Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Canadian serving in the U.S Civil War

was recently up in Innisfil, Ontario at my parent's cottage.  Early one morning, I did my Tim Hortons coffee run in Stroud and decided to do a geocache in the nearby St James Cemetery.  As usual, I became interested and started to walk around and read the stones.  There was one that caught my eye, ok well a few.

This one interested me for a few reasons:
-Someone took pains to ensure that this person was not forgotten by erecting a plaque and not damaging the original stone.
-He was a Canadian who served in the Civil War.
-He was only 16 when he died.
-My parent's cottage in Innisfil is a few houses away from Warnica Avenue. The Warnica family were prominent and early settlers in Innisfil, which explains the street name.

Charles Manson Warnica was born to George Frederick Warnica and Phoebe on 1 June 1849.  He was baptized by Rev. Rice in Barrie on July 29th of the same year.(1)
In the 1861 Census he was living with his parents, older sister Abigail (age 14), and older brother Alfred (age 16) in a brick home.  He was attending school. His father was born in the US and his mother in Upper Canada. (2)  According to his father's death registration, George was born in Salina (Syracuse) New York.

At the age of fifteen, Charles walked from Barrie to Detroit, Michigan to join the Civil War.  He enlisted in Company G, Michigan 15th Infantry Regiment on 05 Apr 1865 as a private. He was mustered out on 25 Jun 1865 at Washington, DC.
The 15th was a volunteer regiment and he took the place of Clark Knowland who was drafted for service. His fee to replace Mr. Knowland in the war was $269.70.  (3) Note: Sources are not cited for this information.  According to, the historic standard of living value for this income in 2014 is about $4040.00 USD.

I did a little digging about the 15th.  The regiment moved to Louisville, Kentucky and stayed there from June 1-6.  They moved to Little Rock, Ark on June 28 and stayed  there till August 13. They were mustered out August 18, 1865.  The regiment lost 3 Officers and 60 Enlisted men, who were killed and mortally wounded.  Four Officers and 268 Enlisted men were killed by disease. (4)

Poor Charles was one of the 268 who succumbed to disease. On 25 June 1865 he died of typhoid fever in Louisville, Kentucky.  His obituary appeared in the Barrie Examiner on 10 Aug 1865, page 3.
His siblings John Lyon and Abigail paid $270.05 to have Charles Manson Warnica reinterred at the Stroud, Ontario St. James Cemetery on 7 Sept 1865. (5) Note: Sources are not cited for this information.

During my research, I discovered that there were two other Warnica men who joined the war, Charles' uncle and cousin. Both joined Company E of the 1st Regiment Engineers and Mechanics, Michigan and both held the rank of Artificer:
Joseph G Warnica Sr (6)
Joseph Warnica Jr. (7)
I wonder if the thought of them serving further encouraged Charles to join the war.

Other interesting Warnica history web pages that I came across during my research:

Andrew Hunter my favorite Simcoe County historical author wrote a book about Charles' parents: Brief Memoirs of the late George F. Warnica and Memoirs of George and Phoebe Warnica, Pioneers of Innisfil, which is available at the Simcoe Archives

(1)Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register  -

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