G.A.R. Post: OLIVER MORTON POST #10 SNOHOMISH, WA
29th U.S. COLORED VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 4/24/64 Quincy, IL
Mustered Out: 11/6/65 TX
At the outset of America’s War of the Rebellion U.S. President Abraham Lincoln rejected the idea of abolishing slavery or tapping African-American military assistance. By mid 1862, however Lincoln had come to recognize that one way to weaken the unexpectedly resilient Confederacy was to undermine slavery. As such, following promulgation of his 1/1/63 Emancipation Proclamation the Union army initiated a vigorous recruitment drive which ultimately saw the arming of 166 black regiments: 145 of infantry, 7 of cavalry, 12 of heavy artillery, 1 of light artillery and 1 of engineers. This movement encompassed 7,122 (primarily white) officers and 178,895 enlisted men.
The 29th was one such regiment recruited in the State of Illinois. One month after Federal muster the 29th moved to Annapolis, MD and thence to Alexandria, VA where it was assigned to the defenses of Washington D.C. On 6/19/64 the regiment joined the Army of the Potomac in siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond, VA.
Actions in that area included the Petersburg Mine explosion on 7/30, Weldon Railroad 8/18-21, Poplar Grove Church, 9/29-30 and 10/1, Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run 10/27-28, and Bermuda Hundred. The final days of March and the first week of April, 1865 found the 29th involved in the Appomattox Campaign. Duty in the Dept. of Virginia preceded a May/June move to Texas for assignment along the Rio Grande River prior to final muster.
Regimental losses: 3 officers and 43 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded. 188 enlisted men killed by disease. Total: 234
Residence: Niles, IL Age: 25.2 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 2/1/65 Chicago, IL Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 2/1/65
Discharged: 11/6 or 24/65 Brownsville, TX
Highest Rank: Pvt.
William Stewart was born 12/9/39 in Sangamon Co., Ill. No information is available on his parentage, birth family, childhood, formative or teenaged years. In early 1865 the 5’11” farmer enrolled in the U.S. Army for a period of one year.
Within a few short weeks he was in the trenches surrounding Petersburg/Richmond, VA. There, on or about 3/1/65, he contracted a severe case of diarrhea which lead to his being excused from active service and assigned to duty as a mess cook assistant. Post Appomattox service in Texas saw him contract rheumatism in his joints plus pleurisy in the left lung. Stomach problems stemming from the bouts of war time diarrhea as well as chronic rheumatism were to plague Stewart the remainder of his life.
Military service behind him, Mr. Stewart settled in Wisconsin. There on 10/25/68, in Logansville, he married Elizabeth “Eliza” Thornton (b. ca. 1852). The union produced one child, a son, Vay. (b. 1869). The Stewart’s remained in Wisconsin until 1889 when they removed to Washington Territory/State settling near the Puget Sound community of Snohomish. Records are silent regarding why the westward move was made. Perhaps it was the availability of good farmland, as in Snohomish the family settled on a farm north of town. The Stewart home is reportedly still standing.
William Stewart passed away 12/11/07. His obituary noted that he “died from stomach trouble, he having been sick for some time.” At death Mr. Stewart was receiving an $8 per month government disability pension based on the long term crippling effects of his period of Civil War service. Eliza Steward died 5/15/29. At passing she was a resident of Everett and was receiving $40 per month from the U.S. Government based on her late husband’s Civil War soldiering. She is buried beside William.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
Marilyn Quincy & Jeanie Paul
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