Franklin Felix Wise was born May 16, 1833, in France. He immigrated to America and on April 20, 1861, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania 5th Regiment, Company F. Franklin was 27-years-old and his occupation is listed as a boatman. He was living in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. The entire company was discharged on July 25, 1861, after three months of service.
On August 14, 1861, Franklin reenlisted in the 50th Pennsylvania, Company C. The 50th Pennsylvania was involved in a terrible gale as they traveled aboard the steamship Winfield Scott to Beaufort in November 1861 (see Newspaper accounts at the end of the story).
Franklin was injured at some point and spent time at a Union hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he signed his name on the hospital wall. His 1890 Veterans Schedule shows, "gun shot wound, weak eyes and rheumatism." Franklin was discharged on January 27, 1863, by a surgeon at a Convalescent Camp for wounds received in action causing a disability. In 1875, 42-year-old Franklin was a resident of a soldier's home in Dayton, Ohio. There are no known relatives listed. In 1889, Franklin married Elizabeth Ann Hayes in Licking, Ohio. In his 1890 Veterans Schedule, Franklin was living in Newark, Ohio, and in 1891, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, Charles Henry Wise.
The 1900 Census record for Franklin shows him living in Licking, Ohio. He is married, but he is no longer living in the same household with his wife and son. The same holds true for the 1910 Census, where 77-year-old Franklin is living alone but his census records still show married.
Franklin Felix Wise died on February 27, 1916, in Licking, Ohio. His Graves Registration Card showed the cause of death as Carcinoma of the Pancreas. He was buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark, Ohio.
Newspaper Clippings describe the storm the Pennsylvania 50th encountered during the Civil War:
The Bangor Daily Whig and Courier :
"The gale on the 1st and 2d (November 1-2, 1861) was very severe, and the fleet completely scattered. Steamer Illinois lost a smoke stack. The rendezvous reached at 11 o'clock Sunday morning. Steamer Winfield Scott reached the rendezvous evening of 3d (November 3, 1861), which loss of masts and bow stove in. They had extremely rough time; threw over her three rifle cannon, all her freight, the muskets and equipment of her 500 men - everything but rations - to keep her from sinking, and but for the labor of the soldiers in bailing, her fires would have been put out, and nothing could have saved her. Steamer Bienville went to her relief, when her Chief Engineer, his assistants, and 13 of the crew jumped overboard, the Bienville leaving the Scott to her fate. Their action nearly created a panic among the soldiers, who gave up all for lost, but the Captain of the Scott put the Chief Engineer in irons, and bro't him and the recreant crew back, when things went on better. Col. Clark, of the 50th pa, regiment, 500 of whom were aboard the Scott describes the night as one of horror and the gale terrible. The vessel was a mere shell, and the men were terrified by the cracking of timers as masts went overboard, and despair seized them. When discovered she leaked badly, to which succeeded a panic when the crew attempted to escape. The Scott was taken in tow by the Vanderbilt, which had cut clear from the Great Republic in the gale."
Another report published in the Reading Times shed more light on the storm the 50th encountered:
"THE FIFTIETH PENNSYLVANIA REGIMENT IN THE LATE GALE. The accounts of the naval expedition, report the almost miraculous escape of the steamer Winfield Scott, having on board about 500 men of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania regiment. The gale on Friday night was very severe, and Scott was exposed to the full force of the storm; she had her masts all carried away, and her bows stove in, and suffered in others ways. She is an iron steamer, new, this being her first trip. During the gale her iron and wood separated abaft the starboard paddle - box, opening a huge seam, which let the water enter in torrents.' All the soldiers (500 of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania regiment) were set to work at the pumps. They behaved admirably, both officers and men, and are highly commended by the captain and officers of the ship for their efficient service. Some of her own officers, however, did not behave so well, but disgraced themselves and their ship, as will appear in the sequel. The Scott ran up the signal of distress, which brought to her assistance the Bienville. The officers of the Scott manned 'their boat, placed in it three wounded men and a woman, who, with the boat's crew, got safely on board the Bienville, but the boat swamped alongside. The Bienville then sent her own boat, which no sooner came near the Scott, than the engineer, his assistant, the carpenter, and a number of the crew, basely deserted their posts, leaped into the boats, and went on board the Bienville, when this, boat also swamped. The Bienville then resolved to lie by the Scott, to render her all assistance in case of further and more urgent need. The Scott, however, by dint of throwing overboard all her subsistence stores, and by the vigorous help of the soldiers, succeeded in weathering the storm. In the hurry of the moment, owing to some misunderstanding of orders, about three hundred of the Pennsylvania Fiftieth, threw overboard their guns, knapsacks and overcoats."