William Edward Creary, also known as “Crary” and “Crarey”, was born October 20, 1842, in New York.
William left New York before the war broke out and eventually settled in Michigan.
He was 18 years old when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. William was listed on picket duty as of October 31, 1861. He was reported as a clerk at Brigade headquarters from December of 1862 through July of 1863. In August he was a clerk at the convalescent camp in Alexandria, Virginia, where he remained through September. It appears that William may have suffered from a chronic ailment -- or perhaps he had been wounded.
He was transferred to the Seventy-third company, Second Battalion, Veterans’ Reserve Corps, on October 24, 1863, listing his residence as Ludington, Mason County, and was in the Seventy-eighth company, Second Battalion on June 13, 1864. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) He worked as a clerk in the headquarters for the Seventy-eight Company and/or Second Battalion, and in November and December he was listed as present although absent sick at Depot Camp, Company I, Nineteenth Invalid Corps. In February of 1864 he was reported as deserted and in mid-June as working as a clerk in the Provost Marshal General’s office. He was still detached from the Nineteenth VRC to the Provost Marshal General’s office in August and indeed through October of 1865 when he was taken up on the rolls of the Thirty-ninth Company, Second Battalion VRC. By December of 1865 he was detached to the Quartermaster General’s office.
He married Annie Elizabeth Clark (d. 1917), on July 10, 1865 or 1866, in Washington, DC, and they had at least three children: Henry, William and Catharine. (She was probably his second wife.)
William was discharged, presumably from the VRC, on August 23, 1866. He apparently joined the regular army and was appointed as Major and Paymaster on June 23, 1879, and retired on December 22, 1892.
He was on duty at Washington, DC, from July 1 to September 4, 1879, at Fort Lowell, Arizona, to April 19, 1880; at Tucson, Arizona, to May 5, 1880.
The particulars remain unknown but apparently William was under arrest undergoing trial and awaiting sentence at Tucson to November 27, 1880, when, by General Court Martial Order No. 60, AGO, on November 17, 1880, he was sentenced to suspension from rank, forfeiture of half pay for the period of one year, to November 27, 1881.
Nevertheless, he was on duty at Tucson, to April 30, 1883, at San Francisco, to October 10, 1885, and at Cheyenne Depot, Wyoming to March 8, 1887. He was reportedly sick at Fort McKinney, Wyoming, while absent on pay tour, from September 25 to October 13, 1886, and at Cheyenne Depot to February 28, 1887. He was on leave to June 3, 1887, and on duty at Omaha, Nebraska to October 1, 1888. He was at Salt lake City, Utah, to June 25, 1891 and at San Antonio, Texas to November 15, 1892, “when having been examined by a Retiring Board and found incapacitated he was ordered home.”
He was awaiting orders to December 3, 1892 and on sick leave to December 22, when he was officially retired.
According to the Dr. Edward Moseley, the surgeon who examined William for his board review, he found William
suffering from the effects of a partial dislocation of the left elbow joint received at the battle of Gettysburg. The head f the radius has been forced entirely away from its articulation and has formed an anchylosis in such a position that the power of supination is entirely lost, the fore-arm and hand are fixed in a prone position and can be used in no other way. This injury is permanent and disables this arm to the extent of one-half for all purposes of active use in work. His right hand is deformed by the loss of the second and third joints of the fore finger from an amputation required in consequence of gangrene and necrosis of the bones of the ginger following an injury while on a pay trip on the frontier several years ago. The stump of his finger is contracted, deficient in circulation and innervation, and in consequence painfully affected by cold and accidental injuries. His capacity to write, handle money or such other use, is most impaired. In my opinion, this officer . . . is unfit for active service as a Paymaster in the Army.
Although his residence was given as 223 Indiana Avenue, Washington, DC, William was in Jordan Hot Springs, Frederick County, Virginia, when he died on July 22, 1899. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on August 2, 1899: lot 448.
According to his widow, when William died “she was on a visit to the Philippine Islands accompanied by her daughter Katharine Caldwell Creary, and that at that time her two sons Henry Clark Creary and Wm. Ferry Creary were stationed at [the] Islands in the service of the United States.” Henry “was a paymaster’s clerk to Major Sherry” and William “was a 1st Lt. Of the 12th U.S. Inftry.” She added that her husband William had died “at Jordan Hot Springs, Virginia.”
Although a resident of Washington, DC, Annie was living in California in November of 1899 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 553174), drawing $20 per month by 1917 when she living at 181 Infantry Terrace, the Presidio, San Francisco. She was living at Fort Douglas, Salt Lake County, Utah in 1901, but was back in San Francisco by 1917. She was buried in San Francisco National cemetery: Officers 6, plot 8.