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My Union Ancestor

 

IRA ERASTUS ANGUS

Co. F, 10th Michigan Cavalry

3 x great-grandfather of Tad D. Campbell, PCinC

Ira Erastus Angus was born May 4, 1843 in Tyrone Township, Livingston County, Michigan. He was one of eleven children of Bradley C. and Mary J. (Thayer) Angus. In 1852, when he was eleven years old, the family moved to Caledonia Township, Shiawassee County, Michigan.

He acquired his early education in the district schools of Livingston and Shiawassee Counties and at the age of twelve he went for himself, working on a farm by the month until the year 1863.

At the age of twenty, Ira E. Angus, enlisted in the U. S. Army on August 31, 1863 at Caledonia, Michigan. He was mustered into Company F, 10th Michigan Cavalry as a Private on September 2, 1863 at Grand Rapids, Michigan and was paid a bounty of $25.00. He was described as being five feet, eleven inches tall, light complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. His occupation at enlistment was that of a farmer.

Before being sent south with the Army, Ira E. Angus married Melinda Young at Corunna, Shiawassee County, Michigan on October 6, 1863. She was born August 28, 1847 in Caledonia Township, one of seven children of pioneering parents Thomas R. and Nancy M. (Hart) Young.

The Regiment left its rendezvous December 1, 1863, with orders to proceed to the field in Kentucky via Cincinnati to Lexington, where they remained until January 25, 1864, when they moved to Burnside Point, Kentucky, having engaged the confederates at House Mountain.

The Tenth remained at Burnside Point from February 2-29, when they traveled over the Cumberland Mountains to Knoxville, East Tennessee, thence marched on the March 15th to Strawberry Plains, having met the rebels on the February 26 at Bean's Gap.

On April 24, 1864, the Regiment moved from that point with orders from General Jacob D. Cox, commanding 3rd Division, 23rd Corp, to destroy a railroad bridge over the Wautauga River at Carter's Station. They skirmished with the confederates at Rheatown on the 24th, and at Jonesboro and Johnsonville on the 25th.

They reached Carter's Station on April 25, 1864, together with the 3rd Indiana Cavalry, supported if necessary by Manson's Brigade of Cox's Division, which marched up as far as Jonesboro, twelve miles from Carter's Station. It was discovered that the bridge was defended by General Alfred E. "Mudwall" Jackson with a strong force, occupying a redoubt and extensive and well constructed rifle pits on the south side of the river.

It was soon ascertained that there was no possible way of reaching the bridge without first dislodging the rebels from their strong position, and this had to be accomplished at much risk by passing over perfectly open ground for a distance of 200 yards, swept by a very sharp and hot cross fire from the opposite side of the river. About one third of the cavalry was dismounted and ordered to advance upon the opposite position at the double quick. The rebels gave way in great disorder, leaving their works, and taking shelter in a large mill nearby. As soon as the redoubt was gained, an attempt was made to drive the Confederates from the mill, but the charging force was met with such a terrible and destructive volley, that it was abandoned.

The fight was a brilliant success, though obtained at a loss of seventeen killed and wounded, and must be recognized as an uncommon victory, considering it was gained by dismounted cavalry, new and undisciplined, over a much superior force of well trained infantry, holding strong defensive works, and having, in addition, to meet a most galling cross fire, thus rendering the success uncommon at that stage of the rebellion, and should be classed among the most gallant minor victories of the war.

It was during this charge at Carter's Station that Private Angus received the first of several wounds during his service, a gunshot wound to the upper leg.

The Regiment was engaged at Powder Springs Gap on April 28, 1864, then at Dandridge on May 19th. On the 28th, a reconnaissance was made from Strawberry Plains by one hundred and sixty men of the Regiment. The next day they reached Bull's Gap, and the following day were at Greenville, where at 2:30 P.M., the confederates were encountered, over one hundred strong. A brisk fight ensued, the rebels loosing 24 killed, 14 wounded.

In June they met the southerners in skirmishes at Morristown on the 2nd, at Bean's Station on the 16th, Rodgersville on the 17th, Kingsport on the 18th, Cany Branch on the 20th, New Market on the 21st, Moseburg on the 23rd, William's Ford on the 25th, and then at Dutch Bottom on the 28th.

During the month of July and the early part of August, detachments of the Regiment were constantly engaged in scouting and pursuing small bands of rebels in East Tennessee, meeting them at Sevierville July 5th, Newport July 8th, Morristown August 5th, and at Greenville on the 4th.

On August 17, 1864, the Tenth was ordered to report for temporary duty to Brigadier General Gilliam, commanding the East Tennessee Expedition. Three companies, including Angus' Company F, were left at Knoxville.

On August 23, 1864, Private Angus was among seventy-two men sent out from Knoxville with Major Israel Smith, to scout in the direction of Strawberry Plains and ascertain the position of the Confederates. Smith ordered his advance guard to charge the first group of rebels they might encounter. They discovered a force about two miles from Flat Creek Bridge, Tennessee, where according to orders, they charged them in gallant style. Smith followed up with his command. The rebels proved to be the 8th Texas Cavalry, 400 strong. The Union men routed the rebels completely, capturing their commanding officer and forty others, and hotly pursuing them until they came to the Flat Creek Bridge, a long, high and narrow bridge. They continued the pursuit over the bridge where they found themselves confronted by Gen. William Hume's Division of cavalry, 2000 strong, scarcely 300 yards from the bridge, and drawn up in line of battle. Smith and his men managed to effect and escape, though the rebels chased them for seven miles. During this incident, Ira E. Angus was wounded by a rifle ball through the right wrist and a saber cut to the head.

Ira E. Angus was promoted from Private to Farrier on October 1, 1864.

Early in 1865, Angus suffered with intermittent fever for three days (January 3-6), but was soon returned to full duty.

On March 16, 1865, Ira E. Angus was again wounded in the line of duty, this time by one of the soldiers in his own company. While in camp at Knoxville, Tennessee, Private Willard S. Hathorn accidentally shot Angus with a Spencer rifle. The ball entered his left arm between the elbow and shoulder, passed through the arm, entered the left side of his body, passed through the upper lobe of his left lung, and then exited near his backbone.

Angus was treated at the U.S. General Hospital at Knoxville. As one can imagine, this last wound was quite severe and rendered him unfit for further military duty. He was finally discharged due to disability on October 3, 1865 from Harper U.S. General Hospital at Detroit, Michigan.

After returning to Caledonia Township, Ira E. Angus bought 40 acres of wild land and cut the first trees in order to make room for a house. He added 140 acres to the farm and then deeded the land to his children, with the exception of 80 acres which he retained for himself.

In poilitics Mr. Angus was a Republican and was a member of the Henry F. Wallace Post No. 160, G.A.R. at Corunna, Michigan. He and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church and became the parents of Tryphena (Angus) Foster and Cora (Angus) Sherrard. A third daughter, Golden Lee Angus, died in infancy.

Ira E. Angus received a government pension for the permanent disabilities he incurred while serving his country. He died on February 11, 1909 at the age of 65 and was buried at Pine Tree Cemetery, Corunna, Michigan.

His widow, Melinda (Young) Angus, survived her husband for over fifeteen years, passing away on July 27, 1924. She was laid to rest in Pine Tree Cemetery beside her husband of forty-five years.

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