Saturday, March 1, 2008

William Cottew

Private, Company D, 53rd Illinois Infantry

Born Christmas Day,1844 in Kent, England, he was the son of John D. & Sarah (Young) Cottew. Around 1845 he emigrated with his parents and older sister, Harriet, to the United States and settled in Adams Township, LaSalle County, Illinois.

He answered the call of his adoptive country at Ottawa, Illinois on January 9, 1862 when he enlisted for a term of three years as a private in Compay D, 53rd Illinois Infantry to fight for the Union cause in the American Civil War. Just 18 years old at the time of his enlistment, he was 5’ 7” tall, dark complected with black hair and eyes. He was an unmarried farmer and resided at Leland, LaSalle Co., Illinois.

The 53rd Illinois Infantry moved to Chicago, Illinois on February 27, 1862 & served there, guarding prisoners until March 23rd when they were moved to St. Louis, Missouri & and then to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where they were attached to the 1st Brigade, 4th Division of the Army of the Tennessee.  It was at Pittsburg Landing that William Cottew contracted typhoid fever.

The muster rolls for the 53rd for May & June, 1862 indacate that he was “absent in floating hospital since May 26.” He was eventually taken to City General Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri where he died on August 8, 1862, and was on that very day buried in at site 6157 in Section 27 of what is today known as Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Note: He has been misidentified in several sources as William Cotton.

Sources: Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System; Pension Records for William Cottew (by his parents) from the National Archives and Records Administaration, Washington, D.C.; Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database; 1860 Federal Census for Adams Twsp., LaSalle Co., IL

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