Death of Thomas Drummond


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Thomas Drummond was a Virginian who chose to stay with the Union during the war. He will be featured more completely later in the year in a Fiddler’s Green post, but I thought it appropriate to post this account of his death on its 150th anniversary. Captain Drummond commanded the majority of his regiment (minus the battalion serving as General Grant’s escort) at the battle of Five Forks, having rejoined them from a leave of absence only the day before during fighting at Dinwiddie Court House.

George F. Price wrote in his history of the regiment, “He was strongly impressed with the belief that he would be killed at Five Forks, and appeared at the head of the regiment wearing his best uniform, so that, as he expressed himself, he would present a respectable appearance in death.”

Charles A. Humphreys was the regimental chaplain for the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry from 1863 through the end of the war. I previously posted his account of the death of Charles Russell Lowell here. As the chaplain, part of his duties were to recover the wounded from the battlefield during a fight. In his postwar history of the regiment, Field, Camp, Hospital and Prison in the Civil War, 1861-1865, Humphreys chronicles Drummond’s passing.

“Soon I came upon one of our brigade, a wounded captain of the Fifth United States Cavalry. We wrapped him like the rest, in a blanket, and bore him toward the rear to get out of the range of the musketry. But oh, it was sad to see the struggling of that soul, tossed as it was by a tempest of doubt and fear! While yet we were bearing him along, I could see by his ejaculations that he was trembling with apprehension before the awful mystery of death and expected judgment. His conception of God was evidently of a being terrible in wrath, inexorable to entreaty, arbitrary in his judgments, and unmoved by anything akin to human pity; and he dreaded to come into such a presence. His faithful men who were carrying him so tenderly tried to comfort him by telling him he would probably get well from his wound; but he was already grappling with death, and their suggestions of earthly hope were as idle words, and he said, “I wish I could see a chaplain.” I did not yet reveal myself to him, for we were still amid the noise and confusion of the battle. When we came to the ambulance-station we laid him down upon the ground and the surgeon bent over him to bind up his wounds; but the captain was more anxious about his soul than about his body, and said to the surgeon, “I wish you would send for a chaplain.” Then I revealed myself, and told him that I had been with him all the time, and spoke a few words of good cheer. And he said, “Chaplain, I wish you would pray with me.” Then I knelt and with his hand in mine I prayed, thanking God that he had put it into the heart of his young servant to give himself to his country, and that He had sustained him through so many hardships and trials, and now in this last, greatest trial I prayed that God would still sustain and cheer him, and lead him gently through the valley of the death-shadow to the bright regions of heavenly peace. As I finished he said, “Chaplain, I have been a bad man, a very bad man; but do you think God will be merciful?” I said, “Are you willing to die for your country?” He answered: “Oh yes! I am willing.” Then out of the fullness of my faith, and the sure prophesy in my soul that God was a God of mercy, I said, “With such sacrifices God is well pleased, and they will cover a multitude of sins.” This thought seemed to give him some foundation for a brighter faith. For though faith have wings like a dove, it yet needs some solid ground to stand upon, as the dove let loose from the ark soon returned because it found no place to rest its feet. But this soldier’s trembling faith found a sure support in the thought that he had done one thing at least, had made one sacrifice, which the great God, whom before he had known only to fear, would accept as a fitting service. Then I repeated the Twenty-third Psalm – “The Lord is my shepherd,” and at its close said, “It is sweet and pleasant to die for one’s country.” Upon the word his face lit up with an almost unearthly brightness, as he felt the uplifting glory of a willing sacrifice, and he exultantly repeated the old motto in the Latin original – “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” – a line which he had probably translated as a task at school, but which now he was translating eagerly into immortal life.

The captain now was quite calm, and permitted the doctor to dress his wound. Then he bade an affectionate farewell to his men, who, he said, had always been faithful to him; and we lifted him into an ambulance. As I was about to depart, he said, “I wish you would stay with me a little longer; I shall not need you long.” Then as I sat alone with him in the ambulance he said, “I wish you would administer to me the sacrament.” I answered: “There is no need of a sacrament. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.” And again he caught the inspiration of the thought, and took the words from my lips, and continued – “a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Then again he was calm, and gave me messages for his wife and little ones. He would have his sabre given to his boy; and if, when he grew up, his country should have need of his services, he would have him to be a soldier too. He gave me his two rings, — one for his wife, the other for his little girl. He said they would know which was for each. Then I took him by the hand and bade him “Good-bye, keep up good courage,” and his last, brave words were, “Tell them I was willing to die for my country.”

Price also wrote of Drummond: “He was a brilliant young officer, and, although somewhat restive under the restraints of military discipline, was held in high estimation for his ability, judgment, and courage. He was the last officer of the regiment who fell in battle during the rebellion against the United States.”

For more information on the battle of Five Forks, see Brooks Simpson’s post yesterday on the battle’s anniversary here, and Craig Swain’s post from Charles wainwright’s diary here.


Humphreys, Charles A. Field, Camp, Hospital and Prison in the Civil War, 1861-1865. Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Co., 1918. Pages 247-250.

Price, George F. Across the Continent With the Fifth Cavalry. New York: D. Van Nostrand,Publisher, 1883. Pages 369-370.

The Court Martial of Charles Bates


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I first started posting the exploits of Charles E. Bates of the 4th U.S. Cavalry here back in 2007. He initially enlisted in 1858 at the age of 14 without the consent of his parents and somehow managed not to be discharged. Unlike many who fled home to join the army, however, Bates was a relatively steady correspondent to his family about his exploits. Given that I have already posted several of his letters as well as biographical sketches of both his first sergeant and commander on the blog, when I learned of the existence of this court martial record I couldn’t resist adding this. Special thanks to Bob O’Neill, who was kind enough to retrieve the record from the National Archives.

Camp Lincoln, Va
18 June 1862, Day 4 9 A.M.

The Court then proceeded to the trial of Corporal Charles E. Bates of Company “E” 4th U.S. Cavalry, who being called into court and having heard the order convening the court read, was asked if he had any objections to any of the members named therein, to which he replied in the negative.
The Court was then duly sworn by the Judge Advocate, and the Judge Advocate was duly sworn by the presiding officer of the court, in the presence of the accused, and Corporal Charles E. Bates of Company “E” 4th U.S. Cavalry was arraigned of the following charge and specifications, viz.:
Charge: Violation of the 9th Article of War
Specification: In this that Corporal Charles E. Bates of Company “E” 4th U.S. Cavalry did positively refuse to take care of a horse belonging to Company “E” 4th Cavalry, when ordered to do so by 1st Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald of Company “E” 4th Cavalry, (the Sergeant Fitzgerald being in the execution of his office at the time) saying I will not take care of the horse, or words to that effect. This in camp near New Bridge Va on or about the 30th of May 1862.

(signed) J.B. McIntyre
Capt 4th Cavalry
To which charge and specification the prisoner pleaded as follows,
Not Guilty, to the Specification
Not Guilty, to the Charge
Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald of Company “E” 4th Cavalry, a witness on the part of the prosecution was duly sworn.
Question by Judge Advocate. What do you know of the prisoner, Corporal Bates, having refused to obey an order?

Answer. I am 1st Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald of Company “E” 4th Cavalry and on or about the evening of the 30th of May 1862 I ordered Corporal Bates to take care of a horse, he said he would not take care of the horse that I had mentioned, it was a horse that he had been recently riding that I had reference to.

Question by Judge Advocate. Were you both on duty at the time, and at what camp did this happen?

Answer. At camp near New Bridge to the best of my knowledge, and we were both on duty at the time.

Question by Prisoner. Is it not customary for surplus horses in the cavalry to be taken care of by the squads to which they belong?

Answer. According to the routine of duty I believe it is, and an enlisted man who rides a government horse is supposed to take care of him.

Question by Prisoner. Was the horse properly assigned to me and was I responsible for him?

Answer. He was not properly assigned to him to my knowledge, but it is my opinion he was responsible for grooming and feeding him as long as he used him.

Question by Prisoner. Would using a horse a week make a man obliged to clean him for the remainder of his enlistment?

Answer. According to circumstances or until he got another horse assigned to him.

Question by Prisoner. Did you not order me to see that somebody took care of that horse?

Answer. Yes I ordered him to see that somebody took care of the horse, and I afterwards ordered him to take care of the horse himself.

Question by Judge Advocate (note: miswritten, actually by prisoner): Did I not reply before he ordered me to take care of him, “the horse does not belong to my squad”?

Answer. I do not recollect about it.

Question by Prisoner. Did I use the horse on that day or not?

Answer. I do not know, I don’t recollect whether he used the horse on that day or not.

Question by Prisoner. Did I not express a desire to go and see the Captain before obeying your order?

Answer. I cannot recollect of having heard him say so.

Captain J.B. McIntyre 4th Cavalry a witness for the defense was duly sworn.

Question by Prisoner. What is my general character as a soldier in the company since you have been with it?

Answer. I am a captain in the 4th Regiment of Cavalry, Company “E” of which the prisoner is a corporal. I joined the company last August. Corporal Bates has been on duty with the company every day since. And up to this difficulty, no better soldier was in the company. The former captain of the company when I relieved him of the command of it gave his character the same as I have stated it. It is on record with the War department that he was the first man to pull down the secession flag in Arkansas.

The prisoner having no further testimony to offer made the following statement in his defense.

It was not my intention to disobey any order at all. When I was first ordered to see the horse taken care of I thought that the 1st Sergeant had made a mistake, by supposing that the horse belonged to my squad. He then ordered me to take care of him. I was taking care of another horse at the time. I expressed it as my intention to see the Captain before taking care of him, as I did not consider it my duty to take care of a horse until he was assigned to me.

The court was then closed for deliberation on the testimony adduced.

After mature deliberation the court finds the prisoner Corporal Charles E. Bates of Company “E” 4th Cavalry as follows.

Of the specification, Guilty.
Of the charge, Guilty.

And the court does therefore sentence him Corporal Charles E. Bates of Company “E” 4th Cavalry, to be reduced to the ranks, and to forfeit ten dollars of his pay per month for twelve months.

Alfred G. Smith                                  W.H. Wood
1st Lt 8th Inf                                     Major 17th Inf
Judge Advocate                                Presdt G.C. Martial

The court adjourned at half past two o’clock P.M. to meet again at 9 o’clock A.M. on Thursday June 19th 1862.

Alfred G. Smith
1st Lt 8th Inf
Judge Advocate

The character of Bates’ service to date did influence the members of the court, it simply didn’t change the fact that he had, by his own admission, violated the 9th Article of War. The following was on the next page of the court martial file:

We the undersigned members of the General Court Martial in view of the good character given to Corporal Charles E. Bates of Company “E” 4th Cav by his company commander, beg to recommend that his sentence be remitted.

(signed by all)
W.H. Wood
Maj 17th Infty

J.B. McIntyre
Capt 4th Cav

James H. Forsyth
Captain 18th Infantry

R.T. Frank
Capt 8 Infy

C. Ford Trowbridge
1st Lt 16th Infty

While this seems like a pretty trivial matter to go to a court martial over, Bates at the time of this court martial was just barely 18 years of age, and firmly convinced that he was in the right. See here for his letter to his parents about the court martial after his sentencing.

For more information on Edward Fitzgerald, see here. For more information on John McIntyre, simply scroll back a few posts.

The Guns of Roselawn


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Roselawn Chronicles, part 2

Author’s note: The research for this post is not mine. It comes in its entirety from the inestimable Craig Swain, Civil War artillery expert extraordinaire. If you haven’t visited his blog at To The Sound of the Guns it is well worth a visit or ten. I don’t normally post about artillery, but after mentioning them in the last post it would be rude not to follow up with the photos.

As one enters Roselawn Cemetery, there is a memorial to the left side of the entrance. The Civil War memorial was erected in 1902 by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic. The woman who spearheaded this effort is buried a few dozen feet away next to her husband.


The two cannon are iron 24-pounder flank howitzers. They were not battlefield pieces, as they were too heavy. They were normally placed in the bastions of forts to cover the interior angles – the dead space near the walls not covered by cannon with longer range. They typically fired grapeshot and cannister across the moat of the fort to repel infantry assaults rather than dueling opposing artillery with solid shot.

Early in the war the Confederates tried placing them on field carriages and using them in the field, but the iron howitzers were simply too heavy to be easily used at roughly 1,500 pounds. The 12-pounder howitzer was frequently used in the field, as it was half of that weight and much more maneuverable.

Both of these howitzers were cast at Cyrus Alger’s foundry in Boston, Massachusetts. The one on the right side of the photo was cast in 1847. Its registry number was 198, and it weighed 1,495 pounds. The left howitzer, registry number 277, was cast in 1849 and weighed 1,503 pounds.

The initials “J.W.R.” underneath the muzzles on both guns are those of the army ordnance officer who inspected it for quality, then-Major James Wolfe Ripley. He later achieved the rank of brigadier general and served as the army’s Chief of Ordnance for the first half of the Civil War. He was criticized during the war for being slow to adopt new technological innovations. On the other hand, Craig points out, he supervised a budget of $46 million at a time when ten cent cigars only cost a nickel.

The photos below are of the left howitzer, as an inconsiderate bird had defaced the muzzle of the one on the right side at the time of my visit.




For more information on the 24-pounder flank howitzer, look here:

An Unexpected Find in Pueblo


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Roselawn Chronicles, part 1

“No kidding there I was…”

This is a slightly cleaned up version of how nearly every Army story I’ve ever heard starts, but in this case it happens to be true. I was in Pueblo with my wife last weekend to visit her great aunt. After lunch, they decided they wanted to stop by Roselawn Cemetery to look in on their relatives laid to rest there. As the family has been in town for several generations, rather a lot of them are buried there.

As we drove through the entrance to the cemetery, I saw two old cannon on the left side of the car. “Oh, that’s the Civil War section of the cemetery,” my wife’s great aunt said. I took note of the remark, but being a good husband I stayed with the group and we duly checked on various deceased family members.

On the way out I resolved to stop – just for a minute – and take a couple pictures of the cannon. I didn’t recognize them, and thought they might make an interesting question for Craig Swain over at To The Sound of the Guns. So I parked the car, hopped out, and strolled over to the cannon with my camera. I looked the cannon over, then spied an veteran’s headstone behind them. Curious, I walked over to it. It marked the grave of a former member of the 122d Illinois Infantry. That’s odd, I thought, that regiment was never anywhere near Colorado during the war. No one in the car was honking the horn yet, so I decided to look at a few more of the headstones.

My luck being what it is, two headstones later I came across a former member of the 6th U.S. Cavalry. It was nearly halfway into the earth, with the unit nearly obscured by the grass. First Sergeant Louis C. Hartman, Co. G, 6th U.S. Cavalry.


“Why on earth is he here?” I wondered. In the course of our research for our book on the regiment during the Civil War, my co-author and I came across former members of the regiment buried all over the country. There’s even one in an unmarked grave in Cripple Creek who apparently died there as an old man during the gold rush, but Pueblo seemed an odd spot to find one. After the war the regiment served in Texas and later in Arizona against the Apache Indians, but to the best of my knowledge the unit never passed through Pueblo. I vaguely recalled a Hartman or two from our regimental roster, so I took a couple of pictures of the headstone and hurried back to the car.

“What did you find?” my wife asked.
“A guy from the 6th Cav,” I replied.
“Here? Really?”

I scribbled myself a note on one of my omnipresent 3×5 cards and resolved to look into the matter once we got home.
Louis was a bit more difficult about the matter than I expected. I checked the roster in our book, and discovered that while two Hartmans served in the regiment during the war neither was named Louis or assigned to Company G. A bit more searching revealed at least part of the man’s story.

Louis C. Hartman enlisted in Company C, 78th New York Infantry as a private on November 8, 1861. He was born in Berlin, Prussia in 1841, and worked as a clerk prior to his enlistment. Company C was one of three raised in New York City. They were originally intended to be part of the 1st Regiment, Eagle Brigade, but merged with the Lochiel Cameron Highlanders to become the 78th New York Infantry in New York City on April 26, 1862.

The regiment shipped out a few days later. After a brief stay in the defenses of Washington, they were assigned to Harpers Ferry. Its first major engagement was at Cedar Mountain, followed by Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. It was transferred to Tennessee in October 1863, and fought in numerous engagements around Chattanooga that fall and winter. The following spring it fought under General Sherman in the advance on Atlanta at Resaca and around Kennesaw Mountain.

On July 12, 1864, due to depleted ranks, the 78th’s remaining soldiers were transferred to the 102nd New York Infantry, where they completed the remainder of their enlistments. They had nearly completed Sherman’s march to the sea when Hartman was discharged as a sergeant at the expiration of his enlistment on November 8, 1864.

Louis returned to New York City, but didn’t stay long. Despite a very impressive service record, he apparently had not yet seen enough of war. On December 1, 1864, he enlisted as a private in Company K, 18th New York Cavalry in New York City. His muster card describes him as 5’10” tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and a fair complexion. He joined the regiment in the field in Louisiana, and served there and in Texas until the company mustered out in Victoria, Texas on May 31, 1866.

Not until 1868 did Louis Hartman join the 6th U.S. Cavalry. He was enlisted into Company G by Captain Tullius C. Tupper, the regiment’s former sergeant major, on June 3, 1868 in New Orleans, Louisiana. With his wartime experience, it is not surprising that he rose quickly through the ranks and was the company’s first sergeant when his enlistment expired in 1873. He re-enlisted into the same company on June 10, 1873 at Fort Dodge, Kansas, and was still the first sergeant when his second tour expired in 1878. He re-enlisted in the company a third time at Camp Grant, Arizona Territory on June 10, 1878. He was discharged the following year by Special Order 277 of the Adjutant General’s Office. He was a sergeant vice the first sergeant, but his service was characterized as excellent so it was most likely not a disciplinary issue.

It isn’t clear what Louis did for the next several years, as the next time he surfaces is in 1884. He filed a pension claim as an invalid on January 2nd in Kansas. On June 30th, he joined Lewis Post No. 294 of the Grand Army of the Republic in Dodge City, Kansas. He claimed his service in the 78th New York as his basis for GAR membership, but listed the 78th New York, the 18th New York and 6th U.S. Cavalry on his pension application.
The following year Hartman moved to Pueblo, Colorado. According to the state census, he was boarding at the home of Benjamin Ott while working as a bookkeeper in Pueblo on June 1, 1885. He married soon after. I could not determine the date of his death, but his widow Lizzie submitted a pension claim on July 25, 1894.

Craig, I apologize. After seeing the headstone, I forgot all about the cannon, but I’ll get a picture when I return there later this week. This section of Roselawn Cemetery isn’t overly large, but I suspect there are more Civil War stories there.


Carter, W.H. From Yorktown to Santiago with the Sixth U.S. Cavalry. Austin: State House Press, 1989.
Caughey, Donald C. and Jimmy J. Jones. The 6th United States Cavalry in the Civil War. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903. Page 437.
Kansas G.A.R. Bound Post Records, 1866-1931, Lewis Post No. 294, June 30, 1884. Accessed on on February 1, 2015.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1861-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Commission Branch, 1863-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914
National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-infantry Regiments, 1821-1916: 6th U.S. Cavalry.
Phisterer, Frederick. New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd. ed. Albany; J.B. Lyon Company, 1912.

Fiddler’s Green: Thomas Hood McCormick


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It’s ironic that this Fiddler’s Green entry follows the last one of James McIntyre. These two officers were virtually inseparable throughout their cavalry service during the war, though their careers ended rather differently. Contrary to appearances from the frequent mention of McCaffertys, McCormicks and McIntyres, there were a number of non-Irish officers in the 4th U.S. Cavalry during the Civil War.

Thomas Hood McCormick was born on February 24, 1836 at Mill Hall, Clinton County, Pennsylvania to Saul and Catharine Hood McCormick. He graduated Lafayette College with a law degree in 1855, and according to census information was living with his mother and family and working as an attorney in Lock Haven in 1860.

He was appointed second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Cavalry on March 27, 1861. As one of the early appointees he was quickly promoted as resignations thinned the regiment’s officer ranks, achieving first lieutenant less than a month and a half later on May 7, 1861.

Lieutenant McCormick quickly completed his initial training as a cavalry officer at Carlisle Barracks over the summer, and was assigned to the squadron of the regiment in Washington, D.C. Although only a first lieutenant, he assumed command of Company A, 1st U.S. Cavalry, which was redesignated the 4th U.S. Cavalry in August. The commander of Company E and the squadron of the 4th U.S. Cavalry as a whole was Captain James McIntyre. In addition to his other duties, McCormick also served as an acting assistant quartermaster for the squadron, as the remainder of the regiment was serving in the western theater.

He requested additional recruits to bring his company to full strength in September, and appears to have served well over the winter in the defenses of Washington. As the Army of the Potomac prepared to embark on the Peninsula Campaign, the squadron was assigned as Major General McClellan’s escort. It served in this position throughout this campaign, assigned to the army headquarters. The squadron’s men saw little action other than the odd artillery shelling when the general moved too close to the action. McCormick was promoted to captain and retained command of Company A on August 7, 1862.

The day after the battle of Antietam he recommended his first sergeant, Neil J. McCafferty, for a commission in the regiment. The two had been together since McCormick joined the company, first McCafferty was the quartermaster sergeant, then he was promoted to company first sergeant in October 1861. Captain McCormick wrote in his recommendation, “The highest compliment I can pay to the excellence of his character and his soldierly qualities is to request that if he should receive a commission he may be attached to my company.” Captain McIntyre, still commanding the squadron, endorsed the request, and McCafferty was commissioned a short time later.

The squadron finally rejoined the rest of the regiment during the winter of 1863-1864, and the following spring saw its first active campaigning of the war. Captain McCormick apparently had no issues with the adjustment. He was commended for his actions during fighting at Franklin, TN on April 10, 1863. According to the report of Captain James McIntyre, who commanded the regiment during the battle, “No officer could have behaved more gallantly than Captain McCormick, who with the rear squadron repulsed the enemy who in force attempted to surround and cut off our retreat to the ford.” He served through the remaining campaigning of 1863 and 1864 without reported incident.

Captain McCormick took a leave of absence during the winter of 1864-1865. He saw a doctor while at home in Lock Haven and requested an extension of twenty days on February 24, 1865 for “congestion of the liver,” which was granted. This is the first clue in his records that something may have been wrong.

On June 18, 1865, Captain McCormick’s cavalry career came to an abrupt and unpleasant end. According to the report of acting regimental commander Captain John A. Thompson:

“I have the honor to state that at about 5 o’clock last evening Capt. Thos. H. McCormick 4th U.S. Cav was driven into this camp in an ambulance in a beastly or insensible state of intoxication – he was lying on his back on two seats with his head hanging down and totally unconscious of where he was or his condition. I believe several of the men saw him. Myself and Lieut. W.W. Webb saw him and conversed with the driver.

“The driver said he had been taken out of the cars in that condition by Col Eggleston and himself aided by others at the depot.

“His condition was such that I could not permit him to be taken out in presence of the command and ordered the driver to take him to Wilson Hospital.”
The regimental surgeon, Assistant Surgeon Merritt S. Jones, concurred with Captain Thompson’s assessment, describing McCormick’s condition as “insensible from intoxication. He was so entirely helpless that he had to be carried into the ward on a stretcher.”

Correspondence then followed fast and furiously on the subject of McCormick’s dismissal. Brevet Major General James H. Wilson recommended immediate dismissal for habitual drunkenness. “This is no new thing in his conduct,” he wrote. “His public disgrace by drunkenness is a matter of notoriety in service tho’ hitherto he has managed to escape punishment. A Court Martial cannot well be convened to try him, and the credit of the public service, as well as its discipline and good order demands his summary dismissal.” Major General George H. Thomas concurred and forwarded the recommendation. It was approved by Lieutenant General U.S. Grant on July 12th, and by the Secretary of War on July 21st. McCormick was dismissed on July 25, 1865, and returned home to Lock Haven.

Thomas Hood McCormick died in Lock Haven on March 30, 1866. He is buried in Highland Cemetery, Lock Haven, PA.

A thorough examination of McCormick’s personnel records revealed no clues as to what may have happened other than the surgeon’s certificate on his request to extend his leave. While it was far from infrequent for there to be issues with alcohol for officers on the frontier following the war, examples such as this during the war were pretty infrequent and seldom drew such high-ranked ire. General Wilson’s evident disgust may have been the result of extended service by the regiment as his escort during that spring’s campaigns.

I give you Thomas Hood McCormick, gallant in battle, but all too human in the end.

Coffin, Selden Jennings. Record of the Men of Lafayette. Easton, PA: Skinner & Finch, Printers, 1879.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903. Page 430.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1861-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Commission Branch, 1863-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-infantry Regiments, 1821-1916: 4th U.S. Cavalry.

Research for Hire



Fair warning, this is a shameless plug for a new enterprise I am instituting this year. Those interested in research help can now visit the Research for Hire link at the top of this page.

Over the last several years, I have had many requests for research assistance. While I thoroughly enjoy investigating these leads and assisting people to learn of their ancestors or people of interest, the simple fact of the matter is that they delay the book projects on which I’m working. While some queries can be dealt with in an hour or two, several last year spread into multiple weeks.

Like most amateur historians, I pursue writing and research in my spare time. And no history writer I know has enough time for research. This is simply a means of financing my research and justifying the expenditure of my limited research time on your project. Since my ‘business’ only generates a book every two to three years at the best of times, it will also prove to my accountant and the tax folks that all of those research costs actually do occasionally result in income.

The process is fully controlled by the patron, and proceeds at their pace and direction. There are no hidden fees, and what I discover is available to the patron as I turn it up – no “I found more information but it will cost you another $50 to see it.”

Quest for a Quartermaster


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This post is proof once again that initial looks can be deceiving. It started when I came across the letter below.

“Headquarters 6th U.S. Cavalry
Camp near Falmouth
January 30th 1863

I have the honor to very respectfully request that the appointment of 1st Lieut. J.W. Spangler, 6th U.S. Cavalry as Regimental Quartermaster of the 6th U.S. Cavalry be revoked and his position on the Regimental staff of this regiment be vacated in consequence of his inability to perform the duties appertaining to it on account of his absence from his Regiment and the duties of his rank in it. Lieut. Spangler having accepted the position of Division Quartermaster on the staff of Brig. Gen. Pleasonton Comdg Cavalry Division. I also have the honor to very respectfully recommend that in the event of a favorable consideration of the above recommendation Lieut. John A. Irwin of the 6th U.S. Cavalry be appointed Regimental Quartermaster of the 6th U.S. Cavalry.
This regiment from recent recruitment is nearly full situated as it is at this season, it is not only a matter of justice to it but essential to the completion of its internal organization that it should have a Regimental Quartermaster present with it.
Trusting that the above recommendation, made from a sense of duty to my Command will receive the favorable consideration of the War Department.
I am Sir
Very Respectfully
Your Obt Servt
G.C. Cram
Capt 6th U.S. Cavalry

Kentucky-born Lieutenant John W. Spangler initially made a name for himself as an enlisted man with the 2nd (later 5th) U.S. Cavalry fighting Indians in Texas. He was commended in dispatches several times for gallantry in action, and was first sergeant of his company when the regiment left Texas at the outbreak of the war. Shortly thereafter he received a commission in the newly authorized 6th U.S. Cavalry.

My initial thought was that this was simply another example of Captain Cram whining, something which happened frequently in various letters during the first half of 1863. The 6th U.S. Cavalry’s picket line was over fifteen miles from its camp, and moving supplies for the regiment was a challenge even with an officer dedicated to it full time. Brigade and division staffs were pulled from regimental officers, and Captain Cram wanted his lieutenant back. A reasonable issue and request, but one common to many regiments. It would have helped Spangler as well, who was performing a captain’s duties or more for a lieutenant’s monthly pay.

The request, however, was endorsed recommending approval all the way up the chain of command. General Pleasonton wrote, “It is respectfully recommended that Lt Spangler receive the appointment of Captain in the Quartermaster Dept to fill the office of Division Quartermaster.” Most of Pleasonton’s responses to queries from Captain Cram that I have seen were somewhat less than positive. Even Army of the Potomac commander Major General Joseph Hooker’s endorsement read, “Respectfully forwarded to the Adjt General of the Army, approved.” Surprisingly, however, the request was not approved.

Lieutenant Spangler was relieved as regimental quartermaster for the 6th U.S. Cavalry on February 1, 1863. One of the companies was short an officer, but the regiment was able to assign an officer to attend to its logistical needs. And Captain Cram’s request was granted – that officer was Lieutenant John A. Irwin, another former first sergeant. Spangler remained on the regiment’s rolls, and continued to work as an acting assistant quartermaster in the Cavalry Corps through the end of the war.

Several months of hard campaigning later, the issue was still not resolved. It wasn’t simply a problem for the Cavalry Corps, but for quartermasters across the Army of the Potomac. In a letter to Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs in August 1863, Army of the Potomac Chief Quartermaster Rufus Ingalls submitted a request for additional quartermaster officers. He submitted a list of “officers who have for a long time been doing duty in the QMaster Dept as Acting Asst QMasters. I respectfully request that the officers be appointed Asst QMasters Vols with the rank of Captain and be ordered to report to me for assignment to duty with this Army.” Among the officers listed was First Lieutenant J.W. Spangler, who was then working as an acting assistant quartermaster for the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

“I beg leave to call your special attention to Lt. J.W. Spangler 6th US Cavly now acting Chief QMaster Cavly Corps,” Ingalls continued. “Lt. Spangler has been acting in the QMaster Dept with the Cavalry during the Peninsula Campaign, and has been with this army since its return, serving with different commands in the Cavalry Corps. He is in my opinion one of the best officers in the service and I cheerfully recommend him for the appointment of an Asst QMaster in the regular army.” Despite this, once again the request was not approved.

There weren’t enough assistant quartermasters of volunteers in the various armies to support the various staffs. This does not appear to make sense. Quartermasters in the regular army were of course capped by the total number authorized by Congress for the army. These positions, if authorized, would continue in the army once the war was over, thus constituting a long term problem with army size and funding. Volunteer ranks, however, were authorized in support of volunteer formations, and lasted only as long as the position and formation lasted. The chief quartermaster of the Cavalry Corps, for example, would no longer be an authorized position once the Cavalry Corps disbanded. That individual would revert back to his regular army rank and position.

John Spangler served again as the regimental quartermaster for the 6th U.S. Cavalry after the war, from November 5, 1865 to July 28, 1866. He was paid as a lieutenant throughout the war, and was not promoted to captain and command of a company until July 28, 1866. Despite spending the majority of his commissioned career in the quartermaster field, he never did officially work in the quartermaster corps. The issue of additional authorized volunteer assistant quartermasters was not resolved.


Arnold, James R. Jeff Davis’ Own. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: 2000.
Caughey, Donald C. and Jimmy J. Jones. The 6th United States Cavalry in the Civil War. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903. Page 437.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1861-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Commission Branch, 1863-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-infantry Regiments, 1821-1916: 6th U.S. Cavalry.
Price, George F. Across the Continent with the Fifth Cavalry. New York: D. Van Nostrand, Publisher, 1883.
Utley, Robert M. Frontiersmen in Blue. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967.

Fiddler’s Green: James B. McIntyre


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James B. McIntyre was born in Tennessee on August 14, 1833. His family moved to Texas during his childhood, near the town of Brenham in Washington County. In 1849, he and Horace Randal became the first two appointees to the United States Military Academy from the state of Texas. Randal was later a cavalry officer and brigadier general in the Confederate Army. James graduated the academy on July 1, 1853, near the bottom of a class that included future cavalrymen Philip Sheridan, John Chambliss and Nelson Sweitzer. He received an appointment as a brevet second lieutenant in the 7th Infantry, as there were no open second lieutenant vacancies.

Upon joining the regiment at Fort Brown, Texas, he was initially assigned to Company A. His commander was Robert S. Garnett, later the first general officer killed during the Civil War and cousin of the general killed at Gettysburg. The first lieutenant of the company was Edmund Kirby Smith. Although only a brevet officer, he performed well, and served in command of Company I within a year of graduation from the academy.
On October 17, 1854, James McIntyre married Jane A. Selkirk in Austin, Texas. They had three children over the next four years: Hugh on October 9, 1855, Mary Bell on October 1, 1857 and William James D. in October 1859.

On March 3, 1855, McIntyre finally received his appointment as a second lieutenant, but in a different service. He received an original appointment to the newly authorized 1st U.S. Cavalry, and joined his new regiment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He spent the next several years on frontier duty skirmishing with the Cheyenne, Sioux and Comanche Indians. He was promoted to first lieutenant in the regiment on January 16, 1857. He was one of four lieutenants present when J.E.B. Stuart was wounded in an action at Solomon’s Fork of the Kansas River on July 29, 1857. The other two were Lunsford Lomax and David S. Stanley.

McIntyre served as the regimental quartermaster from April 15, 1858 to April 30, 1860. He was part of the force under Major John Sedgwick dispatched toward Utah in May 1858. They marched as far as the Colorado Territory before a peace settlement was reached, and they returned to Fort Leavenworth. He assisted with the construction of Fort Wise (later Fort Lyon), Colorado, and served there and at Fort Riley, Kansas until 1860.
McIntyre was on a leave of absence with his family when the war broke out. He was promoted to captain and command of Company E on May 3, 1861, and soon joined his company at Washington, D.C. As the senior officer present, he commanded the only squadron of the 4th U.S. Cavalry in the eastern theater for the next year and a half.

Although kept very busy, the squadron saw little combat, serving as escort for Major General McClellan through the Peninsula, Antietam and Fredericksburg campaigns. After a brief period of detached service in Washington, D.C. from December 1862 to March 1863, he rejoined his company in Tennessee. He commanded the company during operations in Tennessee and Alabama during the spring of 1863. Captain McIntyre received a brevet promotion to major for gallant and meritorious service during the battle of Franklin, Tennessee on May 10, 1863, and assumed command of the regiment the following month.

Captain McIntyre commanded the regiment for the rest of the year. He earned a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel for gallant and meritorious conduct in his leadership of the regiment in the battle of Chickamauga on September 25, 1863. After a brief leave of absence during the winter, he resumed command of the regiment in March and led it through all of the campaigns of 1864 as well.

In his report on Kilpatrick’s Raid during August 1864, Captain McIntyre made the following statement on his regiment’s performance near Lovejoy’s Station:

“But it was in the charge, when cavalry fought in the legitimate way, the cool, dismounted lieutenant, sergeants and soldiers became the cavalryman, and where all were heroes it would be invidious to make distinction.”

After another brief leave of absence during the winter of 1864, McIntyre again commanded the regiment at Gravelly Spring, Alabama from January to March 1865. Ironically, after commanding the regiment for nearly two years, he missed its last major action of the war, Wilson’s Raid and the battle of Selma. He was detached from the regiment for recruiting duty at Baltimore, Maryland on March 1, 1865 and served there for the remainder of the year.

On November 15, 1865, his wife Jane died, and their three children went to live with his father, Hugh, in Brenham, Texas. His father later received his pension.

In 1866, former Army of the Cumberland commander major General George H. Thomas recommended McIntyre for a brevet to full colonel for his services during the war. In his recommendation, General Thomas noted, “Capt. McIntyre has been an industrious and zealous officer and has performed the duties of every position he has held with ability, and with great credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his commanding officers.”

Following the war, he returned to the frontier with his regiment, once again in command of his Company E in Texas. He commanded Fort Brown, his first assignment as a brevet second lieutenant in 1853, from May 1866 to January 1867. He then moved with his company to Fort Riley, Kansas. Although he was promoted to major in the 3rd U.S. Cavalry on July 28, 1866, the news took months to reach him, and he never joined his new regiment.

Major McIntyre set out from Fort Riley on April 16, 1867. He had been ill with consumption since January with symptoms of consumption and “also suffering from excessive indulgence in alcoholic liquors,” according to the post surgeon. He arrived at Fort Larned on May 1st, but his condition had worsened, and he was too sick to continue his journey.

James B. McIntyre died of consumption at Fort Larned, Kansas on May 10, 1867, but his story doesn’t end there. He was buried in grave #9 in the post cemetery. A very popular officer while he commanded the post, the garrison constructed a brown obelisk in his honor that still stands today. Though weathered and difficult to read, one can still make out the inscription:

“J.B. MacIntyre, Col. USA Died at Fort Larned Kansas, May 9 1867. Was one of the officers, of Extra Duty, Maintained the Honor of his Country Gallantly during the Days of the Recent Rebellion.”

When the post was closed in 1888, the cemetery contents were moved to the cemetery at Fort Leavenworth. In an oversight, the contents of the cemetery were not cataloged. They were interred in new graves in their own section of the Fort Leavenworth cemetery, surrounded by a short wooden fence. Captain John McIntyre rests with 62 of his comrades from Fort Larned, in a grave marked “Unknown US Soldier.”

Cullum, George W. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, Volume II. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891. Pages 569-570.
Fort Larned NHP website ( accessed December 8, 2014.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903. Page 437.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1861-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Commission Branch, 1863-1870.
National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-infantry Regiments, 1821-1916: 4th U.S. Cavalry.
Tom Jones, “Randal, Horace,” Handbook of texas Online ( accessed December 8, 2014.
Wert, Jeffry D. Cavalryman of the Lost Cause. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Fiddler’s Green: Ephraim Adams


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I don’t often feature enlisted men in the Fiddler’s Green series, for the simple reason that there isn’t normally much information available about them. I found the case of Ephraim Adams somewhat unique, though. He literally grew up in his company, and held every enlisted rank in it before falling at its head in battle.

Ephraim Adams was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in late 1839. He was enlisted into Company F, 2nd U.S. Dragoons at Carlisle on December 24, 1855 by Lieutenant Tyler as a bugler at the age of 16. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’4″ tall, with gray eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion. He served his first enlistment on the frontier with his regiment, earning the rank of sergeant just before reenlisting in Company F at Fort Kearney, Nebraska Territory on September 20, 1860.

Ephraim continued to serve with his company through most of the Civil War, earning the rank of first sergeant by the time he reenlisted a second time. Lieutenant Robert Lennox, his former sergeant major, reenlisted him into Company F on July 12, 1864 at Light House Landing, Virginia, as the regiment recovered from Sheridan’s two raids. Due to heavy losses among the regiment’s officers, he was commanding his company when the regiment moved to the Shenandoah Valley in early September.

First Sergeant Adams was leading his company during the battle of Cedar Creek when he received a gunshot wound to the face on October 19, 1864. After initial treatment at a field hospital on the battlefield, he was admitted to the U.S. General Hospital at York, Pennsylvania on October 26th. He did not regain consciousness before he died there on November 1, 1864. According to the final statement signed by First Lieutenant James Cahill, a former fellow first sergeant, he was buried on November 3, 1864 in plot #130 at Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania.

Fiddler’s Green: Lewis Thompson


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I am greatly indebted to Sherry Harris, a relative of Lewis Thompson, for adding a great deal of detail and both pictures to the story of this brave cavalryman.

Photo courtesy of Sherry Harris.

Photo courtesy of Sherry Harris.

Lewis Tappen Thompson was born in Philadelphia on July 25, 1838. He was the eldest of five children who survived childhood. His father, also named Lewis, was a publisher and member of the Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia. He was also part of the Underground Railroad before the Civil War.

Lewis was raised in Philadelphia, and educated for a business career. He was working as a cashier and bookkeeper for P. Waples and Co. of Philadelphia when the war broke out. Lewis and his brother James enlisted in Company A, 71st New York State Militia, a ninety day regiment, on April 21, 1861, and mustered out with the rest of the company on July 30th. He served primarily at the Washington Navy Yard, but also fought in the first battle of Bull Run.

When the regiment was mustered out, Thompson was appointed a lieutenant of volunteers and assigned as an aide on the staff of Brigadier General John C. Fremont. After Fremont was relieved of command, he worked briefly as an adjutant general for Lane’s brigade before being appointed a captain in the 3rd Kansas Cavalry. Singled out for bravery and leadership in a winter expedition into Missouri for forage, General Lane recommended him for an appointment in the regular army.

On February 19, 1862, Lewis Thompson was appointed a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry and assigned to Company I. He wouldn’t see his new company for nearly a year. He remained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for several more months working as a Mustering & Disbursing Officer. He was promoted to first lieutenant on October 28, 1862, but word of the promotion did not reach him or the regiment until the following spring.
Lieutenant Thompson joined the 2nd U.S. Cavalry at Fort Albany, Virginia in December 1862, where several recently recruited companies were en route to join the regiment. He commanded Company G during the march, then joined Company I upon arrival. He spent the winter on picket duty with his company, based from their winter quarters near Falmouth.

Lieutenant Thompson was active in the spring campaign, serving with his company under Lieutenant Thomas Dewees during Stoneman’s Raid and the battle of Brandy Station. He received a brevet promotion to captain for gallant and meritorious service two weeks later during the battle of Upperville on June 21, 1863.

Lieutenant Thompson was captured during the Gettysburg campaign on July 2, 1863 while “attempting to communicate with corps headquarters,” according to brigade commander Wesley Merritt’s report on the battle. He was held at Libby Prison in Richmond until June 1864, then he was transferred briefly to Macon, Georgia and then onward to Charleston, South Carolina.

Lewis became very sick with tuberculosis and bronchitis while in Charleston, and likely would have died there if not for some family intervention. His sister, Matilda, had married Brigadier General Rufus Saxton, a quartermaster officer. When the Union captured parts of South Carolina in 1864, Saxton was appointed military governor of the state. He established his offices in the same building as the erstwhile Confederate commander of the area, former member of the 2nd Dragoons William Hardee. Hardee had been Saxton’s commander at West Point before the war. Saxton heard of his brother in law’s illness, and by luck was holding one of Hardee’s staff officers of the same rank prisoner. After Saxton contacted Hardee, “he responded cordially, and the two officers were exchanged, and the life of one brave officer was saved.”

Thompson was exchanged at Charleston, SC on October 4, 1864, and sent to Camp Parole, near Annapolis, Maryland to recover in the military hospitals there. After recovering from his illness and his release from Camp Parole, Maryland, Captain Thompson was assigned to special duty on the staff of Governor Cummings in Golden City, Colorado. He served there from September 25, 1865 until September 1866, when he was ordered to join his company. In the interim, he had been promoted twice. He received a brevet promotion to major for meritorious service during the war on September 25, 1865. On July 28, 1866, he was promoted to captain and command of Company L, 2nd U.S. Cavalry.

Thompson continued to suffer the effects of his captivity for the remainder of his life. He took a sick leave of absence from August 16, 1868 to March 29, 1869. He rejoined his company at Fort Ellis, Montana in the summer of 1869. The photo below is from a group picture of regimental officers on a porch at the fort.


On February 26, 1869, the President directed that the brevet rank of Colonel be conferred upon Thompson. The reason was not stated. Other than the letter to Secretary of War Schofield directing the promotion on Executive Mansion stationery, there is no documentation of the promotion in his records.

1869 Comm T24 pg 2

Captain Thompson was sent to a retiring board in 1870, but the board recommended him for retention. He proved their judgment in the field, commanding his company during the Piegan expedition under Major E.M. Baker earlier that year. He also led his company in an engagement with Sioux at Prior’s Fork, Montana on August 14, 1872.

He returned home to Germantown, Pennsylvania on a sick leave of absence August 25, 1874 to September 12, 1875. He was suffering from chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis. One of the certificates of sickness states “the latter Cachenia having existed for the past six years, I reproduce the certificate given by Dr. Frantz, Surgeon, U.S.A. and continued in June 67 by Dr. Bailey, Surgeon, U.S.A.”

Despite his illnesses, he remained in touch with the regiment and its former officers. He even wrote a short chapter on the Piegan expedition of 1870 for Theophilus Rodenbough’s From Everglade to Canon with the Second United States Cavalry, published in 1875.

Captain Thompson commanded Company L in Major James Brisbin’s battalion of the 2nd Cavalry in Colonel John Gibbon’s column during the Little Big Horn campaign. He was so ill toward the end of the march that he was carried on a stretcher behind a mule with his company.

Lewis Thompson committed suicide in his bed near the headwaters of the Little Big Horn at 6 a.m. on July 19, 1876 “by shooting himself through the breast.” Assistant Surgeon H.O. Paulding’s letter stated, “Captain Thompson had been ailing with Neuralgia of the Stomach, together with excessive vomiting and diarrhea, for two days previously, and no doubt it was the intense suffering that produced the mental aberration which led to the fatal act.”

An article in the Freeman Journal noted, “He was a gentle, genial man, a true gentleman. He was buried at 6:30 pm. All the officers and men attended. General Gibbon made a few appropriate remarks. 1st LT. Edward McGuire read the service.”

In a letter to General Sherman upon learning of his death, Governor Potts of Montana wrote “He was a fine officer and an accomplished gentleman, & was very popular. He was a Philadelphian.”

Unfortunately, Thompson’s story didn’t end there. His brother in law, Lieutenant Colonel Rufus Saxton, requested to move his remains home from Montana to be buried with the rest of his family. His request was endorsed by Brigadier General John Pope, commander of the Department of the Missouri, and Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan, but denied by order of the Secretary of War.

A year later, Saxton and Lewis’ brother moved his remains to the family plot in Saulsbury Church Yard, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The cemetery is currently known as Thompson Memorial Cemetery.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903. Page 640.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume 2. New York: George W. Carleton, 1869. Page 345.

National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1861-1870.

National Archives, Record Group 94, Letters Received by the Commission Branch, 1863-1870.

National Archives, Record Group 94, U.S. Returns from Regular Army Non-infantry Regiments, 1821-1916: 2nd U.S. Cavalry

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume 27, Part 1, page 943.

Rodenbough, Theophilus. From Everglade to Canon with the Second United States Cavalry. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. Pages 378-383 and 470.

Saxton, Rufus. “The Reminiscences of a Quartermaster in the Early Days of the Civil War,” Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Volume 6 (1921), pages 394-412.


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