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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Another Visit to Nash Farm Battlefield

Posted By on July 26, 2014

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In a previous post of 10 December 2012, entitled The Nash Farm Battlefield, Henry County, Georgia, the following was stated:

The Nash Farm is located in the western part of Henry County, Georgia, 21 miles south of Atlanta, at 4361 Jonesboro Road.  It is about five miles west of Exit 221 of I-75.  During the Civil War, it was a Confederate campsite and was the location of the largest cavalry raid the state’s history – which was conducted by Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, after whom the G.A.R. Post in Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania was named.  Participating in the cavalry corps led by Kilpatrick was the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry which included many men from  the Lykens Valley area.  According to local (Henry County) information, the Nash Farm site is one of the “few Civil War battlefields that remain intact, meticulously preserved” – which allows visitors to re-visit the final days of Gen. William T. Sherman‘s Atlanta Campaign – much as it may have appeared at the time to the participants.

Pictures, taken in 2010, were shown in that post of some older battlefield markers and it was reported in that post that construction was taking place at that site, expected to be completed in time for the 150th Anniversary of the cavalry battle that took place there in August 1864.

Another visit was made to the battlefield in early November 2013.  The following pictures show some of the results of the construction which include the new battlefield markers that tell the story of the battle in words and pictures.  Click on the photos to enlarge them and the tablets should be readable:

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Kilpatrick’s Raid at the Nash Farm

 

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Kilpatrick’s Charge at Nash Farm

 

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The Old Bronze Gentleman of Lovejoy Station

 

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The “Right Flank” on the McDonough Road and the Campsites of Hood’s Army of Tennessee

Israel M. Groff and Sons – All Civil War Veterans?

Posted By on July 24, 2014

In the Middletown Cemetery, Middletown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, there is a grave marker (above) for an Israel M. Groff, born 27 October 1816 and died 8 January 1893.

In the Hummelstown Cemetery, Hummelstown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, there is a gravemarker for a Dr. Israel M. Groff, born about 1837 and died 12 August 1893.

The dates of birth of these two different men may suggest that they were father and son.  The first-mentioned Israel had a son named Israel, who was born (according to the 1870 Census) about 1861.  So, it is unlikely that the two men named Israel M. Groff whose grave markers are pictured above were father and son.  Perhaps they were cousins, or uncle and nephew, but if so that has not been conclusively determined.

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In checking the Civil War Veterans’ Card File at the Pennsylvania Archives, a card for “J. M. Groff was located which indicates service in the 34th Pennsylvania Infantry (5th Pennsylvania Reserve) as an Assistant Surgeon at Headquarters, who was mustered into service on 2 August 1862 and discharged on an unknown date on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability.  This discharge occurred, according to the Pennsylvania Registers of Volunteers on 21 July 1863.  The regiment, which served at Gettysburg, has a tablet on the Pennsylvania Memorial – but the name of Israel M. Groff does not appear on that tablet – indicating, perhaps, that for whatever reason he was not present at the battle.  Probably, but not definitely, the man who served as an Assistant Surgeon is the one who died in 1875 and is buried at Hummelstown as “Dr. Groff.”

Further adding to the confusion of which one served is that no picture of either grave site has been seen where there is a G.A.R. star-flag holder and no Pension Index Card (in Fold3 or Ancestry.com) has been located for the service of an Israel M. Groff in the 5th Pennsylvania Reserves.

In turning to the first Israel M. Groff, the Findagrave Memorial notes that he had a son named William D. Groff (1841-1909), who served in the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry.  A link is provided to the memorial for William – which notes he was the son of Israel M. Groff and Mary Groff of Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania as per the 1870 Census.  In checking the genealogy of this Israel M. Groff, it can be determined that in addition to William D. Groff, there were two other sons of Civil War age – Valentine H. Groff (1838-1903) and Hiram F. Groff (1839-1915).  These three men, all of whom did have Civil War service, will be discussed in future posts.  Possibly, they all have roots in the geographical area of this Civil War Research Project.

The persons named Israel M. Groff moved about during their lifetimes and there are other facts which must be sorted out.  One was appointed U.S. Postmaster of Fisherville, Dauphin County in 1864, during the Civil War.  One (or perhaps the same one) was a dry goods merchant in Mount Joy, Lancaster County in 1870.  One (born in Pennsylvania) was a retired merchant in Clyde County, Kansas, in 1880.  And, one was a millwright in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1850.  Sorting these records out is left to others and until such sorting is completed, there is a good possibility that the records currently available have been erroneously co-mingled.

One final thought.  In the Harrisburg Patriot of 23 Mar 1886, the following brief was discovered:

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Secured a Patent

A patent for a washing machine has been secured by I. M. Groff of Middletown.

Who was the I. M. Groff who secured the patent for a washing machine in 1886?  Surely not the one who died in 1875.  The only two persons of that name who were alive in 1886 were the Israel M. Groff who was born in 1816 and his son, Israel who was born about 1861.  By researching this patent, it most likely can be determined whether the inventor was the father or the son.

Anxiety of the Residents of Gettysburg – In German

Posted By on July 22, 2014

The pages referring to the Battle of Gettysburg as they appeared in a German language history of the Civil War which was printed in Philadelphia in 1866 are presented here for readers of this blog who read and understand German.  By clicking on the picture of the page, it will enlarge to make it easier to read.  The pages can also be saved and printed from the tools on your browser.

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The opening paragraph:

Gettysburg, der Punft, um welchen sich die beiden feinblichen Armeen jetzt concentrirten, und welches der Schauplatz der grotzen und blutigsten Schlacht warden follte, die bis dahin in diesem  Kriege vergefallen war, ist die Hauptstadt con Adams County in Pennsylvanien und liegt in einem kleinen Thale, das rings von Hugeln umgeben ist.  South Mountain, der nordliche Auslaufer des ostlichen Zweiges der blauen Berge (Blue ridge) ist sehn Meilen westlich von der Stadt entfernt und erstrecft sich von Nordoften nach Sudwesten.

A rough translation:
Gettysburg Battle, to which the two fine literal armies now concentrate, and that the scene of the great and bloodiest battle will follow, which until then and was killed in this war, is the capital of Adams County in Pennsylvania and is located in a small valley which is surrounded by hills around. South Mountain, which (blue ridge) is the northern slopes of the Eastern branch of the Blue Mountains see miles west from the city centre and … to the Southwest.

Who Was John Lebo?

Posted By on July 20, 2014

Because there were possibly six Pennsylvanian who served in the Civil War who had the name “John  Lebo,” at least two of whom were from the geographical area of this Civil War Research Project, this post intends to summarize some of the known information about the two and present some information about the other four.

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John Lebo (1844-1922)

John Lebo was the son of Daniel Lebo (1812-1871) and Sarah [Schoffstall] Lebo (1824-1833).  During the Civil War he served in the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H, as a Private from 16 September 1864 through 30 May 1865.  He is associated with the Tower City, Schuylkill County, and Lykens Borough, Dauphin County, area of the Civil War Research Project.  Prior blog posts which have included information about him are as follows:  Tower City, Porter and Rush Township Civil War Veterans – Part 7 (mentioned on the Veterans’ Memorial in Tower City);  They Served Honorably in Company H, 210th Pennsylvania Infantry (includes link to prior posts about John Lebo);  Death of Joel B. Myers (attended funeral of fellow veteran from Lykens);  Best of 2011 – Lykens G.A.R. Monument (named on this monument in Lykens);  Tower City – Porter Township Centennial – Civil War Veterans List (named in list of vets from Tower City area).

Information not previously presented here includes a photo of his grave marker in Muir, Porter Township, Schuylkill County (not available at this time), and selected pages from his pension application file.

John Lebo applied for a pension on 29 July 1887, based only on his service in the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry, which he received and collected until his death.  His widow, Sarah Ann [Row] Lebo applied for benefits on 16 January 1923 and collected until her death in 1927.  Five available pages from the pension file are presented below.  They describe some of the actions in which John Lebo was involved and his claim of disability as well as giving other interesting information about his life and service.  Click on any of the thumbnails below to enlarge the document.

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Pension Document #1

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Pension Document #2

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Pension Document #3

 

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Pension Document #4

 

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Pension Document #5

 

 

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John Lebo (1839-1887)

John Lebo was the son of Jonas Lebo (1811-1852) and Catharine [Shott] Lebo (1809-1859).  During the Civil War he served in the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, as a Private from 8 August 1862 through 29 May 1863.  He is associated with the Halifax Township and Wayne Township, Dauphin County, area of the Civil War Research Project.  Prior blog posts which have included information about him are as follows:  Halifax Area Civil War Veterans; and, because he was married to Elizabeth Enders (1845-1903), a biography of him was included in Captain Enders Legion, previously reviewed on this blog.  However, in that book, this John Lebo was erroneously identified with the the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry, not the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry in which he actually served.  Also confusing the issue on this veteran is the fact that the Enders Family Genealogy, Volume 1, states that he “served throughout the Civil War.”

In 1890, when Elizabeth [Enders] Lebo was a widow, she reported to the census (shown below) that her husband had served in the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry   However, the dates of service she gave were not correct according to other available information.  The dates she gave were 1864-1865, not the dates found in the regimental records or in Bates.

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1890 Veterans’ Census, Waynesville, Dauphin Co., PA.

 

The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card from the Pennsylvania Archives, gives the dates of service as 8 August 1862 to 29 May 1863:

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Pennsylvania Veterans’ Index Card, Pennsylvania Archives.

 

But further confusing the issue on this John Lebo is the fact that there was a second John Lebo, a John R. Lebo of Linglestown in the same regiment and company, with age about the same and serving for the same period of time in 1862-1863.  That John R. Lebo was a different person as shown in the discussion of him below.

The Pension Index Card from Fold3 and from Ancestry.com (shown below) give the date of her application as 9 August 1890.  She received the pension and collected it until her death in 1903.  No record has been seen to indicate that her husband ever applied for a pension.

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Pension Index Card from Fold3.

 

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Pension Index Card from Ancestry.com.

 

Based on the above information, we have to rely on the widow’s knowledge of her husband’s service, the information in the widow’s pension application file (which has not yet been consulted), and the thoroughness in the checking of John Lebo‘s service by the pension officials, to establish that he had no other service and that he did not serve throughout the Civil War.

The grave of John Lebo (1839-1887) is found at Jacob’s United Method’s Church Cemetery, Waynesville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  Further information about this John Lebo and his family can be found at his Findagrave Memorial which is maintained by Russ Ottens, one of the authors of Captain Enders Legion.

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In addition to the two men named John Lebo, reported on above, the following other men with the same name have been found in Pennsylvania regiments:

John R. Lebo (c. 1842-1926)

John R. Lebo of Linglestown, a 20-year old coachmaker, enrolled in the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, as a Private at Harrisburg, and was mustered into service on 8 August 1862 and served until honorably discharged on 29 May 1863.  Following this service he enrolled in the 192nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, as a Corporal and served from 14 February 1865 through 24 August 1865, when he was discharged with his company.

He was a different John Lebo than the other John Lebo (1839-1887) discussed above and the Enders family genealogists may have had him confused when they stated that their John Lebo had served throughout the war.

The confirmation that they were two different persons is found on the Pension Index Card for the John Lebo who died in 1926, available from Fold3:

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Pension Index Card from Fold3.

The significant information is found at the bottom of the card where it is stated “not identical with 4565140… Lebo John, B 127….”  Also noted on the card is that this John R. Lebo applied for a pension on 11 August 1892 and received it which he collected until his death in Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, on 17 June 1926, and his widow applied on 29 June 1926, which she collected until her death.  Information available from the other Pension Index Card (not shown) from Ancestry.com is that the widow’s name was “Sarah M. Lebo” and she applied from Illinois.

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John Lebo (c. 1843 – ?)

John Lebo enrolled in the 200th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, as a Private, and was mustered into service at Harrisburg on 1 September 1864.  The Bates record notes that he was not accounted for.  The Register of Pennsylvania Volunteers available from the Pennsylvania Archives states that he was 21 years old at the time of his enrollment.

This John Lebo applied for a pension on 19 January 1886, which he received and collected until his death, whereupon his widow Sarah applied for benefits, which she received until her death.  The Pension Bureau must have been satisfied that this John Lebo was accounted for and received an appropriate discharge, or they would not have awarded the original pension or the subsequent widow’s pension.

At this time, not much more is known about this John Lebo.

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John C. Lebo (c. 1843-?)

John C. Lebo (or possibly John G. Lebo) enrolled in the 56th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, as a Sergeant, at Culpepper, Virginia, and was mustered into service on 13 February 1864 at Culpepper.  Bates reports that he was not on the muster out roll.  At the time of John C. Lebo‘s enrollment, he was a resident of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, was 21 years old, and was a clerk.

One confusing thing about John C. Lebo is that the Bates record states he was promoted to Sergeant on 25 February 1862, apparently during an earlier/first muster.  The date and place of the first muster is unknown.

No record has been seen to indicate that this John C. Lebo applied for a pension.  However, on 10 August 1869, his father, Jacob G. Lebo applied.  This would seem to lead to the conclusion that John C. Lebo died in the war or died sometime prior to the date the father applied.  In any event, the father did not receive pension benefits.

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John G. Lebo (? – ?)

A person named John G. Lebo has been found in the Pennsylvania ArchivesVeterans’ Card File.  This John G. Lebo supposedly served in the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, and was mustered out of service on 1 August 1861.  The enrollment took place at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, and the muster was at Harrisburg, with no muster date given.  No Pension Index Card has been located for this John G. Lebo and his name does not appear in the Register of Pennsylvania Volunteers for that regiment and company.  He has also not been located in any of the databases of Civil War soldiers.

It is possible that this is the same person as the John C. Lebo (above) and this was the first enlistment previously mentioned.  There could have been a transfer to another regiment, with the records moving with him to the new regiment; but no evidence of that has been seen.

Consultation with more detailed regimental records as well as the above-mentioned father’s pension application may provide an answer.

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Further information is sought on any of the above persons named John Lebo or on any other person of that name who was a Civil War veteran.  Comments can be added to this post or sent by e-mail.

 

The Promotion and Resignation of Edward Gratz Jr.

Posted By on July 18, 2014

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Edward Gratz Jr. died on 22 October 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  A notice of his death appeared in Textile World:

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Edward Gratz, cotton goods broker, with offices at 242 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, died Saturday, 22 October, after an illness of two weeks of pneumonia.  Mr. Graz [sic] was 80 years old.  He was the last survivor of the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers [121st Pennsylvania Infantry] in the Civil War.

Edward Gratz Jr. was born in Pennsylvania, 24 December 1841, the son of Edward Gratz (1806-1850) and Caroline [Vandover] Gratz (born about 1815 in New Jersey, died 11 December 1896).  His grandfather was Simon Gratz (1773-1839), the founder of Gratz, Pennsylvania, and his great grandfather was Michael Gratz (1740-1811), a merchant of Philadelphia.

Edward Gratz Jr. is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.

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During the Civil War, Edward Gratz Jr. served in the 121st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H, as a 1st Lieutenant, from September 1862 until May 1863, when he received a promotion.  This information, except for his rank, is shown on the Veterans’ Index Card (above, from the Pennsylvania Archives) and the Pension Index Card (above, from Fold3).  For the promotion information, although suggested in the additional remarks as “Major and P. M. [Pay Master] of U.S. Volunteers,” further research is necessary.

Turing to Fold3, the documents can be found which verify the application for, the promotion of, and the later resignation of Edward Gratz Jr.

Application (5 pages):

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For the promotion, Edward Gratz needed a letter of recommendation which he received.  In that Major George Pomeroy, then current Paymaster of the Army was retiring effective 1 May 1863, it was suggested that Gratz be appointed to that position.  “[Gratz] commanded his company at Fredericksburg and behaved heroically but he is broken in health and is now quite ill in the hospital.”

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Recommendation and Promotion (5 pages):

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In a letter sent to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Edwin Gratz recommended another man, Thomas Foster for transfer to a “more genial climate” for health concerns.  At the foot of this letter, Gov. James Pollock noted his concurrence in the recommendation of Gratz because Gratz was a “gentleman worth of our confidence and regard.”  This letter served as corroboration of the integrity of Gratz to be appointed to the Paymaster position.

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Acknowledgment of Appointment (2 pages):

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On 19 May 1863, from Washington, D.C., Edward Gratz wrote to Brigadier General L. Thomas acknowledging the appointment as Assistant Paymaster.

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Oath of Office (1 page):

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As part of his appointment Gratz had to take an oath of office and sign a document verifying his loyalty to the United States.  That document was signed and witnessed at Washington, D.C., 26 May 1863, five days before the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Resignation (6 pages):

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On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Edward Gratz, who had removed from Washington to St. Louis, submitted his resignation to Gen. Thomas:  “In consequence of continue ill health I am unable to perform the duties of my office.  Therefore I have the honor of resigning my appointment….”

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Very little is known about the activities of Edward Gratz from the date of the resignation to the recording of his information in the Census of 1870.  What was the the nature of his illness which prevented him from performing the duties of Paymaster?  Did he return immediately to Philadelphia?  Or did he go South and establish contacts for what would be his later vocation – a trader of cotton?

After the Civil War, in 1870, Edward was single and living in the household of his widowed mother Caroline in Philadelphia, and was a working as a dry goods merchant.  That same year he married Frances Donaldson or Donelson (1843-1912) of Tennessee.

In the decade between the next census, three children were born to the couple:  Emma F. Gratz, born about 1871; Sydney Gratz, born about 1876; Norman Gratz, born about 1879; and Violet Gratz, born in January 1880.

In 1880, the family was living in Philadelphia and Edward was a commission-merchant of dry goods.  In 1883, the youngest child was born – Thomas Donelson Gratz.  In 1890, he reported as a Civil War-related disability that he had to resign his military commission because of ill health.  On 1 April 1904, he first applied for a veteran’s pension, which he soon-after received; apparently, the ill health which resulted in his resignation, did not plague enough him during his business dealings – and he waited for 14 years after old age was a legitimate reason for a pension (1890).

Wife Frances died in 1912.  The Census of 1920 saw Edward still living in Philadelphia and still working (at age 79) as a dry goods merchant.

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On 23 October 1921, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported his obituary, but avoided any mention of his military service:

PNEUMONIA IS CAUSE OF COTTON BROKER’S DEATH

Edward Gratz Was Brother of Former Board of Education President

Edward Gratz, a prominent cotton broker, died yesterday morning from an attack of pneumonia.  He had been ill two weeks.  His home was at the Newport Apartments, Sixteenth and Spruce Streets.

Mr. Gratz was a brother of Simon Gratz, former president of the Board of Education, and also of Harry Gratz and Alfred Gratz.  He was a widower, his wife, Mrs. Frances Donaldson Gratz having died ten years ago.

He is survived by a daughter, Miss Violet Gratz, and two sons, Thomas D. Gratz and Norman Gratz.

Mr. Gratz is eighty years old. He has been in the cotton brokerage business many years, with offices at 242 Chestnut Street.

Many questions are left unanswered about the Civil War service of Edward Gratz.  Additional research into the military and pension records may provide some answers.  His career as a cotton broker, based in Philadelphia, also needs further examination – how it was that he was able to enter this market and capitalize on the South’s key agricultural crop and build a business enterprise around it in the latter part of the 19th Century.  Also missing at this point are photographs of Edward Gratz and his family members – although a picture of the brother, Simon Gratz, has been located.

Add comments to this post or send an e-mail with answers.

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The complete document file on the promotion and resignation of Edward Gratz is available at Fold3.  Census returns are available on Ancestry.com.  Samples and information from those documents are presented in this blog post.  The news clippings are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia. For two stories on his brother, Simon Gratz, see:  Was Simon Gratz a Civil War Veteran? and Simon C. Gratz – Son of First Mayor of Gratz, Pennsylvania.