The son of a bank cashier, Charles H. Small grew up to be a man who was comfortable with mathematics and the minutiae of institutional record keeping for organizations large and small. Although those skills did not prevent him from becoming the target of enemy weapons during the American Civil War, they did enable him to rebuild his life, following the end of his nation’s darkest period.
Born on 8 January 1843, Charles H. Small was the son of York, Pennsylvania natives George Henry Small (1808-1887) and Eliza (Willis) Small (1832-1865). His father, George, who was a son of Heinrich Schmahl and Mary Ebert Schmahl, had relocated from York, Pennsylvania to Harrisburg in Dauphin County, and had briefly been employed by the land office of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania before securing a job with the Harrisburg Bank—a job he held throughout Charles Small’s early childhood and teen years.
In 1850, Charles H. Small resided in the East Ward of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his parents and siblings: Mary F. (aged 13; died sometime before 1907), Arthur F. (aged 11; died sometime before 1907), Ella R. (aged 4), and George W. Small (1850-1932). The federal census enumerator that year valued his father’s real estate holdings at $2,500 (the equivalent in 2021 of approximately $87,500), and that Margaret Hanefin, a 34-year-old native of Ireland, and Sarah Sampson, a 49-year-old Black woman from Maryland, were also residing at his home.
Eight years later, Charles Small’s father left his long-time job with the Harrisburg Bank to take a position as the cashier of a new bank being formed by Cameron, Calder and Eby. That financial institution would later become the First National Bank, and would help to transform Dauphin County. According to historian Gerald G. Eggert:
[T]he industrial leaders of Harrisburg had remarkable staying power. For a full century the entrepreneurial families dominated the economic and social life of the city…. It had taken them less than the single decade of the 1850s to establish firmly the town’s only major industries [including the Central Iron Works, Chesapeake Nail Works, Eagle Works (W. O. Hickock Manufacturing Company), Harrisburg Car Manufacturing Company, Harrisburg Cotton Manufacturing Company, and Lochiel Iron Company, among others]. Thereafter, for the next fifty years, they expanded those enterprises while effectively blocking outside industrialists from the city….
By the close of the nineteenth century, industrialization had swept through and drastically altered the processes of production in Harrisburg. Several large mechanized factories, with hundreds of employees producing massive quantities of producers’ goods for regional markets, had replaced the small shops that formerly made goods almost entirely for local consumption….
The banks [First National and other banks of this era in Harrisburg] … provided the industries with funding in periods when they were expanding, loans to carry them through bad years, and a variety of discounting, credit, and checking services. [And] they also provided the entrepreneurs with business information, investment opportunities, flexibility in handling their riches, a steady income from bank dividends, and power to thwart rivals, real or potential.
Educated in Harrisburg’s public schools, Charles H. Small and his siblings also grew up as members of the Reformed Church of Salem, where their father played a leadership role and served as the church’s organist. Their father was also active in civic and affairs throughout his life, and would later serve as a member of the board of trustees for the Home for the Friendless, which was established to assist the women and orphans of American Civil War soldiers.
As a youth, Charles Small was employed by a local telegraph service before accepting a bookkeeping job with the Lochiel Iron Works.
On 31 July 1862, Charles H. Small enrolled for military service in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as a Private with Company F of the 127th Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was more commonly known as the “Dauphin County Regiment.” He then officially mustered in for duty that same day. Muster rolls described him as being a 19-year-old resident of Harrisburg who was employed as a clerk.
Initially assembled at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Private Charles H. Small and his fellow 127th Pennsylvanians were given uniforms and armed with Springfield rifles before receiving basic training and drilling instruction. Then, on 17 August 1862, they were transported via the Northern Central Railway, by way of York, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland, to Washington City, where they helped to defend the nation’s capital.
The next day (18 August 1862), Private Charles Small was promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major.
According to historian Luther Reily Kelker, Sergeant-Major Charles H. Small “was assigned to Colonel Jenning’s [sic] brigade, doing duty at Chain Bridge, Virginia, in 1862, ordered to the front and assigned to Hall’s Third Brigade, Howard’s second division in the Right Grand Division of the Army of the Potomac….”
Further research shows that Sergeant-Major Small and his fellow 127th Pennsylvanians made their home at Camp Welles in Virginia from 19 to 23 August—when they were ordered to guard the Chain Bridge near Fort Ethan Allen. The bridge was a major point of entry into Virginia for Union troops, including the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, which had marched across it in late September 1861. According to Ron Baumgarten, the creator of All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac, the Chain Bridge was secured by the U.S. Army from takeover by Confederate troops in several ways. On the Washington, D.C. and Maryland side, it “was protected … by an unfortified field gun battery at the northern end and Battery Scott, on the heights above the bridge,” and “[t]wo large iron gates were placed at the center of the bridge, with slits for skirmishers and pickets to fire through.” In addition:
Four major batteries also covered the Chain Bridge approaches from emplacements around present-day Foxhall and Chain Bridge Roads, N.W. and Sibley Memorial Hospital.
And the bridge was also garrisoned by the 127th Pennsylvania and other state and federal troops at various times throughout the long war.
After switching camps several times during the fall and early winter of 1862, and being ordered to various guard assignments during this period, Sergeant-Major Charles H. Small and his fellow 127 Pennsylvanians were assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the Union’s Army of the Potomac (“Mr. Lincoln’s Army”) in early December of 1862.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia
From 11-15 December, the 127th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry took part in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Battered badly by the experience, the 127th Pennsylvania Volunteers were reported by historians H. C. Alleman and F. Asbury Awl to have “returned to Camp Alleman on the 16th of December, not in a complete phalanx … but mostly in detachments, squads, in couples and singly. Some were borne on the shoulders of their stalwart comrades; some hobbled into camp as best they could; and when roll-call was sounded, there was ominous silence when the names of the missing, the wounded, the dying and the dead were called….”
Among those who had been seriously wounded in the fighting on 13 December 1862 was Sergeant-Major Charles H. Small. Treated initially by front-line military surgeons, he was moved on to one of the Union Army’s larger general hospitals, where he received more advanced care, but was ultimately deemed unable to return to duty with the 127th Pennsylvania, which was eventually mustered out of service on 13 May 1863.
Finally reaching a point in his convalescence when he could be released and sent home, Sergeant-Major Small was subsequently mustered out on 29 May 1863, according to military records.
Continued Civil War Service
Realizing that the troubles of his beloved nation were not over, Charles H. Small subsequently re-enlisted for military service.
After re-enrolling in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on 29 August 1863, the now 21-year-old Charles H. Small officially mustered in at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg that same day as a Private with Company H of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was then transported by south by train and ship to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Florida where his new comrades from Company H were stationed.
* Note: One of two companies with members enrolled almost exclusively from Perry County, Pennsylvania (the other being Company D), Company H was led by Captain James Kacy, a 44-year-old merchant and resident of Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania who had served as a railroad postal clerk for the United States government in the mid-1850s during the administration of President Franklin Pierce.
By the time Private Charles Small connected with the 47th Pennsylvania, his new comrades had already participated in the defense of the nation’s capital (fall 1861), garrisoning of Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida (February-June 1862), occupation of Beaufort, South Carolina (summer 1862), and the capture of Saint John’s Bluff and Jacksonville, Florida (early October 1862), and had been bloodied severely in the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina (21-23 October 1862).
Having been ordered back to Key West on 15 November of 1862, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers spent much of 1863 guarding federal installations in Florida as part of the 10th Corps, Department of the South. Companies A, B, C, E, G, and I were engaged in garrisoning Fort Taylor in Key West while Companies D, F, H, and K were stationed at Fort Jefferson, which was so remotely located, that it was accessible only by boat (and still is only accessible today by air or boat).
The 47th Pennsylvania was also somewhat integrated by this time, having enrolled several young, formerly enslaved Black men beginning in October 1862.
During this phase of duty, the water quality was often poor, and the climate was harsh. As a result, disease was a constant companion and foe for the men stationed at Fort Jefferson. Multiple members of the 47th Pennsylvania died from dysentery or tropical diseases such as typhoid fever while others were deemed too ill to continue serving and discharged on Surgeons’ Certificates of Disability.
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, Captain Richard Graeffe and a group of men from Company A were assigned to special duty, charged with expanding the fort and conducting raids on area cattle herds to provide food for the growing Union troop presence. Graeffe and his men subsequently turned the fort into both their base of operations and a shelter for pro-Union supporters, escaped slaves, Confederate Army deserters, and others fleeing Rebel troops.
Meanwhile, all of the other companies of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry had already begun preparing for 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.
Red River Campaign
From 14-26 March, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry headed for Alexandria and Natchitoches, Louisiana, by way of New Iberia, Vermilionville, Opelousas, and Washington. Discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate on 28 March 1864, H Company’s Private Valentine Davenport died less than two months later on 4 May.
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 service with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers 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, hard trek through enemy territory, the men encamped briefly at Pleasant Hill the night of 7 April before continuing on the next day, marching until mid-afternoon. Rushed into battle ahead of other regiments in the 2nd Division, 60 members of the 47th were cut down on 8 April during the volley of fire unleashed in the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads. Private William Barry of H Company was one of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers killed in action.
The fighting waned only when darkness fell. Exhausted, those who were uninjured collapsed beside the gravely wounded. After midnight, the surviving Union troops withdrew to Pleasant Hill.
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 Major-General Richard Taylor (a plantation owner and 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.
Casualties were severe. Privates William F. Dumm and Nicholas Orris of Company H were killed in action. Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander was nearly killed, and the regiment’s two color-bearers, both from Company C, were also wounded while preventing the American flag from falling into enemy hands.
Still others from the 47th were captured, marched roughly 125 miles to Camp Ford, a Confederate Army prison camp near Tyler, Texas, and held there as prisoners of war (POWs) until released during prisoner exchanges beginning 22 July 1864. At least two men from the 47th never made it out of that camp alive, and another died while being treated at the Confederate Army hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.
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 fell back to Grand Ecore, where they engaged in the hard labor of strengthening regimental and brigade fortifications until 22 April. That last day at Grand Ecore, H Company’s Private Reuben Shaffer became another of the 47th Pennsylvanians to die in service.
The 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers then moved back to Natchitoches Parish on 22 April, and arrived in Cloutierville at 10 p.m. that night, after marching 45 miles. While en route, they were attacked again—this time in the rear of their brigade, but they were able to quickly end the encounter and continue on.
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 Pennsylvanians supported Emory’s artillery.
Meanwhile, Emory’s other troops found and worked their way across the Cane River, attacked Bee’s flank, and forced a Rebel retreat. They then erected a series of pontoon bridges, enabling the 47th 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 [sic] 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.
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 make their way back down the Red River more easily. 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 had to be built on the falls at Alexandria to get the ironclads down the river. After a great deal 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.
Having entered Avoyelles Parish, they “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 into the Atchafalaya Basin, moving on to 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.
While encamped at Morganza, the nine formerly enslaved Black men who had enlisted with the 47th Pennsylvania in Beaufort (fall 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.
As they did during their tour through the Carolinas and Florida, the men of the 47th had battled the elements and disease, as well as the Confederate Army, in order to survive and continue to defend their nation. But the Red River Campaign’s most senior leader, Union Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks, would not. Removed from command amid the controversy regarding the Union Army’s successes and failures, he was 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 the 4th of July, Private Charles H. Small and the other men from H Company learned that their fight was not yet over as they received new orders to return to the East Coast for further duty. As the bulk of the regiment was preparing to depart for the East Coast, Private Augustus Dietz mustered out on 6 July while Private George H. Smith was slipping away at the Union Army’s hospital in Natchez, Mississippi. Smith died there, far from the arms of loved ones, on 9 July. Private Jerome Bryner was then honorably discharged from New Orleans on a Surgeon’s Certificate on 11 July.
Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign
Still able and willing to fight after their time in Bayou country, the soldiers of Company H and the men from the 47th Pennsylvania’s Companies A, C, D, E, F, and I steamed aboard the McClellan beginning 7 July 1864 (while the men from Companies B, G and K were left behind until securing spots on the Blackstone later that month).
Following their arrival in Virginia and a memorable encounter with President Abraham Lincoln on 12 July, the men from Companies A, C, D, E, F, H, and I joined Major-General David Hunter’s forces at Snicker’s Gap in mid-July 1864. There, they fought in the Battle of Cool Spring and, once again, assisted in defending Washington, D.C. while also helping to drive Confederate troops from Maryland.
Attached to the Middle Military Division, Army of the Shenandoah beginning in August, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was assigned to defensive duties in and around Halltown, Virginia in early August 1864, and engaged in a series of back-and-forth movements between Halltown, Berryville and other locations within the vicinity (Middletown, Charlestown and Winchester) as part of a “mimic war” being waged by the Union forces of Major-General Philip H. Sheridan with those commanded by Confederate Lieutenant-General Jubal Early.
From 3-4 September, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers then fought in the Battle of Berryville.
The opening days of September also saw the departure of several 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers who had served honorably, including Captain James Kacy of H Company and his fellow captains from D, E and F companies, H Company Musician Allen McCabe, Sergeant Robert H. Nelson, Corporal James F. Naylor, and H Company Privates Augustus Bupp, John A. Durham, Thomas J. Haney, Isaac Henderson, Michael Horting, William Hutcheson, John Kitner, Adam Louden, Walter C. Miller, John Morian, S. M. Raudibaugh, David and William R. Thompson, Benjamin Thornton, and George W. Zinn. All mustered out 18 September 1864 upon expiration of their respective service terms.
That same day (18 September), Corporal John A. Gardner, brother of H Company Second Lieutenant Reuben S. Gardner, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, as were Corporals David H. Smith and John S. Snyder. Privates Daniel K. Smith and Daniel Urich were advanced to the rank of Corporal.
They, and the other members of the 47th who remained on duty, were about to engage in their regiment’s greatest moments of valor.
Battles of Opequan and Fisher’s Hill
Together with other regiments under the command of Union Major-General Philip H. (“Little Phil”) Sheridan and Brigadier-General William H. Emory, commander of the 19th Corps, the members of Company H and their fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers helped to inflict heavy casualties on Lieutenant-General Jubal Early’s Confederate forces in the Battle of Opequan (also spelled as “Opequon” and referred to as “Third Winchester”). The battle is still considered by many historians to be one of the most important during Sheridan’s 1864 campaign; the Union’s victory here helped to ensure the reelection of President Abraham Lincoln.
The 47th Pennsylvania’s march toward destiny at Opequan began at 2 a.m. on 19 September 1864 as the regiment left camp and joined up with others in the Union’s 19th Corps. After advancing slowly from Berryville toward Winchester, the 19th Corps became bogged down for several hours by the massive movement of Union troops and supply wagons, enabling Early’s men to dig in. After finally reaching the Opequan Creek, Sheridan’s men came face to face with the Confederate Army commanded by Early. The fighting, which began in earnest at noon, was long and brutal. The Union’s left flank (6th Corps) took a beating from Confederate artillery stationed on high ground.
Meanwhile, the 47th Pennsylvania and the 19th Corps were directed by Brigadier-General Emory to attack and pursue Major-General John B. Gordon’s Confederate forces. Some success was achieved, but casualties mounted as another Confederate artillery group opened fire on Union troops trying to cross a clearing. When a nearly fatal gap began to open between the 6th and 19th Corps, Sheridan sent in units led by Brigadier-Generals Emory Upton and David A. Russell. Russell, hit twice—once in the chest, was mortally wounded. The 47th Pennsylvania opened its lines long enough to enable the Union cavalry under William Woods Averell and the foot soldiers of General George Crook to charge the Confederates’ left flank.
The 19th Corps, with the 47th in the thick of the fighting, then began pushing the Confederates back. Early’s “grays” retreated in the face of the valor displayed by Sheridan’s “blue jackets.” Leaving 2,500 wounded behind, the Rebels retreated to Fisher’s Hill (21-22 September), eight miles south of Winchester, and then to Waynesboro, following a successful early morning flanking attack by Sheridan’s Union men which outnumbered Early’s three to one. Afterward, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were sent out on skirmishing parties before making camp at Cedar Creek.
Moving forward, they and other members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry would continue to distinguish themselves in battle, but they would do so without two more of their respected commanders: Colonel Tilghman Good and Good’s second in command, Lieutenant-Colonel George Alexander, who mustered out 23-24 September upon expiration of their respective terms of service. Fortunately, they were replaced by others equally admired both for temperament and their front line experience, including John Peter Shindel Gobin, a man who would later go on to become Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Also on 24 September, First Sergeant James Hahn was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant within H Company as longtime Second Lieutenant Christian K. Breneman mustered out upon expiration of his three-year term of service. Five days later, Private William Shull also mustered out upon expiration of his term.
On 11 October 1864, Edward Jassum, one of the Black men who had enlisted with the 47th Pennsylvania after being freed from slavery, was transferred within the 47th Pennsylvania from F Company to Company H.
Battle of Cedar Creek
It was during the fall of 1864 that Major-General Philip Sheridan began the first of the Union’s true “scorched earth” campaigns, starving the enemy into submission by destroying Virginia’s crops and farming infrastructure. Viewed through today’s lens of history as inhumane, the strategy claimed many innocents—civilians whose lives were cut short by their inability to find food. This same strategy, however, almost certainly contributed to the further turning of the war’s tide in the Union’s favor during the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19 October 1864. Successful throughout most of their engagement with Union forces at Cedar Creek, Early’s Confederate troops began peeling off in ever growing numbers to forage for food, thus enabling the 47th Pennsylvania and others under Sheridan’s command to rally.
From a military standpoint, it was another 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 a number of 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 punched Early’s forces into submission, and the men of the 47th were commended for their heroism 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.
Once again, casualties for the 47th were high. Sergeant William Pyers, the C Company man who had so gallantly rescued the flag at Pleasant Hill was cut down and later buried on the battlefield. Corporal Jonathan McIntire and Privates Valentine Andrews, Michael Heenan and Joseph Shelley were killed in action, and Private Jonathan Lick sustained a severe gunshot wound to the left side of his head while Private John Liddick was also severely wounded. (Lick died 11 days later at the Union Army’s Patterson P. K. General Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland; Liddick died at a Union Army hospital in Baltimore on 8 November.)
Corporal John P. Rupley of Company H was wounded in action, but survived and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on 29 October. Privates Daniel W. Fegley and Elkana Sweger were also advanced that day to the rank of Corporal, as was Second Lieutenant Reuben S. Gardner, who was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.
Even Regimental Chaplain William Rodrock suffered a frightening near miss as a bullet pierced his cap.
As with the Red River Campaign, men from the 47th Pennsylvania were also captured by Rebel soldiers and carted off to Confederate prisons at Andersonville (Georgia), Richmond (Virginia), and Salisbury (North Carolina). Of those held as POWs at this time, only a handful survived. Among the dead were H Company’s Privates Henry Shapley and Stephen Shaffer who perished at Salisbury, on 10 December 1864 and 8 January 1865, respectively.
Following these major engagements, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were ordered to Camp Russell near Winchester, where they remained from November through most of December. During this phase of service, H Company received word that two more of the company’s own—Private Sterritt Lightner and John Lightman—had died. Confined to the Hoddington Lane General Hospital in Philadelphia, Lightner lost his battle with typhoid fever on 3 November 1864. Lightman died eight days later in Philadelphia at a Union Army hospital. Meanwhile, closer to the front, Private Joseph Smith lost his battle with disease at a Union Army hospital near Cedar Creek, Virginia on 11 November 1864.
Rested and somewhat healed, the 47th Pennsylvania was then ordered to outpost and railroad guard duties at Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia five days before Christmas. On 28 December 1864, H Company’s Private Francis J. Smedley was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate.
Assigned first to the Provisional Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah in February, the men of the 47th moved, via Winchester and Kernstown, back to Washington, D.C. On 16 February, First Lieutenant Reuben S. Gardner was commissioned as Captain of Company H, and Second Lieutenant James Hahn was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.
One who joined the regiment at this pivotal moment in American history was Emanuel Guera, a 26-year-old dentist who had been born in Cuba. He mustered in as a Private with Company H at a recruiting depot in Norristown, Pennsylvania on 10 March 1865, and met up with the regiment shortly thereafter.
Sadly, while he was stationed in Virginia, Private Charles H. Small received word that his mother, Eliza (Willis) Small, had passed away in Harrisburg on 11 March 1865.
On 20 March 1865, First Sergeant Alfred Billig became Second Lieutenant Alfred Billig, and on 5 April, Private John Yohn, Sr. was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate.
Beginning 19 April, the 47th Pennsylvanians were again responsible for helping to defend the nation’s capital—this time following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Encamped near Fort Stevens at a location known as “Camp Brightwood,” they received new uniforms and were resupplied. On 21 April 1865, Sergeant David H. Smith was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant and Corporal Isaiah C. Foye was advanced to the rank of Sergeant.
Letters home and later newspaper interviews with survivors of the 47th Pennsylvania indicate that at least one 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer was given the high honor of guarding President Lincoln’s funeral train while others may have guarded the Lincoln assassination conspirators during the early days of their imprisonment.
As part of Dwight’s Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Department of Washington’s 22nd Corps, the 47th Pennsylvania also participated in the Union’s Grand Review of the Armies on 23-24 May.
On 1 June 1865, H Company Corporals George W. Harper and William M. Wallace and Privates Adam and Jacob Hammaker, James Hall, Ananias Horting, William Liddick, James Lowe, H. Stoutsaberger, and George Sweger were discharged from Washington, D.C. by General Order of the U.S. Office of the Adjutant General.
On 2 June 1865, Privates Amos T. Brown and Henry C. Weise advanced to the rank of Corporal, and Private Charles H. Small was advanced from service with H Company to the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant with the central regimental command staff.
* Note: Although one of the final muster roll entries for Charles H. Small indicates that his promotion occurred at Camp Brightwood in the District of Columbia on 2 June 1865, this entry appears to be incorrect. His promotion either would have had to have taken place earlier at Camp Brightwood or in Savannah, Georgia sometime around 2 June 1865 because the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers had been shipped south after the Grand Review of the Armies, and were on site there for their duty assignment in Savannah by 31 May 1865.
Quartermaster Sergeant Small’s role with the regimental quartermaster’s office would prove to be an important one. According to accounting and business management professors Darwin L. King and Carl J. Case:
Each quartermaster was responsible for cost records relating to the ten or twelve companies comprising the regiment. Since the quartermasters handled a large amount of cash for making payrolls and purchasing required supplies, regulations required all newly appointed quartermasters to purchase a “good and sufficient bond” in an amount specified by the Secretary of War.
King and Case also note that “Article XLII define[d] the Quartermaster’s Department as the unit that provide[d] ‘the quarters and transportation of the army, storage and transportation of all army supplies, army clothing, camp and garrison equipage, cavalry and artillery horses, fuel, forage, straw, material for bedding, and stationery,’” adding that:
The Regulations of 1861 … specified a standard amount of barracks and fuel for all officers … [and] the amount of stationery available for all officers. For example, Section 1130 states that an officer commanding a regiment of not less than five companies was allowed a quarterly allotment of ten quires (500 pages) of writing paper, one quire of envelopes, forty quill pens, six ounces of sealing wax, and two rolls of office tape.
…. Section 1148 allows a general three tents, one axe, and one hatchet while in the field. Also, for every fifteen soldiers on foot and every thirteen mounted soldiers, there was allocated one tent, two spades, two axes, two picks, two hatchets, two camp kettles, and five mess pans…. If the unit abused their allotment of equipment, any additional items requested over the standard allowance were billed to the requesting company or regiment.
The subsistence department provided standard cost information on expenditures for the preparation of meals for the men. Notes to Section 1229 of the regulations quote the cost of 100 rations for the soldiers at $11.05. This figure represented detailed cost figures on pork, beef, flour, beans, rice, coffee, tea, sugar, vinegar, candles, soap, and salt. For example, 68 rations of pork were 51 pounds of meat at a standard cost of six cents per pound. The other 32 rations (to make the 100 rations total) was 40 pounds of beef at four cents per pound. The cost of the pork ($3.06) and beef ($1.60) represented a significant portion of the total cost of the rations of $11.05. Feeding all of the soldiers three times daily was a significant expense whose cost was carefully regulated by army headquarters.
These regulations “also included details on the allowed quantities of medicines and equipment for both general and post hospitals.”
The standard quantities allowed were based on the number of men in the post. For example, a post with 500 men was allowed a yearly allotment of 96 bottles of alcohol. This was increased to 192 bottles per year if the post had 1,000 men. This standard allowance table, in addition to medicines, included the yearly allotment of instruments (stethoscopes, syringes, splints, etc.), books, hospital stores, bedding, dressings and related supplies. If a post required additional items, they paid a standard cost for each product ordered over the yearly allotment.
In addition, clothing use was also closely controlled, say King and Case:
Soldiers were allowed, according to Section 1050 of the Regulations of 1861, a certain number of articles of clothing … seven caps, five hats, eight coats, thirteen trousers, fifteen shirts, twenty pairs of socks, and ten pairs of boots over a five year enlistment term….
Both clerks and quartermasters were required to prepare[quarterly] budgets that were called “Estimate of Funds Required” … to determine the funds needed by a company or regiment for muster (payroll), food and rations, ordnance service (including police and preservation of the post and tools and machinery), supplies, and all other materials required by the unit….
But these records maintained by Quartermaster Sergeant Small and his superiors were not meant only for “internal consumption” by leaders of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. According to King and Case, “At the regimental level, all reports received from the company clerks were summarized and reviewed for accuracy prior to sending the information to Washington.”
So, beginning in June of 1865, the world of Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Charles H. Small metamorphosed into one that required his attentive monitoring of military minutiae.
Ordered to relieve the 165th New York Volunteers from their duty assignment in South Carolina, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were transported to Charleston later in June, where they were responsible for maintaining Provost (military and judicial) services, and assisted with other early Reconstruction tasks. By July, they were quartered in the former mansion of the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury.
According to Kelker, Quartermaster Sergeant Charles H. Small “did duty at Savannah, Georgia, and the Carolinas until December 25, 1865, when he was honorably discharged.”
Following a stormy voyage home, the 47th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers disembarked in New York City, and were then moved by train to Philadelphia, where, on 9 January 1866, they were given their final discharge papers at Camp Cadwalader.
Return to Civilian Life
Following his honorable discharge from the military, Charles H. Small returned home to Harrisburg, where he soon found work utilizing the business management skills he had honed as a quartermaster sergeant with the 47th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.
In July of 1866, his widowed father, George H. Small, married for a second time, taking Catharine Kunkel as his new wife. (A daughter of Christian Kunkel, she would live to see the turn of the century, finally passing away on 12 April 1906.) His father and new wife, then subsequently welcomed the birth of their own child, John Kunkel Small (Charles Small’s half-brother).
On 4 January 1870, Charles H. Small then began his own family, marrying Annie R. Murphy (1849-1912), a daughter of John D. Murphy (1821-1857), the captain of a packet boat line which transported supplies between Harrisburg and Williamsport, and Eliza D. (Reamshart) Murphy (born 1829).
That year, he resided with his new wife, Annie, at the home of his father, George Small, and his father’s second wife, Catharine. Also living there were Charles Small’s siblings, Mary (aged 34), Ellen (aged 24), and his half-brother, John (aged 1). The federal census enumerator documented his father’s real estate holdings at $15,000 (the equivalent in 2021 of $312,600), that his father was still employed as a cashier at a bank, and that Charles H. Small was employed again as a clerk with Lochiel Iron Works, where he had been engaged before the outbreak of the American Civil War. In addition, the 31 March 1870 edition of the Harrisburg Telegraph published George H. Small’s report on the condition of the First National Bank, which provided an overview of the bank’s reserves and expenditures.
Sometime around 1871, Charles H. Small and his wife, Annie, welcomed the birth of son John Murphy Small, followed by daughter Annie. Both would die before the turn of the century. Their next-born, Eliza Catherine Small (1874-1949), who opened her eyes in Harrisburg for the first time on 4 December 1874, would become their sole surviving child.
It was also during this decade that Charles H. Small was hired by the Harrisburg Car Manufacturing Company, where he remained as a loyal employee for a quarter of a century. Established during the early 1850s, the company had manufactured both passenger and freight cars for railroad lines prior to the American Civil War, but had narrowed its efforts, post-war, to focus solely on freight car production.
Like his father before him, Charles H. Small was also an active church member and organist.
Still employed as a clerk at the Harrisburg Car Manufacturing Company when the federal census enumerator arrived at his home during the first week of June in 1880, Charles H. Small was documented as residing in Harrisburg’s 4th Ward with his wife, Annie, and their children, John (aged 9) and Eliza (aged 5), and Louisa Schatzer, a 23-year-old White servant.
The week before that enumerator’s arrival, Charles Small had filed for his U.S. Civil War Pension (on 26 May 1880), signaling that, perhaps, he was suffering from health issues related to his former military service.
Five years later, his father was forced to retire from his longtime job as a cashier at the First National Bank in Harrisburg due to failing health. That retirement proved to be a brief one; he died on 4 November 1887. Sometime around this same time, Charles H. Small succeeded his father as a member of the board of trustees for the Home for the Friendless.
Still residing in Harrisburg’s 4th Ward at the turn of the century, Charles H. Small was documented by that year’s federal census enumerator as the primary renter of the home at 501 Front Street, where he lived with his wife, Annie, and Sarah Cooper, a 16-year-old Black girl from Virginia working for him as a “servant.” The enumerator that year also noted that Charles Small was still employed as a bookkeeper, that he and his wife had been married for 30 years, and that of the three children born to them, only one was still alive in 1900.
By the next year (1901), Charles H. Small had secured a post as a clerk in the Recorder’s Office in the City of Harrisburg—a post he would continue to hold for the remainder of his life.
Death and Interment
On 2 January 1906, the friends and family of Charles H. Small received a shock when they were told that Charles had died. Just barely into his sixth decade, his passing was unexpected. According to his obituary, which ran on page one of the Harrisburg Telegraph later that same day:
Charles H. Small, of 501 North Front street, died suddenly at his home this morning, aged sixty-two. He is survived by his wife, Annie R. Small, and one daughter. The funeral will be held at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon at the house, conducted by Rev. Dr. Ellis X. Kremer, pastor of Salem Reformed Church. Interment will be private.
Mr. Small was born January 8, 1843, the son of George and Eliza W. Small. He married Annie R. Murphy, the daughter of the late John B. Murphy. He served in the Civil War with the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh and the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was a member of Salem Reformed Church. For the last five years Mr. Small has served as a clerk in the Recorder’s office, and only yesterday began another term of office.
According to his Pennsylvania death certificate, an autopsy was conducted, and determined that Charles Small had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage of the middle meningeal artery, which is the primary supply of the cranial dura (the covering in the brain which protects the large venous channels which carry blood from the heart to the brain). The autopsy also concluded that he had suffered from atheroma, an accumulation of fatty deposits and/or scar tissue in the arteries that caused the walls of his arteries to deteriorate, restricting circulation, and causing a higher likelihood of thrombosis (the formation of blood clots which block arteries or veins). The uncontrolled bleeding to his brain could have been caused by an injury, such as a skull fracture, or because he had had a blood vessel that had been leaking or which had suddenly burst. The symptoms of this type of stroke or “brain bleed,” can cause “headache; nausea and vomiting; or sudden tingling, weakness, numbness or paralysis of face, arm or leg,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The coroner noted that Charles Small suffered the hemorrhage at approximately midnight on 2 January 1906, and was treated by a physician, but survived for just six hours before succumbing to complications from the incident at roughly 6 a.m. the same morning.
On 4 January, that same newspaper then reported on his funeral as follows:
Charles H. Small, who died suddenly Tuesday morning, was buried this afternoon at 2 o’clock from his late residence, 501 North Front street. Rev. Dr. Ellis N. Kremer, pastor of Reformed Salem church, of which Mr. Small was a prominent member, conducted the services. Representatives of the various lodges to which Mr. Small belonged attended the funeral. Interment was made in the Harrisburg cemetery.
Six years later, on 14 February 1912, his wife then also died at the age of 62, and was laid to rest beside him at the Harrisburg Cemetery. The Harrisburg Daily Independent reported on her passing as follows:
Mrs. Annie R. Small, widow of the late Charles H. Small, died at her home, 102 State street [sic], last evenig [sic] at 9 o’clock, after a long illness. She is survived by her mother, Mrs. Eliza D. Calder, and one daughter, Eliza C.
Their daughter, Eliza Small (1874-1949) went on to marry and become the mother of two stepsons. According to the 21 February 1917 edition of The Madison Daily Leader:
Dr. J. W. Heston, president of the Madison State Normal school, and Miss Eliza C. Small were married last evening at the residence of Dr. Heston, 733 Egan avenue N. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Roy L. Palmerton, pastor of the First Baptist church, at 8:30 o’clock. There were present Mr. and Mrs. Claude Tyrrell, Mrs. Bessie Preston and Miss Hoover. Wedding supper was served at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Dr. and Mrs. Heston departed by a morning train for Kansas City on an absence of ten days. During their absence Dr. Heston will take part in a convention of the National Educational association in session in Kansas City.
Miss Small, now Mrs. Heston, has been a resident of Madison about two years and enjoys a pleasant acquaintance with ladies of the school and social circles of the city.
This marriage news was further confirmed by the 24 February 1917 edition of the Harrisburg Telegraph, which noted that she had relocated to South Dakota to accept a teaching position and, while there, had married John William Heston (1854-1920):
MISS LILA SMALL MARRIES
Cards have been received here announcing the marriage of Miss Eliza Katherine Small, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles Small, of State and Front Streets, to John William Heston, of Madison, South Dakota., Tuesday, February 20. Mr. and Mrs. Heston will be “At Home” after April 1, at Madison. The bride is a member of an old and prominent Harrisburg family and after the death of her parents went west to teach.
The Madison Daily Leader of Madison, South Dakota had also confirmed, on several occasions prior to its wedding announcement, that Eliza C. Small had, indeed, relocated to South Dakota. In a spring 1916 edition of this newspaper, Eliza was described as “chairman of the industrial committee” of the Civic and Child Welfare Club in Madison, which was planning to award monetary prizes to local school children for “bringing in the largest quantity of dandelion plants” during South Dakota’s annual “clean up week.”
On 26 June 1917, her marriage to John William Heston and their life together in Madison, South Dakota were documented again by the Harrisburg Telegraph in its report on the death of her maternal grandmother, Eliza D. Calder.
* Note: The marriage to Eliza C. Smalls had been the second for John William Heston, a nationally known leader in the field of public higher education. Heston had been widowed previously when he first wife, Mary Ellen (Calder) Heston (1862-1915), had died in Madison on 2 October 1915. Mary Ellen had been the mother of his two children, Charles E. Heston (1883-1959) and Edward Calder Heston (1884-1929).
In short order, Eliza Small Heston would be transformed from the roles of wife and stepmother to the role of “head of household” when she was widowed by her husband, John W. Heston, on 1 February 1920.
By 1921, she was listed in an entirely different directory—in a very different city that was located completely across the country—Rochester, New York. That year, she resided alone at 7 Berkshire in Rochester, New York, but clearly still considered herself “a Heston” because on 22 April 1923, she was listed on a confirmation roll of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, as “Eliza Catherine Small Heston (Mrs. John W. Heston).”
* Note: Eliza Small Heston’s relocation to Rochester is significant for several reasons—one, because it was in Rochester where she pursued a career as a registered nurse, and two, because her stepson, Charles E. Heston, had also relocated here. His U.S. Passport application from 1923 confirms both his career as an export manager and that he was the son of John William Heston.
These familial relationships were further documented in the 20 May 1929 probate paperwork associated with the will of Eliza’s younger stepson, Edward Calder Heston, M.D., who had drowned in Roslyn, Washington at the age of 44 on 18 May 1929. This paperwork noted that Edward Calder Heston’s surviving relatives were:
“Neal Heston, son, age about eleven years, residing in the city of Seattle, King County, Washington, with his mother, Mrs. Reno Odlin; C. E. Heston, brother, age about __ years, residing in the city of Rochester, New York; Eliza Heston, stepmother, age about 55 years, residing in the city of Rochester, New York.”
This probate paperwork also noted that Edward Calder Heston, M.D. had provided funds to Eliza Smith Heston to help her cover the mortgage of her family’s former home in Harrisburg.
Still living at 7 Berkshire in Rochester as of 1925, Elizabeth Small Heston was residing at 253 Alexander by 1927.
But by mid-April 1930, she had found work in Rochester, New York. Employed as a private nurse, she worked for the family of James M. Mangan (1883-1938), a prominent lawyer, and his wife, Frances (Landy) Mangan (1888-1980), a former actress who had performed on and off Broadway in New York City in multiple plays, including performances in 1913 with famed actors John Drew and Ethel Barrymore.
Eliza Small Heston resided as a lodger at the Mangan’s home in 1930, along with the Mangans’ 8-year-old son, James F. Mangan (1911-2011), and multiple servants. The elder Mangan, who had been wounded in action and gassed while serving as a soldier in France while serving with the U.S. Army’s 69th Infantry, was ultimately appointed to serve on the board of directors of the State Motor Vehicle Tax Bureau of New York, and then was later appointed deputy commissioner of the State Income Tax Department—a position he held at the time of his death. The Mangans were listed in the “Rochester Blue Book,” a directory of Rochester’s most prominent families, and were active in several key social clubs of the era. Their son, James F. Mangan, went on to graduate from the Newman School and Princeton University and serve as a captain with the U.S. Army’s field artillery during World War II before securing work in the field of journalism.
Knowing that she was the daughter of an American Civil War soldier who had been seriously wounded during the Battle of Fredericksburg, in December of 1862, and had likely been a witness to his convalescence from the lingering effects from that wound, it is reasonable to speculate that Eliza Small Heston was hired to help James Mangan with his own recovery from war-time injuries. According to military environmental history researcher Gerard J. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.:
The development, production, and deployment of war gases such as chlorine, phosgene, and mustard created a new and complex public health threat that endangered not only soldiers and civilians on the battlefield but also chemical workers on the home front involved in the large-scale manufacturing processes….
Because of the respiratory damage both chlorine and phosgene caused, soldiers required a long convalescence before returning to combat….
In July 1917, aware of the loss of their technological superiority and perhaps their ability to win the war, the Germans deployed a new and more troublesome chemical agent: mustard gas. Although mustard was introduced late in the war, it became known as the “King of Battle Gases” because it eventually caused more chemical casualties than all the other agents combined, including chlorine, phosgene, and cyanogen chloride….
Caring for mustard victims differed from caring for chlorine or phosgene casualties. Once evacuated, chlorine and phosgene victims received oxygen and bed rest until they were healthy enough to return to the front. However, soldiers exposed to mustard gas, especially in high concentrations or for long periods of time, needed to bathe with hot soap and water to remove the chemical from their skin. If it was not scrubbed off within 30 minutes of exposure, blistering occurred.
Researchers have not yet determined low long Eliza Small Heston remained with the Mangan family, but what is known for certain is that, by 1934, she had moved out of the home, and was living at what would be her final place of residence—86 South Union Street in Rochester.
On 6 July 1936, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported that Miller Brothers and Company, “local real estate brokers,” had announced the sale of several properties, including “[t]wo brick houses at 501 North Front street and 102 State street, owned by Mrs. Eliza S. Heston, of Rochester.” The property at 501 North State street had been the home where she had lived with her parents, Charles H. and Annie Small.
By the time of the 1940 federal census, she had become a registered nurse, and had also secured a new nursing job in the field of primary care.
She died in Rochester, New York on 18 July 1949. Following funeral services on 20 July, her remains were returned to Harrisburg for interment, according to her obituary. She was survived by her stepson, Charles E. Heston, and three grandchildren.
- Alleman, H.C., F. Asbury Awl, et. al. History of the 127th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, pp. 17, 19, 185. Lebanon, Pennsylvania: Press of Report Publishing Company, 1902.
- Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, vol. 1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.
- Charles H. Small, in Death Certificates (File No. 8933, 2 January 1906). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
- “Charles H. Small: Well Known Clerk in Recorder’s Office Dies Suddenly This Morning After Reappointment.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 2 January 1906, p. 1.
- “City and Suburban Properties Sold” (sale of Charles H. Small’s former home). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 6 July 1936, p. 7.
- Eggert, Gerald G. Harrisburg Industrializes: The Coming of Factories to an American Community, pp. 81, 113, 116, 139-142. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.
- Eliza C. Small and John W. Heston, “Record of Marriage” (Madison, Lake County, South Dakota, 30 February 1917). Pierre, South Dakota: South Dakota Department of History.
- Eliza C. Small, in “Interesting Report of Large Charity: Officers and Managers of Home For Friendless Elected Yesterday.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 25 November 1914, p. 4.
- Eliza C. Small, in “Prizes for Pupils: Welfare Club Interests Children of the City in Beautifying the City.” Madison, South Dakota: The Madison Daily Leader, 25 April 1916, p. 3.
- “Eliza Catherine Small Heston (Mrs. John W. Heston),” in Confirmation Records of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rochester, New York (22 April 1923). Rochester, New York: Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.
- Eliza S. Heston, in U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 (SSNL: 114180008, date of birth: 7 December 1874; filed September 1874; mentions her parents, Charles H. Small and Annie R. Murphy). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
- Eliza Small Heston (obituary). Rochester, New York: Democrat and Chronicle, 19 July 1949, p. 16.
- Fitzgerald, Gerard J. “Chemical Warfare and Medical Response During World War I,” in American Journal of Public Health, vol. 1, no. 4, April 2008, pp. 611-625. New York: American Public Health Association.
- Frances Landy, in “To Begin Rehearsals.” Elmira, New York: Star-Gazette, 6 August 1914, p. 4.
- “From the Dauphin County Regiment.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph, 6 September 1862, p. 2.
- “Funerals: Charles H. Small.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 4 January 1906, p. 5.
- “Harrisburg Car Manufacturing Company,” in Builders of Wooden Railway Cars. New Freedom, Wisconsin: Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society, retrieved online September 15, 2021.
- Heston, Charles E. and John W., in U.S. Passport Applications (2003). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
- Heston, Eliza, in The Rochester Directory (1920-1949). Rochester, New York: Sampson & Murdoch Co., Inc.
- Kelker, Luther Reily. History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, vol. 3, pp. 130-131. Chicago, Illinois and New York, New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907.
- King, Darwin L. and Carl J. Case. “Civil War Accounting Procedures and Their Influence on Current Cost Accounting Practices,” in the Journal of the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences (ASBBS), vol. 3, no. 1, 2007.
- Kingsbury, George Washington. History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4, pp. 794-798: “John William Heston.” Chicago, Illinois: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915.
- “List of the Killed, Wounded and Missing of the 127th Regiment, P.V.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Evening Telegraph, 24 December 1862.”
- “Mangan, Mr. and Mrs. James M. (Frances C. Landy),” in The Rochester Blue Book (1928). New York, New York: The Blue Books Company.
- Mary C. Heston, in “Index to South Dakota Death Records, 1905-1955” (Madison, 2 October 1915). Pierre, South Dakota, South Dakota Department of Health.
- Mary C. Heston, in Graceland Cemetery Records (2 October 1915). Pierre, South Dakota: South Dakota State Historical Society.
- “Miss Lila Small Marries” (marriage notice of Eliza C. Small to John William Heston of Madison, South Dakota). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 24 February 1917, p. 4.
- “Mrs. Annie R. Small.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Daily Independent, 15 February 1912, p. 11.
- “Mrs. Eliza D. Calder Dies at Age of 89 Years” (mentions Eliza C. Small Heston). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 26 June 1917, p. 9.
- “President Weds: Marriage of Dr. J. W. Heston and Miss Eliza C. Small.” Madison, South Dakota: The Madison Daily Leader, 21 February 1917, p. 3.
- “Report on the Condition of the First National Bank of Harrisburg” (prepared by Charles H. Small’s father, George). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 31 March 1870, p. 2.
- Schmidt, Lewis G. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Self-published, 1986.
- “Sketch of the Dauphin County Regiment [127th Pennsylvania Volunteers].” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Daily Telegraph, 19 May 1863, p. 2.
- Small, Charles H., in Civil War Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1861–1866 (Small, Charles H.). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (Record Group 19, Series 19.11), Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
- Small, Charles H., in Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866 (Private and Sergeant-Major, F-127 I and F&S-127 I). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.
- Small, Charles H., in Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866 (Private, H-47 I and Quartermaster Sergeant, F&S-47 I). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.
- Small, Charles H., in U.S. Civil War Pension Index Cards (application no.: 370245, certificate no.: 227953, filed: 26 May 1880; widow’s pension application no.: 890885, certificate no.: 653759).
- Urie, Daniel. “Founded by 18 Women as the ‘Home for the Friendless,’ Homeland Center to Celebrate Anniversary.” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: PennLive, 22 May 2019.
- U.S. Census (1850, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1930, 1940; families of Charles H. Small and Eliza Small Heston). Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
- Will and Probate Records of Edward Calder Heston, M.D. (19 May 1929). Kittitas County, Washington: Kittitas County Probate Court.
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