Brainard Jerome

Brainard Jerome

From: Terry Moyer
Subject: Re: Buford and Reynolds meet


In _Gettysburg July 1_, (which is an excellent book and which is taking me a millenium to read), David Martin comes down squarely on the side of the meeting in the cupola scenario with Reynolds. (p96 -97, esp 97). Martin describes some of the questions concerning the meeting, but says; "Since both Jerome and Doubleday expressly place Reynolds at the Seminary building, and Veil's accound does not definitely contradict them, the incident is best accepted rather that (sic - LOTS of typos in this book) rejected." The following citation appears in the bibilography section of the book on page 702: Cameron, Bill. "The Signal Corps at Gettysburg." The Gettysburg Magazine, No. 3: 9 - 15. Oh yeah, and the following appears on the acknowledgments page of the book. "I am also grateful to Edward G. Longacre for research help and advice on the role of Buford's cavalry in the battle, and to Benedict Maryniak and Tim Smith for similar help at interpreting the fighting on Oak Hill."

Terry Moyer

From: (Alexander Cameron)

I decided to use the board to give you the Jerome information you asked about. There are a couple of folks in the group who are interested in this stuff. I'll give you some bio information on Jerome, some suggestions for use of Jerome related material, and some Signal Corps stuff which is related to Buford. I'm going to give you the short version of this stuff. If you get interested in using some of it, let me know and I'll give you the long version. I hope you can use some of it in your Buford book. If you want more details on any of this material, just ask.

JEROME, A. BRAINARD, 1st Lieut. Died at San Francisco, Cal. (1st Lieut. 1st N.J. Vols.) Detailed; March, 1862, Army of Potomac; Yorktown, Pa.; April, U.S.S. "Aroostook"; Sept., Falls Church, Va.; Dec. 11 Middle Bridge sta, Fredericksburg, Va.; Dec. 14, Corn Bluff sta.; Chancellorville; July 2, 1863, Round Top Mt. Sta.; July, with General Buford, Gettysburg, Pa.; Sept. 18, app. 1st Lieut. S.C., to date march 3, 1863; April, 1864, Act. Ch. Sig. officer, Dept. of Gulf; with Adm. Porter on "Cricket"; Dept. hdqrs., La.; Aug., on U.S.S. "Beinville," Mobile exp; resigned Sept, 20, 1864.
[J. Willard Brown, THE SIGNAL CORPS, U.S.A. IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION, Boston, U.S. Veteran Signal Corps Association, 1896, p. 804]

Jerome swam wire across the Rapidan during the Chancellorville campaign. If you want any background stuff on him, I'll dig it out or send you the pages from Brown. I only have a Xerox copy of some of the chapters but I have a reprint coming (thanks to Terry M.). I can copy what you need if you want to use any of this material. All of those pictures of the signal party on the log tower on Elk Mountain show Jerome. He's the one without the Kepi. (see the picture in my article on Luther Furst in Gettysburg Mag 10, p. 51)

Jerome signaled from the Seminary cupola warning Howard of Ewell's advance. This is the message that I mentioned is listed incorrectly in the O.R. It is listed as having been sent on the 2nd but clearly it was sent on the 1st. To my knowledge, this message has NEVER been used correctly in a published work (except mine of course :). I think it is important. It shows Buford's command warning the field commander of the Confederate advance on the Union right. [O.R. 27, III, p. 488, also see my article "The Signal Corps at Gettysburg, 3, p. 9]

As you probably know, Jerome is the source of the story of Buford meeting Reynolds at the Seminary. This has been argued back and forth a lot. Coddington didn't believe the story and neither does Richard Sauers in his article "Gettysburg Controversies" in GBM 4. I believe it. Either Terry Moyer or Dave Powell (sorry I can't remember which) told me that Martin, in his new book, bought Jerome's version. (this has to be a good book since my article made the bib :) I can present a good argument for the Jerome version if you want to get into that issue. [see Sauers article and Jerome to Hancock, vol. 1 of the Morningside version of the Bachelder papers. I don't have it handy at the moment, just look up Jerome. It's in there. If you don't have the Bachelder papers, let me know and I'll send you a copy of the letter.]

Jerome went to Little Round Top when Buford was assigned the screening mission on the Union left. He signaled Berdan's foray ("Enemy Skirmishers are advancing from the west... and The rebels are in force, and our skirmishers give way") These two messages are on page 488 of part III also. An important point here is that Buford had his signal officer performing telescopic reconnaissance during his screening mission.

The other issue I would recommend is the use of signals to control troop movement by Merritt. Not only did Buford use the Signal Corps to gather information and transmit that intelligence, he used it for command and control and that was not common. See what Ed Bearss wrote about it in the forward of GBM vol 4. Bearss made a point of this when he reviewed my article.

If any of this stuff interests you, let me know and I'll get the details for you.



Subject: Buford and Reynolds meet

In a message dated 95-12-24 20:43:34 EST, Bill wrote:

One the Jerome issue, I guess I believe Jerome on the issue of Buford being in the cupola when Reynolds rode up. The letter to Hancock was written right after the war (Oct 18, 65) [Bachelder I, p. 200-1]. Sauers questions it primary because he couldn't understand why Buford would be in the cupola but it is not that far from McPhearson Ridge and it is plausible to me that he went up there to see what was going on. Anyway, it is a case where Jerome would have had to just made up the story. Not enough time had gone by for him to get it mixed up. During my research on the Signal Corps, Jerome shows up a lot (he swam wire across the Rapidan, under fire, during Chancellorsville). Buford thought highly of him and he was an aggressive Lieutenant but there is nothing I have read that makes me think that he was prone to engage in hyperbole. He was writing to Hancock on behalf of Buford's role in the battle and I don't think it was particularly self serving. Could be wrong, you can become protective of these guys after you "get to know them".


Have you read "Morning at Willoughby Run," by Richard Shue? (Talk about your micro history here - now we're not only getting major works on single days of the battle, but serious efforts on _parts_ of days.) Shue supports the seminary as the meeting site, for much the same reason - he finds Jerome wholly credible, and besides, there's corroborating evidence from Buford's aide and a civilian, as well.

Shue's book is neat - in the back, he lists about 20 or so "controversies" and analyzes them point by point. His style is more readable than Martin's, as well.

Dave Powell

> Esteemed member ( WILLIAM R HOWARD) contributes:

> > Greetings:

> > Since there has been a discussion on chain of command, Buford's > dispatches and also the reliability of primary and secondary sources, > I thought I would put them together to point out something that might > be of interest to those who wish to ponder the reliability of a > particular source: Aaron Jerome.

> > First off, Reynolds was not in Buford's chain of command, nor was > anyone in the "left wing" of the infantry. Buford was assigned to > protect the left wing and he conferred with them, but he answered to > Pleasonton, the Corps commander of the Cavalry. Buford's dispatch > stating that, "In my opinion there is no directing person." was sent > to Pleasonton, reporting the action and asking for help.

> > Now, there is a second dispatch that some secondary accounts pick > up and report about Buford requesting for Meade to send up Hancock. > While this very well may have happened, I think that in fairness to > those who want to piece this together themselves, it should be > pointed out that the source for this comes from Aaron Jerome, who was > asking Hancock for support on Buford years later. If anyone knows of > another account of this, I hope you will let me know.

> > I just point this out because Jerome did have other motives, and > while I don't wish to question his character, it is something to > consider in light of the fact that this is not confirmed by other > accounts; at least not to my knowledge.

> > Just trying to give those interested all the pieces to work with, and > also hoping someone will correct me if I'm wrong about this.

> > - Billy

Esteemed member "Bill Cameron" contributes:


Arron Jerome has been a subject of my research for several years. Most of this has been centered around his signal activities. The OR is full of his messages and from all I can find, he was a hell of a good Signal Officer. He served in several critical positions during the war and I have used his messages in several articles including the new one I am working on.

Jerome wrote two accounts of his activities on July 1. The first was a letter to Hancock (the one you mentioned) which has long been in the Bachelder Papers (I found it the first time by Microfilm "crusing" and has since been published in Vol. 1 of Morningsides edition of the Bachelder Papers) and the second was a article he wrote for _The Decisive Conflicts of the Late Civil War, or Slaveholders' Rebellion_ edited by J. Watts De Peyster. Both accounts speak to the dispatch you are mentioning. Specifically it is "For God's sake, send up Hancock. Everything at Odds. Reynolds is killed, and we need a controlling spirit." It was sent to Meade.

In the De Peyster, he specifically states that he did not personnaly deliver it and wrote: "I was the only signal officer at that time on the field, and consequently did not send it myself". In the Bachelder version he also mentions that he personally delivered a verbal message to Hancock. In the De Peyster version he states he delivered a message to Howard. The De Peyster version is also the source for the famous "The Devil's to Pay" quote. The two versions of the Reynolds - Buford meeting are different. There is no mention of "The Devil's to Pay" in the original Bachelder version. Jerome also states that he went with Buford to the forward position and was there during Reynolds death.

As I mentioned, I have done a lot of background study on Jerome. I have written favorable stuff about him in several articles. However, my opinion of his version of the July 1 activities has changed over time. The truth is, I think both the dispatch and the Buford quotes are suspect. I don't use them anymore without big time footnotes. I'm afraid that this may be one of the primary sources issues we've been talking about for the last couple of days.


BTW, we found that Jerome re-entered the service after the war and had a reputation as a "drunk". Sad.