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Short Biography: Colonel Norman J. Maxwell (1834-1929)
By: David L. Welch

space_40Norman J. Maxwell, the author's great great grandfather, was born on March 13, 1834 on a farm in Plain Grove township, Lawrence County, in western Pennsylvania. His parents were William and Nancy (Waddell) Maxwell of Lawrence County where their parents were pioneers. Norman's grandfather and grandmother were James Maxwell and Nancy (Braden?) Maxwell , who had entered some land in eastern Pennsylvania. Plaingrove South cemetery records indicate James Maxwell was born in 1773 and died on February 10, 1852. Next to him is Nancy, born 1766 and died in 1817. His great grandfather, name unknown, was born in Scotland. His father William was a farmer by occupation and his property was located on the eastern edge of Plaingrove Township. William's sister Sarah, who was approximately 6 to 10 years younger (depending on whether the 1850 or 1860 census was correct), lived on the family homestead as well. William died in 1851, aged about 50 years old. His mother Nancy died around 1866.

Norman J. Maxwell's Siblings

space_40Based on the 1850 census from North Slippery Rock Township, Lawrence County, Norman had three brothers and three sisters. Two of the brothers and two of the sisters were younger while one brother and one sister were older. An additional two sisters not shown on the census records were discovered courtesy of Mr. Oscar Paden and Mrs. Evelyn Maxwell Paden. Mrs. Paden is a descendant of Colonel Maxwell's brother Robert. Her grandfather Marion Dewitt Maxwell was Colonel Maxwell's nephew.

space_40Margaret Maxwell Humphrey (b?, d?): Margaret Maxwell was probably Norman's older sister and had already married Glenn Humphrey by the 1850 census.

space_40Robert Maxwell (b. July 1, 1830, d. 1881): Robert Maxwell was the eldest sibling and inherited the land of his father William. The 1872 History of Lawrence County/ 1873 Atlas of Lawrence County showed Robert Maxwell's land as 218 acres. The 1860 census of Plaingrove Township shows his occupation was a farmer, his personal value was $1,500 and his land value was $6,000. For this time period, he was probably considered quite wealthy. The 1860 census shows his household had his wife Rebecca (McCune) aged 27, a daughter Catherine aged 5, a son Marion (DeWitt) aged 2, a daughter Nancy aged 4 months, his mother Nancy, aged 57, his brother George (a farm laborer) aged 19, his sister Ellen (Melissa) aged 11, his sister Mary (a servant) aged 25, and his aunt Sarah, aged 53.

space_40The 1870 census shows his personal estate increased to $1,500 and his land value at $19,000. No wife is shown in the 1870 census. The author presumes she died in childbirth or of some illness. His youngest sister Ellen Melissa was shown as aged 21, his son Marion DeWitt as aged 12, a daughter Nancy O. as aged 10, and a daughter Mary, aged 7.

space_40The 1880 census shows that Robert was 49 years old, and had remarried to a Maggie (Downs), aged 36. Marrion D.(DeWitt) was 22 years old, Olive N. (Nancy) was 20 years old, and his daughter Mary E was 17 years old. Two more children were reported: John L., aged 7 and Matilda J, aged 6. According to Mr. Edward Maxwell of Pasco Washington, a descendant of Marrion DeWitt (his grandfather), Robert was killed (date?) after being kicked by a horse. Additional information on descendants of Marrion DeWitt (Norman's are discussed at a later time.

space_40Mary Maxwell (b. 1833? d. ?): Nothing is known to date by the author about Mary Maxwell. She is shown as being two years older than Norman in the 1850 census record. Because the 1860 census was in her young adult years, she likely was already married and had taken on her husband's surname. According to information from the Padens of Grove City, PA she married a man named James Shaw.

space_40Nancy Maxwell (b. August 27, 1835, d. ?): Nothing more is known by the author of Norman's sister Nancy. Anna Maxwell (b. 1837?, d. ?): As above, nothing is known about this sister, she is shown as one year younger than Norman in the 1850 census. Like Mary, she was likely married at the time of 1860 census. According to information from the Padens of Grove City, PA she married a man named William Offut.

space_40George Maxwell (b. August 13, 1841, d. January 19, 1901): The 1850 census shows him as 9 years old. Nothing is known about his childhood except that he was a farm laborer on his brother Robert's farm in 1860 (aged 19) before the Civil War. The following narrative is from a biographical sketch taken from the History of Butler County written in the late 1800s.

space_40In 1861, George enlisted in Company E. of 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment(the "Roundheads"). George made rank of Sergeant and served until the close of the war. He participated in the following engagements: James Island, where he was slightly wounded, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, Jackson, Knoxville, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, where he was wounded on May 12, 1864 by a gun shot to the right knee. He was sent to a field hospital, then to Grosvenor Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia, thence to McClellan Hospital, Philadelphia, where he remained until August 28, 1865, on which date he was honorably discharged from the service.

space_40In 1866, Mr. Maxwell located at Centreville, Butler County, PA where he engaged in the purchase of livestock for the eastern market, which business he has followed up to the present. He is a man of commendable public enterprise, and was one of the first citizens of the community to offer his means and influence towards obtaining the State Normal School, at Centreville. He was one of the original stockholders of that institution, served on the building committee, and has been president of the board of trustees since it's organization.

space_40Few men of his locality have done more for the material prosperity of the community than the subject of this sketch. He is a leading Republican, and is a prominent member of O.G. Bingham Post, Number 305, G.A.R. of Slippery Rock.

space_40The author introduces at this point that Norman served in Company E with the Roundheads as well. A detailed discussion of Norman's service is presented in a later section. George and Norman were in a reunion of surviving members of Company E on October 15, 1884 in Plaingrove, PA. The author has a computer reenhanced reunion photograph and text. This reunion photograph was enhanced by Mr. Michael Reznor of Volant, PA. George's obituary from the Tuesday, January 22, 1901 edition of the "New Castle News" indicated he died in Cambridge Springs. This obituary stated that his wise counsels, and uncompromising support of the faculty in all matters of discipline and instruction, made strong hands of all who had such duties to perform. As the official head of the board of trustees, he wisely conducted the financial and other business relations of the school. George is buried in Slippery Rock Cemetery off Route 108 east of Slippery Rock. He is buried with his niece (Robert's daughter), Mary E. Maxwell (b. 1862, d. 1941) and his youngest sister, Ellen Melissa (b. May 15, 1849, d. June 20, 1909).

space_40John Maxwell (b. 1844?, d. ?): The 1850 census shows John as 6 years old. No specific information about John is known.

space_40Eleanor Melissa (b. May 15, 1849, d. June 20, 1909): The 1850 census record shows Eleanor as 1 year old. The 1860 and 1870 census records show Eleanor lived on the Maxwell estate with her oldest brother Robert and worked as a servant. Her cemetery record listing as Eleanor Melissa Maxwell indicates she never married. As stated previously, she is buried with her brother George and her niece Mary E. Maxwell.

Norman Maxwell - Early Years to 1861

space_40 A biography on Norman from the 1909 History of Mercer County states that he obtained a good common school education in the country schools, but on account of his father's death (1851), had to begin life's battle for himself at an early age. When about 18 years of age (1853?), he went to Mercer County to learn the carriage-making trade, with a cousin, who died within a year, thus changing young Norman Maxwell's plans for life. He then turned to agricultural implement-making, working in a factory in this industry for a period of 5 years, after which he went to North Liberty, Pennsylvania. There he remained at the same kind of work, until the Civil War broke out in 1861. On December 21, 1858, Norman married Elizabeth Adeline Campbell, a seamstress from Plaingrove Township.

space_40A biography of Elizabeth Adeline's father Benjamin Campbell was obtained from the History of Butler County. He was a farmer born in 1809 in Plaingrove, Lawrence County, moved to Mercer County until 1850 and then moved to Slippery Rock Township in Butler County. He married Nancy Craig, a daughter of William Craig of Mercer County. She died on June 21, 1893, the mother of 10 children, viz: James, deceased; Josephine, wife of James Clark; Elizabeth Adeline, wife of Col. Norman J. Maxwell; Jane, wife of C.S. Grace; Milton, who enlisted in Company E, 100th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was killed at Spotsylvania Court House; Agnes, widow of Newell Glenn; Ellen, wife of G.W. Wood; Martha; Mark, and William. Benjamin Campbell was an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Centreville, and in politics, he was a supporter of the Republican party. Elizabeth Adeline's grandfather and grandmother were Samuel and Mary (Graham) Campbell. Her grandfather was born in Londonderry, Ireland, immigrated to America prior to the Revolution, and while working at the blacksmith's trade near Baltimore, Maryland, joined Washington's Army and served throughout the Revolution. About 1796 he entered 400 acres of land in Plaingrove Township, upon which he settled and spent the remaining years of his life. His children were Alexander; James; William; Mark; Samuel; Sarah, who married Andrew Turk; Jane, who married Daniel McMillan, and Benjamin.

space_40Approximately one year later, Norman J. and Elizabeth Adeline had their first and only child, Flora E. Maxwell. Flora was born December 20, 1859. Two years later their lives would change on the outset of the Civil War. In 1860 or early 1861, Norman joined the Slippery Rock Volunteers, a local militia. The 1872 History/1873 Atlas of Lawrence County describes the "Slippery Rock Volunteers" as following:

space_40The uniform of the "Slippery Rock Volunteers" was a yellow linen hunting shirt, trimmed with red fringe; red leggings, a citizen's hat with a white plume. Each man furnished his own uniform and his own rifle, with which weapon the men were armed. William Stoughton was probably the first captain of this company, and Samuel Riddle also held the position for a time. After their name was changed to the "Washington Guards", they also changed their uniform to blue pants and coat, red sash, and cloth cap with a white plume. They had four gatherings annually: drill May 4th, review, May 12, and drill July 4th and September 10th. This company contained about one hundred men, and entered the service in 1861 with nearly that strength. And under the following officers, viz: Captain, Samuel Bentley; First Lieutenant, Andrew Nelson; Second Lieutenant, Norman Maxwell. They joined the One Hundredth or "Roundhead" regiment, and were mustered into the service as Company E of that body, and before the close of the war saw much severe service.

space_40The following section on Norman, The Civil War Years 1861-1865, is the most extensive section of this biography because of the information available from William G. Gavin's book, "Campaigning with the Roundheads, The History of the Hundredth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War 1861-1865.", Morningside Press, 1989 (website http//:www.morningsidebooks.com). The summary and description of specific battles and campaigns draw on Gavin's fine history. Other primary sources include National Archive records, the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Carlisle Barracks, PA; the 1872 Lawrence County History/1873 Lawrence County Atlas, and other miscellaneous sources of information that will be mentioned at the time of reference.

Norman Maxwell - Civil War Years 1861-1865

space_40Daniel Leasure, a physician from New Castle, Lawrence County is credited with organizing and commanding the "Roundheads" after seeing an advertisement in a Pittsburgh newspaper dated April 15, 1861. Fort Sumter had been attacked on April 12, 1861 and President Lincoln was calling for 75,000 troops to be assembled from the state's militias. The following is a discussion on how the name "Roundheads" came to be. Western Pennsylvania, particularly Mercer and Lawrence counties, had been settled by predominantly Scotch-Irish immigrants, primarily of Presbyterian faith. These were largely descendants of the supporters of the Scottish National Covenant of 1638. They also apparently felt some allegiance to Cromwell and his followers, the Roundheads, so named by the Cavaliers during the English Civil War of 1660. The degree of allegiance of the" Covenanters" to Cromwell is unknown, and also is somewhat suspect.

space_40Company E, was organized from men in the Harlansburg and Plain Grove Areas, just east of New Castle, In Lawrence County. The official mustering began August 29, 1861 in Harrisburg, PA with Company E taking the oath of allegiance on August 31, 1861. Both Norman and George his younger brother were mustered in August 31, 1861. A few days after mustering in, Norman was promoted to 2nd sergeant and in October of 1861 was promoted to 2nd lieutenant. After initial drill and encampment at Kalorama Heights in Washington D.C. in September of 1861, the Roundheads shipped off for Annapolis, MD by train on October 10, 1861. After arriving in Annapolis on October 12, they readied for transport to Port Royal Island, SC and left October 19th aboard the steamer "Ocean Queen".

1862 Southern Coast Operations

space_40Their mission was to assist in a strategic blow to the Confederate supply ports on the southern coast line, specifically to attack and occupy Port Royal Sound. The mission was led by Brigadier General Thomas W. Sherman. The Roundheads played a significant role in taking Hilton Head. They spent the remainder of Fall 1861 and Winter 1862 in South Carolina for fortification purposes. On February 15, 1862, Norman Maxwell was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

space_40William G. Gavin proudly owns a rifle that was Norman Maxwell's, a Sharps New Model 1859 rifle. The rifle has the inscription "Captured at James Island, South Carolina, June 2nd 1862". He was then a Lieutenant and has cut "Lt. N. Maxwell" into the stock with a pen knife. Mr. Gavin believes the gun belonged to a member of the 24th South Carolina as they occupied the battery on the Stono River when the regiment landed there on June 2, prior to the fiasco at Secessionville, June 16th. According to Mr. Gavin, Colonel Maxwell did some sporterizing of the rifle after the war and probably used it as a deer rifle. William Gavin has restored the rifle to it's original condition.

space_40The Roundheads first taste of battle came on June 3, 1862 in a skirmish at the Legare Plantation on James Island, South Carolina as part of a series of attacks on Charleston defenses. The Roundheads first major battle action was on June 16, 1862 on James Island where they attacked a confederate battery (Battery Lamar) that was a threat to Union-secured fortifications on the coast. It is here where the Roundheads made a frontal assault on the heavily fortified Battery Lamar known as the Battle of Secessionville. George Maxwell, Norman's brother is reported to have been wounded on James Island. The assault was suicidal in strategy according to the Brigade Commander, Colonel Leasure, but was ordered by higher command. Battery Lamar was situated on a hill on a peninsula-like piece of land between swamps. Attempts at flanking the battery were thwarted because of difficult mobility through the swamp. The Roundheads had no choice but to make a frontal attack. The battle took it's toll on the Roundheads with 13 killed and mortally wounded.

space_40This battle essentially ended the Roundheads service on the south coast and they were off to Virginia in July of 1862. On July 29, 1862 the Roundheads received their first state colors finished by the Horstmann Brothers. It was officially presented to the Roundheads by Brigadier General Isaac. Stevens.

Battle of Second Manassas or Second Bull Run

space_40Their next major Battle was Second Manassas or 2nd Battle of Bull Run on August 29, 1862. Though this battle was another confederate rout over the Union army, the Roundheads fought bravely. It was in this battle that Norman was wounded in the neck. Leasure's brigade which consisted of the 100th Pennsylvania and 46th New York regiments attacked the Confederate defense line on the unfinished railroad. Following this battle the Roundheads were hobbled with 27 members of the regiment killed and mortally wounded. 117 others were wounded. Only in the Battle of Spotsylvania, later in the war did the Roundheads sustain more casualties. The attack made by General Phil Kearny never had a chance of success. It, like many of the federal assaults that afternoon, was made against a strong enemy position and was completely uncoordinated and unsupported. This marked the second time the Roundheads were defeated in a frontal assault. On both occassions, Secessionville and Manassas, only about half of the regiment participated in the attacks. However, Company E fought in both of these battles.

The Battle of Chantilly

space_40The Roundheads fought another major battle in the area immediately after 2nd Manassas with the Battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862. Another seven Roundheads died that day but the Confederates were foiled in a flanking march against Pope's retreating forces. The Roundheads, with General Steven's men, rebuffed Lee and Jackson's efforts to deal the Federal Army a severe blow. Although the Northerners abandoned the field early the next day, their efforts had been successful in stopping the enemy move. By September 3, 1862, the Federal Army of Virginia and the veteran Army of the Potomac had withdrawn in the defenses of Washington, marking the end of Pope's Virginia Campaign. The Roundheads next action was in Maryland when the two great armies clashed in the Battles South Mountain and Antietam September 14, and 17, 1862, only two weeks after their brutal affair at 2nd Manassas and Chantilly.

Battle of South Mountain and Antietam

space_40The Battle of South Mountain was a victory for Orlando Willcox's men. Welsh's Brigade, with the Roundheads, attacked a strong Confederate line at Fox's Gap and were successful in driving the enemy from the field. The assault was made over difficult terrain, requiring an advance over steep uphill country. With the seizure of the South Mountain passes, the Confederates were forced to retreat and concentrate at Sharpsburg. Here Lee was in a poor position and might have been dealt a mortal blow by a determined Union commander rather than George McClellan.

space_40The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 proved to be the single-most bloodiest day in the Civil War. The Roundheads were assigned as skirmishers for Welsh's Brigade, and succeeded in driving the Confederates before them into the outskirts of the village of Sharpsburg. The arrival of A.P. Hill's Confederates forced the withdrawal of the entire Ninth Corps back to the Antietam. It was a close call for Lee, for a further advance by the Ninth Corps into Sharpsburg would have put the Army of Northern Virginia in a serious predicament, endangering it's line of retreat to the Potomac. Because the 100th Pennsylvania regiment was assigned as skirmishers rather than as part of an assaulting brigade, it was fortunately not as severe a battle for them compared to other regiments. Only two men were killed or mortally wounded in this battle.

space_40Forty-two years after the battle though, on September 17, 1904, the little village of Sharpsburg was filled with Pennsylvanians in a dedication ceremony for monuments erected of the 13 Pennsylvania regiments that fought on that battlefield that day. The statue of the Roundheads is called "Challenge", and shows the private soldier shortly after a severe engagement, assigned to picket duty, while his comrades try to secure the much needed rest. In the cool of the night, he hasthrown his cap to the ground and hearing footsteps (whether friend or foe he knows not) he stands at "ready" and challenges those approaching-a moment of tense anxiety met with the courage of the young American volunteer. The statue is bronze and was molded by artist W. Clark Noble. The statue is impressive, 17 feet 4 inches tall and lays in the path where the Roundheads, acting as brigade skirmishers advanced upon Sharpsburg during the afternoon of September 17, 1862. It is the only known monument dedicated solely to the Roundheads and lists the 24 battles and engagements in which the regiment was engaged.

The Battle of Fredericksburg

space_40The Roundheads got much needed rest the Fall of 1862 but were in action again at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. Here they were fighting for the 9th Army Corps under the new commander of the Army of the Potomac, General Ambrose Burnside. Though they occupied a position in the center of the battlefield, they were not involved with the heavy fighting on December 13th. However, if Burnside's poorly planned attack on December 14th had been made, there is little doubt that the regiment would have received a costly setback in it's attack against the Confederate line at the base of Marye's Heights. The Roundheads were in position, that early morning of December 14th, ready to move. Fortunately, the assault was never ordered.

space_40U.S. Archive Military records indicate that he was absent from his company December 1862 through February 1863 to serve in the ambulance corps. There is little doubt that he tended to many of the union soldiers that were slaughtered in the Battle of Fredericksburg. On February 15, 1863 Norman was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. U.S. Archive Military records indicate that he was still absent from muster roll records in March 1863. At this time he was Chief of the Ambulance Corps for the 1st Division of the 9th Army Corps. On April 24, 1863 he was promoted to Captain and was commanding Company E after Captain Bentley resigned. This promotion occurred at Camp Dick Robinson near Milldale, Mississippi.

The Siege on Vicksburg

space_40From April through June of 1863, the Roundheads were on maneuvers through Kentucky. Though they didn't know it at the time they were inching their way toward Mississippi where they were to be a part of the Siege of Vicksburg. Though they were not participants in the great battle of Gettysburg, their involvement in Vicksburg contributed toward a larger strategic victory for the Union army and, coupled with Gettysburg, marked a turning point in the war. The Roundheads and the rest of the 9th Army Corps were positioned north and east of the town in a strongly fortified position awaiting General Joseph E. Johnston's relief attack from the east. Because of their presence, Johnston was unable to advance beyond Big Black River thus insuring Vicksburg's capture.

space_40The remainder of 1863 the Roundheads and the 9th Army Corps were securing other parts of Mississippi and Tennessee for the Union Army which was tightening the vise on the Confederate army's southern operations.

space_40On February 29, 1864, Milton C. Campbell, Norman's wife Elizabeth Adeline Campbell's younger brother was mustered into Norman's Company E of the Roundheads. There is no doubt that Norman's influence got him into Company E. It is evident from Norman's military records that he was recruiting for the regiment in March of 1864 in North Liberty, PA.

Into the Wilderness - The Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, May 1864

space_40In April of 1864 the regiment spent time around Annapolis, MD. Toward the end of April the Roundheads would be marching toward the first of a series of battles in Grant's Virginia campaign of 1864, the Battle of the Wilderness. Fortunately for Captain Maxwell, he stepped in a hole while on marching toward the battlefield on the night of May 5, 1864. U.S. Military Archive pension records gave a detailed picture of what happened that night. The following is a letter written by Dr. Daniel Leasure (the father of the Roundheads) on October 20th, 1884. At this time Dr. Leasure was operating a medical practice in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sir,

space_40In reply to yours of the 10th in relation to the case of Norman J. Maxwell whose application for pension #465.305 is pending, in your office they to state, that on the night of the 5th of May 1864, he was in command of his company (E) on picket duty guarding the fords of the Rappahonack and before starlight my brigade was ordered to march and that it was reported to me by the regimental surgeon that Capt. Maxwell had stepped in a hole or in some way hurt his leg or ankle and asked me what should be done with him as we were evidently about to engage the enemy. I instructed him to put him in one of the ambulances going to General Hospital at Fredericksburg. I think he was sent there. When afterwards I saw his ranking officers killed in battle V(?). Dawson (?), Joe Pentecost Lt. Col. and had a horse I think, I do not remember anything farther concerning the case that is not set forth.

space_40Another pension file affadavit record on December 5, 1882 by a witness William Taylor discussed the event as well:

space_40....that he (William Taylor) was enlisted in the U.S. service in the Company G of the 100th Penn. Volunteers: that he was acquainted with the applicant N. J. Maxwell; that while in the service in 1864he saw him on the morning of May 6 suffering from the result of a fall in the dark during the march of the previous night: He was seriously ill. In the hurried movement of that morning, there was notransportation or means of conveying our sick, and he tried to follow our command, which evidentlyincreased his trouble. His leg was badly sprained and he was injured internally, with pain in the abdomen which had the character of peretonitis. Near Chancellorsville, he could not go further, and with some of the disabled men he was left to get on as best he could. I never expected to see him again. However, he came back to the command before he reached Petersburg although still suffering from the sprain. I have seen him since at various times, and he still complains of the hurt received that night, and the last time I saw him (in October last), he walked with difficulty, his foot and ankle were swollen and congested and in a worse condition than ever before.

space_40And finally, a pension file affadavit record on August 19, 1884 by a witness David M. Lock, another soldier from the Roundheads:

space_40Your affiant further states that he saw the said Maxwell while in command of Co. E Regt. 100 Pa Vol and in the line of his duty when going to the Battle of the Wilderness fall in a rut or hole on or about May 5th A.D. 1864 and by the fall he sprained his right leg midway between the ankle and the knee, and that the said Maxwell was unable to go any farther at that time by reason of the injury received to right leg from said fall.

space_40Seven days later on May 12, 1864 in the Battle of Spotsylvania Norman Maxwell's brother-in-law Milton C. Campbell was killed. His brother George was wounded in the knee in the same battle. For the Roundheads as a regiment, this battle was the most costly with 44 men killed or mortally wounded. Norman was lucky not to have been in this battle for his ancestor's sake. His company E had 12 killed and 23 wounded, a 50 percent loss. This transcripted diary entry from B.F. Junkin mentions the wounding of Norman's brother George, and the death of his brother-in-law Milton.

Thursday, May 12 - Had coffee and started off for the line of battle. Kept up a skirmished fight through the woods during which Joseph was wounded and Paree killed. About 2 o'clock we were ordered to make a charge through the woods, but we were soon on a rifle pit and were forced to fall back with heavy loss to our regiment. Company E lost in wounded and killed 22 during the day.

Killed Paree, Stewart, Hunt, Stewart, Gill, Milton Campbell, W.H. Rodgers,. Wounded Sergeant Mc________ and Ser. Bentley, Maxwell, Corp. Moore, Stevenson, Privates Rounds, Shaner, _____, _____, Book, Barber, two Hannahs, Brown, P. Cook, H. Martin, Tomkin. We fell back a short distance and lay on our arms all night. Had our skirmishes and ordered not to sleep for fear of a surprise. Rained on us all day and night.

space_40This must have been a difficult time for Norman having lost his brother-in-law, almost losing his brother, being injured prior to the battle and not being able to lead his company into the battle which may have prevented some of the heavy losses to his company.

Cold Harbor

In the Roundheads next major battle, Cold Harbor on June 2, 1864, they were furiously assailed during their withdrawal movement on the Shady Grove Road. Under these circumstances a less experienced brigade might have panicked and fled to the rear. The Roundheads, along with their comrades the 21st Massachusetts and 3rd Maryland, turned and fought off their aggressive attackers and eventually withdrew in safety to the assigned positions. In this engagement, the Roundheads once again suffered heavy casualties. This battle marked the end of Grant's Rapidan campaign. The next battles occurred in and around Petersburg in June and July of 1864.

Tragedy at the Petersburg Crater, July 30, 1864

The Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864 was a failure in the Union command's management of the events following the explosion of the mine under the confederate lines. The Roundheads were heavily involved in the attack which resulted in heavy losses. In Gavin's book he discusses an excerpt from an article, "The Mine Explosion", written by Lt. John W. Morrison, Company E that gives an eery glimpse of a feeling that the officers in the Roundheads were uncomfortable with the impending attack on the Crater.

space_40"In the bombproof of Company E, there assembled that night (July 29), Captain Oliver and Lieutenant Hammond of Company B, Lieutenant Montgomery of Company K, Captain Maxwell and Lieutenant Morrison of Company E. The nature of the movement was conjectured and for some minutes freely discussed; then a silence, tense in the extreme broken occasionally by the bursting of a shell prevailed. This was finally broken by one of the group saying he had a presentiment that he would be hit on the morrow, that he had thus far escaped without a serious hurt but felt in mind and body, he would no longer be immune from injury. This led to a personal interchange of thought on the subject of presentiments, each in turn giving his views thereon, coupled with a belief as to his chances in the battle. This belief was to be fulfilled or mercifully shattered ere the close of another day. The result justified the majority of the group in its belief of the subject they had discussed. Of their number, Captain Oliver was killed, Captain Maxwell was slightly wounded. Lieutenants Montgomery and Morrison were the last officers of our Regiment to leave the crater, reaching our lines without serious injury - the latter being struck by a spent musket ball in the leg, within a few feet of our trenches."

space_40This article paints a clear picture of the Roundheads maneuvers in this battle. It is apparent that they were heavily engaged in and around the Crater. Confusion reigned and the regiment was apparently separated into two sections. They were in the thick of the fight from start to finish. Many of the wounded were taken prisoner by the Confederates.

space_40Private Hamilton Dunlap penned this in his diary on August 1, 1864, two days after the battle. "Our Regiment (the Roundheads) lost 66 killed, wounded and prisoners. Company K lost seven. Lieut. Richard Craven was killed, Corporal T. Kelty was wounded and died. W. Johnson was wounded seriously in the arm and side. And Gilfillan was wounded slighlty in the face - that is all of Company K. George Leasure was wounded and taken prisoner. Captain Oliver of Company B was killed. Captain Maxwell was wounded in the foot. That is all I know at present."

space_40The following excerpt from Gavin's book gives an indication that Norman Maxwell was soon going to become an integral part of the leadership of the Roundheads. Captain Joe Pentecost had finally been promoted to Lt. Colonel on October 16 and was regimental commander of the Roundheads while Captain Norman J. Maxwell, Company E, was second in command. Maxwell's promotion to Major was confirmed later in December (December 11, 1864). Norman Maxwell's selection was a wise one, for he had been with the Roundheads since August 1861 and had been promoted Sergeant prior to being commissioned in 1862. The wisdom of this choice would be proven at Ford Stedman the following March.

The Union Retaking of Fort Stedman, March 25, 1865

space_40This significant battle which took place near the end of the war contains more detailed information regarding Colonel Maxwell's involvement than any other in the war. Colonel Maxwell's bravery and heroics in this battle were instrumental in his being brevetted a Brigadier General. Robert E. Lee was in a state of final desperation. Petersburg was virtually surrounded by Union Troops. General Lee saw Fort Stedman as a weak link on the Union front lines to the east of Petersburg and had his General John B. Gordon attack the Fort as a last gasp attempt to loosen the noose around Petersburg. U.S. Grant's troops around Petersburg were soon to join Sherman's troops which had just finished a march of devastation across Georgia. General Joe Johnston was on the retreat from Sherman's march and Lee saw an attack on a weak point of the line as not only an escape route from Grant's noose but also as a way to join up with Johnston's forces and repulse Sherman before Grant could react. Gordon was ordered to organize a select group of Confederates and make a daring nighttime attack (rare during the war) on the Fort scheduled for March 25, 1865.

space_40These excerpts from Gavin's book give a good description of Fort Stedman and the ensuing battles: Fort Stedman was situated on Hare's Hill, two miles from the middle of Petersburg. At this point where the Union entrenchments crossed the Prince George Courthouse Road. Originally Fort Stedman had been part of the Southern defense line captured June 16, by the Second Corps. The fort was named for a Union colonel, Griffin A. Stedman, of Connecticut, who was mortally wounded on August 5, 1864, in heavy fighting here.

space_40Fort Stedman occupied the main eminence on a ridge just west of Harrison's Creek. On it's immediate left was Battery XI, a small redoubt for two artillery pieces. An entrenched line to the left connected it with Battery XII, a square redoubt mounting four Coehorn mortars. On the left of Battery XII on high ground approximately 650 yards from Fort Stedman was Fort Haskell, one of the prime strong points on this sector of the Federal line.

space_40Fort Haskell had six guns plus a number of mortars emplaced within it's walls. Between the opposing lines lay Poor's Creek which had been partially dammed, thus creating a pond in front of Battery XI.

space_40Fort Stedman was projected as a salient toward the enemy lines. It was a comparatively small work without bastions, covering about three-fourths of an acre of ground. In the fort and around it, in rear, was a grove of large shade trees which had not been cut away. Because the fort had not been well constructed, it had been weakened by frosts and storms and the parapets were somewhat lowered by settling during the past six months. Its proximity to the enemy prevented even the slightest attempt at repairs except at night. Any effort at serious maintenance work during daylight hours had proven futile because of the intense enemy fire. Surrounding the fort was a small infantry trench. The front of the work was obstructed by abatis and other minor obstacles. To the right of Stedman was Battery X with four guns. It was close enough to be considered a part of Fort Stedman. About 900 yards to the north was Battery 9. The Confederate line was only 200 yards to the west at Colquitt's Salient. The opposing pickets at one point were only 205 feet apart. One Confederate wrote, " the lines are so close that you can almost see the whites of the Yankees eyes.

space_40The Roundheads were part of the IX Army Corps under Orlando B. Wilcox. They were part of the first division, and held the line around Fort Haskell. When the battle ensued, the Confederates overwhelmed Fort Stedman and surrounding batteries. Fort Haskell became the focal point of battle after Stedman was taken but the Roundheads and other regiments in the 3rd Division held. Colonel Joseph Pentecost who was in command of the Roundheads at the beginning of the battle was mortally wounded in Fort Haskell and Major Maxwell took over command as there were no other senior officers left.

space_40The following report (no. 152) made by Major Maxwell on March 27, 1865 from the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion summarizes the retaking of Fort Stedman: Hdqrs. ONE HUNDREDTH PENNSYLVANIA VET. VOLS.,
March 27, 1865

space_40SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment on the 25th instant:

space_40Immediately upon ascertaining that the enemy were in possession of Fort Stedman, Colonel Pentecost ordered a skirmish line to be thrown from the mortar battery immediately [on] our right (Battery 11) across the field to our (then) right. This line, supported by one company, succeeded for a few minutes in stopping the enemy's advance, but being pressed by a heavy line of battle were compelled to retire. Perceiving that it was useless to attempt to hold our line of works, three companies were ordered to occupy a part of the old works immediately in our rear, and the remainder of the regiment directed to rally in Fort Haskell. While superintending the movement to Fort Haskell Colonel Pentecost was mortally wounded. When the rebels occupied our camp, the part of the regiment in the fort and the detached companies opened fire upon them, and, in common with the other troops, succeeded in driving them out. The line was almost immediately reoccupied, and with the men at my command I pressed on to Fort Stedman.

space_40Color Sergt. Charles Oliver planted his colors on Fort Stedman while it was still occupied by a portion of the enemy. The following is a list of colors captured, with the names of their captors: Colors Fifth Virginia Infantry, captured by Capt. John L. Johnson, Company D; Colors First Virginia Infantry, captured by Private Joseph B. Chambers, Company F; Colors thirty-first Georgia Infantry, captured by Color-Sergt. Charles Oliver, Company M; rebel staff and part of color and national camp color staff, captured by Corpl. M.D. Dewire, Company A.

space_40A large number of prisoners were captured by the regiment, but I have no means of knowing how many. All of the officers and men who came under my notice behaved so well that I cannot mention particular instances of bravery.

Full details of casualties have already been forwarded.

space_40Very Respectfully, your obedient servant,
space_40space_40N. J. Maxwell,
space_40Major, Commanding Regiment
space_40Captain CLARKE,
space_40Acting Assistant Adjutant General

space_40Private J.B. Chambers and Color Sergt. Charles Oliver were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor for their accomplishment. Gavin states in his book that Norman Maxwell was certainly deserving of the medal for the way he organized and lead the retaking of Fort Stedman. Gavin points out that the history books portrayal on the battle are biased in giving most of the credit for the retaking of the fort to Brigadier General John A. Hartranft who commanded the third division. Though Hartranft's men (the entire 3rd Division) did capture three Confederate colors, seven rebel flags were captured by Willcox's men. The Roundheads alone captured four of these. General Orlando Wilcox in his March 29, 1865 General Orders No. 8, mentions the following, ".....To some of your number, officers and men of the Third Maryland and One hundredth Pennsylvania, seems to be justly due the praise of being the first to reenter the captured fort. The flag of the One hundredth Pennsylvania (carried by Charles Oliver) was the first planted on the ramparts (emphasis added).

In Willcox's official report written on April 2nd he says:

space_40"Major Maxwell, One Hundredth Pennsylvania, with the skirmishers of the regiment, under Captains Johnson and Book, and those of the Third Maryland, under Captain Carter, immediately started along the trenches toward Stedman, capturing a large number of prisoners in the bomb-proofs from Battery 12 to Battery 10.

space_40"The first Union colors planted on the recaptured fort were planted there by Sergeant Oliver, One Hundredth Pennsylvania, who captured a stand of rebel colors, at the same point and at the same time with his own hands.

space_40Gavin further discusses that after the last enemy charge was repulsed against Fort Haskell, Major Maxwell concluded it was time to advance after them along the Federal line leading to Fort Stedman. The Major [George M. Randall] of the 14th N.Y. Heavy Artillery, who had become separated from his command, made the remark that he "would go along with Maxwell and his men."

Captain Carter, 3rd Maryland wrote:

space_40"We sent some men to stop the firing, but becoming impatient at the delay, we concluded to advance through the fire, which fortunately did not hit a man. They failed to hit the enemy first as there were few dead and wounded rebels anywhere, except in the camp of the 100th where the only hard fighting took place, and of which, I believe, Captain Book killed at least half a dozen. "Soon after the advance of the 100th Pa., Major Maxwell leading and the 3rd Maryland accompanying... ended with the placing of the colours of the 100th Pa. Upon Fort Stedman, that Regiment moved along the works while the 3rd Maryland passed along toward the gate of the Fort. "Just as were about to enter, I looked to the left and saw Major Maxwell and the colour bearer (Sergeant Charles Oliver) mounting the parapet of the Fort. Not to be left behind, I ran past several of the rebel officers, who ordered me to surrender and mounting a heavy bomb proof, demanded the surrender of the Fort, at the same time pointing to the colours of the 100th Pa, and the men who were crowding over the works. The rebels in great numbers through up their hands, onlya few sought to regain their lines. "The 100th took prisoners of all that remained and captured several stands of colours. This ended the Fort Stedman affair with the Roundheads in possession, and although they did not have a Cromwell to lead them, they had an Oliver' carrying their flag to victory." Captain Carter added that it was fully one half hour after these events before General Hartranft was seen coming up the road to Fort Stedman. He goes on to say that Hartranft was not competent to judge which regiment first entered the fort, because he was not there at that time.

Here is Charles Oliver's account of the recapture of the fort:

space_40".... about this time Major Maxwell came to me and said he was going to recapture Fort Stedman. I laughed at the idea, but told him to go ahead, if he could risk it, I could. I was in the lead with my colors, and I believe was the first blue coat in the Fort. Captain Book was next, and I think will stand by me in this as he stood by my flag all through the fight. "I captured two rebel Colonels, both of Georgia Regiments and two stands of colors. The officers were taken care of by Captain Book and the colors I turned over to General Willcox, for which I received a medal (Congressional Medal of Honor) and a Brevet Captain's commission from the War Department.

space_40James P. Sankey, Company K wrote, " When Charlie Oliver went up to one of the color bearers (rebel) he told him he would relieve him of the flag. The color bearer said, I guess not'. Charlie, who had a gun in his hand at the time said, "The hell you won't!" and coolly picked up the flag."

space_40Gavin closes by saying ... "Fort Stedman was a decisive Confederate defeat. It also was the last battle of the war for the Roundheads. Despite their rather heavy casualties, they had won a substantial victory and closed out their combat record in an excellent manner. Two Congressional Medals of Honor were won, and there should have been at least two or three more, especially for others who captured flags. Major Norman Maxwell was certainly deserving. He had, on his own initiative, organized and led the move to recapture Fort Stedman. He braved mounting the parapet with Sergeant Charlie Oliver.

space_40"Major Maxwell, now in command of the Roundheads, could have justifiably elected to remain in the sector assigned the 100th Pennsylvania after the Confederates withdrew to Fort Stedman. Maxwell did not receive a Medal of Honor, but he did receive a well deserved promotion to colonel which was later followed by advancement to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General. He would return home to Pennsylvania as a general!"

space_40Though minor compared to the Battle of Fort Stedman, the Roundheads would see their final action on March 29th, 1965 at night. A confederate artillery barrage was made on the Union Line but no actual infantry attack was ever made by the Confederates. In Gavin's book, he describes Private Silas Stevenson's account of the event, ".... At 10:30 pm, musketry opened from Stedman and all along the line, caused by an alarm. Fort Morton opened in all directions. Companies B and G were immediately sent into Fort Haskell and Company K was ordered by Colonel Maxwell to cover B's front. The firing continued until 2 am on the 30th."

space_40Major Maxwell filed this report (No. 166) on April 9, 1965 as recorded in the Official Records:

Hdqtrs, 100th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers,
space_40April 9, 1865

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of this command from the 29th ultimo to 9th instant:

space_40Immediately on the opening of the action of the 29th ultimo, two companies, B and G, were sent into Fort Haskell, as per orders from brigade headquarters. On the 1st instant a detail from the regiment was ordered to report to Captain Carter for the purpose of charging the works of the enemy on Cemetery Hill. Four companies, A, F, D, and H, under command of Capt. Charles Wilson, were held in readiness to support the assault of Captain Carter. The regiment was engaged in no other active operations.

space_40Full details of casualties, captures of colors, &c., have already been sent you.
space_40N.J. Maxwell,
space_40Major, Commanding 100th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
space_40Captain CLARKE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

The End of the War

space_40As Gavin mentions, It was about midnight on April 2, 1865 when Southern deserters came into the picket lines of the Roundheads and the 3rd Brigade and reported the Confederate evacuation of Petersburg. The last Confederates hiding in the deserted homes of the wealthy came out and surrendered and the celebration began. On April 3rd, the Roundheads received marching orders and trekked through Petersburg, over Appomattox River, and north along the Richmond Stage and Chesterfield Roads. The brigade halted at Violet Bank, an old Virginia Plantation house, which had long been occupied by General Lee. There were two pianos in the house, and they were put to good use by happy soldiers who conducted several impromtu concerts for the enjoyment of all. Brigade headquarters were established at the Manor House. During the brief stay, details were sent out to roundup any remaining Confederate stragglers in the woods and other hiding places nearby. The Roundheads were along the Southside Railroad at Wilson's Station on the day of the surrender, April 9, 1865, but did not learn of the surrender until April 10, by a dispatch from Grant's headquarters. Following Lincoln's assassination on April 14, the Roundheads and the rest of the 9th Corps were sent to Washington to insure peace and tranquility in the Capitol. On April 18, while camped at the Hobbs House in Virginia, Norman Maxwell was promoted from Major to Colonel.

space_40The final big event during active duty for Colonel Maxwell and his Roundhead regiment was the Grand Review in Washington on May 23, 1865. The Roundheads, 468 strong, participated with the Ninth Corps and was in line of march with their First Division, near the front of the Ninth Corps in the parade. General Napoleon McLaughlen led the brigade, and Colonel Norman J. Maxwell marched at the head of the regiment.

space_40On July 5, 1865, the Roundheads were ordered to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they remained in camp during the mustering our process. The regiment was finally mustered out on July 24, 1865 and the men immediately departed for western Pennsylvania and home!

Post-War Years

space_40Military records from the U.S. Military Archives indicate that on October 9, 1867, Colonel Maxwell was appointed Brigadier General by Brevet for "gallant and meritorious services during the war". The appointment was to date from April 18, 1865, the day he was promoted to Colonel!

space_40The 1909 History of Mercer County's biographical profile on Colonel Norman J. Maxwell records:

space_40"He was mustered out of service with his regiment, July 24, 1865, having served four years. He very naturally found a place among the members of the Grand Army of the Republic, when that organization was perfected. He is also a member of the Loyal Legion, serving some eight years as adjutant and four years as commander of the Soldier's Home at Erie, Pennsylvania. His military career was all in one regiment and all promotions made by reason of true merit. "In 1866 he went to Grove City, where he located and has since resided and has been engaged in mercantile pursuits, continuing the same about twenty years. He is active in Masonry, and is now a Master Mason. In his church relations the Colonel is a member of the Presbyterian church. He was married in 1858 to Elizabeth A. Campbell, who died October 2, 1906. One daughter, Flora E., wife of Charles Welch, of Grove City has been born to the Colonel and wife."

space_40His obituary in the Grove City Newspaper, Tuesday, January 15, 1929 is transcribed below:

Col. N. J. Maxwell, Commander of
Famous Roundhead Regiment, Dies
After Short Illness, at Home Here

Death Claims Well Known Local Man in His 94th Year
Rose from Private to Brigadier-Gen During Civil War

space_40Death summoned Grove City's oldest resident and most highly regarded citizen at 6 a.m. Sunday, when Col. Norman J. Maxwell succombed to a week's illness of influenza at the age of 94 years and ten months. Colonel Maxwell was commander of the famous Roundhead Regiment during the War of the Rebellion, and was for years Grove City's most colorful figure and highly esteemed citizen.

space_40Colonel Maxwell had made his home for the past three years with his daughter, Mrs. G.(typo, should have been C.')H. Welch, on West Main Street. He celebrated his 94th birthday on March 14, 1928 in the best of health. During the past summer and fall months, his rugged constitution weakened under the weight of years, and he was unable to combat the illness with which he was taken one week ago.

space_40He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, the Marion Craig Post, and the Masonic fraternity. He is survived by his daughter, Mrs. C. H. Welch, eight grandchildren (author's grandfather youngest of the grandchildren), and thirteen great grandchildren (author's father the youngest of the great grandchildren). Funeral services were held from the home of his daughter, West Main Street, this afternoon, at 2:00 o'clock, in charge of Rev. C. H. Williamson, D.D. Internment was made in Woodlawn Cemetary.

space_40Col. Norman J. Maxwell was born March 14, 1843 (original typo) on the old Maxwell homestead in Plain Grove Township, Lawrence County, his parents being William and Nancy Maxwell. His boyhood days were spent on the farm in the summer and attending district school in the winter months. When 17 years of age he went to Mercer to learn the wagon and carriage maker's trade living in that place five years, when he located to North Liberty and began business for himself. In 1853 he married Miss E. A. Campbell, daughter of Mr. Benjamin Campbell, of Slippery Rock Township, Butler County. They are the parents of one daughter, Mrs. Flora E., wife of C.H. Welsh (incorrectly spelled in original) of this place.

space_40In the year 1861, he was engaged in the quiet occupation of a carriage wood worker in the village of North Liberty, and was one of the first to volunteer as a member of Capt. Bentley's company, composed mainly of young men of Liberty Township, Mercer Co., and Plain Grove and Scott Townships, Lawrence Co. This company afterwards became Co. E., 100th Regiment, P.V.V., --- the famous Roundhead Regiment of the Ninth Army Corps.

space_40The company soon had their complement of 100 men enlisted and engaged in drill every few weeks until August, 1861, they were mustered into the United States service at Harrisburg, where the company and regimental organizations were effected. The company officers soon discovered the soldierly qualities of Mr. Maxwell, and he was soon promoted to second sergeant of the company.

space_40In the meantime the regiment had gone to the front, and a vacancy occurring in the company's officers, he was elected by his comrades as second lieutenant, February 15, 1862. Promotion to the captaincy in April of the same year, and the young soldier now commanded the company in which he had enlisted as a private.

space_40The hard fought battles of 1864 in which the Roundheads were engaged killed and wounded many of the field officers of the regiment in October. Still further promotions to the Colonel followed in April, 1865, and the young volunteer now a war bronzed veteran, was commander of one of the most famous regiments in the United States service.

space_40For gallant conspicuous services at the Battle of Fort Steadman, April 25, 1865 (incorrect, actually March 25, 1865), he was brevetted a brigadier general, but he preferred to be known simply as the colonel of the Roundheads. The regiment was discharged July 24, 1865, after nearly four years of active service, and the colonel and his soldiers again resumed their peaceful vocations which war had interrupted.

space_40Col. Maxwell removed with his family to Grove City in 1866 and engaged in the mercantile business for a period of 12 years. In 1896, he was appointed as adjutant and commander of the Soldiers and Sailors Home at Erie. He spent 12 years at Erie, 3 years of which he served as commander. On Account of family health he resigned and returned to Grove City where he resided until his death.

May 30, 1996 Memorial Rededication Ceremony

space_40On May 30, 1996, Mr. Tim Bennett, President of the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Re-enactor's Society and member of Mercer County Historical Society organized a memorial rededication ceremony at Woodland Cemetary, in Grove City, PA. The society (with donations) paid for a handsome Vermont granite stone that describes his military accomplishments. As Mr. Bennett put it, most, if not all of Colonel Maxwell's soldiers or peers had passed away before he died in 1929. Because of this, there were not many people left to understand the sacrifices that the Civil War soldier made nor of the heroics Colonel Maxwell made to be honored with the paid rank of "Colonel" and the honorary rank of Brevet Brigadier General! Because of this, Mr. Bennett, the WPCWRS and MCHS purchased this stone and conducted this ceremony so current and future generations of people from Grove City and Mercer County would remember his service. The author was fortunate and honored to speak at the ceremony after Mr. Gavin and on behalf of all of Colonel Maxwell's descendants, many of which attended the ceremony. Following the ceremony, there was a fine reception a the Masonic Hall with a table set up to display many artifacts and heirlooms relating to Colonel Maxwell.

space_40Other information about Colonel Maxwell was gleaned from local newspapers and Mercer County Historical Society at the time of the ceremony. Colonel Maxwell opened up a mercantile business known as "Maxwell and Offut General Merchandise" on Broad Street. The name "Offut"may have been his brother-in-law William Offutt who married Colonel Maxwell's sister Anne Elizabeth. Norman also served two terms as mayor of Grove City, in 1894 and again in 1908.

A note from the author, David L. Welch:

space_40My mother Marilyn Rose (Adcock) Welch and father, W. Laurence Welch have a family photo heirloom of three generations. In the photo taken sometime around maybe 1913 to 1914, Colonel Maxwell is seated at a table looking at a book or some other item. Looking over his shoulder is the author's grandfather George McNees Welch in his youth, probably around 14 or 15 years old and the youngest of Colonel Maxwell's grandchildren. Seated or standing around the table are all of the Charles H. Welch (my great grandfather) family including Flora Maxwell Welch (my great grandmother), the Colonel's daughter, Charles H. Welch her husband, and their children, Harriet Welch Hines, Edgar Welch, Maude Welch Glenn, Edith E. Welch, Homer Welch, Helen Welch Slough, and Norman B. Welch. Also seated is Elizabeth Cunningham Welch, Charles' mother. My father, though he was only 2 - years old when Colonel Maxwell died, says he remembers him as being a tall thin figure with a shock of white hair. As he was 5' 11 - " tall he probably made an impression.

space_40When I was a child, probably 5 or 6 years old, I remember going to visit my grandparents in Oil City, PA and admiring a pegboard in the kitchen with many antique artifacts and trinkets. One of the objects of interest to me were Colonel Maxwell's war medals and belt buckle which were handsomely displayed on a blue velvet-like fabric attached to wood and mounted, If I remember correctly to the pegboard. I have since inherited those medals and was the beginning of my interest in Colonel Maxwell's life and service.

space_40One of the coincidences that made the memorial rededication ceremony and reception special was discovering that Mr. William G. Gavin, the regimental historian, grew up in Oil City, PA where my father grew up. My father graduated from Oil City High School in 1944 while Mr. Gavin graduated from there two years earlier, in 1942. My grandfather George Welch taught history and was the principal at Innis Street Elementary School. As it turns out, Mr. Gavin remembers first getting a taste of history and the Civil War from my grandfather in elementary school!

Heirlooms and Artifacts:

space_40In addition to his Civil War medals and belt buckle, many other heirlooms and artifacts pertaining to Colonel Norman J. Maxwell have survived the test of time and remained in the family. Some of these include original photographs of Norman from the early 1900s, an oval photograph of his wife Elizabeth Campbell taken around the time of the Civil War, a tin-type photograph of his daughter Flora from 1861 when she was two years old, a photograph of his daughter Flora when she was around 12 years old, a Civil War battle sword, an 18th century gavel from the Soldiers and Sailors home in Erie, PA, a 45' star American flag that flew over the Soldiers and Sailor's home, a foldup canvas camp stool from the Civil War, and a small wooden trunk that carried important documents/orders and was attached to a support wagon. The wooden trunk has the lock cut off which as the story goes was accomplished during a battle where the Roundheads had apparently lost ground. When the Roundheads regained ground (as they apparently often did), the trunk was now useless for carrying orders and was saved by Colonel Maxwell as a souvenir.

end graphic

The Colonel Maxwell On-Line Museum
An on-line museum of Col. Maxwell artifacts, heirlooms and historic places,
created by David L. Welch, November, 1997
This biography is based on the book Campaigning with the Roundheads, by William Gilfillan Gavin, published by Morningside books, 1989. It can be ordered from the following address:
http://www.morningsidebooks.com

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