My family did not live in Fort Wayne during the Civil War, but there is a connection through Col. John B. Reid of the 130th Illinois Infantry Volunteers, whose daughter lived here later as the wife of Edward A.K. Hackett, publisher of the Fort Wayne Sentinel.
Col. Reid was my mother's grandfather. He enlisted in 1862 and was wounded April 8, 1864, at the Battle of Mansfield, known as the “Red River Disaster.” Confederate soldiers carried him off the battlefield and took him to a nearby house, where Southern women and doctors nursed him back to health. He was imprisoned at Tyler, Texas, until he was paroled Dec. 24, 1864. He was afterward exchanged, re-entered the army and served to the close of the war.
Col. Reid's father-in-law, my great-great-grandfather, William Holden, was 65 at the beginning of the Civil War, but he had been a drummer boy in the War of 1812 and was the only one who could beat the different calls. He was offered the drum majorship in the Seventh Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which he accepted, and was mustered into service April 25, 1861. He served faithfully until April 25, 1862, when was discharged due to illness. He went home, where he died May 22, 1862.
The Civil War brought much sorrow to my father's side of the family. Two of his mother's three brothers were lost, as was her brother-in-law. Malon Anson Downing, 22, enlisted Jan. 18, 1864, at Albany; mustered in as a corporal, Co. M, 7th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, Jan. 25, 1864, to serve three years; promoted to sergeant May 19, 1864; missing June 3, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Va.; no further record. Benjamin Gregory Downing, 20, enlisted July 20, 1863, at Troy; mustered in as a private, Co. A, 21st N. Y. Cavalry, Aug. 28, 1863, to serve three years; appointed sergeant Sept. 20, 1863; killed in action, July 16, 1864, at Tinker's Gap, Va.
John D. Ransom, 38, enrolled Aug. 24, 1862, at Ogdensburg to serve three years; mustered in as Captain, Company C, 142nd Regiment of Infantry, St. Lawrence County Regiment, organized at Ogdensburg, Sept. 29, 1862; wounded in action, Sept. 29, 1864, at Fair Oaks, Va.; died of his wounds, Nov. 10, 1864, in a hospital at Fort Monroe, Va.; Major, U.S. Volunteers, by brevet, from March 13, 1865. So, the summer and fall of 1864 was a tragic time for the family.
Lewis R. Allendorph
Played the fife
My great-grandfather, John Conrad Shuler, was born at sea Feb. 11, 1839, when the family came over from Germany. On Jan. 10, 1862, he enlisted in the Eleventh Battery Indiana Light Artillery in Fort Wayne. He and his unit participated with Buell's Army in the campaign against Nashville, Stone's River, the Chattanooga-Chickamauga campaign with Sheridan's Division, the Chattanooga siege, Missionary Ridge, and Sherman's Army and the siege of Atlanta, taking part in all the principal engagements and movement of that campaign. After Atlanta was captured, the battery returned to Chattanooga, where veteran members were transferred to the Eighteen Indiana Battery. He was mustered (discharged) out Jan. 7, 1865. Pictured is the silver-plated brass fife with lead mouthpiece that he had with him during his service. He passed away July 5, 1927.
Gary Lybarger, Hoagland
Farmers, war buddies
My grandfather was the son of Civil War veteran Michael Pfluegar. He married the daughter of another Civil War veteran, William Edward Burk. Family folklore says the fathers were war buddies. Both were farmers in Van Wert County, Ohio, when the war began.
Edward Burk enlisted in August 1862 and served with Co. A, Reg. 99 of Ohio Volunteers. Later becoming ill with a lung fever, he was sent to a hospital but returned to his outfit and eventually mustered out in June 1865.
Michael Pfluegar, born in Germany, was drafted near the end of the war in September 1864 and after a long march was injured and sent to a hospital in Nashville, Tenn. He was discharged in June 1865.
Both men returned to farming in Ohio, and we have found their service records in the National Archives of Civil War Veterans.
But our real treasure is an “Oath of Identity.” The document was handwritten by Edward Burk's captain, Captain E.W. Williams and has a physical description of Pvt. Burk on one side and his discharge on the other. Having no photographs of either solider, we are pleased to have a “word” picture of Edward Burk.
Lois Finkhousen, Fort Wayne