Saturday, June 18, 2011

A bit of a scoundrel?

One of my great-great grandfather's fellow sergeants in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, USA, was a man by the name of Charles Bowman.

Only Charles Bowman was not his real name.

His real name was Giles W. Davis, and when he enlisted in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry on August 24, 1863, he had deserted from the 4th US Infantry a mere eight days before.

Why desert only to re-enlist under an assumed name? I do not know, although he is not the only soldier I have run across who did this, merely the only one who did so in such short order. Perhaps he had a falling out with a commanding officer, or 'irreconcilable differences' with a fellow soldier, but still wanted to do his duty.

According to his pension record, Giles W. Davis also served with the 18th Ohio Infantry, Company A - and sure enough, there was a Giles W. Davis in that regiment and company. This Davis enlisted on May 20, 1864 and died of wounds in January, 1865. How could this be? Charles Bowman survived the war and was never AWOL on his military record. How could he be in two places at once, and live to receive a pension?

Checking the 'miscellaneous' military records gives us the answer - he was on detached duty 'recruiting' until January 1865 - the same time that Giles W. Davis was 'killed'.

Unfortunately, at this time I do not have access to his full military records, but I am sure there is more to this tale. It's one of those times when I wished I lived near Washington, DC and could run to the National Archives at the drop of a hat.

In the meantime, this tale will stay on my back burner until I have more information available to me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The unlucky Loden boys

There were four members of Co E, 26th Tennesse Infantry, CSA by the last name of Loden - Pleasant, Benjamin, NH (Nicholas) and Reuben.

Reuben and Benjamin were brothers, Nicholas was their second cousin. I have from a present-day member of the Loden family that Pleasant was Nicholas's uncle, but in the 1860 census Pleasant is newly married and living next door to Reuben and Benjamin. When Pleasant died of disease while the regiment was camped at Bowling Green, Kentucky, it was Benjamin that was detailed to take the body home, not Nicholas.

Be that as it may, Pleasant was only the first of the four to die while in the Confederate service. Reuben was also stricken with illness at Bowling Green, and therefore missed the battle at Ft. Donelson. Benjamin and Nicholas were both captured and sent to Camp Morton, where Benjamin died of typhoid on March 14, 1862. After the regiment was exchanged, Nicholas was reunited with his cousin Reuben, but the reunion was short-lived. Nicholas was left behind ill at Jackson, Mississippi, where he apparently died.

Reuben is the only one of the four to survive the war - he deserted on April 28, 1863. His eldest child was born June 22 the same year.

The strange thing is this - although the military records quite clearly indicate that it was Benjamin who died in Camp Morton, that Reuben was never there and he survived the war, the cemetery records in Indiana have Reuben's name, and his name appears on the plate at Confederate Mound in the Crown Hill Cemetery, where the Confederate soldiers who died while in Camp Morton were relocated in 1931.

How such a misidentification occurred, I have no idea, but I have contacted the cemetery and sent them all the military and POW records I have gleaned in an effort to rectify the mistake.