Charles, Henry F. (21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, dismounted)

   

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Editor’s Note: Henry Fitzgerald Charles of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry (dismounted) wrote a short memoir based on his diary from the Siege of Petersburg in 1864/65. A transcription of this memoir was placed online in 2001 as a part of the web site The Civil War Diary of Henry Fitzgerald Charles, by the web site’s owner and Henry F. Charles descendant John Neitz. Mr. Neitz made the appearance of these letters at The Siege of Petersburg Online possible, and I thank him greatly for his cooperation.  The transcription of the memoirs collected on this page are copyrighted by John Neitz as a part of his web site and may not be reproduced without his express written consent.  All rights reserved.

Obituary of Henry F. Charles1,2

Henry Charles, Port Trevorton Veteran, Dies

Member of Well Known Family Succumbs
Following Long Illness – Was Aged Eighty-four Years

Henry F. Charles, after an illness of eight months, died at his home in Port Trevorton, Pa., Saturday April 28, 1928, aged 84 years, 2 months and 12 days. He was born in Freeburg, Union (now Snyder) county, February 16, 1844.

His parents were Israel F. and Henrietta (Miller) Charles, who were descendants of sturdy Scotch-Irish and German pioneer parentage that had settled in Montgomery and Buck counties in the early colonial days. His grandfather, Thomas Fitz-Charles (also sometimes written Fitz-Gerald) came from Flat Rock on the Schuylkill and homesteaded fifty acres of land in the Heister Valley about the year 1800. Later he lived, died and was buried in Freeburg. Another grandfather, Frederic Miller owned two farms near Verdilla and is buried in the old cemetery at Keyser’s church.

From the great grandfather, who lived near Norristown, who was a soldier of the Revolution and a baker in the camp at Valley Forge during the memorable winter, and from Grandfather Miller, who helped defend Marcus Hook against the English in the War of 1812, and from his father, Israel, who fought for his country during the Civil War, young Henry and his younger brother Frank inherited intensely patriotic natures, that led them at the ages of 18 and 16, respectively, to volunteer and enlist to help save the Union. At the Battle of Hatchers Run, Frank was captured and placed in Libby Prison, where he was so nearly starved that he died a short time after his parole.

Henry served three separate volunteer enlistments and served thru-out the war in the following organizations: Company D 18th Regiment Penna. Militia; Company C, 21st Penna. Cavalry; Company A 172nd Penna. Infantry. He took part among others in the following engagements: Antietam, Cold Harbor, Front of Petersburg, Explosion of the Mane, Weldon Railroad, Poplar Grove Church, Boydton Plank Road, Stony Creek Station, Bellefield (General Warren’s raid), Hatchers Run, Dinwiddie Court House, Amelia Springs, Flat Creek, Farmville and as a member of Gen. Crook’s Division of Sheridan’s famous Cavalry took part in the memorable campaign that terminated at Appomatox Court House by the surrender of General Lee.

After the war he followed at various times the occupations of raft pilot on the Susquehanna, boatman on the Pennsylvania, Tidewater, Union, and Extension canals, but chiefly as a house carpenter and as an expert sawyer in the Bogar Lumber Mills at Port Trevorton and in the Beaver Mills at Williamsport.

He was always active in public affairs; he traveled much in his latter days and made friends easily, and became widely well known. At the time of his death he was in active membership in the following organizations: John C. Arnold Post, G.A.R.; Col. M.T. Heintzelman Camp, Sons of Veterans; Washington Camp 23, P.O.S. of A.; Honorary member of American Legion at Selinsgrove; Lycoming Chapter Pennsylvania Alpine Club, of which he was an original founder and vice-president. He was also a devoted member of the Snyder County Historical Society where his fund of anecdote, his folk lore stores and his war reminiscences were always welcome and interesting. He was an aid-de-camp on the staff of the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and attended all its conventions.

He was married in 1868 to Mary Alice Neitz, who preceded him in death by twenty years. There survive him one son and two daughters, Edwin Charles, Middleburg; Catherine O., wife of Wm. H. Brubaker, Port Trevorton, and Jean L., wife of Frank E. Betts, Shamokin. Also 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Also brothers and sisters, who survive, Lewis F. Charles, Mrs. Eli Zeiss and Mrs A.A. Houser, of Akron, Ohio; Mrs. Geo. M. Herrold, Chapman, and John I. Charles, Port Trevorton.

It is sad to note that of 144 soldiers that served from his township (Union Twp.) in the Civil War, but three remain – A.M. Stroh, Jacob Steffen, and Emmanuel Rambo.

Funeral services for Mr. Charles will be held from his home and church Wednesday at 10 a.m. Interment at Zion’s cemetery. Rev. Courtney, assisted by Rev. Miller will have charge at the burial.

–Reprint from Sunbury Daily, Monday April 30, 1928.

 

MEMORIAL DAY, PORT TREVORTON, PA. 1918  Henry F. Charles dressed in his Civil War outfit. The two Red Cross girls are granddaughters, Helen Brubaker. and Marian Charles. The man in the center is Arthur Betts, who suffered two broken arms at the time and the lad with the bow and arrow is grandson, John Charles. Copyright John Neitz 2012.  All rights reserved.

MEMORIAL DAY, PORT TREVORTON, PA. 1918 Henry F. Charles dressed in his Civil War outfit. The two Red Cross girls are granddaughters, Helen Brubaker. and Marian Charles. The man in the center is Arthur Betts, who suffered two broken arms at the time and the lad with the bow and arrow is grandson, John Charles. Copyright John Neitz 2012. All rights reserved.

 

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Memoirs of Henry F. Charles, 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry (dismounted)3:

 

Source:

  1. The Civil War Diary of Henry Fitzgerald Charles. 2001. 17 May 2012 <http://www.dm.net/~neitz/charles/obit.html>.  This obituary is reproduced with the written permission of John Neitz, and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the owner.  All rights reserved.
  2. “Henry Charles, Port Trevorton Veteran, Dies,” Sunbury (PA) Daily, April 30, 1928, p. ? col ?
  3. The Civil War Diary of Henry Fitzgerald Charles. 2001. 17 May 2012 <http://www.dm.net/~neitz/charles/index.html>.  These memoirs are reproduced with the written permission of John Neitz, and may not be reproduced without his express written consent.  All rights reserved.

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