Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Civil War Museum at Nash Farm Battlefield, Hampton, Henry County, Georgia

Posted By on August 18, 2014


Nash Farm Battlefield Museum

The Nash Farm is located in the western part of Henry County, Georgia, 21 miles south of Atlanta, at 4361 Jonesboro Road.  It is about five miles west of Exit 221 of I-75.  During the Civil War, it was a Confederate campsite and was the location of the largest cavalry raid the state’s history – which was conducted by Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, after whom the G.A.R. Post in Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania was named.  Participating in the cavalry corps led by Kilpatrick was the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry which included many men from  the Lykens Valley area.  According to local (Henry County) information, the Nash Farm site is one of the “few Civil War battlefields that remain intact, meticulously preserved” – which allows visitors to re-visit the final days of Gen. William T. Sherman‘s Atlanta Campaign – much as it may have appeared at the time to the participants.

The Nash Farm Battlefield Museum is open to the public.  There is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.  It is operated by volunteers who are members of the Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield, a non-profit membership group.  For membership information and hours of operation contact Friends at www.henrycountybattlefield.com.

A quick pictorial tour of the museum is presented below.  The pictures are a mere sampling of what is available.  Plan at least one hour to visit.


Articles Found on the Battlefield


The General


Nash Family Artifacts


Nash Family Artifacts

A portrait gallery of some of the soldiers who fought for the Confederacy at Nash Farm is located in a long hallway.  A few of the frames are shown below.


Thomas Stock Elliott


William A. Fuller


Harris Jesse Phillips (1837-1911)


Francis Marion Hale


Patrick Henry Hale


Madison Maddox (1835-1917)

Finally, there is a conference room and genealogical library available at the museum for researchers to study about the battle and its participants:


Genealogical Library at the Museum

For other blog posts on Nash Farm Battlefield, click here.


More on Valentine Hipsman

Posted By on August 17, 2014

Jane Butler of Minisink Valley Genealogy, has called my attention to a blog post she published this month on Valentine Hipsman, who I had previously profiled here in June as part of my series on “The Great Shohola Train Wreck.”  [ShoholaTrainWreck].

Jane’s post is entitled; The Hubschmann Monument, Hipsman Burying Ground, Shohola, PAIt pictures the grave markers of members of the Hipsman/Hubschmann family that surround the monument in what is now German Hill Cemetery in Shohola Township, Pike County, Pennsylvania.  There is also a much more extensive biographical profile of Valentine Hipsman than I provided in my June post.

For a link to the series on the train wreck, see:  The Great Shohola Train Wreck – The 150th Anniversary Remembrance.

The 150th Anniversary of Kilpatrick’s Raid at Nash Farm Battlefield

Posted By on August 15, 2014


The 150th Anniversary of Kilpatrick’s Raid at Lovejoy Station and Nash Farm Battlefield, Hampton, Henry County, Georgia, will be recognized from 20 August through 24 August 2014.

From the brochure advertising the event:

The Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield and the Georgia Civil War Commission wish to invite you to the 150th Anniversary of Kilpatrick’s Raid at Lovejoy Station, 22 August – 24 August 2014.  The event is open to the public and is designed to be both educational and entertaining.  There will [be] living history stations, camp sites, drills and demonstrations and a recreation of the dramatic sabre charge that took place at Nash Farm on 20 August 1864.

The highlight of the weekend event is the dedication of a black granite monument to the soldiers who were killed or mortally wounded during the raid.

For more information on this event, visit the website at www.henrycountybattlefield.com

For prior blog posts related to Kilpatrick’s Raid, Nash Farm, and Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, click here.

For prior blog posts on the relationship between Gen. Judson Kilpatrick and the Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, G.A.R. Post, click here.

For prior blog posts on the action at Lovejoy Station, click here.


Benneville Hoyer – Amputee Charged with Selling Liquor Without a License

Posted By on August 13, 2014


On 17 January 1891, it was reported in the Harrisburg Patriot that “the grand jury [Dauphin County, Pennsylvania] returned the following true bills….  Benneville Hoyer selling liquor without a license….  These bills were ignored…. Benneville Hoyer, selling liquor to minors.”  What was not stated in the article was that Benneville Hoyer was a Civil War veteran and was an amputee.

Previously on this blog, the military record of Benneville Hoyer was discussed in a post entitled, Benneville Hoyer – Lost Leg at Battle of Antietam.

The following additional information was found about the liquor sales which led to his indictment:

An incident occurred during Gratz Fair Week of 1890 that gave Benneville Hoyer and friend Calvin Bowman a bit of publicity.  The event was recorded in the Gratz column of the Millersburg Sentinel in January 1891 with a bit of irritation on the part of the reporter.

“Our town was thrown into a state of excitement last week.  Our constable, Henry Keiser, after his return from Harrisburg Monday, subpenaed a number of witnesses to appear before the grand jury on Thursday.  They gave them evidence, and it is reported that Calvin Bowman and Benneville Hoyer are indicted for selling liquor without a license at the time of the last fair.  It is not saying too much to say that the matter was agitated on account of personal spite and pharisaic pretensions.  It is not probable that much will result from proceedings.  Bowman has left for parts unknown, while Hoyer is a one legged veteran whom no jury would be merciless enough to convict.”

At this time it is not known if Benneville was convicted of the charges.  The issue of “personal spite” has also not been discovered.

The Henry Keiser referred to in the article was possibly the same Henry Keiser who was born in Gratz and who kept a diary of his Civil War military experiences in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry.  However, in 1891 he was living in Lykens Borough and it is not known if he had a second job as “Constable of Gratz.”  There were several others persons of that name living in the vicinity, but none seem to have a connection with Gratz.

Calvin Bowman (1866-1925) was the son of Civil War veteran Cyrene T. Bowman (1843-1919), of the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry.  Information from Cyrene’s biography states that he moved to Sacramento, Schuylkill County, in 1889 where he operated a hotel for a time.  It is not known whether Calvin Bowman was convicted of the charge.  It is also not known whether the case was ever brought to trial..

In the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, written by William Henry Egle and published in 1896, the following biographical sketch of Benneville Hoyer appeared of pages 911-912:

Benneville Hoyer, retired, Berrysburg, Pennsylvania, was born in Mahantango Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, 12 February 1844.  His grandfather, Peter Hoyer, was a laborer; he died in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Henry Hoyer, father of Benneville Hoyer, was born in Lykens Valley, Pennsylvania.  He was a laborer and removed to Schuylkill county.  He followed in his occupation until 1855, when he died.  In the Lykens Valley he married Mary Boyer, born in Schuylkill county, daughter of Samuel Boyer, farmer, of the same county.  They had five children:  Elizabeth Hoyer, deceased, born in 1833, wife of William Engle; Rebecca Hoyer, unmarried, lives at Berry, Schuylkill county, Pa.; Henry Hoyer, deceased, soldier in the late war in Company A, Fiftieth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers [50th Pennsylvania Infantry]; Peter Hoyer, died  young.  Mr. Henry Hoyer was a Democrat.  He was a  member of the Reformed Church.  His wife died in Stone Valley, Northumberland County, Pa., in February, 1856.

Benneville Hoyer attended the public schools.  At the age of eleven he lost his father and was obliged to work on a farm for his board and clothing until he was seventeen.  He was then employed six months as a teamster by G. Adams, after which he spent a few months as apprentice in the smithy.   At the age of eighteen Mr. Hoyer enlisted in Sacramento, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, 24 February 1862, in Company G, One Hundred and Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers [107th Pennsylvania Infantry], Col. Thomas. A. Ziegler, afterwards Col. T. F. McCoy and Capt. M. Murphy.  He participated in the battles of Cedar Mountain, Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam.  At the late named battle, 17 September 1862, he lost his leg by a minie ball passing through it.  The leg was amputated in a barn, and he was confined in the Smoketown Maryland Hospital, was discharged 11 July 1863, and returned home.  His father and mother being both dead he remained only a short time and then went to Philadelphia and learned cigar making at which he spent some time.  He also worked a short time at label printing, and then went to the Soldiers’ Home, supported by the citizens of Philadelphia.  Here he attended school in 1864-1865, and then returned to Schuylkill County and worked a short time at cigar making.  After this he was for two years clerk for John Reed, of Gratz, Dauphin County.  In 1869 Mr. Hoyer studied at Freeburn Academy, Snyder County, Pa., under Prof. D. Boyer, in 1871-1872 at Berrysburg Seminary, under Prof. Peter Bergstresser.  He then taught school very successfully for two terms in Jackson Township and Jefferson townships.  For the following six years he had a cigar manufactory and a restaurant at Gratz, which he sold, and in 1876 established the same business at Berrysburg; he conducted a cigar factory and a restaurant in that place for fifteen years.  He at length sold out and now resides in Berrysburg, having relinquished active work.

Benneville Hoyer was married, in Jackson Township, Dauphin County, 3 November 1872, to Caroline Schoffstall, widow of Benjamin Kuntzelman, born in Gratz, Lykens Township, 15 January 1850; daughter of Solomon Schoffstall and Catherine [Bordner] Schoffstall; her father a farmer of Lykens Township.  Their children are:  Jennie D. Hoyer, born 25 February 1874, wife of C. H. Schoffstall; Charles H. Hoyer, born 9 October 1875, baker, Philadelphia; James M. Hoyer, born 18 August 1877, farmer in Mifflin TownshipWilliam E. Hoyer, born 23 August 23 1879, died 3- March 1881; Raymond F. Hoyer, born 12 February 1881, died 23 February 1889; Anna M. Hoyer, born 4 February 1886, attending Chester Springs School;  Ella M. Hoyer, born 24 November 1887, also at same school; Beulah C. Hoyer, born 26 September 1801.  Mrs. Hoyer died of heart failure 8 October 1892.

The children by Mrs. Hoyer’s first marriage to Mr. Kuntzelman are:  Aaron I. Kuntzelman, born 27 April 1867, miner, at Williamstown; John B. Hoyer, born 7 October 1868, farmer in Upper Paxton Township.

Since the death of his wife, Mr. Hoyer has had a housekeeper Miss Emma J. Gessner, an excellent young lady.  The first vote Mr. Hoyer cast, in November 1864, in Philadephia, was a Democratic ticket; he is now a Republican.  He was a member of Kissinger Post, No. 176, G.A.R., Gratz, Pa., and of P.O.S. of A., Washington Camp, No. 307, Berrysburg, Pa.  He is a member of the Reformed Church, Berrysburg, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Hoyer is among the maimed patriots, suffering much from the loss of his leg sacrificed in the service of his country, but secure in the reward bestowed by a consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and in the gratitude which all good citizens render to those who redeemed the life of the Nation.  He has cheerfully accepted his limitations and patiently worked on.  Declining years bring him no regrets, and the future is spanned with the bow of hope.

As a postscript to this story, two news items appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot in 14 October 1902 and 16 July 1903:


Benneville Hoyer, an old soldier, attended the National Encampment at Washington last week.


The Mercurian Literary Society rendered the following programme last Wednesday evening:  President’s Address, George J. Rowe; Life of Putnam, Homer Minich; Recitation, Helen Miller; Debate, Resolved, That the Stateman has done more for our country than the Warrior.  The question was discussed affirmatively by F. D. Keboch and Ralph Romberger, negatively by Williar D. Lebo and Perry H. Keboch.  The judges decided in favor of the affirmative.  Frank Erdman gave comic recitations.  Select Reading, Miss Anna WatersThe music was furnished by Benneville Hoyer, by means of a phonograph.  The question for next Wednesday evening is, resolved, Nature is more pleasing than Art.


News clippings are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Obituary of Thomas W. Hoffman – Medal of Honor Recipient

Posted By on August 11, 2014


Thomas William Hoffman was born in Berrysburg, Dauphin County, on 21 July 1839, the son of Amos A. Hoffman (1809-1897) and Amanda [Harper] Hoffman (1815-1897).  Through the paternal line, he was a direct descendant of Johann Peter Hoffman (1709-1797) and his son, John Nicholas Hoffman (1749-1814), pioneer settlers of the Lykens Valley.  Thomas served two enlistments in the Union Army.  He was first enrolled in the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company E, as a Private, serving from 10 August 1861.  The military records indicate that on 1 October 1863 he was transferred from that service to the Veteran Reserve Corps.  However, on 9 July 1864, he helped form the 208th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, where as Captain, he began his service on 7 September 1864.  As a result of his heroic actions in front of Petersburg, he was awarded the Medal of HonorThomas W. Hoffman died on 18 April 1905 at Scranton, Lackawanna Co., Pennsylvania, where he was living at a boarding house with his second wife, Dr. Helen Delucia [Fisk] Hoffman of New York.  The obituary for him which appeared in a local Scranton-area newspaper was presented to the Pension Bureau on 9 August 1929 (see date stamp on portion of above clipping) as part of the application of his widow for survivor’s benefits for which she first made application on 3 March 1913.  The obituary is presented in this blog post.  It is an unusual obituary in that it mostly consists of an interview conducted with Hoffman just weeks before his death in which he recounted his experiences in the war and told of the deed that resulted in his award.  It also does not mention survivors.  The widow’s pension application and the complexities raised in it will be presented at a later date.


End of a Man Who Was Given a Medal of Honor by Congress for Gallantry

Thomas W. Hoffman, who died on Tuesday at his home at thirteen hundred and twenty-six Pittston Avenue, this city, was a gallant soldier during the Rebellion and for gallantry in action was breveted a lieutenant-colonel and awarded a medal of honor by congress.  As less than 300 of these medals were awarded to soldiers of the rebellion, it will be seen that the service rendered by Col. Hoffman was highly though of by his superior officers and the secretary of war.  For years Col. Hoffman has been a prominent member of Lieut. Ezra S. Griffin Post G.A.R.   He was employed as a bookkeeper by the Meadow Brook Coal Company.

The brave deed for which Col. Hoffman was breveted was done in March 1865, at the capture of Lee’s works near Fort Hill in front of Petersburg.  Talking to a reporter some months before his death, Col. Hoffman told the story of the gallantry that won his promotion in the following words.

“During the week that we were stationed at Steadman our division was ordered to capture Lee’s works.  I was detailed on General Hartranft’s staff as engineer officer of the division.

“The troops were ordered out in the middle of the night and deployed inside our picket lines.  When daylight began to show on the eastern horizon a signal gun was fired.  This was the signal for the attack and our troops advanced to the fray.  They rushed across the space between the two lines, tore down the obstructions, jumped into the moat from whence they scaled the… of the fort capturing four forts with twenty-five guns in a space of five minutes.

“The rebels made a great effort to retake the forts, making numerous charges, but we succeeded in holding them back during the entire day.  Sometime during the afternoon I was sent out by General Hartranft to the commanding officer of the second brigade to ascertain if it were possible for him to hold the forts captured.

“Just as I came to the forts it happened that my own regiment, the Two Hundred and Eighth [208th Pennsylvania Infantry] was deployed at this place.  When I was but a short distance away I heard the lieutenant-colonel of my regiment call to the men to retreat, and that they were being surrounded.  Presently he and the major of the regiment started on the run for the rear, expecting the regiment to follow.  I took the situation at a glance and drawing my sword called to the men at the top of my voice, ‘Don’t a man of you run; they can’t drive you out of here.’

“When the line officers discovered that there was some one to take charge of the regiment they immediately rallied the men and kept them in position.  After awhile the lieutenant colonel and major came back with a rather sheepish look.  I said nothing to them concerning their actions.  The facts of the above incident were afterwards reported to Secretary of War Stanton and after due consideration congress awarded me a medal of honor.

Colonel Hoffman was born at Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on 31 July 1839 and was accordingly sixty-five years of age.  He enlisted in Company E, 72nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers Fire Zouaves [72nd Pennsylvania Infantry].  Each company in the regiment represented some fire company in Philadelphia.  This regiment was hurried into Virginia and Colonel Hoffman, while relating his experiences, says that the second day after his arrival there he saw a captain of the California Regiment killed on the picket line.

He took part in the Battle at Ball’s Bluff and in the following Sprint he was among those who advanced with Banks and went as far as Winchester from whence they were recalled and sent to Yorktown.  A little later he took part in the Battle at Fair Oaks and later in the great Seven Days Fight.  His regiment opened the Battle of Savage Station and suffered heavy losses;  it was also at the Peach Orchard and later at Malvern Hill.

At Antietam, Colonel Hoffman’s regiment was heavily engaged and suffered severely.  It also fought at Fredericksburg and later at Chancellorsville.  In August 1864 his regiment was mustered out.  He returned home and recruited a regiment which became the Two Hundred and Eighth Pennsylvania [208th Pennsylvania Infantry].  This regiment served in General Butler’s army and later was sent to the command f General Hartranft’s division.  While with him occurred the Battle of Fort Steadman and later the feat of gallantry that won him his medal of honor.

When the Jonas Long’s Sons Department Store first opened in this city, Colonel Hoffman had charge of the grocery department.

Funeral services were held over the remains at the home yesterday at which Rev. Mr. Peck of Elm Park Church officiated.  The remains are to to be taken on the 9:45 Delaware and Hudson train to Sunbury for interment which will occur on Friday.  D. D. Jones and Son are in charge of the funeral arrangements.

A memorial in Harrisburg features in-ground markers recognizing the Pennsylvanians who were awarded the Medal of Honor.  In a prior post, that memorial was featured along with the stone for Thomas W. Hoffman which includes the date, 2 April 1865 of his action at Petersburg:


Note:  The Medal of Honor is awarded by the president on behalf of Congress to a person who distinguishes himself by gallantry at the risk of his or her own life above or beyond the call of duty while engaged in a military operation.  The individual who is awarded the medal must have performed an act that is clearly above any act performed by his or her comrades.  The medal signifies extraordinary merit and there is no higher military honor than can be given.  Also, the total number of Civil War medals awarded was not around 300 as stated in the obituary; however, that number is correct if only the number of Pennsylvania recipients are counted.  See:  Pennsylvania Medal of Honor Memorial.