It is a notable thing to survive a major war. Veterans of these wars held in the highest esteem among other veterans — they have experienced things most could not imagine. Every once in a while, you will hear of veterans who served in two major conflicts. For example, due to their relatively close proximity to one another, there were several people who served in both WWI and WWII. For example, Gen. Patton was a tank commander in WWI and would go on to lead the Third and Seventh Armies in WWII.

However, many of us tend to think in terms of centuries and wouldn’t necessarily associate wars from the 1900s with wars from the 1800s. The Civil War was a long ways off from WWI — but the country’s history isn’t that long in general. 52 years prior to the first world war, America was embroiled in the most casualty producing war in its history by far: the Civil War.

Peter Conover Hains served in both of those wars.

Hains did not come from a long line of military men. He was born in 1840, the son of a shoemaker what had very little to his name. Still, he managed to find his way into West Point where he would be classmates with several famous names, including Major General George Custer, who would later be killed in “Custer’s Last Stand” at the Little Bighorn.