Sepia Saturday 436: Fourth in a series on the settlement of my great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull’s estate. A Union Army veteran of the U.S. Civil War, he was the father of my paternal great grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau.
When Union Civil War veteran William H. Crandall co-signed my great-great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull’s estate administration bond, I wondered how he knew her and my late great-great grandfather Arthur T. Bull.
In the last post, I detailed what I learned about William Crandall’s U.S. Civil War service — which in 1864 partially overlapped Arthur’s time in the Union Army. I wondered if they knew each other while serving — a possibility that hinges on one month: September 1864.
A scheduling near miss
In September 1864, Arthur went back on active duty with the 6th New York Heavy Artillery after two months in hospital for war-related illness.
While he was away, Arthur’s unit was stationed at Ft. Stevens and helped repulse a July 1864 attack on Washington, D.C. by Confederate forces from the Shenandoah Valley. The capital’s defenses were strengthened after the attack — and Arthur’s artillery unit was held there until September 24.
Meanwhile, William Crandall was stationed at Giesboro cavalry depot outside Washington, D.C. doing light-duty work with the Union Veteran Reserve Corp — which was made up of injured and infirm service members.
VRC troops played a valiant, emergency role at Ft. Stevens by beefing up Union lines until reinforcements could arrive. Yet while they may have rubbed shoulders with my great-great grandfather’s fellow artillerists, Arthur wasn’t in D.C. at the time — and it’s unclear whether VRC soldiers remained on combat duty through September, when he returned.
Enter the GAR
So a new question arose: If William and Arthur didn’t directly serve together, how else might they have met? Then I remembered the Grand Army of the Republic — the fraternal organization of Union Army veterans that my ancestor belonged to.
And that’s where I discovered their connection — as shown in the GAR Descriptive Book excerpt below. 1
|William H. Crandall and Arthur T. Bull listings in the Descriptive Book of Nathan Crosby Post 550 NYS GAR – Salamanca, N.Y. – Source: Ancestry.com – New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931 2|
|29||W. H. Crandall||45||Oswego, NY||Salamanca||Merchant|
|30||A.T. Bull||52||Greene Co., NY||Salamanca||Tanner|
|Entry into the Service|
|Sep. 25th, 1861||Private||B||9 NY C|
|Jan. 4th, 1864||Private||F||H. A. NY||—||—|
|Date||Rank||Co.||Regiment||Length of Service||Cause of Discharge|
|Oct. 8th, 1864||Private||B||9 NY C||3 years 7 days||Ex. of Service|
|Aug. 24th, 1865||Private||F||H. A. NY||1 year 2 m.||General Order|
|Date of Muster into the GAR: Arthur – July 21st, 1886; W.H. Crandall – blank (Note: Date of Muster for member above him was Oct. 7th, 1885)|
William and Arthur joined their Salamanca, N.Y., GAR post within months of one another. Both men were transplants from elsewhere in New York State and had served overlapping tours in or near Washington, D.C. during the U.S. Civil War — which meant they had some things in common.
They had also been fellow lodge members for more than three years when my great-great grandfather Arthur died in 1890. So it seems natural that William would help his widow — my great-great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull — by co-signing her administration bond so she could settle Arthur’s estate.
And William Crandall certainly had the collateral to do it.
More on this in the next post. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.
- New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931, N. Crosby Post 550 Descriptive Book, entry no. 29 W.H. Crandall and 30, A.T. Bull, digital images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 12 Sept. 2018) ↩
- Ibid. ↩