G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
8th WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 9/4/61 Camp Randall Madison, WI
Mustered In: 9/13/61 Camp Randall Madison, WI
Mustered Out: 9/5/65 Demopolis, AL
Known as the “Eagle Regiment” this three-year “western theater” unit left the state of Wisconsin 10/12/61 for the lower Mississippi. It was to take part in actions at Greenville, Island No. 10, Farmington, Corinth, Iuka, Henderson’s Hill, Pleasant Hill, Coutierville, Bayou Lamourie Atchafalaya River, Lake Chicot, Jackson, Haynes’ Bluff, Vicksburg, Richmond, LA, and Nashville, TN.
The general commanding at Farmington, noted “The Badger State may feel proud to have the honor of getting represented by so gallant a regiment as the 8th Wisconsin.” Also, Union Gen. Sherman highly complimented the regiment for doing “its whole duty in the camp, on the march and in battle,” for “pecular courage and gallantry at Jackson and throughout the siege of Vicksburg,” and for other services. The original roster of 973 was augmented to a total enrollment of 1,643.
Losses by death 255, missing 3, desertion 60, transfer 41, and discharge 320. Strength at final muster: 964.
Residence: Wauzeka, WI Age: 18.11 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 9/4/61 Prairie duChien, WI Rank: Pvt.
Discharged: 10/27/62 Corinth, MS
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Joseph Edgar Lemons was born at Prairie du Chien or Wauzeka, Crawford Co, WI (in the far SW corner of the state) 10/3/42 to Jacob (b. NC) and Gertrued (nee Price b. NY). No further information is available on his birth family or formative years.
In 1861 the 5’9”, teenaged farmer signed up to serve in the U.S. Army for three years. He did not complete his enlistment term. While on a march in Missouri during 11/61 he was stricken with measles which “fell in his eyes thereby impairing the sight.” Also, in 2/62 while splitting wood at Cairo, IL the axe handle struck his left knee causing the axe blade to turn and “and striking (the) right hand cut off the two forefingers at the first joint.”
On 10/20/62 Private Lemons was granted a disability discharge having been unfit for duty the previous ninety days due to Amaurosis, “a partial or complete loss of sight with any apparent damage to the eye.” While Joseph would, in later years, be granted a government invalid pension which amounted to $24 per month at the time of his death, no post war documents mention problematic eyesight or trouble with his hand.
It appears that after leaving the military Joseph may have moved to Michigan where, on 9/27/62, he married Emily J. Wells. The couple bore one child Stephen J. (3/65) before Emily’s death in October of 1866 or 1867 at Burr Oak in St. Joseph’s Co. On 11/10/72 in Shell Rock, MN Mr. Lemons remarried to Helen Gulbrandson (b. 7/29/49 Norway). This union produced seven children: Lotta J. “Lottie” (9/5/73), Anna Etta/Emma (5/5/75), Francis Mabel (7/3/79), Burton Edgar (1/15/82), Joseph Walter (2/14/86), Nellie Irene (1/30/91), and Fredrick Winfield (3/5/94).
After the war Joseph returned to farming for a somewhat limited time in Michigan and then, for an extended period, in Minnesota. Joseph and Helen remained in the latter state until circa 1906 when they moved to Snohomish, WA. Documents are silent as to why the move was made, but likely it was to be near families of their adult children residing in the area. Once in Snohomish Joseph resumed farming at Red Crossing.
“After a long illness” Joseph E. Lemons age 76 years, 7 months died 5/15/18 at Snohomish Hospital. Cause of death was listed as “senile gangrene.” His obituary noted he was survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters. Helen Lemons died 2/1/21 at the Wenatchee, WA home of one of her daughters. She is buried next to Joseph.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
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