Last week's Sergeant Charles A MacGillivary story and today's about Sgt, and later First Sergeant Edward Edwin Dodds needed further coverage since each continues to develop. EE Dodds' as you will see today.
But before I get to that I want to share the incredible excitement I get, the pride and profound joy, in learning more and more about these heroes. And today's, like so many others over the years, is because these efforts are not only appreciated by others, but in many cases because they can bring to my attention further details about these men, now long gone. Details that should be shared, widely circulated and preserved for future generations so that they too can learn more about their ancestors and fellow countrymen from decades and centuries past.
More info is expected to arrive about the Fort Myers dedication of a government facility renamed in honour of PEI's Sgt MacGillivary, a Medal of Honor recipient for bravery during the Battle of the Bulge. It will be shared when received.
Much of today's story comes in part because of the interest and generosity of two of my fellow countrymen. But as promised I cannot tell you who they are or where they are from. But guys, you know who you are, and I am deeply grateful for your assistance.
Back in 2013 I wrote a story in this space about Edward Edwin Dodds, thought by many to have been born in Ontario, but actually came from England. His name has popped up in other blogs as well and can be found by using the search located at upper right of this page.
Ed, (short for Edwin not Edward, as the latest materials show) was born in England, to parents possibly born in Kentucky. At a very early age his parents brought the family back to the US. But soon the US Civil War started, and sentiment was not very good for the "British."
After his father and others in the family received serious threats of injury, the family was relocated, possibly to the Hamilton area but soon thereafter to Port Hope Ontario were Ed was put into the school system.
By his mid teens Ed had ran away from home, and crossed back into the US. At age 16 and possibly working as a clerk, he claimed being 18 and signed up with the 21st NY Cavalry at Rochester NY. There are various enlistments dates in the file in July/August 1863. He being at the front and bravely while engaged with the unit at every skirmish and battle it engaged in during the winter/spring of 63/64, and oft noted in his files.
And then came Ashby's Gap on 19 July 1864!
Between Maryland and West Virginia there are two main mountain ranges, the Blue Mountain and Bull Run Mountains. Between the two lay the several hundred mile long Shenandoah Valley. To traverse the Blue Mountain Range there are several dips..or gaps... that allow passage across the mountains. One of these is Ashby's Gap, named after a one time large land owner in the area.
During the Civil War there were about 30 battles in the highly contested area. It being about only 90 Km from the nation's capital at DC. Over 30,000 would be killed, wounded or went missing as the area passed repeatedly between the North and Southern armies.
It would be here that, as noted in an earlier blog, he would save his company commander's life. When about 300 of the unit went into battle, one third would be soon lost or missing. Many, including his regiment's colonel and company commander were wounded.
Few including the above two made it across the Shenandoah River in a very heated exchange of gunfire. With bullets flying all around and death at his doorstep Sgt Dodds (shown above in later years) got off his wounded horse in the midst of battle to rescue his wounded Captain, who lay pinned beneath the horse after it was shot out from under him. Dodds managed to pull the officer free, put him onto his own horse, jump up as well and ride off still under constant fire and the enemy closing in on them both. He managed to get back to the river, but by then the enemy had encircled him causing him to immediately have to swerve off to the left and gallop along the river bed for another place to ford the river. Successfully getting back to friendly lines at the gap, he no doubt saved the officer from certain capture... or death. Some say he was instantly promoted to Sgt. Others say it was to First Sergeant. I think the later.
Just over a month later, and about 20 miles to the North West, Sgt/First Sergeant Ed Dodds would be in yet another battle that almost cost him his life. In a fierce battle with Southern troops near Winchester Virginia on 21 August Ed was wounded three times. Twice in the face that blew off part of his chin and face all the way back to a portion of his right ear. A third in the ball of the shoulder would see Dodds placed on a horse and sent for a three mile ride to seek help at a field hospital. Then came a 6 week stay under medical care and the removal of his right arm.
While most would then seek a release, not so for Ed, who continued into many more battles with his regiment before finally taking a release at war's end but not before his participating on the famous DC parades and the Grand review to end the conflict between the North and South.
After the war Ed lived in the Rochester area, studied law and also worked as a newspaper man and in publishing. Soon he would return to the Peterborough area and then Port Hope where he served as town clerk for many years.
In the 1880's Ed also was in charge of issuing marriage and dog licenses and even in the publishing business with a brother.
At the top of the page the dental add announces REMOVAL, not of teeth, but offices to Queen Street in Port Hope near the Bank of Toronto, now the TD Canada Trust. The American Hotel advertises GOOD ROOMS and to boot, EXCELLENT STABLING Obviously before the days of electric cars... hehe.
At the bottom is yet another add for the brothers at page 170.
The letter was written to President Benjamin Harrison, and within this over 50 men came forth to note the incredible accomplishments and respect held by so man for Ed Dodds. They asked that the "REBEL" now occupying the post of Consular Agent at Port Hope and Peterborough Ontario be replaced by Mr Dodds.
Their efforts were well rewarded. Ed became the agent and served from around 1893 till probably 1897. It is unknown so far just what the above item is, but clearly it appears to identify Ed as being the Consular agent at Peterborogh, despite the spelling.
In 1892 Ed decided to apply for a Medal of Honor for his actions during the Civil War. Many qualified, and some less qualified, did the same for decades following the end of the war. Often they were men who's superiors for unknown reasons failed to initially nominate them for this most prestigious token of their services to the country.
Soon his application was accompanying by letters from men within the ranks and also commissioned officers including his own Lieutenant, the very Captain who's life he saved and also his regimental commander. It was his Lt. Tom Collins who bring us the title of this very blog.
Note the damaged left wing. Note also the ribbon. In 1896 a new model of ribbon was introduced and therefore it appears that this old Civil War army version of the medal has been added at some point. Unknown where the newer ribbon ended up.
In less than a month we will all be asked to give remembrance to those who have, who continue to serve and to those who have yet to don the uniforms of our great country. Please give some thoughts to Ed Dodds and the more than 100 who's stories have been brought to you in these pages over the past three years in almost 400 stories.
Give thought also to those who may be able to help this site with the tidbits of info they may have on any of these great Canadians and encourage them to get in touch with me.
Till next week, and sorry for the one day delay, I will see you next Sunday.
And again, much appreciation to the readers who brought me some of the news in today's story.
You have helped me to keep them alive.