Captain James Reagles, Assistant Surgeon

docreagles

Unknown Union officer (L) and Dr Reagles (R)

Doctor James Reagles was a surgeon with a remarkable career in the Army. His military service included surgical duty with the Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the Civil War, and postwar duty in the West, including the first survey and exploration of the Yellowstone Territory. He remained on active duty through the Spanish-American War, and was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt into the Army Medical Corps. When he retired in 1908, Dr. Reagles’ career in the military medical service was one of the longest on record.

Reagles was born in Schenectady, New York in 1842. He graduated from Union College in 1861 and then attended Columbia University and Bellevue Hospital, where he earned a Doctorate of Medicine on May 1, 1864. Two days later he was commissioned Assistant Surgeon in the 62nd New York Infantry (Anderson’s Zouaves) and was sent to Brandy Station to join the 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac.

With the 62nd New York, Reagles saw action at the battles of Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, and was at Appomattox when Lee surrendered. Dr. Reagles was present at the mortal wounding of Gen. Sedgwick, Commander of the 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac at Spotsylvania, Va., where the General was shot by a Confederate sharpshooter. Reagles mustered out at the close of the Civil War, but was bored with private practice, and rejoined as Assistant Surgeon in the regular army. Serving with the cavalry in 1866, he remained in the military until 1908.

Stationed in the West with the Indian-fighting army, Reagles was posted to various forts over the years, including Fort Verde, Arizona; Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and Fort Arbuckle. He served on General George Crook’s staff during the Apache wars with Geronimo in Arizona, and saw much field duty.

In 1872, Reagles served as surgeon on Dr. F.V. Hayden’s expedition to explore and chart the Yellowstone Territory. [Hayden, himself a surgeon, also was a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.] Reagles assisted in this first survey of the unchartered lands, and climbed the Grand Tetons with the expedition’s soon-to-be-famous photographer, William Henry Jackson.

Reagles’ military service included assignments to Fort Keogh, Montana; Fort Ontario and Plattsburg Barracks, New York; Fort Yellowstone, Montana; Fort Klamath and Fort Stevens, Oregon; Vancouver Barracks, Washington; and Fort Wrangel, Alaska. His last duty station was as Post Surgeon in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

James Reagles was commissioned a Captain in the Medical Corps of the Regular Army by special order of President Theodore Roosevelt in at his retirement in 1908. Pneumonia ended the long serving surgeon’s life at Schenectady, New York on February 10, 1913. Thus, he missed yet another war but undoubtedly he would have found some way of serving his country in that conflict, too, had he not answered a higher roll call.

References:

Johnson, M.K. and Johnson, P.R. (2006). Collecting Civil War Surgeon’s Images & Photographs.

Johnson, P.R. (1999). “A Life in Uniform, II” in Military Images, May-June., pp.19-23

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eBay Sells Letter Written by Colonel J. Lafayette Riker. “1861 WAR DATE DOC. SIGNED (KIA) COLONEL JOHN LAFAYETTE RIKER -(ANDERSON ZOUAVES)” (April 8, 2017)

For greater detail of this letter and “zoomable” photographs of it, please go to:

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Thanks to John Tierney for bringing this to our attention.

eBay Sells, “Cabinet Cards Civil War Soldiers 62nd Regiment NY Volunteers John H Brown.” (March 31, 2017)

For more detail and “zoomable” versions of these photographs, please go to;

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Thanks to John Tierney for bringing these to our attention.

We Expect a Hard Fight (April 11, 1862)

acwoodscoeNo 2 Second Edn

My Dear Aunt, 

I do not know as I shall have a chance to send this away until it will get old and stale but the fact is we are so close to the enemy lines that the mail does not go very regular. I have heard that all of our letters were to be stopped until after the accomplishment of this expedition, so you will not wonder if my letter does not reach you when due.

lt is now nearly two weeks since we have received any letters at all and it makes me feel lonely to be so long without hearing from friends. We expect a hard fight here every day. We are not allowed to fire on their Pickets at all. They come out of the woods near enough to speak to us and swing their hats, call us names etc. They tell us they will serve us as they did at the action of Manassas last spring but they will find they have rather more troops to contend with than they had then.

I had a narrow escape today. A short time ago a shell was thrown from one of the Rebel Batteries. lt struck and exploded near me but I threw my self to the ground in time to prevent its doing any other harm other than to cover me with mud and dirt. Even then it would have hurt me had it burst the right way.

Please write to me as soon as you received this. I do not know as you will be able to read this. I cannot get Pen and Ink and my Pencil is poor. I expect before you get this we will have driven the foe from this point, not without the loss of many lives I fear…

A C Woods

Letters of Alfred Covell Woods.

Contributed by J. Tierney

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Sergeant William Provin (Jnr), Co. H.

unioneagleWilliam Provin Jnr was born 14th February, 1842 and served in Co. H., 62nd NYSV. Enlisted as a Private on 4th June, 1861 at Saltersville, New Jersey and later promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

William Provin was discharged from service on 5th November, 1862 at Providence, Providence Co., RI, as, “…incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of Aphonia and General Debility”.

He passed away on December 5th, 1912

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Raw Bacon (April 8, 1862)

acwoodscoe

Alfred Covell Woods

No 1

Near Yorktown

Warwich Court House, Va

Apr 8th, 1862

My Dear Aunt,

Do forgive me for delaying so long to answer your very kind and welcome letter but I have been so situated that I have seen no opportunity when I could infringe upon my duties enough to find time to even write you a few lines owing to the removal of our Regt from Tennally Town (Tennallytown, MD, 4 miles northwest of Washington).

I did not receive your letter until after our arrival at Fortress Monroe. Since then we have been toiling through the mud and water driving the Rebels and taking a few Batteries on the way. We have now come to a stand still for the Rebels have five miles of Batteries before us to take and we have got to wait for some large seige guns before we can shell them out. General McClellan was here yesterday making a reconnasance and he says we shall soon have work enough to do. The Rebels throw their shells over our heads here almost every day to aggravate us but they do us no harm. Our light artillery can not reach them and we have to put up with it for the present. We are all in good health here. Provisions are very scarce. Last night my supper consisted of a piece of raw Bacon. The roads are almost impassable so that the teams cannot transport provisions to us. All that we got we have to forage from the enemy and that at the risk of ourselves. Sometimes if you look on the map you will see where we are on the Peninsula between the James and York Rivers. I used to wish when were at Tennally Town that we could be placed nearer to the ememy but l did know the privations the advance of our army had to undergo until we were placed here. Some of the Regiments in our Brigade are within speaking distance of the enemy.

The weather for the last two days has been wet and cold. Our Boys have been engaged night and day in throwing up intrenchments. We have no tents. No fires are allowed on the advance only to cook by.

I have just returned from a short point above here where I could see a Regiment of the enemy drilling in the skirmish drill. The main body of their troops together with five of their Batteries are about half a mile from here. lf they knew how we were situated here in the woods they could shell us out of here with ease.

(A C Woods)

Letters of Alfred Covell Woods.

Contributed by J. Tierney

http://andersonszouaves.tripod.com/id241.html

For biographical information on A.C. Woods, see:

http://andersonszouaves.tripod.com/id115.html

 

James S. Moore (Morre), Co. B.

andersonville_prison

James Moore enlisted in the Army on 1st May, 1861. He mustered into the 62nd NYSV on 30th June, 1861. James Moore was promoted to Corporal on 1st September, 1861. Thought he is recorded as mustering out as a Private, the 1890 US Census records him as a Corporal of the 62nd NY. James Moore endured 6 months imprisonment in Andersonville Prison. James Moore re-enlisted in the 62nd NY on 1st March, 1864. He was discharged from the Army on 30th August, 1865.

The Census data records his P.O. address in 1890 as Port Richmond, Richmond County, NY. He is recorded to have suffered from rheumatism.

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Picture credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andersonville_National_Historic_Site

The Sacred Soil of Virginia (March 30, 1862)

sunday_mercury_title_1865[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]

SIXTY-SECOND REGIMENT, N. Y. V.

Camp Tennally, Washington, D. C., March 23.

Anxiety to March — Orders Issued — Affection of the Soldiers for their Colonel — Crossing the Chain-Bridge — A Halt — Heavy Rains — Rumors of New Movements — Back Again in the Old Camp.

After a hard week’s march to the sacred soil of Virginia, thank God! we are in our old camp again. It may be sacred for some, but I would rather be in Tennallytown, as it is bad enough, God knows, as the mud answers for bootjacks. I will give you a sketch of our march, as it is no harm, after the march is over for the present. On the eve of March 9th, the boys got orders to march on the 10th. We also got orders to carry four day’s rations in our haversacks. On the morning of the 10th, everything was in readiness; but, as is usually our luck, it rained; however, the boys were so anxious to go, that the rain did not mar their feelings. But there was one thing that cast a gloom over the whole regiment, and that was when we heard that our colonel (Riker) was not going with us. We were formed in line-of-battle  on the parade-ground, and cheer after cheer rent the air for Riker. It was feared at one time that the regiment would not leave the ground without the colonel; but as the major (Dayton) rode along the lines, he explained to us the reason why we could not have the colonel with us. He told us that the colonel would follow us the next day; and, as the major was going with us, it made things look somewhat brighter. Although the regiment moved off, there was still some wanting, and that something was our gallant colonel. It was evident that, if we had to fight, we would fight better with Colonel Riker at our head; but if we had to fight without him, we would leave our mark on the battle-field as well as the rest of the regiments in the army, and I hope the day is not far off when we will prove it to your readers and yourselves.

I will now return to our march. We moved off at 10 o’clock a. m., with the Fifty fifth Regiment, N. Y. S. M., in advance of the brigade. We took the Chain-Bridge road from Tennallytown, and arrived at the bridge at 1 o’clock. We crossed the bridge, and marched to Langley, where we halted about an hour, and then marched about two miles further to a place called Prospect Hill. We were ordered to halt there for the night. We here lay down to have rest. Morning came, but no orders to march. Another and another morning came, and no order; the boys began to think that we had reached our destination; but on the morning of the 15th, the assembly beat, and the whole division moved toward Chain-Bridge again.  When we got about two miles form the bridge, we were ordered to halt, and night came on, and, as it is our luck, rain came with it. We got orders to do the best we could for that night, as it was about the last night that we would be out from under cover, for we were going on gunboats. This cheered the boys up a little. There was a great demand for sleep, but rain spoiled the sales, as it seemed to have it all its own way. The rain came down heavy all night steady, as if it was designed to do us harm. The fires would not burn, and it seemed that daylight would never appear. About 7 a. m., on the 16th, the sun made its appearance, and everything appeared was bright again. About 9 o’clock, we got orders to form a line of march, and orders came that we were going back to our old camp at Tennallytown, and it cast a gloom over the whole regiment. As we have had so many orders to march, and, when we were ready, they would be again countermanded, the boys give up all hopes of ever leaving Tennallytown.

We are at present under marching orders, with three days’ rations, uncooked and packed, and three days’ cooked, to be kept in haversacks. If we ever leave, it will be the best thing that ever happened. Nothing would please the boys more than to enter the field of action; and if they ever do, with Colonel Riker and Major Dayton (better known as little Put) at their head, you may rest assured that they will leave their mark.

Yours,           M. C., Fifth Ward 

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 30, 1862 

J Tierney’s note: The writer who identifies himself only as “M. C., Fifth Ward,” (one assumes he was a resident of New York City’s Fifth Ward which adjoined the notorious Sixth and was bounded roughly by the Hudson River to the East, Reade Street to the South, Broadway to the East and Canal Street to the North) gives a slightly irreverent but detailed account of the Advance on Manassas by Keyes’ division between March 10 and 16, 1862. Checking against accounts of the same movement in both De Trobriand’s Four Years with the Army of the Potomac and Penrose Mark’s history of the 93rd Pennsylvania, Red: White: and Blue Badge, shows that this appears to be a very accurate description of the Advance on Manassas. In so far as the chronology is concerned it is actually more accurate than Mark’s version of the event which contains clear calendar errors.

A similar account by Sergeant Robert F. Beasley of the division’s Advance on Manassas had appeared in the Sunday Mercury a week prior but it did not contain the level of detail which this letter does.

Identifying the writer is a little difficult as there were two men in the regiment at the time this letter was written with the initials “M. C”.

One candidate for authorship is Michael Carroll who enlisted as a private into company “C” on June 1, 1861 in New York City at the age of 40. His service in the regiment seems to have been uneventful, mustering out at Petersburg, VA. on June 29, 1864.

The other is Martin Coughlan who enlisted as a private into company “A” on May 3, 1861 in New York City at the age of 22. He was promoted to corporal on December 1, 1861 but was reduced to private at some stage for reasons unknown. He was transferred to Captain David J. Nevin’s company “D” on the regiment’ s mustering-in day, July 3, 1861, meaning that he saw no actual front line service in company “A”. Coughlan deserted on October 21, 1862 at Hancock Station, VA.

It is interesting that the writer has such a high opinion of both the Colonel and the Major but fails to mention the Lieut. Colonel who, at this time, happened to be Nevin who had been promoted from the Captaincy of company “D” in October of the previous year. This oversight could be used to support an argument that the writer might have more likely been the mature Michael Carroll of company “A” than the youthful Martin Coughlan of company “D”.

One of the most interesting incidences related in this letter is the description of the near mutiny in the regiment when it was discovered that Colonel John L. Riker would be unable to lead the regiment on its march to Prospect Hill. While the writer says the reason for Riker being unable to lead his men was explained by the Major, he does not elaborate on this for the readers of the newspaper. However, we now know that at this time Riker was under arrest and facing a court-martial on several embarrassing charges including neglect of duty, creating a false muster, attempting to sell a commission, receiving illegal rebates from a sutler and keeping a woman in his quarters. Riker was found not guilty of the charges and while he did not join the regiment at Prospect Hill his was able to lead it to the Peninsula. A 140 page transcript of the case against Riker may be found in file II 813, in the Court-martial Case File, Records of the Judge Advocate General’s Office (Army) entry 15, Court-martial Case File in the National Archives Record Group 153.

http://andersonszouaves.tripod.com/id240.html

Captain George H. Moeser, Co. F.

 

unioneagleLike many of the 62nd, George Moeser’s parents were born overseas and immigrated to the United States. Arriving from Bavaria, Germany, possibly on the ship Baltimore, in the 1830’s, Captain Moeser’s parents George (b. 1805) and Charlotte (b. 1814) settled in New York City and began their life in their adopted country as a tailor and housewife.  No record could be found of any additional children or relatives crossing with them.  George H. Moeser was born in New York City in 1837 and in 1860 married Lena (Helena) Moeser in Manhattan, New York and together they will have three children, George (b. 1862), Elizabeth (b. 1864) and John (b. 1866).

After the firing on Fort Sumter, George H. enlisted with the 62nd on April 27, 1861 in New York City and was mustered into Company F on July 3, 1861 at the age of 24. He was commissioned a Captain on October 23, 1861.  Captain Moeser fought in the various operations of the Peninsular Campaign and joined the rest of the 62nd in the assault on Fredericksburg, Virginia.  It was here that the Captain was wounded by a gunshot to the left side of his head and right leg.  He was remove from the battlefield and sent to a military hospital near Alexandria, Virginia.

No matter what war or during what time period, military and civilian bureaucracy will muddy the waters and confuse the facts.  While recovering from his wounds in Alexandria, Captain Moeser was reported absent without leave and was dishonourably dismissed from the service under Special Order #53.  Later, after clarification of the confusion surrounding his whereabouts was researched and verified, his rank and privileges were returned to him. He was then honourably discharged from the service.

After The Great Rebellion, George, like hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, returned to their homes and tried to re-establish their lives.  George returned to New York City and established a home for his family on 194thStreet, East Village and opened a grocery, and he would continue to operate a grocery until about 1900.  The Federal Census of 1900 showed that their son, John, had been unemployed as a house painter for about three months and was now living with them. At this time the family was living in Manhattan.

On January 24, 1905, George successfully applied for a pension for his services in the War, but no mention was made of the amount.  On August 6, 1913 Captain George H. Moeser died at home, with Lena following on November 25, 1916.  Both were buried at Saint John’s Catholic Cemetery in Queens, New York.

By Joe Basso

Article originally appeared in ZOUAVE!

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See also: http://andersonszouaves.tripod.com/id366.html

McClellan’s Wild Indians (March 22, 1862)

unioneagleCamp Tennalby.

Washington. DC. Mar 22d 1862

Dear Cousin Hen.

I received your most welcom letter of the 18th and was very glad to hear that you with the rest of my friends are all around as yet. I should think that it fetches some of the folks around on the Island now that the oldest inhabatance is leaving for parts unknown, or over Jordan as some calls it, but if they was not here they would get ust to it. As soon as enny of our friends Dies out here the Sergant of the Company they ust to belong to Sends Three men to dig a grave in the nearest Churchyard and they then they put the corpses in a coffin, 8 men puts him on thare shoulders, as many more follows with reverse arms. . . a fifer and drummers makes up the Persesion, puts him in the hole, fires 3 rounds over the heap of dust, then leaves him alone to his Reflections. Hen, we left Camp Tennalby on the 10th and marched over in Virginia about 20 miles to Manases in the Rain and Mud. . . to get a pop at the Cowardly. . . but as soon as they heard that we was in Virginia they left dam quick, only leaving behind them some old wagons and 20 wooden cannons painted black. After staying in Manases about 5 hours we marched back to Prospect hill about 4 miles and halted for 3 days and nights. While on Prospect hill I thought I had a dam good prospect to starve to death and drown, for it rained . . . for 2 days and one night and us poor Beggars was in it without any Shelter. Then we started to join the Burnside Expedition but when we reached long bridge thare was no Conveyances to take us to Richmond, Virginia, whare they was then. So we camped in the field until Sunday the 16th when we marched back to Tennalby whare we have been ever since. Now we are under Marching orders with 5 days rations ahead, reddy to leave at any moment. I am now in the Commorsaryes department as I was tired of doing nothing. The only thing I ust to do was to cary the Colors out on a Battalion drill or a Brigade drill or Inspection. So perhaps I would not go out for a week to a time as there is only Companies drills now once a day witch the Flag does not appear on the grounds. I am pretty well ingaged now, all my time giving out Rations for the Cook w cook for the men and drawing 5 days Rations to a time from the Quarter Masters. All I do is oversee it, and I have got a very nice little fellow with me that does all the work. So all I do is to keep account of what comes in and what is giving out. Big thing in dress parade last night. The Adjutant of the Regt read in the Orders that Gen. McClellan was going w send us on a march to settle this Rebelion as we are tired fooling with them, but he has kept the army of the Potomack for to wind up this dam mess with and if he gives us orders we will do it dam quick. The biggest part of the Division has imbarked all redy, and as soon as they get out of the way we are going to follow suit. So in two or three weeks. . . you will hear that the Andersons Zouaves or McClellans wild Indians as he calls us have give the. . .all the fight they wanted. . .

Letter of Abraham T. Perine to his cousin Henry

See: “In love and friendship, by Marjorie Kerr”. Staten Island Historian XVI (1955) 28-30.

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