Henry Michael Bray
Born January 10, 1843
Died July 17, 1926
Henry fought with honor in the following battles: Wilderness, VA, May 6-9, 1864; Spottsylvania, VA, May 12-15, 1864; Spottsylvania, VA, May 31, 1864; Bethesda Church, VA, June 3, 1864; during this battle, Henry's brother Thomas was seriously injured in the upper thigh by a minie ball. Henry carried him to the rear of the line so he could receive medical attention immediately. Cold Harbor, VA, June 7-8, 1864; Petersburg, VA, June 17, 1864 and Petersburg Mine, VA, July 30, 1864. Captured at the Battle of the Crater. Henry Bray was captured and taken prisoner by the Confederates at the Battle of the Crater, outside of Petersburg, VA on July 30, 1864. Here, Union volunteers, mostly Pennsylvania coal miners, had dug a 510 ft long mine shaft that ended beneath the Confederate line. Quietly carrying out tons of sod in cracker boxes, the Union men packed the shaft with 4 tons of black powder, which, when ignited, created a 170 x 60 ft crater 30 ft deep. According to National Archive Records, Henry was captured at Petersburg, July 30, 1864, held prisoner in Richmond, VA, then on September 11, 1864 was admitted to "Yankee Hospital NO. 21" in Richmond, VA, (which was partially a prison hospital) where he was diagnosed with dysentery, rheumatism and scurvy. He was paroled at Varina, VA, on September 24, 1864, then transferred to Camp Parole USA Hospital near Annapolis, MD. He was furloughed in October and then, because of Dr. H. S. Brown's written request stating that Henry was unfit for service, his furlough was extended for another 30 days.
It appears that after his furlough expired, Henry left VT and went to Granby, Quebec, where his grandmother, Mary Berrigan Bray, was living. It is important to note that the exchange of prisoners halted in 1863, mainly because of Confederate refusal to exchange black prisoners. Those released on parole promised not to take up arms until formally exchanged. the following quotes are taken from Henry Michael Bray's obituary in the Grinnell Herald, Friday, July 9, 1926: "Mr. Bray entered the livestock business and became one of the leading shippers of the middle west. He also owned many large farms and accumulated much wealth. No one ever heard Mr. Bray speak a harsh word. Gentle, kind, and generous, he tempered his daily activities with the spirit of the broadest humanity."
"Henry Michael Bray died of a second stroke, followed by pneumonia at 7:30 o'clock, July 7, 1926, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. M. W. Swisher, at the age of eighty-three and a half years. He is buried next to his wife in Hazelwood Cemetery, Grinell, Iowa. He was a member of the City Council of Grinnell for many years, a member of the Grand Army Post in Grinnell, of the Elks Lodge and of the Odd Fellows."
Ellen Jane Bray (1846 - 1911)*
Katherine Bray Haines (1875 - 1951)*
William H Bray (1878 - 1918)*
Created by: Bev
Record added: Dec 22, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 10165567
Added: Aug. 31, 2007
Added: Feb. 7, 2007