Friday, September 14, 2012

Isaac Seaver - My Only Civil War Soldier

Whether through good fortune or happenstance, I have only one known Civil War Soldier.

Isaac Seaver recounted his service in his Civil War Pension Application (see Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Pension Declaration for details):

"State of Massachusetts County of Worcester, SS,
on this 11th day of June, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety two,
personally appeared before me, a Notary Public
within and for the County and State aforesaid, Isaac Seaver 3d
aged 68 years, a resident of the town of Clinton
County of Worcester State of Massachusetts, who being
duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Isaac Seaver 3d
who was ENROLLED on the 10th day of August, 1864 in  Company H
(private) 4th Reg't H'y Arty. Mass. Vol's
in the war of the rebellion, and served at least
ninety days, and was HONORABLY DISCHARGED at Fort Richardson, Va. on the 19th
day of June, 1865. "

Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) was living in the 1860-1865 time period in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts with his second wife Lucretia (Smith) Seaver (1827-1884) and his four children - Juliette Seaver (1847-1910, by his first wife), Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922), Benjamin Seaver (1854-1894), and Elizabeth Lucinda Seaver (1858-1914).  In the 1860 U.S. Census, Isaac Seaver's occupation is listed as a blacksmith, with real property valued at $1,800 and personal property valued at $300.

Isaac registered for the Civil War draft in 1863, as shown in Isaac Seaver's Civil War Draft Registration Record.  His occupation was listed as a mechanic.

Before he left for his service in the 4th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Isaac and Lucretia Seaver had their pictures taken and put in a Union Case photograph:


When did the 4th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery form and here did they serve?  There is a Wikipedia article that describes their service:

"In the late summer of 1864, fourteen companies of heavy artillery were raised throughout Massachusetts for the purpose of coastal defense of the state. They were to be "unattached", thus not part of a regiment, and sent to various military locations for a one-year term. They were numbered 17 through 30, and were the Unattached Companies of Heavy Artillery. They encamped on Gallops Island in Boston Harbor, where they organized and were mustered in during latter part of August and into the first days of September 1864. In September, they were ordered to Washington, DC for garrison duty in the forts surrounding the capital. The last companies to leave, the 29th and 30th, left on 26 Sept and 29 Oct, respectively.

"On 12 Nov 1864, a War Department order consolidated 12 of the companies, numbered 17 through 28, into one regiment, the 4th Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Col William S King, formerly of the 35th Massachusetts Infantry, was put in command. They remained in Washington for the remainder of the war, until their mustering out on 17 June 1865."

That sounds very unexciting - it sounds like they were the reserve force sent to protect Washington DC in case the Confederates attached the city.  The "unexciting" service is borne out by the number of those in the regiments that died:  the Wikipedia article says:

"The regiment consisted of 72 officers and 1757 enlisted men, 21 of them dying by disease or accident."

For this 10 months of service, Isaac Seaver received a pension in 1892, as detailed in my seriesTreasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Compendium of Posts.


In Washington D.C., Isaac was there when President Lincoln was assassinated and the South surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  Back in Westminster, I'm sure that Lucretia and the (now) five children were anxious to hear of the news from Washington.  Hopefully, Isaac sent letters home on a regular basis to keep them informed.  How I wish those letters, if there were any, had been handed down or put into an archive.  And the homecoming - I would love to have a time machine to go back 147 years to the end of June, 1865 when the 4th Regiment came marching home to northern Massachusetts.  Did they come on the train, on their wagons with their heavy guns, or on horses up the dusty roads of early summer.  Were there celebrations in the home towns for the returning soldiers?  There is so much that we don't know about these times!

This blog post was inspired by the Great Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Bill West on his West in New England blog with a deadline of 15 September 2012.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

3 comments:

Jana Last said...

What great photos!

And I love your previous Compendium post. I also have some Civil War ancestors and I like how you broke down the pension file into different posts. Great idea!

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting! As a Southerner from WAY back, I have documented 14 WBTS ancestors...on just my father's side!

Chad Milliner said...

All of my ancestral lines were in the United States by the time of the Civil War, yet I have NO ancestors who fought in that war on either side. In fact, my most recent ancestor to have fought in any war was an ancestor who served in the Mexican War. No WWI, no WWII, etc.