G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
2nd WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Organized: 12/3/61-3/12/62 Camp Washburn, Milwaukee, WI
Mustered Out: 11/15/65 Austin, TX
The 2nd, a 3-year “western theater” unit left the state for Missouri on 3/24/62. Two battalions were subsequently sent to Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi while a third remained stationed in Missouri. In 6/64 the three battalions were reunited at Vicksburg, MS where they remained on picket duty until 11/6/64 when they joined a raid into Arkansas destroying bridges, railroad tracks, cotton and supplies. During this movement a detachment of 240 men engaged a considerable force of the enemy near Yazoo City.
The unit was next ordered to Memphis in Dec. ’64. An expedition into Mississippi under Gen. Grierson was to follow. This raid featured a severe action at Egypt Station during which the enemy was defeated and 500 captured rebels were placed in charge of the 2nd.
Two similar, less eventful excursions followed. In May, 1865 a detachment of 330 was sent to Grenada, MS for garrison duty. They remained there until 6/24 when they rejoined the regiment at Alexandria, LA. The 2nd’s last march was to Hemstead, TX where it remained encamped until moving to Austin and final muster.
Residence: Eau Claire, WI Age: 19.1 yrs.
Enrolled: 10/20/61 Eau Claire, WI Rank: Pvt.
Discharged: 10/12/65 Washington D.C.
Highest Rank: Pvt. (Bugler)
John W. Riddall was born 8/26/42 in Winsor County, Vermont. No details are available on his birth family or formative years. Military documents are unclear whether the 5’5” Private entered the military as a bugler or attained this position during his two periods of service. However, these same documents are clear that Riddall, like most Civil War veterans, suffered service-related privations that would physically haunt him the rest of his life.
In this vein it was noted that about 7/1/64 while engaged in a battle charge John was thrown against the pommel of his horses’ saddle thereby injuring his right testicle. The horse then fell and rolled on him injuring his back. After the fall a comrade recalled rolling Riddall onto a blanket and taking him to a hospital. About 9/1 of the same year private Riddall claimed to have contracted rheumatism while sleeping on damp ground near Memphis, TN.
The government okayed the rheumatism claim, but despite years of petitioning, would not accept the testicle/back injury because no medical records could be found documenting the alleged injuries.
Aside from these medical difficulties the only other military incident of significance for Private Riddall was his being listed “deserted 10/12/65 Hemstead, TX.” An Act of Congress later granted Riddall an honorable discharge and the ability to collect a disability pension. In 1865 John Riddall returned to Eau Claire County, WI. He would reside there for the next 20 years.
During this period, on 5/12/69 he married Annie Munce Scott. The couple would produce four children: James Seyman (4/4/70), Rhoda May (6/10/71), John Scott (1/4/73), and Agnes Munce (4/28/77). Annie died 4/40/77, likely from complications stemming from the birth of Agnes. 1879 found John remarrying to Jane White in St. Paul, MN. The union would bear one child: Edna May (8/18/80). How long the marriage lasted is not known, but an 1898 notation by Riddall read “parted long ago with my second wife.” In this vein, documents are silent on who ultimately raised Riddall children from the first marriage.
John remained in Wisconsin until 1896. He worked as a farmer, teamster, lumberman and laborer. He then moved westward to Washington settling first in the eastern communities of Dyer, and Bridgeport and, finally, in the Puget Sound community of Edmonds. By the time he arrived in this area time, and perhaps his lifestyle, were beginning to take their toll. A 1905 medical report mentioned “senile debility,” while one in 1906 noted he was “weak and debilitated” and “appears much older then he really is.” Union veteran John Riddall died 2/20/10 at the age of 67 years and four months. At his death he was receiving a $12 monthly pension.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
Bob & Pam Free
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