Leonard Stineman’s rough war
Leonard S. Stineman was a contractor who before the war lived in Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, with his wife Hannah and their two young children, George and Maggie. On April 22, 1861, the overage Stineman (he was then 43 years old) enlisted as a private in Co. A of the newly created 6th Pennsylvania Reserves, later to be designated the 35th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Most of the men in his company were from Columbia County and they called themselves “The Iron Guard.” Co. A was one of just two companies in the regiment to be issued Springfield rifled muskets; the others made do with Harpers Ferry muskets.
By mid-July Stineman’s regiment was at Camp Biddle, where the 35th soon came to be known for its proficiency in drill. The next five months saw the regiment at various bases outside Washington, and probably Stineman’s first action was on December 19 at Dranesville, Virginia.
The 35th remained in Virginia, eventually being stationed at White House in mid-June in support of MeClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. However, Confederate strength forced the 35th to abandon White House late in the month, the regiment leaving so quickly that they were ordered to take nothing with them except their arms and cartridge boxes.
On August 12, 1862, Stineman, suffering from dysentery, was first sent to the general field hospital at Harrison’s Landing and then via steamer to the Staunton General Hospital in Washington. However, he was present for duty in September and may have participated with his regiment at Antietam.
Stineman was at Fredericksburg, where the 35th participated in the only successful part of an otherwise disasterous attack. Reported Colonel William McCandless, the brigade commander, “The Sixth Regiment was deployed as skirmishers in front of our artillery, and kept up a heavy fire upon the enemy until about 2 p.m., when the brigade was ordered to advance upon the enemy…”
At some point there Stineman suffered a horrific wound. A Minie ball entered his body above the left clavicle, exiting near his spine and damaging the muscles and nerves of his left arm and hand so badly that they would remain virtually useless for the rest of his life. The wound’s entry point suggests that he may have been laying down or bending over when he was hit.
He was declared three– fourths disabled and subsequently discharged and pensioned from the army on March 28, 1863. However, in November 1864, Stineman reenlisted as a bounty substitute in Co. D, 58th Pennsylvania. One might question whether Stineman’s two enlistments were more for money rather than any sense of patriotism.
He was discharged in November 1865, but his second enlistment may have had unwelcome repercussions: The army reduced him to one-third disability and henceforth he received only a $4 monthly pension until his death.
After discharge, Stineman apparently tried to resume his work as a contactor despite the almost total loss of use of his left arm in manual labor. He also obtained a patronage job as “enroller” of Bloomsburg citizens in the event of war. Stineman was widowed and evidently was bothered by the effects of his injury for the rest of his life.
He died on December 19, 1867, in Esply, Records give the cause of death as “gunshot wound and epileptic fit.”
Copyright Military Images Sep/Oct 2001
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