Thomas James Handy was born in Dresden, Ohio to Chauncey Charles Handy and his wife, Emily Jackson Handy, both born in New York. He had enlisted in the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry in East Troy, Wisconsin on June 14, 1861 as a cooper (barrel maker), when he was 17 years old. (The skill of barrel making had been passed down through the generations. The first was Richard Handy, born 1645 in England, who had learned the skill as a young man in Colonial Massachusetts per the books, ‘Descendents of the Mayflower’ and the ‘New England Historical and Genealogical Register’)
Thomas came to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a Union soldier during the Civil War. He served as a Union Mail Carrier stationed at Las Cuevas near Sullivan City, Texas. Handy’s mail route took him down Military Road where many of the original Spanish Land Grant settlers lived. One ranch a long that road was the Azadores Ranch which was part of the La Blanca Land Grant owned by Salvador Cavazos. Thomas met his future wife Angelita Cavazos there.
During the Civil War, Courier Stations were established at intervals of 20 miles, from Brownsville to Laredo, through which semi-weekly mail runs were transmitted. Besides these duties, the regiment was employed in enforcement of revenue laws, with frequent scouting expeditions to protect the many residents, and their property from Indians and other marauders.
Thomas learned that the war was over from a newspaper thrown to the troops from a steamboat. Possibly the Corvette or the Bessie, some of the 30 steamboats run by the U.S. Quarter Master Department, which traveled between Brazos Santiago and Fort Brown carrying troops and supplies on the Rio Grande. Sergeant Handy was discharged on June 9, 1866. Steamboat Bessie
Thomas James Handy
Residence: East Troy, Wisconsin
Promoted to Full Sergeant
Enlisted as a Corporal on 14 June 1861
Enlisted in Company F, 4th Cavalry Regiment Wisconsin on 14 June 1861
Mustered out on 28 May 1866
This regiment was organized at Racine in June, 1861, with a numerical strength of 1,047. It was mustered in July 2, and was first used in suppressing bank riots in Milwaukee and Watertown.
It left the state July 15 and on the refusal of the railroad company to transfer it from Corning, N. Y., to Elmira, it seized the train and ran it to Elmira. It went into headquarters at the Relay house, Md., and later joined the "Eastern Shore" expedition, going to Baltimore in December.
On Feb. 19, 1862, it left for Fortress Monroe to join the New Orleans expedition, but was sent to Ship Island, Miss., until April 16. On the 28th Cos. E and G were landed 10 miles from Forts Jackson and St. Philip, after rowing 5 miles and drawing 30 boats loaded with arms and ammunition a mile and a half, while wading in mud and water waist deep.
The regiment, with the 31st Mass., was first landed in New Orleans and took forcible possession of the custom house. The 4th Wis. was occupied in scouting duty in detachments until July 26, when it was sent to Baton Rouge, Col. Paine taking command of the troops there with orders to burn the city with the exception of the state library, paintings, statuary and charitable institutions.
This order was afterwards revoked on Col. Paine's representation to Gen. Butler that the town "would be useful to our army for further military operations." The town was fortified thoroughly by the regiment, which was later ordered to Carrollton, near New Orleans, Co. G being detached for service with the heavy artillery, and 40 men were also transferred to the 2nd U. S. artillery.
The winter and spring were devoted to picket duty and small expeditions through Mississippi. The regiment took a prominent part in the battle of Fort Bisland near Brashear City in April. It was then sent to Opelousas, where it met and defeated a large mounted force of the enemy.
By order of Gen. Banks the regiment was mounted and thereafter served as cavalry. It was in numerous skirmishes until ordered to Port Hudson in May as part of the investing force.
It took part in the first assault and reached the ditch surrounding the fortifications, having been temporarily dismounted. It was in the second assault on June 14, losing 140 of the 220 men engaged in the charge.
It returned to Baton Rouge July 25, and passed the following year in picketing, foraging and preserving the peace in that section, occasionally capturing or dispersing small bands of cavalry and guerillas. On Nov. 27, 1864, it formed part of a cavalry force to keep the enemy near Mobile from advancing toward Gen. Sherman.
The winter was passed at Baton Rouge and the regiment was sent to Mobile in April, 1865. After the surrender of the latter place, the 4th was sent on a 70-day expedition through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. In July it was ordered to Texas and remained there until May, 1866, to prevent
smuggling, guard against the Indians and preserve the peace.
He was mustered out May 28, 1866. Its original strength was 1,047. Gain by recruits, 982; substitutes, 16; reenlistments, 260; total, 2,305. Loss by death, 350; missing, 23; desertion, 74; transfer, 2, discharge, 474; mustered out, 754.
Source: The Union Army, Vol. 4
Battles Fought by Company F:
Fought at Jackson, LA.
Fought on 28 July 1861 at Relay House, MD.
Fought on 09 July 1862 at Vicksburg, MS.
Fought on 15 July 1862 at On Gunboat "Tyler".
Fought on 15 July 1862 at Yazoo River, MS.
Fought on 21 July 1862 at Vicksburg, MS.
Fought on 13 April 1863 at Bisland, LA.
Fought on 28 April 1863 at Vermillion, LA.
Fought on 27 May 1863 at Port Hudson, LA.
Fought on 28 May 1863 at Port Hudson, LA.
Fought on 29 May 1863 at Port Hudson, LA.
Fought on 03 June 1863 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 14 June 1863 at Port Hudson, LA.
Fought on 20 June 1863 at Jackson, LA.
Fought on 04 July 1863 at Port Hudson, LA.
Fought on 06 July 1863 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 08 September 1863 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 29 September 1863 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 05 October 1863 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 23 October 1863 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 08 November 1863.
Fought on 11 January 1864 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 01 February 1864 at New River, LA.
Fought on 08 February 1864 at Doyle's Plantation, LA.
Fought on 08 February 1864 at New River Landing, LA.
Fought on 09 February 1864.
Fought on 15 February 1864 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 08 March 1864 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 14 March 1864 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 01 April 1864 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 02 April 1864 at Baton Rouge, LA.
Fought on 03 May 1864 at Comite River, LA.
Fought on 11 June 1864 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 03 July 1864 at Rosedale, LA.
Fought on 06 August 1864 at Plaquemine, LA.
Fought on 25 August 1864 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 28 August 1864 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 05 October 1864 at Comite River, LA.
Fought on 10 October 1864.
Fought on 10 October 1864 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 08 November 1864.
Fought on 15 November 1864.
Fought on 15 November 1864 at Camp Beauregard, LA.
Fought on 17 November 1864 at Liberty, MS.
Fought on 03 March 1865 at Olive Branch, LA.
Fought on 05 March 1865 at Olive Branch, LA.
Fought on 07 March 1865 at Clinton, LA.
Fought on 27 May 1865 at Port Hudson, LA.
Fought on 02 June 1865.
Fought on 04 February 1866 at Brownsville, TX.
Sam H. Ybarra, Thomas J. Handy great great grandson emal and