G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett, WA
8th ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Organized: 9/18/61 St. Charles, IL
Mustered In: 9/18/61 St. Charles, IL
Mustered Out: 7/17/65 Benton Barracks, St. Louis MO
The Illinois 8th, a three year eastern theater regiment, left the state for Washington City on 10/13/61. Soon thereafter it was ordered to Warrenton, VA where it remained until 4/12/62. During this period the unit drove the enemy across the Rappahannock River on four different occasions.
During the 1862 Peninsula Campaign elements of the 8th checked and drove back Rebel forces moving upon Mechanicsville, VA. During the Union army's change of base to Harrison's Landing on the James River which followed, the regiment did import duty at Gaines' Mill, Dispatch Station and Malvern Hill.
In September, '62 the unit crossed into Maryland where it was engaged at Poolesville, Monocacy Church, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Middleton and South Mountain. At Boonsboro they captured two cannon, killed or wounded 67 Confederates and took two hundred prisoners. It was then engaged at Antietam before following that battle with a severe fight with the enemy during a reconnaissance to Martinsburg, VA. Advancing in front of the Army of the Potomac, it was engaged with enemy cavalry at Philomont, Uniontown, Upperville, Barbee's Crossroads, Little Washington and Amissville, arriving at Falmouth on November 23rd. The 8th ended the year engaged at Fredericksburg where elements remained in the city during the Union evacuation.
The campaigns of 1863 found the 8th engaged a Sulphur Springs, near Warrenton, Rapidan Station, Northern Neck, Boteler's Ford and Upperville in Virginia as well as at Fairfield and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
Returning southward into Virginia the unit saw action at Williamsburg, Boonsboro Funkstown, Falling Waters, Chester Gap, Sandy hook, near Culpeper, Brandy Station the raid from Dumfries to Falmouth, Pony Mountain, Raccoon Ford, Liberty Mills, Manassas, Warrenton Junction, Rixeyville, Mitchell's Station and Ely's Ford. Losses during this period numbered 23 killed, 116 wounded and 37 missing. 1863 also saw the 8th claim the honor of originating veteran enlistments, a majority of the regiment offering to reenlist as early as July 6th.
Early 1864 found the 8th scouting in northern Virginia. Provost (military police) duty followed in Washington City where the regiment had the pleasure to greet Confed. Gen. Jubal Early during his famous raid on the Federal Capital. It then remained at Washington until returning home.
Residence: Grafton or Crystal Lake, IL Age: 15.0 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 10/10/64 Benton Co., IL Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 7/17/65 Benton Barracks, St. Louis, MO
Discharged: 7/17/65 Benton Barracks, St. Louis, MO
Highest Rank: Pvt.
William H. Chambers, Junior was born 10/2/49 in McHenry County, Illinois to William, Sr. (b. ca. 1810 NY) and Maria (nee Berdine b. 7/25/1313 NY) Chambers. Born into a farm family he was the eighth of nine documented Chambers children. His older siblings were Sally (b. ca. 1832 NY), Margaret (b. ca. 1836 NY), James (b. ca. 1839 NY), Peter (b. ca. 1841 NY), Alexander (b. ca. 1843 NY), Mary (b. ca. 1844 IL), Martha (b. ca. 1846 IL) and Maria (b. sometime after 1850 and before 1860). As delineated by the childrens' birthplaces, the Chambers family removed from New York to Illinois between 1843 and 1844.
At time of the 1860 census in Grafton, McHenry County, IL, William senior was no longer in the home. Maria (sr.) was head of the household with son Alex, then seventeen years of age, noted as "farmer." Other children still under the roof were Mary, Martha, William, Jr. and young Maria.
On 10/10/64 William, Jr., (hence to be referred to only as William), enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry. Enlistment papers place his age at eighteen years, but simple mathematics indicate he had just turned fifteen! Other details pertaining to his life collected at the time include his post office address being Crystal Lake, Henry County, IL, his height being 5' 7 or 8 inches, his eyes being blue, his complexion light, his hair brown and his occupation "farmer." Likely, young William received a sizeable monetary enlistment bonus or "bounty."
Private Chambers' period of military service, besides being relatively short, was apparently benign. Available paperwork does not list any absences, illnesses or wounds.
The War behind him, William did not return to Illinois, choosing to apparently settle instead in Allamakee County, Iowa. He would remain there until 1868 when he moved to Cumming County, Nebraska. There he likely moved onto his older brother Alex's farm. It was there, employed as a laborer, that the 1870 census found him.
On 11/19/74 in West Point, Cumming County, Nebraska William wed to Mary A. Moran (b. June, 1853 or '54 IN). The young couple then settled in Republic County, Kansas for a time before returning to Nebraska to begin their family.
The union of William and Mary would produce six children: William J. (b. 3/7/6 or '77 NB), Alice (b. 1/15/81 NB), Gertie (b.5/14/83 NB), Frank (b.9/4/85 KS), Grace (b. 6/14/88 or '89 KS) and Dewey C. (b. 11/25/97 or '98 NB). As indicated by the birthplaces, the Chambers family quitted Nebraska for a time in the mid-1880s before again returning to Nebraska.
Although no census information is available for 1890, a surviving document from that year indicates that is when the Chambers clam moved to Lincoln County, NB where they likely settled in or near the community of North Platte. It was there the family of eight was documented in 1900 with the senior William's occupation noted as "hay man."
1907. Sometime during this year the Chambers moved from the mid-west to the Puget Sound region of the State of Washington. Why the move was made is not clear. Nor is it clear if the family's settlement in the Puget Sound region in the western portion of that state was in the City of Seattle proper, or merely in that city's county of King.
The 1910 census placed William and family in Oak Lake near Black Diamond in King County, Washington with him employed as a "teamster" involved in "grading." It is surmised that this was an early roadbuilding position involving horse-drawn equipment.
In 1912 the Chambers family history took a seemingly strange turn in that William moved from fairly urbanized western Washington, to rural eastern Washington opting to settle in the small Grant County community of Trinidad. Whether or not Mary chose to move there with him is not clear, but what is clear is that by the following year she was residing back on the west side of the Cascade Mountains in Everett, Snohomish County, WA. It was there, on 4/18/13, likely in the home of one of her adult children, Mary died. Burial was in Everett's Evergreen Cemetery.
William was to remain in eastern Washington for the remainder of his years. The census of 1920 located him there living with son William and his family. Both Williams were noted as being farmers.
William H. Chambers, former Civil War cavalry trooper died in Trinidad, Washington on December 16, 1922 following what his newspaper obituary reported have been a "brief illness." At some point he had applied for and been granted a U.S. Government disability pension based on his period of Civil War soldiering as at death he was receiving a $50 per month stipend. His remains were returned to Seattle for burial beside Mary at Evergreen Cemetery. Reportedly active in Grand Army of The Republic affairs, the internment was assisted by the Everett G.A.R. post.
Buried at Evergreen Cemetery
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