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United We Stand


Delaware County, Iowa in the Civil War

~ Compiled & contributed by Carl Ingwalson
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.”

In 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.”

A son, 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.

On 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.

While 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 was attacked.

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.

The regiment 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, expectoration considerable.”

Suffering from pleurisy and related problems, Washington was discharged from the military and sent home to his wife and their four-year-old son.

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). 

Mary Ann 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 son’s birth.

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.


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