Charles William Sherman, referred to by many as John
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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,
National Archives, Medical Records Administration,
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
Regimental Histories, 116the New
U.S. Army Induction Files
U.S. Consular Files, National
Archives, Washington, D.C.
Waverley Cemetery Records