Bryan Drew (1839-1862) was born in County Westmeath, Ireland, the son of Irish Catholic peasants, John Drew and Rose Reilly Drew.
There are many documents (including his Civil War records) which spell his name "Bryan." But the McGee family bible spells his nephew-namesake as "Brian." He was baptized "Bernard" ...but competent sources indicate that, in Ireland, the names Bernard, Brian, and Barney, are all synonymous. At any rate, this brother made the trip to America as a 7 year old. During the family's 10 year stint in Kentucky (info being sought) he would have spent his "formative years" ...which probably included some schooling. At age 19, he apparently accompanied his father and elder sister, Catherine Drew McGee and the McGee family to Pettis County, Missouri in 1858 and was baptismal sponsor ("godfather") to Catherine's son, John William ("Will") McGee in 1859.
Following the death of his father in Missouri that same year (1859) Bryan apparently returned to Kentucky (most likely Louisville) where he probably had many friends. On July 1, 1961, at age 21, he enlisted as a Corporal in D company of the newly re-organized FIFTH KENTUCKY Volunteer Infantry... known as the "Louisville Legion." This was a UNION organization. It is a mystery why Bryan was able to obtain the rank of Corporal at entlistment, as the usual "entry level rank" is private. Perhaps, at 21, he was older than most of the new recruits... or perhaps had some schooling, skill, or "connection" which earned him the rank of Corporal.
The Civil War history of this unit is given at http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unkyinf1.htm#5th The history shows that the unit began training in September 1861at Camp Joe Holt in Indiana... just accross the Ohio River from Louisville. Bryan's records show that he enlisted July 1, 1861. Perhaps, being a Corporal (non commissioned officer) his enlistment was 2 months "earlier" than the unit's training began. At any rate, the unit began its war participation after only a short period of training... being moved to Muldraugh's Hill, Ky., September 17, 1861.
Most noteworthy of this unit's actions during Bryan's service was their very important role at the BATTLE OF SHILOH [Also called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing.] The battle of Shiloh occurred April 6-7, 1862; and, I believe, was second only to Gettysburg in terms of its intensity and casualty counts. It was also an important Union Victory. A copy of the Commanding General's report on the Battle of Shiloh is at http://www.civilwarhome.com/mcclerna.htm If you don't have time to read the whole report, the salient passage is:
|"About the same time information was brought that the enemy were advancing in strong force to turn the left of my line. To prevent this I ordered my command to move by the left flank, which, being promptly done, confronted the opposing forces. Here one of the severest conflicts ensued that occurred during the two days. We drove the enemy back and pursued him with great vigor to the edge of a field, a half mile east and to the left of my headquarters, where reserves came to his support. Our position at this moment was most critical and a repulse seemed inevitable, but fortunately the Louisville Legion, forming part of General Rousseau's brigade, came up at my request and succored me. Extending and strengthening my line, this gallant body poured into the enemy's ranks one of the most terrible fires I ever witnessed. "Thus breaking its center, it fell back in disorder, and henceforth he was beaten at all points until our successful pursuit was staid. The generous response of General Rousseau to my request for succor, no less than the gallant bearing of himself, Colonel Buckley, Lieutenant-Colonel Berry, and Major Treanor, officers of the same command, challenge my gratitude, while commanding my admiration. Crossing the field referred to, portions of my own and other divisions again encountered the enemy, who had rallied and offered obstinate resistance. Some of our men temporarily retired, while others persisted until the enemy was again driven back......" --Major General John McClernand|
AN AWESOME CONNECTION
During most of their combat service, including at Shiloh, Bryan and his unit fought under Brigadier General Lovell Rouseau. General McClernand's report above mentions Rousseau and the great contribution of the "Louisville Legion."
Amazingly, another of our ancestors, gggrandfather, John Ryan also fought at Shiloh (with 36th Indiana Infantry) and was promoted for bravery... and also died during the war. Although Bryan had no decendants we know of, his brother James's son, James H. Drew would later marry John Ryan's granddaughter, Blanche Greenen.
While visiting the grave of our gggrandfather, John Ryan, at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville 140 years later (in 2001) we were amazed to discover General Rousseau's grave just a few yards from John Ryan's grave.
Rousseau's memorial is shown at right.
Click on the photo to see it in full size
Following the battle of Shiloh, the Louisville Legion was involved in continuous "hazzardous duty" and frequent hard marches. Again, the summary is at: http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unkyinf1.htm#5th Their "actions" during the summer and fall of 1862 included the famous "Buell's Campaign." Most of the fall was taken up with the "Pursuit of Bragg" [Bragg's Confederate Army] which ultimately took both Armies to the city of Murfreesboro Tennessee where an inevitable 5 day battle occurred... beginning December 30, 1962.
Bryan Drew was killed 12/31/62 at the battle of Murfreesboro [also called the Battle of Stones River] It is thought that he might be buried in the military cemetery in Murfreesboro; but the records there did not have him listed when we visited about 1975. We filled out papers and asked them to update their records; but I have never been back to see if they did. His personal record on file in Washington, however, is clear that he was "killed 12/31/62 at the Battle of Murfreesboro. Altogether, over 25,000 men died in that battle... one of the bloodiest of the Civil War. It is hardly a surprise that all the dead and missing could not be accounted for with 100% accuracy.
The following documents from HDS show Bryan's military records in internet format: More detailed records are being sought from the U.S. Government archives and will be added to this page if and when they arrive.
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