Drawn Chiefly from His Military and Pension Records

Lafayette Howard enlisted at Red Hook, N.Y., on Jan. 14, 1864. At enlistment he was described as follows – Age: 22 years; Height: 5 feet, 7 ˝ inches; Complexion: fair; Eyes: hazel; Hair: light; Where born: Dutchess County, N.Y.; Occupation: farmer. His term of enlistment was for three years. He was mustered in as a Private, Company E, 15th Regiment, New York Engineers (New), at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Jan. 23, 1864 (by Capt. Isaac Platt).

In the company muster roll for September and October 1864, it was noted that Howard had been “Detached at Deep Bottom since Oct. 18, ‘64 – By order of Gen. Benham.” (Brig. Gen. Henry Washington Benham was the commander of the Engineer Brigade of the Army of the Potomac.) Howard suffered from poor health during much of his military service. He was treated for catarrh from Mar. 15 to Apr. 11, 1864; for an unspecified ailment on June 9; for diarrhoea on Sept. 19 and 20; and for “remit. fever” from Dec. 3, 1864, to Mar. 17, 1865. (The company muster roll for November and December 1864 noted that Howard had been “Sick in Engineers Brigade Hospital since Dec. 24, ‘64,” and he was still listed as “Sick in Brigade Hospital” on the muster roll for January and February 1865.) In 1893 Howard also recalled “that while at Brandy Station, Va., about May 1865, I became overheated, and ever since have had palpitation of the heart, at times become dizzy, and fall down when in the sun.” Howard was mustered out with his company at Camp Barry, D.C. (near Washington), on June 13, 1865.

Flank Marker for the 15th New York Engineers (New)
(“15th Regiment, New York State Veteran Volunteers”)

Bridge across the James River at Deep Bottom in Virginia, built in June 1864
by the 15th and 50th Regiments, N.Y. Engineers

Another view of the bridge at Deep Bottom.
Lafayette Howard was detailed here in October 1864, probably for the purpose of helping to maintain the bridge.

Camp of the 15th N.Y. Engineers at Belle Plain Landing, Va. (1864)

Lafayette Howard was born in Dutchess Co., N.Y., on Nov. 7, 1842, the son of David and Caroline (Sweet) Howard. In Clermont, N.Y., on Jan. 7, 1862, he married Catharine Jane Moore, born in Red Hook, N.Y., on Mar. 15, 1839, the daughter of William P. and Mary Ann (Clum) Moore. Before his marriage to Catharine, Lafayette lived in the household of her uncle, Henry P. Moore, in Red Hook. Lafayette and Catharine were the parents of nine children: Mary Ann (born Apr. 17, 1862), Caroline Malvenia (born Jan. 26, 1864; died in infancy), William Egbert (born May 9, 1866), (Rachel) Lovenia (born May 21, 1868), Catherine Matilda (born July 1, 1870), Charles Lafayette (born Sept. 1, 1872; died in childhood), Franklin Elmer (born Feb. 14, 1876), John Lewis (born Dec. 19, 1878), and Clara Blanche (born Apr. 24, 1881). Lafayette died in Red Hook on Feb. 12, 1911, and is buried in the Red Church Cemetery in Red Hook (near the village of Tivoli). His wife Catharine died in Red Hook on May 23 of that year, and is also buried in the Red Church Cemetery.

A brief obituary for Howard appeared under the title “Death of Veteran” in The Hudson Evening Register on Saturday, Feb. 18, 1911: “Lafayette Howard, aged 68 years, passed away at his home east of Madalin, February 12. He has not been in good health for the past few years, having had his system undermined during the Civil war, where he served in Co. E, 15th Regiment, New York Volunteer Engineers. His death was caused by paralysis. The funeral was held on Wednesday afternoon and was attended by a large number of old veterans.”

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