This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I searched through my family tree and made of list of many of my relatives, most close, some more distant, that served during the war. With the exception of one great-great grandfather, they all came from my mother’s side of the family; three of my father’s four grandparents were recent immigrants. They ranged in ages at enlistment from 18 to 56, the later lying about his age as 44 in order to join. Their experiences were as vast as their ages, some living to tell the tale and others killed before the first year was out, leaving a child an orphan.
I have many of their pension files of the individuals listed below and the tales told within of medical complaints give a unique look into the after effects of the war with the surviving soldiers. Most detailed out medical problems from wounds or the after effects of riding horses on lengthy forced marches. Two of the files stand out, the first belonging to my third great grandfather, William R. McKim with details on his death, a copy of his marriage license to my 3rd great grandmother and notes on who would care for his orphaned daughter.
The second file is the one for my second great grandfather George Washington Oakley, this file stands out not so much for his military notes, but for the mess that ensued after his death when his widow made claim to his pension. The more than 500 pages of the file takes the researcher through his three marriages and question of the legality of his third and final wife.
McKim, Corporal William R, Company A 71st PA Infantry, killed in the battle of Ball’s Bluff,Virginia, May 21, 1861 – October 21, 1861, Great-gr-gr grandfather
Davis, Wesley Winfield, Company A 39 PA Infantry, Wounded in left leg at the battle of Gaine’s Mill, shot in the right and left leg at the Battle of Bull Run, June 20, 1861 – May 5, 1863, Great-gr uncle
Zuver, Sergeant Brownlee, Company A 83 PA Infantry, wounded 8 times and lost an arm, August 21, 1861 – June 28, 1865, 1st cousin 5 times removed
Stewart, Private Samuel F., Company A 139 PA Infantry, wounded in the eye in the Battle of Fredericksburg, January 9, 1862 – June 28, 1865, 1st cousin 5 times removed
Stewart, Linus M, Company A 142 PA Infantry, died from wounds incurred at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, August 22, 1862 – July 5, 1863, nephew of husband of my 5th great aunt
Kilgore, Sergeant William Stewart, Company G 100th PA Infantry, Died on shipboard near Fort Monroe, Newport News, Virginia, August 31, 1861 – July 23 1862, Great-gr-gr uncle
Davis, Sergeant Augustus C., Company C 142 PA Infantry, lost an arm in the Battle of Gettysburg, Aug 25, 1862 – July, 1863, 1st cousin 4 times removed
Burgess, Corporal Benjamin Franklin, Company D 107th Infantry, shot through the hand at the Battle of Dallas, Georgia, taken prisoner November 18, 1864 Richmond, Virginia, August 7, 1862 – June 5, 1865, Great-gr grandfather
Zuver, James William, Company H 134th PA Infantry, wounded in the battle of Fredericksburg and died in Findley’s Hospital, Washington D.C., August 20, 1862 – December 19, 1862, Great-gr uncle
Snyder, Major Abraham H, Company A 139th PA Infantry, killed May 5, 1864 in the Battle of the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, Virginia, September 1, 1862 – May 5, 1864, husband of 4th great aunt
Zuver, William Harrison, Company A, 169th PA Infantry October 16, 1862 – July 26, 1863, 1st cousin 5 times removed
West, Corporal Joseph, 80th Volunteers, 7th PA Cavalry, 1863 – 1865, Great-great uncle
West, Corporal John, 80th Volunteers, 7th PA Cavalry, March 19, 1864 – August 23, 1865, Great-great uncle
Oakley, Private George Washington, Company H 90th NY Infantry, September 7, 1864 – June 3, 1865, Great-gr grandfather
Oakley, Private Zachariah Deyo, Company A 90th NY Infantry, September 7, 1864 – June 3, 1865, Great-gr-gr grandfather
I am proud of them all, and their courage to stand up and fight for what they believed in.