Scarboro’ link to Civil War battle

The grave of Pte james Weadley in Manor Road Cemetery
The grave of Pte james Weadley in Manor Road Cemetery

A SCARBOROUGH historian has appealed for help to put the spotlight on an American Civil War soldier buried in the town.

Amateur enthusiast Len Friskney wants residents to come forward with information about Pte James Weadley, who is buried in Dean Road cemetery.

The grave of Pte james Weadley in Manor Road Cemetery

The grave of Pte james Weadley in Manor Road Cemetery

Mr Friskney’s appeal falls on today’s 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, in southwestern Tennessee, which took place on April 6 1862.

He said he first noticed the grave when he was walking through the graveyard one Remembrance Day and saw that it had been decorated with a small confederate flag.

He said: “Further investigation revealed that it was on the grave of a local family – Charles and Ann Weadley – and another inscription was that of their son James who was killed at the Battle of Shiloh at the age of 36.”

He added that research had been difficult because a lot of American documents were restricted but he had discovered that his brother Henry had also fought in the battle and had survived the war.

On the morning of April 6, 1862, 40,000 Confederate soldiers who were under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnson poured out of nearby woods and attacked a line of Union soldiers near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River.

Mr Friskney said: “The overpowering Confederate offensive drove the unprepared Federal forces from their camps and threatened to overwhelm Ulysses S Grant’s entire command.

“Some Federals made a determined stand and by the afternoon they had established a battle line at the sunken road known as the Hornets’ Nest.

“Repeated rebel attacks failed to carry the Hornets’ Nest but massed artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and they captured, killed or wounded most of them.

“The two-day battle at Shiloh produced more than 23,500 casualties and was the bloodiest battle in American history at the time.”

Mr Friskney said that James Weadley had been a publican during the 1850s and was the landlord of the Bull and Son pub in Bridlington. He added: “It is interesting to note that out of 10,000 who volunteered to fight in the American Civil War 5,000 were from the north-east of England.”

In April 2004 John Collier, of Lisvane Avenue, contacted the Evening News with some details about James Weadley.

He said James was born in York in 1826 and married Bridlington-born Hannah Wilson around 1847.

By 1851 he was working as a bricklayer and had two daughters, Ann and Elizabeth.

In 1860 the family, along with new daughter Lucy and his brother Henry, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, but soon after moving to America Lucy died of a fever aged just six – a fact reported in the Scarborough Evening News of September 9 1860.

James Weadley joined Walker’s 2nd Tennessee Infantry after the outbreak of the American Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.

l Anyone with information regarding James Weadley should contact reporter Ian Duncan on (01723) 383805.