Edmond (known interchangeably in his Civil War records as "Edward") Coon was born September 27th, 1833 in Ontario County, NY.; probably in Coonsville, now known as Manchester, a farming community in what was then known as the "Genesee Region". Edmond was the son of Valentine (son of Felda, who originally purchased the land that became Coonsville) and Sarah (Warfield) Coon. Edmond was 5' 6" tall, with black hair, blue eyes and a dark complexion. Before the outbreak of the Civil War he worked as a switchman on the Palmyra, NY Railroad, and as a farmer. In 1856, at about the age of 23, Edmond married Elizabeth (Betsy) Snyder in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, NY. They had two sons before he went off to war: Frank W., born July 18, 1857, and Edwin S. (my 2nd great-grandfather), born June 29, 1859. In September, 1862, when his sons were 5 and 3 years old respectively, Edmond enlisted in Palmyra, NY into Company B of the 160th New York Volunteers, an infantry unit.
Note: The following is in large part taken from The Military History of Wayne County, by Lewis H. Clark, Clark, c. 1881, Hulett & Gaylord, Sodus, NY. (Now out of print).
The 160th was commanded by Colonel Charles C. Dwight. On November 18th, 1862, the 160th left Auburn, NY for New York City, where, on the 21st, it was formally mustered into the United States service. They embarked upon the Salvor and two other ships, forming part of General Banks' expedition. They proceeded to Ship Island, near the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the soldiers found themselves upon the ocean for the first time, and experienced the novel sensation of sea-sickness. As a result, not much was eaten during the first part of the voyage, and what was eaten did not remain kindly upon the stomach. After a while these feelings subsided, and the men began to enjoy the trip. They reached Ship Island on December 14th, where they were ordered to proceed to New Orleans.
On January 7, 1863, the command was embarked upon a river boat and taken to Algiers, and thence by rail proceeded to Thibodeaux, 55 miles southwest of New Orleans. Here were the 75th New York, the 8th Vermont, the 12th Connecticut, and two batteries, forming Weitzel's brigade, to which the 160th were attached. Orders to march were received on January 11, and the cars were taken to Brashear, a distance of 30 miles. Two days later the brigade, with four gun boats, started out to destroy a gun boat named the Cotton. The infantry were taken upon the boats and landed at Patterson, seven miles up the Bayou Teche, where they joined the cavalry and artillery, and formed a line of battle, with a front of three regiments, of which the 160th was the center. It was 4 P.M. when the advance began with skirmishers thrown forward, and after a short march the men bivouacked. The line moved at 7 P.M. of the 14th, in the same order as the day previous , and by an hour and a half had proceeded three miles.
The gun boats opened fire. The rebel boat was anchored a half-mile above an obstruction built across the stream, and did not move. As the infantry came within a half-mile, the boat and a land battery just above her opened fire upon them with a variety of missiles, which did little damage. The regiment moved steadily and resolutely forward, winning unqualified praise from the General and his staff. The 75th NY attacked the Cotton, and, driving her men from the guns, soon silenced them. She moved slowly up the river, and took shelter under the cover of the battery. An attempt to return was so warmly greeted that she was glad to retire, and the day's work was ended. The men lay on their guns ready for action.
About 5 A.M. a bright light appeared in the direction of the gun boat, repeated explosions followed, and the expedition was a success. The Cotton was destroyed; and the troops, returning some distance in order of battle, set out for their former position and went into camp.
The 160th moved from Thibodeaux February 8th, after a sojourn there of nearly four weeks, and came to Brashear City, on Berwick Bay, Louisiana. Moving to Bayou Cocuf, the stay was ended by an order to return to Brashear, where a week was passed. On April 9th, the 160th set out towards Pattersonville.
It is on this date that Edmond Coon's history with the 160th virtually ends, as on April 9th he was to remain at Brashear City, falling victim to the Typhoid fever that would plague him for the rest of his life. However, according to his obituary, he was able to be present at the siege of Port Hudson, the longest battle of the Civil War, and the battle of Springfield Landing. He was to spend several months in the Barracks Hospital in New Orleans, and was eventually transferred to the 20th Veteran Reserve Corps, where he served honorably as a cook until the end of the war.
After the end of the war, Edmond Coon returned home to his wife and family. He and Elizabeth were to have three more children; Mary Gertrude, born Nov. 4, 1868; Gaine A., born June 15, 1871; and Carrie E., born Feb. 1, 1876. Edmond tried his hand at farming, but the disabilities caused by the lingering Typhoid fever kept him from the production of his youth. He died peacefully, at the age of 81, during the night of June 21, 1915, at the home of his daughter Carrie, in Fairport, NY. He is buried next to his wife, in the South Perinton Cemetery, South Perinton United Methodist Church, est. 1837. His headstone reads: Edmond Coon, Co. B 160 NY Inf.Died June 21, 1915, Age 82 years.