G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett, WA
6th NEW YORK VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 5/25/61 Tompkinsville, NY
Mustered In: 4/25 and 5/25/61
Mustered Out: 6/25/63 New York, New York
1st LOUISIANA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Organized: 8/1/62 New Orleans, LA
Mustered Out: 12/18/65
REGIMNTAL HISTORY (6th)
A two year regiment recruited within New York City, the 6th- also known as Wilson’s Zouaves- was to spend its entire period of active service in the southern gulf coast states of Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama. On 6/15/61, the unit departed New York City aboard the steamer Vanderbilt.
Arriving in Florida it encamped on Santa Rosa, Is. near Ft. Pickins. Co. A, B, and C were then stationed at Key West and Tortugas while G and I settled near batteries Lincoln and Cameron. In October, those companies remaining on Santa Rosa, Is. were attacked and fell back to battery Totten.
The end of 1861 and early ’62 saw the 6th take part in the attack on Pensacola. When, in May, that city fell, the regiment was quartered there. Late ’62 saw movement of the unit to New Orleans, LA, then to Baton Rouge. March, 1863 found the 6th ordered to Brashear City.
Actions at Irish Bend and Vermilion Bayou preceded traveling northward to Alexandria, VA and Washington, D.C. for final muster.
Original strength: 770, Losses: 14 killed or died of wounds, 32 from other causes.
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (1st)
No concise history has been found for this three year Federal cavalry unit. Obviously formed to strengthen Union control in occupied areas of Louisiana, the regiment was also extremely active in expanding U.S. control throughout the “deep south.”
While its list of engagements is long and impressive, names on that list are likely, with few exceptions, (Port Hudson, the Red River Expedition and Mobile) unfamiliar to all but the most dedicated scholars of America’s War of the Rebellion. No numbers are available pertaining to regimental strength and losses.
Residence: Inf. Not Avail. Age: 31 yrs. (est.)
Enlisted/Enrolled: 4/25/61 New York, NY Rank: Pvt.
Highest Rank: Cpl.
Residence: Inf. Not Avail. Age: 33 yrs. (est.)
Enlisted./Enrolled: 6/11/63 Rank: Pvt.
Discharged: 11/13/65 Austin, TX
Highest Rank: 1st Sgt.
As of this writing the only available information regarding Thomas Walsh’s birth family is that his father’s name was Martin and he (Thomas) was born in Ireland circa 1830. Also, there is no available data pertaining to his childhood, formative teenage years or the decade of his twenties. Finally, it is not known when and with whom Thomas came to America.
With U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 call for the arming of volunteer soldiers to put down rebellious southern secessionists, although older than the average 26 year old soldier, Mr. Walsh answered his adopted country’s call to arms and joined the U.S. Army.
His first term in the military was fairly benign as the only noted incident of harm to his person was in mid 1863 when he was treated for acute diarrhea. This brief medical history is somewhat surprising as his entire enlistment with the 6th NY was served in the deep, coastal south, an area whose climate often proved medically fatal to troops from the cooler, dryer north.
Also of note, during the same month as the diarrhea was Corporal Walsh’s desertion from his unit. The incident, however, must not have been taken too seriously because a few days/weeks later when his enlistment expired, he was granted an honorable discharge.
After being discharged from the infantry, Mr. Walsh reenlisted in the cavalry. This is significant for two reasons. Firstly, he must have taken a liking to the Deep South because this was where the 1st LA Cavalry was to spend its entire existence, secondly, Mr. Walsh must not have been married nor had a family to visit as his reenlistment occurred one day following his discharge from the infantry.
It appears Walsh reenlisted as a private, but by 9/22/63 had risen to the rank of sergeant. Although later a 1st sergeant, he exited the cavalry with the rank of sergeant. Perhaps lowered rank was due to his being unable to fulfill the duties of 1st sergeant because of wounds.
Military service records, although somewhat unclear, point to him as being wounded on three occasions while in the cavalry. The first, on 4/7/64, was a back or shoulder wound received at Pleasant Hill, LA. Again, from 1/23 through 2/3/65 he was treated for a gunshot wound to the right side. Finally, from late February and into mid-March, 1865, Sergeant Walsh was treated for a wound to his left side.
After each wounding he was able to return to duty and thereby complete his period of enlistment. In later years he petitioned the U.S. Government for a disability pension claiming loss of use of his left arm as a result of the wounding received at Wilson’s/ Pleasant Hill. The request was granted as, at his death, the old soldier was receiving a $12 per month government stipend.
As a final note on trooper Walsh’s service, one source indicates that while in the 1st, he transferred from co. “H” to co. “I.” However, U.S. Government records make no mention of such a transfer. From 11/13/65 when he was mustered out of Federal service with is unit, until 1/22/90 when, as a resident of American Falls, Idaho, he applied for a government disability pension, nothing is known about Mr. Walsh’s life.
The next he was heard from was on 1/15/00 when he died in Everett, WA. Cause of death for the 70 year old former infantryman/cavalry trooper was listed as pneumonia. When and why he came to the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest is not known. Again it appears likely Mr. Walsh was single and without a family as his final pension check was returned to the U.S. Government with the notation “unclaimed.”
Buried at Evergreen Cemetery
Site: GAR section 6
Leah R. Tyson
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