James B. Couch

Sgt. James B. Couch (1820-1898)

James B. Couch, 3rd Great-Grandfather of brother Eric Kirk, enlisted on December 30th, 1863 and was then mustered in at the age of 43 as a carpenter for the 15th New York Engineers, Company E, on January 2nd, 1864 in Saugerties, New York. His 17-year old son Granfield also joined the unit with him. Unfortunately one month later on February 2nd at a Regimental Hospital in D.C., Granfield died of cerebral edema, which was due to either a traumatic injury or a possible brain infection. During his service, James was promoted from Private to Corporal, and then to Sergeant. His records show that he was in and out of the hospitals during his service, and was ultimately discharged for disability on June 2nd, 1865 in Washington DC.

As a new element reinforcing the 15th NY that was already in the field with the Army of the Potomac, Company E engineered and built pontoon bridges, corduroyed roads, fortified camps, and ferried troops. For the period of James' tenure starting in the Spring of 1864, the company participated in the Rapidan Campaign, the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and Cold Harbor. Later it was involved in the Crossing of the James, the siege at Petersburg, actions near Deep Bottom, the fall of Petersburg and Richmond, the pursuit of General Lee's army and its final surrender at Appomattox Court House.

Following the war, James returned to the town of Glenn Wild in Sullivan County in upstate New York, with his wife Rachel. He died of intestinal issues on April 4th, 1898 and was buried in the Glenn Wild cemetery.