My husband and I recently attended a local parade, for the "Cowboy Culture Celebration" in our local community. One of the groups on parade was the Sons of Confederate Veterans 1896,. I was reminded as I watched this group that many Confederate veterans came to
during the 50 years after the Civil War. Texas
The Family Stories
Two years ago when I became a member of Footnote I looked for Jeremiah's records. Now I have 31 images of his service in the Confederate Army.
Make a Chronology
Jeremiah's CMSR (Compiled Military Service Record) provides these facts:
Served as a private in Co. F of the 2nd Battalion known as Hilliard's Legion, which later became Co. C of the 59th Alabama Regiment.
26 March 1862: enlisted at Rockford, Coosa Co,
. Alabama 1 June 1862: present [Muster rolls included the lists of soldiers in a company. The notes indicated whether they were "present", sick, wounded, captured, deserted, etc. 1 Sept 1862: present 31 January 1863: present "joined from desertion."
- July/August 1863: present
20 September 1863: reported sick to the hospital. The same day his brother Joseph was killed at . One can only believe that he said he was ill so he could check on his brother, who had been shot. Chickamauga
- 12 May 1864: wounded; "shell wound slightly above the left knee."
- 25 May 1864: returned to duty
17 June 1864: captured at Petersburg, VA 24 June 1864: arrived at City Point, VA 27 July 1864: transferred to Elmira Prison in . He spent most of the rest of the war at Elmira Prison in New York . New York was the Union equivalent of Elmira Andersonvillein the South. 14 Mar 1865: released in a prisoner exchange 25 Mar 1865: furloughed from , Howard's Grove, General Hospital Richmond, VA.
There were 6 cards in this file that belong to a Jerry M. Castleberry, Pvt. Co B, 30th Regiment, AL Inf, who died at
while a prisoner. This is not my Jeremiah, since he lived to come home and father my gr-grandmother in 1868. Camp Douglas, Illinois
Facts Generate Questions
Jeremiah's CMSR generated more questions for me:
Why did he desert?
Why did he return to his unit?
What was time spent in
prison really like? Elmira
Did his experiences during the Civil War, such as battles like
where Chickamauga brigades fought or imprisonment at Texas where he would have met Texans, influence his decision to move to Elmira ? Texas
What was life like for his family in
while he was away at war? Alabama
Did his two other brothers and his brothers-in-law serve in the Civil War?
From these questions, I can look for more documents to help me understand Jeremiah's experience and his family's experience during the Civil War.
For each question I can make a research plan to help me focus on the records and strategies most likely to answer that question.
What I Learned
- I learned that family stories frequently have a kernel of truth in them.
- I learned that the records can give meaning to seemingly inexplicable actions.
- I learned that there may be more than one soldier with the same name and cards for both may be filed together.
- I learned that by knowing the facts found on the cards and using Civil War books and websites, I can trace the movements of my Civil War ancestor.
- I learned that if I create a chronology of the facts found on the cards, I have a better picture of what Jeremiah's experience was in the war and where I can find answers to my questions.
- I learned that in spite of being Southern and an avid fan of Gone With the Wind, the Civil War was a dark period in the history of our country. It was in no way romantic.
If you want to find the CMSRs for your Civil War ancestor, check out Footnote. The searches are free. You can purchase a subscription or pay a fee for each individual page you want. I recommend the subscription. There were 31 images for Jeremiah. Had I paid the single image fee, it would have cost me over $65 for just his file. By paying $15 more for an annual subscription, I have access to the records of my other Civil War ancestors and my Revolutionary War ancestors and several censuses.....you get the picture.
Get more information on research plans and analyzing documents.