Friday, July 01, 2011

A Couple Buddies in the US Civil War

Hello All -

With it being the 150th annivesary of the US Civil War I thought that it would be interesting to mention a couple of Paisley Buddies that were involved in this historic conflict.  Both men were born in Paisley and immigrated to the United States, but that is where the similarities end.

The first man was Alexander Gardner who was born in 1821 and immigrated in 1856.  He grew an interest in photography and met up and worked along side Mathew Brady.  What thrust Gardner into prominence is his work as a civil war photographer.  Some of the most famous battles he photographed - Antiedam, Fredrickburg, Gettysburg, and the seige of Petersburg.  However, what is probably considered one of his most famous subjects was photographing President Abraham Lincoln.  Not only that but photographing the President 4 days before his assasination by John Wilkes Booth.  Gardner would probably be considered the last person to ever photograph Lincoln alive.  He also photographed the funeral of Lincoln, and the execution of the conspirators of the Lincoln assassination.

However, his career was not without controversy.  A century later, photographic analysis suggested that Gardner had manipulated the setting of at least one of his Civil War photos by moving a soldier's corpse and weapon into more dramatic positions.

To read more about Alexander Gardner and to see some of his photographs just look at his Wikipedia entry at:  Below is a photo of the man himself.

Our next Paisley Buddy is Captain John S. Maxwell.  Captain Maxwell was born in Paisley in 1832 and immigrated as a young man in 1852.  "He was a laborer on the first Atlantic cable before 1861. He served in the military between Apr 19 1861 and Apr 12 1865 in Confederate States of America.  John enlisted in the Confederate army at Martinsburg, Virgina. According to his military record he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in January 1862, and wounded three times during the war.

By June 1 1864 John was in the Confederate Navy, and as a member of the Confederate Torpedo Corps, Captain John Maxwell and another man were responsible for planting a clockwork torpedo on a Union transport at City Point, Virginia on August 9, 1864. They were able to penetrate the Union lines and get to the wharf area, where Maxwell persuaded the sentry that the Captain of the ammunition barge had ordered him to put aboard the box he was carrying. After seeing the box delivered on board, Captain Maxwell retired to watch the results. When the torpedo exploded an hour later, it started a chain reaction, spreading fire from the barges to the storage buildings on shore, and even to General Grant's headquarters, causing much damage and considerable confusion. He was a blacksmith after the war in 1865 in Richmond, Virginia. He was a presbyterian in 1865 in Richmond, Virginia at the Second Presbyterian Church.

He resided at Robert E. Lee Home for Disable Ex-Confederate Soldiers between Mar 1908 and Aug 17 1916 in Richmond, Virginia. He also helped build this institution. He resided at 2406a East Marshall Street between Aug 17 1916 and Sep 21 1916 in Richmond, Virginia. This was the home of his son-in-law. He was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Lot 88, Section R, Richmond, Virginia. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias, being five times Chancellor, a member of the Knights of Honor, and was the oldest Grand Lodge officer in the state, having been an officer since the lodge was organized."  [source:].

There is a interesting article regarding Capt. Maxwell at:  Here is a photo of an older Capt. Maxwell:

Not bad for two Buddies.  I think in any part of history in the United States and perhaps elsewhere there is a Paisley Buddy involved.


HistoryMick said...

Interesting stuff, Carolyn. Have given it a brief mention on my 'British and Irish Genealogy blog' at (2nd July). Hope you don't mind. Best wishes, Mick.


Thanks Mick. I do appreciate your kind words. No, I don't mind at all, that is very nice of you to do that. All the best, Carolyn