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Somerville Journal
September 15, 1911



Charles H. Tracy (Obituary) 

Charles H. Tracy who was one of the best known Civil War Veterans in this state, and probably the only man in the city who wore a medal of honor awarded by Congress for bravery in that service, died Tuesday afternoon after a stroke in his home, 15 Curtis Street, from a complication of diseases. He had been an invalid nearly five years, and his condition was critical during the ten days before the end. He was in his seventy-eighth year.

Tracy was born in Jewett City, Conn. October 3,1833 and was the son of Albert Tracy and Mrs. Harriet (Birch) Tracy. After leaving school he learned the machinists trade, and about 1853 went to Chicopee, where he was employed and made his home until 1890. There he worked in the cotton mills of the Dwight Company and the Ames Manufacturing Company. From 1888 to 1890 he was employed at the United States arsenal in Springfield.

In 1890 He came to Boston and was a night watchman at the customhouse for sixteen years until the spring of 1906, when he was compelled by ill health to give up active life. During his employment at the customhouse he made his home in Charlestown where he was well known and highly respected. He came to live in this city four years ago.

In August 1862 at Chicopee, Mr. Tracy enlisted in Company A, Thirty- seventh Massachusetts Volunteers which was mustered into the service at Pittsfield on September 4,1862. Mr. Tracy was honorably discharged July 4,1865 at the end of an active service that lacked one month of being three years.

During the latter part of his service he was detached and with the rank of sergeant assigned to the perilous duty that fell to the lot of the brigade pioneers of the sixth army corps, which prepared for the advance of the Union troops and were the first to encounter the Rebel sharpshooters.

On the morning of April 2, 1865, he was with a detachment of pioneers detailed to cut the abatis before Petersburg, Va. While engaged in directing the hazardous work he was five times wounded and it was while lying in the field severely wounded, encouraging his comrades to continue their task that the last Rebel bullet pierced the right knee joint. To save his life it was necessary to amputate the leg above the knee.

Ht was subsequently promoted to the rank of second lieutenant in recognition of his bravery and in later years he awarded one of the much-coveted Congressional Medals of Honor. He was a charter member of Otis Chapman post, 103 G.A.R. of Chicopee, of which he was adjutant in 1881 and commander during the three succeeding years. In 1884 he was a member of the department council of administration and in 1891 he transferred his membership from the Chicopee post to Abraham Lincoln post 11 of Charlestown. He was a past grand of St. John's Lodge, 62 I.O.O. P. of Chicopee and was a member a former president of the Thirty-seventh Massachusetts Regiment Association.

At Upton, Mass. December 27, 1853 he married Miss Mary Elisabeth Corbin who died in Charles town March 6, 1905. He is survived by two children: Oliver Edward Tracy, of Dorchester Miss Nellie Tracy, who always made her home with him. In addition to one grandson he leaves two brothers: Rev. Thomas Tracy, a Presbyterian missionary at Dehra Doon, India and William C. Tracy of Chicopee. The former has been a missionary in India thirty-six years: he spent two or three years at home recently returning to India last fall with his wife. A sister Mrs. M. H. Leavens lives in Wauregan, Conn.

The funeral was held at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon at the Curtis Street home. The body of the veteran was dressed in the Grand Army uniform which he loved so well, and the casket covered with the stars and stripes, in whose defence he fought so bravely. There were many handsome floral tributes and a large attendance of relatives, old-time neighbors, former associates at the customhouse, and Grand Army comrades. Rev. Dr. Ransom Green, pastor of the First Universalist Church of Charlestown, officiated.

Hit final service in charge of St. John's lodge I.O.O.F. will be held this afternoon at the chapel in Fairview Cemetery, Chicopee. where burial will be in the family lot beside the grave of Mrs. Tracy. The flag at the quarters of Post 11, on Green Street, Charleston, has been at half-mast since the death of its comrade.




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