Jun 13, 2015 - Prisons for Americans    No Comments

An Empire State Confederate at Fort Fisher

Serving with Orangeburg’s Edisto Rifles, Company G, 25th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers of Hagood’s Brigade was one Ira Thomas Shoemaker. He was part of the Fort Fisher garrison during the attacks in late 1864 and early 1865, and captured after its fall. Sergeant Shoemaker was imprisoned in his hometown of Elmira, New York.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org


An Empire State Confederate at Fort Fisher

“Our picket line one day while the brigade was on the Darbytown lines was attacked and driven in by the Yankees. The pickets in front of the Twenty-fifth Regiment were commanded by a lieutenant. General [Johnson] Hagood had a new detail made at once, with Sergeant Ira T. Shoemaker of the Edisto Rifles in command, who promptly drove the Yankees back, reestablished the line and held it till next morning when regularly relieved.

Sergeant Shoemaker was a New Yorker, from Herkimer County. He came down South several years before the war and was teaching in Orangeburg [South Carolina] when the State seceded, and did not hesitate as to what he should do, but promptly aligned himself with those who fought under the Starry Cross, and unswervingly held on to the bitter end.

Like Jim Bludsoe: “He seen his duty a dead sure thing, And went for it thar and then.”

He fulfilled the requirements of a model Confederate soldier. After the close of the war he represented Orangeburg County in the legislature several years before his death.

Sergeant Shoemaker’s home was in Elmira, where the prison was located, before he came South, and his parents and other members of his family were living there when he was a prisoner. They endeavored in every way to induce him to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, but this he positively refused to do, preferring to stand true to his convictions and “live and die in Dixie.”

(Sketch of the War Record of the Edisto Rifles, 1861-1865, William V. Izlar, The State Company, 1914, Pages 103, 109)

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