Woodruff, Willis Wilcox

Civil War Veteran

Birth: April 12, 1841, Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio
Death: November 28, 1918, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
Burial: Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
Find a Grave memorial

Military Service: Enlisted as Private, 87th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 months), Company B

According to the 1860 Census, Willis Wilcox Woodruff was a "farm laborer" and perhaps a student at the Twinsburg Institute in Summit County, Ohio. He may have enlisted while living in Twinsburg. His name, and that of his brother Henry, appears on the Summit County Draft Registration Records in 1863, though his service is not listed.

On 17 February 1864, the Western Reserve Chronicle reported a strange incident in Vienna Township. An evening spelling school, conducted by farmer Amos Woodruff, was invaded by "a number of young men" who had the "express purpose of creating a disturbance." When ordered to leave, they refused. In the scuffle that followed, Amos Woodruff's brother Willis was stabbed by R. F. Stewart. The wound, we learn "took effect in the stomach of Mr. W., bleeding profusely internally." His was termed a critical condition.

Yet Willis Woodruff survived. The University of Michigan records that he earned a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1862, but the university also lists him as graduating in the Class of 1872. By 1880 Willis was living with his brother Noadiah, who had moved and was farming in Oberlin, Lorain County, Ohio. Willis was listed as "unemployed." Nevertheless, according to Cuyahoga County records Willis married Evalyn E. Chester on August 27, 1880. The couple moved to Franklin Park, Illinois, where Willis's brother Henry lived, but then moved on to Minnesota. Records reveal that Willis was a lawyer. Willis W. Woodruff died there, in the Minnesota Soldiers' Home, in 1918.

Willis W. Woodruff's brother Henry served in the 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Regimental History, 87th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Overview: Organized at Columbus, Ohio (Camp Chase), for three months' service June 10, 1862. Left State for Baltimore, Md., June 12, and duty in the defences of that city till July 28. Attached to Railroad Brigade, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department. Ordered to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July 28, and attached to Miles' Command. Garrison duty in the Defences of Bolivar Heights till September. Skirmishes at Berlin and Point of Hooks, Md., September 4-5 (Detachment). Defence of Harper's Ferry September 12-15. Surrender of Harper's Ferry September 15. Paroled September 16 and sent to Annapolis, Md. Mustered out at Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, September 20, 1862.

Regiment lost during service 1 Enlisted man killed and 5 Enlisted men by disease.

Updated 8/13/2020