Samuel Phenice’s Civil War Record

It seems like I write a post about my great great grandfather’s Civil War experiences every two years.  This is the third one I have written about it.  (See  A Witness at Ford’s Theatre from 2017 and Eating Tacks in the Civil War from 2019.)  Of course I mention the fact that he was in the Civil War more frequently.  Besides sharing a document about my ancestor Samuel Charles Phenice from the War Department, I’m sharing a photo of him.  The document has a date of December 18, 1890, but the photo didn’t come with a date.  I’m guessing that it is from around 1935.

Samuel Charles Phenice in Almena, Kansas, circa 1935.

I’m sharing the photo of Charles first, because most people are more interested in people photos that old musty documents.  Fortunately for you, I will share both of them.  I find the musty old documents interesting, too.  The photo is not the best photo I have of him, but I still like it.  It comes from a photo of him with two of his daughters and a son-in-law by way of the Lincoln Collection (thank you, Mona!).  The photo is a bit distorted, especially of the other people in the photo.  Maybe I’ll get a bet version of it some day.

From the approximate ages of the people in the photo, I estimated it to be taken around 1935.  Samuel was born in 1844 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.  That would make him around 90 years old in this photo.  He lived to the ripe old age of 95.  Not too bad for a guy that was shot and could have died during the Civil War when he was just 20 years old.  It was sometime around 1935 that he went to live with his daughter Myrtle.  Not his granddaughter Myrtle who was my grandmother.  Her name was Myrtle Phenice Bucklin.  Charles’s daughter was Myrtle Phenice Cozad.

That Myrtle lived in Almena, Kansas, but it’s not like Charles moved far away to live with his daughter.  He lived by himself in Precept, Nebraska, which is near the southern border of Nebraska.  Kansas is on the other side of that border and the first town you come to is Almena in Norton County.  It’s only about 10 to 15 miles away.  It’s out in the middle of nowhere with fields surrounding you as far as the eye can see.  So this photo was taken somewhere in that area.  In 1936, he was one of only two surviving veterans of the Civil War in Norton County, Kansas.

Dec. 18, 1890, document from the War Department for Samuel Phenice.

Though he was known as a Civil War Veteran for 70 years at that time, he only served for a short few months.  That’s because he was injured in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864.  This document shows the exact dates of when he was injured and the hospitals he was admitted to.  He was a private in Company F of  the 57th Pennsylvania Volunteers.  He mustered in at New Brighton on Feb. 12, 1864.  Following that:

May 5 – received severe flesh wound to the thigh

May 24 – entered Carver General Hospital in Washington, DC, with gunshot wound

May 31 – transferred to Haddington in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

June 16/17 – entered General Hospital in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

October 8 – transferred to Invalids Corps

It doesn’t mention it in this document, but other sources show that he was in a field hospital between receiving the injury and entering Carver G. H. in Washington.  During that time it was taken over by Confederate forces and was unable to get adequate treatment.  He suffered from severe hunger and gangrene.  I’m not sure how long he was under medical care between the June and October dates.  I’ve also seen something that showed that he suffered from that injury most of his life.  It didn’t keep him from farming and homesteading in Nebraska.  He seemed to have an active life.

I’ll leave you with one of the many articles about Charles that I have found.  It concerns his activity while in the Invalid Corps.  He was assigned to Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.  and was there on the night of April 14, 1865.  Cue the curtain to rise for the performance of “Our American Cousin.”

Sioux City Journal on Feb. 21, 1938.



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