|Death: ||Jul. 2, 1863|
Private and Wagoner Byron Welch was 23 when he enlisted in Company I of the First Minnesota. John Churchill was a friend in the ranks and was his tentmate. As such they buttoned their shelter halves together to form the tent that was designed to shelter two men at a time. Though listed as a wagoner Byron was in the ranks when the men were ordered to make their charge on July 2, 1863. He went into the fray but did not return. Today he lies buried in the Minnesota Section of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, Section B, Grave 11.
The following is a letter from Pvt John Chuchill to Mary Cobb, Byron's mother, in Colebrook Center, Litchfield County, Ct.
I received two letters from you which I have not had the opportunity to answer before and being now in camp take this the first. I was acquainted with your son but a short time before we came into the Army. Since then have tented and messed with him for a long time. As to his mode of life West I cannot say how he lived, but since he came into the Army I can say a more true hearted, free spirited man I never saw. He never quarreled with anyone, always helped those who needed help, never shirked his duty. His Officers and fellow men thought much of him. Those of us that survive mourn his loss, more than some other who to us could have been better spared. I do not say this from any feelings of adulation because you are his mother, but from the firm conviction of my mind and sentiment. We all share the same feeling in regard to his worth.
Of his personal effects, I do not know that he had any of value on his person. He I know had no money and whatever else he had was taken off his person by pillagers before we could return to where he fell. In April last he packed up a number of small articles, letters, likeness, etc. with surplus clothing in his knapsack and sent oit off, with a large amount of surplus to property. It was delivered over to the Quartermaster and what has become of it I don't know. If we should ever receive him again, I will see that you have them sent to you. I think he had no property in the West.
There is 2 months and 2 days pay due him, his bounty and some on clothing account. I do not know the exact plan you will have to adopt to get his accts with Government settled, but would advise you to inquire of Mr Fred Olmstead, Agent for the Sanitary Commission in Washington, D C who will inform you gratiously, and obtain a settlement for you, free from all costs, he being employed by the Commission for that special business.
The Dead of our Regiment were all buried by us, before we left in as decent and thorough a manner as we could under the circumstances. Head boards have been placed where they lay.
Capt Pell resigned last March and went to his home in NY. Col Sully was appointed Brigadier Gen and is now in Dakota territory fitting out an expedition against the Indians.
I remain with respect
John M Churchill
CO. I. REGT. 1.
Gettysburg National Cemetery
Plot: Minnesota Plot, Section B, Site #11
Created by: DaveVangsness
Record added: Apr 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 36426055