Friday, February 16, 2018

52 Ancestors #7: Charles Edward Jennings: Veteran of the 19th Virginia Regiment

Ancestor Name: Charles Edward Jennings (1843-1917), great grandfather
DNA Haplogroup: I-M253

Continued from Charles Edward Jennings (1843-1917): First to Leave the Farm

I wrote extensively about the Civil War history of the 19th Virginia regiment as so many of my Jennings ancestors served in that regiment. The links are in listed in the sources at the bottom of this post.

During the winter of 1861 the 19th Virginia Regiment had been assigned to Brigadier General George Pickett. The brigade was part Second Division commanded by Major General James Longstreet. On 7 March 1862 the men of the 19th received orders to "cook three days" rations. After a long march from their winter camp near the scene of the first Battle of Bull Run, the regiment arrived at the Orange County courthouse. There must have been a reunion among brothers and cousins as new recruit Charles Edward Jennings joined his elder brother John Thomas and two first cousins, Leroy and Daniel Jennings.

Charles had enlisted at the courthouse in Amherst County and was ordered to the assembly point for the 19th regiment at the Orange County courthouse before the veterans of the regiment marched south from their winter camp. The entire unit drilled for two weeks. Soon they received orders to march to Richmond, where they boarded three schooners and sailed down the James River to King's Mill Wharf near Williamsburg. The peninsula was wet and sloppy and men fell prey to disease, and suffering sore legs, swollen feet and aching backs.

I imagine the soldiers stopped thinking about personal discomfort and disease when they were attacked by the Union army of General George McClellan on 26 April near Yorktown. Union forces were trying to capture Richmond, the Confederate capital, by sending ships up the James River and troops along its banks. One of those ships was the USS Galena, an ironclad, had been launched in Connecticut on Valentine's Day. The battle for Yorktown became an artillery duel and the Confederates were outclassed by the Union's 13-inch seacoast mortars. During the night of 3 May, Longstreet's division retreated towards Williamsburg. Companies H and I as well as the 28th Virginia regiment covered the retreat. The next afternoon, the 19th Virginia camped near the College of William & Mary.

Union artillery and their 13-inch "sea monsters;" photograph by James F. Gibson
and held by the Library of Congress

The Union army caught up with the Confederates the next day. General Johnston ordered his army to deploy with Pickett's brigade along the right side of his line. His orders were to turn the enemy's left flank. This was the first large engagement of what became known as the Peninsula Campaign. Pickett's counterattacks along the enemy's left flank were almost successful until Union troops reinforced the line. The Union army was able to destabilize the Confederate's left flank but were unable to exploit this advantage. The Confederates were able to withdraw again during the night.

As the Confederate army retreated up the peninsula towards Richmond, Longstreet's division followed the Chickahominy River. They moved mostly at night and progress was slow due to rain-soaked roads with forced soldiers into swamps. They arrived several miles from Richmond on 17 May and camped along the James River where they stayed until receiving orders to cook three days' rations and prepare to march. The Battle of Seven Pines began on 31 May 1862.

The Confederate objective was to overwhelm the Union corps that were isolated south of the Chickahominy River. Neither side made much headway and generals continued feeding soldiers into the battle. Little was achieved though both sides claimed victory. Up to that time it was the largest battle in the Eastern theater. General Pickett's brigade of which the 19th Virginia was a part bore the brunt of the attack.

The 19th was stationed along the Confederate army's left flank when a contingent of Union troops appeared. The officer wanted to know what soldiers he had encountered. The 19th responded with a fierce, "Virginians!" and promptly began to attack. The fight did not last long but the regiment suffered 20 percent casualties. Pickett withdrew his men about 1:00 p.m. The four Jennings men, including Charles, were unwounded and ready to fight another day.

The Seven Days Battles were a series of six engagements over seven days from 25 June until 1 July 1862, ending with Confederate forces driving Union soldiers back down the peninsula from where they came. These battles marked the end of the Peninsula Campaign, a defeat for the Union Army. General Robert E. Lee had taken over the Army of Northern Virginia a month before, relieving General Johnston, who had been wounded.

The 19th was camped two miles northeast of Richmond on the Mechanicsville Turnpike where the Seven Days Battles began. A small battle at Oak Grove that day was a tactical victory for the Union. They gained ground and were several hundred yards closer to Richmond, but lost over 1,000 men. The next day at Beaver Dam Creek, near Mechanicsville, the Union again won a tactical victory. However, their general severely overestimated the number of Confederate forces he was facing and began withdrawing his army to the southeast, away from Richmond. McClellan never again gained the initiative.

Mechanicsville Turnpike Bridge where more than half Lee's Army crossed the
Chickahominy River on 26 June 1862; courtesy National Park Service

The 19th Regiment marched to Mechanicsville the day of the battle and could hear it in the distance. They were supposed to support General A. P. Hill's division which was engaged with the enemy. However, due to delays they were unable to do so and camped that night near Mechanicsville under arms.

On the morning of 27 June the men of the 19th spent some time repairing bridges at the scene of the Beaver Dam Creek battle. Before noon, however, they were at Gaines' Mill where they found Union forces strongly entrenched.

General A. P. Hill was supposed to be positioned in the center of the Union line with Jackson in support to his left and Longstreet's division to his right (south). However, Jackson's division were late arriving so Longstreet was ordered to create a diversion. Pickett's brigade, including the 19th Virginia, attempted a frontal assault over a hill and down into a ravine but were beaten back under heavy fire, taking significant losses. It was at this time that two of Charles' cousins, Daniel and Leroy Jennings, were wounded.

After Jackson's men arrived, the battle commenced in earnest and the Union army was forced back across the Chickahominy River. It was the only true tactical victory for the Confederate forces of the entire Peninsula Campaign. McClellan began a general retreat south towards the James River during the night of 27 June. Lee ordered Longstreet to pursue the enemy.

The battle of Frayser's Farm, or Glendale, began by accident when Longstreet mistook enemy artillery fire for a prearranged signal. As a result his division and that of A. P. Hill began an unsupported attack against the retreating Union army. The 19th Regiment was commanded by Colonel Hunton as their previous commanding officer had been wounded at Gaines' Mill. They charged the enemy over broken ground and marsh. As they entered an area of woods, they encountered an enemy brigade in full retreat, forcing its way among their ranks. They reformed and turned slightly left to avoid artillery fire. As they advanced they captured an enemy artillery battery, which they turned on the retreating Union forces. At nightfall the battle of Frayser's Farm ended.

There was another battle at Malvern Hill the next day but the 19th Regiment did not take part. They had lost 21 men killed, 115 wounded and one missing during the battles at Gaines' Mill and Frayser's Farm.

For the next six weeks the regiment camped near Richmond, resting and receiving new recruits. Charles became ill and left the regiment and was at home during July and August 1862. His Army records are silent about his whereabouts until 13 May 1863. (My assumption is he rejoined his regiment sometime before it returned to Richmond after fighting at Suffolk.) On 13 May he appeared on the register of the Receiving and Wayside Hospital, or General Hospital No. 9, in Richmond. The hospital was also called Seabrook's Hospital and had been a warehouse before the war. It functioned as a receiving hospital for incoming wounded due to its being located near the Virginia Central Railroad Depot.

General Hospital No. 9, Richmond, Virginia; photograph taken shortly after
the war and courtesy of Civil War Richmond

Two days later, Charles Jennings was admitted to Chimborazo Hospital, which was an extremely large facility constructed in Richmond at the outbreak of the war. He complained of dropsy, which was an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or body cavities. He was transferred on 18 May 1863 to the Confederate hospital in Danville, Virginia, he complained of debilitas, a general weakness, lameness, or infirmity.

Chimborazo Hospital, Richmond, Virginia; photograph by Levy & Cohen, 1865

Charles was the subject of Special Order 134 issued by General Lee on 18 May 1863: "Private Chas. E. Jennings of Co. H, 19th Virginia detailed for duty in Genl. Hosptl. at Lynchburg Va. and will report to Sargt. W. O. Owen in charge for assignment."

On 29 May 1863 he returned to the 19th Regiment where I assumed he learned he had been detailed to work in Lynchburg. On 10 Jun 1863 he was attached to General Hospital in Lynchburg.

Lynchburg sat at the intersection of two railway lines. As a result several Confederate hospitals were located in the city. In May and June of 1864 the hospitals were filled with 10,000 patients. Hospitals were organized differently than today. They consisted of several buildings in a complex, each with their own staffs of doctors, surgeons, nurses, cooks, stewards and guards. Throughout the war, the city assigned different purposes and specialties to the buildings, such as surgery, general care, convalescence or quarantine.

Assisting the doctors and surgeons would be male nurses, primarily convalescent or invalid soldiers, female nurses, primarily volunteers and maybe a couple of Sisters from religious orders. Orderlies helped nurses at civil war era hospitals. It is likely Charles either served as an orderly or nurse.

Private Charles Jennings returned to the 19th Virginia regiment in March 1864. The men were in winter camp and the month of March brought extreme hunger. The men lived on cornmeal and later cats, which were skinned, boiled and then roasted. Their taste was compared to rabbits. Charles likely had enough. On 31 March he was examined by the regiment's surgeon, James D. Galt:

"Private C. E. Jennings having applied for a certificate upon which to ground an application for detail to light duty. I certify that I have carefully examined this private and found him incapable of performing infantry duty on account of curvature of the spine which seriously impairs his activity and capacity for labor. I further recommend that he be detailed as a nurse in a military hospital at Lynchburg because in my opinion he is competent to perform such duty."

Letter from 19th Virginia Regimental Surgeon recommending
Private Charles E. Jennings be detailed to a hospital and
placed on light duty; courtesy of

So Charles went back to Lynchburg where he was assigned to work in Pratt Hospital. On 21 October 1864 a Board of Medical Examiners declared him fit for duty and ordered him to return to his regiment. And there his Civil War records end.

Perhaps he simply went home instead. If he did return to his regiment, the brigade to which it was assigned was ordered to Hatcher's Run on 31 March 1865. Elements of the Union army had been sent near there to destroy as many Confederate supply wagons as they could find. Confederate soldiers attacked but were repulsed and the 19th retired from the field.

They joined the slow retreat to Appomattox in a hungry, tired and weak condition without sufficient rations. On 6 April 1865 they stopped to rest on a hill overlooking Sailor's Creek near Farmville. They made fires and were preparing to eat what little food remained when they were quickly surround by the forces of General George Armstrong Custer. The 29 men remaining in the 19th Virginia regiment surrendered. Most were sent to Point Lookout prison in Maryland and remained there until after the war when they were paroled after taking an oath of allegiance.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "Valentine." I couldn't in good conscience contrive a connection between the theme and the bloody war history of my great grandfather.

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Charles Edward Jennings is Ancestor number 8 on my family tree:

8.0 Charles Edward Jennings, son of Powhatan Perrow Jennings and Catherine Jewell, born 23 September 1843 in Amherst County, Virginia; died 10 August 1917 in Erwin, Tennessee; married 1) Nancy "Nannie" Jane Johnson, daughter of William Marshall Johnson and Martha Ann Jennings and 2) Effie Beard, daughter of David Fleming Beard, Sr., and Barbara Ann Mitchell.

Children of Charles Edward Jennings and first wife, Nannie Johnson:

8.1 William Powhatan Jennings born 28 May 1875 in Amherst County; died 2 November 1899.

8.2 Daniel Melvin Jennings born 15 September 1877 in Amherst County; died 23 August 1940; married Myrtle Patti Fitzgerald, daughter of David Crawley Fitzgerald and Pattie Ferguson, on 16 June 1909 in Roanoke.

8.3 Charles Albert Jennings born 27 June 1879 in Amherst County; died 28 April 1947 in Bedford County, Virginia; married Margaret "Maggie" Susan Pifer, daughter of James Edward Pifer and Margaret Loop before 1901.

8.4 Viola "Ola" Jennings born 5 December 1881 in Amherst County; died 15 March 1959 in Roanoke, Virginia; married James Solomon Raike, son of William Jasper Raike and Martha Ann Powell, between 1900 and 1902.

8.5 Leta Vernon Jennings born 5 March 1884 in Amherst County; died 15 October 1958 in Alexandria, Virginia; married Edmund Lenwood Womack, son of Jesse Womack and Elizabeth Pedigo, on 15 September 1906 in Roanoke.

8.6 Harry Lee Jennings born 29 June 1886 in Amherst County; died 22 October 1945 in San Francisco; married Nancy "Nannie" Gay Clayton, daughter of Walker W. Clayton and Josephine Mary Taylor, between 1910 and 1913.

8.7 Johnson Jennings born 11 April 1892 in Amherst County; died 9 August 1892 in Amherst County.

9.0 Effie Beard born 1 October 1871 in Bedford County, Virginia, daughter of David Fleming Beard, Sr., and his second wife, Barbara Ann Mitchell; died 4 May 1906 in Roanoke, Virginia; married 1895 to Charles Edward Jennings. 

Children of Charles Edward Jennings and second wife, Effie Beard:

8.8 Daisy Birdelle Jennings born 14 November 1896 in Roanoke, Virginia; died 28 April 1947 in Statesville, North Carolina; married William Luckey Moore, son of Jay Luckey Moore and Jane Elizabeth Steele, on 20 September 1916 in Johnson City, Tennessee.

8.9 Leo James Jennings born 31 October 1898 in Roanoke, Virginia; died 3 October 1973 in Pacific Palisades, California; married 1) Bonnie Sue Wolfe, daughter of James H. and Mollie Wolfe, on 27 November 1919 in Iredell County, North Carolina, (divorced), 2) Kathleen O'Gorman, daughter of William and Margaret O'Gorman, on 14 March 1933 in Yuma County, Arizona,  (divorced), and 3) Marcella G. (maiden name unknown).

4.0 Marvin Edward Jennings born 16 November 1901 in Roanoke, Virginia; died 1 May 1961 in Arlington County, Virginia; married Alice Muir, daughter of Robert Muir and Ida Mae Riggin on 13 May 1924 in East St. Louis, Illinois.

8.10 Clyde Graham Jennings born 29 December 1905; died 12 June 1906.

19th Virginia Infantry: After the War, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Battle of Second Manassas, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Battles of South Mountain and Sharpsburg, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Defending Richmond, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: First Blood at Manassas, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: First Winter Camp, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Fredericksburg and North Carolina, Tangled Roots and Trees  (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Gettysburg and Pickett's Charge, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Peninsula Campaign, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
19th Virginia Infantry: Seven Days Battles, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
A Lover Not a Fighter, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
Battle of Seven Pines, Tangled Roots and Trees (access 29 Jan 2018).
Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Virginia, database and images, Fold3, Jennings, Charles E, Co. H, 19th Virginia Infantry, Private, 27 pages (accessed 16 Feb 2014).
Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Virginia, database and images, Fold3, Jennings, Charles E., Co. H, 19th Virginia Infantry, Private, Fold3 Job: 13-020 (accessed 16 Feb 2014).
Jordan, Ervin, L. 19th Virginia Infantry, (Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1987) .
Lynchburg served as the site of many Civil War hospitals, News & Advance, The (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment: 1861, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment: August-September 1862, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment: Jan-Aug 1862, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment: June 1863-April 1865, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment: September 1862-May 1863, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
Meet the Hospital Steward, National Museum of Civil War Medicine (accessed 2 Feb 2018)
Tennessee, Civil War Confederate Pension Application Index, database, Ancestry, Charles E. Jennings, 19th Virginia Infantry, Application No. S15175 (accessed 4 Dec 2014).
Pierce Street Historic District National Register of Historic Places Application Form, National Park Service (accessed 2 Jan 2018).
Powhatan Perrow Jennings (1812-1858): A Life Cut Short, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Feb 2018).
The First KIA of the Civil War, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 29 Jan 2018).
US Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865, database, FamilySearch, Charles E. Jennings, Private, Company H, 19th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, Confederate; citing NARA microfilm publication M382 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records administration), roll 29; FHL microfilm 881423 (accessed 4 Dec 2014).

Morgan's Rifle Corps Established and the Fog of War
Charles Edward Jennings (1843-1917): First to Leave the Farm
Powhatan Perrow Jennings (1812-1858): A Life Cut Short
John W. Jennings (1776-1858): War of 1812 Veteran
Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): Last Will and Testament
Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): Morgan's Riflemen
Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815): Beginnings and Endings
Who Was the Original Jennings Immigrant?
Did John W. Jennings, Sr. (c1777-1858) Marry His Niece?
Discovering my Local History Center
British Surrender at Saratoga
The Great Jennens Case

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