On Father’s Day, this June 17, it was also the birthday of founder and war hero in 1761, General John Swift, who died in the War of 1812, in 1814 at Fort George in Canada.
On Father’s Day, this June 17, it was also the birthday of founder and war hero in 1761, General John Swift, who died in the War of 1812, in 1814 at Fort George in Canada. Wow, that was 252 years ago. Not only did the War of 1812 occur in during that time but on June 18, 1812 an Act was passed to establish Common Schools in New York State. On June 19 in the year 1925 the Village Hall was ravaged by fire. On Friday, June 22, 1813 was the Battle of Sodus Point.
From the War of 1812 we go back to the Civil War and the 33rd Regiment Company B. The reply to Col. Joseph Corning was “Yes, we will Colonel,” preparing to get at least 70 of the enemy. Fort Magruder to the north with Hooker and Kearney on the left, the 5th Wisconsin with Wheeler and Cowan center field while the 24th and 38th Virginians as well as the 23rd N.C. and 5th N.C. were waiting on the right flank. The Confederates under Jubal Early didn’t flinch even when they realized no troops were protecting their rear. The Yankees had brought in their sharpshooters called the 1st U.S. who lay in wait for hours waiting for the word to fire. The hours of waiting took toll on their abilities to hold their rifles steady and pull the trigger. The sharpshooters saw an opportunity and began to fire just as the Yankee skirmishers fired. The Confederates were dropping like flies. The 33rd and all Yankees were below the line of Confederates and outnumbered them in numbers and positions. Corporal Brown famous sharpshooter of the 1st U.S. began firing at Officer Col. Terry of the 24th Virginia as well as Lt. Col. Hairston. With experienced leadership down Maj. Maury was thrown into the mix, no experience, and his first command. Wheeler’s men made every shot count as they fell back to regroup coming out blazing on the Virginians.
In the woods the fighting continued the balance of the regiments and companies could hear the fire but could not see the exact location. The locations in the fields and pulling back created a confusion of which troops should have retreated first. Col. Cobb realized this dilemma and Hancock noted escape was impossible. Among the horseman checking the field and positions was Lt. Col. George Custer who returned to the redoubt. Lt. Col. Corning saw the Confederates charge to the 5th Wisconsin who tried to protect themselves with a formation resembling a square. Corning’s position allowed him to see the entire battle and determine who was falling and who was standing strong. The 5th Wisconsin retreated. Surrounded the Pennsylvanians moved to the left flank of the brigade. Shooting was all around and coming from every direction.
The Confederate Adjutant J. McRae searched to find his General Hill who had no idea of the danger. Gen. Hancock ordered Col. McNair to bring companies A, D, and F of the 33rd Regiment out of the redoubt without consulting Lt. Col. Corning. As he approached McNair demanding to know why he was doing this and who ordered it, Corning then confirmed the orders. Falling back was not Corning’s idea of a strategic move and withdrew the troops. Lines were breaking and men were retreating. Hancock thought he was losing control. Corning’s men had determined that retreat was not an option as he noted the dilemma had become too paramount. Corning lined up his men and readied them for battle as he asked permission from Hancock. Corning ordered his men to fire at will as McRae was told to draw off his men. The battle continues next week. Visit the museums 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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