Private Michael Andrew, Sr. – A Widowed Father Goes to War

Alternate Spellings of Name: Andrew, Andrews


Northampton Street, Easton, Pennsylvania, c. 1860 (public domain).

Northampton Street, Easton, Pennsylvania, c. 1860 (public domain).

Born sometime around 1820 in Pennsylvania, Michael Andrew was the husband of Sarah Teel, a resident of Bushkill Township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. They were united in marriage by the Rev. A. Fuchs of Bath, Northampton County at the home of her father, Jacob Teel, during March of 1842 or 1843. Together, they welcomed to the world five Northampton County-born children who would survive them: Herman (born sometime around 1843), Joseph H. (born sometime around 1845), Reuben F. (born sometime around 1848), George J. (born in 1850), and Michael Andrew, Jr., who was born 22 August 1852.

* Note: An affidavit, dated 13 Oct 1866 from Stephen A. Heller, minister-organist at the German Evangelist Reformed Church in Plainfield, Northampton County, which was provided for a Civil War pension application filed on behalf of Michael Andrew, Jr. by his guardian, verified the birth of Michael Andrew, Jr. in Nazareth Township, Northampton County on 22 August 1852, and that the baptism of this son of Michael and Sarah Andrew, was witnessed by Stephen Heinle at that same church on 2 September 1852.

Tragically, on the day of Michael’s baptism – and 11 days after his arrival, Sarah (Teel) Andrew died from the complications of childbirth.

A Widower Goes to War

Still a widower and resident of Northampton County, Pennsylvania in the early 1860s, Michael Andrew, Sr. left his five surviving children and his job as a laborer to enlist with the military at the age of 36. He is described on military records as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall with blue eyes, light hair and a ruddy complexion.

He officially enrolled for Civil War duty on 4 December 1861 at Easton, and mustered in on 13 December 1861 at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Dauphin County as a Private with Company A, 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He then joined up with his regiment at Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia on 16 December via a a recruiting depot connection.

For the next few weeks, he helped his regiment to continue its defense of the nation’s capital as part of the larger Army of the Potomac before receiving orders to move to Annapolis, Maryland in preparation for the regiment’s trip south.

1862 – 1863

Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, Harper's Weekly, 1864 (public domain).

Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, Harper’s Weekly, 1864 (public domain).

Ordered by Brigadier-General John Milton Brannan to sail for Florida, a state deemed strategically important due to the presence of several key waterways and federal forts, the men of the 47th steamed aboard the Oriental from 27 January to February 1862. Equipped with brand new Springfield rifles, Private Michael Andrew and the 47th arrived at Key West in early February. There, they were assigned to protect Fort Taylor and residents of neighboring areas loyal to the Union. On 14 February, the regiment participated in a parade through the streets of the city.

Ordered to Hilton Head, South Carolina from from mid-June through July, Michael Andrew and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians were next attached to the Beaufort District, Department of the South. Picket duties north of the brigade’s main staging area were rotated among the Union regiments stationed there, putting Private Andrew and other soldiers at increased risk from sniper fire.

Springfield rifle, 1861 model (public domain).

Springfield rifle, 1861 model (public domain).

Beginning 30 September 1862, the 47th made a return expedition to Florida, and engaged in capturing Saint John’s Bluff from 1 to 3 October. Led by Brigadier-General Brannan, the 1,500-plus Union force disembarked at Mayport Mills and Mount Pleasant Creek from troop carriers guarded by Union gunboats.

Illustration of the Union Navy's base of operations, Mayport Mills, circa 1862 (public domain).

Illustration of the Union Navy’s base of operations, Mayport Mills, circa 1862 (public domain).

Assigned to point duty, the 47th led the brigade through 25 miles of dense, pine forested, snake and alligator-infested swamps. Ultimately, the brigade forced the Rebels to abandon their artillery battery atop Saint John’s Bluff, and paved the way for the Union to occupy the town of Jacksonville, Florida.

From 21-23 October, Private Michael Andrew participated in his regiment’s first major battle – one in which 18 enlisted men would be killed and another 114 wounded. Under the brigade and regimental commands of Colonel Good and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander, the 47th engaged the heavily protected Confederate forces in and around Pocotaligo, South Carolina – including at Frampton’s Plantation and the Pocotaligo Bridge.

Harried by snipers en route to the Pocotaligo Bridge, they met resistance from yet another entrenched, heavily fortified Confederate battery which opened fire on the Union troops as they entered an open cotton field. A significant number of Union troops were wounded or killed.

Those headed toward higher ground at the Frampton Plantation fared no better as they encountered artillery and infantry fire from the surrounding forests. But the Union soldiers would not give in; grappling with the Confederates where they found them, they pursued the Rebels for four miles as the Confederate Army retreated to the bridge. There, the 47th relieved the 7th Connecticut. Unfortunately, the enemy was just too well armed. After two hours of intense fighting in an attempt to take the ravine and bridge, the 47th was forced by depleted ammunition supplies to withdraw to Mackey’s Point.

Losses for the 47th Pennsylvania were significant. Captain Charles Mickley was killed and Captain George Junker mortally wounded. Captain Reuben Gardner and Lieutenant William Geety were wounded, but survived.

On 23 October, the 47th Pennsylvania returned to Hilton Head, where it served as the funeral Honor Guard for General Ormsby McKnight Mitchel, the commander of the U.S. Army’s 10th Corps and Department of the South who had succumbed to yellow fever on 30 October. The Mountains of Mitchel, a part of Mars’ South Pole discovered by Mitchel in 1846 while working as a University of Cincinnati astronomer, and Mitchelville, the first Freedmen’s town created after the Civil War, were both later named for him. Men from the 47th Pennsylvania were given the high honor of firing the salute over his grave.

On 15 November 1862, the 47th Pennsylvanians were ordered back to Key West, and assumed duties as part of the 10th Corps, Department of the South. Private Michael Andrew’s company (Company A) joined with companies B, C, E, G, and I in garrisoning Fort Taylor while companies D, F, H, and K garrisoned Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.


Blockhouse, Fort Myers (circa 1850s), FloridaStateArchivesIn early January of 1864, the 47th was ordered to expand the reach of the Union Army. Captain Graeffe, commanding officer of Company A, and a group of his men were assigned to special duty which involved raiding area cattle herds in order to provide food for the growing Union troop presence. Their duties took them as far north as Fort Myers. Abandoned in 1858 after the U.S. government’s third war with the Seminole Indians, the fort was ordered to be reclaimed and revitalized by General D. P. Woodbury, Commanding Officer, U.S. Department of the Gulf, District of Key West and the Tortugas in 1864 to facilitate the Union’s Gulf Coast blockade while also offering shelter for pro-Union supporters and those fleeing Rebel troops, including Confederate Army deserters and escaped slaves.

A draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared in 2010 for the Everglades National Park partially documents the time of Richard Graeffe and the men under his Florida command this way:

A small contingent of 20 men and two officers from the Pennsylvania 47th Regiment, led by Captain Henry Crain of the 2nd Regiment of Florida, arrived at the fort on January 7, 1864. A short time later, the party was joined by another small detachment of the 47th under the command of Captain Richard A. Graeffe. Over a short period, increasing reinforcements of the fort led to increasing cattle raids throughout the region. A Union force so far into Confederate land did not go well with Confederate loyalists. The fact that so many men stationed at the post were black soldiers from the newly created U.S. Colored Troops was particularly aggravating. The raids were so antagonizing that the Confederates created a Cattle Guard Battalion called the “Cow Cavalry” to repulse Union raiders. The unit remained a primary threat to the Union soldiers carrying out raids and reconnaissance missions from Brooksville to as far south as Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers.

The detachment which served under Graeffe at Fort Myers has been labeled as the Florida Rangers in several publications, including The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Robert N. Scott, et. al. (1891). Several of Graeffe’s hand drawn sketches of Fort Myers were published in 2000 in Images of America: Fort Myers by Gregg Tuner and Stan Mulford.

1864 – Red River Campaign

On 25 February, Private Michael Andrew set off for a phase of service in which he and his regiment would make history, becoming part of the only Pennsylvania regiment to serve in the Red River Campaign spearheaded by Union General Nathaniel P. Banks from 10 March to 22 May. Steaming first for New Orleans aboard the Charles Thomas, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers arrived at Algiers, Louisiana on 28 February. They were then shipped by train to Brashear City before undergoing another steamer ride via the Bayou Teche aboard the Franklin. There, the 47th joined the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division of the Department of the Gulf’s 19th Army Corps.

Battle of Mansfield-Sabine Cross Roads (8 April 1864)

Mansfield-Sabine Cross Roads, Louisiana, April 1864. (Source: Gen. Nathaniel Banks’ official Red River Campaign report; public domain.)

From 14-26 March, the 47th Pennsylvania headed for Alexandria, Louisiana. On 8 April, 60 men from the regiment were cut down at the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads. The next day, still more lost their lives during the fierce fighting at Pleasant Hill, or were captured by Rebel forces and taken to Confederate prison camps. Some were marched nearly 125 miles to Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas, where they languished in worsening conditions until released during prisoner exchanges in July, August or November. At least one never made it out alive.

On 23 April, the men of the 47th Pennsylvani crossed the Cane River via Monett’s Ferry, and were subsequently assigned to build a dam across the Red River from 30 April through 10 May to enable Union gunboats to more easily traverse the river’s rapids. Beginning 13 May, the 47th moved to Morganza, and then to New Orleans on 20 June.

Throughout this difficult campaign, a fair number of the 47th were also claimed by disease – including Private Michael Andrew, Sr.

One brief line in a federal army hospital ledger confirms that Private Michael Andrews died in New Orleans in July 1864 from a disease contracted while serving with Company A, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. (Image: Public Domain.)

A brief line in a federal army hospital ledger confirms Private Michael Andrew’s July 1864 death, New Orleans. (Public domain; click on image to enlarge.)

Left behind by his regiment as it steamed north from 5 to 12 July 1864 aboard the McClellan in preparation for the Union’s 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Private Michael Andrew died from chronic disease-related complications on 14 July at the Union’s University General Hospital in New Orleans. A report from the U.S. Adjutant General’s Office which was attached to a federal pension application filed on behalf of Private Andrew minor child and nameseake confirmed that Michael Andrew, Sr. was enrolled on 4 December 1861 and died of chronic diarrhea at New Orleans, Louisiana on 15 July 1864. An additional notation indicated that “Surgeon Gen’l corroborates the above.”

Still on the roster of the 47th Pennsylvania, the remains of Private Michael Andrew, Sr. were interred at the Chalmette National Cemetery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana:

The federal burial ledger for the Chalmette National Cemetery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana documents the 14 July 1864 death and subsequent Chalmette interment of Private Michael Andrews, Company A, 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. (Image: Public Domain. Click to enlarge.)

A Chalmette National Cemetery burial ledger confirms Private Andrew’s July 1864 death and Chalmette interment. (Public domain. Click to enlarge.)

Surviving Children of Michael Andrew, Sr.

On 25 June 1866, the courts in Northampton County, Pennsylvania officially appointed Aaron Godshalk, a resident of Hicksville in Northampton County, as the guardian of Michael Andrew, Jr., the only one of the five surviving Andrew children still under the age of 16.

On 10 November 1866, a U.S. Civil War minor’s pension of $8 per month was awarded to Aaron Godshalk on behalf of Michael Andrew, Jr., commencing the date Michael’s father died (14 July 1864) and ending in August 1868.



1. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: 1869.

2. Burial Ledgers, in Record Group 15, The National Cemetery Administration, and Record Group 92, U.S. Departments of Defense and Army (Quartermaster General). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: 1864.

3. Civil War Veterans’ Card File. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State Archives.

4. Claim for Minor’s Pension (Aaron Godshalk, guardian on behalf of Michael Andrew, Jr., surviving son of Civil War decedent Michael Andrew, Sr.) in U.S. Civil War Widows’ Pension Files. Washington, D.C. U.S. National Archives, 1866.

5. Interment Control Forms, in Record Group 92, U.S. Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92). College Park: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

6. Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, U.S. Adjutant General’s Office. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: 1864.

7. Schmidt, Lewis. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown: Self-published, 1986.

8. Tamiami Trail Modifications: Next Steps, in Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Washington, D.C. and Everglades National Park: U.S. National Park Service, 2010.

9. U.S. Census. Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania: 1850, 1860.


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