First Lt. Robert T. H. Russell

[He is a great-grandfather of Beverly G. Kirby-McDonough,,
who is responsible for most of the research necessary to assemble this file.]

[AGO says he was also borne as Robert J. H. Russell and Robert R. Russell.]

January 20, 1840—Born in Whitby, Canada. [birth date is calculated as 51 years 7 months before his known death date that was taken from New Jersey Vital Records and from data at the cemetery where he is buried.]

August 30, 1862—Enlisted in the New York 12th Volunteer Cavalry at Oswego, New York—age, 22 years. [from AGO]

November 19, 1862—Mustered in as private, Co. B, 12th New York Volunteer Cavalry, to serve three years. [from AGO]

April 23, 1863—Appointed sergeant. [from AGO]

January 8, 1864—Commissioned second lieutenant with rank from November 5, 1863, vice Sturgeon, promoted. [from AGO]

February 20, 1864—Mustered in as second lieutenant, Co. F, 12th New York Volunteer Cavalry. [from AGO]

April 17, 1864—Wounded in action at Plymouth, North Carolina. [from AGO] [This was in the morning in the opening moments of the battle. See account, below, from Alonzo Cooper's In and out of Rebel Prisons.] [Cooper says that the steamer Massasoit left at 11:00 pm that evening with the wounded, the officers' wives, and other non-combatants aboard. Presumably, Lt. Russell was among those evacuated.]

Summer of 1864—Recuperated from wound at Foster General Hospital in New Berne, North Carolina.

October 31, 1864—Commissioned first lieutenant with rank from October 24, 1864, original. [from AGO]

December 17, 1864—Mustered in as first lieutenant, Co. C, 12th New York Volunteer Cavalry. [from AGO]

July 19, 1865—Mustered out with company at Raleigh, North Carolina.

December 21, 1865—Robert Russell married Elizabeth Moran (widow of Joseph O'Connor) in Manhattan, New York, New York. The couple had three sons, R obert, William and Dudley; and one daughter, Cora, who is a grandmother of Beverly. [The source of this information is the Civil War Pension file of Robert T. H. Russell, and the widow's pension application of Elizabeth Russell.]

September 21, 1870—Lt. Russell's wound was examined by a surgeon. The Examining Surgeon's Certificate stated:

"In our opinion the said Robert T. H. Russell is three-fourths incapacitated... The disability is of u ncertain duration. A more particular description of the applicant's condition is subjoined:

Height, 5 foot 10 inches; weight, 205; complexion, fair.

Age, 30; pulse, normal; respiration, normal.

Wounded at Plymouth, North Carolina, April 15th, 1863. The bullet entered the abdominal wall, left side, about three inches above and posteriorly to, the anterior superior spinous procep of the ilium, passed backwards and downwards and made exit through the crest of the ilium about three inches from the spine. There is a large, deep, adherent, tender, cicatrix at the point of exit. Applicant states that he suffers from severe pain in the gluteal region on slight exertion and from changes of the weather."

[Robert was originally treated for this injury at Foster General Hospital in New Berne.]
[Robert could not engage in heavy labor due to his physical condition. As his great-granddaughter understands it, he worked as a provisions dealer, a hotel keeper, and finally as a dentist.]

August 20, 1891—Lt. Russell died at age 51 years, 7 months, in Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey. He is interred at Calvary Cemetery (Section 11, Range 1, Plat G, Grave 15) in Woodside, Queens, New York. [from New Jersey Vital Records and Calvary Cemetery records.]

August 11, 2001—His great-granddaughter Beverly visited the gravesite and was disappointed to discover that there was no marker. [Getting a U.S. government marker installed is an option and a worthwhile project.]

The following has been copied from pages 13 and 14 of Alonzo Cooper's In and out of Rebel Prisons.

On Sunday morning, April 17th, 1864, the consolidated morning report showed eighteen hundred and fifty men for duty. The day was warm and bright, and the men were scattered about the town with no thought of approaching danger. The cavalry had scouted the day before, a distance of twelve or fifteen miles, and found no signs of the enemy, but about 4 p.m., the cavalry pickets on the Washington road were driven in, and the Corporal, named Geo. Wilcox, came tearing through the company quarters of the 85th New York down to cavalry headquarters, with the nose bag still on his horse, which he had not had time to exchange for his bridle, swinging his hat and shouting: "The Rebs are coming! the Rebs are coming!"

By the absence of Capt. Roach, of Company A, and the sickness of Capt. Hock, of Company F, I was in command of the detachment of cavalry, and at once ordered a bugler who happened to be standing near to sound BOOTS AND SADDLES; sent Lieutenant Russell, who was mounted, having just rode up, to headquarters, to notify General Wessels that our pickets had been driven in and ask for orders for the cavalry. He returned just as I had formed the two companies into line with orders to make a reconnoissance on the Washington road, and, without getting into a fight, ascertain, as near I could, the strength of the enemy in our front.

I ascertained by a careful reconnoissance that Maj. Gen. Hoke was in front with about eight thousand troops. In this reconnoissance I lost one man, "Amos Fancher," killed, and one, "Lieut. Russell," severely wounded. Hoke formed his line and threw out his skirmishers, but made no further demonstations that night, a few shells from Fort Williams having the effect of checking any further movement.

At 11 o'clock that night, Gen. Wessels sent the steamer Massasoit, carrying the women and other non-combatants, and the wounded to Newbern. Among the women were Mrs. George M. Hastings, Mrs. Dr. Frick, Mrs. Capt. Hock, Mrs. Bell, Mrs. and Miss Freeman and Mrs. A. Cooper (who had been with me from the 7th of February), and others. Preparations were made for a stout resistance by Gen. Wessels, who was a gallant officer. He established a strong skirmish line nearly two miles in length along our entire front and had everything in readiness to repel any attack that might be made; but the night passed without any further demonstration.

Kenneth Jennings Wooster
27 Abdallah Avenu e
Cortland, New York 13045-3302
(607) 753-3558
File created: August 14, 2001
File last modified: August 14, 2001