WASHINGTON HOPKINS CASEY
~ Compiled & contributed by Carl
Washington Hopkins Casey was born on January 13,
1821, in Penobscot County, Maine. His wife, Mary Ann, was born
in Maine on February 16, 1829.
A marriage certificate
issued in 1878 said they were married on April 17, 1847, in
Bangor. The certificate gave her maiden name as “Sinclair” and
a descendant wrote that her death certificate lists her father
as “Mr. Sinclair” and mother as “Miss Sidelinker.”
1877, Mary Ann signed an affidavit and said her maiden name
was “Sidelinker” and, in an 1884 affidavit, she said it was “Sidelinger.”
Each time she signed her name with an “x.”
George E. Casey, was born on April 4, 1859, at Garden Prairie
in Fayette County, Iowa.
On July 9, 1862, Iowa’s
Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five
regiments as part of the President’s call for 300,000
three-year men. If the state’s quota wasn’t raised by August
15th, it "would be made up by draft." Despite an imminent fall
harvest, the enlistments came. Charles Heath, a Strawberry
Point dentist, was an active recruiter in Clayton County and
was credited with enrolling at least forty-two men in the
first two weeks of August. Among them was Washington Casey
who, at forty-one years of age, enlisted on August 13th in
what would be Company B. He was described as being 5' 8½” tall
with blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion.
August 16th they were ordered into quarters at Camp Franklin
in Dubuque, on August 18th the company was mustered in with
ninety-nine men on the roster, and on September 9th ten
companies were mustered in as the 21st regiment of Iowa’s
volunteer infantry. They left for war on September 16, 1862,
spent one night at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, and then
traveled by train to Rolla. The regiment’s early service was
in Rolla, Salem, Houston and Hartville, Missouri.
stationed in Hartville, they were dependent on supplies
brought from the railhead in Rolla, south to Houston and then
west to Hartville, a total distance of about eighty-five
miles. On November 20, 1862, with supplies running low,
Chaplain Sam Sloan wrote to his McGregor congregation and said
the regiment was expecting the imminent arrival of a supply
train. On the 23rd, he said it was expected the next day.
The large army wagons, some capable of carrying 4,500
pounds of freight, were pulled by teams of horses and mules
and guarded by accompanying infantry. The advance section of
the train reached Houston and then turned west. Fifteen miles
east of Hartville on November 24th, they made camp in “Hog
Holler” along Beaver Creek. That evening, about 7:00 p.m.,
some of the men were cooking, some were resting, some were
helping with the horses, others were on picket, and the more
fortunate were in the woods searching for forage when the camp
Their mounted attackers “came down the
road with yells & shrieks firing as they came” and quickly
overwhelmed the federal teamsters and guards. In the brief
encounter, one man from the regiment was shot and killed
before he could raise his musket, two more were mortally
wounded, and three others suffered less serious wounds. The
rest were captured and stripped of their clothes. Arms,
ammunition and other accouterments were confiscated. The
foragers who were away from camp walked and ran as fast as
they could to Hartville to raise the alarm. Leaving some men
behind to guard the town, others “fell in on the double quick”
and, with a detachment from the 3d Missouri Cavalry, raced to
the scene of the attack.
Quartermaster Morse said,
“the noble boys plunged through the swift mountain streams
waist deep, without a murmur. The night was cold and dark, but
on they plod up the rough mountain and through dark valleys.”
Willard Benton, Captain of Company G, said it was a forced
march “of about 15 miles in about two hours time. In doing so
had to ford streams of cold water in some places waist deep
getting thoroughly wet” and the exertion of the march coupled
with “sleeping on the damp ground” made things worse.
The Beaver Creek rescue party arrived back in Hartville about
6:00 a.m. the next day. They had made a round-trip mid-winter
night march of thirty miles in only nine hours over rough
roads, through icy streams, not stopping to eat or rest,
rushing their return for fear the attackers might circle
around to attack their camp. For this General Fitz-Henry
Warren called them his "foot cavalry," but men had suffered
and many would never recover. Among them was Washington Casey.
He developed a bad cold and a cough that got worse and settled
in his chest.
The regiment returned to a more secure
Houston and was still there when the December 31st muster roll
said Washington was present but “sick.” In January they moved
south to West Plains before angling to the northeast. On
February 21st, an ambulance train took the sick into Ironton
where they occupied the Iron County courthouse while the rest
of the regiment camped outside of town.
moved on to Pilot Knob and Iron Mountain, but Washington Casey
was left in Ironton. The February 28th muster roll said he was
in a regimental hospital. On March 9th, he was admitted to the
army’s general hospital in Ironton - and there he stayed.
Finally, on June 19, 1863, an assistant surgeon said
Washington was disabled “from Pleuritis chronica dullness over
both lungs, pain under last ribs on both sides, breathing
diminished, in lower part of lungs wanting, cough painful,
Suffering from pleurisy
and related problems, Washington was discharged from the
military and sent home to his wife and their four-year-old
Corodon Hewitt, one of his former tentmates, said
Washington was “apparently a healthy man farming eighty acres
of land without hireing [sic] any help” before they enlisted.
After the war, Corodon employed Washington “to mix some lime
mortar,” but it aggravated Washington’s coughing so “he had to
give it up.” In 1872, with his illness worse, he began
treatment with Dr. W. B. Sherman in Manchester. Washington had
lung pain, a severe cough and night sweats. On November 29,
1874, he died with the immediate cause of death listed as
“phthisis pulmonalis” (tuberculosis).
and her son moved to Ukiah in Mendocino County, California,
where, on April 14, 1877, she signed a declaration seeking a
widow’s army pension and indicating she had “remained a widow”
since her husband’s death. To prove her claim, she submitted a
copy of their marriage license, affidavits from Barney Phelps
and Corodon Hewitt, affidavits from two doctors who had
treated Washington, and an affidavit from the midwife who had
assisted with George’s birth.
On October 15, 1878, Mary
Ann married Stephen Beebe in Mendocino County. Although
married, she continued to pursue her pension claim as
Washington’s widow. On June 12, 1880, as “Mary Ann Casey” and
signing with an “x,” she said Washington was healthy before
his enlistment. On January 1, 1881, again as “Mary Ann Casey”
and again signing with an “x,” she confirmed the date of her
Finally, on July 9, 1881, a certificate
was issued providing an $8.00 monthly pension payable through
the San Francisco agency and retroactive to Washington’s death
seven years earlier. Another $2.00 monthly was awarded for
George retroactive, like his mothers, from the date of his
father’s death and continuing to George’s sixteenth birthday.
On March 20, 1889, still signing with an “x” - but for the
first time as “Mary A. Beebe” - Mary Ann signed an affidavit
indicating Washington had died in 1874 and she had remarried.
Giving her address as Low Gap (near Ukiah) she made a claim
pursuant to an Act of June 7, 1888. A descendant indicates she
died on October 29, 1906, in Ukiah, but the site of her burial
has not been located.