Earlier a message was posted about Columbiana born JOHN GASTON of Gaston Mills who lost his life in the Civil War serving from Iowa. One of his Iowa companions was also from Columbiana County and also gave his life serving his country.
Charles K Whealen was the oldest son of Jacob and Margaret Whealen who had brought their family from Columbiana County Ohio to Marshall County Iowa in the years before the Civil War. The Whealens were from the area around Lisbon and Salem in Columbiana County.
Charles was 18 when the Civil War began and when President Lincoln called on brave and willing volunteers to help put down the rebellion and preserve our county's union. Charles enlisted into Company G of the 14th Iowa Infantry in November of 1861.
The local training camp was in Davenport where they were organized into their regiments and sworn into federal service.
In December they were sent to the large army camp at St. Louis called Benton Barracks. Men from all over the country were gathered there in tight quarters where they were exposed for the first time to contagious diseases like measles and mumps.
These diseases spread quickly through the barracks and took a terrible toll on the soldiers. Measles and mumps were very serious diseases, often fatal, in those days, and the men suffered terribly. Many of them died, while others in their weakened state developed even more serious secondary problems, like pnuemonia, which greatly magnified their danger.
Knocked down hard by measles, Charles Whealen was among those then hit with pnuemonia, called "lung fever" at the time, and he never recovered from the double blow. Two months after leaving the safety of his home and family to serve his country in its hour of greatest need, Charles died on January 6 1862 without ever seeing combat.
In February his regiment would distinguish itself at Fort Donelson and in April they fought bravely and with honor at Shiloh's Hornets' Nest. He was among the first from Marshall County to die in the War but he would never be honored and remembered on monuments to the fallen.
Many of his comrades who perished in the barracks were buried there in the camp cemetery at St. Louis but Charles' grief stricken family had his remains quietly brought home to Iowa for burial in their family plot in Marietta Cemetery near Albion Iowa. Two years later, before the war was over his mother was laid to rest beside him, dying most likely from complications after giving birth to the family's youngest son Walter.
Here is Charles entry in the Company G roster:
Whealen, Charles R. Age 18. Residence Marietta, Marshall County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted October 9, 1861. Mustered November 2, 1861. Died of lung fever Jan. 6, 1862, Benton Barracks, St. Louis Missouri.
His middle initialis listed as "R" and his death date is listed as January 6, but the family marker at Marietta lists his initial as "K" and his death on January 5.
Whealen family members, folks interested in Iowa Civil War history, or Columbiana County genealogists and historians may be interested in a new book recently published by the Traer Iowa museum which tells the story of the men of Company G in a complete diary and letters from Charles' companions. Charles' death is mentioned several times. The book is 288 pages hardbound, all first hand accounts in a nice keepsake edition with a beautiful dust cover. It can be ordered from the museum website www.traermuseum.com.
It is quite possible he had his portrait taken in St. Louis in his new uniform and proudly sent it home to his family, perhaps that may have been the last contact they received from him. If anyone has more information on Charles or perhaps even letters he may have written home to his family before his death, or his photograph, please contact the Traer museum.
Charles' family in 1860 was: Jacob 48, Margaret 38, Charles 17, George 15, Laura 13, Elizabeth 10, Frank 8, Galen 5, Byron 3, Marcus 5 months, and later on Walter ( 6 in 1870 ).