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Harry Ousley Blake Lane was born on April 26, 1846 in Naas  County Kildare, Ireland.  He migrated to America towards the end of the Civil War and enlisted in the 25th New York Cavalry, also known as Sickles' Cavalry, at Rikers Island, New York on January 5, 1864, for three years; at 19 years of age. He was mustered into Company B, commanded by Major McPherson and later by Lieutenant Colonel Seeley, as a private on February 20, 1864.

The 25th Regiment was organized at Saratoga Springs, New York and at Hart's Island in New York Harbour. Companies "A" and "B" were officially mustered into the regiment on February 20th.  Once all the companies were mustered the regiment moved to Washington, D.C., and attached to the Defences of Washington. Lane was promoted to Sergeant on May 1, 1865, but his U.S. Pension files refer to him as having the rank of Captain.  They were then attached to the 22nd Army Corps, then to the Provost Guard Army of the Potomac in July, 1864. They then proceeded to Fort Stevens and repulsed Gen. Early's attack on Washington, on July 11th & 12th and continued duty in the Defences of Washington until August. In August they were attached to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, and participated in the Battle of Winchester on September 19th,  and saw action at the Battle of Luray, Luray Valley, Virginia on September 24, 1864; where Lane was wounded. He sustained a severe injury to ligaments in his left knee when his horse breasted a fence. He was transported to the Regimental Surgeon, who bandaged his leg, and relieved him of all duties for a considerable length of time due to extreme pain. Despite his injury, however, he was said to have taken part in every subsequent battle, in spite of the intense pain that impaired him for the rest of his life. He was one of three enlisted men injured during that engagement, with three others reported missing.

The regiment also participated in Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign from August 7th through November 28th and saw action at numerous other locations, during which Lane was again promoted; to Sergeant, during May of 1865. They finally ended up back in the Shenandoah Valley in June 1865 with the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Shenandoah, until January 1865 and were then unattached with the  2nd Infantry Division, Army of West Virginia, until June, 1865. Lane’s war service ended with that of his unit, at Harts Island in New York Harbour, when he was mustered out of service, having served 18 months duration, at Hart’s Island, New York in New York Harbour on June 27, 1865.

After his discharge Lane lived in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland and eventually arrived in Australia; in 1872. In Victoria he worked for the Victoria State Education Department as a civil servant, residing for a time at Brighton Beach, Melbourne. In 1882 Lane married Blanche Crisp at Brighton and they had two children; DeFrey Blanche born in 1883 and Thomas Ousley Blake born in 1888. Due to his war inflicted knee injury, Lane on March 28, 1890 applied through James P. Lesesne, U.S. Consulate in Australia, for a military pension; and a second time on December 15, 1891. Eventually he was awarded the sum of $8 a month from the U.S. Government. In 1885, 1899 and 1904 his residence was shown as being in Brighton Beach, Victoria, but his name disappeared from the registry in 1905. It turned up next in 1913, at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St. Kilda.

Lane had been living separately from his wife for some two years and residing at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St. Kilda, when he died on December 5, 1913 at the age of 69 at the Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Melbourne, of carcinoma of the stomach and heart failure.

Harry Ousley Blake Lane was buried in Brighton Cemetery, one of approximately 35 Civil War veterans interred in Victoria.

In February 1991 a bronze plaque was obtained from the American Veterans Administration in Washington DC and installed on his gravesite.   His widow continued to receive a pension until her death, in 1938, and one of his great-grandson’s is said to still reside in Brighton.

 

“25th Cavalry, Battles and Casualties, Civil War, New York”

New York State Archives

 “A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies”

Regimental Histories, 25th New York Cavalry

Report of the Adjutant General’s Office; New York

“Riker’s Island Connections With Military Units”

 Sands and MacDougal Directory, Melbourne

U.S. Pension Files

Joan E. Hunt - History Victoria Support Group

 

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