My Great Grandfather Cassius Clay Burch (Birch) was born January 28, 1843, in Greenfield Township, Erie, PA. His early years were spent with his older brother Warren commercial fishing on Lake Erie. Warren married Mary E Jones on June 16, 1854 in Erie. During the war, Warren was an Ensign in charge of the forward battery on the gunboat U.S.S. St. Clair and the U.S.S. Mulhohandon on the Mississippi River.
On October 10, 1862 Cassius enlisted in the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (O.V.I.) in Ashtabula, Ohio. On his enrollment forms, the 19-year-old Cassius was described as “five feet two inches high (with) dark complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair, and by occupation when enlisted a sailor.” Cassius enlisted for three years and was paid a bounty of $25.00. He served in Company H for the duration of the war.
After the battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee on November 25, 1863, Cassius C. Burch (Birch) is mentioned by Charles T Clark’s in his book Opdycke Tigers, 125 O.V.I. as being “slightly wounded.” Cassius is noted in Clark’s book as “wounded at Dandridge, Tennessee on January 17th, 1864.” Cassius was promoted to Corporal on April 1, 1864 by order of Colonel Emerson Opdycke. The 125th was in winter camp at Loudon, Tennessee.
In his book, Lieutenant Charles T. Clark, 125th Ohio wrote the following about the battle of New Hope Church, Georgia. “June 1, 1864-The 125th relieved the 79th Illinois on front line at 4 a.m., and in a short time was relieved by the 57th Indiana and moved to the left. Extending our lines. 125th on left of Division, seven companies supporting a battery at first line of the works. A, F and D back at second line. Balls fly in all directions here. No place safe but close behind a breastwork.
June 2. —At daybreak A, F and C joined the regiment on front line. Both sides try to keep the other from showing heads or hands above the works. The battery moved away at noon. Rained from noon until 3 o’clock today. Five men wounded…. Heavy firing off to the left this evening….” Per the company H muster roll, Cassius was promoted to Sergeant on that day by order of Lieutenant- Colonel Moore. Cassius served in that capacity at Franklin and until the end of the war.
From his pension papers, it can be determined that Cassius kept in touch with John Brandon and Valentine Gleich, who served with him in Company H. After the war, Great Grandfather Burch (birch) married my Great Grandmother Lulu Angeline Mooney on May 7, 1867, they had seven children. Their first child was my grandmother Mary Lucretia Burch, who was born on August 5, 1869 in Erie. Cassius was in the “fish business” in Erie with Charles Bourman from 1880 to at least 1898. John Straub worked for him during this time. They lived their entire life at lived at 314 Parade Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. He died there on July 19, 1921 at the age of 78 years old. His obituary read “VETERAN LAKE CAPTAIN DIES,” “Cassius C. Burch (Birch), one of Erie’s esteemed citizens and well known Lake Captain, and Civil war veteran died at an early hour…” He is buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Erie. PA.
9 Gun Bluff
Edisto Island, SC 29438