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Special Interests - Groups & Societies => The Barracks => Topic started by: Dai.S.Loe on August 27, 2006, 05:35:14 pm

Title: Information wanted. Blazer's Scouts
Post by: Dai.S.Loe on August 27, 2006, 05:35:14 pm
I dont often post in this forum as I have not as yet decided upon a military persona.

The reason I am now posting is in search of information on the unit mentioned in the subject line.


I have found out a little about them from trawlling the web but this has only whet my appetite for more information.

I know they were Union troops formed from the Ohio regiments. In particular the 12th Ohio. They were formed under the orders of General Sherman and their area of operation was West Virginia.

Commanded by Richard Blazer and formed in 1864.

They were formed as a counter measure to the Confederate groups such as Mosby's guerillas and such.

They were pretty much decimated in 1865 by Mosby's unit and the leader Richard Blazer was captured.

What I would love to know is if their uniform differed from the standard Union one. Did they wear an insignia?

How can I find out as to what their equipment was? They were considered a special unit and only the best men from the mother units were considered for it. Therefore I assume they were issued with the best equipment.

I have read a remeberence by one member in which he stated that they were not adverse to donning Confederate uniforms and tagging along on Confederate columns dressed as such.

All highly irregular and leaving anyone found dressed so, subject to summary execution in any rule of war.

Help me out here please all you knowledgable people. You historians please tell me where I may reference this unit?


Title: Re: Information wanted. Blazer's Scouts
Post by: River City John on August 27, 2006, 10:09:09 pm
From "Ranger Mosby" by Virgil Carrington Jones, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press 1944.

pp. 200-201
"On Mosby's trail at this date appeared a man who from all appearances was the answer to Union prayers concerning the raiders. He was Richard Blazer, hardened Indian fighter who looked on the Confederate independants as fighters of a class with the red men he had chased on the plains. He appeared at Sheridan's headquarters while the furore still raged over the wagon train attack at Berryville and was given an attentive ear. With 100 men, each armed with Spencer repeating rifles, he would clear the country of Rangers, he promised. Sheridan immediately wired military authorities at the capital: "I have 100 men who will take the contract to clean out Mosby's gang. I want 100 Spencer rifles for them. Send them to me if they can be found in Washington."

This was around mid-August, 1864. First report of Blazer's men clashing with Mosby while using those Spencers was at Kabletown on September 4th.
And just two months later. . .
Ibid, pp. 230
"Worded nearly three months later to the day (Three months after Blazer's unit had been formed. This message of Stevenson's referred to dated November 19th, 1864), Stevenson's message stated: "Two of Captain Blazer's men came in this morning, Privates Harris and Johnson. They report that Mosby, with 300 men, attacked Blazer near Kabletown yesterday about 11 o'clock. They say that the entire command, with the exception of themselves, was either captured or killed."
With a few variations, that was the story. Blazer, during his entire career as an independant scout on the trail of Mosby and his band, had never been a serious threat."

This is just a quick response. I will add your research request to Major Matt's when I scan The Official Records tonight. Late in the war like that, I would imagine they had standard issue uniforms, and most probably, very generic. My guess would be that they were in existence too short a time to have any distinctive unit insignia, nor would have encouraged it in the counter-guerilla fighting they were involved with. If they wore civilian attire or donned Confederate items, then common sense and general research would do as well as any other's research.
Others will chime in here, Dai, I'm sure, but give me a little time to swim through the "OR". . . .I feel a two-pots-of-coffee evening of fun coming on.


Title: Re: Information wanted. Blazer's Scouts
Post by: Dai.S.Loe on August 27, 2006, 10:18:34 pm
Thanks River City John.

Apparently the story of the unit being wiped out was exagerated somewhat.

From the accounts I have read about 20 men of the 65 in  the unit at that time were killed. A number were captured including the leader Richard Blazer (died 1878).

Reason I am interested is from the research I am doing into a carbine I have come into possesion of.

Attributed to a person with the surname Roderick from Ohio. Only found two Rodericksin the records. 1 would have been too old the other turns out to have been a member of this unit.

It would be nice if it can be proven.

Title: Re: Information wanted. Blazer's Scouts
Post by: US Scout on August 28, 2006, 05:42:09 am
If you haven't seen it already, there is a book on the unit that was recently published.  Its not a bad read, though could have used some good editing to make it a bit better.  However, it is the only book I know of that addresses the unit in detail.

Headquarters In The Brush: Blazer's Independent Union Scouts by Darl L. Stephenson

US Scout
Bvt Brig Gen
Title: Re: Information wanted. Blazer's Scouts
Post by: River City John on August 28, 2006, 09:31:56 pm

Sorry to report that The Official Records were not a satisfactory source for info. A few action reports of minor details. Not surprising for a three months timeframe. They did mention that the final action that destroyed the unit put the number of survivors as 27 with 11 missing, the rest killed or captured, out of a force of 62 that went into the engagement.

One Confederate report specifically mentioned the seven shot Spencer carbines.

I have a few additional sources to check, but I always like to start with The OR.

Title: Re: Information wanted. Blazer's Scouts
Post by: Dai.S.Loe on August 28, 2006, 09:43:43 pm
These small units seem very interesting.

Never a lot written about them.

I know about the book.

From another board I have been assited by a member. He has helped me quite a bit and has actually e-mailed the author of the book on my behalf.

It looks very much as though the Ballard carbine I have just purchased, was brought to NZ by one of the members of this unit after the Civil War.

All the facts I have so far point to this individual except that there is a memorial stone to him in a cemetary in Warren County, Ohio.

I have been told it was common practice in those days to erect such memorials to those family members who died overseas or were missing.

I should have more information on Thursday as I am going to talk to the family here that knew the American soldier.