Friday, May 28, 2010


UGH! The title field took that U in and now won't let me type anything else in there!

Yeah, until the bugs get worked out or I find something that works better I will not be risking any other postings from the road.

The Facebook App's server went down too so unless we stop and I load things through Devo' Laptop it's a no go there too.

This is what I get for being ahead of the curve. NextGen next year may-haps things will be worked out better. Too bad. This thing is so promising! Driving and navigating (although those programs crash as well; and sometimes at the worst of times...) on the fly was overall invaluable!

Well, better post and log out before this thing crashes and I loose this too...

Taking a photo record as I go so I will blog our travels as James traveled from home. TTFN!

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Location:New Market Ct,Manassas,United States

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Out of synced....

The iPad has not been synced since we left last week and I think this my be causing problems here. I tried several times to post photos yesterday, here and on Facebook but it only resulted in fail messages.... Hope today goes better!
ARGH! Now BlogPress is failing to create new documents so I have had to do an end around by opening an old draft and modifying that!!! Oh well, here I goes again!!!!

Put your nose to the grindstone Mark, work harder!

Crossing the Shannondoah River watershed the hard way ....

What, you didn't think I could do it???

This is only a tree, no really, well actually it looks like a root taking a drink!

Hurry up! Take the picture before the guard sees you!

Maybe if you push hard enough you'll actually brt somewhere...


Location:E Market St,Leesburg,United States

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

C&O part two...

We decided to forgo crossing today and followed James' route along the Potomac.
The next stop was Manocacy Aqueduct. James and Francis were stationed here before being sent to Edwards Ferry for theBattle of Balls Bluff. He was very impressed with the structure and I can see why. It was something of the 8th wonder in his day for construction and achievement.

We broke for lunch as soon as we arrived and this guy decided we might be on the menu! Devin was sitting where his head is and he only noticed him when he was about where his tail is!!!

In my estimation when he was fully stretched out he was somewhere between 5 and a half ft. and 6 ft. In length!!!
When lunch was over and we managed to remove ourselves from the menu we took in the site.

View from a distance as we approached.

From the Momocacy Riverbank looking Northwest.

Devin on the beginning of the Catwalk.

The Catwalk where Devin was standing.

Devin on the Catwalk above the River looking at something...

What Devin was looking at... Duh!

The Waterway, looking back the in the direction we came across.

If it were 1861 I would be up to my neck and treading water!
If you have been paying attention to the locations in the postings you will have noticed that we are now in Harpers Ferry. today we walk the streets of the town and vista the Arsenal. If we have time we should end up in Leesburg tomorrow night.
I'll try not to take so many pictures... NOT!


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Location:KOA Campgrounds Rd,Harpers Ferry,United States

The C&O Canal Route.

We started the day in Poolsville where James wrote the majority of his letters during the fall and winter of1861 into the early months of spring.

This is the Poolsville Town Hall. Just across the street was a Gift Shop where I purchased a number of local history items. The owner Reva O. Hoewing reminded me of my "Little 'Ol Lady Fanclub" at Church; guess what, she is an elder in the Poolsville Methodist Church and they are looking for a Youth Pastor... It's not me really it isn't, they see me coming and just know! :)

Alright, this is just weird! AND Twilight Zone in a cool sorta way... Sometime along the way while I was transcribing the letters and decided to write a novel based on them, I was drawn to name the novel "A Westerly Gale." James was speaking to me again and I was obviously receiving!!!!

Our next stop was Edwards Ferry just south along the Potomac. James and Francis did Picket duty here during the month of December and James and Francis were a part of the "Union Unit" mentioned here on the sign. For the record: that "Unit" was "Units" and the 2nd New York State Militia was one of them. From what I know from James' letters they were the faint to distract the enemy, so the sign is wrong.

A Harpers Weekly Illustration of General Stones Division (including the 2nd NYSM) in October of 1861. According to James' letter the Division was engaged and took some minor casualties.

The view from shore looking South west towards Leesburg.

View from Edwards Ferry looking South across the Potomac River.

Devin in front of the Tender's House at Edwards Ferry with his feet in what would have been water in 1861.

The Towpath along the Canal. James and Francis walked this 35 miles along this route on the way home from a Christmas Leave to N.Y. In winter weather because they were tired of waiting for a Canal Bout to take them. they apparently made it back in 2 days and before the boat with their rucksacks arrived.


Next up, Whites Ferry; where James' cousin Jacob Glenn crossed during the Battle of Balls Bluff. More on this later when we cross over ourselves to the Battlefield....


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Location:KOA Campgrounds Rd,Harpers Ferry,United States

Monday, May 24, 2010

Starting at the beginning: Castle Garden here we come!

As previously posted here; my Gilmour ancestors entered this country at Castle Garden. Some by way of Liverpool England and the rest via Moville, in Donegol, Ireland.

This is the Dock at Moville, the steps on the left hand side of the painting are where the majority of my Ancestors would have taken their last steps from Ireland onto a ship that would carry them to to America.

This is Castle Garden in it's heyday (later renamed Castle Clinton) where they took their first steps into America.
This was us yesterday at starting point the first leg of our journey:

Devin and Dad at the Gates! (Castle Garden/Clinton) Not only is this where our ancestors entered America, it is also where James and Francis were camped before going of to "'Ol Virginie".
We were intending to leave early yesterday; Around 3 a.m. but we weren't done packing until some time about 1:30a.m. so we slept in until 7:30. After a last stop at the V'ville Hannaford for some last minute snacks and Coffee we kissed Sarah goodbye gave her a couple of "quarters for laundry" and pulled out onto the road about 8:30.
On the road we found an app called "Trapster". In honor of our "departure for the South" we plugged in the "Hillbilly" voice. "dats won dem speed traps up dare yahear!"
Of the 50 some letters and documents I have inherited there was only one envelope. The address appeared to have been written to William Pollock 765 Florida street. On closer inspection it looked as if someone had corrected it to read 764. In the process of researching that portion of my GG-Grandmother's family I found that the number was really 769.

If you look closely you can see someone wrote in graphite "Old Script 4+4 pence. In it I found Revolutionary War Script issued in Philadelphia.

I had a pretty rough time finding first the location of the letter address and then the Church as well. It seems that Philadelphia changed it's street names twice during the later part of century 19th century. My former manager and fellow Civil War Buff Bill Hamm was very helpful in locating a site that let me find the renamed location @ this site:

By using this site I was able to determine that what was 769 Florida Street in 1861 is now 769 South 4th Street. And this is what it looks like today:

It's for sale and I'm in the market but I think it would be one heck of a commute. ...and somehow I don't think I would be able to walk home from Smitty's after a few Guinness' either!
The first document in chronological order is my GG Grand Parents Marraige Certificate.

The ceremony was preformed at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Phila-delphia by Reverend Robert Watts. Watts was quite an interesting historical character and I will be working him into the novel.
Then Bill reconnected me with an old GoogleBook that I had downloaded but forgotten about and had not yet read: "The Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia." It was in PDF format so I searched it and this is what I found:

When I first Googled this location I noticed that there was an empty lot with a small side street running along side it named "Watts" Street named after guessed it: the very same Rev. Robert Watts.

As I drove down it in "Street-View" Something strange happened! Things got all FUZZY-WEIRD but I kept on going where the arrow lead me... ("Go towards the light! Go towards the light!") all of a sudden: "POP!" I was back out of the Street again. So I scrolled around and "BLIP!" A building appeared where there wasn't one before!!!!
"Whoe whata virtual trip man!"

This is what things look like today:

This is what is left of Watts Street.

This is where the building was built over me...

The former location of The Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Off to Baltimore to walk the Riot Trail!
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Location:S Main St,Voorheesville,United States

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blog Press messes with my formatting, so I wanted to see what it would do to a traditionally formatted poem... HERE GOES NOTHIN' !!!

Matthew 5:13 (New International Version)

13 "You are the salt of the earth,
but if the salt loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again?"


Song of my Seasoning:

Oh salt of earth
That gave me birth
And taught my mind to see;

You have returned
Unto the sod
And left me out at sea!

Although I yearn
To meet my God
I ache to hear your voice!

And when at last
It comes to pass
I hope I have the choice;

To sit with you
And reminisce
To speak of days gone bye!

Before we came
To this abyss
When You were young and spry!

You held my hands
We walked along
I rode your shoulders high!

Oh salt of earth
I sing your song
Beneath the azure sky!

Oh salt of earth
I sing your song
And softly wave goodbye....



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Making heads for tails....

I have been trying to sort out the differing and contradicting information having to do with how James Gilmour and his Comrade Francis Perry came to enlist and make their way to Washington. Depending on the report, newspaper article or the dates on James' letters there appears to be a number of anomalies that I will now try to sort out in an order that makes chronological sense to me.
First: On Sunday, April 12, 1861 after decades of growing strife between North and South The Confederate Army opened fire on the Federal Army at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor South Carolina. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later on April 13th.

Sargent Hart reattaches the Flag.
According to the Official Unit Roster of the 2nd NYSM/82nd Infantry available on the New York Military Museums website James Gilmour and Francis Perry enlisted on April 17th,at New York City to serve 3 years.
On Saturday April 20th, 1861 a "Mass Meeting" was held in Union Square, New York in protest of the taking of Fort Sumpter sponsored by the New York City Camber of Commerce in support of the Union. The news of the attack on the Sixth Massachusetts in Baltimore, reached the city causing alarm over the city's Seventh Regiment on its way to Baltimore.

First Blood -- The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment 
fighting their way through Baltimore, April 19, 1861.
As the time for the meeting drew nearer, merchants closed their shops and encouraged attendance at the meeting. Union Square was packed with 100,000-200,000 citizens wearing symbols of the national flag. Even the actual flag that was flown at Fort Sumter was there tacked to a tree by Metropolitan Police Officer Sargent Hart (much the same as he did at Fort Sumter after the original mast had been shot away by the Confederates.) He had been sent to Fort Sumter to collect and escort Mrs. Anderson; the wife of the commanding officer Major Robert Anderson.

Buildings and houses flew the national flag and red, white, blue bunting hung from every window. They were five speaker stands and the crowd cheered the appearance of Major Robert Anderson, Captains Abner Doubleday, J.G. Foster, Lieutenant Hall and Surgeon Samuel W. Crawford and the garrison of Fort Sumter, who had arrived on the steamer Baltic on Thursday, April 18th, from Charleston, South Carolina. The square was flooded with people and the overflow spilled out into other parts of the city. (1)

The "Union" Mass Meeting held in Union Square, 
New York on the 20th of April. (1861)

I am going to assume with some sense of certainty that James and Francis were present at this meeting as well as James' brother Robert Gilmour and his Wife Mary (Pollock) Gilmour. They lived and worked only blocks away and I think it is reasonable to surmise as much.
Many men at the time belonged to Fire Companies and Militias for Social reasons much like they do today. Thier first Captain Capt. Thomas M. Reid was commissioned on May 21st 1858 with rank from April 21st 1858.

By Thursday April 25th, 1861; James and Francis were ready and waiting to go with the Militia to defend Washington from the Secesh.

This is the inscription in the front-piece
of the Bible James Gilmour 
carried with him until his death in the Peninsula Campaign. 
"His Sister Mary" was his sister in-law Mary Pollock Gilmour.

James Gilmour's Bible from the family archives of the author.
The 2nd Regiment Militia failing to be ordered to the front under the first call, organized in New York City as a regiment of volunteers in the rear of Thompson's Market which appears to have served as their Armory.

I believe that James James Gilmour and Francis/Frank Perry worked in some capacity at Tompkins Market. (Tompkins Market is the building on the right hand side of the picture flying the Stars and Strips.) I surmise from a letter sent to them by their coworkers as a congratulatory "Testimownial" after the Battle of Bull Run signed by the men that they had previously worked with. ...but I will get to that in a later posting sometime next week.
From a Newspaper Article (source unsighted) posted on the New York State Military Museums Website:


The Second regiment, New York State Militia, Colonel Tompkins, paraded yesterday, previous to their encampment on the Battery today. The special order announcing the parade provided that the officers and members of the regiment should assemble in their respective company drill rooms yesterday morning, at nine o'clock, for regimental drill, the field and staff officers mounted, to report to the Colonel in the Armory at the same time; and the commandants, with their companies, together with the non-commissioned staff and drum corps, to report to the Adjutant, at Tompkins square, at a later hour—all to be there at ten o'clock A. M. The officers reported to the Colonel in accordance with the requirements of the special order; but, in consequence of the unfavorable condition of the weather, the regimental parade was postponed until the afternoon. At one o'clock P. M. the regiment, by companies, proceeded in front of the armory, in Seventh street, to Tompkins square, where the line was formed. The men appeared in fatigue dress, without knapsacks or overcoats. A large crowd collected around the square, and witnessed, apparently with unusual interest, every movement of the regiment. Several showers fell during the course of the afternoon, on account of which various field maneuvres were dispensed with--so that the entire tactics embraced in a full regimental drill were not completed. After executing a number of evolutions, the regimental line was formed inside the square, and the battalion took up the line of march. Preceded by a pioneer corps, five in number, came the twenty drummers, in their scarlet coats, followed by the engineer corps, numbering twenty-five members, under command of Captain Sage and Lieutenant Vanderpoel, bearing a beautiful banner, which had been presented to them on the previous evening. Next marched the howitzer corps, also numbering twenty-five, with some of their guns, followed by the staff and field officers and men, in all to the number of a thousand. In this order the regiment marched through St. Mark's place to and up Broadway to Fourteenth street, to Fifth avenue, down to Eighth street, and thence back to the armory. All along the line of march the regiment, completely uniformed and equipped, and manifesting unmistakeable evidences of the incessant labors of the officers in its discipline, elicited universal admiration. After returning to the armory, where the regiment is quartered, and where certain orders were issued for the morrow, the line was dismissed. The following is the special order concerning the encampment on the Battery to-day:—

NEW YORK, May 1, 1861.

Pursuant to directions from the Commander-in-Chief, the Second regiment New York State Militia, under the command of Colonel Tompkins, is hereby directed to go into camp upon the Battery, relieving the Fifty-fifth regiment, and will remain in camp until further orders from headquarters. The Second regiment will relieve the Fifty-fifth at three o'clock P. M. tomorrow.

By order of Major General Charles W. Sandford.
GEORGE W. MORELL, Division Inspector.

At Camp on the Battery.
On Saturday, May 18th, 1861; the Second New York State Militia paraded out of Battery Park, and boarded the Jersey City Ferry. From there they proceeded by train to Camden New Jersey via the Camden/Amboy Railway. Having arrived at the Camdon/Amboy Station the Regiment disembarked and marched a short distance to the Delaware River Ferry. The Ferry then took them across the Delaware to the City of Philadelphia, where they were docked at the foot of Washington Avenue, and Marched across the city to a waiting train on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. To the best of my knowledge the Philadelphia Union Volunteer Saloon was not as yet open to receive and relieve regiments in transit at this time.

Once on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad they proceed to Baltimore and proceeded through that city without incident. There they boarded B&O Train bound for Washington.
The Following is an excerpt from a letter from James Gilmour to his brother Robert Gilmour and his wife Mary:

Wasington May 23rd 1861 [Thursday]
Dear Brother and Sister I now
write to let you know
how I have faired since I left~
we arived in Phila~ at 8 o clock on monday night [May 20th]
and marched to the B and O R.R. Depot
where we left for Baltimore. we arived there
all safe at 8 o clock tuesday morning [May 21st] and
formed at the R.R. Depot. and marched
through the City where we were recieved
with hearty chearing from the foundry
Boys and a few of the citycens but the greater
part of them looked dagers at us but there
was no hissing at all we were there about
3 hours marching through the streets and
then left for wastning* where we arived
at 12 oclock p.m. we wer quartered in
Pa's. Ave. corner of 4th St. We are all well
and in good spirits.

As you can see according to James' Official Muster Record, 
he Enlisted in on May 21st upon his arrival in Washington, 
sometime after 12 p.m.; as a Private in Company B.

A carte de visite of Mary (Pollock) Gilmour 
from the family archives of the author.

A carte de visite of Robert Gilmour, Brother of James Gilmour; 
from the family archives of the author.
I possess no image of James Gilmour in my archives; I do however for my own sake go by this image I found of an anonymous Federal Recruit:

He is similar in features and stature to Robert Gilmour and many of the men in my family. In desperation I glommed it from an old book some years back. I believe it was a Time/Life book but I' not sure... at one time I thought that I might someday come across an image of him in a box somewhere, but alas that has yet to come to pass. Unless some miracle happens this will have to do. Maybe it's him, maybe it's not. Either way, I like to think it is. It solves a little bit of the mystery.


Friday, May 21st, 149 years to the day
James Gilmour was mustered in at
Washington D.C. as a Private.

*Except where otherwise noted images were downloaded from the New York Public Library Online Digital Collection.
(1) some source material is based on: "Union Defense Committee New York City's Repsonse to the Civil War" by William O'Neill at

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Pebbles Prep. for our trip to Virginia; May 23rd through June 2nd 2010.

On Tuesday March 23rd Devin and I had the privilege of viewing the only existing flag from James Gilmour's Regiment: The Second New York State Militia (later redesigned the 82nd). Because the original 90 day Regiment did not have any notable members with pull, after the original enlistment ended and they were transformed into a 3-year Volunteer Force; they were redesiqnated with the next available number: 82.

This image was obtained from the New York State Museums Website. It is 27 1/4” Hoist X 27 3/4”. The funds for conservation of these flags have been cut due to N.Y. State's financial crisis. It was fortunate that this flag (A Flank Marker; intended to allow the regiment to visually see where the right or left of the unit was located.) was small and easy to conserve.

There are still a vast number of flags that may never be saved!

Private and corporate donations can be made to:
“The Natural Heritage Trust —
DMNA Donation Fund”
and sent to: Director, Natural Heritage Trust
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and
Historic Preservation
Agency Building 1, Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12238.


I had gone to the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga with my friend Steve on Saint Patricks Day to see the flag; but found that it was being housed at the Peebles Island Facility. While we were there I made arraignments with Chris Morton an Assistant Curator to view the flag.

Later, at Peebles Island, I found out from conversation with Chris that it was very likely captured by Beauregard's Confederate forces, possibly at Bull Run, Virginia, July 21, 1861. This is not "the Standard" that James Gilmour and his comrade Francis Perry rescued; but I would imagine that it was captured during the same incident he describes in his letters to his brother Robert, on his return to Washington, after the disastrous Battle of Bull Run.

We arrived (met in the parking lot after work and connecting in Cohoes) at 3:00 p.m.

I had heard of this location somewhere in my research but I had never been there. It was quite the experience seeing the flag in person and I was speechless (yeah, me speechless... can you imagine?) for the first few minutes (and on the brink of tears as well) but eventually I opened up...

Long story short: Chris is sent me everything he has on the unit for my research!!!! (THANKS CHRIS IT WILL BE INVALUABLE!!!)

I think he must have thought that if he sent me everything he had, eventually I would shut-up...

He doesn't know me very well now does he?!!!


They let us pose for a picture but I had to promise not to publish it. Something about being in a Government Facility blah, blah, blah....

It is for personal use only they said. I printed it out and it will take a prominent place on my wall soon!

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