Tuesday, April 12, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Civil War

Battle of Baton Rouge from Harpers Weekly where James P. Brown died
On 12 April 1861 Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter, a Federal fort in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. The Civil War began. This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the start of the War.

Our family has both Union & Confederate soldiers in its history. My paternal grandmother, Ivy (Mark) Brown was a descendant of Union Soldiers from Ohio & Pennsylvania. My paternal grandfather, Roy Jesse Brown, was a descendant of Confederate Soldiers from Mississippi & Louisiana. At the time of the war these branches were not yet related. It wasn’t until 1927, when my grandparents married, that the two sides came together.

Our family’s Union Soldiers include the four Mark brothers: John, Thomas Jefferson, William & Marion. Only William & Marion survived to return home to Ohio. It also includes brothers John W. S. & Joseph Wolf. Joseph was held as a Prisoner of War for 18 months. Another Union soldier was David Ritter, b. 1842 in Ohio, who served in the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He enlisted 11 July 1862 for three years. He was discharges on 8 August 1863 “on Surgeon’s certificate of disability”. He died soon after.

For more on the Mark and Wolf family Union Soldiers read my blog 10/26/10 John W. S. Wolf, Stone Mason & Civil War Soldier and 3/12/11 Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal.

Our family’s Confederate Soldiers include: three Brumfield brothers. They are the sons of Nathaniel & Charlotte Temple (Ott) Brumfield: Jessie Alexander Brumfield (my 2nd great grandfather), John D. Brumfield & Martin Penn Brumfield and James P. Brown, son of Edward S. & Mary Polly (Spurlock) Brown (my 2nd great grand uncle).

James P. Brown was b. 1844 in Liberty, Mississippi. He enlisted just a few days after the beginning of the war, on 29 April 1861 in Liberty. He joined the 22nd Infantry Volunteers, Company E. This company was engaged in much fighting, including the Battle of Shiloh, the bloodiest battle in the United States history up to that time. 

The Battle of Shiloh took place in southwestern Tennessee where the Union army was encamped on the west bank of the Tennessee River. Confederate forces launched a surprise attack. On the first day of the battle the Confederate forces met with some success. They had hoped to drive the Union troops away from the river and into the swamps. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back to the northeast, in the direction of Pittsburg Landing. Reinforcements from Gen. Buell and from Grant's own army arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when the Union commanders launched a counterattack along the entire line. The casualties of the regiment at Shiloh were heavy. 

The 22nd Infantry marched to the attack on the Federal force at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In an attempt to regain control of the state, Confederates wished to recapture the capital at Baton Rouge. Although they were greatly reduced in numbers the regiment was commanded in the battle there on 5 August 1862.  Union gunboats in the river began shelling the Confederates. The Confederate gunboat’s engines failed and it could not join the battle. The Confederates failed to remove the Union forces from their capital but ere was no clear victor to the battle. The casualties of the regiment were: 13 killed and 34 wounded. James P. Brown was one of those soldiers killed in battle.

Martin Penn Brumfield b. 15 March 1837 in Louisiana, the oldest son of Nathaniel & Charlotte Temple (Ott) Brumfield, enlisted 7 July 1861. He was a Private in the 9th Louisiana Infantry, Company I. He later became a 2nd Lieutenant. On 21 July 1861 the 9th Infantry arrived in Manassas, Virginia just after the fighting there. They went to Camp Florida, near Centerville, Virginia. In camp the former farm boys were exposed to many diseases for the first time. By August over 100 men had died or been discharged medically. In January 1862 the 9th Infantry was in Camp Carondelet in Manassas. In April 1862 Martin P. Brumfield was in the General Receiving Hospital in Gordonsville, Virginia. He died there of disease.

Soon after Martin’s death his two brothers enlisted. Jessie Alexander Brumfield, b. 27 September 1838, and John D. Brumfield, b. 29 July 1842, enlisted in the 3rd LA Calvary on 14 May 1862. Both were living in Franklinton, Louisiana at the time they enlisted. Their regiment was called Colonel James H. Wingfield’s Regiment. The brothers were paid a bounty of $50 for enlisting for the duration of the war. Each brother was paid 40 cents a day for the care of their horse. 

A third Brumfield, also living in Franklinton, enlisted the same day, 14 May 1862. W. L. Brumfield. This is William Brumfield, son of Willis & Nancy Brumfield. He was first cousins with Martin, Jessie & John Brumfield. He also joined the 3rd Louisiana Calvary. William was sick when he first enlisted and absent from the rolls for a time. In July 1863 he was captured and became a Prisoner of War. He was paroled at Port Hudson, LA, also in July 1863. 

These three Brumfield soldiers were involved in a long list of battles in the Mississippi & Louisiana area. More information needs to be gathered on William Brumfield. Jessie & John survived the war and went on to live into the next century. 

There are probably more Civil War soldiers still hiding behind the leaves in our family’s branches, waiting to be discovered.


  1. If you are related to Joanna Dillon, then you are related to Willis Richard Dillon who died at Shiloh. It goes like this: Richard Dillon> Theophalus Dillon (brother to Joanna Dillon)> (Willis Richard Dillon, Joel Pearson Dillon and Clarkston Dillon). These three brothers were in MS 33rd I believe. Joel Pearson Dillon, my GGGGrandfather, died at home from his wounds and his widow, Harriet Lewis Dillon, applied for his pension 13 times but was denied and died penniless at 99 yrs. old. She never saw another man. She was instrumental in MS DAR. Do you have any pictures of Dillons? I am only just learning about researching my family.

  2. Family lore has it that Grant camped at the Dillon place before the Battle of Champion Hill and walked dangerously close to a new grave, which did not go over well with Granny Dillon who came barreling out of the house to express herself.


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