Archive for Confederate conscript hunters

“Leave-aloners” and Southern Unionism

Posted in Confederate conscription, disaffected Confederates, disillusioned Confederates, dissafected Confederate and Southern Unionist, Thoughts on classifications of Southern Unionists with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by Robert Moore

It’s not some new revelation of mine, and I’ve often thought that some folks have misunderstood me when I talk about Southern Unionism, but reluctance amongst Southerners was not always an indicator of Unionism. Granted, there were indeed Southern Unionists, and there were different levels of Southern Unionists, some even being unconditional Unionists. Then, there were also those who embraced the Confederacy. Somewhere in-between these Unionists and Confederates were a people who have been overlooked, perhaps even more so than Southern Unionists. I call these people, the “leave-aloners.”

Who were the “leave-aloners”? They were people who, in some cases like Jimmy Stewart in the movie Shenandoah, wanted no part in the war, whether that be in blue or gray. They were concerned with that which was theirs. The problem with this was that the war, or more accurately, some of the people who went one way or the other (blue or gray), wouldn’t allow these “leave-aloners” to remain… left alone.

Between peer pressure and the Confederate conscript hunters, it was hard for a reluctant Southern man to remain out of the Confederate army (… to say nothing of the pressure applied by some women… but, that’s another story). On the other hand, I’ve encountered situations in which Southerners got so fed-up with the pressures of the Confederate conscript hunters and/or depredations at the hands of the Confederate army (yes, the Confederate army wasn’t always nice to its own people) that they became refugees, went to the Union army, and sometimes opted to don the blue uniform. Sometimes it was a measure to avoid the hunters and/or to simply survive… and sometimes it was a means to get back at those who had made life so difficult on the homefront.

Likewise, the depredations at the hands of Union army were enough to push a “leave-aloner” over the edge and join the Confederate army. Some of these same people, however (as well as some who had enlisted earlier on), eventually couldn’t quite grasp the concept that by serving 100 (as in the case of Virginians fighting in Virginia… although I have seen desertions of Virginians when under 50 miles of home) or over 1,200 miles away (as in the case of Texans fighting in Virginia) how they were helping to defend hearth and home. In this case, the occasional AWOL and, in some cases, eventual desertion, must have seemed a better alternative to serving so far away from the family and farm. The problem with these desertions is that we don’t always understand if those who deserted did so because of this exact reason which I cite here, or whether they deserted because they became disaffected/disillusioned with the Confederacy…. or, wait for it… if they were Southern Unionists at the beginning of it all.

Yes, I’ve digressed from the focus of this post… “leave-aloners”, but this brief discussion of “leave-aloners” serves as a vessel to bring us to the reality that confronted the reluctant Southern age-eligible-for-service male. It also reminds us that we most certainly should avoid thinking that being Southern automatically meant “being for the Confederacy.”

Henry Flaugher, Civil War Unionist From Burnet County, Texas

Posted in Examples of acts against Southern Unionists, Texas Unionists, threats made against Southern Unionists with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by renegadesouth

Submitted by Victoria Bynum, Renegade South

The following is a story of Civil War Unionism and its persecution in the Hill Country of Texas. Its narrative and documentation was gathered and provided by Betty Zimmerman of Woodville, TX, whose husband is a descendant of the story’s main figure, Henry Flaugher (pronounced “Flour”). For this essay, I have compressed and rearranged her material, but the history of this murder was essentially written by Betty and members of the Flaugher family.

The story passed down in Flaugher family oral history is as follows: By fall of 1860, many southerners were expressing “feelings of hatred” toward former northerners who had moved South. Such a family was that of Henry Flaugher of Burnet County. Flaugher’s son-in-law, John T. Malone, and his daughter, Allie, were frightened enough by events to leave the state shortly before secession was achieved. Not long after they left, the Malones learned that a gruesome murder of some 36 men suspected of Unionism had taken place in their former home county, and that Henry Flaugher was among them. Twenty-five of the 36 men, according to the story, were hanged over the mouth of a saltpetre cave (there are many such caves in Burnet County), the ropes then cut so that the bodies dropped into the cave, seemingly out of sight forever.

Some two years later, the bodies were discovered by family members, perfectly preserved in the cave. Henry Flaugher was given a decent burial. His personal history, and the events leading to his gruesome murder, remind us that the Civil War ripped apart communities as well as a nation. Flaugher’s simple move from a free state to a slaveholding one, more than a decade before the war, set in motion events that led to his violent death.

Sometime around 1848, Henry Flaugher moved his family from Illinois to Burnet County, Texas, where he settled near present-day Marble Falls. His decision to move South, into a slaveholding state just as the nation’s sectional crisis was heating up, may not have been an easy one. Two of Henry’s grown children from the first of his two marriages did not make the move, but his sons, John and Adam, and daughters, Allie and Catherine (Kitty), plus his second wife Eliza and their six children, were soon transplanted to the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, where Henry bought 139 acres of land on the Colorado River, and commenced buying and selling stock.

Around 1856, Henry’s eighteen-year-old daughter, Allie, married widower John T. Malone, who lived nearby. Twenty-eight-year-old Malone, a master stonemason born in Ohio, was also a relative newcomer to Texas. John had lived in California and Missouri before making his way to Texas; in 1850, he mined for gold in El Dorado, CA. John, then, was well aware of heated national debates over whether slavery should be allowed to move into the western territories. That very year, California was admitted into the Union as a free state, following a bitter political battle between pro- and anti-slavery forces.

In 1860, as southern states moved toward secession, some of John T. Malone’s neighbors suspected that he and his father-in-law, Henry Flaugher, were not “sound” on the slavery issue. John was even accused in a court of law of having assisted slaves in escaping North. Although he was acquitted, threats and suspicions continued, causing him and Allie to flee Texas, first to Iowa, then to Washington Territory, by wagon train. It was late fall, and John left behind property, tools, and an uncollected payment on a stone mill he had built.

Allie’s father, Henry Flaugher, was expected to follow, but decided to wait until after his crop was in. The results of his fateful decision are seared in the memories of his descendants. One daughter and three granddaughters of Allie Flaugher Malone told essentially the same story: Henry Flaugher was taken prisoner by a group of men while fetching a bucket of water from the river. However, a letter written by Henry’s sister, Catherine Flaugher Wilson, on May 25, 1868, differs somewhat in details. Catherine claimed that Henry and a hired hand had gone into the timber woods for a load of wood. His wagon, she said, was found half loaded, but Henry was no where to be found. Family members later found the cave, with a gallows erected by the “REBELS,” and Henry’s body in the cave. While Catherine mentioned that some forty additional bodies were found in the cave, she did not claim they had been killed alongside her brother.

Catherine Flaugher Wilson’s 1868 description dovetails nicely with a story published in a 1941 issue of Frontier Times: “Disaster at Dead Man’s Hole,” by Walter Richter. Richter was writing the story of one Adolph Hoppe, but a secondary figure in this history was a “Mr. Flour,” surely the Henry Flaugher of this story. According to Richter, Hoppe and “Flour” were loading cedar posts in a wagon and had just started for home when they were halted by a ranger and a group of men. Accused of attending secret Union meetings, both men were “tried” on the spot, and “Mr. Flour”–but not Adolph Hoppe–was found “guilty” of Unionism. The ranger let Hoppe go, but left the man now believed to be Henry Flaugher in the hands of the vigilantes. For being in the company of a Unionist, however, Hoppe was pursued by the vigilantes as soon as the ranger went on his way. His body was recovered from the cave known as “Dead Man’s Hole” in 1866.

Although Hoppe rather than Flaugher was the subject of this essay, it seems clear that both men were murdered and dropped into the cave. The separate stories tell essentially the same story, and it is reasonable to assume the men met their fate together. What is not clear, however, is that 36 men were killed that same day. The story of Adolph Hoppe describes two men meeting their deaths at the hands of secessionist vigilantes. I suspect, and Betty Zimmerman concurs, that those 36 other dead men were probably victims of murders that took place throughout the Civil War, as pro- and anti-Confederates fought it out on Civil War home fronts. Like Catherine Wilson, Richter pointed out that many other bodies were found in the cave: “thousands of bones,” he reported, were brought up from “Dead Man’s Hole” in 1866.

My thanks to Betty Zimmerman for sharing this important Civil War story with us.

Note: Walter Richter’s article, “Disaster at Dead Man’s Hole,” is from Frontier Times Magazine, vol. 18, No. 6, March 1941.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! Let’s not talk about this . . .

Posted in Alabama Unionists, Confederate conscription, descendants of Southern Unionists, Mississippi Unionists, Southern Union soldiers, Southern Unionists who became Union soldiers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by Robert Moore

The following post is actually a re-post (having originally appeared on August 27, 2007) from Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi: A Weblog by Terry Thornton. I’m thrilled to be able to post it here again, with Terry’s permission. It’s an absolutely wonderful piece of Civil War “memory” and it fits extremely well within the environment of this blog. Note that this piece is copyright protected and used only with permission. Thanks again Terry!

Monday, August 27, 2007
Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! Let’s not talk about this . . .
by Terry Thornton

I am a Mississippian by birth and I am a Mississippian by choice. Of the forty-seven years that have passed since I turned twenty-one years of age, I have spent the majority living in other states electing to return to inside the Magnolia Curtain to live out my retirement.

I am a Southerner.

Growing up in the Hill Country of eastern Monroe County during those peaceful decades prior to the turbulent 1960s, I learned some about our region’s history and heritage but little about my Thornton family history. My father was somewhat distant to his larger family both in temperament and in geography — that, combined with the Thornton tendency to withhold information mitigated against my learning much about my ancestors.

I got most of my information from overhearing snatches and snippets of conversations while listening from the chimney corner. And as I grew older I learned that perhaps not all of the solid Southern unity was as it was rumored and taught to be — that perhaps there were cracks in the solidarity in the Hill Country Confederate unity during that difficult time some seventy-eight years before I was born.

Some things didn’t add up.

But when I would ask, I was told, “Shhhhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about that.”

One of my favorite places to play during those safe years when children were permitted to play unsupervised away from home was at the New Hope Cemetery which was about one-half mile west of my home. Down the gravel road we would walk (no soccer moms with vans back then — nor any other vehicle; kids walked or rode bicycles) sometimes eight or ten or more to play all afternoon among the cool stone markers in the graveyard. Although the graveyard then was kept free of grass (as was the custom for most Hill Country houses: the yards were bare of grass), the cemetery had overgrown with trees creating large dense shaded places. And our favorite game to play in one of the large ornately decorated plots at the cemetery was “Civil War draft dodger.”

The older kids taught us how to play the game; they had been taught the game from the generation just older than them; and they in turn probably heard the stories from those who lived the experience upon which we had made a game. To play the game, one had to hide from the CSA draft enforcers. The place to hide was a special room underground at the cemetery in a specific family plot which had a false grave built for the purpose of hiding out. When the enforcers were in the area, you had to hide in the grave; when the enforcers were not close by, you had to hide in the dense woods and creek bottom just to the south of the cemetery.

When I was a child playing there, the family plot had been modified; the false grave had been used for an actual burial. So when we hid in the special “room” we just lay between the graves crowded into that family burial plot with its interesting stones and low fencing all around.

If the enforcers came and stayed a few days, the ones hidden in the grave were nourished by “grieving” mothers, sisters, or girlfriends who would come to the graveyard with baskets of flowers which contained food and water. And as the grieving females knelt there “praying” they were really whispering the latest news to those hidden just below.

I could never decide which role I enjoyed playing best: enforcer on horseback charging up and dragging folks off to fight or dodger lying there in the cemetery while all the pretty girls brought me food, water, and flowers and whispered directions to me as I rested in the perfect pacifist position.

To play “draft dodger” when I was a child involved a large cast of characters. There were roles for everyone no matter who all came to play that day — and we played the game often. But as I grew older, I listened to my teachers who were of the opinion that all true Southerners were loyal and 100% committed to fighting the Yankees!

If that were the case, I thought, then why were there hidden rooms in the graveyard at Parham? Maybe I had it mixed up; maybe those hidden men were really good brave loyal Southerners hiding from the Yankees.

Again came the, “Shhhhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this” from the adults in my life.

But the older kids checked the story out with the older ones who would tell us the straight of it — the ones hiding were hiding from the Southern draft enforcers.

Then I overheard a conversation between my father and one of his relatives.

What? Some of the Thorntons were in the Union Army? Whoa! I thought. How did that happen? And no one would talk to me about the event or even acknowledge what I had overheard.

“Shhhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this.”

As I got older I also questioned why the given name Sherman was widely used in my family: my grandfather had Sherman as one of his given names; my father had Sherman as one of his given names; my brothers has Sherman as one of his given names; and I have at least two cousins with Sherman as one of their given names. Somehow this choice of given name didn’t square with my conception of the turmoil that ripped through the Hills of Alabama and Mississippi some seventy-five years before I was born.

General Sherman was not one of my favorite people — he was not presented in any favorable light in any of the lessons in history I had at Hatley School. So what was I doing in a family with so many males named for Sherman? Oh well, I was told, they are named for someone else but that someone was never identified.

And if I persisted, out came the, “Shhhhhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this.”

About 1970, my father asked my wife and me to go with him to Lann Cemetery, Splunge, Monroe County, Mississippi, to visit the grave of James Monroe Thornton. James Monroe Thornton was my father’s grandfather — James Monroe Thornton was the one who first named a son with the moniker “Sherman” — in 1865 he named a son John Sherman Thornton.

And while at the cemetery, my father told my wife what he had never told me: James Monroe Thornton served in the Union Army. Basically all he would or could tell me was that his grandfather, he had been told, was on the staff with General Sherman, had attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and so admired the General that he vowed to name the first of his sons born after the war for the general.

James Monroe Thornton survived the war and when the first child born after the war was a son, he named him John Sherman Thornton.

Be damned if I would listen to another “Shhhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this” again!

During the next year or two, I started my reading and researching of the Thornton family. I learned that during the awful war years, both before and after, that they lived in the general area of Walker and Fayette Counties, Alabama. The Thornton family did not arrive in Mississippi until between 1905 to 1910. I discovered the gem of a book, Tories of the Hills, by Wesley S. Thompson (Winfield, Alabama: The Pareil Press. 1960). [My edition is the Civil War Centennial Edition, a limited-re-printing from Northwest Alabama Publishing Company, Jasper, Alabama.]

Thompson states in his Introduction “those opposed to the Secession . . . were called . . . Tories from the hills. . . met in a Convention July 4, 1861, and drew up resolutions to secede from the State [of Alabama]. When this . . . failed [the Tories] took to the coves and mountains for hiding rather than go to the Confederate Armies . . . there followed one of the bloodiest struggles of guerrilla-warfare ever fought on American soil.”

Suddenly the region known as “Freedom Hills,” a rugged area that spreads across the hill country of Alabama and west into Mississippi took on a new meaning.

Freedom! . . . no “Shhhhhhhhhh, let’s not talk about this” was going to stop me now.

So obviously the opposition to serving in the Confederate cause was as far west as the Hill Country in Monroe County, Mississippi, if hide-outs and resisting the draft were so commonplace that children’s games were organized and played almost 100 years after those sad events unfolded.

But learning more information from my father or from his larger family of their time in Alabama and of the Union Army connection to General Sherman was not to be. My father died a few years after telling me about his grandfather; the other older family members either didn’t know the family history or were not willing to talk about it. Some were of the opinion that we should not talk about the possibility of such an involvement!

And there I was, blocked in with “Shhhhhhh, let’s not talk about this” from cousins far and wide. But upon probing deeper, it was obvious that my cousins knew less than I about this part of our family’s history. The “Shhhhh, let’s not talk about this” mentality had prevented some of the most basic of family information from filtering down.

Several years went by and I began an email correspondence with a cousin, Lori Thornton, who was an experienced genealogist and computer expert. Lori and I compared notes and within a few months, I had the first documented evidence that my great-grandfather [and Lori’s great-great-grandfather] James Monroe Thornton had indeed served in the First Alabama Cavalry USA.

And upon learning about this documented fact, I had relatives to send me word, “Shhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this.”

The first evidence I had of James Monroe Thornton’s military service in the First Alabama Cavalry U.S.A. was from Glenda McWhirter Todd’s in-depth study, First Alabama Cavalry USA: Homage to Patriotism (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc. 1999). There on page 368 is this entry, the first evidence I had of my great-grandfather’s involvement:

Thornton, James M., Pvt., Co. A, age 38, EN 3/23/63 & MI 3/24/63, Glendale, MS, on daily duty as teamster, MO 12/22/63, Memphis, TN.

James Monroe Thornton enlisted in the First Alabama Cavalry USA at Glendale, Mississippi on March 23, 1863. The next day he was mustered into service. He was assigned to Company A; he was given the rank of Private. He was 38 years old. He served daily duty as a teamster and was mustered out of service just before Christmas, December 22, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee.

My father had been misinformed about James Monroe Thornton’s rank — there had been some huge and grand promotions for Private Thornton to have attained the lofty status of Lieutenant Colonel — whether that embellishment in rank was done by James Monroe Thornton himself (he lived to the ripe old age of 88 years) or by others is unknown.

Lori and I ordered the service record and the pension file for our common ancestor — and there learned for the first time the extent of his military service. James Monroe Thornton indeed was in the First Alabama Cavalry USA; he was a Private. He was at home in Alabama hiding out from the Confederate enforcers most of the time he spent in the service of the Union. He accompanied a small group in June who was returned to Walker and Fayette County and while there became ill. His family hid him in the woods from July through early December when he returned to camp.

James Monroe Thornton was absent with leave from June 29, 1863 through about December 13, 1863 when he returned to duty just in time to be mustered out on December 22, 1863.

He was not, however, a Lieutenant Colonel nor was he an aide-de-camp to General Sherman! He drove a team of mules or horses and hauled materials with a wagon as a Private doing teamster duty.

In all of this research, however, the harsh reality of what happened to my Thornton family in the Hills of Alabama has been slowly uncovered. Lori and I are continuing to examine records that are telling us the painful story of our family — a story that heretofore had been so suppressed within the family that our generation had no clue to its reality. Here is a brief summary of some of the major discoveries.

Two of James Monroe Thornton’s brothers also served in the First Alabama Calvary USA. Those two brothers died in service. No one in my family of my generation had any knowledge of these men. As far as I know, their names were not known as family. The grave of one has been located at the Nashville National Cemetery where I conducted a memorial on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of his death. It is believed that the first time that any of this young man’s family visited his grave site was 140 years after his death.

The “Shhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this” time was over.

A third brother may have been killed by Confederate enforcers as he was making his way to the Union lines to volunteer. Lori and I are still working on this possibility. We know that a third brother disappears from all records during the Civil War years and we are intrigued by a statement recently discovered in his mother’s federal pension file about this possibility. More work is needed.

And perhaps the saddest chapter in all of this that was never talked about in my family is evidence that three of James Monroe Thornton’s brothers also served in the Confederate Army. One was captured in battle in Kentucky and eventually exchanged/released in Mississippi. We think he returned straight to North Alabama, visited briefly with his wife and child and other family nearby, and then with his older brother, James Monroe Thornton, walked over to Glendale, Mississippi and enrolled together. James Monroe survived; the brother he enlisted with died.

The youngest brother in that large family also died in the service of the Union Army. He and another brother had enrolled in the Confederate Army and both are listed as deserting at Tuscaloosa. The younger brother shows up on the First Alabama Cavalry USA enlistment rosters a month later; the other brother disappears from the records. It is presumed that he is the one his mother later states was killed by enforcers while making his way to the Union line.

So I can’t tell you about a great-grandfather who was a Lieutenant Colonel in General Sherman’s army — but I can talk a bit about his service as a Private, as a teamster, during a few short months during the Civil War. I can tell you a bit about the history of the South and can confirm that the solidarity and Confederate unity wasn’t what we’ve been taught in the public schools of Mississippi.

But, listen, someone is saying, “Shhhhhhhhh. Let’s not talk about this!”

[Editor’s (Terry’s) Note: This recollection was submitted to the current Carnival of Genealogy. The 31st Carnival has as its topic Confirm or Debunk: Family Myths, Legends, and Lore, and is being hosted by Craig Manson at GeneaBlogie.]

Confederate Conscript Hunters!

Posted in brutality in conscription, Confederate conscription, Virginia Unionists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2009 by SouthernUnionists

I’ve mentioned them before, but conscript hunters presented a horror of war to Southern Unionists that I believe we cannot come close to understanding.

Conscript hunters had a difficult duty to perform. Not only were they to gather up those who had not yet volunteered for Confederate service and yet were age-eligible (under anyone of the three different conscript acts passed by the Confederate government), they were also tasked with finding and bringing back Confederate deserters; but that doesn’t excuse the zeal of some of these men in doing their work.

Even among non-Southern Unionists, the conscript hunter was no welcome character. In a letter written by John J. Moyer (1855-1940) of Page County, Virginia in 1924, a time was recalled when some might think a conscript officer had a perfect opportunity to recruit men for the Confederate service. In speaking of the “unhappy days of the sixties,” Moyer wrote that

…some of the experiences of the people in and around Luray when it was reported that Shields’ army was coming in this direction from New Market. He says that a number of persons went toward the top of the Massanutten mountains and catching a glimpse of the invading army the Luray and Page people, seeing that they were doubtless outnumbered many times, beat a retreat, those who lived in Luray not even stopping at their homes but pressing hard in the direction of ‘The Pinnacle,’ at that time a friendly knob at the top of the Blue Ridge several miles east of the home of Mrs. Bettie Sours, in the Printz Mill neighborhood. There was a conscript officer sent out by the Confederate army looking for conscripts and this officer was in Luray at that time. He went with the Luray and Page people to the ‘Pinnacle,’ and there tried his hand at he conscription business. The local folk, Mr. Moyer said, didn’t take very kindly to the idea and were getting ready to make quick dispatch of the officer, even having a rope around his neck and being ready to string him up. About this time, Jonathan Rowe [1810-1884], of this county, intervened in behalf of the officer and persuaded the men who were bent upon his destruction to desist.

Page County historian Jacob H. Coffman (1852-1939) also had a story about conscript hunters writing,

Now I know there’s but few living today that remember the days of the Conscript Hunter, as they were called at this time. They were men detailed from army to hunt up and take back to army deserters – that is soldiers who after many applications failed to get a furlough to visit their homes would take what they called ‘French leave’ that meant to run off.

I know a man who had recently been raised to the rank of Lieut. and was in charge of a squad of Conscript Hunters and he was disliked by many for the power he exercised in this office. One night a notice was put up at what was called the Butterwood Gate [near the Jacob C. Kite house and stage stop known as Mt. Hope], called so from the fact that it was hung on a butterwood tree. The notice was nailed up with wooden pegs and as I passed the place the next day I found near the tree, a fine 6-bladed pen knife which must have been used to make the wooden pegs the notice was tacked up with. The notice was to the effect that if the Lieutenant and his men did not leave the county they would be killed. Whether the warning had the desired effect I never learned.

Got any stories of conscript hunters to share?

Take a look also at this story about Chrisley Nicholson and his encounters with Confederate conscription hunters. Nicholson, by the way, was my third great grand uncle.

Chrisley Nicholson’s Story

Posted in brutality in conscription, Examples of acts against Southern Unionists, Virginia Unionists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2008 by SouthernUnionists

Chrisley Nicholson was born a son of Moses and Cassandra Ramsbottom Nicholson ca. 1832 in Madison County, Virginia. There is evidence to show that, like his brothers, Chrisley (aka Christian Nichols), did not wish to participate in any form in the Civil War. According to his wife’s statement in the pension application that she submitted (he married Elizabeth Jenkins on August 3, 1856 at his parent’s house in Rappahannock Co., Va.), Chrisley…

“never intended to fight against the Union but if the south tried to make him fight that he intended to go north and join the Union army. Conscript officers kept trying to capture him and upon one or two occasions but he made his escape so he took me and my two children and we stopped in New Jersey after getting there he rented a house and we went to housekeeping but one day soon after he went over to Philadelphia and there enlisted.”

Chrisley is actually recorded as having enlisted at Camp Cadwallader Draft Rendezvous, Philadelphia, Pa. on April 26, 1864. He was forwarded to Co. D, 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry and delivered with a detachment at Alexandria, Va. on May 1, 1864. His widow continued that “after having joined the army, he left me with myself and children (Michael who was born ca. 1855 and Arnold who was born ca. 1857) to support which I was unable to do so I was told by a friend that I could get assistance from the authorities so I made application but was told such state had to provide for its own soldiers’ wives.” She came back to Virginia to a “relative and friends.” In November 1864, Chrisley Nicholson showed up at his father’s house. Cut off from his command he arrived at his parents’ house and there found his wife and children. As his wife recollected, he was “going back to the army – home only a few days.” When the local conscript authorities learned of his being home and knowing that he belonged to the Union army, “they came to capture him,” but he was shot while trying to make his escape. Chrisley Nicholson died on Nov. 12, 1864 near his father’s home near Nethers, Madison Co.

Chrisley’s brother, Joseph, was drafted into the Confederate service at the end of the war and served in Co. F, 38th Virginia Infantry. He was captured at Five Forks, Va. Another brother, Vancouver, was conscripted and assigned to Co. G, 12th Virginia Cavalry on June 24, 1864. There is no further record of service after that date.

Story contributed by Robert H. Moore, II (a third great grand nephew to Chrisley Nicholson).