Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our Gallant American Civil War Veterans,
A "Decoration Day" Salute

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Service Medal

The first Union "Decoration Day" (now called Memorial Day) was held in May 1866 by the caring residents of the tiny Finger Lakes village Waterloo, New York.  This remembrance movement aimed to decorate graves with flower arrangements, those the grave-sites of many local military veteran causalities of the late War to Preserve the Union.  Any revisionist claim otherwise by residents of Georgia are false, since Georgia was not readmitted to the Union until 1868... and then tossed out again when Georgia failed to recognize blacks as citizens... and then again readmitted to the Union in 1870 only after finally endorsing the U.S. Constitution 14th Amendment.

The two grandfathers of our paternal Grandmother Elizabeth Rosella (Moegling) Paul were deceased when Elizabeth was born 13 April 1896. These two men are our generation's Great-Great-Grandfathers Private Albert G. Odell and Corporal William Moegling. Both men are military veterans of the American Civil War, gallantly serving to preserve the union with the U.S. Army Infantry.

Private Albert G. Odell (about 1839 - 10 Mar 1892) was born in Schoharie County, New York. His occupation as a young man was farm labor and work as a barrel-maker (a cooper) at his uncle Isaac L. Odell's local cooperage in Summit, Schoharie County, NY. In 1864, Albert enlisted as a U.S. Army private soldier with Schoharie County Company B, 91st Infantry Regiment of New York State Volunteers. His Civil War service with the 91st New York include engagements against rebel forces during the Petersburg Campaign and the Appomattox Campaign. Private Albert Odell's ancestry includes many cousins who are military veterans of the Civil War and over three-dozen Revolutionary War Veteran ancestors.  Grandpa Albert is interred at Bath National Cemetery, Bath, Steuben County, NY. From the official roster of the 91st New York Infantry Regiment:
“ODELL, ALBERT.— Age, 25 years. Enlisted at Albany, [NY] to serve one year, and mustered in as private, Co. B, September 5, 1864; mustered out with detachment; June 10, 1865, near Washington, D.C.”

Corporal William Moegling (about 1812 - 23 Nov 1869) was born in Stuttgart, Germany. William emigrated from Germany to the USA in June 1847, and was almost immediately recruited as an armed service private soldier with the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. His lifelong occupation was as a scourer and dyer, the period process for cleaning garments in what we today call professional dry-cleaning. In 1861, William enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Corporal with Oneida County Company H, 97th Infantry Regiment of New York State Volunteers. His Civil War service include engagements against rebel forces at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, General Pope's Northern Virginia Campaign, Second Battle of Bull Run, Battle of South Mountain, and the Battle of Antietam. Although injured, William remained with his regiment, but likely not directly involved in the mid-December 1862 fighting at the Battle of First Fredericksburg, this due to his documented wounds suffered in previous battles. He received an honorable Disability Discharge from the U.S. Army in early 1863 and was later released from a military hospital near Belle Plain, Virginia. William is interred in a mass-grave at Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, NY, where in 1916 the remains of nearly all exhumed skeletons were placed following the total removal of Utica's former municipal burial grounds at Potter Street Cemetery. From the official roster of the 97th New York Infantry Regiment:
“MOEGLIN, WILLIAM—Age, 43 years. Enlisted, November 30, 1861, at Utica, [NY] to serve three years; mustered in as corporal, Co. H, December 11, 1861; returned to ranks, no date; discharged for disability, June 11, 1863, at hospital, as Moegling.”

P.S. New York State Department of Military and Naval Affairs official Civil War record errors are often noted.  Surname spelling, age at enlistment, and discharge dates are frequently wrongly recorded.  Such is the case with Corporal William Moegling.  William's birth year is variously recorded in several non-military official documents between 1808-1815. Seems likely that William may have intentionally under stated his physical age at enlistment,  his age likely being about 49 or 50 in 1861. Furthermore, it is likely that no official birth certificates were recorded for the vast majority of Civil War enlisted men.          

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