I’ve been researching Henry’s older brother, Isaac Plumb, Jr. (1842-1864), and have uncovered a fascinating Civil War scandal. Plumb enlisted as a private in the Astor Guards, which wound up being folded into the 61st New York Infantry, Army of the Potomac. He served with great distinction under Francis Barlow and Nelson Miles, prominent and heroic officers. Around 1863, Jervis Cooke joined the regiment and became a captain beside Ikey Plumb. He seemed fragile and terrified of the violence and battles, having nightmares and crying fits. Ikey, who was remarkably optimistic and courageous under fast and furious warfare, took “Jerv” under his wing befriended him and calmed him down; Jerv attached himself to Ikey with a devotion that turns out to have been compulsive and unhealthy. Jerv repaid him by stealing his money as Ikey lay dying in a Civil War hospital, and stole money from the privates under him, withholding their paychecks. He also “borrowed” money from various members of the extended Plumb family and stole items from Ikey’s valise, which was detained from being sent home to his family after his death in July 1864. The younger brother of a manager in Tiffany & Company, New York City, Cook was court-martialed for his misdeeds and drummed out of the Army in 1865.

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