Tracking Down a Marine Fifer

Tracking Down a Marine Fifer

I recently had the fun of running down information about a US Marine who had been assigned to the USNA in 1860. Or to be more precise, a marine who had been attached to the USS Plymouth, the naval academy’s school ship for their cruise the summer of that pivotal year. It was a convoluted task, that commenced with only the slimmest of leads.

My jumping off point was the US census for Annapolis for that year. I was scrolling down through the names of the superintendent, the professors and officers, and the midshipmen – and sandwiched between those midshipmen and some US sailors was a short list of seventeen names. All listed as ‘US Marines.’ And all with places of birth listed as ‘Unknown.’ I used their names as the springboard for my online searches.

So, I went through four names –

1- John Rossman age 25

2 – George Rymes age 30

3 – A. E. Clark age 40

4 – R. Hamilton age 37

– before I got a hit with number 5:

5 – L Reinburg age 34

I was using which has an excellent database of scanned military documents.  My meagre ‘L Reinburg’ search returned a couple pages worth of US Marine muster rolls.

(I like the US Marine muster rolls. With them I have been able to trace the entire service career, month by month, of one of the midshipmen I have been researching – he had switched from the Navy to that branch).

Four of these records outlined Reinburg’s presence on the USS Plymouth, June through September of 1860. And gave me his first name – Louis. I input this new information and the year 1826 (calculated from his age in the census), a mistake as it later turned out.

Two different ‘Louis Reinburgs’ popped up. One born in Saxony, Germany seemed to be the one for whom I was looking. But he was a good deal older, having been born around 1819. The other had been born in Philadelphia, but twenty years younger than he should have been if the 1860 census was correct. It was obvious that they were father and son with the same names. But which was my marine?

I was leaning towards the older Louis until I found naval lists with this native of Saxony listed as a landsman, a naval rank. Since there were marine records for the second Louis in the same years as this navy man, I switched my hunch to the younger Louis.

But how was I to resolve the “age” issue?

A Google search did point to a Louis C. Reinburg who died in 1903, and had a career in the marines. But he had switched to the navy sometime in 1864. This was starting to get more confusing.

The Marine muster rolls proved to hold the key.

I compared all four muster rolls for the USS Plymouth. The names were the same on each one. I then compared them to the names in the census. They were all the same. Or almost all the same. (The census taker as you will see had some issues).

The first five for the USS Plymouth:

John Bauman – Orderly Sergeant, enlisted March 30, 1857 (not Rossman, whoever wrote out the name did not close the bottom of the “B,” wrote an “a” that looked like an “o” and the peaks of his “u’ looked like a double “s.”)

George Byrnes – Corporal, re-enlisted May 20, 1858 (not Rymes, the same issue with the “B”, plus an “r” and an “n” that looked like an “m.”)

Elisha A Clarke – Corporal, re-enlisted June 6, 1858 (not A. E. – perhaps dyslexic?)

Robert Hamilton – Musician, enlisted Feb 23, 1860

Louis Reinburg – Musician, enlisted Aug 29, 1856

The rest of the names on the muster lists are all privates, and match, in order, and almost exactly (save one), the names on the census. Tracing Reinburg back to his enlistment I found him on a muster roll for August 1856 at the Marine Barracks in Washington DC.  But his rank was delineated as “Boy.” (His comrade Robert Hamilton is on the same roll with the same rank).

I had to look up this rank to see what light it might shed on my marine. And I came up with this quote:

“’Boys,’ the lowest rung on the rating and pay scales and one
traditionally reserved for young men under the age of eighteen.”

     This Louis Reinburg was born in 1846, so he was the ripe old age of ten when he enlisted in the marines. Following forward he became a fifer in 1857, and was serving as such on the Plymouth. His fellow marine, Robert Hamilton, was a drummer.

     The two had served together in the same capacities on a cruise in the USS Jamestown between 1858 and 1860, just before their time on the Plymouth. So no doubt they were a team.

     Reinburg took his honorable discharge from the marines in 1864, and then enlisted in the Navy as an Acting Master in the Volunteer Navy. He served the rest of the war and beyond, taking his honorable discharge from that service in 1868 at the age of 22, having given twelve years of his life in service to his country. A service that he continued as a clerk in the Pension Office of the United States.


The Puzzle of Midshipman Morgan Lewis Ogden Jr. Part 1

The Puzzle of Midshipman Morgan Lewis Ogden Jr. Part 1

The first puzzle about Midshipman Morgan Lewis Ogden jr. was his appointment from New York state to the US Naval Academy. I only called it into question because his state of birth was listed as Alabama. I thought it might just have been a transcription error on my part, writing down that particular southern state designation meant for another midshipmen. But the designation kept popping up in other records: the NY state census for 1855, and three federal censuses, two for 1860 and one for 1870. (He is listed twice in the 1860 census, once in Annapolis [as Wm L Ogden] and also for Washington DC Ward 1). His father and all his siblings list New York as their birth state. Only Morgan and his mother are different, though her state of Maryland is closer to the New York than his.

This mystery was cleared up by an Ogden family history. His father was down in Mobile Alabama in the 1840’s, working with his brother Charles W. Ogden in a cotton shipping business. There he married Eliza Glendy McLaughlin, and the future midshipman was born a year later. The 1855 NY state census indicates that the family relocated to New York City sometime in 1846. So this put him in the right place for his appointment from the 7th NY Congressional District when he was fifteen and a half.

The family history also brought up some interesting points about his ancestors. Through his father’s mother they are related to the Lewis family of New York. Her uncle was Morgan Lewis (hence their name sake), a soldier in the Revolution and the governor of New York in the early 1800s. And this same Lewis line traces back to Francis Lewis one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Morgan jr.’s naval career was a short one – two years – both of them in the plebe class. The total of his demerits were well below the threshold for dismissal, and were generally of the nature of absences of one form or another (seven the first year and five the next). The more serious ones involved the use of tobacco, either smoking, or the chewing and spitting variety; and one during the school year for intoxication. After this drinking incidence, he must have been called on the carpet, and had to give exacting promises never to repeat the offense.

So what happened?

Like Stephen Austin McCarty referenced in the last research post, Morgan became embroiled in the Foote Outrage. Like McCarty he was dismissed from the service on 4/27/1859, and like McCarty he was reinstated on 5/20/1859 and required to ship out on the USS Plymouth for the summer cruise. It was on this cruise that he again ran afoul of the bottle.

On September 20, 1859, George Blake, the Superintendent of the Naval Academy reported to Isaac Toucey, the Secretary of the Navy:

“The Department directed that the usual
indulgence of leave on shore should not be accorded
to these young gentlemen & it will be seen that in
contempt of this positive order they separated
themselves from Lieut. Carter under whose charge
they were sent on shore at Plymouth [England] on duty &
that Actg Midn Ogden was taken alongside the
ship intoxicated to utter insensibility & in that
condition was lifted on board by sailors.”

And goes on:

“Mr Ogden’s general conduct at the Academy
has been bad.-  He has been once found deficient
in his studies & put back.-  I have had occa-
sion to report him to the Department twice before
to recommend his dismissal last spring in which
recommendation the department concurred.-
Under his most solemn assurances of amendment
I subsequently ventured to suggest his restoration
in which the Department was also pleased
to concur.-  I fully concur with Commander
Craven in earnestly recommending the immediate
dismissal of Actg Midn Ogden.-“

Three days later Morgan received his dismissal from Secretary Toucey. He returned to his family. Which brings us back to the First Ward of the City of Washington in the District of Columbia where the family was living at the time of the 1860 census. Here his father is listed as a lawyer, and Morgan jr. a law student.

When the war came, like McCarty, Morgan joined the army, (the regular army not a state unit) receiving a commission as first lieutenant in the US 18th Infantry. Unlike McCarty he did not make a switch to the navy. Morgan had pretty effectively burnt that bridge. He served along the Mississippi (Vicksburg and Jackson), then on to the Tennessee campaign, followed by that of the move on Atlanta. He was brevetted a captain for his gallant service in the battle of Murfreesboro, in which he was also wounded. The 18th Infantry was part of the US Ninth Army Corps, and he served that organization in the commissary of musters department, i.e. recruiting. The last year of the war he spent in that service, first in Wisconsin, and then in Indianapolis.

After the war, he remained in the US 18th Infantry as it served in the Dakotas against the Sioux. He ended his career in Columbia, South Carolina in 1877, as the 18th was then posted to the Military Department of the South (involved in the reconstruction of the southern states). The ending was not a happy one. He was dismissed from the service by court martial. I do not know what the charges were against him, though I suspect “demon” rum may have reared its ugly head again.

There were a couple of surprises that popped up in my research about Morgan and his family, both touching on Abe Lincoln. When in Indianapolis on recruiting duty, Morgan stood honor guard on April 30, 1865 when the Lincoln funeral train made its stop there on its slow journey to Springfield, Illinois.

He may have met the President earlier in 1861. His little seven year old brother Sydney had. Sydney was about Tad Lincoln’s age, and had been invited over to play “soldier” at the White House. Either Tad or his older brother Willie recruited Sydney into their company – “Mrs. Lincoln’s Zouaves.”

This last item I find particularly fascinating. My third screenplay was about Willie and Tad, and seeing their famous father from their view. The sequel I have planned covers some of the “famous battles” of this unit.

Filling in the Gaps about Bayard and Alice Hand

Filling in the Gaps about Bayard and Alice Hand

My request for scans of the letters and other documents in the Alice Whitfield Hand collection at the University of the South has been filled. I have read through the biographical information and the letters for 1858 and 1859. And I now have some answers for some of my questions. Along the way, I have learned a few more things. And, yes, I even have more questions.

My guess about the vessel that Bayard Hand shipped out on for the expedition to Paraguay was indeed correct. He served on the U.S.S. Southern Star. He postmarks a letter to her from almost all the ports they stopped in on the way down – Barbados, Pernambuco, and Rosario. His brother in law C. T. Quintard dropped her a line and kidded Alice about Bayard’s role in the expedition by comparing him to a sailor in a cartoon in Harper’s Weekly, who is shown poking a pistol in the face of the Paraguayan dictator Carlos Antonio Lopez.

The biographical information attached to the letters lends support to my surmisal that Bayard and Alice met in Beaufort NC at the time when he was serving with the Coast Survey. Her father had lost his business in Halifax County due to a fire in 1851, and moved the family to Beaufort to build another inn or boarding house. So they were well established there by the time Bayard was back from the Brazil Station, and visiting Beaufort in Coast Survey vessels. Shortly after their wedding in September of 1858, Alice’s father picked up his business and removed back to Halifax County (hence the census entries recorded there for 1860).

It would appear from a number of sources that Bayard Hand had a weak physical constitution. Both times that he was sent to the hospital during his short time at Annapolis, the stays (one in 1852, and the other in 1853) were for longer durations than would be normal for the particular ailments. The year 1858 was marked by at least two serious episodes. In June he was admitted to the naval hospital in New York – not for the fever that he had had when recently down in Florida, but for a nervous condition that the physician said was due to a lack of sleep. It wasn’t until after four days that the doctor noted that Bayard was finally sleeping. He was kept in the hospital a total of seven days. And in November, when the U.S.S. Southern Star left Norfolk, Lt Bayard was in a doctor’s care, unconscious for eight straight days with no other diagnosis. So it does not seem as surprising for him to die a victim to a simple bout of pneumonia.

Alice, as the young widow, inherited from her husband. His family in Rome Georgia saw to it that she received the stock shares that were Bayard’s from his grandfather’s business, the Roswell Manufacturing Company. This would explain the rather large amount listed for her personal estate in the 1860 census. She also received his naval uniform. The uniform was kept in Alice’s family and passed on to her descendants. The cloth has wasted away, but the buttons, the epaulets and the bicorn hat remain.

There was one disturbing missive among the manuscripts. C. T. Quintard had written to Bayard days before the lieutenant’s death (Quintard was not aware of his illness). Evidently, Bayard had confessed a moral struggle to the Episcopal priest at the family home in Rome after his return from Paraguay. Quintard pleads with him in the strongest terms to forsake an unnamed vice. I confess that I became quite concerned for the state of the lieutenant’s soul, knowing the proximity of his death.

And that’s the way with research. You end up knowing some, but never all.

The Sad Tale of Lieutenant Bayard E Hand Part One

The Sad Tale of Lieutenant Bayard E Hand Part One

Sometimes you look at the data for an individual and something about it does not look right. So you look deeper for an explanation, a reason for why they don’t make sense. Take for instance the two dates connected with the Naval Academy and Midshipman Bayard E Hand of Georgia. He was appointed from that state’s fourth district by Representative Hugh A. Haralson on April 7, 1847. He graduated (or became a Passed Midshipman) from the Academy on June 10th 1853. That would seem to indicate that he was six years at the Academy. But not so.

It is helpful to know the history of an institution to better understand the details about an individual attached to that institution. When the academy was founded in 1845 it was called simply the Naval School and set up with a 5 year course – the first year ashore – three at sea – and the last back at the school. But it underwent a reorganization in 1850. From then on it was to be called the Naval Academy and the course extended to a total of seven years, the first 2 at the academy – 3 at sea – and the last 2 at the Academy. Only a year later this was revised again to 4 yrs at the Academy and practice cruises to give them experience at sea.

Bayard was caught in the middle of all these changes. Though appointed in 1847, he did not report to Annapolis at this time. Perhaps, because Bayard attended the University of Georgia the year before, he did not need to spend his first year at Annapolis. And the fact that the Mexican War was in full swing may have been a factor. Originally he was ordered to ship out of New York City aboard the USS Ohio for the Pacific and the blockade of Mexican ports there. Instead he wound up in Norfolk and shipped on the US frigate Brandywine for the Brazil Station.

When the Brandywine returned she put into New York in December of 1850. Hand did not go to Annapolis at this time either, rather he was on leave until October 1851 when he departed on the US sloop Cyane, then attached to the Home Squadron. This meant patrols along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. Aboard the Cyane, Hand met the poet James Barron Hope, who would later dedicate his poem “A Story of the Caracas Valley” to him.

After the Cyane’s return in June 1852, and another short leave, Hand finally reported to Annapolis. He would put in a total of nine months on this “shore” duty, graduating as noted above in June of 1853. So looking at the totals, Bayard E Hand had been in the navy a total of five years and eight months, of which one year he was on leave, nine months physically at the Naval Academy, and three years and eleven months at sea.

Two months after becoming a Passed Midshipman, Bayard was again off for the Brazil Station for another three year cruise. That would take half of the six years he had left to live.

The rest of his story next time.

Naval Research

The Curious Case of L B Foster (pt 1)

I have been doing research on the ante bellum era Naval Academy in Annapolis for over a decade now. I keep databases of the individuals who were at the Academy compiled from various sources.

Recently I have been entering the data from the Naval Academy hospital records – recording the name of the individual – the date and reason for admittance – and the date for his discharge. I was working on the page of 1857 entries with names beginning with “F,” and came down to “Foster, L. B”. Midshipman Lyman Beecher Foster is an interesting individual, but I’ll cover more details on him later.

I had already made several entries for Midshipman Foster for the following ailments: Odontalgia, Constipation, Intermittent Fever, and now a curious entry on May 21st 1857 for Cephalalgia.  By this time the term was not unfamiliar to me, as I had to look it up when working on the “A”s. (It’s a headache, by the way). What was odd, however, there was no discharge date. There was a month – May, but no date. Now the thought occurred to me that maybe there was a missing ditto mark on Foster’s line to an ailment listed for the individual on the line above – but the line above also was missing the date. On the line below (for May 29th), Foster’s name again is recorded for another bout of Cephalalgia. He was discharged the next day for this instance, so one day, like we should expect, would be a normal turn around for this ailment. I could surmise then, that the May 21st admittance was followed by a discharge on the 22nd.

I decided to look up Foster in some other records with dates. It’s nice to compare or rather conflate records from other sources to get a better picture of what may have happened. In the register of delinquencies, an incident is recorded for May 29th 1857, Dr Sharp gave Foster six demerits for “Carelessly setting fire to bedding in Hospital.”

Was the headache that bad?

That wasn’t my first thought though. Knowing that a good proportion of demerits were given for tobacco use (forbidden according to the regulations), I thought a lit pipe may have been the culprit. But then again if it had, Foster would have gotten demerits for tobacco too. An accident with a kerosene lamp? Most likely not. The Academy was fitted out for gas lighting back then. Foster would have had to have held up his bedding at a good height to catch it on fire. A dropped match? Definitely careless. But what would he have been trying to light? Tobacco that he had successfully hidden from the doctor? The gas lamp? Or…

Proving that sometimes answers to questions lead to more questions.

Rebel Treasure sixteenth post

Title: April 1861
Early morning haze rises from the water along the shore, giving the appearance that the land is floating on a low cloud.
Lon paces the foredeck in his U. S. uniform, deep in thought. At Romeo’s approach, he stops his pacing and goes to meet him.

The captain’s steward told me that the mail steamer that passed us yesterday is the one that’ll be taking the gold North.

Good. We’re in time.

A more than puzzled look greets Lon in the face of the balding, fortyish MR. HARVEY, seated behind a desk piled high with shipping manifests. He looks away from Lon to his SECRETARY who had ushered him in.

(to the Secretary)
What’s the meaning of this interruption? Can’t you see I am busy?

I believe, your standing order requires me to present immediately anyone sent by Mr. Clay.

(flustered but unrepentent)
Quite right! So you have, now begone!

As the secretary retreats behind the door, Harvey thrusts an open palm out to Lon.

Your bona fides?

Lon removes a strip of paper from his wallet and passes it to him. Mr. Harvey holds it up to the lamp on his desk, the heat of which causes a message to appear. He grunts in satisfaction.

And what can I do for you, Mr. Turner?

Some information. Mr. Clay informed me that you would be able to put a ship at my disposal.

You’ll have to make other arrangements, I am afraid.


Haven’t you heard the news?
(Lon shakes his head)

He shoves a newspaper headline at him, it reads:
“The War Begun”

It finally happened! When?

Two weeks ago. Baltimore is in flames. Norfolk is ours. Old Abe is quaking in his boots.

Mr. Harvey’s jubilation sobers as he notices Lon’s downcast demeanor.

That upsets your plans?

Mine. And those of our fellow Knights. I was charged with scouting out the possibility of seizing a certain shipment before it was delivered to New York.

Mr. Harvey’s gaze wanders to his window and the ship moored to the dock.

Ah! But she is not going to New York! Washington has ordered that the gold be taken to the capital via Annapolis.

(he walks to the window)
I think I’ll ask her captain the favor of transporting me and my servant back to the Academy.
Can you get a message right away to Mr. Clay for me?

Rebel Treasure sixteenth post

[next pt 17]

Rebel Treasure fourteenth post

Rebel Treasure fourteenth post

The kitchen bustles with activity. Romeo is seated at a crowded servants’ table. Lon talks with his childhood friend and family slave.

Bless me, but haven’t you grown. And such a gentleman.

I’m not the only one. Look at you, you’re taller than me.

A SERVING GIRL delivers a steaming platter to Romeo. She smiles at him coyly and drops a curtsy before dashing away.

How are things to home?

Mostly the same. Though Sissy done had her twins.


Yes sir. A boy and a girl. And there’s gonna be a powerful cane crop this year.

Romeo takes a bite of food.

I can’t wait to see home again. It’s been a long time since we sat around the sugar house together.

Oh, we’re not a-headed home.


Romeo puts his fork down, realizing that he’s said more than he should.

Now, I shouldn’t have said anything about that. It isn’t my place. Massa Clay–

Before Romeo finishes talking, Lon is on his feet and out of the kitchen.

The CLATTER of silverware and the BUZZ of voices lend a cheery tone to the busy tavern. Mr. Clay occupies a cozy table in the corner by a roaring fire.

What’s going on? Romeo tells me that we are not going home.

Clay eats a spoonful of the chowder while waving to Lon to take his seat. Without ceremony, Lon plops down and tries to wait for his answer, but loses patience.

Did my father send you to encourage me to resign?

Clay looks around for eavesdroppers.

Please, Mr. Turner, a little discretion.

Are you going to answer my question?

First, let us eat. I am famished.

And I, sir, am famished for the truth!

Clay drops his spoon into the bowl and pushes it away.

All right then. No. Your father did not send me to influence you. But he did send me–

For what?

I see another uniform in your future, Mr. Turner.
(pauses as his words sink in)
I am authorized to offer you a commission, when the time is right, in the Navy of our new Southern nation.

And why would I not be going home, then?

Quite simply, we have a mission for you.

The interest and excitement on Lon’s face glows almost as bright as the fire behind him.


We think you should take a tour of the Caribbean. There are some sons of the South serving in the U. S. Army down in Panama, and we want you to contact them and make a similar offer.

Lon grows thoughtful, dropping his eyes to stare at his bowl of chowder.

Would this new nation have an interest in acquiring a shipment of gold?

Clay’s eyebrows rise in surprise, and he leans forward.

I have heard that every spring a shipment crosses Panama on the way to New York from California. I could keep my eyes open.

Do that! A nation runs on the yellow metal. I shall contact my fellow “knights” and we’ll see what they can do to help. I have a feeling that you are going to go far in your profession.

The blaze from the fireplace illuminates the pin on Clay’s lapel – a golden circle.

[next pt 15]

ET on the Chesapeake


So the Maryland and the 8th regiment MVM had cast off into the night and the unknown. An hour into their trip, they ate from their rations that had been issued in Philadelphia.  But before that the captains ordered their soldiers to discharge their weapons over the side into the water, a wise precaution to guard against any tragic accidents.

All except two of the weapons. There were civilians that had talked their way aboard the vessel, and General Butler had decided that it would be best to mount a two man guard over the one boat that the Maryland carried, to prevent a traitor from stealing it and reporting their whereabouts to any hostile forces ashore.

In my research I have run across accounts that claim that Andrew Carnegie also was aboard the Maryland on this trip. I am not fully convinced that he was. The future steel magnate and philanthropist, did travel via the Maryland when called to Washington to help form the Telegraph Corps. But communications signed by him seem to indicate that he was in Altoona, PA at this date. (I hope to be able to clarify everything in a future history).

One individual that I have identified with certainty who was on the Maryland at this time was David X Junkin, the then current chaplain at the Naval Academy.  He was returning from a trip north. His presence would prove fortunate for all of them.

With more than 800 members of the regiment, plus scads of other people, it all came down to one’s awareness, and it was pretty much limited by each groups’ familiarity within their own unit. With their supper eaten and weapons discharged, they settled in for the night. They bedded down on both the upper and lower decks to get much needed sleep before their arrival at Annapolis.

When they arrived off Annapolis at 2am, the officers let the men sleep on, and ordered the ship hove to, and awaited the dawn. Though with the coming of the light, the fog of war settled in with a vengeance, obscuring the true nature of the two forces opposing one another.