Son of Joseph and Lydia Watrous, was born in Freetown, Cortland County, N. Y., January thirteenth, 1837. His ancestors were from Connecticut, and the Captain, at an early age, displayed an ardent love for books. At the age of seventeen he commenced teaching district school.
He taught during the winters in his native State, Pennsylvania and Illinois, and during the summer attended school at New York Central College. His health failing in 1856, he went West and remained nearly three years, returning in 1859, with improved health. He entered Cortland academy as a student, and graduated with honor the following year. In the fall of 1860 he entered the Junior class of the University of Michigan, where he was pursuing his studies when the war commenced.
The disaster at Bull Run in July, 1861, determined his future course. Locking up his books he hastened home, raised a company, and joined the Seventy-sixth at its organization. As an officer, Captain Watrous was prompt and efficient to such an extent as to incur the censure of harshness from his undrilled neighbor "boys." He labored zealously to make his company well drilled and strictly disciplined. He was in command of his company at Rappahannock Station, Warrenton Springs, Gainesville and Bull Run.
In the latter battle, August twenty-ninth, 1862, he received two gunshot wounds in his right thigh, and a Minnie ball in his left arm. The ball passed entirely through the arm below the elbow, shattering the larger bone, and injuring the nerve, making a severe and extremely painful wound. His arm being useless, he was, on the nineteenth of December, 1862, mustered out for disability. The following February an operation was performed upon the arm, at Bellevue Hospital, New York City, and a portion of the bone removed.
In the autumn of 1863 the Captain returned to his college studies. Graduating soon after, he entered the law school, from which he graduated in March, 1863. Soon after the fall of Richmond, and collapse of the "man owners" confederacy, he settled at Winchester, Va., where he now practices his profession.
- From the Regimental History of the 76th New York, A. P. Smith, 1867
Watrous must have found his way to Iowa at some point - this
card shows him as a member of
Joe Hooker GAR Post 21 in Des Moines.
For an account of the wounding of Capt. Watrous, see Uberto Burnham's account of the Battle of Second Bull Run
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- Last Updated June 13, 2002