Monday, August 8, 2011

Military Monday ~ James M. Lysle

After reading Russ's suggestion at Family Tree Maker User and Lisa's post at The Faces Of My Family on how to filter people in Family Tree Maker, I filtered my tree from 4,294 down to 80 men born between 1818 and 1846 who could have been soldiers in the Civil War. The one I already knew about is James M. Lysle, a second great grand uncle on my mother's side.

Yours Truly
Jas M Lysle 63d Regt Pa Vol

Here is a Mathew Brady portrait of my second great grand uncle. On the back is written (in unknown handwriting): "James M. Lysle / Killed in Civil War / age 21 years." [sic]

The 63rd Regiment of Pennsylvania, Volunteer Infantry, was made up of men from McKeesport, Allegheny County, organized in August 1861. The U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles found at tells me that he enlisted on August 19, 1861. His regiment left the state on August 26, 1861, for Washington, D. C. More details of this regiment can be found at the Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System where you can search for Last Name = Lysle, First Name = James, and State = Pennsylvania.

According to the database: American Civil War Soldiers (compiled by Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA), James enlisted as a second lieutenant and was promoted to Full Quartermaster on September 1, 1861. According to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, it looks like he served in defense of Washington, D. C. until March 1862.

Under the Red Patch: Story of the Sixty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864 compiled by Gilbert Adams Hays with personal narrative by William H. Morrow (published in 1908), can be found at Google Books, and this includes several mentions of Great Great Great Uncle James M. Lysle.

On the night of March 5, 1862, Quartermaster James Lysle was on picket at Pohick Church and was part of a detachment of the regiment scouting for whatever could be found that could be used in camp. It so happened that his scouting party was ambushed by an enemy scouting party, and Quartermaster Lysle, along with two others, died, and several others were wounded. (pp 46-47)

Soldiers of the regiment who died are listed starting on page 154, and Lysle and his group were the second, third, and fourth members of this regiment to be killed.

The history of Company I, which is the company in which Lysle enlisted, starts on page 383. It is said that sixty-one men enlisted after a "stirring and patriotic speech" was given at McKeesport.

Toward the end of the book is a compilation of "Letters from the Front" written by members of the regiment. On March 10, 1862, Colonel Alexander Hays writes of "the disaster," referring to the deaths of the three members of Company I. He also writes that the bodies were forwarded to Pittsburgh on March 7, after a brief service in the "church tent." (pp 417-418)

Then there is the March 6 letter from Joe Hoppes, Company C, to his family which notes that "Quartermaster Lysle...killed in a skirmish while scouting night before last. It was a disastrous affair for us, for we lost some of our best men." (p. 429)

Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999. Record for James M. Lysle

Before his enlistment, he worked as a coal merchant (age 29, enumerated with his parents in the 1860 U.S. Census, McKeesport, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania), presumably with his father and brothers in the Lysle & Sons Coal Company.

He is buried in Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, near many other members of the Lysle family., database ( Gordon Hunter, compiler, Union Dale Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Plot: Division 3. Memorial# 67975575, Lt. James M. Lysle, 1831 - 1862.

James M. Lysle was a brother of my second great grandfather, George Lysle. My descent from George Lysle > George Lysle, Jr. > Marguerite Lysle > Helen Lysle Hunter > my mother > me.

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.


  1. Elizabeth,

    Way cool. Hope you are going to be at the NE Blogger Bash later this month. Like to hear how many other "potential" Civil War folks you found in your file.

    Thank you for the reference to my Blog.

    Good luck,


  2. Russ,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I plan to be at the NE Blogger Bash. At some point, I will blog about other ancestors' activities during the Civil War, but as to how soon, I don't know ;-)


  3. Last week I discovered that my great great grandfather, John Miller, was a member of Lt. Lysle Post, No 128 of the Grand Army of the Republic. I have a picture of him in his "uniform" wearing the 128 cap. Since my discovery, I've done some research on the post, including spending 2 very chilly hours reading through microfiche of the post's records, which are temporarily located in a storage facility belonging to the University of Pittsburgh. Very interesting!

    1. Your comment is a good reminder that not everything is online. Thanks for reading.