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Phineas Soloman was born on July 9, 1836 in Liverpool, England.  After migrating to the U.S. he lived in Westfield, Massachusetts with his brothers John and Henry Soloman and with the outbreak of the Civil War both brothers enrolled in the same company of the 10th Massachusetts Infantry; before Phineas enlisted.  Phineas enlisted at New York City on March 5, 1863, after his brothers, into the Westchester Light Infantry, a militia formed in New York and a part of the 178th New York Infantry Regiment.  The following month he was elected as First Lieutenant of the Westchester Light Infantry, on June 9, 1863, and was discharged in less than three months; on June 18th. One day later though he mustered back  into Company D of the 178th New York Infantry at Camp Sprague on Staten Island, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Eventually, on August 12, 1864, Phineas was again promoted, to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and it was back dated to May 8, 1864. Following his promotion Phineas was placed in command of Company K, 178th New York Infantry for three months, before being transferred back to Company D.

On November 12, 1862, Col. Julius W. Adams had received authority to recruit a regiment, the 2nd Hawkins' Zouaves, in the first seven Senatorial Districts of the State of New York, for a service of nine months. On February 23, 1863, the term of service though was changed to three years. Col. Ethan Allen received authority to recruit a regiment on October 23, 1862, the Ethan Allen Regiment, 3rd Merchants' Brigade, in the same territory, for nine months' service. Then on November 19, 1862, Col. Henry E. Gotlieb was authorized to recruit a regiment, the Federal Guard, in the same districts; but his authority was revoked on  January 24, 1863, and the men who had enlisted transferred to Colonel Allen's regiment.  On May 12, 1863 the term of service of the men enlisted in the Merchants' Brigade for nine months was also changed to three years. On April 21, 1863 the 2nd  Hawkins' Zouaves and the 3rd  Merchants' Brigade were consolidated, with Colonel Adams in command, and designated the Blair Rifles. Authority was then granted on December 2, 1862, to Col. John G. Bell to recruit the Pratt Guards; and on December 4, 1862, authority was given to Col. Henry F. Liebenau to recruit the Seymour Light Infantry. Colonel Edward Wehler received his permission on January 10, 1863,  to recruit the Burnside Rifles and on February 6, 1863, Colonel James R. Quick was authorized to recruit the “Westchester Light Infantry”.  Lastly, on February 11, 1863 Colonel Francis H. Braulich was authorized to recruit a group called the Defenders.

On June 20, 1863, the “178th Regiment” was born and organized by the consolidation of the Blair Rifles, the Pratt Guards, the Seymour Light Infantry, the Burnside Rifles, the Westchester Light Infantry and the Defenders into one regiment, under Colonel Edward Wehler, with its organization being completed on October 14, 1863; and was promptly attached to 3rd Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, D. C.. Companies D and E were recruited on June 19, 1863, commanded by Lieutenant Cololonel Charles F. Smith and left New York on June 21, 1863.

The regiment was assigned duty at Fairfax Seminary and Washington, D.C., until October 31, 1863, when it moved to the Little River Turnpike in Virginia on  June 28th & 29th. It then had duty at Eastport, Mississippi, Columbus, Kentucky, Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.  It participated in the Meridian Campaign, the Red River Campaign, the occupation of Alexandria, the Battle of Pleasant Hill,  the Battle of Nashville, Tennessee and moved  to New Orleans, Louisiana from February 6th through the 22nd. On February 18, 1865 Phineas was again promoted, this time to Captain, replacing Augustus Stolper who had been mustered out, and he remained in that position until April 20, 1866 when he was mustered out with the rest of the Company at Montgomery, Alabama. Soloman’s regiment lost 18 enlisted men who were killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 190 enlisted men who died from diseases.

Soloman was married to Amelia Adkins, in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1859 and after the war’s end Soloman returned to Westfield and continued his profession of manufacturing cigars; but staying actively involved in the Westfield militia’s Laflin Guards.  He also held the position of Commander of the Westfield Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, in addition to participating in local committees and social events in Westfield. He was a Trustee of the Woronco Savings Bank, a Republican Party Representative to the 1876 Presidential Elections, had business interests in New York City, Rochester, New York, owned a successful cigar store in South Bend, Indiana with his brother Elisha and Phineas made a visit to Australia in 1878, accompanied by his mother and daughter Jessie, to visit his brothers Henry and John who were already successfully established in Australia. Upon returning to the U.S. he moved to South Bend, Indiana where he lived until 1864. His daughter Jessie married Dickinson Sheldon in 1881 and gave birth to her son, Pineas S., in 1882. The family disapproved of the marriage though and with Jessie in tow, the family returned to Australia and settled down in Sydney, Australia in 1884. Upon arriving back in Australia, Soloman assumed the name Thompson, for unknown personal reasons, and was employed as a bookkeeper as well as being in the tobacco industry in Sydney.  Jessie divorced her husband Sheldon in 1886 and was remarried in Sydney, New South Wales.  Her second husband died though and Jessie returned to Massachusetts in 1911 and remarried Sheldon; returning to Australia with him in 1922. By that time, her father Phineas had already been dead for twenty-two years.

Phineas Solomon died of bronchitis at Paddington, Sydney, Australia on July 4, 1900 and was buried at the Waverley Cemetery in Sydney. Shortly after, Amelia went into an “apoplexic coma”, which lasted for two months, and also died; on September 28, 1900.


Birth, Marriage and Death Records, New South Wales

 “Compendium of the War of the Rebellion” Fredrick H Dyer, 1908

 “Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903”, Francis B. Heitman

Indiana Genealogical Society, Fort Wayne. Indiana

 Indiana State Archives, Indianapolis, Indiana

 Massachusetts Archives, Boston, Massachusetts

 “New York in the War of the Rebellion”, Frederick Phisterer, 1912

 Report of the Adjutant General, New York

 Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney

 “The Civil War”, Smithsonian Institute, 2004

 Waverley Cemetery Records


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