Thursday, April 23, 2015

Military Monday - Dr. Charles Campbell Guard, Civil War Surgeon, and His Family

Dr. Charles Campbell Guard
Dr. Charles Campbell Guard was the great-grandson of Jeremiah Gard (1717-1783) of Morris County, New Jersey, whom many Gard researchers consider the “great granddaddy” of us all.  Charles was the oldest of the eight children of Chalon Guard (1797-1885) and his wife, Sarah “Sally” Campbell Guard (1799-1842).  He was born on August 5, 1824, a day after his father’s twenty-seventh birthday, in Equality, Illinois. 

On October 19, 1845, Charles married sixteen-year-old Lucy Ann White (parents unknown). The couple had two children.  The first, a girl named Julia A. (Ann, after her mother perhaps?), born in 1847, was still alive at age three as she appears in the 1850 census, but she does not seem to have survived to adulthood as she is not mentioned in the records after that.  The second, a girl named Lucy V., was born two years later in 1849.  Unfortunately, their mother, Lucy Ann, passed away on July 3 of the same year, suggesting complications from pregnancy.  So, at the age of 25, Charles Guard was left a widower with at least one infant girl to bring up. 

At some point in time, Charles Guard completed his education to become a doctor. Details as to where and when he received his education have not yet been uncovered, but at the age of 26, he is listed as a physician in the 1850 census when he was living in Saline County, Illinois, near Harrisburg.  In all other census records before and after 1850, he was in his native Gallatin County.

On March 12, 1851, Dr. Guard remarried to twenty-three-year-old Lucy Posey.  (Yes, the third Lucy in the narrative.)  The couple had two children: both boys.  The first was Birtis Guard (b. 1852).  I have been unable to find any information about a person with this (or a similar) name, so I fear that this is another child who did not survive.  Sadly, the second son, George P. (Posey?) Guard (b. 1853) is known to have died in infancy as well and is buried in the Equality Village Cemetery.  And then, two years later, Dr. Guard again made his sad way to the cemetery for the interment of his second wife.

Little Lucy V., now six, was again motherless.  But on September 13, 1857, Dr. Guard, now 33, married for the third time to 17-year-old Nancy “Nannie” Baker, who gave birth to a son, Chalon Timothy Guard, on July 21, 1858.  This was Dr. Guard’s fifth child and became the fourth to die in infancy.  On November 19, 1861, Nancy gave birth to another son, Charles Alexander, who, I am happy to report, survived to the age of 77, dying in the family’s hometown of Equality (Gallatin County) in 1938. 
Nancy "Nannie" Baker 

Though Charles and Nancy would return to Equality, the census year 1860 found them living near the town of Harrisburg in Saline County, Illinois.  Now, Saline County, newly formed in 1847, had originally been a part of Gallatin County.  The division of the county was controversial, and it had taken some time for the decision finally to be settled in court, with then Illinois attorney Abraham Lincoln having a role in the whole matter. 

Dr. Guard’s family was not the only Guard family in Saline County.  On the same page as the family of Charles Campbell Guard is the family of Charles’ half-brother, Chalon Guard (1853-1933).  The census reveals one other interesting fact.  Living with the Guards in Saline County were two ten-year-old African-American children, a girl named Anna and a boy named Albert Prater, who are listed as domestic servants.  The story of the status of blacks in pre-Civil War Illinois is an interesting one, which I hope to cover in a future narrative. Suffice it here to say that Dr. Guard seems to have been protecting these children from those in the state and the region who did not support their freedom.

Civil War Era Surgical Kit
By the time the war broke out, the Guards were back in Gallatin County.  In August 1861, Dr. Guard joined up with the 3rd Illinois Cavalry.  He was placed in Co. E. like others from Saline and Gallatin Counties, and was given the rank of 1st Lieutenant. However, when the unit moved out toward St. Louis on September 25, Charles was promoted to surgeon and transferred to the 29th Illinois Infantry (National; United States).

Almost immediately, the 29th reported to Cairo, Illinois, where Ulysses S. Grant, then a Brigadier-General, had recently been placed in command.  Grant’s assignment was to command the district of southeastern Missouri comprising all the territory in Missouri south of St. Louis and all of southern Illinois with permanent headquarters at Cairo. 

The map on the right, published in 1862, shows the position of Cairo at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  Paducah, Kentucky, to the east of Cairo, can be seen on the Tennessee River, which was a tributary to the Ohio.  These waterways, which had previously been navigated for commerce, became central to troop deployment and support of what is now called the Army of the Tennessee.  For example, in November 1861, Grant, setting out from Cairo on the Mississippi, moved 3,000 men south on steamboats accompanied by two gun boats to an engagement against the Confederates at Belmont, Missouri.  Debarking three miles north of Belmont, they marched southward to engage Confederate Col. Jeff Thompson, whom they defeated (Wilson).  In this battle, the Union suffered the loss of 120 dead, 383 wounded, and 104 captured or missing.  The wounded would, of course, have looked to Dr. Guard and his assistants for treatment.

Since the army moved on the water, so did the surgeons, but at first their task was quite daunting.  During the operations against Fort Henry, Tennessee, February 2-6, 1862, moving the wounded out of the war zone was obviously slowed by the cumbersome process involved. Alan Hawk of the National Museum of Health and Medicine explains:

As the river campaign began from Cairo, Illinois, in February 1862, getting the sick out of the combat zone in preparation for the campaign turned out to [be] complex.  A surgeon needed [to] request the quartermaster’s corps to provide transportation for the sick.  These requests got low priority since the quartermasters tended to put their efforts on the movement of troops, weapons, ammunition and supplies (Hawk).

Eventually approval was received to charter steamboats specifically for transportation of the sick and wounded.  When they left Fort Henry, the medical transport system had improved somewhat as the vessel City of Memphis, with Dr. Guard aboard, left with 475 patients bound upriver for Paducah, Kentucky (Hawk).   

While the ship was moving northward to Paducah, the 29th Illinois was moving eastward by land to Fort Donelson, Tennessee, which is on the Cumberland River.  The Cumberland also passes through Paducah, which means that, upon debarking the wounded from Ft. Henry, the City of Memphis probably advanced via the Cumberland from Paducah to Fort Donelson, which was taken by the Union on February 16.  As the infantry continued eastward to Savannah, Tennessee, the City of Memphis and its sister ship the Louisiana continued to ferry the sick and wounded from ports in Tennessee to hospitals in Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri.  It is estimated they transported 10,000 men in this way between February and July (Hawk).
City of Memphis Hospital Ship

In March, Assistant Adjutant-General James H. Hammond sent a query to Captain John Rawlins suggesting that additional floating hospitals be assigned to the Savannah, Tennessee, region.  Hammond was writing from Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the Tennessee River just a few miles above Shiloh, where the famous Battle of Shiloh would soon take place.  At 4:00 p.m., General Sherman added a P.S. to Hammond’s letter, stating: “Have just read this letter, and approve all but floating hospitals; regimental surgeons [which would have included Dr. Guard] can take care of all sick, except chronic cases, which can always be sent down to Paducah” (Hammond).

This letter was dated March 18.  The 29th Illinois was at Pittsburg Landing at that time and remained there until March 25, at which time began their move to the south. 
However, Dr. Charles Campbell Guard would not be there to help with the wounded from the Battle of Shiloh, which commenced on April 6, because, on April 4, he died of hepatitis aboard the City of Memphis, no doubt due to contact with contaminated blood during the course of his work.  Strangely, two sources indicate that Dr. Guard was at the Battle of Shiloh (“Charles Campbell Guard”[*]; Guard).  However, this cannot be true given the date of his death and that of the commencement of the battle.  It would probably be more accurate to say that the floating hospital on which Guard worked was nearing Shiloh when he died, but he could not have witnessed the fighting or cared for the wounded from the battle.

Dr. Guard’s body was returned to Equality, Illinois, in Gallatin County, for burial near the graves of his first two wives, Lucy White and Lucy Posey, and his infant son, George.  His living wife, Nannie Baker, now 23, and her 9-month-old son, as well as Lucy White’s daughter, Lucy V.,13,  were now without a husband and father. 
Equality Village Cemetery
Gallatin Co., Illinois

In 1864, Nannie remarried and appears with her son Charles Guard in the 1870 census, residing in Terra Haute, Indiana, with her second husband, Enoch Ross, and two Ross children, ages four and two.  But what happened to Lucy V.?

I was unable to find Lucy residing with any known relatives, and by the time of the next census in 1870, this 13-year-old girl would have been 21 and possibly married, though I was not able to discover a marriage record for her either.  Sadly, I discovered her on Findagrave.com, laid to rest at the age of 15 with no apparent family members beside her in Haven Hill Cemetery in the town of Olney, Richland County, Illinois, 70 miles to the east of Equality (“Lucy V. Guard”[†]).  But how did she end up there? 

Lucy V.’s mother died in 1849, and Dr. Guard did not re-marry until 1851.  The 1850 Census record shows him and his two daughters, Julia (age 3) and Lucy V. (age 1), residing with the family of Dr. Guard’s sister, Anne Valeria Guard Campbell, who was married to Judge John Lloyd Campbell.  

By the time of the 1860 census, Dr. Guard had remarried and Lucy V. was residing in Equality with her father and step-mother Nannie. (Julia does not appear.) But if Lucy died in Olney, how did she get there?  We cannot be sure, without further discoveries, when exactly Lucy V. made her way to Olney, but my guess is that she went there after her father’s death and burial.  After all, Nannie was not her own mother, and she did have other kin who cared for her.  It isn’t difficult to assume that her aunt, Anne Valeria, and her uncle, Judge John L. Campbell, with whom she had lived briefly in 1850, would have opened their home to this young orphaned girl.  This conjecture is strengthened by the fact that, according to the 1870 census, the couple were residing in Olney.


Realizing the importance of Anne Valeria in Lucy’s life, it is tempting to suppose that the V in Lucy’s name stands for Valeria, but that cannot be said with certainty.

The conjecture that Lucy lived with the Campbells after her father’s death is strengthened by a statement in a biographical sketch of John Lloyd Campbell, which appeared in the historical atlas of Richland County, Illinois, published in 1875, the year of John Lloyd Campbell’s death (Atlas).

In the paragraphs regarding Campbell’s marriage to Anne Valeria Guard, we learn several key facts.  One is that Anne Valeria moved to Richland County from Gallatin County during the war while John Campbell was serving in the Union Army (Co. E, 3rd Illinois Cavalry).  Why she moved during the war may be explained by the fact that there were numerous other Campbells in Olney, and, with four children, she may have been attracted to the support of her in-laws since both her own mother and her mother-in-law had died by then.

The second revelation in the biographical sketch is that the couple, in addition to their own children, raised ten orphans.  Given Lucy V.’s status as an orphan after April 1862, it is highly likely that she was one of the ten. The cause of her death is unknown. Sadly, none of Lucy’s blood kin rest with her in Haven Hill Cemetery, but her Uncle John was laid there upon his death October 9, 1875. 

Dr. Guard’s sister, Anne Valeria, eventually moved out to California with her son, John L. Campbell, Jr., who earned some fame as Superior Judge in San Bernardino County, where Anne Valeria died on February 18, 1893 (“Hon.” 534).  Charles Alexander Guard, the son of Dr. Guard and his third wife Nannie Baker, married Rachel Elizabeth Bourland in 1873 and had six children.  He ran the general store in Equality until his death in 1938. 

This sad tale of love and loss may be typical of the mid-nineteenth century, when infant mortality was high and the Civil War was tearing families asunder. Through it all, however, I see in Charles Campbell Guard a man who devoted his life to helping others and gave his own in service to the soldiers of the Army of the Tennessee.


(c) Eileen Cunningham, 2015


[*] The memorial has been updated with information I was able to provide as a result of this research.
[†] Ditto.

                                                              Works Cited

“Charles Campbell Guard.” Findagrave.com. Memorial #99965994. 31 Oct. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=99965994&ref=acom
Guard, Jim. “Dr. Charles Campbell Guard.” Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. http://suvcw.org/past/ccguard.htm  
Hammond, J[ames]. H. “To Captain [John] Rawlins.” 18 Mar. 1862. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman. Son of the South. n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/union-generals/sherman/memoirs/general-sherman-battle-shiloh.htm
Hawk, Alan. “Hospital Ships in the American Civil War.” Academia. n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.  www.academia.edu/3302385/Hospital_Ships_in_the_American_Civil_War
“Hon. John Lloyd Campbell.” An Illustrated History of Southern California. Chicago: Lewis, 1890. Internet Archive. n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. https://archive.org/stream/illustratedhistofsc00lewi#page/n5/mode/2up
“John L. Campbell.” Historical Atlas of Richland Illinois. Brink & Co., 1875. Historic MapWorks. 2015.  Web. 21 Apr. 2015. http://www.historicmapworks.com/Atlas.php?cat=History&c=US&a=8858
“Lucy V. Guard.” Findagrave.com.  Memorial # 35545596. 5 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35545596&ref=acom
National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Accessed 23 Apr. 2015.
United States. Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. 
Wilson, James Grant, and John Fiske, eds. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Rev. ed. 5.710. Internet Archive. n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. 

Illustrations
Charles Campbell Guard. Findagrave.com. Memorial #99965994.

City of Memphis Hospital Ship. National Museum of Health and Medicine. Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic. https://www.flickr.com/photos/medicalmuseum/3377151210/in/set-72157614294677868 

Equality Village Cemetery. Findagrave.com.

Map. “Position of New Madrid.” City-Data. http://www.city-data.com/forum/history/1156662-today-civil-war-30.html

Nancy “Nannie” Baker. Findagrave.com. Memorial #99966343.

Nineteenth-Century Girl. “18th- and 19th-Century Children’s Fashions!” Sally Hall.  Pinterest. Pinned from www.zoom.mfa.org.

Surgical kit, NCP 3913, National Museum of Health and Medicine.  Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic. https://www.flickr.com/photos/medicalmuseum/284967057/in/set-72157614294677868/






Sunday, March 22, 2015

Those Places Thursday - Where Was Gallow Hill?

Dingwall, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
Doing research on Clan Bain in Dingwall, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, I came across the marriage record of my third great-grandparents, John Bain and Anne Kemp, in the old registers of Dingwall parish. The two were married on November 30, 1805, and the handwritten record identifies Anne as “daughter to John Kemp in Gallowhill.”[1]  But where was Gallowhill, or, as I later learned to write it, Gallow Hill? 

In order to understand Gallow Hill, one needs to know a bit about the town of Dingwall. It was the poet Robert Southey who, while in Dingwall in 1819, indicated to the engineer Thomas Telford that Dingwall reminded him “in its name of the Icelandic capital Thingvalla.”[2]  Archaeological research has proven Southey’s instinct to be true: Dingwall has Norse origins.

To be specific, the name Dingwall derives from the Norse Þingvöllr, which means field, or meeting place, of the thing.   The thing (sometimes spelled Þing) was the Norse representative assembly where political decisions were made and legal disputes settled.  Other places in Scandinavian-controlled areas with similar names are Tynwald on the Isle of Man, Tingwall on Orkney, Tingwall on Shetland, Thingwall on the Wirral Peninsula, Þingvellir in Iceland, Tingwalla in Sweden, and Tingvoll in Norway. 

To determine the exact site of the thing in Dingwall, the Highland Council commissioned the chairman of the Dingwall historical society, David D. MacDonald, in 2012.  By using Scottish historical records, knowledge of Norse practice regarding the thing, and even ground-penetrating radar, MacDonald and his team were able to conclude that the site of the Dingwall thing was a mound in city center already marked with an obelisk, erected in 1710 by Sir George Mackenzie, the 1st Earl of Cromartie.  (Following his death, the earl was actually buried next to the obelisk, meaning that today he is completely surrounded by a parking lot.) 


That the obelisk mound might have been the site of the assembly is confirmed by the fact that in the vicinity of the thing there was normally a church, which may, in the Christian era, have replaced a pagan shrine of old.  (In the case of Dingwall, the absence of pagan burials in the vicinity suggests that the establishment of the thing in that area occurred after the coming of Christianity.[3])  In Dingwall, St. Clements Church stands just opposite the site of the the earl of Cromartie’s obelisk, and though the current church dates only from the first decade of the nineteenth century, it was raised on the site where a church called St. Clements had stood since medieval times. 

Now, in addition to a church, there was one other site associated with the Scandanavian thing: a gallows. When a court case at the thing resulted in a sentence of death, the condemned man would be taken to a place called in the Norse language a galgeberg, or, in English, Gallow(s) Hill.  A continental example of such a site is in Oslo, Norway, in the  neighborhood called Galgeberg (Gallows Hill), which in medieval times lay outside the town.[4]   The execution site, though typically within view of the thing, was normally separated far enough from it that the smell of death would not taint the vicinity of the dignified assembly.[5]  Dingwall’s Gallow Hill was no exception, being “600 m. west from the medieval town,”[6] according to MacDonald.  

Tulloch Castle
When antiquarian Robert Bain wrote his History of the Ancient Province of Ross in 1899, he mentioned Gallow Hill in this way (he mistakenly believed the thing was located near it):  “The historic hill itself is situated at the west end of Dingwall, and, we are sorry to say, has lately, to its great disfigurement, been in the hands of the Vandals; the profits arising from its use as a gravel pit outweighing every other consideration whatsoever.”  According to MacDonald, this is a reference to the gravel pit opened on the Tulloch Estate in 1892, which he identifies as “immediately west of Mill Street.”[7]  (The Tulloch Estate is associated with Tulloch Castle, which lies to the north of Dingwall.  The castle was acquired by the Bains in 1513 and the surrounding lands in 1542, when Duncan Bane was made 1st Laird of Tulloch by James V.)

Now, there remains only one point to nail down: the Kemp connection to Gallow Hill.  Sometimes after intuition and hard work, one finds a golden nugget that answers questions about the family tree.  Other times, it’s just dumb luck.  So it was that as I was researching Gallow Hill, I stumbled across a charter whereby in 1506, William Kemp, burgess of Dingwall, was granted lands by Sir John Dingwall, vicar of the churches of Petty and Bracholy (or “Brachowy,” as the scribe had written it).  Among these lands was “an half acre lying near the Gallowhill between the lands of the [Munro] laird of Foulis on the west and the lands of William Dingwall on the east.”[8]  One of those little light bulbs must have appeared over my head.  The Kemps, it turned out, had had an association with Gallow Hill long before there was ever an Anne Kemp (b. 1780) or her father John (b. 1750). 

In 1821, a fellow named John Wood of Edinburgh surveyed the town of Dingwall and prepared a plan that researchers still use to study the history of Dingwall.  On the far west side of town, just at the point where Dingwall ends and Gallow Hill takes up, Wood’s plan shows twelve dwellings, eleven of which were occupied in 1821.  They are on Mill Street.  And about in the middle of the group there are two adjacent houses whose owner/occupants are identified as A. Baine and J. Baine.  I’m more than 50 % confident that the J. Baine of 1821 Dingwall in what has to be the Gallow Hill neighborhood is the John Baine who married Anne Kemp in 1805.  By this time, all of their children would have been born, except for the youngest, Katharine, born in 1822.  
John Wood's Plan of Dingwall, 1821
Gallow Hill area to the west on road running to the north.


The first valuation rolls in Scotland were not taken until 1865.  At that time, my direct ancestor, John and Anne’s son Donald, a shoemaker, had moved on to Wick in Caithness.  But the rolls still show another Donald Bain, a mason, in Dingwall . . . on Mill Street . . . in Gallow Hill. 

(c) Eileen Cunningham 2015


[1] OPR Marriages 062/00 0010 0242 Dingwall.  Scotland’s People.
[2] D[avid]. D. MacDonald. Investigating Dingwall as Þingvöllr. THING Project. Highland Council. 5. June 2013. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.
[3] MacDonald, 40.
[4] MacDonald, 7. See footnote.
[5] MacDonald, 10.
[6] “Dingwall, Scotland.” Thing Sites. 2011-2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.
[7] MacDonald, 8. (See footnote p. 8 for Bain.)
[8] Calendar of Writs of Munro of Foulis, 1299-1823.  Cited in “William Kemp.” Kemp(e) Family History. 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Military Monday - Resurrecting Cpl. Walter Gard (1839-1864)

Corporal's Frock Coat
courtesy of Prices4Antiques.com
Note: The Morris County, New Jersey, Gards are sometimes found in the records with the spelling Gard and sometimes Guard.  Even a given individual might be found with both spellings.  As the family moved west, some retained the Guard spelling and others opted for Gard.  Walter Gard (1839-1864) is found in various records under both spellings.  In this narrative, I have elected to use the spelling Gard except when it is in direct quotes as Guard.

Now that I have traced my ancestors back about as far as possible on every branch on the family tree via Ancestry.com, I have begun to focus more closely on nuclear families on the tree, following as much as possible the lives, loves, activities, calamities, deaths, and burials for every brother and sister in a given family, to the extent the resources allow.  And thus it was that I came to the sons and daughters of William James Gard (who seems to have been called James) (1795-1846) and his wife Keziah Wheeler Gard (1807-1859), who lived in Wood County, Virginia (later West Virginia).

Wood County, West Virginia
from Wikipedia
William James Gard was the son of my fourth great-grandfather, John Gard, Sr. (1742-1824), though not the son of my fourth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dudley, but of John’s second wife, Elizabeth Watson. The list of the children of William James and Keziah and their (approximate) birth dates went something like this:

Mary Ann, b. 1824
Walter (either no birth date or 1824)
Chester, b. 1827
Marcellus, b. 1832
Minerva, b. 1832
Jane, b. 1834
Elizabeth, b. 1840
Drucilla, b. 1844
Emarilla, b. 1844
Jeremiah Theodore, b. 1848


As I looked at the information, I noticed that the sons were of the age typical of the Civil War generation.  However, no military information (or any other information, for that matter) was turning up for Chester or Walter.  I had just about come to the conclusion that these two must have died in infancy, an all too common fate for families before the twentieth century.  The father had died by the time of the 1850 census, but Keziah shows up as a widow with several children still living at home: Minerva, Elizabeth, Drucilla, Jeremiah, and Emarilla.  Jane Gard, age 16 in 1850, was living with the Lemly family (possibly as a servant).  Marcellus, age 19, was living with the Scofield family; his occupation is given as laborer.  But there was no trace of Chester or Walter.

Now, some researchers on Ancestry.com show another son of William James and Keziah: John Wallis Gard (1830-1904).  I found John Wallis in the 1860 census, married and raising a family in Gallia County, Ohio, which is just a few miles southwest of Wood County, Virginia.  In fact, Gallipolis, the town where they resided, is on the Ohio River which serves as the border between the two states. 

Gallia County, Ohio
from Wikipedia
It was in that 1860 census record that Walter Gard turned up, age 21.  I have since determined that John Wallis Gard, with whom he was residing, was probably his cousin, rather than his brother, as “Jno W. Gard” turns up living with his father Jeremiah Gard (1810-82) ten years earlier in the 1850 census.  This Jeremiah, by the way, was another son of John and Nancy Watson Gard and was married to Elizabeth Wheeler, who may have been a sister to Keziah Wheeler, though I have found no trace of either woman’s parents.
Realizing that John Wallis and his cousin Walter were in the generation that fought the Civil War, I began to look for military service.  

John Wallis Gard turned up as having served in the 18th Independent Battery of the Ohio Light Artillery.   Submitting a Google search for “Walter Gard Civil War Ohio,” I discovered an obituary for Walter Guard (with the u spelling ) from the Gallipolis Journal, dated September 21, 1864, and identifying his military unit as Co. G, 4th West Virginia Infantry.  This was the key that unlocked the mystery of what happened to Walter Gard, son of William James and Keziah Wheeler Gard. 
Gallipolis Journal

The obituary read: “Walter Guard, Corporal, age 22, enlisted July 21st, 1861, from Gallipolis, killed at Snicker’s [sic] Ferry, Virginia, July 18th, 1864—unmarried.”  The fact that he was unmarried and left no heirs goes some way toward explaining why few have searched for him on Ancestry.com.  Walter’s unit—Co. G of the 4th West Virginia Infantry—was organized at Mason and Point Pleasant, West Virginia, June 17 to August 22, 1861.  Since Point Pleasant is closer to Gallipolis and also the county seat of Mason County, West Virginia, which is immediately adjacent to Gallia County, Ohio, it was probably there that Walter Guard enlisted.  He entered service as eighth corporal, which is just above private, and had been promoted to corporal before his death.[1]

Battle of Vicksburg
from Wikipedia
The men of the 4th West Virginia Infantry had seen plenty of action in the war prior to the battle in which Walter Gard lost his life.  Some of the major conflicts included the Battle of Vicksburg (Mississippi),  May 18 – July 4, 1863, where a monument was raised in their honor (see below); the third Battle of Chattanooga (Tennessee), November 23-25, 1863 (also called the Battle of Lookout Mountain and the Battle of Missionary Ridge); and the Battle of Piedmont (Virginia), June 5, 1864.[2]

Col. Joseph Thoburn
(1825-1864)
In July 1864, Walter’s unit, led by Col. Joseph Thoburn and under the command of Maj. Gen. Horatio Wright, was asked to interfere with the movement of Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal Early’s defeated troops from the Battle of Fort Stevens near Washington, D.C., as they moved into the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  On the 17th, Early entered the valley and established his troops at Berryville, leaving a division led by Gen. John B. Gordon to guard Snickers Ford on the Shenandoah River.  Wright, under the mistaken impression that only a strong rearguard of Confederates was at Snickers Ford, ordered Col. Thoburn’s men—Walter Gard among them—to cross at Island Ford, and they set out at about 3:00 p.m.  While crossing, Thoburn learned from Confederate prisoners they had taken, that his men were about to face off not with a mere rebel rearguard, but with the greater part of Early’s army.  Sending word back to Wright, Thoburn pressed on across the ford.[3]

At this point, let us transfer the narrative to an eyewitness account of the battle, which appeared in the Gallipolis Journal on August 4, 1864:
Camp 4th Va.V.V. Inftry., in the field near Snickers Gap, Va., July 19th, 1864 Mr. Stewart: Sir: Thinking a brief statement of facts in regard to yesterday's fight may not be uninteresting to your patrons, many of whom have friends and relatives in the 4th Va. Inftry. I hereby subjoin one the source of which is perfectly reliable. I was not a participant. I will commence by stating the order of crossing the Shenandoah river at Snickers Ford, distant from Snickers Gap one mile and a half and about one mile below the crossing on the Turnpike.

Snickers Gap (Blue Ridge Mountains)
The 1st Brigade under Col. Wells in the advance followed by the 2nd Brigade under Col. Thoburn and 3rd Brigade under Col. Frost. The whole commanded by Col. Thoburn crossed at 3 o'clock P.M. Skirmishers were immediately thrown out to the front and the Div., formed as follows, 1st Brigade on the left, 3rd Brigade in the center, and the 2nd Brigade on the right. In this position they lay for nearly an hour without any show of hostility and indeed without scarcely any indication of the enemy in our front. Up to this time, not a shot was fired.—But now it was discovered that the enemy were massing on our right. The 4th Va. Inftry. was ordered on the double quick to the extreme right and formed near the crest of a small ridge running paralell [sic] with the river. Still further to the right and a little in advance of the 4th Va. was placed a strong body of Dismounted Cavalry as skirmishers and for the protection of the right flank of the line of battle. 

The Shenandoah River at Cool Spring
Courtesy of the Civil War Trust
Whilst the 4th Va. Inftry. were forming, the enemy were seen in a strong force moving to the right and into a dense woods.—They here threw out into the skirt of the woods and in full view, a small line in order to make a show of charging us, whilst the main body of the enemy passed on under cover of the woods until they got entirely clear of our line and within three hundred yards of the Charlestown road which runs parallel with the river and along which our line extended. They then filed out of the woods and marched directly toward the river bank. The dismounted cavalry, which were placed on our right to protect our flank seeing the enemy bearing down upon them in such heavy force, fell back without firing a shot. Col. J. L. Vance of the 4th Va. Inftry. immediately then took two companies to the right to protect our flank thus left wholly exposed. But the enemy availing themselves of the advantage thus gained had already taken position behind a stone fence running at right angles to our line. From this point they poured upon us a terrible enfilading fire. Simultaneously a galling fire was opened on us in front. Here Lt. G. W. Scott was killed, a loss severely felt by all.—He was an efficient officer and a perfect gentleman. His relatives and friends at home have the sympathy of the entire regiment. Here also Capt. W. S. Hall & Capt. C. A. Shepard and Lt. M. Christopher were wounded; indeed here it was that all our loss occurred.
Battle of Cool Spring, Confederate's First Attack, July 18, 1864
Image courtesy of the Civil War Trust

This situation however was not to be endured. Col. Vance seeing there was no other alternative, gave the command to fall back, whereupon they fell back in some haste to a stone fence some fifty yards in our rear and immediately upon the river bank. The whole line, as well upon the left as upon the right fell back to the river bank. A great many especially Dismounted Cavalry, rushed into the river and I have learned many were drowned. At the stone fence on the bank of the river Col. Vance rallied the 4th Va. and others and formed line, the advance of the enemy was now checked and driven back, that body on our right however, continued their flank movement until it was discovered they were in the road and on the bank of the river. At this movement the 116th O.V. Inftry., commanded by Col. Washburn came to our assistance and while moving to the right its noble commander fell probably mortally wounded. But the men drove the rebels off the road and took up position. And here let me in praise of the 116th say that better soldiers are nowhere to be found. We maintained our position at the fence until dark and then under imperative orders recrossed the river bringing all off safely. We could have held the position all night and Col. Vance requested it but it was denied him.
Cool Spring Battlefield
from Wikipedia

During the time we lay along the fence the enemy made repeated charges upon us and each time were handsomely repulsed. They did not once attempt a swooping charge of their whole line else they must have certainly taken us. But they charged first at one point and then at another. We were compelled when the enemy charged on our right to take men from the left to strengthen the right and thus the men were kept continually changing from point to point. At one time the enemy charged on our left with a strong line and was repulsed by less than fifty men. As they retreated fresh men were brought up and they were punished severely.

Battle of Cool Spring Marker
The officers and men of our Regt. behaved nobly. In bringing off our little command Col. Vance withdrew a few men at intervals along the line and sent them over on to a little island that lay near the middle of the river.—He then selected a few more and ordered them to the main bank on the opposite side of the river and this he continued to do until all had passed over except himself and six men, these he crossed successfully having accomplished all without the loss of a man. The heroic conduct of Col. Vance in the trying ordeal cannot be too highly extolled. He labored incessantly to beat back the insolent foe and after having accomplished his object was the last man to cross the river.


KILLED
Co. F—1st Lieut. George A. Scott; Private Daniel McNeer
Co. D—Corporal George Howsen
Co. I—Sergt. Francis M. Clendinen
Co. G—Corpl. Walter Guard, Privates Moses Knapp and Isaac N. Kitterman
Co. B—Private John Kinser

WOUNDED
Co. G—Privates George Wallace in leg, slightly; George W. Flesher, also in leg, slightly
Co. B—Privates Joseph B. Pursinger, in shoulder, severely; Lewis P. Cubbage, in shoulder, severely; Andrew Roberts, in arm, severely
Co. K—1st Sergeant John C. Hailay, slightly; Corp. Anthony Betts, in face, slightly
Co. C—Corp. John Samson, in arm, severely; W.W. Edmonds, in arm, amputated; Privates John Terrill, in hand, George W. Townsend, in hand, slightly Co. H—1st Lieut. Michael Christopher, in leg, severely; Private I. Terrill, in hand, slightly
Co. A—Sergt. Thomas Pascoe, in thigh, slightly; N. N. Knight, in face, slightly
Co. F—Capt. W. S. Hall, in side, severely; Sergt. F. D. Chalfant, in side, severely; Privates: David Hamilton, in right shoulder, severely; B. A. Safreed, in knee, severely; Allen Robinson, in shoulder, severely
Co. D—Private J. A. Lewellen, in hip, slightly
Co. I—Capt. C. A. Shepard, in foot, severely

P. S. By later intelligence I learn that Lieut. Scott was not killed, but was most probably fatally wounded.      Very Respectfully Yours &c.,
       J.A.W.[4]

Winchester National Cemetery
from Wikimedia Commons
According to the U. S. Burial Registers for Military Posts and National Cemeteries, Walter Gard (listed as W. Guard) was initially buried at Cool Spring, no doubt alongside others who fell that day.[5]  However, after the war, the government established national cemeteries for the war dead, and in 1866 Walter’s body was re-interred at Winchester National Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia (Section 83, Site 3887).[6]
West Virginia Monument at Vicksburg
Dedicated to the West Virginia 4th Infantry
National Park Service Image



Walter’s cousin, John Wallis Gard, was mustered out of the service at Resaca, Georgia, on June 29, 1865, and returned to Gallipolis, where his last child, Mary Jane, was born in 1866.  He eventually returned with his family to West Virginia, where he died in 1904.  Walter’s memory was honored by his younger brother, Jeremiah Theodore Gard, who named his son Otis Walter.  Otis later became Reverend Otis Walter Gard and served the Baptist Church in Willow Island, West Virginia, a small community in Pleasants County, where many Gards resided.  He is buried in the church graveyard there.

(c) Eileen Cunningham, 2015






[1] “Civil War Soldiers.” FindTheBest.com. 2015. Web. 4 Mar. 2015. http://civil-war-soldiers.findthebest.com/l/2211151/Walter-Guard
[2] National Park Service. “Union West Virginia Volunteers: 4th Regiment, West Virginia Infantry.” The Civil War.  28 Feb. 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UWV0004RI
[4] Transcribed by Eve Swain Hughes. Gallia County Genealogical Society.  Accessed 5 Mar. 2015. http://www.galliagenealogy.org/Civil%20War/MainCWletters/milton.htm
[5] Ancestry.com. U.S., Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012
[6] National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.www.geneabloggers.com