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Family History Military History

June 9, 2020




In my family history research, I came across several ancestors and descendants of my eight great grandparents, as well as two of them (Richard W. Robertson and Dale Delafield Luke), who served in the military during various of the United States of America’s wars.


Presented in this supplement  are descriptions, extracted from my family history narratives given elsewhere at this website, of the service that these individuals offered.



Revolutionary War


Benjamin Jenkins is found as a Georgian soldier (navy) in the Revolution War.


Jacob Buckholts (1755-1826), Abraham’s son, served as a captain in the South Carolina Militia under General Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox).  Capt. Buckholts commanded, for a time during the siege of Charleston in 1779, the Racoon Company of Riflemen.  Records indicate Capt. Buckholts participated in the battles of Fort Moultrie, Caloosahatchee, and Charleston Neck.  


Jacob’s father and Charles A. Jenkins’ great, great grandfather, Abraham Buckholts (1729-1812), is listed in the Index of the Rolls of Honor (Ancestor’s Index) in the Linage Books of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. 81-160, III and IV, 1972. Abraham was born in Prussia.  Before participating in the Revolutionary War, Abraham is believed to have participated in the Cherokee Indian Wars of 1758 to 1761 in South Carolina as a Major in the South Carolina Militia.   Abraham was in the 1800 South Carolina census but dies in 1812 in Amite County, Mississippi.  He probably immigrated with his son Jacob to Mississippi between 1800 and 1810.


Col. Robert Stark would have an admirable contribution to the Revolution War efforts in South Carolina.  He was at the successful defense of Charleston in 1776 and was also there in 1780, when the British did capture Charleston, and also Col. Stark.  He remained a prisoner until


Robert Stark, Jr., Col Stark’s son also served in the Revolution War.  Information indicates he was in the Battles of Black Storks, Eutaw Springs, and Cowpens, all in South Carolina.   Eutaw Springs, next to the last major battle of the Revolution War (next to Yorktown), took place
in the vicinity of Charleston, and was important in helping to drive the British out in 1781. 


Conrad Hires, Sr. enlisted in Capt. Cornelius Neukirch’s Company of Foot Militia, Second Regiment, Salem County, New Jersey Militia during the Revolutionary War.  He also served under Joseph Ellis at Haddonfield.


Joseph Noble (1740-1826), John Noble’s father, Mary (Polly) Noble’s grandfather, and Richard W. Robertson’s great, great, grandfather, is believed to be the son of Josiah Noble (1720-1760). Josiah lived and died in Surrey, England.  Polly’s grandfather, Joseph, is likely to have  immigrated from England between 1740 (his birthdate) and 1762, when his son, John, was born in Amelia County, Virginia.   Joseph Noble is believed to have been an officer (ensign rank) in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  The Continental Army had an ensign rank, as did the US Army until 1815.  It was the lowest officer rank available.  Joseph was also in the first Continental Census (taken in 1782 when he was living in Amelia County).


Isaac Luke was in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War period.


Isaac’s wife was Rachael Dale Luke.  Rachael’s (believed to be) nephew was Commodore Richard Dale, who was a commander of the Portsmouth Shipyard, Gasport, for a period of time. Dale had an interesting and productive career serving on several ships, both American and British, during the Revolutionary War, including serving as John Paul Jones’ first lieutenant in naval battles against the British in English waters.  Dale would become one of the first commodores of the US Navy and commanded a blockade of Tripoli in 1801 during the First Barbary War of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.


Paul Dale Luke was made keeper of Old Point Comfort Lighthouse on the basis of his service in the Revolutionary War.  Paul Dale was an ensign in Capt. Samuel Veale’s Co. from 1776 to 1779 (interesting, Paul Dale married a Veale – Sarah Veale, whose father was Lemuel Veale.  Perhaps Sarah was Capt. Veale’s sister).   Paul Dale died (in 1819) while he was keeper of the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse.



War of 1812


From Amelia County marriage records, Samuel Williams marries Polly Noble in 1810, two years before Sallie (Sarah) A. Williams is born.   Other Amelia County records identify a Samuel Williams as serving in the US-British 1812 War as a musician.   He was in the 1st Regiment of Virginia Militia, County of Amelia, under the command of Capt. Tilman E. Jeter.  


Military musicians were important participants in battles fought in the War of 1812, as they were in previous wars, and would continue to be up to, and through the US Civil War. The musicians provided signals during battle that represented commander orders to the soldiers.  By the War of
1812, bugles were beginning to be used, in addition to the traditional fifes and drums.  Not only was the music provided by the military musician an important communication system during engagements, musical instruments were used in non-combat situations to signal wake-up, retirement, meal, and other events during the course of the military day.  Military musicians were also important for providing inspirational and ceremonial enhancements.


John Luke served in the War of 1812.  War of 1812 records show John Luke, private, was at Lambert’s Point Road (which is in Norfolk, just across the harbor from Cranney Island), in Capt. Richard Kelsick’s Company of Volunteer Riflemen, detached from the 7th Virginia Regiment. These War of 1812 records are verified in a Society of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 of the 2nd District (Tidewater), State of Virginia meeting book, available at the Library of Virginia.  This society held annual meetings in the 1850s and 1860s, and John Luke attended some of these meetings, and paid dues from at least 1857 to 1866 (the year he died).  The book lists John as a member of Capt. Keswick’s company.



Civil War


Carter Jenkins, MA and Rosalie’s second son, and Charles A’s brother, age 17 in 1860, is shown on an April 1861 list of privates belonging to Company B, 18th Mississippi Regiment.  The 18th  Mississippi Regiment becomes part of the “Virginia Army” and will see action in such campaigns as: 1st  Battle of Manassas; Battle of Seven Pines; Fredericksburg; Leesburg; Ball’s Bluff; Chancellorsville; 2nd Manassas; Harper’s Ferry; Sharpsburg; Gettysburg; and Cedar Run.

However, separate information indicates that in July 1863, Carter is promoted to corporeal and then, shortly thereafter, to 2nd LT.  He dies in an Atlanta Hospital in September 1863 from wounds suffered at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia.  How Carter gets from Company B in
Virginia and Maryland to Georgia is not known.  It is known that Mississippi units from the Army of Northern Virginia reinforced the Army of Tennessee in September 1863, before the Battle of Chickamauga was fought on September 19th to September 20th.  Carter was probably
part of this reinforcement.


John Shepherd Cocke was not just an active, and for a long time, successful business man, but was also active in community affairs.  Information indicates that John was a member of the Albemarle Minutemen, a group of older men formed in 1863 to help the southern cause in the Civil War.  John was about 65 years old in 1863.   Apparently, this Minutemen group marched to Gordonsville, not far from Charlottesville (18 miles northeast) in 1863, with John’s school associate, William Dinwiddie, apparently a commander in the group, to defend the railroad depot against an approaching Union attack


During the Civil War, “The Cedars” (John Shepherd Cocke’s home) was used as a confederate hospital.   The Cedars use as a hospital during the Civil War was primarily to treat the casualties coming from Major General Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862.   In March 1862, Jackson’s army approaches the Battle of McDowell, almost due west from Greenwood, across the Blue Ridge and in the Shenandoah Valley, by passing through Rockfish Gap just west of Greenwood.   Could parts, or all, of the army gone directly in front of The Cedars, and might Lillie Shepherd Cocke Jenkins, who would have been around eight at the time, been there to see the army go by?


Richard H. Crawley (1820-1865) served in the Confederate Army.  He was in Capt. Peter Barksdale Company; the 59th Virginia Regiment.  Richard is captured in April 1865 and is sent to the Point Lockout Prison in St. Mary’s County, Maryland , where he would die from disease caught while in prison.


The 59th Virginia Regiment was a volunteer regiment raised in Virginia’s western counties. Units of the regiment were captured at Saylor’s (also Sailor’s) Creek Battle, in Amelia County, Virginia that took place on April 6, 1865.  It is possible that it was on this day that Private Richard W. Crawley was captured.   The Saylor’s Creek Battle was the last major battle between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac, and several Confederate units were captured.  Three days later,  on April 9, 1865, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia surrenders, effectively ending the Civil War.

The Point Lookout Prison was established in 1863 and by the end of the war 50,000 Confederate prisoners had passed through its gates.   Approximately 4,000 of these 50,000 died at the prison. The National Park Service maintains the Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery, in St. Mary’s County, Maryland where Confederate soldiers’ remains are buried.  Richard Crawley is likely buried at this cemetery.


On April 20, 1861, at age 23, D.D. Luke enlisted into the 9th Virginia Infantry.  At various times, D.D. is in A and G Companies of the 9th Virginia Infantry.  Records indicate D.D. missed roll calls in 1862 and was considered absent without leave (deserted).  However, on April 9, 1862, D.D. received a special order, #81/31, from the Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Confederate States of America.  It was not uncommon during the Civil War for soldiers to switch or be recruited into new units, without the old, previous units, which they were in, being informed.  This would result in the soldiers missing roll calls and being considered absent without leave.  This was likely the case for Dale.

Confederate States of America army records at the National Archives have the Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office Special Order #81/31.  This was an order, issued on April 9, 1862 to Dale D. Luke, and about 25 other men, to report to Wm. N. Nash in Norfolk, to work on gunboats.  It is possible that a gunboat worked on by Dale was the CSS Virginia, one of the first ironclads to be used for war purposes, designed by John Luke Porter (and others).  Porter is believed to be Dale’s cousin (see later, for more information on this connection).  Confederate records indicate that Dale D. Luke had distinguished service.

The CSS Virginia was previously the USS Merrimack and continued to be referred to by the Union side as the Merrimack, even after it was converted to an ironclad by the Confederate navy and renamed the CSS Virginia.   The CSS Virginia was scuttled on May 11, 1862, in Hampton Roads, when threatened with capture by Union forces.


The G (the G is believed to stand for Granville) male in the 1850 John Luke census turns out to be G.G. Luke who serves in the Confederate Army as a Lieutenant Colonel.  G. G. was born in 1833.  According to sources found on the Internet, G.G. attended one of the Partridge Military Academies – one that was established in Portsmouth.  He was teaching school and preparing for the practice of law in Camden, North Carolina, when the civil war started.  G.G. saw action at Fort Hatteras, Plymouth, New Berne, Drury’s Bluff (wounded), Petersburg, and Five Forks. G.G. was one of the few officers from Portsmouth who survived the civil war.  Internet sources indicate that G.G’s wife was Mary Wright from Camden, North Carolina.  G.G. is believed to


have taught school in Camden, so his wife being from there fits.  G.G. died in 1895 and Mary in 1920.


A newspaper notice stated that Dale Luke visited his brother Col. Granville Gratiot Luke in North Carolina for several days in August 1893.   Granville was living in North Carolina as early as the late 1850s and is buried at the Old Hollywood Cemetery in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. 1833 to  1895 and Col G.G Luke, 56th Reg N.C. appears on his head stone.   A picture of G.G. Luke wearing his Confederate uniform is available.


A William Shepherd (who could be Martha F’ Shepherd’s brother) is known to have been in service with the Confederacy at the Portsmouth Naval Yard.  The William, dying in 1899 in Portsmouth at a naval hospital, which the previous paragraph discusses, could be the same William who served at the Portsmouth Naval Yard in the Civil War.


John T. Torian, George Torian’s older step-brother, mustered into Capt. Wright’s Company, Virginia Heavy Artillery (Halifax Artillery), in March 1862 for a three-year enlistment, as a private.  In the fall of 1864, he would spend about forty days at Richmond’s Civil War Chimborazo Hospital.  Why he was there is not known.


During the civil war, Leonard B. Torian serves in the 3rd Virginia Cavalry, Company C, and in Capt. William H. Easley’s Company of Cavalry, the Black Walnut Dragoons.  As indicated earlier, Black Walnut is an area of southern Halifax County.  According to records, Leonard enters service on June 30, 1861.   In February 1862, he dies of pneumonia at Lebanon Creek, according to records.  However, this record conflicts with the finding that there is a Leonard B. Torian in the 1870 Halifax Census.  An explanation for this conflict has not been found.  The most likely explanation is that the civil war record, which would be less reliable than the 1870 census data, is wrong, or misleading.  

The 3rd Virginia Cavalry, Company C, the Black Walnut Dragoons, appears in documentation as a “special” unit, having a reputation for showmanship and for attracting a lot of attention.

In addition to Leonard B. Torian being in the Black Walnut Dragoons, other Dragoon members that had a known, or possible, association with George and Amelia Torian were: Jacob Blane Jr; A.B. Crawley; A.A. Crawley; and R.A. Singleton.



Second World War


Frank L. Stokes was a private in the 3rd Tank Battalion, 10th Armored Division when he died in combat on November 23, 1944.   He was awarded the Purple Heart.  The 10th Armored Division was under General George Patton’s Third Army.  The division arrived at Cherbourg,
France on September 23, 1944 and entered combat on November 2, 1944 in the battle that captured Metz, France near the German border in north France.  The division went on from there to lead General Patton’s Third Army into Germany on November 19, 1944, just 4 days before
Frank was killed in combat.


In April 1945, Richard Robertson is a crewman on the SS M.M. Gukin, a US-owned Liberty Ship, transporting troops across the Atlantic during World War II.  The M. M. Gukin participated in several Atlantic-crossing convoys.  In April 1953, Richard is on the SS Southwestern Victory, a World War II Victory Ship, put into service by the US military during the Korean War for transport.  Richard started serving on Liberty and Victory Ships as early as January 1942; he served on at least 12 of them.   Liberty and Victory Ship crew members were considered US Coast Guard seamen.  In August 1945, Richard was given a US Coast Guard honorable discharge, a Victory Medal, and a Presidential Testimonial Letter.


Capt. Melvin Torian, US Navy, served aboard several ships in the Atlantic and Pacific during the Second World War.

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