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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Three generations fought in Civil War

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Daniel Davidson Bates was born May 14, 1800 in Massachusetts but later settled in Manlius, Onondaga County, N.Y. He was a wagon maker. On Oct. 29, 1861 he enlisted in the New York Infantry, 61st Regiment. He was 61 years old! He contracted a disabling illness after the Battle of the Peninsula in Falmouth, Va., and was hospitalized. He later served as an orderly, until receiving a disability discharge in November 1862 and returning home. Perhaps serving his county was so important to Daniel because of family tradition. His grandfather, Asa Bates, served in the Massachusetts Militia in the Revolutionary War.

Daniel's son Eli was born July 11, 1826, also in Massachusetts and also settled in Manlius with his father. He also enlisted in the New York Infantry but was later discharged due to physical disability. He re-enlisted in the 22nd NY Cavalry, mustering in Jan. 10, 1864. He was captured May 8, 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness and sent to Andersonville Prison. He was later paroled and arrived home in December 1864. There, he died Jan. 1, 1865 of disease contracted at the prison. While a prisoner, Eli kept a small journal that is still in the possession of a descendant.

Eli's son Edwin was born March 14, 1848 in Manlius, New York. He enlisted on March 9, 1864 just before his 16th birthday, although his military record gives his age as 18. He was mustered out June 1, 1865, at the end of the war.

Following Eli's death and Edwin's return home, Daniel, accompanied by Eli's wife and children, migrated to Stockbridge, Mich., where he died Sept. 12, 1883. Edwin died in Eaton, Mich., May 1, 1902.

I am descended from Daniel and Eli through Eli's daughter Alice. Eli and Daniel were my 3rd and 4th great-grandfathers.

— Susan M. DeChant, Fort Wayne

Three relatives fought

My maternal great grandfather, Isaac Shelby Wallace, lived on a farm in northeastern Orange County in southern Indiana. He enlisted in July 1861 after the surprising Union defeat at Bull Run. He responded to President Lincoln's request for 75,000 volunteers for three years. He was mustered into G Company of the Indiana 24th Infantry Regiment forming at Vincennes. He got his initiation to battle at Shiloh. His regiment was part of the First Brigade of the Third Division of General Ulysses S. Grant's army. The Third Division was commanded by a distant relative of his, General Lewis Wallace. After Shiloh, he was involved in the Battle of Corinth, Port Gibson, Raymond, Champions Hill and the siege of Vicksburg May 17-July 4, 1863. He later learned Vicksburg had surrendered on the same day that General Robert E. Lee was defeated at Gettysburg.

Isaac Shelby had an older brother, John Alvin Wallace, who had primary responsibility of operating the family farm in Orange County. Confederate General Bragg brought a large army into Kentucky in the spring of 1862. People in southern Indiana and southern Ohio were fearful that the Confederates had those territories on their list. John Alvin enlisted Aug. 19, 1862 in the Indiana 66th Infantry Regiment forming at New Albany. Immediately upon their induction, they were ordered to report to Lexington, Ky. From there they were ordered to report to General Crump's Brigade at Richmond, Ky. The battle known as the Battle of Richmond, Ky., was actually a running battle beginning at a place called Big Hill, just northeast of Berea, Ky. It was fought Aug. 29-30 over a 20-mile stretch from Big Hill to Richmond.

The raw recruits were no match for the larger Confederate force. John Alvin was a prisoner of the Confederate army just 11 days after his enlistment Aug. 19. He escaped eight days later and joined with some other stragglers of the 66th Regiment north of Richmond, Ky., and they returned to New Albany Sept. 10. Most of the Union prisoners captured at Richmond were paroled, as the Confederates did not have enough men to care for that many prisoners. The 66th was reformed and sent to Indianapolis for basic military training, which they did not have prior to the battle of Richmond. The 66th finished the war attached to General W.T. Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. He, too, was mustered out of service May 25, 1865.

My paternal great-grandfather, Joseph Wolfe, had been a drummer boy in C Company of the Ohio 178th Infantry Regiment. He was from Chillicothe, Ohio. He enlisted in September 1864 at Camp Chase (Columbus, Ohio). His regiment was involved in a number of minor skirmishes late in the war but his regiment was eventually assigned to the XXIII Army Corps, which was one of three army groups under the command of General W.T. Sherman for the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign in the final stages of the war. Joseph was mustered out at Charlotte, N.C., in June 1865. I knew him as he lived with us off and on during the years of the Great Depression. He died in 1935.

Though they never met in service, two generations later, the granddaughter of Isaac Shelby Wallace married the grandson of Joseph Wolfe. This couple became my parents!

— C. Robert Wolfe, Fort Wayne