26th NEW YORK VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Spring 1861
Mustered In: 5/21/61 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
Mustered Out: 5/28/63 Utica, Oneida Co., NY
1st NEW YORK VOLUNTEER LIGHT ARTILLERY BATT. "A"
Organized: Summer, 1861
Mustered In: 9/12/61 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
Mustered Out: 6/28/65 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
Discharged: 6/12/65 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
1st NEW YORK VOLUNTEER LIGHT ARTILLERY BATT. "B"'
Organized: Spring/Summer, 1861
Mustered In: 8/30/61 Elmira Chemung Co., NY
Mustered Out: 6/18/65 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
Discharged: 6/18/65 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (26th)
The 26th, a two year, eastern theater regiment, was composed of six companies from Oneida County, two from Monroe, one from Tioga and one from Madison. It was initially mustered into Federal service for three months. It left the state on 6/19/61 for Washington City. There it camped for one month on Meridian Hill. It then moved across the Potomac River to Alexandria, VA where it was stationed at various points in the defenses of Washington. During the winter of '61/'62 it went into winter quarters at Ft. Lyon.
During 1862 the regiment was present at the (8/9/62) battle of Cedar Mountain, VA. Later, it lost 169 killed, wounded and missing at the (8/29/62) battle of Groveton/2nd Bull Run. It was then active at South Mountain (9/14/62) and Antietam, MD (9/17/62). The 26th ended the year at Fredericksburg, VA (12/13/62) where 170 of the 300 men participating were killed, wounded or missing.
In early 1863 winter quarters were established at Belle Plain, VA and were inhabited except for the infamous "Mud March" on (1/20/63). The regiment's next movements were around Chancellorsville in early May. During this period the 26th performed advance picket duty. Final muster came later that month.
Regimental losses: Officers killed or mortally wounded - 5; Officers died of disease, accidents, etc. -0; Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded - 101; Enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc. - 42.
Ed. Note: During America's War Between The States infantry and cavalry regiments generally stayed together and fought as a unit. Such was not the case for the artillery. Artillery regiments, composed of (six cannon) "batteries" instead of "company’s" seldom, if ever, performed together as a cohesive organization. Instead, individual batteries were assigned and transferred where ever they might be needed
As for the 1st NY light artillery, also known as “Morgan's Artillery”; it was a three year, eastern theater, regiment that was organized at Elmira, NY. The unit received its numerical designation on 10/16/61 and began departing the state as of 10/31/61.
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (1st, Batt. "A")
Known as the Empire Battery, this unit was recruited principally at Utica, Edmeston, Little Falls, Phoenix, Clinton, Burlington, South Brookfield, New Berlin, Jordan, Sauquoit, Bridgewater and Sherburne. It was mustered into Federal service at Utica on 9/12/61 and then moved to Washington City where it served from November, 1861 until February, 1862. In February, '62 it was assigned to the artillery reserve of the Army Of The Potomac. In March '63 the enlisted men of the battery were transferred to other batteries and the Captain returned to New York to recruit for and organize a new incarnation of the unit. The recruitment was primarily conducted around Utica. As of 2/1/63 this Battery A served at the Artillery Camp of Instruction near Washington, D.C. From 6/4/63 onward to the end of the War it served in the Department of the Susquehanna/Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Chambersburg and Alleghany City. It was mustered out and discharged at Elmira, NY on 6/28/65.
Battery losses: Officers killed or mortally wounded = 0; Officers died of disease, accidents, etc. = 0; Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded = 4; Enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc. = 9.
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (1st, Batt. "B")
This Battery was recruited primarily at Elmira and Baldwinsville, NY, but following Federal muster received a number of men from two Chicago, IL light artillery battery’s. In late '61 and early '62 it was stationed around Washington City and, from then until the end of The War, was attached to the Army Of The Potomac, most often in a reserve artillery capacity. Muster out and discharge came at Elmira, NY on 6/28/65.
Battery losses: Officers killed or mortally wounded = 0; Officers died of disease, accidents, etc. = 0; Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded = 16; Enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc. = 10.
Residence: Utica, Oneida Co., NY Age: 22.11 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 5/1/61 Utica ,Oneida Co., NY Rank:1st Sgt.
Mustered In: 5/21/61 Utica, Oneida Co., NY(3 mos.) & 8/21/61 Alexandria, VA (2 yrs.)
Mustered Out: 5/28/63 Utica, Oneida Co., NY
Highest Rank: Cpt.
SOLDIER: (1st Batt. "A")
Residence: Utica, Oneida Co., NY Age: 25.9 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 2/24/64 Trenton, Oneida Co., NY Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 2/25/64 Trenton, Oneida Co., NY
Transferred Out: 1/7/65
Highest Rank: 2nd Lieut.
SOLDIER: (1st Batt. "B")
Residence: Utica, Oneida Co., NY Age: 26.7 yrs.
Transferred In: 1/7/65 Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA
Mustered Out: 6/28/65 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY
Highest Rank: 1st Lieut.
John T. Kingsbury was born May 6, 1839 in Ava, Oneida County, New York. He was the fifth of ten children born to John (b. 1799 CT) and Rhoda (nee Bates b. 1807 NY) Kingsbury. His older siblings were as follows: Hezekiah (b. 1832 NY), Salman (b.1834 NY), Stephen (b. 1836 NY) and Celestia (b. 1838 NY). Those younger were George (b. 1841 NY), Lewis (b. 1843 NY), Delos (b. 1845 NY), Dewitt (b. 1847 NY) and Alma A. (b. 1849 NY). While there is no documental data pointing to the family patriarch’s occupation, due to the size of his brood, likely he was a farmer. In the 1800s farm families tended to be large because the children were needed to help with "chores".
The first census pertaining to John T. (henceforth, for the most part, without the T ) comes from 1860. In that tally he was residing in Utica, Oneida County, New York where he was employed as a "wood turner".
On May 1st of the following year, also in Utica, John, now specifically noted as residing in the West Yorkville area of Utica, enlisted, just days shy of his twenty second birthday, in the U.S. Army for a period of two years. At enlistment his vital stats were: Height = 5' 9.5"; Hair = brown; Eyes = blue; Occupation = wood turner and student.
John's entering rank was first sergeant of company "B", but he did not remain at that rank or in that company long as on May the 17th he was appointed sergeant major - the highest rank an enlisted man could, and still can, attain. Upon the promotion being made formal on May 21st he transferred from company "B" to regimental staff.
Once again, Sgt. Major Kingsbury did not remain Sgt. Major. for long as, on August the 7th he was commissioned as an ensign - an early war designation for a 3rd or 2nd lieutenant. Even that ranking did not sustain as, on November 5th his rank was upped to 1st lieutenant when the previous 1st Lieutenant of Co. "A" resigned. These raises in rank within a matter of a few short months were indeed meteoric and amazing but, as we shall see, they would not be the last.
1862. January found 1st Lieutenant Kingsbury on detached service from his company and regiment performing recruiting duties. Mid-year saw him back with his company/regiment, but by early August he was again absent. On this occasion he was hospitalized. In later years John explained the absence this way: After the August 9th battle of Cedar Mountain, VA, retreating Union forces were tearing up bridges, etc. behind them. During the destruction of a bridge spanning the Rapidan River I was injured when a heavy stringer timber I was helping to move fell and scraped away the skin from both my legs below the knees and to the ankles.
From available documentation it appears that by August, 1st Lieutenant Kingsbury was back with his command. However, whether he was present at the August 30th battle of Groveton (2nd Bull Run/Manassas) is unclear. Either way, that battle propelled him to the rank of captain after company "A's" sitting Captain, Montgomery Cossleman, was killed. The captain's rank was made official on April, 18, 1863. The following month Captain Kingsbury, his company and regiment, their period of enlistment having expired, were mustered out of service.
After settling financial and pay issues with the Federal government, civilian John Kingsbury returned to Utica, or at least to Oneida County, NY. There, at some point, he accepts a job identified only as "clerk."
John's absence from the U.S. Army did not last long. On February 24, 1864 he re-enlisted for three years. His new unit was Battery "A" of the First New York Light Artillery. What prompted the new enlistment is not known but perhaps it was someone in the military wanting, while plans were being made for Union Gen. U.S. Grant's campaigns the coming spring, to re-involve this individual who had a stellar career while in the infantry. Perhaps it was John being offered a cushy assignment away from the front lines. Available documents are silent on the matter. For enlisting he received a $100 bonus or "bounty" one third of which was paid up front with the balance to come on later dates.
John enlisted as a lowly private, but once again quickly rose in rank. Due to the resignation of an officer, on June 6th Private Kingsbury was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant Kingsbury. This promotion came even before the eighteenth of June the date he joined his battery for duty. The commission was made official on July 1st at Harrisburg, PA.
In terms of his service record in the 1st, as of July/August of '64 Lieutenant Kingsbury was listed as being on detached service at Alleghany City, PA. The nature of this service is not specified.
On September 20, 1864 Lieutenant Kingsbury was reported as being garrisoned at and in command of Fort Washington, one of the defensive structures ringing Washington City. While there, it was suggested he be called out in order to rejoin his battery which apparently was still in Allegany City. This was part of the move to put as many seasoned soldiers as possible into the field in support of Gen. Grant's campaign in Virginia. It is document ally unclear if such an order was, in fact, issued.
What is document ally clear is that there was still one promotion ahead for 2nd Lieutenant Kingsbury. This was a January 1, 1865 move from 2nd to 1st Lieutenant and, at the same time, from Battery "A" to Battery "B". These movements were prompted by the former 1st Lieutenant being discharged from the service.
The War having ended, on June 28, 1865 John's military involvement ended. It appears that he then returned to the Utica/Rome area of Oneida County. It is not clear what type of employment he sought or if he returned to some kind of schooling, but within a year he would emerge into the work world as a surveyor/civil engineer.
In 1866 John departed Utica/Rome for Salt Lake City, Utah. The move was prompted by his employment with the Union Pacific Railroad which was in the process of spanning America with rails thus creating the first transcontinental railroad system. Exactly what John's roll was in this system is not known.
John remained in the Salt Lake City area until 1869 when his railroad duties took him to Kansas. In that state he lived in Lawrence and Humboldt. The first city is significant because while there, on February 15, 1871, John T. Kingsbury married Anna "Annie" J. (b. 8/22/45 OH) Gibson. According to USGenWeb Archives, genealogical and historical data submitted by Judy Schuster on October 6, 2000 "Anna was the daughter of American pioneers the lineal descendent of John and Pricilla Alden, and of Henry Adams. She was also the ancestor of two American presidents."
The union of John and Annie would produce three children: Cornelia Clare (b. 6/27/72 Humboldt, KS), Latitia "Letty" Louise (b. 8/31/74 Dennison, TX) and John Adams (b. 8/30/76 near Horton, Brown County, KS).
As evidenced by the birthplaces of the Kingsbury children, John's civil engineering profession kept him on the move. In addition to the locations previously noted, while in Texas, after Dennison he was in Dallas. From there, in 1875 he headed westward for Sana Cruz, California. While it is presumed Annie moved with him, perhaps that may not have always been the case as it appears that when, in 1876 son John was born in Kansas, the Kingsbury patriarch was in California. Perhaps Annie chose go from Texas back to Kansas to have her final child in the home of a friend or relative before joining her husband.
John, and presumably his family, remained in California (they were in Sonoma, CA in 1879) until 1880 when they moved northward to Washington Territory. There they settled in the small eastern Washington community of North Yakima. Again, it was railroad expansion that brought the Kingsbury’s to the area.
In the late 1870s and early 1880s the Northern Pacific Railroad was working its way westward toward Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington Terr. on the shores of Puget Sound. After reaching Spokane, Spokane County, WA Terr. the line moved southwestward to the rough and tumble community of Ainsworth in Franklin County at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. It was John Kingsbury's job to lay out the route the line would take from Ainsworth to North Yakima which he did in 1881. Then, in 1882 he scouted the route westward into the Cascade Mountains where he positioned the first railroad tunnel on Stampede Pass. Finally, from 1883 through 1886 he supervised construction of the Ainsworth - North Yakima rails with the tracks reaching the North Yakima area on December 17, 1884. (Ed. Note: As the NP moved westward, the population of Ainsworth shrank - [The settlement untimately vanished - and that of North Yakima swelled. Still, as the line approached North Yakima it was obvious the new depot was not going to be located in the existing town but in open pasture land four miles to the north. When this came to pass railroad officials encouraged the residents and business of North Yakima to remove to the vicinity of the new depot. Subsequently, in 1885, approximately 100 buildings of North Yakima were placed on the rails, rollers or horse-drawn wagons and moved to the site of the new depot, which initially, was a boxcar sitting in the middle of a street. This settlement became the new North Yakima and the old North Yakima was renamed Union Gap. In 1917/'18 "North" was dropped from the new community's name thus creating the present-day city name, Yakima.)
During the days of the early '80s as John shepherded the new railroad westward, for two years his travels between North Yakima and Ainsworth regularly found him passing through an area of timbered land. On 3/1/83 after two years of looking at the land he purchased the 160 acre parcel for $2.50 an acre or $400. What he ultimately did with the land or the resources gleaned from it is not known.
1884. On March 12th (or the 13th) John's wife, Annie, died. Available documents do not explain the cause of her passing. She was buried in the North Yakima Pioneer Cemetery.
It appears the Northern Pacific Railroad reached, and passed through the "new" North Yakima circa 1885. The following year John helped the line along on its westward route by plotting the first location of the Stampede Pass tunnel through the Cascades. Still, he maintained his residence in North Yakima as noted by the 1890 Civil War veterans tally in the region. The North Yakima residence continued throughout the decade of the '90s and into the new century. During this period John was instrumental as an irrigation pioneer in the Yakima Valley region.
The census of the opening year of the 1900s found John Kingsbury as a widower heading a household that included his three now-adult children plus his youngest sister, Alma and - apparently - her two children. The final member of the household was John's younger brother Delos who was listed as a "single farm laborer"
At some point, likely during the 1890s John had begun the paperwork to obtain a U.S. Government disability pension based on ailments which he traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering. These ailments included chronic diarrhea, large, often painful, permanent scarring on both legs as well as general debility and age.
On 8/29/04 such a pension was granted in an amount of $8 per month. This date is significant in that it is the first documental indication that by this date John had quitted North Yakima and eastern Washington for the western side of the state - specifically, the City of Seattle in King County. His address at that time was noted as 620 Bellevue Ave N. While it appears John was not actively engaged as a civil engineer at the time, there are hints that he was likely drawn westward by the then-thriving coal mining industry of east King County.
John Kingsbury would spend his remaining years in Seattle. During these years his government pension would continue to increase. In 1905 that increase would be from $8 to $10. In January, 1908 - with his address now 519 Broadway north - it jumped to $12 per month and, from there on June 12, 1909 to $15. On November 23, 1912, when he requested a new pension certificate because his original one had been lost by his attorney, he noted his address as Station "R", Seattle. Two years later, on May 16, 1914, his pension stipend jumped to $39.
By 10/16/25 when his pension increased to $72 per month, two significant factors are noted. Firstly, John had a new address, the new one being 6317 15th NE in Seattle. Secondly, he was, by now needing regular attention of another. This "other" appears to have initially been daughter, Cornelia Clare, but it rapidly became apparent that she, alone, could not handle the demands of his care.
By June 10, 1926 John was residing in the Washington Soldiers Home located in Retsil, Kitsap County, Washington. A Home notation indicated that while he had needed the regular care and attendance of another since the previous October, he was now suffering from general senile dementia, including delusions and needed constant care. Still, despite his helplessness, John reportedly did not appear happy in the Soldiers institution and was "furloughed" back to his North Seattle residence under the care of his daughter and a hired nurse.
Here are portions of an 8/16 letter written by daughter Clare to the U.S. Pension Office pleading for her father's pension stipend to be increased to the newly authorized maximum of $90 per month: "He is so decidedly helpless that we have to lift him, feed him, etc. He has been for the past three days unable to articulate so we can understand what he wants to say.....It seemed impossible he would live through the past week, but today (he) seems a trifle better....He has been such a wonderful, kind, good and considerate father.....I doubt if he will live until this reaches you."
Apparently based on Clare's letter, the old soldier's pension did, in fact, reach $90 dollars per month - retroactive to 8/4 - but he died before the first such payment was received. His death came on 8/20/26 at the age of 87 years, 3 months and 14 days. John's cremated remains were, two days later, interred beside Annie in eastern Washington's Union Gap Pioneer Cemetery.
Concluding note: The remains of all three Kingsbury children later joined their parents in the Pioneer Cemetery: Cornelia Clare (d. 9/16/43); Latitia "Letty" (d.11/22/50) and John Adams (d.8/3/56). The family plot features an impressive ground-level marker containing information on John's life, Annie’s life and the name of their oldest daughter Cornelia Clare. The Kingsbury’s other two children Latitia “Letty” and John Adams have markers of their own.
Buried at Union Gap Pioneer Cemetery
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