Valentine Eckert was born in Pennsylvania, USA in about 1817. His mother was most likely Louisa V. Eckert, and his father unknown. Valentine was married to Marry Ann Lloyd on 09 Nov 1845, in Newark, Essex, New Jersey, USA. He and his new wife moved into Philadelphia, but quickly moved back to Newark, New Jersey. Valentine was in the jewelery business, making an selling jewelery. Early on, he had his own business, "Eckert and Meeker", however that went under and Valentine worked in the same industry for others.
On 19 Jun 1862, Valentine Eckert enrolled, and mustered into the Union Army, 9th Regiment Infantry, Company B, at Camp Olden, Trenton, NJ. This group was also known as the "Jersey Muskrats". The regiment got its nickname, Jersey Muskrats, during the Battle of Roanoke Island when they successfully "sloshed through shoe sucking mud into waist deep water in 'division' formation", giving the regiment a two company front against the enemy. From 12 Dec 1862 - 17 Dec 1862, Valentine was involved in five separate battles in North Carolina.
On 20 Jan 1863, the 9th moved southward into South Carolina with General Foster's command. They made it as far as St. Helena's Island on 09 Feb 1863, where they remained in drill for two months. Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont had the task of trying to take back Charleston in Apr 1863. He strongly believed Charleston could not be taken with out significant land presence, but pushed forward with his ironclad fleet anyways. Valentine's infantry was in route to help with the land presence, but with the channels to the harbor being so obstructed, Du Pont's ships were caught in a major crossfire, and called for a retreat. The 9th headed back for North Carolina. In Aug 1863, the 9th was sent to Carolina City due to chills and fevers. They were here for about six weeks, while nearly 300 men were unfit for battle. At this point, Major-General Peck assumed command of the infantry from General Heckman.
With 2/3 of the men re-enlisting (Valentine signed up later than most, so he was already in for another year), the 9th became "9th New Jersey Veteran Volunteers" in January 1864. They moved onto Newport News, VA where Brigadier General Charles A. Heckman regained command, and was stationed with garrison duty. On the morning of June 16 the brigade moved out from its breastworks, charged and entered the Confederate fortifications, which it held during the day, the 9th participating in several skirmishes, and on retiring burned all the buildings which had been used by General Beauregard as headquarters and for other purposes. On 21 Jun 1864, the 9th crossed the Appomattox and took posession of the rifle-pits beyond the City Point and Petersburg Railroad, where on the day following it assisted in repelling a charge of the enemy. During these battles, they were continually on the front line, with small spells to the second line. This was part of the famous battle of Drewry's Bluff.
It is believed in these battles Valentine may have been injured, or finally realized he could not keep up with his much younger comrades. On 24 Jun 1864, Valentine was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. This was typically done when age or injury held them from keeping up with the war. They would typically be put on guard duty, or something similar. Valentine mustered out exactly three years to his muster in date, 19 Jun 1865.
Valentine was met with a lot of sad news upon his return home. During his service, he had lost three children, Lilly, Frank and Alice. He had never met his daughter Alice, as she was born just after he left for war, and died before he returned. His wife, Mary Ann Lloyd passed away the following year, in 1866. Valentine was an active member of Newark's Lincoln Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Children of Valentine Eckert and Mary Ann Lloyd:
- Lilly Eckert (d. 1865)
- Edward Valentine Eckert (1848-1933)
- Charles L. Eckert (1850-?)
- Frank Eckert (1854-1864)
- Washington T. Eckert (1857-1860)
- Nellie Eckert (1860-1918)
- Alice Eckert (1862-1863)
- Laura B Eckert (1866-1867)