109th NEW YORK VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Summer, 1862 Binghamton, NY
Mustered In: 8/27/62 Binghamton, NY
Mustered Out: 6/4/65 Delaney House, D.C.
51st NEW YORK VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 1861 New York, New York
Mustered In: 2/27 - 10/3/61 New York, New York
Mustered Out: 7/25/65 Alexandria, VA
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (109th)
The authority to raise a regimental organization which became the 109th NY Infantry was granted on 7/22/62. Counties from which recruits were to be drawn were Broome, Tioga and Tompkins.
Organization of this three year, eastern theater unit was done at Binghamton, NY. Following Federal muster the 109th promptly departed New York for Annapolis Junction, MD. There it was placed on guard duty along the railroad leading to Washington City. It remained there the remainder of 1862 and throughout 1863.
In the spring of 1864 as Union Gen. U.S. Grant launched his Overland Campaign into Virginia which, a year later would bring an end to four years of bloody American civil war, the 109th was called into the field. The regiment saw its first action on April 24th during the battle of The Wilderness. There it lost 11 killed, 64 wounded and l missing.
Additional losses followed at Spotsylvania (5/8 – 21), during the initial attack at Petersburg (6/9) and subsequent actions around that besieged city.
During its period of service the 109th gained a splendid reputation for hard fighting, discipline and efficiency. That reputation resulted in it being included in Colonel Fox's three hundred fighting regiments of the war.
Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 5; Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 0; Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 160; Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 164.
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (51st)
After the shooting war stopped in 1865 the U.S. Government wished to quickly divest itself of unneeded soldiers. Many regiments were immediately mustered out of existence. In some of those instances, recruits and others with time still to serve were then transferred, at least on paper, to other regiments to await final muster. The latter situation was the case with Private Smith and the 51st. As his transfer to the 51st occurred after the shooting war had ended, the history of that organization is not being presented herein.
Residence: Friendsville, PA Age: 19.7 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 3/27/65 Owego Tioga Co., NY Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 3/27/65 Owego Tioga Co., NY
Transferred Out: 6/3/65
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Residence: Friendsville, PA Age: 19.9 yrs.
Transferred In: 6/3/65 Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 7/25/65 Alexandria, VA
Discharged: 7/26/65 Camp Distribution, Alexandria, VA
Highest Rank: Pvt.
James Smith was born 8/8/45 in Susquehanna County, PA. Likely his community of birth was Middleton Township as that was where the U.S. Census tallies from 1850 through 1880 found the Smith family. The Smiths were farmers.
Parents of James were Patrick (b. 1800) and Mary (no nee b. 1817) Smith. In later years James would note that both were born in Scotland, but census data given while the two were alive notes Ireland.
Documentally, as far as we know James was one of nine Smith children. Siblings older than he were Catherine (b. 1837), Daniel (b. 1840), Owen (b. 1841), Mary (b. 1843) and Roxanna (b. 1845). Younger siblings were Ellen (b. 1849), Margaret (b. 1852) and Sylvester Patrick/Patrick Sylvester (b. 1859). Likely all were born in Pennsylvania.
In late March, 1865 as four years of bloody American Civil War was grinding towards a close, it appears James travelled from his home in Pennsylvania to Owego, New York. There, he enlisted in the U.S. Army infantry. Without access to his military service records it is impossible to say much about his service tenure. However, it is very possible he was never fielded before being mustered back to civilian life.
Discharged from the service at or near Alexandria, VA James returned to Pennsylvania and his parents' Friendsville farm. The U.S. Census for 1870 found him laboring there.
A decade later it was the same story, but by this date both of his parents had passed away. Still single - James would never marry or produce children - living with him was his unmarried sister, Rose.
On 2/24/83 James -described as a 37 year old, 5 ft. 6 3/4 inch dark complexioned, blue eyed farmer - who by this time noted his address as Friendsville Middletown Township Susquehanna Co., PA - began paperwork in an attempt to obtain a U.S. Government disability pension based on ailments which traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering. His claim was that approximately four weeks before his discharge from the military, while at a facility known as Camp Distribution located in or near Alexandria, VA he contracted diarrhea which still afflicted him to this date. Additionally, in April, '65 he had been forced to lie in wet grass for about a week without a tent or other shelter. This had resulted in him contracting rheumatism which continued to plague him. He was never hospitalized for either condition, but had been treated by the regimental surgeon.
In 1889, for reasons not documented, James quitted Pennsylvania for Washington Territory. There he settled in the county of Snohomish located in the Puget Sound region of the territory. Exactly where he initially settled is not known but later noted locations include Darrington (1892), Oso (5/8/93) White Horse (1900), Irving (1910) and Darrington (1912) again.
James’ pursuit of a pension striped continued in Washington as friends and neighbors testified by affidavit that they had known the farmer for seven or eight years during which he continually complained about recurring, often lengthy, bouts of chills, fever and lung trouble all of which prevented him from earning a complete living doing the manual labor demanded of a farmer.
On 3/25/92 a pension of $6 per month, was granted based on rheumatism and resulting disease of the heart. Later, malarial poisoning was added to the list. With his continual pushing, by the time of his death James' monthly stipend had blossomed to a princely $50 per month.
Former Civil War soldier James Smith died in Everett, Washington on 2/26/22. The circumstances surrounding his death and why it occurred in Everett rather than Darrington, are not known. Perhaps he was seeking medical treatment in Snohomish County's largest city. Burial was/is in Everett's Mt. Carmel Cemetery.
Buried at Mt Carmel Cemetary
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