Wednesday, June 25, 2008

American Civil War

I'm doing some knitting on commission, and if I'm inside I like to have something on TV that I can listen to but don't necessarily have to watch every moment, so I got out my old Ken Burns' Civil War videotapes to knit to. They're in very good shape, considering how old they are (I've got to get them transferred to DVD--wish I could afford the DVD set with all the great extras, but even the used sets are too pricey for me).

At any rate, it reawakened my interest in my Civil War ancestors. Since both sides of the family were in Missouri by that time, most of the men served in the EMM (Enrolled Missouri Militia), which was a state thing--Missouri, like Kansas, was terribly torn, a miniature civil war in itself. It got put under Federal military governance, which didn't help much, and it seems like most men in my family were of the Union persuasion and stayed home to defend their families and farms from jayhawkers and bushwhackers. I know, this isn't exactly accurate; I need to read more about Missouri in the Civil War.

However, the Brown boys joined up to regular CSA regiments, and John H.--one of my great-great-grandfathers--served with the 3rd Missouri Infantry. I have copies of some records of his service from the State of Missouri, and they don't tell me enough! Like--it says he was severely wounded on June 3 1864, just before Kennesaw Mountain, and didn't rejoin his unit until February 1865, which would argue a pretty serious wound for it to be such a long recovery, even if he took a furlough home, which isn't indicated in the records--but I don't know where/how/whether it affected him in his later life. It's likely he was at the Battle of Shiloh, and the 3rd Missouri went through the siege of Vicksburg, and in 1864 were at Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and New Hope Church. They also were part of the Siege of Atlanta, but according to the records John H. hadn't returned to the unit then.

Meanwhile, my great-great-uncle Bezaleel Brooks was fighting with the 57th Virginia Infantry, Co. A (the "Jeff Davis Guard"). He went in as a 1st Sgt and got promoted to 2nd Lt. Records on Ancestry say he "resigned" in 1863. I want to see their sources. But it's possible he was at Malvern Hill, 2nd Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredricksburg, and Gettysburg. I've been told he died in 1883, but while I can find his son in his home county in 1870, I can't find Bezaleel or his wife in either the 1870 or 1880 census. His wife may have died by 1870--she's not living with the son, William, who moved his family out to join his aunt Sidna in Chariton County by 1880 (and did he bring her any mementos of her brother?).

Meanwhile, on the Yankee side, another great-great-uncle, John Boston, fought with the 100th Ohio Infantry. They were at Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and New Hope Church, as well as Kennesaw Mt. and the Siege of Atlanta, but then were part of the pursuit of Hood and wound up in North Carolina in April 1865. He was wounded in the foot at Dallas (near Kennesaw Mt.) on June 6 1864 (or maybe near Pine Mountain on June 8--the Company Muster Roll and Company Descriptive Book differ). I have John B's NARA records, and records of his stay at the Dayton Military Home, which are very unsatisfactory, since, although they answered some of my questions, they raised others. He was on the roster as a deserter for a while, but was vindicated and reinstated without penalty. There's a description of him, and it makes me wonder how much like his brother--my great-great-grandfather--he looked--they both had dark hair and dark eyes.

It's really--strange--to think of John H. and John B. being at some of the same battles. John B. might have received his wound at the Battle of Dallas, too.

So--I've been posting on various surname lists and plan to find some Civil War lists to post to, to see if I can find any further information. And I've been prowling through the on-line University of Virginia Library records, looking for anything about Bezaleel. Wish me luck!