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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The Browning Series Part 3b, or Samuel Browning Hoy, the Young Soldier
The following year Samuel B. Hoy (perhaps along with his older brother William M.J.) moved with his grandfather and step-grandmother to Windsor in Shelby County, Illinois. I'm not sure about William M.J. If he did also move to Shelby County he'd returned to Crawford County before February of 1865, when he mustered into service in Company H of the 152nd Illinois Infantry out of he town of Palestine. I'll mention William again in a moment. Back to Samuel B.
When the Civil War started Samuel was thirteen and much too young to sign up immediately. He waited until 1864 (when he was 16) before he traveled to Mattoon, a city in Coles County about 15 miles northeast of Windsor. On 21 March 1864 he signed his volunteer enlistment papers, claiming that he was eighteen years old. He was assigned to the 54th Illinois Infantry, Union forces, and was told to muster in on the 30th. But on 28 March 1864, the veterans of the 54th Illinois Infantry were on furlough and had been ordered to reassemble in Mattoon. According to the Adjutant General’s Report, “an organized gang of Copperheads led by Sheriff O’Hair attacked some men of the Regiment at Charleston, killing Major Shubal York, Surgeon, and four privates, and wounding Colonel G. M. Mitchell. One hour later the Regiment arrived from Mattoon and occupied the town, capturing some of the most prominent traitors.” Copperheads were also known as Peace Democrats and were a group of anti-abolitionist Midwesterners.
Two days later, on 30 March 1864, Samuel mustered into Company F. His muster papers say he had sandy hair and gray eyes and was 5' 10". That's pretty tall for a boy his age! Anyway, his regiment was immediately on the march and the young Samuel could not keep up. During the march Samuel began growing lame in his left foot. The company moved to Duvall’s Bluff and Clarendon and fought General Shelby, and in time Samuel’s lame foot degenerated into a running sore with small bones working their way out of the upper front part of the foot. The foot prevented him from marching and he had to be hauled in an ambulance part of the way back to Duvall’s Bluff. He was given light duty for the remainder of his service. His regiment was then assigned to guard a section of the Memphis and Little Rock railroad. Many of his regiment were captured during a battle near the railroad, but Samuel’s company was spared.
I said I'd mention Samuel B.'s older brother, William M.J. As I said earlier, William had also joined the war, mustering into service out of Palestine in Crawford County, IL, in February of 1865. According to the muster and descriptive rolls of Company H, William was 6’0” with dark hair, dark eyes and a dark complexion. His regiment was assigned to duty as a railroad guard for the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad until July of 1865. A month before that, on 2 June 1865, William died of an unknown disease (most likely smallpox) in Tullahoma, Tennessee. I haven't ever been able to locate his burial.
On 20 August 1865, two months before he mustered out, Samuel was hospitalized for chronic diarrhea in the General Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was released for duty on 28 August 1865. Samuel mustered out on 15 October 1865 and was discharged at Camp Butler on 26 October 1865.
Sometime after his discharge Samuel went to a party at the home of Cornelius Stephenson of Robinson. According to Charles F. Huls and Sarah Ann (Huls) Browning, the spouses of Samuel’s first cousins Margaret Ann Browning and Thomas Nevitt Browning (children of James Browning), Samuel did not dance because of his lame foot but walked with a cane. Samuel was employed by Martin B. Woodworth between 1866 and 1870 as a day laborer. Martin also employed Effie Emmaline Browning (Samuel’s first cousin and the daughter of Samuel J. Browning) as a domestic servant. Samuel worked for Martin out in the fields but Martin claimed Samuel would “frequently give out on account of his lame foot.”
Samuel married Emily Ellen McCarter, the daughter of Samuel G. McCarter and Polly Ann Cannon, on 11 September 1875 in Crawford County. Emily was born on 5 July 1851 in Crawford County. Samuel and Emily Ellen settled in Montgomery Township in Crawford County and had four children (John, Charley, Lillie and Oscar.) In the mid-1880’s Samuel pursued a soldier’s pension, which was granted, and Samuel and Emily spent the remainder of their married lives in Heathsville and Flat Rock in Montgomery Township.
Emily died on 2 February 1930 in Flat Rock and was buried on 4 February 1930. After Emily’s death, Samuel went to live with his son John William Hoy. John, who never married, took care of Samuel for the remainder of his life.