My Civil War Ancestor was Injured 152 years ago today at the Battle of Cumberland Church

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

Pvt George W Lowery Co. A 81st Pennsylvania Infantry

I want to pay special tribute to my 2x great grandfather George Washington Lowery who was shot during the Battle of Cumberland Church, outside of Farmville, VA. 152 years ago today.

Just a little info on my great great grandfather, George Washington Lowery. He was drafted July 19, 1864 at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Next he was assigned to Co. A, 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry for three years. Born in Franklin County, PA my grandpa was a 37-year-old laborer at enlistment time. At 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair, he was an average guy, his description was not uncommon for the time.

After a brief two-month training stint to make my “everyday man” grandfather a soldier, Lowery and the rest of the recently drafted recruits were sent to join their regiment. The 81st Pennsylvania had been mired with the rest of the Second Corps at Petersburg, Virginia, which had been under siege for months. Even though they were in the midst of war, it’s been written that many Confederate officers who lived in the area were able to slip away and visit with family and attend Sunday church services. The fighting here didn’t come in intense bursts as so many other battlefields but it was long, hard months of exhaustive trench warfare.

But soon my great great grandfather learned the true magnitude of war. His regiment pulled out of Petersburg and was involved in what is known as Lee’s Retreat.

He was part of the pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, west across the state, in the final week of the war. The experiences this regiment endured would hardened any soldier. This was the time George experienced the full impact of fighting.

The nine months dug in at Petersburg probably did not prepare him for sleeping only moments at a time, the constant skirmishes and out-right battles. His regiment continually moving, marching with the weight of supplies and a rifle. Smoke so heavy in the air an infantryman couldn’t see where his bullet hit if it hit anything at all.

The regiment found sporadic food consumption a luxury. Yet above all that – experiencing those you’d come to depend on, your fellow soldiers, your friends, ripped apart by flying shrapnel. The thud of a minie-ball as it plunges into a human body. The yelling, cursing, and then slow moans as the injured soon become casualties. It was during this time my great great grandfather came to know the full meaning of war.

There was the fighting at White Oak Road, where the Confederates prevailed. The battle at Sutherland Station was a union triumph due in great part to the fighting of the 81st. The battle at Sailor’s Creek was some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, yet recognition has been lost to the surrender at Appomattox, which was only three days later. There was the skirmish at High Bridge, reminiscent of a modern day movie.

Then just outside Farmville, on April 7, 1865, the Battle of Cumberland Church took place, where George Washington Lowery was wounded. As the 81st Pennsylvania, 2nd NYHA and part of the 5th NH encountered Confederate soldiers entrenched upon the ridge surrounding a church, intense fighting broke out. A minie-ball struck my great great grandfather in the chest, one and a fourth inches below the right nipple. The ball traveled through his body, ranging downward and lodged against the skin about a half inch right of his backbone, where it was taken out by an Army Surgeon the day after he was shot.

Transferred to Carver Hospital in Washington DC my grandfather recuperated there for two months. He was honorably discharged with a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability June 5, 1865, and went home to his wife and children back in Franklin County, PA.

I want to dedicate this post to you George Washington Lowery, my great great grandpa. I want to honor you and just let you know I’m so proud of you and so glad I have the honor of being your descendant.

A new year of family history research, tearing down some brick walls and a cool new website!!

Genealogy Resources

Happy New Year Genealogy friends!
Did you enjoy the holidays as they whisked in and out of our lives? I sure did! That along with lots of other things going on in my life put me off the grid for awhile but it’s all been good stuff!

The big thing – I changed jobs! With training, new hours and working different days of the week, my family research and blogging have been put on hold. But I think I’ve got a handle on things now and life has returned to a somewhat regular routine. So here I am – back to blogging and getting back into research. Hurray!!

In addition, I’ve been working on this new site I’ve wanted to update Genealogy Circle and I’m happy with the way it’s shaping up. Oh, they’ll be more tweaks along the way but I’m liking the new look! Would you please take a look? Let me know what you think!

Eventually I’ll take down and point that address to Even though I’ll leave up for awhile anything new will be posted over there.

I’ve changed my mind! 🙂 I’m leaving Genealogy Circle right here and dedicated to Civil War veteran research. Then will be where I share my family history research in the hopes of connecting with others regarding general genealogy research.

So here’s to a new year of family history research, tearing down some brick walls and a cool new website!!

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Civil War Saturday – Witnessing the Carnage

The Story of a 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Surgeon

We all know the warmth and love of family. We carry it with us daily and many times read of its abundance in a friend’s obituary at their passing. It’s not as common to find a father and son so loved by their community that words don’t truly represent the admiration and respect felt for them by their peers. This is the case of the Curtiss family.

Dr. Charles CurtissCharles L. Curtiss was born on June 21, 1840 in Akron, Summit County Ohio. He was the son of Dr. Elijah and Flora F. Hanchett Curtiss. Charles had one sibling, a sister Mary Elizabeth, known as Libby, that was eight years his junior.

Charles grew up in eastern Ohio living there until his family moved across the state to Lima in Allen County. Lima was still a very small village when the family settled there about 1854. Dr. Elijah Curtiss was one of the first physicians in the area and considered one of the town’s early pioneers. Curtiss the elder, became a well respected and prominent man in the community.

No doubt the high esteem awarded Dr. Elijah Curtiss impacted the young Charles. The younger Curtiss chose to follow his father’s footsteps and studied medicine at Oxford. He also took a course of lectures at Cincinnati and mentored under his father. Charles first set up practice in Decatur, Indiana but eventually partnered with his father in Lima in 1875. Yet before Charles practiced medicine with his father, while still in his early years as a physician, his medical skills would be put to use in an entirely different area than family practice.

With the country thrown into civil war, Curtiss enlisted with the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (OVC) on August 19, 1862. He is listed as a member of both Co. F and Co U (unassigned). He was only 22 years old.

As a member of the 4th OVC and one who served nearly the duration of the war, Charles saw much blood shed. From Stones River to the Tullahoma campaign, Chickamauga to the fall of Selma his medical experience was needed. Charles skills were pressed into service aiding his regiment as a surgeon. His medical knowledge invaluable to comrades who had fallen. Witnessing the carnage, repairing the injuries he could, Charles undoubtably was affected by all the misery he witnessed. With a lifetime of hands-on experience during those war years, Curtiss mustered out June 24, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee with the rest of the 4th OVC at the end of the war.

Once back home in Ohio and settled into postwar life, Charles married Mary Luella Lipsett in 1880 and had four children. William, Dwight, Edgar (Who followed in his father and grandfather’s foot steps. He was a physician in Lima for 31 years.) and Charles Curtiss.

Living in Lima the remainder of his life Dr. Curtiss was known throughout the city as a kind and genuine man. He was a highly regarded physician and surgeon. A member of the GAR and so active in his community that many newspaper accounts extolled the virtues, abilities and achievements of Dr. Charles L. Curtiss over the ensuing years.

A few months shy of 55 years old, Charles passed away at his home on March 3 1895, following a brief illness. His obituary mourned the loss of such a prominent and well loved citizen.

As a member of the Allen County Medical Society, Dr. Curtiss was so well thought of that at his death the medical society appointed a three person committee to draw up a resolution of respect for the late Dr. Curtiss. In fact the entire Allen County Medical Society attended his funeral service.

Also a member of the Lima I.O.O.F. Lodge 581, Charles was remembered at his death. They drew up a resolution as well commemorating their dearly departed brother. A newspaper article in The Lima News dated March 14, 1895 read:

Where as, it has seemed wise for the supreme ruler of the universe to remove by death from Lima Lodge, No. 581, I.O.O.F. brother Charles L. Curtiss, one of its truest and best members, the lodge as a mark of the friendship and love it bears him, passed, at a regular meeting, the following resolutions:
Resolved, that in this dispensation of an all-wise Providence, which so saddens our hearts, we bow in humble submission, believing that “He doeth all things well.”
Resolved, that in his lost we recognize that a true and faithful Oddfellow has ceased his labors, an able expounder of the principles of our order has passed away, and that it-may well be said of him, his deeds of kindness and charity will long be treasured in the hearts and minds of those who knew him best; and that his family has lost a kind and loving husband and an indulgent father, the lodge a true and devoted brother, a loving and dear friend and an enjoyable companion who spent his life in ministering to the wants of others that he has for the last time met us in fraternal counsel no more will his kind words comfort and cheer us in our labors and the cause of Friendship, Love and Truth.
Resolved, that to his family this lodge extends its profound and heartfelt sympathy in this hour of their great bereavement.
Resolved, that these resolutions be made a part of the records of the lodge; that a copy duly signed to be sent to the family of the deceased brother; that the chapter of the lodge be draped for a period of 30 days, and that these resolutions be published in the daily papers of the city.
Leonard Walthers, J. N. Hutchinson, Wilbur Fisk, Committee.

Curtiss Family plot

Dr. Charles L. Curtiss was laid to rest in Woodlawn cemetery in Lima.

Curtiss was the middle of three generations of physicians in Allen County, Ohio. Not only did he follow his father’s foot steps professionally, his integrity and compassion were a legacy too. They are well documented in the area’s newspaper archives and serve as a wonderful tribute to his life to this day.

Civil War Quick Tip – Finding more on your ‪‎Civil War‬ ancestor

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