G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
21st MAINE VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Augusta, ME 10/13/62
Mustered In: 10/14/62 Bangor, ME
Mustered Out: 8/25/63 Bangor, ME
This regiment, like seven preceding ones, was raised under the call of 8/4/62 for 3000,000 militia to serve nine months enlistments. One week following Federal muster the 21st left the Maine for New York State. It remained in East New York for two months before proceeding to New Orleans, LA.
Almost at once it moved to Baton Rouge an important Union “base” where it was occupied with picket duty and protecting the city from guerrilla attacks. Despite precautions, the northern men suffered severely from diseases contracted n the low lying southern county. In mid March the 21st advanced against Port Hudson, LA while Adm. Farrgut’s fleet was passing that city’s defenses.
Its first combat, however, was on 5/121/63 at Plains’ Store. The regiment next took part in the siege of Port Hudson and participated in 5/27 and 6/14 assaults on that city during which it lost 88 men killed and wounded. Though its term of service had expired during the siege, the regiment volunteered to remain until the capture of Port Hudson which occurred on 7/9/63. Thereafter the 21st and other regiments whose terms had expired were transported back up the Mississippi River.
As these were the first unit to make this voyage, they received continuous ovations along the route north.
Residence: Skowhegan, ME Age: 18.2 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 9/10/62 Skowhegan, ME Rank: Pvt.
Discharged/Mustered Out: 8/25/63 Augusta, ME
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Billings O. Hall was born 6/23/44 in North Newport, ME to parents Elias and Mary (no mdn.nm.) Hall. Additional information is not available on his birth family, formative or teenaged years. Entering the U.S. Army in 1862, the 5’ 51/2”, blue eyed farmer soon found himself moved from the relatively cool, dry climate of Maine to humid, swampy coastal Louisiana where he would remain throughout his period of enlistment.
While battlefield actions did not prove harmful to Private Hall, physical ailments did. Around 3/16/63 during a forced march from Baton Rouge to Port Hudson he noted that his strained legs “gave out.” Also, in May of that year he contracted malaria for which he was hospitalized in Baton Rouge. Although he completed his term of service, problems from the two ailments would plague Hall with leg troubles, chills, fever, chronic diarrhea, heart troubles, kidney problems and general debility for the remainder of his life.
One medical affidavit from an individual who knew Billings from birth noted that before leaving for the service he was a “rugged boy capable of doing as much work as any boy of his age.” After Billings’ returned home to Skokegan, this individual observed he was “sick and unable to work for two years or more.” Later granted a U.S. Government disability pension based on his wartime privations, Billings was receiving $72 per month at the time of his death.
After two years in Skokegan Hall, post-war claiming carpentry as his profession, moved to Lawrence, MA where he would remain for fourteen years. During this period the now 30 year old Hall married eighteen year old Mary S. Malkson (b. ca. 1856). The union, which took place on 7/4/74 and lasted 52 years until Billings’ death, produced at least four children: Bertha M. (4/25/75), Earl B. (b. 1/1/77), Leon F. (9/8/86), and Donald M. (4/17/95).
From Massachusetts the Halls, circa 1880 moved to Toledo, OH before spending twelve years in Eustis, FL. It is likely that prior to the move, because of his ailments, Billings would spend winters in Florida rather than in the north. From Florida the Halls resettled in South Dakota for seven years before, about 1902, moving to Snohomish, WA. Why the move to Washington was made is not known, but even here the winters proved detrimental to Billings’ health, so from time to time he would venture southward to California and winter at the home of one or both of his sons.
On four occasions between 1920 and 124, during these winterings for, “convenience and economy,” he would stay at the soldiers’ home in Sawtelle. Around 1923 one of these stays lasted up to one year. During these periods away from home Billings and Mary remained married and visited or otherwise communicated regularly.
Billing O. Hall died 4/30/27 at his home in Snohomish. At death he was aged 82.10 yrs. Mary appears to have continued to reside in Snohomish until 1944 when she removed to Everett. She remained there until 1927 when her address appears as Retsil, WA where, likely, she was living in the Soldiers’ Home. Although her exact date of death is not available it was likely in August or September of 1950. She is buried beside Billings.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
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