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Isaac Wayne Van Leer, Jr.[1, 2]

Male 1846 - 1862  (16 years)

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  • Name Isaac Wayne Van Leer  [3, 4, 5
    Suffix Jr. 
    Born 15 Jan 1846  West Nantmeal Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 19 Jun 1862  City Hospital, New York City, New York Co, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried St. Mary's Episcopal Church Cemetery, Warwick, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I5225  default
    Last Modified 30 Nov 2010 

    Father Esq. Isaac Wayne Van Leer, Sr.,   b. 26 Mar 1802, East Nantmeal Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Aug 1895, Downingtown, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years) 
    Mother Phoebe Ann Speakman,   b. 18 Oct 1806, West Nantmeal Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1846, West Nantmeal Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 40 years) 
    Married 27 Jan 1827 
    Family ID F2242  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Battle of Seven Pines
    Battle of Seven Pines
    Photo taken at the battlefield of the Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia (Civil War). Isaac Wayne Van Leer, Jr sustained injuries during this battle, which resulted in his death. Photo was posted online at ancestry.com, "Twin houses on battlefield, with 32-pdr. Field howitzer in foreground." Research by Chad G. Nichols

    Headstone [27 Mar 2006]
    Headstone [27 Mar 2006]
    Headstone of Isaac Wayne Van Leer Jr at St. Mary's Episcopal Church Cemetery. Taken by Chad G. Nichols

    Biography from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania
    Biography from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania
    Biography of Isaac Wayne Van Leer, an abstract from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania (pp 752-3). Transcription by Chad G. Nichols

  • Notes 
    • MILITARY: Served in the Union Army of the American Civil War, private, Company B, 53d Pennsylvania Infantry. He was wounded 1 Jun 1862 at the Battle of Seven Pines near Fair Oaks, Virginia, then died in a New York Army hospital.

  • Sources 
    1. [S756] Nichols Online Library, Digital Documents Researched and Scanned by Chad Nichols & Relatives, Nichols, Chad G., (Catalogue of over 40,000 relatives with more than 5,000 of them having documentation to support their place in the family tree. Some recent generation surnames include Anderson, Broman, Campbell, Cloward, Conder, Dutson, Ericksen, Farmer, Holyoak, Kump, Kylen, Mendenhall, Nichols, Nielson, O'Donnell, Richardson, Roberts, Shelley, Stone, and Walker. Most ancestors are from England, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. [online] www.nicholslibrary.org 7783 S 4950 W West Jordan, UT 84081 USA) (Reliability: 3).
      Seven Pines Battlefield Photo - 003835
      St. Mary's Episcopal Church & Cemetery - 003464, 003465
      Grave Marker - 003468
      Biography - 004460

    2. [S861] Colonial & Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Volume III, ([book online] www.ancestry.com).

    3. [S707] Vanleer (Van Leer) Family History, Burge, Peggy, ([online] www.vanleerplus.org) (Reliability: 3).
      Lists birth, death, and burial information

    4. [S397] History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Everts, Louis H., (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : Futhey & Cope, 1881 A history of Chestery County, Pennsylvania. On file at Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania) (Reliability: 3).
      ISAAC WAYNE VAN LEER, son of Isaac W. Van Leer, Esq., long the public-spirited presiding officer of the Chester County Agricultural Society, and a grandnephew of the famous Gen. Wayne (known in Revolutionary times by the sobriquet of 'Mad Anthony'), was born in the township of West Nantmeal, Chester Co., June 15, 1846. This extraordinary precocious and noble youth was a lineal descendant of Dr. Bernard Van Leer, also inherited some of the Wayne blood of our ancient bailiwick, and we therefore need not be surprised to learn that in the days of a vile pro-slavery rebellion and national peril the generous, loyal and high-spirited boy became a prompt and gallant soldier of the republic. In the autumn of 1861 Isaac left his home without his father's knowledge of the movement, and went to Harrisburg, where he offered to enlist; and subsequently attached himself to Company B, Capt. Potts, of the 53rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, in Sumner's division. Being apprehensive that his extreme youth might be objected to, he at first tried to pass himself off as a lad of eighteen, although only in his sixteenth year; and to prevent a discovery of his whereabouts he resorted to the romantic expedient of temporarily assuming a fictitious name. His father, aware of the military proclivities of the youth, and anxious to get him home again, requested Capt. Potts (a relative of the family) to keep a lookout for Isaac. The captain endeavored to persuade him to return to his father's house, but he replied, 'I cannot go home: I feel it to be my duty to go to war.' Finding him determined, the captain was then requested to take charge of the lad in case he persevered, and thus it was arranged to keep him in the company.

      While they were at Camp Curtain Isaac was taken ill with typhoid fever. His accomplished and devoted sister went to Harrisburg, and nursed him until he was able to be removed, when she took him home with her to Philadelphia, and before he was able to carry his gun he insisted on returning to camp. He told his sister that he had repeatedly asked his father for permission to enter the service, but had always received a denial and now he was determined to go. When his sister was about to part with him after nursing him through the fever, she said to him, as she passed her hand lovingly over his fair and smooth young brow. 'Dear brother, if the rebels should put a bullet through this pretty head how it would spoil it.' He replied, 'Not more than any other man's,--and somebody's must be spoiled.'

      At the battle of the Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks, Sumner's division was conspicuously engaged. The 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteers were in the action all day. Capt. Eicholtz, who was then in command of Company B (in place of Capt. Potts, resigned on account of illness), says that in the midst of the fight some unauthorized person, in an adjacent regiment, gave the order to retreat. Company B, of the 53rd Pennsylvania, being next to them; also commenced falling back; but Capt. Eicholtz, perceiving that the order was a mistake, stepped out, and ordered his company to advance. Young Van Leer was one of the first to spring forward, and when the captain saw him, toward night, he says the youth was fighting with the utmost coolness and bravery, and above all others his voice could be heard ringing out, shrill and clear, 'Steady, boys! Steady!' while working like a veteran.

      Isaac was first severely wounded in the ankle, and fell, being unable to stand. When his company at length fell back he lay midway between his regiment and the enemy, wondering, as he stated, into whose hands he should fall. After loading and firing a number of times while prostrate on the ground, he received a shot in the head, and then lay unconscious, with the battle raging over him. Somehow he was also badly wounded in the side and arm by a bayonet-thrust, which he could never account for. He lay nearly two days on the battle-field before his comrades had an opportunity to remove him, and all that time without any nourishment except water. The muscles of his face became so paralyzed that he was unable to open his mouth. Capt. Eicholtz, although his own right hand was much shattered, paid every possible attention to his young friend, who was afterwards taken to Fortress Monroe, where he was nine days before the ball was extracted. Isaac was next taken to New York, whither his sister went, and faithfully nursed him until he sank under the wounds he had received, which sad event occurred on the 19th of June 1862, when he had just completed his sixteenth year.

      As an evidence of the unfaltering spirit with which this juvenile patriot engaged in the cause of his country, it may be mentioned that when near his end his sister inquired if he regretted the part he had taken in the eventful struggle. He responded, 'Not for a moment!' In such a cause,' he would do just the same thing again. 'Otherwise,' added he, 'what would become of our country?'

    5. [S381] Grave Marker (Reliability: 3).
      at Fair Oaks Virginia
      on the first day of June 1862
      on the 19th of same month
      aged 16 years and 3 days
      (Photo & transcription by Chad G. Nichols 27 Mar 2006)