91st PA: Charles Smith

Charles Smith

Before the war

He was born in 1842/43, to Leopold Smith and Amanda Benfer. They had six known children:

[sources: date: 5 (18 in 1861), 6 (21 in 1863). place: 13, 15. children: 15]

In 1854/55, Leopold's mother Amanda died. [source: 15]

From about 1858 until he enlisted, he worked for a butcher named 'Kirk', and paid his father $3 per week for board, and $3.50 for support. [source: 15]

When he enlisted, he was a butcher, and was living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [sources: 5, 6]

His father, Leopold Smith, also served, in company A of the 4th Pennsylvania Reserves. He was enlisted on 3 June 1861, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was discharged because of disability on 27 September 1862, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [source: 17]


When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, and had a light complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair. [sources: 5 (dark complexion), 6 (light complexion)]

During the war

He enlisted and was mustered into service as a private on 7 October 1861, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was enlisted for three years, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Captain Bowman. He was a private in company B. [sources: 1, 4, 5, 18]

On 23 February 1863, he returned to the regiment from duty at Windmill Point Hospital. [source: 3]

He fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. [source: 10]

He was relieved from duty in the Pioneer Corps on 15 August 1863. [source: 2]

He reenlisted as a veteran volunteer on 24 December 1863, at Bealton, Virginia. He was enlisted for three years, by Lieutenant Carpenter, and mustered by Lieutenant Swan. On 26 December 1863, he was mustered in as a private and veteran volunteer, at Bealton, Virginia. [sources: 1, 5, 6 (25 Dec), 15]

From 1 February 1864 through 10 March 1864, he was absent without leave. (He was one of many veterans who went absent without leave when the regiment was held in camp after they returned from their veterans' furlough.) He was arrested as a deserter, in Philadelphia, on 10 March 1864. He was initially reported as a deserter, and owing $60 for being arrested as a deserter. But the charge of desertion was removed, and he forfeited only his pay and allowances for the period he was absent without leave. [source: 15]

He was reported returned from arrest on 21 April 1864. [source: 7]

On 23 May 1864, he was wounded at North Anna, Virginia. [sources: 1, 5, 11, 12, 15 (20 May)]

On 29 May 1864, he was admitted to hospital, with a gun shot fracture of the right thigh. [source: 15]

On 31 August 1864, he died of those wounds, at Armory Square Hospital, Washington DC. He was a private, in company B. [sources: 1 (21 Oct), 5 (21 Oct), 9 (31 Aug), 15 (31 Aug; also reported as 1 Sep), 18]

He was buried in the National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia. [sources: 1, 16]

After the war

On 19 April 1870, his father, Leopold Smith, applied successfully from Pennsylvania for a pension, under the Acts of 14 July 1862 and 27 July 1868. He was 62 years old, and his post-office address was rear 1305 Coates Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 10 November 1870, the application was approved, and he received a pension of $8 per month. It was initially approved retroactive to 19 April 1870 (when he finished his application). [sources: 8, 14, 15]

On 6 November 1871, Leopold's pension certificate was reissued, because the pension should have begun when Charles Smith died. The Pension Office informed his attorney on 2 October 1871, he returned the certificate on 28 October 1871, the new pension was dated 11 November 1871, and was sent on 13 November 1871. The pension was extended retroactively back to 1 September 1864. [source: 15]

On 7 December 1875, the Pension Office instructed the Pension Agent to suspend payment of the pension, probably because of his attorney, Joseph E Devitt + Co, had executed documents improperly. On 24 January 1876, they instructed the Pension Agent to resume payment. [source: 15]

On 27 September 1876, Leopold was admitted to the Northwestern Branch (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. He was admitted on 3 October 1876, by Dr E B Wolcott. He had last lived in Philadelphia, and was a weaver. [sources: 15, 17]

On 21 October 1876, Leopold requested that the pension be transferred, and on 25 October 1876 it was transferred to Washington. [source: 15]

On 18 November 1878, Leopold was discharged from the National Home, at his own request. [sources: 15, 17]


1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster)

2 special order 51, HQ 91st PA, 15 August 1863

3 consolidated morning report, 91st PA, 23 Feb 63 (Private Smith)

4 company B, descriptive roll, entry 36 (Charles Smith)

5 Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, searched 31 May 2004 (Charles Smith)

6 company B, [second] descriptive roll, entry 25 (Charles Smith)

7 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 21 April 1864 (Smith)

8 pension index, by regiment (Charles Smith)

9 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 13 September 1864 (Chas Smith)

10 Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Charles Smith)

11 'The Ninety-first Pennsylvania volunteers', Philadelphia Inquirer 8 June 1864 page 3 (Charles Smith)

12 monthly return, company B, May 1864 (Charles Smith)

13 Walt Whitman, Edward F Grier, Notebooks and unpublished prose manuscripts, page 450 (Charles Smith)

14 pension index, by name (Charles Smith)

15 abstract of dependent's pension certificate file, WC 145952 (Leopold Smith father of Charles Smith)

16 Find a grave, memorial 48880442, created by Hope, added 27 Feb 2010 (Charles Smith)

17 Historical register of National Homes for disabled volunteer soldiers, 1866-1938, National Archives and Records Administration, microfiln series M1749 (Leopold Smith)

18 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (Charles Smith)


Charles Smith in the 91st PA database

index to compiled service records

[index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania]
[transcribed 11 April 2015, from Fold3]

Smith Charles
Co. B, 91 Pennsylvania Inf.
Pvt | Pvt
See also [blank]


Walt Whitman

[Walt Whitman, Edward F Grier, Notebooks and unpublished prose manuscripts, page 450]
Charles Smith ward C bed 7 May '64 co B 91st Penn vol [illeg.] right thigh father Leopold Smith 812 Lawrence st above Brown Philadelphia / ['Charles' is 'Inserted above deleted "Leopold"']

dependent's pension certificate file

[abstract of dependent's pension certificate file, WC 145952, Leopold Smith father of Charles Smith]
[abstracted 13 December 2014, from 36 pages on Fold3]
19 April 1841
Leopold Smith married Amanda Benfer (p.18)
married by Alderman Isaac Borleau (p.18)
recorded in the Philadelphia Health Office 'in conformity with the Act of Assembly approved March 22, 1865. + supplement approved April 11th 1866' (p.18)
1854 or 1855
Charles Smith's mother, Amanda Smith, died (pp.7, 9)
ca 1858-1861
Charles Smith worked for 3 years before enlisting for a butcher named 'Kirk', and paid his father $3 per week for board, and another $3.50 per week for support (p.9)
24 December 1863
enlisted [as veteran volunteer] at Bealton VA (p.11)
mustered in on 26 December 1863 (p.11)
1 February 1864 to 10 March 1864
arrested as a deserter; charge of desertion later removed (p.11)
on Jan-Feb 1864 muster roll reported 'absent without leave' (p.11)
on Mar-Apr 1864 muster roll reported 'Present. Due the U.S. $60 for being arrested as a deserter in Phila.' (p.11)
on May-Jun 1864 muster roll reported 'Absent wounded since May 23" 64.' (p.11)
'Charge of desertion removed and he will be considered as Absent without leave from Feb. 1" 64 to Mar. 10" 64 (date of arrest) and will forfeit pay + allowances for that period only' (on muster-out roll) (p.11)
29 May 1864
admitted to hospital, with gun shot fracture right thigh, received at North Anna River on 20 May 1864 (p.13)
31 August 1864
Charles Smith died at Armory Square Hospital, Washington DC, of wounds (gunshot fracture) received in action at North Anna on 22 May 1864 (pp.7, 11 [muster-out roll], p.13 [1 Sep 1864, gut 31 Aug on hospital monthly report])
8 Apr 1870
James McFadden MD swore that he had known Leopold Smith for 8 or 9 years and knew that 'during that time he has been physically unable to perform sufficient or proper manual labor to gain a support owing to Organic Disease of the Heart, General Rheumatism, advanced years and general debility' (p.27)
19 April 1870
Leopold Smith, father of Charles Smith (pvt, vet, B 91 PA) applied for a pension under the act of 14 July 1862 and 27 July 1868 (p.7)
residence Philadelphia, post office rear 1305 Coates St, Philadelphia (p.7)
62 years old (p.7)
Leopold Smith had been unable to support himself for nine years, never had any real estate or other income (pp.7, 9)
attorney Joseph E Devitt + Co (p.7)
witnesses Christiana Rump and Mary A Rau, residents of Philadelphia (p.9)
after enlisting, Charles Smith sent his father money by express, with Rump and Rau recalling seeing payments of $25, $30, $40, and $100 (p.9)
dated 13 May 1869 (p.7)
application 71,194 (p.7)
pension approved for $8 per month, retroactive to 19 April 1870 (date claim completed) (pp.3, 22)
admitted 10 November 1870, Wm [?] H Webster examiner, approved 12 November 1870 (p.3)
certificate 145,952 dated 16 November 1870 (pp.20, 22)
application 186,046 (p.20)
12 May 1870
the pension office [sent] circular [illegible] to the Adjutant General's office and the Surgeon General USA (p.21)
19 May 1870 [??]
the Adjutant General's Office sent the pension office the above-summarized information (p.11)
30 July 1870
the pension office renewed circular 6 [?] to the surgeon general USA (p.21)
the pension office sent circular [illegible] to the attorney (p.21)
3 August 1870
Surgeon General's Office reported the above-summarized information to the pension office (p.13; see pp.14 and 16 for the request)
9 August 1870
Christiana Rump and Mary Anna Rau (residents of Philadelphia) swore that Charles always lived with his father, that Leopold is about 63 and has been very ill for 10 years, not working, that he has five other children: (1) Emma (29, married, contributes nothing), (2) Mary (28, married, contributes nothing), (3) Christiana (25, married, contributes nothing), (4) Andrew (20, single, learning a trade, not yet contributed anything), and (5) Frank (17, learning a trade, has not yet contributed anything), that Leopold has never owned any property, that Amanda Smith died about 15-16 years ago and they attended her funeral, that Charles Smith was about 19 when he died, that he worked for 'a Mr Kikr, a Butcher', that they had lived in Leopold's immediate neighborhood (p.33)
2 October 1871
the Pension Office informed the attorney 'of date of issue of cft that it was sent to Pen. Agent That it should be returned' to them 'for reissue to correct error - as under new ruling of Office the date of commencement of pension is wrong' (p.23)
28 October 1871
Leopold Smith sent his pension certificate to the Commissioner of Pensions (p.31)
6 November 1871
the pension certificate was reissued (pp.3, 6, 29)
'Under late ruling, certificate will re-issue to commence Sept. 1" 1864, date of soldier's death, deducting former payments' (pp.6, 29)
Leopold Smith's address changed to 812 Laurence St, Philadelphia (p.6)
the pension was payable at the District of Columbia pension agent, and not at Pennsylvania (p.29)
the certificate was dated 11 November 1871, and sent on 13 November 1871 (p.29)
13 Dec 1871
the Pension Office advised Smith that the certificate had been reissued (p.30)
7 December 1875
the Pension Office told the Pension Agent 'to sus[pend payment of the pension]' (p.30)
24 Jan 1876
the Pension Office told the Pension Agent 'to resume [payment]' (p.30)
21 Oct 1876
Leopold Smith had requested a transfer (on 17 October 1876); the Philadelphia pension agent reported he was last paid on 4 September 1876, at $8 per month (p.35)
received by the Pension Office 23 Oct 1876 (p.36)
25 October 1876
'Transf'd a[t] 8 00 Phila to Washington [illegible; looks like 'Jr']'
[the previous line is followed by:] '4 Sept. 76. G.C.C.P.A - A.E.'
[since the second entry is an earlier date than the first, and since the two entries are set off by lines before and after them, I suspect both are part of the same entry]
18 November 1878
the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Northwestern Branch (Milwaukee Wisconsin) informed the Pension office that Leopold Smith (admitted to that branch on 27 September 1876) was discharged on 18 Nov 1878 and did not owe the Home's Treasury anything (p.24)

National Home register

[Historical register of National Homes for disabled volunteer soldiers, 1866-1938, National Archives and Records Administration, microfiln series M1749]
[available on Ancestry, US National Homes for disabled volunteer soldiers, 1866-1938, Milwaukee, Registers, S, image 188 of 3793; transcribed 14 December 2014]

[page] 257

Register of State Org. Folio 147.
Home Company C.

Leopold Smith.
1st,June 3, 1861Philadelphia PaPriv.A 4 Pa. Res.Sept. 27. 1862Philadelphia PaPriv.Disability

Pensioner at $8 per month
On account of Son killed in service
Certificate Number 145.952
Disability Heart disease
     Old age

Born in Switzerland
Resided last at Philadelphia Pa
Age when admitted 70 years.
Occupation Weaver
Religion [blank]
Children under 16 years of age None
Name, kinship and address of nearest relative None


First admitted to N.W. Branch by Dr. E. B. Wolcott Oct. 3" 1876. Transportation furnished from [blank]
Discharged Nov. 30. 1878. G.O. 103. Own request.

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