Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Faces of the Civil War: The Hewitt brothers

New Jersey brothers: William and John Hewitt

William Hewitt may have been one of the lucky ones. Some of his comrades in the 12th New Jersey Infantry were assigned the dangerous task of flushing out Rebels from the Bliss Farm buildings on the afternoon of July 2 and the morning of July 3, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg. The 12th New Jersey suffered 106 killed, wounded or missing during both engagements. Hewitt, a private in Co. A from Woodbury, N.J., didn't participate because he was injured.

According to Hewitt's claim for a pension in 1876, he "was ruptured across the bowels" from carrying a heavy load to Gettysburg while on the march about July 1, 1863. And in an amended claim in 1885, it was stated that Hewitt suffered from chronic diarrhea and piles that were contracted in July 1863, "the consequence of fatigue and overmarching" to Gettysburg.(1) Hewitt's pension claim for the hernia apparently was rejected, but he received a $6-a-month pension in 1885 for "chronic diarrhea and resulting piles and dyspepsia."

William Hewitt died of a heart ailment on Aug. 24, 1894, in Clayton, N.J. He was 62. He is buried in IOOF Cemetery in Medford, N.J.

The 6th plate ambrotype above from my collection shows William and his brother, John, who served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama with the 34th New Jersey Infantry. John is buried in Saint Andrews Graveyard in Mount Holly, N.J. According to Hewitt family lore, one of these brothers, most likely John, was killed by lightning after the war. Pretty amazing to survive the war and then die that way.

(1) Pension appeal document, April 19, 1887.

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