Pvt. George Danforth

Co. C - 118th Regiment, New York Volunteers

George enlisted on August 11, 1862 at the age of 35 for three years in Company C, 118th Regiment, New York Volunteers that was known as the Adirondack Regiment.  George was mustered in on August 24th as a Corporal.  The Captain of Company C was James N. Pierce, age 37.  The Regiment included 101 men all from Essex County, New York, including 2 lieutenants, 5 sergeants, 8 corporals, 83 privates and 2 others.

George’s army experience was a miserable one with no glory whatsoever.  It was, perhaps, more typical than most you read about.  He suffered from pneumonia and rheumatism the winter of 1862-1863 while stationed in Northern Virginia.  His condition was probably aggravated by the extremely humid winters of that area which was a sharp change from the clear cold of the Adirondacks.  His continuing illness was probably the reason he was reduced in rank on August 10, 1863 to Private.  He was treated starting on that date for about three weeks with severe diarrhea.

George and his regiment took part in the Battles of Petersburg and Fort Harrison (also known as Chapin’s Farm).  He was wounded in the latter engagement in late September 1864; a musket ball went through his right arm, about two inches up from the wrist, luckily without breaking any bones.  He was in the hospital until October 19th and returned to duty January 14, 1865.  He was still listed as a private the following June. Apparently his comrades at this time made him the target of their jokes for his continuing illness, although they were very supportive of his pension claims later on.

He was admitted to the field hospital March 15, 1865 for pneumonia and then transferred, first to Point of Rocks Hospital in Virginia on March 22nd, then to Philadelphia in May, and finally to Troy, New York in June. He was mustered out from that hospital on July 15, 1865, about six weeks before his three-year term was up.

In May 1875, George filed a pension claim for the September 1864 gunshot wound and was awarded $4.00 a month.  This was increased to $6.00 a month in September 1877.  In October 1877, his pension was dropped.   An examination said there was no longer any disability from the gunshot wound.

Although this is not extremely exciting history or an adventurous history, it is perhaps, a more average narration of the average soldier’s experience.  George was fortunate because he came out of the experience with his life and this was also fortunate for me since I would not be here to tell his story, had he died in battle. 

A special thanks to my father for the hours he spent researching our family history, so that I am able to share some of the stories with you.