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Charles William Sherman, referred to by many as John Wesley Sherman, was born on March 21, 1838 at Ashford, New York; the son of Charles and Mary Witney Sherman. New York Federal Census records for the city of Ashford reveal Sherman lived in Ashford, situated in Cattaraugus County, as late as 1855 and earned a living as a dry goods merchant while serving as a Methodist Episcopal minister.  In 1861 Sherman married his first wife, Laura Runyon in New York, and they bore five children between 1862 and 1871; Elmer C. on May 28, 1862, Elbert R. on July 2, 1864, Laura C. on March 10, 1867, Angie M. on March 24, 1869 and Willie R. Sherman on April 22, 1871. Laura died shortly after the birth of Willie, on April 26, 1871. The validity of his name is reflected on his Marriage Certificate and other personal documents. At the age of 24 and leaving his farm, Charles Sherman enlisted as a private in Company F, 116th New York Infantry on August 9, 1862 at the town of Concord, New York for a period of three years; being mustered into Company F.

The 116th New York Infantry was recruited in Erie County, organized at Camp Morgan, Buffalo, New York from August 10th through September 3, 1862. Once organized nine companies the 116th left Buffalo for Baltimore, Maryland on September 5th; attached to Emery's Brigade, 8th Army Corps, Baltimore, Maryland, Middle Department, until November, 1862. They were followed later in the month by Company K. It was encamped at Druid's Hill Park in Baltimore until November 5, 1862. when it moved into Pennsylvania,  against Stuart’s forces from  October 12th through the 15th. It reached Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on October 15th and was ordered to join the Banks Expedition.  It embarked on the Steamer "Atlantic" for Fortress Monroe, Virginia on November 6th and sailed for Ship Island, Mississippi, arriving on December 4th.

From March 7th through the 27th it participated in operations against Port Hudson, Louisiana,  stood duty at Baton Rouge until May 19th, advanced on Port Hudson from May 19th through the 24th, saw action at Plains Store on May 21st at which time Sherman was wounded, participated in the  Siege of Port Hudson from May 24th through July 9th,  assaulted  Port Hudson on  May 27th.. During the fierce fighting at Port Hudson, Colonel Edward Chapin commanded a Brigade which included the 116th New York and the 49th Massachusetts. His brigade was ordered forward to initiate an attack on the Confederate defenses at Port Hudson. The village of Port Hudson, located on a bend of the Mississippi river, 25 miles above Baton Rouge and about 15O miles from New Orleans, was fortified by the Confederates in the summer and fall of 1862. The works were of great strength, the parapets having an average thickness of 20 feet and rising to a height of 15 feet above the bottom of the ditch in front. The batteries were about 80, feet above the water,  on which were mounted 20 heavy siege guns, which commanded the river for some distance in either direction.  As a result, the 116th New York suffered numerous casualties; including that of Major George M. Love and Sherman being wounded yet again. This time though Sherman was transported to the St. James General Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana where he underwent treatment for gunshot injuries to his right arm, his right hip and his right side; remaining in the hospital from May 29th until he was discharged because of his wounds, on July 29, 1863.

His brigade went on to participate in action at Kock's Plantation, Bayou LaFourche, Louisiana on July 12th and 13th,  was part of the Sabine Pass Expedition from September 4th through 12th,  the Red River Campaign from March 15th through May 22nd, participated in the  Battle of Sabine Cross Roads on April 8th, Pleasant Hill on April 9th,  Monett’s Ferry at Cane River Crossing on April 23rd, part of Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign from August 7th through November 28th, the  Battle of Winchester on September 19th and the Battle of Cedar Creek on  October 19th. It eventually moved to Washington, D. C. where it remained until June, then took part in the  Grand Review from May 22nd through the 24th. The 116th mustered out on June 8, 1865, and was officially discharged at Buffalo, New York on June 26, 1865.

Sherman applied for a military pension on September 5, 1863 at Erie County, New York, under application number 23486; at age 25. He was then a resident of Ashford, Cattaraugus County, New York. His application noted his injuries as a gunshot wound of the right arm which he received on May 21st, a wound to his right hip and a gunshot wound that entered his right side and passed out through his spinal area which he received on May 27th at Port Hudson. On September  30, 1876 he applied for an increase to his pension, when he was living in Illinois.

Divorced from his first wife, Laura, Sherman married a second wife, Eva J. Hadley; in Ypsilanti, Michigan on January 1, 1873. Shortly after the war Sherman applied for and was granted an invalid pension as a results of the injuries he received at the Battle of Port Hudson. In September 1876, while living in Astoria, Illinois, Sherman applied for an increase in the amount he was receiving for his pension. Soon after that, Sherman left his wife, as he had his first one, and in his occupation as a Methodist Minister,  ended up going to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he met his third wife to be; Lillian S. Bacon. He and Lillian were married in Honolulu on December 12, 1888; without, however, Sherman having ever gotten a divorce from his second wife.

In 1895 Sherman and Lillian left Hawaii and sailed south for Australia, arriving at Sydney Harbor that same year. Having no place to live and being short of funds by that time, they took up residence in the Sydney City Mission By June 21, 1906 Sherman’s health had declined dramatically; so much so that he required the full time assistance of an attendant and had been  boarding with Miss Jane Crocker at 648 George Street in Sydney, New South Wales for some eight months. In an affidavit presented before Orland H. Baker by his attending physician Dr. William Edward Warren of Sydney, Dr. Warren described Sherman’s condition, advising that they were the results of his war injuries which resulted in a severe case of neuritis and rheumatism. His personal caretaker Miss. Jane Croker, age 35 with whom he boarded, swore in an affidavit on June 21st, that his condition was so severe that he was unable to leave either his house or his bed and required assistance in even taking off or putting on clothes.

Sherman’s health continued to deteriorate and on July 11, 1911 he died while living at  Centenary Hall  a Methodist Mission.

Though Sherman first married Laura Runyon, then Eva Hadley and lastly Lillian Bacon, on his death certificate Jane Croker was listed as his “second wife”; and a record for their supposed marriage in 1910, was discovered in the New South Wales Marriage Registry; certificate No. 443. Some believe it was a cleverly designed ruse by Sherman to provide an income for Jane Croker after his death, because she had cared for him in his time of need. In any case, it was his confirmed second wife Eva Hadley who received a widow’s pension after his death.  Charles Wesley Sherman passed away at the Sydney City Mission on July 6, 1911, with his children Wilmer, Bert and William still living. He was subsequently buried in the Waverley Cemetery in General Selection Section 21 in grave allotment 4323, Select General Section.  After receiving a Widows Pension for some sixteen years, Eva Hadley died at South Plymouth, New York on February 10, 1927.

 

Waverly Library, New South Wales

Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York

Birth, Marriage and Death Records, New South Wales

Department of Pension Records, Washington, D,C,

“Guns of Port Hudson”, David C. Edmond

Historical Records Branch, Honolulu, Hawaii

National Archives, Medical Records Administration, Washington, D,C.

New York State Archives , Albany, New York

New York State Vital Records, Menands, New York

Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York

Regimental Histories, 116the New York Infantry

 U.S. Army Induction Files

 U.S. Consular Files, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Waverley Cemetery Records

 

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