Civil War Volunteers

The Oneida Community missed the draft for the Civil War because the Madison County draft board was located in Morrisville, 14 miles South of Oneida, who thought The Community was located in Oneida County.  It was located in Madison County.  The city of Oneida is actually about three miles North West from the Community.  The following Community members volunteered for the North.  The Community was by no means anti- government.

The Following Men Joined While Members of The Oneida Community:

Evan S. Nash

Edwin Nash

Nash was born Feb 1, 1848, a founders child.  He enlisted in the 44th Regiment of New York Infantry and served three years in the Civil War, from 1861 – 1864.  Nash was taken prisoner at the Battle of Wilderness, later rescued by General Custer. He was part of the group that went to Santa Ana, California after the Community dissolved.  He bequeathed a large collection of Oneida Community information to Stanford University.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Samuel S. Hutchins



Hutchins joined the Oneida community with his family on March 17, 1850. He was 10 years old.  He enlisted at age 22 at Oneida, NY on April 2, 1862 as a private in Company H. 34th Infantry Regiment of New York Volunteers. He was discharged November 14, 1862 on a disability.  Hutchins reenlisted December 14, 1863 in the 9th Regiment of the New York Heavy Artillery.  In May 1864 he was sent to a hospital in Philadelphia and sent home on “furlough”. He died of typhoid fever on December 2, 1864.






William Langstaff Vaill 

Vaill enlisted on June 17, 1864.  He was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia. He had a leg amputated. Vaill, a 17 year old, later died in a Washington, DC hospital after less than six months of service.

Those Who Served Prior To Joining The Oneida Community:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Lorenzo Bolles, Jr. 



Bolles was 39 years old living in Iowa when he enlisted on July 28, 1862. Shortly thereafter he was commissioned as Regimental Chaplain on January 6, 1863 in Houston, Missouri.  Due to sunstroke, he suffered a disability and resigned July 16, 1863.








James W. Towner

Towner was born in Willsboro, New York, one of twelve children of Samuel Upson Towner and Sophia Webb Smith.  He completed a course in the Franklin Academy.  In 1850 he married Cinderella Sweet. Towner then studied theology and entered the Universalist ministry in Westfield, Ohio. James Towner defended the Northern side of the slavery question, studied law and was admitted to the bar in Iowa in 1859.

Once the civil war broke out, he was among the first who enlisted for three years, entering camp at Dubuque, Iowa, on August 1861. There the 9th Iowa Volunteer Infantry was organizing and he was chosen captain of Company F. He went to the field with his regiment in September.  He served in Missouri and Arkansas until the battle of Pea Ridge, March 5-7,1862. In that bloody conflict he was badly wounded, losing his left eye. While recovering, he was absent on leave until July.  He then rejoined the regiment at Helena, Arkansas and was in the actions at Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi, on December 30,1862, and Arkansas Post, Arkansas, on January 12,1863. After becoming disabled for field service, he was discharged in February 1863, at Young’s Point, Louisiana and returned home. On leaving Company F near Vicksburg, all its members who were present, 56 in number, signed and presented to him a letter saying: “Learning with regret that you are about to leave us, we, your old company who have shared with you the hardships of the march, and the dangers of the battlefield, would tender you our warmest regards, and assure you that you will hold a place in our hearts around which will cluster the brightest memories. You have, captain, our prayers and best wishes.” This was one of Towner’s most valued life mementos. On October1863, he was commissioned Captain of the Invalid Corps (afterwards named the Veteran Reserve Corps) by President Lincoln in which he served with Company B, 2nd Regiment, doing garrison and post duty until July, 1866.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steve Hanken
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 11:15:32

    Bolles, Lorenzo Jr. 21st Iowa Infantry Co. K, Age 39. Residence Sand Spring, nativity Connecticut. Enlisted July 28, 1862. Mustered Aug. 23, 1862. Promoted Chaplain Jan. 6, 1863. Resigned July 16, 1863.


  2. Steve Hanken
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 11:17:39

    Towner, James W.; 9th Iowa Infantry, Co. F, Age 37 Residence West Union, nativity New York. Appointed Captain Sept.14, 1861. Mustered Sept. 14, 1861. Wounded severely in head March 7, 1862, Pea Ridge, Ark. Resigned Jan. 30, 1863, Young’s Point, La.


  3. Chris Jepsen
    Apr 13, 2015 @ 19:55:04

    James W. Towner later went on to become our first Superior Court Judge here in Orange County, California.


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