Skip to comments.Confederates’ offspring
are ‘last links’ to history
Posted on 12/13/2010 2:06:54 PM PST by Idabilly
When he mentions that his daddy fought for the Confederacy, H.V. Booth gets more than a few raised eyebrows.
Really? Really? Booth says, mimicking peoples incredulity. They just cant believe it.
His father, Isham Johnson Booth, a country boy from north of Athens, played a bit part in the Civil War. But it was a grim role, the memory of which never left him and was something he rarely spoke about. He was a guard at Andersonville, the prisoner-of-war camp in south-central Georgia that has become synonymous with suffering.
Booth, who turns 92 this month, is the end of a chapter of American history. He is an actual son of a Confederate veteran. There arent many anymore. The Sons of the Confederate Veterans the organization, that is believes there are about 30 real sons still alive, including two in Georgia.
Their fathers were young when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865 but old when they sired children in the early decades of the 20th century.
Near Vidalia, at a crossroads called Tarrytown, lives 84-year-old John McDonald, whose father enlisted with his rifle and horse when he was just 13, following two older brothers.
Were the last link, Booth said in a recent interview. Were the last link of the mouth to the ear.
There wasnt much mouth-to-ear. Isham Booth didnt talk about the war much to his son. They were too busy working. The elder Booth was a stern man who eked out a living as a sharecropper and died at age 86 in 1934, when his son was 15. Up until the end, he picked 90 to 100 pounds of cotton a day.
(Excerpt) Read more at ajc.com ...
Amazing, the last living links to that incredible time.
His grandfather's name was John Tyler.
John Tyler was born during the Revolutionary War, was a veteran of the War of 1812, and was the 10th President of the United States.
amazing link to the past
My great-grandmother lived with me during the first 6 years of my life and the last 6 of hers. She was born during the last year of the civil war.
One gentleman who was one of my great great grandfathers married such a lady (his earlier wives had passed on), and I used to have regular correspondence with her daughter until she passed away recently.
He'd been a prisoner at Andersonville.
So, it's a small world folks. Odds are good that I knew a lady who knew a man who knew this gentleman's daddy!
And he should have had nightmares about that prison camp from what I've heard ~ really bad ones.
Amazing that real sons are still aroud. My great-grandfather was in the 36th Virginia Cavalry C.S.A. and my father often talked with him as a boy. My Father’s stepfather was born in 1853 and was a teenager during the Civil War.
Thanks to Tip a Canoe.
Incredible that anyone is left. Nothing compares to word of mouth history from family members to remind us of our link to the past. My great grandfather was in the Confederate army and lived to 97, until I was 12. My late grandfather told endless stories from WWI. The hardships those old timers endured is unimaginable today.
I don’t care what side of the flame war you’re on, that’s just cool.
..and Tyler, too. (-:
Most even built their own homes, as my Grandfather did. Their home is still in the family!
Back in the 50s, when I was a kid, my grandparents took care of a bed-ridden great uncle whose room was on the 2nd floor of their home. I remember taking an occasional meal up to him. He was 13 when he fought with the 17th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. I was too young to appreciate the significance then.
This is fantastic!! Thanks SB!!
A few years back, my cousin from a small town in southeast South Carolina showed me a large trunk that belonged to his great grandfather.
There were stacks of mildewed Confederate paper money and all sorts of state and county bonds. Seems as if his wealthy family strongly believed in supporting the Confederacy by giving the profits of their farming and the specie of their inheritances to the cause of their liberty.
But his great grandfather apparently would not speak of his time fighting in Virginia.
He ran away from home at 16, in June 1861, to join up with the 21st Illinois regiment in Springfield, Illinois; commanded at the time by Ulysses S. Grant (until August of that year).
He fought with his regiment, for over two tears, up to and including the Battle of Chicamauga in September 1863 - one of the largest battles of the war, in terms of numbers of troops in the battle as well as numbers of dead and wounded.
He was captured at Chicamauga and intitially sent to a prison camp east of Atlanta. He was soon moved to the camp that would become known as Andersonville.
As the article relates, about Andersonville: "Almost 13,000 prisoners died of disease, starvation and exposure to 100-degree days and freezing rains." and, "Theyd get the fever," Booth said. "Daddy said they died like flies. There was no food, no medicine. He felt sorry for them.
There was a line across the camp which no prisoner was supposed to cross, with guards on watch towers to see that nobody did.
Eventually, there was an unofficial process that took place in what the guards thought was an act of compassion. As the article relates, some of the men were so bad off they resembled walking skeletons, if they could walk.
If a prisoner was doing so poorly and felt his desperation was beyond repair, and if his buddies did not try to restrain him, then a union soldier in such a position and frame of mind would slowly approach the line and step across it, upon which the guards would end his ordeal.
On October 12, 1864 Albert Foxworthy, very much a walking skeleton at the time, crossed that line.
His family only learned how Albert's life ended because of local boys that survived Andersonville and made it back to Illinois, to tell the story to his parents.
My Great Grandfather was also in the Confederate army but he died before I was born. I do have a tint type(actually a photo off of a tint type)of him in his uniform but don’t know, due to family failing to pass on knowledge, what outfit or what battles he fought in. He did live through the war and moved from his home state to Arkansas after the war. He changed his name, I don’t know what his original name was, because of something that happened during the war. No one seemed to know why but I always thought it might be because he was not a regular but a guerilla, maybe with bloody Bill or Quantrill. That could also explain the lack of information on battles fought and units he belonged to. The family, what there is of it, still carries the name he changed it to.
This was more common than you probably think. I've heard similar stories quite frequently. One line of my family ended up with a different spelling of their name due to a spelling error by the military during WWI. They never changed it back to the original.
One of my gg grandfather's ended up as guerilla in Northern Arkansas. He had originally enlisted with the Confederacy in Missouri. His family was literally run out of town b/c of their Confederate leanings. The family relocated to Northern Arkansas where they found another hell on earth. He ended up leaving his unit to protect his family and since guerillas were sanctioned by Major General Hindman in Arkansas, he became a guerilla. Jefferson Davis didn't care for guerilla warfare, but did approve the formation of Partisan Rangers in 1862. My gg grandfather went from being classified as a deserter to being classified as a guerilla then to Partisan Ranger.
...”believes there are about 30 real sons still alive,..”
....in the United Daughters of the Confederacy such members were known as “True Daughters”....meaning their fathers served in the Confederacy...I know this because my grandmother was a True Daughter.
....BTW the state of South Carolina is gearing up to celebrate secession in Spring 2011...they’re going to have costume balls, speeches, re-enactments ect...the NAACP is already cranking up the race card fund raising machine in opposition...look for the NYTimes/WaPo to go nuts too.
I can still remember my grandmother talking about her father(my great GF)losing an eye “in the war”...
A few years ago I met a men who was then 97 whose father had ridden with Nathan Bedford Forrest...I don't know if the man is still alive now.
At least three of his grandsons served in WWII, two in the US Army and one in the US Navy. My uncle who served in the Navy was wounded and was awarded a Purple Heart. He saw extensive action in the Pacific and is still living.
My dad had a great-uncle or two who served in the CSA. He and all three of his brothers served in the US Army.
Things changed a lot over a generation.
My great great grandfather was Thomas Raspberry Byrd of Pineville MS who fought as a boy (late teens) under CSA Captain Bosinton (sic) at Vicksburg etc.
His youngest daughter of his total 23 children died in 2008 at aged 94.
Very odd to consider.
My gg-grandfather fought in the Civil War as part of the 22nd Wisconsin. I remember his daughter, my great grandmother, quite well. My aunt has a picture of him in his Union uniform, shaking hands with his grandson (my grandfather, whom I also remember) wearing his WWI uniform.
Thanks for the ping,,,, great story,,,didn’t know there were still sons of veterns still living ,,,
Regrettable, but Rock Island POW Camp in Illinois was where MY Confederate Ancestor spent two years.....He watched his buddies die like flies, freezing to death in the winter and of typhoid. The difference between Andersonville and that camp is that the North HAD the resources to treat the men humanely, but refused.......
Thank you for pointing out that the POW camp in Illinois was no better than Andersonville. I’ve often thought that I was glad my two g-g-uncles (47th NC) were POW at Pt. Lookout rather than Rock Island. Not that Pt. Lookout was much better.
“...he picked 90 to 100 pounds of cotton a day.”
Unless you’ve ever picked cotton you have no idea what this statement conveys.
Thanks for the ping!
My great-grandfather, then a "tweenaged" boy in Indianapolis (son of a hotelier whose two layabout older sons spent their days drinking up the hotel's bar stock with James Whitcomb Riley, signed up as substitutes to get the draft bonus, and then spent the balance of the war hiding successfully from the Army, which came looking for them), saw the bodies of Confederate prisoners who'd been imprisoned in Indianapolis. They'd had no blankets or other source of warmth and had frozen to death sleeping on the bare ground in the camp when a hard freeze descended on it in the last (I think) winter of the war. He helped load the bodies, frozen stiff as boards in all sorts of postures, onto railroad flatcars, which took them "somewhere" to be disposed of "somehow". (Probably burned, in my father's opinion, given that it was the dead of winter.) He was told there were over 600 dead in that one event.
You're right, that the men who died in camps could have been better taken care of -- by both sides. Gen. Longstreet was indignant when, in the last days before Appomattox, the Confederate commissary corps finally released their hoard of goods and supplies, which was immense. There was no reason for the Army of Tennessee, or the prisoners of Andersonville, to have gone hungry as they did, save the mindless parsimony of the commissary officials.
“The difference between Andersonville and that camp is that the North HAD the resources to treat the men humanely, but refused.....”
That’s a half truth and not a true distinction.
The full truth is that “resources” to prevent such tragedies were available, on BOTH sides, if providing those resources had been given the necessary priorities. The whys and wherefores about how priorities for such resources were made, and not always made in the interests of POWs in the Civil War, is a subject of perpetual historical debate.
The South also had the resources - as Sherman proved.
And the comparison is a poor one.
Rock Island prison had 84 barracks with 120 bunks - each barracks with a stove. Each barracks was separated from the next by 100 feet of space and each man received blankets, clothes and hot meals.
However, the winter of 1863 was one of the coldest in decades and there was a smallpox outbreak. Prisoners huddled together for warmth taking turns in front of a stove will spread contagious diseases.
THe Union built separate facilities to enlarge the infirmary to stop the outbreak.
The Union also enlarged and modernized the sewage facilities in the spring to try to prevent further outbreaks. However, the island was too small to handle the runoff and the sewage backed up repeatedly. Northern newspapers publicized the deteriorating conditions and the prison commandant carried on a public debate in the newspapers defending himself from investigative reporters. A large number of prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest conditions, garnering themselves further press attention.
15% of the inmates died from disease, as did about 10% of the guards.
Andersonville, by contrast, had no barracks and no bunks. It was an open field enclosed by a stockade fence and the prisoners were completely exposed to the elements. The prisoners were not fed regular hot meals, but received food on an irregular schedule - sometimes not being fed for days at a time. There was no sewage system at all, the prisoners had to dig latrines in the field by hand.
Over 30% of the prisoners died from disease, despite the much milder weather.
Things were better for the Confederate guards than the Union ones, though. Since they simply stood with rifles at the stockade perimeter and never went inside, they never raised a finger to help any sick prisoner and therefore were not infected.
The conditions at the prison were never investigated by any Southern newspaper and the Confederate commandant did not have to defend himself to the national press.
The prisoners DID NOT have the emenities you mention. My ancestor spoke of men freezing to death, because they were not given blankets. Many of the men died of Typhoid fever.
The South did not even have the resources to feed the troops, much less prisoners.
Prove that the South had resources. They couldn’t even feed and clothe their own troops.
It is a matter of public record, well-documented from adversarial newspapers at the time.
Journalists commented at the time that one stove for a barracks of 120 men was insufficient, that the infirmary facilities were too small, etc.
The amenities existed - they proved inadequate to the task.
My ancestor spoke of men freezing to death, because they were not given blankets.
There was one blanket for each. And that was simply not enough in a clapboard barracks in temperatures that got to 30 degrees below zero in the winter of 1863. I'm sure some men did freeze to death in those conditions.
Many of the men died of Typhoid fever.
Correct. That was the leading cause of mortality at Rock Island.
The South did not even have the resources to feed the troops, much less prisoners.
Ah, but the South did indeed have the resources. Confederate troops were living hand to mouth and Union prisoners were starved to death while the Southern civilian population outside of eastern Virginia was richly provisioned.
When Sherman's troops marched through Georgia in the winter of 1864, they found more beef, grain, textiles and hay than their 35,000 strong force could possibly use. And if you look at the map, Sherman's forces only covered a small fraction of the state of Georgia on their march. The troops' letters and the officer's reports are full of long lists of the provisions they took, many expressing surprise at the sheer bounty they found concealed all over the countryside.
One of the secrets of the Confederacy is how standoffish much of the population was to the war effort and how reluctant state governors were to requisition supplies for troops in forward areas.
Prisoners starved because of malfeasance and Confederate soldiers went hungry because of mismanagement.
Interesting history ping.
That is fascinating!
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