Sunday, December 18, 2016

Henry Jenkins: Born in Wales and Died in Georgetown from Wounds Received at 2nd Bull Run

The Likely Image of Henry Jenkins
Company F, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry
(Courtesy of Mr. Richard  Hammons and 

Mr. RichardJenkins) 
2016 has been quite the remarkable year for me in discovering new accounts and seeing new faces from the 48th Pennsylvania. It began back in January, when I had the privilege of leading descendants of Lt. William Cullen, of Company E, 48th Pennsylvania, on a tour of Antietam. When we arrived near the place where Cullen received his death wound, the family presented me with an image of Cullen, one they had only recently themselves discovered and an image I had never before seen. I told that story here. Soon after this, I received an email from a gentleman who had just acquired a large collection of over 150 letters written by Private Daniel Reedy, also of Company E, 48th Pennsylvania. The letters had been discovered during the renovation of a home in the small, Schuylkill County, town of Donaldson, and, as it turned out, the gentleman who purchased the letters had just finished reading an article of mine that appeared in the February 2016 edition of Civil War Times, which documented the discovery of a desk containing a cache of wartime documents in Silver Creek, Pennsylvania, that all belonged to Captain William Winlack of--you guessed it--Company E, 48th Pennsylvania! How remarkable that this gentleman came across a previously unknown collection of letters from one of Winlack's own soldiers. . .He very kindly allowed me to transcribe them and because of the almost incredible coincidence of this discovery, Dana Shoaf at Civil War Times asked me to write a follow up piece about the Reedy letters, which now appears in the latest (February 2017) edition of Civil War Times. It was not long after this, that I received another email, this time from a gentleman in Minnesota whose ancestor, Thomas Major, fought with the 48th; in what company? Well, yet again, it was Company E! By this point, I was beginning to think the soldiers of Company E were trying to send me some kind of message! Thomas Major was fatally wounded at 2nd Bull Run, which was, in terms of numbers lost, the worst battle of the war for the 48th but I had never before seen an image of any of the 48th's soldiers who were listed among that battle's killed or mortally wounded. That is until I received that email from the gentleman in Minnesota, who sent along not only an image of Major but also some letters and a trove of familial information that allowed me to discover so much about this soldier. That story I told in depth here. And, of course, perhaps most incredible of all was the image I at last saw of Emerguildo Marquiz, who was adopted by the 48th's organizer, James Nagle, while in Mexico, and who had served as a bugler on his staff during the Civil War. An ancestor of Nagle kindly sent me that image and I told that amazing story just a few weeks ago, which you can read here.


While I initially launched this blog (almost ten years ago!) in order to tell the story of the 48th and to pay tribute and honor to its soldiers, it is absolutely amazing how much I have learned and discovered in return. Over the years, so many descendants of soldiers in the 48th have reached out to me and very kindly shared letters, stories...and photographs of their ancestors in the 48th. 

It happened a good bit this past year, and, yes, it happened again...just last week. 

Last Thursday morning, I received an email from a Mr. Richard Jenkins, with the subject line: "Henry Jenkins 48th PA Company F." I could not help but notice that there was that little paperclip there, too, which indicated an attachment. I was thrilled when I saw that it was a photograph of a Civil War soldier, a soldier Mr. Jenkins believed to be his ancestor, Henry Jenkins of Company F, 48th Pennsylvania. I had to admit, I had never seen a hat quite like the one worn by this soldier in this photograph and very few photographs of 48th soldiers that show them wearing their frock coats. What is more, the regimental history records Jenkins as a corporal and there is nothing on the uniform of the soldier in this photograph to indicate that rank. Still, the soldier in the photograph is holding a .53 Enfield, which the 48th carried early in the war, and the name "Henry Jenkins" does appear inscribed upon the back of this image. There were a total of 70 Henry Jenkins who served in the Union army during the Civil War, yet a good number of these 70 served in either the artillery or cavalry, and there a number who served in U.S.C.T. units. Aside from the name inscribed upon the back of the image, Mr. Richard Jenkins had received the image from a relative of his and, what is more, the soldier identified as Henry bears a strong resemblance to an Elizabeth Jenkins, Henry's sister, of whom Richard had a photograph and which he sent along as a side-by-side comparison. This convinced me that despite the hat and the lack of corporal's chevrons, that this soldier identified in the photograph as "Henry Jenkins" was, indeed, most likely Henry Jenkins of Company F, 48th Pennsylvania. I asked Mr. Richard Jenkins if I could share the photograph and Jenkins's story on this blog, and not only he did he say 'yes,' but he also sent along Henry's entire pension file in order for me to better tell his story. 

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Elizabeth Jenkins Jones (1849-1928) and Henry Jenkins Helped Convince Me That The Soldier in the Image Was Most Likely the Henry Jenkins who served in the 48th  
(Courtesy of Mr. Richard Jenkins) 

Henry Jenkins was born at 4:50 a.m. either on the morning of March 17 or March 22 (the dates vary in the records) in the year 1842, in Cardiff, Wales, the son David and Lydia Walters Jenkins, who had been married nearly ten years earlier, on May 11, 1833, in Monmouthshire, in south east Wales. Henry had an older brother named David, who arrived in 1839, and after Henry's birth, Lydia would give birth to another child in 1844, a daughter named Hannah. In November 1849, the family grew once more with the arrival of another daughter, Elizabeth.  "Lizzie" Jenkins was born in Tamaqua, in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, meaning that at some point between 1842 and her birth in 1849, the Jenkins family had immigrated from Wales to the United States.  And by the time the Jenkins's adopted country plunged into civil war, the family had moved from Tamaqua and had settled in Minersville.  

Captain Joseph Hoskings
Company F, 48th Pennsylvania 
(Courtesy Patriotic Order Sons of America) 
In 1861, both Henry Jenkins and his older brother David were employed as coal miners, helping to support the family, which, according to the pension records, was rather destitute. Father David Jenkins was partially disabled and could not find enough work to support the family. Lydia appears to have brought in some income but is was likely the boys who were providing, in some small way, for them. Despite this (or perhaps because of this), and despite having recently arrived in America, Henry Jenkins answered his country's call on August 22, 1861, when he volunteered to serve in the company just then being recruited in Minersville by Captain Joseph Hoskings, This company would soon become Company F, of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry.  Henry's older brother, David, would also answer the call though he would not enlist until mid-September, By this time, Captain Hoskings's company was at Harrisburg's Camp Curtin so David Jenkins would enlist into the ranks of Company K, 76th Pennsylvania. He would serve for just over a year, before being discharged in November 1862 upon a surgeon's certificate. 

Henry Jenkins was formally mustered into service on October 1, 1861, at Camp Hamilton, near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and he was mustered in as First Corporal in Company F. I have to wonder, then, if the photograph sent by Mr. Richard Jenkins was taken between then time the company reached Harrisburg and when they arrived near Fortress Monroe, to be mustered in. If so, that might explain why there are no corporal's stripes upon his sleeves. Regardless, when he was mustered into service, Henry Jenkins was nineteen years old, and was described as having a "dark" complexion, hazel eyes, and "dark" hair. He stood 5'4" in height and was, by occupation, a miner. He served faithfully and well in the ranks of Company F, journeying with the regiment from Fortress Monroe, to Hatteras Island, NC, to New Bern, NC, and back to Virginia where, as part of Reno's Division, of the 9th Corps, they joined up with General John Pope's army just then gathering in northern Virginia and preparing for a showdown with Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. It was during this showdown, which occurred near the old Bull Run battlefield, that Henry Jenkins fell, mortally wounded. On August 29, the 48th Pennsylvania--forming part of Nagle's 9th Corps brigade--attacked a portion of Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson's line along an unfinished railroad cut in a smoke-filled woodlot. Nagle's men achieved success in driving Jackson's men from their position, but lack of any kind of support enabled the Confederates to rally and soon drive Nagle's men from the cut. During this savage action, the 48th lost over 150 of its soldiers. Among the wounded was Henry Jenkins; he had received a gun shot wound to the groin. Carried from the field, Jenkins was taken to the Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown, D.C., where on either September 15 or 16 (again, the records vary) he passed away at just twenty years of age, having given his life to the cause of the United States. His remains were buried at the U.S. Soldiers' Home Cemetery (today the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home Cemetery) in Washington, D.C.  

The Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown, where Henry Jenkins Died
(Library of Congress) 



The Grave of Henry Jenkins at the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
in Washington, D.C. 
(www.findagrave.com) 





Following his death, Henry's mother Lydia successfully applied for a pension and would receive $8.00 a month until her own passing, which came in October 1880. Following the death of his wife, Henry's father, now almost entirely disabled and residing with his daughter and son-in-law in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, would receive Henry's pension. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My thanks to Mr. Richard Jenkins for sending along the photograph as well as the pension files, where much of the above information was gathered. Other information came from the regimental history penned by Joseph Gould. 


A Magnified Look At The Likely Face of Henry Jenkins
Company F, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry 







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