July 31, 1864
Horatio Barber and Catherine Lane decided in early September that their love could not wait. Even though Barber had joined the 9th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and would soon be leaving Calais for his three year enlistment, he and Lane – "Kate" – decided to marry.
The wedding was conducted on September 13, 1861. Two weeks later, Barber, now a Sergeant in Company A, headed south.
The newlyweds would not see each other again. Their daughter, Jeanette, was born in May, 1862.
The 9th Maine regiment spent much of its time waiting, first in Hilton Head, South Carolina, then in Fernandina, Florida, and later at Morris Island and Charleston, South Carolina. In his letters, Barber writes of his desire to see his daughter.
"No one knows how to appreciate a home until once he has once been a soldier," Barber writes. "If I live to return to my home I shall not haste to leave it."
The 9th Maine suffered as many northern units did in the southern climate. More than 400 soldiers in the regiment would die of disease. Barber became sick and spent weeks recuperating in a Carolina hospital. He misses a chance to return to Maine on furlough. Once recovered, Barber rejoins his regiment, which was now part of General Benjamin Butler’s army making it was way up the Virginia peninsula toward Richmond.
The 9th Maine would see battle action at Drury’s Bluff and Bermuda Hundred in May, 1864, and then at Cold Harbor in early June. By mid-June, the Union troops were outside Petersburg and preparing for yet another siege.
With an eye toward the end of his enlistment in mid-September, Barber writes to his wife that his belongings are packed and that he will soon be headed home.
On July 30, Barber and six other men from the 9th Maine are killed at the Battle of the Crater, at Petersburg.
Kate Lane Barber never remarries. She begins receiving $8 per month as a pension, with another $2 per month for her daughter. The death benefit is paid to Jeanette until May, 1878. Kate Barber continues to receive the monthly stipend until her death in 1916.
- The monthly death benefit of $8 was slightly more than half of a month’s pay for a Private.
- How might that amount have been determined to be an equitable payment?