Saturday, July 9, 2011

Camp Morton and Ft Donelson, some veterans' views

I was going through the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires, reading all those from soldiers of the 26th TN Infantry, CSA. A couple discussed their time in Camp Morton following the fall of Ft. Donelson. Mispellings and mis-punctuations are the veterans'.
Wylie Richard Bryant, Co B - "The 1st battle I was in was at Fort Donelson and was captured and 7 mos. in prison treated very nice then was exchanged."
Ark (Archimedes) Whittle, Co G - "I was captured at Ft Donaldson and taken to Camp Morton, Ind. We were well cared for, well fed, clothed. The sick were well cared for. I was in hospital (typhoid fever)."
JT Crawford, Co E, who was left sick at Bowling Green with mumps, had this to say about his father, Captain John Crawford - "died in Indianapolis after being taken out of prison by masons and Sheriff Johnson of Indianapolis in whose home he died."
I'm guessing the 'masons' were Freemasons? Anyone else have any ideas about this?

JT's brother was at Morton, although JT wasn't, but his brother(s) did not have questionnaires.
Charles Henley, Co F, had this to say about Ft. Donelson - "26th Tenn. Confederate Infantry regiment landed at Ft. Donelson as I remember now, Feb. 15th, 1862 after dark and was immediately sent to the line of battle after Gen. Pillow had made us a speech in which he predicted a Bull Run for Grants army. We remained in the trenches that night and the next day and night. Before daylight on the 17th we were marched out the trenches and after another speech by Gens. Pillow and Floyd attacked Grants right wing near the river. After fighting from daylight til nearly dark, the enemy was pushed back about two miles and the way clear for the confederate forces to evacuate Ft. Donelson as we afterwards learned had been decided upon but Pillow made another speech saying we had completely routed Grants whole army and marched us back to the trenches where we slept that night and was awakened the next morning about 8 oclock to learn to our great surprise that we had been surrendered soon that morning. This has been a mystery to me from that day to this. Why between seven and eight thousand unwhipped men flushed as they thought with victory, with both sides of the river open for their exit, should be this ignominously surrendered is incomprehensible."
He gets the dates wrong, but he's writing many years after the fact.

These are the only soldiers in that regiment who commented on these more than 'I was there,' but I only had time to look at questionnaires from John's regiments. Seems like a very good resource.

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