of the 11th New Jersey and William Blaisdell of the 11th Massachusetts were very different in style, temperament and habits.
considered Blaisdell unfit and lacking in all moral values : I do not know how a man of his caliber in tactics and morals could get such a position. He wrote further that.
Thomas D. Marbaker, the historian of the 11th New Jersey, wrote that McAllister
Regis DeTrobriand, a fellow brigade commander in the Third Division later in 1864, gave this favorable appraisal of McAllister
From what I have related of his
services in front of the enemy, the reader would doubtless be led to imagine him as hard fighters are generally representedCstill young, with loud voice, fierce mustache, lofty step, etc.Nothing could be further from the truth.McAllister
is a good pater familias, having passed his
[ fiftieth ] year.His
voice is soft and calm ; never, never on any occasion is it raised to the pitch of an oath or anything resembling it.Not only is his
mustache not twisted, but his
face is as closely shaven as that of an honest pastor.Everything about him has the air of simplicity and modesty.His
habits are those of an anchorite.A temperance man, he
never touches liquor of any kind, not even beer.Tolerant as to others, rigid for himself, he
preaches by example only.His
staff had full liberty to use moderately the liquors he
refused himself, and it seemed perfectly a matter of course to him, when we visited him, that his
adjutant, Major Frinkelmeyer, should offer us the stirrup cup..
As punctual in his
religious habits as he
was severe in his
had Protestant religious services regularly on Sunday at his
headquarters.The most pleasant attention we could pay him was, on that day, to listen to the sermon of his
habitual kind-heartedness for the soldier did not affect his
personally intervened in a punishment, he
seldom failed to accompany it with a reprimand, the tenor ant tone of which recalled to the culprit the scoldings he
had received from his
mother in his
childhood.So that the soldiers among themselves called him affectionately Mother McAllister. But when the day of battle came the mother led on her
children as a lioness her
was a most exemplary man, McAllister
was none the less the most energetic soldier. (58).
introduction to McAllister's letters, the editor writes of those brigadiers and colonels whose quiet efficiency and resolute gallantry ultimately proved the salvation of the Union and states that Colonel McAllister belonged to that noble class. (59) It can be argued that Blaisdell was also a member of this noble class, but to lump these two men together would be upsetting to both.
was eighteen, Blaisdell enlisted in the 4th Infantry Regiment of the regular army and served for sixteen years.He
fought in the Indian and Mexican wars, rose to sergeant, and served on General Winfield Scott's staff.He
was wounded charging a battery in the Mexican War.On his
was appointed an inspector in the Boston customs house.At the advent of the Civil War he
was offered a commission as a captain in the regular army by General Scott but decided to enter the volunteer service. (60).
Very little published material exists on Blaisdell, but an unpublished portion of Henry Blake's memoirs expands our knowledge of his
Henry Blake was as strongly against the use of alcohol as was McAllister
, holding that.
noted that Colonel Blaisdell is the party that was prominent and conspicuous in taking the church for a dance hall. (68) Sergeant Marbaker of the 11th New Jersey was less critical of the dance hall operation than his
noted that the officers were able to bring their wives and daughters to the grand balls at Brandy Station during the winter, but this option was not open to the enlisted men.They were forced to improvise.He
a dance without something resembling femininity not being very attractive, the want was filled by dressing in female garb the youngest and most effeminate soldiers.Some sent North for female apparel, but as that was not always practicable, many ways were resorted to and many varieties of material used to get up costumes.Colonel McAllister, no doubt, would have been very indignant had he
known that one of the table-covers sometimes figured as a skirt upon George W. Lindley, the write's steady company. ... The season closed with a grand conflagration.Some incendiary fired the building, and in spite of the heroic efforts of the New York firemen, from the Excelsior Brigade, who quickly had their machines on the spot-said machines consisting of the running-gears of baggage-wagons with ropes attached-the building was entirely consumed.No insurance. (69).
The ability of the officers to live it up to a degree at Brandy Station was not dwelt upon by McAllister
good friend General Carr, with his
dancing master background, was a social leader which may have impressed Chief of Staff Andrew Humphreys, if not General Meade.