Pvt. Chester Sturges

Co. C – 93rd Regiment New York Volunteers Infantry

Chester Sturges was born on February 15, 1839 in Newtons Corners, New York.  Today the town is known as Speculator.  Chester enlisted September 22, 1861 in Company C, 93rd Regiment, New York Volunteers and Infantry Regiment at Indian Lake.  He was mustered in November 20th, 1861 at Albany, New York. 

Chester was described in April 1864 as blue-eyed, light hair, twenty-two years old, five-foot-ten.  He apparently reported for duty in the field in December 1863 as a private under Captain Simon B. Newcomb.

As a side note, several other things were occurring away from the battlefields during the period between 1861 and 1863.  In August 1861 the first Federal Income Tax was passed.  In May 1862, the Homestead Law was signed; 160 acres were yours after five years of occupancy on the parcel of land.  The "Molly Maguires", a secret organization, had a violent influence on labor relations.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture was established in May 1862.  And on November 19, 1863 Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address. 

May 5th, 1864, in what was an indecisive battle called the Battle of the Wilderness; Chet suffered a gunshot wound that was to have serious consequences for him all the rest of his life.  As he was sighting his rifle across the limb of a tree, he was hit in the face by a rifle bullet.  The bullet entered just about his upper jaw on the left side of his nose, between the nose and cheekbone.  It passed thought the upper jaw and removed four upper teeth, then smashed the lower jaw knocking out five lower teeth.  The bullet came out below the right side of his jaw.  His cousin-to-be, Charles Hastings who was the son of a near neighbor, was with him when he fell, for he had enlisted in the same company. 

Hastings reported later that Chester lay in the battlefield for three days before going to the hospital.  He was the first man wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness, and his sergeant, Edward H. Talbot, later testified, "Enough could not be said as to the bravery of this man Sturges."  In fact, Talbot said that Sturges had been suffering from rheumatism the day of the battle and would have been excused had he asked to be for he really was in no condition to fight. 

Chet was kept in the Baltimore General Hospital until the fall of 1864, and then sent to Petersburgh where he was discharged December 4th, 1864.

For the remaining years of their lives Chester and his wife Eliza were involved in affidavits and medical examinations in regards to Chester's claims for increase in pension. 

Chester Sturges died on December 10, 1894, which I find an interesting coincidence. I was born on December 10th.