The Manhattan Navy of H. A. McCaleb Col USA
( double-click on the photos for larger pics )
Manhattan Navy SN# 40496 is a Series III Manhattan Navy manufactured circa 1864 and inscribed to Colonel H. A. McCaleb.
It is a rare fully engraved factory and nickel plated .36 caliber Navy with a 6 1/2" barrel. There is a fair amount of interesting
information available on Col McCaleb and his role in the War between the States. The engraving is the standard factory style and I
took a lot of close up photos of the engravings for those that want a detailed look. Make sure you read his obituary article from "The
Henry Republic" newspaper. It's gruesome, gossipy, and patriotic all at the same time!
First the photos...ooh....aahhh...ooh again!
And then more than you want to know about Col. McCaleb...enjoy!
(Photo courtesy of McCaleb's great-great grand daughter Gayle. Thanks!!)
The Manhattan Navy of H.A. McCaleb Col. USA
Short History of Col McCaleb.
Hubert Anville McCaleb was born on Feb 10 1838 in Magnolia, Marshall County, Illinois
McCaleb enlisted a private then sergeant in Company I, 11th Illinois Infantry, at the start of the Civil War. He served as
Color Sergeant at the battle of Fort Donaldson, where he had the distinction of placing the Stars and Stripes on the
captured fort. He was wounded during this battle and was given a battlefield commission of Second Lieutenant for “Bravery
in Action” on February 9, 1863. McCaleb was next raised to First Lieutenant of the same company on April 6th, 1863.
While serving as a First Lieutenant in the 11th Illinois in the State of Mississippi, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of
the 2nd Mississippi Heavy Artillery (African Descent), 17th Army corps under General McPherson on July 10, 1863. Finally
serving as Colonel of the US 6th Colored Heavy Artillery stationed at Natchez, Mississippi. Unit histories are attached below.
Col. McCaleb returned to LaSalle County, Illinois Where he was married to Sarah Elizabeth Bushnell on March 17, 1864
and raised 5 children. He served as LaSalle County Sheriff from 1866 to 1868. And was then the LaSalle County clerk from
1873-1877. He passed away on March 24th, 1878 and was buried in LaSalle County at the Ottawa Avenue cemetery.
(Here is Col. McCalebs calling card, thanks again Gayle)
Here is an article taken from The Henry Republic, Henry, IL, dated April 11, 1878.
Suicide of Col. McCaleb.
Colonel H. A. McCaleb, known to all the old residenters of this vicinity committed a suicide at Humboldt, Kan., March 24, by
the use of chloroform and hanging. Chloroform probably did the fatal work, although he was found upon his knees with his
neck resting in the folds of a long towel, which he had suspended from one of the stair banisters. Like hundreds of other
men, he had become melancholy in mind, caused by bodily ailments, which lead finally to self destruction to get rid of
himself and his imaginary load of evil luck.
His public career is a glorious record of usefulness. He was born in Magnolia, Putnam County, and was 38 years old at the
time of his death. A brief biography of him is furnished by the editor of the Index, who was a life long personal friend of the
deceased. Col. McCaleb was a gallant soldier, and good citizen. He was all through the war, and was wounded 16 times.
He was a s brave as he was kind. He was a very large man, - 6 feet, 2 inches, and weighed about 290 pounds. He first
enlisted in the 11th Illinois infantry, as a private, participating in all the hard fighting done by that noble regiment in and
about Fort Donaldson and Pittsburgh Landing, until its total roll call for duty footed but 45 men. For his bravery, he was
promoted to a lieutenancy, and just before the Vicksburg campaign was again promoted to be first lieutenant. He fought in
all the battles, beginning with Fort Gibson and ending with the capture of Vicksburg, July 4th, 1863. He then went on the
Meridian campaign and was afterwards promoted to lieutenant colonel, and colonel of the 6th U. S. colored artillery. He
was for a long time in command of the post at Vidalia, opposite Natchez, where he, with his command, successfully resisted
two heavy assaults of Walker's Texas Rangers. He was severely wounded in both fights. He was the commander of his
regiment and the post of Natchez, until the close of the war.
Upon his return he was elected sheriff and county clerk of LaSalle county, both of which positions he filled with credit and
honor to himself and friends. A man of noble, generous impulses, his death is universally mourned wherever he is known.
His life was insured in the Odd Fellows society for $2000, Masonic for $4500, and one or two other policies and the family
will have besides some $2500 in cash. The following incident from the Index shows his bravery and daring while in the army:
"At the assault of Fort Donaldson, Col. McCaleb was color bearer of the 11th Illinois. A spent ball struck him squarely in the
forehead. Hugh Goheen, postmaster of Lostant, who stood right by his side, says he cried, "For God's sake, boys, save
the flag!" He fell, and when he returned to consciousness he was in the rear with the flag in his hands. His first thought was
that he had shown the white feather. But no! There never was a braver man. He fell in the front, and the column moved on
beyond him. The wound confused him since, he has said, at times, that it seemed as though his brain was on fire. There is
no doubt that the wound was the cause of his insanity and death."
In the Annual Message to the Legislature of the State of Louisiana, Governor Henry Allen in January 1865 had
this to say about Col. McCaleb…
A traveller visiting the field of Solferino a few months after the collision of the hostile armies there would scarcely have
known that a great battle had occurred. A few fallen mulberry trees, a few rifle pits, and the long trenches that held the
silent dead, were all the marks of the terrible conflict where forty thousand brave men fell. No farm houses were burned, no
villages sacked, no blackened ruins were seen. Two Christian nations were contending for the mastery, and their
campaigns were conducted by the rules of civilized warfare. Here, how different! To the Christian stranger I would say:
Come and see our blackened walls--our smoking ruins--our desolated homes--our demolished villages. Come, oh! come
and see the widow and the orphan, robbed by a Yankee General, begging bread from door to door. Come and see tender
women with their little children flying from the torch of the incendiary and the brutal touch of Yankee officers. See the
venerable mother, seventy years of age, hung by the neck and stripped of her clothing to make her disclose where she
had placed her own treasure. [This was done by Col. McCaleb, of the U. S. Army, now stationed at Natchez, in his raid
upon "Sicily Island," who at the same time robbed many young ladies of their jewelry, tearing open their dresses and
exposing their persons.] Think of all this, ye Christian strangers, and tell us are we wrong or are we right in fighting these
fiends of hell to the last extremity? Tell us would it not be right in the eyes of God and man, to arm the whole population--to
arm every man, woman and child--every free negro and slave--and fight these devils with burning hate and holy revenge?
We are told that this world and all that in it is, will one day be destroyed by fire, and that matter itself will return to the God
who made it. Yet one thing will remain: it is Eternal Justice. To the justice of the Great Ruler we appeal, and with His
blessing we mean to triumph.
Confederate Treatment of A Black Union Soldier.
(Here is a set of communications concerning Col. McCaleb)
Head Quarters Post
Vidalia La. July, 29, 1964
In the skirmish on the 22nd inst. a colored soldier by the name of Wilson Woods, Corporal A. Company 6th U. S. C. Arty.
was captured by the Confederate forces. I have since learned that he was seriously wounded.
Those of your command who fell into our hands have had the best medical treatment. I shall expect this soldier to be held
as a prisoner of war and treated as such and I truly hope that an exchange for like grade may soon be expected.
(Signed) H. A. McCaleb
Lt. Col. Comdg.
Hd. Qrs. U. S. Forces
Head Quarters Trinity La.
July 30th, 1864
Lieut. Col. H. A. McCaleb
Com’dg. U. S. Forces
In the skirmish of the 22nd July 1864 a negro man named Wilson was captured by the Confederate forces. He is wounded
in the calf of the leg (Flesh wound) and is receiving such medical attention as we have. When he is well if his owner lives in
the Confederate lines he will be delivered to him, if not he will be held to slavery by the Government. I have to inform you
that negroes are not considered prisoners of war, but all who surrender to us are treated as property and either delivered
to their original owner or put at labor by the Government.
I am very respectfully
Your obedient Servant
(Signed) Wm. P. Hardeman
Col. Com’dg. Post
Head Quarters United States Forces,
Natchez, Miss., July 31st, 1864.
Lieut. Col. H. A. McCaleb
Com’dg Vidalia, La.
I have through you this day the communication of Col. Wm. P. Hardeman, Com’dg rebel forces at Trinity La. in reply to your
enquiry concerning the treatment of Private Wilson of your command, captured by the enemy on the 22nd instant.
Please advise him in reply that when the Government of the United States made negroes soldiers, it assumed towards them
the same obligations as were due to any others who might wear its uniform and bear its flag.
The honest, patriotic negro, who though of an oppressed race, and lowly condition, with few memories of past blessings to
inspire him, gives his service and offers his life in defence of good government is in the judgement of God and humanity,
more than the peer of the man who, while enjoying the protection of that Government and crowned with its benefactions,
would destroy it.
As the matter is understood by me, the government will, for every black soldier reduced to slavery, put a rebel soldier in like
condition and will, for every violation of the usages of war respecting these men, exact ample retaliation.
(signed) J. M. Braymen
Brig. Genl. Com’dg
Head Quarters United States Forces
Vidalia, La., Sept. 2nd, 1864
Lieut. C. B. Smith
A. A. A. Genl
Enclosed find copies of communication between Col. Hardeman U. S. Army and myself approved by Genl Brayman. Also
affidavit of Nathaniel Hunter (Rebel Genl. Major’s “body Servant”) to the effect that Wilson Woods, together with another
Colored Soldier, was shot by the rebels while a prisoner of war, on, or about the 14th day of July 1864.
I have the honor to request that a rebel soldier of same rank be turned over to me. To wear ball and chain and put at hard
labor on fortifications on bread and water, at this Post, until positive information of the assassination of Wilson Woods can
be obtained, at which time said Confederate Soldier to be executed. I would have made this request prior to this time if I
had believed this Soldier would not escape as soon as put in slavery. He made an attempt soon after his capture, but was
recaptured while crossing Black River.
Since learning of his assassination which was in direct violation of Col. Hardeman’s reply to my communication. I feel it my
duty as commanding officer of this man to make the above request.
Hoping it may be granted.
I am Sir
Your Obdt. Servant
H. A. McCaleb
Lieut. Col. Commanding.
In the Rebellion Record is a short paragraph on Col. McCaleb during the battle of Vidalia, LA…
Lieutenant-Colonel McCaleb mounted on a large gray horse, was a mark for all the enemy's sharp-shooters, but as cool as
on parade, he directed the movements of his men. This is the first action the Second Mississippi artillery has been in, the
regiment only being mustered on the twentieth of January; but veterans could not have acted better, and the only trouble
the officers had was to keep the men back.
Here are Col. McCaleb’s unit histories…
11th Regiment, Illinois Infantry
Organized at Cairo, Ill., July 30, 1861. Attached to W. H. L. Wallace's 3rd Brigade, District of Cairo, to February, 1862. 2nd
Brigade, 1st Division, District of Cairo, February, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, District of West Tennessee, and Army of
the Tennessee, to July, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, District of Jackson, Tenn., to August, 1862. District of Cairo, Ill., to
November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 6th Division, Left Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee, to December, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 6th Division, 16th Army Corps, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 6th Division, 17th Army Corps, to September,
1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 17th Army Corps, to August, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of
the Gulf, to December, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Reserve Division, Military Division West Mississippi, to February, 1865. 2nd
Brigade, 1st Division, Reserve Corps, M. D. W. M., February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 13th Army Corps (New), M.
D. W. M., to July, 1865.
SERVICE.-Expedition to Charleston, Mo., October 2, 1861. Expedition against Thompson's forces November 2-12. Skirmish
at Charleston January 8, 1862. Reconnaissance of Columbus, Ky., under Gen. Grant January 25-28. Operations against
Fort Henry February 2-6. Capture of Fort Henry February 6. Investment and capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 12-
16. Assault on Fort Donelson February 15. Moved to Fort Henry March 4-5, thence to Savannah, Tenn., March 5-13, and
to Pittsburg Landing March 23-25. Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May
30. Moved to Jackson, Tenn., and duty there till August 2. Ordered to Cairo, Ill., August 2, and to Paducah, Ky., August 23.
Expedition from Fort Donelson to Clarksville September 5-10. Riggin's Hill, Clarksville, September 7. Duty at Paducah, Ky.,
till November 20. Expeditions to Hopkinsville, Ky., October 31 to November 13. Moved to Lagrange, Tenn., November 20-
24. Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign. Operations on Mississippi Central R. R. November 24, 1862, to January 10,
1863. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., January 12, 1863, thence to Young's Point, La., January 17-24, and to Lake Providence,
La., February 11. Expedition to American Bend March 17-28. Passage of Vicksburg and Warrenton Batteries April 22
(Detachment). Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25-30. Battle of Port Gibson May 1. Battles of
Raymond May 12; Jackson, Miss., May 14; Champion's Hill May 16. Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., May 18-July 4. Assaults on
Vicksburg May 19 and 22. Expedition from Haines' Bluff to Mechanicsburg May 26-June 4. Action at Mechanicsburg May
29. Surrender of Vicksburg July 4. Expedition to Natchez July 12-13. Occupation of Natchez July 13-October 12. Moved to
Vicksburg, Miss., October 12, and duty there till July 29, 1864. Yazoo Expedition February 1-March 8. Liverpool Heights
February 4. Capture of Yazoo City February 4. Satartia February 7. Occupation of Yazoo City till March 6. Action at Yazoo
City March 5. At Black River Bridge till April 28. Expedition to Yazoo City May 4-21. Benton May 7-9. Vaughan May 12.
Vaughan Station May 14. Expedition to Pearl River July 2-10. Jackson July 7. Clinton July 7. Moved to Morganza, La., July
29, and duty there till September 3. Expedition to Clinton, La., August 23-29. Moved to mouth of White River September 3,
thence to Memphis, Tenn., October 8. Return to White River October 27. Expedition to Gaines' Landing November 6-7.
Moved to Duvall's Bluff, Ark., November 8, thence to Memphis, Tenn., November 30-December 4. Expedition to Moscow,
Tenn., December 20-31. Moved to Kenner, La., January 1-5, 1865. To Dauphin Island, Ala., February 4-7. Operations
against Mobile, Ala., and its defenses February 17-April 12. Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely March 26-April 8.
Assault and capture of Fort Blakely April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12. Duty there till May 27. Moved to New Orleans,
thence to Alexandria. Moved to Baton Rouge, La., June 22. Mustered out July 14, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 7 Officers and 179 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 284 Enlisted
men by disease. Total 471.
Mississippi Volunteers 2nd Regiment Heavy Artillery (African Descent)
Organized at Natchez, Miss., September 12, 1863. Attached to post of Natchez, Miss., District of Northeast Louisiana, to
January, 1864. Post of Vicksburg, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864. District of Natchez, Miss., to April, 1864.
SERVICE.-Garrison duty at Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., till April, 1864. Skirmish at Vidalia February 7, 1864. Designation
changed to 5th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery March 11, 1864, and to 6th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, April 26, 1864.
6th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery
Organized from 2nd Mississippi Heavy Artillery (African Descent). Designated 5th Heavy Artillery March 11, 1864 and 6th
Heavy Artillery April 26, 1864. Attached to Post of Natchez, Miss., District of Vicksburg, Miss., Dept. of Tennessee, and
Dept. of Mississippi to February, 1865. Post of Natchez, Dept. of Mississippi, to April, 1865. Dept. of the Gulf to May, 1866.
SERVICE.-Duty at Natchez, Miss., and Vidalia, La., till May, 1866. Skirmish near Vidalia, La., July 22, 1864. Attack on
Steamer "Clara Bell" July 24, 1864 (4 Cos.). Expedition from Natchez to Gillespie's Plantation, La., August 4-6, 1864.
Concordia Bayou August 5. Expedition from Natchez to Buck's Ferry and skirmish September 19-22, 1864. Expedition from
Natchez to Waterproof and Sicily Island September 26-30, 1864. Expedition from Natchez to Homichitto River October 5-8,
1864. Expedition from Vidalia to York Plantation, La., October 26-27, 1864. Skirmish at Black River October 31 and
November 1, 1864. Mustered out May 18, 1866.
|Manhattan Navy Series III
Serial Number 40496
|Manhattan Navy Series III
Serial Number 40496
Notice the Spring Plate behind the cylinder
"H A McCaleb Col USA"
|Right Side Frame
|Left Side Frame
|Backstrap Behind Hammer