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Article: A Closer Look at Lincoln: Who Was Joseph C. Audenried?

A Closer Look at Lincoln: Who Was Joseph C. Audenried?

Our Abraham Lincoln collage features a signed Army Cavalry commission document dated September 9th, 1861, assigning Joseph C. Audenried to the 1st Regiment of the U.S. Cavalry. With several military commision documents coming through the shop, the question always arises: “Who was this man?”

 

West Point Photograph Album c. 1861

 Joseph Crain Audenried was born November 6, 1839 and died June 3rd, 1880 at the age of 41. Audenried attended the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) from 1857 through 1861, graduating only a few months after the Civil War formally began. Having seen the development of the tensions between the North and South, it surely came as no surprise that he was immediately assigned as a 2nd Lieutenant within the 1st Cavalry during June of 1861. 

The 1st Cavalry were critical to the Union’s advancement’s into the South’s strongholds, playing major roles in the Peninsula Campaign, the Rapidan Line, the Raid of Richmond, and Sheridan’s advancement in Shenandoah Valley. However, Lt. Audenried stayed with this regiment only for a short period of time before being reorganized a few times during 1861. 

Truly thrown through the wringer, Lt. Audenried was on General Tyler’s staff during the First Battle of Bull Run, the initiating battle of the Civil War. Nearly 61,000 troops from both sides were engaged, leading to a Confederate win. Following this battle, Lt. Audenried was assigned Acting Assistant Adjutant General in 1862 during Brigadier General Emory’s Peninsula Campaign throughout Virginia. The Peninsula Campaign ended in another devastating Union loss, as the multiple attempts to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond failed.        

Our map of Bachman's Panorama of the Seat of War (c. 1864) depicting the Peninsula Campaign. 
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Following the Peninsula Campaign, Audenried was appointed Captain of the Staff Corps and Aide-de-Camp (ADC) in the summer of 1862. Joining the Antietam Campaign the same year, ADC Audenried served as an aide to Major General Edwin Sumner. Also known as the Maryland Campaign, this series of battles led to a major Confederate loss and the bloodiest battle in American history, the Battle of Antietam. During this first invasion of the North, ADC Audrenried was injured during the Battle of Antietam. In honor of his service, he was given the brevet rank of Captain for his meritorious actions. 

         

Our color print of General Sherman's "scorched earth" tactics seen during his March to the Sea. Circa 1868.
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Audenried continued as an ADC for Major General Sumner in the Battle of Fredericksburg and an ADC for the future president, General U.S. Grant, during the Siege of Vicksburg. Following the Rappahannock Campaign, he performed ADC duties for Major General Sherman in the March from Memphis to Chattanooga in addition to the March to the Sea. During the time of the Atlanta Campaign, he earned the brevet rank of Major and then Lieutenant Colonel in March of 1865. Audenried earned the full rank of Captain in the 6th U.S. Cavalry and continued to serve under General Sherman in the Indian Wars until 1868.

Following the conclusion of the Civil War, Joseph C. Audenried remained in the service of the Commanding General of the Army, William Tecumseh Sherman, from 1863-1880. Audenried held the roles of Commander of the Military Division of Missouri and General of the Army, and was promoted to a Full Colonel of the Staff Corps in 1869. Presumably a close confidant of General Sherman, Col. Audenried accompanied the General on his nearly year long excursion (in a non-military capacity) to Europe and the Middle East during 1871-1872. Gen. Sherman even once described Col. Audenried as “one of the most polished gentlemen in the army”. Interestingly enough, the detailed journal of Joseph C. Audenried and General Sherman’s overseas adventure is archived and transcribed in its entirety through the University of Notre Dame.

Library of Congress, C. 1870-1875 

All in all, this commission document represents the incredibly fascinating and extensive history behind the young man being appointed within it. Thanks to the tireless efforts of archivists and historians, the record of Joseph Crain Audenried remains accessible and preserved throughout time. 

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Works Cited:

Downey, Brian. “Audenried ’61.” Antietam on the Web , 11 Apr. 2007, behind.aotw.org/2007/04/11/audenried-61/.

Hesburgh Library at University of Notre Dame. “Americans Abroad: The Joseph C. Audenried Journal.” Digital-Exhibits.library.nd.edu, digital-exhibits.library.nd.edu/95e024022d/the-power-of-my-pen-to-describe/showcases/d68174545a/americans-abroad.

Library of Congress. Col. Audenried, U.S.A. , www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017894193/.

West Point Photograph Album. “Young Joseph C. Audenried,” Historical Marker Database, 1861, www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=216860.

 

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