and inflicted heavy casualties. With the Third Corps in dire straits, Lee began to look desperately for Longstreet, whose arrival had been expected hours before.At around noon, Longstreet and the 20,000-man First Corps arrived at last, and its timing was perfect. Hancock's men were tired and disorganized from six hours of fighting. When Longstreet hurled his forces at the Union attackers, they recoiled and within two hours, the situation was totally reversed. Not only had Longstreet regained all the ground lost, he had advanced one mile beyond that, forcing Hancock to regroup along the Brock Road. At a crucial moment in the fighting, Longstreet attacked through the cut of an unfinished railroad that had divided the Union forces in two, increasing the confusion. However, Longstreet did not have enough men to complete his victory, and the fighting soon petered out near the Brock Road. As the fighting wound down on this part of the battlefield, Longstreet was badly wounded and did not return to the Army of Northern Virginia for several months. (Ironically, Longstreet was the victim of friendly fire, just as fellow general Stonewall Jackson had been nearby a year previously.)Just as this phase of the battle was ending, a division of the Second Corps under Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon launched one final assault on the Union right, partially turning the Army of the Potomac's flank and taking close to 1,000 prisoners. But darkness fell before the Confederates had a chance to press their advantage, and with that, the battle came to a close.On May 8, Grant ordered the Army of the Potomac to resume its advance, and a few days later, the two armies clashed again 10 miles to the southeast, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

The Battle of Spotsylvania

The Confederates won the race to Spotsylvania, and on May 9, each army began to take up new positions north of the small town. As Union forces probed Confederate skirmish lines on May 9 to determine the placement of defending forces, Union VI Corps commander Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter; he was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright. Lee deployed his men in a trench line stretching more than four miles (6.5 km), with artillery placed that would allow enfilade fire on any attacking force. There was only one major weakness in Lee's line—an exposed salient known as the "Mule Shoe" extending more than a mile (1.6 km) in front of the main trench line. Lee recognized this weakness during the fighting of May 10, when twelve Union regiments under the command of Col. Emory Upton followed up a concentrated, intense artillery attack by slamming into the toe of the Mule Shoe along a narrow front. They actually broke the Confederate line, and the Second Corps had a hard time driving them out. Upton's attack won him a promotion on the spot to brigadier general, and it became a staple of military textbooks on how to break an enemy trench line. Similar tactics were used by Germany in its successful March 1918 offensive during World War I.Actions at Spotsylvania Court House, May 10, 1864.Actions at Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864.Seeing the danger, Lee began to lay out a new defensive line across the heel of the Mule Shoe that night, but before he could get it finished, Grant sent his entire II Corps of 15,000 men, commanded by Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, to attack the position in the same manner Upton had. This time, the breach in the Confederate line was complete, thanks in large part to an order from Lee that had already pulled much of the Confederate artillery back to the new line. The II Corps took close to 4,000 prisoners and probably would have cut the Army of Northern Virginia in half if the IX Corps (Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside), supporting it with an assault on the Confederate right flank, had pushed its attacks home with force. Instead, Lee was able to shift thousands of his men to meet the threat. Because of ineffective leadership displayed by Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, Lee felt compelled to personally lead Second Corps soldiers in the counterattack. His men realized the danger this would pose and refused to advance until Lee removed himself to a safer position in the rear. The battle in the Mule Shoe lasted for an entire day and night, as the Confederates slowly won back all the ground they had lost, inflicting heavy losses on the II Corps and the reinforcing VI Corps in the process. The angle between the II and VI Corps became known as the "Bloody Angle of Spotsylvania," where perhaps some of the most savage fighting of the whole Civil War took place. Whereas bayonet battles usually are very short, at the Bloody Angle, Union and Confederate troops fought with bayonets for hours in the same trenches.By 3 a.m. on May 13, just as the Confederates had completed expelling the II Corps from the Mule Shoe, the new line was ready, and Lee had his battered men retire behind it. More than 10,000 men fell in the Mule Shoe, which passed to the Union forces without a fight. On May 18, Grant sent two of his corps to attack the new line, but they were met with a bloody repulse. That convinced Grant, who had vowed to "fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," that Lee's men could not be dislodged from their Spotsylvania line.

Grant, checked by Lee for a second time, responded as he had two weeks earlier. He shifted the weight of his army to the right flank and again moved to the southeast along roads Lee was unable to block. By May 20May 21, the two armies were on their way to take positions along the North Anna River, another dozen miles closer to Richmond.

The Declaration of Independence. Remembering our heritage.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--

A hundred yard dash is not fair to a one-legged man. H.F. Shinn

Bible.