Henry Allen Butts 1835-1920
Henry Allen Butts and a twin brother, George, were born in Loudontown* (also spelled Loudentown, or Loudon), Franklin County Pennsylvania on November 29, 1835. They were next to youngest of twelve children and 7 half-siblings in a family whose great-grandparents had emigrated from Germany to Maryland.
Right away the record gets confusing, because Henry Allen is also referred to as John Henry Augustus Butts. His great-grandfather’s name was John Henry. Henry Allen was named for his father, Henry Butts. His mother was Henry’s 2nd wife, Esther Stall/Stahl. Henry Allen’s mother and father had settled in Pennsylvania when they were married in 1815.
As we look at the four existing letters home from Pvt. Henry Allen Butts, over the next month, we will discuss details of the military actions he was involved in. This timeline provides an overview, for Civil War buffs who want to follow him step by step in his two enlistments.
He was still living in Pennsylvania on October 9, 1861 when he first joined the Union Army, and he had not yet married. He signed up as soon as the Pennsylvania 77th Volunteer Regiment was formed. He was a Private in F Company. I believe that it is his twin brother, George W. Butts who is listed in the same company F, 77th. This George enrolled on 4/20/1861 in Company C, 2nd PA Volunteers until 7/26/1861. He was in Co. F, 77th from 10/9/1861, which was the same time that Henry mustered into the 77th.
According to the research of a descendent of James Beaver Butts, Henry’s twin brother, George, died in St. Thomas Pennsylvania in 1863. I have yet to discover whether his death was war related, as the George A. Butts listed in records is “unaccounted for.”
Their younger brother, James Beaver Butts also enlisted–but in the 184th as a principal musician and served from 1861 to 1865. (James was a fifer, and I have a photo copy of a picture of him sent to me by his descendent.)
Official records say that Henry Allen was honorably discharged at Nashville in June 1862 because of disability. There are no letters surviving from this first enlistment, and I do not know what disability caused his discharge.
Had he remained with the company, he would have seen action at famous battles like Murfreesboro, Stone’s River, Chicamauga, the Siege of Chattanooga, Kenesaw Mountain, Jonesboro and the battle of Nashville. He probably was fortunate to be released before these bloody fights. As it was he took part in several famous battles, including Shiloh, and went as far south as Corinth, Mississippi while in the Pennsylvania 77th.
It was during his second enlistment that he fought in the most devastating battles. Although he was married and had an infant son, he enlisted in 1864 when he was 30 years old. He had left his family in Pennsylvania by then and was working as a day laborer on farms in Ohio.
He joined the 43rd Ohio Infantry which sent reinforcements to fellow Ohioan General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Army. They fought their way through Georgia and Alabama in the March to the Sea, and one of his letters is written during the Siege of Savannah. The 43rd fought their way back up to Raleigh North Carolina and obtained a Southern surrender.
Henry Allen Butts would have been part of the triumphant march through Richmond Virginia to Washington D.C. in the summer of 1865. How unfortunate that we do not have a letter describing that experience. In July 1865 the 43rd, Henry Allen Butts among them, were dismissed and made their way home to Ohio.
He and his wife and their growing family lived in Danville, Ohio and were faithful members of St. Luke’s Catholic church. Henry and Anna had a total of six children, including the grandmother I never met, Mary Isadore (Mame) Butts Kaser. A simple man with little education, he worked as a day laborer until he was able to afford his own farm, and even then sometimes is listed as a laborer rather than a farmer, so his own farm must have been too small to support his family.
My father remembered visiting his grandparents and sitting on Grandpa Butts lap. He remembered him as being very very old, and indeed he would have been 75 when my father was born, and with that long white beard, does look ancient. This is the only picture my family has of Henry Allen and Ann Marie.
When he died in 1920 at 85 years old, my great-grandfather was buried in an unmarked grave in Danville, Ohio. But in 1931 an application was made to place a veteran’s marker on his grave, and that is what you see if you visit the site today.
The marker says Henry A. Butts, Co. F, 77 PA Vol Inf. Apparently it was someone from the Grand Army of the Republic organization in Pennsylvania who applied for the gravestone, and whoever installed it did not know about his Ohio 43rd Regiment service.
Too bad that he did not get credit for being a double volunteer in the Union Army, from two different states.
* Loudontown probably got that designation because it grew up around the British Fort Loudoun, built in 1756 and abandoned in 1766. The fort was one of a chain protecting settlers from Indian raids. But with Revolutionary thoughts brewing, a group of patriots fired on the fort in 1765 The town is now called Ft. Loudon.
A Compendium of The War of the Rebellion, Vol III, Regimental Histories, page 1599 and page 1517.
Letter from The War Department, Adjutant General’s Office to Mrs. Truman Bucklew, Killbuck Ohio, December 6, 1934. In the author’s possession.
Application for veteran’s tombstone (from Ancestry.com) and personal visit to St. Luke’s cemetery in Danville, Ohio.
Transcripts of a Butts Family Bible provided to me by Jane Butts Kilgore in 2003, owned at the time by James E. Butts.
Website of Fort Loudon, consulted on 1/5/2015.
Website of the 77th Pennsylvania, consulted on 1/5/2015.
The website,www.roots-pa.com confirms his enlistment in the 77th, but lists his departure as “unaccounted for.”
(see notes on George for full ref)
How I Am Related
- Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
- Paul Kaser, who is the son of
- Mary (Mame) Isadore Butts Kaser, who is the daughter of
- Henry Allen Butts.