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Plue, Freeman

MILITARY SERVICE

Age: 21, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 11th VT INF
Service: enl 12/7/63, m/i 12/16/63, Pvt, Co. C, 11th VT INF, tr to Co. A 6/24/65, m/o 8/25/65

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

VITALS

Birth: 08/1847, Fort Ann, NY
Death: 06/03/1877

Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 46631265

MORE INFORMATION

Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None

Webmaster's Note: The 11th Vermont Infantry was also known as the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery; the names were used interchangably for most of its career


DESCENDANTS

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BURIAL:

Copyright notice

Tombstone

Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT

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Biography

Freeman Plue came from a huge, extended family. He had ten brothers and sisters, three of whom were half-siblings: Isaac, about 1834; Lucretia, about 1836; Henrietta, about 1838; Allen (Jr.), about 1843; Horace, about 1845; Andrew, about 1850; and Lucinda, about 1853 - all with Sabra, the first wife. Leroy, about 1859; Amelia, about 1864 and Esther, about 1869 were with Emily, the step-mother. Apparently, she was not well liked by him and his seven full blooded siblings because, as soon as she appeared on the scene, all of Sabra's children disappeared from the household even though some were quite young at the time.

Freeman was born about 1847, probably in Fort Ann, New York. That is where he was living in 1850 with his parents, Allen Plue and Sabria Carpenter. By then, Freeman had four brothers and two sisters: Isaac, 16; Lucretia, 14; Henrretta, 12; Allen (Jr.), 7; Horace, 5; and Andrew, three months. There was a James Madison who lived with the family. He was a carpenter like Allen (Sr.), Freeman's father.[1] Allen and Sabra (Sabria) were married about 1830 in New York.[2] She was about sixteen if her given birth date was in 1814 as some sources suggested. Others stated she was born in 1816, which would have made her fourteen at the time of her marriage. Her father was Isaac Earle (1786-1833). Her mother was Sabra Wilson (1789-1837).[3] Allen made a living by doing a number of different jobs. He was at one time or another a carpenter, farmer, sawyer, mechanic and basket maker. He spent his whole life living in Fort Ann, New York. He was married twice, first to Sabra who died in 1855, and then to Emily (1827) whom he married about 1858.[4] Freeman's father died somewhere between 1875 and 1880.

When Freeman was eight in 1855, he and his family were living in Fort Ann. His father, Allen, was working in the lumber industry as a sawyer and his son, Isaac, was employed in the lumber business as well. Lucretia was absent from the household members list, but Lucinda, age two, had been added.[5] By 1860, Freeman would have been thirteen years old. The 1860 Federal Census listed him as fifteen (DOB 1845) and living in Orwell, Vermont. He was living with a family called the Cutts on a farm that was worth $8,000. Freeman, like his brothers and sisters born of Sabra, obviously did not get along well with the new step-mother, Emily. Every one of them had left Allen's home and gone off to live with strangers. Freeman ended up going to the Cutts' farm in Orwell where he worked for his keep as a hired hand. The Cutts also had another hired man, Lam French, age twenty, working for them. In addition, a domestic servant, Margaret Sharp, age thirteen, was also a member of the household.[6]

In 1863, young Freeman was either sixteen or eighteen, depending on which given year of birth you went by (1847 or 1845) In either case, he was alienated from his father, living among strangers on his own and separated from his siblings by circumstances beyond his control. I'm guessing he was sixteen when he made another profound decision in his life. In the fall of 1863, Freeman decided to enlist in the Union Army and go to war. His decision was not made with stars of glory and adventure in his eyes like the majority of youths who couldn't wait to put on a blue uniform. Freeman had a very good clear idea of what he was about to engage in when he decided to enlist. He had first-hand experience with what this war was all about. He had already lost one brother to it in 1862. His older brother, Isaac, had joined the army in September of 1861 (or 1862) at Corinth, New York as a member of the Thirtieth New York Infantry, Company G. He was killed in action at the Second Battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862. His remains were left on the field. As a consequence, his body was lost and his burial place was unknown except for being on the field of battle in an unmarked grave somewhere. His family and his widow, Harriet, never had the benefit of final closure to their loss.[7]

But even this did not keep the young Freeman from committing to a term in the service of three years in the Eleventh Regiment Vermont H. Art'y, Company C. He claimed to be twenty-one which by any measure was a large stretch of the imagination. He signed his name to the enrollment papers on the seventh day of December, 1863.[8] The five feet eight-inch tall farmer from Orwell, with his dark complexion and hair and black eyes obeyed the Selectman of the town's urging and became a soldier in President Lincoln's army.[9] For a while, Private Plue was bounced around from company to company. The Regimental Descriptive Book listed him as a member of Company "C". One Company Descriptive Book listed him as being in "E", then transferred to "C" on December 28, 1863. At one point, he was even named "Truman" Plue, not Freeman Plue. A second Company Descriptive Book put him in Company "B", 1st Reg't Vermont (H) Art'y.[10] No matter what company Pvt Plue was assigned to, he served honorably with the First Vermont Heavy Artillery from start to finish. Private Plue was mustered into the U.S. service on December 16, 1863 and nine days later was in Brattleboro, Vermont where he received $25.00 of his bounty money. The Government owed him an extra $242.00. He also received $35.00 bounty from the commutation fund.[11]

The regiment, to which Elmer was a member, was originally mustered-in as the Eleventh Vermont Volunteer Infantry in September 1862. In mid-December of that year, it was re-designated as the First Heavy Artillery. Unfortunately, official and personal records used both designations which has caused great confusion.

The Eleventh Regiment was the largest Vermont regiment sent to the war, both in original membership and in total enrollment. It was recruited as an infantry regiment at the same time as the Tenth, under the call of July 2, 1862, from President Lincoln for 300,000 volunteers. By the middle of August, ten companies had been organized. The Regiment rendezvoused at Camp Bradley in Brattleboro, Vermont where they were mustered into the U.S. service September 1, 1862, for three years. It left the State on September 7 for Washington, D.C. where it arrived on the ninth and was immediately assigned to duty in the chain of forts constituting the northern defenses of the capital. By order of the Secretary of War, dated December 10, 1862, it was made a heavy artillery unit becoming re-designated as the First Heavy Artillery.

The Eleventh remained in the defenses of Washington, D.C. for a period of eighteen months, during which time it was chiefly employed strengthening the works, constructing and garrisoning Forts Stevens, Slocum and Totten. During the latter part of its artillery service at Washington, the Regiment garrisoned four other forts and occupied a line of about seven miles. It experienced little of the real hardships of war during 1863 and the first months of 1864. It had comfortable quarters, the men enjoyed excellent health and rations - even luxuries were abundant for a price. It maintained an excellent state of discipline typical of Vermont troops, and was rated the best disciplined regiment in the defense of the capital. After the terrible Federal losses at the Battle of the Wilderness, the Eleventh was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac. It reported for duty as infantry near Spotsylvania Court House with nearly 1,500 men.

During the severe Overland Campaign that followed, the Regiment participated in every major engagement of the Sixth Corps from May 1864 to April 1865: Spotsylvania; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Welden railroad; Fort Stevens; Charlestown; Gilbert's ford; Opequan; Fisher's Hill; Cedar Creek; Petersburg siege. In the debacle at Welden railroad, June 23, 1864, the Regiment suffered the greatest loss sustained by any Vermont Regiment in a single action. It lost nine killed, thirty-one wounded and two hundred sixty-one captured. All the captives were sent to Andersonville prison where two hundred thirty-two of them died.

Original members, recruits for one year and recruits whose term of service expired before October 1, 1865, were mustered-out on June 24, 1865. The remainder of the Regiment was consolidated into one battalion of heavy artillery and stationed in the defenses of Washington until mustered-out on August 25, 1865. The original members of the Eleventh numbered 1,315. Recruits and transfers amounted to an additional 1,005. The total rank and file was 2,320. Of that number, 152 were killed in action; 210 died of disease; 457 were wounded; 339 where captured; 2 died by accident.[12]

Private Plue was engaged in the Battles of Spottsylvania C.H., Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Charleston, Winchester, Cedar Creek, Petersburg March 25 and April 2, 1865, along with the rest of the Eleventh Vermont.[13] Private Plue, when not engaged in combat at various locations, could often be found standing in line at the paymaster's office. He was often collecting an installment of his bounty money as well as his regular army pay. Despite the fact that he was receiving money on a regular basis, it seemed that he was also spending it at a good rate. According to Company Muster Rolls during 1864 and 1865, Freeman owed sutler F. Evans $4.00 in February of 1864; $4.00 in April; $2.00 in June; $10.00 in August; and another $4.00 in October, 1864. Not only did he have a pension for buying on credit, he also was prone to loosing things. In April, 1864, he owed the U.S. 44 cents for one canteen and 5 cents for cross cannon letters and numbers. The September/October, 1864 Company Muster Roll listed Freeman owing the Government 94 cents "for one cartridge box and plate, one cartridge box plate and one gunsling". By the time he was mustered-out, he owed $15.53 for clothing and another $6.00 for arms, equipments, etc.[14] Most of the Eleventh were mustered-out on June 24, 1865. Those who had joined the Regiment late in the war, like Freeman, remained in the service until August 25, 1865. When he was discharged, Freeman had been paid $180.00 in bounty. He was owed another $120.00.[15]

Like so many other young men returning home from the service, it did not take Freeman long to find a mate and marry. On August 30, 1868, Freeman married Kata (Catherine, Katherine, Kate) Allen. He was twenty-one (no reason to lie about his age now) and she was twenty-three (born September 25, 1845). Catherine Clarissa Allen was the daughter of Curtis Allen and Almina Kilburn. She had been born in Hague, New York but in 1868 called Orwell her home. The minister who married them was none other than Moses Field the clergyman who had married numerous other of our Civil War veterans in the mid and southern portion of the Champlain Valley.[16] Their first child, Ashley Curtis, was born in 1869.[17]

At twenty-three, Freeman and Kate were living in Orwell, Vermont. He was a farm laborer supporting a wife and a child, Ashley.[18] More children came in rapid succession. Jenny was born in 1872. George came along in 1875.[19] Then bad news hit the Plue family. Freeman was dying of consumption. So, on November 3, 1876, he applied for a government pension, knowing his time was short.[20] On June 3, 1877, Freeman passed away at thirty in Middlebury, Vermont of his disease.[21] Freeman did not live long enough to see the birth of his last child, Charles A., born in 1878.[22]

Freeman's death left Kate with four children to care for as well as a farm to run without any male help to do it. The newly widowed thirty-four-year-old woman must have nearly gone crazy with all she had to do. Ashley was eleven and could be of some help as well as Jenny, eight. But both had to also attend school. The girls could not do the chores necessary to maintain an operational farm. And there were two young ones, both males, but only five and two years old. They were of no help. According to the 1880 Federal Census, Kate had no adult male on the farm.[23]

How Kate managed to hold the family together long enough for the sons to grow into young men and the daughters into young women was a minor miracle. Times had to be tough for them all. By 1900, Kate, now fifty-five, still lived in Orwell on the farm. Jennie, twenty-eight, and Charles Allen, twenty-two lived at home as well. Ashley and George were gone. Jennie worked as a dressmaker from home and Charles A. painted houses. At the time, both were single.[24] That would change in the next ten years.

In 1910, Kate was still living with Charles and Jennie in Orwell, but there was a new addition to the family. Allen C. (aka Charles Allen), her son, had married. Elizabeth, the new wife, and Kenneth, Kate's new six-year-old grandson all lived in the old homestead. Kate lived off her own income at sixty-five. She had her widow's pension plus whatever the farm provided for her.[25]

Ten years later, little had changed except that Charles and Elizabeth had added another baby to the household. Majorie A. was six in 1920. Now Kate had two grand-children running about her home. Jennie, Kate's daughter, still lived at home and was still single at forty-eight. A new man, Edward Hadley, had joined the family. He was a fifty-two-year-old hired man. Besides working on the farm for Kate (or Charles), he also worked on the road crew of Orwell as a teamster.[26] Kate held on to celebrate her eightieth birthday. Not long afterward, she passed away on April 8, 1927.[27] She was laid to rest in the Plue family plot in Mountain View Cemetery in Orwell.

NOTES:

1. Vermont in the Civil War.org/Cemeteries/Vermont/Orwell/Mountain View/Plue, Freeman/Vitals; Ancestry.com, 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Freeman Plue.
2. www.myheritage.com/research/family trees/Elizabeth Highfill family tree in Colgrove Web Site.
3. Ibid., Family Tree 1380895-2 Wing Web Site for Sabra Plue (born Earle).
4. Ancestry.com, Federal and New York State Census' for Allen Plue - 1840, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1865, 1870, 1875 and 1880.
5. Ibid., 1855 New York State Census for Freeman Plue.
6. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Freeman Plue.
7. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #156215809 for Pvt. Isaac Plue.
8. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Vermont, p. 21, image 309701670. Herein-after referred to as Compiled Service Records.
9. Ibid., Compiled Service Records, p. 2, image 309701635.
10. Ibid., Compiled Service Records, p. 3, image 309701636; Ibid., p.4, image 309701638.
11. Ibid., Compiled Service Records, p. 5, image 309701640.
12. Vermont in the Civil War.org/Units/1st Brigade/Eleventh Vermont Infantry and www.en.wikipedia.org/11th Vermont Infantry.
13. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records, p. 4, image 309701638.
14. Ibid., Compiled Service Records, images 309701642, ...646, ...648, ...650, ...652, ...653 and ...666.
15. Ibid., Compiled Service Records, p. 19, image 309701666.
16. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #125659606 for Catherine Clarissa Allen Plue; Ancestry. com, Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Kate Allen.
17. Ibid., Memorial #125659606 for Catherine Clarissa Allen Plue.
18. Ancestry.com, 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Truman Plue.
19. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Kate Plue.
20. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records, Pension Index for Plue, Freeman, image 26559575.
21. Ancestry.com, Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Freeman Plue.
22. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Kate Plue.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Kate Plue.
25. Ibid., 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Kate C. Plue.
26. Ibid., 1920 U.S. Federal Census for Catherine Plue.
27. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #125659606 for Catherine Clarissa Allen Plue.

Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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