Fielding R. Culp

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Republic of Texas
Fielding R. Culp
Midshipman, Navy
Oct. 4, 1842
Full Name: Fielding R. Culp
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 2 (C2)
Row:U  Number:16
Reason for Eligibility: Republic of Texas Veteran; Texas Navy 
Birth Date: circa 1823 
Died: October 4, 1842 
Burial Date: Reinterred January 15, 1955 
CULP, FIELDING R. (circa 1823~1842) Fielding R. Culp, Midshipman in the Texas Navy, was born in Kentucky, circa 1823, to Daniel and Sarah Richardson Culp. After moving to Texas, he enlisted in the Republic of Texas Navy and was commissioned as a midshipman. He served on the warship "Wharton."

The "Wharton," originally called the "Colorado," but was renamed to honor Republic of Texas veteran John Austin Wharton, was 110 feet long and twenty-eight feed wide and was able to carry 17 officers and 123 sailors and marines. The three year old brig traveled the coasts between Texas and the Yucatan enforcing the Mexican blockade. After returning to Galveston in early 1842, Commander John T. K. Lothrop lost most of his crew, due to the terms of their enlistments and desertions. By May of that same year, with only nine sailors, the "Wharton" set sail for New Orleans for repairs.

The crew stayed in New Orleans for nearly a year while their ship underwent a complete overhaul and more sailors were recruited. During this time, the men, even with such a small number, grew increasingly disgruntled. The combination of bad tempers, too much idle time and cramped quarters often led to disagreements and fisticuffs amongst the men. Culp was involved in one such episode.

Though the nature of the disagreement is not known, Culp and fellow midshipman, George W. White, came to blows and carried their dispute to the New Orleans dueling ground, Dueling Oaks. On October 1, 1842, Culp and White, according to the next day's edition of The Daily Picayune, fought with pistols at a distance of ten paces. With his first shot, White shot Culp and left him severely wounded. The newspapers followed his plight and reported, ironically, on the morning of his death that he was "still living, and hopes are entertained of his recovery."

After being transported to the City Hotel, Culp languished for three days until he died at noon on October 4, 1842. He was buried that same day in the Girod Street Cemetery with full military honors. The newspapers reported that detachments from the First Company of Native Americans, Marion Rifles of the Washington Battalion, the Louisiana Greys, the Montgomery Guards and the Cannoniers were all in attendance.

Culp was buried with Republic of Texas Marine Lieutenant Charles F. Fuller. Both were later joined by fellow Marine Captain Robert Oliver. Culp's headstone in the Girod Street Cemetery read: Fielding R. Culp/ Born in Kentucky / Died Oct. 4-1842 / Aged 19 Years.

The Girod Street Cemetery, which belonged to the Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral, was New Orleans' first large protestant burial ground and the final resting place to many of the city's leaders. But, by 1945, the city health department condemned the cemetery as a burial ground. Suffering from years of vandalism and neglect, the cemetery languished until July 30, 1953, when the city ordered the removal of all the remains.

When the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas heard what was happening to the graves of three Republic of Texas veterans, Oliver, Culp, and Fuller, they had their bodies returned to Texas and buried in the Texas State Cemetery with full military honors on January 15, 1955.

Information taken from: The Daily Picayune, Monday, October 2, 1842; The Daily Picayne, Tuesday, October 4, 1842; The Daily Picayune, Wednesday, October 5, 1842; Devereaux, Linda Ericson, ?The Texas Navy,? Ericson Books, Nacogdoches, Texas, 1983. Douglas, Claude L, ?Thunder on the Gulf: The Story of the Texas Navy,? Turner Company, 1936; reprint, Old Army Press, 1973. Meed, Douglas V., ?The Fighting Texas Navy: 1832 ? 1843,? Republic of Texas Press, 2001. ?The Texian,? Vol. 2, No. 4, January 3, 1955, published by the Sons of the Republic of Texas; "The Crumbling World of Girod Street Cemetery", Dixie, Times-Picayune States Roto Magazine, August 29, 1954"WHARTON." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Sat Nov 23 13:44:58 US/Central 2002].
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