Wednesday, April 4, 2012

George W. Ware: A Civil War Career Cut Short

When I first studied George W. Ware, my 3rd great grandfather and his involvement in the Civil War, I was enthused. I figured if anyone had a story to write about it would be him. All I knew at the time was that he enlisted in 1862 for three years and his regiment saw action at Shiloh and several dozen battles in Mississippi, Georgia and up through the Carolinas. Although there is a story, it certainly wasn't what I had expected.

The online genealogy databases has George W. Ware enlisting on January 9th, 1862 and the battle of Shiloh in Tennessee began on April 6, 1862. But all his disability and pension and military records state on many different forms that he enlisted into Company D of the 15th Iowa infantry on September 1862, nearly 5 months afterward. Although not a veteran of Shiloh, he was at the Second Battle of Corinth, Mississippi where some serious hand to hand combat occurred along with heavy losses on the confederate side.

George W. Ware's military career wasn't much of a career for just short of two months after enlistment, it came to an end. On October 25, 1862 at the Holly Springs camp near Lagrange, Tennessee when a wagon became stuck after hitting a tree stump, George helped get it unstuck by helping to lift it and in the process severely sprained his lower back. He was carried to his tent and inspected by camp surgeons but there is no word that they were able to do anything for him. He moved with the rest of his regiment down to Lake Providence, Mississippi and while the rest of his company worked on digging a canal between the lake and the Mississippi river in an attempt to bypass the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, George lay in the Lake Providence hospital where he still suffered from his lower back sprain along with a new affliction. The new affliction was deemed chronic diarrhea and eventually that led to disease of the rectum. Ouch!
The next spring, George, still suffering from his injury and affliction, was given an honorable discharge on May 18, 1863 and was sent home. His pension papers were full of sworn affidavits from friends and neighbors who testified how he went from a strapping young man who could do most anything to one who on his best days could walk with a cane and who on his worst days could barely get buy with crutches and partial paralysis of his left arm and shoulder. He eventually received his disability pension and lived until the ripe old age of 73 and then his widow, my 3rd great grandmother Sarah Jane Echard Ware until she died eight years later.

The pension papers, all 106 pages of them, were full of neat information and included previously unseen (at least to me) items such as their marriage license, Sarah's middle name (Jane) along with her county of birth in Virginia (Augusta), the birth dates of several of their children and confirmation on the death dates of George and Sarah. The one bit I had been hoping to find out was George's middle name. The records spelled out Sarah's but George always just used the middle initial of W. with no record of what W stood for.

My 3rd great grandfather George W. Ware was the first of my eight ancestors whom I was able to obtain all their military records and it was very interesting to interpret and read them. It will probably take me many evenings over the course of many weeks to fully process the records for all the clues and information they contain. With seven more to go after him, I have quite a project on my hand.


R. Sherman said...

I like the new look, BTW, though I miss the aerial photo.

As for hero ancestors, those are rare, methinks. My father's, great, great grandfather fought against Napoleon, but I don't know much our military history, other than my dad. As I've mentioned, the family was pretty coy about our involvement in the Civil War, though it was definitely "butternut" in hue.


Ed said...

R. Sherman - Blogger kind of forced my hand. They sent me a letter saying that I had to adopt a new template or they would do it for me in a few days. I still have plans to see if I can add my header back but it didn't work with this layout as it was and I didn't have the time to mess with it yesterday.

I'm expecting from the records I have seen so far, that I'm not going to see any heroic deeds because most of my eight civil war ancestors served 100 day terms when required too. But what I have been learning fleshes out them as individuals by giving me glimpses into their daily lives after the war.

Vince said...

Makes him real seeing his hand like that.
And makes you wonder though what a back strain had to do with his bowels no matter how severe the strain. Might be worth mining that vein a bit deeper. Next day you are at the quack with the kid ask him if he could think of any reason; and if he doesn't engage get a new one. Such lack of curiosity is profoundly deathly in a medic. You might actually get something like value out of him for you certainly won't be paying any more.
But frankly it sounds like a poisoning to me. And with one of the heavy metals.

sage said...

Interesting story and a tough blow for your great x3 granddad. I was wondering what happened to your blog look (but see you answered this above)

Ed said...

Vince - According to Wikipedia, chronic diarrhea can be caused by initial bouts of acute diarrhea which was common among Civil War soldiers due to poor sanitary practices. In modern day terminology it would be called Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Out of the four disability requests I have obtained, all four of my ancestors have claimed to have problems with chronic diarrhea.

Sage - Blogger has been forcing a lot of things down my throat lately. If I had the inclination, I would switch to something I had more control over. But the new layout doesn't look too bad now that I found a way to add my header picture so perhaps I'll side with laziness and stay a little while longer.

kymber said...

Ed - i don't always comment but i want you to know that i find your being able to dig all of this family ancestry up to be very interesting!!! i love to learn about your various ancestors and holy moly are they an interesting bunch - you have some seriously well-created genes living inside of you!

as for blogger - i logged on one day and our whole page had changed - i painstakingly put it all back together. and sent a nastygram to them. i hope that you can get your aerial photo back!

your friend,

Ed said...

Kymber - My aerial photo should be back. Evidently blogger bought Picassa and all photos are now uploaded through that site when you put a pictures on a blog post. I had an account and didn't even know it. Well Picassa has a 1 GB limit and I was completely filled up. So short of paying a yearly fee for more space, I decided to go delete old pictures out of Picassa that were attached to old posts that were unimportant and nobody ever reads. That freed up space enough for me to load my header picture back in. I thought the pictures would be deleted in my old posts but as of tonight several hours later, they still show up. So I'm not sure what all blogger is doing.