Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Federal Artillery

As far as I know, my lone direct ancestral connection with the Civil War is a great great grandfather who was with the 16th New York heavy artillery. Edwin Joseph Buzzard. How's that for a name?

He apparently enlisted on Dec. 26, 1863 in Oswego, New York, at age 20. According to one source, he was a private with the 16th, then transferred to Co. D of the 6th Artillery on May 10, 1865, then to Co. A on June 27 and promoted to corporal on July 13 before being mustered out on Aug. 24 in Washington.

The combat reports, on small forms, don't specify Buzzard's deeds. They mention his large unit's participation in Virginia action at Petersburg, severe shelling by rebels, Confederate attacks, long marches, nights lying in woods, driving the enemy out of rebel works, death and wounding of officers and enlisted men, being close to the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va., and troops' attempt to build a canal at Dutch Gap in Virginia.

The whole thing has actually always been a bit perplexing. By the 1840s, that particular branch of the family tree had mostly moved from New York state to Michigan, not an uncommon occurrence and hence all of the Michigan place names like Rochester, Genesee, Troy, Flushing, etc. Edwin was born in Oakland County, Michigan (Pontiac area - near Detroit) in 1848. So why did he enlist in New York? I've always wondered if the date is a clue. Was he in New York visiting relatives for Christmas? Did he just not want to go home for some reason? 20 years old, nothing else to do?

After the war, he didn't return "home" either. He ended up in Auburn, Michigan, just west of Bay City (think of the bay formed when you hold your hand up as a mitten). We'll probably never know what motivated these moves.

He died in 1921.

So today, I bring you some Union artillerists I painted some time ago. I think they are Foundry minis. One of these days I would like to put on a big ACW game with these 25/28 figures. How cool would that look? I think I've mentioned before, though, I've never really settled on a set of rules. Ah, some day.

And yes, genealogy is something of yet another hobby, though I haven't really done much with it in years.

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