Persons who served in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States during the War of the Rebellion (who are survivors) and widows of such persons in the County of Cattaraugus, State of New York, enumerated June, 1890.
Introduction by Jeff Ward
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This transcription lists the surviving soldiers and sailors or the surviving widows found by the enumerators in Cattaraugus County, New York, at the time of the special census of 1890. Current wives and living family members are not listed in this census. My primary source was the census itself. I used as a secondary source the National Park Service' Civil War Soldiers and Sailors website (referred to throughout as NPS). Spelling errors are inevitable with a record like this. I found much useful information in the many cemetery transcriptions available on the Internet. I welcome corrections to any errors anyone may find in this transcription. This was more of a voluntary census than the typical census. Many veterans from Cattaraugus County served in the 64th (known as the Cattaraugus Regiment) and 154th New York Infantry regiments and I am greatly indebted to Barbara Van Vlack and Mark Dunkelman for the superb work they have done respectively on these regiments. These two regiments along with the 9th New York Cavalry and many other regiments in this census fought at Gettysburg. I am aware of no rosters taken before Gettysburg or any other battle that would indicate whether an individual soldier of the regiment actually was engaged in fighting in any particular battle. But in many cases, the individual lists wounds incurred in a particular engagement. The best Regimental Histories of these units are found on the New York Military Museum web page. Newspaper clippings are available there that include some names of men killed, wounded or taken prisoner. A number of men from Cattaraugus County were members of the 85th New York Infantry Regiment. This entire regiment surrendered to Confederate forces on April 20, 1864 at the conclusion of the siege of Plymouth, North Carolina. The enlisted men of this regiment endured the horrors of the infamous prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. Sometimes the census says an individual served in the 9th New York Volunteers. This could be a reference to either the 9th New York Infantry or the 9th New York Cavalry. When I know with certainty that the regiment is either cavalry or infantry, I designate it as such. The artillery designations are particularly confusing. The 4th New York Artillery could mean either the 4th New York Light Artillery or the 4th New York Heavy Artillery. When I can ascertain which regiment it is, I will call it either 4NYLtArt or 4NYHA. It should also be noted that most of the men serving in the various Heavy Artillery regiments were converted to infantrymen starting around the time of the Battle of the Wilderness in early May of 1864. Many of these men endured some of the worst fighting of the Civil War in Grant's "on to Richmond" campaign.
I abbreviate diarrhea as "diar." Rheumatism is abbreviated as "rheum." KIA means killed in action. WIA means wounded in action. Some of the disabilities described are obviously war related. But if the veteran is described as blind or deaf, heart disease or a wide range of other maladies, this more likely refers to his medical condition at the time of the taking of the census in 1890. The pension eligibility standards were gradually liberalized. By 1890, veterans with disabilities that were not necessarily war related were eligible for Civil War pensions.
One might wonder how so many men could give their precise dates of service 25 years after the conclusion of the Civil War. Most of these men still had their discharge records in their possession when the 1890 census enumerators arrived.
While it is believed that over 4,000 men from Cattaraugus County fought in the Union Army or Navy, there are only about 1,800 men listed in this census. This census does not include men who fought in the Civil War and were dead by 1890 and left no widow who survived until the 1890 census. And some veterans were missed in this census or are in a census of an adjoining county in New York or Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly, there were a great many men who enlisted in Cattaraugus County who had moved on to other locations by 1890.
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