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Rare view of Colonel Henry A Purviance 85th Pa Vols.  "Among the hundred or so soldier in the 85th Pennsylvania who died as the result of the battlefield during the Civil War, the most senior officer to fall was Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Purviance. He was killed as the result of friendly fire on Morris Island, South Carolina on August 30, 1863. Temporarily in command of the regiment after Colonel Joshua B. Howell suffered a concussion a few days earlier, Purviance was in the trenches with his men when a Union shell fired from behind his position prematurely exploded over his head. He was instantly killed. Purviance was 32 years of age. At the time the Civil War began in 1861, Purviance was the co-publisher of the Washington (PA) Reporter and Tribune newspaper. Every few months, Purviance would write a detailed summary of the activities of the 85th Pennsylvania which was published back home in his newspaper. Although born in Butler County, PA, Purviance had deep roots in Washington County. His maternal grandfather, John Hamilton (1754-1837), had been appointed sheriff of Washington County in 1793. This was the time of the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania; the nexus of the uprising was in Washington County. Farmers protested a new excise tax on whiskey, their main source of income and barter, to defray the federal government's debt left over from the Revolutionary War. Sheriff Hamilton was involved in the early peaceful protests of the tax, but unsuccessfully tried to steer the movement away from violence. Incident included the tarring-and-feathering of tax collectors, attempted destruction of tax records and a gun fight at the home of tax collector

CDV Colonel Henry A Purviance 85th Pa KIA Fort Wagner

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