Captain Edwin C. Prior, Co. H, 72nd Illinois Infantry, USA

1827

  • Edwin C. Prior was born in Newshoram, Newport County, RI.

***Edwin C. Prior was an accomplished actor traveling and performing throughout the Northern theater circuit leading up to the Civil War.***

1859

  • October 15: The Buffalo Daily Republic, Buffalo, NY.
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  • January 22:  New-York Tribune, New York City, NY.
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1860

  • April 3: Cincinnati Daily Press, Cincinnati, OH.
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  • November 5: Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL.
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  • November 7: Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL.

1862

  • The Chicago City Directory showed Edwin Prior as an actor at McVicker’s. Edwin Prior would have been quite familiar with fellow actors, Edwin and John Wilkes Booth. Edwin Booth was married to the daughter of the James Hubert McVicker, the theater owner. 
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  • January 20: “During his combat scene with Edwin C. Prior’s Richmond, Booth broke the other player’s heavy state sword. The scene was so lifelike that the Tribune’s critic recorded in the huge notebook ostentatiously displayed in his lap that half the audience thought Booth actually intended to kill the other player.” (source: Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth. By Terry Alford)
  • January 22:  Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL.
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  • March 24:
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  • July 16:  Edwin enlisted in the U.S. Army in Chicago, IL. His description was as follows. Age: 35, Height: 5’10, Hair: dark, Eyes: dark, Occupation: actor, Marital Status: married.
  • July 30: E.C. Prior was mentioned in a recruiting article regarding the 72nd IL. Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL.
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1863

  • December: Edwin was posted in Vicksburg, MS.           

1864

  • February 26: Wartime Journal of Frank L. Church.

Left Milliken’s Bend about seven o’clock. We arrived in Vicksburg about nine. Tied up below the arsenal. Went on shore with the paymaster. Walked all over the city. Met a great many Chicago friends. Among the number were Jim Whital and Captain Prior. We looked through the caves which were very numerous. Picked up a grape shot as a memento. Got very tired and returned on board. Drilled the men in the manual. At 6p.m. went on shore again with the paymaster. Went to the theatre and saw Sharp and Holland from Cairo.”

  • June 28:  The Vicksburg Herald, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
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  • November 30:  Edwin was mortally wounded in the Battle of Franklin. He didn’t die until December 18th.  
  • December 16: The Vicksburg Herald, Vicksburg, MS.
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1865

  • November 21: Edwin’s widow, Harriet, applied for a widow’s military pension