Headquarters provost guard

On 22 May 1865, General Orders issued from Petersburg, Va., assigned the 6th New York Heavy Artillery — my ancestor Pvt. Arthur Bull’s regiment — to Sub-Division of the Roanoke, District of the Nottoway in the Union Army of the James, Dept. of Virginia.

Petersburg, Virginia. Group of Provost Guard, headquarters, Army of the Potomac (Feb. 1865). My ancestor Union Pvt. Arthur Bull of 6th NYHA Co. L served provost guard duty in May 1865 at the headquarters of Brevet Major-General Ferrero in U.S. Sub-District of the Roanoake, District of the Nottoway, Army of the James, Dept. of Virginia. Image: Library of Congress

Major-General of Volunteers George L. Hartsuff, stationed at District of Nottoway Headquarters in Petersburg, directed that:

The organization known as Ferrero’s division is discontinued, and the following assignment of troops is made, viz: Sub-Division Roanoke, Sixth and Sixteenth Regiment New York Artillery and five companies of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry…All citizens having complaints to make or requiring counsel or assistance will apply to the commanding officer of the sub-district in which they live.

On 25 May, the Army of the James, Dept. of Virginia, issued follow-up orders that listed the Virginia counties between Petersburg and Appomattox where my great, great grandfather’s 6th NYHA would now serve — and broadened their mandate to include safeguarding the newly-free African American population.

The counites of Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Nottoway, Prince Edward, Charlotte, and Halifax will constitute the Sub-District of the Roanoake, under command of Brevet Major-General Ferrero…The commanders of districts and sub-districts are made superintendents of negro affairs within their respective limits.

Nottoway Courthouse in Virginia.  Companies C, D and E of my ancestor’s 6th NY Heavy artillery were assigned to Nottoway Courthouse. Meanwhile my gg grandfather Arthur Bull was detailed as a provost guard with Company L at the headquarters of Brevet Major General Ferraro. By: Ted Hodges

The impact of these orders was felt immediately in the field. Sgt. William Thistleton, in a diary entry likely written after the events, outlined 6th NYHA company assignments — including my ancestor Pvt. Arthur Bull’s new duties with Co. L as BMG Ferrero’s headquarters provost guard.

May 26th the men put up their tents remained here until the 20th of June. Our regiment had been ordered to do Provost duty in three counties and were divided as follows viz. First Battalion Cos. ‘C.’ ‘D’ and ‘E’ to Nottoway Court house. Cos. G, K and A at Prince Edwards Court House Lieut. Col. Baker Provost Marshall. Cos. F, M and I to Lunenburg Court House Major E. G. Morris Provost Marshall. Co. L detailed as guard at Head Quarters of Brevet Major Gen. Ferraro. Cos. B and H Capt. Gilberts commanding at Burkeville Station.

My great, great grandfather would remain at his post as a provost guard in central Virginia until late June 1865 — helping to reestablish federal rule during the early period of Reconstruction in the South.

More in future posts as Arthur’s post-Civil-War saga continues.

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