G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett, WA
81st PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized/ Mustered In: Aug., Sept. & Oct. 1861 Philadelphia, PA
Mustered Out: 6/29/65 Alexandria, VA
In October, 1861 this three year “Army of The Potomac” regiment left the state for Washington D.C. It remained there until March, 1862 when it joined Union Gen. McClellan’s Peninsula campaign during which the 81st “saw much fighting and suffered severely.”
Actions of note were Fair Oaks, the Peach Orchard, Savage Station, Charles City crossroads and Malvern Hill. The 81st arrived too late to share in the Aug. ’62 fighting at Second Bull Run. Shortly thereafter it was in reserve at South Mountain, but suffered heavy losses at Antietam. Involvement in the battle of Fredericksburg, VA proceeded winter quarters.
1863 found the 81st at The Wilderness, Po River, Spottsylvania, North Anna River, Totopotomy and Cold Harbor. Severe losses in the opening assaults upon Petersburg followed. The winter of ‘64/’65 was spent in the trenches before that city.
Final months of the War found the 81st actively engaged with the enemy and constantly on the march. A desperate Union assault on Confederate lines near Farmville, VA in the conflict’s waning days cost the regiment dearly. With Confed. Gen. Lee’s surrender the regiment returned to Washing D.C. for final muster.
Residence: Inf. Not Avail. Age: 17.7 yrs.
Enrolled: 9/2/64 Williamsport, PA Rank: Pvt.
Discharged: 6/1/65 Alexandria, VA
Highest Rank: Pvt.
John L. Finch was born in Athens, Pennsylvania 1/12/47 to parents Reuben (b. CN) and Mary (nee Simmons b. NY) Finch. No additional details are available on his birth family or formative years.
In September, 1864 when the 5’5” blue eyed farm boy went to war he joined a regiment that had seen and would see more hard fighting. As such, it is not surprising that on 4/7/65, two days prior to Confed. Gen. Lee’s surrender to Union Gen. U.S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, VA Private Finch was captured during heavy fighting with the fleeing rebels near Farmville, VA. Released because of the cessation of hostilities, his only other military involvement of note was treatment for catarrah (infection) on 6/4/65.
The Finch family remained in Missouri only one and one half years before resettling in Minnesota. There they resided an additional twenty-eight. Circa 1900 another move was made to Everett, WA, most likely to be near the families of their adult children residing in the area. Mr. Finch’s occupation in this region is not noted.
On 9/5/11 Union veteran John Finch put in “an active day’s work” and retired for the night. The next morning 9/6/11 he was found dead from an apparent heart attack. John was aged 64.8 years. At death he was receiving a $12 monthly government pension based on his military service. Besides his wife, he was survived by one daughter in Colfax, WA and two sons in Everett. Maria followed John to the grave on 8/11/27. Residing in Sultan at the time of her passing, she was receiving a $30 per month pension based on her late husband’s Civil War soldiering.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
Dave & Terri Magill
©2016 Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State • All Rights Reserved.