Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Written Argument of Elbridge G Towle (1863)

May it please the Court -

                               I have been charged and tried before you for two of the highest offenses known to the Articles of War, those of desertion and absence of my detachment without leave - the first punishable with death, or such punishment as the court may inflict, and the latter according to the nature of the offense at the discretion of the court.  If I felt that I had been intentionally guilty of either offense charged before you, I would not say a single word in (?) of my guilt, but knowing as I most certainly do, that I have never intentionally violated any rule, or regulation of the service and knowing that intention alone characterizes crime, I confidently appeal to your sense of justice, upon a full and candid consideration of the evidence laid before you, to acquit me of all fault and permit me to return to my position in my Regiment with the same unsullied reputation which the evidence shows me to hitherto sustained.

   So far as relates to the charge of desertion, I submit to the honorable court, that not one particle of evidence has been laid before you tending to show that I ever in any way, in thought or deed, designed to abandon the service of my country.  On the contrary, the evidence does show that when stricken down by disease and incapable of leaving my bed, my only anxiety was to report myself to those whom I supposed to be in command over me, and that as soon as I could leave my bed, I availed myself to of the kindness of a friend  to make that report; and that repeatedly afterwards, while detained by sickness and suffering, I expressed to every one my delight in the service and my anxiety to rejoin it and my surprise that I had not received word to do so.  The evidence shows further, that, when at length I have so far recovered as to travel in a carriage, I determined to wait no longer for orders but to come to Concord and see why I was not wanted - and that in pursuance of that determination I did come to Concord and report myself for duty, voluntarily and without any suggestion or hint from anyone.  I confidently refer the Court to the testimony of every witness introduced on both sides, in the course of the trial, and ask them if there is one scintilla of evidence, tending to prove me guilty of the great and heinous crime of desertion, from any one of them. Is there a single word testified to by any one of them giving to show, that I was not that I was ever guilty of the base and cowardly crime of desertion, but even that I ever spoke dishearteningly of the service of my country's cause, or of any officer of the army?  On the other hand, does not every thing proved on either side show that I was always the true soldier, extolling the service and expressing my anxious desire to return to it the moment I could have opportunity to do so?

    But, I will not detain you by further remarks upon the charge of desertion, for I do not understand that the learned council for the government that there is, or can be, the slightest pretense for your finding me guilty of that foul crime.

    To come then to the charge of absence without leave; it seems equally clear and certain that the evidence fails to sustain this charge also.  It is essential to establish this offense, that the person accused should be proved designedly to have absented himself from his command with intention to avoid the performance of a known duty, or that having been accidentally separated from his command he should have staid away therefore with like intention and purpose. In other words, in order to constitute the crime of absence without leave charged against me before you there must have been either in the act of separation from my commander or in the subsequent continuance of that separation, a criminal and wrongful intent and purpose on my part to avoid and escape the performance of a known duty, and I respectfully submit that the evidence utterly fails to establish this existence of such criminal and wrongful intent and purpose at any time between my separation from the detachment at New York on the 26th of July last and my return to duty at the rendezvous for drafted men on the second of September last.  On the contrary, the whole tendency of that evidence is to establish what I most solemnly protest, was the exact truth of the care, that I was accidentally separated from the detachment in New York, being left there solely through my misunderstanding as to the true hour of the departure, and that I continued thus separated from that time until I reported myself at the camp for drafted men on the second of September, solely as my mistake as to what was required of me as a soldier on this detached service, accompanied by my sickness and suffering from a sore hand.  I most religiously assert, and if permitted to do so, would verify my assertions by my solemn oath, that from the moment that our detachment left South Carolina until after I returned to the rendezvous for drafted men in Concord on the second of September last, I had not the most distant idea that the officers or men of our detachment were to do anything more in New Hampshire than to report to the State authorities at Concord, and then hold themselves in readiness to accompany such recruits as might be assigned to our Regiment, back to South Carolina, whenever those recruits were prepared to move.  With this view, when I found myself left alone in New York, I took passage to Boston, and not arriving until late in the afternoon, and having been attacked severely on the way with the diarrhea, I concluded to stay over night in Kingston with my family, from whom I had been separated a year and half and as to whom, unfavorable reports had reached me, and to go to Concord the next morning; instead of going to Concord that evening and arriving there at a late hour.  If the gentlemen of the Court will bear in mind that my residence in Kingston is less than twenty miles from Lawrence, and that by stopping at my home over night I should only be delayed over a single train, and should arrive in Concord at half past ten the subsequent morning instead of eight o'clock the same evening, I think they will fail to find any evidence of criminal intent in my going home at that time, especially when they recollect the fact of my weak and exhausted condition upon my arrival home, as by the testimony of Mr. Wilson before them. Immediately subsequent to my arrival home, my disease increased to such an extent as to entirely prostrate me and render my journey to Concord utterly impossible, as shown by the testimony of Col Gideon Webster, who found me confined to my bed and suffering severely at mid-day on the second of August, and by that of Mr Wilson who found me sick in bed within a day or two after my return.  Finding it impossible for me to report in person to Concord, while thus confined to my bed I made arrangements with Col. Webster to report by letter there the moment I could leave my bed to do so, and accordingly on the 5th day of August, as the testimony shows, I succeeded in reaching his store, less than half a mile from my house, and got him to write a letter from me to the Adjutant General of the State, stating my condition and my readiness to come to Concord in person if necessary as soon as I was able to do so.  Does any one ask, why I thus reported myself to the Adjutant General?  The answer is obvious.  I understood, and I think that every member of my detachment understood as I did, that upon our reporting to Concord, we were to be permitted to go to our several homes and there remain for two or three weeks or more, until the recruits raised by the draft were ready to be taken by our Regiment.  Having been detained at home by sickness for several days, I supposed and believed that all the rest of our detachment, after reporting themselves at Concord, had separated to their respective homes, the location of which I did not know, and had no knowledge to whom I should report except to the Adjutant General of the State.  For the same reason, after receiving the reply from the Adjutant General saying I should report to my commander instead of the State authorities, I did not report to any one, because I did not know to whom or where I should report.  I had no knowledge or information that Gen. Hinks was in command at Concord, and did not know where to write Col. Jackson or Capt. Burleigh.  I had no suspicion that either one of them was at Concord, and did not know where they resided and besides, I supposed that although I had informally reported to the Adjutant General, this fact of my being home and my readiness to return to duty would be more or less known to the authorities than if my report had been made through the proper channel.  I therefore waited with anxiety the receipt of some notice that my services were wanted, as the testimony of Col. Webster and Mr Wilson shows, frequently expressing my surprise that I did not receive some word from Concord.  In the mean while, I continued to suffer in my health and from a (?) or abscess on my finger, which incapacitated me from the discharge of my military duty or the performance of any active labor, and as soon as I recovered, as the testimony shows, I determined to wait no longer but to come to Concord and see when I was to be wanted.  And did come and report myself for duty.

       Now, may it please the Court, where in the history of the whole period of my absence, is there the slightest evidence or indication even of any criminal or wrongful purpose on my part to absent myself from the performance of any known or supposed duty of my detachment?  It seems to me that none can be found.  Will it be contended for a moment, that had I reported myself at Concord the next morning, after I had reached home, as I intended to have done and should have done but for the severe attack of disease which entirely prostrated me, that I could be deemed guilty of any intentional absence without leave?  And if not, what is there in my conduct, going to show any such intentional absence?  On the 5th of August, the earliest moment I could leave my bed, I (?) Col. Webster, in pursuance of a previous engagement made while prostate and utterly helpless, to report my condition to the Adjutant General.  Having done this, I had  hereforward, all I could then do, and all I supposed or believed it was incumbent upon me to do, until I was notified that my services were required in conducting recruits to my Regiment.  It is true, I was notified that I ought to have reported to my commander and not to the state authorities.  But it was impossible for me to do this with my impressions as to the duty of the detachment because I knew not where to address him.  I therefore took the only cause which in my ignorance it seemed proper for me to take. I took every means in my power to recover my health, and endeavored to be prepared for the service whenever I should be called upon or expected to render it, and the very moment I was able to do duty I came to Concord and reported myself for duty.  It may be said or suggested that I might have rode to Concord in the cars and reported myself earlier.  Perhaps I might, and Heaven knows, that if I had supposed that my presence was required here, I should have come if I could have done so without hazarding my life.  But, I had not the remotest suspicion that any duty was required of me in Concord, until the recruits were in readiness to be removed to my Regiment, and believed I should be notified when they were ready, as the state had been informed where I was.  I protest, therefore, that I had no intention to avoid the performance of any known or supposed duty in remaining with my family as I did during my illness in the month of August last.  For the (?) in my intentions and to rebut the presumption that I could have been guilty of any criminal intention in not returning in person in Concord, I appeal to the record of my past life, from my infancy, as shown in the testimony of Col. Gideon Webster, and that of Mr. Wilson, and to my uniform good conduct as a soldier as shown by the testimony of Capt. Burleigh and Sargent Chapman and evidenced  in my selection by Col. Bell as the only man from my company to join the detachment.  I call God to witness that I have never for a moment intended to absent myself from the performance of any duty since my enlistment in the service of my country, and if, by your judgement I am compelled to suffer any the penalty of a crime against the rules and articles of war, I shall have at least the satisfaction of knowing that I shall suffer most innocently so far as any consciousness of guilt, or wrongful intention is concerned.

   With these suggestions, I throw myself upon the indulgence and sense of justice of the members of the Court, not doubting that you will act, in arriving at a decision upon my case, as your sense of duty and a regard to all the facts and circumstances shown in evidence, may compel you to act, and that decision, whatever it may be, I shall endeavor as a good soldier, to rest satisfied.  I cannot, however, but hope and trust that you will fail to find that all reasonable doubts of my guilt are removed, and give me the advantage to which persons accused are entitled before every tribunal, that they are presumed to be innocent, until they are proved to be guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

                    Nov. 13, 1863

                                                                              Elbridge G. Towle

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Transcript of the Court Martial of Sergeant E. G. Towle

Everything transcribed is as it appears in the record, including abbreviations and punctuation.  In the interest of space, I didn't include the names and ranks of those present that comprised the Court.

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 6, 1863

The Court proceeded to the trial of Sergt. Elbridge G. Towle, 4th N.H.V. and the accused was brought into court.

The order convening the court and the order detailing additional numbers was made by the Judge Advocate and the accused was asked whether or not he had any objection to any number of the Court and to which he replied in the negative.

The Court as then in the presence of the accused, duly sworn by the Judge Advocate and and the Judge Advocate was duly sworn in the presence of the accused by the Presidency of the Court.

The accused was then arraigned of the following Charges and Specifications which were read aloud by the Judge Advocate.

Charge First - Desertion.

Specification. In this, that he, Sergeant Elbridge G Towle Co. H, Fourth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, having been duly enlisted in the service of the United States, did desert the same.

This at the City of New York on or about the 26th of July 1863.

Charge Second - Absence without leave

Specification.  In this, that he, Sergeant Elbridge G Towle, Co H, Forth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, being one of a detachment of said regiment under command of Captain David D Burleigh, on the way from said regiment to the Rendezvous for Drafted Men at Concord, N.H. did, on or about the 26th day of July, 1863, at the City of New York, absent himself from said detachment without permission from his commanding officer and did, remain absent until the 2nd day of September 1863, on which last mentioned day, he rejoined said detachment at the Camp for Drafted Men, Concord, N.H.

To which charges charges and specifications he prisoner pleads as follows, viz:

To the Specification of the 2nd Charge:    Not Guilty
To the Second Charge:   Not Guilty
To the Specification of the 1st Charge:  Not Guilty
To the First Charge:  Not Guilty

Capt. David D Burleigh, 4th N.H.V. a witness for the prosecution, called and sworn and examined by the Judge Advocate.

Question:  Please state your name, rank, and regiment.
Ans. David D Burleigh, Captain 4th NH Regiment
Question: Where were you, and on what duty on or about the 26th day of July last?
Ans: I was in New York about that time; I am not certain with regard to the day.  I was ordered by Special Order No 422 from Head Quarters Department of the South to report to the Officer Commanding at Concord, N.H. to conduct the men to the draft which might be assigned to the 4th Regiment.
Question:  Had you or not any men under your command or on duty and if so who were they?
Ans:  I had Lt. Brewster 4th Regiment, Sergt. Nolan of Co. A,  Sergt. Moody of Co. C, Sergt Chapman of  Co. G,  Sergt Towle of Co. H., and Sergt. Gale of Co. K.
Question:  On what day and at what time of the day did you leave New York with your detachment? 
Ans:   I think it was the 26th of July, I think it was a Monday in the afternoon.  I think it was about five o'clock.
Question: Did or did not Sergt. Elbridge G. Towle of Co. H leave New York with the regiment of the detachment? 
Ans:   He did not leave New York with the rest.
Question:   What orders, if any did your detachment have with regard to the time of leaving the boat?
Ans:   I don't know that they had any special orders from me; I think the detachment of the 3rd, 4th and 9th were together at Lovejoy's Hotel, under command of Col. Jackson of the 3rd.  He gave them an order to be ready, or to be at the boat at five o'clock, I think.
Question:  State whether or not you gave permission to any man in your detachment to come in by himself or to go to any other place than Concord.
Ans:  I did not.
Question:  Where did you meet, see or hear from Sergeant Towle after seeing him New York?
Ans:   I next saw him at the Camp for Drafted Men, Concord, N.H. some time in August, I think. I had heard a few days before that he was at Kingston N.H.
Question:  State whether or not he reported to you at any time between your seeing him in New York, and his coming into Camp at Concord.
Ans:  He did not to me.
Question:  State whether or not you had orders to report to Col. Jackson with your detachment, or to consider yourself under his orders during the trip.
Ans: I had no orders to report to him.

Cross Examination by the prisoner
Question:  How did you know that Serg. Towle was at home in Kingston before you saw him at Camp in Concord?
Ans:  I learned from somebody in Camp who belongs to the town who said he saw him.
Question:  Who was the Commander of the detachment that came with you after conscripts?
Ans:  I was Commander of the detachment of the 4th, I suppose.
Question:  Do you know whether Sergt. Towle understood the order of Col. Jackson at New York as to the time the detachment was to be at the boat?
Ans:  I suppose he did.  They were all together.  My impression was that they all understood it.
Question: State how long you've known Sergt. Towle
Ans:  I have known him, I should think a year, or a year and a half; I don't know but longer than that.  I first knew him in the regiment. 
Question:  What was his character and reputation as a soldier while he was in the regiment?
Ans:   He was always considered a very good soldier, I think.
Question:   Have you ever known or heard of anything against him as a soldier?
Ans:  I never had.
Question:   Had you ever known or heard of any domestic trouble which might induce Sergt. Towle to be anxious to return to his family?
Ans: I think I may have heard something of that kind.

By the Court
Question: Did you or not, when you reported to Gen Hinks on arriving in Concord, report that one of your men had deserted in New York?
Ans:  I could not say about that.  I had one to report absent.
Question:  What were the reports referred to about about the family of the accused?
Ans:  I think Lt. Hicks of Co. H told me that Towle's wife was not doing as she ought to do, there was not great said about it.

By the prisoner 
Question: When you found that Sergt. Towle was left at New York have you any suspicion that he had deserted, or did you suppose to believe that he was accidently left behind?
Objected to by by a member of the Court as asking for opinion of the witness.  The court was cleared after deliberation decided that the question might be put and the parties returned to Court.
Ans: I don't know that I hand any suspicion that that he had deserted, I supposed he was left behind.

By the Court
Question:  Did you suppose that he was left behind or did you know that he was left behind?
Ans:  I did not know that he was left behind till I got on board the boat; I supposed that he was while we were going there.
Question:  Was the detachment of which you have command and selected with reference to their previous conduct, or were they selected without thought to their conduct?
Ans:  That is a question that I can't answer.  I do not know what the objective was in selecting them.  It was done by the Colonel.
Question:  Have you ever or not any reason to believe that "choice" men were selected?
Ans:  I suppose it was the Colonel's choice that we should come or he wouldn't have sent us.

By the prisoner
Question:  Did you you or not understand that the Colonel made the selection on the ground of previous meritorious conduct?
Ans:   As far as the enlisted men were concerned I have no doubt that that that was the Colonel's intention.
Question:   What duty if any did you understand that your detachment was to perform at home?
Ans:  I did not understand by the order on which I came on, that there was any duty till the men from the draft were were forwarded to their regiment. 

At this point the Court adjourned to this afternoon at 2 o'clock
James Chase Captain of the 7th N.H.V. Judge Advocate

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 6, 1863

Pursuant to adjournment the Court met at 2 P. M.

Sergt. Stephen C. Chapman, Co G., 4th Regt. N. H., a witness for the prosecution, called and sworn.

Questions by the Judge Advocate
Question: What is your name, rank, and Company regiment?
Ans:  Stephen C. Chapman, Sergeant in the 4th regiment, Co. G
Question:  Where were you and on what duty on or about the 26th of July last?
Ans:  In New York on detached service.
Question:  Were you stationed in New York, or were you there on your way to some other point; if so, where were you going, and under whose command?
Ans:  I was under command of Col. Jackson, and was on my way to Concord, N.H.
Question:  State whether Sergt. Elbridge G. Towle was one of the party; if so, when did you last see him in New York?
Ans:  He was one of the party.  I think the last I saw of him was at ten or eleven o'clock in the morning on Monday.
Question:  On what day did your party leave New York?
Ans:   On Monday the 26th, I think.  I'm sure it was Monday.
Question: What order did your party have about the hour of the leaving, and from whom?
Ans:   I could not say certainly with regard to the time.  I think it was either five, or half-past five.
Question:  Where was the order given, and how many of the detachment were present?
Ans:   I think it was given in Lovejoy's Hotel.  I cannot say how many were present, should judge about twelve or fifteen were there might have been more or less.  Some Maine men were present.
Question:  Were orders given about leaving more than once during the day?
Ans:   I could not say.  I think the order was given Sunday night.  I do not recollect any orders on Monday about leaving.
Question:  State, if you know, whether or not Sergeant Towle was present when the order about leaving was given.
Ans:  I could not say whether he was or not.

Cross examined by the prisoner
Question:  State how long you have known Sergeant Towle, and what was his character and reputation as a soldier in the regiment?
Ans:  I don't know that I have any particular acquaintance with him till we came on.  I have known him by sight a year or two.  I have never heard anything detrimental to his character.
Question:  How many men in the detachment of New Hampshire and other regiments were in New York on Sunday when you say Col. Jackson or Capt Burleigh gave the order about leaving?
Ans:  I could not say.  There were some from the 8th and 9th Maine besides those from the 3rd, 4th, and 9th N. H. , about six enlisted men from each regiment besides the officers.
Question:  Do you remember whether there was any more from any detachment left at New York except Sergeant Towle?
Ans:  I think some officers of the Maine regiments were left, their men came on alone in the boat from New York to Stonington.  I remember this from the fact that those men had no transportation and had to pay their own fare.
Question:  You say your detachment was under the command of Col Jackson, if you had happened to have been left at New York or elsewhere should you know where to report to him by letter?
Ans:  I understood that he was to report at Concord to the Adjunct General; I don't know who told me so.
Question:  To whom should you have to reported by letter had you been detained by accident or sickness on your way to Concord?
Ans: I think I should have reported to the Adjunct General.

By the Court
Question: Who had command of your detachment when you left your regiment, and to whom did you look for orders of instruction after leaving your regiment?
Ans:  Capt. Burleigh had command of the detachment of our regiment.  I looked to Capt. Burleigh for orders.
Question:  Did the prisoner appear natural when you last saw in him in New York?
Ans:  I don't know but he did.  I supposed at that time that he had just got up - he came downstairs into the hall.

By the Judge Advocate:
Question:  So do you know whether the Maine officers were left by accident or mistake, or whether they remained in New York intentionally, if so, which was it?
Ans:  I think they were left by mistake because the men told me afterward in Boston that their officers were there.

By the prisoner
Question:  How long after you arrived in Boston did the Maine men tell you their officers were there?
Ans:  I cannot say how long; I do not thing it was over an hour or two hours.
Question:  Did you understand how the officers got there?  If so, state.
Ans: I could not say that I did.

At this point, the Court adjourned to Saturday morning Nov 7th at 11 o'clock.
(signed) Captain J Chase 7th N. H. V. Judge Advocate

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 7, 1863

Sergeant H. B. Wheeler, Co. G 13th N. H. Regt. a witness for the prosecution, called and sworn.

Questions by the Judge Advocate
Question:  What is your name, rank, company, and regiment?
Ans: Henry B. Wheeler, 1st Sergt., Co."G" 13th N.H. Regt.
Question: Where were you, and on what duty, in August and September last?
Ans: I was at the Camp for Drafted Men, in Concord.
Question: To what company, if any, were you attached, and in what capacity?
Ans: I was acting acting First Sergeant of the Garrison Company D.
Question: Who composed that company?
Ans: Detachments from several N.H. regiments who came onto assist in taking care of conscripts and substitutes.
Question:  State whether or not at any time while you were acting Sergeant Elbridge G Towle, Co. "H," 4th N.H.V. reported at the camp, and if so, on what date, if you so remember.
Ans:   He reported there the 2nd day of September; a man of that name.  I never saw him before.
Question:  Did he or not go upon duty when he reported?
Ans: He did not. I was ordered by Capt. Clark to report him under arrest.  Capt. Clark was in command of Garrison Co. D.
The prosecution here closed.

William G. Wilson, a witness for the defense, called and sworn.

Questions by the prisoner
Question:  What is your name, where do you reside, and how near the residence of the accused?
Ans:  William G. Wilson.  I reside in Kingston, N.H. just about a mile from the residence of the accused.
Question:  How long have you been acquainted with the accused; and what has been his character and reputation since you have known him?
Ans:  I have been acquainted with him about eighteen years; his character has been good, as far as I know.
Question:  Have you been in the army as a soldier, if so in what Company, and regiment, and how long?
Ans:  I have; I was in Company C, 7th N.H.V. about twenty months.  I was discharged the 5th of last June.
Question:  State whether you saw the accused about the time of his return home in the latter part of July last; if so, how soon after his return?
Ans:  I saw him the last of July at his house; I think it was the same day that he arrived home.
Question:  State whether you at that time had any conversation with him as to how he happened to come home; if so, state that conversation fully.
Ans:  I asked him how he came to come home, if he had a furlough or a discharge.  He said he had neither that he was detailed to come home, but got left at New York.  He said he took the cars and came to Boston and thought he would stop overnight, and then report here at Concord.  He thought he should not come until Monday.  He had the diarrhea pretty bad on him that day, and thought he would come on Monday.
Question:  State whether he told you at that time when he was taken with the diarrhea, if so, what he said.
Ans:   He said he never had been troubled with the the diarrhea till within a day or two, that he never was healthier in his life than while in the service.
Question:  What was the appearance of the accused as to heath and strength at that time?
Ans:  He appeared as though he was pretty well run down; he was thin in the face.
Question:  State what you know of his sickness after that time an particularly whether he was sick abed or not.
Ans:  I did not see him for three or four days; I heard that he was sick, and I called at his house.  He was then lying down in bed.  I asked him how he was feeling and he said he was feeling pretty slim.  He looked to me as though he was pretty sick.  I asked him if had been to Concord, and he said he had written and should come up as soon as he got a little more strength.
Question:  State how frequently you saw the accused afterwards while he was at home; and how he was employed when you saw him.
Ans:  I saw him two or three times a week; not oftener than that.  He did not appear to be doing anything at all.  I never saw him doing any work, or anything of that kind.
Question:  State whether or not he complained of his health when you saw him.
Ans:  He did most everytime that I saw him.
Question:  If you know of his having a sore finger, state what you know about that.
Ans:  I know that he had a very sore finger.  It appeared to be a (unable to read).  I saw him dressing it one day.  I was pretty badly swollen, and discharged considerable matter.
Question:  State if the accused ever stated to you when and for what purpose the understood he should be wanted at Concord.
Ans:  He stated to me that he should be wanted probably as soon as there was a detachment of recruits to be taken to the regiment.
Question:  Did the accused ever express to you any surprise that he had not been notified to go to Concord; if so state what he said.
Ans:  He expressed his surprise once or twice in conversation; said he did not see why he had not received some word.

At this point the Court Adjourned till this afternoon at 2 o'clock
James Chase Captain 7th N.H.V. Judge Advocate

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 7, 1863

Direct examination of William G. Wilson resumed
Questions by the prisoner

Question:  State if you learned from the accused whether he understood his detachment had any duty to perform until the drafted men were ready to be taken to the regiment.
Ans:  I understood him that he did not suppose there was any duty to do - that they were to lay around until ready to move.
Question:  Did the accused ever inform you how he liked the service, and speak of his desire to return to it; if so state what he said as fully as you remember.
Ans:  He spoke several times about how well he liked it, and that he should return as soon as he could get an opportunity.
Question:  State whether you rode anywhere with the accused on the 31st of August; if so where?  And if the accused said anything upon his return home about going into the service; state all he said.
Ans:  I rode with him from our place to Kingston Plains to a town meeting.  I rode back with him, he shook hands, bade good bye; said he did not suppose he should see us again as he was going to Concord in a few days, and probably should be soon before Charleston.  He said, "I wish, boys, you were all going with me; we would have some grand good times there."
Question:  Did you at any time hear the accused express any reluctance at rejoining the service; or how otherwise?
Ans:  I never heard him express anything of the kind.  He always spoke in favor of returning to his regiment and liked it well.
Question:  Did the accused explain to you how he happened to be left at New York; if so, state what he said about it.
Ans:  He told me that he was informed by his Commanding officer to report upon the wharf, it strikes me at 7 o'clock.  I am not sure about the exact hour, he came to his quarters at the time he supposed he should have to start forth (to the) wharf, and found that the detachment had gone down to the wharf, and followed down; said that the streamer was running down the harbor when he arrived at the wharf; he found it left one hour sooner than he had supposed it was going out.

Cross Examined by the Judge Advocate
Question:  On what day of the month, and in what month did you first conversation with Sergt. Towle occur?
Ans:  I could not state the precise day of the month; it was the last of July.
Question: Was the Sergeant in bed at at that time?
Ans:  Not the first time I saw him.
Question:  How long afterwards was it that you next saw him?
Ans:  Three of four days.
Question: Was he then in bed?
Ans:  He was in bed then when I went to his house.
Question:  How many days had he then been confined to his bed?
Ans:  I don't know - not more than one or two.
Question:  How long did continued confined to his bed?
Ans:  I don't know - I did not see him for two or three days; he was then standing at his door.
Question:  Was he confined to his bed at the house at any time after that?
Ans:  I don't know as he was.  I only saw him in bed that one time.
Question:  How many times did you see him away from his home before he came to Concord, and how far from home?
Ans:  I only saw him three times from his own house.  The first time I saw him away from his house was at Squire Gideon Webster's store, about one hundred and twenty rods from Towle's house; this was five or six days after I saw him abed.  The next time that I saw him was at James Bartlett's which is a little over a half mile from Towle's house; this was a day or two after the time I saw him at the store; the next time was the 31st of August when we rode down to the Plains to town meeting.  Those are the only times I recollect.
Question:  What was he doing at Bartlett's house?
Ans:  I suppose he was there to see Mr. Bartlett
Question:  Do you know whether he visited, or was otherwise from home, at any other times than those you have mentioned?
Ans: I do not.
Question:  Did Sergt. Towle state on the 31st of August why he intended to come to Concord immediately after?
Ans: He said he had got tired of waiting to hear from Concord, and was going up to see why he had not been notified.

At this point the Court adjourned to Tuesday morning, Nov 10 at 11 o'clock.
J Chase
Captain 7th N.H.V. Judge Advocate

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 10, 1863

The Judge Advocate being absent on account of illness the Court adjourned to Nov 11 at 11 A.M.

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 11, 1863

The Judge Advocate being absent on account of illness the Court adjourned to Nov 12 at 11 A.M.

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 12, 1863

The deposition of Gideon Webster was read by council for the defense.  The deposition is here to appended, Marked A. (not included in record).

Daniel E. Colby, Adjutant General of the State of new Hampshire, a witness for the defense, called and sworn.

Questions by the prisoner
Question:  Please state your name, where you reside, the office you now hold, and in what capacity you were employed, and where, on the 6th of August last.
Ans:  Daniel E Colby. I reside in New London, N.H. The office I now hold is Adjutant General of the State.  On the 6th of August I was Clerk for the Adjutant General.
Question:  State whether or on the 6th day of August last a letter was received at the Adjutant General's office from Sergeant Elbridge G. Towle, of South Kingston, N. H. to which, as Clerk for your father, you replied.  If so, state whether you have the letter of Towle, or the same in your office.
Ans: There was such a letter received from Elbridge G. Towle, but I am unable to say whether or he was a Sergeant or not.  I replied to it.  The letter of Towle is is not to be found.  I have looked for it.
Question:  State if you remember, the contents of Towle's letter.
Ans:  He reported that he was unable to return to his regiment.  I cannot give the reason.
Question:  State whether exhibit A attached to the deposition of Gideon Webster is, or not, the reply you wrote to Mr Towle in the name of the Adjutant General.
Ans: It is. 

The Counsel for the prisoner asked time till tomorrow morning to prepare his written defense, which request was granted, and the Court thereupon adjourned to Friday, Nov. 13th at 11 A.M.
J Chase Captain 7th N.H.V.
Judge Advocate

Rendezvous for Drafted Men,
Concord, N. H. Nov. 13, 1863

The record of yesterday's session was read.
The prisoner's written defense was read by his counsel.  The defense is hereto appended marked B (not included in record).

The case was submitted without remark by the Judge Adcocate.

The Court was cleared for deliberation and after maturely considering the evidence adduced find the accused, Sergeant Elbridge G. Towle, Company H. 4th New Hampshire Volunteers as follows: viz:

At the Specification of the Second Charge: Guilty
At the Second Charge: Guilty
At the Specification of the First Charge: Not Guility
At the First Charge: Not Guilty

And the Court does therefore sentence him, Sergeant Elbridge G. Towle, Company H, Fourth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers,
To be reduced to the ranks and forfeit all pay and allowances during the time of his absence-without-leave.

Hawkes Fearing, Col 8th Regt. N.H.Vol. 
President of the Court

J Chase Captain 7th N.H.V. 
Judge Advocate

Approved.  The pay and allowances to be forfeited will be for one month and six days.

The Court then adjourned to meet again this afternoon at two o'clock.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial Blog Challenge: Kellogg and Towle

Today, April 12th, 2011, marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Having ancestors in New England since 1620, it isn't surprising to find two Union solider grandfathers on my tree.  Though both men served, their experiences and personal outcomes in the war were vastly different.

My great-great grandfather, Luther Alonzo Kellogg was the only child of John Kellogg and Mary Kidder Kellogg.  He was born in Orange, Massachusetts in 1846, which made him all of 17 years old when he enlisted.  Many of Luther's ancestors were American soldiers as well; his line featuring almost continuous military service beginning with King Philip's War.  His half-brother, Charles Kellogg who was 11 years his senior, also enlisted.  I imagine this fact had some bearing on his decision to join.  Both Kellogg brothers served side by side in the 137th Massachusetts Infantry, Co. D.  

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a Civil War narrative written by my grandfather Luther Kellogg.  It was written many years after his service and the purpose of the writing was its inclusion in a genealogy book about his mother's Kidder line.  In Luther's words, his narrative in it's entirety:

Luther A Kellogg, Born Jan 28, 1846. Served as a Union soldier in the 137th Regt NY Volunteers from the 18th day of August 1862 until the close of the war. Was in the battle of Chancellorsville, VA and at Gettysburg, PA., at that time being 17 years old.

Was engaged in the battle of Wauhatchie Valley, Oct 28th and was one of those who charged Lookout Mountain, Nov 24th of the same year under fighting Joe Hooker. The rebels being driven off Lookout Mountain and took refuge on Missionary Ridge another mountain, and the following day, being driven from that stronghold, they retreated to Ringgold, GA where after a fine engagement, they were whipped and scattered in all directions. Started the following spring in May 1864 on what is now known as "Sherman's March to the sea," fighting more or less every day and with the exception of a bullet scratch at Peachtree, GA, escaped unhurt and was discharged at Elmira, NY at the close of the war.

Luther A Kellogg, 1897, Haverhill, MA

What my great-great grandfather fails to mention, and what I discovered when I received his Civil War pension file, was that he spent a fair amount of time in field hospitals.  He was hospitalized for dysentery twice,  one occurrence removed him from service for nearly a year.  He was also hospitalized for diarrhea, scabies, and scurvy.  He suffered two bouts of scurvy, a disorder that historically plagued men at sea without access to fresh fruit and vegetables.  For me, this brings home the horrendous living conditions he and so many soldiers endured during the Civil War.

Luther survived the war and not long after its conclusion, married my great-great grandmother, Mary Potter of Owego, NY.  Luther went on to be a insurance salesmen in Michigan, a printer in New York, and ultimately a foreman in a shoe factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts.   Luther filed a pension claim in 1898 citing his many internal organ disorder issues as cause of his inability to work.  I imagine suffering numerous bouts of dysentery and scurvy took their toll.  He died in 1904 of heart failure at the age of 57 and was buried in Owego, New York.  My great-grandmother Alice Mary Kellogg Pratt is his only child to survive to adulthood and give him grandchildren; my great-uncle Elbridge Gerry Pratt, my great-aunt Mary Pratt (Burke), my grandfather Fred Pratt and my great-uncle Robert Clark Pratt.  Though his line endures though my many, many cousins, his death was the end of our Kellogg surname.

My other Civil War grandfather, Elbridge Gerry Towle, called simply "Gerry" (Gary) by his family, was a 31 year old, married, New Hampshire farmer and father of three children when he enlisted in September of 1861.   Gerry had inherited roughly 100 acres of farmland in Kingston from his father, Ludovicus Towle, three years prior to his enlistment.  When Gerry joined his regiment, the 4th New Hampshire Infantry, Co. H in January, 1862, he left behind a pregnant wife, Hannah Jane Clayton Towle and three young daughters, Mary Loretta Towle age 6; Rose Ann Towle (my great-great grandmother) age 4; and Hannah Jane Towle age 2.  His son, Gerry Elbridge Towle named after him, was born the following September.  I don't know why Gerry chose to enlist, taking such a gamble with a young family at home.

Gerry was sent to Florida, South Carolina, and served during the Cold Harbor and Bermuda Hundred campaigns.  In November of 1862, he was promoted to Sergeant.  He was also sent as part of a special order to NYC in July of 1863 where, "on or about the 26th of July" he deserted.  Details about this event remain sketchy at best as I await his court martial record.  I do know that he was stripped of his rank, returned to service, and rejoined his company.  He suffered an injury to his right wrist during the Battle of the Crater in Petersburg, VA on July 30th, 1964.   At some point, he was placed on a boat outside of City Point, VA where he died on August 9, 1964. 

In her pension petition, his widow, my great x3 grandmother Hannah Clayton Towle claims that he he had been discharged due to injury and died of dysentery en-route home.  His commander claims he died in service onboard a hospital boat; his name continues to appear in red on muster rolls indicating his death in service.  I had hoped that his remains had been sent home to New Hampshire, but as far as I can tell, this wasn't the case.  His widow, Hannah is buried with two of their daughters, Mary and Hannah in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  There isn't a known grave for Gerry Towle.  The Department of Veteran Affairs has no burial information.  No piece of marble memorializing his life and service to the United States exists.

I need to do something about this.   

While visiting his hometown last summer, my cousin Nancy Birdsall, pointed to a list of men from Kingston that served in the Civil War.  This hangs in the hallway of the Town Clerk's office in Kingston, New Hampshire.  And serendipitously, I saw it on the 146th anniversary of The Battle of the Crater; July 30th, 2010.  It is the only official recognition of his service he's received:

(click to enlarge)

Gerry Towle's descendants number in the hundreds now.  They are scattered like wildflowers all over America.  Elbridge Gerry Towle may not have a piece of marble memorializing his life (yet), but his name lives on in generations of his grandchildren:  William Gerry Towle,  Elbridge Gerry Pratt Sr., Elbridge Gerry Pratt Jr, Stephen Gerry Pratt... Yesterday, a newly found distant cousin informed me that she also has a brother named Gerry.  Some were unaware of the original origin of the name.  But now, they know. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fred Pratt, son of Walter & Alice, grandson of Fred & Grandfather

I knew I had a photo of my grandfather, Fred Pratt and me.  One.  One photo.  That's all.  Taken years after I'd moved from Maine in the summer of 1977.  And I knew it was around here...somewhere.  Tonight, while looking for another a photo, I found it.  Finally.

Okay, really it's a picture of my grandfather and me, my step-grandmother, Arlene, and my mom.  But if I make it big enough to see clearly, it won't fit on this page.

Laurie Pratt Sisk, Fred W Pratt, Arlene Pratt, Sandra Pratt
August 1977

I had spent a lot of time on that side of the table with my grandpa on weekend afternoons when the grown-ups would play cribbage.  My grandfather had the patience of Job.  And he could multi-task a hand of cards, a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a granddaughter on his lap making non-stop commentary on pictures she was looking at on a Viewmaster.  And he always behaved as if everything I had to say was totally interesting.

My grandpa was The Bomb, baby.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Genealogical Field Trip with Cousins Howard and Dotti

If there is anything better than finding nuggets of information on your ancestors, it's finding your living cousins that are interested in your mutual line.  On my journey searching the story of my great (x2) grandmother Rose Towle, I've been exceedingly blessed to find and meet so many wonderful cousins.   I've grown especially fond of cousins Howard and Dotti Towle.  Howard's grandfather is Gerry Towle of the former "Is Los Angeles Gerry Towle 1870 New Hampshire census George Towle?" mystery.  Gerry Towle, Howard's grandfather, is my great-great grandmother Rose's brother.  This makes Howard Towle my second cousin.  Second cousin, twice removed if you wish to be technically correct.  I don't know this, by the way.  Once I get beyond first cousins, I need a Internet Cousin Calculator.  Or I have to draw a chart and start counting on my fingers and toes.

I had originally met cousins Howard and Dotti Towle back in July at Mike and Jessica's going away party.  We caught up again last October over lunch and ancestry documents over at Haven's Gastropub in Orange.  Cousin Howard is a virtual font of history on both his Los Angeles Towle line and southern California history.  Dotti is also a genealogist and has terrific stories of traipsing through brush in Ohio searching for her ancestor's graves. We had such a great time together, we decided to take a field trip after the holidays were over.  I would take them to see Gerry and Gertrude's graves and we'd see if we could find some of the early homes that the family lived in Los Angeles.  Last Thursday, we did just that.

We first headed out to Inglewood Memorial Park.  Having gone there with Teresa last fall, I knew where to find Gerry and Gertrude Towle.  At least I'd know where in the cemetery they were once we got to the general vicinity.  Inglewood Park is enormous.  

On the way, Dotti had mentioned that while we were at the cemetery she'd like to see if she could find the graves of the couple that originally owned the property of her favorite salon.  The salon is a former residence of a couple of early 20th c. married trapeze artists.  The couple had never had children and throughout their marriage they remained exceptionally devoted to one another.  The wife was performing in Europe when she met an untimely and early demise.  During her trapeze act, she had reached for the rings, one had broken, and she fell to her death.  Blind with grief, the husband commissioned an elaborate memorial at Inglewood Cemetery.  Dotti said the grave was supposed to be pretty fantastic, featuring a statue of winged angel holding a petite woman; the angel representing the husband; the woman, the wife.  I wanted to see it too but without a map and directions I wasn't holding out a lot of hope.  It took Teresa and I the better part of an hour to find Gerry Towle's grave with directions, a map, and a maintenance working helping us.  I figured we could always circle back to the cemetery office and ask them for assistance. 

Entering the cemetery and unable to remember which of the 3 roads lead to the Towle graves, I instructed Howard to take the second one.  About 100 feet in, I knew I was mistaken.  Ugh.  Apologizing to Howard, I looked up and saw a statue of large, winged angel holding a woman in his sheltering arms.  Could it be?  Yes!  Two minutes into the cemetery and we bumbled right to the grave Dotti wanted to find!  

Dotti and I got out of the truck and took a few pictures,  It is a quite an impressive memorial.

Afterward, it didn't take to long to find Gerry Towle's grave.  I remembered it was next to a pine tree and near the mausoleum where Teresa and I covertly popped the Heineken for Gerry's ceremonial pour out.  Howard had never visited his grandparent's graves so it was especially terrific to share that with him.  Dotti found some flowers the wind had tossed onto the grass so she placed them on the graves.  Perfect.

On the road we found one of the houses that Gerry and Gertrude had once lived in.  Much like my adventure in Haverhill looking for my grandparents former residences, time hasn't always been kind to these old homes.  Many of them have been replaced by highways, parking lots, and new(er) construction.  It was a treat to find a former Towle home still standing in Los Angeles, and a lovely home at that.  Never having traveled through this part of LA, I was impressed how elements of the architecture are so reminiscent of the homes found in New England.  A bit more modern in their construction but the grecian lines of the porch, the protruding, three-paned window, and the suggestion of a attic window on the roof look hauntingly similar. 

We finished our field trip with a terrific lunch (and wine tasting!) at the San Antonio Winery.  What a fabulous afternoon!   I had told Howard and Dotti that lunch was my treat since they so kindly treated me to lunch the last time we were together.  They agreed but Howard managed to pick up the check before we even ordered.  Howard is both exceedingly generous and damn sneaky.  I'll have to be doubly sneaky and on my toes when we go to New Hampshire for the genealogical cross-country field trip in the fall.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Last Will & Testament of Hannah Nickett

A couple of month ago, I sent an email request to the New Hampshire State House to request the probate records of grandfathers Ludovicus Towle, Elbridge Gerry Towle and his wife, Hannah Clayton Towle Nickett.  Last week, I received an email from them indicating that they had in their holdings the probate records of both Ludovicus Towle and Hannah Nickett - nothing for grandfather Elbridge Towle (Grrrr!).

Ludovicus Towle died intestate (without a will) in 1859.  I received a few pages of the total inventory of his farm and belongings (I'm still working on deciphering the tiny, mid-19th c. handwriting, but it's fabulous reading); Hannah Nickett did leave a will.  And this is it:

                                                                    (click to enlarge)

Last Will and Testament of Hannah Clayton (Towle) Nickett (4th July 1905)


I, Hannah J Nickett, of Kingston, in the county of Rockingham, and the state of New Hampshire, do make this my last will and testament.

I give and bequeath to each of my children, Rose Ann Pratt, wife of Fred W. Pratt, Hannah J. Dole, wife of Elias P. Dole; Ida Bly wife of Daniel Bly; Mary L Muzzy widow of Arthur E Muzzy and Gary Towle, the sum of one dollar each; and to my said daugther, Mary L. Muzzy all the rest and residue of my estate, real and personal after the payment of legal claims against the same.

I do hereby constitute and appoint Robert C Bryden of Haverhill in the County of Essex, and the commonwealth of Massachusetts, sole executor of this my last will and testament and request that he be required to give no bond or surety for the faithful discharge of said trust.

Witness my hand and seal this 4th of July 1905
Hannah J Nickett

Signed and sealed by the above named Hannah J Nickett as her last will and testament and by us in her presence and at her request, subscribed as witnesses.

Mary F Peaslee 
Horace M Hills
William N Hills

I found a couple of things of interest:  First, the estate of Hannah Nickett was worth much more than $5.  She still owned a few acres of land in Kingston, her house, along with all of her personal and household belongings.  How can leaving $1 to children Rose, Hannah, Gerry, and Ida not be personal commentary on her relationships with them?  While her son, Gerry Towle had left for California nearly a decade prior to the creation of this document, clearly geography played no part as she didn't leave my grandmother Rose Pratt or my Aunts Hannah Dole and Ida Blye any more or less than their brother Gerry.  Both my grandmother Rose and her sisters Hannah and Ida were living nearby in Haverhill, Salisbury, and Revere Massachusetts.  Like my grandmother, my Aunt Mary Muzzey was also living in Haverhill.  Though Aunt Mary was the only one of her children without a living spouse or children, Hannah could have mentioned in her will that the intention in leaving virtually everything to Mary was done in effort provide Mary additional financial security- she didn't do this.  Had she entirely failed to mention Rose, Hannah, Gerry, or Ida there would have been grounds to claim that the will was in error and thus could be contested (had any of them desired to do so).  Leaving them each a single dollar makes this impossible.  It says, "I remember you; I just don't wish to leave anything to you."  It's the equivalent of leaving your waiter a handful of pennies; which is worse than leaving them nothing at all.  This isn't the first time I've gotten the impression that my grandmother Hannah Nickett could be rather petty.

Also, Hannah Nickett mentions each of her children by name, along with their spouses; even the deceased spouse of Mary Towle Muzzey, Arthur E Muzzey gets a mention by name. The only spouse not mentioned by name is son Gerry Towle's wife, Gertrude Pickering Towle, who was very much alive in 1905 and had been married to her son for 22 years.  Hannah Nickett bought and sold a half-dozen parcels of land in Kingston and was completely familiar with the custom of mentioning the name of the spouse of the person buying/selling/obtaining/giving/receiving something of value on legal documents - if the intention is to convey the duel ownership.  That she mentions all her children's spouses but Gertrude is...interesting.  Hannah Nickett did the same thing to her daughter-in-law Gertrude in 1893 when she deeded her son Gerry Towle an acre of land in Kingston - no mention of his wife Gertrude on the document though Gerry and Gertrude had been married for a decade at the time.

                                                                       (click to enlarge)

Hannah's deed of Kingston, NH land to son Gerry Towle (1893)

While it is true, a person has free will to be as petty and punitive as they choose to be in life, if they put it on paper and make it official, their granddaughter born 3 generations after the fact is free to obtain the documents and judge them as such.


So there.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Genealogical Ketchup

Yesterday, I received an email from the New Hampshire State Records office in response to my inquiry regarding probate records for grandfathers Ludovicus Towle, Elbridge Gerry Towle, and grandmother, Hannah Clayton Towle Nickett.  Unfortunately, there is no probate record for EG Towle in Rockingham County.  He remains elusive.  I can't find a birth record or death record for him.

I'm hoping to have a couple of questions answered within the other probate records:  Did Ludovicus Towle have any other children beyond son EG Towle?   And what did EG's wife, Hannah Clayton Towle Nickett leave in her will to the rest of her children?  New Hampshire land deeds have show that following her death, two of her children, Mary L Towle Muzzey and Gerry Towle, received land in Kingston, NH.  Did her other children, Rose Towle Pratt, Hannah Towle Dole and Ida Nickett Blye receive anything?  If so...what?

In other news, I got a message over on from someone working on a tree for a friend.  Turns out, this friend is the great-grandson of Ida Nickett Blye.  Ida Nickett Blye is the daughter of Hannah Clayton Towle Nickett and her second husband following the death of EG Towle.  His mother searched out their Blye-Nickett line back in the 1980's but didn't get much information on them.  We have since made email contact and shared information.  He, cousin Chris, was kind enough to send along a photo of his grandmother Ida.  

Ida Mabel Nickett Towle
Chris tells me that Ida was alive up until 1964 - the year I was born.  Amazing.  He isn't sure when this photograph was taken but looking at it, the details of her clothing lead me to think that it was probably around the turn of the last century.  

While looking through my cousin Lisa Cochran Berl's old photos, I stumbled across this one.  Our grandmother Rose Towle Pratt.

Rose Ann Towle Pratt

Cousin Sally O'Connell should weigh in with her opinion but I find a striking resemblance between Rose and my cousin, Bill O'Connell.  This photo of Rose was also taken around the turn of the last century.  Rose looks considerably older than Ida - there was 17 year age difference between these siblings.  This age difference is also the reason why Ida is Chris' great-grandmother and Rose is my great-great grandmother.  Rose gave birth to my great-grandfather Walter Pratt, when Ida was 4..

I also found this on cousin Lisa's family archive:  A announcement for her shower thrown for her grandmother, Elizabeth (Betty) Clayton Pratt 

What's interesting about this - beyond the charming details of the newspaper social page reporting, is the attendance of one of her guests: Floris McCurdy.  Floris is my grandfather's Fred Pratt's first wife.  No one talked about this marriage; I didn't learn of it until after his death.  Lisa's grandmother Betty was only 3 years older than her nephew, my grandfather Fred Pratt.  Rose had 9 children, my grandfather Walter was #2, her grandmother Betty was #9.  I suspect Betty Pratt Birdsall was more like a cousin than an aunt to my grandfather Fred.   My grandfather Walter got married the same year (1900) that his sister Betty was born.

I've sent off for EG Towle's Court Martial record - all 66 pages of it.  I should hear back relatively soon as they tell me that they've already pulled the record and made the copies.  The more I work on EG and get nowhere, the more determined I am to see that he get at least a marble slab memorial courtesy of the US government.  No birth record (so far), no death record beyond his muster rolls and the government can't tell me what they did with his body after his death following the Battle of the Crater - which he survived for over a doesn't seem right.  I don't know if I'm going to have to search manifests of the hospital ships in area at the time; or even if there is any, but it bothers me to no end that he has nothing to show for the sacrifice of his life in the Civil War.