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Albert McArthur was born around 1842 somewhere in England. Albert McArthur, however, was born Albert McArthur Goddin, but when he decided to enlist in military service, he dropped his last name; for personal reasons. According to records in the National Archives, Colonel James H. Perry received authority from the War Department on July 24, 1861 to recruit a regiment of infantry at Brooklyn. Colonel Perry, who led the regiment, was a minister, which drew many seminary students to the regiment. It was organized at Brooklyn and Peekskill, New York on September 10, 1861 for three years, immediately recognized, and numbered by State authorities on September 14, 1861; after which it left for Annapolis, Maryland, on September 17, 1861. The Forty-eighth New York Volunteer Infantry was the second regiment in Barton's New York brigade. The Forty-eighth was also known as the Continental Guards Regiment or "Perry's Saints." The former designation referred to the multi-state composition of the unit, while the latter was in honor of the regiment's organizer and first commander, Colonel James H. Perry. In addition to the men recruited in the Empire State, companies of the regiment were also formed in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Records show McArthur enlisted and was said to have been mustered into Company G, 48th New York Infantry as a private on October 20, 1863 at the age of 21; but the 48th company records reveal the regiment had already left for Annapolis, Maryland prior to that, so his enlistment date may be in error; or he may have been recruited after the regiment left and joined it later. In any case, his name does appear on the 48th Infantry Regimental Roster.

The regiment was first attached to Viele's 1st Brigade, Sherman's South Carolina Expeditionary Corps. It later served with the 10th Army Corps, 2nd Brigade in Folly Island, S. C.; the 2nd Division, Barton's Brigade, District of Hilton Head, S. C.; Barton's Brigade, District of Florida; Ames' Division; Army of the James, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina; the 18th Army Corps; 10th Army Corps; the 24th Army Corps; Terry's Provisional Corps, Dept. of North Carolina and the Dept. of North Carolina.

On July 4, the regiment left Saint Helena Island on board the steamer “Canonicus” for Folly Island. General George Strong of Setauket was chosen to lead a brigade of six regiments, including the 48th New York. On the evening of July 9, 1863, Darrow and the other anxious members of Company F crossed the 600 yards of water that separated Folly Island from Morris Island. Confederate firing began even before Union soldiers reached shore. As they jumped from their boats, they pushed the retreating Confederates to seek shelter at Fort Wagner. Strong's brigade captured 12 cannons and 100 prisoners that night.

McArthur’s regiment participated in the Expedition to Port Royal, South Carolina and the capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard on Morris Island, Port Royal Harbor, South Carolina.  Unlike other forts, Wagner was not built of bricks and mortar, but of sand and palmetto trees. It had a moat with water in front of it and then a ditch with pointed spikes protruding from floor and sides of the ditch. Union leaders sent four monitors (ironclads) near the fort to coordinate a bombardment with shore batteries on Fort Wagner. The attack on the fort failed, and the 48th suffered 284 casulties out of about 500 present for duty.

They also participated in the siege operations against Fort Pulaski, Georgia; the bombardment and capture of Fort Pulaski; the expedition on U. S. Steamers Potomski and Darlington up the Sapelo River, and the destruction of Confederate salt works; the ill-fated assaults on Fort Wagner in 1863, Morris Island; the siege of Forts Wagner and Gregg. On July 31, 1863, what remained of the 48th N.Y. was shipped by the steamer “Boston” to Saint Augustine, Florida and on August 3, 1863, they were stationed at Fort Marion, Florida. That began the  expedition into Central Florida and the Battle of Olustee where it suffered 215 casualties, including forty-seven men killed or mortally wounded.; the occupation of Palatka, Florida; operations against Fort Darling; the Battle of Drury's Bluffs; the operations against Petersburg and Richmond; the assault and capture of Fort Fisher; the Campaign of the Carolinas; the  surrender of Johnston and his army and served duty at Raleigh and in the Dept. of North Carolina until it was mustered out on August 16, 1865. McArthur’s regiment had a total of 18 officers and 218 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 officers and 131 enlisted men die from diseases contracted.

McArthur himself was seriously wounded in action at Cold Harbor, Virginia on June 1, 1864 when he was shot in both his thighs.  After being found invalid on the battlefield, he was picked up and taken to the rear, where he lay on the field for three days and nights before he was removed and transported by boat to Washington and finally to a hospital in New York; where he remained until October 31, 1864. While in the hospital for his battlefield wounds, McArthur contracted smallpox and was transferred to yet another hospital for treatment of the infection there. His bout with smallpox brought on deafness and memory loss, from which McArthur suffered for many years.  He was given a disability discharge at David’s Island in New York Harbor on December 16th 1865. 

Albert McArthur Goddin eventually made his way to Australia after the war and in 1871 made application to the United States for an invalid pension. In a letter from a U.S. Consoler’s Agent at Port Adelaide, South Australia to the U.S. Consul in Melbourne, dated October 10, 1871, it was explained that Albert McArthur, and Albert McArthur Goddin, was actually one in the same; his having dropped his name “Goddin” while in the service of the United States; but which he was now known by in Australia. He attested to the correctness of the information but felt the Consul should be aware of it and why it occurred. McArthur’s pension application also detailed his battlefield injuries and the suffering he had continually endured as a result of contracting smallpox while in the Army hospital.

McArthur was granted a military pension, which was later increased due to his declaration, under the “Act of June 27, 1890”. Records indicate that McArthur never married, but in a “General Affidavit” given at Port Adelaide on April 3, 1897, in support of a supplementary pension, one Rebecca “Godden” appeared as a witness to testify she had known Albert McArthur “Goddin” for some twenty years. It is not known if she was related to McArthur, if they simply had similar names or if Albert had gotten married without anyone’s knowledge.

Albert received a pension sum of $12 (US) a month, under certification No. 45559, until his death of “paralysis of the brain”; on August 6, 1913. He died at Adelaide, South Australia where for years he had been under the care of a nurse; Mrs. Eliza Ann Edgelow.  Albert McArthur Goddin was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia in the “Godden” family plot in Section C.

 

Cheltenham Cemetery Records

Department of Records & Information Service, Municipal Archives, New York, New York

“Men and Arms: Sketches of the Commanders and Units of the Olustee Campaign”,

Olustee Battlefield Citizen Support Organization, Glen St. Mary, Florida “Official Records”

“Perry’s Saints or the Fighting Parson’s Regiment in the War of the Rebellion”, James M. Nichols, 1886
 Report of the Adjutant-General, New York 

“The Battle of Olustee and The Olustee Battlefield Site: A Brief History”,

Olustee Battlefield Citizen Support Organization, Glen St. Mary, Florida

“The Confederate Roll of Honor: Southern Casualties at the Battle of Olustee”,

Olustee Battlefield Citizen Support Organization, Glen St. Mary, Florida

“The History of the Forty-eighth Regiment New York State Volunteers, in the War for the Union,  1861-1865”,
Abraham J. Palmer, 1885
 “U.S. Civil War Regimental Histories”,  Library of Congress.

U.S. Consul Dispatches from Melbourne, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Pension Files, U.S. Pension Office

 

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