Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - William Sprague

William H. Sprague

Representing: Union
G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA


Unit History

  • 28th Maine Infantry Unassigned

See full unit history

William  Sprague
Full Unit History

MAINE REGIMENT COMPANY UNASSIGNED 

Regimental History

REGIMENTAL HISTORY:

   In 1863, as patriotic fervor began to wane and voluntary enlistment numbers slipped, the United States government began toying with alternative means of fulfilling the manpower needs of the tremendous war machine.  One was payment of enlistment bonuses, or bounties.  Another was mandatory military conscription.  The draft became a fact of life which continued throughout 1864 and 1865.  In terms of the early months of latter year, while the death knell of the southern cause seemed imminent, the end was not yet in sight, so the war movement, like a giant vacuum cleaner, continued to suck in manpower.

   During the early days of the war there was money and prestige to be gained by assembling and fielding new regiments whether they be infantry, cavalry or artillery, rather than replenishing the thinned ranks of the older ones.  By 1864 and into 1865, however this practice was the exception rather than the rule.  When a man was enlisted or was drafted, he was sent to a reception center where his presence was credited to his state or political district and, once there, the manpower needs of the various arms of the service were evaluated and he was “plugged in” to an existing regiment. 

   When Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to United State General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865 the end of the Rebellion was truly in sight.  As such, the U.S. Government almost immediately began downsizing its war machine.  One aspect of this downsizing was divestiture of recent recruits/draftees so the government would not be financially responsible for them.  It was into this vortex that William H. Sprague was drawn.  

Soldier History

SOLDIER:
Residence: Aroostock Co., ME   Age: 33 (est.)
Draft Date: Inf. Not. Avail.
Mustered In: 4/6/65   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 4/15/65 Augusta, ME
Highest Rank: Pvt.

Family History

PERSONAL/FAMILY HISTORY:

NOTE:
The original birth – to – death biographical profile of William H. Sprague was created during the early years of the Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington project. As a result it was limited in both size and the availability of research resources.

The biography which follows was written in May, 2019. Although more detailed than its predecessor, it lacks the depth of more recent additions to this website which draw heavily upon veteran-related military, pension and other documents housed in the National Archives located in Washington, D.C.

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  William Henry Sprague was born in 7/14/1832 in Houlton, Aroostook County, ME. His parents were Jeremiah (b.  1786 ME died 1881 ME) and Catherine (nee Morrison b. ca. 1794 Scotland died 11/1884 ME) Sprague.
 

 William was the third of six children documented by census and the third oldest of four sons. Sprague children older than William were: John (b. ca 1824 ME) and George (b. ca. 1827 ME). Younger than he were Catherine (b. ca. 1833 ME), Frances (b. ca. 1858), and Abbie (b. ca. 1859).

 No information is available pertaining to William’s childhood, formative, or teenaged years, but in 1850 his birth family was residing on a farm located in or near the community of Orient Plantation Aroostook Co., ME, so he likely grew up performing farm chores.
 

  In 1852 at the age of 20 William married Eunice Gertrude Deering (b. 5/8/34 ME), a young woman of American and Canadian/Dutch heritage.  The union would produce six children: Nancy J. (b. 7/23/55), James W. (b. 8/57), Manfred W. (b. 7/14/58), John Bray (b. 1/11/63), Thomas E. (b. 9/3/67), and Meta A. (b. 8/76).  All were born in Maine. 

 

  During the early spring of 1865 William was drafted into the U.S. military.  At approximately 33 years of age was above the 26.7 average of the typical American Civil War combatant.  Private Sprague’s military career was short lived.  It lasted only nine days. He never left Maine and while a U.S. soldier earned the grand sum of $4.80 in salary! 
 

Military conscription behind him, William returned to his wife and family.  Still, while the military experience was gone, it was not forgotten.  In 1891 as William, like most Civil War veterans, began to experience the pangs of age- “‘rheumatism” and “poor health”- he sought assistance from the U.S. government in the form of a disability pension.  It was then that he, like many others, learned he was not eligible for such renumeration because he had not served a minimum 90 day period under Federal muster.  Claim denied.
 

  By 1903 William and family had traveled westward to the Puget Sound area of Washington State. They were residing with one of their sons in Redmond King Co., Washington.
 

 At the time of the 1910 census the Spragues had set up household in Snohomish, Snohomish Co., WA.  Members of the family group, in addition to William and Eunice were noted as sons John (widowed) and Manfred (married) as well as four grandsons, Otto, Warren, Mahlon and Milton.
 

  In 1913, in Snohomish, Eunice died. The circumstances surrounding her passing are not known. Likely she was buried in the Grand Army Of The Republic (G.A.R.) Cemetery located Snohomish, but documentation of her final resting place has not been found.

 It appears that at some point following his wife’s death William  gave up his home and moved in with a son – likely James - living in nearby Everett Snohomish Co., WA.  By 1919, however, he was residing with son John in Portland, Oregon.    It was there, on 2/23/19, William died.
 

After his death William’s earthly remains were transported back to Snohomish, WA where they were buried in the G.A.R. Cemetery. Hopefully they are beside those of  Eunice.

Cemetery

Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish

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