While George and Alexander were engaged in the Civil War and deep in the fighting, their father, John Barclay enlisted on December 1, 1864 as a civilian carpenter with the Quartermaster Department U.S. Volunteers. He was honorably discharged June 6th, 1865.
There is no Civil War Service file for John because he was under the status of a civilian carpenter, I only have his Civil War pension file. In reviewing the pension file I found one reference to where John might have served. It was a letter written to plead his case for his pension:
Shakopee, Minn, Augst. 11, 1891
“While in the service I lost almost entirely the sense of hearing by reason of exposure in the dragging of wet lumber from the water and also became ruptured by reason of heavy lifting at Fort Morton, Tenn. rendering me in my old age wholly incapacitated for manual labor. Repectfully – John Barclay.”
So far documentation indicates that John would have been 64 years old in 1864 and 90 years old in 1891. Fort Morton seems to be located near or in Nashville, Tennessee and became part of a network of Forts that surrounded that city which were built by the Union Army.
The 1890 Census was mostly destroyed in a fire but John Barclay shows up in a special census for Minnesota in some of the surviving documents.
In studying this schedule I found similar information that John Barclay appeared as a carpenter but there is no unit or company given. He mustered in December 1865 and out on June 1866 (approximately 6 mos). The whole page was difficult to read because the writing was so light and fading. I tried again at the National Archives to obtain a copy in order to read the entry: “Was sworn as a Carpenter at St. Louis, Mo. to serve ____ Mo. was discharged at expiration of term.”
Sources: First reading FHL #338182, Eagle Creek, Scott County, Minnesota, page 1 #5757. Second reading at National Archives – M123, Roll 23, Minnesota Veterans 1890 Special Schedule of Census, John Barclay Service, U.S. Surviving Soldiers, Sailers and Marines, and Widows M123 Roll 23, Minnesota Veterans, pg. 1, SD2, ED 177, Line 7.
This 1890 Minnesota census only had a few towns in Cass Co. and did not cover Pine River, also Dakota Co. was wanting, so this means no information about son’s George or Alexander Barclay would be found.
Source: FHLC#338182 Bundle# 79-82 Rols 22-25 Covers: Big Stone, Carver, Chippewa, Dakota*, Goodhue, *Hennepin, Kandeyohi, LeSuer, McLeod, Meerk, Renville, Rice, *Scott, Silbey. Cass Roll 24, Dakota 23, Crow Wing 24, Hennepin 23, Scott 23.
John is the Green dot on the map above near Nashville. If you study the map you will see that George might have crossed paths with his father in Nashville while Alexander was on the March with Sherman to the Sea when his father joined the fight!