...my great-great-grandfather, William Cowhey, was playing his part in the Civil War as a Union soldier in Pottsville, Pennsylvania's 16th Regiment, Company I. He was part of the first company from Pennsylvania that volunteered for the long term. The group was mustered into service in April 1861 and only had a brief tour (if you could call it a tour) until they were mustered out in July of the same year. Alongside William was his younger brother Thomas. (The entire regiment is listed here.)
It is fascinating to think about what these men saw during their brief time as Union soldiers. William, father of a large family, was a fireman on the railroad. Thomas, who never married, was an iron worker. They left their homes and families to face the unknown and defend their country when they were needed. You can read about the travels of their regiment at this site.
"My God, what misery this dreadful war has produced, and how it comes home to
the doors of almost everyone!"
~ George Meade in a letter to his wife, April 13, 1865
Amazing how digging into your own family's story can bring such an appreciation for history in general. With another celebration of Memorial Day in our memories this week, it is a good time to stop and remember the men in our own family who volunteered to serve our country.