Henry’s oldest sibling, Isaac, known as “Ikey” (1842-1864) was a true Civil War hero. Family correspondence (many letters written home by Ikey) chronicle in detail his initial desire to enlist, which he did at age 19 in the 61st New York Infantry  of the Army of the Potomac. He served under Francis C. Barlow and Nelson Miles, two of the leading Union officers (Barlow became a general and was famous for his courage and strictness toward his men). Enlisting as a private, Ikey’s courage, generosity, intelligence, high ethics, and leadership skills led to a series of promotions; at the end of his life he had reached the rank of captain. Offered the honorary post of aide-de-camp to Colonel Nelson Miles, he turned it down because he felt it would lead to corruption and he felt he had a leadership role to play. His papers record the fate of the soldiers fighting with him who came from his home town of Sherburne and the surrounding county. It is clear that he felt a sense of responsibility and genuine concern for them. Until he was wounded twice by a sharpshooter at Gaines Mills in June 1864, Ikey was seemingly protected by divine intervention, surviving unscathed Antietam, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. Although initially deemed not life-threatening, following an operation on one of the two wounds he sustained, he died coming out of anaesthesia on July 4th, 1864 in Campbell Hospital in Washington, DC. His body was sent home to a hero’s memorial and his family paid for an impressive monument with the names engraved of the various battles in which he fought.. Ikey’s close childhood friend, Charles Fuller,  who lost a leg at Gettysburg and survived into the 1900s, wrote about his war experiences in a privately-printed book in which he mentioned his admiration and affection for Ikey. Henry painted Ikey and Charles in their Civil War uniforms and the portraits hang side by side at the Sherburne Public Library, united in death as they were in life. I’m told that Civil War buffs make pilgrimages to view the paintings, both gifts of Henry Grant Plumb.

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