War Becomes Real in Hawleyton

By Nancy Barber


Pvt William Wallace Lamb in Typical NY 109th Infantry Uniform

The Civil War does not have a personal impact on the Abram Wilbur family for over a year after its beginning.  However, on Saturday August 9, 1862, Stephen Decatur Wilbur joins the New York 109th Infantry Regiment, Company E in Binghamton, New York. He is a month away from of his 21st birthday, which he will ultimately spend serving the North and defending Washington, D.C.

His two brothers are too young to enlist, but his sisters’ husbands are Union soldiers. Oliver H. Millham is a lieutenant in the same company and Ephraim Cline is serving in Company B of the NY 137th Regiment.

Two other Wilburs from Binghamton, William and Perry, sign up to serve in the same brigade that day. They are both older, 25 and 27 respectively, but still too young to march off to a war that would claim one-fourth of its ranks. Perry P. Wilbur dies in 1864 of typhoid.

Company E is also known as the “Railroad Brigade”. On August 27, 1862 they leave New York for Annapolis Junction, Maryland to guard the railroad line that makes its way to the capital. Stephen transitions from farmer and student to soldier.

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