Peter Canally

Peter Canally, also known as “Connelly”and “Conoly”, was born 1840 in Boston, Massachusetts or in Ireland.

Peter left Boston and moved west, eventually settling in central Michigan by the time the war broke out.

He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion, and was a 21-year-old farmer probably living in Meridian, Ingham County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles”, was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.)

On September 5, 1861, Peter was in the Regimental hospital sick with a fever, and less than a week later he was “been recommended to be discharged on account of tubercular disease, but his case is under advisement.” He remained with the Regiment, however, and was wounded severely in the left shoulder on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. Peter was helped off the battlefield and according to a statement he made later that year Regimental Surgeon Bliss “made an examination of the wound & probed it to find the bullet but that he could not find the ball, [and] that he was sent to hospital where he remained until he was furloughed”.

By June 18 he was reported to have gone home to Okemos, Ingham County, to recover from his wound, and according to one source he was among the sick and wounded soldiers who arrived at Detroit Barracks on July 9. In any case, he claimed that he remained at his home in Michigan until about the end of August when he went to Washington. From there he was sent to Fairfax Seminary Hospital where he was probably admitted on August.

Peter was discharged from Fairfax Seminary hospital on September 13, 1862, for a “gunshot wound through the left shoulder joint, resulting in anchylosis, and paralysis of the whole arm, is unable to raise the forearm without the assistance of the right hand.”

He reportedly died on September 21, 1862, of his wounds (probably at Union Hotel hospital in Washington, DC), and buried in Washington.

In fact Peter did not die of his wounds in September of 1862 and was alive and well by the summer of 1863, probably still living in Washington. In any event, he married Ireland native Sarah Ann Hunt (b. 1838), on July 19, 1863, at St. Matthew’s church in Washington, DC, and they had at least one child: John (b. 1875).

Peter was probably discharged on account of his disability (the record is uncertain on this however).

In any case, Peter eventually returned to his father’s home in Meridian, Ingham County, Michigan, presumably with his new wife, and by the fall of 1863 he was working in Meridian as a farmer. He was living in Ingham County in 1869.

By 1870 Peter was working as a conductor on a railroad and living with his wife Sarah in Lansing’s Fourth Ward, Ingham County. He was living in Ingham County in 1897 and in Lansing, Ingham County in 1898.

He was probably living in Ingham County when he applied for and received a pension (no. 23351), drawing $17 per month by 1897.

Peter died on November 11, 1911, in Longdale, Blaine County, Oklahoma.

His widow was living in Carlton, Blaine County, Oklahoma, in 1912 when she applied for a pension. She eventually moved to St. Paul in Alberta, Canada and by 1916 she was living in Lloydminister, Saskatchewan, Canada.