I am returning to biographies of men from our town who served in the Civil War, written long ago, but not published before. Company K of the 125th NY Infantry Regiment was recruited mostly from Schaghticoke in August 1862. We are fortunate to have the letters of one of those recruits, George Bryan, written home to his friend Jennie Ackart, thanks to Joe Sticklemeyer, who published them as “Friend Jennie.” The 125th was part of the Army of 11,000 who surrendered to General Stonewall Jackson on September 15, 1862 at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. The men were interned in camp in Chicago, as the Confederacy had no way to imprison that many men. They were paroled in the winter and returned to camp in Virginia, ready to fight in the spring.
Chauncey J. Crandall enlisted at age 18 in Company K. He was 5’10” tall, with black eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion. He was born in Schaghticoke, and gave his occupation as farmer. The 1850 US Census shows the family when Chauncey was just 8. His father, Albert, 45 was a farmer. His mother Amanda was 38, and he had two older brothers, Harvey, 12, and George, 10. By the 1855 and 1860 censuses, Albert listed his occupation as laborer, and just Chauncey lived at home. In the 1860 US Census he gave his occupation as farm laborer.
NYS Muster Card of Chauncey Crandall
George Bryan referred to Chauncey quite a few times in his letters to Jennie Ackart. Either he was good friends with Chauncey, or he knew that Jennie was. While the 125th was interned in Camp Douglas in Chicago, Bryan wrote on November 2, 1862, “Channey Crandall is in the hospital. He had the fever but is doing very well now. By November 13, he added, “Channey Crandall is gaining slowly. I think he is past all danger…Channey Crandall has just been here. I have written two letters for him today…He says you have forgotten him as you do not write to him”; also, “You need not worry about Channey Crandall, he will not want for anything.” This tells us either Chauncey was not able to write or too ill to do so. He was not as well as Bryan thought, as “he was not able to come with us when we left Chicago…was left there in the hospital….The things you sent him I shall keep for him until he joins the company again.” By January 24, 1863, Bryan reported that “I read a letter from Channey Crandall a day before yesterday. He is getting better. I think he will be able to be with us soon. He is in Baltimore.” By March 14, in their camp in Centreville, Virginia, Bryan added, “Channey Crandall has joined his company, he is well. He said he had sent for some money twice, but did not get it. I think you had better not send him any more now; we will get paid this week.” March 28 Bryan wrote, “Chauncy Crandall is well as usual; and does his duty like a soldier.” On April 23, “Channy Crandall acts as though he liked to be a soldier.”
Chauncey was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. Bryan wrote to Jennie on July 17, “Channy lay out in the rain all night…He was wounded in the shoulder. He was quite weak and exhausted. I did not think it dangerous. I went to see him as soon as he was brought in.” George would have had to leave Chauncey, as the 125th moved on after the battle. Chauncey died July 9 of that wound. He was buried in the National Cemetery, section A, site 90, the cemetery dedicated by Lincoln with his famous speech.
tombstone of Chauncey Crandall at Gettysburg
Chauncey Crandall was buried very near this monument at Gettysburg, which marks the spot where Lincoln gave his famous address.
The Crandalls remained in Schaghticoke. Mother Amanda filed for a Civil War pension in 1868, based on her son’s service. Chauncey’s brother Harvey and his wife named their son born in 1867 for Chauncey.