Warrenville and the American Civil War: May 1864

Not only had Hiram Leonard all but adopted the Wray children, his former housekeeper’s kids, and provided a home for daughter Elizabeth and her soldier husband George Potter while he was on leave from the army, but he also cared for son William’s wife and baby after William left to fight in the Civil War in 1862. In May of 1864, Hiram, who had sent many a care package off to William during his time with the 105th Infantry, received a terrible letter that brought him great pain and additional strain to his already stressful life. William had been killed on the battlefield at Resaca, Georgia. Although William died while charging rebel forces on the 15th, the news didn’t arrive to Warrenville until the 26th, along with the details that another Warrenville boy, James Monk, had also died from injuries suffered in the charge. As soon as he received the news, Hiram sent a letter up to where Caroline, William’s wife, was staying with her family at the time. Hiram continued to care for Caroline, and even gave her a job as a housekeeper after William’s death. She did remarry for a short period of time before continuing to work for Hiram. 10 years after the loss of William, Hiram would take the ultimate act of caring for Caroline and her child when he married her, despite their 30 year age difference.

Taken from the Warrenville Historical Society’s program “1864 in 48 Minutes” that was held on January 26, 2014.

 

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