Nothing like a government shutdown to provide more time for research and posting. I try not to write this sort of post too often, as my assumption is that readers would rather see posts than what may be in the pipeline. It has been a very eventful research summer, however, so I think at this point it’s appropriate.
My research trip in June was very productive, better than I had hoped for. I still wish I’d learned how to access the 2nd U.S. Cavalry’s muster rolls before the last day of my visit, but live and learn. The military records staff at the National Archives could not have been more professional, courteous and helpful. Every time I thought I’d reached the end of the trail, they had a suggestion that turned up another nugget. Similarly, I have discovered that the Denver Public Library has an extensive collection of records, including the majority of state adjutant general reports as well as complete sets of The Rebellion Record and the Supplement to the OR.
I just completed a thorough study of the post returns of Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania during the war. This will be making an appearance soon as a brief series of posts. Now that I have a map of where all of the regular cavalry recruiting stations were during the war, hopefully it will lead me to some historical treasure.
Reserve Brigade history. I am convinced that I have all of the official primary records that still exist, it’s a matter of working through them all and figuring how to get the interesting parts into the narrative. There are still a lot of records to locate and work through, so this one is a long way from completion. Letter collections will be key to making this a worthwhile history. Which means if you come across primary source info or newspaper accounts of the 1st US, 2nd US, 5th US, 6th US, 6th PA, and 2nd MA Cavalry regiments, or the 1st NY Dragoons, I am very interested.
2nd US Cavalry history. NARA was exceptionally fruitful in this area, and I’m really enjoying working through the material. I’ve already found records of over 400 of the regiment’s troopers, which will hopefully lead to more primary source material. The current regimental historian and curator of the regimental museum in Germany, Ryan Meyer, has been very interested and helpful.
Regular cavalry roster. It is a goal of mine to get a list posted on the website of all the men who served in the regular cavalry regiments during the war. Profiles will be available for a small fee, but I see no reason why a free list of all of them on this blog would not be appropriate.
Learning Latin. I completed a transcription of the death records of all the regular cavalrymen who died during the war. The primary records list cause of death in Latin, which became very educational. Vulnus punctum, anyone? Surely there’s a blog post in there somewhere.
Regular cavalry medal of honor files. I found two while at NARA and found them very informative, so now I’m working on getting the others. I don’t have an exact count, as a couple that I had seen documented as being awarded (Sergeant Hagan of the 2nd US Cavalry at Fredericksburg, for example) were rescinded after the war.
Newspaper articles. Vince Slaugh recently tipped me off to several articles that should be of interest to readers of this blog, including several on the 6th US Cavalry that eluded my co-author and I when we compiled the regimental history.
Blog improvement. Still a great deal to be done here, most noticeably the creation of regimental and resource pages.
Thomas Bull Dewees, Paul Quirk and Charles McKnight Leoser. These three gentlemen keep popping up of late, so there are sure to be posts on them once sufficient records are located. Stay tuned.
Scott Patchan’s The Last Battle of Winchester by Savas-Beattie arrived in the mail recently. I’ve really been looking forward to this one, can’t wait to get to the fight at the Opequon (“oh-PECK-en,” as the gentleman at the Winchester Visitor Center informed me this summer).
More to follow in the very near future.