Title: Navy Seaman, Civil War; Carpenter's Mate 2nd Class, World War I
Birthdate: August 16, 1840
Death Date: December 3, 1922
Plot Location: Naval plot, Section 3, row 9, grave 27

Adolph Lowe, Civil War and WWI Veteran

Adolph Lowe was born to William and Caroline Lowe in August of 1840 in Prussia. In March of 1861, at age 20, Adolph enlisted in the US Navy and was stationed on the USS North Carolina. In July of that same year, and still before his 21st birthday, he declared his intention to become a citizen and renounced his allegiance to the King of Prussia (at this point in history, Prussia was still a monarchy).

He served the duration of the Civil War on some of the first gunboats built by the US Navy including the USS Wabash and the USS Seminole. Just a month after Adolph enlisted, President Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Blockade Against Southern Ports, designed to prevent the trade of supplies, weapons and goods by the Confederacy. The initial phase of the blockade targeted ports along the east coast. Lowe participated in the pivotal Battle of Port Royal in South Carolina. This was one of the first battles of the blockade and also one of the earliest naval operations of the Civil War.

Adolph was discharged from service in June of 1864, and married Matilda Von Strat in 1868 in Richmond, Virginia. They probably had several children and were living in Kansas City, Missouri when she died in 1885. He wasted no time in marrying Harriet Sanford the following year, but she died in 1888. Adolph apparently had a successful business, as shown in this ad in the Kansas City city directory that year.

He had suffered various injuries during the war including impaired hearing. Those injuries didn’t keep him from re-enlisting in 1917 after war against Germany was declared. He passed the physical test even though he was 77 years old and his rank was Carpenter’s Mate 2nd Class.

He was sent with a machine gun company to Virginia Beach and, even though he never used a gun like that before, he made 230 hits out of 300. This last tour of duty was only for five months, but his record shows he spent a total of 4 years, 6 months and 3 days in service to his adopted country. His residence after the war was in Norfolk, Virginia, although he was in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital at the time of death.

His obituary said it was believed he was the only survivor of the Civil War to have served in the World War. Adolph was survived by his third wife Rose, five sons and two daughters. A grandson, Gaston, was probably the only person that could say he was in the Navy at the same time as his grandfather.

Adolph spoke eight languages fluently, attended the Lutheran Church, and was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization of Civil War veterans. In addition, he was a member of the Virginia Beach Masonic Order and the American Legion. His funeral services were conducted by the American Legion at the Naval Home on Grays Ferry Avenue with interment here at Mount Moriah.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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