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Henry H. Speer, Jr.

Orange Beads
12 June 1829
Little Falls (then Essex County), NJ
Son of:
Hendrick Hendrick Spier and
Maria Brower
Bertha Ower, 17 Jan 1852
First Presbyterian Church
Paterson, Passaic Co., NJ
12 August 1916
Paterson, Passaic Co., NJ

My great great grandfather, Henry H. Speer, Jr., served in the 13th NJ Regiment, Co. K. This regiment was part of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Corps. Henry was mustered into service 25 August 1862 at Newark, NJ, Camp Frelinghuysen, by Capt. Hugh C. Irish (who was killed during the Battle of Antietam. Subsequent officers were Capt. James Scott who resigned, and then Capt. Charles A. Hopkins, as of 18 Jan. 1863.) This particular regiment was involved in many of the major battles of the Civil War including the Battle of Gettysburg. Henry's occupation when mustered into service was that of clerk.

According to Henry's discharge paper (copy in my possession), Henry was five feet seven inches, had gray eyes, brown hair and fair or sandy complexion.

He made his pension application based on the fact that he was in a lot of pain from a gunshot wound received in his right arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville, VA, and also because of his rheumatism. (Chancellorsville was the battle where General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded inadvertently by his own men.) Henry's wound landed him in the hospital at Aquia Creek, VA on 4 May 1863. It must not have been too severe a wound because he was back with his regiment on 8 May 1863, and he fought in the Battle of Gettysburg about 2 months later.

13th NJ Monument at Gettysburg, PA

During the Civil War, Henry started as a private and was eventually promoted to first corporal. By the Sept./Oct. Company Muster Roll, however, after the Battle of Gettysburg, he was demoted to private again because of drunkenness. One can only assume that the horrors of war had begun to erode his spirit and the "bottle" was his recourse.

As mentioned previously, the 13th NJ Regiment was involved in many of the major battles of the War. These are all listed on the back of a monument commemorating the 13th NJ Volunteers at Gettysburg National Park, PA, near Culp's Hill and Spangler's Spring. These battles include: Antietam (1862), Chancellorsville (1863), Gettysburg (1863), Resaca (1864), Cassville (1864), Dallas (1864), Kulp's Farm (1864), Nancy's Creek (1864), Peach Tree Creek (1864), Siege of Atlanta (1864), March to the Sea (1864), Siege of Savannah (1864), Averysboro (1865), and Bentonville (1865).

Henry was discharged the 8th day of June 1865 at Washington, DC. He returned to civilian life, to live in Paterson, NJ with his wife, Bertha Ower Speer, and children, Maria, Peter, Henry Jr., and after the War, Bertha, Emma, and Ida. He was listed in his pension application, then, as simply "laborer". His son, Henry Speer Jr. was my paternal great grandfather.

Military and Pension Records of Henry H. Speer Jr. from the National Archives,
Washington, DC and information from Gettysburg National Park.

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