Chester L. Mann was born in 1833 in Madison County, New York, the son of Massachusetts native Calvin (b. 1804) and New York native Olive (b. 1812). In 1830 Calvin was living in Hampden County, Massachusetts and in 1840 in Sullivan, Madison County, New York. By 1850 Calvin had settled his family in South Valley, Cattaraugus County, New York and Chester was working as a lumberman with his father and living with his family. Sometime after 1851 the family left New York and in 1857 Chester probably purchased 40 acres of land through the Ionia, Michigan land office. By 1860 Chester was a shingle maker working with his father and living with his family in Fairplain, Montcalm County.
Chester stood 5’10” with blue eyes, auburn hair and a light complexion and was a 28-year-old farmer who could not read or write possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. Chester was reported absent sick in August of 1862, but he eventually recovered and was present for duty with the regiment by late May of 1863.
He reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Paris, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, probably at his family’s home in Michigan, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.
Chester was reportedly wounded in early May and transferred to Company E, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was shot through the right arm between the elbow and wrist, fracturing both bones, on June 22, 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia by a gun, “rendering,” he said later, “my arm useless for months to come.” He was eventually admitted to Finley Hospital, Washington, DC, where, on December 1, 1864, he petitioned his physician to be transferred to the general hospital in Troy, New York. Chester said that he had been “actively engaged with the Regiment until December 24th, 1863 when I reenlisted at Brandy Station and was with my Regiment until June 22nd, 1864 when I was wounded.” He reasoned that his “family is residing there and I can be near them while I am obliged to be under treatment in a hospital.” Chester closed by saying “I think I have been a faithful soldier . . . and if you can assist me in any way to accomplish this object you will greatly oblige me.” His request was granted, and he was admitted to the United States General Hospital at Troy on January 16, 1865.
Chester was a Corporal when he was discharged on March 12, 1865, at Troy. Dr. George Hubbard, the examining physician wrote in his discharge report on Mann’s “right arm is entirely useless and he is unfit for any duty.”
After his discharge Chester returned to Michigan, probably to Ionia, Ionia County, which he listed as his mailing address on his discharge paper. By 1877 he may have been living in Muskegon, Muskegon County and was possibly a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association.
In 1870 his mother Olive was apparently living with her son William F. and his wife Mary A. in Delaware, Delaware County, Iowa (no mention of Calvin however).
Chester married New York native Mary F. (b. 1836).
By 1880 Chester was working as a farmer and living with with his wife in Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas. (That same year Calvin and Olive were working as servants for the family of Eli Burges or Burget in Westfield, Fayette County, Iowa.) Chester and Mary were still living in Medicine Lodge in 1885. He joined GAR Ulysses Post no. 204 in Medicine Lodge in 1889 and was still active in the Post in 1891.
On November 19, 1892, Chester was admitted to the National Military Home at Leavenworth, Kansas; he listed his wife wife Mary, living in Ulysses, Kansas, as his nearest relative. He was discharged at his own request on March 1, 1893 and returned to his home in Ulysses, Kansas.
In 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 43114)).
Chester died sometime before 1900 (?), quite possibly in Iowa or Kansas.
By 1900 Mary was a widowed inmate of the Women’s Relief Corps Home in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California. She reported that she had been married for 25 years. A woman named Ellen who claimed to be Chester’s widow was living in Texas in 1910 (?) when she applied for a pension (no. 730092), but the certificate was never granted. Mary was listed as a contesting widow and living in California in 1911 (?) when she filed an application for and received a pension (no. 541355).