One Hundred and Fifty years ago today, the Civil War began to come to a close in the United States with surrender at Appomattox, VA. For four long years, north and south had battled each other. Nearly 1, 100, 000 men had lost their lives or were mortally wounded. For my ancestors in the great state of Tennessee life would never be the same again.
When the war started in 1861, Tennessee was a Union state, but soon rumblings would begin among the people of Tennessee. She believed in the ability of states to make their own laws and finally on 08 Jun 1861, Tennessee became the last southern state to succeed from the Union. With her, 6 of my 7 Civil War ancestors went off to join the Confederacy. One ancestor fought for the Union and one ancestor may have fought for both sides. One ancestor was the right age, but has too common a name to prove service.
The war wasn’t easy on the state of Tennessee. Many of the major battles, Murfreesboro, Shiloh, Chattanooga, Fort Donelson were fought on her soil. Her men went off to fight in the north, leaving women, children and even slaves at home unprotected. When the war moved south into Tennessee, her men were fighting in Virginia and places north and their homes and crops were devastated.
But now the war was ending , and as her men returned home, they returned home proud of what they had tried to do, even if they were defeated. My family, like thousands of others were never the same. Neither would my husband’s family from KY, which was a border state. Here are their stories:
John Abner Carlton: John A was 25 when he enlisted at Fort Pillow on 08 Mar 1862. He had been married for 6 years and had four children. His fourth child was born a month after he enlisted. He would join the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Unit. He would see action at Vicksburg defending the area. Fortunately he would miss the battle of Vicksburg, because both he and his brother Benajah would get sick and be sent to a hospital at Mississippi Springs. When he got his furlough from hospital, John A. apparently thought he was done with the war, because he deserted on 12 Dec 1862. He had been promoted by this time to 2nd Corporal. After the war, John A. Carlton would move back to Rutherford County, where his father’s family lived. He would become a circuit riding minister and marry 3 times. He would serve on the Pension Board for the State of Tennessee as well. By his three wives, he would have twenty-one children and one step daughter. All twenty-two children would live to adulthood. John A and his wives were prominent members in their community, as were their descendants. John A. Carlton died in 1911 and is buried next to his three wives.
Joseph Houston Hubbard: Joe was 18 when he enlisted 27 Apr 1861. He joined Company E, 1st Tennessee (Turney’s) and fought at battles like Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, 1st Manassas. Joe claims he was injured at Fredericksburg. Though his compiled service records don’t mention any time injured or in the hospital, Joe’s unit was part of the Tennessee Brigade, and he was certainly in the right place several times during the Battle of Fredericksburg to have been injured. He claims he was captured and spent twelve months at Camp Chase, Ohio. His compiled service records show that he deserted on 17 Jun 1863. His unit was moving from Fredericksburg to Winchester on that night and if he ran off, it is possible that he was later captured by a Federal Unit. If he was, no proof of that has been found yet. After the war, Joe returned to Lincoln County, TN where he found an old horse and nursed it back to health. It was an US Calvary horse and someone accused him of horse theft. You can read his story here. Grand Theft Equine Joe married his wife after the war and had eight children. He died in 1924 of cancer. He did talk about his time in the war and his granddaughter Mary Morgan Hickerson recorded some of her memories of Joe in a tape she did for the family in the early 1980s.
Burnett Vickrey: Burnett joined J. C. Jackson’s 24th Tennessee Infantry on 24 Apr 1861. In Feb 1862, Burnett is listed as present, but he has lost two Enfield rifles. He returns the rifles and reenlists in Murfreesboro in Jun 1862. I am not sure why he was in Murfreesboro, when his unit muster roll for that month was from Baldwin Mississippi. He is listed as absent without leave, so my guess is he took a little bit too long coming back from furlough. Though he is still listed as AWOL in Jul and Aug of 1862, he has returned the two rifles. He marries his wife in Sep 1862 in Williamson County, TN and his unit is engaged in the Battle of Murfreesboro shortly after that. Sometime between Jan and Feb 1863, he is dropped from the roll by General Order. Now this is where it gets tricky for Burnett. In 1870, he and his wife Mary are enumerated in the 10th District of Bedford County, where both their families were from. In 1880, there is a family identical to Burnett’s living in the 10th District of Rutherford County, but the family surname is Curtis. And we find that a Burnett Curtis joined a Union unit shortly after Burnett Victory was dropped from the rolls of his Confederate Unit. Were these the same men? Not sure yet, but no record has been found of both men at the same time leading me to believe Burnett may have joined the Union forces after leaving the Confederacy. Burnett Curtis wasn’t any better a soldier than Burnett Victory and spent most his tenure in Prison. At any rate, Mary Vickrey is enumerated with a son and two grand daughters (listed as nieces) on the 1900 Federal Population Census, so we assume that Burnett died before that point. Tennessee did not start having statewide death certificates until 1914 and Burnett is buried in an unmarked grave some place in Murfreesboro, TN.
Thomas Dixon Morgan: Thomas D. Morgan was a wagon master under V. K. Stevenson. He states he joined after the Battle of Nashville. He has no compiled service records, but his wagon master certificate was part of his Pension Application. He claims he was captured by the Federals and held in a private home until the end of the war. Because he has no compiled service records, we can not prove this at this time. After the war, Thomas and his wife Elmira had 11 children. his military pension was denied, most likely because he did not sustain any injuries during the war.
Jacob Ray: Jacob joined the 2oth Tennessee Regiment on 08 June 1861, when he was 33 years old. He was discharged on 16 Nov 1861, because of a disability. His wife Polly applied for a widow’s pension, but it was denied. She stated that he joined the McClemore’s 4th Tennessee Calvary. No compiled service record in that unit was found for Jacob and I find it odd that a man who was discharged because of a disability would have then joined a Calvary unit. Although I guess if his wound allowed him to shoot, but not easily walk, it could be the case. Her pension in 1911 was denied. My guess is because she could not prove the later service and he was dead and she could not prove the disability. It was a shame because by this time Polly Ray was legally blind. They had eleven children. Jacob Ray died 19 Jun 1896.
Joseph Lannom: Joseph Lannom was 39 years old and had seven children when he joined Company G, 7th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry on 21 May 1861. His unit fought at First Manassas and Seven Pines. He would serve with his unit one year and would be discharged at Orange Courthouse based on seniority on 20 Aug 1862. Good thing for him he was discharged because his unit was next at Fredericksburg in Dec 1862. He traveled home after discharge, most likely by train from Orange Courthouse. He was in a fight with a man named Richard “Cedar Dick” Mount. No one knows what the fight was about. Mount’s family state that Lannom attacked Mount with a large tree and Mount stabbed him with a Bowie knife. Joseph Lannom died from his wounds on 08 Nov 1862. His son Jeff Davis Lannom was born 12 Jun 1863.
Hiram Joshua Edde “Joshua”: Joshua Edde joined Company C. (Galbraith’s) 1st Regiment, 5th Tennessee Calvary on 04 Sep 1862 in Nashville, TN. His unit spent most it’s time fighting skirmishes in and around Shelbyville, TN where he was from. His unit were known for being disorderly and causes problems around town by being disrespectful to women. One officer wrote:
When I took command of the defenses of this road, in June, 1864, the 5th Tennessee Cavalry was stationed at this Post. I found it camped outside the picket line of the post, men and officers boarding at private houses, inside and outside the lines. I found that officers and men were absent at home and elsewhere without authority. In fact, I found the regiment utterly void of order and discipline. I at once made it a specialty *** to try and reduce the regiment to some sort of discipline, and worked faithfully, but without any perceptible benefit. I have tried every means known to me to bring about order and efficiency in the regiment, but have not been rewarded with any success, even unto this day. In fact, the regiment is as far from being an efficient organization as it was in June. The field officers seem to have no conception of their obligations and duties; have no control over their subordinates or men. Officers and men absent themselves without authority whenever they take a notion to visit their homes. The regiment is about 800 strong, and the largest number that can be paraded in camp at any time will not exceed 200. Most of the 600 absentees are unaccounted for. I have been informed that Colonel Stokes was able to keep the men together, and did hold them under reasonable discipline. I therefore suggest that Colonel Stokes be ordered back to his regiment, because, without him, the regiment is a rabble and entirely worthless to the service. I further suggest that even if Colonel Stokes is ordered back to his regiment, it be sent beyond the state of Tennessee clear beyond the reach of their homes-as a sure means of making them of service to the Government. Many of the officers and men live within one or two days’ ride of this place, and so long as they are so situated they will be worthless as soldiers. I respectfully request that this regiment be ordered away from my command, and that a regiment of cavalry from some other state be sent in its stead.”
Joshua Edde was apparently a good soldier, as he was always present despite the fact that he managed to get home impregnate his wife twice during the Civil War. My guess is he spent most of his nights at home. He is not enumerated on the 1870 census with his wife Carry. Carry remarried in 1874 and lived to 1922. Joshua was my only Union ancestor.
My husband’s family were from KY. They did not fair much better, though most of his ancestors were too young or two old to serve.
Thomas Decatur Barrett: My husband’s only Civil War ancestor. He joined Company F, 56th Virginia Regiment on 25 Jul 1861 in Virginia. He contracted measles while in the Civil War and was promoted to Corporal. On 25 Nov 1862, he was sent to General Hospital No. 8 for phosphatic diathecis (disease of the kidney). On 10 Dec 1862, the doctor recommended that he was unfit for field service and that he be given less active duty. He was detailed to the Boxley Lead Mines very near his home in Lousia County, VA. He was discharged on 26 Jan 1863 and signed his oath of allegiance on 24 Apr 1865. He and his wife had 8 children after the war and he died 23 Oct 1915.
Edward Briant: Though he was born in 1818 and was too old for service when the Civil War broke out, I feel I must mention Edward Briant. My husband’s 3rd great grandfather was the only casualty of the war of our direct ancestors. Though he did not serve, I feel it would do his family disservice to not mention it. Edward was shot by the Harper Gang while out working in his field. His young son Ben S. Briant had to go and get his father’s body in the family wagon and bring it home for burial. You can read about Ellis Harper here: Harper Gang. Edward left behind a wife and thirteen children, the youngest who was born after her father’s death.
So I am sure on this date 150 years ago, my ancestors were very happy to see the war end. Reconstruction would be hard on TN and it would take her people many years to recover. But finally war was ending and that is always a good thing!