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Thomas Brush was born in England about 1610 and crossed over the ocean to the American colonies in the 1640's. By 1650 he had settled in Southold, Long Island, New York where he owned property in the heart of the village. He moved to Huntington, L.I., N.Y. in 1658 and lived there for the rest of his life. Thomas was a leader of the Huntington community and served as an overseer. The residents of Huntington selected him as the town constable and as such he started a tradition of  Brush family military service. As constable Thomas was responsible for nominating officers for the town military company and saw that it was supplied with arms, ammunition and gunpowder. Thomas married Rebecca Conklin while living in Southold and they had five children, four boys and one girl. Thomas died in Huntington in 1670. Richard Brush, the younger brother of Thomas, also was born in England and came across the Atlantic to settle in the new world. He first lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts but moved to Huntington in 1658 to join his brother. Richard married Joanne Sammis in Huntington in 1668. They had seven children, five boys and two girls. Richard died in Huntington in 1714. By the time of the American Civil War the descendants of Thomas  and Richard Brush lived not only on Long Island and along the Hudson River in New York  but also in New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. Some Brushes had moved West to Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.


Thirty-seven descendants of Thomas and Richard Brush saw service in the Union Army and Navy.The Brush participants ranked from Brigadier General Daniel Harmon Brush of Illinois down through one colonel, one major, three captains, four lieutenants, one naval officer, one chaplain, two corporals to the twenty-three Brushes who were ranked as privates.Their periods of service vary from the nine month tour of George A. Brush of Commack, N.Y. to the service of Daniel Harmon Brush from May 28, 1861 to April 9, 1865.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


Three of the Brushes served as surgeons during the war, George R. Brush of Commack N.Y., Henry M. Brush of New York City and Edwin R. Brush of Cambridge, Vermont.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


George W. Brush of West Hills, Huntington, N.Y. was awarded the Congessional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of several hundred members of the 34th Regiment USCT, an all black Union Army regiment that had been made up of former slaves from South Carolina. One Brush, Jesse Brush of Huntington, served as the chaplain of the 158th Infantry Regiment of the New York Volunteers. He was the brother of Medal of Honor receipient George W. Brush. Four Brush brothers from the same family in Vergennes, Vermont all saw service during the war. They were Edgar, Elkanah, Samuel and George Brush. A father and his two sons also saw service. They were Oliver B. Brush of Damascus, Pennsylvania and his sons Franklin and Eliphalet. Two Brushes were killed in battle, Private Samuel F. Brush at the Battle of James River and Captain Francis A. Brush who was killed at the Battle of Pleasant Hill. Private Van Rensselear  Brush died of wounds   recieved at the Battle of Gettysburg.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


There were Brush participants at the Battles of Antietam, Asheppo River, Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Charleston, Fair Oaks, Fort Donelson, Fort Pulaski, Fort Sumter, Fort Wagner, Fredricksburg, Gettysberg, Graham, HIlton Head Island, James Island, James River, Malvern Hill, New Bern, Pleasant Hill, Pocotaglio, Port Royal Ferry, Shiloh, and Vicksburg.

The following is a roster of the members of the Brush Family who served during the Civil War. It contains their name, place of birth, date of birth and the unit in which they  served:

Brig. Gen. Daniel H. Brush             Vergennes, Vermont          1813            18th Regiment of Illinois Infantry                                                                                                             Colonel Henry L. Brush                   Vergennes, Vermont          1809            53rd Regiment of Illinois Infantry                                                                                                        Major Henry L. Brush                       New York, New York           1836            4th New YorFieldArtillery                                                                                                                          Captain Edwin R. Brush                 Cambridge, Vermont          1836            2nd Regiment Vermont Volunteers                                                                                                     Captain Francis A. Brush               Southwest, New York          1838            27th Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry                                                                                     Captain George W. Brush              Huntington, New York         1842            34th Infantry Regiment  U.S.C.T.                                                                                                          Lieut. Charles H. Brush                  Cambridge, Vermont          1839            1st Regiment of Vermont Heavy Artillery                                                                                             Lieut. John S. Brush                        Huntington, New York         1836            New York Regiment of VolunteerInfantry                                                                                            Lieut. Josephus W.  Brush             Fairfax, Vermont                   1821            25th Regiment of Iowa Infantry     
Lieut. Moses E. Brush                     New York, New York            1827            N.Y. Regiment of Volunteer Infantry

Naval Officer George R. Brush      Commack, New York          1836            U. S. Frigate Potomac
Chaplain Jesse Brush                    Huntington, N.Y.                   1830           158th Inf. Regiment Brooklyn Volunteers

Corporal George A. Brush              Fairfield, Connecticut          1818            56th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers
Corporal Theodore Brush              Weston, Connecticut           1836            17th Regiment of Connecticut Infantry

Private Albert G. Brush                    Oakland, Pennsylvania       1846            203rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers  
Private Azel Brush                            Fairfax, Vermont                   1841           1st Regiment of Vermont Infantry

Private Burrell Brush                       Fairfax, Vermont                   1840            16th Regiment of Missouri Calvary
Private Charles E. Brush                Brooklyn, New York             1832             NY Regiments of Volunteers

Private Charles H. Brush               South Salem, New York      1838            NY Regiment of Volunteers
Private Edgar Brush                        Vergennes, Vermont           1846            18th Regiment Of Illinois Infantry

Private Edgar J. Brush                    Oakland , Pennsylvania      1846            Regt. of Pennslyvania Infantry Volunteers
Private Eliphalet W. Brush              Damascus, Pennslyvania  1845           Pennslyvania Regiment Union Army  

Private Elkanah Brush                     Vergennes, Vermont           1840           18th Regiment of Illinois Infantry             
Private Fernando E. Brush              Oakland, Pennslyvania       1842           Regt. of Pennslyvania Volunteers

Private Franklin L. Brush                 Damascus, Pennslyvania   1847          56th Regiment of N.Y. Volunteers 
Private George Brush                      Vergennes, Vermont             1844          18th Regiment of Illinois Infantry

Private George W. Brush                 Cambridge, Vermont            1841          1st Regiment of Vermont Cavalry  
Private James R. Brush                   Brooklyn, New York               1840          New York Regiment of Volunteers

Private John Brush                            Huntington, New York          1824          19th Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers
Private John T. Brush                       Clintonville, New York           1845          1st New York Regiment of Artillery

Private William H. Brush                  Pultney, New York                 1846           New York Regiment of Volunteers
Private Oliver B. Brush                     Damascus, Pennsylvania    1823           N.Y. Regiment of Volunteers

Private Samuel Brush                      Vergennes, Vermont             1842           18th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers
Private Samuel F. Brush                  Ontario, Canada                    1819           12th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers

Private Theodore Brush                   Huntington, New York           1841            12th Regiment of N.Y. Volunteers
Pvt. Van Rensselear Brush             Huntington, New York           1841            102nd Regiment of N.Y. Volunteers

Private William C. Brush                  Arcadia, New York                 1832             9th N.Y.Regiment of Artillery

                                                  Brigadier General Daniel Harmon Brush         (1813 - 1890)       18th Regiment of Illinois Infantry

Daniel H. Brush was born in Vergennes, Vermont on April 25, 1813, the oldest son of Elkanah and Lucretia Brush. Daniel's father had been born in Huntington, Long Island, New York in 1762 and had moved to Vermont. When Daniel was seven the family moved by two-horse wagon to Illinois.
When the Civil War began Daniel organized a company of men who were mustered into the 18th Illinois Infantry regiment with Daniel as their captain. On February 11th of 1862 the 18th was with Ulysses S. Grant in his advance upon Fort Donelson. They occupied the right side of the Union lines. Through February and March the 18th was a number of times involved in fierce battles. Twice, because of missing or wounded superiors Captain Brush became the acting commander of the 18th. Daniel himself was twice wounded during the battle, in the hand and the thigh.

The 18th was next with the Army of the Tennessee and took part in the Battle of Shiloh. Daniel was again wounded in battle and was promoted to major.
By November of 1862 Daniel was a lieutenant colonel and had been given command of the 18th Regiment. Through December and into January of 1863 the regiment engaged  rebel forces a number of times and marched over one hundred and twenty miles in snow, rain and mud.

From May 30th to July 3rd of 1863 the 18th was at the Battle of Vicksburg. On May 25, 1863 Daniel was promoted to full colonel.
In recognition of his service during the war Daniel was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on March 13, 1865.

Daniel, who had survived several wounds during the Civil War, was killed in an accident. He was supervising the clearing of a field for the building of a school when he was killed by a falling tree. He died on February 10, 1890 and is buried in the Carbondale Cemetery in Illinois. The school was named the Brush School in his honor and was not closed until the 1970's. Daniel had been the founder of the town of Carbondale in 1852.

                                                           Captain George W. Brush      (1842 - 1927)      34th U.S.C.T . Regiment of Infantry

George W. Brush was born on October 4, 1842 in Huntington, N. Y. on the family farm in West Hills. The farmhouse still stands today just south of Jericho Turnpike a few hundred yards from Jayne's Hill, the highest point on Long Island. George was the ninth child of John and Elizabeth Brush.
In 1861, at the age of eighteen, George enlisted in the 48th Regiment of N.Y. Volunteers and fought with them in South Carolina at Port Royal Ferry, Hilton Head Island and Pocotaglio. He was also at the capture of Fort Pulaski in Georgia. When the opportunity arose George volunteered for training to become an officer of black troops. George was assigned as a second lieutenant with the 34th Infantry Regiment in the Department of the South. The unit was composed mainly of freed slaves fron South Carolina. He fought with this unit at James Island, Fort Wagner and Charleston.

On May 24, 1864, at the age of twenty-one, George, took part in the engagement that led to his being awarded the Medal Of Honor. The 34th was sailing up the Asheppo River in South Carolina on the steamer " Boston" in preparation for attacking a key river bridge. The "Boston", carrying over black 400 troopers, became grounded on a sand bar and soon came under heavy fire from Confederate batteries on the river bank. On his own initiative, George led four troopers to the only small boat available and began rowing twenty-five soldiers at a time to the safety of the opposite river bank.  Under intense fire from the Confederate shore batteries George and his troopers  made numerous trips back and forth, rescuing several hundred of the Union soldiers. A minister, the Reverend Moore, who was chaplain to the 34th, started an immediate campaign to nominate George for the Medal of Honor.

In awarding the medal to George, who was by then a captain, the War Department states in his citation " this officer displayed conspicuous gallantry by voluntarily commanding a boat crew that went to the rescue of a large number of Union soldiers and with great gallantry succeeded in carrying them to shore, being exposed during the entire time to heavy fire from a rebel battery".

After the war ended George attended L.I. College Medical School and became Dr. Brush in 1876. He practiced medicine in Brooklyn, N.Y. for several decades. Dr. Brush also became poitically active and in 1894 was elected to the New York State Senate and was chairman of the Public Health Committee. During his term in the Senate he introduced sixty-eight bills that were passed into law. Included in these was a bill which led to the establishment of the N.Y. State Sanatorium at Saranac Lake.

George died in Brooklyn in 1927 and is buried in the Huntington Rural Cemetery. Nearby is the grave of his brother Jesse, who served as the chaplain of the 158th Regiment of the N.Y. Volunteers in the Civil War.


                                                         Private Van Rensselar Brush      (1841 - 1863)      102nd New York Regiment of Volunteers


Van Rensselear was born in Huntington, New York on May 9, 1841. He was the oldest of the seven children of Isaac and Deborah Brush. His father was a farmer and he was born on the family farm just west of Cold Spring Harbor.

On August 30, 1862 he enlisted in Company C of the 102nd New York Regiment of Volunteers. He fought with the 102nd at Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

At Gettsyburg, on July 3, 1863, the 102nd was occupying the ridge line on Culp's Hill on Cemetery Ridge on the right flank of the Union lines. They were serving in the 3rd Brigade of Brig. Gen. George S. Greene in the 2nd Division. At 11:00 a.m. the 14th and 15th Regiments of Louisiana of the Confederate Army attacked the 102nd and Greene's Brigade in an attempt to turn the Union right flank. The battle lasted into the evening and was among the most fierce at Gettysburg. The forest on Culp's Hill was cut to pieces and would remain desolate for almost fifty years. A tree was later found with over two hundred musket balls embedded in it. Over 1,085 Union soldiers were killed or wounded. Among the wounded was Van Rensselear Brush. His wounds would linger on for months and eventually cause his death on October 22, 1863. His body was returned to Huntington and he is buried in the Old Huntington Burial ground on a hill above the town's Civil War Memorial.




Beyer, W.F. and Keydel, O.F., " Deeds of Valor: How America's Civil War Heroes Won the Congessional Medal of Honor, Stamford, CT, Longmeadow Press, 1994.

Brush, Marie Annette Bowers, Brush -" Bowers Genealogy", Brooklyn, N.Y., 1904.

Mann, Conklin, Thomas and Richard Brush of Huntington ,L.I., N.Y., "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Record, Volumes LXVI and LXVII", 1935 - 1936.

"18th Illinois Infantry Regiment History, Adjutant General's Report", The Illinois USGenWeb Project, 1997.


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