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Corydon Benton Breese (1841- 1938)

Provided by Merlin Russell.  Thanks Merlin!



Corydon is not a direct ancestor.  His great-grandfather was John Brees from Somerset County, New Jersey.  He was the grandson of Henry Brees (29 August 1753-3 June 1835).  Corydon’s parents were Charles Pierson Breese (18 February 1808-19 October 1898) and Elizabeth Fletcher (?-8 December 1876).  Charles Pierson would have been first cousins with Silas Brees.  Corydon would have been a second cousin to Achilles Brees.


Corydon was born 4 April 1841 in Breestown two miles from Breesport, New York.


The New York 1850 census lists “C.B.” age 9 listed under Charles P. Brees.


Mr. Breese enlisted April 18, 1862, and was mustered into service at Staten Island as a private in Battery C, Fifth Regiment, Volunteer Heavy Artillery under Col. Samuel Graham and Capt. Hermon L. Emmonds.


His war record began with garrison duty at New York Harbor until May 24.  He was transferred with his outfit to Baltimore for duty there until January 22, 1863.  In that month he joined Battery L, Fifth Regiment, U.S. Light Artillery.  In May this unit joined General Mallory at Winchester, Virginia.


He participated in engagements at Middleton and Newton, Virginia and from June 13 to 15, 1863, the Battle of Winchester.   In this battle, Mr. Breese once related, he was a quartermaster sergeant and met the famed Confederate general Jubal A. Early. The meeting was unfortunate for the Northerner, because it brought his imprisonment at Libby and Belle Island Prison at Richmond.  He spent four weeks in the James River prison camp before he was sent to Annapolis where he regained his freedom in an exchange of prisoners.  He rejoined his regiment at camp Marshall, Washington, July 15, 1863.  He saw duty there for nearly a year before his transfer to Philadelphia where he attended military school to be educated in military tactics.


He left the school October 7, commissioned a second lieutenant in Company C, Eighth Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry, Negro troops.  The 8th Regiment Infantry was organized at Camp William Penn, Philadelphia, Pa., September 22 to December 4, 1863 and left Philadelphia for Hilton Head, South Carolina, January 16, 1864 where it was attached to Howell's Brigade, District of Hilton Head, South Carolina, Department of the South until February, 1864.  The Eighth was later attached to Hawley's Brigade, Seymour's Division, District of Florida, Department of the South, to April 1864;  District of Florida, Department of the South, to August, 1864;  1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 10th Corps, Army of the James River, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, to December, 1864;  2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 25th Corps, to April, 1865; and 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 25th Corps, and Department of Texas, to November, 1865.[2]


The Eighth participated in the expedition from Hilton Head, S. C., to Jacksonville, Florida on February 5-6, 1864 with the occupation of Jacksonville on February 7.  They advanced into Florida February 8-20 and were at  Camp Finnegan on February 8.  They participated in the Battle of Olustee February 20, 1864, retreated to Jacksonville and saw duty there until April. On April 17, they moved to St. John's Bluff, and remained there till August. The Eighth participated on a raid on Baldwin July 23-28.  Afterwards, they moved north to Deep Bottom, Virginia during August 4-12.  On August 12, they saw action at Deep Bottom.  The Eighth continued duty at Deep Bottom and in trenches before Petersburg untill September 27.  The Eighth participated in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, New Market Heights, September 28-30 and at Fort Harrison September 29.  The Eighth was at Darbytown Road October 13.  During October 27-28, they participated in the Battle of Fair Oaks.  The Eighth regiment then moved into the trenches before Richmond until March 27, 1865.  They were in the Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9, and were at the Battle of   Hatcher's Run March 29-31.  Their mission took them to the fall of Petersburg on April 2, and the pursuit of Lee April 3-9. The unit was at the Appomattox Court House April 9 for the surrender of Lee and his army. Afterwards, they moved to Petersburg April 11, and had duty there till May 24.[2]


More information on the Eighth can be found in Confederate Florida, The Road to Olustee, by William H. Nulty, 1990, The University of Alabama press.


In February, 1865, Corydon was attached to the 25th Corps. army and saw duty in the trenches before Richmond and participated in the engagement at Hatcher’s Run, Va. Mar. 29 to 31.


In April he rejoined Company C artillery, with which he remained until his honorable discharge Apr. 9, 1865, at Berrysville, Virginia.


After the War, he became a blacksmith and wagonmaker at Breestown and Enfield.


In 1865 he married Anna Tanner.  After Anna’s death, he married Elizabeth Daughtery (1842-1927).


In 1877, a daughter, Pearl E., was born to Corydon and Elizabeth.


In approximately 1880, Corydon settled on government land in Kansas where he lived for 25 years.  Corydon held membership in the Dick Yates Post 50, GAR, Department of Kansas at Eureka.


In 1905, Corydon returned to the Chemung Valley area.  After returning, he joined the Baldwin Post, GAR and in his later years, was Post surgeon.


In 1923, his daughter, Pearl E., died.


In 1927, his second wife, Elizabeth, died.  She is buried in Hilltop Cemetery.


Corydon died on Wednesday, February ?, 1938.  He was survived by one son, Dr. Burtis Burr Breese (1867-1939), one grandson, Dr. Burtis Burr Breese Jr., one granddaughter, the former Jane Breese and several great-grandchildren.


The funeral was held Saturday at 2:00 at the family home in Breesport.  Rev. C. H. Schoalz of Jacksonville, New York and Rev. Kenneth Anderson of the Breesport Methodist Church were to have officiated.  Baldwin Post members, assisted by Sons of Union Veterans were expected to perform the Post ritual at Hilltop cemetery.


Corydon is buried in Hilltop Cemetery, Breesport, New York.



[1]  Obituary, Elmira Star Gazette, 23 February 1938

[2]  http://www.itd.nps.gov/unitzdocs/uus0008ri00c.html

[3]  Visit to Hilltop Cemetery, Breesport, New York

[4]  The Breese Family


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