INDEX

Leigh Man in the Federal Army

Letter From James Battersby November 1862

Letter From James Battersby April1863

Undated Letter From James Battersby

Letter from James Battersby March 1865

American Civil War Pension for Leigh Veteran

Atherton Veteran of the American Civil War Dies

James O'Neal Union Soldier

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The Battle of Fort Donaldson  was fought from February 11 to 16, 1862 in the Western Theatre of the American Civil War. The Union capture of the Confederate fort near the Tennessee/Kentucky border opened the Cumberland river, an important avenue for the invasion of the South. The Union's success also elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of Major General, and earned him the nickname of "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

Leigh Man in the Federal Army

In the year 1848 Joseph Lee and his family emigrated from Leigh to the United States, one of his sons volunteered into the Federal army and met with his death on the last day of the fighting at at Fort Donaldson - The following is an extract from his obituary in the Racine Advocate (Winsconsin America) - Died 15 February 1862 at Fort Donaldson Tenn.Joseph Lee formerly of this city aged 22 years 6 months and 15 days. The deceased was the youngest brother of Mr. Benjamin B. Grundy of Raccine and a native of Lancashire England, having been a citizen of USA upwards of 13 years. He was among the first to respond to our countries call, and enlisted in Company B 12th Ill Regiment under Col. McArthur who had command of the Brigade to which the 12th were attached. Mr Lee was a sergeant under Captain Hale and both fell about the same time a ball passing through Mr. Lee's body.Leuitenant Towner of Company B wrote to us saying the 12th fought nobly. Sergeant Lee was influenced to volunteer his services in the war purely from a sense of duty. He served 3 months from the first call of government, during which time he suffered much from exposure and sickness. In all his communications he has manifested a will resigned to the destiny that waited him, and a strong will to do his portion at least striking the death blow to the most wicked and unholy rebellion, and cutting out the slightest out the slightest curse of slavery from this once happy, peaceful and prosperous nation. Peace to his soul, the memory of his patriotism will ever be cordial to soothe the wounds that his death has inflicted on our hearts.

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A letter from a soldier from Lowton serving in the Union army to his father Mr. Battersby

Fort Blinker, VA 22 November 1862

Dear Father - You wanted me to give you some experience of the campaign of the army of the Potomac. I cannot give much that would interest you as our siege train was seldom with the army of the Potomac, either in the advance or the rear of the army. Soon after 1 March 1862 we discovered that the rebel stronghold Mathasses and Centerville, had been evacuated by the rebels. A forward movement was then made by the Union army to the Peninsula by way of Fortress Monroe. Previous to this all advance of the army of the Potomac, and our regiment had been in charge of the defence of Washington. Soon after the rebels retreat, Congress voted a siege train for the United States Army. Our regiment was chosen for that purpose by General McClellan. We were to have twelve companies two 1st and two 2nd lieutenants  and one captain to each company, also eight sergeants, eight corporals and two musicians to each company, together with the privates 1,800 all told. It was on the morning of the 2nd April that we struck tents and marched to Alexandria where we embarked on the steamboats and steamed down the Potomac River to Fortress Monroe, arriving there at dusk. We laid to all night, and at the break of day we steamed down to Cheesmans Landing, about 10 miles from Yorktown on the York River. Yorktown is memorable in American history, as Cornwallis surrendered that city to the American army. And as our big guns have arrived at the Cheesmans Landing (more than 80 pieces) we soon came to the conclusion that we were going to lay siege to Yorktown, as the rebels under General McGrunda, were strongly fortified at that place. Our train consisted of more than ten batteries, and we had two 200 lb ball rifle guns and four 100 lb ball rifle guns in one battery. It was near the York River and 4 miles from Yorktown. As soon as we had cleared the woods in front and got ready to open fire with our line of battery, the rebels evacuated Yorktown, as they had got an exact knowledge of our strength. We opened fire sometimes in relation to the elevation. The balls went to the right spot every time. We did a good deal of damage to the rebels water batteries from information we gathered from a Negro who was in the rebel fortification. He said one of our 200 lb balls came and took off the head of an officer, killed another, then it went through and into one of the magazines and burst. The rebels said they could not stand such shots as we made with our rifled guns. The battle of Malvern Hall was the greatest battle ever fought on this Continent. We were deeply engaged in that great battle fought on the 30 June. We had our gun boats on our left flank, which did good service. This was a great but dearly won victory for the Union cause. It was here that we lost our faithful and military dog, Uncle Sam. The dog Sam was picked up by our company at Hagerstown, Maryland and soon became the favourite of the camp for his military abilities, , which he soon showed, so we called him Uncle Sam. On review days he would always go with the reviewing officer. he would run Double Quick March and at the word Right Face, Sam would turn to the right, so with the About Face Sam understood the military tactics well. If an officer came to review us Sam would go and smell him to see if he was a true Union man; you see we had got so many traitors. About the 26 May 1862 the battle of Hanover Court House was fought, I well recollect that morning as we were called up at daybreak amidst a heavy fall of rain. Sam fell in line with us and wagged his tail; a good sign that we would be victorious that day. We marched 20 miles, met the rebels, and got a great victory, taking all they had, as they ran and left everything behind. We killed 500 and took as many prisoners. Our Colonel acting Brigadier General having command of the 5th New York Zon--ies, the 17th Pen. Lancers, the 14th New York besides our regiment the 1st Con. Artillery. We lost Sam on that field of battle, as we went into the woods to bury the rebel dead, we heard Sam barking at a little distance off, and on going to look, we found a rebel with a Union bayonet run through him and stuck against a tree. I suppose Sam wanted to see him decently buried, rebel as he was.The next day Sam was home; he had marched a distance of 20 miles. Poor Sam was killed by one of the shells that burst at the battle of Malvern Hall. Poor dog Sam he was left dead on the battle field -he never forsook his post - he would hiss when a shell came near us. I will now close this letter by saying that since General McClellan made that famous retreat from James River to the front of Washington, I have been lying sick in the hospital, along with thousands of others, but have just returned to my company. The rebels seem to think they would be better off in the Union. I hope there will soon be a settlement with the Union as it was; that would bring peace and prosperity back here and abroad.

Your affectionate son - James Battersby

Fort Blinker VA 24 April 1863

Dear Father - I can assure you that the feelings in the North and Northwest have greatly changed from what they were when I  wrote last. There was a party in the North called the Peace Party who would have had peace with the rebels on their own terms, a party opposed to the Lincoln administration with the deadliest hatred - and, to further their designs against the Government they nominated Thomas H. Seymour the leader of their clique for Governor of Connecticut, with the hope that his election would cause a reaction in favour of the prosecution of peace and save the Copper Heads or Peace Party from being drafted into the army. And I can assure you the rebel leaders were looking with deep interest, with the hope that Seymour would be the next Governor but their hopes were dashed to the ground. The good old state of Connecticut the land of wooden nutmegs and steady habits proved her loyalty to the Union and the constitution by reelecting Governor Buckingham, one who is a strong supporter of the war, and one who will cooperate with the Government in bringing this rebellion to a successful termination as quickly as  possible.There will shortly be a heavy draft of men in the North and Northwest. From the age of 18 to 45 over 300,000 more men are wanted to fill up the old regiments. Since the North has broken up the Peace Party the rebels are damaged; there is no hope for them but to wait to the bitter end. Especially at this time as we look over the country, we have cause for rejoicing; we find at home in the North a more healthy feeling prevails over all things, men are beginning to think that safety for themselves, as well as the country, devolves upon a speedy termination of the war.. Our army at Falmouth under Fighting Joe Hooker, is daily expected to move, and from what I have seen of General hooker, on the Peninsular under McClellan, I can say he will either break the rebel army to pieces, or break his own in the attempt. When once toxin of war is sounded with a loud bugle blast, he will not leave the field of strife until he has thoroughly whipped  the enemy, or they have entirely conquered him. in North Carolina our army is now reinforced and the rebels who tried to annihilate  our small army there, will soon be defeated themselves. In South Carolina although we have lost on Ironclad Monitor in the recent attack upon Charleston we have knocked fort Sumpter "into a cocked hat."Our late failure in our attempt to reduce Charleston does not go to prove that the place is impregnable to future attacks, nor does it prove our Monitors to be failures. We lost the ironclad Keeokak in the attempt to pass Fort Sumpter, but before sinking she managed to accomplish a good deal. Captain Downs is confident that the 15" shot went through the masonry; besides they knocked two posts into one. The channel runs close to Fort Sumpter, but as you approach Charleston there is a line of oil casks holding up an iron cable, but that can easily be removed by a well aimed shot. In fact all that remains in the way of the reduction of Charleston, the heart of the rebellion, is a little more powder and perseverance, which will be brought in the next fight. It has been ascertained that in the short distance of 400 yards, the decks, hulls, turrets and pilot houses, are not penetrated by the polished English steel shot fired from Whitworth guns; and if England has another fine steamer to load with arms and ammunition of war to run the blockade with let her come, and our brave tars will capture her.. All America asks is to be left alone; she does not want England to interfere or assist either party. England by showing such deep sympathy and support for the South is engendering the deadliest hatred upon them by the North. The soldiers say that but for the support  that England has given the rebels the war would have been over long ago. I will now close this letter by saying the sooner this war is over the better it will be for I am sure that England suffers as much as America - Most respectfully your dear son

James Battersby

This is an extract from a very long letter from James Battersby to his father at Lowton describing the siege of Petersburg

Dear Father - As our siege artillery is now connected with the Army of the Pontomac I will do my best to give a few particulars concerning our siege operations before Petersburg, but before doing so I will briefly outline our position. We are directly in front of the city. The spires of the church being in plain sight and the rebel works covering it are parallel with ours, and guarded by the best troops of the rebel army. Their sharpshooters are perched on trees and the use "English ammunition" which is superior to ours, and at long range they can pick off their man with every shot. Some of there stray shots come over our camp, and I can assure you it is quite dangerous to show your head at times. The main body of our troops stationed here are ever on the alert, prepared to take part in any movement that may be directed.Immediatley in the rear of our works, or more properly speaking as a part of the works, is a ditch or trench into which the men run during the shelling which occurs at intervals daily.Behind the ditch the tents are pitched, partially covered by the earth works in front; in these they sleep during the night, and rest during the day. Their guns are constantly with them, and a little brisk fire on the skirmish line, will bring a division of troops to their feet prepared for action in less time than it takes me to tell you about it. It is this constant strain upon the nerves, this continual attention to duty, this frequent interception which makes this kind of warfare most trying and severe.They are apparently enjoying a rest, they are gathered together in groups, talking, laughing, playing cards, cooking or eating, in an instant, in a twinkle of an eye they are called to arms, and a line of veteran stalwart troops are standing behind their works, ready and willing for the work of death.At night they wrap themselves in their blankets and lay down with their accoutrements on their guns by their side, scarcely knowing if sleep will visit them ere the sharp crack of the gun from the watchman on the front will call them to their feet. Such is a soldiers life in the trenches. Yesterday being Sunday, and chancing to  meet a friend of mine, we concluded to visit the works and fortifications on our right flank. So after a ride of two miles over the burning sands with the hot sun over our heads, we came up with Captain Dow's battery F, at present commanded by Lieutenant Jackson. And I can assure you it was a splendid sight to see the 32 pound shell leave the Parrot gun and travel right into Petersburg and burst. I suppose there must be great terror in Petersburg at this time. This battery is situated nearly two miles from the city. There they have got an 18" mortar on the railway; I will briefly describe its dimensions' weight of mortar 17,885 lbs, weight of shell when fired 198 lbs, weight of powder 20 lbs. This battery is called the Petersburg Express, the lieutenant in command told us he was bound to knock off one of the church spires.Our artillery firing is splendid, the rebels making good shots in return. The pieces chiefly used here for siege operations consist of 100 lb Parrot, 30 and 20 lb Parrot, Redman guns of the same dimensions and the 18" mortar previously mentioned.The principal mortar firing is done after sundown and most generally lasts for four or five hours, and I can assure you it is grand and dreadful to see the shells by moonlight, to belch forth, and soar high in the air with their fuses revolving round and round till it gets out of sight, and then a report will reach you, the shell has burst upon the rebels, and done its deadly work. But what is that which is soaring much higher than the rest of the shells? Oh it is the Petersburg Express, and if you watch it will burst over the doomed city, and the Greek fire dealing destruction in all directions. It reminds me most forcibly of the fireworks I used to witness (representing the siege of Sebastapol) at Belle Vue Gardens in Manchester. But the Yankees think they have gone far ahead of anything that England has done in siege operations in the Crimea, and at this time they think they have bigger guns, and bigger everything related to war,The financial and political conditions of this country is critical. Gold rules at about 300 dollars paper for 100 dollars gold. Everything has gone up three times in value. All on account of the detestable paper money. The President has called for 500,000 more men and a draft will commence in a few days to raise the required number. The northern Copperheads and the peace men, and the southern sympathisers are liable to be drafter with the rest, and are in great fear, and trembling, and their cry is peace at any price; but I can assure you the North and Western States have got good and sound Union men left. Today the Chicago Convention opens, and at this moment that city is deluged with traitors from every state, from Maine to Florida. There will be General John E. Freemont, who expects to be nominated, but by whome he does not know; after robbing the government of millions of dollars, he has denounced it, as well as President Lincoln and his Cabinet. General George B. McClellan seems to be the man, and I have no doubt he will be nominated this day at Chicago for the next President of the US. He will be backed by the old war Democrats and many other cliques, too numerous to mention. Lincoln has not done as much restoring peace as was expected of him, and his chances for election are very slim.The whole sum and substance of the matter lies here - the people have got tired of the war and want peace. I was amused to hear you holding discussions - some for the North - some for the South. What do the Southerners think of our merry little craft the Kearsage, knocking your English rebel pirate into a cocked hat in less than an hour.

James Battersby

Headquarters 1st Division Siege Artillery, City Point, Virginia 28/3/1865

Dear Father The recent victories by Sheridan in the vicinity of Richmond and Lynchburg, together with Sheridan's triumphal march through the heart of Georgia, his capture of Savannah, Charleston and the occupation of Fort Fisher and Wilmington, and the successful connection with Schofield's army in North Carolina have fixed the doom of the Confederacy. Its existence will soon be numbered with things of the past, peace and liberty will be echoed from shore to shore. The slave states are one after another ratifying the abolition of slavery. Everyone is on the qui vive  to hear the results of the peace conference said to be held here tomorrow, between the Union and the Rebel Commissioners. The rebel General Lee is expected here, with full power to negotiate, as Jefferson Davis has abdicated in Lee's favour. You will no doubt be surprised at all the changes taking place with the rebels, who have said time and again they would die in the last ditch before give up to the infernal Yankees, well they are in their last ditch now, but the leaders don't seem willing to die; they have got cooled down, and seem to think the Yankees are not so bad after all. They think it is about time to sue for peace, as all their seaports are taken. Also the combined armies of  General Schofield and Sherman are sweeping from North Carolina to Virginia and Richmond like an avalanche. Richmond is threatened like it never was before, so much so that the members of the Rebel Congress have left the Capitol with the main object unaccomplished. Sheridan is advancing on Lynchburg, the only way of exit for the rebel army. The whole rebel army will soon be in the vicinity of Richmond, encircled as with a band of iron with no know no breaking till they lay down their arms, which event is predicted at an early day. I think the last great battle has been fought. Let us hope before this reaches you peace will have been proclaimed through the land - Most respectfully your son

James Battersby

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American Civil War Pension for Leigh Veteran

 In 1908 Charles Hulme a moulder residing in Sefton Street, received for the first time, a pension of 12/- from the United States Government, which he is to receive weekly for the part he took in the navy during the American Civil War which had taken place nearly 50 years previously

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Atherton Veteran of American Civil War Dies

Charles Pooley living at 2 factory Street, Atherton a veteran of the American Civil War died on Christmas Day 1914. A native of Cambridge he migrated to america, where he enlisted in the army at Princetown, Gibson County. In 1861 he joined the 58th Indiana Volunteers. after training at Louisville, Kentucky, for a few months, he first saw action at Murphysburg. He took part in the notoriously long march to the Mississippi, being among the first reinforcements at Pitsburg Landing where some very severe fighting took place. During the progress of the war the deceased was wounded in the wrist, back and head. A local gentleman interested in Pooley laid his case before the USA Commissioner of Pensions in 1901 and secured for him a pension of $20 a month in recognition of his military service.

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James O’Neal Union Soldier

 James O’Neal landlord of the Free Trade Inn Queen Street, Leigh and a popular venue for Irishmen passed away on the 17th February 1893. During the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865 he fought under Colonel Von Trop against the Federals and greatly distinguished himself for his bravery. He was highly complimented at the end of the war, but was denied a pension. He was 64 years of age.

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American Civil War Veteran

 

Charles Pooley living at 2 Factory Street, Atherton a veteran of the American Civil War died on Christmas Day 1914. A native of Cambridge he migrated to America, where he enlisted in the army at Princetown, Gibson Co. In 1861 he joined the 58th Indiana Volunteers. After training at Louisville, Kentucky for a few months he first saw action in Murphysburg. He took part in the notoriously long march to the Mississippi, being among the first reinforcements at the Pits burg Landing where some very severe fighting took place. During the progress of the war the deceased was wounded in the wrist, back and head. A local gentleman interested in Pooley laid his case before the US Commissioner of Pensions in 1901 and secured for him a pension of 20 dollars a month in recognition of his military service