Thursday, December 30, 2010

Notre Dame at the Battle of Stone's River - Part II - "A Martial Fire"

In yesterday's post, I provided an excerpt from my book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010) describing the valor of Notre Dame's Fr. Peter Cooney at the Battle of Stone's River, Tennessee.

In today's excerpt, you will learn about Notre Dame student-soldier Frank Baldwin, who was killed-in-action in the battle. May he rest in peace.

You can learn more about a monument in Elkhart, IN, dedicated to Baldwin - and all of Elkhart's Civil War soldiers and sailors - in a previous post (here).


His Last Full Measure

While the 35th Indiana and Father Cooney fought on the Union left at Stones River, other Notre Dame student-soldiers were also on the battlefield, including Frank Baldwin, who was engaged nearby with the 44th Indiana Infantry. Baldwin, a native of Elkhart, Indiana, attended Notre Dame from 1860 to 1861. Perhaps inspired by classmate William F. Lynch, the seventeen-year-old Baldwin left home in the summer of 1861 with friend George M. Keeley and traveled to Illinois to join Colonel Mulligan’s 23rd Illinois Infantry. While Lynch missed the early battles of the 23rd in Missouri, Baldwin did not and was taken prisoner when Mulligan surrendered his command at Lexington; Baldwin was paroled soon after.

Baldwin returned home to Elkhart, yet against his parents’ wishes, “the martial fire still burned in him at the exclusion of everything else.” One day in early 1862, Baldwin and his friends Norman H. Strong and Cullen W. Green heard that the 48th Indiana Infantry regiment was leaving nearby Goshen for the front. The boys—all still under eighteen—went to the schoolhouse, bid farewell to their classmates, hid behind an old blacksmith shop and then jumped on the train carrying the regiment.

The train carried the soldiers, Baldwin and his two companion stowaways to Paducah, Kentucky, where the 48th Indiana met a fleet of transports carrying the Union army to Fort Donelson. Baldwin, Strong and Green went down to the river and boarded a boat, where they happily found themselves among Elkhart men of the 44th Indiana Infantry. The boys indicated their desire to enlist but a company commander, Captain Albert Heath, refused them on account of their age. He told the boys that they could see the fight at Donelson, after which he would send them back home. The boys protested and declared that “they had come to fight and were going to fight anyway.” Heath consulted with his commander, Colonel Hugh B. Read, who agreed to let them join. Baldwin was with the 44th Indiana through all its engagements of 1862, including at Shiloh, where he was wounded.

On December 31, 1862, Baldwin—since promoted to third sergeant—and the 44th Indiana were engaged in the first day of the Battle of Stones River. The regiment marched in line of battle through an open field, where it discovered the enemy making a flank movement on its right, in a wood bordering the field. The men made a stand at the edge of the wood in their front but were soon ordered to advance, with the line of the enemy soon coming into sight. They continued their advance, coming within a hundred yards of the enemy’s line. The 44th Indiana opened fire; the Confederate line replied and advanced as well, and its flanking force opened a galling crossfire on the Hoosiers. The 44th Indiana held the position as long as it could and then fell back to its battery and re-formed its lines.

When the order was given to fall back, Baldwin and Green—himself recently promoted to lieutenant—were standing together behind a tree. They fell back into the open space and started with the rest of the regiment across the field, exposed to the crossfire. As they neared a fence, the two friends were running side by side. Green called out, “Throw your gun over the fence,” pitching his own over and following it to the opposite side. Green pressed on but never saw Frank Baldwin alive again.

A few days later, Green asked for permission to take a detail of six men to find his constant companion. Green found Baldwin just on the other side of the fence from where he had cried out to his friend. Baldwin had been struck by a musket ball—perhaps while climbing over the fence—which had entered under his right shoulder blade, passed through his heart and exited out the left side. The detail placed Baldwin’s body in a crude coffin and buried it in the hospital yard. When, two months later, a family friend came to retrieve Baldwin’s remains, Lieutenant Green accompanied him to the cemetery with a detail of soldiers, who exhumed the body and placed it in a metallic coffin. Baldwin was then laid to rest in the family’s mausoleum in Grace Lawn Cemetery in Elkhart.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Notre Dame at the Battle of Stone's River - Part I - "Indifferent to Danger"

The Battle of Stones River (in the South, the "Battle of Murfreesboro"), was fought from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863, in middle Tennessee.

The University of Notre Dame was represented in a chaplain and student-soldiers at the battle. Below is an excerpt from my book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010), describing the valor of Fr. Peter P. Cooney in the battle. You can learn more about Fr. Cooney in a previous blog post (here).

Look for another excerpt this week about a Notre Dame student-soldier killed in the battle.


Fighting began in earnest for the 35th Indiana on the very last day of 1862. “I am safe after being through the most terrible battle of the war,” Father Cooney began a letter to his brother, adding, “I have time now to write you but a few words…My time now is very precious attending to the dying and wounded.” The battle was a terrible engagement, indeed; of all the major battles of the war, Stones River was distinguished by having the highest percentage of casualties among the forces engaged on both sides.

The 35th Indiana was involved all three days of the battle, including skirmishing on the first two days and severe fighting on the third, within just yards of the determined enemy. “We lost of our regiment, killed on the field twenty-eight and wounded sixty-seven many of whom are since dead,”“And nothing but God’s protection could have saved me,” he added, “as I was in the midst of it the whole time.” Father Cooney continued. This was no idle boast. Colonel B.F. Mullen, commanding the 35th Indiana, mentioned the brave priest in his official report:

To Father Cooney, our chaplain, too much praise cannot be given. Indifferent as to himself, he was deeply solicitous for the temporal and spiritual welfare of us all. On the field he was cool and indifferent to danger, and in the name of the regiment, I thank him for his kindness and laborious attention to the dead and dying.

It was only the first of several official mentions of bravery that Father Cooney would earn over the course of the war.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve 1864 for a Notre Dame Student-Soldier

Just before Christmas Day 1864, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman sent a famous telegram to President Abraham Lincoln:

"I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton."

In Sherman's army, camped outside the captured city with the 74th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was Notre Dame student-soldier Orville T. Chamberlain. You can learn more about Chamberlain in a previous blog post (here).

In another previous post (here), I provided a detailed Bibliography of the sources used to write my book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010).

Among those sources was a group of wartime letters written by Orville T. Chamberlain to family and friends. The letters are part of the "Joseph W. and Orville T. Chamberlain Papers, 1829–1932," held by the Indiana Historical Society.

A good number of these letters, from Orville's days as a student at Notre Dame to his final letter home describing news of the surrender of the Confederate forces and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, are quoted in the book.

In the spirit of Christmas, here is an excerpt from a letter in the collection, written by Chamberlain on Christmas Eve 1864, from outside Savannah. Note that he mentions a "Hardin Shutt"...Schutt was also a Notre Dame student-soldier! You can learn more about the "Pulaski Monument" here.

Enjoy...and Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Christmas Eve, 1864

Dear Father:

I am well, but I am very anxious to hear that all the members of our family are ditto.

We are comfortably encamped 1 1/4 miles from Savannah. I visited the city today. It is about as large as Indianapolis. The streets are very narrow. I saw Pulaski's Monument, the old U. S. Battery, Public Squares, Parks, Churches, and etc.

Tell Mr. Schutt as soon as possible that Hardin (who by the way has been promoted to the Adjutancy of the Reg't) has the measles very badly. He has a private room at the residence of J.C. Sturtevant, and is well cared for. Although he has the measles hard, I do not think he is in a dangerous condition.

I had returned to my Comapny, but Adjutant Schutt's illness again left the Regiment without an Adjutant and Col. Morgan has again ordered me on duty as Acting Adj. We are preparing for a grand review by Maj. Gen. Sherman - "Crazy Bill," and I will have to work very hard...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Notre Dame in the Civil War" Featured in South Bend Tribune!

Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010) was featured in today's (December 19, 2010) issue of the South Bend (IN) Tribune! Many thanks to Mr. Howard Dukes, a staff writer at the Tribune, for asking some great questions in our telephone interview last week!

You can read the entire article online here!

Thanks, Mr. Dukes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sources?! We Don't Need No Stinking Sources! (Wait, Yes We Do!)

Civil War enthusiasts and readers can be a tough crowd when it comes to evaluating sources used for books and articles, and rightly so.

They (justly) demand an emphasis on original subject matter or interpretations, the (judicious) use of primary and archival sources, and "evidence" in reliable footnotes and endnotes.

Publisher-extraordinaire (and a happy mentor to many of us, including me!) Ted Savas at Savas-Beatie had an excellent post ("Going Archival") and poll on this matter a few months back at his excellent "A Publisher's Perspective" blog (make sure you check out the "Comments" also).

Many experienced Civil War readers begin a book - in fact, make a decision whether to even read or buy a book - based on a glance at the Bibliography and/or footnotes/endnotes.

Every publisher has its own philosophy when it comes to Bibliographies and/or Notes (and indexes, as well).

My new book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press) does indeed have detailed endnotes. However, due to style and (especially) space considerations, it does not have an index or Bibliography.

But Fear Not! I happily provide a comprehensive Bibliography below!

In future posts I will provide hyperlinks (where available) to some of the sources and detail how important each of the different kids of sources was.

I do hope readers will be encouraged by the use of a broad array of sources, especially primary and archival material (and even more especially from the University of Notre Dame Archives ), and perhaps find some new leads for their own research! Enjoy!


Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia

Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana

Indiana Historical Society (IHS) - Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Joseph W. andOrville T. Chamberlain Papers
Indiana Province Archives Center (IPAC), Congregation of the Holy Cross - Notre Dame, Indiana

Library of Congress - Washington, DC

  • Abraham Lincoln Papers
Louisiana Secretary of State - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  • Pension Records
National Archives and Records Administration - Washington, D.C.

  • War Department - Compiled Service Records
University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA) - Notre Dame, Indiana

  • Notre Dame Scholastic

  • CCON (David Power Conyngham Papers)

  • CCOO (Peter Paul Cooney Papers)

  • CEWI (Thomas Ewing Manuscripts)

  • CGAR (Grand Army of the Republic Notre Dame Post 569 Records)

  • CNDS (Notre Dame Student Collection)

  • CSHR (William T. Sherman Family Papers)

  • PDNP (Notre Dame Printed and Reference Material Dropfiles)

  • ULDG (Financial Ledgers)

  • UPEL (Notre Dame Presidents' Letters)

Adams County (PA) News
Elgin (IL) Weekly Gazette
Elkhart (IN) Review
Elkhart (IN) Truth
Gettysburg (PA) Compiler
St. Joseph County (IN) Forum

St. Joseph (IN) Valley Register


Barber, E. M., The Wright-Chamberlin Genealogy: From Emigrant Ancestors to Present Generations (Binghamton, NY: Vail-Ballou Company, 1914).

A Brief History of the University of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana from 1842 to 1892 (Chicago, IL: Werner Co., 1895).

Brinton, J. H., Personal Memoirs of John H. Brinton (New York: Neale Publishing Co., 1914).

Corby, W. , Memoirs of Chaplain Life: Three Years with the Irish Brigade in the Army of the Potomac, ed. Lawrence F. Kohl (New York: FordhamUniversity Press, 1992).

Costin, M. G., Priceless Spirit: A History of the Sisters of the HolyCross, 1841–1893 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994).

Deahl, A., ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of Elkhart County, Indiana (Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company, 1906).

Donnelly, E. C., Crowned With Stars (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University, 1881).

Emerson, S.E. (ed.), Life of Abby Hopper Gibbons (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897).

Father Corby at Gettysburg (Philadelphia, PA: McManus, c. 1909).

History of St. Joseph County, Indiana (Chicago, IL: Chas. C. Chapman,1880).

Hope. A. J.. Notre Dame: One Hundred Years (Notre Dame, IN:University Press, 1948).

Howard, T. E., A History of St. Joseph County, Indiana, vol. 2 (Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Co., 1907).

Howard, T. E., Musings and Memories (Chicago, IL: Lakeside Press, 1905).

Jacob, K. A., Testament to Union: Civil War Monumentsin Washington D.C. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

Livermore, M., My Story of the War: A Woman’s Narrative of Four Years Personal Experience (Hartford, CT: A.D. Worthington, 1890).

Maher, M.D., To Bind Up the Wounds: Catholic Sister Nurses in the U.S. Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999).

Marszalek, J. F., Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (New York: Free Press, 1993).

McAllister, A. S., Ellen Ewing: Wife of General Sherman (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1936).

McAllister, A. S., Flame in the Wilderness: Life and Letters of Mother Angela Gillespie, C.S.C., 1824–1887 (Paterson, NJ: St. Anthony GuildPress, 1944),

Miller, R.J., Both Prayed to the Same God: Religion and Faith in the American Civil War (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007).

Miscamble, W. D., ed., Go Forth and Do Good: Memorable Notre Dame Commencement Addresses (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003).

Mulholland, St. C. A., The Story of the 116th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry (Philadelphia, PA: F.M. McManus, Jr,. & Co., 1899).

Nichols, T. L., Forty Years of American Life (London: Longman,Green, & Co., 1874).

O’Connell, M. R., Edward Sorin (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre DamePress, 2001).

On the King’s Highway: A History of the Sisters of the Holy Cross—NotreDame, Indiana (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1931).

Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, vol. 4 (Springfield, IL:Phillips Bros., 1901).

Rudy, W., The Campus and a Nation in Crisis: From the American Revolution to Vietnam (Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996).

Sherman, W. T., Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, vol. 1 (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1886).

Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860–1865, Brooks D. Simpson and Jean V. Berlin, eds. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).

Silver Jubilee of the University of Notre Dame (Chicago, IL: E.B. Meyers, 1869).

Smith, W. H., Schuyler Colfax: The Changing Fortunes of a Political Idol (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1952).

Sorin, E.. The Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac, trans. WilliamToohey, ed. James T. Connelly (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992).

Stevenson, D., Indiana’s Roll of Honor, vol. 1 (Indianapolis, IN: A.D.Streight, 1864).

A Story of Fifty Years: From the Annals of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1855–1905 (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria, 1905).

Thorndike, R. S., ed., The Sherman Papers: CorrespondenceBetween General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894).

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of theUnion and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880–1901).


“Females Not Suitable for Nurses,” American Medical Times, July 18,1861.

Jensen, O., “War Correspondent: 1864,” American Heritage 31, No. 5 (August–September 1980).

Marszalek, J. F., “Call to Arms,” Notre Dame Magazine, 21, no. 3 (Fall 1992).

McAvoy, T., “The War Letters of Father Peter Paul Cooney ofthe Congregation of the Holy Cross,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, vol. 44 (1933).

“The Naval Hospital Boat ‘Red Rover,’” Harper’s Weekly, May 9, 1863.

Wall, B.M., “Grace Under Pressure: The Nursing Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1861–1865,” Nursing History Review 1 (1993).


Loomis, E.K., “History of the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Red Rover,”Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Division of Naval History, Ships’ History Section, Report No. OP 09B9, 1961.

Pratt, D.O., “Notre Dame and the Civil War Draft,” Unpublished Manuscript.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And This Book Goes Out To.... (DEDICATION)

My new book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010), is dedicated to a wonderful man who happens to live almost 8,000 miles away:

To Father Peter Meis, O.F.M., Cap., in admiration of his more than forty years of devoted and loving missionary work to the indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea.

Fr. Pete is my (second) cousin (my mother's first cousin) and it is a privilege to call him family.

ough it has been some time since I last saw him, he has been an important part of our lives for as long as I can remember.

When he returned to Kansas during (infrequent) breaks from his missionary service during my youth, he would say Mass in our home and share
photos and slides of his work among the natives of Papua New Guinea.

Letters from Fr. Pete (like the recent one below) were especially treasured by me as they added to my stamp collection.

The Dedication to Fr. Pete is both sincere and fitting: His work among the native people of Papua New Guinea is a modern example of the same missionary zeal that brought the founders of Notre Dame from France to our shores and its Holy Cross priests to the camps and battlefields of the Civil War.

Fr. Pete's family visited New Guinea earlier this year as his parish there celebrated its 50th anniversary. His sister was kind enough to share some photos, one of which appears in the book with the Dedication.

Enjoy, and please keep Fr. Pete and his beautiful people in your thoughts and prayers.

If you just happen to be in the Pacific, though, don't spoil the surprise! He doesn't know about the Dedication yet (although his family does!).

I sent him a copy of the book late last week...I'll tell you what he says!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving THANKS! ("No Nonfiction Writer is an Island")"

Thanksgiving Day was already a week ago; I don;t want to let another day pass without thanking all the people who helped with my new book, Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010).

I think there is a romantic notion that writing is a solitary venture, but from my own experience it requires a lot of assistance, support, and cooperation.

This book was the product of more than a decade’s interest and research and the kind, enthusiastic and expert cooperation and support of many people.

To that end, I am happily in debt to:

First and foremost, the wonderful staff of the University of Notre Dame Archives, especially Kevin Cawley (Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts), Peter Lysy (Archivist for University Records), Sharon Sumpter (Assistant Archivist, Reference) and Elizabeth Hogan (Archivist Photographs), who have answered questions and supplied me with a host of material for many years now.

Sister Bernice Hollenhorst (Archives and Records of the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross) and Ms. Deb Buzzard and Father James Connelly (Archives of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of the Holy Cross) also provided advice, documents and photographs from their wonderful collections.

The story of the University of Notre Dame is intimately connected to the story of the state of Indiana. As such, the assistance of the following people was essential and much appreciated:

Suzanne Hahn (Director of Reference Services) of the Indiana Historical Society assisted me with photographs and the wartime letters of Notre Dame student-soldier Orville T. Chamberlain in the Joseph W. and Orville T. Chamberlain papers.

Diana Zornow of the Elkhart County (Indiana) Historical Museum provided copies of local period newspaper articles and books relating to Notre Dame student-soldier Frank Baldwin.

Susan Lowery of the Mishawaka (Indiana) Heritage Center provided copies of essential wartime articles from South Bend (IN) newspapers.

The reference staff—especially Patricia Bicknell—at my hometown Montgomery County (Texas) Memorial Library were friendly and helpful as always.

Tim Deichl was a kind and early supporter of this project and provided rare documents and photographs related to his family history—especially important were items concerning Notre Dame student-soldier, and Union general, William F. Lynch.

Likewise, Linda Fluharty shared her remarkable genealogical research on student-soldier Michael Quinlan.

Jay Odom, proprietor of, expertly retrieved soldier service records from the National Archives.

Dave Powell, author, historian and battlefield tour guide, kindly shared correspondence from his collection regarding the Battle of Chickamauga.

Professional photographer Pat Brownewell, Notre Dame graduate and Navy veteran Corrine Rypka, author and historian Michael Aubrecht, historical marker expert Craig Swain and lifelong friend Curtis Fears all kindly provided much-needed (and excellent) modern photographs of monuments and memorials from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Washington, D.C., of Notre Dame’s service in the war.

In all of my writing endeavors, I have received the generous advice and support of professional and academic historians, and this project was no different. Dr. Dorothy Pratt of the University of South Carolina kindly provided her unpublished—and essential—manuscript regarding the effect of the draft on Notre Dame in the Civil War.

Dr. John F. Marszalek, Professor Emeritus, Mississippi State University—and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association—read the manuscript and provided expert comments and sage advice that made the final work all the better.

Guy R. Hasegawa—dear friend, estimable author and historian in his own right and expert editor—applied his sharp eye and blue pencil to the manuscript but mostly offered me his encouragement.

Joseph Gartrell, my editor at The History Press, saw merit in this project and championed its publication, and for that—and his friendship—I am most grateful.

My wife Susan; our children Katherine, Robert and Michael; and my parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family and friends provided loving support as always.

See?! I told you it took a lot of help! Thanks EVERYONE!