Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yours in Peace, S.N. Brantley

Mule Day 2011
For some reason the Civil War keeps popping up everywhere I go. There were lots of people in Civil War garb at Mule Day last weekend, I stole (borrowed) a magazine called "Civil War Times" out of a coworkers in box (sorry Jen) and tonight I happened to stumble across the old Ken Burns documentary called The Civil War on PBS. It could be because this is the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the war. Apparently, 150 year celebrations are called "Sesquicentennials." I can’t even say that so I am very glad I am not in charge of the marketing plan.

Being from the south, I have many Civil War soldiers on every branch of family tree. And, since the war only started 150 years ago, I am only a few generations removed from them.

Henry Day Brantley in the late 1860s
A family of soldiers that I found particularly interesting were the brothers of my third great grandfather, Henry Day Brantley who was born in 1848. Three of Henry’s brothers were soldiers in the war and not all on the same side. Brother literally against brother.

Oldest brother Daniel enlisted in the Union army on January 3, 1863 and fought in the Company G Indiana 52nd Infantry. He died September 7, 1864 and is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery in Louisiana (section b, site 1027) Source

Julius enlisted in the Confederate army seven month after his older brother on July 10, 1863 and was a member of the 12th Tennessee Calvary, C.S.A. He died in service only five months later on Dec 18, 1863 in Ft. Pillow, TN. Source: "Coming Like Hell!" by Waldon Loving
Henry's brother Solomon Normon enlisted in the Confederate army on October 1, 1863 and was a member of the 7th Tennessee Calvary, Company L. which he referred to as, “Forrest’s command.” Solomon was discharged in Gainesville, Alabama in May 1865.

While researching these ancestors, I discovered the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire.

In order to record Civil War veterans' experiences, in 1914, Dr. Gus Dyer, Tennessee State Archivist, developed a questionnaire and contacted all known living Tennessee Civil War veterans, asking them to return the questionnaires to Nashville.

My third great uncle Solomon received a survey and filled it out in 1922 when he was 75.

It gives a very interesting look both at the war and at his life near Haywood County, TN during that time.

Just a portion of Solomon’s comments illustrate the importance of honor that existed in the south in the years after the war as well as included the names of some well known soldiers.

“I will relate to you the battle of Tishamingo Creek, Miss. May 15 1864 as I saw it. Gen. Sturgess with 8,000 men black and white came down from Memphis, Tenn. to find Gen. Forrest and his men and when Sturgess found Forrest and got him stirred up we went on them like a nest of hornets. Forrest had 3000 men. Sturgess and his men had formed a line on top of a hill in the woods. Forrests men when given orders to charge had to cross a field in open view of the enemy and we kept going and the enemy was so excited that they was shooting too high and cannon balls and bombs was flying over our heads singing like bumble bees…

We captured all of the artillery medical wagons and ambulance and forage wagons. We run them all the way from the field of battle to Ripley, Miss. A distance of 60 miles…

I was detailed to guard a Federal doctor that we captured, but have forgotten his name. I know he had a very fine gold watch which I could have taken but wouldn't do it and if he is living I would like for him to write me. As I know he recollects the incident that happened to him later on. I never robbed a prisoner under no circumstances as I never thought it was right. Hoping this may be of some benefit to you in the near future, I beg to remain,

Sincerely yours in Peace,

S.N. Brantley
Halls, Tenn. Rt. 2 
P.S. Please publish this letter in the Lauderdale Co, Enterprise at Ripley, Tenn.”

It’s interesting that Solomon signed his letter, “yours in peace.”

I would love to find a photo of Solomon or his brothers. The children of Solomon and his wife, Nancy A. Abernathy were Augustus, Emmett A., Alsia, William L., Emma Clay, and Raymond. In the 1910 census, they were living in District 7, Lauderdale, TN.

In 1923, Solomon was still alive and age 75 when he filled out the Civil War Questionnaire.

I do not know when he died or what happened to his children but finding more about all three of these brothers is on my list.

You can read his answers to the Tennessee Civil War questionnaire here or find more about the Brantley family of Haywood County here.

No comments:

Post a Comment