Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Memorial Day Story

In all the genealogy that my sister and I have done, we have only discovered one ancestor that died while serving in the military. This would be my great-great-great grandfather.

Charles Henry Willey was born in 1836 in New Hampshire and died in 1864 in Salisbury, NC.
I have an official version of his death from the National Archives records.Members of his regiment were captured in fighting around Weldon Railroad in Virginia and he was taken to a prison camp in NC. In a sworn statement, a fellow soldier gave an account of the events that occurred in this Confederate prison camp that led to Charles' death. In this statement, the sergeant swore that Charles was not involved in the prison riot and that he was accidentally shot in the leg. This leg wound led to an infection which killed him. I think that this statement needs some between the lines reading. I would guess that Charles was part of the riot when some of the prisoners were attempting to escape. And that the sergeant swore otherwise in order to guarantee the survivor's pension for Charles' wife, Mary. Mary was left to raise six children on her own and outlived her husband by 41 years. She never remarried.

Someday I intend to drive south and see what I can find of these places. I have no idea where Charles in buried. His body wasn't returned to NH.

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