Archival Research
Pvt. John C. DRURY, 13-year-old 20th Indiana Volunteer and POW
Pvt. John C. DRURY, 13-year-old 20th Indiana Volunteer and POW

John C. Drury turned 13 just days before enlisting with the 20th Indiana Volunteer Regiment on July 22, 1861.  Drury claimed he had enlisted as a musician, though I have found no special designation as such  in Drury’s 1900 Invalid Pension Deposition, transcribed by me below.  The deposition, given when Drury was 52,  is loaded with intriguing material about the boy’s family life, work history, multiple marriages,  and more.

One story Drury tells is of particular interest to me as a researcher of the 20th Indiana POWs’ time in Confederate prisons.  Drury was one of a handful of young soldiers 13-16 captured in the engagements on Hatteras Island, October 1861.  John C. Drury was captured by 3rd Georgia Volunteers who made an amphibious assault on the encampment of the 20th Indiana called “Live Oak.”  He spent time in at least five different prisons until his May 1862 release.

Drury tells in this deposition of being whacked in the head by an iron ramrod wielded by a Rebel guard, named “Miles,” at the Richland County Jail, downtown Columbia, South Carolina. The Richland Jail, also known as the Columbia Military Prison, was known particularly for its humane treatment of Union POWs during the Winter of 1861-1862.  The commandant of the prison was remembered by a number of the men and officers as being a particularly devout Christian man, kind and humane.  So, “Miles’” behavior seemed a very unique exhibition.  Drury tells, below, that the head wound left him unconscious for hours, and is the cause of his later and present symptoms of dizziness, pain and memory loss.  I have not yet looked further into the identity of “Miles,” though I am certain he was a South Carolina State Militia member.

I am including a scan I made at the National Archives of the final page of the original Pension deposition, revealing his signature.  This is one of about a hundred documents in Drury’s file.


NOTE: Underlined text indicates handwritten script.  Other text is pre-printed on the deposition form.

[page one]
Case of John C. Drury Orig No. 624,057
On this 5th day of January, 1900 at
Portland, County of Jay
State of Indiana, before me, C. E. Paul
a special examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared
John C. Drury, who, being by me first duly sworn to
answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this special
examination of aforesaid claim for pension, deposes and says: I am 52
years of age; my post-office address is above; I am at
present a member of the Indiana State Soldier’s Home at Lafayette, Ind. and
am here on 15 days furlough
I served as Private in Co. I 20th Ind.
Vol. Inf. from July 22, 1861 to some time in May, 1862.
I was taken prisoner in the fall of
1861 at Chickemicomico [sic] Island, N. C. dur-
ing a skirmish on a retreat and at
the time 48 beside myself were cap-
tured from different companies of the
regiment.  I was taken with the
others to Norfolk, Va. and imprisoned
there for three or four weeks then taken
to Libby Prison at Richmond, Va. where
I was kept a while then sent to Columbia
S. C. and later returned to Libby Prison
Richmond, Va. from where I was paroled
in May, 1862.  I was not in service
other than now stated.  I was but
13 at enlistment.  My full name is
John C. Drury.  I enlisted at Lafayette,
Ind.  I was born at F New Brighton,
Beaver county, Pa. and came with
my parents to Indiana from Toledo, Ohio

[page two]
I had worked at Kokomo a short
while before enlistment also at Defiance
Ohio and at Lafayette, Ind.
Father died when I was small and
mother moved around to different places
and is yet living.  Her name is Mary
Van Dine.  She is in the Delaware county
infirmary near De Soto or Selma, Ind.
I really had no fixed home or resi-
dence after Father died and as a boy
had to make my living the best
I could and worked wherever and at
whatever I could and the way I got
into service so young was by enlist-
in as a musician.  I can’t recall
any employers or neighbors fellow workers or
associates during the three or four years
previous to service.  What schooling
I got I procured mainly after the
war.  I had no sicknesses or disabilities
or medical treatment before service.
My mind and memory have become so
impaired that I can’t recall definitely
the details of my history before service
or where I worked or for whom.
I have no brothers or sisters.  My half
brother Isaac Van Dine is in the insane
asylum at Richmond, Ind being there
on account of insanity  He was struck
on the head by a stone during a brawl
some years ago which rendered him
insane.  I have  no other half brothers
or sisters.  I had a half sister Annie
who committed suicide by taking poison.
I have an aunt B Sarah James, widow,
Falston, Beaver county, Pa.
I have no other uncles or other aunts to
my present recollection.
The only disease or disability I contracted in

[page three]
service was injury to head due to
being struck on top of my head by
an iron ramrod in the hands of one
Miles, a rebel prison guard, at Columbia,
S. C. the date of which I do not
recall.  I was unconscious for hours
afterward and when I regained cons-
ciousness I was told a rebel surgeon
had dressed the injury and ever since
that time I have been  subject to spells
of dizziness, loss of memory, confusion
of thought and ideas, and nervous
spells and a sense of feeling that there
is metal in the top of my head.
The dizzy sensations did not affect me
so much in earlier years but have
increased as I have grown older.
For the past fourteen months I have
been totally disabled.  I had a slight
stroke of paralysis last winter but can’t
recall the time.  I am affected by nervous
twitchings and can’t sleep at night.
My left side is more affected.
Beside the affection of head and nerves
I have piles, which I have had for
twenty five years past; also rupture of
left groin.  I don’t know when I
was ruptured or the occassion of it.
My lungs are also affected and
have been for ten or twelve years.

[page four]
My first medical treatment after discharge
was by a physician in Cleveland, Ohio,
name forgotten. That was during the war period.
I forgot to mention that I lived at
Cleveland, Ohio a few months after dis-
charge.  I was also treated by a Fort Wayne
physician during the few months I was
at Fort Wayne, Ind. during the war period.
Dr. E. C. Kennedy, my first attorney, deceased,
then of Muncie treated me.  Dr. Newhouse
of Muncie, Ind. treated some.  All my
treatment has been for the nervousness, neuralgia
rheumatism, head trouble stomach trouble
piles and general constitutional disturbances
Since living in Portland, I have had
treatment from various physicians all of
whom have testified for me.
I have never unsed intoxicants to excess,
Have used sedatives and narcotics to quiet
my nerves but always under direction
of physicians.  Have used whiskey to
some extent for benefit of my health.
I was first married to Anna Hyde at
Pennville, Jay county, Ind. along in the early
seventies.  She had not been previously married.
She died in the latter seventies at Pennville, Ind.
Second marriage was to Angeline Beckhorn
at North Bend, Steuben county, Ind. about a
year after I married buried my first wife.
There is a license record of the first marriage
at the Court House in Portland, Jay Co., Ind.
and of the second at Angola Steuben Co., Ind.
My second wife’s first marriage was to me.

[page five]
She died about 1880 at Muncie, Ind.
My third marriage was at Muncie,
Delaware county, Ind. to Dorothy E.
Snyder, a grass widow, maiden name
Freeman.  Date of my marriage to her
was in the early eighties.  There is a
licence — record at Muncie, Ind. showing
date and particulars of this marriage.
She obtained a divorce from me at Muncie,
Ind. when I don’t recall.  I was served
with notice of the decree.
My fourth and last marriage was to
Rebecca E. Sherman, Oct. 26, 1897 at
Celina, Mercer county, Ohio  Justice R.
Radabaugh officiating.  The name my
present wife bore at our marriage was
Rebecca E. Isenhart, she being divorced
from Hose Isanhart.
She had been first married to John
Mahoney at West Liberty, Jay Co, Ind.
in 1881 and was divorced from him about
1885 at Portland, Ind.  She was   Her
second husband got a divorce from her
about three years ago at Portland, Ind.
I have no children under 16 years of age.
I do not care to be present or represented
during the further examination of my [?]

[page six]
for the periods I lived at Pennville
and here at Portland, Ind.
John W. Headington of this place has
been acquainted with me since I came to Pennville,
Also David Taylor, of this place, for the same
At Grand Rapids, Kent Co. Mich. I
worked for a lumberman named
Joseph Miller, an old man, also for
a farmer named John Miller.
At Elkhart, Elkhart Co., Ind. I worked
for a man named Proctor [?], a builder.
At Kalamazoo, Three Rivers, and White Pigeon,
Mich  Chicago, Ill,  Springfield, Ill,
St. Lois, Mo.  Lima, Ohio I was
working at different kinds of labor and
did not stay more than several months
at a place and made no permanent
acquaintances noe can I recall any
who would likely recall me.
I recall a grocer at Toledo, Ohio
named Charlie Patton whose place of
business was near the Allen” House.
At Maumee, Ohio where I worked
one summer I made no intimate ac-
State if possible your residences from
May 1862 to May, 1865, occupations,
Estimates and associates for said period
[? - legal term meaning deponent]
I can’t recall where I was or what I was or what I
did or who were my associates

[page seven]
I can’t recall my bunkmates in service:
One “Bill” Budd was a messmate before
I was taken prisoner.  I do not know
where he is.  Don’t recall other messmates,
Napoleon Baum, Valparaiso, Porter Co., Ind.
is the only person I know of who could
testify as to incurrence of my injury in prison.
I can’t recall any other persons of my com-
pany who were with me in prison that
are living.  There were others but I have
forgotten their names.
Of the list of comrades you have read I
recall those marked “Yes” but don’t recall
whether any were in prison with me.
I do recall as being with me in
prison Sergeant Bartlett, dead I think
private Paul Barnhart,
Sergeant De La Motte (Sergeant Major)
I don’t  know where these are.
The reason I did not apply earlier for
pension is that I was getting along
fairly well financially during the earlier years after the service.
I don’t recall where I first went after
service.  I lived at Muncie, Delaware Co.
Ind. about ten years ranging from the
early seventies to the middle of the eighties
I have lived here in Portland for about
twelve years past.  I think I lived
at Pennville this county for five or six
years during the seventies.  Don’t recall just
when or how or what part of the

[page eight]
seventies I lived at Muncie, Ind.
I lived at Ridgeville, Randolph county,
Ind. some three years and before I
moved to Muncie, Ind.  Do not recall
the dates.  Earlier I lived at Toledo, Ohio
some three or four years shortly after the
war and then worked on the canal and
around lumber yards and stove [?] mills
Most of the time since the war I have
worked at barbering my trade.
In your original declaration  you gave
your occupation at enlistment as hotel
porter.  At what hotels were you employed?
[? - deponent]
At the Phillips Hotel Fort Wayne Ind.
and Keller House, Peru Miami Co., “.
State other places of residence since service
[? - deponent]
Grand Rapids, Mich., was there several
years way back and worked some on farms.
Lima, Ohio nearly a year some thirteen
years ago.
Three Rivers, Mich. one summer

[page nine]
back thirty years ago.
White Pigeon, Mich.; over thirty years ago;
Kalamazoo, Mich       “       “        “         “;
Elkhart, Ind.               “       “        “         “;
Chicago, Ill.             over thirty three years ago.
Springfield, Ill.           “        “       “       “         “
St. Louis, Mo.          “         “       “       “         “
Union City, Ind.      some thirteen years   ago.
I roved about at other places east
and west  where and when I don’t
recall.  I worked mainly at barbering
I was acquainted with
Milton Hiatt, druggist, Ridgeville, Ind.
Levi James, lawyer,       “             “
William Lemaux, grocer, Portland   “
knew me at Ridgeville, Randolph Co., Ind.
Others at Ridgeville who knew me are
Nelson Hiatt and George L. Gegner, both
living there, and older residents they can name.
At Muncie, Delaware county, Ind. I
can refer to John Banta, ex-Postmaster
Gundy Andrews, Harveand Little, formerly
shoe dealers,  Perry Heath, U.S. Asst. Postmaster General,
Charlie Anthony, capitalist
Tom. Brady, formerly 2nd Asst Postmaster General,
I also lived nearly a year at Red Key, Ind.
and at Hartford City, Ind. about a year
both places times of residence being between the
years I lived in Muncie and the
time I moved to Lima, Ohio
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Borden of this place
knew me at Pennville, this county, Ind.
William Hyde, a brother to my first
wife, now a member of the State Soldiers
Home at Lafayette, Tippecanoe county Ind.
knew me well while I lived at Pennville,
Jacob Walker, Corkwell, Jay Co. Ind.
also knew me at Pennville, Ind.
Davis Riley of Portland, has known me

[page ten]
here or elsewhere.
Evender C. Kennedy, Muncie, Ind., now dead,
filed my claim.
Nathan H. Spence, Muncie, Ind. succeeded
to the attorneyship.
Louis J. Bruner [?}. Portland, Ind. is my
present attorney.
I gave Nathan H. Spence per agreements
for twenty five dollars.
I have no agreement with L. J. Bruner
as to fees.
I have not paid fees to any attorney.
I was not injured in any manner
after my service.
I first noticed I was ruptured about 20 years ago.
Have heard my deposition and it is correct.
I consider I have been disqualified for
manual labor over one half or an over-
age since discharge and during the
past V two years I have been totally
disabled, I have been subject to
dizzy spells every year since discharge.
Have had heart trouble for several
Statement is correct as read.
John C. Drury [original signature]

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