I am interested in finding out more about The Thomas Donaldson family and also the Middleton family. The Donaldson and Black family were from Scotland and the James Middleton was from England.
On the 21st of December 1859, Agnes Lethgow Black, the daughter of James
and Jeanett Black was married in Lisbon, Waukesha, Wisconsin to Thomas
Donaldson, the son of Alexander and Isabella or Elizabeth Donaldson. . Thomas was born also in Scotland in about 1831. In November of
1860 they had a son named James A. and in October of 1861 they had another
son named William L Donaldson. I have a picture of William Donaldson and what is interesting is that his left arm or hand is missing! I don't know why or what happened.
Any way, at this time in history, the Civil War is going on and Thomas
Donaldson for some reason joined the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment,
Company G, "The Hodgson Guards". The Twenty-eighth Regiment was recruited
during the summer of 1862 in Waukesha and Walworth Counties, Wisconsin, and
was organized at Camp Washburn, Milwaukee, under the command of Colonel
James M. Lewis of Oconomowoc. Ten companies of a bit less than 100 men each
had responded to President Lincoln's second call for volunteers. Six
companies were recruited from Waukesha County and four raised in nearby
The 28th Regiment was mustered into United States service on 13 October
1862. They spent the next nine weeks training at Camp Washburn, near
Milwaukee, before boarding railcars and heading south on December 20, 1862.
Yazoo Pass Expedition
A Failed Attack on Fort Pemberton
24 February - 5 April 1863
The Yazoo Pass Expedition occured in Mississippi during February and March
1863, as part of an effort by General Grant to capture Vicksburg. The plan
was for a joint Army-Navy force to go through the Yazoo Pass, about 300
miles north of Vicksburg, and proceed via the Coldwater, Tallahatchie, and
Yazoo Rivers to reach high ground east of Vicksburg. The Navy provided two
iron-clads, six tin-clads, and two rams, which were joined by a division of
4,000 men under the command of General L.F. Ross.
Following is a letter that is written by a fellow soldier a Private on the
Yazoo Expedition and was published in the Waukesha paper in 1863:
The Waukesha Freeman
April 12, 1863
Headquarters, 28th Regiment Wis. Vol.
On board steamer St. Louis,
Yazoo Pass, Miss., April 7, 1863
I find myself delaying to write to you, for the reason that every day finds
me a few miles nearer home. - We evacuated our position before Greenwood on
Sunday, April 4th. - The troops were composed of Generals Quinby's and
Salomon's Brigades, - We are now within about 46 miles of Helena, Ark.
Thomas Donaldson, died last night. He has had Typhoid Fever, but we thought
he was getting well fast, he being out walking around during the day; along
towards night he came in taking his bunk as usual in a state room, on a
mattress lying on the floor; the Doctor was in about five minutes before he
died, and asked him how he was; he said he felt better than he had for
several days; in a few minutes he was dead. As a Sergeant in Co. G., he was
esteemed by all as an honorable man, and a true soldier, always working for
the good of the Company of which he was a member. The Company feels his loss
as no other Company could feel it.
James Malloy, has Typhoid Fever and is not expected to live. - John Smith
for whose welfare I have written this letter has for almost a month been
under the weather - he now has a cough, and if it is not helped may prove
Although thus far I have enjoyed good health, my enjoyment is marred by
seeing my fellow soldiers drop away and die far from home, when I can do
them no good, only by doing them some little act of kindness such as I am
doing at the present time.
People at home, you know nothing of war, I tell you truly, when I say I
would rather fight the rebels day in and day out, and see our men look
cheerful, robust and hearty, than to see them look the way they are -
disheartened and sick. I can stand to see a wound from a rebel better than
to see men die with no one to say a kind word to them, from home. I wish I
were home again with some men's wealth, I would not stay there, but would
come to the rescue of the disheartened and sick soldier, and spend my money
to the last farthing to relieving their wants.
From the references to Co. G (Sgt. Donaldson was a member of Co. G and died
April 6 onboard the St. Louis; Malloy and Smith were also Co. G members),
the writer was probably James B. Brown, a Co. G musician who died June 9,
1863 at Helena, Ark.
Information transcribed from the Waukesha Freeman newspaper of 21 April 1863
and generously shared by Bruce Laine.
Notice that Thomas Donaldson died on the Steamer April 6, 1863. I am not
sure where he is buried. But this is the husband of Agnes L Black..
Agnes went on to marry a James Middleton and they lived in Brookfield,
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1870, till I find them in 1900 in Pagosa Springs,
Colorado. Agnes dies in 1907 and is buried in a Fort Collins Cemetery. I
have not found out where James Middleton is yet. Also James and Agnes had
two boys - John and Robert Middleton. They were born in the early 1870's.
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