Submitted by Marguerite Howard.
Read more about the 12th WV Infantry in the online book at
WOMAN FINDS A WAR HERO IN FAMILY TREE
By Lynn Davis, Staff Writer
The soldiers stationed outside
All 24-year-old Pvt. Joseph McCauslin, a member of the 12th West Virginia Infantry,
Company D, knew was that if he could survive the siege of
Until just a few weeks ago,
Union forces under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S.
Grant and Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan numbered over 200,000. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's 44,000 man
Army of Northern Virginia occupied
Lee's army was undermanned, undersupplied, cold and dejected. It was April, 1865, and the winter had been long and harsh.
The federal forces, which included the
12th W. Va. Infantry, were in much better shape than the "rebels" in
the spring of 1865. The 12th, organized
In March 1865, the 12th was incorporated
into the 3rd Brigade of the 24th Army Corps, under the
command of Col. William B. Curtis. On
March 27, the brigade received orders to proceed to Hatcher's Run, near
On March 31,
Two days later, Grant launched a dawn
attack on Confederate lines, soon breaking through the center section. Rebel lines surrounding
Around 1 p. m. on
April 2, a 6,000-man Union division, including the men of the 12th W. Va.
Infantry, began its advance on
Despite their small size, the Confederate
troops fought fiercely and valiantly, resisting the onslaught of the blue-clad
forces. After each Union assault was repulsed, the Confederates cheered. Lee, watching from a short distance away,
called his staff around him, pointed to
Another 2,000 men joined the effort to
desperate effort to defend the fort.
The colors of the 12th
the bullets whizzed around him.
The fighting ended shortly after 3
p.m. That night, the Confederates began
their retreat to the
far as Appomattox Courthouse where Lee surrendered on April 2, 1865.
On May 12, 1865, McCauslin
was issued the Medal of Honor for "conspicious gallantry as color bearer in the Assault on
He returned to
After the war, Bland said, he resumed his close relationship with cousin, "Tiger" John McCausland, who lived nearby and had been a Confederate officer under Gen. Jubal Early.
on July 6, 1906, at the age of 65 and was buried at the West Alexander,
great-great-grandson Bob Baughman, a
Several weeks ago, Bland received a telephone call and was advised that the Washington County Veterans Affairs office, with American Legion Posts 639 and 656, of Claysville and West Alexander, respectively, were searching for McCauslin's descendants, as they planned to erect a monument
at the cemetery in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient buried there.
"They had trouble finding relatives
because the cemetery was in
She contacted other family members and, on Oct. 8, a service was held at the cemetery to unveil a monument erected in McCauslin's honor. Speakers included Charles Pollacci, Washington County director of Veterans Affairs; Rep. Leo Trick, Jr., of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; and U. S. Army Maj. Lew Irwin, a professor at Duquesne University, The American Legion members fired a 21 - gun salute in McCauslin's honor.
Attending the ceremony, in addition to Bland, were her son, Frank Bland Jr.; McCauslin's great-grandson, Gene Ball; and great-great-great-granddaughter, Emily Bland. Great-grandchildren unable to attend included Bill Ball of Valley Grove; Sarah Bellar and Dorothy Johnson of
The monument stands near the entrance of
the cemetery, which is along