Title: Army Private, Civil War
Birthdate: November 28, 1833
Death Date: 1863
Plot Location: Section 27, Lot 299

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Researching lives from the past can be like fitting pieces of a puzzle together, but drawing conclusions must be based on confirmed evidence. Speculation has its place as long as it is clearly identified as such. Missing facts about David’s war record offer such an opportunity, but leave many questions unanswered.

James and Susan Andrews came from Ireland in the mid-1830s with their three small children: James C., born in 1832; David W., born in 1833; and Margaret, born in 1835. Another daughter was born after they settled in what was then Southwark Township in Philadelphia County. 

David’s father was a sheet iron worker but in the 1860 census his occupation was simply, “iron foundry.” Whether or not he moved into ownership or just management, he did well in his chosen field. When he died in 1889 he left a stock portfolio worth $67,000, which was a large fortune for that time.

That 1860 census lists David with a wife whose maiden name was Elizabeth Taylor and four children, which means he was a father at age 16. Some facts are hard to believe, but this was corroborated by researching the children’s lives. The fact that he was married was confirmed by his father’s will where James left $1000 to be given to “Eliza, widow of my son David W. Andrews.” Unfortunately that gift was never made because she died before the will was probated.

Three enlistment records for David W. Andrews were found, placing him in three different outfits. As questionable as that sounds, it’s possible that all of them are correct. The first shows service in a “three-month” regiment, the 18th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, April 24-August 7, 1861. Enlistments were only for three months because it seemed likely “the rebellion” would be put down in short order. When it wasn’t, many reenlisted.

The next two records, shown here from the Pennsylvania Veterans Card Files, show what may have happened next. The first says he was “mustered in” on August 19, 1861 as a private in Troop C of the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry. His gravestone identifies the 8th Cavalry but shows a different company and rank. It also claims he died in Libby Prison, a Confederate POW camp in Richmond.

No documentation has been found that he was a prisoner of war or promoted to Sergeant. This card states there is no “mustered out” record and that the noted Civil War historian Samuel Bates (in his History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5) reported he was discharged with a surgeon’s certificate of disability on February 26, 1862.

The third record shows David W. Andrews enlisted on August 20, 1862 in Company K of the 114th Infantry. Is it possible that this is the same man, who may have sufficiently recovered from his disability and reenlisted? It’s just speculation at this point. The 114th also recruited mostly from Philadelphia, and they engaged the enemy at Fredericksburg in December of 1862, Chancellorsville in May of 1863, and then Gettysburg in July.

It could have been at any of these battles that David was taken prisoner, where he died that same year. Again, this is purely speculation, a theory with unresolved issues due to lack of additional information.

The Andrews gravestone was most likely placed here in the 1890s by James C. Andrews using his father’s money. One side was for James, the opposite side for James C., and one side for David. Individual stones were placed on either side of the monument for other family members.

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

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