James Bruce

James Bruce was born 1841 in England.

James immigrated to the United States eventually settling in Ada, Kent County, Michigan by 1860 when he was a sawyer working for and/or living with another sawyer George H. Clark and his family.

James was 20 years old and probably still living in Kent County when he enlisted at the age of 20 in Company A on May 13, 1861. One of his tent mates in the winter of 1861-62, George Miller, also of Company A, described James as “not very intelligent and having a great passion for gambling”. James was absent on picket duty during the months of January and February of 1862, and present for duty in May and June. He was absent sick in the hospital from August 15, but present for duty from September of 1862 through February of 1863, and absent sick from March through June. He was absent in the hospital from August 20, 1862 through December, possibly at a hospital in Washington, DC, and quite likely was transferred to a hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In fact James married Irish-born Eliza Anne Sweeney (1842-1889), at the Church of the Crucifixion, in Philadelphia, on September 30, 1863. (Eliza, who had been married once before, was unable to read or write). They had at least one child, a girl Isabella (b. January 12, 1864 or 1865). According to Eliza, James had two daughters (Mary Jane and Hester) by a previous marriage. (no record of a previous marriage or these children has been located however.)

James was released from the army hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania, on January 19, 1864. Eliza probably remained at home in Philadelphia when James returned to duty sometime in early 1864.

He was at first reported missing in action on May 7, 1864, but was in fact killed in action on May 7 at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was presumably among the unknown soldiers buried at the Wilderness.

Eliza was living with one Jonathan Sweeney at 809 Osborne Street in Philadelphia when she applied for a widow’s pension (no. 44146), eventually drawing $12.00 per month by 1888. She died in 1889, possibly in California.