|William Morris Smith took this image of a Union cemetery near Fort Stevens in August 1865.|
(Library of Congress collection)
|Graves for Lieutenant William B. Laughlin of the 61st Pennsylvania and Private Andrew Manning|
of the 77th New York appear in this enlargement of the image at the top of this post.
|Another enlargement of Smith's image reveals the graves of Private Andrew Ashbaugh of the |
61st Pennsylvania and John Dolan of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry.
Nine months before he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln came under Rebel fire in a little-known, two-day battle about five miles north of the White House. Observing the fighting from a parapet, the president thankfully survived the Battle of Fort Stevens unscathed and veteran Union troops finally chased off the Confederates. But the Rebel general who led the attack on July 11-12, 1864, relished a consolation prize. “We didn’t take Washington,” Jubal Early told his staff officers, “but we scared Abe Lincoln like Hell.”
Rebels ransacked houses near the fort, leaving notes in books that the destruction was in retaliation for the Yankees' destruction of property in Virginia. The retreating invaders also carted away an "immense plunder," according to the New York Times, which reported that "many (Rebels) who came on foot will go back mounted, as they have cleared out all the stables wherever they have been marauding." The newspaper belittled the Southerners' desperate attempt to invade the Union capital.
|The graves of Andrew Dowen, a private in the 77th New York, and Alanson Mosier, a private|
in the 122nd New York. Both soldiers were killed July 12, 1864 during the Battle of Fort Stevens.
|In this enlargement of the original Smith photo,|
wires extending from a telegraph pole are revealed.
Although small in scale, the Battle of Fort Stevens -- the only battle of the war fought in the District of Columbia -- resulted in nearly 400 Yankee casualties. Afterward, 41 of the dead were buried about a half-mile north of the fort in the fruit orchard of a farmer named James Malloy, whose land was appropriated by the government. "With the rude tenderness of soldiers," wrote George T. Stevens, a surgeon in the 77th New York, "we covered them in the earth; we marked their names with our pencils on the little head-boards of pine, and turned sadly away to other scenes." Lincoln himself visited the cemetery on the evening of July 12, dedicating the site as Battleground National Cemetery.
|The photograph site and photographer's initials are scratched into the glass plate of the image.|
(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)
|Grave of Corporal Ambrose Mattott |
of 77th New York.
Private Andrew Manning, 77th New York: A private in Company H, Manning was 35 years old when he enlisted in Charlton, N.Y. on Nov. 13, 1861.
Private Andrew Ashbaugh, 61st Pennsylvania: From Allegheny City, an industrial town just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, he enlisted on July 14, 1863. Ashbaugh left behind a 52-year-old widow, Mary, and one child, a 12-year-old daughter named Louisa. Mary filed for her husband's pension three months after he was killed.
Private John Dolan, 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry: A shoemaker from Natick, Mass., he was 20 years old when he enlisted on Dec. 20, 1863. Dolan was born in Ireland.
Private Andrew Dowen, 77th New York: He enlisted in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Oct. 15, 1861 when he was 27.
Private Alanson Mosier (or Mosher), 122nd New York: He was 18 years old when he enlisted on Aug. 11, 1862 in Fayetteville, N.Y.
Corporal Ambrose Mattott, 77th New York: He was 31 years old when he enlisted on Aug. 30, 1862 in Northumberland, N.Y.