** Please check out my tribute page to two of my Civil War relatives who never made it home **

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 09, 2014

***I won’t be posting on Monday because I’ll be gallivanting around Gettysburg and Antietam :-) Next post will be Wednesday May 14***

Tomorrow marks the 150TH anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House and the death of my ggg-uncle Pvt. Isaac Riegel. I’ve always felt close to him though I have no photograph and very little knowledge about him save the bare-bones military information, yet I’ve tried to honor him as best I could. I’d appreciate if any readers would take the time to read my memorial tribute here. In memory of Isaac and all who died during the Wilderness Campaign and Spotsylvania Court House in particular, I’m posting a photo I took near Spotsylvania a few years back. I haven’t had a chance to visit the battlefield itself (I’ve been to Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Fredericksburg, sigh) and this is the best I have to offer by way of photos.

I searched for any songs or poems that would honor Isaac appropriately, and in the end I chose the well-known words of George F. Root in that classic Civil War ballad “The Vacant Chair”:

                We shall meet but we shall miss him,
                There will be one vacant chair.
                We shall linger to caress him.
                While we breathe our ev’ning prayer.
                When a year ago we gathered,
                Joy was in his mild blue eye.
                But a golden chord is severed.
                And our hopes in ruin lie.

                We shall meet but we shall miss him.
                There will be one vacant chair.
                We shall linger to caress him,
                While we breathe our ev’ning prayer.

Isaac’s younger brother, my gg-grandfather William, was only eight when Isaac was killed. I wonder how this affected him growing up. Perhaps the saddest thing about Isaac Riegel is that I have no idea where he is buried . . . Fredericksburg Cemetery records show no such person, and he’s not buried in his family cemetery. That only leaves three choices: He was wounded on May 10 and died later in the day at a field hospital; he died in battle and was buried where he fell; or he’s buried at Fredericksburg’s Union cemetery as an unknown. I’ll probably never know for sure. What I do know is that he was 17 and a farm boy, and his foray into Virginia with the 49TH Pennsylvania was probably the first only time he’d ever been away from home. How did he feel? What did he see? Who were his friends? Did they die beside him or survive the battle?

Genealogy, like history, can be both rewarding and frustrating.


Co. A, 19TH Massachusetts Infantry

C. 1842 --- Died July 03, 1863 at age 21

Lt. Robinson, who worked as a shoemaker until his enlistment in July 1861, was instantly killed by an artillery shell during the bombardment preceding the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge. He was first buried at the Peter Frey farm and later interred in Gettysburg’s National Cemetery. A photo can be found here.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

No comments:

Post a Comment