His name was Pvt. Solomon Robins Wayman & he died to preserve the Union

How Solomon & Maria might have looked in 1864

How Solomon & Maria might have looked in 1864

Bad enough that Solomon R. Wayman gave his life in the service of his country but service records, burial records, and the official book of his regiment’s history didn’t even spell his surname correctly. When you look for evidence of Solomon’s service, be sure to check under the name Wagman as well as Wayman.

The Civil War was entering its fourth year when 30 year-old Solomon R. Wayman mustered into the ranks of the 2d Pennsylvania “Provisionals” Heavy Artillery in late March 1864. Unlike many of the men who had served before him, there would be no long periods of endless drill and monotonous inactivity. From May until July, 1864, the Provisionals would be kept constantly on the move and in battle-ready condition as they were maneuvered from the Wilderness to Spotsylvania to Cold Harbor and finally to Petersburg. This unprecedented aggression by Grant’s army threw the Confederate army back on its heels and into the trenches of Richmond and Petersburg even as it deeply diminished the ranks of the Union regiments, including the Provisionals.

Between battles and while on the march through the war-ravaged terrain of Virginia between the Rappahannock and the James Rivers, no doubt Solomon Wayman’s thoughts drifted back to his farm in far away Bradford County, Pennsylvania where his wife Maria struggled to keep things together. It had been less than three years since Rev. Bedford, the local Methodist minister had married the couple in Campellville.

Casualty Lists

Casualty Lists

History does not record how Maria discovered that her husband had been wounded and taken prisoner in an assault on the Rebel earthworks outside of Petersburg on 3o July 1864. Chances are she read of it in the local papers days afterward as the description of the failed assault — dubbed the Battle of the Crater — reached northern papers along with the long list of casualties. Neither does history record the wound that her husband sustained that prevented his retreat to the safety of Union lines. One can only imagine Maria’s agony as the months of silence passed by with no definitive word of her husband’s recovery or death.

Eventually word came to her, as it did the families of countless other prisoners of war, that her husband had perished in a Confederate prison hospital in Danville, Virginia. Two soldiers imprisoned at Danville who survived the war later testified that they were acquainted with Solomon, knew him to have suffered from sickness and starvation while a prisoner, and that they had seen his body “lying in the deadhouse” prior to his burial in the soldier’s cemetery nearby — placing his death on or about 14 February 1865. These soldiers were Pvt. James H. Bird of Co. H, 2d Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, and Cpl. Gooden Wilson of the 5th West Virginia Vols.

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Family Notes:

Solomon R. Wayman b. 5 June 1834 in Asylum, Bradford County, PA; died 14 February 1865. Aged 31 years, 3 months & 22 days. Died at Danville, Va. of sickness & starvation and was buried in the Danville National Cemetery, Plot F-1176 though grave marker carries the name Wagman rather than Wayman. Captured near Petersburg, Va. July 30, 1864. He was the son of John T. Wayman (1804-1880) and Eliza Robins (18xx-1850). [I am conjecturing that Solomon’s middle name was Robins, his mother’s maiden name — a naming convention popular at the time.]

Forage Hat worn by soldier in Battery D, 2d PA H. A.

Forage Hat worn by soldier in Battery D, 2d PA H. A.

Solomon enrolled 29 March 1864 at Troy, PA. in Co. D 2d PA HA for term of three years.He was mustered in March 30, 1864. Last entry on company rolls in August 1864 carried him as, “Absent Wounded.”

Proved by affidavit of Pvt. James H. Bird, Battery H, 2d Pa Vet Artillery that soldier died 14th February 1865 at Danville Va. a Prisoner of War who saw him lying in the deadhouse. Gooden Wilson, late Corporal Co. B, 5th W. Va. Vols. states the same.

Widow’s Pension application: April 1865, Maria Wayman, aged 37 — widow of Solomon R. Wayman. Married 10th October 1861 at Campbellville, Sullivan County, PA by Rev. Richard Bedford, M. E. Church. Maria [Heverly] Wayman (b. 12 July 1827, d. 29 Sep 1880 or 89). She was the daughter of John & Almira (Kellogg) Heverly, of Sullivan County, PA.

Statements by Bird and Wilson:

I, James H. Bird, Private Battery H, 2d Pennsylvania Veteran Artillery, do solemnly swear that Solomon Wayman, Co. D Provisional 2d Penn. Artillery died o the 14th day of February 1865 at Danville, Virginia a prisoner of war, of scurvy. I saw him lying in the dead house of that place. I was acting commissary sergeant of the detachment of prisoners & was personally acquainted with him.  11 October 1865 at Burkeville, Va.

On the 23rd day of October 1865 — Gooden Wilson, a resident of Rome [Lawrence County, Ohio] [states that] he was well acquainted with Solomon R. Wayman who was a private in Co. B, 2d Regt Pa Heavy Vols. and that Wayman died at Danville on or about 14th day of February 1865 of scurvy contracted in service. [He had] personal knowlerdge of death and of the fact that he died of scurvy at General Hospital No. 2 at Danville, Va.

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