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Royce, Henry Leander


Age: 43, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 3rd WI CAV, VRC
Service: enl 8/30/62, m/i, Co. L, 3rd WI CAV, 8/30/62, tr to Co. H, 21st VRC, 3/2/64, d/svc, 10/31/64, Camp Reynolds, PA

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 12/23/1821, Orwell, VT
Death: 10/31/1864

Burial: North Orwell Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 98611240


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
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


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Copyright notice


North Cemetery, Orwell, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Henry L. (Leander) Royce had two very singular personality traits that raised him above the average individual; he possessed a burning desire to serve others and he inherited the native New Englander's determined spirit to never give up.

Henry was born December 23, 1821 in Orwell, Vermont. [1] His father was Alpheus Royce (1787-1871). His mother was Harriet Moore Royce (1790-1879). [2] Henry was about in the middle of a very large number of children. Maybe his sense of serving others was nurtured by the fact that he had to help raise many of his younger brothers and sisters. He had eleven siblings: Charles Volney, 1810; Louisa Angeline, 1812; Laura Eveline, 1814; Mary E., 1816; Jane A., 1820; William Edson, 1824; Albert F., 1826; George Edmund, 1829; Erasmus D., 1831; Harriet Amoret, 1833-1833; Maria A., 1835. Counting Henry, 1821, there were twelve children altogether - six boys and six girls. Most lived to adulthood except for Harriet who died within months of being born in 1833. [3] The majority of the others were over fifty when they passed, but for Albert who was only twenty when he died in Texas ten years after that state wrestled its independence from Mexico.

Not much about Henry surfaced in the records between his birth in Orwell in 1821 and the year 1849. His parents lived their entire lives in Orwell and all the children were born in Orwell. When and why Henry left that Addison County town is not known. Perhaps Henry was heeding the advice of a well known persona to "go west, young man". What Henry did during those years to support himself was also not revealed. His father was a very successful farmer, so without doubt, Henry spent his early years as a farm hand.

By 1850 he re-emerged in Wisconsin. The 1850 Federal Census listed him residing in Whitewater, Wisconsin, living with a family named Pratt. He was single and labored as a wagon maker along with his host. [4] Henry married there in 1856 at thirty-five years old. His bride was Mary Jane Pratt. They were joined in matrimony on April 15, 1856 by a Methodist minister named Milton Rowley in Whitewater. They had been courting for seven years! The newly weds lived in Banks, Iowa where Henry farmed. Living with them in 1856 was Henry's brother, William, who also farmed. [5]

Before 1861 had ended, Henry and his wife, Mary Jane, had given life to three children while Henry continued farming. All three were born in Wilson's Greene, Iowa in Fayette County. The family actually lived in Banks, Iowa. Clara A, the first child, was born on March 4, 1857. Nettie L. came along on March 16, 1859. Henry L. was the odd ball in the family being born on May 12, 1861 and being the only boy in the family. [6]

Between 1862 and 1864, Henry was in the military. Just like the records for Henry's civilian life left huge gaps in its timeline, so did the military records of his service in the army. What little that was recorded only provides a very skeletal framework. He enlisted August 30, 1862 in Whitewater, Wisconsin. [7] He was mustered-in the same day as a private in "Co I of 3rd Regiment Wisconsin Cavalry" at Madison, Wisconsin for three years. [8]

The Third Cavalry was recruited and organized by Colonel William A. Barstow and mustered in at Camp Barstow, Jamesville the 31st of January, 1862. The unit left Wisconsin on the 26th of March to report to St. Louis. The regiment took railroad cars from Madison. When within three miles of Chicago, four cars were thrown from the track by the breaking of an axle. Twelve men of the Third were killed and twenty-eight injured. One of the cars was thrown into a ditch filled with water and seven soldiers drowned. The seriously hurt were sent to Camp Douglas Hospital and the remainder moved on.

The Third remained at St. Louis until the 3d of May when they embarked for Fort Leavenworth reaching their station on the 11th of May. Here they were furnished horses. From Fort Leavenworth, the regiment was distributed throughout the state, engaged in provost duty. The Second Battalion, which Company I was a part, was sent to Fort Scott. It arrived there on the 17th of June. Fort Scott was the extreme outpost of the Union forces. Company I, Captain Conkey (Thomas) occupied Carthage, Missouri, sixty-five miles from Fort Scott. Their orders were to protect the Union people and disperse guerilla bands as well as watch the motions of the enemy in Arkansas. The other companies were engaged in scouting around Fort Scott. Near the last of July, the rebels were concentrating a large force near Montevallo, Missouri at a place called "Church in the Woods". A plan of attack was made. Captain Conkey was ordered to march with his command from Carthage and to rendezvous with other Union detachments near these woods on the night of the 4th of August. Captain Conkey immediately evacuated Carthage and, with his force augmented by Union citizens to about 125, set out on the 3rd. Captain Conkey and his men discovered an enemy force of about 2,000 encamped at "Church in the Woods". Feeling it necessary to warn the approaching Union forces, before daylight on the 4th, he charged directly through the rebel camp without loss. Captain Conkey missed teaming up with Colonel Barstow and his 150 men. There was scattered skirmishing with the rebels as the Union troops fell back to Fort Scott. Two expeditions were organized at Fort Scott for the pursuit of the enemy. The first set out on the 14th of August, Companies F and I of the Third forming part of that expedition. They were out ten days, during which the troops were frequently engaged with the enemy. Company I acquitted themselves with great bravery in the action of Taberville, their conduct receiving special commendation in the official report of Colonel Cloud. They all participated in the action at Coon Creek, where the Union force, numbering 600, routed 1,500 of the enemy.

The companies of the First and Third battalions were engaged during the summer on provost duty at the posts assigned them. In addition to provost duty, they were engaged in various scouting expeditions through the border counties of Missouri which were infested with Quantrell's guerillas. The two battalions left Fort Leavenworth for Fort Scott on the 11th of September. The regiment accompanied the movements of General Blunt's forces in the pursuit of (Confederate) Raines, Parsons, etc. in November of 1862. On the 27th of November, the forces of General Blunt moved to Cane Hill where they found the enemy on the 29th. A vigorous cavalry attack threw the rebels into great confusion. The Third Wisconsin Cavalry took part in this battle. After the Battle of Prairie Grove on the 10th of December, 1862, the regiment took part in raids along the Arkansas River. They were continually engaged with guerilla parties of the enemy and the men and horses suffered greatly by the lack of supplies. From Forsyth, Missouri, the regiment marched to Springfield where they remained in camp for some time in order to allow the men and horses to recuperate from months of scouting and fighting guerillas almost continually in country nearly devoid of rations for men or animals. On the 20th of June, they proceeded to Fort Scott where they arrived on the 5th of July. Five companies of the Third, including Company I, formed an escort for a supply train on the 30th of May,1863. They were attacked four miles from the Fort by 1,500 Texans and Indians whom they repulsed with great slaughter. The detachment lost five men, killed and wounded. Again, on the 20th of June, they took the road for Fort Blunt escorting a large supply train. They were attacked on th 27th at Cabin Creek in the Cherokee Nation, by a greatly superior force of rebels. The enemy was totally defeated and driven across the Verdigris River.

On arriving at Fort Blunt, the Third was attached to the Third Brigade, Army of the Frontier. On the 16th of July, 1863, they marched south. On the 17th they took part in the Battle of Honey Springs. The 19th of July, they returned to Fort Blunt. On the 22nd of August, they accompanied the army in another forward movement in which they were constantly in advance and actively engaged in skirmishing and scouting, following the enemy and capturing large quantities of stores. Sixty miles from Red River, they fired the last shots at the enemy as they evacuated Perryville which was captured and burned.

Early in September (1863), Company I returned to Fort Scott and acted as escort to General Blunt. From the 21st of August to the 6th of October, the remainder of the Third was constantly engaged in scouting and fighting guerillas in the vicinity of Shelbyville. On the 16th of October, 1863, the Third made a raid on Waldron, Arkansas routing a large force of the enemy. The next day, they moved into the Choctaw nation and attacked a large force of rebel Indians, capturing all their stores. On the 5th of November, while passing through the Mulberry Mountains on their way to Clarksville, they encountered rebel Colonel Brook with 1,000 men. After a sharp fight, they drove the enemy across the Arkansas River capturing a large number of prisoners. They returned to Van Buren on the 12th and two days later raided Waldron and Dallas, Arkansas. Here they captured Confederate Colonel Alexander and fourteen of his men. Afterwards, they returned to Van Buren where they stayed until February, 1864.

On the 4th of September, 1863, General Blunt left Fort Scott for Fort Smith, designing to establish district headquarters at the latter place. His escort consisted of forty men of Company I, Third Wisconsin Cavalry and forty-three men of Company A, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry and a train of eight wagons transporting the effects of the district headquarters. At noon on the 6th of September, when within a short distance of a camp near Baxter's Spring in the Cherokee Nation, the command halted to permit the train to come up. A column of men were soon seen coming out of the woods, about eighty rods (about 440 yards) to the left and forming into line. The escort was immediately formed in line of battle and the train took up its position in the rear. A scout soon came in, informing General Blunt that the force in front, disguised in Federal uniforms, were enemies, and that an engagement was taking place at the camp of Lieutenant Pond, who was in command at Baxter's Springs. Of the men comprising the escort, twenty were acting as rear guard to the train, leaving but sixty-five to form the line of battle, and receive the charge of a force of from 300 to 500 men. The lines were not more than 200 yards distant. The enemy advanced at a walk, firing. The men of Company A, Fourteenth Kansas, began to break, which the enemy perceiving, the charge was ordered, and the whole rebel line advanced with a shout, at which the remainder of Company A broke and could not be rallied. In the meantime, a full volley was fired by Company I, Third Wisconsin Cavalry. The enemy, however, continued to advance. Company I stood, firing their revolvers, till the enemy was within twenty feet of them, when they turned to escape, but before any distance could be made, the enemy were in their midst, who shot down the fleeing men, and murdered such as were merely wounded. Of the forty men of Company I, who composed part of the escort, twenty-two were killed and four were wounded and left on the field for dead. After plundering the wagons and making sure that their victims were dead, Quantrell and his bloody band left the field. Among the dead, were found the bodies of Major Curtis, General Blunt's Assistant Adjutant General, and Lieutenant A.W. Farr, both evidently murdered in cold blood.

Reenlistments commenced in January, 1864, and continued until three-fourths of the regiment had reenlisted. On the 30th of March, the regiment moved from Van Buren to Little Rock arriving there on the 16th of April. After a thirty day furlough, the regiment reassembled at Duvall's Bluff on the 19th of June, 1864. They subsequently moved to Huntsville near Little Rock where they engaged in picket and guard duty in addition to scouting between the Arkansas and White Rivers frequently engaging portions of Shelby's men. They were also employed in escorting supply trains between Little Rock and Duvall's Bluff. August 28th, a detachment of 104 men under Major Derry, joined an expedition in pursuit of the rebel Shelby's force. When they returned to Little Rock, they resumed picket duty on the 7th of September. Five companies of the Third (A, C, D, F, and M) were stationed in Missouri and Kansas doing scouting, picketing, foraging and escorting duty. On the 25th of September, 1864, 141 men under Major Derry returned to Little Rock from an expedition to Fort Smith and went into winter camp along with companies B, E, G, H, I, K and L. They engaged in scouting, guarding trains, patrolling the roads and skirmishing with guerillas and bushwhackers.

On the 10th of March, 1865, a small detachment was sent from Little Rock to capture a band of guerillas near Clear Lake about forty miles away. Guided by an informant, they approached a cane break near where the rebels were supposed to be held up when the guide gave a signal and disappeared into the thicket. A volley of musketry assailed the head of the column . Captain Geisler, leading it, fell from his horse, mortally wounded with five gun shot wounds from which he died the next day. The detachment numbered about forty men while the enemy force was estimated to be 200. After the detachment returned to Little Rock, a larger force of cavalry was sent back to the ambush site to recover the body of the Captain.

On the expiration of the term of service for the original organization, the regiment was reorganized on the 19th of April, 1865. At Fort Leavenworth, the battalion was mustered-out on the 8th of September, arriving at Madison, Wisconsin on the 14th where they were paid and discharged. Reorganized Companies F, H, I and K were mustered-out at Madison on the 2nd of October. Company L was mustered-out at Fort Leavenworth on the 23rd and Company G on the 27th.

Regimental Statistics - Original strength, 1,186. Gain by recruits: 1863, 324; 1864, 608; 1865, 30. Substitutes, 18. Reenlistments, 357. Total: 2, 523. Loss - killed, 215; missing, 9; deserted, 126; transferred, 64; discharged, 418; mustered-out, 1,691. [9]

Henry was a part of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry from his enlistment (August 30, 1862) to March 2, 1864. On that date, he was transferred because of disability to the Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC). Nothing in his official records gave an explanation as to the reason for his becoming unfit for active duty, but it appeared he became so sometime before his transfer in March.

The Veteran Reserve Corps was originally called the Invalid Corps. It was organized April 28, 1863 to make use of soldiers who had been rendered unable to perform regular duties expected of troops in the field because of wounds or disease but who were still fit for light duty like guarding or transporting prisoners, garrisoning stations, doing provost duty, etc. These men had to be recommended for transfer to the VRC by their commanding officers. Henry was considered a Class 1 disabled soldier whose period of service had not yet expired. He was transferred directly to the Corps to complete his term of enlistment. March 18, 1864, the Invalid Corps was renamed to the Veteran Reserve Corps which sounded much better. Class 2 VRC members were more severely disabled to the point where they could not handle a musket or march any distance. These men were employed as cooks, orderlies, nurses, etc. Four members from Company F of the Fourteenth Veteran Reserve Corps were part of the execution of President Lincoln's assassins. On July 7, 1865 at Fort McNair in Washington , D.C., they knocked out the post that dropped the conspirators to their deaths. [10] Private Royce contracted typhoid fever while in the performance of his duties and died in Camp Reynolds Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania on October 31, 1864. [11]

Mary Jane, Henry's widow, stated in her "Widow's Claim for Pension" dated January 10, 1865 that Henry "...died at draft rendezvous in the State of Penn. on the thirty-first day of October AD 1864 of typhoid fever". [12] Camp Reynolds was near Pittsburg and was one of three draft camps set up by the Governor of Pennsylvania in 1863 after President Lincoln called for additional troops to serve the Union. Twenty-four thousand volunteer militia to serve for one hundred days were needed from Pennsylvania. The other two camps were located near Harrisburg (Camp Curtin) and another was located near Philadelphia (Camp Cadawalter) to handle the processing of recruits to fill the President's quota. [13] Since Private Royce was serving in the VRC, it is logical that he would end up doing provost or guard duty at Camp Reynolds as the volunteers assembled for enlist-ment.

So we uncovered the details that explain Henry's death and we pin-pointed the time and place. We have not, however, ascertained for sure where he was buried. Find A Grave listed two different locations. One was in North Cemetery, Orwell, where there was a family plot and monument with an inscription for Henry on it. In addition to the usual dates, there is a carving that names the place of his death - Camp Reynolds Hospital, PA. In another Memorial, Henry is listed as buried in Hillside Cemetery, Whitewater, Walworth County, Wisconsin. But in that posting, there is no photograph of his headstone like there is for his wife, Mary Jane who is also listed as buried in Hillside Cemetery. The dilemma is, therefore, under which cemetery's green grass does the body of Henry L. Royce lie - his hometown of Orwell, Vermont or his adopted homeland of Wisconsin where his beloved wife lies?

Henry left behind a wife and three children. As long as he was alive, Mary Jane had an income, but with his death, that ceased. On January 10, 1865 she filed a claim for a widow's pension. The same day, she appointed one H.O. Montague as her Agent/Attorney. [14] January 10, 1866, she was granted a pension of $8 per month commencing November 1, 1864 under the Act of July, 1864. Nothing was said about support for the three children. The payments were to be sent to Mr. Montague. [15] Congress was very busy after the War of Rebellion passing new and improved acts benefiting disabled soldiers and their widows and children. After another piece of legislation concerning pensions was passed July 25, 1866, and Mary Jane was quick to ask for an increase in payments. Still living in Whitewater, Wisconsin on December 20, 1866, thirty-two year old Mary Jane applied for a pension increase under "...Henry L. Royce, who was a Private in Company H commanded by Captain Lyons in the 21st Regiment of Vet Reserve Corps Volunteers...." [16] Among the supporting documents Mary Jane had submitted on behalf of her claim, was her affidavit of July 19, 1867 in which she swore that her three children were indeed hers and Henry's legitimately born in Wilson's Greene, Iowa and that "...she has not married since the death of her said husband, nor abandoned the support of any of their children under sixteen years of age, nor permitted anyone for whom increase is claimed, to be adopted by any person or persons, and that the above named children are the only legitimate children of herself and her deceased husband now living...." [17] Also in July, Montague had to file a second claim for an increase of widow's pension after he explained that he could not produce the original pension certificate number issued to Mary Jane because she had given the original one back to the Pension Department who promptly lost it. [18] Finally, by December 9, 1867, Mary was awarded $8 per month for herself (which she had been getting since November 1, 1864 anyway) and now increased by $2 per month per child commencing July 25, 1866 (date of the new Act passed by Congress) until each of the three children reached the age of sixteen. [19]

Nothing of significance happened to or with Mary Jane throughout the years between 1870 through 1910. She continued to live in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Her children grew and went off on their own. Mary Jane never remarried. She lived alone and supported herself all those years. When Mary Jane was eighty-two years old, Congress again passed new laws affecting widow's pensions. She rightfully applied for an increase under the new regulations in 1916. Her payments jumped from $8 per month to $20 per month beginning on September 8, 1916 when the new law was passed. [20] At the time of Mary Jane's death on September 4, 1919, she was being paid $25 per month for her widow's pension. [21]

1. Vermont in the Civil War/Cemeteries/Vermont/Orwell/North Orwell Cemetery/Royce, Henry L./Vitals;, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600's-Current for Henry L. Royce;, Family Tree for Henry Leander Royce.
2., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for William Rice;, Memorial #13935745 for Alpheus Royce.
3. Ibid., Family Trees (Caldwell, Complete04feb17, 2015 Camilla Yost, Schroedinger, and 2007 Ricedesc).
4. Ibid., 1850 U. S. Federal Census for Henry L. Royce.
5. Ibid., Iowa State Census, 1836-1925 for Henry L. Royce;, Marriage Certificate, image 270677436.
6., Widow's Claim for Pension, image 270677428; Ibid., Affidavit of Mary J. Royce for pension claim, July 19, 1867, image 270677449.
7. http//, Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. Volume I: Turning Points in Wisconsin History.
8., letter Adjutant General's Office, March 7,1865, image 270677432.
9. 3rd Cavalry, Chapter 52 from E.B. Quiner's Military History of Wisconsin, Chicago, 1866, pp. 909-920.
10., U.S., Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 for Henry L. Royce.
11., Veteran Reserve Corps.
12., U.S., Find A Grave, 1600's-Current for Henry L. Royce;, Family Tree for Henry Leander Royce; Headstone, North Cemetery, Orwell for Henry L. Royce.
13., Widow's Pensions/US VRC/Infantry/Regiment 21/Co H/Royce, Henry L., "Widow's Claim for Pension", p.3, image 270677428.
14. 1864countyquotas.hmtl, "The Quotas of the Respective Counties of Pennsylvania - The Point of Rendezvous, Phila delphia Press, July 11, 1864.
15., Widow's Pension/US VRC/Infantry/Regiment 21/Co H/Royce, Henry L., image 270677429.
16. Ibid., Widow's Pension for Royce, Henry L., p. 20, image 270677445.
17. Ibid., Widow's Pension, Widow's Application For An Increase of Pension, p. 22 image 270677447.
18. Ibid., Widow's Pension for Royce, Henry L., p. 24, image 270677449.
19. Ibid., Widow's Pension, pp. 29 and 31, images 270677454 and 270677456.
20. Ibid., Widow's Pension for Royce, Henry L., p. 41, image 270677466.
21. Ibid., Widow's Pension for Royce, Henry L., p. 34, image 270677459.
22. Ibid., Widow's Pension under Royce, Henry L., p. 33, image 270677458.
23. Ibid., Widow's Pension under Royce, Henry L., p. 17, image 270677442.
Contributed by Bernie Noble.

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