George W. Ball - update 12/30/2016

George W. Ball was born August 8 or 18, 1842, in Chester, Orange County, New York.

George left New York before the war broke out and eventually settled in Michigan.

He stood about 5’6” with black eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farm laborer living in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was reported sick in the Regimental hospital in July of 1862 and listed as AWOL in August (possibly still hospitalized). In any case he was treated for laryngitis from January 1 to 9, 1863, and was a nurse in the Regimental hospital from January of 1863 through March. In April he was a cook in the hospital, and a nurse in the Division hospital from May through December of 1863. In fact, he was being treated for an unknown ailment from October 3 to 15, 1863, and from October 9 to December 15, he was reported as a convalescent. In January of 1864 he was on detached service at Alexandria, and was a nurse in the hospital in Alexandria from February through April.

George was probably transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on May 15, 1864, or it may have been as early as December 15, 1863. Although he was later reported that as having been mustered out on April 20, 1864, , in 1909, the War Department claimed that George had in fact reenlisted on April 21, 1864, thus obligating him for three more years, and that he was mustered into service in the Seventy-fifth Company, Second Battalion, VRC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

He was subsequently assigned to the Fourth Company, Second battalion, which subsequently became Company D, Eighteenth VRC and reportedly deserted on June 12, 1864.

In any case, after he left the army George returned to Michigan and lived in Grand Rapids for seven or eight years, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio where he lived for some 20 or 25 years.

In 1874 George married Michigan native Nellie Ward (1855-1915), in East Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, and they had at least two children: Guy Franklin (b. 1877) and Stanley W. (b. 1887).

By 1880 George was working making lightning rods and living in Cleveland, Ohio, along with his wife and son Guy. George was reported to be living in Cleveland, Ohio in 1884 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, but sometime in the mid-1890s, he moved to Saginaw, Saginaw County where he lived for two years, moving on to Chicago where he remained about three years. They were living in Chicago’s 26th Ward in 1900. He then lived in South Bend, Indiana for two years before moving back to Cleveland. By 1903 he was living at 3534 Detroit Street in Cleveland.

In 1902 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1,065,277, dated 1903), and was described has having scars on both legs from “fever sores”; by early 1903 it was reported that he had also suffered from a dislocation of his right shoulder.

By February of 1907 George was a resident of the Ohio State Soldiers’ Home in Erie County.

In 1909 the War Department informed George, still a resident of the Ohio Soldier’s Home that he had in fact deserted in the spring of 1864 (apparently from the VRC) and that the charge of desertion would not be removed. Furthermore, without the removal, he could no longer claim an honorable discharge and would thus forfeit his pension.

In 1910 Nellie was living on Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago’s 7th Ward with her son Guy (“Frank”). She died in Chicago in 1915.

George apparently remained at the Home in Ohio where he died on October 9, 1923, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section E, lot 2, grave no. 13.