FRATERNAL BONDS: Union Cpl. Gershom H. Swayze and the Confederate Battle Flag of the 40th North Carolina Regiment

FRATERNAL BONDS: Union Cpl. Gershom H. Swayze and the Confederate Battle Flag of the 40th North Carolina Regiment
By Mark A. Moore
Author of The Old North State at War: The North Carolina Civil War Atlas

The author’s guidebook ‘The Battle of Bentonville,’ originally published in 1997, is currently being revised and expanded for release in 2019.

In the late winter of 1865, the armies of the Union hammered the final nails into the coffin of the Confederacy. After the fall of Fort Fisher and the port of Wilmington, Gen. William T. Sherman’s 60,000-man Union army blazed through North Carolina, leading to the culmination of the Carolinas Campaign at the Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21. Virtually unopposed, the Union juggernaut had covered more than 400 miles on foot between Savannah, Georgia, and Bentonville. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston struggled to assemble a hodgepodge Confederate army from far-flung units, but managed to concentrate a partial force to resist Sherman’s advance between the Cape Fear and Neuse Rivers. Their final clash occurred just 20 miles short of Sherman’s ultimate destination of Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Battle of Bentonville
The UNION and CONFEDERATE armies converge on BENTONVILLE, March 1865 — Map by MARK A. MOORE. Adapted from “THE OLD NORTH STATE AT WAR: THE NORTH CAROLINA CIVIL WAR ATLAS”

On the afternoon of March 19, 1865, the remnants of the Army of Tennessee and other commands attacked elements of Sherman’s Left Wing at Cole’s Plantation south of Bentonville. It was the Confederacy’s final large-scale tactical offensive of the war. In the woods and swamps south of the Goldsboro Road, Brig. Gen. James D. Morgan’s Union division became surrounded on three sides by the Army of Tennessee and Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke’s Division, Department of North Carolina. In defeating a Confederate attack in front, two members of the 14th Michigan Infantry captured the colors of the 40th North Carolina Regiment (3rd Artillery). A coastal artillery unit, the 40th—commanded by Maj. William A. Holland—fought as infantry attached to Brig. Gen. Johnson Hagood’s Brigade, Hoke’s Division. The engagement won the unit the sobriquet “Red Infantry,” for the red piping on their uniforms, which signified the artillery branch of service.

14th Michigan Infantry Flag
REGIMENTAL FLAG of the 14TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY — Courtesy Peter Glendinning, Michigan Capitol Committee, Save the Flags Initiative

“The enemy advanced steadily, firing rapidly until within thirty yards before I opened on them,” reported Lt. Col. George W. Grummond, commanding the 14th Michigan. “I then gave the command. The men rose steadily as one man and poured into the enemy the most terrific fire I ever listened to; nothing could withstand it. I kept up this fire for about seven or eight minutes. I then felt the time had come for me to charge. I gave the command to ‘over the works and charge for them.’ We were onto them before they had recovered from the shock of my fire, and captured about 125 unhurt and 38 wounded. I afterward had [the wounded] carried to the rear. About 70 lay dead on the field. Among the captured were about 30 officers. . . . I also captured the flag of the Fortieth North Carolina.”

Lt. Col. George W. Grummond
LT. COL. GEORGE WASHINGTON GRUMMOND, commander of the 14TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY at BENTONVILLE — One year and nine months after Bentonville, Grummond was killed in an ambush by Native Americans during RED CLOUD’S WAR, in what is now Wyoming, December 21, 1866. The fight became known as the FETTERMAN MASSACRE — Library of Congress

The 40th’s battle flag was seized by Cpl. George W. Clute and Cpl. Gershom H. Swayze. Clute described the encounter in detail but did not mention Swayze: “In the midst of the struggle, I saw a Confederate flag and made a rush for it. It was in the hands of their lieutenant. He and I were out of ammunition. Nothing but a trial of strength could determine which one of us was entitled to those colors. We had a desperate fight, but I proved to be the stronger and dragged color-bearer and flag along for over 100 feet before he let go of the staff and ran back to his lines. Carrying the captured colors aloft I ran to my company, the men of which were fighting with clubbed muskets. When my captain caught sight of me and my trophy he said: ‘Why didn’t you kill that rebel?’ ‘Because I had no ammunition,’ I replied. While I was talking with the captain, our own men, whose attention was attracted by the Confederate flag which I held in a raised position, began firing at us, and I was ordered to quickly drop the flag. I dragged it behind me along the ground and was just about to join my fighting comrades a few feet in front of me when I once more caught sight of the Confederate lieutenant from whom I had wrenched the colors. As his eyes fell upon me he quick as a flash took aim with his revolver and fired at me, the ball entering my right arm. Then he, with like suddenness, disappeared.”

George W. Clute
CPL. GEORGE W. CLUTE, Company I, 14TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY — 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 14th Army Corps — “Deeds of Valor”

Two other rebel flags were captured in the same general area. Having defeated the attack in their front, two of Morgan’s brigades were forced to jump to the opposite side of their breastworks to fend off an assault from behind them. The aggressive Union troops then counterattacked, and a Confederate soldier from the Army of Tennessee dubbed this hot spot the “Bull Pen.” Here, the 14th Michigan captured the regimental flag of the 54th Virginia, a unit of Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Palmer’s Brigade, Army of Tennessee.

Battle of Bentonville
MANUSCRIPT MAP, Battle of Bentonville, March 19, 1865 — Prepared by R. M. McDOWELL, Captain and Topographical Engineer, Union 20TH CORPS — Library of Congress

Late in the afternoon, Brig. Gen. William Cogswell’s Union brigade advanced across this same ground to plug a wide gap in the lines of Morgan’s Division. This maneuver surprised the Confederates behind Morgan’s lines, and members of the 33rd Massachusetts Infantry captured the colors of the 26th Tennessee, another unit in Palmer’s Brigade.

Battle of Bentonville
BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE, March 19, 1865 — The Fight below the Goldsboro Road — Map by MARK A. MOORE. Adapted from “THE OLD NORTH STATE AT WAR: THE NORTH CAROLINA CIVIL WAR ATLAS”

The action below the Goldsboro Road was only one part of the larger engagement. General Sherman’s state-of-the-art forces could not be stopped. After three days of combat, having formed a defensive bridgehead covering the village of Bentonville and Mill Creek Bridge, the outnumbered Confederate army retreated to Smithfield. The Civil War in North Carolina ended on April 26, 1865, with General Johnston’s surrender at the Bennett Place near Durham Station.

Morgan's Stand, Bentonville Battlefield Tour Stop
BENTONVILLE BATTLEFIELD — In the woods and swamps behind this marker, BRIG. GEN. JAMES D. MORGAN’S DIVISION battled elements of the Confederate ARMY OF TENNESSEE and HOKE’S DIVISION.

Following the Grand Review of Union troops in Washington, D.C., in May 1865, the flags of the 40th North Carolina and 54th Virginia regiments were taken home as prizes of war by veterans of the 14th Michigan Infantry.

The Flags in Michigan

By 1874, the captured flags were in possession of the State of Michigan’s military department. Thereafter, the 40th North Carolina’s battle colors were placed on display in a glass case at the capitol museum in Lansing—where the flag remained for more than 23 years. Also on display with the flag were the nightgown and boots of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who had been captured in Georgia on May 10, 1865, by elements of the 4th Michigan Cavalry. Davis had fled south through North Carolina in April during the flight of the Confederate government from Richmond, Virginia.

At some point during the flag’s public display in Lansing, a description was attached to it: “Captured by the 14th Michigan Vet. Vol. Inf., Lieutenant Colonel G. W. Grummond commanding, in a charge made in front, on the 19th day of March, 1865 at the battle of Bentonville, N.C.”

Battle Flag, 40th North Carolina Regiment
CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG of the 40TH NORTH CAROLINA REGIMENT — Captured at the BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE, March 19, 1865 — Today the St. Andrews Cross battle flag design remains a divisive symbol of racial hatred in American society — Courtesy North Carolina Museum of History

In the late spring of 1897, Gershom H. Swayze resided in Elmira, New York, and served as yardmaster of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He had become interested in reconciliation with former enemies—a popular trend among Civil War combat veterans in the late nineteenth century. The 14th Michigan veteran devised an ambitious plan to return the flags captured at Bentonville to their original states of ownership.

But how could he make this happen? Swayze knew where the war trophies were housed, but he did not own them, nor did he have possession of them.

In early June 1897, Swayze sent a letter to William M. Russ, mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina, expressing a desire to communicate with veterans of the 40th:

“Dear Sir:—If any member of the Fortieth North Carolina Infantry (Confederate) is living around your city, I would like to communicate with him or the color-bearer, in the battle of Bentonville, where the flag was captured by two Yankee boys. We are both alive and know where the flag is.

Yours Truly,
G. H. Swayze
Care of Lehigh Valley Railroad, Elmira, N.Y.”

The Raleigh News & Observer and other papers around the region published Swayze’s letter in an effort to connect with Confederate veterans. “The old feeling between the North and South is dying out,” the editor noted. “Time is healing the scars, those who took part in that memorable contest are passing away and with the lengthening years a better spirit is coming—the sullenness on the one side and the despair on the other is giving place to frankness and sincerity, goodwill and friendship.”

That fall Swayze also contacted Confederate veterans in Virginia, asking a veterans group for the names of members of the 54th Virginia Regiment. (The flag of the 54th Virginia was eventually returned to the State of Virginia in 1941. It currently resides among the holdings of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond).

John Riley Ross of Washington, North Carolina—a veteran of the 40th—was among those who responded with gratitude to Swayze’s North Carolina inquiry. The former Sergeant Ross had been wounded at Bentonville while rendering aid to a comrade.

Clute’s Medal of Honor

The following year brought even more attention to the 40th’s captured flag. On August 26, 1898—33 years after the battle—14th Michigan veteran George W. Clute was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor displayed at Bentonville. The official citation read: “In a charge, captured the flag of the 40th North Carolina (C.S.A.), the flag being taken in a personal encounter with an officer who carried and defended it.”

It was common for Civil War veterans to be awarded Medals of Honor in the late nineteenth century—decades after the war ended. In 1897, President William McKinley had ordered the U.S. Army to establish new policy for Medal of Honor recipients, to tighten standards amid hundreds of claims. An application had to be submitted by someone other than the person who performed the heroic deed in question. The soldier’s “gallantry and intrepidity” had to be above and beyond his peers, and the application required testimony under oath from one or more witnesses.

Clute’s claim was legitimate. He described being wounded in the arm during the struggle for the flag, and his name appeared on a list of Union soldiers wounded at Bentonville published by the New York Herald on March 30, 1865—nine days after the battle ended. The Herald noted that Clute had been wounded in the arm. The testimony of Clute’s fellow Bentonville veterans secured the award for him, and while there was no Medal of Honor awarded to Gershom Swayze, he may well have given supporting testimony during the application for Clute’s award.

We know of Swayze’s claim of helping Clute capture the flag because of the press coverage generated by Swayze’s efforts to return the colors to North Carolina. He always mentioned Clute in public discourse, but did not describe his own part in the action.

Press coverage in North Carolina identified the Confederate color bearer as both “J. H. Chambers” and “J. F. Chambers.” The latter can be documented. James F. Chambers of Company B, 40th North Carolina, was mortally wounded at Bentonville—“both legs cut off with a shell,” according to one source. However, the 40th was engaged in an area of the battlefield where little or no artillery was in play. Another source claimed he was “wounded through the knee, and died a few days afterward.” Chambers’ name appears on the Goldsboro Rifles mass grave monument, dedicated in 1895, near the Harper Family cemetery at Bentonville. His name on the monument suggests he was among the 45 wounded Confederates who convalesced at the Harper House in the weeks following the battle.[1]

However, Chambers held the rank of private, not lieutenant—which does not match Corporal Clute’s account of the action. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that there was rarely a single standard bearer in battle. Regimental flags were bullet magnets in Civil War combat, and multiple people would potentially carry the flag in a single engagement. In 1899, North Carolina press coverage claimed that three successive color bearers had died defending the 40th’s battle flag at Bentonville. If James F. Chambers carried the flag of the 40th, he could have done so either before or after Clute’s encounter with the lieutenant. An officer would normally not be the standard bearer in battle, but the lieutenant could have picked up the flag after others had been cut down. At the same time, Clute could have been mistaken about his adversary’s rank. Moreover, Clute did not describe the color bearer’s fate in his account of the action.

James F. Chambers, at the age of 18, had enlisted in the 40th on January 20, 1864, at Fort Fisher, New Hanover County, North Carolina. He transferred from Company A to Company B on February 29-March 1, 1864, by order of Col. John J. Hedrick.

James F. Chambers, Service Record

The Flag Returns to North Carolina

Once Swayze connected with J. R. Ross in North Carolina, the return of the battle flag was readily agreed upon. However, the well-connected Swayze made additional inquiries in Michigan and learned that a quick transfer would be impossible. An act of the state legislature would be required for the flag’s removal from the state museum—and as luck would have it, the legislature had just adjourned and would not reconvene until 1899.

The delay was put to good use, and with the influence of powerful friends, Swayze organized a successful campaign. C. C. Phillips, chairman of the military committee of the Michigan House of Representatives, drafted the legislation necessary to release the flag. The resolution passed on March 29, 1899.

40th North Carolina Regiment, Flag Resolution, Michigan House of Representatives, 1899

On April 25, 1899, Gov. Hazen S. Pingree of Michigan turned the flag over to Swayze. A Michigan headline claimed that the flag had 21 bullet holes in it at the time Swayze acquired it. (The flag has undergone extensive restoration by modern museum professionals, but small holes remain visible in the fabric.)

On June 15, the 40th’s J. R. Ross published an invitation to the official transfer ceremony, which was set for June 29, 1899, at the Opera House in Washington, North Carolina.

Swayze and his daughter Emma arrived in Washington two days before the ceremony.

The transfer event at the Opera House drew a “large and enthusiastic” audience. The Rev. Dr. C. M. Payne (a former Confederate soldier) gave the Invocation.

The Rev. Nathaniel Harding, president of the ex-Confederate Association of Beaufort County, read a letter of introduction from Edgar Denton, mayor of Elmira, New York.

Swayze then took the stage and shared a greeting from the Grand Army of the Republic post of Elmira to the Confederate Veterans Association of Washington:

“Whereas, At the battle of Bentonsville, N.C., March 19-21, 1865, Corporal G. H. Swayze and G. W. Clute of Co. ‘I’ 14th Michigan Volunteers captured the battle flag of the 40th N.C. Infantry, C.S.A., and whereas, comrade Swayze being a resident of this city and a member of the Baldwin Post No. 6 G.A.R. of Elmira, N.Y., and having been delegated by the State of Michigan to return the flag to the 40th N.C. Regimental Association which meets at Washington, N.C. in June, and whereas, Corporal Swayze having exhibited the flag at the regular Camp fire of Baldwin Post held May 1st, 1899, by whom it was viewed with that interest that only old soldiers can have in such a reminder of the days of ’61-’65 and created a fraternal feeling toward those late in arms against us, therefore be it Resolved, That Baldwin Post No. 6 Department of New York of Elmira, N.Y., send by comrade G. H. Swayze , soldierly greeting to the 40th N.C. Regimental Association and trust the reception of the flag will assist in bringing together in closer ties the men of our common country.

Signed,
James C. Cartledge
Melvin M. Conklin
Arthur S. Fitch”

When Swayze unfurled the flag, the audience rose to its feet, cheering and applauding enthusiastically. Swayze handed the colors to his daughter Emma, who wore blue to represent the Union. Emma then handed the flag to Annie T. Bragaw, sponsor for the Bryan Grimes Camp, U.C.V. No. 424, who wore gray to represent the Confederacy.

Miss Bragaw then presented the flag to J. R. Ross. On behalf of his former brothers in arms, Ross conveyed his “high appreciation of the fraternal motives and efforts that had so happily culminated here.”

John H. Small, who had recently been elected to the U.S. Congress, then gave an address appealing to the younger generation for peace.

The Rev. W. H. Call gave the benediction.

A choir sang in celebration of the event, and 26-yeard-old Emma Swayze melted the audience when she sang “Taps, or the Dying Soldier’s Request.” By all accounts, the poised and beautiful Emma made a striking impression on everyone she met in Washington.

After the ceremony, Gershom and Emma held a reception onstage. They were then entertained at the home of Congressman Small before returning to New York.

In 1899 the Civil War was 34 years in the past, and reconciliation between former military enemies was an important part of the nation’s healing. Unfortunately, it was still an ugly time socially in the South. The Jim Crow era was in full swing in 1899, a shameful epoch that lasted for nearly 100 years after Reconstruction ended in 1877. Modest postwar social and professional gains by African Americans had been severely rolled back. Racial segregation was enforced by law, and African Americans would not begin to gain an equal footing in society until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

J. R. Ross had enlisted in the 40th North Carolina on September 30, 1861, near Washington in Beaufort County, at the age of 21. He was promoted to sergeant on September 15, 1864. Ross died on May 30, 1906, at the age of 66, leaving behind a wife, a daughter, and four sons. He was buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Washington.

John Riley Ross, Service Record

A Permanent Home

The publicity surrounding the flag’s return to North Carolina caught the attention of Frederick Augustus Olds, the steadfast collector of artifacts for the Hall of History in Raleigh.

Born on October 12, 1852, the eccentric Fred Olds was a colorful character. He was a journalist by training, and served as city editor for Raleigh’s News & Observer. He served in the State Guard and joined the staff of Gov. Zebulon Vance in 1877.

FRED A. OLDS, collector of artifacts for the HALL OF HISTORY in Raleigh — Courtesy North Carolina Museum of History

Over the ensuing years, Olds’ zeal for North Carolina history led him to acquire a massive private collection of artifacts related to the state’s past. In 1902, he donated his holdings to the State of North Carolina. On December 5, 1902, the “Hall of History” opened—a single room in the Agriculture Building in downtown Raleigh. Olds became “collector” for the new exhibit.

Olds of course had no professional training as a historian, and drew criticism almost immediately. There were no museum professionals in North Carolina at the time, but in 1904 state historian Stephen B. Weeks expressed concern over Olds’ methods and interpretations, declaring the collector’s work “a horrible example to be avoided.” Nevertheless, Olds’ efforts laid the groundwork for a respected modern institution.

In 1914, Olds’ exhibit came under the purview of the North Carolina Historical Commission. The collector soon made his way to every county in the state, in search of new acquisitions for his growing Hall of History—the progenitor of the modern North Carolina Museum of History.

The dapper Olds also assumed the mantle of “State Host” in the Capital City, delighting tourists and schoolchildren with his warmth and charm.

On August 31, 1914, Olds wrote a letter to Elizabeth Ross, widow of J. R. Ross, who had received the flag of the 40 North Carolina from Gershom Swayze in 1899. Olds encouraged Elizabeth to loan or donate the flag to the Hall of History, assuring her that it would be preserved and kept “safe from fire, moths or any other dangers.”

Nine months later on May 17, 1915, Elizabeth Ross donated the flag to the Hall of History—now the Museum of History—where it still resides after 103 years.

Olds retired in 1934 and died of “cardio-renal disease” on July 2, 1935, at the age of 82.  He was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.

The battle flag of the 40th North Carolina Regiment, one of Olds’ earliest acquisitions for the State of North Carolina, remains one of the highest profile Civil War relics in the massive holdings of the North Carolina Museum of History. It was displayed at Bentonville Battlefield in Johnston County for a number of years before being recalled to Raleigh. After undergoing extensive conservation, the flag was featured in the museum’s popular exhibit North Carolina and the Civil War.

Identification Controversy

In recent years, researchers have questioned whether the flag returned from Michigan belonged to the 40th North Carolina. Its style and pattern match the battle flags carried by the Army of Tennessee in the war’s Western Theater. While the remnants of the Army of Tennessee fought at Bentonville, they were but one component of the hodgepodge Confederate army that General Johnston assembled to oppose Sherman. The 40th North Carolina was attached to Hoke’s Division after the fall of Fort Fisher and Wilmington in January and February 1865. Hoke’s Division had been sent to North Carolina from the Army of Northern Virginia in late 1864 to help defend Fisher and the Confederacy’s last open seaport, and it operated under the purview of the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Gen. Braxton Bragg. Thus, the 40th North Carolina Regiment was never a part of, nor attached to, the Army of Tennessee. The conglomerate that fought at Bentonville was christened the Army of the South by General Johnston in mid-March 1865.

Historians believe the flag returned from Michigan was made in Augusta, Georgia, by the Augusta Clothing Depot or possibly by private contractor J. B. Platt & Co. The Museum of History has noted that flags made at the Augusta facility had no borders along the field, and featured double-hemmed seams to help prevent fraying.

It is possible that the flag was misidentified. The Confederate troops that attacked Morgan’s Division from behind were elements of the Army of Tennessee. The units attacking in front belonged to Hoke’s Division, including the 40th North Carolina. The 14th Michigan Infantry helped repel Hoke’s attack, capturing the 40th’s flag in the process. The 14th then counterattacked with Morgan’s brigades in the opposite direction, engaging elements from the Army of Tennessee. Between the time of the battle and arriving in Michigan, it is conceivable that the 40th’s flag could have become mixed up with an Army of Tennessee style flag captured or otherwise picked up on the field at Bentonville—or possibly even a flag from elsewhere.

However, it is also possible that the 40th could have acquired the flag sometime between arriving at Smithfield on March 15 (having marched from Goldsboro) and reaching Bentonville on the night of March 18. Troops from the Army of Tennessee arrived at Smithfield by rail before marching to Bentonville along the same route taken by Hoke’s Division. Johnston’s headquarters were in Smithfield before moving to Bentonville, and the 40th could have requisitioned an Army of Tennessee style battle flag as the various units mingled in an around Smithfield.

George Washington Clute

George W. Clute was born in Marathon, Lapeer County, Michigan, on June 11, 1842. His parents were Richard Clute and the former Lucretia Phillips, both of whom were native New Yorkers. In 1850 the family, including five-year-old daughter Joanna Mary, lived on a farm in Marathon.

Lucretia died in 1851 when George was only eight years old. By 1860 Richard had married Phebe (Phoebe) Owens, and the family included George’s half-brother Andrew.

At the age of 19, George enlisted in Company I of the 14th Michigan Infantry at Marathon, Michigan, on December 23, 1861. He was mustered into service less than two months later on February 13, 1862. He achieved the rank of corporal, and when the Civil War ended he was mustered out of service on July 18, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

George W. Clute, Service Record

Less than a year after the Battle of Bentonville, George married Ohio native Orretta (Loretta) Owens on February 14, 1866, in Genesee County, Michigan. By 1870 the couple lived on a farm in Forest Township near Otisville.

By the late spring of 1880 they lived in Whitford, Genesee County, with eight-year-old son William. By 1900 they lived in Mt. Morris with five-year-old grandson, Pearl.

Clute died at the age of 76 in Flint, Michigan, on February 13, 1919. He passed at 8:45 a.m., in the home of his son William, at 1140 Avenue B in Flint. The official cause of death was cited as “muscular disease of [the] heart.” He was buried on February 15 at Mt. Morris Cemetery in Genesee County.

Gravestone, Cpl. George W. Clute

Gershom Hulbert Swayze

 Gershom H. Swayze was born in Hope Township, Warren County, New Jersey, on January 17, 1844. His parents were Hezekiah Swayze and the former Ann McCormick. The family moved to Michigan when Gershom was six years old.

By 1860 they lived in Springfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan, with three more additions to the family—Mary, Clark, and Bernard.

At the age of 18, Gershom enlisted in Company I of the 14th Michigan Infantry at Pontiac, Michigan, on January 20, 1862. He was mustered into service less than a month later on February 13. He achieved the rank of corporal, and when the Civil War ended he was mustered out of service on July 18, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

Gershom Swayze, Service Record

After the war, Gershom began a career in the railroad industry and started a family of his own. He married Caroline “Carrie” Marlatt on November 2, 1869. By 1880 the couple lived on Fredrick Street in the city of Binghamton, Broome County, New York. Their three children were Mary (Mamie), Emma, and Herbert.

By 1892 the family lived at 1011 Oak St. in Elmira, New York, where Gershom would serve as yardmaster for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Caroline’s relative George Marlatt also lived with the family by 1900.

By 1910 the 66-year-old Gershom lived with his daughter Mamie and her husband on Irving Street in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Swayze died at the age of 80 in Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota, on June 1, 1924, and was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth. Gershom’s son Herbert L. Swayze applied for a headstone with military designation at the U.S. War Department, Office of the Quartermaster General on February 28, 1930.  Corporal Swayze’s grave had been previously unmarked. The stone was ordered on May 17 and shipped to Herbert in Duluth (5906 Bristol St.) on August 11, 1930.

Gershom H. Swayze Headstone Application

© 2018 by Mark A. Moore. All rights reserved.

[1] An inscription on the Goldsboro Rifles monument indicates that 23 of those buried in the mass grave had their last hours soothed by the Harpers. There are 41 names of Confederates killed at Bentonville inscribed on the monument.

 

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