Biographical Profile: Pvt. Augustus Taylor Spence, Company G, Pennsylvania Volunteers, 100th Regiment

Written and Contributed by descendant J. Kurt Spence

Augustus Taylor Spence, the tenth child of John Oliver and Martha (Steffey) Spence was born on 24 February 1847 in White Township, Indiana County, PA.  Augustus was seventeen-years old when he joined the militia as a substitute for military service for Jacob Graff, Esquire of Blairsville Boro, Indiana County, PA. He served with the 100th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company G. Young Augustus, who was described as five feet three inches tall, dark complexion with brown eyes and auburn hair, mustered-in at Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA on 31 January 1865 for a period of one year.  He was not paid an advance bounty and given the rank of private.  He went with a detachment of men, first to Pittsburgh, PA and then on to meet up with 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the famous Roundheads who were part of the Union front lines near Petersburg, VA.  So named because of their Scotch-Irish ancestry by Secretary of War Cameron, these soldiers were known as the Roundhead Regiment.  They had seen battle in South Carolina, Second Manassas, Chantilly, Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness Campaign and Cold Harbor and were now bivouacked in the Virginia countryside near Fort Stedman, VA in March of 1865 as part of the siege of Petersburg, VA.

On 25 March 1865, the 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry saw action in the Union advance in retaking Fort Stedman, VA. The soldiers of Company G, of which Augustus was one, were the first to plant the colors and claim victory. It was a decisive defeat for the Confederates. Despite heavy casualties, the Roundheads had won a substantial victory. Their final action occurred on the night of 29 March 1865 when a confederate artillery barrage was made on their line. Firing continued until 2 am on the 30th.

Major N. J. Maxwell, Commanding Officer 100th Pennsylvania Volunteers filed this report about the incident:

Hdqtrs, 100th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, April 9 1865

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of this command from the 29th ultimo to 9th instant.
Immediately on the opening of the action of the 29th ultimo, two companies, B and G, were sent into Fort Haskell, as per orders from brigade headquarters. On the 1st instant a detail from the regiment was ordered to report to Captain Carter for the purpose of charging the works of the enemy on Cemetery Hill. Four companies, A, F, D, and H, under command of Capt. Charles Wilson, were held in readiness to support the assault of Captain Carter. The regiment was engaged in no other active operations.

On 3 April 1865, the Roundheads received marching orders and trekked through Petersburg, over the Appomattox River and north along Chesterfield Road to Wilson's Station.  It was here that they learned of the wars end and surrender by General Lee on 9 April 1865.  Following Lincoln's assassination of 14 April 1865, the Roundheads and the rest of the 9th Corps were sent to Washington to insure peace and tranquility in the Capitol.

Augustus became ill and on 15 May 1865, was admitted to Carver Hospital in Washington, missing the Grand Review of the troops down the streets of Washington on 23 May 1865. Because of his illness, Augustus was mustered out of the company on 27 June 1865 in Washington, DC. Records show that he owed the company a clothing allowance of $32.76 and he also owed the sutler, John Frame, $5.00. There is no mention of any cash paid to Augustus. After his discharge, he made his way back home to Indiana County to continuing farming. He was a pumper of oil fields in 1879 in Butler County, PA.  Later, he was listed on the census in 1910 in Butler County, PA.  He resided in Butler, PA.  He died on 22 March 1919 in Butler, PA. 

He was married to Nancy Ana Shakley on 6 February 1873 in East Brady, Clarion County, PA.  They were wed by Reverend Dodds.  Nancy was born in 1851 in Pennsylvania and died on 5 June 1914 in Venango County, PA.  She was afflicted with typhoid fever during the epidemic in Butler and never fully recovered from it.  She had been a patient at Polk State Institution for nine months and five days.  She was buried on 8 June 1914 in Bear Creek Cemetery, Fairview Township, Butler County, PA.  Augustus Taylor and Nancy Ana Spence had five boys, Lemuel Webster, Thomas S., Orlando Roy and Clarence Augustus Spence.

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