Monday, December 27, 2010

The Boys of the 69th - Cousins go off to war

On August 19, 1862 five BOTKIN cousins traveled from their homes in Randolph County, Indiana to Richmond to enlist in the 69th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. 

Bela Newton BOTKIN, son of Joseph Keener BOTKIN and  Harriet Ann CROPPER BOTKIN was just 18 years old.
John W. BOTKIN, son of Peter BOTKIN and Elizabeth ADAMSON BOTKIN had turned 23 just 11 days earlier.
William BOTKIN, another son of Peter BOTKIN and Elizabeth ADAMSON BOTKIN was 20 years old.
William T. BOTKIN, son of Dr. John Wesley BOTKIN and Mary PEACOCK BOTKIN  had turned 20 two months prior.
Thomas W. BOTKIN, another son of Dr. John Wesley BOTKIN and Mary PEACOCK BOTKIN was also just 18 years old.

All the boys were grandsons of Hugh BOTKIN and Rachel Keener BOTKIN.

They left the state the very next day headed for Lexington, KY.  These boys would face their first battle in the Civil War on August 30th at the battle of Richmond, KY.  Among the biggest battles they fought in perhaps none was bigger than the battle at Vicksburg fought under the command of Ulysses S. Grant from May 18 - July 4, 1863.  A Union victory, on July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half.
Sadly, the battle resulted in the loss of over 19,000 soldiers, 10,000 on the Union side alone. 

The regiment ended their duty in Mobile, AL and was mustered out on 5 July 1865.  In all the 69th regiment lost 331 soldiers.  81 were killed in battle and 251 died of disease.  Among those who didn't return home to their families was one BOTKIN cousin. 

William BOTKIN who turned 21 the month prior, died on 5 Feb 1863 in St. Louis, MO.  His cause of death is listed as Consumption.  His body was brought home and buried in Union Chapel Methodist Cemetery in Randolph County, Indiana.  His FAG memorial can be found here.

The other 4 boys returned home to Indiana.

Bela mustered out as a Corporal on 5 Jul 1865.  He married Mary Rebecca HILL on 1 Sep 1868 in Randolph County.  He had at least two children, Franklin Hill and Margaret Harriet.  Bela lived until the age of 83, dying on November 10, 1927 in Randolph County, Indiana. Burial location is unknown.

John W. mustered out 5 Jul 1875.  He married Rebecca MILLS 24 Dec 1865 in Randolph County.  Tragically, Rebecca died a year later.  John remarried Mary Elizabeth MEYER on 26 Dec 1872 in Holt, Missouri.  He and Mary had at least two children, Leonard and Louise.  John died the 31 Dec 1911 at the age of 72 in Caldwell, Idaho.  He is buried in Home Cemetery, Tarkio, Missouri.  His FAG memorial at be found here.

William T. was discharged on 9 Jun 1863.  He married Martha Frances CROPPER, 9 Nov 1865.  William was the father of at least 9 children and lived until the age of 60, dying on 23 May 1903 in Huntington, Indiana.  He is buried in Buena Vista Cemetery, Randolph County, Indiana.  His FAG memorial can be found here

Thomas was mustered out on 5 Jul 1865 as a full Corporal.  He married Mary Emma IRWIN 1 Sep 1868 and was the father of 3 sons.  He became a Physician after the war and died at the age of 70.  He is rumored to be buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Randolph County, Indiana but I have not confirmed that information.

Five young men headed to war.  Four returned home alive, their lives changed forever.  Learning about these boys has brought the reality of the Civil War to life for me.  I know other Botkin's served, including some who fought for the Confenderacy.  I want to discover their stories also. 

My obsession continues......

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