Samuel Crawford

Samuel Crawford

Esteemed member (Brian Bennett) contributes:

Some previous posts have mentioned V Corps Generals Charles Griffin and Samuel Crawford.

Griffin was actually absent from Gettysburg until July 2; he had taken ill after Chancellorsville (Pfanz says wounded, but I found no supporting evidence) and was replaced by James Barnes in division command, with William Tilton moving up in Barnes' place. Griffin appeared on the battlefield but refused to take command until July 4, stating that as Barnes had commanded on the field, he should remain in command until the battle ended. One source said that Griffin's men were so glad to see him that they pulled him from his horse and carried him to his tent on their shoulders.

There are many good stories about the gruff character of Griffin. A favorite of mine is Griffin at North Anna in 1864; he was on the skirmish line, calmly walking about, despite being shot at, when a Confederate bullet smashed the heel of his boot. Griffin angrily turned around and yelled "Johnnny, your aim was bad; you shot a little low this time." Griffin went back into the woods behind the Union lines; within 10 minutes a brigade of his division trotted up to clear out the sharpshooters.

One member mentioned Crawford and characterized him as a political general; actually he was Regular Army since 1851, but as a surgeon (Med school, not West Point). He was present at Fort Sumter and was made a major in the newly-formed 13th U.S. a month after Sumter. He later became a general of vols in April 1862.

The political connections he had were unclear. Bruce Catton, in his inimitable style, described Crawford as an officer "who fell a good deal short of being one of the most skillful soldiers in the army."

Brian Bennett

Hi Brian & GDG,

In Passing of the Armies, JLC gave a candid description of Crawford..."...a consciencious gentleman, having the entre at all headquarters, somewhat lofty of manner, not of the iron fiber, nor spring of steel, but punctilious in a way, obeying orders in a certain literal fashion that saved him the censure of superiors,- a pet of his State, and likewise, we thought, of Meade and Warren, judging from the attention they always gave him- possibly not quite fairly estimated by his colleagues as a military man, but the ranking division commander of the corps."

Of his friend Griffin, he wrote, "...alert and independent, sincere to the core, at his ease, ready for anything,- for a dash at the enemy with battery front, or his best friend with a bit of satire when his keen sense of the incongruous or pretentious is struck."