Ancestral Military Veterans

civil warNo better time with Veteran’s Day, November 11th to compile a list of all ancestors who served in the military. It need not be during any specific war time, many individuals served from a couple years to multiple years during non-war periods. Once you identify an ancestor, find the regiment they served with and that can lead to you additional information.

The following are stories of some ancestors during the American Civil War (150 years ago) and what happened to them while serving in the military.

Came across one ancestor on my husband’s side who served one week. His name was Charles E. McVey, from Orange County, Indiana. He enlisted for the Union side on July 10, 1863 in Indiana. McVey was placed with Company I, of the 112th Infantry Regiment as a Corporal. In less than one week, it was determined he was ‘not needed’. So he was mustered out of the Union service on July 17, 1863 in Indianapolis, Indiana to return home and not be recalled.

On my mother’s side was medical Dr. Oliver T. Everhart of Maryland. He sent letters beginning in April 1861 offering his services to the officials of the Union Army. However, it was not until September 16, 1862 before he received a telegram offering him a contract as a physician for three years with the US Army. Now he felt he could truly be of some help with his medical knowledge and serve his country. Reporting first to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and then he was sent by September 25th to Chambersburg, PA to serve as an assistant surgeon with Dr. W. J. Underwood.

Within a couple weeks some of the Confederate cavalry under the direction of General J. E. B. Stuart, raided Chambersburg. There was the burning of the Cumberland Valley Railroad Depot and the explosion of 500,000 pounds of ammunition by the Rebel forces. They even took control of the Chambersburg hospital where the doctors (including Dr. Oliver Everhart) and patients were taken prisoner. They were soon released as the Confederate Army gathered up horses and supplies to head back across the Potomac River into Virginia.

Now Oliver and the other doctors were busier than ever taking care of the additional wounded soldiers that were streaming into the hospital daily. While working long hours dressing wounds and administering to the ill, Oliver contracted a case of chronic diarrhea. Yet he was needed and he kept working day and night. By October 18th, Oliver and Dr. W. J. Underwood were ordered to Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Within days of his arrival while working under poor conditions, sleeping in a tent and still suffering from the diarrhea, Oliver caught a severe cold. This then produced an inflammation of the spine and over the next few days he found himself unable to move his limbs. His condition was determined to be paraplegia, where he had little or no use of his legs and feet. With no possibility of any quick improvement in his health and now no use as a doctor anymore, Oliver was honorably discharged from the US Army on November 1, 1862 in Harrisburg.

William Shelton Groff was also known as “Sheldon or Shelton Groff”. He was the first born child (1844) of Capt. Joseph Groff. Both father and son served in the American Civil War, between 1861 – 1864, in the Union 1st Potomac Home Brig., Co “B”, Maryland Reg., Infantry.

William was age 17 years in August 23, 1861 when he enlisted as a private in Capt. Glessner’s Co, Company “B”, 1st Reg’t. MD, Potomac Home Brigade. His father, Joseph, had also enlisted in the same company. William signed up for a 3 year service period. He reported to duty on September 6, 1861 out of Frederick, Maryland.

At Harper’s Ferry, the regiment surrendered on Sept. 15, 1862 after being surrounded by the Confederate forces. The Union soldiers were paroled and exchanged the next day. They were sent to Alexandria, Virginia on November 1862. Both father and son were part of the Battle of Gettysburg July 2 and 3rd 1863 when their 1st Potomac Home Brigade arrived at Gettysburg.

Private William Groff was promoted in January 1863 as a Corporal. William remained a Corporal with the 1st Potomac Home Brigade until he was mustered-out at the age 20 years on September 6, 1864 due to typhoid fever. In fact the records show the Army paymaster had to go to Frederick, MD, his home, to muster William out officially, where he was also paid $100. For years he suffered from chronic rheumatism and diarrhea.

Who knows, you might have ancestors who fought on opposite sides.

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