BTC Notes: Dear Friend Amelia: The Civil War Letters of Private John Tidd by Mary Jordan and Joyce Hatch

   

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Note: The BTC Notes series serves as a way to gather important information about a given source on the Siege of Petersburg like a book, article, essay, map, etc.

Dear Friend Amelia: The Civil War Letters of Private John TiddSubject Dear Friend Amelia: The Civil War Letters of Private John Tidd by Mary Jordan and Joyce Hatch

Important Points:

Note: John Tidd’s letters were written throughout the war, so this BTC Notes picks up where Tidd enters the Siege of Petersburg in June 1864.

Chapter 4: The Furnace Roar of the Battle

  • The 109th New York, John Tidd’s regiment, joined the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Ninth Corps just prior to the 1864 Overland Campaign in late April 1864.1
  • Tidd seems to indicate in his May 12, 1864 diary entry that the 109th NY had only 6 companies present during it’s attack that day at Spotsylvania CH.  I’m not sure if this was true for the entire campaign, but worth noting.2
  • The 109th NY participated in the Second Battle of Petersburg on June 17th and 18th, 1864, losing heavily on the 17th.3
  • The 109th NY participated in the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864, losing 55 men in killed, wounded, and missing.4
  • The 109th NY participated in the Battle of Globe Tavern on August 19, 1864, losing 8 killed, 9 wounded, and “a few” missing, total of 25.  Interestingly, John admits he didn’t go into the fight and never intended to.  These sorts of admissions were rare in this era.5

Chapter 5: Eternal Peace

  • On February 17, 1865, john wrote a letter to Amelia indicating he was done as a soldier due to illness, and he feared it would kill him.6

Unit Strengths:

  • 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: Only 42 men available immediately after the 109th’s June 17, 1864 charge at Petersburg.7
  • 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: It appears from John’s letter that 220 men of the 109th participated in the June 17, 1864 charge at Petersburg, with 42 able to be put into line just after.  Note that this does not account for stragglers and others lost in the confusion of battle.8
  • Co. B, 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: 12 effective men as of June 20, 1864.9
  • 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: 65 men “fit for duty” on August 8, 1864 with the other half sick.  Not sure if this is PFD, effectives, or some other number.10

Unit Commanders:

  • 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: Col. Benjamin F. Tracy was in command on May 1, 1864, at the start of Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign in Virginia.11
  • On May 20, 1864 Colonel Tracy resigned to become Colonel of the 127th USCT.12
  • 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: Lt. Col. Issac S. Catlin was in command on July 30, 1864, at the Battle of the Crater, and was wounded there.13
  • 109th NY, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Corps: Maj. George W. Dunn was in command on September 18, 1864, and mentioned in one of John’s letters to Amelia.  I believe he probably had been in command since Catlin was wounded at the Battle of the Crater, but this book does not have that information available.14

Other:

Sources:

  1. Dear Friend Amelia: The Civil War Letters of Private John Tidd, page 95
  2. Dear Friend Amelia, page 115
  3. Dear Friend Amelia, pages 120-121
  4. Dear Friend Amelia, page 127
  5. Dear Friend Amelia, page 127
  6. Dear Friend Amelia, page 147
  7. Dear Friend Amelia, pages 120-121
  8. Dear Friend Amelia, page 124
  9. Dear Friend Amelia, page 124
  10. Dear Friend Amelia, page 126
  11. Dear Friend Amelia, page 113
  12. Elmira Prison web site page on Colonel Tracy
  13. Dear Friend Amelia, page 127
  14. Dear Friend Amelia, page 135

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