Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Doc" Aubery of the Iron Brigade

Military history is not my specialty.  Nada.  I don't know the difference between a regiment, company or whatever.

But once in a while I really get inspired and excited when someone else discovers something, and that's what happened last week.

Thanks to a visit from Kevin, of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum I started digging and learned the following:

"Doc" Aubery was just a 14-year-old kid in Vermont when the Civil War started.  He watched his four older brothers as they drilled and practiced in their hometown of Burlington.  When the time came for these new recruits to board a train, and the townspeople all gathered at the train station to see them off, little Cullen "Doc" Aubery decided at the last minute that he wanted to go along, and so he hopped aboard the train as it was leaving.  He hid from his brothers, and was finally discovered when they arrived in New York.

He soon was hired by a Lieutenant, to "keep his tent in order".

Eventually he found himself attached to General Edward S. Bragg of the Iron Brigade. He had often noticed that during the lull between battles and marches, all of the men craved newspapers.  He set himself the task of purchasing papers at the various localities, and selling them to the men.  Thus he became known as the Newsboy of the Iron Brigade.

After the war, Cullen "Doc" Aubery settled in Milwaukee.  He wrote memoirs of his experience titled: "Recollections of a newsboy in the Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865: his capture and confinement in Libby Prison: after being paroled, sharing the fortunes of the famous Iron Brigade".

Doc Aubery also wrote to the officers and soldiers of the Iron Brigade for momentos and souvenirs from the war, as well as asking for their photos.  He accumulated quite a collection, which can be found in Blakely Museum and the Thornton Research Library.

 Now I have to find out just how we came to acquire these important Iron Brigade items.

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