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Dennis Carkhuff

Crawford County, Pennsylvania





Company H

145th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Dennis CARKHUFF was born 12 May 1837 in Adamsville, which is in the West Fallowfield Township of Crawford County, Pennsylvania. His parents, Henry CARKHUFF, a blacksmith, and Rebecca COLE CARKHUFF, were natives of New Jersey who moved to Adamsville in the early part of the 19th century. While in his teens, Dennis began an apprenticeship in farming, then worked in his father's blacksmith shop while learning the carpentry trade. It was during this period that his mother died and his father remarried. Dennis moved to South Shenango Township and established himself in his trade with sufficient contract work to require a staff of assistants. 
On 2 September 1862, Dennis and and his three brothers, David, William, and Isaac, enlisted in the Company H of the 145th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. They were tentmates of Cyrus Wilson, Dennis's soon-to-be brother-in-law and the Company's First Sergeant. 
The brothers were with the 145th when it arrived at Antietam at noon on 17 Sept 1862, in time to perform picket duty and bury the bodies on the battlefield after Lee's army withdrew. On 12 Nov 1862 at Harper's Ferry, William died, probably from Typhoid fever. The remaining three brothers were with the 145th when it was assigned to General Winfield Scott Hancock's 2nd Corps. They were with the 145th on 13 Dec 1862 during the Battle of Fredericksburg and joined the fateful charge against the infamous stone wall at Marye's Heights. It was there that the 145th lost half its men to death or injury. They were with the 145th on 2 May 1863 at Chancellorsville where Hancock's Corps suffered a second defeat. During this battle, Dennis received sever wounds to his left arm, requiring its removal. His brothers was captured and later released. Cyrus WILSON who recrossed the Rappahannock River with no tentmates wrote on May 8, 1863:  It is pretty lonesome, for there are only six of the Company left. It would be useless for me to say anything about our defeat, but the simple truth is that the Rebs whipped old Hooker. This Sunday evening it is very quiet. This afternoon, when the chaplain commenced to preach, it commenced to rain. The rain did not stop. So he stopped.
Dennis was discharged on 24 Aug 1863 and returned home to Espyville. He required rehabilitation and was nursed to health by Cyrus WILSON's sister-in-law, Molly MASON, the youngest and as yet unmarried sister of his wife Catherine MASON WILSON. Romance bloomed, and in 1865 Dennis and Molly were married. Cyrus's daughter Lina WILSON WILSON, relates how her father, still in the military during a period when furloughs were impossible, was able to attend the wedding.
They had a big wedding at grandmother's house. Father came home for the wedding, but left early the next morning. Furloughs were not being granted at the time, but he decided to make a try for one. 
He made out his application and took it to the Colonel who looked it over and said, "So, you want a furlough. I suppose your great grand-mother is dead, or your house is burned down." "No," said father, "It is just a wedding. My sister-in-law is going to be married to a Union soldier who lost an arm at Chancellorsville, and I want to see it done." 
"Well," said the Colonel, "I can't give you a furlough. But, you go ahead. I will see that you are not missed." "And see here," he continued, "Kiss the bride for me. Tell her that if she had a whole regiment of brother-in-laws I would let [every one of] them go home to see her marry a one-armed Union soldier." 
When Dennis returned, he focused his efforts on carriage and house painting, and raising bees, having at one time 113 bee colonies. Dennis was a Republican who served Crawford County as a assessor, collector, school director, county committeeman, and county treasurer. He resided in a home in Espyville, formerly owned by the family of Rev. J. Boyd ESPY, the Captain of Company H. Dennis was a member of and served as steward and Sunday-school superintendent in the Methodist Episcopal Church of Espyville.
Dennis died in 1910, five years after being widowed. He was survived by sisters Laura CARKHUFF SIMONS of Jamestown, Pennsylvania, Nellie CARKHUFF CRATER of Casper, Wyoming, and sons William Plimpton CARKHUFF, and James Mason CARKHUFF, who served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War. Dennis, Molly and several of their children are buried at the Espyville Cemetery.

research submitted by Pete Wilson



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