Lieutenant-Colonel Charles William Abbott

“By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.” — Attributed to Desiderius Erasmus

Charles William Abbott was a master carpenter who began adulthood by building homes for others while crafting a new life for himself with his wife and children in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley in the mid-19th century. As he matured, he also became a builder of men—men who helped to remake their nation not only during one of the darkest periods in its history, but during its subsequent recovery efforts.

 Formative Years

Delaware and Lehigh Rivers at Easton, Pennsylvania, 1844 (Augustus Kollner, U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).

Born in Easton, Pennsylvania on 18 February 1834, Charles William Abbott was a son of Easton natives William Abbott (1814-1855) and Maria Sarah Rebecca (Transue) Abbott (1806-1855), who was a daughter of Isaac Transue (1768-1824) and Christina Margaret (Schneider) Transue (born 1768).

In 1850, he resided with his parents and siblings, Benjamin Frank Abbott (1838-1911), Susanna (1840-1920), and John A. Abbott (1842-1908) in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, where his father worked as a wheelwright. At the time of the federal census taker’s arrival that year, Charles and his siblings were all attending school.

Sometime around 1854, Charles W. Abbott wed Emma Elisabeth Kuhnsman (1833-1895). A native of Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, she was a daughter of Martin Kuhnsman (1802-1842) and Charlotte (Reinoehl) Kuhnsman (1806-1870). (Charlotte later wed Christian Mathias sometime after 1842 when she was widowed by Martin Kuhnsman.)

By the mid-1850s Charles W. Abbott and his wife, Emma, had begun their own family. Their sons, William Henry Abbott (1855-1925) and Henry C. Abbott (1860-1904), were born on 25 September 1855 and 18 July 1860, respectively. Henry would be more commonly known as “Harry” for much of his life.

On 1 April 1855, Charles Abbott’s father, William, died in Salisbury Township. He was interred at the Morgenland Cemetery in Lehigh County.

During the summer of 1860, Charles Abbott resided with his wife, Emma, and their sons, William and Harry, in the Fifth Ward of the borough of Allentown, where Charles worked as a carpenter.

Civil War—25th Pennsylvania Volunteers

Alma Pelot’s photo showing the Confederate flag flying over Fort Sumter, 16 April 1861 (U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).

In the spring of 1861, Charles W. Abbott became one of the early responders to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers to defend the nation’s capital, following the mid-April 1861 fall of Fort Sumter to Confederate Army troops. Per U.S. Civil War Pension records, he enrolled for Civil War military service, and was mustered in to Company G of the 25th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. According to historian Samuel P. Bates:

The first five companies of Pennsylvania volunteers, and the first volunteer troops to report at Washington, were, for a considerable part of their term of service, kept on duty in the neighborhood of the Capital, as independent companies. By special order of the Secretary of War, they were permitted to recruit their ranks largely in excess of the number prescribed by the regulations of the service. Subsequently, however, they were reduced by division, and new companies formed. From the surplus men of the Ringgold Light Artillery of Reading, Captain M’Knight, and the National Light Infantry of Pottsville, Captain M’Donald, a new company was organized and the command given to Henry Nagle, First Lieutenant of the Artillery. From those of the Washington Artillery of Pottsville, Captain Wren, and the Logan Guards of Lewistown, Captain Selheimer, another company was formed and the command given to Captain Wren. To these five original companies, thus increased to seven, three new companies were joined, and a regimental organization effected by the choice of the following officers: Henry L. Cake, of Pottsville, Colonel; John B. Selheimer, of Lewistown, from Captain of the Logan Guards, Lieutenant Colonel; James H. Campbell, of Pottsville, Major….

The five original companies were engaged in barricading and guarding the Capitol, until the arrival of the Massachusetts Sixth and the New York Seventh, a period of some ten days. The Logan Guards and Washington Artillery, companies E and H, were then ordered to garrison duty at Fort Washington…. These, with Company B, remained on duty at the Fort until the close of their term of service…. The Ringgold Artillery, company A, and company C which was principally formed from it, were ordered to duty at the Washington Arsenal, where were stored seventy thousand stand of arms and other war material, and subsequently at the Navy Yard. On the 8th  of June they were ordered to … the fort located at the west end of Long Bridge, and were engaged there and at Georgetown Heights, in unloading and mounting heavy guns…. On the 15th of June, they were ordered to the Washington Arsenal, where they remained on guard until the close of their term of service.

The remaining five companies [including Company G in which Charles W. Abbott was reportedly serving, and which was commanded by Captain Yeager] were encamped from the date of their arrival at the Capital, until the 28th of June, near the Arsenal, where they were instructed and drilled. At this date, an order was received from the War Department, directing the regiment to march, with fifteen days’ rations and sixty rounds of ammunition, and join Colonel Charles P. Stone, then at Rockville, Maryland….

The battalion marched on the 29th , under Lieutenant Colonel Selheimer, and reached Rockville on the 30th.  Here Colonel Cake rejoined it and assumed command…. On the 1st of July, the battalion reached Poolesville and reported to Colonel Stone, commanding the Rockville expedition. Moving via Point of Rocks to Sandy Hook, it encamped opposite Harper’s Ferry, on Maryland Heights. At this time, Harper’s Ferry was occupied by the enemy, and considerable skirmishing occurred…. [O]n the morning of the sixth … orders were received to march rapidly to Williamsport, and thence across the Potomac to Martinsburg. Arriving on the 8th, after a fatiguing march through clouds of dust, under a broiling sun, it went into camp in a little valley outside the town, which, in consonance with the feelings of the men, was called Camp Misery.

Here the battalion was assigned to the 7th Brigade, 3d Division of General Patterson’s army. On the 15th, it marched, with the Brigade, to Bunker Hill, where it went into camp. From this point, it was the general expectation that an immediate movement against the enemy would take place. But on the 17th the whole command marched to Charlestown, and on the following day the battalion moved to Harper’s Ferry and encamped. Remaining until the 23d, and order was received from the commanding General, conveying his thanks for its patriotic tender of service after the expiration of its term, and directing it to move by way of Baltimore to Harrisburg. The battalion, together with the companies serving in the neighborhood of Washington, assembled in Harrisburg, and were mustered out of service on the 26th of July.

Civil War—47th Pennsylvania Volunteers

Camp Curtin (Harper’s Weekly, 1861, public domain).

Knowing the fight to preserve America’s Union was far from over, Charles W. Abbott chose to leave his family once again in order to re-up for another tour of duty. After re-enrolling in Allentown on 21 August 1861 for a three-year term of service, he was re-mustered at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg on 17 September—this time, as a First Lieutenant with Company K of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, a new regiment that had just been established on 5 August 1861 by Tilghman H. Good via the authorization of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin, who had then appointed Good as the regiment’s colonel and commanding officer.

Military records at the time described First Lieutenant Charles W. Abbott as a 27-year-old house carpenter residing in Allentown.

Briefly assisting his fellow Company K officers in training the enlisted Mississippi rifle-equipped members of the 47th Pennsylvania in basic light infantry tactics, First Lieutenant Charles Abbot then marched with his regiment to Harrisburg’s train station on 20 September, boarded one of the cars, and traveled with the 47th to Washington, D.C., where they disembarked. Marching off to the Soldiers’ Retreat, they were granted a brief chance to eat and rest before being marched off to their new home—“Camp Kalorama” on the Kalorama Heights near Georgetown. Arriving on 21 September, they were now stationed roughly two miles from the White House. The next day, C Company Musician Henry D. Wharton penned the following update for the Sunbury American newspaper:

After a tedious ride we have, at last, safely arrived at the City of ‘magnificent distances.’ We left Harrisburg on Friday last at 1 o’clock A.M. and reached this camp yesterday (Saturday) at 4 P.M., as tired and worn out a sett [sic] of mortals as can possibly exist. On arriving at Washington we were marched to the ‘Soldiers Retreat,’ a building purposely erected for the benefit of the soldier, where every comfort is extended to him and the wants of the ‘inner man’ supplied.

After partaking of refreshments we were ordered into line and marched, about three miles, to this camp. So tired were the men, that on marching out, some gave out, and had to leave the ranks, but J. Boulton Young, our ‘little Zouave,’ stood it bravely, and acted like a veteran. So small a drummer is scarcely seen in the army, and on the march through Washington he was twice the recipient of three cheers.

“It is a very fine location for a camp,” added Captain Gobin via a later letter. “Good water is handy, while Rock Creek, which skirts one side of us, affords an excellent place for washing and bathing.

On 24 September 1861, Company K and the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were formally mustered into the U.S. Army. Three days later, the men spent a drill-free morning writing letters home and reading, as First Lieutenant Charles Abbott and his fellow officers were learning that their regiment was being assigned to the 3rd Brigade of Brigadier-General Isaac Ingalls Stevens. By afternoon, the 47th Pennsylvania was on the move again, under marching orders to head for Camp Lyon, Maryland on the eastern side of the Potomac River.

Chain Bridge across the Potomac River above Georgetown looking toward Virginia, 1861 (The Illustrated London News, public domain).

Arriving late that afternoon, they joined the 46th Pennsylvania in charging double-quick across the Chain Bridge, marching onto Confederate soil and on toward Falls Church, Virginia. By dusk, after tramping roughly eight miles that day, they pitched their tents in a deep ravine at Camp Advance near the Union’s new Fort Ethan Allen (still being completed) and the headquarters of Brigadier-General William Farrar Smith (also known as “Baldy”), commander of the Union’s Army of the Potomac (“Mr. Lincoln’s Army”). Their job was to help defend the nation’s capital.

In October, the 47th was ordered to proceed with the 3rd Brigade to Camp Griffin. On 11 October, the 47th Pennsylvania marched in the Grand Review at Bailey’s Cross Roads. On Friday morning, 22 October 1861, the 47th participated in a Divisional Review, described by historian Lewis Schmidt as massing “about 10,000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, and twenty pieces of artillery all in one big open field.”

Half of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were next ordered to join parts of the 33rd Maine and 46th New York in extending the reach of their division’s picket lines, which they did successfully to “a half mile beyond Lewinsville,” according to John Peter Shindel Gobin, captain of the 47th Pennsylvania’s Company C.

On 21 November, the 47th participated in a morning divisional headquarters review overseen by the regiment’s founder, Colonel Tilghman H. Good, followed by brigade and division drills all afternoon. According to historian Schmidt, “each man was supplied with ten blank cartridges…. After the reviews and inspections, Gen. Smith requested Gen. Brannan to inform Col. Good that the 47th was the best regiment in the whole division.”

As a reward, Brigadier-General John Milton Brannan obtained new Springfield rifles for every member of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. At the close of the year, they received orders from Brannan, to head for Key West, Florida.


The 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were transported to Florida aboard the steamship U.S. Oriental in January 1862 (public domain).

Having been ordered to move from their Virginia encampment back to Maryland, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers left Camp Griffin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 22 January 1862. Marching through deep mud with their equipment for three miles, they reached the railroad station at Falls Church, and were then transported by rail to Alexandria. From there, they sailed the Potomac via the steamship City of Richmond to the Washington Arsenal, where they were reequipped before being marched off for dinner and rest at the Soldiers’ Retreat in Washington, D.C.

The next afternoon, the 47th Pennsylvanians hopped cars on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and headed for Annapolis, Maryland. Arriving around 10 p.m., they were assigned quarters in barracks at the Naval Academy. They then spent that Friday through Monday (24-27 January 1862) loading their equipment and other supplies onto the steamship Oriental.

According to Schmidt and letters home from members of the regiment, those preparations ceased on Monday, 27 January, at 10 a.m. when:

The regiment was formed and instructed by Lt. Col. Alexander ‘that we were about drumming out a member who had behaved himself unlike a soldier.’ …. The prisoner, Pvt. James C. Robinson of Company I, was a 36 year old miner from Allentown who had been ‘disgracefully discharged’ by order of the War Department. Pvt. Robinson was marched out with martial music playing and a guard of nine men, two men on each side and five behind him at charge bayonets. The music then struck up with ‘Robinson Crusoe’ as the procession was marched up and down in front of the regiment, and Pvt. Robinson was marched out of the yard.

Reloading then resumed. By that afternoon, when the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers commenced boarding the Oriental, they were ferried to the big steamship by smaller steamers. The officers boarded last, and, per the directive of Brigadier-General Brannan, the Oriental steamed away for the Deep South at 4 p.m. They were headed for Florida which, despite its secession from the Union, remained strategically important to the Union due to the presence of Forts Taylor and Jefferson in Key West and the Dry Tortugas.

Alfred Waud’s 1862 sketch of Fort Taylor and Key West, Florida (U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).

In February 1862, First Lieutenant Charles Abbott and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians arrived at Fort Taylor in Key West. Assigned to garrison duty, they drilled daily in military strategy, including heavy artillery tactics—often as much as eight hours per day. During the weekend of Friday, 14 February, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers introduced their presence to Key West residents as the regiment paraded through the streets of the city. That Sunday, a number of the men mingled with locals while attending area church services.

While stationed in Key West, the men of the 47th also felled trees, and helped to build new roads. Their time here was made even more difficult by the prevalence of disease. Many of the 47th’s men lost their lives to typhoid fever, or to dysentery and other ailments spread from soldier to soldier by poor sanitary conditions.

But there were lighter moments as well. According to a letter penned by Henry Wharton on 27 February 1862, the regiment commemorated the birthday of former U.S. President George Washington with a parade, a special ceremony involving the reading of Washington’s farewell address to the nation (first delivered in 1796) and the firing of cannon at the fort, and a sack race and other games on 22 February. The festivities then continued two days later when the 47th Pennsylvania’s Regimental Band hosted an officers’ ball at which “all parties enjoyed themselves, for three o’clock of the morning sounded on their ears before any motion was made to move homewards.” This was then followed by a concert by the regimental band on Wednesday evening, 26 February.

Fort Walker, Hilton Head, South Carolina, circa 1861 (Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, public domain).

Next ordered to Hilton Head, South Carolina from mid-June through July, they camped near Fort Walker before relocating to the Beaufort District, Department of the South, roughly 35 miles away. Frequently assigned to hazardous picket detail north of their main camp, which put them at increased risk from enemy sniper fire, the members of the 47th Pennsylvania became known for their “attention to duty, discipline and soldierly bearing,” and “received the highest commendation from Generals Hunter and Brannan,” according to historian Samuel P. Bates.

Detachments from the regiment were also assigned to the Expedition to Fenwick Island (9 July) and the Demonstration against Pocotaligo (10 July).

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

On 30 September 1862, the 47th Pennsylvanians were sent back to Florida where they participated with other Union forces in the assault on Saint John’s Bluff from 1 to 3 October. Under the command of Brigadier-General Brannan, the 1,500-plus Union force left their gunboat-escorted troop carriers at Mayport Mills and Mount Pleasant Creek. With the 47th Pennsylvania on point and braving alligators, snakes and Rebel troops, the men pushed through 25 dense miles of forests and swampland in order to capture the bluff and pave the way for the Union’s occupation of Jacksonville, Florida. Companies E and K of the 47th, led by Captain Yard, also engaged in the capture of the Gov. Milton, a Confederate steamer docked near Hawkinsville.

In his report on the matter, filed from Mount Pleasant Landing, Florida on 2 October 1862, Tilghman H. Good described the Union Army’s assault on Saint John’s Bluff:

In accordance with orders received I landed my regiment on the bank of Buckhorn Creek at 7 o’clock yesterday morning. After landing I moved forward in the direction of Parkers plantation, about 1 mile, being then within about 14 miles of said plantation. Here I halted to await the arrival of the Seventh Connecticut Regiment. I advanced two companies of skirmishers toward the house, with instructions to halt in case of meeting any of the enemy and report the fact to me. After they had advanced about three-quarters of a mile they halted and reported some of the enemy ahead. I immediately went forward to the line and saw some 5 or 6 mounted men about 700 or 800 yards ahead. I then ascended a tree, so that I might have a distinct view of the house and from this elevated position I distinctly saw one company of infantry close by the house, which I supposed to number about 30 or 40 men, and also some 60 or 70 mounted men. After waiting for the arrival of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers until 10 o’clock, and it not appearing, I dispatched a squad of men back to the landing for a 6-pounder field howitzer which had been kindly offered to my service by Lieutenant Boutelle, of the Paul Jones. This howitzer had been stationed on a flat-boat to protect our landing. The party, however, did not arrive with the piece until 12 o’clock, in consequence of the difficulty of dragging it through the swamp. Being anxious to have as little delay as possible, I did not await the arrival of the howitzer, but at 11 a.m. moved forward, and as I advanced the enemy fled.

After reaching the house I awaited the arrival of the Seventh Connecticut and the howitzer. After they arrived I moved forward to the head of Mount Pleasant Creek to a bridge, at which place I arrived at 2 p.m. Here I found the bridge destroyed, but which I had repaired in a short time. I then crossed it and moved down on the south bank toward Mount Pleasant Landing. After moving about 1 mile down the bank of the creek my skirmishing companies came upon a camp, which evidently had been very hastily evacuated, from the fact that the occupants had left a table standing with a sumptuous meal already prepared for eating. On the center of the table was placed a fine, large meat pie still warm, from which one of the party had already served his plate. The skirmishers also saw 3 mounted men leave the place in hot haste. I also found a small quantity of commissary and quartermasters stores, with 23 tents, which, for want of transportation, I was obliged to destroy. After moving about a mile farther on I came across another camp, which also indicated the same sudden evacuation. In it I found the following articles … breech-loading carbines, 12 double-barreled shot-guns, 8 breech-loading Maynard rifles, 11 Enfield rifles, and 96 knapsacks. These articles I brought along by having the men carry them. There were, besides, a small quantity of commissary and quartermasters stores, including 16 tents, which, for the same reason as stated, I ordered to be destroyed. I then pushed forward to the landing, where I arrived at 7 p.m.

We drove the enemys [sic] skirmishers in small parties along the entire march. The march was a difficult one, in consequence of meeting so many swamps almost knee-deep.

On 3 October, Good filed his report from Saint John’s Bluff, Florida, now in Union hands:

At 9 o’clock last night Lieutenant Cannon reported to me that his command, consisting of one section of the First Connecticut Battery, was then coming up the creek on flat-boats with a view of landing. At 4 o’clock this morning a safe landing was effected [sic] and the command was ready to move. The order to move to Saint John’s Bluff reached me at 4 p.m. yesterday. In accordance with it I put the column in motion immediately and moved cautiously up the bank of the Saint John’s River, the skirmishing companies occasionally seeing small parties of the enemy’s cavalry retiring in our front as we advanced. When about 2 miles from the bluff the left wing of the skirmishing line came upon another camp of the enemy, which, however, in consequence of the lateness of the hour, I did not take time to examine, it being then already dark.

After my arrival at the bluff, it then being 7:30 o’clock, I dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander with two companies back to the last-named camp (which I found, from a number of papers left behind, to have been called Camp Hopkins and occupied by the Milton Artillery, of Florida) to reconnoiter and ascertain its condition. Upon his return he reported that from every appearance the skedaddling of the enemy was as sudden as in the other instances already mentioned, leaving their trunks and all the camp equipage behind; also a small store of commissary supplies, sugar, rice, half barrel of flour, one bag of salt, &c., including 60 tents which I have brought in this morning. The commissary stores were used by the troops of my command.

Integration of the Regiment

On 5 and 15 October 1862, respectively, the 47th Pennsylvania then made history as it became an integrated regiment, adding to its muster rolls several young to middle-aged Black men who had endured plantation enslavement in Beaufort, South Carolina. Among the men freed who subsequently opted to enroll as members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were Abraham and Edward Jassum (aged 16 and 22, respectively), and Bristor Gethers (aged 33), whose name was spelled as “Presto Gettes” on transcriptions of muster rolls made by historian Samuel P. Bates. More men of color would continue to be added to the 47th Pennsylvania’s rosters in the weeks and years to come.

Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina

Union Army map, Pocotaligo-Coosawhatchie Expedition, 21-23 October 1862 (public domain).

From 21-23 October, First Lieutenant Charles Abbott and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians engaged Confederate forces in the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina while attempting to destroy the Pocotaligo Bridge—a key cog in the Confederate States’ supply wheel. Landing at Mackay’s Point under the brigade command of 47th Pennsylvania founder, Colonel Tilghman H. Good, and regimental command of Lieutenant-Colonel George W. Alexander, the 47th led the way on point once again. This time, however, the Union’s luck ran out.

Bedeviled by snipers, the brigade faced massive resistance from an entrenched Confederate artillery battery, as well as withering fire upon entering an open cotton field. The members of the Union expeditionary force who had headed for the Frampton Plantation’s higher ground were pounded by Rebel artillery and infantry from the surrounding forests.

Undaunted, the Union forces charged into the fire, and forced the Rebels into a four-mile retreat to the bridge. At this juncture, the 47th relieved the 7th Connecticut but, after two hours of exchanging fire while attempting to take the bridge and its neighboring ravine, the 47th Pennsylvanians ran low on ammunition, and were forced to withdraw to Mackay’s Point.

When it was all over, two officers and 18 enlisted men from the 47th were dead, and two officers and 114 enlisted were wounded, including First Lieutenant Charles Abbott’s direct superior, Captain George Junker, who had been mortally wounded. Transported back to the Union Army’s General Hospital at Hilton Head, South Carolina, surgeons did what they could to save Junker’s life.

Meanwhile, someone needed to step in to fill Company K’s leadership void—and that someone turned out to be First Lieutenant Charles W. Abbott, who was promoted to the rank of captain on the same day of the Battle of Pocotaligo (22 October 1862).

Captain Junker died from his wounds the following day.

In his report on the engagement, made from headquarters at Beaufort, South Carolina on 24 October 1862, Colonel Good wrote:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Forty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the action of October 22:

Eight companies, comprising 480 men, embarked on the steamship Ben De Ford, and two companies, of 120 men, on the Marblehead, at 2 p.m. October 21. With this force I arrived at Mackays Landing before daylight the following morning. At daylight I was ordered to disembark my regiment and move forward across the first causeway and take a position, and there await the arrival of the other forces. The two companies of my regiment on board of the Marblehead had not yet arrived, consequently I had but eight companies of my regiment with me at this juncture.

At 12 m. I was ordered to take the advance with four companies, one of the Forty-seventh and one of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and two of the Sixth Connecticut, and to deploy two of them as skirmishers and move forward. After moving forward about 2 miles I discerned some 30 or 40 of the enemys [sic] cavalry ahead, but they fled as we advanced. About 2 miles farther on I discovered two pieces of artillery and some cavalry, occupying a position about three-quarters of a mile ahead in the road. I immediately called for a regiment, but seeing that the position was not a strong one I made a charge with the skirmishing line. The enemy, after firing a few rounds of shell, fled. I followed up as rapidly as possible to within about 1 mile of Frampton Creek. In front of this stream is a strip of woods about 500 yards wide, and in front of the woods a marsh of about 200 yards, with a small stream running through it parallel with the woods. A causeway also extends across the swamp, to the right of which the swamp is impassable. Here the enemy opened a terrible fire of shell from the rear, of the woods. I again called for a regiment, and my regiment came forward very promptly. I immediately deployed in line of battle and charged forward to the woods, three companies on the right and the other five on the left of the road. I moved forward in quick-time, and when within about 500 yards of the woods the enemy opened a galling fire of infantry from it. I ordered double-quick and raised a cheer, and with a grand yell the officers and men moved forward in splendid order and glorious determination, driving the enemy from this position.

On reaching the woods I halted and reorganized my line. The three companies on the right of the road (in consequence of not being able to get through the marsh) did not reach the woods, and were moved by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander by the flank on the causeway. During this time a terrible fire of grape and canister was opened by the enemy through the woods, hence I did not wait for the three companies, but immediately charged with the five at hand directly through the woods; but in consequence of the denseness of the woods, which was a perfect matting of vines and brush, it was almost impossible to get through, but by dint of untiring assiduity the men worked their way through nobly. At this point I was called out of the woods by Lieutenant Bacon, aide-de-camp, who gave the order, ‘The general wants you to charge through the woods.’ I replied that I was then charging, and that the men were working their way through as fast as possible. Just then I saw the two companies of my regiment which embarked on the Marblehead coming up to one of the companies that was unable to get through the swamp on the right. I went out to meet them, hastening them forward, with a view of re-enforcing the five already engaged on the left of the road in the woods; but the latter having worked their way successfully through and driven the enemy from his position, I moved the two companies up the road through the woods until I came up with the advance. The two companies on the right side of the road, under Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander had also worked their way up through the woods and opened fire on the retreating enemy. At this point I halted and reorganized my regiment, by forming close column by companies. I then detailed Lieutenant Minnich, of Company B, and Lieutenant Breneman, of Company H, with a squad of men, to collect the killed and wounded. They promptly and faithfully attended to this important duty, deserving much praise for the efficiency and coolness they displayed during the fight and in the discharge of this humane and worthy trust.

The casualties in this engagement were 96. Captain Junker of Company K; Captain Mickley, of Company I [sic], and Lieutenant Geety, of Company H, fell mortally wounded while gallantly leading their respective companies on.

I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men. They all performed deeds of valor, and rushed forward to duty and danger with a spirit and energy worthy of veterans.

The rear forces coming up passed my regiment and pursued the enemy. When I had my regiment again placed in order, and hearing the boom of cannon, I immediately followed up, and, upon reaching the scene of action, I was ordered to deploy my regiment on the right side of the wood, move forward along the edge of it, and relieve the Seventh Connecticut Regiment. This I promptly obeyed. The position here occupied by the enemy was on the opposite side of the Pocotaligo Creek, with a marsh on either side of it, and about 800 yards distant from the opposite wood, where the enemy had thrown up rifle pits all along its edge.

On my arrival the enemy had ceased firing; but after the lapse of a few minutes they commenced to cheer and hurrah for the Twenty-sixth South Carolina. We distinctly saw this regiment come up in double-quick and the men rapidly jumping into the pits. We immediately opened fire upon them with terrible effect, and saw their men thinning by scores. In return they opened a galling fire upon us. I ordered the men under cover and to keep up the fire. During this time our forces commenced to retire. I kept my position until all our forces were on the march, and then gave one volley and retired by flank in the road at double-quick about 1,000 yards in the rear of the Seventh Connecticut. This regiment was formed about 1,000 yards in the rear of my former position. We jointly formed the rear guard of our forces and alternately retired in the above manner.

My casualties here amounted to 15 men.

We arrived at Frampton (our first battle ground) at 8 p.m. Here my regiment was relieved from further rear-guard duty by the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment. This gave me the desired opportunity to carry my dead and wounded from the field and convey them back to the landing. I arrived at the above place at 3 o’clock the following morning.

In a second report made from Beaufort on 25 October 1862, Colonel Good added the following details:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the First Brigade in the battles of October 22:

After meeting the enemy in his first position he was driven back by the skirmishing line, consisting of two companies of the Sixth Connecticut, one of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania, and one of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, under my command. Here the enemy only fired a few rounds of shot and shell. He then retreated and assumed another position, and immediately opened fire. Colonel Chatfield, then in command of the brigade, ordered the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania forward to me, with orders to charge. I immediately charged and drove the enemy from the second position. The Sixth Connecticut was deployed in my rear and left; the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania on my right, and the Fourth New Hampshire in the rear of the Fifty-fifth, both in close column by divisions, all under a heavy fire of shell and canister. These regiments then crossed the causeway by the flank and moved close up to the woods. Here they were halted, with orders to support the artillery. After the enemy had ceased firing the Fourth New Hampshire was ordered to move up the road in the rear of the artillery and two companies of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania to follow this regiment. The Sixth Connecticut followed up, and the Fifty-fifth moved up through the woods. At this juncture Colonel Chatfield fell, seriously wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Speidel was also wounded.

The casualties in the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania amounted to 96 men. As yet I am unable to learn the loss of the entire brigade.

The enemy having fled, the Fourth New Hampshire and the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania followed in close pursuit. During this time the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania and the Sixth Connecticut halted and again organized, after which they followed. On coming up to the engagement I assumed command of the brigade, and found the forces arranged in the following order: The Fourth New Hampshire was deployed as skirmishers along the entire front, and the Fifty-fifth deployed in line of battle on the left side of the road, immediately in the rear of the Fourth New Hampshire. I then ordered the Sixth Connecticut to deploy in the rear of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania and the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania to deploy on the right side of the road in line of battle and relieve the Seventh Connecticut. I then ordered the Fourth New Hampshire, which had spent all its ammunition, back under cover on the road in the woods. The enemy meantime kept up a terrific fire of grape and musketry, to which we replied with terrible effect. At this point the orders were given to retire, and the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania and Seventh Connecticut formed the rear guard. I then ordered the Thirty-seventh Pennsylvania to keep its position and the Sixth Connecticut to march by the flank into the road and to the rear, the Fourth New Hampshire and Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania to follow. The troops of the Second Brigade were meanwhile retiring. After the whole column was in motion and a line of battle established by the Seventh Connecticut about 1,000 yards in the rear of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania I ordered the Forty-seventh to retire by the flank and establish a line of battle 1,000 yards in the rear of the Seventh Connecticut; after which the Seventh Connecticut moved by the flank to the rear and established a line of battle 1,000 yards in the rear of the Forty seventh, and thus retiring, alternately establishing lines, until we reached Frampton Creek, where we were relieved from this duty by the Fourth New Hampshire. We arrived at the landing at 3 o’clock on the morning of the 23d instant.

The casualties of the Sixth Connecticut are 34 in killed and wounded and the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania 112 in killed and wounded. As to the remaining regiments I have as yet received no report.

On 23 October 1862, the 47th Pennsylvanians returned to Hilton Head, where several members of the regiment were appointed to serve as funeral Honor Guardsmen for the commander of the U.S. Army’s 10th Corps and Department of the South, Major-General Ormsby McKnight Mitchel, who had succumbed to yellow fever 30 October. Mitchelville, the first Freedmen’s town created after the Civil War, was later named for him. The men of the 47th Pennsylvania were the soldiers given the high honor of firing the salute over his grave.

An aftershock of the battle rocked the regiment just over three weeks later when C Company’s Sergeant Peter Haupt, who been shot in the foot at Pocotaligo, succumbed from the complications of traumatic tetanus on 14 November 1862.


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

Having been ordered back to Key West on 15 November 1862, much of 1863 for the men of the 47th Pennsylvania was spent garrisoning federal installations in Florida as part of the U.S. Army’s 10th Corps, Department of the South. Companies A, B, C, E, G, and I remained on duty at Key West’s Fort Taylor while the soldiers from Companies D, F, H, and K garrisoned Fort Jefferson, the Union’s remote outpost in the Dry Tortugas off the coast of Florida.

In a letter to the Sunbury American on 23 August 1863, Henry Wharton described Thanksgiving celebrations held by the regiment and residents of Key West and a yacht race the following Saturday at which participants had “an opportunity of tripping the ‘light, fantastic toe,’ to the fine music of the 47th Band, led by that excellent musician, Prof. Bush.”

As 1863 began to slip away with each passing day, it became an increasingly noteworthy year for the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers both for the number of men lost to disease—and because most of the soldiers from the regiment chose to re-enlist when their original three-year terms of service expired.

In December of 1863, regimental muster rolls show that Captain Charles Abbott was awarded a furlough.


In early January 1864, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was ordered to expand the Union’s reach by sending part of the regiment north to retake possession of Fort Myers, a federal installation that had been abandoned in 1858 following the U.S. government’s third war with the Seminole Indians. Per orders issued earlier in 1864 by General D. P. Woodbury, Commanding Officer, U.S. Department of the Gulf, District of Key West and the Tortugas, that the fort be used to facilitate the Union’s Gulf Coast blockade, Colonel Tilghman Good, in consultation with his superiors, assigned a group of men from Company A to special duty, and charged them with expanding the fort and conducting raids on area cattle herds to provide food for the growing Union troop presence across Florida. Graeffe and his men subsequently turned the fort into both their base of operations and a shelter for pro-Union supporters, men and women escaping slavery, Confederate Army deserters, and others fleeing Rebel troops. According to Schmidt:

Capt. Richard A. Graeffe, accompanied by Assistant Surgeon William F. Reiber, commanded the main portion of Company A which boarded ship on Monday, January 4 and sailed the following day, Tuesday, for Fort Myers, on the Caloosahatchee River fifteen air miles southeast of Charlotte Harbor. The company was transported on board the Army quartermaster schooner Matchless, after having embarked the day before, and was accompanied by the steamer U.S.S. Honduras commanded by Lt. Harris, and with Gen. Woodbury aboard. Lt. Harris was directed to tow the Matchless if necessary….

Capt. Graeffe and company were disembarked on the evening of January 7, and Gen. Woodbury ordered the company to occupy Fort Myers on the south side of the Caloosahatchee, about 12 miles from its mouth and 150 miles from Key West. Shortly after, [a detachment of men from the 47th Pennsylvania’s A Company stationed on Useppa Island] was also ordered to proceed to Fort Myers and join the main body of Company A, the entire command under direct orders of the General who was in the area…. Gen. Woodbury returned to Key West on the Honduras prior to January 19, and the command was left in charge of Capt. Graeffe who dispatched various patrols in search of refugees for enlistment and for activities involving Confederate cattle shipments.

Graeffe’s men also captured three Confederate sympathizers, including a blockade runner and spy named Griffin and an Indian interpreter and agent named Lewis. Charged with multiple offenses against the United States, they were transported to Key West, where they were kept under guard by the Provost Marshal—Major William Gausler, third-in-command of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

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.

Opelousas & Great Western trains, Algiers railroad shop, Louisiana, circa 1865 (public domain).

Meanwhile, Colonel Good, K Company Captain Charles W. Abbott, and the other officers of the 47th had begun preparing to take the bulk of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on the regiment’s history-making journey to Louisiana. Boarding yet another steamer—the Charles Thomas—on 25 February 1864, the men from Companies B, C, D, I, and K of the 47th Pennsylvania headed for Algiers, Louisiana (across the river from New Orleans), followed on 1 March by other members of the regiment from Companies E, F, G, and H who had been stationed at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Upon the second group’s arrival, the now almost fully reunited regiment moved by train on 28 February to Brashear City before heading to Franklin by steamer through the Bayou Teche. There, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry joined the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division of the Department of the Gulf’s 19th Army Corps, and became the only Pennsylvania regiment to serve in the Red River Campaign of Union Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks.

Unable to reach Louisiana until 23 March, the men from Company A were effectively placed on a different type of detached duty in New Orleans while they awaited transport to enable them to catch up with the main part of their regiment. Charged with guarding and overseeing the transport of 245 Confederate prisoners, they were finally able to board the Ohio Belle on 7 April, and reached Alexandria with those prisoners on 9 April.

Red River Campaign

From 14-26 March, the majority of 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers marched for Alexandria and Natchitoches, Louisiana, by way of New Iberia, Vermilionville, Opelousas, and Washington. From 4-5 April 1864, the regiment added to its roster of young Black soldiers when Aaron, James, and John Bullard, Samuel Jones, and Hamilton Blanchard (also known as John Hamilton) enrolled for military service with the 47th Pennsylvania at Natchitoches. According to their respective entries in the Civil War Veterans’ Card File at the Pennsylvania State Archives and on regimental muster rolls, the men were then officially mustered in for duty on 22 June at Morganza. Several of their entries noted that they were assigned the rank of “(Colored) Cook” while others were given the rank of “Under Cook.”

Often short on food and water throughout their long, grueling trek through enemy territory, the 47th Pennsylvanians encamped briefly at Pleasant Hill on the night of 7 April before continuing on the next day, marching until mid-afternoon.

19th U.S. Army Map, Phase 3, Battle of Sabine Cross Roads/Mansfield (8 April 1864, public domain).

On 8 April, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers engaged in the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads (also known as the Battle of Mansfield), losing 60 of their friends to fierce gun and cannon fire. The fighting waned only when darkness fell. The exhausted, but uninjured collapsed beside the gravely wounded. After midnight, the surviving Union troops withdrew to Pleasant Hill. Second Lieutenant Alfred P. Swoyer was one of those killed in action at Mansfield. K Company Captain Charles Abbott explained later for the record what had happened to his subordinate:

At 2:00 pm we got orders to strike tents, pack up, and fall in – double quick. When we got there, the 13th Corps was on full retreat, and the wagons and cavalry and artillery and infantry was all mixed up together. We could hardly get by to form a line of battle. Some of the retreaters say ‘it is no use to go up.’ I said ‘the hell they say, wait until we get there. Forward boys, forward.’  

We got there just in time to save the wagon trains and the 13th Corps. We formed in several lines just in the rear of this mass. A good many of the 13th Corps were rallied, formed on our left just in time … for on came the Rebs with their yells …  but only to be met by 10,000 minie balls from the first volley, which sent  many of them to eternity, and the rest, back into the woods again.  

I told Lt. Swoyer to keep down a little, but he did not mind…. I said ‘Wait until they come close enough to kill.’

Stating that Swoyer’s response was: “They are coming nine deep!”, Captain Abbott then confirmed for the record that Second Lieutenant Alfred P. Swoyer was felled by a minie ball to his right temple. “I laid him down to die. He was a good man, and a fine soldier.”

Note: Sadly, Alfred P. Swoyer’s final resting place has still not been found as of this writing. While it is possible that his remains were exhumed and reinterred as one of the unknowns at the Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana or at the Chalmette National Cemetery (also known as Monument Cemetery) in Chalmette, Louisiana as part of the reburial in national cemeteries of federal soldiers, it is also likely that he still rests where he fell that terrible day. According to several historians who have researched the battles of the Red River Campaign, missing soldiers from both sides were often hastily interred on or near battlefields by fellow soldiers or local residents—often times placing former enemies side-by-side for eternity.

It is also equally possible, however, that Alfred Swoyer’s remains were destroyed. In 1996, L.P. Hecht, in his Echoes from the Letters of a Civil War Surgeon, reported the disturbing news that wild hogs had eaten the remains of at least some of the federal soldiers who had been left unburied as the Union Army made its retreat toward New Orleans.

The next day, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were ordered into a critically important defensive position at the far right of the Union lines, their right flank spreading up onto a high bluff. By 3 p.m., after enduring a midday charge by the troops of Confederate General Richard Taylor (a plantation owner who was the son of Zachary Taylor, former President of the United States), the brutal fighting still showed no signs of ending. Suddenly, just as the 47th was shifting to the left side of the massed Union forces, the men of the 47th Pennsylvania were forced to bolster the 165th New York’s buckling lines by blocking another Confederate assault.

Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, 9 April 1864 (Harper’s Weekly, 7 May 1864, public domain).

On that day, now known as the Battle of Pleasant Hill, the 47th nearly lost its second-in-command, Lieutenant-Colonel George W. Alexander, who had been severely wounded in both legs while Privates Nicholas Hagelgans, Jacob Madder and Samuel Wolf of K Company were all killed in action.

Then, as the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were recapturing a Massachusetts artillery battery that had been lost during the earlier Confederate assault, 68-year-old Color-Sergeant Benjamin Walls of Company C was wounded, as was Sergeant William Pyers of the same company, who had picked up the American flag when Walls fell, and prevented it from falling into enemy hands.

Other members of the 47th Pennsylvania were captured by Confederate troops, marched roughly 125 miles to Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas, and held there as prisoners of war (POWs) until released during prisoner exchanges in July, August, September, or November.

Private Ben Zellner of K Company, who had been shot in the leg and ultimately ended up being wounded in action a total of four times during 1864, was one of the men carted off to Camp Ford. After spending time as a POW in Texas, Private Zellner became one of 300 to 400 men deemed well enough by Camp Ford officials to be shipped to Shreveport, Louisiana. They were then transported by rail to the notorious Confederate POW camp at Andersonville, Georgia. Held there until his release in September 1864, Zellner recovered and continued to serve with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. (He was then wounded in action again during the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia on 19 October 1864.)

* Note: Although Camp Ford records show that Benjamin Zellner (under the surname of “Cellner”) was released during a prisoner exchange on 22 July 1864, Ben Zellner stated in multiple newspaper accounts after war’s end that he had been shipped off to Andersonville and held there until his release in September 1864.

While Private Benjamin Zellner was suffering as a POW at Andersonville, other members of the 47th Pennsylvania remained imprisoned at the increasingly overcrowded and unpleasant Camp Ford (the largest Confederate prison west of the Mississippi River). Sadly, at least two members of the 47th never made it out alive.

Following what some historians have called a rout by Confederates at Pleasant Hill and others have labeled a technical victory for the Union or a draw for both sides, the 47th Pennsylvanians fell back to Grand Ecore, where they remained for 11 days and engaged in the hard labor of strengthening regimental and brigade fortifications. They then moved back to Natchitoches Parish on 22 April, arriving in Cloutierville at 10 p.m. that same night, after marching 45 miles. While en route, they were attacked again—this time at the rear of their brigade, but they were able to quickly end the encounter and move forward.

The next morning (23 April 1864), episodic skirmishing quickly roared into the flames of a robust fight. As part of the advance party led by Brigadier-General William Emory, the 47th Pennsylvanians took on Brigadier-General Hamilton P. Bee’s Confederate Cavalry in the Battle of Cane River (also known as “the Affair at Monett’s Ferry” or the “Cane River Crossing”). Responding to a barrage from the Confederate artillery’s 20-pound Parrott guns and raking fire from enemy troops situated near a bayou and on a bluff, Emory directed one of his brigades to keep Bee’s Confederates busy while sending the other two brigades to find a safe spot where his Union troops could ford the Cane River. As part of the “beekeepers,” the 47th Pennsylvania supported Emory’s artillery.

As Emory’s troops worked their way toward the Cane River, they attacked Bee’s flank, forced a Rebel retreat, and erected a series of pontoon bridges, enabling the 47th Pennsylvania and other remaining Union troops to make the Cane River Crossing by the next day. As the Confederates retreated, they torched their own food stores, as well as the cotton supplies of their fellow southerners.

In a letter penned from Morganza, Louisiana on 29 May, Henry Wharton described what had happened to the 47th Pennsylvanians during and immediately after making camp at Grand Ecore:

Our sojourn at Grand Ecore was for eleven days, during which time our position was well fortified by entrenchments for a length of five miles, made of heavy logs, five feet high and six feet wide, filled in with dirt. In front of this, trees were felled for a distance of two hundred yards, so that if the enemy attacked we had an open space before us which would enable our forces to repel them and follow if necessary. But our labor seemed to the men as useless, for on the morning of 22d April, the army abandoned these works and started for Alexandria. From our scouts it was ascertained that the enemy had passed some miles to our left with the intention of making a stand against our right at Bayou Cane, where there is a high bluff and dense woods, and at the same attack Smith’s forces who were bringing up the rear. This first day was a hard one on the boys, for by ten o’clock at night they made Cloutierville, a distance of forty-five miles. On that day the rear was attacked which caused our forces to reverse their front and form in line of battle, expecting too, to go back to the relief of Smith, but he needed no assistance, sending word to the front that he had ‘whipped them, and could do it again.’ It was well that Banks made so long a march on that day, for on the next we found the enemy prepared to carry out their design of attacking us front and rear. Skirmishing commenced early in the morning and as our columns advanced he fell back towards the bayou, when we soon discovered the position of their batteries on the bluff. There was then an artillery duel by the smaller pieces, and some sharp fighting by the cavalry, when the ‘mule battery,’ twenty pound Parrott guns, opened a heavy fire, which soon dislodged them, forcing the chivalry to flee in a manner not at all suitable to their boasted courage. Before this one cavalry, the 3d Brigade of the 1st Div., and Birges’ brigade of the second, had crossed the bayou and were doing good service, which, with the other work, made the enemy show their heels. The 3d brigade done some daring deeds in this fight, as also did the cavalry. In one instance the 3d charged up a hill almost perpendicular, driving the enemy back by the bayonet without firing a gun. The woods on this bluff was so thick that the cavalry had to dismount and fight on foot. During the whole of the day, our brigade, the 2d was supporting artillery, under fire all the time, and could not give Mr. Reb a return shot.

While we were fighting in front, Smith was engaged some miles in the rear, but he done his part well and drove them back. The rebel commanders thought by attacking us in the rear, and having a large face on the bluffs, they would be able to capture our train and take us all prisoners, but in this they were mistaken, for our march was so rapid that we were on them before they had thrown up the necessary earthworks. Besides they underrated the amount of our artillery, calculating from the number engaged at Pleasant Hill. The rebel prisoners say it ‘seems as though the Yankees manufacture, on short notice, artillery to order, and the men are furnished with wings when they wish to make a certain point.

The damage done to the Confederate cause by the burning of cotton was immense. On the night of the 22d our route was lighted up for miles and millions of dollars worth of this production was destroyed. This loss will be felt more by Davis & Co., than several defeats in this region, for the basis of the loan in England was on the cotton of Western Louisiana.

After the rebels had fled from the bluff the negro troops put down the pontoons, and by ten that night we were six miles beyond the bayou safely encamped. The next morning we moved forward and in two days were in Alexandria. Johnnys followed Smith’s forces, keeping out of range of his guns, except when he had gained the eminence across the bayou, when he punished them (the rebs) severely.

Christened “Bailey’s Dam” for the Union officer who ordered its construction, Lt.-Col. Joseph Bailey, this timber dam built by the Union Army on the Red River near Alexandria, Louisiana in May 1864 facilitated Union gunboat passage (public domain).

Having finally reached Alexandria on 26 April, they learned they would remain at their latest new camp for at least two weeks. Placed temporarily under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bailey, they were assigned yet again to the hard labor of fortification work, helping to erect “Bailey’s Dam,” a timber structure that enabled Union gunboats to more easily make their way back down the Red River. While all of this was going on, K Company’s Private William Walbert was slowly slipping away. On 30 April, he succumbed to disease-related complications at a Union Army hospital in New Orleans.

While stationed in Rapides Parish in late April and early May, according to Wharton:

We were at Alexandria seventeen days, during which time the men were kept busy at throwing up earthworks, foraging and three times went out some distance to meet the enemy, but they did not make their appearance in numbers large enough for an engagement. The water in the Red river had fallen so much that it prevented the gunboats from operating with us, and kept our transports from supplying the troops with rations, (and you know soldiers, like other people, will eat) so Banks was compelled to relinquish his designs on Shreveport and fall back to the Mississippi. To do this a large dam [Bailey’s Dam] had to be built on the falls at Alexandria to get the ironclads down the river. After a great deal of labor this was accomplished and by the morning of May 13th the last one was through the shute [sic], when we bade adieu to Alexandria, marching through the town with banners flying and keeping step to the music of ‘Rally around the flag,’ and ‘When this cruel war is over.’ The next morning, at our camping place, the fleet of boats passed us, when we were informed that Alexandria had been destroyed by fire – the act of a dissatisfied citizen and several negroes. Incendiary acts were strictly forbidden in a general order the day before we left the place, and a cavalry guard was left in the rear to see the order enforced. After marching a few miles skirmishing commenced in front between the cavalry and the enemy in riflepits [sic] on the bank of the river, but they were easily driven away. When we came up we discovered their pits and places where there had been batteries planted. At this point the John Warren, an unarmed transport, on which were sick soldiers and women, was fired into and sunk, killing many and those that were not drowned taken prisoners. A tin-clad gunboat was destroyed at the same place, by which we lost a large mail. Many letters and directed envelopes were found on the bank – thrown there after the contents had been read by the unprincipled scoundrels. The inhumanity of Guerrilla bands in this department is beyond belief, and if one did not know the truth of it or saw some of their barbarities, he would write it down as the story of a ‘reliable gentleman’ or as told by an ‘intelligent contraband.’ Not satisfied with his murderous intent on unarmed transports he fires into the Hospital steamer Laurel Hill, with four hundred sick on board. This boat had the usual hospital signal floating fore and aft, yet, notwithstanding all this, and the customs of war, they fired on them, proving by this act that they are more hardened than the Indians on the frontier.

On Sunday, May 15, we left the river road and took a short route through the woods, saving considerable distance. The windings of Red river are so numerous that it resembles the tape-worm railroad wherewith the politicians frightened the dear people during the administration of Ritner and Stevens. – We stopped several hours in the woods to leave cavalry pass, when we moved forward and by four o’clock emerged into a large open plain where we formed in line of battle, expecting a regular engagement. The enemy, however, retired and we advanced ‘till dark, when the forces halted for the night, with orders to rest on their arms. – ‘Twas here that Banks rode through our regiment, amidst the cheers of the boys, and gave the pleasant news that Grant had defeated Lee.

“Sleeping on Their Arms” by Winslow Homer (Harper’s Weekly, 21 May 1864).

Having entered Avoyelles Parish, the 47th Pennsylvanians “rested on their arms” for the night, half-dozing without pitching their tents, but with their rifles right beside them. They were now positioned just outside of Marksville, Louisiana on the eve of the 16 May 1864 Battle of Mansura, which unfolded as follows, according to Wharton:

Early next morning we marched through Marksville into a prairie nine miles long and six wide where every preparation was made for a fight. The whole of our force was formed in line, in support of artillery in front, who commenced operations on the enemy driving him gradually from the prairie into the woods. As the enemy retreated before the heavy fire of our artillery, the infantry advanced in line until they reached Mousoula [sic], where they formed in column, taking the whole field in an attempt to flank the enemy, but their running qualities were so good that we were foiled. The maneuvring [sic] of the troops was handsomely done, and the movements was [sic] one of the finest things of the war. The fight of artillery was a steady one of five miles. The enemy merely stood that they might cover the retreat of their infantry and train under cover of their artillery. Our loss was slight. Of the rebels we could not ascertain correctly, but learned from citizens who had secreted themselves during the fight, that they had many killed and wounded, who threw them into wagons, promiscuously, and drove them off so that we could not learn their casualties. The next day we moved to Simmsport [sic] on the Achafalaya [sic] river, where a bridge was made by putting the transports side by side, which enabled the troops and train to pass safely over. – The day before we crossed the rebels attacked Smith, thinking it was but the rear guard, in which they, the graybacks, were awfully cut up, and four hundred prisoners fell into our hands. Our loss in killed and wounded was ninety. This fight was the last one of the expedition. The whole of the force is safe on the Mississippi, gunboats, transports and trains. The 16th and 17th have gone to their old commands.

It is amusing to read the statements of correspondents to papers North, concerning our movements and the losses of our army. I have it from the best source that the Federal loss from Franklin to Mansfield, and from their [sic] to this point does not exceed thirty-five hundred in killed, wounded and missing, while that of the rebels is over eight thousand.

Continuing on, the surviving members of the 47th marched for Simmesport and then Morganza, where they made camp again. According to Wharton, the members of Company C were sent on a special mission which took them on an intense 120-mile journey:

Company C, on last Saturday was detailed by the General in command of the Division to take one hundred and eighty-seven prisoners (rebs) to New Orleans. This they done [sic] satisfactorily and returned yesterday to their regiment, ready for duty. While in the City some of the boys made Captain Gobin quite a handsome present, to show their appreciation of him as an officer gentleman.

The boys are well. James Kennedy who was wounded at Pleasant Hill, died at New Orleans hospital a few days ago. His friends in the company were pleased to learn that Dr. Dodge of Sunbury, now of the U.S. Steamer Octorora, was with him in his last moments, and ministered to his wants. The Doctor was one of the Surgeons from the Navy who volunteered when our wounded was sent to New Orleans.

In June of 1864, Company K lost another of its members when Private Paul Houser died while on furlough; he was among those men who drowned near Cape May, New Jersey during the sinking of the steamer Pocahontas. Follow-up coverage in The New York Times reported that many of the men who lost their lives were on their way home, having been wounded in action or taken ill while in service to their nation.

While encamped at Morganza, the nine formerly enslaved Black men who had enlisted with the 47th Pennsylvania in Beaufort (1862) and Natchitoches, Louisiana (April 1864) were officially mustered into the regiment between 20-24 June 1864. The regiment then moved on once again, and arrived in New Orleans in late June.

The Controversy

While these battles, marches, and other military actions were all unfolding, a controversial incident roiled not only the 47th Pennsylvania’s officers’ corps, but senior levels of the Union Army’s leadership in Louisiana.

The 11 May 1864 Evening Star in Washington, D.C. gave a glimpse into the situation with the startling news that Major William H. Gausler and First Lieutenants W. H. R. Hangen and William Reese of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry had been dismissed from military service “for cowardice in the actions of Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill on the 8th and 9th of April, and for having tendered their resignations while under such charges” (AGO Special Order No. 169, 6 May 1864).

The allegations against the 47th Pennsylvania’s officers would continue to trouble the hearts and minds of regimental leaders for months as the situation went unresolved—despite official protests that were lodged by Colonel Tilghman Good and other officers from the 47th who condemned the allegations of cowardice against Gausler, Hangen, and Reese as grossly inaccurate and unfair. The stain was finally removed from the regiment when President Abraham Lincoln stepped in. According to The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, President Lincoln personally reviewed and reversed the Adjutant General’s findings against Gausler. On 14 October 1864, Lincoln wrote to U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton:

Please send the papers of Major Gansler [sic], by the bearer, Mr. Longnecker. A. LINCOLN

An annotation  to Lincoln’s collected works explains that “Mr. Longnecker was probably Henry C. Longnecker of Allentown, Pennsylvania,” and makes clear that, although Major W. H. Gausler had indeed been dismissed for cowardice, President Lincoln disagreed with the decision, and overturned it on 17 October 1864. The notation further explains, “Although the name appears as ‘Gansler’ in Special Orders, it is ‘Gausler’ on the roster of the regiment.”

A more detailed explanation of why the 47th Pennsylvania’s field and staff officers were so angered by the allegations against Gausler and the others was later provided in Gausler’s 1914 obituary in The Allentown Leader:

“[Gausler] was court martialed for making a superior officer apologize on his knees at the point of a gun for slurring Pennsylvania German soldiers, but was pardoned by President Lincoln.”

Although the incident left a sour taste in the mouths of the 47th Pennsylvania’s officers, they did not let it deter them from their mission. After arriving in New Orleans, they received orders on the 4th of July to return to the East Coast, and loaded their men onto ships in two stages. Companies A, C, D, E, F, H, and I steamed for the Washington, D.C. area beginning 7 July while the men from Companies B, G and K remained behind on detached duty and to await transportation. Led by F Company Captain Henry S. Harte, the 47th Pennsylvanians who had been left behind in Louisiana finally sailed away at the end of the month aboard the Blackstone. Arriving in Virginia on 28 July, they reconnected with the bulk of the regiment at Monocacy, Virginia on 2 August, but they missed the opportunity the earlier departing men had to have a memorable encounter with President Abraham Lincoln on 12 July 1864, and also missed the mid-July Battle of Cool Spring at Snicker’s Gap, Virginia.

Meanwhile, the Red River Campaign’s most senior leader, Union Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks, was being removed from command amid the controversy regarding the Union Army’s successes and failures. Placed on leave by President Abraham Lincoln, he later redeemed himself by spending much of his time in Washington, D.C. as a Reconstruction advocate for the people of Louisiana.

On 24 July 1864, Captain J. P. S. Gobin was promoted from his leadership of Company C to the rank of Major and service with the central regimental command of the 47th Pennsylvania.

Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign

Battle of Opequan/Third Winchester, Virginia, 19 September 1864 (public domain).

Attached to the Middle Military Division, U.S. Army of the Shenandoah from August through November of 1864, it was at this time and place, under the leadership of legendary Union Major-General Philip H. (“Little Phil”) Sheridan and Brigadier-General William H. Emory, that Major John Peter Shindel Gobin and the members of the 47th Pennsylvania would exhibit their greatest moments of individual and collective valor. Of the experience, C Company Drummer Boy Samuel Pyers later said it was “our hardest engagement.”

Inflicting heavy casualties during the Battle of Opequan (also known as “Third Winchester”) on 19 September, Union Major-General Philip Sheridan’s gallant men forced a stunning retreat of Lieutenant-General Jubal Early’s Confederates—first to Fisher’s Hill (21-22 September) and then to Waynesboro, following a successful early morning flanking attack. Their victories helped Abraham Lincoln win a second term as President.

On 23-24 September 1864, Colonel Tilghman Good and Lieutenant-Colonel George W. Alexander then mustered out upon the expiration of their respective terms of service. Fortunately for the 47th, they were replaced by others equally beloved for their temperament and front-line experience.

Sheridan’s Army then began the first Union “scorched earth” campaign, starving Confederate forces and their supporters into submission by destroying Virginia’s farming infrastructure. Viewed by many today as inhumane, the strategy claimed many innocents. This same strategy, however, almost certainly contributed to the turning of the war further in favor of the Union. Early’s men, successful in many prior engagements but now weakened by hunger, strayed from battlefields in increasing numbers to forage for food, thus enabling the 47th Pennsylvania and others under Sheridan’s command to rally and win the day during the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19 October 1864.

Alfred Waud’s 1864 sketch, “Surprise at Cedar Creek,” captured the flanking attack on the rear of Union Brigadier-General William Emory’s 19th Corps by Lieutenant-General Jubal Early’s Confederate army, and the subsequent resistance by Emory’s troops from their Union rifle pits, 19 October 1864 (public domain).

From a military standpoint, it was an impressive, but heartrending day. During the morning of 19 October, Early launched a surprise attack directly on Sheridan’s Cedar Creek-encamped forces. Early’s men were able to capture Union weapons while freeing multiple Confederates who had been taken prisoner during previous battles—all while pushing seven Union divisions back. According to Bates:

When the Army of West Virginia, under Crook, was surprised and driven from its works, the Second Brigade, with the Forty-seventh on the right, was thrown into the breach to arrest the retreat…. Scarcely was it in position before the enemy came suddenly upon it, under the cover of fog. The right of the regiment was thrown back until it was almost a semi-circle. The brigade, only fifteen hundred strong, was contending against Gordon’s entire division, and was forced to retire, but, in comparative good order, exposed, as it was, to raking fire. Repeatedly forming, as it was pushed back, and making a stand at every available point, it finally succeeded in checking the enemy’s onset, when General Sheridan suddenly appeared upon the field, who ‘met his crest-fallen, shattered battalions, without a word of reproach, but joyously swinging his cap, shouted to the stragglers, as he rode rapidly past them – “Face the other way, boys! We are going back to our camp! We are going to lick them out of their boots!’”

The Union’s counterattack pounded Early’s forces into submission, and the men of the 47th fought so courageously that they would later be commended for their valor by General Stephen Thomas who, in 1892, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his own “distinguished conduct in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter, in which the advance of the enemy was checked” that day. Bates described the 47th’s actions:

When the final grand charge was made, the regiment moved at nearly right angles with the rebel front. The brigade charged gallantly, and the entire line, making a left wheel, came down on his flank, while engaging the Sixth Corps, when he went “whirling up the valley” in confusion. In the pursuit to Fisher’s Hill, the regiment led, and upon its arrival was placed on the skirmish line, where it remained until twelve o’clock noon of the following day. The army was attacked at early dawn…no respite was given to take food until the pursuit was ended.

Through it all, the casualty rates for the 47th continued to climb. Privates Lewis Berliner (alternate spelling: “Berlina”), Moses F. Klotz, and Lewis Schneck were killed in action.

Sergeant William H. Burger, who had suffered a compression of the brain after being struck in the head by shrapnel from an exploding artillery shell or musket ball, initially received care at a Union Army battlefield/regimental hospital(s) before being transferred to the Union Army hospital at Newtown, Virginia. Subsequently transferred to the Union Army’s Satterlee General Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for advanced care, he died there from complications related to his traumatic brain injury on 5 November 1864.

Others, however, were somewhat more fortunate, including Corporal Joseph Frack and Corporal William Landis. After recovering from his wound, Corporal Frack was treated initially at a battlefield/regimental hospital, and then transferred to a Union Army hospital in Philadelphia for more advanced care before mustering out from that hospital on 22 June 1865. Corporal Landis returned to the regiment after receiving treatment for his wound, was later promoted, and continued to serve with the 47th Pennsylvania until it was finally mustered out from service in 1865.

But First Lieutenant David K. Fetherolf, who was wounded and later discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate on 17 November 1864 after he had recuperated enough to make the trip home, would later die at home in Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania on 19 August 1865—becoming one of the many “post-war casualties” left out of the Civil War’s final death totals.

A Regiment Carries On

Given a slight respite after Cedar Creek, the men of the 47th Pennsylvania were quartered at the Union’s Camp Russell near Winchester, Virginia from November through most of December before receiving orders to assume outpost duty at Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia just five days before Christmas.

1865 – 1866

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles W. Abbott, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1865 (public domain).

On New Year’s Day in 1865, Captain Charles W. Abbott mustered out from his regiment in order to accept a promotion to the 47th Pennsylvania’s central command staff. He was then installed as the regiment’s lieutenant-colonel and second-in-command on 3 January 1865 at Fort Stevenson.

By February of 1865, the 47th Pennsylvania was assigned to the Provisional Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah.

By 19 April, the regiment was back in Washington, D.C., ordered there to defend the nation’s capital again—this time following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. While serving in the 2nd Brigade of the Department of Washington’s 22nd Corps (Dwight’s Division), the 47th also participated in the Union’s Grand Review of the Armies on 23-24 May. Captain Levi Stuber of Company I was also promoted to the rank of Major with the regimental command staff during this time.

Letters sent home during this period and interviews conducted in later years with survivors of the 47th Pennsylvania documented that at least one member of the 47th was given the honor of guarding President Lincoln’s funeral train while still others were assigned to guard duties at the prison where the alleged Lincoln assassination conspirators were held during the early days of their confinement.

Ruins of Charleston, South Carolina as seen from the Circular Church, 1865 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, public domain).

Taking one final swing through the South, the 47th served in Savannah, Georgia from 31 May to 4 June as part of the Department of the South’s 3rd Brigade (Dwight’s Division) and at Charleston beginning in June.

Duties during this time were Provost (military police) and Reconstruction-related, including rebuilding railroads and other key aspects of the region’s infrastructure that had been damaged or destroyed during the long war.

Sometime that summer, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles W. Abbott received word that his mother had passed away in Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania on 21 June 1865. She was interred next to her husband at the Morgenland Cemetery in Lehigh County.

Finally, on Christmas Day in 1865, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles W. Abbott and the majority of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers began to muster out, a process which continued through early January 1866.

After surviving a stormy voyage home and an exhausting train trip to Philadelphia, the now very experienced 47th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers received their final discharge papers at Camp Cadwalader, and were returned to their loved ones and neighbors.

Return to Civilian Life

Advertisement for Charles W. Abbott’s business (The Lehigh Register, 25 Oct 1871, public domain).

In 1870, Charles W. Abbott resided with his wife, Emma, and their sons, William and Harry, in the Second Ward of Allentown, where he co-owned and operated Ritter, Abbott & Co., a planing mill and home improvement supply manufacturing firm which made use of his years of carpentry experience (see newspaper advertisement at right). Also living with them at this time was Charles Abbott’s mother-in-law, Charlotte Mathias. That year’s federal census taker valued the real estate and personal estate of Charles Abbott at $4,000 and $3,200, respectively (roughly the equivalent of $150,000 in 2021).

By 1880, he had relocated with his wife, Emma, and their 18-year-old son, Harry, to Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, where he continued to support his family via his carpentry expertise. Living nearby was his now-married, 24-year-old son, William, and William’s 21-year-old wife, Sarah Rebecca (Gotthardt) Abbott (1858-1913), and their three-year-old daughter, Clara Theresa Abbott (1877-1930), who would later grow up to marry William Howard Schmoyer (1871-1929).

Before that decade was out, Charles Abbott’s youngest son, Harry, also became a family man when he married Anna M. Baker (1867-1931) in Allentown.

In 1889, Charles W. Abbott participated with other officers from the 47th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers in advocating for federal pension increases for American Civil War soldiers. According to The Centre Reporter:

The survivors of the Forty-seventh regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers [and] Col. J. P. S. Gobin, have addressed the following resolution to the United States Congress:

‘Resolved, That we heartily commend and indorse [sic] the per diem rated service pension bill, passed on the principle of paying all soldiers, sailors and marines a monthly pension of 1 cent for each day they were in service during the war of the rebellion, and we earnestly urge on congress the early passage of said bill.’ Signed by Charles H. Yard, president; Charles W. Abbott, secretary; Edwin Gilbert, Edward A. Menner and J. Gilbert Snyder.

A number of the survivors of the regiment are Bethlehemites.

On 14 July 1890, Charles W. Abbott applied for a U.S. Civil War Pension, which he was ultimately awarded. He continued to remain active with Civil War soldiers’ causes over the next several years. In its 23 October 1893 coverage of the 47th Pennsylvania’s annual reunion that month, The Allentown Leader noted that Charles Abbott had been serving as the secretary for his regiment’s veteran volunteers association that year, was elected at the reunion to serve as the next treasurer for the organization, and was also appointed to the five-member planning committee for the 1894 reunion. The Scranton Tribune, in its 23 October 1895 news coverage, noted that he was serving as the organization’s secretary.

Barely a week before Christmas in 1895, Charles Abbott became a widower when his wife, Emma, suffered a stroke and died in Allentown at the age of 62 on 17 December. She was laid to rest at the Union-West End Cemetery.

On 18 April 1896, Charles W. Abbott remarried, taking as his second wife, Melara C. Kase (1853-1931), in Allentown in a ceremony officiated by the Rev. B. M. Neill. Marriage records at the time indicated that he was employed as a stair builder while she was employed as a housekeeper.

Allentown Militia, Soldiers and Sailors Monument Dedication, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1899 (public domain).

By June of 1900, Charles and Melara Abbott were residing on Law Street in Allentown, and Charles was still working as a carpenter.

Sadly, less than four years later, Charles Abbott lost his youngest son, Harry C. Abbott, to tuberculosis on 25 December 1904. Harry, who had grown up to become a carpenter like his father, had no one to carry on his name because he and his wife, Annie, had remained childless throughout their marriage. He was subsequently interred at Lehigh County’s Fairview Cemetery.

Less than four years after that loss, Charles W. Abbott then lost another family member when his youngest brother, John A. Abbott, died from chronic cystitis in Salisbury Township on 13 January 1908. A Civil War veteran who had served as a corporal with Company C of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers from 5 January 1864 to 16 July 1865, John Abbott had gone on to become a plasterer and tax collector, and had married and become the father of four children. He was laid to rest at the Allentown Cemetery on 18 January 1908.

Illness, Death and Interment

On 8 March 1908, Charles W. Abbott suffered an attack of apoplexy. After lingering for three weeks, he died at the age of 74 on 29 Mar 1908 in Allentown, and was laid to rest beside his first wife, Emma, at that city’s Union-West End Cemetery. His family was awarded $15 for the purchase of a headstone and $35 to cover other costs associated with his burial.

Allentown’s newspapers announced his funeral as follows:

DEATHS. ABBOTT. Entered Into rest, March 29, 190S, Colonel Charles W. Abbott, aged 74 years, 1 month and 11 days. Funeral services at his late residence, No. 117 North Law Street, on Thursday afternoon at 2 p. m., to which the relatives, friends, Allen Lodge No. 71, I. O. O. F. and surviving soldiers of the Forty-seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and Company E, Second Regiment, S. of V. Reserves, are respectfully invited without further notice. Interment in Union Cemetery.

Among those in attendance at Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott’s funeral were Major William H. Gausler and Captain William H. Bartholomew, who served as the personal escort to Brevet Brigadier-General John Peter Shindel Gobin.

What Happened to Charles Abbott’s Surviving Siblings, Wife and Children?

Charles Abbott’s widowed brother, Benjamin Frank Abbott, who had married sometime before 1860, had initially lived with his wife, mother, and brother, John A. Abbott, in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, where he was employed as a painter while his brother worked as a day laborer. By 1870, he was a school teacher living in Allentown with his wife and four children. Still teaching as of 1880, his household had grown to include nine children, the oldest of whom (John) was employed as a furniture painter. Widowed by his first wife and remarried by 1900, he was described on that year’s census as a public school teacher who lived in Allentown with his wife, mother-in-law, and four of his children. No longer teaching as of 1910, he continued to support his family by working as an accountant. His large household that year included his wife, mother-in-law, three of his children—one of whom (James)—had married and had had two children—all of whom were also living under Benjamin Abbott’s roof. Just over a year later, Benjamin was gone, having succumbed to tuberculosis on 2 October 1911. He was interred at the Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown on 5 October.

Charles Abbott’s sister, Susanna, who was known to family and friends as “Susan,” went on to marry Henry J. Fried (1839-1922) in 1863. Together, she and her husband—a brick layer and plasterer—welcomed the births of six children. In early January of 1920, she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. She died three months later in Allentown, and was buried at the Union-West End Cemetery.

Charles W. Abbott’s second wife, Melara (Kase) Abbott, survived him by nearly a quarter of a century. In 1910, she still resided at the Law Street, Allentown home that she had shared with Charles Abbott. Living with her at this time were her 32-year-old daughter, Lizzie M. Hoffman, and Lizzie’s 12-year-old son, Lionel S. Hoffman. That year, Melara continued to work outside of the home as a housekeeper while her daughter worked as a saleswoman at a local dry goods store. In 1916, she filed for, and was awarded a Civil War widow’s pension of $12 per month—a rate which was then later increased to $25 per month in 1917 and to $30 per month on 1 May 1920. Sometime that same year, she relocated with her daughter, Lizzie Hoffman, to Allentown’s Seventh Ward. No longer employed, Melara was now living off of her Civil War Widow’s Pension and with the help of her daughter, who was employed at a local silk mill. Following Melara’s death at the age of 78 on 26 April 1931, Melara Abbott was also laid to rest at the Union-West End Cemetery.

Charles Abbott’s oldest son, William Henry Abbott, Sr., also grew up to become a carpenter like his father. After marrying sometime during the 1870s, he and his wife, Sarah R. (Gotthardt) Abbott, lived with their three-year-old daughter, Clara, in Salisbury Township. They then welcomed the births of: Charles William Abbott (1883-1931); Carrie Emma Abbott (1885-1923), who went on to marry John G. Jones (1883-1964); Claude Harrison Abbott (1888-1941); William Henry Abbott, Jr. (1893-1955); Grace Rueter Abbott (1895-1967), who went on to marry and be widowed by Samuel C. H. Jacoby (1857-1931) before marrying Joseph Oliver Bourdeaux (1900-1969); and Roy Ezra Abbott (1898-1945). Sadly, William Henry Abbott, Sr. was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah, who passed away on 19 May 1913 at the age of 54. He followed his wife in death on 24 July 1925, and was buried beside her at the Garden of Peace Cemetery in Fullerton, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.


  1. Abbott, Charles W., in Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1865 (K-47 I and F&S-47 I). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.
  2. Abbott, Charles W., in General Index to Civil War Pension Files (application no.: 820973, certificate no.: 582[2?]87, filed 14 July 1890; widow’s pension application no.: 899957, certificate no.: 809704). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  3. Abbott, Charles and Melara C., in U.S. Veterans’ Administration Pension Payment Cards. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  4. Abbott, John A., in Records of Burial Places of Veterans. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Military Affairs.
  5. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, vol. 1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.
  6. Chas. W. Abbott and Melara Kase, in “Marriage License Docket of Lehigh County, PA.” (no. 6567, 4 and 8 April 1896 and 15 May 1896). Allentown, Pennsylvania: Clerk of the Orphan’s Court, Lehigh County.
  7. Chas. W. Abbott, et. al., in “Strictly Personal” (report on Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott’s funeral). Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Leader, 3 April 1908.
  8. Charles W. Abbott, in Muster Rolls, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (Company K). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1861-1865.
  9. Charles W. Abbott, in “Registers of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865: 47th Regiment, Field & Staff,” in “Records of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs” (RG-19). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.
  10. Charles W. Abbott, in “U.S. Returns from Military Posts: Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida” (December 1863). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  11. “Deaths: Abbott.” Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Leader, 1 April 1908.
  12. “Deaths” (Abbott, Melara C.). Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Morning Call, 27 April 1931.
  13. Death and Burial Records (Abbott, Harry C.; 28 February 1904). Allentown, Pennsylvania: Grace Episcopal Church.
  14. Death Certificate (Abbott, Benjamin Frank; file no.: 92447, 2 October 1911). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  15. Death Certificate (Abbott, Charles William; file no.: 23829, 29 March 1908). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  16. Death Certificate (Fried, Susanna; file no.: 46800, 7 April 1920). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  17. “The Grand Old Men: The Veterans of the Forty-Seventh Deserve That Title: Their Latest Reunion Was Proof of It.” Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Leader, 23 October 1893.
  18. Harry C. Abbott and Annie M. Baker, in “Marriage License Docket.” (no. 151, 4 March 1886). Allentown, Pennsylvania: Clerk of the Orphan’s Court, Lehigh County.
  19. “History of the Forty-Seventh Regiment P.V., The.” Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Lehigh Register, 20 July 1870.
  20. “Resolutions Regarding Pensions.” Centre Hall, Pennsylvania: The Centre Reporter, 14 November 1889.
  21. “Reunion of the 47th: Surviving Members of General Gobin’s Regiment Meet at Harrisburg.” Scranton, Pennsylvania: The Scranton Tribune, 23 October 1895.
  22. Schmidt, Lewis G. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Self-published, 1986.
  23. “Union-West Cemetery” (Charles W. Abbott). Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Democrat, 1 June 1908.
  24. U.S. Census (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920). Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  25. Veteran’s Grave Registration (Charles W. Abbott). Allentown, Pennsylvania: County of Lehigh.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.