Two Brothers. One Family’s Supreme Sacrifice. A Story for Decoration Day.
by Phil Spaugy
Can there be any more heartbreaking task than bringing the bodies of two of your sons home for burial in a span of four months? That is the tragedy that Miami County, Ohio farmer Joseph Haney was faced with between June and October 1863.
Joseph,a carpenter by trade settled on piece of farmland in northern Miami County in 1855, where along with his wife Eva they raised a family of eight, five boys and three girls. Two of their sons, Peter and Issac joined Ohio regiments organized in defense of the “Old Flag.”
Peter was the first to volunteer,enlisting in Captain William Calender’s Company E, of the Seventy First Ohio Volunteer Infantry in October of 1861. Almost a year after, Issac followed his brother into service,enlisting in Captain William Moore’s Company E of the One Hundred Tenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
One can only imagine the anxiety the Haney family felt having two sons in the service, far from home in two very different military theaters. And the many nights spent in earnest prayer for their sons safe return home.
Sadly it was not to be.
Issac was the first to fall. In action during the Second Battle of Winchester (Virginia,) on June 13th or 14th, 1863 Issac suffered a severe wound to his left thigh. Left behind as a prisoner when the Federal forces retreated from Winchester, Issac was cared for in a Confederate hospital , where he succumbed to his wound on June 27th. When the news of his death reached home, his father paid $100 dollars to have his remains returned to Miami County where he was buried in the family plot in the Fletcher town cemetery.
Tragically, the following October, Issac’s brother Peter also fell. Killed in action on October 10th, 1863 near Hartsville Tennessee. He was the only man killed in this small inconsequential action against Rebel guerilla forces operating in this backwater of the war. Once again, Peter Haney paid to have one of his beloved sons remains returned home to Miami County where he too lies at rest in the Fletcher Cemetery, next to his beloved brother Issac.
Today like in so many cemeteries crossed our great country, the brothers Haney lie there mostly forgotten, their headstones weathered and worn. Their final resting place and the tragic long ago story of one family’s supreme sacrifice unknown to those who pass busily by.
Lest We Forget.
Mingus, Scott and Wittenberg, Eric. The Second Battle of Winchester. The Confederate Victory that Opened the Door to Gettysburg, June 13th to 15th 1863. El Dorado California, Savas Beatie,2016.
Stewart, Martin. Redemption. The 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, Troy, Ohio, Martin Stewart,2010