On 2 August 1944, in the North Atlantic, the USS Fiske made visual contact with U-804, a Nazi submarine. The Fiske along with the USS David L. Howard made an attack run on the now submerged submarine. Suddenly, the Fiske was torpedoed, split in two, and sunk, while U-804 slipped back to its patrol. Thirty-three of her men were killed and 50 badly wounded by the explosion. One of those was Seaman Second Class Robert Louis Earnest, my great-grandmother’s brother. He was initially wounded and rescued by the USS Farqhuar, but died later that day. He was only 29 years old, leaving behind his wife of ten years and their son. He was buried at sea and there is no place to go to mourn and honor his memory. The best we have are the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. His posthumous Purple Heart is not reward enough. He is a hero for America, but before he was a hero, he was family — my family.
With great love and admiration, your great-grand niece.
I left off Part I with the battles of Brandywine and Paoli in September 1777. Barely two weeks later, Samuel found himself preparing for battle again, still in Pennsylvania. This time they were in Germantown, a small settlement.
A thick fog clouded the battlefield throughout the day. At the front of the army was John Sullivan’s column. They opened fire on the British pickets of light infantry at Mount Airy just as the sun was rising at around 5 AM. The British pickets resisted the American advance. William Howe rode forward, thinking that they were being attacked by foraging or skirmishing parties, and ordered his men to hold their ground. It took most of Sullivan’s division to finally overwhelm the British pickets and drive them back into Germantown.
Howe, still believing that his men were facing only light opposition, called out, “For shame, Light Infantry, I never saw you retreat before. Form! Form! It is only a scouting party.” Just then, three American cannons came into action and fired a blast of grape shot. Howe and his staff quickly withdrew out of range. I guess that changed his mind. More than one British officer was shocked to see his soldiers rapidly falling back before the powerful attack.
Now cut off from the main British and Hessian force, British Colonel Musgrave ordered his six companies to fortify the stone house of Chief Justice Chew, called Cliveden. The Americans furiously assaulted Cliveden, but the greatly outnumbered defenders beat them back, inflicting heavy casualties. General Washington called a council of war to decide how to deal with the distraction. Some of his subordinate officers favored bypassing Cliveden and leaving a regiment behind to deal with it. However, Brigadier General Henry Knox recommended that it was unwise to allow a garrison in the rear of a forward advance to remain under enemy control, and Washington agreed.
General William Maxwell’s brigade, which had been held in reserve, stormed Cliveden. Knox positioned four 3-pound cannons out of musket range and opened fire against the mansion’s defenders. However, the thick stone walls of Cliveden withstood the bombardment. Soldiers launched against the mansion were cut down, causing heavy casualties. The few who managed to get inside were shot or bayoneted. It was becoming clear that Cliveden was not going to be taken easily, if at all.
Before Knox and Maxwell attacked the Chew mansion, Sullivan’s division pressed past the place in the fog. Sullivan deployed Brigadier General Thomas Conway’s brigade to the right and Brigadier General Anthony Wayne’s brigade to the left and drove forward against the British. As Sullivan advanced, his troops paused frequently to fire volleys into the fog. This tactic effectively supressed enemy opposition, but they quickly ran low on ammunition. Wayne’s brigade moved ahead and became separated from Sullivan’s line. Suddenly, from the rear, the men began hearing the disquieting racket from Knox’s bombardment of the Chew mansion. To their right, the firing from Sullivan’s men died down as the Marylanders ran low on ammunition. Wayne’s men began to panic in their apparent isolation, so he ordered them to fall back. Sullivan was forced back also. Since the British units were moved to fight Greene’s late-arriving column, Sullivan’s men fell back.
Meanwhile, General Nathanael Greene’s column on Limekiln Road caught up with the American forces at Germantown and engaged the British pickets at Luken’s Mill and drove them off after a savage skirmish. Adding to the heavy fog that already obscured the Americans’ view was the smoke from cannons and muskets, and Greene’s column was thrown into disarray and confusion. One of Greene’s brigades, under the command of Brigadier General Adam Stephen, veered off course and began following Meetinghouse Road instead of rendezvousing at Market Square with the rest of Greene’s forces. The wayward brigade collided with Wayne’s brigade and mistook them for the redcoats. The two American brigades opened heavy fire on each other, became badly disorganized, and both fled. The withdrawal of Wayne’s reserve New Jersey Brigade, which had suffered heavy casualties attacking the Chew house, left Conway’s right flank exposed to the enemy.
In the north, an American column led by General Alexander McDougall came under attack and was forced to retreat, suffering heavy losses. Still convinced, however, that they could win, Greene’s column launched an attack on the British and Hessian line as planned, managing to break through and capturing a number of prisoners. However, they were soon surrounded by two arriving British brigades led by General Cornwallis. Greene, upon learning of the main army’s defeat and withdrawal, realized that he stood alone and he withdrew.
With night rapidly falling, the British had repulsed all attacks, but gave up the chase, and Washington decided to withdraw. Yet another defeat. How many could the Continental Army, and the cause, endure?
My fourth great-grandfather Anderson Street was born 5 May 1805 in Georgia, son of Joseph Street and Lucinda Key. His grandfather, Samuel Street was a Revolutionary soldier from Virginia, and died in Georgia in 1811. About this time, Anderson moved to Lincoln County,
Tennessee with his parents. Soon afterwards, his father answered the call for soldiers in the War of 1812, and died in 1815. Anderson married about 1822 in Lincoln County. to Keziah (pronounced “Kezzy”) McBride.
On 9 September 1826 Anderson sold his 200 acres in Lincoln County to his brother John Waller Street, and moved to Hardeman County, and lived there about nine years. They moved to Tippah County, Mississippi not long after the Chickasaws signed the Treaty of Pontotoc on 22 May 1834. When he arrived in North Mississippi, he cleared his newly acquired land for farming and built a log house for his family. He did blacksmith work for his neighbors. When Tippah County was lawfully created in 1836, Anderson was elected a justice of the peace from his district, with brother-in-law Daniel McBride and close friend Worley Linville standing surety for him. Both of these men are also my ancestors. He helped survey the new lands and as the patents were granted to the settlers, he carried these patents to the land office in Pontotoc to be recorded. Anderson owned 960 acres northwest of the Antioch community and also owned 160 acres west of Tiplersville.
In the 1840s Anderson and Keziah were members of the Primitive Baptist Church of Christ at Ephesus. Unfortunately, the location of this church is no longer known.
I know that he owned six slaves as of 1860 and there is only one I know by name: Sanko.
When the Civil War began, he and his seven sons volunteered for the Confederate Army, serving the duration. Three of his sons were killed, the other four wounded. I have been told that Anderson was in the 34th Mississippi, but I have never found his military record. Family stories also say he was imprisoned during the war in New York, possibly Elmira, where he was fed solely rice to the point he never wanted to see any rice again.
After the war, he returned home, signed an oath of allegiance to the Government, and resumed his farming. His wife died shortly, on 14 January 1866, and was buried in Antioch cemetery. Later, he married Abigail Surrat, but little is known of this marriage.
In later years, he lived with his children. One day when he was going out the back door, he tripped over the family cat, fell and broke his hip. He never walked again. He died 11 November 1888, at the home of his son, Calvin, in Saulsbury, Tenn, and because of bad weather and poor roads, he is buried in the Martin Cemetery there.
Joseph was born on 31 December 1834 in Mapperley, a Derbyshire village in England. His parents were William and Sarah Hawley. By the age of 17, he was working as a servant for the Thornhill family in nearby Stanton. Soon enough though, he began working at the coal mines in Ilkeston and Stonebroom like most men in the village.
There he worked until 1882 when he decided he wanted something better for the remainder of his life. He took his family and moved them to Young, Pennsylvania in Jefferson County.
But the miner in him just couldn’t quit. He worked the Pennsylvania coal mines until his death on 26 March 1908 of the “infirmities of old age.” Having the flu certainly didn’t help.
He was buried in the Horatio Cemetery in nearby Punxsutawney three days later.