CHAPLAIN FRANCIS HEYER WEAVER was
born into a wealthy family on May 20, 1844, at Newry, Blair County, PA. He
joined Co. C of the 53rd PA Volunteer Infantry at 17 and
participated in some of the most significant battles of the Civil War
including, the siege of Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Gaines Mill, White Oak Swamp,
Malvern Hill, Antietam, South Mountain, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and
Gettysburg. He was wounded more than 20 times, almost mortally at Gettysburg.
Weaver graduated from Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, and later from Gettysburg Theological Seminary. In 1880, he became Chaplain to the 10th Cavalry, the famed Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Concho, TX. He served with the unit in many locations across the Great Plains and the southwestern United States, including Fort Apache.
The 10th Cavalry was relocated to Fort Concho, TX, in 1875. Their mission was to map and develop the territory and to protect the US Mail against Indian and Mexican revolutionary raiding. The units were composed of African American soldiers with a white officer corp. Their rugged perseverance in a fight earned them the grudging honor amongst the Native American tribes as being “tough as buffalos.” During their 20 years of work, the Buffalo Soldiers served throughout the Western US from Texas and New Mexico to Montana and the Dakotas.
Weaver retired on August 18, 1897, due to the disabilities he sustained during his years of service. He lived out his life as a landowner/farmer and died at 83 on April 10, 1928 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
We’re pleased to offer this impressive archive of about 40 documents and letters (one signed by Robert Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, regarding another chaplain), a handwritten biographical sketch by him for possible publication in The Philadelphia Inquirer regarding his service and injuries and another by his son, dated exactly a month after his passing. Other documents were signed by notables, such as Samuel D. Sturgis, who fought in the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and Indian wars; Charles A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War; two ALSs from Adjutant General Samuel Breck, staff captain and assistant adjutant general of Gen. Irvin McDowell’s division, which defended Washington DC; Leave of Absence authorizations by J.C. Kelton and Stevens T. Norvell, commander of the Buffalo Soldier Units, which fought in the Indian wars and in the Spanish-American War on San Juan Hill, where he earned a commendation from Theodore Roosevelt. A number of the letters contain wonderful docketing and many are related to Weaver’s injuries, job recommendations and searches. The archive includes seven family documents not connected directly to Weaver. The letters are of various sizes, but many are 5” x 8”. Here’s a sample:
· Newry, PA, Nov. 2, 1864, 2 ½” pp, ALS, from Weaver to C.J. Cobb, Postmaster General’s Office in Washington, DC. “…I have enjoyed myself very much since my arrival at home. I have had such a pleasant time that I shun the idea of going back to Washington; but I have not changed my mind in regard to that. I am resolved to go can I procure a situation…I would like to know about the 10th inst. If there are any vacancies in your department and also as to the chances of my getting a situation.” Letter is signed three times by Weaver, including once with his initials. Cover.
· Hollidaysburg, PA, Nov. 10, 1864, 1 page, ALS from Congressman Samuel Blair, recommending “Frank H. Weaver a very worthy young man of this place desires employment as a clerk. He has been in many battles – wounded in the side – arm & breast & is disabled. I beg leave to commend him to your kind notice in the hopes that he may have employment.” Back panel separated, not affecting the writing.
· Gettysburg, PA, Dec. 18, 1868, ALS, Weaver writes to John Potts, Clerk of the War Department seeking his war records. “Please cause to be forwarded to my address my discharge with enclosure, which were filed in your office Aug. 31, 1868, with a view to my reinstatement…These papers I think are charged upon the books of the Record Room to the Adjt Genl…Very Respect Obt Servt Francis H. Weaver, Gettysburg, (Box 176) Pa.
· Washington, DC, July 30, 1868, one page, ALS, A.S. Pratt of the National Bank Agency to Secretary of War J.M Schofield. “Referring to our interview yesterday in company with Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard, I herewith transmit in accordance with your request that statement of F.H. Weaver recently discharged from the office of the Adjt. Gen. Permit me, Sir, to put upon you his claims and to ask that he be re-instated. I know of no one more worthy or desiring than he and I know that his re-appointment will gratify not only myself & Gen. Howard but also a large number of men of influence & character in this city.”
· Washington, DC, July 30, 1868, Weaver writes to Secretary of War Schofield seeking a reversal of his dismissal. “…I enlisted Oct. 10, 1861, for 3 years, in Co. “C” 3d Regt. PA Vols and participated in the following engagements “Fair Oaks,” “Gaines Mills,” “Peach Orchard,” “White Oak Swamp,” “Halvern Hill,” “Antietam,” “Fredericksburg,” “Wilderness,” “Gettysburg,” and several others (fourteen in all). In the last named I was severely wounded three times, having before been twice slightly wounded. I was transferred to the 82d Co. 2d Batl V.R.C. July 1, 1864 because of being entirely disabled for field services and served in that organization until Oct. 17, 1864 when I was discharged by expiration of service. I was appointed Clerk in the A.G.O. Nov. 10, 1864 and was dismissed to date Aug. 31, 1868. I make this statement with the hope that in consideration of faithful services to the government, my dismissal may be revoked. I believe that I am the only wounded disabled soldier that has been dismissed in the Bureau to which I am attached; whilst others who have never served in the field have been retained. Attention is respectfully invited to the enclosed recommendations. The recommendations from my company officers were maliciously destroyed.”
· Washington, DC, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, January 7, 1869, LS from noted Assistant Adjutant General Samuel Breck, with cover containing his free frank. “In compliance with your request of Dec. 18, 1868, I have to return herewith your discharge and other papers filed with your application for reinstatement in this office.”
· Washington City, War Department, January 2nd, 1884, one page, 5” x 9” LS by Robert Lincoln, Secretary of War and first son of President Abraham Lincoln, to the Hon. John A. Logan. “I have the honor to advise you that Chaplain Pierce is not a Post Chaplain. He is the Regimental Chaplain of the 9th Cavalry – the headquarters of which regiment are at Fort Riley, Kansas; and that the duties of the commission which he holds require him to be at headquarters as much as they require the Colonel to be there…”
· Headquarters Department of Arizona, Whipple Barracks, Prescott, July 16, 1886, [printed] Special Orders No. 66. “Chaplain F.H.Weaver, 10th Cavalry, will proceed from Fort Apache to Fort Grant and take station with the headquarters of his regiment to establish that post…”
Much more. Background on Weaver, the Indian wars and the 10th included.
Folds and toning as expected. A couple of fold tears reinforced. Overall in excellent condition with beautiful docketing on the verso of many of the items.
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