Prominent Men and Women of Mower County - William Stanley

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Wednesday, October 28, 1891
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Capt. Wm Stanley.

Captain Wim. Stanley was born in New York city, June 5, 1831. While he was an infant his parents moved to Albany, but returned to New York when he was 14 years old. He received a common school education, and in 1849 embarked as a sailor before the mast, on the Greenland whaler "McClelland," of New London, Conn. This voyage occupied from February until October, and he continued to follow the sea until 1855, visiting the East Indies, Africa, Australia, China, South America and California in its early day.

He enlisted June 28, 1855, as a private, in the 10th Regiment of United States infantry, under Colonel E. B. Alexander. In October of that year his regiment came to Minnesota and was stationed at Forts Snelling and Ridgeley for nearly three years. He was appointed Sergeant, Oct. 1, 1855, and 1st Sergeant in 1856.

In 1867 he went with his regiment to Utah, and was stationed at camps Scott and Floyd, Forts Bridges, Laramie and Kearney until the spring of 1863, when they joined the Army of the Potomac. He re-enlisted May 1, 1860, and was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major in June, 1861.

He participated in the battle of Chancellorsville under Hooker, May 1, 2 and 3, 1863, and of Gettysburg, under Meade, July 1 to 4 the same year. At this battle, on the 3 d day, the 2d brigade of 2d division of the 5th army corps, including Stanley's regiment, was held in the reserve several hours, and then thrown in a gap made by Sickle's forward movement. They received the brunt of Longstreet's charge and lost 75 of their men in killed and wounded.

The volunteer service was preferred, and his regiment had sustained heavy losses and received no recruits since the beginning of the war. It entered this fight 81 muskets strong and came out mustering 20. Too few of the brigade were left to sustain the position, and while with drawing to give place to the Pennsylvania reserves, Stanley called the attention of a Captain to his tin cup with seven bullet holes in it, who remarked, "well, you are not hit yet; come on." At that instant he was hit by a bullet in the right leg, and another ball cut the strap and carried away the remains of his cup.

As Stanley fell some behind, a Reb called out, "Come here you d___d Yankee, I want you." Stanley said "I haven't got time," and fell at the instant, rolled down a declivity and escaped. It was swampy at the foot of the hill, and he soon stepped in a hole that brought the water above his wound. This produced the keenest smart he ever felt, and so quickened his paces that he soon got through the Pennsylvania reserves. Here a glancing shot on the left side of his head dazed him for a time. In trying to reach a hospital he got on to Cemetery hill in the thickest of the fight and lay under a fire of shot and shell till the afternoon of the 4th, when the regimental ambulance reached him. He was taken to the hospital at York, Pennsylvania, and rejoined his regiment in New York City during the draft riots.

He was commissioned Second Lieutenant Oct. 31, 1863, and seven days later was appointed Regimental Adjutant, serving as such until his promotion as Captain in May, 1867. He, with his regiment, remained at Ft. Lafayette, N. Y. Harbor, after the riots till they rejoined the army of the Potomac in April, 1864. He participated in the wilderness campaign and all the battles till at Cold Harbor he received a wound in the left arm that necessitated amputation above the elbow.

He was breveted First Lieutenant May 19, 1864, for conspicuous gallantry and meritorious services at the battle of Spottsylvania; promoted First Lieutenant in June, 1864; breveted Captain June 3, 1864, for conspicuous gallantry and meritorious services at the battle of Cold Harbor, Va. He was mustering duty in Ohio for a short time; rejoined his regiment at Fort Hamilton, N. Y. harbor in December, 1864; was stationed at Fort Porter, Buffalo, N. Y., during the Fenian excitement, until May, 1865; and then rejoined the army of the Potomac. Little remained of the war but to participate in the Grand Review in Washington, D. C.

He went to Jefferson Barracks, Mo., late in 1865, remaining until May, 1866, and thence to Ft. Snelling, Minn. He was appointed Captain 44th U. S. Infantry, July 28, 1866, but declined, and was promoted Captain in his own regiment, 10th U. S. Infantry, to date January 22, 1867. He joined his company, C, stationed at Fort Wadsworth, D. T., in June 1867, and commanded the escort to Gen. Terry, Department Commander, to the Missouri River, that summer. He returned to Ft. Wordsworth, where he was stationed until June, 1869, when the regiment was sent to Texas. Here, under orders reducing the army, the 10th and 26th regiments of infantry were consolidated, leaving the junior officers in each grade, of which class the subject of our sketch was one, on waiting orders. He remained in Texas on reconstruction duty, until July 14, 1870, when he was assigned to Company D. 20th U. S. Infantry, stationed at Fort Abercrombie, D. T. He served at that post, at Fort Wordsworth and along the line of the Northern Pacific road during its construction out of the Missouri river, during the years 1870-1-2-3. Late in 1873 he went to Fort Pembina, D. T., where he received his discharge from the service in October, 1874.

In August, 1875, he removed with his family to Lyle village, and opened an office as collection agent, general conveyancer, notary public, etc. He has held several offices of trust in the village. January 1, 1881, in company with his eldest son, he purchased the drug business of Frank Jerabek, and they have remained in that line ever since.

He was married September 7, 1857, at Fort Ridgley, Minnesota, to Miss Gertrude Olson. They have had seven children born to them, of whom the three now living are Isabella, Edward L. and Geo. Lyle. The Captain's devoted wife accompanied him in all his wanderings and removals during this army life, sharing the vicissitudes and hardships of a soldier's life, both in tents and barracks, excepting while he was fighting with the Army of the Potomac. The Captain is now receiving a pension of $45 a month.