G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
17th INDIANA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: May, 1861 Camp Morton Indianapolis, IN
Mustered In: 6/12/61
Mustered Out: 8/8/65 Macon, GA
The 17th, a three-year “western theater” regiment, left Indiana for Maryland in mid 1861. Once there it constructed fortifications and, by fall had been engaged with the enemy at Green Brier River.
Moving next to Kentucky the unit remained in camp until 2/62 when it moved to Shiloh, TN via Nashville. The regiment arrived at Pittsburg Landing on 4/8/62. The 19th then moved through Alabama to McMinnville, TN where it attached and routed the cavalry of Confed. Gen. Forrest. In 2/63 the unit was moved to Murfreesboro, TN where they were mounted and, a short time later, equipped with Spencer repeating rifles.
Undoubtedly it was this firepower that, at Hoover’s Gap, allowed the 19th to repulse several charges by superior numbers. Numerous other actions kept the regiment busy until years end.
Spring 1864 found the 19th joining Union Gen. Sherman’s movement on Atlanta, GA. From May until October it was constantly engaged in cavalry movements, scouting operations and battles connected with that campaign.
The regiment participated in the action at Selma, AL then moved to Macon, GA where it drove the enemy into the city where they surrendered. The 19th lastly performed post duty at Macon until final muster.
Residence: New Amsterdam, IN Age: 15.3 yrs.
Enlisted: 2/7, 2/17-18, or 3/3/64 Rank: Pvt. (drummer)
Mustered Out: 8/8/1865 Macon, GA
Highest Rank: Pvt. (drummer)
James W. Knapp was born 11/9/48 in New Amsterdam, IN to German parents John and Henrietta (nee Brannisgburg) Knapp. No additional information is available on his birth family or formative years. In 1864 the 5’4” teenaged farm boy left home to join the U.S. Army.
Despite his mounted infantry regiment’s participation in numerous combat actions, as a drummer Private Knapp appears to have remained out of harms way. He did, however, end up in the hospital with head and throat afflictions, fever and rheumatism. One or all were to later lead to his receiving a government disability pension which amounted to $16.50 per month at the time of his 7/16/16 death.
Leaving the military James returned home to New Amsterdam. He remained there until 1872 when he removed to Lone Tree Lake, MN. On 3/5/76 while in Minnesota he married Helen Hartwick. The couple would produce five children, three of whom (*) were alive in 1910: Will (12/17/76-3/21/77), Somane J.* 3/26/78), Hettie (11/8/83-12/18/83), Louella (6/15/85), and Arthur/Aurthur* (2/9/00).
In 1877 the Knapp’s moved westward to Washington Territory and settled in Snohomish. Available documents are silent as to why they made the move. A 1910 entry indicates James’ occupation here was “teamster,” but his obituary noted that besides serving as bailiff for Superior Court Judges Bell and Denny for several years, he was also the proprietor of the City Hotel, one of Snohomish’s first such establishments.
In July, 1916, 67.8 year old James Knapp, a charter member of the Oliver Morton G.A.R. Post, fell from a cherry tree and fractured his ribs. Although he seemed to be recovering from the fall, one week later he was found dead at home in bed. According to his obituary, “indications were he met a peaceful end.” Helena lived until 9/9/24. At her passing she was receiving a $30 per month stipend based on her late husband’s Civil War soldiering. She is buried beside James.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
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