Our Ancestors in the Civil War

As we prepare to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, I thought I’d join in on Bill West‘s Civil War Blog Challenge and write a little blurb on each of our Civil War ancestors.

My ancestors who served during the Civil War:

  1. John Edwards: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in Canada, but immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1851. He was born in 1848, so he must have been very young during the war. He served in Co. G of the 9th Michigan Infantry.  I am still waiting on his pension records, so I don’t have the full details on what his injuries were (if any).
  2. John Henry Becker: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in Germany, but immigrated to the U.S. in 1852. He enlisted as a private in Co. H of Cole Co. Reg’t of Missouri Home Guards in June of 1861. He was discharged in October of that same year.  He then enlisted again in July 1862, this time as a Second Lieutenant.  In October of 1864, he was commanding a company in a battle.  They were sustaining a  battery of artillery and this caused his deafness.  He was discharged in March 1865.
  3. Jacob Frederick Sanchez-Tereso : (my 2nd great-grandfather) He was born in Germany, and immigrated to the U.S. in about 1849.  He enlisted in August of 1862 in Co. F of the 33rd Regiment of Iowa Infantry. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1863.   He was discharged in July of 1865.
  4. Samuel Edward Lee: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in abt. 1823 in Montgomery county, VA.  In 1863, he enlisted as a private in Co. A 37 Va Cavalry Battalion for the Confederacy.  He was wounded in the right arm on Christmas Day 1863 in a skirmish at Bunker Cove, Tennessee.  He was wounded by a ball which entered beneath middle of right clavicle on upper edge of right scapula.  It caused his arm to be paralyzed and atrophied and he could not use it in manual labor.  He died in Virginia in 1891.
  5. Austin Agee: (my 3rd great-grandfather)  He was born in 1820 in Patrick County, VA.  According to his wife’s pension record, he was in Abe Reynold’s Company, which left Patrick County in 1864, and also with the Virginia militia.   The pension record does not state if he received any injuries.  He died after the war, in 1890.
  6. Hugh M. Robertson: (my 3rd great-grandfather’s brother).  Hugh worked as a teacher before the war. He enlisted in August of 1862 in Washington, Iowa.  He was killed in action by the explosion of a shell while serving as  a Corporal in Co. A. , 25th Reg’t of Iowa Infantry at Jackson, Mississippi.  He died before marrying or having children.
  7. Henry Pottgen: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother).  He was born in about 1843 in Illinois.  He was the only support for his mother, Sophia (Ross) Pottgen for five years before the war.  He enlisted in Co. C, 13th Regt. U.S. Infantry, 1st Batt. in March of 1862.  By October 1863, he had died of chronic diarrhea.  His mother, Sophia, received a mother’s pension.
  8. George Turner Cavit: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother)  He died while on the floating hospital “Nashville” near Millikens Bend, Louisiana in May of 1863.
  9. Adam Potter Cavit: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother). He was born in 1839 in PA and enlisted in in Co. D. 13th Iowa Vol. Inf. while living at Washington, IA in 1864.  His older brother George had already been killed in the war the previous year.  He lived until 1915, and for a number of years lived in a soldier’s home.


My husband also had ancestors who served during the Civil War:

  1. Ward Pierce: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather)  He enlisted at Camden, NJ in August of 1861. He was in a hospital, ill with something in June of 1862 and was discharged that same month.  He enlisted again as a Private in Co. G, commanded by Capt Theo W Baker in the 6th Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers.  Later, the 6th and 8th Regiments were consolidated and he served in Co. E 8th Regiment NJ Vols.  He was wounded on June 8, 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor. He had been hit in the left thigh with a shell and ended up in the hospitals at Newark and Davids Island for 15 months, before he was discharged in August of 1865. In his pension records, he stated that the scar (which was 6 1/2 by 4 inches), ulcerated and pained him greatly, not allowing him to do hard labor.
  2. Hedger Pierce: (my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather).  He was Ward Pierce’s father.He enlisted in January of 1864 and was a Private in Company “I” of the 10th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers.  He was wounded while at Laurel Hill, VA in May of 1864.  He was hit by a musket ball in the left shoulder. He appears to have been sent to a number of hospitals – in D.C., Philadelphia, Davids Island, and Newark. In later years, he became paralyzed and his son Ward had to take care of him, despite his own injuries.
  3. George Spencer: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather). He was born in England in 1826 and immigrated to New York in 1851.  He enlisted on Christmas Eve of 1863 and mustered in on the 5th of January. He was sent to Baltimore, Maryland to join Company D. of the 8th New York Heavy Artillery. He participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor in June of 1864.  In August of 1864, he was captured and taken to Belle Isle prison. This was an open-air prison located on an island in the James River near Richmond, Virginia that provided no shelter.  There was poor sanitation, insufficient food supplies, and a lack of clothing and blankets for prisoners.  While being held captive here, George became very sick.  He developed a cold due to exposure. He was paroled in October.  He participated in the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  On May 23, 1865, he and his unit traveled to Washington, D.C. to march with the Army of the Potomac in the Grand Review.  After the war, he still suffered from chronic diarrhea and problems with being much weaker than before the war. 
  4. James Baker: (my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather).  He was born in PA in 1824 and enlisted in March of 1865 in Co. F. 74th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.  When he came back from the war, he suffered horribly from chronic diarrhea.  (this seems to have been a very common complaint).  He moved his family to Tennessee and then on to Kansas in hopes of recovering.  He died in Kansas in 1885.
  5. Peter Henry Weeks: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather).  He was born in New York in 1842, but moved with his family to Indiana and then on to Iowa and later Kansas.  He enlisted in April of 1862 in Co. I. 5th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.   He came down with the mumps while he was in service and was discharged in November of that same year.  He then enlisted again, this time in 1863 in Co. D. 8th Iowa Cavalry.  He was mustered out in August 1865 in Macon, Georgia – just down the road from where we live now. 🙂

Since I have been very lucky to have visited a number of Civil War battlefields this past year, I feel even more of a connection to these ancestors who served and suffered during this war.

Some of the places I was able to visit are: Gettysburg, Manassas, Chickamauga & Chatanooga, Appomattox Court House, Ft. Pulaski, Ft. McAllister, and Fort Scott.  I’ll be visiting Ft. Sumter in May. 🙂

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