Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Civil War: Soldiers and Records

William Huff was born about 1825 in Pennsylvania. He had two children with his first wife, Delilah Smith. William Hough was born 1843 in Dayton, OH and Sara J. Huff was born 1848 in Pennsylvania. Delilah died in 1860 and William remarried soon thereafter. Levina Foulk was born 1843 in Pennsylvania and was 16 years old when she married 34 year old William in 1859. Their son George Washington Huff was born in Morris, IL in 1861. Soon after George W's birth, William enlisted in the Army and fought for the Union in the Civil War. He was reportedly one of the hundreds of thousands that died in the war of attrition. He died between 1862 and 1863.

I say that William served in the Union Army only because the states that he is associated with were Union states: Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois. However, I have no enlistment record of William; no death record; no war record of anytime. I only have one sentence in a compiled history of the Huff family. I do believe he was killed in the Civil War though. After 1860, he disappears from the US Census records as far as I can tell. And by 1870, Levina has remarried Charles O. Hatfield and is living in Mississippi with 9 year old George W. There is only one way that Levina really would have been able to remarry, William's death.

It also makes sense that George W. would join the Army at the earliest possible age to emulate his possibly mythological  father. I can only imagine what would have been in the mind of a young boy whose father had died in war.

My great task is to find William's Civil War records to piece together this story. There are a lot of William Huffs that served in the War for Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as in the South. My assumption is that he signed up out of Illinois, because he was living in Morris, IL with Levina and Sarah in 1860 (US Census) and George W. was born in Illinois at the beginning of the war in 1861.

William's son, William Hough, also fought in the Civil War, but I've been able to track his military career with much more certainty, due to records I've found.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions on how to begin my search, it would be greatly appreciated.

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