‘At every hazard’
Eight county men part of 83rd with Strong Vincent that defended?Little Round Top at Gettysburg
Eight men with Warren County connections were with the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers and Col. Strong Vincent in the desperate fight for Little Round Top at Gettysburg.
We’ll explore that place and the role these men played next week, but let’s meet them first.
Edwin W. Bettis
Bettis was the regiment’s quartermaster sergeant.
He enlisted at Erie on July 29, 1861 and was promoted a little over a month later to the role.
“…(T)he Quartermaster Department supplied the Union Army with ordinance, horses, food, personnel and other necessities,” according to a post out of Syracuse University.
All of the materiel it takes to fight a war – sans food at the regimental level – came through the quartermaster system, filtering down to the regimental quartermaster who would issue that items – cloths, tents, rifles and a host of other items.
Bettis would leave the service at the end of his term on Oct. 30, 1864 and lived in Titusville after the war.
While the quartermaster sergeant wouldn’t often wind up fighting on the front lines, it doesn’t mean they were exempt from danger.
A surgeon in the regiment filed a report on a Dec. 10, 1863 incident in which Bettis and another doctor, Dr. Free, were involved.
Free and Bettis were to procure lumber and took 20 guards with them. A delay in paperwork caused the guards and wagons to proceed while Bettis and Free waited for the formal orders authorizing their movement.
From the Official Records:
“Dr. Free and party concluded to take a near cut across the ravine and strike, the road at the nearest point. They passed down into the ravine without molestation, but found the opposite side of the hill too difficult of ascent, so they dismounted and followed the path up the ravine until they would come to a place that they could ascend. While following this path they were attacked by a band of guerrillas, who came rushing down the hill, at the same time ordering the quartermaster sergeant (Bettis) to halt and surrender, or they would blow his brains out; but notwithstanding their threats he quickly mounted his stead and escaped, but not without being shot at.?”
John H. Borden
Borden enlisted as a private at Erie on July 29, 1861 and was promoted up to first lieutenant on Sept. 4, 1862, the rank at which he served at Gettysburg as the second-in-command of Co. I.
On Sept. 2, 1863, Borden was promoted to captain and was wounded in fighting in the Wilderness in 1864. He was transferred to Co. C on Sept. 20, 1864 and appears to have served out the war in that capacity.
He’s listed in a casualty list in the New York Times on May 15, 1864 as having been “received” at Seminary Hospital in Washington, D.C. In that listing, he’s incorrectly identified as being a member of the 63rd Pa. Such discrepancies in records from the war are very common.
I was unable to learn anything about Borden’s life before, or after, the war.
Harmon Clay Brownson
Brownson was born in 1842 and enlisted in Tionesta in 1861 for three years, re-enlisting in 1864 and serving through the duration of the war with Co. C.
He was wounded at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia on Feb. 6, 1865, part of the fighting that made up the siege of Petersburg.
Two months later, the war would end and Brownson was not present when the rest of the regiment was mustered out. This is mostly likely due to his wounds – he may have been hospitalized or already returned home.
He married Sophronia write, 15 years his junior, and died in 1909. He’s buried at the Spring Creek Cemetery.
His wife outlived him by 36 years and their two known children, Henry and Minnie, both were born in the 1870s and lived into the 1940s.
File this under the “I hadn’t found anything until I found everything and from a very unique source.”
Hoyt served in Co. G as a private.
But a project – “Graffiti Houses” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities – and conducted by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and George Mason University – tell us Hoyt’s story.
And it’s all because he left his signature in a Fairfax, Va. home during the war.
As many other soldiers did, Hoyt signed his name in the Blenheim House in Fairfax, Va. Fairfax marked the southern edge of the defenses of Washington and Blenheim marked the edge of that town.
Hoyt’s story can be found at samuelhoyt.omeka.net.
Born in Chautauqua County in 1839, Hoyt is described by his pension records as “having blue eyes, light skin, light hair and standing six feet tall.”
He served a three-year hitch in the Union Army and survived unharmed, even though the 83rd was involved in many of the war’s most gruesome and intense fighting.
“After his Civil War service, Sam Hoyt returned to Pennsylvania and to his wife, Angeline,” the Graffiti Houses site states. “Quickly, a young family began to grow. Ultimately, Sam and Angeline Hoyt would have five children in 16 years. Their first child, Charles W. was born in Pennsylvania in 1866, followed by Hallie in 1867, and Blanche in 1869. The 1870 United States Federal Census documents show the Hoyt family living in Pittsfield, Warren, Pennsylvania and prove that the first three Hoyt children were all born in Pennsylvania.”
In the early 1870s, the family moved to Carroll, in Chautauqua County and then to Kansas where Samuel is listed as a farmer in the 1880 Census, they report.
“In 1889, Samuel and his family left Kansas and moved to Oregon. The 1900 Federal Census showed Samuel and his family living in Grant’s Pass, Oregon. They own a home and had a mortgage. His occupation was listed as a gold miner.”
He would live out the rest of his life in Oregon.
“Samuel was 54 years old at the time his 1891 pension application was filed. He claimed to suffer from physical disabilities,” the project reports. “He suffered from asthma and had for at least 14 years. He claimed asthma as a reason for applying for a pension. His first attack of asthma was in 1862 at Harrison’s Landing and he was troubled with it during the war. After the war his asthma continued to get worse.”
He died in 1922 at the age of 82 in Grant’s Pass, Oregon.
As much as we may know about some these men, we know just as little about others.
Huie – or maybe Huye – is one of those. He’s listed as serving as a private in the regiment and is included on the panel of names for the 83rd on the Pennsylvania Monument on the Gettysburg battlefield.
William Jefferson Jewell
Jewell lived his life in Spring Creek.
He was born there in 1841, enlisted there in 1861 and died there at the age of 71 in 1912.
He and his wife, Edna August Eastman, had six children survive to adulthood.
Walter F. Stacy
Stacy enlisted at Columbus Pa. in 1861, reenlisted the day after Christmas 1863 and was discharged in October 1864.
He was promoted on Sept. 4, 1862 to the non-commissioned staff for the regiment where he served as the commissary sergeant.
According to the current Defense Commissary Agency, commissary sergeants “in the Union and Confederate armies worked in subsistence warehouses, selling goods to officers and distributing rations. They also provided food to mess halls, and prepared meals at posts and in the field.
Napoleon once said “An army marches on its stomach” which speaks to the importance of Stacy’s work.
According to information on dataomaha.com, Stacy was born in 1840 and died in 1880 and is buried at a cemetery in Nebraska.
Stroup was born in 1824 in Venango County and died on May 13, 1875. He’s buried at Barnes Cemetery outside Sheffield.
He fought at Gettysburg as part of Co. G and also served with Co. E.
Older (37) at the outbreak of the war, Stroup originally enlisted as a musician in the 83rd before moving to front line service as a private.
He and his wife Lavina had three children – one named after George Washington. Their daughter, Susan Eva, per findagrave, was a resident at the Warren State Hospital for nearly 58 years. She and her husband, Mareau, had four children before her commitment.