About Me

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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. My perspective comes from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Lord is one of the coolest men under fire, I ever saw.”


My research on the West Point officers who served at Antietam continues.  Recently, I contacted the West Point Library to see when they began recording images of the graduating classes.  I learned that they began to do this in 1857.  Unfortunately they do not have the images for the Classes of 1858 or 1860.  The Library copied the images of 53 officers from the graduating classes of 1857, 1859, May 1861, June 1861, and 1862. I can’t be certain but many of these are not on the internet as I have tried to google some of these relatively unknown men and not obtained any results. 

James H. Lord USMA 1862
One of these images is of James H. Lord of the Class of 1862.  It is amazing to consider that this young man who graduated from the Academy on June 17, 1862 would earn a brevet promotion to First Lieutenant only fourteen days later at Malvern Hill.  He would earn two more (including one for Antietam) before the end of the war.  He probably looked very much like this image at Antietam.

A great source of biographical information for these lesser known officers are their obituary notices found in the Annual Reunion of the Association of Graduates.  When Lord died on February 21, 1896 at the Presidio, his classmate and fellow Second Artillery colleague John Calef penned the following tribute which appeared in the 1896 Annual Reunion.

Major JAMES HENRY LORD was born at Honesdale, Pa., February 27th, 1840. After attending school in his native town, he was, at the age of 14, sent to the military school of General William H. ("Billy") Russell, at New Haven, where he received his preparation for the United States Military Academy. He entered the Academy on July 1st, 1857.[1] Graduating in 1862, amidst the excitement of the Civil War, he was appointed to the Second Artillery, and was sent immediately to active service with the Army of the Potomac. Being assigned to Carlisle's Battery "E," Second Artillery, (composed of 4-20 pounder Parrotts).[2] He participated with this celebrated Battery under [First Lieutenant Samuel F.] Benjamin, in the following battles: Second Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and then accompanied the Ninth Army Corps to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the siege of which place his battery took part, as well as in the capture of Jackson, the Capital of Mississippi. During these operations on the Mississippi he contracted a fever accompanied by congestive chills, which necessitated a change of climate, and after a sick leave, he was placed on "mustering and disbursing duty" at Cincinnati and Boston until February, 1865, when he joined Horse Battery "A," Second Artillery, then serving with Davies' Brigade, Gregg's Cavalry Division in the siege of Petersburg.
In command of that Battery he participated in the final campaign of the War, being engaged at Dinwiddie Court House, Five Forks, Lisbon Centre, High Bridge, Farmville, and lastly at Appomattox Court House. He then served as Aide-de-Camp to General Crook, but returning to the Second Artillery, he accompanied it to the Pacific Coast in September, 1865, and on May 1st, 1867, was appointed Regimental Quartermaster, which he held till appointed Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, April 24th, 1875. In this position he served as Chief Quartermaster District of Tucson, Arizona, and Depot Quartermaster at Yuma, Arizona, from June, 1875, to November, 1878. On duty at General Depot, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to August 1st, 1879; Post-Quartermaster at Fort Preble, Maine, to June 8th, 1880. Depot Quartermaster at Cheyenne to November 10th, 1885; on duty at Jeffersonville Depot, Indiana to July 1st, 1886; Post-Quartermaster Governor's Island, New York, and Assistant Quartermaster Division Atlantic, to August 3d, 1890; in charge of General Depot, San Francisco, California, to March 31st, 1893, and retired from active service, September 6th, 1893.
He was brevetted First Lieutenant, July 1st, 1862, for gallant and meritorious services in the battle of Malvern Hill, Virginia; Captain, September 17th, 1862, for gallant and meritorious services in the battle of Antietam, Maryland; and Major, April 9th, 1865, for gallant and meritorious services in action at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
Major Lord was an unique character. From the reveille of his military career till the taps which signified its close, he ever displayed that cheerful quality of mind and disposition which extended its influence to all around, and endeared him to countless friends. His wonderful energy and fertility of resources were displayed in every position to which he was called, and whether in organizing an " outfit" for the use of the Commanding General on an inspecting tour, or in planting trees for beautifying the Presidio Reservation, he gave his personal attention to the details, which assured success.
During the Civil War, he early made a reputation for coolness and intrepidity under fire, and I recall the remark of his Battery Commander, Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) S. W. Benjamin, who, when speaking of the terrific fire the Battery ("E," Second Artillery,) was subjected to at the Second Bull Run, said: "Lord is one of the coolest men under fire, I ever saw.”[3]
He was also of an inventive turn of mind, and secured, I believe, patents for several inventions. Ever loyal to his old friends, he was generosity itself, and many a thorny path was smoothed by him. His was a very lovable nature, and in his untimely demise, the service has lost an excellent officer and his friends have experienced an irreparable loss.
Captain, Second Artillery.[4]

[1]Lord repeated his freshman year having been found deficient in English studies.
[2] Captain Josiah M. Carlisle, Third Artillery (USMA 1845) commanded this battery through the Battle of Malvern Hill.  He was relieved of command due to illness on August 2, 1862 and never returned to front line service.  Carlisle retired on August 4, 1863 for disability and died on December 16, 1866.
[3] Benjamin mentions Lord in his lengthy report on the Battle of Antietam stating that Lieutenants Graves and Lord, "worked well and faithfully." (OR 19:1 page 436)
[4] Twenty Seventh Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, June 11, 1896 page 122

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