Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Walter Holcomb

Walter Holcomb

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • John Buford Post #89 Everett, Snohomish Co. WA

Unit History

  • 12th Indiana Cavalry C

See full unit history

Walter Holcomb
Full Unit History

Fall/Winter 1863-'64 Indianapolis, IN
Mustered In: 3/1/64 Indianapolis, IN
Mustered Out: 8/28/65 Vicksburg, MS

Winter, l863 Kendallville, IN
Mustered In: 3/1/64
Mustered Out: 11/10/65 Vicksburg, MS

Regimental History


  * NOTE: Walter Holcomb initially enlisted/enrolled  in and was mustered into the 9th Indiana cavalry co. "C". For some undocumented reason, before leaving the state with the 9th to serve in the field, his company was transferred to and re-mustered into the 12th Indiana Cavalry. As such, the history of the 9th is not presented herein.


  The 12th Regiment was the 12th Indiana cavalry, a three year "western theater" unit that left the state on 5/6/64 for Nashville, TN where it was equipped. However, at the time, only six companies were mounted.

  From Tennessee the mounted portion of the 12th was sent overland to Huntsville, AL in late May. The unmounted troopers were moved there by rail. Once in Alabama the regiment was assigned to railroad defense duty with the dismounted companies focusing on the special work of defense and erection of blockhouses. As for the mounted companies, they were actively engaged in ridding the countryside of guerillas.  In this vein, they were involved in many skirmishes and minor engagements with the enemy which resulted in quite a number of troopers being killed or wounded. During this period regimental headquarters was transferred to Brownsboro where the unit remained until 9/15/64 when it was ordered to Tullahoma for garrison duty. While at the latter place elements the 12th were involved in several skirmishes with Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's cavalry. Companies "C", "D" and "H", stationed at Huntsville, AL participating in the defense of that city, also had confrontations with Forrest's forces. In November, 1864 the reunited regiment moving towards Murfreesboro, participated in actions at Wilkinson's Pike and Overall's Creek as well as several December skirmishes around Murfreesboro itself. Winter quarters for 1864/'65 were in Nashville.

  On /11/65 the 12th started for New Orleans, LA, via steamship, but was disembarked at Vicksburg, MS. Being "newly mounted" and armed, it continued its journey by land, reaching New Orleans on March 12th.  From there it moved to Mobile, Al where it participated in the operations against Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, part of the regiment acting as escort to Major General Canby, the remainder being engaged in running a courier line into Florida.

  April 17, 1865 found the regiment involved in a cavalry raid of over 800 miles through Alabama and Georgia, thence to Columbus, MS. Reaching the latter location on 5/20/65, the unit was highly complimented by General Grierson for its gallantry and military discipline.

  The 12th remained at Columbus, MS until mid-July when one portion moved to Grenade while another was sent to Austin, TX where, for two months, it protected government cotton and other property before moving to Vicksburg, MS where the regiment was united and mustered into history.

Soldier History

SOLDIER: (9th)
Millgrove Township, Steuben Co. IN   Age:  16.7 yrs. (est.)
Enlisted/Enrolled: 10/6/63 Kendallville, IN   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 12/3/63
Transferred Out: 2/3/64
Highest Rank: Pvt.

SOLDIER: (12th)
Millgrove Township,  Steuben Co., IN   Age: 16.11 yrs.
Transferred In: 2/3/64   Rank: Pvt. 
Mustered Out: 11/10/65 Vicksburg, MS
Highest Rank: Pvt.

Family History


  NOTE: Most Union Civil War veterans ultimately received a U.S. Government invalid pension during their lifetime.  For many decades following the War the documents pertaining to these pensions were housed in the Pension Bureau located in Washington, D.C. In the 1920s, with the numbers of living ACW veterans dwindling, files of those individuals were transferred to the newly formed Veterans Administration. Over intervening years some of those files have been mislaid or lost, thereby denying researchers a treasure trove of personal data.  Such is the case of the files pertaining to Walter Holcomb.  As such, the following biographical profile is, at best, sketchy in terms of its details.

  Walter Holcomb's origins are shrouded in the mists of time. Available sources point to his having been born March 5, 1847 in Wise, Virginia.  During the American Civil War Wise was to become part of the newly formed State of West Virginia. 

  Walter's parentage is obscured.  Many years after his birth, his death certificate would note his father as named Horace Holcomb (b. 1817 NY).  His mother's name, although not listed on the death certificate, was possibly Phebe/Theda Holcomb (no nee b. 1815  or '18 NY)  Other sources, however, point toward his father as being named Ezra  (b 1788 CT) and his mother Lydia (no nee b 1891 MA) Holcomb. The Holcombs were a farm family.

  As a member of the Horace Holcomb family Walter had at least two siblings.  Older brother Martin Leroy, was born in the State of New York in 1845. Younger brother, Albert, was born in 1849, also in New York.

  The U.S. Census for 1860 placed Horace Holcomb, his wife and two children in or near the community of Coventry, Chenango County, NY.  Walter is not in that house hold.  Instead, he is found in the Chenango County community of Bainbridge living with a Mr. Giles Smith, a farmer, and his wife Lucinda.  Walter's role in the home is not specified.

  On October 6, 1863 Walter enlisted in the U.S. cavalry.  His residence at that time was noted as Millgrove Township, Steuben County, Indiana. When, how and why he had ended up in Indiana is not known. For enlisting he received a $300 bonus or "bounty". $60 of which was paid at that time, with the balance to be incrementally received later. His enlistment statistics were as follows: Age - 18 years (if born in 1847 would have only been 16.7 years of age), Height - 5' 7.5" , Complexion - dark; Eyes - hazel;, Hair - dark; Occupation - farmer.  Joining the same regiment and company on the same date was brother, Martin.

  Walter's period of military service appears to have been relatively benign.  There are no indications of wounding and only one of  illness as a 6/25/65 company roster makes reference to "gain by transfer from hospital." His muster-out notes reflect the following: Age 18; last paid to 2/28/65; clothing last settled 11/26/64; due soldier $22.22, amount for clothing in kind or money advanced. $34.66 due US. for army equipment $.80 - bounty paid $180. Due $120.....stop for one curry comb and 1 pair of spurs and straps $.80.

   Where Walter settled after leaving the military is not known. His first post-war census siting is from 1880 when he was noted as being in Rico, Ouray County, Colorado where, as a single male, he listed his occupation as miner. Five years later, he was still mining in Colorado, but at that time listed his place of residence as Dolores County.

   After 1885 it is another six years before Walter is sighted. On 2/24/91 in California he applied for a U.S.Government disability pension based on ailments which he traced back to  his days of Civil War soldiering.  While a pension was authorized, exactly when it was initiated and for what amount is not known.

   1896. That year he noted he was still a miner residing in California. His residence was listed as 921 Channing in L.A. Precinct, California.  His vitals at that time were noted as: Age - 49; Height - 5'9"; Completion - medium; Eyes - dark brown; Hair - brown; Other - scar on nose.  

   More years pass with no sign of Walter.  His next surfacing came in 1910 when the 72 year old single male with no income was in Mukilteo, Snohomish County, Washington. As usual, how, when and why he came to the Puget Sound region of western Washington is not known.

   Retired Civil War veteran Walter Holcomb died on 6/1/23 in the Everett, Snohomish County, Washington General Hospital. Cause of death for the 76 year old (check) was listed as heart disease from which he had reportedly suffered for three years, but which apparently laid him low for two weeks prior to his passing. His obituary would read, in part, as follows: Walter Holcomb 76 years old, died Friday morning at Everett hospital following two weeks (of illness).  He was a resident of Mukilteo for a number of years and a veteran of the Civil War, having enlisted in company C, 12th regiment, Indiana Cavalry.  Surviving relatives who are known are a nephew Ralph Holcomb of Taft, CA and a niece, Mrs. R.E Kearney of Cheyenne, WY.  Funeral services in charge of the members of the G.A.R .and Sons of Veterans and auxiliaries were held from the chapel of Challacombe & Fickel Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock.  Internment was   (6/3) in (Everett's) Evergreen cemetery.


Buried at Evergreen Cemetery Everett
Row: 17
Site: 394

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