Another Great-Great-Grandfather

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.

2 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw

    “The War Department turned him down on the grounds that he had never been properly mustered in to any unit.”

    I don’t know if this applies, but one of the issues I’ve seen is that a man might be mustered into a state militia that never becomes attached to a federal force, i.e. he wasn’t mustered into the U.S. Army and thus is not pension-eligible. I have a relative that was mustered into the state militia near Hannibal, doesn’t appear to have ever left the area and probably was just manning pickets along major roadways to control movement. He petitioned for a pension that was denied because he didn’t serve under the Union Army. If, for example, his unit had been mustered into the U.S. Army to fight in the Battle of Kirksville, he should have been pension eligible.

    My completely baseless speculation though is that early in the war, he shot at a young Samuel Clemens gallivanting around with a bad crowd, causing him to high-tail it to safety in Nevada.

  • he shot at a young Samuel Clemens gallivanting around with a bad crowd

    And who could blame him? He was obviously up to no good.

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