11th PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 8/61 Camp Curtin Harrisburg, PA
Mustered In: 11/27/61 Camp Curtin Harrisburg, PA
Mustered Out: 7/1/65 Harrisburg PA
The 11th, a three-year eastern-theater regiment, had its roots in a three-month 11th which was organized shortly after war was declared between the north and south in April, 1861.That three month unit saw first action at Falling Waters, VA on July 2 1861. With its period of service coming to an end and more volunteers being called forth, application was made to the War Department to transition the 11th from a three month to a three year unit without breaking it up. That proposal being accepted, the three month 11th was mustered out and the newly reformulated 11th came into existence on the condition that it be ready to march in twenty one days.
During the autumn months of '61 the 11th remained at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, PA and engaged in drill. Sickness prevailed and deaths occurred. In late November it moved from Harrisburg to Annapolis, MD via Baltimore. There the sickness which had prevailed at Camp Curtin continued.
In April, 1862, the regiment was sent to Washington City where, after marching to the Executive Mansion, it was reviewed by President Lincoln. Two days later it was moved to Manassas Junction, VA. During the months ahead, it moved from there into Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. After a time in the Shenandoah it was moved back to Manassas Junction. In August, '62 the 11th took part in the battle of Cedar Mountain, VA before moving into Maryland where it saw action at South Mountain and at Antietam. It concluded the combat year at Fredericksburg, VA.
1863 opened with the 11th holding a "distinguished part" in Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's abortive Mud March. Next came the battle of Chancellorsville, VA in which the unit was not heavily engaged. Gettysburg, PA followed. During the actions there the regiment was stationed, at times, on Cemetery Hill.
February, 1864 found the men of the 11th reenlisting in such numbers as to guarantee the regiment "Veteran Volunteer" status. That May it then started southward into Virginia as part of Union Gen. U.S. Grant's bloody Overland Campaign which would ultimately bring an end to four years of civil war. Actions involving the 11th during this trek were The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House before the unit, and Grant's army, lay siege to Petersburg. There the 11th would remain for the remainder of the year and into 1865 when the War ground to a close.
Residence: Inf. Not Avail. Age: 20.4 Yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 8/19/62 Pittsburg, PA Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 8/19/62 Pittsburg, PA
Discharged: 4/6/63 Washington, D.C.
Highest Rank: Pvt.
According to available documentation, Cyrus Armbrust was born in 1842 in Greensburg, Westmoreland, County, Pennsylvania. His birth month was likely April. No birth date has been found. His parents were Daniel (b. 1815 PA) and Sarah (no nee b. 1818 PA) Armbrust.
At the time of the 1850 census the Armbrust family - with Daniel listing his occupation as "laborer" - was still in Pennsylvania, but residing at the time in or near the community of Hempfield in Westmoreland County. Children in the household were William (b. 1837 PA), Cyrus (b. 1842), Prycilla/Precilla (b. 1845 PA), John C. (b. 1847 PA) and Sarah R. (b. 1849 PA). A decade later the family's address was still Hempfield, but its membership composition was different: (Farm) laborer,Daniel, was still the family head, but wife Sarah was no longer listed. Dependents within the home were Sarah (Age 17 b. 1849) - now apparently the mother figure, William R.(Age 23), Prycilla/ Precilla (Age 15), John (age 13) Rebecca (Age 11 b. 1844 PA), Eliz(abeth) (b. 1852 PA), Daniel (Age 6 b . 1854 PA) and Malvina ( Age 2 b. 1858 PA). Perhaps wife Sarah died after giving birth to this last daughter. Of particular note to this chronicle is that Cyrus is also absent from the family grouping.
On September 20, 1861, Civil War having enveloped the land, Daniel Armbrust voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army. His regiment was the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Co. "I". Circa age 45 or 46 years - even though service records indicate he was aged 40 years - Private Armbrust was much older than his fellow enlistees whose median age was 27.5 years. Daniel's military service would last until May 20, 1862 when he was discharged because of a medical disability.
Now, we turn to Cyrus. Not long after his father's army discharge, Cyrus, on August 18, 1862, in Pittsburg, (some company muster files indicate Greensburg), PA with Daniel's written consent, he enlisted in and was mustered into his father's old infantry regiment and company. At enrollment Cyrus’ vital statistics were noted as follows: Age - 20.4 years; Height - 5' 6.5"; Eyes - blue; Hair - light. In later military paperwork, his occupation would be listed as "farmer." Interestingly, at enlistment Cyrus signed his name as Syrus. As we shall see, medically the younger Private Armbrust would not fare much better than the elder Private Armbrust.
Cyrus' military experience can be summed up in two words: "Absent, Sick." As early as mid- September the company muster roll noted him as absent, he having been "left behind" in a hospital at Frederick City, Maryland. Shortly thereafter on the 24th of September, he was admitted to Stewart's Mansion Hospital in Baltimore. He would remain there until November the 6th when he was moved from Baltimore to the general hospital at York, PA. Diagnosis: Chronic rheumatism.
1863. On January 12th, Cyrus was returned to duty from his hospital stay in York. The duty stint, however, was short-lived as on February 4th he was again hospitalized at the Judiciary Square facility in Washington, D.C. with a diagnosis of “keratitis, left (eye) with ulceration.” (Note: A 2/25/04 search of military medical records would note that from 1/19 to 2/7/63 Private Armbrust was also treated for masturbation.) From D.C., on March 23rd, Private Armbrust was moved to Desmarres eye and ear infirmary in Washington City, again with a diagnosis of Keratitis, left (eye) with ulceration. This continuing condition would result in Cyrus’ discharge from that facility and the U.S. Army he having been unfit to perform the duties of a soldier for 60 days. The medical disability discharge was granted on April 6, 1863. Existing medical notes also mention "angina pectoris (heart disease) occurring since enlistment. Degree of disability = 1/4.
With army life behind him Cyrus returned to Hempfield, Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Seemingly unable to pursue a livelihood involving manual labor he appears to have turned his attention to the task of obtaining a U.S. Government disability pension based on his eye problems which reportedly stemmed from his days - even though they may have been limited - of soldiering. This process appears to have begun as early as April 8, 1863 when a medical examination determined: "By reason of..... (the) inflammation of his eyes, in my opinion he is one half disabled from obtaining subsistence by performing manual labor. Said disability was received in the service and is permanent (In terms of particulars) there is obacity of the cornea of the left eye rendering sight so defective as to be of no use. He also has chronic placinitial which may be removed by proper treatment and care." One day later the following was penned, "On 9/14/62 while on the march near Fredrick, Maryland he (Private Cyrus Armbrust) contracted illness causing almost toal blindness of his left eye and extreme weakness in his left shoulder which disabled him from doing the duty of a soldier and from obtaining his subsistance by manual labor. His left eye is yet almost blind and his left arm and shoulder (would) be almost powerless." Continuing in this vein, on 4/14 the first lieutenant of Cyrus' old company noted that the former army private had been disabled while in the line of duty. The disability drumbeat continued in mid-July when it was attested that “while on the march near Frederick, Maryland on 9/14/62 having been for several days previous, unwell and under treatment, he fell down in the ranks with a severe pain in his head affecting his eyes and general system." The report went on the chronicle Private Armbrusts travels to and transfers from hospital to hospital until his final discharge. It concluded by noting that by the time of that discharge he had also become deaf in his left ear.
The pension request "battle" continued into 1864. At the end of March of that year the U.S. Surgeon General's Office came out with the opinion that available evidence failed to connect the 9/14/62 incident - which was, by then, considered an occurrence of sunstroke - with the angina pectoris (heart disease) which, by this time was seen as having been the primary reason for his being medically discharged from the army – not his eye problems. Still, at some point during the next several years a monthly pension stipend would be granted. At the time of his death in the early 1900s that stipend would be $12.
On May 9, 1865, in the community or township of Pleasant Unity, Westmorland County, PA, Cyrus wed Permelia M. Blackston (b. 12/48 or '50, PA). Neither had been previously married. The union would produce at least eleven children: Lucinda Mary (b. 8/26/66 ), Melvina Anna "Annie" (b. 7/9/68 PA), George Edward "Eddie" (b. 11/21/71 MO); Charles "Chas" or "Willie/Will" William (b. 2/13/74 IA), Permilia Elizabeth (b. 8/20/76) Clara Ella (b. ?), Millie (b. 1877 CO), Celina/Celia, (b. 5/4/78 Co), Jessie Josephine (b. 5/12/82 CO), Millie (b. 1882 (?) CO.) and Elcie (b. 3/99 WA). (Note: All birth dates/years and locations may vary and are subject to change.)
As noted by the birth locations of the children, after being married in and starting their family in Pennsylvania, the Armbrust family moved around. While Cyrus and family cannot be found in the 1870 census, it appears that at least a year later, at the end of 1871, they were in Missouri. What drew them there and when is not known. If available birth dates and years are to be believed, a year later the family had quitted Missouri for Iowa. Again, exactly when and why is not documented.
Census documentation for 1880 places the Armbrusts in or near the community of Longmont, Boulder Co., Colorado with Cyrus noted as being a Wagon maker. There is some indication the settlement there may have been in 1877 or earlier. In 1885, the clan was still in Colorado, but then in Weld County with Cyrus' occupation listed as "carriage maker." Having mostly been destroyed by fire, no census data for the Armbrusts exists for 1890.
1900. Another decade, another census and a new century. By this time the Armbrusts had migrated northwesterly to the Snohomish County community of Pilchuck in the State of Washington. As in the past, why wagon maker Cyrus and his family had moved to this Puget Sound region in the western portion of the state is not documented.
Former Civil War soldier Cyrus Armbrust died 12/6/03 in Marysville, Snohomish County, Washington. Cause of death for the man who was then noted to be a "farmer" was typhoid pneumonia. Burial was in the Marysville community cemetery.
With the passing of Cyrus, Permelia began the paperwork process to obtain at least a portion of his monthly disability pension stipend. During this ordeal it would be said that at death Cyrus had possessed no real estate title of any kind............except a contract for the purchase of about 5 acres of land near Marysville which was without any value. Said land being unimporved. Practically all he had upon it was....a "squatter’s right." Of personal property he had two cows of common grade, one horse, a harness and wagon, all of insignificant value; one half ton of hay, eighteen chickens, some garden tools and a small amount of household furniture sufficient to furnish a house of three rooms. After his death all this property was sold at auction to the highest bidder in order to get funeral expense money.........The whole of said property brought in the sum of $200. Also noted was that at the time of his death Cyrus was indebted including funeral expenses in the sum of $100. The only funds left to his widow were $40. At some date Permilia was granted a $12 per month stipend which was discontinued on 3/18/13 based on her remarriage to a Mr. John Furgeson.
In 1905 Permilia was apparently residing in the City of Seattle, King County Washington. After that date, for a time she resided for a time in Port Angeles, Washington. She died 11/6/25 at the age of 76 in Roy, Pierce County, WA. Her final resting place is not known.
Buried at Marysville Cemetery
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