Jared C. Brosious – Shoemaker and Soldier

Alternate Spellings of Surname: Brocious, Broscious, Brosious

On 30 April 1869, Jared C. Brosious ran the following notice about his new shoe shop in the Sunbury American newspaper (public domain).

On 30 April 1869, Jared C. Brosious ran the following notice about his new shoe shop in the Sunbury American newspaper (public domain).

Born in 1827 in Pennsylvania, Jared C. Brosious was a son of Abraham and Catherine (Bush) Brosious. He wed Pennsylvania native, Susan Renn (17 October 1829-15 March 1925) in February 1851, the daughter of Henry Jackson Renn (1790-1867) and Susannah (Bastian) Renn, according to her Pennsylvania Death Certificate.

Together, Jared C. Brosius and his wife, Susan, welcomed the following children:

  • Ann: Born on 15 January 1853 in Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Annie later wed Reuben Elliott (1949-1922), fractured her left femur during a fall on stairs while in Sunbury in mid-September 1927, died a week later on 26 September 1927 from heart and kidney related complications, and was interred with her husband at the Mount Zion Cemetery in North Coventry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania on 29 September (funeral arrangements handled by Fred Dornsife of Sunbury);
  • William: Also known as “Willie,” William was born on 14 April 1857 in Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. On 5 May 1887, William wed Kate Holston (1863-1890) at the home of her parents. A daughter of James Holston, a nailer by trade, she resided in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. While an employee of the Philadelphia Machine Works, William Brosious sustained an injury to his eye which resulted in his fitting with a glass eye. Three years after he was widowed Kate, while out walking on the evening of 5 July 1893, his glass eye inexplicably exploded, causing a serious, but survivable hemorrhage. He died at his home in “March’s Apt.,” in South Pottstown, North Coventry Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania nearly four decades later, on 9 August 1932, from a self-inflicted revolver shot to the head. The tragedy occurred nearly two years after his brother, Phillip, also took his own life via revolver, according to their respective Pennsylvania Death Certificates. His brother-in-law A. J. McCurdy served as the informant on William’s death certificate. William Brosious was subsequently interred at the Pottstown Cemetery in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania on 12 August 1932. J. M. Mauger of Parkerford handled his funeral arrangements.
  • Emma (born in Sunbury sometime around 1859);
  • Alice (born in Sunbury sometime around 1861);
  • Martin L. (born in July 1865): See “Phillip M.” below;
  • Phillip M.: Born on 23 July 1865, he was shown on various federal census records over the years as “Melancthon,” “Martin L.,” or “Philip M.” An unmarried harness maker residing at 435 Vine Street in Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania at the time he died of a self-inflicted wound from a 38-caliber revolver to the right temporal region of his head (on 1 September 1930), he was interred at the Sunbury Cemetery on 4 September 1930. His brother-in-law, A. J. McCurdy, found him; his brother-in-law B. F. Bastian was the informant on the death certificate; W. A. Shipman & Sons of Sunbury handled the funeral arrangements. Philip’s obituary described him as “a widely known harness maker and collector of Indian relics” who “had been in failing health for some time and in recent weeks was known to have been despondent…. Death [was] believed to be instantaneous. The departed was known to practically every resident of Sunbury and was especially well known to students of Indian history.”
  • Elizabeth: Born in Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania on 30 August 1867, Elizabeth later wed Truman E. Barnhart. She died from a stroke on 27 January 1927. Her husband was the informant on the death certificate. She was interred at the Pomfret Manor Cemetery in Sunbury on 30 January 1926 (funeral arrangements by Fred Dornsife of Sunbury).
  • Susan: Just eight months old at the time of the 1870 U.S. Census, Susan made her appearance at the Brosious home in Sunbury on 12 October 1869. She later wed Benjamin Franklin Bastian. A widow suffering from general debility and malnutrition for two years, she died from cardiac decompensation on 29 December 1957, and was interred at the West Side Cemetery with her husband;
  • Louise: Born sometime around 1873, Louise wed Arthur James (“A. J.”) McCurdy (1870-1941), a tinsmith and native of Millheim in Centre County, Pennsylvania, who widowed her on 5 October 1941. Louise (Brosious) McCurdy.

Note: The federal census indicates that, of the nine children born to Jared and Susan (Renn) Brosius only eight were still alive by 1900.

Their father, Jared C. Brosious – shoemaker by trade and resident of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania – was also a member of the Sunbury Guards, a local militia unit established in 1818; he served at the rank of Private with the Guards at the dawn of the Civil War. In 1860, he resided with his wife and children in the Borough of Sunbury.

Civil War – Three Months’ Service

The bombardment of Fort Sumter 12-14 April 1861 (Currier & Ives, public domain).

The bombardment of Fort Sumter 12-14 April 1861 (Currier & Ives, public domain).

As a member of the Sunbury Guards, Jared C. Brosious became one of the earliest responders to President Lincoln’s call for volunteers to help defend the nation’s capital following Fort Sumter’s fall to Confederate forces. It all began when John Peter Shindel Gobin, an attorney from Sunbury, Pennsylvania traveled to Harrisburg on 18 April 1861 to personally offer the services of the Sunbury Guards to Governor Andrew Curtin to help the Keystone State fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s request for 75,000 volunteer soldiers.

Jared C. Brosious enrolled for military service the next evening (19 April 1861) at the Sunbury Court House, along with his fellow members of the Sunbury Guards. He officially mustered in for duty at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg on 23 April 1861 as a Private with Company F, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.Company F was comprised almost entirely of Sunbury Guardsmen.

On 2 July 1861, the Sunbury Guards and Pennsylvania’s 11t Regiment engaged in intense fighting during the Battle of Falling Waters, the first Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley. The members of the 11th Pennsylvania also saw action at Martinsburg and Bunker Hill, and were heralded for their valor. Governor Curtin proudly labeled the regiment “the Bloody Eleventh.”

Following the honorable completion of his Three Months’ Service, Private Jared C. Brosious mustered out with his regiment at Harrisburg on 1 August 1861. Knowing the fight to preserve the Union was far from over, he and the majority of his fellow Sunbury Guardsmen then re-upped for three-year terms of service.

Civil War – Three-Year Term of Service

Camp Curtin (Harpers Weekly, 1861; public domain).

Camp Curtin (Harper’s Weekly, 1861; public domain).

Sergeant Jared C. Brosious was most definitely deserving of the designation, “Veteran Volunteer.” Re-enrolling for military service at Sunbury on 19 August 1861, he mustered in again at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg on 2 September 1861 as a Sergeant with Company C (the “Sunbury Guards”) of the newly formed 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Military records at the time described him as being 5’11-1/2″ tall with black hair, gray eyes and a dark complexion.

Transported by rail with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers to Washington, D.C., he was initially stationed roughly two miles from the White House at “Camp Kalorama” on Kalorama Heights near Georgetown beginning 21 September. The next day, C Company Musician Henry D. Wharton penned the following update to their hometown newspaper, the Sunbury American:

After a tedious ride we have, at last, safely arrived at the City of ‘magnificent distances.’ We left Harrisburg on Friday last at 1 o’clock A.M. and reached this camp yesterday (Saturday) at 4 P.M., as tired and worn out a sett [sic] of mortals as can possibly exist. On arriving at Washington we were marched to the ‘Soldiers Retreat,’ a building purposely erected for the benefit of the soldier, where every comfort is extended to him and the wants of the ‘inner man’ supplied.

After partaking of refreshments we were ordered into line and marched, about three miles, to this camp. So tired were the men, that on marching out, some gave out, and had to leave the ranks, but J. Boulton Young, our ‘little Zouave,’ stood it bravely, and acted like a veteran. So small a drummer is scarcely seen in the army, and on the march through Washington he was twice the recipient of three cheers.

On 24 September, he and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians were formally mustered into federal service with the U.S. Army. Ordered onto Virginia soil, they ultimately encamped near Fort Ethan Allen where, as part of the larger Army of the Potomac, they helped to defend the nation’s capital during the Fall of 1861.The men drilled almost daily, were often assigned to picket duty, and engaged frequently in large divisional reviews. Initially equipped with Mississippi rifles, they were given brand new Springfield rifles  in October following an outstanding performance at one of these reviews.

1862

Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, Harper's Weekly, 1864 (public domain).

Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, Harper’s Weekly, 1864 (public domain).

Shipped south on 27 January 1862 via the steamer Oriental, Sergeant Brosious and his fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers arrived in Key West in early February, and were assigned to garrison Fort Taylor. On 14 February, they participated in a parade with their regiment through the streets of the city.

In mid-June they were assigned to duty in Hilton Head and the Union’s Beaufort District in South Carolina. Sent on a return trip to Florida beginning 30 September, they participated in the capture of Saint John’s Bluff (1-3 October 1862) and the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina (21-23 October) before returning to Fort Taylor in Key West.

1863

Woodcut depicting the harsh climate at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida during the Civil War. (Public domain, U.S. Library of Congress.)

Woodcut depicting the harsh climate at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida during the Civil War. (Public domain, U.S. Library of Congress.)

During the whole of 1863, Sergeant Jared Brosious and his Company C comrades were stationed at Fort Taylor in Key West with Companies A, B, E, G, and I while the 47th Pennsylvania’s Companies D, F, H, and K were sent to Fort Jefferson (located off the coast of Florida in the Dry Tortugas).

The climate at their duty stations was often harsh, their time was made even more difficult due to the prevalence of tropical diseases such as yellow fever and typhoid and camp-related conditions such as dysentery. In spite of this, more than half of the regiment opted to reenlist upon expiration of their three year terms of service in order to continue America’s fight to preserve the Union.

Sergeant Jared C. Brosious was one of those men. He re-upped for a  second three-year term of service, re-enlisting on 12 October 1863 at Fort Taylor in Florida.

Making History in 1864 – The Red River Campaign

In February 1864, Sergeant Jared Brosious and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians departed for a phase of service in which they would truly make history. In short order, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers became the only Pennsylvania regiment to fight in the Red River Campaign spearheaded across Louisiana by Union General Nathaniel P. Banks.

19th U.S. Army Map, Phase 3, Battle of Sabine Cross Roads/Mansfield (8 April 1864, public domain).

19th U.S. Army Map, Phase 3, Battle of Sabine Cross Roads/Mansfield (8 April 1864, public domain).

The 47th Pennsylvania engaged in brutal fighting, with other Union regiments, during the Battles of Sabine Cross Roads (Mansfield) and Pleasant Hill (8-9 April), and helped build a timber dam across the Red River which enabled Union gunboats to travel more easily to and from the Mississippi River (May 1864). A significant number of men from the regiment died; others were claimed by disease during the more than 800 miles trekked by the regiment; still others were captured in battle, marched roughly 125 miles to the Confederate Army’s prison camp at Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas, and held there as prisoners of war before being released in prisoner exchanges in July, August and November. At least one member of the 47th Pennsylvania never made it out of the POW camp alive.

Shipped north on 7 July 1864 aboard the McClellan, Sergeant Brosious and his fellow C Company men headed for the East Coast where, on 12 July, they had a memorable encounter with President Abraham Lincoln before joining up with Major-General David Hunter’s forces at Snicker’s Gap to engage in the Battle of Cool Spring, Virginia.

1864 – Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign

Attached to the Middle Military Division, U.S. Army of the Shenandoah from August through November of 1864, it was at this time and place, under the leadership of legendary Union General Philip H. Sheridan and Brigadier-General William H. Emory, when Sergeant Jared Brosious and his fellow members of the 47th Pennsylvania would engage in their greatest moments of valor. Of the experience, Brosious’s fellow C Company comrade, Samuel Pyers, simply said it was “our hardest engagement.”

Image of the victory of Philip Sheridan’s Union army over Jubal Early’s Confederate forces. Kurz & Allison, circa 1893. Public domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress: LC-DIG-pga-01855 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-1753 (color film copy transparency).

Victory of Philip Sheridan’s Union army over Jubal Early’s Confederate forces. Kurz & Allison, circa 1893. Public domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Inflicting heavy casualties during the Battle of Opequan (also known as “Third Winchester”) on 19 September 1864, Sheridan’s gallant blue jackets forced a stunning retreat of Jubal Early’s grays – first to Fisher’s Hill (21-22 September) and then, following a successful early morning flanking attack, to Waynesboro.
On 19 October 1864, Early’s Confederate forces briefly stunned the Union Army, launching a surprise attack at Cedar Creek, but Sheridan was able to rally his troops. Intense fighting raged for hours over a broad swath of Virginia farmland until Early’s army, weakened by hunger wrought by the Union’s earlier destruction of crops, peeled off, one by one, to forage for food while Sheridan’s forces fought on, and won the day.

These impressive Union victories helped President Abraham Lincoln secure a second term. But they were extremely costly engagements for Pennsylvania’s native sons. The 47th experienced a total of 176 casualties during the Cedar Creek encounter alone, including a number of Sergeant Jared Brosious’s Company C comrades who had been wounded or killed in action.

Stationed at Camp Russell near Winchester from November through most of December, the regiment was assigned to railroad guard duty and ordered to Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia five days before Christmas.

1865 – 1866

Matthew Brady's photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Matthew Brady’s photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Assigned in February to the Provisional Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah, the men of the 47th were ordered back to Washington, D.C. 19 April to defend the nation’s capital again – this time following President Lincoln’s assassination. Letters home and later newspaper interviews with surviving 47th Pennsylvanians indicate that at least one member of the regiment was given the high honor of guarding President Lincoln’s funeral train while others may have been assigned to guard the alleged assassination conspirators during their imprisonment or trial.

While serving in Dwight’s Division, 2nd Brigade, U.S. Department of Washington’s 22nd Corps, Company C and their fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers also participated in the Union’s Grand Review on 23-24 May.

Ruins seen from the Circular Church, Charleston, SC, 1865. Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (111-B-4667, public domain).

Charleston, SC as seen from the Circular Church, 1865.
Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (111-B-4667, public domain).

On their final swing through the South, the 47th served in Savannah, Georgia from 31 May to 4 June 1865 as part of the 3rd Brigade, Dwight’s Division, U.S. Department of the South, and at Charleston and other parts of South Carolina beginning in June.

Although certain sources indicate that Jared C. Brosious eventually mustered out with his regiment as a Sergeant, entries on the regimental muster out roll for the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers and in the Civil War Veterans’ Card File at the Pennsylvania State Archives state that Sergeant Jared C. Brosious was reduced to the rank of Private on 16 July 1865 – the same month in which his son, Phillip M. Brosious was born back home in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

Duties typically performed by the 47th Pennsylvania during this phase of service included Provost (military police) and Reconstruction-related tasks, such as rebuilding the railroad system near Savannah, Georgia, removing armaments from former Confederate military installations in and around Charlotte, South Carolina, and repairing other infrastructure items that had been damaged or destroyed during the long war.

Finally, on Christmas Day 1865, at Charleston, South Carolina, the majority of men of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers – including Private Jared Brosious – began to be honorably mustered out, a process which continued through early January 1866.

Return to Civilian Life

Following his honorable discharge in 1865, Private Jared C. Brosious returned home to Sunbury in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania (by way of Camp Cadwalader in Philadelphia, where the members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers received their formal discharge papers on 9 January 1866).

He and his wife welcomed daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Louisa sometime around 1868, in October 1870, and around 1873, respectively. In 1870, Jared C. Brosious continued to support his growing family as a shoemaker, and continued to live with his wife and children in Sunbury. The 1880 federal census confirms that Jared and his family resided at 250 Vine Street in Sunbury, and reaffirms that he was a shoemaker by trade.

He passed away in Sunbury, Northumberland County on 19 May 1885, and was interred at the Sunbury Cemetery.

Date of Death: Both the 1885 U.S. Civil War Pension Index and the 1890 U.S. Veterans Schedule indicate that Jared’s wife, Susan, was a widow. Susan filed for Jared’s pension on 22 June 1885.

 

Sources:

1. Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: 1869.

2. Card Records of Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, U.S. Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92, Microfilm M1845), U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

3. Civil War Muster Rolls and Related Records, in Record Group 19, Series 19.11, U.S. Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

4. Civil War Veterans’ Card File. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State Archives.

5. Death Certificates (Susan Brosious, 1925; Elizabeth Barnhart, 1926; Annie Elliott, 1927; Phillip M. Brosious, 1930; William Brosious, 1932; Arthur James McCurdy, 1941; Benjamin Franklin Bastian, 1949; Sue Bastian, 1957). Harrisburg: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics: 1925-1957.

6. His Glass Eye Explodes, in The Somerset Herald. Somerset: 12 July 1893.

7. Marriage Notice (William Brosious and Kate Holston), in Reading Times. Reading: 6 May 1887.

8. Pennsylvania Veteran’s Burial Index Card (Jared Brocious). Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

9. Schmidt, Lewis. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown: Self-published, 1986.

10. Shamokin Dispatch. Shamokin: Various Dates:

  • Historians Find Common Ideas of Indians Wrong: Report on Brosious Collection Made to Society by Heber G. Gearhart, in Shamokin Dispatch. Shamokin: 13 November 1931.
  • Service Clubs Support Plan to Buy Relics: Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Sunbury, Join in Movement to Acquire Broscious Collection for the County, in Shamokin Dispatch. Shamokin: 13 September 1930.
  • Suicide Left Big Collection of Indian Relics: Philip M. Broscious, Who Ended His Life at Sunbury, Was Possessor of Some 15,000 Specimens of Redskin Art, in Shamokin Dispatch. Shamokin: 6 September 1930.
  • Well Known Sunbury Man Is Suicide: Philip M. Broscious, 65, Harness Maker and Collector of Indian Relics Ends Life by Shooting Himself in Head, in Shamokin Dispatch. Shamokin: 2 September 1930.

11. U.S. Census (1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920); and U.S. Veterans’ Schedule (1890). Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

12. U.S. Civil War Pension Index (Application No.: 328125, Certificate No.: 231812, filled from Pennsylvania by the veteran’s widow, Susan Brosious, on 22 June 1885); Washington, D.C.: 1885.

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