Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

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Civil War Ancestors

On a summer trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with my 12 and 14 year old grandchildren, we reflected on the differences in our journey of our air-conditioned six hour drive in 2019 with the travels of their ancestor, Lucius/Lucian Place, in the 1860s.

Lucius Place, born about 1840 in Killingly, Windham, Connecticut, was among the first to answer President Abraham Lincoln‘s 1861 call for volunteers for the Union Army. Fittingly enough, Lucius and his brother Samuel Place enlisted in Voluntown, Windham County, Connecticut. (Voluntown is now in New London County.) Lucius was inducted on 14 Jul 1861. Samuel joined on 22 Jul 1861. They both served in Company G (Mystic) of the Fifth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

The Fifth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment was organized at Hartford, Connecticut, and mustered in for a three-year enlistment on July 26, 1861. This was extended as the war continued. For the first two years of the war, the 5th Connecticut Infantry fought as a unit of the Army of the Potomac. After Gettysburg they were reassigned to the Army of the Cumberland. Later they served under General Sherman on his infamous “March to the Sea.”

The book The Fifth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers : a history compiled from diaries and official report by Edwin E. Marvin has a detailed listing of their activities. Here is a brief summary, with links to places and battles.

The Fifth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment left Connecticut for Baltimore, Maryland, on July 29, 1861, then went on on to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (then still technically part of Virginia). They took part in several occupations and battles, including Manassas, Virginia. They pursued Stonewall Jackson and were in the second Battle of Bull Run. They were part of the Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6, 1863 and were in the Gettysburg Campaign from June 11-July 24. The Battle of Gettysburg was July 1–3, 1863.

Later that year they shifted from the Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland/Pennsylvania region to Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. They performed guard duty along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and were part of the Atlanta Campaign and the Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. They occupied Atlanta September 2-November 15 and accompanied Sherman’s March to the Sea November 15-December 10 through the siege of Savannah December 10–21. They were in the Carolinas Campaign January–April 1865. After the surrender of Johnston and his army, they marched to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Virginia, April 29-May 20. The 5th Connecticut Infantry was in the Grand Review of the Armies May 24, 1865. They were mustered out of service July 19, 1865.

5th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry summary

Samuel Place mustered out on 22 July 1864, while Lucius Place re-enlisted and remained to the end of the regiment 19 July 1865.

While in Gettysburg, we visited the monument to the 5th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment on Culp’s Hill. They were attached to the 1st Brigade1st Division, 12th Corps, Army of the Potomac and successfully defended the hill on July 2nd & 3rd, 1863.

Gettysburg Monument for the 5th Connecticut Infantry on Culp’s Hill, 2019 visit by descendants of Lucius Place

Another ancestor also fought in the Civil War. James R. Hopkins was a forty year old farmer in Johnston, Rhode Island, who answered the call near the end of the war. He was a private in Company C of the First Regiment Rhode Island Cavalry, enrolled and mustered in 3 Apr 1865, mustered out 3 Aug 1865.

Originally formed in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, near the start of the war as the First New England Cavalry, the First Rhode Island Cavalry went through many reorganizations, although much of their service was with the Army of the Potomac. In 1863, they were in the Chancellorsville Campaign, and part of the Gettysburg Campaign at Brandy Station. They suffered large losses at Middleburg. The 1st Rhode Island Cavalry defended Washington D.C. before returning to the Shenandoah Valley. They were mustered out at Baltimore, Maryland on August 3, 1865. The Rev. Frederic Denison chronicled Sabres and spurs: the First regiment Rhode Island cavalry in the civil war, 1861-1865. Its origin, marches, scouts, skirmishes, raids, battles, sufferings, victories, and appropriate official papers; with the roll of honor and roll of the regiment in 1876.

I wonder if these Civil War veterans knew one another, because after the war, Lucian Place married James Hopkins‘ daughter Alice Josephine Hopkins on 30 Mar 1867 in North Providence, Rhode Island. Lucian and Alice had the following children.

  • Ruth Ellen PLACE (1868-1936)
  • William John PLACE (1872-1953)
  • Roba Etta PLACE (1874-1958)
  • Lillian Esther PLACE (1876-1917)
  • Walter Everett PLACE (1879-1918)
  • Susan Emma PLACE (1882-1945)
  • Frank Richmond PLACE (1886-1977)

The Hopkins and Place families lived next to each other in Johnston, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1870 and 1880.

1880 federal census, Hopkins and Place families, Johnston, Providence, Rhode Island

Both James R. Hopkins and Lucian Place were listed in the 1890 Special Schedule of the Census Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Johnston, Rhode Island.

1890 James R. Hopkins and Lucian Place, Centredale, Rhode Island, Special Schedule Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War

James R. Hopkins (1824-1896), his wife Phebe Esther Smith Hopkins (1833-1911), and their daughter Alice J. Hopkins Place (1851-1898) are buried in the Old Graniteville Cemetery (also known as Cedar Lot Cemetery # JN007) on George Waterman at Vacca Street in Johnston, Providence, Rhode Island. After the death of his first wife, Lucian Place (~1840-1931) married Sarah Jane Mills Davis (1843-1922), and this couple is buried in Pocasset Cemetery in Cranston, Providence, Rhode Island.

On our Pennsylvania trip, we were lucky enough to see a Civil War re-enactment group at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg giving demonstrations with their tents and wool uniforms and bayonet weapons and cannons. Perhaps this tiny taste of the hardships endured in by-gone days gave us more forbearance on a humid 95 degree August day when our car air conditioning stopped working on our return trip to Rhode Island.

Relations

Place descendants appear to be distant relations of Abraham Lincoln, from the early families of Rhode Island (including Chad Brown and Obadiah Holmes), but more research is needed for verification.

One possible connection between Place descendants and Abraham Lincoln through the early families of Rhode Island

Sources

  • Marvin, Edwin E., The Fifth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers : a history compiled from diaries and official report, (Hartford, Press of Wiley, Waterman & Eatons, 1889).
  • Wikipedia contributors, “5th Connecticut Infantry Regiment,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=5th_Connecticut_Infantry_Regiment&oldid=888498641 (accessed August 24, 2019).
  • Hawks, Steve A., Civil War in the East, 2019, http://civilwarintheeast.com/us-regiments-batteries/connecticut/5th-connecticut/
  • Hawks, Steve A., Stone Sentinels, 2018, http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/union-monuments/connecticut/5th-connecticut/
  • Wikipedia contributors, “1st Rhode Island Cavalry,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1st_Rhode_Island_Cavalry&oldid=898104401 (accessed August 24, 2019).
  • Denison, Frederic, Sabres and spurs: the First regiment Rhode Island cavalry in the civil war, 1861-1865. Its origin, marches, scouts, skirmishes, raids, battles, sufferings, victories, and appropriate official papers; with the roll of honor and roll of the regiment, [Central Falls, R.I.] The First Rhode Island cavalry veteran association, 1876.
  • Wikipedia contributors, “1st Rhode Island Cavalry,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1st_Rhode_Island_Cavalry&oldid=898104401 (accessed August 2019).
  • 1880 Federal Census, Rhode Island, population schedule, Johnston, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District: 113, Page: 305C, Lucius Place; digital images, (online : accessed 24 August 2019); Tenth Census of the United States, 1880.
  • The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Series Number: M123; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group Number: 15; Census Year: 1890.
  • Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries, database on-line (http://rihistoriccemeteries.org : accessed 24 August 2019), James R. Hopkins, Phebe E. Smith Hopkins, Alice J. Place.
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 August 2019), memorial page for Lucian Everett Place (1839–15 Nov 1931), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89753219, citing Pocasset Cemetery, Cranston, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by George Daigneault (contributor 47199208) .
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 August 2019), memorial page for Sarah Jane Place (1843–6 May 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89753321, citing Pocasset Cemetery, Cranston, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by George Daigneault (contributor 47199208) .
  • Obadiah Holmes, The Baptist Martyr The Puritans Should Have Left Alone, New England Historical Society, 2018, http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/obadiah-holmes-baptist-martyr-puritans/ : accessed August 2019.
  • Hall, Rich, Famous Kin (FamousKin.com : accessed 31 August 2019), ancestors of Abraham Lincoln.

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