Corporal Charles H. Newell, B Troop, 7th Cavalry – Died of Wounds


Following the initial melee at Wounded Knee surrounding the council circle, many of the soldiers of B and K troops, the two units that formed a V around the Lakota men, lay dead or dying.  Correspondent Charles H. Cressey furiously wrote his initial report of the battle while fighting continued up the ravine.  His list of killed and wounded was the first glimpse that many readers across the country received of the deadly skirmish.  He listed only two soldiers killed, Captain Wallace of K troop and Private Cook of B troop, and provided a list of twenty-two wounded troopers.  Cressey ended his roll call of the casualties stating, “This is only a partial list. There are about a dozen more. One is reported to have been seen lying as if dead, but no more officers are killed, while twenty-five or more are wounded. Many of the wounded will die.”  The last soldier on the list of wounded was Corporal Newell of B troop, having suffered a ghastly abdominal wound.[1]

The Regiment’s commander, Colonel James W. Forsyth, in his field return dated 31 December 1890 also listed Corporal Newell as wounded in action, although he had already succumbed to his wounds on the day of the battle two days earlier.  Likely he died in the afternoon, or on that night’s march back to Pine Ridge.[2]

Charles H. Newell was born in 1859 in the small Pennsylvania town of Oxford or perhaps Nottingham in Chester County.  He was the son of Caroline T. Faulkrod of Lower Oxford, who claimed Charles’ father was James Newell of East Nottingham, although the two do not appear to have been married.  Caroline and James also had a daughter, Francina Newell, who was born eleven years earlier, but in 1850, just two years after Francina’s birth and nine years before Charles’, twenty-year-old Caroline and her daughter were living with her parents under her maiden name. [3]

James,  born about 1827, came from a poor family, the fourth child and eldest son of George Kemmet Newell and Nancy Ann Carson, and went to school paid by the state of Pennsylvania at a time when government funded education in the state was provided for only the poorest of citizens.  While George was a laborer, likely taking odd jobs when he could get them, James listed his profession as that of a shoemaker, although his trade did not appear to advantage Caroline or her two children.  Although James registered for the draft in 1863, he did not serve in the Union army during the Civil War, unlike his younger brother, John, who served as a private in Company C, Pennsylvania 124th Infantry Regiment from August 1862 to May of 1863.  The last record of James was an entry in the Oxford Circuit Methodist Episcopal Church on 21 February 1867, which merely listed him and his father as members of the Elk Ridge Church.[4]

Caroline, born about 1830 in Bucks County, was the sixth of eight children of farmer George M. Faulkrod and Elizabeth F. Yonker.  By 1870 Caroline was going by the last name of her children’s father, and had another daughter, Victoria Newell, born about 1865, also sired by James.  Caroline was living with and working as a house keeper in Oxford for David W. Baldwin, a carpenter and widower with four children of his own.  Only Victoria was living with her mother, Francina having married a shoemaker named Frederick Huntley.  Eleven-year-old Charles was living and working ten miles away in the town of Kimblesville as a farm hand for a wealthy landowner named Crossley Pyle, earning his keep at the expense of an education.  A year later Caroline married Baldwin, and both mother and daughter, Victoria, took his last name.[5]

A decade later Caroline and David Baldwin had settled in the town of Elk still in Chester County, where they were raising three teenage daughters, two from his first marriage and one from her’s.  Daughter Francina and her husband, Fred Huntley, had moved to West Bloomfield, just south of Rochester in upstate New York.  Twenty-one-year old Charles had moved to Mill Creek, Delaware, with his two step-brothers, Harvey and George Baldwin, where the three were working in a clay yard.[6]

Perhaps looking for a steady income Charles H. Newell enlisted on 24 July 1888 at Cincinnati, Ohio, by Lieutenant Hunter for five years.  He was twenty-nine years of age and listed his profession as a rubber maker.  Newell stood just under five feet eight inches, had blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion.  He was assigned to B Company, 7th Cavalry, a unit he would serve with for two-and-a-half years and rise to the rank of corporal.  Perhaps one of Newell’s reasons for joining the cavalry was to assure a steady paycheck in which he could assist his ailing mother and step-father who were destitute.  By the late 1880s David Baldwin was suffering greatly from rheumatism and rarely able to work.  Newell’s $12-per-month private’s pay was their only source of steady income.  His promotion to corporal only brought an extra dollar each month.  Newells’ life support to his parents ended when he met his fate at Wounded Knee.  Corporal Newell was buried along with twenty-nine other fallen troopers on New Year’s Eve, 1890, in a shallow grave next to the Episcopal church at the Pine Ridge Agency.  Caroline Baldwin received a final stipend from the army when they forwarded the monies collected from the sale of the corporal’s personal effects, around $30.[7]

David Baldwin died a year later, and on 12 January 1892 Caroline filed for a pension for her son’s service related death.  In her application, Caroline stated that her daughter, Victoria, was feeble minded and unable to work, that her only son had been providing her sole financial support, that he was never married, and had no children, and that she was subsisting off the generosity of her late husband’s children.  Later that year she began receiving a check from the interior department of $12 a month.  Within five years her pension case created a stir when the bureau of pensions noticed that her checks were being cashed by a notary public.  The state of Pennsylvania launched an investigation into the possible fraud, and after a number of statements, determined that the notary had acted improperly, but was providing the monies to a gentleman with whom Caroline was boarded.  The elderly mother was not fairing well, was subject to fainting spells and seizures, and suffering from memory loss.  She could recall that she had a son in the army, but no longer knew what had happened to him.  Unable to write, witnesses assured the investigator that they dutifully obtained Caroline’s mark on each check and that they were providing her with room, board, and clothing as well as medical care.  Caroline’s daughter, Francina, who visited occasionally, admitted that while she was being fed and had a place to sleep, she did not appear to have acceptable clothing.  The state reprimanded the notary and appointed Edward Jones, the husband of Caroline’s eldest sister, Elizabeth, as her guardian. The ailing and senile mother of the fallen cavalry trooper resided with her eighty-year-old sister and brother-in-law for the last few years of her life.  Caroline passed away in April 1900.  That same year her youngest daughter, Victoria Baldwin, was admitted as an inmate at the Chester County Home for the Insane, often a last station for destitute women unable to support themselves; she would live there for the next thirty-four years before joining her mother and brother in death.[8]

In October 1906, the army paid a contrator to exhume the bodies of the thirty soldiers buried at Pine Ridge.  Corporal Newell’s remains were returned to Fort Riley, sixteen years after his unit had departed from the post for the Sioux campaign of 1890-’91, and he and his comrades were laid to rest in the post cemetery.[9]

Corporal Charles H. Newell is buried at the Fort Riley Post Cemetery.[10]

Endnotes

[1] Charles H. Cressey, “A Bloody Battle,” Omaha Daily Bee, 30 December 1890, page 1.
[2]  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C., Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 1532.
[3] Ancestry.com, United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, Year: 1870, Census Place: Franklin, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M593_1323, Page: 247B, Image: 499, Family History Library Film: 552822; Year: 1850, Census Place: Lower Oxford, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M432_764, Page: 65A, Image: 136; Year: 1850, Census Place: East Nottingham, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M432_764, Page: 26B, Image: 61.
[4] United States Federal Census, Year: 1850, Census Place: Oxford, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M432_764, Page: 71A, Image: 148; Year: 1860, Census Place: East Nottingham, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M653_1092, Page: 560; Image: 37; Family History Library Film: 805092; Chester County Archives and Record Services, “Poor School Children Records Index 1810-1842,” page 7; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865, NM-65, entry 172, 620 volumes, ARC ID: 4213514, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), Record Group 110, National Archives at Washington D.C.; Historical Data Systems, comp., U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009; Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Reel: 370.
[5] Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011; United States Federal Census, Year: 1850, Census Place: Lower Oxford, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M432_764, Page: 65A, Image: 136; Year: 1860, Census Place: Lower Oxford, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M653_1093, Page: 436, Image: 443, Family History Library Film: 805093; Year: 1870, Census Place: Oxford, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M593_1324, Page: 399A, Image: 114, Family History Library Film: 552823; Year: 1870, Census Place: West Bloomfield, Ontario, New York, Roll: M593_1066, Page: 177A, Image: 360, Family History Library Film: 552565; Year: 1870, Census Place: Franklin, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: M593_1323, Page: 247B, Image: 499, Family History Library Film: 552822.
[6] United States Federal Census, Year: 1880, Census Place: Elk, Chester, Pennsylvania, Roll: 1114, Family History Film: 1255114, Page: 417B, Enumeration District: 065, Image: 0482; Year: 1880, Census Place: West Bloomfield, Ontario, New York, Roll: 909, Family History Film: 1254909, Page: 524D, Enumeration District: 140, Image: 0652; Year: 1880, Census Place: Mill Creek, New Castle, Delaware, Roll: 119, Family History Film: 1254119, Page: 149B, Enumeration District: 022, Image: 0631.
[7] Ancestry.com, U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007, Record Year Range: 1885-1890, Surname Letter Range: L-Z, Image: 206, Line: 81; National Archives, Adjutant General’s Office, Final Statements, 1862-1899, “Newell, Charles H.,” at Fold3, http://www.fold3.com/image/271303510/#271303509/ accessed 17 Jul 2014; Burial Registers for Military Posts, Camps, and Stations, 1768-1921, Microfilm Publication M2014, 1 roll, ARC ID: 4478153, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92, National Archives in Washington, D.C.; Adjutant General’s Office, The National Archives, Pension Application Certificate No.: 537404, Pensioner: Caroline T. Baldwin, Stack area: 18E3, Row: 5, Compartment: 27, Shelf: 2. Research conducted by Vonnie S. Zullo of The Horse Soldier Research Service.
[8] Caroline T. Baldwin Pension File.
[9] National Archives and Records Administration, Burial Registers of Military Posts and National Cemeteries, compiled ca. 1862-ca. 1960, Archive Number: 44778151, Series: A1 627, Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, Record Group Number: 92.
[10] Jana Mitchell, photo., “Corp Charles H. Newell,” FindAGrave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=59151469 accessed 23 Jan 2014.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Corporal Charles H. Newell, B Troop, 7th Cavalry – Died of Wounds,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2014, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-os), posted 17 July 2014, accessed date __________.

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About Sam Russell

I am a fifth-generation Army officer with over twenty-eight years of commissioned service. I have been researching the frontier Army for over fifteen years and am interested in documenting the lives of the soldiers that participated in the battle of Wounded Knee using primarily official reports, diaries, letters, newspaper articles and other primary source documents. My interest in Wounded Knee stems from my kinship to one of the principal participants. I am the great-great-grandson of Samuel M. Whitside, who was a major and battalion commander at the battle. I welcome and encourage comments on posts and pages and am always interested in any new primary sources. If you have copies of letters, diaries, etc, from participants and are willing to share, please contact me. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and should in no way be construed as official Army or U.S. Government positons.
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2 Responses to Corporal Charles H. Newell, B Troop, 7th Cavalry – Died of Wounds

  1. Dusty Samouce says:

    Sam,
    Where is the second part of SMW’s letter? Have been printing out and collecting all of these Army at Wounded Knee posts – most interesting. Appreciate all the skull work you are putting in on this project.
    Dusty

    Like

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