6th U.S. Cavalry, battle of Fairfield, Civil War, Libby Prison, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, officers, tattnall paulding
Given the recent Facebook anniversary of the publishing of our book on the 6th U.S. Cavalry in the Civil War, it seemed appropriate to get things rolling again with something from that regiment. I found a period obituary of Paulding, and it is relayed in full at the end of the post.
Tattnall Paulding was born March 5, 1840 at Huntington, New York. He was the son of Rear Admiral Hiram Paulding and the grandson of Captain John Paulding, one of the captors of Major John Andre’ (more about him here: ) during the Revolutionary War. He had completed his schooling and was in business at the beginning of the Civil War. Believing the conflict would be over quickly, he initially enlisted as a private into the 7th New York Infantry, a ninety day regiment, and accompanied it to Washington.
He was in Washington when word of his appointment as a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Cavalry, dated May 14, 1861, reached him. He joined the regiment almost immediately, and by July and August was assisting with recruiting duties in the Franklin and Butler counties of Pennsylvania.
Lieutenant Paulding quickly adjusted to cavalry life, and was mentioned favorably on several occasions by his superiors in the regiment over the winter. When the unit saw its first action at Williamsburg the following May, he was mentioned in his commander’s report for his coolness and gallantry in action. He was selected to lead the regiment’s detachment assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s provost guard under Brigadier General Marsena Patrick following the engagement.
He continued to distinguish himself through the campaigns of 1862, Stoneman’s Raid and the battle of Brandy Station. Although only a lieutenant, Paulding commanded a squadron during the Gettysburg campaign. He led his squadron capably during the battle of Fairfield on July 3, 1863, commanding companies A and G. Although a disastrous defeat for his outnumbered regiment, Paulding received a brevet promotion to captain for “gallant and meritorious service” during the battle.
Following the battle of Fairfield, he was reported by Lieutenant Nicholas Nolan as “missing, and supposed to be in the hands of the enemy.” This was quickly confirmed, and Paulding spent the next nine months confined in Libby Prison. He was a prolific correspondent with his family during his internment, and these letters are very good primary source accounts of both the battle of Fairfield and life in Libby Prison.
August 1864 was a good month for Paulding. Not only was he finally released from Libby Prison, but he was also promoted to captain in the 6th U.S. Cavalry on August 20th. Upon his release, Captain Paulding was assigned to operate the Mounted Recruiting Service station in New York City. Although the station notionally recruited for the army as a whole, the overwhelming majority of these men were sent to bolster the dwindling number of veterans in the ranks of the regular cavalry regiments of the Army of the Potomac. Captain Paulding received brevet promotions to major and lieutenant colonel on November 11, 1865 for meritorious services during the war. He relinquished command of the recruiting station when he resigned his commission on July 1, 1866.
Paulding moved to Philadelphia after his resignation, where his father was the commander of the Naval Asylum, and studied law until 1870. He then became an insurance agent and broker for the company of Carstairs & Paulding in Philadelphia, specializing in fire insurance. He worked in the insurance industry for the next thirty seven years. Tattnall Paulding was the president of the Delaware Mutual Insurance Company of Philadelphia, known today as Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, at the time of his death.
In addition to his professional achievements, Paulding was also a dedicated philanthropist. He served the Saving Fund Society of Germantown, the Mercantile Beneficial Association, the Union League, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and as the director of the Free Hospital for Poor Consumptives.
Tattnall Paulding died in Philadelphia on March 5, 1907, after more than a year of illness of more than a year from rheumatism and other complications. He is buried at St. Luke’s Episcopalian Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
I discovered this obituary in the Adjutant General Office records at the National Archives, and include it as I believe it has seldom been seen. Interestingly, it was filed not in Paulding’s records but in those of the author, Brevet Colonel William H. Harrison. It was originally published in a circular of the Headquarters Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) dated September 12, 1907.
First Lieutenant 6th U.S. Cavalry May 14, 1861; Captain October 20, 1864; resigned and honorably discharged July 1, 1866.
Brevetted Captain U.S. Army July 3, 1863, “for gallant and meritorious services in the Gettysburg Campaign;” Major and Lieutenant Colonel November 11, 1865, “for meritorious services during the war.”
Elected March 6, 1867. Class 1. Insignia 464.
Born July 5, 1840, at Huntington, N.Y.
Died March 5, 1907, at Philadelphia, Pa.
Companion Tattnall Paulding was the son of Rear-Admiral Hiram Paulding, United States Navy, and grandson of Captain John Paulding, one of the captors of Major Andre.
His ancestry of itself would have made him a marked man. It put an interrogation on the value of a distinguished and patriotic lineage. Its inheritance was an inspiration to noble living. It has been well said, “people will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” But when to this is added Companion Paulding’s own distinguished services, it can also be said of him, “who serves his country well has no need of ancestors.” Companion Paulding by inheritance and his own achievement owned and added lustre to an honored name.
At the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion he accompanied the Seventh New York Regiment, S.M., to the City of Washington.
President Lincoln gave him an appointment in the United States Army and he was commissioned First Lieutenant, 6th United States Cavalry, May 14, 1861.
He served continuously with his regiment in the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. In an attack on his regiment near Gettysburg by a largely superior force, it suffered severely in loss of life and prisoners. Companion Paulding was captured and endured for many months the privations and sufferings of prison life. For his gallantry in this engagement he was brevetted Captain United States Army, July 3, 1863, “for gallant and meritorious services in the Gettysburg campaign,” and subsequently Major and Lieutenant-Colonel, November 11, 1865, “for meritorious services during the war.”” Companion Paulding resigned and was honorably discharged July 1, 1866. He came to Philadelphia and made it his home.
He was the first agent in this city of the Commercial Union Assurance Company of London, England, and at the end of twenty years resigned the position to accept the presidency of the Delaware Mutual Insurance Company of Philadelphia, which office he filled at the time of his death, March 5, 1907.
Companion Paulding was a member of a number of civil, military and charitable organizations and a trustee of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. He had been a resident of Germantown since 1872.
Tattnall Paulding and Hannah S. Huddell were married November 15, 1872. Two children of this marriage are living, Companion John Tattnall Paulding and Caroline White Paulding.
Companion Paulding was gifted with a manly presence, and to this was added a poise and quiet dignity of manner crowned by a rare modesty, which gave grace and charm to his conversation and companionship.
Such a personality had its hidden spring deep down below the surface, a reserve of helpfulness and strength, which though possessed by few is acknowledged by the many as an ideal to be cultivated as well as admired.
It is these qualities of mind and heart, these character builders, that we shall miss as the days pass and Companion Paulding is no longer a presence in the councils and reunions of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
William H. Harrison, Brevet Colonel U.S. Volunteers.
Jackson McElmell, Chief Engineer, U.S. Navy
William F. Potter, Captain, 3d Penna. Cavalry.
By command of
Captain John P. Green, U.S.V. Commander
John P. Nicholson, Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel U.S.V. Recorder.”
Caughey, Donald C. and Jimmy J. Jones. The 6th United States Cavalry in the Civil War. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.: 2013.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903. Page 512.
Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume 2. New York: George W. Carleton, 1869. Page 165.
Milgram, James W. “The Libby Prison Correspondence of Tattnall Paulding,” The American Philatelist. 89 (December 1975).
Morris, Charles, ed. Men of the Century. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1896.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1861-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Commission Branch, 1863-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-infantry Regiments, 1821-1916: 6th U.S. Cavalry.
Obituary. Circular No. 29, Series of 1907. Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania. September 12, 1907.
Obituary. The Germantown Guide. March 9, 1907.
Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume 25, pages 156, 575, and 440. Also Volume 27, Part 1, page 948.