Thursday, August 05, 2010


While going through the process of entering Ellingwood family
information from Florence O'connor's book to my
family tree, I have come across entries that have piqued my curiosity.
I always keep in mind that Florence did all her research the old
fashioned PC (pre-computer) way and didn't have the online resources
I use today available to her, so I try to find what I can and fill in the
blanks, so to speak.

One such entry concerns Charles O.Ellingwood, son of Isaac Harris
Ellingwood and Columbia Briggs and nephew of my ancestor Asa
Freeman Ellingwood. In the book, Florence says:

"Their oldest son, Charles born 1845/6 died at the age of 19yrs. in 
Kentucky during the Civil War." (p37)

I read that and wondered where and how he died. Was he killed in action
or did he die of illness? I decided to see what I could find out.

First I did a search for Charles on the FamilySearch Record Search site
but other than an entry for the !850 Federal Census when Charles was
five years old I found no information. Next I went to and
entered "Charles O. Ellingwood" and "New Hampshire". I found an
image on "The Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index" that
shows that his mother, (Columbia Briggs Ellingwood)received a payment
of $188.31on 1Oct 1866.It also lists Charles' military unit as Company
E in the 9th New Hampshire Infantry.

From there I went back to and clicked on "Search historical
records". The second entry on the next screen was from "U.S. Civil War 
Soldier Records and Profiles" and from that I learned that Charles was
18 years old when he enlisted on 21 Dec 1863 with the rank of private
and that he was mustered out on 13Mar 1864 at Camp Burnside,

"Mustered out"? Was that an euphemism for "died"?

There was a link to "American Civil War Regiments" for the 9th New
Hampshire Infantry which included a regimental history written by
"GEORCE L. WAKEFIELD, late Sergeant Company C, Ninth Regiment,
New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry." Apparently the regiment had been
depleted by illness during the final months of 1863 before Charles enlisted
and depending on travel conditions he probably didn't actually arrive until
sometime in January when the regiment had been issued the new
Springfield rifles and was once more on the move. On Feb 27 it was
ordered to Knoxville, Tennessee  to escort an artillery unit but I don't
think Charles was with them. I found his name on a list of the regiment's
soldiers and finally verified that "mustered out" meant he had died of
disease at Camp Burnside.

I went back to the "historical records" page and the third and fourth
entries for Charles were from "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006".
Charles was buried on the same day he died and his remains now rest in
Section B Site 661 of the Mill Springs National Cemetery in Nancy,

There's a photograph of Charles online, but out of respect of the owner's
copyright I won't post it here. It shows a young man like so many others
before and after him posing proudly in his uniform, ready to go off and
fight for his country. A few months later, he was gone.

Charles O. Ellingwood is my first cousin 3 times removed, and now, as
Paul Harvey used to say, I know the rest of his story.


Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt said...

That's nice, Bill. Don't you feel good that you've brought him to light again, even if just for a moment?

Bill West said...

That's what I tell people who think genealogy is all names and dates, that it's the family history, the stories of my family, that make it so much fun!

A rootdigger said...

gosh, I didn't know mustered out meant died. I thought it was sent on a new mission. So glad I found out. I am a bit smarter today. thanks

Bill West said...

Well, I don't know if that holds true in all cases but it certainly
was for poor Charles!

Glad you liked the post.