Captain"Clina" Surrenders his Sword

While we were busy on other excursions in the Charleston area I continued in spare time to search for more evidence the Legare house skirmish on June 3, 1862. By serendipity I ran across a posting of articles from the Charleston Mercury news paper on the site The relevant passage of the article is copied below, explaining the skirmish and the capture of Captain Clina of the 100th Pennsylvania.

The Skirmish at Legare’s Place on the Third Inst. — Official Reports.
Filed Under Civil War

JAMES ISLAND, June 10th, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report the details of the recent engagement with the enemy’s advance, at Legare’s place, below Secessionville, on the 3d inst. In obedience to your direction I left the camp before daylight with four companies of the 24th — the Marion Rifles, Pee Dee Rifles, Evans Guard and Colleton Guard — to remove the guns of Capt. Chichester’s Battery, which were bogged in the marsh at the causeway below Rivers. Arrived at Secessionville, it was reported to me, by Col. Lamar, that our pickets had been driven into Rivers, and that the guns were covered by the enemy. I reported this to the General, who ordered me to take my companies and drive him back until the fire of his boats obliged me to withdraw. I moved down to Rivers, and found the picket force, consisting of the Beauregard Light Infantry and the Charleston Riflemen, at that point, and the enemy’s advance in the pines just in their front. I ordered these companies to join my command, and formed my line at the head of the causeway, facing Legare threw out the Marion Rifles, Captain Sigwald, as skirmishers, and ordered him to push on and draw the fire of the enemy. This was well and promptly done, the Marions soon occupying the pines and the enemy’s skirmishers retiring. I crossed the causeway by flank and deployed on the other side; throwing my companies forward on the right, where we engaged the enemy warmly until our fire becoming too severe, he fell back to the edge of the wood on this side of Legare’s old field. After a half hour’s firing in this position, we moved into the wood and drove through, the enemy retreating across the old field to the house beyond. Our way was now unobstructed, the enemy occupying the Legare houses beyond and the long hedge to the east of them, from which he poured in a strong fire, most of which passed entirely over us. A regiment, which I afterwards ascertained to be the 28th Massachusetts, constituted his reserve, and was posted below the negro houses, a quarter of a mile to the south. I determined, by a rapid charge on the main building, to cut off the advance from this support, the only difficulty being, that at Legare’s we would be open to the river and within a half mile. But I resolved to attempt it. Just at this period Lieut. Col. Gaillard, with his command, about 125 strong, reported to me, and I assigned him a position, and ordered the Evans Guard, Captain Gooding, Charleston Riflemen, Lieut. Lynch, Irish Volunteers, Capt. Ryan, Beauregard Light Infantry, Capt. White, Sumter Guard, Lieut. J. Ward Hopkins, and the Calhoun Guard, Capt. Miles, to perform the duty, while Lieut. Col. Gaillard took command of the centre and left as a reserve. It was well and nobly performed; twenty-two persons being captured, among them a captain and sergeant, all of the 100th Pennsylvania Regiment. The prisoners in our possession and the enemy driven back to his support, which promptly took position in and behind the row of negro houses, the boats opened a brisk fire on us, while we received our only damaging fire from the negro huts. I, therefore, ordered a retirement to the wood, which was performed in good order and under cover of the fire from our left, where the remainder of the Charleston Battalion, with three of my companies, were posted. I deemed it proper to retire the force beyond the causeway to Rivers, where I took position by the General’s direction. I would have retained the wood had I had a force sufficient to cover my right which was open to the enemy and immediately under the fire of his boats. The following is a list of the casualties of the Beauregard Light Infantry, Pee Dee Rifles and Evans Guard: In the former, Lieut. A. J. Mims, wounded in the thigh; Corporal W. H. Bilton, in the thigh; private Jno. Brenan, in the hip. Pee Dee Rifles, private Jno. Chavers, in the chest. Evans Guard, privates Jno. Brown, severely in the thigh; Lee Brown and M. T. Mock, slightly. The report of Lieut. Col. Gaillard, which is herewith forwarded, shows the result in his command, which makes our total injury sustained, 17 wounded, one of which was mortal and one missing. From a prisoner captured on Saturday last, I learned that Lt. Walker was not dangerously wounded, and was doing well, being held a prisoner at Legareville. The same prisoner informs me that many of the enemy were wounded, two having since died, and that several were killed. He represents the regiment engaged to have been the 100th Pennsylvania, and the support to have consisted of the 28th Massachusetts and the 49th New York. The officers and men under my command behaved with coolness and determined bravery. I have no special mention to make of any one for distinguished behavior. Capt. Clina surrendered his sword to Capt. Ryan, of the Irish Volunteers, who now wears it as a trophy of his gallant command, I return my thanks for their prompt and efficient support. The companies of the 24th, after a long march and without breakfast, went into the action with spirit and sustained it throughout.
With gratitude to God for our success, I have the honor to be,
Colonel, very respectfully and truly,
Your obedient servant, ELLISON CAPERS,
Lieut. Col. 24th Regiments S. C. V.
To Col. C. H. Stevens, commanding 24th Regiment S. C. V.

The passage "Capt. Clina surrendered his sword to Capt. Ryan, of the Irish Volunteers, who now wears it as a trophy of his gallant command" caused my heart to sink. The family story is told that Captain Cline was asked to surrender his sword and rather than doing so he stuck it into the ground and broke it off. The family legend goes on that at that point the Confederate officer was so irate that he raised his sword to land a fatal blow upon the Captain. Captain Cline was purportedly saved by one of his soldiers stepping forward and fending off the blow of the Confederate officer. Having heard this story and seen the broken sword that had belonged to Captain/Major Cline I was crushed by this passage. Could my Great Grandfather have surrendered apparently so mildly? The answer to that required a visit to an Angel.


Unknown said...

Hello. Yours is a great blog and I've enjoyed reading and re-reading it! My great great grandfather was John H. McMasters who enlisted in Co F 100th PA in 1861. I assume he was with Capt Cline when he was captured on June 3, 1862 in the James Island action because the records say that was the date of John's capture. Curious if you've come across Pvt McMasters name in your research. He rejoined his unit in October 1862. He was wounded on 9-16-1864 at Petersburg, VA and mustered out with the company in 1865. Thank you, Scott Garfield

Tom said...

Major James Harvey Cline is my 3rd great uncle.