Monday, May 29, 2017

Our Family's Civil War Veterans

This weekend, we celebrated Memorial Day, when we take a moment to remember those killed while engaging in military service. Memorial Day's origins date from the years following the Civil War, when people remembered war dead by cleaning and decorating their graves.

My family has a number of ancestors who served in the Civil War, all on the Union side. Since I have not yet individually profiled these men and their families, I'd like to honor them here, as a group.

Andrew Ross Campbell

Andrew was my fourth great-grandfather, the husband of Cindrilla Greene and father of my third great-grandmother, Angeline Campbell. He was born July 29, 1824 in Chester County, South Carolina, the descendant of Scotch-Irish immigrants. In the mid-1840s, his family moved to Perry County, Illinois. There, Andrew married, had three children, and worked a large farm.

Andrew enlisted in the Union Army on August 15, 1861 at Pickneyville, Illinois, at the age of 37. He became a sergeant in Company A, Illinois 31st Infantry Regiment, which mustered into service on September 18, 1861 in Cairo, Illinois. In February 1862, he participated in the Battle of Fort Donelson, in Tennessee, but he was sick by the time the fighting started. Disease ran rampant in Civil War encampments, and Andrew had come down with an illness from which he would not recover. He stayed with the Army through the battle, which turned out to be a great victory for the Union, but was then sent by boat to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. After evaluation there, he was sent home to Illinois, still sick, but not discharged from service. He arrived home in Pickneyville on April 11, 1862 and died there on April 25, 1862. His cause of death was noted as Smallpox, although this was likely not the original ailment which had sent him home from the war. Andrew was thirty-seven at the time of his death.

Andrew's brother, John M. Campbell, Jr., also died during the Civil War. Like Andrew, John served as an officer in the Illinois 31st Infantry Regiment. Sadly, John was wounded at the battle at Fort Donelson, and he perished from those injuries on February 15. He was forty-two years old.

Thomas Benton Greene

Thomas Benton Greene was the son of Elizabeth Elen Short and Levi Greene, my fifth great grandparents. He was the brother of Cindrilla Greene, my fourth great-grandmother. As mentioned above, Cindrilla lost her husband, Andrew Ross Campbell, to illness contracted while he was serving in the Civil War. Thomas was born in 1842 in Perry County, Illinois. He was just nineteen years old when he enlisted in the Union Army on August 15, 1861. He joined Company A, Illinois 31st Infantry Regiment, the same unit that his brother-in-law, Andrew Campbell, had joined as an officer.

Like Andrew, Thomas mustered into service on September 18, 1861 in Cairo, Illinois. He fought in the Battle of Fort Donelson and survived. His company spent much of 1862 and 1863 in Tennessee before heading to Mississippi, where they engaged in several battles at Vicksburg. Thomas was mustered out in late 1863 and reenlisted on January 5, 1864. 1864 found the Illinois 31st Infantry in Georgia, where they participated in General Sherman's March to the Sea. Thomas survived until the end of the war and mustered out for the final time on July 19, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky. He returned home to Perry County, where he married Margaret Keller and had four children. The family moved to Kansas, where Thomas worked as a farmer until his death at 91 years of age.

Michael O'Hare

Michael was my third great-grandfather, the father of Nellie O'Hare Barrett and husband of Temperance Burns. He was born in County Down, Northern Ireland, in about 1827. He emigrated to New York in the 1840s, where he married his first wife and had two sons. The family moved to Illinois just as the Civil War started, and Michael enlisted in the Union Army on September 26, 1861. He was a private in Company D, 4th Cavalry Regiment Illinois. At the time of his enlistment, he was thirty-four years old.

After their formation, the 4th Cavalry was sent to Tennessee, where they saw a lot of action over the next several years. They participated in battles at Fort Donelson, Shiloh (under the command of General Sherman) and Corinth. Sent west, toward Mississippi and Arkansas, they engaged in a number of conflicts along the way, including skirmishes near Holly Springs and Memphis. Michael was captured and taken prisoner on February 29, 1864, near a fort on the Boeuf River in Arkansas. He was taken to Camp Ford, a prisoner of war camp in Tyler, Texas, where he was held for a period of several months. The prison was just bare ground surrounded by 16-foot high stakes. Prisoners were left outside in the elements and given nothing beyond meager rations of corn, beans and occasional meat. While there were slightly better conditions at this prison than at some others, it was still a grim and dangerous environment. Michael was released from Camp Ford before the end of that year, because his records show that he was discharged from the military with the rest of his company on November 16, 1864 in Springfield, Illinois. He had served three years. Michael was lucky. Of about 1,100 men in the 4th Calvalry, only about 350 were mustered out in 1864, suggesting great losses in this company. Michael's first wife died after his return home, and he married again in 1870, to my 3rd great-grandmother Temperance Burns. They had two children together, including my second great-grandmother, Nellie.

John Daly 

John Daly was my third great-grandfather. He was the husband of Mary Carey and the father of my second great-grandmother, Catherine Daly Murray. John was born in Ireland in 1824 and came to America in 1847. He married Mary Carey, also an Irish immigrant, and settled in Massachusetts. When the war began, John was living in Lawrence, Massachusetts with his wife and four young daughters, and working as a stonecutter.

On August 12, 1862 he joined Company B, Massachusetts 3rd Cavalry Regiment. There appear to have been twelve companies in the Massachusetts 3rd Cavalry, and being such a large group, it's been difficult for me to determine the exact movements of John Daly's company. It appears that the 3rd Cavalry was affiliated with the 41st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, recruited in the summer and fall of 1862. This regiment departed Massachusetts for New York on November 5, 1862, and then sailed to New Orleans. They seem to have spent most of the war in Louisiana, engaging in various skirmishes there. After serving over a year, John was mustered out on January 18, 1864. He returned home to Massachusetts, where he resumed his work and had at least one more child. While the details of his service are scarce, we know that John was involved with a veteran's group in Massachusetts after the war. In the best photo we have of him, he can be seen wearing a GAR hat. GAR ("Grand Army of the Republic") was a fraternal organization made up of Civil War veterans. John lived until the age of ninety, dying in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1914.

Michael J. Murray

Michael was the brother of my second great-grandfather, John Bernard Murray. John was the husband of Catherine Daly, and the son-in-law of John Daly, profiled above. The Murray brothers were born in County Down, Northern Ireland, and emigrated to Massachusetts in the 1840s. In the fall of 1861, Michael enlisted in the 25th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Brigade. Information about the 2nd Brigade's activities from Wikipedia:
On July 8, the regiment left for Maryland where it joined the forces under General Robert Patterson. In 1861, the regiment served guarding the upper Potomac River and Frederick, Maryland, and in the spring of 1862, the regiment served under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, unsuccessfully opposing Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. In June, the regiment was transferred to the Union Army of Virginia and participated in General Pope's Northern Virginia Campaign.
Over the next two years, Michael's company participated in the following well-known battles:
  • Battle of Antietam
  • Battle of Chancellorsville
  • Battle of Gettysburg
It is perhaps a miracle that Michael survived these conflicts, given the high number of casualties at each. However, his luck was about to run out. In 1864, the 2nd Brigade headed to Georgia to participate in General Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. In August 1864, Michael was killed near Atlanta, behind a breastworks in what seems to have been a minor skirmish, not a major engagement. He was twenty-six years old at the time of his death. Michael wrote a letter home to his family the day before he died, and a copy of that letter survives.

Samuel G. Smith 

Samuel was my third great-grandfather, husband of Ellen Henrietta Partridge and father of my second great-grandfather, Walter Samuel Smith. He was born June 9, 1937 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, but moved to Bunker Hill, Illinois, prior to the start of the Civil War. On July 11, 1861, Samuel enlisted in the 7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

I do not know the specifics of Samuel's war service, but his regiment saw action at the Battle of Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Corinth, the Battle of Allatoona Pass, the March to the Sea (under command of General Sherman) and the Carolinas Campaign. Samuel survived the war and returned to Illinois in 1864, where he was discharged on July 29. In December of that year he married Ellen Partridge. Together, they had four children. In his later years, after Ellen's death, Samuel lived in a home for elderly veterans in Togus, Maine. He died there in 1922, at the age of eighty-four.

Wallace Partridge 

Wallace was the brother of Ellen Partridge, wife of Samuel G. Smith. Like his future brother-in-law, Wallace enlisted in the 7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1861.

As I wrote in my previous post about Wallace, he was born on September 14, 1843 in Brooklyn, New York. His family moved to Bunker Hill, Illinois in the 1850s. Wallace registered for military service at Springfield, Illinois on April 17, 1861, just five days after war was declared. He was 17 years old. The Army had a requirement that soldiers be 18 years of age at enlistment, but they appear to have allowed Wallace to join when he was five months shy of that milestone. Like Samuel G. Smith, Wallace was involved in the battles at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Altoona. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, or perhaps immediately afterward in a skirmish on the Corinth Road, and had to leave military service for some time to recover. On December 22, 1962, Wallace re-enlisted and served until the end of the war. After the war, Wallace married Isabella Eddington and fathered nine children in Bunker Hill. He died in 1929, at the age of eighty-five.

Rufus Partridge

Rufus was the brother of Wallace Partridge, and another brother-in-law of Samuel G. Smith. He was just a year and a half younger than Wallace, born November 26, 1844 in Brooklyn, New York. Like his brother and future brother-in-law, he was living in Bunker Hill, Illinois when the Civil War began, but unlike them, he enlisted in a different company. Rufus' military records say that he was in Company K of the 144th Illinois Infantry, and that he served from January 4, 1865 to July 14, 1865. This was at the very end of the war. In fact, the 144th was not even created until the end of 1864, which begs the question of whether Rufus was attached to another company prior to his involvement with the 144th.

Rufus was just 15 when his brother Wallace enlisted in 1861. Rules at that time required that men be 18 years old before they joined the Army, so it is likely that Rufus simply wasn't old enough to enlist prior to 1864. After its creation, the 144th was sent to the St. Louis, Missouri area, where they remained until the end of the war. They appear to have lost more men to illness than armed conflict, and luckily, young Rufus returned home unharmed. After the war, Rufus married Elizabeth Palmer, and they raised six children in Kansas. Rufus died in 1914, at the age of seventy.

Nelson Hodge

Nelson Hodge was the nephew of my fourth great-grandmother, Amelia Brown Bellangee. Amelia's sister, Mercy Brown, married Loton Samuel Hodge. Nelson was their second son. The Brown and Hodge families were from Mendon, New York, east of Buffalo. This is where Nelson was born on July 5, 1842.

Nelson joined the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment shortly after its creation, on July 25, 1862. He was twenty years old. His regiment appears to have headed directly to the area near Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, which was a recurring flash point between northern and southern troops. The Battle of Bolivar Heights took place there on August 27 and 28, 1862, and it's possible that Nelson's regiment may have arrived in time to see action. The Union Army was soundly defeated in this battle, resulting in the largest surrender of Union troops during the entire war. The surviving Union soldiers remained in the area and continued to skirmish with Confederate units in the months and years that followed. The U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 database says that Nelson was mustered out on November 3, 1862 at Bolivar Heights, West Virginia. I believe that this was actually his date of death, since multiple other records indicate that he died during the war, and give his separation date as November 3, 1862. We don't know whether he was killed in combat or taken by illness. Nelson was twenty years old at the time of his death.

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