Saturday, November 28, 2020

Carlton McNew and Civil War fatality reports

I've been updating this week the annotated list of Lucas County's Civil War dead --- approximately 150 young men --- that lives deep in the archives of this blog and still is a work in progress. Something new  occurs to me every time I work with this list --- and this week it was the volume and quality of reporting on that war in one of Iowa's oldest newspapers, The Burlington Hawk-Eye.

The Chariton Patriot was Lucas County's only hometown newspaper during those Civil War years, but the weekly version of The Hawk-Eye probably was the regional newspaper that circulated most widely, arriving at post offices via the horse-powered U.S. Mail routes that served the south of Iowa west of the Des Moines River.

I was working with the entry for Carlton McNew, who died in St. Louis on Feb. 16 or 17, 1863, of complications from wounds sustained during the Battle of Arkansas Post Jan. 11, 1863. 

On Feb. 7, The Hawk-Eye reported that Carlton was among Arkansas Post casualties who had left Mound City, Illinois, where as many patients as the hospital there could handle had been dropped off, via the steamer Iatan on Jan. 21, bound for St. Louis.

On Feb. 12, The Hawk-Eye reported that Carlton was hospitalized at the New House of Refuge hospital in St. Louis, and on Feb. 21, his Feb. 17 death from a gunshot wound was recorded.


Carlton, born ca. 1838 in Illinois, was a son of William H. and Lucinda (Williams) McNew. His father died about 1848 and his mother remarried Allen Williams prior to 1850. The family was living in Mahaska County during 1850 and by 1860 had moved to Chariton.

Carlton, however, was working as a laborer in Andrew County, Missouri, that year and married Emaline Turner there on Sept. 5, 1860.  They had joined his family in Lucas County prior to his enlistment as a private in Company E, 34th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. N.B. Gardner, at Chariton on Aug. 11, 1862, when he was 24. 

He was mustered into federal service on Oct. 15, 1862, at Burlington, and died as a result of wounds received during the battle of Arkansas Post approximately four months later.

I found the affidavit (top) containing the details of his death in the widow's pension file of Emaline McNew. Her application for a pension was dated March 24, 1863, and Capt. Gardner's deposition, April 17, 1867, about four years later. So obtaining a pension was not a speedy process. The text reads in part as follows:

"I N.B. Gardner, a resident of Chariton in the County of Lucas State of Iowa late Capt. of Company "E" of the 34th Regiment of Iowa Inftr Vols on oath, depose and say that Carolton McNew late a Private in Company "E" of the 34th Regiment of Iowa Inftry Vols while in the military service of the United States, in the line of his duty, and without fault or improper conduct of his, on or about the 16th day of February 1863, at St. Louis (?) Hospital in the State of Missouri, he died of fever having been previously wounded at the battle of Arkansas Post on the 11 day of January 1863 while in the line of his duty causing amputation of one of his limbs, afterward was taken with Fever which caused his death."

Carlton's remains were buried first at Christ Church Cemetery in St. Louis, then collected after the war along with thousands of others and reinterred in Grave 4276, Section 38, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

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