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Facts of the week

Note that I do not update statistics on this page when I get new (or better) data. Check the regimental statistics page, or search the database, for more current statistics.

#520
30 Nov 14
One pension certificate file (recently digitized) preserves a little evidence about how bodies of men buried on the battlefield were returned to their families. William B Lambright swore 'that he went to Hatcher's Run Virginia in the month of November A.D. 1864 and disintered the body of Francis B. Corle and brought his body back to Bedford County, Pennsylvania to his wife and relatives, and that his body was buried in Union Township, Bedford County near the home of his wife immediately after his return, and that he had the body in charge from the time it was disintered in Virginia until it was buried in Bedford county, Penna'. (In the 1870 census, Lambright was not an undertaker--he worked in a grist mill.)
#519
23 Nov 14
I find it amusing that the recruiting officer, and not the physician, was the person who swore the recruit was sober and old enough to enlist. (See for example, the volunteer enlistment form for John Brown.)
#518
7 Sep 14
Andrew Brown (C) wrote a letter from near Cloud Mills, Virginia, on 26 August 1862, shortly after the regiment left Alexandria (on 20 August) to join the Army of the Potomac. Almost all the division had arrived, and some had already left; he expected to leave for Warrenton later that day. He wasn't able to carry everything he had accumulated in Alexandria; he sent a box by Adams Express with his old clothes and other things he couldn't carry. They did escort a wagon train on the 28th, and moved around for several weeks, eventually joining a new division on 12 September, which was sent to the Army, arriving the day after the Battle of Antietam.
#517
31 Aug 14
Andrew Brown (C) wrote a letter from Alexandria on 16 June 1862. Alexandria was a southern town, and sympathized deeply with the Confederates, as two incidents Brown mentions show. First, people were bringing 'fries[,] cakes[,] coffee' and other things to Confederate prisoners; when they 'began to get sassy and talk for Jeff Davis', the regiment arrested two, but released them when they promised not to continue. Second, he notes that Colonel Gregory took possession of an Episcopal church when the minister refused to pray for the president and the success of the Federal army. (See 'A day in Alexandria' for a similar event involving a Baptist church.) Colonel Gregory took the church during a service. Brown adds that Company C's flag was flying from the second story of the Church, which was to be used as a hospital.
#516
31 Aug 14
Of the 19 letters from Andrew Brown (C) in his father's pension certificate file, four complain about not getting letters. On 29 March 1862, he complains that he has written a letter every week (presumably since arriving in DC), and received only two letters from his father and sister. On 26 August 1862, he complains that he wrote the day before they left Alexandria, and hadn't received an answer. On 3 April [1863], he asks how Thomas is, saying, 'I suppose he expects me to write to him[--]if so[,] he should have answered the last letter I sent to him'. And on 7 June 1864, he writes that he has written five or six letters and received only one, adding: '[T]his is the last I intend to write till I get an answer with writing paper, envelopes, + stamps'. Fortunately, the last letter from him, dated 17 June 1864, just two days before he died, doesn't include any complaints.
#515
24 Aug 14
For an illustration of Civil War era record keeping, consider William H Knouse (F). First, he was discharged from Auger General Hospital, in accordance with general orders 77. But the discharge notice somehow was addressed to (or at least received by) company B instead of company F. On their muster-out rolls, company B reported him discharged (despite having no other record of him), and company F reported him absent sick, in hospital. Because of this, the published roster (in Bates History of Pennsylvania volunteers) adds a William H Knous serving in company B. (The Adjutant General's Office apparently fixed the mistake, in 1883, perhaps because Knouse had applied for a pension.) Second, the company F muster-out roll, followed by Bates, reports him as enlisted on 24 February 1865--but the enlistment paperwork clearly reports him enlisted and mustered in on 24 March 1865. Third, the company B muster-out roll, presumably based on the discharge, reports him as drafted, but the rest of the records call him a substitute. I will continue to try clearing up these mistakes.
#514
17 Aug 14
Andrew Brown (C) wrote a letter dated 14 April 1862, from Washington DC, in which he notes they were encamped on Carroll Hill (owned by a granddaughter of Charles Carroll, who signed the Declaration of Independence). (I had information that companies A, B, and F were stationed in the Carroll [Hill] Barracks.) Two other interesting bits of information: sending $45 by Adams Express cost 25 cents, and the regiment (or at least his company?) was paid on 13 April.
#513
10 Aug 14
On 14 February 1863, Andrew Brown wrote a letter to his father and sister, from the regiment's camp, near Falmouth, Virginia (where the regiment had camped since the end of Burnside's Mud March, at the end of January 1863). The food was good; they had fresh bread four times a week, onions and potatoes twice a week, and good coffee, but hadn't had tea since they left Warrenton, Virginia. (Is he referring to the regiment's brief stay at Warrenton on their way to Falmouth, on 30 October 1862?) They had 'a fine log house built with a large fire place in it', which was comfortable and warm. The other news is that he had heard a rumor that Colonel Gregory had been appointed military governor of Alexandria, which was (we know now) false.
#512
3 Aug 14
Wharton's resignation was forced by a report by the 7th Infantry Adjutant, which led the commander to offer him a choice between resignation or facing a third court martial:

'I have the honor to state that 2nd Lt. Jesse B. Wharton 7th inf (now under suspension) has from all accounts, since his release from arrest, kept himself in a filthy condition, associating with enlisted men in the town of Fairfield, and drinking in public bars with soldiers, when permitted by them to do so. that he has frequently attempted to drink with non-commissioned officers, and that they as well as soldiers have publicly refused to drink with him. that he has after all this appeared publicly in front of the Regiment, while on parade, and that he is now lying in a set of Quarters built for the use of officers on duty with the Regiment, in a state of beastly intoxication. that it is reported that lately he has been begging his meals in Fairfield, and has even come to the Company Kitchen of Company K 7 infantry, and begged for victuals. that he made his bed in Fairfield, wherever chance would place it, and slept for the most part on benches, and in the alleys and corners about town.

'His conduct, disgraceful as it is, fails to awaken in him the blush of shame, and he returns now to again attempt association with those, whom as a class he has dishonored, by appearing in public with the uniform of an honorable profession.'

#511
27 Jul 14
In his memoirs, the father-in-law of Jesse Wharton describes him as irresponsible, inconsiderate (e.g. never writing to his wife), unable to resist temptation, and uninterested in and incapable of reflection, even when sober. Perhaps his being unreflective helps explain his unwillingness to obey the prison rules, and his daring the guard to shoot him (after the guard had been ordered to shoot him if he again broke the rules).
#510
20 Jul 14
On 3 May 1863, Andrew Brown was wounded in action. In a letter dated 31 May 1863, written at the Fifth Corps Hospital, he mentions having 'poor attendance and very little to eat except what we have to buy'. They were fed pork potatoes and sour bread; two men had visited him the day he wrote, bringin him jellies and other delicacies. He was hoping for a furlough (and someone from the Sanitary Commission had promised to try getting him one), but hadn't received it yet. But he apparently did receive it; on the May-June 1863 muster roll, he was reported a paroled prisoner, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
#509
13 Jul 14
In a letter dated 4 August 1862, Andrew Brown wrote that the 91st was 'one of the best drilled regiments in the service', and that General Wadsworth (commanding the military defenses of Washington) 'says we give more satisfaction than any regiment he has had yet'. He concludes that they probably wouldn't leave Alexandria 'for some time if at all'. In fact, they left Alexandria on 20 August 1862. I don't know whether that's because Wadsworth was less impressed with them than Brown believed, or because Wadsworth's superiors were also impressed with them!b(They were initially assigned to the Second Division of the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, but then apparently were transferred to the Third Division on 12 September 1862; see A A Humphrey's statement about the division's formation and arrival at Antietam.)
#508
6 Jul 14
In a letter dated 5 May 1862, Andrew Brown warned his father and sister that a former quartermaster sergeant from the regiment was fraudulently collecting money and goods from families in Philadelphia, promising to send it to the men, but not delivering it. He even asked for money from the family of a man who died in Alexandria, to pay for sending his body back to Philadelphia, and disappeared with the money they gave him. I have not been able to identify this quartermaster sergeant.
#507
29 June 14
In a letter dated 29 March 1862, Andrew Brown (C) said they had all 'received a new pair of light blue pants', and were 'going to get new Belgian rifles'. A week and a half later, their Enfield rifles were pronounced 'unserviceable and unsafe' at an inspection. General Wadsworth requested new arms for them a week after that, and they finally received new weapons almost a month after Brown's letter, on 24 April 1862. (But they were issued US Rifles, made at the Springfield armory.) Does Brown's letter suggest that the inspection was part of a plan to get them new weapons? Or was his report based on a rumor or statement that was only coincidentally true?
#506
22 June 14
The index to the compiled service records has four entries beginning 'Jh'. Four of the six are from company F of the 91st, all for the family name 'Jhonson'. (The other two are from the 179th Pennsylvania, and seem to involve misreading 'Shay' as 'Jhay'.) Perhaps someone in company F was dyslexic.
#505
15 June 14
On 12 September 1862, Lieutenant Justus A Gregory, who was the 91st's Recruiting Officer in Philadelphia, enlisted Thomas Brooks. Because Brooks was less then twenty one, regulations required permission of a guardian. So, Gregory was appointed Brooks's guardian by the Philadelphia Orphans Court, and gave permission.
#504
8 June 14
Thomas B Scott (F&S) worked as a clerk in a dry good store before the war. His employer later testified that he received $1.50 per day ('or whatever the regular wages were at that time'). His wages were the major family income after his father's death in 1857; the rent for their small house was $12 per month. His sister testified that he had been unemployed for a little while before enlisting. (After his death in 1866, his mother received a pension of $8 per month.)
#503
1 June 14
Benjamin Shriner (A) wrote a letter to his wife on 7 May 1865. He was in Campbell Hospital, Washington DC, because of diarrhea. He said he was getting better--but he also said hardly felt able to write. He asked her to write to him (or to have others write) four times in this very brief letter. He died on 5 June, of meningitis. The Chaplain claimed Shriner's worrying about his discharge 'worked so upon his mind that he became sick night before last', went into convulsions, and never recovered. The official cause of death seems more plausible: meningitis. (He was officially discharged on 2 June, but the discharge is crossed out in the company descriptive roll, and may never have taken effect.)
#502
25 May 14
E Banker was matron of the 91st's hospital from 28 December 1861 through 28 February 1862, when she 'Withdrew with consent' from being matron. As matron, she may have supervised the nurses.
#501
11 May 14
William W Burns first enlisted in the 91st on 2 February 1864, as a veteran volunteer. He was entitled to enlist as a veteran because of his prior service in the Navy; see general orders, number 216, 14 July 1863, Washington DC, Adjutant General's Office. This order apparently changed section II of general orders, number 191, by requiring that the men have been honorably discharged, by making explicit that the men could enlist in any regiment they chose and that they were entitled to all the benefits provided by general order 191, and by requiring that a unit would be called 'veteran' only if at least one-half its members were veteran volunteers when the unit was mustered in.
#500
4 May 14
William W Burns's pension file includes notes from the surgeon. On 18 June 1864, a Minié ball struck his right arm, severely affecting his hand. Several fingers were amputated in the field, but when he arrived at the Satterlee USA General Hospital a month later, the wound was sloughing, and appeared unhealthy. On 1 August the surgeon amputated the lower third of his forearm; he was under aether and chloroform. The stump continued to be swollen and painful for several months. Eventually, they amputated a bit more, just above the elbow. (What struck me most about the notes was how minimal they were. I hope they were selected, and not the complete notes, but even so they were very scanty.)
#499
20 Apr 14
James Banni (B) is an example of a difficulty in deciding who served in the regiment. According to his compiled service record, he enlisted on 3 May 1862, and deserted on 8 May 1862. The record also claims: 'This name should not have appeared on this Roll' (sc. the May-June 1862 muster roll). Why? Perhaps because there was '[n]o evidence of muster in'. I've added him to my statistics, because he is on one of the muster rolls--but whether he should be included isn't at all obvious.
#498
13 Apr 14
Of the forty (40) men I currently know were not willing to reenlist in the regiment, four (4) died before being discharged, all from wounds received in battle:(45 of the 271 veterans (17%) died while in service.)
#497
6 Apr 14
According to Bates, James Dyson deserted at Sharpburg, Virginia. Bates' report was based on the muster-out roll. However, his compiled service record makes clear that starting with the September-October 1862 muster roll, he was '[a]bsent with leave of Surgeon', which is striking since he enlisted on 18 September 1862, and that he was discharged from the Army because of phthisis pulmonalis on 15 December 1863. (I haven't finished adding the information from the compiled service record.) This makes me worry that the published information in Bates is even less reliable than I thought it was; getting the compiled service records for all men who served in the 91st is unrealistic, but perhaps I need to purchase more than I had intended to.
#496
30 Mar 14
In 1862, ten of the 91st's commissioned officers left the regiment. Three were discharged because of disability (Edward J Phillips on 4 March 1862--the first officer to leave; Ansel Hamburg, and Albert Fetter, and apparently Peter D Keyser, and James E Sulger). Charles S Brown resigned (the day after Edward J Phillips was discharged, on 5 March 1862). Alpheus H Bowman was dismissed (but was reappointed in December). Charles Houghton was promoted to surgeon of a different regiment. And two (George W Murphy, and George W Todd) died because of wounds received at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
#495
23 Mar 14
The index to the compiled service records is providing more information than I had expected. For example, Patrick Condon apparently was transferred from the 118th Pennsylvania. And I have combined William and James James Carpenter (B), and also Thomas and Joseph Allison (E) based on the cards. And I already have thirteen (!) new names, who may be additional people who served in the 91st. I will keep sending for more compiled service records, and hope to have a much more accurate idea of the number of men who served in the regiment by the end of this year.
#494
16 Mar 14
William C Reiff (H) wrote a brief note to the National Tribune about George Black, which adds one striking fact about Black, which makes more vivid Black's youth: 'Black and his drum were nearly of equal size'.
#493
9 Mar 14
Samuel C Austin was a brass turner when he enlisted, and continued working with brass until he died. He served in company A of the 91st, whose first death occurred on 13 April 1862, when Gustavus1 Bernstein died of typhoid fever. The company and hospital were apparently not completely clear about how to handle the death, since Bernstein's death certificate is signed by 'Corporal Saml C Austin' (followed by 'M.D.', as printed on the form). Perhaps the Philadelphia Health Office wasn't sure either; in any event, they accepted the death certificate.
#492
2 Mar 14
Several of the "problem" men have become clearer. At least two men reported in some records as having served in the 91st and transferred to another regiment were actually only temporarily assigned to duty with the 91st: Andrew G George (I), and Edward J Doolittle (B). Doolittle's compiled service record (which I'm currently transcribing) refers to an order of General Wadsworth's, dated 15 April 1862, temporarily attaching Doolittle to the 91st; I am trying to get a copy of that order, hoping for some explanation of the temporary transfer. Amusingly, Bates' list of men who served in the 91st includes George (but under the name 'George Andrews') but not Doolittle, and the pension index cards mention Doolittle's service in the 91st but not George's <sigh>. Perhaps working through the 3,313 cards in the index to the compiled service records will give us more accurate information about who served in the 91st.
#491
23 Feb 14
Here's another small piece of information about the 91st's Survivors' association. At their 1886 meeting, they re-elected A. D. W. Caldwell as secretary, and Matthew Hall as treasurer. Eli Sellers was elected president, and Joseph H. Sinex vice-president (as in 1884; I don't know whether that was true in 1885).
#490
16 Feb 14
A letter dated 1 March 1862, from James Todd to his mother, makes vivid how close Confederate forces were to Washington DC (where the 91st was stationed). He was 'out all week'--presumably on picket duty, though he doesn't say that. But he was ten miles away from DC, on Alliton [sc. Arlington?] Heights, and 'could see Bulls Run from the hill--thirty thousand rebels [were] there'. He said the talk was that the war would last two years, and that he could hear cannon from a nearby battle, as he was writing. (The Second Battle of Bull Run was fought on 28-30 August 1862.)

(By the way, if anyone has suggestions to improve my attempts to make sense of Todd's letters, please let me know!)

#489
9 Feb 14
In a letter to his mother from Fairfax Court House, James Todd expresses regret that he didn't see any fighting when he was at Richmond, because, he thought, the 91st wasn't going to be involved in any fighting, and explains that by saying that 'through inspection we lost 4 hundred men that weren[']t fit for duty'. The two bits of relatively early data I have don't seem to fit here:
  • The 91st's weapons were initially deficient, but they received good rifle muskets on 24 April 1862. (See Problems with the Justice arms ... for more details.)
  • In the only inspection report I have seen from the 91st's service in the Defenses of Washington, from 19 April 1862, the 91st had 560 men assemble at the Long Bridge, armed with muskets (before they received the rifled muskets), and sufficient ammunition--compared to the 10th New Jersey, with 180 men and no ammunition, and the 2nd DC, with 600 men and 35 rounds of ammunition. Why only 560 men? The best guess I have is that 810 (to 889) men were still officially in the regiment then, though some were undoubtedly ill or detailed on special duty away from the regiment. And undoubtedly some had to be left on guard at prisons (including the Old capitol prison and the Central guard house) or elsewhere.
My best guess is that Todd is referring to a later inspection, to which I haven't seen any other references.
#488
2 Feb 14
On 1 March 1862, James Allen Todd wrote his mother a letter, in which he talks about food. He was able to get strawberries, cherries, grain, and anything he wanted. But the crackers were so hard that they had to soak them in water for a week, pound them with a sledge hammer, and then boil them!
#487
26 Jan 14
On 19 December 1862, James Allen Todd wrote a letter to his mother. He missed the Battle of Fredricksburg (on 13 December 1862) because he was ill--with 'the heart Disease [and] yellow Jaunders [sc. jaundice]', and was so weak he couldn't move. But he noted that the regiment list 111 men, that his company (I) had six men killed and more wounded, and that he 'lost' both his tentmates. (The six men killed in company I were W H Baumgardner, Newton Collins, Elias Leaver, John McGilley, George W Murphy, and Richard Rogers.)
#486
19 Jan 14
Mary Largay's pension application (as widow of Henry P Largay (I)) has two interesting features. First, they were married on 14 October 1864, after he returned from the army. The Pension Bureau accepted the testimony of Mary and two others that they had lived as man and wife for many years (at least as long as their children had been alive). The application doesn't allege that they had contracted a valid common law marriage, and I'm not confident from the testimony that they had--Mary didn't say anything about expressing in words of the present tense a present intention to be married, and although the neighbors testified that Mary and Henry had 'lived and cohabited together as husband and wife and said children were known as their offspring', they didn't testify that they were generally recognized as married. Second, Lieutenants John S Donnell and Adam H Murphy both testified that Henry insisted on continuing on active duty even though he should have been in a hospital and was obvious unfit for duty. Donnell assigned him the lightest possible duty, but they let him stay with the regiment until his term expired. Again, the Pension Bureau accepted their testimony, and did not hold the absence of medical records during his service against the application.
#485
12 Jan 14
On 4 June 1862, William H Johnson wrote a letter to his parents describing an exciting night. He was on guard at the slave pen, in Alexandria. An engineer came with 'something from from Colonel Geary', which Johnson set a guard over. (Alas, he doesn't mention what it was.) And Colonel Gregory heard that the Confederates were attacking General Banks--perhaps this was the First Battle of Winchester on 25 May 1862. Gregory had railroad cars prepared for reinforcements, and Johnson sent guards to protect the railroad for three miles. But the reinforcements didn't arrive until the next day. (Perhaps his describing this in detail makes clear how boring guard duty could be!)
#484
5 Jan 14
William H Johnson wrote a letter to his parents on 11 February 1862, from Camp Stanton, near Washington DC. He complained about the weather (daily rain or snow, with mud deeper than his shoes), but did note that he had finished a home improvement project, taking boards from a deserted house and flooring his tent, giving them 'about as comfortable a tent as is on the Camp grounds'. The point he found most noteworthy about their upcoming provost duty in DC was that 'each man is to be furnished with two pair of white gloves and any man found drunk with his cloths [sic] dirty will be put in the guard house'.
#483
29 Dec 13
William H Johnson did not reenlist, and was therefore transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania while the men who did reenlist were on furlough. He wrote a letter to his parents on 4 January 1864, which mentions that Colonel Gregory told them he was going to try to get them back. He did; perhaps that wasn't part of the original plan. He also says that he was happy not to be part of the 91st; although he doesn't explain why, he does say that 'we have good officers now and the men [are] all willing to do what is right as long as they are treated right'.
#482
22 Dec 13
William Cloud wrote a letter describing William Henry Johnson's death on 18 June 1864 in this way:

It was on the morning of June the 18th about 11 o'clock that we were ordered to charge the Rebel lines around the City of Petersburg. we succeeded in getting posession [sic] of the Norfolk + Petersburg Rail Road on the bank of which we came to a halt about three hundred yards from the Rebel line of fortifications. this was a very poor position. As we were exposed to a very destructive flank fire from the enemy. After we had been in this position about an hour. we were once more ordered to move forward. and fast as we raised ourselves your son William who was right beside me. was struck with a Minnie [sic] Rifle Bullet in the right Temple. he lived about five minutes but he was insensible from the time that he was struck.

He then apologizes for their not having been able to bury him immediately, or to find and mark his grave later.
#481
15 Dec 13
George Borlan (D) died of inflammation of the liver on 2 April 1864. His widow applied for a pension. Although she made the declaration on 4 May 1864, her attorney, W N Ashman, did not file it until 10 October 1864, after their child was born on 3 September 1864. Almost five years after she made the declaration, she switched attorneys, and two-and-a-half months later her application was accepted. This is not the first time I have seen Ashman's clients have problems; in particular, Alexander Earnest's widow attributed an error to 'the carelessness and loose way of doing business at the office of the Sanitary Commission'.
#480
8 Dec 13
William Bibby enrolled in the 91st under the alias 'James Clark'. The evidence points strongly to his having served earlier in the 6th New Jersey infantry (under his legal name), from which he apparently deserted in 1863. Although he didn't mention this prior service in his pension applications, the 1890 census veterans schedules list him as having served in the 6th New Jersey. The Act of 1 July 1902 makes explicit that honorable discharge from the last service was enough (under certain conditions--see section 2). But the fact that Congress passed that law then suggests that prior to 1902 his having deserted from the 6th New Jersey might have cause problems for his pension claim. Perhaps that is why he did not mention it. His having omitted his prior service was apparently never caught. I've read that the Pension Bureau largely ignored the 1890 veterans schedules; perhaps Bibby was fortunate they did.
#479
1 Dec 13
Another small bit of evidence about post-war connections between men who served in the 91st: Lieutenant-Colonel Eli G Sellers had a son born about 1865/1866, whom he named Howard Shipley Sellers, obviously after First Lieutenant Howard Shipley.
#478
24 Nov 13
Several members of the 91st were involved in a controversy in 1892 in the E D Baker Post 8 of the Grand Army of the Republic. The combination of a controversial election and 'court martial charges preferred against certain prominent comrades' led some men to withdraw from the post, including Eli Sellers. Thomas F Walters claimed, however, that the Post was in excellent shape at the beginning of 1893. In June 1893 they apparently had 670 members, down from a high of 800. (See 'Indignant G.A.R. men', 'Baker Post's affairs', and 'Baker Post services'.)
#477
17 Nov 13
Charles Bournonville was born to a wealthy physician, and grew up with multiple servants in the household. He was 18 when he joined the 91st PA in August 1861, and was discharged in February 1863 because of hemorrhoids. He spent the rest of his life in the western US, living in Wyoming Territory, Dakota Territory, and Montana. He supposedly received a bequest when his relative, the Marquis Leonard Charles de Bournonville, died in 1892, but his obituary suggests it 'was soon dissipated and it was probably only a small sum'. He worked as a cook after losing a cigar factory. His pension application was not approved--the reference in his obituary to dissipation may suggest that he would have had problems proving his disability was not due to his 'own vicious habits' (which even the Act of 27 June 1890 required, in section 2). His poverty, and perhaps dissolution, stands in marked contrast to his sibling's lives; they owned tens of thousands of dollars of property, and had multiple servants. Perhaps he is another, unrecognized, casualty of the war.
#476
10 Nov 13
Charles T Cotton evaluated many pension applications by members of the 91st Pennsylvania and their families. He was born in Mississippi, traveled as far as Havana and New Hampshire, lived in St Paul, and eventually moved to Washington DC, where he worked as a clerk in the Pension Bureau from 1863 through his death in 1877.
#475
3 Nov 13
Charles W Houghton served as Assistant Surgeon of the 91st from 21 October 1861 through 11 September 1862, and then as Surgeon of several regiments, until 21 March 1866. Charles Hebding (A) seems to have trusted him, since Houghton was apparently the physician for his daughter Anna (and signed her death certificate on 7 October 1871).
#474
27 Oct 13
The Veterans' administration pension payment cards 1907-1933 (now available at FamilySearch) give us more detail about the men's pensions. For example, here is the history of John Blum (K)'s pension. His initial pension was based on the original pension act, which required some disability. But through 1921 he received the minimum pension based on his age and service; starting 27 December 1921 he was apparently 'by reason of age and physical or mental disabilities, helpless or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind as to require the regular personal aid and attendance of another person'.
application dateAct of ... certificate issuedrateeffective date apparent basis
5 May 1884 14 Jul 1862 (?) ? ? ?  
1 Mar 1907 6 Feb 1907 2 Oct 1907 $15 1 Mar 1907 age 70-74
?   $20 4 Dec 1909 age at least 75
? 11 May 1912 20 Feb 1913 $30 31 May 1912 age at least 75 and served at least 2 years
?   $40 10 Jun 1918 ?
? 1 May 1920   $50 1 May 1920 served 90 days
?   $72 27 Dec 1921 helpless or blind (or nearly)
#473
20 Oct 13
At least three men who served in the 91st have pages on Wikipedia: Surprisingly, Edgar M Gregory does not have a page (as far as I can tell), despite his arguably being historically more important than the others, as the Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau for Texas (1865-6), fired at President Johnson's orders, and of Maryland (1866-8).
#472
13 Oct 13
Patrick Cahill's dependent's pension certificate file provides more evidence about the 1860's economy. His family's landlord testified that before enlisting Patrick 'worked at light laboring work and earned from five to six dollars per week', paying him rent of $2 per month.
#471
6 Oct 13
Bates' summary of William Carson's service says only that he was wounded on 18 June 1864, and was absent, in hospital, when the regiment mustered out, on 10 July 1865. This brief, anodyne, statement conceals what was probably an immense amount of pain and suffering. If I've identified the right William Carson, he died on 30 January 1888, of a 'heart clot following amputation'. Since he successfully applied for a pension in 1865 (and his mother successfully applied after his death), he must have been injured in the war. He, then, seems to have been a long-term casualty of the war, probably having had a limb amputated after being injured on that terrible day that saw almost a third of the members of the 91st killed or wounded, and dying of that wound several decades later. (See Walter's and an anonymous account of that day.) (The pension certificate file presumably would confirm or disconfirm this interpretation of the evidence.)
#470
29 Sep 13
In 1863, Benjamin Eyre and John Edgar Jr registered for the draft (along, no doubt, with many other men who had served in the 91st). The registration record mentions his service in the 91st. As far as I can see, the original draft act, the act of 3 March 1863, does not excuse people because they had served (though section 6 of the act of 24 February 1864 does require the boards of enrolment to enroll 'all persons discharged from the military or naval service of the United States who have not been in such service two years during the present war'). So I don't know why the Provost Marshall was tracking prior service in July 1863. (Edgar was actually still serving, though was discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability in February 1863. The draft registration record does not differentiate their service, however.)
#469
22 Sep 13
The known causes of death after the war include many cardiovascular diseases, infections, cancers, etc., but also debility after debauch, accidental injuries (e.g., 'frac base of skull due to acdl fall on pavement', 'run down by automobile', 'injuries recd by a fall down stairs'), and my favorite: 'no doctor in charge'. The most commonly listed was phthisis pulmonalis, that is, tuberculosis of the lungs (though other conditions might rank higher if different names for the same cause were grouped together). While looking at these causes of death, I found an explanation of George B Kenworthy's: he was caught between the bumpers of two train cars while trying to pass between them. It was in the evening. Perhaps he was impatient to return home, and instead of waiting for the train to pass, tried to pass through the train. A sad end for someone who had passed through a war.
#468
8 Sep 13
Members of the Humane Hose Company were invited to the funerals of at least three men who served in the 91st: Captain James Sulger, William Carpenter, and William McNally. Interestingly, all three served in company C.
#467
1 Sep 13
After the war, Captain Charles Henry (H) described John Brown (H) in this way: 'he was a good soldier[,] a quiet man[,] always correct and prompt in the performance of his duties and a man in whom perfect confidence could be placed'.
#466
25 Aug 13
According to his mother's pension certificate file, before he enlisted, Michael Drew (C) earned about $15 per week, and sent some to his mother for support. If this is true, it wasn't enough; as far as I can tell, Michael's parents were in the Alms House in 1860. (The other glassblower whose pre-war wages I have evidence of, Robert Simpson (A), earned $20 to $25 per week; I don't know why Michael earned so much less.)
#465
18 Aug 13
One more note about John N Hawks (D). His divorced ex-wife, Susan Wilson, claimed that their daughter Annie was disabled 'by reason of an accident or injury inflicted by her father John N Hawks when she was an infant'. But Enos E Palmer, a physician, swore that she had Pott's disease of the 5th and 6th dorsal vertebrae (also affecting her breast), that she had been in Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago for a year, and that the curvature was constantly increasing. I wonder whether Susan knew that, and whether knowing it would have made any difference to their divorce.
#464
11 Aug 13
Since John Hawks' children weren't eligible for a pension, even though his widow was, I wondered when the widow's right would descend to the children. The evidence is clear: with very few exceptions, the pension acts (at least those I have so far transcribed) do not allow anyone to receive a pension if a living widow is ineligible. The three exceptions I have found involve these cases: Interesting, even the Act of 9 May 1900 (amending the act of 27 June 1890) makes no provisions for ineligible widows. Perhaps this happened rarely enough that special acts of Congress were a reasonable way of dealing with the problem.
#463
4 Aug 13
Samuel Hawks and his brother, John N Hawks, both served in company D, but John used the alias 'James Clark'. Charles Beaver (D) later recalled: 'I often wondered how one was named Clark and the other Hawks[;] someone said that they were step brothers'. John enlisted on 24 December 1861, and Samuel enlisted several weeks later, on 9 January 1862. I wonder if John regretted enlisting under an alias after Samuel enlisted! (And how he reacted when he learned that Samuel was going to enlist or had enlisted.)
#462
28 Jul 13
The pension certificate file for John N Hawks (from which I have not yet finished abstracting data, unfortunately) reveals a sad story. Hawks married Susan Currie on 29 December 1881, and they had three children, two of whom survived. They were divorced in 1891, and both remarried later that year, with Susan retaining custody of their children. When Hawks died in 1894, both his widow Fanny and his ex-wife Susan (as guardian of his children) applied for a pension. Unfortunately for Fanny, she was not eligible under the Act of 27 June 1890, which did not require the death to be caused by military service, because they were not married when the act passed (see section 3). And since the death was (apparently) not caused by Hawks's service, she was not eligible under the Act of 14 July 1862. Unfortunately for his children, although they were entitled to a supplemental pension under the Act of 27 June 1890, their claim was rejected because there was no widow's pension to which it could be attached. So, although if Hawks had died without a widow, the children would have been entitled to a full pension, and if he had died with an eligible widow, they would have been eligible for a supplemental pension, their pension claim was rejected. As far as I have been able to determine, Congress never considered passing a special act to give them a pension.
#461
21 Jul 13
I realized that last week's Fact of the Week might have been misleading, since the pension data included failed applications. Revised data is slightly different. In particular, 54 of the 1112 (5%) successful applications were filed in or after 1900--slightly lower than the 69 of 1227 (6%) total applications. Still, that suggests that if no pension application was ever filed based on someone's service (assuming he served at least ninety days and was discharged honorably), there may be a 5% chance that he was still alive in 1900--higher than I would have guessed.
#460
14 Jul 13
The first year someone applied for a pension based on the soldiers' service includes several interesting bits of data. First, 1890 and 1891 are two of the top three years (286 applications), as expected, since the Act of 27 June 1890 greatly expanded pension eligibility. Second, the other three of the top five years are 1863-1865 (225 applications), presumably because proving that the injury or death was service related was easiest if the disability or death occurred immediately. Third, many people assume that anyone who hadn't applied for a pension by shortly after 1890, and had served at least ninety days and been discharged honorably, probably died by shortly after 1890. That may be a bit less safe than I had assumed--69 of the first pension applications were filed in or after 1900 (6% of the 1227 applications). The last was filed on 16 April 1931, by the widow of William H Laporte (A)--unsuccessfully, since he ended as a deserter. But the next-to-last was successful, and was filed on 9 December 1926, by the widow of Alpheus H Bowman (B).
#459
7 Jul 13
Of the 433 people I have located in the 1850 census, 179 (41%) were reported as having attended school in the last year. Of the 554 people I have located in the 1860 census, 85 (15%) were reported as having attended school in the last year. I suspect the percentages are this low because often identifying soldiers is easier when they are older (for example, because I know their spouse's name or their occupation). (See School attendance, in 1850 and 1860.)
#458
30 Jun 13
Mary M Conrad, mother of William Conrad (F), applied for a pension on 19 October 1865, but it was not approved until 1 December 1868. The Pension Office repeatedly sent circulars 2 and 9 to her attorney, apparently because they were not willing to accept the evidence she provided that he died of a wound received in battle. Why isn't completely clear to me--the company muster roll for January to February 1865 reports him killed, and two soldiers in company F swore (in June 1867) that he died of a wound received in battle. (She reported that she could not get a commissioned officer's certificate, and asked that their affidavits be accepted, but they apparently were not, though the pension certificate file does not report why.) Eventually, in September 1868, Lieutenant Edwin Hause (F) swore that he died of a gunshot wound received in battle in the line of duty, and her pension application was approved shortly thereafter. The certificate file does not record that the Pension Office asked the Adjutant General to confirm that Edwin Hause was with the regiment then (as they did in other cases); apparently the mere existence of a statement was enough to satisfy the examining clerk. Perhaps the clerk, L Holtzlander, was more bureauocratic than the other clerk (Charles T Cotton)--or perhaps the pension office procedures changed over time.
#457
23 Jun 13
Amazingly, Meriners Bancker (C) also volunteered for the Spanish-American War! He served in company I of the 71st New York Infantry; he enlisted on 9 May 1898, and was discharged on 15 November 1898.
#456
16 Jun 13
Jesse Wharton and the South's "culture of honor". When I started writing these summaries of Wharton, I thought I would easily find evidence that Wharton was part of the "culture of honor". I still think he may well have been, but the evidence isn't as clear as I would have liked. He clearly did not obey orders when he was in the Army and when he was ordered to stay away from the window in Old Capitol Prison. Whether that disobedience was due to the culture he grew up in, or to some other reason, is unfortunately less clear.
#455
9 Jun 13
Jesse Wharton and the South's "culture of honor". In the end Wharton was arrested as a spy, and held in Washington's Old Capital Prison. The evidence I've seen doesn't prove he was a spy, though he certainly was acting suspiciously. But, unsurprisingly, he seems to have chafed under the prison's rules. In particular, one rule forbade prisoners standing near windows (or at least forbade them putting their head out of the window), to prevent their communicating with passers by. The guard warned Wharton to stop violating that rule, and the corporal of the guard ordered him to shoot Wharton if he violated it again. He apparently didn't believe the threat, and was unwilling to obey the rule. Exactly what happened isn't clear from the inconsistent evidence available, but he did violate the rule again, and was shot fatally. (summary next week)
#454
2 Jun 13
Jesse Wharton and the South's "culture of honor". Wharton was tried in October 1858, found guilty, and sentenced to be cashiered (dishonorably discharged). But the Secretary of War mitigated the sentence to suspension from rank and pay for twelve months. During that year, Wharton was involved in an altercation, for which he was tried in July 1859. His response is striking: he objected to the trial, claiming that since he was suspended by order of the President, and was not living in Camp, he was not under the orders of the Post Commander, and could only be tried by order of the President. (He also said that he 'had been for some time looking out for an opportunity to leave the Territory', and objected not because he was afraid of the trial, but because of the delay it would cause in his departure.) Unsurprisingly, the Court rejected that claim. But they were more sympathetic in the end, finding him not guilty of all charges and specifications. From the transcripts of his trial and the trial of the other person involved, it's not obvious that Wharton was responsible for the altercation. But his denial that he was obligated to obey orders is striking.(More coming.)
#453
26 May 13
Jesse Wharton may have characteristically had problems obeying orders. At least, his first trial (by court martial) was (in part) for disobeying orders. Major Whiting ordered him to supervise the lead detachment of his company, because the men had not cut a path properly the day before. Wharton apparently rode ahead of the company to see where the road should cross a hill. Wharton then apparently became drunk, and Major Whiting arrested him. (If I've identified the people properly, Wharton later married Whiting's daughter Susan Whiting.) On further reflection, I wonder whether Wharton thought he was displaying initiative--perhaps this incident reflects poor judgment rather than a disinclination to obey orders.
#452
19 May 13
Jesse Wharton was the prisoner killed by the 91st in Old Capitol Prison. I think understanding him as part of the South's "culture of honor" (accessed 18 May 2013) helps make sense of his actions. Start with the one incident I've found reported while he was at St Timothy's Academy. All the students were punished after a few killed some chickens, allowed them to spoil, and paraded them around the school. The students rebelled at the injustice, camping in a nearby wood, having taken guns from the school armory. Wharton's father (among others) spoke with the boys, and Jessie Wharton replied to him. Unfortunately, I don't know anything further about the incident, but it seems to fit with a culture where violent response to perceived violations of rights was the norm. (More over the next several weeks.)
#451
12 May 13
George Black was 12 years old when he enlisted as a drummer. Despite his youth, he charged up Mary's Heights in Fredericksburg with the regiment, and (according to William Reiff) prevented the Union forces from stampeding 'by placing his horse midway of the road and firing shot after shot into the head of the retreating column'. Reiff's descendant Susan Stickles recently sent a picture of George Black, which makes very vivid just how young he was.
#450
5 May 13
A letter from Joseph T Jones (H) to William C Reiff (H) on 2 July 1910 makes clear Jones's opinion of Roosevelt:

I have no use for Roosevelt or any other demagogue like him and I believe he is the greatest newspaper agent that ever occupied the Presidential chair. He brought on a panic and has injured thousands of men. He is now back in this country and I am afraid of his influence. The first thing he has recommended in politics was the change of the laws for primaries in this state and he and Governor Hughes, Taft and Root all recommended the change and they all have been defeated and I am glad of it. I am as good a Republican as I ever was but I do not like demagogues and men preaching to the galleries and thoughtless masses and bringing panics on the country. We all want a chance to live and be prosperous and take good care of our families. I am afraid that this fall the Republican party will be defeated. Some of the head officers in the party ought to retire and Roosevelt is one of them. I think Mr. Taft is an honest man but weak and vaccilating with too many schemes which are impracticable and I fear it will cause the defeat of the Republican party.

#449
28 Apr 13
Some pension applications mentioned pre-war wages as part of the evidence establishing dependence on the deceased soldier. I'm not sure how much we can learn from this, because we don't know how many hours the soldier worked, or (I suspect) what his status was (e.g., whether he was an apprentice). Some of the wages make sense; for example, the highest-paid man of the fourteen I so far have evidence about was a glassblower, who (reportedly) earned $20 to $25 per week. The most surprising to me was that the two machinists (reportedly) earned $2.50 to $3.00 and $6.00 per week respectively. Perhaps this suggests that machinists were less skilled than I had assumed.
#448
21 Apr 13
Catharine McNulty, mother of Bernard ("Barney") McNulty, received her pension extraordinarily quickly. McNulty died on 18 June 1864, she applied for a pension on 11 August 1864, and her application was accepted on 28 December 1864.
#447
14 Apr 13
The standard way of writing 'p' used to involve a large riser, so that the vertical line at the beginning was as high as the vertical line in (for example) a 'k'. This misleads people today, and more surprisingly, apparently also misled people in the 19th century. Adam Cooker's surname is sometimes reported as 'Cooper'. On 21 June 1863, the Adjutant General's Office reported that that they had no evidence Adam Cooker was enrolled or mustered in the 91st (though he was discharged for disability on 11 March 1862). But on 12 March 1865, they reported that Adam Cooper [sic] was enrolled on 30 September 1861.
#446
7 Apr 13
After the war, Charles Henry claimed that Camp Chase, where the regiment trained when it was first formed in 1861, was 'a sort of Hollow[,] a low ground[,] which unfortunately had been selected for the Camp', and claimed that 'the weather during the time [the regiment camped there] was Excessively bad'.
#445
31 Mar 13
On 13 June 1871, John Walton's remarried widow, Elizabeth Kahmer, asked the Pension Office to return John Walton's discharge, care of her attorney (J E Devitt + Company). They sent it on 28 June 1871, but Devitt + Company returned it with a note claiming that it had been sent to them by mistake. On 12 October 1871, she again requested it, and they sent it to her on 12 October 1871. (She also requested her marriage certificate, but they claimed it could not be returned, without explanation.) On 6 March 1875, she asked where his discharge and her marriage certificate were. On 15 May 1875, the Pension Office summarized what had happened, and said they had no information. A memorandum in his file claims: 'There has been wretched bungling on the part of this Office in the correspondence about this lost Discharge, or else a great loss of papers from this case. ...' The pension certificate file now includes it (page 26 on Fold3).
#444
24 Mar 13
William Hooven (C) died on 27 May 1867. Dr E B Shapleigh signed his death certificate, claiming that the cause of death was However, when Hooven's widow applied for a pension, Shapleigh testified that he died of chornic diarrhoea and hemorrhage of the bowels. He presumably changed the cause of death to match the illness because of which he was discharged, to make it easier for the Pension Department to conclude that he died from a disease contracted in the service.
#443
17 Mar 13
Having spent facts 433 through 442 on evidence about Edgar Gregory's administrative ability, I should briefly mention some other facts about Gregory. He was an abolitionist (see e.g. 'Letter from a radical on the Freedmen's Bureau') and temperance advocate (e.g. Ohio State temperance convention), and was one of unfortunately few whites to think that the end of slavery meant that the freedmen had the same rights as whites, and that the freedmen could handle the responsibilities of citizens (see especially his letter to Benjamin Harris). He was amazingly industrious, undertaking four trips through Texas on horseback from 10 November 1865 through May 1866. He was unfailingly brave (see e.g. Oliver Otis Howard's Autobiography volume 2, page 218). I will close with one final commendation, written about Gregory when he was Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau for Texas: 'Through Cana, in Fort Bend and Horton counties, the poor freedmen have heard of Gen. Gregory, and they whisper his name among themselves, and pray that they may see him and lay before him their numerous grievances for redress' ('A rich letter').
#442
10 Mar 13
In summary, while various bits of evidence hint that Edgar Gregory may not have been the best administrator, none are clear; all require further research. Even the strongest evidence, provided by his failed businesses, is unclear because of the high rate of business failures in those unregulated years, and because the evidence I have does not make clear whether Gregory (rather than his partners) was primarily responsible for the failures. (See fact 433 and subsequent facts for the background.)
#441
3 Mar 13
One more bit of questionable evidence about the administrative ability of Edgar Gregory (see fact 433 and subsequent facts for the background). He was the US Marshall for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania during the 1870 census. As Marshal, he was responsible for the 1870 census, which had to be retaken in Philadelphia (along with several other cities) because the first enumeration missed many people. In his obituary, the Philadelphia Inquirer claimed that the "general inefficiency of our census system" was mainly at fault, and not Gregory himself". And the fact that the census was also redone elsewhere does seem to support that claim.
#440
24 Feb 13
Here is a third bit of positive evidence about the administrative ability of Edgar Gregory (see fact 433 and subsequent facts for the background). He was the US Marshall for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania during the 1870 election. On 11 October 1870, he intervened to prevent a riot and to force the police to all colored men to vote. When the mayor complained, Gregory claimed that the Marines were needed because Fox's police were preventing colored voters from voting, and had even arrested the deputies Gregory sent. Clearly, in this case, he had prepared appropriately.
#439
17 Feb 13
Here is a second, albeit indirect, bit of positive evidence about the administrative ability of Edgar Gregory. After the war, on 15 November 1866, Ulysses S Grant wrote to Secretary of War Stanton recommending either Chas. T. Campbelle or Edgar Gregory for appointment as Lieutenant Colonel in the 37th Infantry, but on 19 November he wrote recommending Galusha Pennypacker instead, enclosing a letter from Governor Curtin (which isn't reprinted in his papers). Presumably, Grant would not have proposed Gregory if he thought him a poor administrator.
#438
10 Feb 13
Let me switch now to positive evidence about the administrative ability of Edgar Gregory. (See fact 433 and subsequent facts.) Gregory was appointed Provost Martial and Acting Military Governor of Alexandria, Virginia on 27 April 1862. He replaced Henry K Viele, who apparently failed badly. While I haven't found much information about his service there, he apparently restored order in the town, and certainly was not criticized for his administration.
#437
3 Feb 13
The fourth bit of evidence I've found about Edgar Gregory's administrative ability is related to his having been assigned to command the Chester Rendezvous when the regiment returned from veterans' furlough. While the regiment was waiting for orders, many men went absent without leave. For a few days, about 54% of the enlisted men in the regiment were absent without leave! The War Department apparently asked Lieutenant Colonel Sinex to explain why so few men were present for duty; he began his response by saying this:

I have the honor herewith most respectfully to report in Compliance with Instructions from your Hd Qrs of this date that the Regiment under Command of Col. E. M Gregory left Phila on the 16th day of February for Chester Barracks Pa and that the command was verbaly [sic] given up to me on the 20th day of February but that I never really had Command until the day the Regiment left the Barracks. that Col. Gregory made all the details without my knowledge up to March 1st 64.

Here again the evidence is hard to interpret; Sinex was obviously trying to deflect blame from himself, and I have not found any explanation by Gregory of his actions.
#436
27 Jan 13
The third bit of evidence about Gregory's administrative ability is about another, more amorphous, conflict within the regiment. According to a late report, 'there was considerable friction' in the 91st Pennsylvania between religious men (associated with Gregory) and others (eventually associated with Eli Sellers). This report claims that Sellers admitted retaliating against the religious men: "It was just this, they were Gregory's pets, and when I got the chance I downed them, and when I became lieutenant-colonel I did get it". (This may explain the odd facts leading to the court martial of Joseph Gilbert.) Now, the source is late (1903), and second hand; whether we should believe it isn't clear. And if it is true, Sellers clearly comes off worse than Gregory (though I should point out that Sellers was not still holding a grudge in 1903, and was happy to support Thomas Walter's pension claim). But allowing divisions like that, and favoring people to the degree that they would be regarded as his "pets", would (if true) not speak well for his personnel handling.
#435
20 Jan 13
The second bit of evidence I have about Edgar Gregory's administrative ability relates to a conflict within the regiment. Company B's original captain (Alpheus Bowman) and first lieutenant (Morris Kayser) hated each other, and managed to get each other court-martialed. Bowman was discharged dishonorably twice, before being permitted to resign for disability and absence without leave; Kayser was found guilty and could have been executed, but instead received a sentence that the Corps Assistant Adjutant General found 'entirely inadequate', and resigned months later. Now, the quarrel between them was undoubtedly severe (see, e.g., the letter from Sinex to the War Department on 14 September 1863). But could Gregory have done anything about it? My understanding is that at the beginning of the war, volunteer regiments followed the old tradition of allowing men to elect their own officers. If the 91st did that (and I have found no evidence about that), Gregory may not have been able to reassign Bowman or Kayser. On the other hand, if he had the authority, and did not use it, defending his personnel management would be very difficult.
#434
14 Jan 13
The first evidence I have about Edgar Gregory's administrative ability is that he was declared bankrupt in 1869. He had been in three failed businesses before the war, four in Cincinnati, and the last in Philadelphia. He claimed the firm in Philadelphia failed because it was unprofitable, and could have continued if he hadn't joined the Army. The other firms failed because of 'general commercial distress', at least largely because of bad accomodation paper. (That is, they endorsed loans for other parties, which were not able to repay them.) This record is obviously not admirable, but I do not know whether Gregory is at fault. (In particular, to what degree was he responsible for the accomodation papers? How unusual was this record of failed businesses?) Many cases were filed in court to recover money from these businesses; in particular, the claim of his partner William Burnet that Gregory owed him $150,000 was extensively litigated in Cincinnati, for eleven years. Perhaps the court files would provide more information.
#433
6 Jan 13
Whether Edgar Gregory's lack of success as Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau for Texas was due primarily to structural problems or to his lack of ability is controversial. Crouch, for example, claims:

His deficiences had nothing to do with his mental capabilities or perception of the Texas dilemma. These can be directly tied to finances, separate commands for the Bureau and the army, deciding which sections of the state to concentrate upon, general white opposition, aand how much support the army could provide. (Barry A Crouch, The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans [Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992], p.21)

Richter, on the other hand, after praising Gregory's decency, sympathy, and courage, and recognizing the severe structural problems Gregory faced, claims:

But the truth seemed to be that Gregory could not run an operation so large as the Texas bureau. He never divided the state into subdistricts with defined zones of control for his subassistant commissioners. He failed to attract the type of staff officer who could assist him in his bureaucratic functions ... Moreover, had Burnet not attacked Gregory it is likely that Gregory's inept administration would have reached a crisis shortly, anyhow. Burnet merely kicked in an already rotten door. Indeed a cogent argument could be made that Burnet could have done the bureau more harm if he had left Gregory undisturbed in his bumbling ways. (William L Richter, Overreached on all sides: the Freedmen's Bureau Administrators in Texas, 1865-1868 [College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1991], p.289, footnote omitted)

I will try over the next few weeks to sketch evidence from before and after the war that might be relevant.

#432
8 Dec 12
David Irvine (D) spent time somewhere in the south before the war, returning to Philadelphia only in April 1861, and immediately joining a three-months regiment. (He may have been living in Kent, Maryland, in 1860.) According to his sister Catharine, he frequently complained that he had left all his savings in the south, was only too glad to arrive home alive, and had no money.
#431
2 Dec 12
Mary Irvine, mother of David Irvine (D), received a pension based on his (brief) service. But after her death, Special Examiner W E Jenks investigated whether she was really entitled to a pension. Her daughter Catharine Keys testified that before the war Thomas Irvin (who died in Spring 1861) supported her, and David actually contributed nothing. Further, some evidence suggested that he may have died of a familial problem, which wasn't contracted while he was in the Army. Jenks concluded: 'The claim was undoubtedly a fraud[.] The Pensioner was not dependent on her son, and it does not appear that the soldier died of disease contracted in the Army.'
#430
18 Nov 12
Francis Cole and others apparently reenlisted in company A instead of their actual companies (see Fact of the Week 102). This delayed approval of Cole's widow's pension application; apparently the company C commander wasn't familiar with the circumstances of his final illness. The Pension Office initially rejected Maria Cole's application, because the company C commander (Ed J Maguigan), who initially certified facts about Cole's death, certified that Cole became ill while on furlough. The Pension Office accepted her application only after the company A commander (F H Gregory) and others certified he was ill before beginning the furlough.
#429
11 Nov 12
Martin Blake (E) and William H Jeffries (E) were both captured on 3 May 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia. They were paroled one week later. Jeffries later claimed Blake (and presumably Jeffries also) 'received severe and harsh treatment from the enemy during the short period he was a prisoner[;] at the time of his capture he was hurried away by the rebels in a severe rainstorm[,] one of the heaviest ever known to deponent [sc. Jeffries]'.
#428
4 Nov 12
Francis C Cole died while on the furlough he and others had earned by reenlisted as veteran volunteers. His widow's pension certificate file reports that the regiment travelled from Warrenton, Virginia, to Alexandria by railroad, through a severe snowstorm, with at least one company on open platform cars. The regiment arrived in Philadelphia on 8 January 1864, but the furloughs were not distributed until 15 January 1864. Cole, at least, went home on the 8th, at least in part because of the illness that led to his death. I do not know how many men stayed with the regiment until they received their official furlough.
#427
28 Oct 12
Apparently, some attorneys in Philadelphia swore claimants and their witnesses in the attorney's office, and then had the documents executed in Court. The Pension Office was not pleased when they learned about this problem, and suspended the attorneys and payment of the pensions. At least three pensions received by widows of soldiers who had served in the 91st were suspended because of this problem. Margaret Taylor (remarried widow of James Hood), and Ellen Langebartel (widow of John Langebartel) both used Joseph E Devitt & Company; Mary Hurst (widow of Jerret Hurst) used George W Ford. Langebartle's declaration was executed, properly, at the Orphans' Court, but Taylor's and Hurst's statements were executed in their attorney's office. However, all were eligible for the pensions they had received, and the pensions were resumed (though Taylor and Hurst had to file a new declaration).
#426
21 Oct 12
William B Miller married Eliza Jones on 11 January 1864, while on leave after reenlisting as a veteran volunteer. He died on 18 (or 20?) June 1864, and she received a pension. However, in 1879, a Pension Office Special Examiner found evidence she had remarried, and her pension was stopped (but she was apparently not prosecuted for fraud). She had lived with John Cogan from about 1867 until he died in 1873, and had children with him; some at least of the people who knew them assumed they were married. Some evidence, however, indicates that they did not see themselves as having been married. But she did receive compensation as Cogan's widow from Woods Brothers, the company for whom he was working when he was killed by an accident.

As I understand the law, a common-law marriage requires that the parties express in words of the present tense a present intention to be married; being generally regarded as married counts as evidence for that intention, but does not constitute a valid common-law marriage. (See, for example, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Staudenmayer v. Staudenmayer, 714 A. 2d 1016, 23 July 1998.) Perhaps the Pension Office regarded constant cohabitation and being generally regarded as married, even with evidence that the parties did not intend to be married, as constituting a common-law marriage (at least in Pennsylvania). (For more information, see e.g. Beverly Schwartzberg, '"Lots of them did that": desertion, bigamy, and marital fluidity in late-nineteenth-century America', Journal of Social History 37 (2004) 573-600.)

#425
14 Oct 12
Wilfred Bywater joined the regular Cavalry after the war (on 14 November 1865). He learned the hard way that desertion was taken more seriously than it had been during the Civil War among volunteers. He deserted on 17 August 1871, in Oregon. After he turned himself in, on 5 August 1876, he was sentenced not only to dishonorable discharge and loss of pay and allowances, but also to two years at hard labor, which he served (mostly) at Alcatraz Island. He was released early (apparently on 1 April 1878), 'for good conduct while undergoing sentence'.
#424
7 Oct 12
Elizabeth Clark, widow of James Clark, experienced an unusual delay in receiving her pension: the Alderman who married them wrote the wrong name on the marriage certificate (Amos Clark instead of James Clark)! One witness suggested he 'mistook the name of James Clark for Amos, on account of the peculiar pronunciation of the said James Clark, he being a Southerner'. But another witness said that when they were married, the Alderman, John Binns, 'who was a very prominent political and literary character of the time was enjoying himself at a social gathering'; perhaps his misunderstanding was aided by drinking.
#423
30 Sep 12
James Sulger died of typhoid fever less than a month after his discharge. The physician who treated him described his illness in this way:

I was called to see him on the 31st ulto + found him ill with fever of a typhoid type, with great determination to the head. He was soon seized with convulsions which continued to recur at intervals until his death on the 7th inst. While conscious he informed me that he was taken ill at the camp near Sharpsburg, that he was removed in an unconscious state to a private house in that town where he was ill for several weeks + that the surgeon pronounced his case to be typhoid fever, that his condition having somewhat improved he determined to get his discharge + come home.

#422
23 Sep 12
Samuel Steel died on 3 May 1863, in the Battle of Chancellorsville, but his body was never identified. It took more than a year and a half for his widow, Ann Steel, to convince the government he was dead, though in the end they accepted her word and the word of two friends that he would have contacted them if he was alive. Interestingly, Bates (presumably relying on the muster-out roll) records him as having died on 13 December 1862, in the Battle of Fredericksburg.
#421
16 Sep 12
Mahala Crise, widow of Henry Crise, lived in at least six states after his death--Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
#420
9 Sep 12
When Ellen, widow of Joseph Johnson, applied for a pension, her husband had been missing for more than five months after the Battle of Chancellorsville, but had not been declared dead. Her application wasn't accepted until more than a year later, after John Hamill certified that men from the 91st had seen Johnson in hospital, wounded and a prisoner.
#419
26 Aug 12
Patrick O'Malley died a little more than one month after he was discharged for disability. He applied for a pension two weeks after he was discharged, and his application was accepted exceptionally quickly--but not until after he died. Nevertheless, his widow's pension application was not issued until almost a year after she applied.
#418
19 Aug 12
As Brigade Commander, Edgar Gregory often led religious services, and even sparked a religious revival in the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry. The 155th's regimental history claims that the 91st was 'recruited in the famous Moyamensing district of Philadelphia', and 'afforded a fine field for Christian missionary work for Colonel Gregory', since the men 'although being splendid fighters, were far from being angels, or piously inclined'. (See Under the Maltese Cross, Antietam to Appomattox, p.120.)
#417
12 Aug 12
I have now added tables listing how long people of different ages served in the regiment (specific ages and age classes). Perhaps surprisingly, 52% of men 40 or older at enlistment served less than 400 days, barely higher than the 49% of men in the regiment overall who served less than 400 days. Of the men who served at least 1,200 days, 30% were less than 20 when they enlisted, while only 20% of the regiment was less than 20 at enlistment.
#416
5 Aug 12
According to the 1860 census, William Wispert (H) was 62 years old. When he enlisted, one year later, he claimed to be 44. (According to the Army Regulations, paragraph 929, anyone (otherwise qualified) under 35 may be enlisted.) The difference of 19 years between the birthdates estimated from the 1860 census and from the regimental records is the largest I have yet found. Unsurprisingly, he was discharged on 6 April 1862 because of disability.
#415
29 Jul 12
Stephen Kelly (E) may not have been the only person to have been reported dead wrongly. If I've correctly identified John R Lynch (and he did serve in the regiment), he was reported dead in 1906, because his card was found on the body of a man killed by a train.
#414
22 Jul 12
One problem Ellen Haughey faced in getting a pension was proving that her husband was dead. Although Charles Haughey died on 12 May 1864, as late as 21 November 1864, Captain Hope could only certify that he was assumed dead. His letter Ellen Haughey, presumably written then, says that 'it is the general belief that he is dead', but they 'have not received any official information concerning him'.
#413
15 Jul 12
Here's an example of one difficulty in determining how many men served in the regiment. According to the National Cemetery interment records, Rolin Rowe served in the 91st Pennsylvania. I have not found a record of his service with the 91st. A Rollin Rowe did serve in company G of the 2nd regiment Distict of Columbia Infantry. So, is Rowe someone missing from the extant regimental records I've seen (as is apparently true of George Surrick, for example)? Or is the reference to his service in the 91st a mistake for his reference to his service in the 2nd DC (which would be an odd error!)? Or did he serve in the 91st under an alias? (I've send for a compiled military service record for him.)
#412
8 Jul 12
In 1903, the Pension Bureau sent a special investigator to study the finances of Maria J Brown, widow of John Hamilton. She owned 47 acres outright, had a half-interest in another 69 acres, and a life interest in 53 acres (all in Butler County, Pennsylvania), but claimed an annual income of less than two hundred and fifty dollars. The special investigator concluded that the property really was worth very little, with assessed values unreasonably high (because there was no demand for property in that area). The Pension Bureau must have agreed, since they issued a pension certificate under the Act of 3 March 1901, her second husband having died on 3 April 1890. In addition to the real estate, she owned one cow, eighteen sheep, and about thirty chickens.
#411
1 Jul 12
Michael King (I) is now the last-known member of the 91st Pennsylvania to die (assuming I have correctly identified him). He died in 1940, after George Kulp (E) (the previous last known death). Kulp, however, is still tied for the oldest member of the 91st Pennsylvania at death; he and David Stiefel (H) were both 96 at death.
#410
24 Jun 12
According to William Reiff, Hugh McLaughlin was able not only to get into the White House to see Lincoln, but also convinced Lincoln to order the paymaster to pay him, despite his absence without leave, due to what Reiff gently calls '[a]n acquired desire to spree at time[, which] caused Mac ... to leave the different hospitals and have what he considered a 'good time' of it before going to the front'. (See 'Lincoln's kindness', and for other (alleged) interactions between Lincoln and members of the 91st see Abraham Lincoln.)
#409
17 Jun 12
In 'Prisoner by the scalp', William Reiff reports that during the Battle of Gettysburg, a cavalryman grabbed a Confederate sharpshooter near Devil's Den by the hair and dragged him toward the Union lines.
#408
10 Jun 12
Some things never change. In 1895, William C Reiff decried the indifference of young people to crucial national issues ('Do not realize dangers').
#407
8 Apr 12
When Alexander Earnest's widow applied for a pension, she initially used the Sanitary Commission. However, when she applied for the increase in pension for minor children under the act of 25 July 1866, the Pension Office noted a discrepancy in the reported dates of birth of her children. In the end, she ascribed the error to the "loose way of doing things at Sanitary Commission". (I do not know whether their error rate was higher than others'.)
#406
1 Apr 12
George H Smith (company D) was not listed on the muster-out roll. He died (and was discharged) on 5 July 1863, in Newbern, North Carolina. I do not know why he was in Newbern, or anything further about his death. But assuming he died while in the regiment, his death brings to 189 (9.4% of the regiment) the number of men whom we know died while in the regiment.
#405
25 Mar 12
William Eldridge enlisted on 16 February 1864, and deserted on 1 April 1865. He seems to have died on 16 October 1871, of smallpox, early in the epidemic of 1871-72. After killing more than one hundred people per year in Philadelphia from 1861 to 1866 (and 758 in 1861!), smallpox had killed only 16 total from 1868 to 1870. But in September 1871, eighteen people died in Philadelphia from smallpox, and in the first three weeks of October another 151 died Strikingly, the Board of Health correctly focused on vaccination as the appropriate response. On 23 October 1871, the Philadelphia Inquirer briefly mentions vaccinations, and then attacks the Board of Health for not cleaning the streets, on the theory that the association of smallpox and dirty streets proved that cleaning streets would prevent smallpox. I suppose they hadn't heard that correlation is different from causation <sigh>.
#404
18 Mar 12
Edward Ogden (D) was discharged on (probably) 22 November 1862. He was admitted to hospital on 25 September 1862, and remained there until he was discharged. After that, he was unable to leave his room. The physician who examined him reported: 'My examination today at his house finds him unable to leave his bed. He has large cavities in both lungs, night sweats, cough, copious expectoration of purulent matter + great debility. He cannot live the winter through.' He died on 29 September 1863, in Philadelphia.
#403
11 Mar 12
After Alexander Baird died, his brother David Baird wrote a letter to his uncle Andrew Baird. He was obviously in despair: '[G]od knows how I felt as I did not know. But the next moment might be my own'. He buried Alexander that night, and promised to find him a different resting place, if he survived. (He, or someone else, kept that promise: Alexander was reburied in Mount Moriah Cemetery after the war.) They had no idea what was happening. But despite that he wasn't thinking of giving up: 'We are shelling the rebels, and they are shelling us, and we have now marched close to their works. So we must still keep fighting our way on.'
#402
4 Mar 12
If I have correctly identified George W Adams in the 1850 to 1880 censuses (which is not confirmed), he is the first non-white person I have found who served in the 91st. According to the 1850 to 1880 censuses, he (like his parents and siblings) was a mulatto. (However, the 1900 to 1920 censuses report him as white. Is that because he had remarried? Or do I have the wrong person?)
#401
26 Feb 12
Robert Armstrong's letters illustrate three ways in which soldiers sent money home. First, they sometimes mailed it, as he did with his letter of 22 December 1863. Second, they used private carriers, as Armstrong did, sending money with the Adams Express Company before his letter of 5 June 1862. And finally, sometimes they sent it with other soldiers, as Armstrong did before his letter of 24 April 1863, when he had Sergeant William Fraley (H) send the money to his mother Jane Fraley to be given to Robert's mother Mary, by giving it to William Spangler (G). (Was this complicated delivery route more trustworthy than the other two? Or was it simply less expensive?) [note that John Flynn (E) sent $40 home in two separate letters on the same day]
#400
19 Feb 12
Here's an illustration of how lax security was during the Civil War. On 24 April 1863, Robert J Armstrong wrote a letter to his family. He told them that the Army was about to move, but had been delayed by wet weather for three days, and that they had to carry eight days rations, 100 rounds of cartridge, and very little clothing. (The Chancellorsville Campaign started days later.)
#399
12 Feb 12
Aaron Derr (F) died of typhoid pneumonia on 23 February 1864. I mention him only because the published records do not include his death; he was not accounted for when the regiment mustered out (perhaps because he had enlisted only on 4 February 1864). He seems to have been joining his brother Jeremiah Derr (F). I do not know whether he ever was actually present with the regiment, which was on veterans' furlough until 16 February.
#398
5 Feb 12
Robert J Armstrong's letter of 5 June 62 adds to our knowledge of what the regiment did while stationed in Alexandria: they were responsible for guarding a bridge on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, about 7 miles from Alexandria. He claims that during the day they did 'nothing but eat + sleep and shoot game and pick strawberries', but at night they were on duty. (I assume that refers to the men from his company, and that other men were on duty during the day!)
#397
29 Jan 12
When Robert J Armstrong reenlisted in December 1863, he told his family very briefly, even referring to the regiment as '[t]he 91st Reg. P.V.' instead of 'we' or 'our regiment'. He did add a postscript, telling them, without further explanation: 'Do not worry yourselves sick because I have reenlisted. I done [sic] it for the best.'
#396
22 Jan 12
According to his obituary, Josiah Aulabaugh was a professional photographer before coming to Nebraska. 'He was known nationally for his daguereotype work with old style wet plates when camera exposures were long and tiresome. He is credited with being the first photographer to take pictures with an exposure of "only" 30 seconds. This cut the exposure time about one-fourth in those days.' (I have not found any other references to his work as a photographer.)
#395
15 Jan 12
Sutlers were regulated enough that the regiment reported the amount Daniel Whartonby owed the regimental sutler when he died. See Article 25 of the Army Regulations, which requires that amounts owed a sutler be paid from the amount owed a deceased soldier, after the government received any money due it.
#394
8 Jan 12
Under the pension act of 14 July 1862, mothers could receive a pension if the soldier had died from a wound received or disease contracted while in service, without leaving a widow or legitimate child, as long as the mother depended on him for support, wholly or partially. Whether her husband was alive mattered only for the evidence she had to offer. For example, William Lutz's mother received a pension after showing that her husband (his father) had abandoned the family about fifteen years earlier, and did not support the family. Joseph Gebler's mother received a pension after showing that her husband (his father) was ill (though she had to supply medical testimony, and not merely witnesses that she depended on Joseph). Daniel Whartonby's mother also received a pension, after showing that her husband (his father) had abandoned the family about eleven years earlier, and did not contribute to his first family's support--presumably showing this was required even though he died about one month before Daniel died, because Daniel's mother had to show that she depended on him and not on his father while Daniel was alive. She also had a witness testify that she had applied to the Guardian of the Poor to compel him to support them, but he was discharged because he had no property.
#393
1 Jan 12
Thomas Hallowell (D)'s widow's pension certificate file has a death notification letter, written by Sergeant John Hamill for Captain Sinex. Why did Hamill write the letter, and not Sinex? It's apparently not because he knew Hallowell better, or had witnessed his death, since the letter has no personal references. But note that the first extant consolidated morning report, from 7 February 1863, has Captain Sinex commanding the regiment, undoubtedly because Colonel Gregory had been wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Wallace had been discharged for disability, and Major Todd had been killed. Perhaps Hamill's writing the letter for Sinex suggests that Sinex was commanding the regiment as early as 21 December 1862.
#392
25 Dec 11
Here's an odd pension application, which I can't explain. After James McKinney died, Margaret McKinney was appointed guardian of his children, and received a pension on their behalf. But in 1888, his daughter Maggie (married to someone named Wharton, and living in Beaver County, Pennsylvania) applied for a pension. The Pension Office quickly notified her attorney that she had received a pension, and was not owed any money, and rejected her claim.
#391
8 Nov 11
The Widow's pension certificate file for John Spear includes a death notification letter, from Eli G Sellers. (Compare the letter from Thomas H Parsons to Sarah Brown.) The letter briefly mentions his death, and focuses mostly on practical questions. He does end by saying that they 'sympathise with [her] in [her] loss as John was liked by all the members of the company'.
#390
30 Oct 11
When Theodore Hope certified that William Dougherty had served in company E and had been killed in action at Hatcher's Run, he added an unusual endorsement: 'he has served 3 years and 3 month[s] in my Comy and has never Bin [sic] Of [sic] Duty Prior to the time of his Death and has allways [sic] Bin [sic] a Good and faithful soldier and I would Recommend him in Particular for he was always formost in eny [sic] engagement'.
#389
23 Oct 11
Matilda Parks, widow of John Parks (E), briefly was unable to obtain her pension check, in August-September 1915. She initially couldn't find her certificate. When her son Robert found it (in the family Bible, where she had kept it for years), he took it to the Post Office, with a signed order from her to give the letter to him. But the Postmaster refused, claiming that the certificate was not genuine--in fact, it was, but it had been issued in 1867, and did not look like the current certificates. ('[V]illage politics' were involved--apparently some enmity existed between the postmaster and Robert.) She then sent the certificate to John McIntire, who had helped her with her pension for years. The Pension Bureau eventually sent a special investigator, who 'found the pensioner living alone in a tumble down old house about two miles from Parkesburg where she will be found dead some day, no doubt'. He found the certificate, returned it to Matilda, and arranged for the certificate to be left at the bank, with the money deposited in an account for her use, and the cashier (an old friend) looking out for her.
#388
16 Oct 11
More details have emerged about David Ginther's death. He 'was wounded in the foot with an axe clearing the timber before action' near Petersburg, Virginia, and later died of 'typhoid fever' (allegedly) resulting from those wounds. (Perhaps the wound went septic.)
#387
9 Oct 11
The pension certificate file for Margaret, widow of John McGehan, makes clear that McGehan reenlisted after mustering out, and suggests that Bates's John McGeehan and John McGahagan are the same person. He enlisted in October 1861, was discharged on 10 April 1862 because of "old age + [a] general nervous condition that unfits him for duty". He was mustered in with many others as a veteran volunteer in December 1863, presumably having reenlisted earlier, and died on 7 May 1864.
#386
2 Oct 11
William Roberts (H) lost contact with his sister after the war, and regained it only in 1905, when she contacted the Pension Office, who provided her with his address. (No privacy laws, obviously!)
#385
25 Sep 11
Michael Stufft (G) died of chronic diarrhea on 22 June 1865, shortly after being discharged from the army. His wife, Margaret, married twice after that, with her second husband living only two years after the marriage, and her third living almost fifteen. The most puzzling feature is that their children apparently had a guardian as early as one year after Michael Stufft's death, and a year before she remarried, a different guardian was appointed for the children who were still minors. When she remarried, she moved to Ohio, leaving at least some of her children behind, but late in life one daughter lived with her, and her application to resume the pension makes clear at least one son was closely involved with her life. Knowing more about the circumstances would be interesting--but will probably never happen.
#384
18 Sep 11
Joanna, widow of James Thompson, remarried two years after his death, only nine months after she started receiving a pension. The pension file doesn't record the end of her pension, but provides no evidence that she attempted to continue to receive a pension for which she was not eligible. (Knowing what percentage of widows remarried, and when, would be interesting; I don't know how easy it will be to determine that.)
#383
11 Sep 11
Another case of pension fraud: Christian Lawrence's wife Sarah A Lawrence, apparently married Thaddeus H Brady on 11 April 1864, although she later insisted he had merely been her boarder. She received a pension until 1877, when a pseudonymous complaint led to an investigation, which concluded that she had remarried. (The evidence clearly establishes that they were married: in particular, the minister who married them filed a record with the City Health Department.) She was charged with pension fraud, but I have not found a report of the trial.
#382
4 Sep 11
James Closson and Josephine Baines apparently had had five children when he enlisted on 19 November 1861. All had died, two in October (both of diphtheria). His wife was pregnant with their sixth child, James Harwood, who was born a week later, survived his father (who died on 22 November 1864 of wounds), was raised by his grandmother, and was eventually elected to MOLLUS. I do not know whether his children's deaths played any role (positive or negative) in his decision to enlist.
#381
28 Aug 11
Of the 410 men I have found entries for in both the 1870 and 1880 censuses, 381 (93%) were living in the same state; 29 (7%) had moved to different states. The longest moves seem to have been James Adamson's and Adam Murphy's moves from Pennsylvania to California, and William Rookstool's move from Texas to Pennsylvania. (Others moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts, Delaware to Pennsylvania, Illinois to Iowa, Illinois to Missouri (2), Maryland to Pennsylvania, Missouri to Pennsylvania, Nebraska to Wisconsin, New Jersey to Maryland, New Jersey to Pennsylvania, New York to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to Illinois, to Kansas (2), to Maryland, to Missouri (2), to New Jersey (2), to New York, to Ohio (2), to Virginia, to West Virginia (2), and Rhode Island to Pennsylvania.)
#380
21 Aug 11
Of the 292 men I have found in both the 1860 and 1870 censuses, 266 were living in the same state (and one (Hosea Stansbury) was living in the same county, but had his state change from Virginia to West Virginia). But they had expanded from five states to thirteen (plus DC). The largest movement was from Pennsylvania to Illinois (six men).
#379
14 Aug 11
The delay in granting John Monteath's widow's pension application may have been caused by bad handwriting. Note in particular the statements by Mathew Hall (dated 20 June 1864) and John L Graham (dated 14 May 1865). I had trouble reading the company in Hall's statement, which appears to be '3' written over 'I'; perhaps that is what led to her initially claiming Monteath had served in company I. She did have to file a sworn statement changing the company, which she did, on 25 July 1865.
#378
7 Aug 11
Thomas Simpson's mother's pension application includes a form from the Protective War Claim Agency, which makes explicit that they had a free service for soldiers and their dependents to apply for pensions. I do not know how long it lasted.
#377
31 Jul 11
Thomas Simpson's letter to his mother (available in her pension certificate file) gives us more information about an attack on 8 October 1864. Bates says that "the regiment charged and captured the Davis House, driving out the enemy and burning it". Simpson adds that they spent the day establishing a new picket line, and came under fire from sharpshooters in a house (presumably the Davis House). When the Second Division Artillery attacked the house, the sharpshooters soon left, and the house was soon in flames.
#376
24 Jul 11
Annie Schaub, widow of Joseph Mills, successfully applied for a renewal of her pension after her second husband died. However, although she appointed Wilson and Co as her attorneys, for a fee of $10, the Pension Bureau did not recognize them, because "[s]ection 4 of the Act of Sept 8, 1916, prohibits the recognition of attorneys in claims for renewal of pension under said Act" [see page 69]. Presumably, they were not paid for their work.
#375
10 Jul 11
Tragedy struck Daniel Ickes's family in 1868. On 4 October 1868, his son George died. On the next day, his daughter Elmira died. He died 11 days later. And on 30 December, his daughter Elizabeth died. I do not know whether the deaths were connected.
#374
3 Jul 11
One Court tried Michael Galligher (D), Charles Neide (D), and John Groff (K) in March 1863. All were charged with desertion; Neide pled guilty, and Galligher and Neide pled not guilty but were found guilty of absence without leave. All forfeited all pay and allowances due them, and had to make good the time lost (though with Neide the court specified the period, which counted the time he was under arrest but before he was returned to the regiment in his service). Strikingly, Galligher and Groft were required to do police duty four hours per day (Galligher for 20 days, Groft for 10), and Galligher was also required to carry a ball and chain. Neide, instead, received a public reprimand, and had the charge and sentence read at dress parade. Did the Court treat him more leniently because he pled guilty? In theory, desertion could be punished by death, unlike absence without leave. Did the difference matter in practice?
#373
26 Jun 11
One more note about the court-martial of Franklin Clough. John Brass testified on his behalf, in extenuation of his offence. Although his testimony hardly excuses Clough's action, the Court cited it in explaining the leniency of their sentence. He testified that he detailed Clough for guard on 20 July 1862, that Clough had not answered any roll calls since, that they had been paid the day before, that men were often absent for a day or more after being paid, that he did not know of any case in which an office had mistreated Clough, that Clough had been reduced to the ranks, and the order reducing him to the ranks had been read to Company A!
#372
19 Jun 11
Franklin Clough was tried by court martial in October 1862. The Division Commander, A A Humphreys, returned the four cases they considered, three because the sentence was inadequate, and the fourth because the court found him innocent although the evidence established his guilt. The Court increased one of the sentences slightly, but not enough to satisfy Humphreys. This may have resulted from a culture clash--Humphreys had taken command of the division in September 1862, and the volunteer officers may have been inclined to be more lenient than the strict career soldier. (Did the percentage of sentences disapproved drop over time? Did the severity of the sentences change over time? Unfortunately, I don't know.)
#371
12 Jun 11
Franklin Clough's court-martial record gives us another interesting clue about what the 91st's service in Alexandria was like. At his trial, John G Brass testified that "it was usual for some of the men to be absent a day or so after they were paid". I do not know whether this was due to inexperienced officers, or to generally lax policies.
#370
5 Jun 11
I have transcribed the company A entries in the NPS database of the General Index Cards from the compiled service records. I hope to get a better idea of how many men served in the regiment from these cards (since the National Archives won't copy the muster rolls). Unfortunately, the information is imperfect--unsurprisingly, since it is a transcription of index cards, several times removed from the original data. It does show that Bates' Philip McElvy (co.A) is the same person as his Philip McElery (co.C). Now, four men are in the NPS database but not in the records I have seen:
(1) Marshall Hawk / Mashal Hauck [presumably the Marshal Hawk who served in A 191 according to the ARIAS cards];
(2) Edward McBrearty [presumably the Edward McBrayerty who served in A 90 PA according to the pension index by unit cards]
(3) Augustus McFall
(4) Owen Murray / Murry
I have not identified the last two men, and do not know whether they served in the 91st.
#369
15 May 11
At least two men who had served in the 91st played a role in the reaction to Lincoln's assassination. Joseph H Burroughs "stood guard over the body of Lincoln", and Robert Sinex saw Lincoln assassination and participated in John Wilkes Booth's capture.
#368
8 May 11
Henry Erdman mustered in on 6 September 1861 as a private, and mustered out on 10 July 1865 as First Lieutenant of company I. Unfortunately, he did not survive long after the war, committing suicide on 4 August 1865. The Public Ledger claimed his suicide was 'attended with unusually sad circumstances'. He had complained of having been robbed of $200, and was suffering from mania a potu. Whether he was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is impossible to discern now, but it would not be surprising.
#367
1 May 11
Assuming that being cashiered, dishonorably discharged by court martial, or ending as a deserter were all the types of dishonorable discharge, 295 men who served in the 91st (15%) were dishonorably discharged. (287 of them ended as deserters.) 236 (17%) volunteers were dishonorably discharged, while only 9 (3%) drafted men were dishonorably discharged. Of the eight men dishonorably discharged or cashiered by court martial, three were commissioned officers.
#366
10 Apr 11
According to the Alexandria Gazette, poisoned whisky was the suspected cause of Miles Finnegan's death ('Local'). The article also mentions H Grimes, whom I have not identified, and another article on the next day claims a third soldier died from drinking poisoned whisky. Even if those rumors were false, they indicate how hard serving in Alexandria was (and undoubtedly made it harder, also).
#365
3 Apr 11
John R Allen is the second member of the 91st I have learned was killed by an automobile. The driver of the car that struck him was blinded by the lights of an oncoming car. (Abraham Weigle is the other--see Fact of the week #261.)
#364
27 Mar 11
Ralph Montgomery, great-great-grandfather of Steve Buscemi, was featured on Who do you think you are?. The episode will be available on the web until 18 September 2011; it's an interesting story. Note that he returned from his first desertion on 22 August 1862, just after the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Potomac. Perhaps he returned because of that, rather than because of broader facts about the Army. After the war, the Chaplain, Joseph Welch, described their service in Alexandria as "[s]evere and unenviable"; perhaps Montgomery preferred the risks of fighting the Confederates.
#363
20 Mar 11
I have decades of death for about 58% of the men who served in the regiment. Among that 58%, after the war, a consistently higher percentage of men who survived their service and had served as substitutes were alive than drafted men and volunteers, and more drafted men than volunteers. For example, excluding men who died while in the regiment, in 1900, 52% of the volunteers, 69% of the drafted men, and 75% of the substitutes were alive. Even in 1930, 1% of the volunteers, 2% of the drafted men, and 6% of the substitutes were alive.
#362
13 Mar 11
Howard Shipley received a silver medal from the Franklin Institute for his cutlery in 1874. However, this obviously did not guarantee business success, since he suspended business in 1877. His problems were caused by the same problems as Edgar Gregory's--he endorsed financial papers for others, whose failure led to his problems. His creditors, however, agreed to allow his business to continue.
#361
6 Mar 11
Unsurprisingly, age at death for men who served in the 91st increased as time went on. Based on the (very limited) data I have now, most men who died in the 1860's were in their 20's, and most men who died in the 1870's were in their 30's. Interesting, for the men who died in the 1880's, the largest number was almost evenly split between men in their 40's and men in their 50's. Similarly, for the men who died in the 1890's, the largest number was almost evenly split between men in the 50's and men in their 60's. But then from the 1900's through the 1920's, the largest number were in their 60's, 70's, and 80's, respectively. (The few deaths I know of in the 1930's were almost evenly split between men in their 80's and men in their 90's.)
#360
27 Feb 11
The disabilities reported by the National Military Home registers are often sobering, but the saddest list I've seen so far is for James O'Kane, who was admitted on 16 July 1870, with 'his mind so impaired as to prevent him from understand[ing] an oath', and 'subject to fits'. He died of apoplexy (a stroke) not quite two years later.
#359
20 Feb 11
Mary J McDermott, mother of James McDermott (A), received a pension starting 8 May 1864, when he died. By the end of 1892, she had developed dementia, and was unable to collect her pension. Her daughter, Kate Fay, contacted the Pension Bureau, which had a Special Examiner investigate the case. He concluded that she was "in a pitiable condition from Senile Dementia", and was owed the pension. Unfortunately, her daughter could not afford the bond required of guardians, the City Solicitor who could have a guardian appointed could not do so until the Court met, and she died before then, on 15 August 1893.
#358
13 Feb 11
James Kiernan died on 26 July 1863, less than a year after his discharge. His widow had trouble documenting his illness. On 3 February 1864, Dr Houghton referred her to Dr Knight. On 4 December 1864, Edgar Gregory referred her to Houghton. And on 13 January 1865, Knight referred her to Gregory. None of them could help her. In the end, the Pension Bureau accepted the testimony of his local physicians, John L Atlee (13 February 1864) and F A Muhlenberg (25 August 1863 and 10 January 1865). Also, the initial testimony indicated that he died of "a cancerous affection of the throat" (widow's application, 1863, and 9 November 1864; Muhlenberg, 1863). However, in 1865 Muhlenberg testified that Kiernan died of inflammation and hemorrhage. I don't know whether the change in diagnosis was required for the pension.
#357
6 Feb 11
Benjamin Tayman was also (see fact 356) charged with 'misbehavior before the enemy', and in particular that he deserted his post and hid behind a tree during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He admitted leaving his post briefly to help Colonel Gregory from the field after his injury, but insisted he returned immediately. But in his statement he reacts indignantly to this accusation, because, he claims, '[i]t is the only Specification that has at all implicated my character for courage and honor, which are dearer than life to any true Soldier'. Tayman reasonably argues that the prosecution's evidence does not prove this, and interestingly claims that '"it has been left for me to seek out the witnesses for the prosecution"'. Even more interesting is his attempt during the testimony to argue that Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Sinex was at fault, which shows up particularly in his questions to Major John Lentz. He did not, however, press those accusations in his written statement, perhaps because Lentz did not answer the questions helpfully. (For example, Lentz denied telling Tayman that he had to tell Sinex more than once that he was in command.)
#356
30 Jan 11
Benjamin Tayman was charged with "neglect of duty". The problem sprang from two misunderstandings. The testimony at his court martial made clear that on 27 April 1863 the Brigade Commander, General Tyler, ordered Captain Morris to have someone from the 91st detailed to collect and take charge of the Brigade Pioneer Corp members' knapsacks and rations. He passed the order to the 91st's Quartermaster, David H Lentz, who asked the Adjutant, Benjamin Tayman, to detail someone. Tayman chose Sergeant William H Carpenter. Because he wanted to be with his company during any fight, after Carpenter had collected the knapsacks and rations, he asked Colonel Gregory to relieve him. He told General Gregory that the Adjutant (Tayman) had detailed him, and Gregory told him to have Tayman detail someone to relieve him. This was the first misunderstanding--Gregory did not realize that the orders had come from the Brigade Commander. Next, Carpenter told Tayman that he was to be relieved by Gregory's order. Tayman obviously thought Gregory had relieved him, and as far as I can tell from the testimony did not detail anyone else. Consequently, the wagon was left behind. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is that the Brigade Commander was intimately involved in what I would have thought to be routine details to be handled by his staff. I wonder whether the procedure changed later, or if similar problems recurred at later battles.
#355
23 Jan 11
Benjamin Tayman was tried by general court martial on 25 May 1863. According to a later account by the Division commander, General Humphreys, the Brigade Commander, General Tyler, was trying to damage Humphreys by attacking Tayman. Two fact about the trial are interesting, given that background. First, Tayman was charged with misbehavior before the enemy, in part because a staff officer allegedly found him skulking in the rear, out of range of the enemy's fire. Strikingly, the staff officer did not testify, and Tayman at least claims that both Tyler and the staff offer "previous to this trial left for some place farther north". (Did Humphreys order them north? Did Tyler leave to try to escape retribution from Humphreys? Further research here might be interesting!) Second, Tayman requested 'not alone a simple verdict of "Not Guilty" but an "honorable acquital" at the hands of this Court', and the Court obliged, reporting that having found him not guilty of all charges and specifications, they "therefore honorably acquit the accused". (Tyler placed Tayman under arrest on 13 May 1863. On 14 May 1863, Humphreys ordered the General Court Martial "to re-assemble", suggesting that they had finished their business. Did he deliberately choose to have Tayman tried by that Court?)
#354
16 Jan 11
More evidence of Edgar Gregory's abolitionism: on 23 March 1863, a gathering at his house included songs and speeches, including a short speech by Gregory stressing the "anti-slavery aspect of the war" and denouncing "copperhead fire in the rear" ['Compliment to Col. Gregory' (Philadelphia Press Wednesday 25 March 1863 page 4)].
#353
9 Jan 11
William Watkins not only (illegally) married Augusta while he was still married to his first wife, but also "left her [sc. Augusta] so many times that she can not remember all of them". The decision affirming the Pension Bureau's denial of a pension for Augusta dryly comments: " it appears that the soldier, from the time he married the Corney woman in 1841, was a roaming shoemaker and had a wife at every place he stopped". He did eventually settle down, marrying in 1874 (after the death of his first wife), and remaining with her until his death.
#352
2 Jan 11
At the end of June, 1862, nine men from the 91st were in Prince Street Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia. Two had been wounded (I don't know how), one had sprained an ankle, two had typhoid fever and another had an unspecified fever, two had diarrhea, and one had a hernia. (See 'The sick and wounded Pennsylvania soldiers in Washington'.)
#351
26 Dec 10
William Lachlin alias James Howard was found guilty of desertion and of violating Article 22 of the Articles of War. The Court gave him a harsh sentence: dishonorable discharge and confinement at hard labor at Fort Delaware for three years.
#350
19 Dec 10
Although he was unable to obtain a pension because of his dishonorable discharge, Thomas Walter apparently wrote the pension office applying for a medal of honor!
#349
11 Dec 10
When Louis Brosse enlisted in the 91st, he falsely denied ever having been discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability because of epilepsy. He was charged with conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. When the Court found him not guilt, the reviewing authority insisted that the evidence was adequate, and asked the Court to reconsider their verdict. But the Court confirmed the verdict, insisting that the prosecution had not proved that Brosse, who spoke English very poorly, knew why he had been discharged, or that the reason for the discharge was still present.
Contrast this with the cases of five men who enlisted in the 118th as substitutes, but never reported to the regiment, were caught, found guilty, and executed. (See the vivid account in the 118th's regimental history, and Thomas Walter's report of the execution, at which the 91st was present.) They, too, were foreigners, and four did not know English. Considering the large number of men who deserted, and the very small number of men who were executed, it is hard to believe that their being foreigners didn't make it easier for their court to sentence them to death.
#348
4 Dec 10
After Thomas Walter's attempt to receive a pension ended (as far as I know, in 1907), he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home. He died on 10 March 1912, and was buried in their cemetery. (His 'Personal recollections and experiences of an obscure soldier' is what started my serious interest in the 91st; my first research efforts attempted to fill in the details of the stories he told. I am happy to have finally located his death record, and expect to find more in the Pennsylvania Veterans' Burial Records, now available at Ancestry.)
#347
24 Oct 10
When Richard McCarter enlisted, he swore he was "over 18", even though he was barely seventeen years old. He had placed the numeral '18' in his shoes, and so thought of himself as having sworn that he was standing above that.
#346
17 Oct 10
Elias Swire first left the regiment on 28 March 1862, when someone claimed he had deserted from another regiment. Apparently he had not; he returned a week later, either voluntarily or having been caught in Philadelphia by Major Todd. He next left the regiment on 18 April 1862, when he failed to return from a day's leave. He claimed he was drunk, and didn't remember anything, until he was arrested in Philadelphia for being drunk and disorderly. This time he was court martialed, and sentenced to hard labor for thirty days and to lose five dollars pay per month for six months. Unfortunately, he again deserted, on 14 September 1862, and this time never returned.
#345
10 Oct 10
Perhaps the saddest moment in the court martial of John Mann for striking Sergeant Finney and trying to strike Lieutenant Dyke came when Finney was asked about Mann's "general conduct". He replied, "He is a habitual drunkard. in Camp Stanton [outside of Washington] he behaved well but since we came to Washington he has behaved badly". The Chaplain's claim that the 91st's service in Washington and Alexandria was "[s]evere and unenviable" was surely true for Mann.
#344
3 Oct 10
Howard Shipley's older brother saved him from drowning as a child, and drowned moments later trying to save another person. This was probably Percival Shipley, who died on 27 June 1855, at Claverick Creek, Hudson County, New York.
#343
26 Sep 10
Here's an odd fact I can't explain--ten of the fifteen men from company K on "extra or daily duty" according to the June 1865 company K monthly report had been transferred from the 62nd Pennsylvania.
#342
19 Sep 10
Right after the war, the Methodist Conference sent Joseph Welch (who was the 91st's first chaplain) to Texas as a missionary. While he was there, the federal government placed him in charge of the public schools.
#341
12 Sep 10
John Weeks also had a busy life after the war. He was (reportedly) a friend of Grover Cleveland's (and a frequent visitor to the White House when Cleveland was president), and had many different railroad jobs, apparently because he was good at accomplishing goals. For example, three days after he was instructed to start opening freight stations for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, three stations opened.
#340
5 Sep 10
John Weeks had a busy war. After recovering from illness after Fredericksburg, he participated in the actions against draft riots in New York City and Hartford, was briefly in charge of the Artillery School, was a Judge Advocate for one month, commanded the construction of the Washington DC defenses, and was Assistant Adjutant General to several generals. In his last position, he was responsible for paroled and exchanged prisoners of war, and reportedly saved $95,000, apparently by reducing waste on food and clothing.
#339
29 Aug 10
Soldiers weren't the only members of their families who died during the war. Besides Samuel Griffith's son (see fact 255), James Closson's and John Partenheimer's wives died during the war.
#338
22 Aug 10
Lieutenant Joseph T Jones not only was with John Goodwin during his final illness and when he died, but also attended the burial services (apparently in Philadelphia, since Goodwin was buried in the Philadelphia National Cemetery). (See his statement.) I do not know how often officers were that involved in their men's deaths.
#337
15 Aug 10
If I've identified the right person, Lewis McChain was in jail in 1850 and in 1860, for burglary (in 1850) and for forgery (in 1860).
#336
8 Aug 10
Obituaries sometimes included poems. At least some of them were frequently repeated, including an adaptation of Isaac Watts' "A funeral ode at the interment of the body, supposed to be sung by mourners" (accessed 8 Aug 2010). According to Mark Twain's 'Post-mortem poetry' (accessed 8 Aug 2010), this was a specifically Philadelphian custom; he refers especially to the Philadelphia Ledger. Twain recommended that other cities adopt this custom.
#335
1 Aug 10
Five foreign-born men applied for citizenship in the Philadelphia District Court, based on their military service.
#334
25 Jul 10
The National Archives Archival Research Catalog list 63 courts-martial of members of the 91st. I have not been able to identify 7 of the men--either the name or the regiment listed in the index is a mistake. I did not know about 22 of the other listed courts martial. The most interesting is the court martial of Benjamin J Tayman, in May 1863. He was arrested on 13 May 1863, by orders of the General Tyler, commanding the Brigade. The consolidated morning report reporting his release, and signed by him, claims he was "honorably released and restored to duty By order of Maj Genl Sykes", but neither it nor any other regimental records I have seen mentions his trial. Perhaps being Adjutant allowed him to control what was reported.
#333
18 Jul 10
Thomas Walter was cashiered by sentence of a general court martial. In 1868, the Assistant Adjutant-General of the US Army wrote to the Governor of Pennsylvania, stating that the US government would not object to his offering Walter a commission in the army. As we've seen before, he had no authority to change the sentence. However, the Pennsylvania register of volunteers reports that his "disability [was] removed Nov 13 /68".
#332
11 Jul 10
On 12 April 1869, Gregory had $393 in property. The 1870 census records him as having $2,200 in personal property (officially on 1 June 1870). And his estate was insolvent at his death on 7 November 1871; the entire estate went to pay debts owed to the US government.
#331
4 Jul 10
The single largest debt Edgar Gregory reported in his bankruptcy filing was for $150,000, claimed by William Burnet as what he was owed from the partnership of Gregory and Burnet. Gregory admitted he owed something, but denied that he owed that much. A suit had been pending in Cincinnati, Ohio, for eleven years, without resolving the issue. The judge's analysis claimed that "nothing can be so difficult of ascertainment as the balance between partners whose outstanding debts are unsettled". (Perhaps I'll try to obtain a copy of the court record at some point.)
#330
27 Jun 10
Edgar Gregory filed for bankruptcy on 31 December 1868. Section 33 of the Bankruptcy Act of 1867 required that bankrupts be able to pay at least half of their debt (unless the creditors agreed otherwise), and Gregory had no assets (except for $393 of personal property, which the Bankruptcy Act allowed him to keep). This provision originally was to take effect one year after the act went into operation, which section 50 suggests was, at least for some purposes, one year after its approval, which took place on 2 March 1867. However, fortunately for Gregory, the act was amended on 27 July 1868, so that this clause applied only beginning 1 January 1869. Had he applied one day later, the creditors who had proved their debts would have to have agreed to waive that requirement. (Only one creditor proved that Gregory owed him money: he owed Francis Ruthman $1704.91, based on a promissory note on a certificate of deposit, dated 10 November 1854.)
#329
20 Jun 10
According to his bankruptcy file, the lumber firm of Gregory and Burnet was formed about 1843, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The initial partners were William Burnet, George [?] Dusenberg, William F Wheeler, and Gregory. Burnet and Gregory bought out Dusenberg and Wheeler around 1845-1846. It first failed in November or December 1849, because of "losses of money in stocks and in business by bad debts". They were able to continue in business until 1854 or 1855, when they failed because of "[g]eneral commercial distress". Gregory gave his creditors all his property except for household furniture and some other small items.
#328
13 Jun 10
When Edgar Gregory filed for bankruptcy on 31 December 1868, his personal property consisted of clothes, two swords, a flag, a saddle and other horse equipage, a cane, and silverware. He claimed it was worth $199.00; the auditors valued it at $393.00.
#327
6 Jun 10
In 1861, Alderman Lentz arranged for two omnibuses to take soldiers to vote. The election was contested, and George Hollick testified. Lentz selected the soldiers, and gave them "tickets" with candidates names, from the People's Party. Hollick's right to vote was challenged at the poll, but the challenge was withdrawn, and he was confident he had voted legally. He had not missed voting in any election since 1832, and had always paid the requisite tax. He did admit that most men cared more about getting out of camp than about voting.
#326
23 May 10
According to the 1890 veterans' census, Charles Roberts was discharged from the 91st Pennsylvania to take a civil appointment. He had been detailed as a clerk in the Quartermaster's Office, in Washington, DC. Perhaps his appointment was to a position in the War Department that could only be held by a civilian.
#325
9 May 10
On 3 February 1864, a new suite of flags was presented to the 91st Pennsylvania. Colonel Gregory's speech linked the war directly to slavery: "He had made up his mind that when the last chain shall be severed from the body of the last slave in America, then he believed the war would be at an end". He explicitly endorsed Abraham Lincoln, and claimed he believed god had ordained Lincoln "to lead us through this trial". He gave the national flag to Robert Chism, who died about four months later in a stampede of frightened horses (or mules), and the state flag to Corporal Whinna, who died about five months later of wounds he received near Petersburg, Virginia.
#324
2 May 10
Edgar Gregory's service as Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau for Maryland was marked by several riots. His investigation of one that occurred at a Methodist Camp Meeting just before he was appointed apparently produced evidence that "the riot was premeditated, and that the object of the riot was, first, an attack upon the colored people; and second, a deliberate attempt to break up the camp-meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church on account of the alleged anti-slavery sentiments of its ministers and members".
#323
25 Apr 10
In 1897, William Knapp and other Republican veterans were fired from their jobs in the Mint in Philadelphia. They petitioned President McKinley to reinstate them, claiming that they were discharged solely because they were Republicans, and that the Civil Service Act that protected their replacements was enacted only because William Jennings Bryan lost the election in 1896. I do not know whether they succeeded, but I suspect they failed, since in the 1880 census, Knapp is listed as working as a "[l]aborer at Mint", and in 1900, as a "[d]river [?]".
#322
18 Apr 10
According to an anonymous account of the regiment's experience in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Colonel Gregory's horse was wounded seven times and fell early in their charge up Marye's Heights, and Colonel Gregory was wounded in his sword hand. Although he was disarmed, dismounted, and wounded, he simply grabbed a sword, shouted "Come on my Ninety-First", and led the charge to the Confederates, "hatless, his grey hair streaming in the wind, his coat covered with mud".
#321
11 Apr 10
When the men who had reenlisted arrived in Philadelphia for their veterans' leave, they paraded and Colonel Gregory gave a speech (after the men stood in snow for an hour). He tied the war directly to slavery: "the rebellion never will end until the shackles are broken from every slave in the country. (Immense cheers.) The war cannot cease until every black man is set free, and this country becomes, what God Almighty intends it to be in reality, the land of the free and the home of the brave".
#320
4 Apr 10
When George B Kulp enlisted on 22 July 1862, he was sixteen, and he was discharged a year later because he was underage. Thirty-seven years later, in April 1898, his son, George B Kulp Junior, enlisted in the Second Michigan. He was also sixteen, but he (unlike his father!) had his father's permission.
#319
28 Mar 10
An anonymous letter published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on 5 February 1862 gives the following description of Edgar Gregory: "With a heart large enough to study the comfort of an entire regiment, and tender enough to feel with almost the same anguish the sufferings of his followers, he shrinks from no danger and fears to meet no foe, and more than all, he is a Christian."
#318
21 Mar 10
The statue in Gulfport of Joseph Jones was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but was restored and rededicated on 26 February 2010.
#317
14 Mar 10
George Lloyd served in the 91st from 1862 through 1864, when he was transferred to the US Navy. He served on the USS Bienville. After the war, he was a seaman on the Great Lakes, ending as Captain of the three-masted schooner Lucerne. He died when she sank on 18 November 1886, in a blinding snowstorm, very close to harbor, but at anchor, perhaps because he couldn't see the Chequamegon Point Lighthouse, which was only about one mile away.
#316
7 Mar 10
Besides the National Military Homes, and the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie, the Grand Army of the Republic had a home for veterans in Philadelphia, at 65th and Vine Streets.John Somerville lived there, and died there in 1906.
#315
28 Feb 10
The weapons supplied by Philip Justice (issued to the 91st and several other regiments) were condemned; he was paid, but only $15 per rifle instead of the agreed-upon $20. Months later, in September, Justice advertised 'sabre bayonet rifles and rifled muskets', for 'citizens arming themselves', to be sold 'at cost prices'. It's tempting to suppose he was no longer able to supply weapons to the government, and was selling defective weapons to unsuspecting citizens.
#314
21 Feb 10
According to a card summarizing correspondence about his widow's pension application, Joseph Mills received a medal that showed he was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Unfortunately, the card does not state what the medal was; I have no further information about it.
#313
14 Feb 10
Men born in the United States were more likely to be commissioned officers. Of men born in the United States, 2% began as commissioned officers, and 5% ended as commissioned officers. However, less than one percent of men who were born outside the United States began as commissioned officers, and only 1.9% ended as commissioned officers.
#312
7 Feb 10
The regiment initially formed by Edward Wallace eventually joined with Edgar Gregory's regiment to form the 91st Pennsylvania. For his headquarters, Wallace used a building previously used by Colonel Chantry's regiment. One newspaper article carefully mentions that they "thoroughly cleaned" the headquarters before moving in! Unfortunately, they don't explain why that was noteworthy.
#311
30 Jan 10
On 20 August 1863, a General Court Martial including Lieutenant Colonel Joseph H Sinex and Captain Francis Gregory tried John McCoy (D) and Daniel Leidheiser (K), both for presenting forged orders for commissary stores. Leidheiser admitted forging the order, while McCoy admitted presenting a forged order, but claimed he found it on the ground, and was found guilty only of presenting a forged order. Leidheiser was sentenced to forfeit $10 per month for 3 months, and to work at hard labor for 6 hours per day for 30 days, without being excused from ordinary duty. The Court initially sentenced McCoy to forfeit $5 per month for 2 months, and to work at hard labor for 6 hours per day for 30 days, without being excused from other duties, but reconsidered the sentence 3 days later, and sentenced him to forfeit $10 per month for 3 months, and to carry a 30-pound log 6 hours a day for 30 days, without being excused from other duties. Did Leidheiser discard an attempted forgery, later found by McCoy? Unfortunately, the limited testimony makes determining what actually happened impossible, and again unfortunately the Court gave no explanation for their reconsideration.
#310
23 Jan 10
The original rifles the 91st had were so dangerous that the men weren't willing to fire them during target practice! During an inspection in April 1862 one burst when fired with a blank cartridge. These rifles were produced by PS Justice, of Philadelphia. By 4 May 1862 they had been replaced by Springfield rifles.
#309
17 Jan 10
Edgar Gregory was known as the 'Fighting Parson', and as the 'Bible-banging Brigadier'. General Griffin, under whom Gregory served as Brigade Commander, explained Gregory's fearlessness by saying that "Gregory had a great advantage over most of the other officers in that the others had to fear both the Rebels and hell, whereas Gregory was in danger only from the Rebels"!
#308
10 Jan 10
Ralph Montgomery--or at least his family--were caught up in the fire that destroyed most of Milton, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, in 1880. Further, in 1890, his wife reported that she did not know what had happened to her husband, but assumed he was dead. I have not been able to determine whether he disappeared during the fire.
#307
3 Jan 10
Here's the first clue I've found about why Edgar Gregory left Cincinnati for Philadelphia. According to a notice of his death published in a Cincinnati paper, he left "[h]aving failed in business" in Cincinnati.
#306
27 Dec 09
A new candidate for oldest man in the regiment: Edward Owens seems to have been born in 1799! That's only 20 years more than he claimed when he enlisted.
#305
20 Dec 09
86% of draftees, 57% of volunteers, and 51% of substitutes applied (or had a dependent apply) for a pension. Of course, not all were eligible to apply. Of men who served at least ninety days and did not end as deserters, 87% of draftees, 70% of volunteers, and 59% of substitutes applied for pensions. Since substitutes were on average younger than drafted men and volunteers (mean 24.9 years versus 29.5 for drafted men and 27.5 for volunteers, based on their reported age at enlistment), it seems unlikely that the difference is explained by different rates of death before pension eligibility requirements were liberalized.
#304
13 Dec 09
47% (942) of the men who served in the regiment applied for a pension; 90% of them (847) received one. Pension applications were filed by either the man or a dependent for 60% (1221) of the men; in 91% (1106) of these cases, someone received a pension.
#303
6 Dec 09
Joseph Green was court martialed on 3 November 1864 for absence without leave and misbehaviour before the enemy. He left the regiment without permission, to report to the Division Hospital. James Clark went with him to the Hospital, which took several days, but was not court-martialed. Interestingly, the Court asked Clark the question that revealed his assistance, and not the Judge Advocate.
#302
29 Nov 09
Edgar Gregory seems to have had bad luck with newspapers. Not only did the Galveston Daily News help orchestrate the campaign that led President Johnson to remove him from his post as Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau for Texas, but also the Centreville Journal allegedly inspired a riot at a meeting at Centreville, Maryland. According to the [Baltimore] American and Commercial Advertiser, the Centreville paper's satire of Gregory's duties led to a "mob of drunken bullies and prostitute officials" insulting Gregory (see 'The riot at Centreville MD'). The American and Commercial Advertiser suggests that "[t]he assertion of superiority of race through personal brutality, and individual infamy, violence and lawlessness, have presented themselves among us in quite conspicuous rivalry of the mobs of the South". Unfortunately, Gregory's reaction is not reported.
#301
22 Nov 09
Most of the men I have found in the 1860 census reported owning no real property (282 of 332 men). The mean real property value was $335.60. For volunteers, 95% (190 of 200) reported owning no real property, and the mean was $308.80. Drafted men were wealthier, with 64% (66 of 103) reporting owning no real property, and a mean of $452.10. Subsistutes were the poorest, with a mean of $106.90 in real property (and 90% reporting not owning any). (Most drafted men in the 91st were from farming communities in central and western Pennsylvania, with many reporting being farmers.)
#300
15 Nov 09
Based on the data I currently have, men who served in the regiment died at a median age of 66, and men who did not die while serving in the regiment died at a median age of 70. According to Historical Statistics of the United States, life expectancy for 20-year-old males in 19th-century Massachusetts was 39.8 years in 1855, which gives an average age at death of 59.8. While the data are obviously not directly comparable, this does suggest that having served in the war did not make a large difference in overall survival, though some men of course died early on of their wounds. (I do suspect I have death data for more men who died after 1890, when pensions became more widely available, since the pension index by unit cards are one of my main sources for dates of death. So, perhaps more complete data would reveal a larger effect of service.)
#299
8 Nov 09
Looking at the month men deserted, a few interesting periods stand out.
  • October 1861 to January 1862 had 71 desertions (8.5% of the months, 23% of desertions with known dates). Presumably, men hadn't realized what army life would actually be like.
  • June 1865 had 29 desertions (9.4%). This was the largest number of known desertions in a month. First, the war had ended. (In particular, 8 of the 13 drafted men who deserted deserted then). Second, undoubtedly, companies were catching up on paperwork.
  • March 1865 had 24 desertions (7.7%). The Army of the Potomac started the final campaign
  • February to March 1864 had 26 desertions (8.3%). Veterans did not return from their furloughs. (All 26 deserters were volunteers.)
  • August 1862 had 15 desertions (4.8%). The regiment left the defenses of Washington and joined the Army of the Potomac then.
As always, the data is problematic. I do not know when 50 desertions occurred. (The above percentages are percentages of desertions with known dates.) Further, the dates I am working with are the dates the men were declared deserters, and not the date they actually deserted. For example, John Anderson was dropped as a deserter on 25 June 1865, but had never reported for service after enlisting on 28 March 1865.
#298
1 Nov 09
The pension application by George Eyre's mother includes an interesting letter dated 27 May 1862, in which he asks her to pay a tailor $10 or $15 of the $46.50 owed.
#297
25 Oct 09
George Eyre's death was not only a personal tragedy for his family too, but also caused financial problems. He was the primary support for his mother and sisters. His father had died several decades earlier, his mother had had to sell the little property she owned, his older brother could not afford to help and in any event died several months before George, and his younger brother provided very little money. (See his mother's pension certificate file, especially Lydia Eyre's (pp.25-34), Peter K Landis's (pp.21-24), and Eliza Scott's (pp.35 sqq) affidavits.) However, I suspect many others were worse off; according to the 1870 census, his mother owned $5,000 in personal property, his sister Mary owned $1,500, and his syster Lydia owned $4,500 in real property and $1,000 in personal property.
#296
4 Oct 09
Wilfred Bywater is the only member of the 91st I've found in the 1900 census who was listed as a non-citizen.
#295Most of the men who reenlisted as veteran volunteers reenlisted on 24 December 1863. However, some were still reenlisting months later. For example, Wilfred Bywater did not reenlist until 30 March 1864, because he had been away from the army due to disability. And two letters from Lieutenant-Colonel Sinex (on 8 April 1864 and 11 April 1864) suggest that men were still reenlisting in April 1864.
#294Homer Stewart served from August 1861 through May 1862, mustering out as a corporal because of a long and severe attack of typhoid fever. He had a successful career after the war. He was a cashier and a treasurer for several railroad companies, had a real estate business, and was responsible for most of the growth of Lansdowne.
#293
13 Sep 09
In the Battle of Five Forks, on 1 April 1865, Company G expended 1,060 .58 caliber elongated ball cartridges and 1060 percussion caps. This was their only expenditure of ammunition in the 2nd quarter of 1865. [Abstract of expenditures, company G, 91st Pennsylvania Infantry, 2nd quarter 1865]
#292
6 Sep 09
Charles Troutwine, son of William Troutwine, wrote to the pension office in 1874, complaining about the injustice of the small pension offered to his mother, while firefighters' widows were receiving a much larger amount. He also claimed he was younger than the Pension Office believed. (His mother and the physician had initially disagreed about his birthdate, but his mother simply agreed to the physician's report. Perhaps she agreed simply to expedite the pension, but told him that he was losing eligibility he should have had.) Unfortunately, his plea was not successful.
#291
30 Aug 09
According to 'Ninety-first regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers', which was published in the Philadelphia Press on 27 November 1861, the regiment was expecting to be sent to South Carolina. I do not know whether they had any evidence for that expectation. If they were expecting service in South Carolina, they must have been very disappointed to be sent to defend Washington DC instead.
#290
23 Aug 09
Benjamin Vaughn's death in 1862 was another accidental death, caused by falling from a window in the hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.
#289
16 Aug 09
When the first person in company A died, Thomas Walter tried to convince his comrades not to form a group to return bodies of deceased men home. Gustavus Bernstein died in April 1862, and was probably the first person in company A to die. Walter claims that he succeeded. However, the Philadelphia death certificates show that Bernstein was buried in Monument Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 15 April 1862. (Perhaps Walter was referring only to the association, and not to Bernstein in particular. Or perhaps the men of company A simply excluded him since he wasn't interested.)
#288
9 Aug 09
When James B Diehl fell ill, his daughter filled in for him at his job, at a Post Office (apparently of the Grand Army of the Republic). After his death, she applied for the job, and with the support of his GAR post (George Meade Post #1, Pennsylvania), she received it.
#287
2 Aug 09
Ann McMakin's pension eligibility ended when she married Thomas Marshall on 2 October 1883. She stopped drawing her pension, but two clerks in the Philadelphia US Pension Agency (Thomas Lawrence and W J Fries) drew money in her name (and in the names of many deceased and remarried pensioners). Her pension certificate file records that they were arrested on 4 December 1884, and their case was to be presented to a Grand Jury, but does not record the outcome.
#286
26 July 09
Samuel Royal met John Brown in 1857/58. Like Edgar Gregory, he was an ardent prohibitionist.
#285
19 July 09
William Keir served in the 91st as Assistant Surgeon and then as Surgeon, from 1863 through the regiment's muster out. He was born in Dublin, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He came to the US to avoid being associated with the British oppression of the Irish, and refused an offer from his relatives to procure a commission in the British Army for him
#284
12 July 09
In 1863, numerous soldiers signed an appeal to people to re-elect Governor Curtin, including Captain Matthew Hall, Major John D. Lentz, and Samuel Burns, all from the 91st Pennsylvania.
#283
5 July 09
George Whistler was discharged in 1862 because of injuries he had received in combat. He died less than two years later, and his wife died only twelve days later. Their son George, who was only six years old then, was raised by his uncle, in Indiana, and became a successful rancher in Wyoming.
#282
28 Jun 09
I have previously reported that a dog was so attached to William Brown (C) that he stayed with his body after Brown's death. His widow, Sarah, wrote asking about her husband, perhaps because she had read the newspaper articles about the dog. Captain Parsons' response confirmed Brown's death, noting rather bluntly that he "suffered untold agony from the time he was wounded", and corrected the newspaper account. He also asked whether she wanted the body to be sent home, which would cost about $50.(I have no evidence that his body was ever moved.)
#281
20 Jun 09
William McLaughlin died on 10 January 1862, by accident. He was in charge of a guard who had a deserter. The guard "got into a squabble, most of them being under the influence of liquor". He struck one with his rifle so hard that he himself fell into a step, breaking his skull. He was taken to the Southwark Hall, and sent from there to the government Hospital on Christian Street above Ninth. Since they refused to take him, he was sent back to the Hall and then sent to the Penn Hospital, where he was cared for.
#280
13 Jun 09
Edgar Gregory's abolitionism affected his actions while he was provost marshal of Alexandria. In at least one case, Gregory refused to return an escaped slave to a Maryland citizen, although the citizen had sworn a loyalty oath and had a warrant for the slave's arrest.
#279
6 Jun 09
Edgar Gregory apparently died insolvent. (This raises many interesting questions, which I unfortunately can't now answer--examining the Orphans' Court records might be helpful!)
#278
27 Apr 08
Joseph Welch, who was the 91st's first chaplain, spent 28 years as the Chaplain of the Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was apparently removed from the post just four days before he died of a hemorrhage.
#277Ancestry.com has started digitizing the IRS tax assessment lists. While I suspect many of the lists will be difficult to use (because they lack crucial location information), a quick search located Edgar Gregory in the May 1863 annual list. He was living at 1438 North 13th Street (which confirms his identity), had an income of $736, and owed tax of $22..08 (at a rate of 3%).
#276Four of the extant orders from the 91st mention drills.

(1) General Order Number 18, 8 May 1862, required two daily drills, each lasting one-and-one-half hours, one in the "school of the company" and the other in the "school of the battalion".

(2) General Order Number 2, 7 March 1864, required two daily drills (squad or company), one hour each.

(3) General Order Number 7, 13 April 1864, required skirmish drills on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

(4) General Orders 2, 6 June 1865, requires company commanders to drill all men 7-8 AM and 4-5 PM every day except Sunday. It also requires the Officer of the Day to report any company commanders violating this order--perhaps this was problematic because the war was over.

#275The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States included, besides Peter Keyser, one of its founders, eight other "Original Companions" who had served in the 91st: James B Diehl, Franklin B Gilbert, Joseph Gilbert, Matthew Hall, William LeTourneau, Lewis T Matlack, Howard W Shipley, and John H Weeks. At least two other members of the 91st were also members of MOLLUS: Alpheus Bowman and Charles Houghton.
#274In July 1864, Corporal John Neville was responsible for feeding 4,200 men at Camp Cadwallader. One man described him as "an efficient and worthy officer", who was "just the right man in the right place". He apparently had to stop fights in addition to feeding the men!
#273Besides being an ardent abolitionist, Edgar Gregory was also an ardent temperance advocate. His involvement seems to date back at least to 1844, when he became a vice president of the Ohio State Temperance Society. It continued through the end of his life--for example, in April 1870 (the year before he died), he gave a talk at a temperance meeting.
#272According to one book, at least three men who served in the 91st Pennsylvania were Jewish: Corporal Goldberg, company A (perhaps Isaac Goldbecker), Morris Kayser, first lieutenant and captain, company B, and Isaac Goodman, private, corporal, and sergeant, company F.
#271After the Battle of Fredericksburg, part of Company E, commanded by Captain Lentz, was left alone in Fredericksburg after the rest of the Army of the Potomac had retreated. At least three problems led to this. First, Baker and a detachment returned as Lentz was leaving the 91st to report to Lieutenant Colonel Rowe (126th Pennsylvania). Although Colonel Gregory ordered Baker to follow Lentz, no one ever told Lentz that Baker was present. Second, although the Lieutenant ordered to convey the order to retreat was familiar with the picket line where the detachments from the 91st and from Berdan's Sharpshooters were posted, he was not familiar with the detachments, and did not even know the commanders' names. Third, when Bonsall passed on the order to the commander of the Berdan's Sharpshooters, and Lieutenant Baker said that they would be left by themselves, Bonsall assumed that Baker was the commander of the 91st's Company E, and passed on the orders to him without confirming his identity. Finally, Baker testified that Bonsall "later" told him that he had passed on the order to Lentz. Perhaps Baker became worried, and tried to confirm that Lentz had been notified. If so, Bonsall must not have recognized Baker as the person he had notified.
#270I have some evidence of men living in 54 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Most lived in Philadelphia, unsurprisingly, with peaks in other counties from which the 91st received drafted men and substitutes--Adams and Bedford (with smaller numbers in Blair and perhaps Somerset).
#269A higher percentage of men who were mustered in in 1861 deserted (22%) than of men who were mustered in in 1865 (13%). This is somewhat surprising, since a rough division of desertion rates by time of service, excluding men who served less than 10 days (94% of whom deserted) does not show an increase in desertions with increased service time:
service length (in days)desertednever desertedtotal
10-399156 (17%)748904
400-79935 (7%)433468
800-119937 (16%)192229
1200 or more30 (13%)209239
[unknown]26 (27%)7197
total284 (15%)16531937
A much smaller percentage of men who were mustered in in 1863 deserted (3%)--probably because most men who served in the 91st who were mustered in in 1863 were drafted, and fewer drafted men deserted than volunteers. (See Desertion rate, by muster-in year and Desertion rate, by time in regiment (grouped).)
#268I have only limited evidence about cooking arrangements in the 91st. At least by 1863, most officers seem not to have had personal cooks. For example, on 5 August 1863, only Captain Gregory had a cook, and on 4 October 1864, no enlisted men were employed as cooks (or other servants). On 23 June 1863, company cooks seem to have been more integrated into their companies, since they were ordered to remain armed and to be considered present for duty while in camp, and were permitted to guard the regimental teams only when the regimental commander thought the teams were far enough from the regiment to be in danger. (Since this was probably a response to a Brigade order, we can't be sure that this represents a change in regimental practice.) And on 31 January 1865, only one company had a company cook, with the men from the other companies organized in messes by their tents.
#267Abel Deihl deserted from the 91st after not quite one year's service. However, he later enlisted in the Twelfth New Hampshire Infantry, and served from December 1863 through June 1865. He was even wounded in July 1864, near Petersburg (while "answering a call of nature at the sink"). He was initially granted a pension because of his honorable service in the 12th New Hampshire, despite his having deserted from the 91st. But in 1915, a new Acting Commissioner ordered that his pension be ended. In 1921, the relevant House and Senate committees recommended that his widow be granted a pension.
#266Although Thomas Jay "was a staunch Democrat all his life", he named at east three of his sons after Union generals--McClellan (born about 1866), Sheridan (born in 1867), and Sherman (born in 1891).
#265Nathan Koshland (A) made the mistake of stealing food from a sergeant. He was court-martialed, and served the rest of his enlistment at hard labor.
#264I have now found (probable) 1930 census entries for six (6) men who served in the 91st, and twentytwo (22) of their widows. Only one of the men, Andrew Ankeney, was working (as a farmer). (Ankeney is also the only man I have so far found in all nine censuses (1850-1930) I have checked.) Two (2) were married; four (4) were widowed. Eleven (11) of the households had a radio; seventeen (17) did not.
#263I now know of two veterans of the 91st who served in the Pennsylvania legislature: John Ennis was in the House of Representatives in the 1889, 1891, and 1893 sessions, and Joseph Sinex was in the House of Representatives in the 1883 session.
#262We've known for some time that John Lentz and some of his company were left behind when the rest of the army retreated after the Battle of Fredericksburg. Now more of the story is clear. According to a sketch in the 126th PA's history, Lentz and part of his company, along with some of Berdan's sharpshooters, were placed under the command of Colonel Rowe. Rowe ordered Lieutenant Bonsall to pass them his order to fall in as skirmishers on the 126th's flank and rear when the 126th began moving toward the town. Unfortunately, when Lieutenant Bonsall asked for the officer commanding the party, he was directed to another officer, who did not pass the orders on to Lentz. Bonsall was court-martialed but restored to duty, although he "was not found wholly blameless". The officer of the 91st who did not pass on the order was found guilty, and the court martial "inflicted upon him a sentence of extraordinary severity", which General Humphreys did not approve. I have sent for a copy of Bonsall's court-martial record, which should add more to our understanding of this incident.
#261Abraham Weigle, who served for 3-1/2 months in 1865, died in 1922, after being struck by an automobile when he stepped back into its path, probably because he was blinded by the lights.
#260At least one man who served in the 91st became a millionaire. Joseph T Jones made his money in the Pennsylvania oil fields. After initially failing, he finally struck oil, with his thirteenth well. He eventually largely founded the city of Gulfport, Mississippi.
#259During the Battle of Gettysburg, on the night of 2 July 1863, William Reiff and James Thompson were placed about 125 feet in front of the wall the regiment built on Little Round Top. They were exhausted, and couldn't stay awake even when they rubbed pepper, onion juice, and tobacco in their eyes. Lieutenant Joseph Jones--whom they affectionately called 'Josie' then--found two men to relieve them for two hours, after which they were able to stay awake until morning. Thompson was ordered back before Reiff, who ran back under "a shower of leaden bullets", which fortunately missed him. He fell asleep just behind the wall, and didn't notice the solid shot and shells exploding all around him. (See his 'Josie and I at Gettysburg'.)
#258Benjamin Tayman seems to have been caught in a conflict between two generals. According to General Humphreys, General Tyler made "false accusations against him [sc. Tayman] in connection with the battle of Chancellorsville". Humphreys claims that Tyler made these accusations because he knew that Humphreys had a "good opinion" of Tayman, and Tayman had "great regard" for Humphreys. According to the regiment's consolidated morning reports, Tayman was under arrest by order of General Tyler beginning 13 May 1863, but on 11 June 1863, the Corps Commander, Major General Sykes, ordered Tayman "honorably released and restored to duty". (See Henry H. Humphreys, Andrew Atkinson Humphreys: a biography, pages 265-267.)
#257William Reiff decided to play a practical joke on Billy Cain (of company H), who was constantly eating. Reiff placed a large toad in Cain's haversack. When Cain discovered it, he said "Whativer [sic] is this? A straddle bug?" His zoological acumen earned him the nickname "Straddle Bug Billy". (See Reiff's 'A straddle bug'; I have not been able to identify this Billy Cain.)
#256Adrian Beaugureau was born in France and came to the United States when he was about seven years old. He taught in the Oxford Female College for eighteen years, and then ran an art store, called "The Art Emporium". Although he had been raised a Catholic, "his army experience and four years' exposure to the rigid Calvinistic faith" led him to become a Presbyterian. Perhaps the influence of Colonel (later General) Edgar Gregory was important there.
#255Soldiers' families were not immune from tragedy. One soldier, probably Samuel Griffith, had a seventeen-year-old son, Samuel Griffiths, who worked at an ammunition factory in Philadelphia. In March 1862, while they were trying to fulfill a contract for a million and a half cartridges, the factory exploded, killing at least eleven people. Samuel Griffiiths was badly injured in the explosion.
#254Just before Jesse Wharton was shot, according to a newspaper account, the 91st and other regiments assigned to defend Washington DC went through a surprise exercise. An alarm was raised during the night of 19 April, resulting in the 90th and 91st Pennsylvania moving to the Long Bridge, taking thirty minutes to reach it. According to another report in the same paper, the prisoners in the Old Capitol Prison thought that the Confederate Army was on the opposite side of the Potomac River, and that they would soon be freed. They therefore "became very insolent to the guards, and could scarcely be kept in subjection". This report claims that Wharton's shooting was the culmination of "the affair".
#253The story of Stephen Kelly, who found his own grave in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, apparently received national attention. One story, apparently from the National Tribune, was widely reprinted in June and July 1886. (In a brief note, the Philadelphia North American managed to get his service wrong, describing him as "a New York veteran".) One Colorado newspaper noted his death with the rather sad comment that "Kelly was never married, and lived like a hermit at his house, which is a dilapidated-looking place. He was taken ill a few weeks ago, and refused to be removed to a more cheerful place or to have a nurse."
#252In 1899, William Carpenter was reported as endorsing Dr Branaman's treatment, which apparently cured him of asthma, his son of scarlet fever, and his wife of catarrh of the throat.
#251One contemporary newspaper article described Colonel Gregory as the "energetic and popular Provost Marshal" of Alexandria, but later gives a different impression, by suggesting that Gregory would appreciate support from "some of our Alexandria ladies, who now express so much indignation at his every official act".
#250Monroe Bowne "was of imposing personal appearance--massive frame, well proportioned, powerful man, six feet high, and weighing more than three hundred pounds".
#249By 1870, little is correlated with the soldier's marital status. 96% of married men owned property, as opposed to 88% of all men. And a higher percentage of artisans were unmarried (41% of artisans, 36% of all men), and a higher percentage of semi-professionals and smaller proprietors were married (76%, 64% of all men).
#248Men who were married in 1860 were far more likely to own property than men who weren't--96 of 125 (77%) apparently married men owned some property, while only 6 of 117 (5%) apparently unmarried men owned some property. They were also more likely to be semi-professionals and small proprietors, and agricultural workers.
#247Being married in 1860 does not seem to have affected the rates of reenlistment or of death while in the regiment, but may have slightly increased the rate of desertion, since 5 of 114 men (4%) with no apparent spouse in the 1860 census deserted, while 13 of 122 men (11%) with an apparent spouse deserted.
#246(I now have more than 2,000 census entries for men who served in the 91st or their widows!) In 1860, manual laborers were about as likely as the regiment as a whole to be married. However, artisans, professionals, and semi-professionals were more likely than the regiment as a whole, and (unsurprisingly) men who weren't working were far less likely, to be married.
#245Jacob Bolin, who served in the 91st after he was drafted in 1865, had previous experience with the Confederate Army--but as a civilian, not as a soldier. When the Confederate Army invaded Pennsylvania in 1863, they took a saddle, a halter and chain, a buggy whip, and lumber from his farm, and damaged his corn, burned rails, and used and destroyed hay (6). He applied for damages on 22 October 1868, and was awarded $100.50 on 23 November 1871
#244Almost one-fifth of the men for whom I have found 1850 census entries were married in 1850, and half of the men for whom I have found 1860 census entries were married in 1860. (This surely overstates the percentage of married men, since identifying men in the censuses is much easier if they are married.) Unsurprisingly, more drafted men were married in 1860 (58%) than volunteers (49%) or substitutes (29%). Equally unsurprisingly, more men who started as commissioned officers were married in 1860 (69%) than those who did not (49%).
#243Drafted men were on average slightly taller than volunteers or substitutes:
 median heightmean height
drafted men67.75 inches67.5 inches
volunteers67.0 inches66.9 inches
substitutes66.5 inches66.5 inches
#242Andrew Ankeny was working as a farmer in 1930, when he was 85 years old! (The other three men I have so far found in the 1930 census were not working.)
#241118 (13%) of the men who had joined the regiment by 4 November 1861 died while in the regiment; only 69 (6%) of the men who had not did.
#240One of the members of the 91st who joined the regular army after the war was Harold Partenheimer, who enlisted on 26 March 1866. He was assigned to company G of the 18th US Infantry, which was assigned to Fort CF Smith, on the Bozeman Trail, in August 1866. He died on 4 November 1867, while defending a wagon train traveling from Fort Phil Kearny to Fort Smith. (See the commanding officer's report.)
#239George Hampton must have had excellent secretarial skills--he was the secretary of a committee memorializing company E's dead, and was also the first secretary of the survivor's association.
#238While most men who served in the 91st stayed in Pennsylvania after the war, census records indicate that men from the 91st lived in at least 32 states. Pension index cards add another three (Georgia, Mississippi, and Utah), and deaths add Montana. The only states remaining (excluding Hawaii and Alaska) are Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
#237According to 'What might have been', by Thomas Moore, the brigade the 91st was in (3rd brigade, 1st division, 5th corps) may have significantly affected the battle of Five Forks. On the 31st of March, they mistakenly advanced six miles beyond the main Union line, almost to the Confederate camp. Moore suggests that Pickett withdrew to Five Forks because he misinterpreted their brigade as the advance force of the Fifth Corps. I have not yet confirmed or refuted this suggestion.
#236Edgar Gregory was US Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1869 until his death in 1871. Two incidents suggest that this was not a purely administrative job. First, as US Marshal, Gregory was responsible for enforcing the Neutrality Laws. On 14 August 1869, the district attorney asked him to stop the steamer Hornet, because some reports claimed the Cuban Junta (then fighting the "Ten Years' War" for independence from Spain) had outfitted her as a privateer. Gregory himself "at once employed a tug, and proceeded down the river, with a view to intercept the revenue cutter Miami, Captain Jones commanding", which he did about 6.30 AM. Second, on 27 April 1870, Gregory led a raid on a Richmond distillery on Monmouth Street above Richmond. They weren't detected by the distiller's guards on the way in, because they hid themselves in a wagonload of hay (apparently a novel strategem!).
#235A newspaper article about the 91st's departure in 1862 suggests that they were expected to go to Kentucky after being inspected at Washington, DC. (I have not seen any other evidence about their expectations.) Instead, they spent months in Washington, DC and in Arlington, Virginia.
#234During the Battle of Gettysburg, on 2 July 1863, William Reiff fainted from the heat and exhaustion, but was roused when George Finney (commanding the company) threw water in his face. While he was on Little Round Top, a sharpshooter, in front of Devil's Den, barely missed him, "simply helping to brush the hair off [his] right temple". Reiff returned the shot with greater effect. (See W C Reiff, 'Struggle for the Union. Trials of a boy in the Gettysburg campaign' (National Tribune 6 August 1896).
#233During the 1870 election in Philadelphia, Edgar Gregory intervened to prevent a riot and to force the police to all colored men to vote. On the previous day, Mayor Fox had assured Governor Geary that he didn't anticipate any problems, but could handle any that arose. When he learned that Gregory had Marines patrolling the street to preserve order, he immediately wrote Gregory claiming that this was illegal--because Fox had not requested federal intervention--and unnecessary, since his personal inspection revealed no problems. \He demanded "the instant disbandment of this armed force". Gregory replied that the Marines were needed because Fox's police were preventing colored voters from voting, and had even arrested the deputies Gregory sent. Further, his intervention was lawful under the act of 3 March 1870. Perhaps the fact that Fox was a Democrat, and the African American voters were overwhelmingly Republican, was relevant here. (Fox won the 1869 election by only 1,838 votes of 121,196.)
#232In a meeting in Baltimore in September 1867, Gregory claims that "[t]he sufferings endured by the Union soldiers during the rebellion ... were not intended to save the life of the nation, but were [to ensure] that four million people for whom Christ died might be set at liberty for ever." [quoted in Fuke Imperfect equality pp.187-188, citing Baltimore American 4 September 1867]
#231William J Kirkpatrick, who served as Fife Major until 9 October 1862, became a well-known composed and editor of religious music after the war. His career started before the war when he impressed an editor by transcribing and arranging a song as someone sang it. After the war he worked at a furniture store, until his first wife died. He edited over a hundred collections of religious music, and died while working on music.
#230Thomas Walter was cashiered by sentence of court martial. In November 1868, the US Army's Assistant Adjutant-General wrote to the Governor of Pennsylvania and to Walter, stating that the government would not object to Walter's being offered a commission. He claimed that "[t]he effect of this action is to remove the stigma resting upon you by reason of dismissal and is equivalent practically to an honorable discharge". (Perhaps Edgar Gregory petitioned President Johnson on Walter's behalf, as he had offered.) Walter's comrades obviously accepted him after the war, electing him Chaplain, and later Post Commander, of Post 8 of the GAR. Unfortunately, no one had the authority to change the court-martial's sentence, as Walter discovered when he applied for a pension. Congress passed a bill in 1902 granting Walter a pension, but President Theodore Roosevelt vetoed it. In 1907, Congress passed a bill instructing the Secretary of War to revoke the court-martial order and to grant Walter an honorable discharge. As far as I have been able to determine, the President did not sign it.
#229In 1903, JHR Storey, who had served in the 109th Pennsylvania, claimed that when the 91st was organized, it was split between two factions, with "considerable friction" between the two groups. One consisted of religious men--members of the Young Men's Christian Association or other organizations--headed by Colonel Gregory. Eli Sellers eventually headed the others. According to Storey, Sellers admitted that he "got even with" "those Christian Association fellows", whom he called "Gregory's pets". "[W]hen I got the chance I downed then, and when I became lieutenant-colonel I did get it".
#228One bit of evidence suggests that Edward Wallace (who was the first Lieutenant Colonel of the 91st Pennsylvania) tried raising another regiment in June 1863, after he had resigned from the 91st. I don't know anything more about this.
#227Two more bits of evidence about the importance of religion for Edgar Gregory. In December 1861, he spoke at a meeting "to aid at diffusing religious reading in the camps, and promoting the spiritual interests of the soldier". And in March 1864, he participated in a "Missionary Anniversary of the Schools" of the Twelfth Street Methodist Episcopal Church.
#226[I apologize for missing the last two weeks, which I missed because of a family medical emergency, which has now been successfully resolved.] Edgar Gregory moved from New York to Cincinnati, Ohio, to start a lumber yard for a company that sent lumber from Pennsylvania on the Allegheny River. (See Samuel A Wilhelm, 'The Wheeler and Dusenbury Lumber Company of Forest and Warren Counties' (Pennsylvania History 19 [Oct 1952] 413-420).) (I still don't know why he moved from Cincinnati to Philadelphia in 1860.)
#225In September 1841, a mob attacked Negroes in Cincinnati. In his Reminiscences, the abolitionist and underground railroad leader Levi Coffin quotes a newspaper account of the attacks, since he was not yet living in Cincinnati. But he adds a note in his own voice, claiming that the students of Lane Seminary "formed a militia company under command of E M Gregory" to defend the seminary against the mob, who regarded it as the "d--d abolition hole". The mob started to attack the seminary, but retreated because of "the warlike preparation of the students". [See Levi Coffin, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, page 533]
#224Before the regiment left Philadelphia in 1862, the Ladies' Bible class of the North Broad Street Baptist Church, and the Ladies' Aid Society of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Germantown, donated clothing, food, and other supplies, and 'the ladies of the "Union Relief Association"' of Philadelphia donated bandages and other medical supplies to the 91st [see 'Acknowledgement', 'Col. Gregory's Regiment', and 'Ninety-first Pennsylvania Regiment']
#223In 1896, the National Tribune apparently published an editorial criticizing William Jennings Bryan and his supporters. This led to a vituperous reply by veterans from Nebraska (Bryan's home state), including William Mock.
#222Shortly after arriving in Texas, Edgar Gregory spoke to the freedmen at their church in Galveston. According to various newspaper accounts, he told them that they had all the legal right and responsibilities of whites, including the right to own property, and the responsibility to earn their own living. Amusingly, several papers reported him as advising the freedmen they would not be burdened by the government, instead of that they should not be a burden to the government!
#221According to an 1890 biographical note on Alpheus Bowman, he was "[i]n the field from Dec., '61, to April, '62, scouting country he knew all about". This may help explain the origin of the enmity between him and his first lieutenant, Morris Kayser, since Kayser may well have resented Bowman if Kayser was in effect running the company for those months. The biographical note also claims that he was "[o]n special duty engaged at the battle of Chantilly, Va., Sept. 1, '62; horse killed under him in assault in carrying railroad crossing". This was about the time he was dismissed from the army by sentence of general court martial (on 12 September 1862); perhaps this special service helps explain why the War Department allowed him to re-enter the army.
#220Members of many organizations were invited to attend the funerals of some former members of the 91st. For example, George Haines seems to have been a member of seven: GAR post 8, the 91st Pennsylvania's Survivors' Association, the Junior Order of United American Mechanics ("OUAM") (and perhaps his wife was a member of their auxiliary, the Daughters of Liberty ("DOL"), the Improved Order of Red Men ("IORM"), Patriotic Order of the Sons of America ("POS of A"), International Order of Odd Fellows ("IOOF"), and the Sons of Hermann ("S of H"). Eli Sellers' death notice does not even attempt to list all of the societies of which he was a member, but they included the 91st's Survivors' association, GAR Post 2, the American Mechanics (presumably the OUAM), the Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW), the Improved Order of Red Men, the Knights of Honor, and the International Order of Odd Fellows.
#219In October 1861, four companies had "the old flint lock musket, altered into percussion" ['Camp Chase at Gray's Ferry' Philadelphia Inquirer 19 October 1861 page 8]. In November 1861, they were planning to exchange their muskets for "the improved Springfield rifle musket" ['Camp Chase', Philadelphia Inquirer 30 November 1861]. And in December 1861, they had "the Enfield rifle, with sword bayonet" ("Flag presentation", Philadelphia Inquirer 13 December 1861; and 'The Ninety-first regiment', Philadelphia Inquirer 17 December 1861 page 5 [reprinted 18 December 1861 page 5]).
#218The Philadelphia Inquirer's obituary for Edgar Gregory confirms that religion played an important role in his life, and that he was "always ... a determined and outspoken anti-slavery man". While claiming that everyone was satisfied with his performance as US Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, it also mentions two controversies. First, the enumeration of Philadelphia in the 1870 census was very incomplete, although the Inquirer ascribes this primarily to "the general inefficiency of our census system". And second, during the 1870 election, Gregory intervened to prevent a riot and to force the police to allow colored men to vote, which led to "a bitter dispute with Mayor Fox".
#217In a 'Letter from a radical on the Freedmen's Bureau' published in 1866, Edgar Gregory is described as "a sharp Calvanist [sic]", who "is fixed in the faith, and diligent in the forms of his church". However, unlike another Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, he refused to remove an effective administrator of the Freedmen's Schools (EM Wheelock) merely because he was a Unitarian. It also claims that he had "twenty-five years of Anti-Slavery life". The letter suggests, but does not claim, that Gregory was removed because of his refusal, though the general tenor of the letter indicates that if the author had had any evidence for that suggestion, he would have trumpeted the claim, since the letter is an attack on General Howard (the Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau) for making personnel decisions based on the doctrinal beliefs of the person rather than on the person's competence.
#216In June 1862, rumors had the commissioned officers nearly in open mutiny, with the regiment reduced to 400 men, and Colonel Gregory being too harsh to the regiment and too lenient to the Confederates. The commissioned officers took those rumors seriously enough to publish a "card" denying them. They end by claiming, "we venture to assert that we believe there is no regiment in the service whose officers agree better, or have less difference of opinion". Less than a month later the long-standing tension between Captain Bowman and First Lieutenant Kayser resulted in a fight.
#215George Todd, the 91st's first Major, was initially to be the Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment Edward Wallace was recruiting. Both had served in the Mexican War, and both had served for three months as captains in the 20th Pennsylvania Infantry.
#214In August 1883, the 91st Pennsylvania Regimental Association dedicated a memorial to the 91st at Gettsyburg. The memorial was cut from granite from Devil's Den. Because the scheduled speaker (General Pearson) was not there, Joseph Sinex gave the dedication speech. He couldn't finish the speech, because he was overcome with emotion as he was recalling what happened during the battle.
#213Eighty men from the 91st attended the funeral of Edgar Gregory on 13 November 1871. After that, the surviving men decided to form a "permanent association of the old comrades". They met on 17 November 1871, in the District Courtroom at Sixth and Chestnut Streets, with Joseph Sinex as chair and Edward Maguigan as secretary. They appointed a committee of five men to write a constitution and bylaws, consisting of Eli G. Sellers, Matthew Hall, George F Stewart, Justus A Gregory and George Hampton.
#212So far, I have evidence that seven men who served in the 91st lived into their 90's. The oldest was David Stiefel, who enlisted under the alias David Sterle, and was 96 years old when he died in 1938. The others were Asa Johnson (90), Charles Young (90), William Kigert (91), George C Cross (92), Joseph S Miller Jr (92), and Morris Kayser (94).
#211I have found entries in the 1900 census for 155 men who served in the 91st Pennsylvania. (I have also found 31 entries for widows, who aren't relevant to this statistic.) Seventeen were not working. Of the remaining 138 men, 31 men (22%) were unemployed in the previous year. (This is twice the percentage of the men unemployed in 1880.) Unsurprisingly, manual laborers (12 of 17) and artisans (14 of 36) seem to have been especially vulnerable to unemployment.
#210I have found entries in the 1880 census for 243 men who served in the 91st Pennsylvania. (I have also found fifteen entries for widows, but they aren't relevant to this statistic.) Four were not working. Only 27 of the remaining 239 men (11%) were unemployed in the previous year. Of the nine men who had been unemployed more than six months (one for eight months, and eight for twelve months), only Samuel Amey was not living in a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Of the eighteen men who had been unemployed one to six months, only George Hollick was living in a National Home branch. Unsurprisingly, artisans and manual laborers, and perhaps also service and semi-skilled workers, were more likely to be unemployed (though that result is not [yet] statistically significant).
#209Based on the extant consolidated morning reports, the number of men absent on detached service ranged from 2 (in April through early June 1865) to 176 (on 18 May 1863), and the percentage of men absent on detached service ranged from 0% (again in April through early June 1865) to 36% (on 17 and 18 May 1863).
#208Based on the extant consolidated morning reports, usually about 4% of men present were commissioned officers. The percentage of men present who were commissioned officers dropped briefly to 1% from 30 October to 31 October 1864. At the other extreme, 21% of men present were commissioned officers on 17 May 1863, after the Battle of Chancellorsville, when many men were assigned to the ambulance corps, or as guards or pickets (see 13 May). The percentage did creep up to around 7% from 9 May 1863 through 26 February 1864, but dropped back to around 4% when commissioned officers were discharged when their term expired at the end of 1863 and men returned from the veteran's leave.
#207The following statistics are based on the 547 extant consolidated morning reports. The maximum number of men sick (present or absent) was 276 (on 8 July 1864). The maximum percentage of men sick (present or absent) was 44% (on several days in August 1864--the 7th, 10th, 12th, and 13th). On 17 February 1864, on the other hand, only 3 men (1% of the regiment) were absent sick (the lowest number, and tied for the lowest percentage with 18 February 1864)!
#206On the days for which we have consolidated morning reports, the maximum total number of enlisted men (present and absent) is 911 (on 29 April 1865), and the minimum is 332 (on 2 January 1864). The maximum total number of commissioned officers (present and absent) is 32 (on 7 February 1863, 8 February 1863, 13 June 1865, 14 June 1865, 15 June 1865, 16 June 1865, 18 June 1865, 19 June 1865, 20 June 1865), and the minimum is 15 (on 25 Dec 1864, 26 Dec 1864, 27 Dec 1864, 28 Dec 1864, 29 Dec 1864, and 30 Dec 1864).
#205

The maximum gain reported in the extant consolidated morning reports was 161, on 17 February 1864. This was the first report after the veterans' leave, during which 135 men had enlisted in the regiment. The maximum net increase reported was 156, again on 17 February 1864.

The maximum loss reported was 79, on 21 July 1864. 75 members of the 62nd Pennsylvania who had been transferred to the 91st, but whose terms expired before 25 August 1864, were transferred out of the regiment and ordered to report to Washington. The maximum net decrease reported was 79, on 21 July 1864.

Finally, the maximum change reported was 191, on 2 June 1865, with a gain of 114 men and a loss of 77. 111 men were transferred from the 118th Pennsylvania, and 76 members of the 91st were discharged.

#204Based on the changes reported on the available consolidated morning reports (which begin only in February 1863), almost a third (230/735) of the enlisted men gained were gained by transfer; 187 (25%) came from enlistments, and 167 (23%) were recruits from a depot. Of the 907 enlisted men lost, 196 died in action or of wounds received in action, 164 deserted, 150 were discharged by order, and 127 were discharged for disability.
#203At least two men who served in the 91st had served in the Mexican War: Edward Wallace, and John P Carie. Wallace enrolled in company F of the First Regiment in December 1846, and was then mustered in at Pittsburgh as a sergeant on 15 December 1846 by Lieutenant Fields. He was promoted to First Sergeant on 11 June 1847. He was discharged on 28 July 1848. I do not know anything about Carie's service. [later note: see also John Donnell, and George Todd]
#202Thomas Walter describes the mine exploded at Petersburg on 30 July 1864 in this way: "[T]here came a heavy thud, and immense masses of the rebel earthwork were hurled upward and tumbled over. Smaller fragments of various kind mounted higher in the air, and a cloud of dust nearly obscured the place as our artillery in the vicinity drove their shot into the enemy's works all along. A tornado of destruction struck the rebels with the suddenness of a flash. Scarcely a man of them had been astir; so the surprise was complete and demoralizing." Unfortunately, because of poor decisions by commanders, the opportunity to break the Confederate line was lost.
#201Thomas Walter describes the surrender at Appomattox on 9 April in his articles published in 1884. He and others overslept that day, missing the brigade's departure by nearly an hour. After a breakfast of coffee and a few crackers, they followed the brigade. When Walter, who went slowly because he was then under arrest, reached the regiment (about 11 o'clock), they were just to the right of the town, in line of battle, but many were lying down to rest. The men were more interested in when they were going to receive their rations than in Lee's surrender. They did receive hard-tack and coffee that night.
#200After the war was over, the number of enlisted men reported present on "extra and daily duty" increased from 61 on 16 May (10% of enlisted men present and 7% of all enlisted men) to a high of 159 on 3 July (25% of the enlisted men present and 20% of all enlisted men), before creeping down to 107 on the regiment's last day, 10 July (17% of the enlisted men present and 14% of all enlisted men).
#199Just before the 91st was mustered out of service on 10 July 1865, the number of "guns" reported increased--from 183 on 6 July to 391 on 7 July (and 432 on 9 July). Perhaps the regiment started counting themen from the 118th Pennsylvania, though they had been transferred at the beginning of June.
#198Although as many as 221 veterans were reported absent without leave before the regiment left for the front on 2 March 1864, all but a few returned--apparently including John Perkins (deserted 16 February), John Mootheart (1 March), and Charles Austin (16 March).(According to Bates Hugh Callahan deserted on 16 February and never returned--but a letter from Sinex claims that he lost his rifle in May or June 1864.)
#197Some men from the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry were transferred to the 91st on 2 June 1865, when the 118th was mustered out of service. The consolidated morning report claims that 111 enlisted men, 2 captains, 1 first lieutenant, and one commissioned officer absent with leave were transferred. (However, it also reports that only three commissioned officers were transferred.) Surprisingly, I have the names of almost all the enlisted men (110). The enlisted men were assigned to companies the next day, but the commissioned officers remained unassigned until 13 June. Captain John Bell was then assigned to command company A, and First Lieutenant James Donnelly was assigned to company H, by special order 34, 91st Pennsylvania, dated 13 June 1865. Oddly, the consolidated morning reports beginning 6 June 1865 have three unassigned commissioned officers absent without leave! In any event, the reports for 13 and 14 June have two unassigned commissioned officers absent without leave, and the reports from 15 through 20 June have two unassigned commissioned officers present. One of these should be First Lieutenant Thomas Kelly, who was initially transferred with the other men, but was mustered out effective the date of the transfer, because there were no vacancies. The other should be the other captain who was initially reported present for duty, but whom I have not seen mentioned in other records.
#196The consolidated morning reports let us follow the 100 drafted men and substitutes received on 14 October 1864. On 15 October, 100 recruits had not been assigned to a company. (Company H also had one recruit--presumably a volunteer.) The report on 16 October has the 100 men assigned to companies--20 each to companies B, F, G, and I, and 10 each to companies C and H. This raised the number of enlisted men present in each company to approximately 40 (range 34 to 46); the total number was more varied (range 48 to 72). The number of recruits slowly drops--99 on the 17th, 93 on the 26th, 78 on the 30th, with small changes throughout. Then on 4 November, the recruits in company I were absorbed into the company (18 more men were privates present for duty than on the 3rd). This left 61 recruits; the number changed slightly over the next two weeks. Finally, on the 18 November report, all the men were absorbed into their companies.
#195At least one member of the 91st had a family member who fought for the Confederates: Jacob Topper's brother was in the Confederate Cavalry, and was killed at Luray, Virginia, on 22 September 1864.
#194The extant consolidated morning reports begin on 7 February 1863. From then until the end of the war, the maximum number of men in the regiment was 930, on 29 April 1865, and the minimum was 357, on 2 January 1864. (The minimum is misleading, however, since 69 men who were not eligible for veterans' leave had been transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers.)
#193The first consolidated morning report after Lee surrendered at Appomattox shows a huge increase in the number of men in the regiment--from 524 men on 28 March 1865 to 887 men on 26 April 1865. And the 30 April 1865 report reports even more men--926 men were in the regiment then. So, at the end of the war, when the regiment would no longer be needed (though they did not yet know that), the regiment was finally back up to strength. (Even then, however, almost one-quarter of the men were absent, mostly absent sick.)
#192According to the regimental records, James Gilliland (F) died, by drowning, on 20 November 1861. Unfortunately, according to the Philadelphia Public Ledger, he died on 17 February 1862. Since the regimental books were captured in November 1862, I am now worried that we should consider all the early dates in the regimental records as suspect.
#191The Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg lists 22 officers and 276 enlisted men from the 91st as involved in the Battle of Gettysburg. Eleven names seem to have been erased, and at least one other probably should have been erased: Henry Linkerman (D) deserted on the march to Gettysburg, on 30 June 1863, and apparently did not return until 11 March 1864. (The list was based on the muster roll [that is, payroll] taken days before the battle, but corrections were made for years after the monument was finished.)
#190Based on my current information, 81 men spent less than ten days in the regiment. Disproportionately many of them were not born in the US (7% of the foreign-born men, 2% of the US-born men) A slightly higher percentage of substitutes (5.4%) than volunteers (4.6%), but no draftees (0%), spent less than ten days in the regiment. (See the statistics page.) (29 Apr)
#189Based on my current information, 1842 (91%) of the 2019 men who served in the regiment never changed company. Company D had the most man transferred out (31), with companies K (30) and B (28) close behind, and Field and Staff transferred the fewest men out (2), with companies C (4), D (5), and E (7) not far behind. Company B received the fewest transfers (1), and company D received the most (37).
#188Based on my current information, about 84% of the men in the regiment had only one rank. 184 (9%) had two ranks; Robert Boyd held the most ranks (eight). The most common change in rank was a promotion from private to corporal (208), followed by corporal to sergeant (74), private to sergeant (46), and sergeant to first sergeant (36). Demotions from corporal to private are fifth on the list (34). (See the statistics.)
#187Based on the limited information I now have, commissioned officers and enlisted men were equally likely to own property in 1860. More men who started as commissioned officers had "professional and large proprietor" occupations in 1860, and fewer were manual laborers, than men who started as enlisted men. (The difference is less pronounced among men who ever served as commissioned officers; for example, two men who were manual laborers in 1860 were promoted to commissioned officers.) 66% of men who began as commissioned officers were born in the US, while 57% of men who did not were born in the US (not a significant difference). 73% of men who ever served as commissioned officers were born in the US, while 56% of men who did not were born in the US (a significant difference). 19% of men who started as commissioned officers died while in the regiment, 12% of men who ended as commissioned officers died while in the regiment, and 9% of men who started as enlisted men. The shortest time anyone who began as a commissioned officer spent in the regiment was 100 days And all men who served as commissioned officers were volunteers. About three-quarters of each of these groups had someone apply for a pension, and about two-thirds had someone receive a pension. Of men who started as commissioned officers, 22% attended the 1884 Survivors' Association meeting; only 1% of men who started as enlisted men did. (See statistics about ranks.)
#186I currently know of about 70 men from the 91st who spent some time in the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, in at least four branches: 34 men in the Southern Branch (in Elizabeth City County, Virginia), 32 men in the Central Branch (in Dayton, Ohio), 3 men in the Eastern Branch (in Togus, Maine), and 5 men in the Northwestern Branch (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin). (Some men apparently spent time in more than one branch.) The 1882 report (which seems to list all men who had ever been present) includes 38 men from the 91st. The most common disabilities reported were wounds or injuries to various body parts (15 men), rheumatism (5 men), loss of a limb (4), and hernia (3). The following were reported by one man each: asthma, diarrhea, disease of brain, disease of lungs, epilepsy, general debility, hemorrhoids, hydrocele, paralysis, prolapsus ani, and varicose veins.
#185Jesse Wharton (who was shot by a member of the 91st Pennsylvania in the Old Capitol Prison in April 1862) was courtmartialed while he served in the Army before the Civil War. He pled guilty to two charges of being drunk while on duty, violating Article 45 of the Articles of War, which requires that "[a]ny commissioned officer who shall be found drunk on his guard, party, or other duty, shall be cashiered". He pled innocent to the other two charges, but the court found him guilty on all charges. As far as I can judge, the evidence shows clearly that he was guilty of leaving the work party he was supervising after he had been ordered not to (the second charge). However, he may have genuinely been confused about the location of the camp he was supposed to stay in, which presumably means that whether he was guilty of "breach of arrest" (the third charge) depends on whether his confusion was reasonable. Since undisputed testimony claimed he was drunk shortly before he was arrested, the court may have been unwilling to regard his confusion as reasonable.
#184Further evidence that the agricultural workers who served in the 91st were more settled than other men. For the men I have so far found in the 1860 census, the agricultural workers were slightly disproportionately more likely to own real or personal property than the group as a whole. Interestingly, the broad category of production and related workers transport equipment operators and laborers were slightly disproportionately more likely to own personal property, but not real property. See the statistics page for the details.
#183I am adding a second way of classifying occupations, the HISCO classification. One interesting result is that disproportionally few people agricultural workers (farmers) deserted (18 instead of 36 out of 205). (See the statistics page.) I suspect the reason is that most agricultural workers who served in the 91st Pennsylvania were drafted, and tended to be older and more established.
#182Spouses or widows of soldiers in the 1900 census had on average approximately five children, approximately four of whom were still living. They had had zero to fourteen children--Anna Yake, John Yake's spouse, had had fourteen children, nine of whom were alive. All of the children were still alive for 32 of the 123 women for whom I have data; none were alive in five cases. (See the statistics page for the details.)
#181If the information I have about the men's deaths is representative, about two-thirds of them were alive in 1890, while less than forty percent were alive in 1900. So, at some point in the 1890's, more than half the men who served in the regiment had died. (See the statistics page for details.)
#180Based on the limited evidence I have now, occupation class in 1860 is not correlated with whether the men owned any real property, or with whether they owned any personal property, or with whether they owned any property. (As I expected, fewer service and semi-skilled workers, fewer manual laborers, , and more semi-professionals and smaller proprieters (including farmers) than expected owned property. But the difference is not statistically significant--at least not given the data I have now.)
#179Benjamin Day (alias John Brown) was transferred to the 91st with the 118th Pennsylvania on 2 June 1865. Before enlisting in the 118th, he served in the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery (the 14th Massachusetts Infantry). In fact, he formed and was Captain of company G in the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He resigned because of "friction" and "charges and countercharges" in the regiment, which led to seven resignations in a short period, according to the regimental history. (The 91st's officers certainly experienced "friction" also--remember Alpheus Bowman and Morris Kayser, or John Hamill's accusation that Tayman has "malice" toward some officers.)
#178Based on the limited census information I have about soldiers and their widows,
0of45(0%)in 1850reported owning real property
15of111(14%)in 1860reported owning real property
30of117(26%)in 1870reported owning real property
46of97(47%)in 1900owned their house
34of68(50%)in 1910owned their house
8of23(35%)in 1920owned their house
#177Further preliminary information about the 1900 census: Of the 96 soldiers or widows I have so far found in the 1900 census, 77 were heads of the household, 11 were living with a family member (most with a child), 5 were boarders or lodgers, and 3 were inmates of a Veteran's Home. 27 were living on a farm, and 69 in a house. Of the 77 heads of household, 45 owned their home, and 32 rented it. Twelve of the owned houses were mortgaged, and 32 were not. 66 were married, 25 widowed, 4 single, and 1 divorced. The married men had been married from 5 to 57 years (average 33). Five of the six immigrant soldiers were naturalized citizens (the census has a blank citizenship column for David Baird).
#176At least two men who served in the 91st were elected to state legislatures after the war. Joseph Sinex (F&S) was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1883, and Benjamin Day (alias John Brown) (A) served in the Massachusetts House in 1890 and 1894.
#175At least two men who served in the 91st petitioned Congress (apparently successfully) to grant them pensions after the Pension Commissioner denied their applications: William Bowman (B) and James Aarons (F). Lawrence Humphries' widow also petitioned Congress for a pension. According to the regimental records, Humphries was killed accidentally at Washington, DC. In 1873, the Adjutant-General reported that he "is supposed to have been brutally murdered, or met his death by stumbling over blocks of marble and striking his head against cog-wheels at the Capitol extension". Although she was not legally entitled to a pension, the Commissioner of Pensions suggested that her case deserved "favorable consideration by Congress". Congress agreed.
#174The limited evidence I have so far shows (unsurpringly) that property ownership increased among men who served in the 91st from 1860 to 1870. In 1860, 14% of the men owned real property, and 39% owned personal property. In 1870, 25% of the men owned real property, and 54% owned personal property.
#173After the Battle of Hatcher's Run (27-28 October 1864), the number of men present sick increased from 32 (on 26 October) to 75 (30 October). They seem to have been transferred on the 31st, since the number present sick drops to 14 on 1 November, and the number of men absent sick increases from 163 to 224.
#172Three men who had served in the 91st were working for the War Department in 1878, in the Adjutant General's Office: George McNeil, Franklin B Miller, and Joseph S Miller. Perhaps coincidentally, all three were enlisted on the same day (20 August 1861).
#171Most of the census entries I've found for men (or widows) were for men living in Pennsylvania:
95% in 1860
79% in 1870
70% in 1880
83% in 1890
57% in 1900
57% in 1910
46% in 1920
Unsurprisingly, many men moved to adjacent states (particularly New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware), and to states with National Homes (particularly Ohio and Virginia). Other states I have found men in include Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. (The current total is 27 states, plus the District of Columbia.) The pension index cards I have add three locations: Georgia, Kansas, and Ireland.
#170I have occupations in the 1860 census and in regimental records for 41 men. In 22 (54%) cases, they were clearly the same; in 3 (7%) cases, they were apprentices in 1860 but full-fledged artisans at enlistment; and in 4 (10%) cases I think the occupations were the same (tobbaconist-cigarmaker, laborer-farm laborer, clerk-salesman, and miner-laborer). In 12 (29%) cases, the occupations were different
#169Did men lie about their ages when they enlisted? I can estimate the birthdates based on the regimental records and on the 1860 census for 68 men. Fifty (74%) could be the same year; fourteen more (21%) were within five years. The other four all had enlistment ages greater than expected from their 1860 census age:
Reuben Peel was 52 in 1860, but 40 when he enlisted in 1861
Thomas Aitken was 49 in 1860, but 42 when he enlisted in 1861
John Brown was 36 in 1860, but 32 when he enlisted in 1863
William Kier was 35 in 1860, if that is the right William Kier, but 32 when he enlisted in 1863
#168I have so far found 61 men in the 1860 census. Twenty-one men reported owning personal property (ranging from $100 to $23000 [Isaac Knight], mean $1355). Six men reported owning real property (ranging from $100 to $25000, mean $5283). Interestingly, John Lentz reported owning real property worth $25,000--but in the 1870 census he reported no real property.
#167Volunteer status is significantly correlated with occupation class (chi-square=113.91, df=8, p<.0005), but explains very little (only about 4%) of the variance (Cramer's V=.21). In particular, more artisans were volunteers than expected, more manual laborers were substitutes, and more semi-professionals and smaller proprieters were draftees. (See volunteer status, by occupation class, in the regimental statistics page.)
#166I have now finished checking for 1890 veterans' census entries for the 204 men who served in company A. I found 74 (36%). 60 (81%) were the soldier; 14 (19%) were his widow. 54 (73%) were living in Pennsylvania, 5 (7%) in New Jersey, 4 (5%) in Maryland, 3 (4%) in Virginia, 2 (3%) each in Massachusetts and Missouri, and 1 (1%) each in Ohio, New York, Washington, and Washington DC.

I have evidence that 84 of the 204 men were alive in 1890, and 45 had died by 1890--which suggests that about 65% of the men were alive in 1890. If so, I have found less than half of the men who were alive (65% of 204 = 133). Possible reasons include these: most 1890 veterans' census records for states alphabetically prior to Kentucky were lost; the census may have missed the men; the indexer may have misread the entry; I may have (probably!) missed some or been unable to identify them as members of the 91st, if the census doesn't record the unit they served in.

#165The prosecution in the Brewster court-martial did not call the person who actually released the prisoners, did not present evidence that the officer of the day and the colonel did not order them released, did not call the Sergeants of the Guard, and never asked how Major Todd heard that Brewster was drunk. Only one witness (Whinna) testified that Brewster ordered prisoners released--and Shipley testified that he wrote Brewster's name in the guard book as having released them based on a Sergeant's report, to shift the responsibility off his shoulders and onto Brewster's.

The defence also had serious problems; their witnesses helped the prosecution more than Brewster. In particular, Surgeon Knight's testimony was very damaging to their claim that Brewster's appearing intoxicated was actually due to illness and medicine, since Knight discounted that possibility. They clearly had not prepared adequately, perhaps because they did not have time--the only medical evidence they presented was from Knight, and one officer (Sellers) they called (apparently) to prove that Brewster had been attentive to his duty in the past, testified that he did not remember serving as Officer of the Day with Brewster as Officer of the Guard under him! Another Officer of the Day (Gilbert) even testified that Brewster had not always been attentive to his duty, and the defence counsel had to elicit the details from him. And the final testimony in the case came when the Judge Advocate was cross-examining Gilbert. He asked, "What is the prisoner's reputation for Sobriety", and Gilbert answered "Bad"!

As far as I can judge, the prosecution presented reasonable evidence that Hamill appeared drunk in the middle to late afternoon, and the defence did not rebut it. While I can't judge from the record whether the appearance was due to alcohol or to medicine, I can see myself voting to convict him on that charge. (I'm assuming here that the standard of proof is "preponderance of the evidence", and not "beyond a reasonable doubt".) I would have a harder time justifying convicting him on the charge of releasing prisoners without proper authorization.

#164Enoch Carroll Brewster's trial for being drunk on duty was interestingly different from John Hamill's trial on the same charge. First, men from the 91st did not help Brewster's case at all, and sometimes seemed to go out of their way to hurt him (unlike Hamill). For example, when the Adjutant, Lieutenant Tayman, was asked whether he had seen Brewster sick, instead of saying "Yes", he replied (minimizing the illness) "Not since he was an officer except sometimes of lumbago." And when Lieutenant Shipley was asked if he was drunk, he did not merely reply "Yes", but said once "All I can say is that if I had seen a man in his condition if I had been on patrol I should have arrested him mighty sure. His actions were those of a drunken man and his breath smelt [sic] of liquor" and a second time "I think he was. If I had a private in my guard as drunk as he was I should put him in the Guard House". And Major Todd, when asked if he had seen Brewster intoxicated, answered "I have several times seen him under the influence of liquor but once only what I should call drunk". Major Todd (and no one else) acknowledged the possibility that Brewster's "looking stupefied" could have been caused by drugs (as the defence claimed)--but immediately added that it was "most likely [caused] by intoxicating liquors".(More next week.)
#163John Hamill (D) was cashiered because he was drunk while on duty, in charge of a picket detail. Three things struck me about his court martial record. First, he claims that he petitioned Lincoln to pardon him and restore him to service, and that Lincoln has "favorably indorsed" the request, but his assassination intervened before it was granted. We've already seen Alpheus Bowman successfully restored after having been cashiered; I wonder how frequently that happened. Second, Hamill claims that while Benjamin Tayman was serving as the Brigade's acting assistant adjutant general, he blocked an order releasing Hamill from arrest before he was court-martialed. Third, the prosecution presented two witnesses from the 91st to Hamill's drunkenness--one had recently transferred from the 62nd Pennsylvania, and the other was from a different company; I wonder whether they couldn't find anyone in his company to testify against him. Also, I haven't yet transcribed the consolidated morning report that reports his arrest, but it also reports four other arrests: sergeant [Samuel] Conrad (co.E, released 26 Oct), private [James] McLoon (co.A, apparently released 26/30 Oct), and two privates from company D whose names I haven't (yet) been able to read (apparently released 29 November). Perhaps their arrests are related to Hamill's.
#162In 71% of the cases I now have evidence about, someone (either the soldier or a dependent of his) applied for a pension. Occupation class at time of enlistment, and whether they became veterans are not significantly correlated with whether anyone applied for a pension. Whether the soldiers were volunteers, draftees, or substitutes was significantly correlated (p<.0005, Cramer's V = .12), but only explains about 1% of the difference.
#161(Note: I know very little about statistics; if you know that I'm using the wrong test or making other mistakes, please tell me!) Based on the evidence I have, volunteer status (p<.0005, Cramer's V=0.16), whether born in the US (p<.0005, Cramer's V 0.17), occupation class (p<.0005, Cramer's V 0.15), and veteran's status for volunteers (p<.0005, Cramer's V 0.15) are all significantly correlated with whether the soldier ever deserted--but each explains only about 2 or 3 percent of the difference between deserting and not deserting. (See the tables in the regimental statistics for details.) A higher percentage of volunteers deserted than substitutes or (especially!) draftees, a lower percentage of veterans deserted than non-veterans, and a higher percentage of foreign-born men deserted than men born in the US, and a lower percentage of semi-professionals and smaller proprietors deserted, and a higher percentage of manual laborers deserted.
#160Based on the limited information I have about pensions,
vet statussomeone applied a pensionsomeone received a pension
veteran74% (90/122)69% (84/122)
willing83% (5/6)83% (5/6)
ineligible69% (302/435)64% (277/435)
unwilling100% (16/16)100% (16/16)
unknown70% (54/77)60% (46/77)
The most striking fact is that someone applied for a pension in all 16 cases where the men were eligible to reenlist as veterans but unwilling to reenlist. (I know of 40 men who were unwilling to reenlist as veterans; it will be interesting to see whether anyone applied for a pension in the other 24 cases.)
#159At least nine members of the 91st Pennsylvania lived in Nebraska after the war: Charles Bournonville, Henry Ellwanger, Henry Francis, Adam Ickes, Edward Matchett, William Mock, Aaron Musselman, Alexander McDonald, Reuben Peel. (Perhaps I W Reice is another.) Peel was living in Nebraska in 1870, not long after it became a state in 1867.
#158The 91st Pennsylvania ended June with 46 men reported absent without leave, but by the end of July, they had none. 41 of them were dropped as deserters, from 3 July through 29 July. 5 men apparently returned (2 in company A, and 2 in company E, by 3 July, and another 1 in company I on 20 July). On 9 July, company F reduced their number of men absent without leave from 2 to 0, but they added 2 men absent with leave. I suspect they simply changed their status. (On 3 September [which I have not yet transcribed] William McClung is reported gained from desertion, and they report only one man absent with leave; starting 30 September [not yet transcribed] they report 0 men absent without leave, with no explanation.) Unfortunately, not all of the men dropped as deserters are named. But at least 20 of them were men who enlisted in 1864, and presumably never reported, while I know of only two who enlisted earlier: Samuel Wilson (B) (who enlisted in 1861, but seems not to have reenlisted as a veteran), and John Mootheart (B) (who did reenlist as a veteran).
#157Apparently, Edgar Gregory continued to be involved with freedmen after he stopped being Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau for Maryland in 1868. In 1870, he presented a report of the "Committee on Freedmen" to the Presbyterian General Assembly.
#156When the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was mustered out of service, men who weren't eligible for discharge were transferred to the 91st. 48 men were assigned to companies in the 91st by special order 65 of 21 July 1864. Now, 81 men transferred from the 62nd Pennsylvania were to be discharged on or before 20 August, according to a letter from Major Lentz), and on 20 July 1864 all men whose term expired before 25 August 1864 were ordered to report to Washington DC. However, I have just transcribed the consolidated morning report for 3 July 1864, which claims that 5 officers and 122 enlisted men were transferred to the 91st. Unfortunately, 48 (men assigned to the 91st) + 81 (men sent to Washington) is 129, not 125 <sigh>. Lieutenant Robert Martin was subsequently ordered to join the company at Washington, but I don't know how to resolve the remaining discrepancy. Perhaps the subsequent morning reports will help.
#155Contrast these two opinions, both written in Texas in 1866:

"I sometimes think that long after the oppressed race shall rise into rights, duties and capacities so haughtily denied the dominant class will not have overcome their contempt for the Negro. Its roots will even then exist and trouble the land."

"It will not be long before white men, prompted by selfish interest, will come boldly forth here as the champions of the colored man and battle for their civil rights at last, and those who do will be the most successful at planting, herding, or any other branch of business in which they employ freedmen."

Edgar Gregory wrote the first, in a letter to a grand jury foreman asking him to call out the troops; a New York Times reporter wrote the second, while accompanying Generals Steedman and Fullerton on an investigation of the Freedmen's Bureau.

#154Of the men who had a chance to reenlist as veterans (or to declare their willingness), 296 of 336 (88%) either reenlisted or said they were willing to reenlist when they were eligible. (Neither birth country nor pre-war occupation class seems to have made a difference to their willingness.)
#153A dog was so attached to Sergeant William H Brown (company C) that after he died in the battle of Fredericksburg, the dog stayed by him. When someone lifted Brown's coat off his face, to see whether he was still alive, the dog kissed his lips. The dog refused to leave Brown's body, and followed when the body was being carried toward a grove for burial.
#152I have at least tentative death dates for 228 of the 1831 men who did not die while serving in the regiment. Here are the deaths by decade:

1860's: 14 (6%)

1870's: 11 (5%)

1880's: 24 (11%)

1890's: 35 (15%)

1900's: 56 (25%)

1910's: 61 (27%)

1920's: 24 (11%)

1930's: 3 (1%)

Note two problems. First, some of the sources are unreliable; the pension index cards, for example, may record the date they were notified of the death, rather than the actual date of death. Second, this is not a random sample. The pension index cards, for example, include more deaths that occurred later on, because more men had pensions later on.
#151Based on the company A and company B pension index cards, draftees were far more likely than volunteers, and substitutes were less likely than volunteers, to have a pension application filed under their name:

89% of draftees (62 of 70)

53% of volunteers (173 of 325)

34% of substitutes (13 of 38)

#150Pre-war occupation affected whether men volunteered. Manual laborers were disproportionately substitutes; artisans and semi-skilled workers were disproportionately volunteers. (Semi-professionals and small proprietors were disproportionately drafted, probably because farmers were unlikely to voluntarily leave their farms.)
 %drafted% substitute% volunteer
semi-professional21%13%65%
artisans10%13%77%
service and semi-skilled4%17%79%
manual labor15%35%50%
#149Whether the soldier died while in the 91st Pennsylvania does not seem to affect whether anyone applied for, or succeeded in getting, a pension. Twenty (20) of the 204 men who served in company A died while they were in the regiment. 65% of them had people apply for pensions, and 64% of the men who did not die had people apply for pensions. 60% of the applications relating to men who died in the regiment had someone succeed, while 57% of the application relating to men who did not die succeed.
#148In company A, a higher percentage of men whose pre-war occupation was small proprietor and semi-professional (72%) or artisan (68%) has someone apply for pensions than those whose pre-war occupation was semi-skilled laborer (50%) or manual laborer (52%). In most cases, someone succeeded (ranging from 86% for artisans to 100% for semi-skilled laborers).
#147I have the "pension index by regiment" cards for company A. While they are probably not complete, they give us at least a rough idea of who applied for pensions. 130 pension applications were filed for the 204 men who served in company A (64%). 116 of them were successful (89%). 100 soldiers (49%) applied for a pension, 87 (87%) of them successfully. 74 (36%) of their widows applied, 57 (77%) successfully. (Only 2 contesting widows applied for pensions; neither were successful.)
#146According to the best numbers I have, 9% (187 of 2018) of the men who served in the 91st Pennsylvania died while in the regiment. At least 60% of those men died of battle wounds, and 26% of illness (with typhoid fever the leading cause of death). 16% of the men who reenlisted as veteran volunteers died (at least partly, no doubt, because of the longer time they served). (Even these numbers are uncertain--see 'Number of deaths' for some problems.)
#145Of the 1309 people whose pre-war occupation class I know, 218 (17%) deserted at some point. But the desertions were not evenly split among the classes: 24% of the manual laborers deserted, but only 15% of the artisans, and only 11% of the semi-professionals and smaller proprieters deserted. The correct explanation for this disparity isn't obvious. Perhaps wealthier people who didn't want to serve were more able to avoid serving (because they could more easily afford substitutes). (Of the volunteers, only 14% were manual laborers; 19% of the draftees, and an amazing 43% of the substitutes, were manual laborers.) Or perhaps manual laborers would find it easier to avoid detection, since they weren't as tied to equipment or unusual occupations. (I need to study statistics to be able to tease out which factors are most important--but I don't expect to do that soon!)
#144The mean age at first enlistment was 27.4 years (median 25), but more men were 18 than any other age. (This may be misleading; men who were less than 18 may have pretended to be 18 so that they were old enough to enlist.) On average, substitutes were younger, and drafted men were older, than volunteers--the mean age of substitutes was 24.9 years old (median 23), while the mean age of volunteers was 27.5 (median 25), and of draftees 29.5 years (median 29). (See the statistics.)
#143I have finished adding men to the database of men in the regiment (but have not yet finished proofreading). According to my best current numbers, 2018 men served in the 91st Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, that number is not definite--for example, see fact 129 for four pairs of possibly duplicated men. Also, whether some men should be included is unclear--I have excluded the eight men who were mistakenly entered on the 91st's muster roll instead of the 90th Pennsylvania's, and also Thomas Kelly, who was transferred as a first lieutenant from the 118th Pennsylvania, but was mustered out effective the date of the 118th's muster out since the 91st had no vacancies for a first lieutenant. However, I have included Jacob Appel, who was officially transferred with the men from the 62nd Pennsylvania--but had already died in Andersonville Prison, about two months before the transfer.
#142I'm nearing the end of the company K descriptive book, which will let me produce statistics covering the entire regiment. Here's an illustration why you shouldn't trust the statistics too far--the third company K descriptive book (of four!) lists an "Albert Learney". Neither Bates' History of Pennsylvania volunteers nor the Pennsylvania Archives Civil War Veterans' Card File lists an Albert Learney. As far as I can tell, "Albert Learney" is really Leroy Abbott! My best guess is that the person who wrote the entry in the descriptive book simply misread it <sigh>. I wish I could think I've caught all the mistakes in the records--but I'm confident I haven't (and also that I've introduced some myself).
#141A company K register of deserters gives probable locations for five of the ten deserters it lists, none of whom were returned to the regiment. They are scattered around the Northeastern United States: Boston Massachusetts, New York, New York New York, Williamsport Pennsylvania, and St John.
#140During the battle of Cold Harbor, when the Army of the Potomac was badly mauled, the 91st was in the Army's rear and played no role in the attack. They were far enough removed from the battle that Thomas Walter and others even swam in a mill dam! (He mentions this shortly after describing veterans' uncanny ability to predict what was going to happen based on miniscule clues recruits had no idea how to interpret.)
#139Alpheus Bowman, who was thrown out of the army three times while in the 91st Pennsylvania, and joined the regular army after the war, was promoted to Brigadier General and retired as part of at attempt to remove older officers. While retired, he and his wife attended at least two receptions at the White House. Unfortunately, I don't know what he thought about his early problems in the army. Were they an embarassment that he tried to forget, or an experience he valued? Did his courtmartial affect his decisions on courtmartials?
#138Adam Ickes (I) moved to Nebraska in the 1880's, and became County Treasurer of Cheyenne County. A local bank closed while he had county funds in it, and he "went broke trying to make good the county losses, turning over all his private funds and property in an effort to save his bondsmen". He moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and worked as an insurance agent, dying in 1917.
#137On 30 November 1863, the 91st (along with the rest of the Fifth Corps) was spared what would probably have been yet another futile and bloody attack on an entrenched Confederate position. They were supposed to attack (with the Sixth Corps) at 9 am. The Confederates had a strong line of breastworks, with trees slashed in front of it, and the soldiers did not believe they had a chance of taking it. In his report, Sykes (the corps commander) agrees that the probability of success was very low. The weather was exceptionally cold; some men in the Pennsylvania Reserves were reported to have frozen to death from exposure to the cold.
#136I have read that the Army sometimes sent deserters to different regiments, but found that ineffective. A note in the Company H descriptive roll suggests that William Watson (H) may have been transferred from the 91st to a different regiment because he had deserted. At least five men transferred to the 91st from other regiments, and at least two (Alvin Clark and Newton Wallace) eventually transferred back to "their own" regiments. Perhaps some of them were transferred as deserters. Finally, a letter refers to someone who was assigned to the 91st "as a deserter from the draft" (but had actually deserted from a Cavalry Regiment).
#135Thomas Walter reports that during the Battle of the Wilderness his guards were so exhausted that they couldn't remain awake, and by 1.30 AM he was no better. An officer woke him about 2.30, and had the guards removed. Fortunately for them, the officer did not charge them with sleeping while on guard duty--article 46 of the Articles of War made sleeping on guard a capital offense. When William Reiff and another man had had similar problems staying awake during the Battle of Gettysburg, an understanding Officer of the Guard relieved them long enough to get several hours sleep, after which they were able to stay awake until morning.
#134Just before the Second Battle of Bull Run, the 91st Pennsylvania was transferred from the Military District of Washington to the Army of the Potomac's Fifth Corps (on 21 August 1862). Their first duty was to escort a wagon train, with eighty-seven wagons, to Fairfax Court House. Their inexperience showed. The advance guard (company A) marched so far ahead that they lost contact with the rest of the regiment. Thomas Walter reports that they "spent an hour in loitering about and getting breakfast" at a bridge, and could easily have been captured by a squadron of cavalry from the nearby Confederate army. And William Reiff played a practical joke on someone during the same escort duty.
#133George Black was less than twelve years old when he enlisted in company H, along with his father, first lieutenant George Black. He insisted on staying as close as possible to his father, even during battles. And according to William Reiff, Black "prevented a stampede of our forces by placing his horse midway of the road and firing shot after shot into the head of the retreating column". (See Reiff's 'A boy hero: a young drummer made of the right kind of stuff'.)
#132A recruiting poster (which an auction catalog on the web refers to) provides some evidence about the regiment Edward Wallace was recruiting, which was eventually merged with Edgar Gregory's to form the 91st. This poster invites men to the Morse Literary Institute, at Frankford Road and York Street (in Northeast Philadelphia), to join a regiment of "Sharp Shooters". Charles Brown was captain of company K; he eventually became captain of company H of the 91st.
#131The person who kept Company H's records did not like John Wood. Although he was discharged for disability, the company H register of men discharged claims that the discharge was "supposed to be on account of his cowardly reputation". And the company H descriptive roll claims that he "was a government loafer and ought to have been court martialed and shot for cowardice long ago". Of course, I do not know whether those claims were true.
#130Sometimes people's occupations changed significantly after the war. For example, Jacob Bender (G) was a farmer when he was enlisted, and became a dentist after the war. And George Kulp (E), who was a whipmaker when he was enlisted, became a preacher after the war.
#129At least five people seem to have reenlisted in the 91st Pennsylvania after being discharged. Henry Abbott (G), John A Beaver (F, D, A), James A Clark (E), and Henry Clothier (B) reenlisted after having been discharged on surgeon's certificate. Alpheus Bowman (B) reenlisted after being discharged by sentence of general court martial. Perhaps William Spangler also enlisted twice: a William Spangler served in company G from 9 September 1861 until he was discharged on surgeon's certificate on 17 April 1863, and a William Spangler was appointed Captain of company G "from Civil Life", and served from 17 March 1865 until the regiment mustered out on 10 July 1865. Their being the same person might help explain why a commissioned officer was appointed "from Civil Life" instead of from within the regiment, as usually happened that late in the war. Perhaps Stephen Godfrey (A, 1865) and Stephen Godfrey (A, 1861-1864) are the same person [note: yes, they are], as Winchester Myers (H, 1861-4), Winchester Myers (H, 1861), and Peter Weaver (G) and Peter Weaver (K) may be.
#128John Ackerman (company G) was discharged on 10 December 1861, one day after he enlisted. The company descriptive book explains that he was discharged "on account of being intoxicated when he enlisted in the regiment"!
#127Reduction to the ranks (that is, demotion to private) was usually a punishment, for example, for disobeying orders, or being absent without leave. Francis Higgins (G), however, was reduced to ranks "of [his] own accord". Unfortunately, we don't know why he wanted to be a private.
#126In July 1863, while the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was moving toward Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Militia was called out. The untrained troops could not have stopped the Confederates, of course. But at least one former member of the 91st served with them, Thomas McGronan, who served in the 59th Pennsylvania Militia from 3 July 1863 until 18 [?] August 1863.
#125Besides founding the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the US, Peter Keyser was a physician, graduating from Jena University. He wrote several books about ophthalmology, and even wrote one about sewage systems in Europe! Unfortunately, Philadelphia's corrupt government was better at enriching contractors and padding payrolls than at solving water problems. Philadelphia had a higher death rate from typhoid fever than any other major city, and everyone bought spring water if they could. (About Philadelphia's water problems around the turn of the century, see Nathanial Burt and Wallace E Davies, "The iron age: 1876-1905", in Philadelphia: a 300-year history ed. Russell F Weigley (New York: WW Norton, 1982), pages 471-523 at page 496.)
#124At least 23 men who had served in the 91st Pennsylvania were living in the National Home, Southern Branch (in Elizabeth City County, Virginia), in 1890.
#123Of the 637 men whose occupations I have been able to classify, 19 (3%) were higher-level professionals and proprietors, 172 (27%) were lower-level professionals and proprietors, 215 (34%) were artisans, 53 (8%) were service, semi-skilled, and operative workers, 175 (28%) were manual workers, and 3 (<.5%) were not in the work force. See occupation classes for more details (including problems!).
#122Peter Keyser, captain of company D, was one of the founders of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
#121In 1890, the 91st's first chaplain, Joseph Welsh, reported that he had experienced a "[g]eneral breaking up of [his] system", from which he had never recovered.
#120I have added revised statistics, including about half the regiment (men who served in company A through E or Field & Staff). Here are a few highlights. The mean reported age at enlistment was 27.5 years (but almost one-tenth of the men reported that they were 18). About 40% (324) of the men whose birthplace we know were born in Philadelphia, and 70% (545) were born in the United States. 123 of them were laborers (18% of those for whom I have an occupation), and 58 were farmers (9%). The mean height was 67 inches. The most frequest description was blue eyes, light hair, and light complexion, but the most frequent hair color and complexion were dark. The most common first names were 'John' (179 men, 17%) and 'William' (144, 14%). Of those 1065 men, I know of 24 men who were court martialed (2%), 162 who deserted (15%), 121 who died while they were in the regiment (11%), 216 who were wounded (20%), and 191 who reenlisted as veteran volunteers (18%). The mean time they were officially in the regiment was 582 days (median 478 days); the longest was 1552 days. A little more than three-quarters were volunteers; the others were roughly evenly split between substitutes and draftees.
#119After the main campaigns of 1864, the regiment twice was forced to move after setting up winter quarters. After the second time, Thomas Walter found them in mid-December "in a patch of stumps, with only their shelter tents for houses". This time they were permitted to stay until 6 February 1865.
#118Just before the beginning of the 1864 campaign, on 3 May 1864, the regiment had 13 commissioned officers and 389 enlisted men present for duty, with a total of 54 men absent sick, and 23 commissioned officers and 580 enlisted men in the regiment. Less than two months later, on 29 June 1864, after the Battles of the Wilderness, Laurel Hill, Spottsylvania Court House, North Anna River, Pamunkey River, Totopotomy, Cold Harbor, and the initial battles at Petersburg, the regiment had 12 commissioned officers and 202 enlisted men present for duty, with 208 men absent sick, and a total of 23 commissioned officers and 517 enlisted men in the regiment.
#117Liberal interpretations of orders were not always successful. During the Battle of Gettysburg, Lieutenant-Colonel Sinex gave Alpheus Bowman and Morris Kayser permission to go to the regiment's rear because of medical problems. Kayser eventually went to Washington DC, and Bowman to Philadelphia, for medical treatment. Kayser was court-martialed for that and other offences, and found guilty but given only a slap in the wrist, while Bowman was eventually honorably discharged for "disability and absence without leave".
#116Soldiers sometimes successfully interpreted orders very liberally. For example, Thomas Walter (A) was injured in the Battle of Gettysburg. He went to the Corps Hospital, and was eventually ordered to go to a regular hospital. But because his mother was working in a government hospital in Baltimore, he left the train and spent two weeks there. Surprisingly, he was then able to get an order from the provost-marshal of Baltimore to go to a hospital in Philadelphia. But since he "had not much of an inclination of becoming a hospital patient", he went to Cape May after visiting Philadelphia! In the six weeks he was away from the regiment, no surgeon ever saw his foot. (See his 'Personal recollections and experiences of an obscure soldier')
#115In addition to the Pioneer Corps, I have seen one reference to a "Pontoon Corps", responsible for laying pontoon bridges. According to an anonymous account, two of them were injured while laying a bridge across the Chickahominy, on 13 June 1864.
#114Montgomery Burr (D), William McGlency (D), and Wilfred Bywater (K) were on a ten-day furlough on 27 April 1864. Perhaps they received it because they had reenlisted as veteran volunteers on 26 March 1864, after the regiment had returned from the furlough they received for reenlisting. However, I have not (yet!) found furloughs for Joseph Everhart (C), Alexander Baird (E), or John Parks (E), who reenlisted on the same day.
#113The regiment had to provide pioneers both for their own use and for the Brigade Pioneer Corps. On 15 April 1864, the regimental pioneer corps included 7 men, though that may have involved reducing the number then assigned. In a circular dated 15 August 1863, Sinex summarized the duties of the Regimental Pioneer Corps, focusing on their duties in camp. Those who weren't detailed (presumably in the Brigade Pioneer Corps) were used for digging latrines, loading wagons, and other purposes relating to "the general good of the camp". One-half of them had axes, one-third shovels or spades, and one-sixth picks.
#112Keeping men present with the regiment could be difficult. On 7 March 1864, six months after asking for the return of 78 men sick or on detached service, Sinex asked for the return of another 43 men on detached service. Eleven returned on 16 or 17 April. But two of those men (George Stewart (C) and John Griffith (E)) were detailed as mounted messengers at Corps Headquarters just two days later!
#111While the regiment was quartered in Alexandria, Virginia, Thomas Walter and other members of company A visited several nearby churches after roll-call--not to attend services, but to sleep! A Methodist Church was cooler and had fewer mosquitoes than their quarters. And the gallery around the cupola of a Presbyterian church was even better: "If there was any breeze we were sure to get it, and we were too high for the blood-sucking insects. We felt, on those occasions, that though we were quite young, we were occupying very high positions in the military service of our country, and that our religious elevation was far above the average height of other soldiers"! (Grand Army Scout and Soldiers' Mail, volume 3, number 35, page 2)
#110Non-battle injuries could also be debilitating. For example, Samuel Mock's back was hurt on 1 November 1864, when he was knocked down while helping carry a log to build quarters. A month later, he was barely able to walk, and unable to carry anything but a blanket. (He was apparently not excused from duty, however. And he was charged $23.25 for his lost gun and accoutrements.)
#109After the Battle of Antietam, William Reiff (H) had to rush to return to the regiment when he heard taps. He ran through a cornfield, but fell into a pile of amputated limbs ('His worst scare').
#108Thomas Walter went foraging for meat only once, when they killed and ate a hog, "after firing enough bullets at it to bring down a grizzly bear". He mentions foraging for fruit more frequently. They ate cherries at Mount Vernon. They were not allowed to forage for fruit on the way to Antietam. After crossing the North Anna, in May 1864, some other people foraged for a chicken, which they were sharing with Walter, but were interrupted by an attack. They did receive a peach once, "and though the fruit was not extra good, it was an extraordinary article of army supply". The company did some foraging just before reaching Appomattox Court House, but Walter doesn't say what they found.
#107On 2 June 1864, the regiment wasn't notified when many soldiers were withdrawn from the front line; the 91st escaped, but many men in their brigade were captured. Perhaps this is why so many men from the 118th Pennsylvania were taken captive: "at Bethesda Church, four wounded, and eighty-six taken prisoner while on the skirmish line, Captain Kelly and Lieutenant Crossley being of the number" (Bates v.3 p.1314). At least 9 of them were transferred to the 91st Pennsylvania when the 118th was mustered out.
#106During June 1863, as they were following the Confederate Army north (eventually to fight at Gettysburg), the army marched seventeen hours a day, and had little food: 'The little fresh meat that we got seemed scarcely fit to eat, and this, with coffee and crackers, was our diet' (Thomas Walter, 'Personal recollections').
#105Thomas Walter remembered Christmas 1864 as not particularly festive. They had little wood and water, but did have some coffee, bread, and mackerel for breakfast. Dinner, on the other hand, consisted of "that celebrated army staple, bean soup". He heard then that the regiment had received some extra food for Thanksgiving Day (when he was in the National General Hospital in Baltimore), including several mince pies, which one person described as "principally made up of the sweepings of a cobbler shop".
#104On 3 May 1863, during the battle of Chancellorsville, the regiment had to retreat quickly because they were outflanked. Thomas Walter (A) claimed he noticed the "strong column" of Confederates on their right, and told the men to leave. When Lieutenant Colonel Sinex "begged [the men] not to run", Walter had to run to show him the situation! Sinex's horse was killed as he tried to escape. (The brigade and division commanders' reports present the withdrawal as far more orderly, due to the brigade's running out of ammunition.)
#103Apparently, not all the original members of the regiment joined in Philadelphia: John Blazo (D) enlisted on 19 October 1861 at Portsmouth, Virginia, John Bergner (D) enlisted on 19 August 1861 at Baltimore, Maryland, and Elisha Skipper (D) enlisted on 14 May 1861 (!) at Baltimore, Maryland. However, this information comes from the Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, which is an excellent source, but only a secondary source (compiled from the original information), and so may well be wrong.
#102Colonel Gregory issued an order on 16 February 1864, transferring twelve men from company A to various companies. This had puzzled me, because all the companies were short men, and he could have adjusted company sizes by assignment new recruits appropriately. The company D register of men transferred may suggest the explanation, by noting that two men were transferred because of "Reenlisting at a detachment [?] in Co A Vols [?]". Apparently, then, some men who were absent on detached service when the regiment reenlisted on 26 December 1863 were mistakenly mustered in company A when they were mustered in on 1 January 64!
#101James Diehl (D) was commissioned captain on 16 December 1863, but refused the commission. His refusal was accepted, unlike that of Thomas Walter (A), whom Edgar Gregory ordered to accept a commission as first lieutenant (see fact #54 and Walter, 'Personal recollections', court-martial record). Perhaps it's relevant that Diehl spent most of his time in the army as an aide to Brigadier General Erastus Tyler.
#100Thomas Walter (A) was one of the color (that is, flag) bearers. He reports that he did not like it, not "because they increased my chances of being shot, but because they kept so close to the ranks. The color-sergeants and color-guard had to be first in line when the regiments was found, and were last to get away when the command was dismissed. We had no chance to do any foraging on the march, neither could we feel as free when off duty in camp" ('Personal recollections').
#99John Tinney (C), who was a telegraph operator before the war, was discharged so that he could join the US Military Telegraph Bureau, which was a civilian bureau working under the Quartermaster's Corps (another case of the army bureaucracy operating rationally!).
#98Standard equipment for Union infantry weighed about forty to fifty pounds. It included a haversack (for food), a cartridge box (with forty rounds), a bayonet and scabbard, a cap box, a rubber blanket, a woolen blanket, a canteen, and a knapsack (which included a "housewife" [mending kit], mess equipment, underclothing, and personal items). They also had to carry half a shelter tent. [Bell Irvin Wiley, The life of Billy Yank, pages 56, 64.]
#97Thomas Walter talked people in company A out of joining to send home the bodies of anyone who died in the service--probably in conjunction with Gustavus Bernstein's death in April 1862. Company C may have decided to do that--for example, John Harkinson's body was sent to his parents when he died on 11 May 1862, and the company C death register records other instances in which a soldier's body was sent home for burial. [later note: see letter notifying Susan Brown of William Brown's death]
#96Two months after he enlisted in March 1864, Andrew J Hill was admitted to hospital. He must have requested a discharge because of disability, since Lieutenant Colonel Lentz wrote a letter claiming that "a recruit passing through the campaign of the last 90 days without any serious results can stand the fatigue of any duty in which [sic] he may be called upon to perform as musician". Despite Lentz's letter, he was discharged in August 1864, by special order, apparently because he furnished a substitute--five months after enlisting! (See the register of men discharged and the [second] descriptive roll.)
#95At least 3 men seem to have reenlisted after having been discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability: Henry Clothier, discharged on 2 September 1863, reenlisted on 21 January 1864; James A Clark, discharged on 21 August 1863, reenlisted on 4 February 1864; and John A Beaver, discharged on 3 February 1863, reenlisted as a veteran on 27 January 1864. (George Marker also did this, while he was in the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry.)
#94Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Sinex was a representative in the Pennsylvania legislature for one term, in 1883.
#93George S Oldmixon was part of the International Polar Expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska, from October 1881 to October 1883. He may be the George Oldmixon who was assistant surgeon of the 91st Pennsylvania from May 1864 to March 1865. He didn't have much medical work to do at Point Barrow; according to Patrick Ray's report, no one was ever on the sick report!
#92Robert Boyd was promoted five times--but also was demoted twice! He lasted as corporal almost eight months (23 November 1861-16 July 1862), then first sergeant (after having been promoted to sergeant) almost five months (1 January 1863 to 31 May 1863), and spent the last six months of service as commissary sergeant (after again having been promoted to sergeant).
#91In Company A, the average age at enlistment was 24.9 years. The median was 22 years, and more men (28) were 19 than any other age.
#90At least one man who served in the 91st, James Henesey, had served in the Confederate Army! (He served only briefly in the 91st; he was transferred from the 118th Pennsylvania when the 118th PA mustered out, on 1 June 1865.)
#89Of the twelve men transferred from company G to company A (probably all in December 1861), eight had left the regiment by the end of 1862: five by surgeon's certificate of disability (Joshua Johnston, Joseph Graham, William Cook, John Cook, William Weaver), one by desertion (John Solomon), one by dying of exposure in Alexandria (Thomas Aitken), and one because he was underage (Benjamin Andrews). Perhaps the company G commander deliberately transferred men who were weak or sick. (The other men were William Beaver, James Simpson, Joseph Andrews, and Robert Simpson.)
#88I have the muster-in date, and the date of leaving the regiment, for 197 men in company E. The longest time anyone spent in the regiment was 1531 days; the shortest was 28 days. The mean was 613 days, and the median was 513 days. The mode was surprisingly high: 10 men were in the regiment for 1421 days.
#87More than one-half of the men in company E were mustered into service on either Tuesday or Wednesday: Tuesday 54, Wednesday 54, Friday 29, Monday 27, Thursday 20, Saturday 13, Sunday 2, and unknown 1.
#86The six most common first names in company E, which account for more than half the men in the company, were John (34 men), William (22 men), James (19 men), Joseph (13 men), George (12 men), and Thomas (12 men).
#85I've noted bureaucratic problems in the past (see #34 and #7). So it's only fair to note that the army sometimes did things that at least seem to make sense! Philip Elberti (A) was promoted to regimental hospital attendant, and apparently eventually joined the regular army as a hospital attendant, which fits very nicely with his pre-war career of pharmacist.
#84Of the fifteen initial non-commissioned officers in company A, six (40%) were reduced to the ranks.
#83Pension law developed broadly in three stages (with many revisions!). First, soldiers who were disabled, and dependents of soldiers who died, as a result of service-related wounds or illnesses were eligible for pensions beginning in 1861 (act of 22 July 1861, section 6; act of 14 July 1862). Second, soldiers who were disabled for any reason except "their own vicious habits", and dependents of deceased soldiers, were eligible for pensions beginning in 1890 (act of 27 June 1890). Finally, all soldiers who had reached a certain age were eligible for pensions beginning in 1904 (executive order for old age pension (1904), acts of 6 February 1907 and of 11 May 1912).
#82On 9 July 1863, just days after the Battle of Gettysburg, the new Brigade Commander, General Garrard, ordered men who were missing dropped from the rolls. His order was premature: of the eleven men dropped in company A, two were transferred to the Veterans' Reserve Corps, six returned to the regiment (with at least one court-martial), and two I know nothing more about. On 8 September 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Sinex claimed that the other man, George Kitchenman, was working in a dye house in Philadelphia--but at least the published list in Bates simply records him as having been dropped from the rolls on 8 July 1863. Perhaps Garrard's hasty order prevented his being labelled a deserter.
#81Of the first 100 men recorded in the company C descriptive roll, 38 had scars, and 7 had tattoos (see #1, 17, 21, 27, 50, 68, and 88 for the tattoos). (The descriptive rolls seems to stop reporting identifying marks after entry 102, and none are recorded in the company A, B, D, or E descriptive lists.)
#80Thomas Walter reports that while the regiment was in Alexandria, Virginia, company A "was quartered in a nice three-story brick house on Washington street near King". They hung a flag over the pavement, and many Alexandrians showed their feelings by going out of their way to avoid walking under it!
#79On 2 July 1863, at Gettysburg, Captain Matthew Hall, of company E, was wounded, while the regiment was on the far right of the Union line. They were withdrawn from that position after about an hour, because Meade thought the Union position was too extended (beyond the Confederate line). According to Thomas Walter, "Everything seemed to be quiet at that time and we saw no indication of a foe being near, except that the captain of company E was severely wounded by a mysterious bullet that came among us".
#78Edward Wood (A) was initially unwilling to reenlist as a veteran volunteer, and was even transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania when the regiment was about to leave for their veterans' leave, on 2 January 1864. But he seems to have changed his mind at the last minute--he was transferred back on the next day, and reenlisted.
#77In "fact" #42, I gave the wrong explanation of discharges on habeas corpus petitions. The three men in company A who were discharged by habeas corpus petitions were discharged because they were minors.
#76Five of the men who enlisted in the 91st PA as substitutes on 29 March 1865 deserted on the same day. According to the 118th PA's regimental history (describing an execution of some deserters), losing a third of substitutes before they reached the regiment was not unusual.
#75The 91st witnessed at least two executions. On 29 August 1863, five bounty-jumpers from the 118th Pennsylvania were executed; the 118th's regimental history has a detailed description. Another soldier was executed on 18 December 1863.
#74Edgar Gregory spoke at a Fourth of July meeting in 1865 in Washington DC, to the Colored People's Educational Monument Association. The other speakers were noted abolitionists William Howard Day, John Pierpont, Henry Wilson, and George Hahn.
#73When the regiment returned from veterans' leave, 205 enlisted men (53%) were absent without leave when the regiment was first at Chester Pennsylvania. The number dropped for several days, as men returned, but then started increasing as men went absent without leave to visit Philadelphia. At its worst, on 27 February, 221 enlisted men (54%) and 5 commissioned officers were AWOL! When the regiment arrived with the Army, more than one-third of the enlisted men, and one officer, were AWOL.
#72The consolidated morning report for 26 February 1864 claims that Joseph Webb, of company E, was transferred to the 71st Pennsylvania "being a drafted man". This suggests that the 91st was accepting only volunteers then. That had changed by 14 October 1864, when the regiment received 100 drafted men, according to Bates.
#71Captain Horace Faust (D) died on 18 December 1863, two days after he was discharged because of disability. On 24 December, the Fifth Corps revoked his discharge. However, they did not revoke the discharge of Private William Roberts (H), who was discharged because of disability on 20 November 1863, but died of battle wounds on 20 December 1863.
#70The first regiments formed in the Civil War enlisted for only three months. Because the 91st did not start forming until fall 1861, these regiments had already been mustered out. At least 29 men served in the Army, and 1 man served in the Navy, before they joined the 91st. Edward Wallace had served in the "Old Wars" (that is, wars between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars).
#69The 91st did not play a crucial role in the Battle of Gettysburg, but they should have. General Warren, the Army's Chief Engineer, noticed that Little Round Top was undefended, and realizing that its loss would allow the Confederate Army to control the Union Army, General Sykes (commanding the Fifth Corps) agreed to send Weed's Third Brigade (including the 91st) there. But General Sickles (commanding the Third Corps) intercepted them and ordered them to support his troops. General Warren managed to divert one regiment (the 140th New York), and when General Sykes learned what had happened, he immediately ordered the other regiments back to Little Round Top. Before they arrived, the 140th New York had driven back the Confederate attack. Little Round Top continued under attack from sharpshooters, but didn't again face fighting as heavy.
#68Joseph Gilbert was court-martialed on 28 March 1865, because he refused to obey an order and was disrespectful to Eli Sellers. Gilbert's cross-examination of Sellers was inept, and he presented no defense. Fortunately for him, the Court returned after it had started deliberating, and determined that he was placed under arrest before he had a chance to obey the order. He was found guilty of disrespectful behavior, but not guilty of disobeying an order, and was sentenced to lose just one months' pay and allowances.
#67Probably about 60% of the men applied for pensions, and about 90% of them received a pension.
#66According to Thomas Walter, the corporal and sentinel who had been involved in shooting Jesse Wharton were released after Major Todd took a petition to President Lincoln. I have not been able to confirm or disprove this.
#65Walter claims that the regiment was "too proud to go for" things supplied by the Christian Commission or to "show anything like fraternity with the sanctimonious", but felt much more positively about the Sanitary Commission.
#64Jesse Wharton, the prisoner killed by the 91st at the Old Capitol Prison, joined the US Army in 1855, and was part of the second Utah expedition in 1858. He resigned in 1859, probably to avoid being court-martialed, and then spent two years mining in the Nevada Territory.
#63Walter describes the regiment's reaction to news of Lincoln's assassination as muted: "[S]everal of the men expressed their feelings and hopes that the direst vengeance might be meted out to his slayer. Much more was felt than was said, as the hardships of war had developed in many of the veterans a spirit of stoicism that tended to restrain any exuberance of expression under trying circumstances."
#62Alpheus Bowman, Captain of company B, and his first lieutenant, Morris Kayser, despised each other. Kayser provoked Bowman into attacking him in July 1862, for which Bowman was dismissed from the army. However, he was reinstated (and reinstated a second time after being dismissed by order of President Lincoln for being in Washington DC without proper authority), and served until being honorably discharged in September 1863.
#61While in Washington, one of the 91st's duties was to guard the Old Capitol Prison. The New York Times actually described the prison as "altogether a pleasant and desirable place for a country residence, [which] affords our deluded friends a healthy Summer resort"! I suspect the prisoners disagreed.
#60Jesse Wharton, the prisoner killed by the 91st at the Old Capitol Prison, was a boyhood friend of John Wilkes Booth--they went to school together, and Wharton visited Booth's house at least once.
#59The 91st had two chaplains: Joseph Welch (4 Dec 1862 [or 1861?]-19 Jan 1863) and Alem Brittain (1 Mar-28 July 1864). In September 1889, Welch delivered an address when a monument was dedicated to the 91st PA at Gettysburg.
#58One of the minor hazards faced by new recruits joining a veteran regiment was having veterans stepping on their heels, because the veterans started immediately when they heard the command "march", and the recruits didn't. (see Thomas Walter in Grand Army Scout and Soldiers' Mail volume 3 number 44 page 2)
#57Pay rolls were called "muster rolls", and being added to the pay roll was called being "mustered in". When company E was first mustered in, the men joked that they were going to be peppered afterwards! [James Cartledge, Touching recollections of a brother ...]
#56Of the 1002 original members (men who joined the regiment before the end of training), 258 were discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability, 156 deserted, 128 were mustered out with the regiment, and 88 died.
#55In May 1864, the men were ordered to build a breastwork in an exposed position. When some suggested retreating to a defensible ravine if necessary, an officer threatened to shoot anyone who tried. Walter describes the reaction: "He was quickly informed that when it came to that sort of a game there was a good many more about beside him that could take a hand, and he subsided, for, however courageous and pig-headed an officer might be, he could not help realizing that, in such a campaign as we were going through, he lived by the suffrance of his men. Fighting in the woods, and the picket-lines at night, gave men a chance to get rid of obnoxious officers with little risk to themselves."
#54By the end of 1864, Thomas Walter was ill and considered himself unable to continue in the army. Unfortunately, the physicians did not agree, and receiving a discharge because of disability was then almost impossible. He refused to accept a commission as first lieutenant, until Colonel Gregory ordered him to accept it. He then refused to go on picket, and was was court martialed on 12 January 1865, found guilty, and discharged. [(Walter, 'Personal recollections', court-martial record]
#53Benjamin Tayman was appointed Major in the 7th United States Volunteers on 26 June 1865, but he was discharged by special order 647 (War Department, Adjutant General's Office), on 20 December 1865, because he did not pass the required examination.
#52According to the best numbers I now have, there were five months in which at least 10 men in the 91st Pennsylvania died: June 1864 (27), May 1864 (23), May 1863 (18), December 1862 (15), and October 1864 (11).
#51When the veterans went on leave, 68 men were temporarily transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania. 30 were willing to reenlist but not yet eligible, because they had too long to serve, and 38 were not willing to reenlist. Of those 68 men, 30 were discharged when their term expired, 6 were discharged because of disability, 7 died, 2 transferred to the Navy, 5 were discharged by special order, 16 were discharged by general order, and 2 were absent when regiment mustered out.
#5039 enlisted men received a commission. They were 45% of the 87 commissioned officers who served in the 91st PA. The first was Enoch Brewster, who was promoted to Second Lieutenant of company F on 8 May 1862.
#49Edgar Gregory wasn't the only member of the 91st to serve in the Freedmen's Bureau after the war. Alpheus Bowman (formerly Captain of company B of the 91st PA) was assigned to the Freedmen's Bureau in October 1865, while he was serving in the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. Since he was mustered out on 9 November 1865, he (like most other officers) cannot have served in it for very long.
#48Some criticisms of Edgar Gregory's actions in the Freedmen's Bureau actually portray him very favorably. For example, after a Mrs Sims spoke sharply to her former slave Mahala, he "insulted" her by insisting she treat Mahala with respect--"Madame, I demand of you in the name and by the authority of the United States Government, that you show all due respect to its citizens, whether they be white or black!".
#47Three men died by drowning--one in 1861 and two in 1862 (both in Alexandria, Virginia), presumably in the Potomac River. Interestingly, no one is listed as dying of drowning after that.
#46Lieutenant Colonel Sinex described Franklin Clough as 'a notorious "shirk"; he artfully finds it convenient to be absent when wanted, but manages to leave by some authority"'.
#45On 7 May 1864, army pack mules stampeded. Thomas Walter claimed "they shot by like some sweeping and irresistible engine of vengeance". Robert Chism, the Color Sergeant, was badly trampled, and died after one of his legs was amputated. (see Walter's and Bates' descriptions)
#44After the war was over, Stephen Kelly (E) was surprised to find his own grave at the Gettysburg National Cemetery! He visited it regularly. He wanted to be buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, but was not. (Thanks to Chris Buckingham for this information!)
#43Sutlers were civilians who sold goods to the men. I know the names of two sutlers who served the 91st--F Klim, and William B Robertson (at least April to November 1864).
#42Twenty one men who joined the 91st were discharged on writ of habeas corpus--the army was used to men trying to escape legal problems by joining! [NO: see fact 77]
#41After the war, Edgar Gregory was fired twice on President Andrew Johnson's orders--once for favoring blacks as Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, in charge of Texas, and a second time as Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, in charge of Maryland.
#40Seventy four men were reported killed, wounded, or missing in the Battle of Chancellorsville, which is 22% of the 329 men present for duty before the battle. Sixteen died, and at least three were captured; the others were wounded or temporarily missing.
#39Men from the regiment frequently visited the unfinished Capitol while they were stationed in Washington. Once Thomas Walter even climbed out a window and up a loose ladder to a frail scaffold at the very top of the unfinished dome, where he had a great view of Washington! (Walter's description)
#38After the war, Colonel Edgar Gregory was appointed Brevet Major General because of 'gallant conduct in the battle of Five Forks, Va. Apr 1, 1865', when he was commanding the Second Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps. The appointment was effective 9 August 1866. Brevet appointments were temporary appointments that carried the responsibility of the higher rank, but not the pay.
#37The Brigade Commander, General Tyler, had Benjamin Tayman arrested on 13 May 1863. Unfortunately, the records I have don't explain why. But in the consolidated morning report for 11 June 1863, Tayman was careful to record "Adjt. B. J. Tayman honorably released and restored to duty By order of Maj Genl Sykes" (the Division Commander).
#36Probably about one-quarter of the men deserted at some point. 265 never returned. Based on company E records, nearly as many either returned voluntarily or were caught.
#35The 91st had provost duty in Alexandria, Virginia from April to August of 1862. The Chaplain described this duty as "[s]evere and unenviable", no doubt because of what Thomas Walter described as "demoralizing forces", including "whisky and bad women".
#34When the regiment began marching toward Antietam, in September 1862, they were ordered to leave their knapsacks behind. (Thomas Walter gleefully records that he refused to leave his!) With typical bureaucratic efficiency, the knapsacks were lost. George Eyre, the quartermaster, attempted to find them, but never returned to the regiment because he died of an illness. Even worse, the men were charged for the lost clothing when they reenlisted! After they complained, some adjustment was made. [more information and links to sources]
#33Eleven men were captured after the Battle of Fredericksburg (see fact #5). Following the standard practice, they were paroled, and returned to the regiment after being exchanged for a Confederate soldier held by the Union. Nine returned to the regiment on 19 May 1863. One had deserted from Camp Parole on 15 April; I don't know when the other man returned.
#32Thomas Walter claimed that one of his strongest memories of August and September 1863 (after Gettysburg) was that all the hard-tack was "either wormy, musty or infested with wevil bugs". Since they were no worse off than the rest of the Fifth Corps, their complaints weren't acted on.
#31During the Battle of Gettysburg, William Reiff successfully crossed the top of Little Round Top and brewed nine quart tin cups of coffee for the men in company H. But when they tried drinking, they had more dirt than coffee! While he was waiting to return, a shell had exploded, throwing dirt in the cups. [See Reiff's 'Coffee on Little Round Top'.]
#30According to some (unconfirmed) reports, Edgar Gregory, the 91st's Colonel, was an abolitionist and was involved in the Underground Railroad.
#29Of the 32 members of company E who died during the war, 11 died of wounds received in battle, 9 died in action, 11 died of disease, and 1 died by accident. Unsurprisingly, charging the enemy was especially hazardous; 14 of the 32 died while charging the enemy.
#28On 18 June 1864, the 91st was part of the attack on Petersburg, Virginia. They captured the spot at which the famous mine was later exploded, and the attack botched by Union commanders. About one-third of the men present were killed or wounded. (See especially Thomas Walter's account, an anonymous account, and Lentz's report.)
#27Rose Greenhow later claimed that while she was imprisoned in the Old Capitol Prison, she went for a joy ride, which fooled Captain Franklin Gilbert into thinking she was attempting an escape.
#26Rose Greenhow was one of the people the 91st guarded in the Old Capital Prison in Washington DC. Her 8-year-old daughter Rose stayed with her. Nearly fifty years later, William Reiff (H) recalled seeing her, and attempted to contact her. I do not know whether he was successful.
#25Edward Wallace and Edgar Gregory each began recruiting regiments, which were consolidated in October 1861 and became the 91st Pennsylvania. Wallace, who had fought in the "Old Wars", became Lieutenant Colonel, and Gregory became Colonel.
#24On 14 May 1864, the 91st and the 140th New York Infantry took Myers Hill (at Spotsylvania), which dominated the Fifth Corps position. After their relief lost the hill, they retook it. But Grant decided not to make the attack for which the hill was required.
#23312 of the men in the 91st were drafted (including 53 transfered from the 118th PA and 23 from the 62nd PA). 282 were substitutes (including 24 transfered from the 118th PA and 4 from the 62nd PA). The remainder (about 70%) were volunteers.
#22William Kigert, of company A, who was mustered into service on 10 November 1864, was buried in Seven Pines National Cemetery, Sandston, Virginia, on 5 January 1936. His is the last death of a member of the 91st I currently know of.
#21The minimum age for soldiers was 18, although musicians could be younger. Musician William Reiff, for example, enlisted at 16. At least one soldier, George Kulp (E), was discharged because he was under age. Others seem to have tried, but failed (including Oscar Foust (F) and George Cline (D)).
#20Although no one over 35 was supposed to be enlisted (regulations para 929), at least two men over 50 sucessfully enlisted in the 91st by lying about their age. Wade Laconia (E) claimed he was 37, but was discharged because he admitted a few months later that he was 53. And Robert Gray (C) was supposedly 56.
#19Three men from the 91st died in the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia: John Hoffnagle (C), on 5 August 1864, John Anorson (C), on 8 August 1864, and James Steele (K), on 2 September 1864.
#18Because of the length of time the regiment was waiting for orders after they returned from their veterans' furlough, many men left the camp without permission. (Walter calls this "taking French leave".) The schedule included no instruction or drill, and hence allowed large amounts of free time; this can't have helped. When they returned to the Army, more than one-third of the enlisted men, and one officer, were absent without leave. Most eventually returned. (See veteran volunteers: AWOL, and Walter, 'Personal recollections')
#17The regiment was late returning to the front: the order to return was dated 20 Feb 1864, but the regiment did not arrive until 5 Mar 1864. Lt Col Sinex insisted that he received the order late; he received all orders through Col Gregory (who was commanding the Post), and was not really in command of the regiment until they left for the front. This, of course, attempts to shift the blame from himself to Gregory, rightly or not. (See letter, Sinex to Fowler, 23 Mar 1864)
#16After their furlough, the veterans went to the general rendezvous for re-enlisted veterans in eastern Pennsylvania, near Chester. Two senior officers were temporarily assigned to the rendezvous: Col Gregory to command it, and the adjutant (Benjamin Tayman) to be its adjutant. Lt Col Sinex later claimed he was "verbally" placed in command of the regiment, but wasn't "really" in command until the regiment left for the front. Fact #17 discusses the problems this may have caused.
#15After reenlisting as veteran volunteers, the newly reenlisted men returned to Philadelphia for a furlough (in January and February 1863), and the men who weren't eligible for furlough were temporarily transfered to the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry.
#14The regiment reenlisted as veteran volunteers on 24 December 1863. On 28 December, Lieutenant Colonel Sinex reported that of the 303 enlisted men present with the army, 254 (84%) had reenlisted or were willing to reenlist when eligible; 49 were unwilling. All 20 commissioned officers were willing to reenlist. Some men who were not present with the army reenlisted later.
#13The 91st at least learned Zouave tactics and drills; whether they ever wore the fancy Zouave uniforms is unknown.
#12The company E descriptive list gives occupations for 194 enlisted men. The six most common, which included almost half of the men, were laborer (32 men, 16%), farmer (16 men, 8%), teamster (14 men, 7%), carpenter (13 men, 7%), gardener (9 men, 5%), and butcher (6 men, 3%).
#11William Reiff, who enlisted in co.H on his 16th birthday, may have been the most prolific writer in the 91st. He published at least eight articles after the war, including 'Coffee on Little Round Top, Gettysburg'. (I am trying to obtain copies of others.)
#10According to Taylor's Philadelphia in the civil war 1861-1865, published in 1913, the 91st had one of the "most active" veterans associations in Philadelphia. (At least 33 people attended their 1884 meeting.)
#9Simeon Zane was nicknamed 'McClellan' because of his support for McClellan. But by the 1864 election, even he had stopped supporting McClellan. According to Thomas Walter, Robert Gray voted for McClellan because he had never voted for any successful candidate for major office, and worried that Lincoln would lose if he voted for him!
#8Ulysses S Grant thought highly enough of Edgar Gregory, who was the regiment's Colonel throughout the war, to recommend him for an appointment as a Lieutenant Colonel in the regular Army, on 15 November 1866. (Galusha Pennypacker was appointed instead, as Pennsylvania's Governor Curtin desired.) Also, on 6 May 1869, Grant nominated Gregory as US Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
#7The 91st's headquarters wagon became stuck in mud at Snicker's Gap in November 1862, and was left behind the army. Thomas Walter and others were sent to try to recover it, but approval for their mission took so long (bureaucracies are bureaucracies!) that not only had the wagon been captured, but they were also.
#6At least two members of the 91st died during the war in train accidents--Benjamin Redheffer (A) on 2 May 1864, when his legs, which were dangling out the window, caught on a bridge, and Francis Carrigan (E), who was run over by a train on 23 May 1865 (the day of the Grand Review).
#5Company E of the 91st was the last Union group to cross the river from the battle of Fredericksburg--someone forgot to tell them to leave, and they had to cross after the bridges had been destroyed! Eleven of them were captured. Captain Lentz was soon promoted to Major, replacing Major Todd, who died in that battle. (See especially Captain Lentz's report, and also the report by the corps commander, Major General Butterfield.)
#4On 18 June 1864, about 80 men in the regiment were killed or wounded, nearly one-third of those present. (See especially the accounts by an anonymous member of company G and by Thomas Walter, and also the official report by Major Lentz.)
#3Company A included men from two fire companies: the "Fishtowners" (Kensington Hose Company #30), and the "Ringgold Hose" Company.
#2On 17 May 1863, the 91st had more commissioned officers present for duty than privates!
#1Captain Bowman, of co.B, became a Brigadier General in the regular army after the war

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revised 14 Dec 14
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