While trying to find a some headstones for a find-a-grave request, I came across this wonderful headstone in Woodward Hill Cemetery.
Ay first glance I thought this was yet another vandalized headstone in this old city cemetery. Upon close inspection I found that it was not, the sabre was actually carved this way. There were no birth or death dates on this marvelous headstone, but since there was a broken sabre, I knew there must be a story, and I suspected Civil War, War Between the States, War of the Rebellion, or whatever one might call it.
I went first to a County History in my collection and found that he was one of three Captains in Company C, 79th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry. He had enlisted on 11th October 1861 and died in Louisville, Kentucky on 8th February 1862.
The 79th Regiment was primarily a Lancaster County Regiment and according to the same County History:
“It was recruited in September and October of 1861 by Henry A. Hambright, of Lancaster, who was made its colonel. Its place of rendezvous was Camp Wilkins, near Pittsburgh, from which it marched on the 17th of October to Allegheny City, where it received from the Governour its colors, and on the following day it embarked on steamers for Louisville. Ky. Thence it proceeded by rail to a camp on Nolen Creek, and by leisurely marches to Camp Wood, near Murfordsville, on Green River. Here it remained through the winter, engaged in drill, picket, guard and scout duty.”
Since it appeared that Captain Dysart had seen no action, I did a little additional research and went to some old Lancaster newspapers for that. I now knew he had died in February of 1862.
On 4th February, I found a little blurb that stated:
“. . .A dispatch received by Mr. T.J. Dysart last evening, from the Hospital Surgeon speaks of the progonosis of Capt. Dysart’s case as doubtful, referring to Capt. Dysart’s illness. He speaks of him as one of the very best officers in his command, whose loss he could not replace. We sincerely hope he may recover. . . “
On February 11th, news of his death was printed in the same paper:
DEATH OF CAPT. JOHN H. DYSART. — We announced last week the extreme illness, from an attack of typhoid fever, of Capt. John H. Dysart, at the Military Hospital in Louisville. On Saturday afternoon the sad intelligence reached this city, by telegraph, of his death that morning. Capt. D. commanded Company C of Col. Hambright’s Regiment, and was considered one of the finest company officers in the Regiment. He organized the Union Guards, now commanded by Capt. Barton, and was Third Lieutenant in that crack corps, the Lancaster Fencibles at its organization. He was higly esteemed by all who knew him for his manly qualities and generous disposition, and his death will be extremely regretted by a large circle of friends and acquaintances in this city. We understand his remains will be brought home for interment in a day or two and alll the military companies in the city will take part in the funeral obsequies.”
I now had my answer. This man never saw battle, but was very well prepared had he lived that long. That sabre had been used only in drill.
Rest in Peace, Captain John H. Dysart.
- Ellis, Franklin, and Samuel Evans. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1883, 111-117.
- “Exaggerated Reports,” The Lancaster Intelligencer, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, February 4, 1862, page 2, column 4
- “Death of Capt. John H. Dysart,” The Lancaster Intelligencer, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, February 11, 1862, page 2, column 4.
Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #5
Read Full Post »