Today I begin the tale of my family in the Civil War. I consider it dangerous territory. Many historians, both amateur and professional, have devoted years to understanding even a single battle. Information abounds regarding the Civil War and I claim no expertise in its history. With that disclaimer, I begin a story of seven brothers. All served, as Jacob’s obituary shown above states, in the Civil War at one time. In point of fact, they all served together for only 100 days from May 2, 1864 to September 14, 1864. The story is no less amazing. And it begins with what the family seemed to do regularly. It begins with a move.
By 1860 Jacob Croy, wagon maker, and Margaret Pugh Croy, my great, great grandparents, had moved from Coshocton County, Ohio to Fairfield Township, Washington County, Ohio. They settled not far from Marietta, a booming port on the Ohio River. Seven sons and 3 daughters traveled with them. Sons Robert and William brought families. Robert and wife, Emily, had two children, Stanton, age 4, and Joseanna, age 2. William and his wife, Rebecca, had a 5-year-old son, Anderson. The three families lived side-by-side working a farm in Fairfield Township.[i]
It was a turbulent time. Lincoln narrowly won the presidency within months of the 1860 census. One by one, southern states seceded from the Union. At 4 am, April 12, 1861 cannon shots erupted over Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the Civil War began. Marietta became a major staging site to protect the important supply line of the Ohio River, its canals and railways, and for recruitment of Ohio Volunteers. On July 21, 1861, the Union Army suffered a devastating loss at The Battle of Bull Run, and President Lincoln, facing the reality of that loss, called for a half million volunteers.
On October 12, 1861, young Greer (Grier/Grear) Croy volunteered for a three-year term. Single and 23 years old,[ii] he joined the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment that would fight on both the western and eastern fronts of the war and participate in many of its major battles. He would be wounded three times while carrying the colors of his regiment and the Nation, reaching the rank of “color” corporal.[iii]
[i] 1860 Census: Fairfield, Washington, Ohio: Roll: M653_1048; Page: 124; Image: 251; Family History Library Film: 805048 Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census: http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=1860usfedcenancestry&h=42575018
[ii] Note: no birth certificate as yet found and date of birth fluctuates from 1842 grave marker, 1836 approx. date given at enlistment, and 1839 dates for census of 1850, 1860, and 1840 date from census of 1870
[iii] Martin R. Andrews, edited and compiled, History of Marietta and Washington county, Ohio and representative citizens, Vol. 1 (Biographical Pub. Co., Chicago, 1902) Pgs 755-756 https://openlibrary.org/books/OL6573096M Includes interesting accounts of each Ohio regiments service from the perspective of the late 1800’s.