Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yee haa!

That's a Rebel Yell.

Since I've been watching Ken Burns' Civil War while I knit lately, I've been inspired to do some more poking around, trying to find more info about my Civil War ancestors.

Imagine my joy to find the military records for gg-grand-uncle Bezaleel Brooks online at Footnote.com, a site I've never visited before. It's a pay-for site, but like Ancestry, you can get a free trial, so I signed right up.

Treasures! Including a letter of resignation in his own handwriting! He was shot in the thigh at Malvern Hill and, ten months later, the surgeon testified that it would be years before he was fit for military duty again; that the leg was shorter than the other and deformed. (Actually, all things considered, he was lucky he didn't lose the leg; think of all the amputations that took place during that war.)

This was in 1863, so of course I immediately had new questions: what did he do for the rest of the war? What did he do with the rest of his life, with that bum leg? What happened to him? (He's the one I can't find in the census after 1860.) Did he write to his sister (my gg-grandmother) Sidna?

Didn't find anything about the other two ancestors, but hey--I'm happy. For now. (You can't be a good genealogist if you ever stay happy with what you have.)

I also read something at a site for someone who'd been in the same unit as one of my Civil War ancestors, and the information cited hospital and medical records from NARA. That sent me sprinting for NARA to send in a request for hospital/medical records for my gg-grandfather Brown, who was "seriously wounded" on or about June 6, 1864, near Kennesaw Mountain, and who didn't rejoin his unit until February 1865. Might be a waste of $25, but you never can tell.