(1839 - 1918)
Home State: Ohio
Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1862;Class Rank: 14
Branch of Service: Artillery
A member of the West Point Class of 1862, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 1st US Artillery on 17 June 1862 and joined his battery on the Peninsula Campaign in Virginia.
On the Campaign
He commanded a section of his Battery on the Maryland Campaign, and was honored by brevet to First Lieutenant for Antietam. On 20 September he wrote his cousin Belle McCrea of the action there:
We were kept in the rear until eleven o’clock [17 September], where we were ordered to go to the front and took up a position in the rear of a brigade of infantry that were flying like sheep. The rebels were pursuing them, but our men persisted in running before the guns, in spite of all our endeavors to get them to get from before the battery, so that we could fire at the rebels. At last our cannoneers became so impatient to fire that it was impossible to restrain them any longer, and the battery opened. Some of our own men, I have no doubt, were killed but it was better to sacrifice a few of their lives than to allow the rebels to capture our battery. Then I am not inclined to pity them, for they were running in a cowardly manner and they deserted the battery and left it without a particle of support. We were in a very critical position and, if the rebels had charged with their usual dash, they surely would have captured the whole lot of us, guns and all, for there was no infantry near us. Artillery is not able to defend itself, but must always be supported on each side with infantry to repel a charge of infantry of the enemy. We saw the Rebels were preparing to charge upon us, when we retired to the rear, took another position in the edge of the woods, and fired upon them again. We remained here an hour until the cannoneers were completely tired out working the guns. We went to the rear and another battery took our place.
... By a miracle we only lost six men and four horses. Lieutenant Egan’s and Lieutenant French’s horses were both shot through the shoulders. General Sedgwick, who was standing to the rear of the battery, was wounded in two places and had his horse killed. Major Sedgwick, his aide and brother, was mortally wounded ... The Rebels lost more, I should think, than we did, for we had more artillery than they.
The rest of the War
He served with his battery in the Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He was again brevetted, to Captain, for gallant and meritorious service at Gettysburg, where by the end of the battle he commanded Battery I (Woodruff mortally wounded) and Battery A of the 4th Artillery after the battle as senior officer present. By September 1863 he had transferred to Battery K, but served with Battery M, and saw service in South Carolina. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 4 November 1863. He was seriously wounded in action at Olustee, FL on 20 February 1862 and given his third brevet, to Major. In March he wrote cousin Belle:
I was shot through both legs – compound fracture of the left and a flesh wound through the fleshy part of the right, both below the knee. Neither wound is dangerous, but the one in the left leg has been very painful. I was compelled to ride two nights and one day over the rough roads in an ambulance and all the next day was at sea in a steamer bound for this place [the hospital at Beaufort, SC]. The torture was very great and I have never before suffered such physical pain ...He was absent, recovering, to October 1864, then assigned as instructor back at West Point. He was there to the end of the War.
After the War
He transferred briefly to the Infantry, promoted to Captain of the 42nd Regiment on 28 July 1866, but served as the Regimental Quartermaster at Ft. Hamilton, NY. He was at the USMA as quartermaster 1868-72, having been reassigned to the First Artillery in December 1870, and was in garrisons in Florida, Connecticut, the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and Washington, DC to 1877. He was in California, the Dakotas, and Washington through the 1880s, promoted Major, 5th Artillery in 4 December 1888. He served in the West and in New Jersey and New York to the Spanish-American War, when he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel on 8 March 1898. He was made Colonel of the 6th Artillery on 15 July 1900, and commanded Cartel de Espagna, Manila, later at Puget Sound, WA. He was promoted Brigadier General, USA on 21 February 1903 and retired from active service the next day.
References & notes
Basic military data found in Heitman1, and Cullum2. Further details from Brian McEnany's For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862 (2015) and Gordon McCrea Fisher's bio page, source of the letter quotes above. His photograph from the 1862 West Point Class Album, online from the USMA Library. Thanks to Colonel McEnany for the poke to get Lt. McCrea up on AotW.
More on the Web
To accompany his book, Brian McEnany posts details of wartime events on Facebook, many centered on Tully McCrea.
07/23/1839; Natchez, MS
09/05/1918 West Point, NY; burial in USMA Post Cemetery, West Point, NY
1 Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 661 [AotW citation 15024]
2 Cullum, George Washington, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the US Military Academy, 2nd Edition, 3 vols., New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868-79, Vol. 2, pg. 578; Vol. 3, pg. 309 [AotW citation 15025]