Marshall Wright: Aged War Veteran Tells of Experience

140th Pennsylvania - Officers

Image from the History of Co. K,  140th Penna Volunteers – 1862 – “65

Aged War Veteran Tells Of Experience

Marshall Wright, 85 years of age, of Croton avenue, clear of vision and mind, and still able to go about without a staff tells of his early days in the Panhandle of West Virginia, relates thrilling experiences of how he suffered for the flag and endured hardness for his country. The whole story is an inspiration to the faltering ones of today, who are losing their nerve.

“I was born in “old Virginny” September 10, 1837, on a large 400-acre Brooke’s county farm, just across the Ohio river from Steubenville, O. Brooke county has always been in that narrow strip of land called the Panhandle lying between the state of Pennsylvania and the Ohio river. Up to 1861 it was a part of Virginia; but when Virginia seceded from the Union, representatives from 47 counties of the northwestern part of the state organized a state government, and in 1863 were admitted to the Union as West Virginia. That part of the country was a hotbed of secession. Families were arrayed against each other, friend was against friend. Seven of my schoolmates favored the southern cause.

“My father was Jacob Wright and my mother was Margaret Davis Wright. There were 11 of we children. We did not have free schools but the parents paid tuition of abut $2 for each child for a term of three months a year.

Lived In Log House

“When I was 12 years old I was doing all kinds of farm work and working the same number of hours as father. We lived in a log house. I can still see the big fireplace, the spinning wheel, the long barreled rifle on pegs above the mantle, the flickering tallow candle or the piece of wicking burning on the edge of a saucer of grease. Then that gun. The barrel was as heavy as a crow bar, but oh boy, how it would shoot. One day father gave me a dozen lead bullets as I was preparing to go hunting with the old relic on the pegs. I came back with 13 squirrels. The thirteenth squirrel was killed with the ‘neck’ cut from one of the bullets, which had adhered when taking from the moulds. In those early days the wild ducks and geese flying to or from their winter home in the south would sometimes hand and occupy the river. There would be thousands of them in the river at one time. In the winter when the farm work was all done up, I would make trips down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans on a flat boat. I usually went with Bill Householder who was a regular at that kind of seafaring, and had just completed my third trip when the was came on. I was 24 years old and the first act of the seceders was to go down along the Baltimore & Ohio as far as Grafton and burn buildings and bridges. I joined the three-month men as a private in the First Virginia regiment and when we overtook the bridge burners at Phillippi and shelled them, there was nothing further to it. We were paid $11 a month in gold and at the expiration of the term were mustered out at Wheeling.

In 140th Pa. Volunteers

“I then enlisted in Company K, 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry for three years. My captain was William Stockton of Cross Creek and the colonel was Dick Roberts of Beaver, Pa. We assembled and organized at Washington’s fair grounds. Then went to Camp Copeland, Pittsburgh, then moved to Harrisburg where we were equipped and sent out to patrol the Northern Central railway, now the P.R.R., to Parkton, Md. On December 1, 1862, we joined the Army of the Potomac. Our first fight was at Chancellorsville where the famous General Stonewall Jackson was killed. We were defeated, and re-crossed the Rappahannock to go into camp. Next, we followed Lee’s army which was invading Pennsylvania. Our regiment arrived at Gettysburg about 9o’clock on the morning of July 2 and took a position in the famous wheatfield. Our losses were very heavy and among the slain was Colonel Roberts. I was struck on the right elbow and had to retire. Later I was sent to Satterlee hospital, West Philadelphia. My father came and took me home. At the expiration of my furlough I went to the detention camp at Alexandria, Va., and a little later on was given full equipment including a gun and 40 rounds of ammunition, and with others boarded a supply train on the Orange and Alexandria railroad to rejoin the regiment, which was in camp, in the county of Culpeper. That was as rough a road as a man ever rode on! It now appears to me that the engine bell never stopped ringing owing to the low joints. It’s a wonder the water did not splash out of the boiler.
At Cancellorsville.

“General Grant now had charge of the army of the Potomac and great activity was going on at every point. Our regiment crossed the Rapidan and slept on the Chancellorsville battlefield. On May 4th, 1864, we went into the battle of the Wilderness and got into action on the second day, just before sundown, at Todd’s Tavern, where Corporal Wright, that’s me, had one bullet put thru the sleeve of his blouse and another right through his cap. Well, they say “a miss is as good as a mile.” We next crossed the Mataponny river in the night. At daybreak a large force of Confederates came out and formed as if to go into battle. We fired one volley into them and they disappeared, while we fell back across the little stream. Spottsylvania came next where Lee had his army behind earthworks. Our regiment was marching in the night to the immediate vicinity of the works. It has been said that we were twenty men deep on the assaulting line. We knew something was going to happen. It rained all night. Just as the first streaks of dawn lifted the darkness of the night the order to charge rang all along the line. The fight was on. The noise of that battle was awful. I was in the first line and went over the top twenty or thirty feet, when a bullet struck me in the neck, passed clear through and came out of my back. We took several thousand prisoners. My injury was of such a nature that I was paralyzed. The battle was at its height and the captured ‘rebs’ were pouring back to our lines and eager they were to get back to a place of safety. As one of them came close to me I held out my hands, and asked him if he wouldn’t take me back. He stopped and helped me to our side of the works and laid me down where the flying bullets would not be so liable to get me, then beat it back into our lines as fast as he could travel.

That was on May 12th. They carried me back to the field hospital with other wounded. The tide of battle changed and the field hospital was left unguarded. The ‘rebs’ came that way and while they wanted nothing to do with anything that looked like I did, they took my boots and every bit of my clothing except my underwear. This little scene had hardly been staged when Sheridan’s cavalry came down and took care of us. I was loaded into an ambulance with another wounded soldier and for 36 hours was bumped and jolted over rough country roads, many miles of the way being corduroy.

Suffer Intensely.

The ride was worse than death. We both suffered intensely. Upon arrival at Acquai creek we were placed on straw or hay that had been scattered on the ground and when the hospital boat arrived we were loaded onto the boat, and put onto cots that seemed so nice and soft to anything we had thus far. Up to this time nothing had been done for me. Not a drop of medicine, nothing to ease the pain, had not been bathed or had my wound dressed. There were 1500 [or 1600] of us in that cargo bearing every conceivable kind of an injury. One of the attendants came to me and said: “Open your mouth.” I did so and he said: “drink all you can,” as he put a bottle to my lips. I immediately went to sleep and when I awoke it was in the Harvard Hospital, Washington, D.C. It had been five days since I was hurt and the only thing that had been done was to give me that medicine out of the bottle.”

Stopping as if to collect his thoughts this old veteran said, “What makes us old Grand Army men love the flag so much is, that we have suffered so much for it and it has done so much for us.” “My wound was an unusual one owing to the way it cut a pathway thru my neck among the arteries and cleared itself without striking a vital spot. The surgeons took a photograph of it. My left arm was paralyzed by the wound. At the end of thirty days my mother went to Washington and took me home on furlough.

After six months treatment at the Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, I was sent back to the regiment which was lying in front of Petersburg. In November 1864, After the final withdrawal from Richmond, the army followed Lee with the 140th Regiment deployed as skirmishers. We overtook them at Appomattox and the surrender followed, April 9th, 1865. I was in the Grand Review at Washington in May, then we proceeded to Pittsburgh turned in our guns and equipment and were mustered out of the service.

I went back to farming and 12 years ago came to New Castle to make my home. In 1880 Miss Margaret Pollock became my wife.

We have two daughters, Mrs. Geo. Richardson of Main street and Mrs. J.H. Fulton of Los Angeles, Calif.

We live in the Dufford Block, Croton avenue.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) 2 Dec 1922

New Castle News (New Castle,  Pennsylvania) Mar 3,  1911

Oak Park Cemetery (Image from Find-A-Grave)

D. Marshall Wright.

D. Marshall Wright, aged 86 years, of 337 1-2 Croton avenue, one of the oldest residents of New Castle and veteran of the Civil War, died Saturday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George Richardson of 601 East Main street after a brief Illness of pneumonia.

Mr. Wright was born in Virginia, September 10, 1837, and had resided in this city for the past 14 years. He was a member of Epworth Methodist church, G.A.R. and I.O.O.F. lodge.

He enlisted at the beginning of the Civil War in Washington county in the Union Army with Company K, 140th Pennsylvania Volunteers and served for four years.

Besides hsi widow, Mrs. Margaret Wright, he leaves two daughters, Mrs. J.H. Fulton of California, and Mrs. George Richardson of this city, and three sisters, Mrs. Thomas Wheeler and Mrs. Alex Ralston of West Virginia, and Mrs. Wesley Crawford, of Brazil, Ind.

Funeral services took place this afternoon at 2:30 from the Richardson home on Main street in charge of Rev. Homer Davis assisted by Rev. C.M. Small. Interment was made in Oak Park Mausoleum.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Feb 11, 1924

Name:      Marshall Wright
Enlistment Date:     9 Apr 1862
Rank at enlistment:     Corporal
State Served:     Pennsylvania
Was Wounded?:     Yes
Survived the War?:     Yes
Service Record:     Enlisted in on 18 May 1861.
Mustered out on 28 Aug 1861.
Enlisted in Company K, Pennsylvania 140th Infantry Regiment on 04 Sep 1862.
Mustered out on 31 May 1865 at Washington, DC.
Sources:     History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865
Research by R. Ross Houston

Marshall Wright‘s daughter, Hattie L. Wright married James Hunter Fulton. They has a son, H. Marshall Fulton:

Name:   Hattie L Fulton
[Hattie L Wright]
Birth Date: 12 Jul 1873
Birthplace: West Virginia
Death Date: 21 Dec 1941
Death Place: Los Angeles
Mother’s Maiden Name: Pollock
Father’s Surname: Wright

Name:  Hattie Fulton
Home in 1900: Ellwood City, Lawrence, Pennsylvania
Age: 26
Birth Date: Jul 1873
Birthplace: West Virginia
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relationship to Head of House: Wife
Father’s Birthplace: West Virginia
Mother’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother: number of living children: 1
Mother: How many children: 1
Spouse’s name:     James H Fulton
Marriage Year: 1893
Marital Status: Married
Years Married:     7
Household Members:
Name     Age
James H Fulton 30 Jul 1869 PA PA PA
Hattie Fulton 26
Marshall Fulton 5 Jun 1894 PA PA WV

Name:  Hattie L Fulton
Age in 1910: 36
Estimated birth year: abt 1874
Birthplace: West Virginia
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Father’s Birth Place: Virginia
Mother’s Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Spouse’s name: James H Fulton
Home in 1910: New Castle Ward 3, Lawrence, Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Female
Household Members:
Name     Age
James H Fulton     40
Hattie L Fulton 36
H Marshall Fulton 15

Name: H Marshall Fulton
Home in 1930: Alhambra, Los Angeles, California
Age: 35
Estimated birth year: abt 1895
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse’s name: Hazel L Fulton
Household Members:
Name     Age
H Marshall Fulton 35 (machinist – can factory)
Hazel L Fulton 33 UT ENG SWE
Jack Fulton 10

Jack Fulton

As I was doing some research on Marshall Wright, I ran across this obituary for his great-grandson, who coincidentally passed away this year.

Jack Marshall Fulton 06/02/1919 ~ 03/28/2010

ESCONDIDO — Jack Marshall  Fulton  was born June 2, 1919 in Ogden, Utah, the son of Hazel and Marshall  Fulton. He passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 28, 2010. Jack graduated from Alhambra High School, Alhambra, Calif. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. After being discharged, he returned to school graduating from Pierce College and then the Agricultural Teacher Program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he received his Bachelors and Masters of Ed.

He began his teaching career at Escondido High School in 1957 and served until he retired in 1980. He then married the love of his life, Martha Moen on January 15, 1983 and enjoyed 14 years of marriage that included many travels and cruises. Jack became a Master Mason in 1949. He served his community with the Masons and also the Lions Club throughout his life. He leaves his loving family, Cary and Cheryl Moen, Norman and Carol Peet; and grandchildren, Dana and Wendy Moen, Deric and Amber Moen, Darin Moen, Andrew and Erin Peet, Aaron and Amanda Peet, Josh and April Peet; and five great grandchildren with one on the way!

You are invited to the memorial service on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, at 2 p.m., at the Masonic Center, 1331 S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025, 760-745-4957. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be given to Elizabeth Hospice, http://www.elizabethhospice.org.

obits.nctimes.com

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