Story of Charles A Bantley (Our Great Grandfather)
POW in Andersonville Prison (May/June 1864 – April 1865)
Charles was born in Kronenburg, Germany in 1836 and came to America with his parents and three brothers around 1850, settling in Scalp level, PA (just outside of Johnstown, PA).
He and his brother Theodore enlisted in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in 1862 and were assigned to the 54th H Voluntary Pennsylvania Regiment
Charles & Theodore were capture May 15th, 1864 during the 54th H Pennsylvania Regiment participation in the New Market Battle as part of the Lynchburg Campaign w/in the Valley Campaigns of 1864:
“On May 15, General Franz Sigel encountered Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's Confederate force in the Battle of New Market in the Shenandoah Valley. The 54th Pennsylvania under Col Jacob M. Campbell fought near the center of the Union line and managed to retreat in good order. The regiment lost 174 men in the battle, with 42 wounded that all fell into the Confederate hands”.
Both were sent to Andersonville prison and arrived by train in late May or early June of 1864.
Andersonville Prison designed to house 6,000 prisoners had already grown to 33,000 by the summer of 1864. By the end of the war approximately 45,000 union soldiers had entered the prison of which approximately 13,000 of those died. Theodore was one of them. He died September 14th 1864 of Diarrhea Grave site #8775.
Charles was released in April 21, 1865 and was transported by train via Savannah or Charleston back to Johnstown, PA. After returning he began working with his brother Gottleib in the Bantley Hardware store. In 1869 he moved to Lebanon, Mo to open up a second Bantley hardware store with Gottleib as his partner.