E T and Company J

ET and Company J

 I used the roster from the history of the 23rd MVI to create a database covering all its members. I did the data entry for it during my lunch breaks at work.

As I was involved in this task I considered how to go about digging up the same info for the 8th MVM.
Somehow I stumbled across a list of Civil War regiments online referenced with names and e-mails of their researchers. I contacted the individual, Carol Botteron, who managed the list and happened to have an interest in the 8th MVM.  She replied to me with a list of books written about various aspects of the regiment. She also asked if my ancestor was a recipient of the Minuteman of 1861 medal issued by the State of Massachusetts years after the war. It was awarded to all of the soldiers that answered Lincoln’s call out of the state militias after Fort Sumter was fired upon. I replied that I did not know and that perhaps it was in the hands of other family members.
She said that I could find a photo of one in the volume History of the Minutemen of 1861.  So a check with the library led to another order with ILL.
The volume had an entire chapter devoted to Company J. It laid out in sketch form the history of the unit, relating some highly interesting and startling revelations.
As an aside, about a decade later I had a round of e-mail exchanges with a researcher in New Hampshire who adamantly insisted that there was no such designation as Company J in the US Army. He explained that this was to obviate any confusion between the letters “I” and “J,” and had the further pariah status of being a “jinx.” Looking at this assertion and his cited authorities (all of a later date than mine), I chalked it up to a bureaucratic standardization after the fact, or a state versus federal understanding.  Whenever the members themselves wrote about the unit later it was always called Company J, and even the Massachusetts Adjutant General’s official report for the year 1861 called the unit by the designation “J.”
So E T was proud member of an historic unit. He was also that rarity in the Civil War, a Zouave.

E T Sighting

E T Sighting


I had found George A Thompson. His unit, company H was a part of the Fifth Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (or MVM for short). Company H was also known as the Salem Guard.
According to his roster, George had enlisted 4/19/1861, a week after Sumter had been fired upon, and was mustered in on May 1 (more things to look up for understanding). And was listed as a casualty 7/21, the Battle of Bull Run (or First Bull Run, so as not to be confused with Second Bull Run).
But there was no Edward T Osgood. Not in company H, nor in any other companies of the Massachusetts Fifth regiment.
Another search finally turned up ET in the 23rd Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (MVI). On their roster he was listed as the fourth sergeant in Company A. But nowhere does it mention that the 23rd was at First Bull Run, in fact the date of his enlistment was given as August 21, 1861, a month after that battle. So, again there seemed to be no connection to Thompson.
As a first step, I looked up a listing for a regimental history of the 23rd, found it, and as my local library did not have a copy, I ordered it from the InterLibraryLoan department.
And waited.
Meanwhile I could wonder about some of the other clues from this roster entry.
Like exactly what was a “Cordr”?