So let’s start with my name. I’m Gene and I live in North East Pennsylvania. I grew up in Staten Island N.Y. with my wife Melinda and in 2007 we moved to the mountains in NEPA. I’ve always had an interest in the C.W. but it wasn’t until we moved to Pennsylvania that my interest grew to obsession.
Not long after we moved to Pennsylvania I discovered I had family in Chancellorsville Virginia. My father’s family migrated from Wales to America in 1630 settling in Williamsburg VA. then to Locust Grove Va. (just northwest of the Wilderness Battlefield). My 5th Great Grandfather Thomas T. Jones (born 1741) served with the Virginia State Militia during the Revolutionary War. His son James Jones, my 4th Great grandfather (born 1758) also served in the Revolutionary War. James Jones who marries Catharine “Caty” Robinson has 14 children 8 boys and 6 girls. One of those boys is Fielding Jones who marries Mary “Polly “Johnson of Locust Grove, Raccoon Ford Virginia.
They have 11 children 9 boys 2 girls, 2 of the boys, twins Gilcrest and Isreal die as infants yet another boy is still born of the other 6 boys Churchill, Fielding, James, Richard (my Gr.Gr. Grandfather), Issac and Thomas all 6 serve in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
Churchill Jone serves in the 9th Calvary, Johnsons Regiment. Issac Jones serves as a Scout for Stonewall Jackson and Mosby Ranger’s. Fielding and James both serve the Confederacy but my research is not complete.
Thomas Jones Enlists in Hampdens Artillery, 38th Battalion and is taken prisoner at Woodstock Virginia near Tom’s Brook June of 1862, in August of 62 he is returned during a prisoner exchange, he is wounded June 3rd 1864 during the battle of Cold Harbor and serves the rest of the war in and out of hospitals, but mostly at Stuart’s Hospital in Richmond Virginia, he lives until 1915.
That takes us to my Great Great Grandfather Richard Sanford Jones who enlists in the spring of 1862 with his brother Thomas in Fredericksburg Virginia and both serve in Hampdens Lt. Artillery, 38th Battalion. Both Brothers serve throughout the war with no absents on their military records (I assume they were good soldiers). Both brothers are at the battles of Antietam, Winchester, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, different Valley Campaign battles, Cold Harbor, Petersburg they also spent sometime in New Bern North Carolina all in all a very impressive portfolio of engagements, somehow they both managed to survive the war.
At the battle of Gettysburg Richard and Thomas are assigned to Caskie’s Battery. Caskie’s Battery is assigned to the 38th Battalion which is in Longstreet’s Army, Pickett’s Division, Dearing’s Battalion, Hampden’s Artillery and Caskie’s Battery. It is well documented in Robert H. Moore’s book” The Richmond Fayette, Hampden, Thomas, and Blount’s Lynchburg Artillery”.
On July 1st the battle of Gettysburg opened while the 38th Battalion remained 25 miles away. At 1 or 2 AM the following morning (July 2nd) the 38th Battalion arrives at Gettysburg. At about dusk on July 2nd Dearing receives orders to “move at once to the field of battle, which was done”. The Battalion Bivouacked for the night in the rear of the line of battle of the First Corps in anticipation of the following day.
At about daybreak on July 3rd the Battalion “marched up to the line of battle, and was, later in the morning, put in position on the crest of the hill immediately in front of the enemy’s position… “The Battalion stood between the Cordori and Rogers houses, with its center approximately 530 yards north of the apple orchard, opposite the house of H. Spangler and immediately east of Emmiteburg Road, 650 yards north of the infamous peach orchard.
Because the 38th Battalion didn’t have infantry support to keep skirmishers at bay, the Union sharp shooters had a field day harassing the artillerymen.
Following the trouble with the skirmishers, the Battalion was prepared to participate in the cannonade to support Pickett’s advance on the enemy line. Lieutenant Clopton wrote: Here we lay until one O’clock, such terrible suspense I never endured.
At 1 p.m. the signal gun from Washington Artillery was fired and Dearing’s Guns moved to the crest of the slight ridge and joined in the terrific cannonade to soften the Federal Lines, The fire from the guns was at first slow and deliberate. Major Dearing recalled:
To ensure more accuracy and to guard against the waste of ammunition, I fired by battery. The firing on the part of the battalion was very good, and most of the shell and shrapnel burst well. My fire was directed at the batteries immediately in my front, and which occupied the heights… Three caissons were seen by myself blown up, and I saw several batteries of the enemy leave the field, At one time, just before General Picketts division advanced, the batteries of the enemy in our front had nearly all ceased firing; a few scattering batteries here and there could be seen to fire.
Lieutenant Clopton remembered: Pickett’s Division emerged from the woods behind us 5000 strong….in a solid line of battle-they passed us and charged straight across the valley in our front which was the valley of the shadow of death for them. The batteries of the enemy now turned on them and how the poor fellows fell but on they rushed and carried the works. They were not supported. The enemy fell on them by Divisions, overwhelming them. The Division was literally crushed. It was a horrid sight. I hope my eyes will never witness such a scene again.
Just before Pickett’s men swept across the field to the front of the Battalion, Dearing sent back the caissons for fresh supplies. The Battalion was supposed to advance in echelon with the infantry. For over an hour and a half Dearing waited, but no fresh ammunition was to be had. Therefore the 38th Battalion was spared greater losses, which it would have taken had it advanced.
The 38th Battalion losses were considerable.
Companies A: KIA 0 WIA 4 MIA 0 Captured 6 Horses Lost 10
Companies B: KIA 3 WIA 3 MIA 0 Captured 7 Horses Lost 8
Companies C: KIA 0 WIA 3 MIA 0 Captured 0 Horses Lost 7 (Richard’s Co.)
Companies D: KIA 4 WIA 3 MIA 0 Captured 0 Horses Lost 12
After the war Richard Jones goes back to the farm in Chancellorsville (Eleys Ford to be exact). What he finds is complete devastation. The fields have been destroyed by the Union army the livestock have been taken or killed the homestead is damaged. It’s fair to say Richard must have been discouraged, angry and broken and who knows what his health must have been after figthing a war with little or no resources for 3 plus years.
Richard is married to Hester (Ester) Eley whose father’s family (Edward Eley) had been deeded 100’s of acres along the Rapidan River from then Governor Alexander Spotswood. Upon Edward Eleys death he deeds Richard 33 1/3 acres of land off Eleys Ford Road just west of the Rapidan River. Richard and Hester have 12 childern 4 girls and 8 boys.