Richard Ault, Blacksmith for the Berrien Minute Men

Richard H. Ault born in New York in 1820.  He came  to Lowndes County, GA some time before 1860 to make his home in the 1200 Georgia Militia District. In the 1860 census, R. H. Ault was single, living in the household of William Bradford and  taking his mail at the Troupville post office. His  trade was blacksmith.

With the onset of the Civil War, Richard H. Ault enlisted with Levi J. Knight’s company of Berrien Minute Men on August 1, 1861 at Savannah, GA.  The Berrien Minute Men had arrived in Savannah on July 30, 1861 as a company of the 13th Georgia Regiment.

About this time, the 29th Georgia Regiment was stationed at Lawton Battery on Smith’s Island, with the Savannah River Batteries, Col. Edward. C. Anderson, commanding.  With the reorganization of the 13th Regiment, the Berrien Minute Men were assigned to the 29th. This company was designated at various times as Capt. Knight’s Company, Capt. Wylly’s Company, (Old) Company C, and (New) Company G, 29th Regiment Georgia Infantry.

Battery Lawton was said to be armed with “one thirty-two pounder rifle gun,one forty-two-pounder smooth-bore, two eight-inch, and two ten-inch columbiads” which, along with the guns at Battery Cheves, and Battery Lee, thoroughly commanded the river.

Military records notate that Richard H. Ault was discharged by civil authority at Savannah on August 19, 1862, but on September 7 he was recalled by order of the Adjutant General.

In October, it appears there was a request that Pvt. Ault be detailed first to the Washington Artillery, SC, and second to Macon Arsenal.  The Rebel Archives in the Record Division of the War Department show that Col. E. C. Anderson, commander of  at Savannah requested that the detail of R. H. Ault be reconsidered.  At Battery Lawton, Company C had only three blacksmiths, Thomas J. Palin, Samuel Palin and Richard H. Ault.   The two Palin men had already been pulled from the Berrien Minute Men and detailed as blacksmiths for other units. The relationship between these two men is not known; both men deserted Confederate service in 1864,  swore allegiance to the United States and were released north of the Ohio River.  Thomas J. Palin was a Canadian who came to Berrien County before the War. In the 1860 census T. J. Palin was  a fellow boarder along with Levi J. Knight, Jr.  (nephew of Captain Levi J. Knight) in  the household of William Y. Hill.  In 1861, Hill was Ensign in Captain L. J. Knight’s company of Berrien Minute Men.

On October 17, 1863 Col. E. C. Anderson wrote to the Assistant Adjutant General, Captain William W. Gordon

Letter dated October 17, 1863 protesting reassignment of Private R. H. Ault to work at the Macon Arsenal.

Letter dated October 17, 1863 protesting reassignment of Private R. H. Ault to work at the Macon Arsenal.

Savannah River Batteries  Oct 17, 1863

Capt W W Gordon
A. A. G.

Captain
 The enclosed papers were handed me by Capt Carroll  having been received by him under cover direct from Charleston.

  I would respectfully represent that private R H Ault is the only Blacksmith left me in the Company, private T Palin having already been detailed to Lt Col Cuyler at Macon and more recently private Saml Palin transferred to the Engineer troops here.  Capt Carrolls Company is posted on Smith’s Island, Lawton Battery.  There is a constant use for a Blacksmith at this post & I respectfully ask that private Ault may not be taken from me.

Very Respectfully
Yours
Edward Anderson
Col. Cmdy

October 10, 1863 detailing Private Ault to work at the Macon Arsenal.

October 10, 1863 detailing Private Ault to work at the Macon Arsenal.

Head Quarters
Department of South Carolina, Ga. & Fla.
Charleston, S.C.   Oct. 10th  1863

Special Orders,
No. 206

I.  The following named men are detailed to report as follows:

Pvt A. H. Ault Co “G” 29th Ga. Vols until 31st Dec. prox. without pay or allowances to report to Lt. Col. R. M. Cuyler, Macon Arsenal.

By command of General Beauregard

Related Posts:

 

Levi J. Knight and the Confederate Payroll Fraud

As previous posts have noted, family historians of Berrien County, GA have struggled with the confusion of the two Confederate officers named Levi J. Knight. Apparently, even during the war, the Confederate States Army suffered the same confusion.

In July 1861, Captain Levi J. Knight, early pioneer of Ray City and Berrien County, called for 100 volunteers to go with him to the fight for the Confederacy. These men were mustered into Confederate service during the summer of 1861 at Big Shanty, Georgia and joined the 29th Georgia Volunteer Infantry as the Berrien Minute Men.  This company traveled to Savannah where they trained and served near the Georgia coast. Levi J. Knight became Captain. Later,  while stationed with “companies at Advanced Batteries, Savannah River, GA, commanded by Lieut. Col. Edward C. Anderson, C. S. Artillery,” he was promoted to Major of the 29th Regiment.

Knight, at 58 years of age and suffering from asthma, did not serve through the war. On May 14th, 1862 he retired from service and returned to his home.

Three months after L. J. Knight’s separation from the Confederate States Army, questions arose about pay he had received while serving as Captain of  Company A, 29th Georgia Regiment.    The  Quartermaster General, A.C. Myers, reported the matter on August 12, 1862.

               Quarterms Genl’s Office
                               August 12th 1862

Gen’l
As required by pas.
1086 Army Regulations I have
to report to you that Capt.
Levi J. Knight, Co. “A”, 29th
Reg. Geo. Vols., has twice drawn
pay from Maj. L. J. Smith,
Qtr Msr., for the month of
October 1861. He was first
paid Oct. 31. & again Nov.
25th 1861

                 Very Respectfully
                          Yr Obd Servt
                            A. C. Myers
                           Qr Msr Genl

Gen’l L. Cooper
       Adj’s & Inspt Genl
               C. S. Army

1862 letter from the Adjutant General's Office alledging that Levi J. Knight defrauded the government of the Confederate States of America by drawing pay twice for the same month.

1862 letter from the Adjutant General’s Office alleging that Levi J. Knight defrauded the government of the Confederate States of America by drawing pay twice for the same month.

On August 14, 1862, Jasper S. Whiting, Major & assistant Adjutant General,  ” Respectfully referred [the matter] to Maj Genl E.K.Smith Mercer,  Savannah Geo., Commanding , who will call the attention of Capt Knight, Co “A” 29th Regt Geo Vols & ask for explanation. By command of the Secy of War.”

At the Savannah Headquarters of  Brigadier General Mercer, responsibility for the investigation was overseen by Captain George A. Mercer, Assistant Adjutant General.  Captain Mercer  further delegated responsibility for the investigation to Colonel Edward C. Anderson, 29th Georgia Regiment.

Hd Qrs Dist. Geo
Savannah, Aug 27th, 1862

Respectfully referred to Col Anderson
who will investigate and report upon the
charge against Capt Knight
       By order Brig. Genl Mercer
          Geo. A. Mercer
                         AAG

Apparently, Colonel Anderson was familiar with the case and was able to make a quick response to Captain Mercer.

Savannah 27th Augst 1862

Captain Geo A Mercer
Adj Genls Office

Captain I have made
inquiry concerning the matter referred to me in
the communication of Augst 12th from Quarter Master
Genls Office. Captain Levi J. Knight Commandg
Company G. 29th Regt Ga Vols at present serving
with me, was elected to his present position
on the reorganization  in May & at the time
specified viz October 1861,  was not a Captain. 
Company C 29th Regt was first commanded by an 
officer of the same name – Capt Levi J Knight
(afterwards Major) then by Capt Wylly & now
L.J. Knight Jr – the nephew of the former Capt
Knight.
    I learn that Majr L. J. Knight made
two companies, called the Berrien Minute Men,
lettered respectively A & B. These companies
were commanded by Capt Knight Senr.  Last fall,
on the reorganization of the Regt in May, Majr
Knight retired from the service & is now
in Civil Life.  I have no doubt the error
must have occurred unwittingly as he
bears the character of an honest old man.
Connetion with him was brief & entirely official
in its character.  He commanded the outpost
companies at MacKays Point.

                                     Very Respectfully
                                               Yoobst
                                    Edwd C. Anderson
                                          Col Comdg

Colonel Edward C. Anderson letter of August 27, 1862 explaining confusion over the two officers of the Berrien Minute Men named Levi J. Knight.

Colonel Edward C. Anderson letter of August 27, 1862 explaining confusion over the two officers of the Berrien Minute Men named Levi J. Knight.

Colonel Edward C. Anderson letter of August 27, 1862 concerning Levi J. Knight and the Berrien Minute Men, Page 2

Colonel Edward C. Anderson letter of August 27, 1862 concerning Levi J. Knight and the Berrien Minute Men, Page 2

 Subsequently, Capt George A. Mercer wrote a letter “informing Levi J. Knight  that he will forward any papers to Richmond in reference to his case.”

Confederate States of America
Head Quarters Military District of Georgia
Savannah, Aug 28th, 1862

L.J. Knight Esq
      Dear Sir
             I am directed by Genl. Mercer
to call your attention to the enclosed papers and
to request that you will return them to this office.
Genl. Mercer will of course report to the War
Department that you are no longer in the service
and therefore not subject to his control : he will
however gladly forward any explanation you may de-
sire to make to the Authorities at Richmond.

I am Sir Very Respy
Your Obdt Servt
Geo. A. Mercer
AAG

Captain George A. Mercer letter of August 28, 1862 to Levi J. Knight offering him the opportunity to respond to allegations that he drew double pay while serving as Captain of the Berrien Minute Men.

Captain George A. Mercer letter of August 28, 1862 to Levi J. Knight offering him the opportunity to respond to allegations that he drew double pay while serving as Captain of the Berrien Minute Men.

    On September 6, 1862 Levi J. Knight wrote a response to Captain Mercer indicating that he never drew double pay and that the error must be in the bookkeeping of the Quartermaster Generals Office.

                          Lowndes County Sept 6th 1862

Capt Geo A Mercer
Agt Genl Officer

                                                    Captain yours dated 27th
concerning charges from Richmond that I had drawn
pay twice as captain for the month of October 1861
has been read and is now before me.  I cannot see how
any error can have taken place except it should be in
the dates.  I was mustered in as Captain the 1st of August
1861 and drew my pay as such from Maj Smith for
the months of August September and October 1861 at
three different times. I afterward drew as captain for
six days for the month of November  – and for the ballance
of that month as Major and drew my pay as Major
up to the 30th of April at the reorganization.  I retired the
14th of May last and am now at my residence in Lowndes
county.  I know I drew only for three months and six
days.  Two of the requisitions may have been dated October
and none for September. This I know that I drew only
what was due me as Captain for the time I served as
such.

                                                        Very Respectfully Yours
                                                         Levi J. Knight

Levi J. Knight letter of September 9, 1862 to Captain George A. Mercer.

Levi J. Knight letter of September 9, 1862 to Captain George A. Mercer.