As a counter-balance to the story of my great-great-grandfather Charles Wagner, I thought I’d tell you a little about another of my great-great-grandfathers, Edward Flanagan. I find this episode from his life oddly emblematic of the difference between my father’s family and my mother’s.
Like Charles Wagner, Edward Flanagan volunteered to serve the Union during the Civil War. At 14 he joined a unit in Missouri. Then, hearing that a unit in Illinois paid more, he crossed the river and joined the Illinois unit, serving with that unit for a time. He doesn’t appear in any unit records. I only know about this because later in life he applied for a pension as a Union veteran. The War Department turned him down on the grounds that he had never been properly mustered in to any unit. However, they were kind enough rescind his status of deserter from the first unit with which he served.
He led an interesting but hard life which I think I’ve recounted elsewhere. He was tall, rangy and good-looking and, honestly, I wish I looked more like that side of the family.