|Birth: ||Oct. 10, 1820|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Mar. 13, 1904|
New York, USA
Jacob J. De Forest enlisted in the Civil War Aug 26, 1861, at the age of 40, and was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel in the 81st Regiment New York Infantry Volunteers. This regiment was part of the ponderous but disciplined 100,000-man fighting machine forged by Gen. George B. McClellan called the Army of the Potomac. In early 1862 he had moved his army into east central Virginia with the aim of capturing Richmond. This "Peninsular Campaign" of McClellan was to have been assisted by an overland assault by troops under Gen. Irvin McDowell and coordinated with a water-borne move up the James River. A Union naval attack was halted on May 15th at Drewry's Bluff. By May 24th, when McClellan was deployed within 6 miles of the Confederate capital, President Lincoln became concerned for Washington's safety and suspended McDowell's movement.
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, the Confederate commander, now believing that McClellan planned to stay north of the James River, decided to attack. On May 31st Johnstons troops fell on the Union soldiers near Fair Oaks. Although the resulting battle proved indecisive, it did produce significant results for both armies. The already deliberate McClellan was made even more cautious than usual. An important note here, because of a serious wound sustained by Gen. Johnston during the battle, President Jefferson Davis placed Gen. Robert E. Lee in command of the defending forces. Our Lt. Col. Jacob De Forest was also wounded by a gunshot through the chest wall. The men wounded that first day of fighting had it really rough that night due to all the water in the area. It rained buckets on top of all the natural swamps. They had to be propped up against trees and what not to keep from drowning. A lot of them drowned regardless of the effort to save them. Being an officer, Lt. Col. De Forest was most likely carried from the field, but in the confusion who knows, he may have spent the night trying to keep above that nasty water. We know from Army documents that he was taken to Douglas Hospital in Washington. On June 19, 1862 Asst. Surgeon Warren Webster (US Army) gave him a 30 day sick leave because of his wounds.
On July 2, 1862 Jacob De Forest was promoted to Colonel. He was discharged for disability March 30, 1863. That discharge was revoked and he was restored to command April 28, 1863. He was honorably discharged for disability Sept. 1, 1864.
When applying for a pension as a Lt. Colonel in March of 1888, he notes that "he cannot furnish the evidence of physicians required in a recent communication from the Pension Office for the following reasons: every physician that has prescribed for my diarrhea has since died and there was six of them, viz. Wm H. Rice, Regt. Surgeon 81st NY Vols Infantry, Drs Cogswell, Willard, Quackinbush and Bigelow of Albany, and Dr Swits of Schenectady. In the next place I have had so many to prescribe for me that it has made me something of the Doct for myself and when necessary I buy and take what has been most effective at the time." He lived to be 83. When he passed away March 13, 1904 his monthly pension was $22.50.
Jacob De Forest had married three times always on New Years Day! On January 1, 1839 at 19 years of age he married Elmira Conklin Teller (four years his senior). They had 5 daughters and 3 sons in the next 13 years, and were married 19 years when she passed away. Their third daughter, Maria, was Grandpa Alonzo Waldron's mother. On January 1, 1859 at age 39 he married 36 yr old Harriet C. Brooks. They had 3 sons and a daughter. She died Oct. 5, 1868 after not quite 10 years of marriage. On January 1, 1878 at 58 he married Julia E. Dorff. They both had established farms in Schenectady County, NY. They were married 26 years but had no children. She had a life interest in a 105 acre farm located at Duanesburg that was not in great condition valued at $3000 back in 1904. She also owned a small house on 10 acres of "sand land" in Rotterdam that was mostly good for pasture valued at $2000. She rented the pasture for $15 a year on which she paid $6.77 "School Taxes" and $1.00 road tax plus property taxes. She lived in the house, sold eggs from 20 hens, and raised a vegetable garden. The groceries left by her husband didn't last long and mounting expenses forced her to borrow 2 notes of $200 each to survive. She was approved to collect her widow's pension after Col. De Forest passed away.
Was an Intimate of Horace Greeley
Colonel Jacob J. DeForest died Sunday at his home in Rotterdam, aged 83 years. He was intimately associated with Horace Greeley during the abolition movement. When the Civil war began he became lieutenant in an Oswego company and rose to the rank of colonel. March 14, 1904 Amsterdam Evening Recorder
Harriet Brooks DeForest (1823 - 1868)
Maria Teller DeForest Waldron (1843 - 1884)*
Angelica Greene DeForest Waldron (1845 - 1934)*
Jacob DeForest (1852 - 1852)*
Elmira DeForest (1852 - 1852)*
Prospect Hill Cemetery
New York, USA
Maintained by: Nancy Stout
Originally Created by: Betty Fink
Record added: Jun 19, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 92187008
Added: Feb. 11, 2013