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Washington in the Civil War The Last Survivor

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:32 pm

The last surviving Civil War soldier in Franklin County, Mo., died Oct. 5, 1939, having lived 97 years, four months and 24 days.

Born in Germany on May 11, 1842, Charles Frederick Facius joined the Union military forces in October 1861. He served in several Missouri military units until his discharge on Christmas Day, 1865.

Charles Facius arrived in the United States in November 1857 through the port of New Orleans. He came as a servant to the Kruger family — Heinrich Kruger, wife Charlotte and son Wilhelm. The Kruger family traveled up the Mississippi River and was living in St. Louis in 1860.

On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 three-month volunteers for action against the Southern states. Missouri was to furnish four regiments, a total of 4,000 men. In a very short time, 4,500 men had enlisted and many more wished to enlist. Early in May 1861, authority was obtained to enroll and arm the loyal citizens of St. Louis as a “Reserve Corps.” The total of volunteers and Reserve Corps was to be no more than 10,000.

On June 1, 1861, the total strength was shown to be 10,730 men.

Germans made up about 75 percent of the Reserve Corps. The corps were involved in the Camp Jackson affair on May 10th when Capt. Nathaniel Lyon (he was not promoted to brigadier general until May 17) surrounded and forced the surrender of the Missouri state troops mustered in camp for training.

The corps were mustered out in August at the expiration of the three months’ service. However six companies were reorganized for the reserve service in September and in October.

Facius enlisted in Company E, 4th Regiment United States Reserve Corps Infantry. His muster-in date is shown as Oct. 15, 1861, in St. Louis. The length of his enrollment was three years.

By January 1862, the Reserve Corps were being consolidated with regular three-year volunteer units, and Facius is shown on a Reserve Corps muster-out roll dated Jan. 13, 1862.

On Feb. 13, 1862, Facius enrolled in the 2nd Regiment Missouri Infantry in St. Peters. On April 7, 1862, he was mustered in at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, and on April 28, 1862, into Company E. His service in the 2nd Regiment was as a private and as a bugler.

Facius is shown “present” for duty and shown as bugler throughout 1862 and 1863, including November and December 1863.

However, a report prepared after the war shows that on Oct. 3, 1863, in Louisville, Ky., Facius was “discharged for disability” from the 2nd Regiment. The same report is footnoted to show him enlisting in the 2nd Regiment on Feb. 19, 1864, and being mustered in on March 15, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tenn.

There is no record of Charles being wounded; however the 2nd Regiment was in the Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19 and 20, 1863. The 2nd Regiment was also caught in the siege of Chattanooga by the Confederate Army, Sept. 24 to Nov. 23, 1863. It is possible that Charles was wounded during those actions. It is also possible that his problem with “erythema” (a skin condition characterized by redness or rash), that was identified in his medical examination at the time of enlistment in 1862, may have re-occurred and caused him enough pain and discomfort that he was discharged.

On another 2nd Regiment report, Charles is shown as mustered out in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Feb. 18, 1864, and enlisted into the Veteran Volunteers on Feb. 19, 1864, and officially mustered into the Veteran Volunteers on March 15, 1864. The record at that time shows a bounty paid to Facius of $60 with another $340 still due.

Another report shows Facius mustering out of the 2nd Regiment on Feb. 18, 1864, “by virtue of re-enlistment as Vet. Vol. under the provisions of G.O. (General Order) No. 191 ….” The length of enlistment was for three years.

General Order 191 from the War Department established regulations for enlisting Veteran Volunteers, “…able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 years, who have heretofore been enlisted, and have served for not less than nine months …” with the termination of their original terms of enlistment. The order included provisions for special “service chevrons” to be worn on the uniform and a bounty of $400 to be paid over three years.

It would appear that Facius was discharged in October 1863, but the 2nd Regiment continued to report him as “present” thru December 1863. In January 1864, using General Order 191, Charles enlisted in the Veteran Volunteers and re-enlisted in the 2nd Regiment with the posting of records taking him “officially out” and “officially into” the regiment. Not only was he back in the same regiment, Facius was back in the same company within the regiment.

The 2nd Regiment marched to Dalton, Ga., arriving in time for a battle with Confederate forces on Aug. 14-15, 1864. They remained at Dalton until September when they were returned to St. Louis to be mustered out on Oct. 1, the completion of the three-year enlistment period for the 2nd Regiment.

Family records indicate that Charles Facius was captured by Confederate forces on Aug. 13, 1864, along with another musician — drummer John Schneider. A record for Charles shows him as a prisoner of war belonging to the 2nd Regiment, and a second record shows him belonging to the 15th Regiment Missouri Infantry. Both records indicate that his prisoner of war status lasted until at least Aug. 31.

Facius retention as a prisoner of war was limited, either by exchange of prisoners, escape or rescue, since he is then shown on the records of the 15th Regiment Missouri Infantry as mustering in on Oct. 18, 1864.

Facius remained with the 15th Regiment for the remainder of his service. Following his joining the regiment, the 15th was in a number of battles as the federal forces chased and fought with Confederate Gen. Hood. Following the surrender of Confederate forces in early 1865, the 15th Regiment moved to New Orleans in June, to Port Lavaca, Texas, in July, and in October to Victoria, Texas.

The 15th Regiment was mustered out of service on Dec. 15, 1865, at Victoria.

After the war, Facius settled near Bay in Gasconade County as a farmer. On April 5, 1866, he married Mary Nolting and they had eight children (three daughters and five sons). In 1880, the family settled permanently on Highway C, north of Port Hudson in Franklin County.

Mary (Nolting) Facius preceeded Charles in death by 40 years. He was survived by three children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Facius was a member of the James W. Owens GAR Post.

The very last authenticated Civil War veteran to die was Albert Woolson, a Union army drummer boy from Minnesota who died on Aug. 2, 1956, at the age of 109 years. The last verified Confederate soldier was Pleasant Crump who passed away on Dec. 31, 1951. There is another claim to the last Confederate in William Townsend (death Feb. 22, 1953) but unverified as to birth date.

The last Union Civil War soldier in Missouri was John Hutchison from Isabella who died March 12, 1951, four days after his 105th birthday. The last Missouri Confederate was probably Johnny Graves who died at the Confederate Home in Higginsville in 1950 at age 108.

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