CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 3, Number 46
SOLDIERS OF THE REVOLUTION: Never overlook older publications when researching your family history. Iíve so many older books in my library that some have just been forgotten or overlooked with time. When I first acquired each one for my collection, I didnít realize how important it would be at a date in the future. So it is with Summer Soldiers, A Survey & Index of Revolutionary War Courts-Martial by James C. Neagles.
The story of the American Revolution is familiar to everyone, especially those who care about their heritage and the history of this great nation. From Lexington and Concord in 1775 to the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the fight for independence was won. Not all endured the hardships with the same commitment.
Those forces with George Washington were composed of men from all segments of society. As hard as he tried to keep spirits up, there were many who didnít meet the challenges. This book is a look at a group of over 3,000 men who could not withstand the hardships and pressures and ultimately found themselves before a military courts-martial. The stories here concern these men.
Neagles has presented both the historian and genealogist with the raw material for further analysis. This is the first book to explore the reasons and motives behind the actions of the patriots in Americaís quest for independence. These men represent only a small group but a very important group in the overall saga of the American Revolution.
This book was first printed in 1986 by Ancestry Incorporated and is one that has proven to be an important work. Many may consider this of little importance, but a closer look will alter this opinion. Letís face it, many of the officers and soldiers of the American Revolution were not patient, courageous, upright, or heroic. Herein is the reason behind this book.
Over 3,000 men who fall into this category of unrest is overall a small number, but their stories and their punishments are interesting to note. Our ancestors were human beings with feelings and hopes and pride. Neagles exposes another side of our heritage that deserve a closer look at this period of time, and this is what this book does.
You can go online or to Ancestry. com to learn of its availability, or check with your local genealogical librarian to see if it is available in the research section.
CIVIL WAR DATA: Over the years, certain books have stood out as very good sources for research, and, in my case with relatives having settled in Maryland, I often found myself studying and reading copies of any books relating to this state. It was just one of my ways of studying the places my ancestors lived and helped me to understand things better. Such a book was The U.S. Army War College Guide to the Battle of Antietam, the Maryland Campaign of 1862 edited by Jay Luvaas and Harold W. Nelson.
This soft-cover volume from Perennial Library was one of the most interesting that I encountered. With all the pictures, illustrations, and personal stories, it was one of those books that you didnít want to put down. It covered the days of September 4 through September 19, 1862 and marked one of the most critical moments in American history.
For the South, this was the last chance to prove itself militarily in hopes of encouraging Great Britain to become allied to its cause. For the U.S. military, there was the struggle with the problems of organization brought by the rapid mobilization after years of calm. To understand the Battle of Antietam and the related battles of the Maryland Campaign, it was necessary to know the background conditions of both armies, the events immediately proceeding this bloody day and the thought processes of the leaders of both armies.
This book presents official reports and physical observations of the commanding officers in their own words along with the photographs, illustrations, and diagrams. The listing of all the brigades participating and the recapitulation of casualties gives a clear picture of what happened during this period of time. Whether you have an interest in Maryland or not isnít the reason for reading this volume. It will, however, help you to understand one of the most important and bloodiest campaigns in American military history. It certainly brings into perspective of how this war took so many American lives and leaving such a scar on the history of this country.
MORE REMINISCENCES: From Maryland to Virginia, Alabama and Georgia and on into Louisiana, my personal research carried me throughout the South. It was not just a family lineage project. It was a look at American history.
Douglas John Cater was born in 1841 in Sparta, Alabama, and he grew up in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. He died in San Antonio, Texas in 1931 at the age of ninety. As It Was, Reminiscences of a Soldier of the Third Texas Cavalry and the Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry is his story, copied almost word for word from his own handwriting on Indian Head tablets. He carried a little pocket diary during the four years he was a soldier in the Confederate army, and, according to his grandson William D. Cater, he would occasionally refer to it to refresh his remarkable memory of his early life.
Here is another nice research book, filled with names and places. Cater was very loyal to his commander, General Joseph E. Johnston. In this nice book, he describes his youthful experiences, including his family life, education, hunting and other pleasant pastimes, plantation activities and relationships with slaves, as well as social conditions. These chapters are valuable for their honest views of life in late antebellum northwestern Louisiana and northeastern Texas.
In early May of 1861, a wealthy Rusk County planter, Richard H. Cumby, began recruiting a company of volunteers to serve as cavalrymen. More than one hundred men, including Cater, answered the call. Representing the cream of Rusk Countyís young male population, they would be designated as Company B of Colonel Elkanah Greerís Third Texas Cavalry, formed the following month in Dallas. Cater served with the Third Texas Cavalry in the Battle of Wilsonís Creek and Elkhorn Tavern.
In June of 1862, Douglas Cater transferred to the Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry to be with his brother Rufus, and he remained with that unit until the end of the war. He participated in the Battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Franklin and Nashville.
If you have the chance to check this book out, be sure to do so. T. Michael Parrish of Austin, Texas, has written a well documented introduction, and this alone is important to the overall impact that a book of this type offers to researchers. It was published by State House Press of Austin.
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Claitorís Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service.
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