...after Vicksburg and the parole?

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Everyone knows Grant's conditions of parole after Vicksburg's surrender; however, what happened to the soldiers after they signed the parole document?

(some research, followed by a question)

It took days to get the parole documents together; in fact, the work was so cumbersome that civilians were hired to help. Meanwhile, the soldiers waited for days, giving them time to contemplate their futures. The Louisianans were too close to home to not consider the option of traveling home. Many others did not have that option, but still didn't like the idea of going to a parole camp. Others did not want to fight any more and thought they might have a loophole.

Most of those who did not sign the parole document were in the Heavy Artillery battalions that defended the river. It has been suggested that they did not sign because they did not consider themselves defeated. That's a romantic thought, but it doesn't hold up - a letter written by U.S. Grant suggests that they did not sign because they simply didn't want to fight any more: signing the parole meant that you agreed not to fight against the Union until you had been officially exchanged. Once exchanged, you were again a soldier and could be sent back to fight.

Some of the Confederate soldiers wanted to simply sign the parole document and then go home. Because of the parole agreement with Pemberton, Grant couldn't agree to this. Any soldiers who did not sign were sent north to Union prisons. But Grant also suggested that these soldiers should be allowed to sign the Oath once arriving at prison, and could then be released. Where they went at that point was up to them. In fact, upon arrival some took the Oath and then fought for the North.

Those who were paroled at Vicksburg began marching out of the city soon after. If they came in contact with Union soldiers, they showed their parole documents and were not hassled. Some continued marching for days, until they arrived at the Confederate parole camps in Meridian Mississippi and Demopolis Alabama. Pemberton realized the futility of making the soldiers stay in a parole camp, so issued 30-day furloughs. This also allowed him to save face regarding those who didn't show up at the parole camps. Most of the army had headed East toward Meridian, but had to go south below Jackson due to conflict there. This was a good point for some to continue south and head home to southeast Louisiana (or cross the Mississippi further down and head west), and many did. Others continued to Meridian, received their furlough, and then immediately turned around and headed back the way they had come.

I don't know what happened to the soldiers from areas East of Demopolis (I haven't researched it). I assume they stayed in the parole camps until 'exchanged'. Pemberton did not handle the prisoner exchange the way Grant had intended (parole list was supposedly lost, among other things), and largely as a result of this Vicksburg exchange fiasco, the North halted prisoner exchanges soon after. There is quite a bit more to this, but that's another subject.

As mentioned earlier, most of the paroled soldiers headed east toward Meridian. But not all of them. In particular, some of the Louisianans attempted to take a shorter route home - west across the Mississippi river. These were soldiers who had agreed to the parole conditions, signing the parole document, but who did not head toward a parole camp with their command. Those who stayed with their regiments and marched with their command, as expected, toward Meridian, were not hassled by Union troops - there were tens of thousand of them, so it was logistically impossible to pay much attention to them. But those who 'straggled' across the Mississippi, without their command, sometimes ran into problems when they encountered Union troops.

I have found at least one instance of soldiers traveling south toward New Orleans (and home) being stopped several times by Union boats on the Mississippi, showing their parole papers and being sent on their way; however, I have also found instances of soldiers being captured crossing the Mississippi immediately after leaving Vicksburg, and being sent to prison.

Does anyone have additional information about where these paroled men who immediately violated the conditions of parole (by not heading to parole camps), ended up? e.g-what prisons were they sent to?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
There's another discussion about this within the Civil War Talk forums.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to find the link to that thread.

From what I remember, let's just say Grant was not too happy about seeing some of the same CSA troops that signed the oath after Vicksburg . . . only to be recaptured during the same year.

I'll continue to search for the thread.
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Everyone knows Grant's conditions of parole after Vicksburg's surrender; however, what happened to the soldiers after they signed the Oath of Allegiance?

(some research, followed by a question)

It took days to get the parole documents together; in fact, the work was so cumbersome that civilians were hired to help. Meanwhile, the soldiers waited for days, giving them time to contemplate their futures. The Louisianans were too close to home to not consider the option of traveling home. Many others did not have that option, but still didn't like the idea of going to a parole camp. Others did not want to fight any more and thought they might have a loophole.

Most of those who did not take the Oath of Allegiance were in the Heavy Artillery battalions that defended the river. It has been suggested that they did not sign because they did not consider themselves defeated. That's a romantic thought, but it doesn't hold up - a letter written by U.S. Grant suggests that they did not sign because they simply didn't want to fight any more: signing the parole meant that you agreed not to fight against the Union until you had been officially exchanged. Once exchanged, you were again a soldier and could be sent back to fight.

Some of the Confederate soldiers wanted to simply take the Oath of Allegiance and then go home. Because of the parole agreement with Pemberton, Grant couldn't agree to this. Any soldiers who did not sign were sent north to Union prisons. But Grant also suggested that these soldiers should be allowed to sign the Oath once arriving at prison, and could then be released. Where they went at that point was up to them. In fact, upon arrival some took the Oath and then fought for the North.

Those who were paroled at Vicksburg began marching out of the city soon after. If they came in contact with Union soldiers, they showed their parole documents and were not hassled. Some continued marching for days, until they arrived at the Confederate parole camps in Meridian Mississippi and Demopolis Alabama. Pemberton realized the futility of making the soldiers stay in a parole camp, so issued 30-day furloughs. This also allowed him to save face regarding those who didn't show up at the parole camps. Most of the army had headed East toward Meridian, but had to go south below Jackson due to conflict there. This was a good point for some to continue south and head home to southeast Louisiana (or cross the Mississippi further down and head west), and many did. Others continued to Meridian, received their furlough, and then immediately turned around and headed back the way they had come.

I don't know what happened to the soldiers from areas East of Demopolis (I haven't researched it). I assume they stayed in the parole camps until 'exchanged'. Pemberton did not handle the prisoner exchange the way Grant had intended (parole list was supposedly lost, among other things), and largely as a result of this Vicksburg exchange fiasco, the North halted prisoner exchanges soon after. There is quite a bit more to this, but that's another subject.

As mentioned earlier, most of the paroled soldiers headed east toward Meridian. But not all of them. In particular, some of the Louisianans attempted to take a shorter route home - west across the Mississippi river. These were soldiers who had agreed to the parole conditions, signing the Oath of Allegiance, but who did not head toward a parole camp with their command. Those who stayed with their regiments and marched with their command, as expected, toward Meridian, were not hassled by Union troops - there were tens of thousand of them, so it was logistically impossible to pay much attention to them. But those who 'straggled' across the Mississippi, without their command, sometimes ran into problems when they encountered Union troops.

I have found at least one instance of soldiers traveling south toward New Orleans (and home) being stopped several times by Union boats on the Mississippi, showing their parole papers and being sent on their way; however, I have also found instances of soldiers being captured crossing the Mississippi immediately after leaving Vicksburg, and being sent to prison.

Does anyone have additional information about where these paroled men who immediately violated the conditions of parole (by not heading to parole camps), ended up? e.g-what prisons were they sent to?
You have a fold3 membership, yes? Try looking at the service record of CSO Rice, 2nd lt of co M, 7th TN Cav. There are a number of documents relating to co M's time in Demopolis, including a letter stating that CSO had never received any furlough and wanted a trip home.

I have a feeling that if you were to dig through service records of other company level officers, you would find many day-to-day documents having to do with rations, equipment, etc.
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
...old stuff, but I think I found the answer. I was reading a letter by a soldier who was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 and sent "with a few hundred" others to Gratiot St. prison. That prison being overcrowded, they were sent to Camp Morton. I wasn't able to find him (George Brosheer) in the NPS Vicksburg parole list, but I was able to find other soldiers who were captured when Vicksburg surrendered and ended up at Gratiot St. Prison:

Information for Clairville Richard, captured at Vicksburg, refused parole, sent to Gratiot for refusing parole:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8894225

I was able to find Clairville Richard on the NPS Vicksburg parole list site, and he is listed as 'refused parole':
https://www.nps.gov/vick/learn/historyculture/confederate-parole-records-r.htm

Also found these lists of Gratiot prisoners, some captured at Vicksburg, and all from Missouri:
http://www.civilwarstlouis.com/Gratiot/List1.htm
http://www.civilwarstlouis.com/Gratiot/List2.htm

From the first link above I was able to find Lewis Roberts on the NPS site, and there is no indication that he refused parole.

John F Abshire: Captured at Vicksburg

From the second link above I was able to find John F Abshire on the NPS site, and there is also no indication that he refused parole;however, he has a much more interesting story - From a hyperlink in the List1 link above:

John F. Abshire - Hanged October 14, 1864 for being a "guerrilla and murderer," for participating in the killing of William Hayes of Wayne County, Missouri. John F. Abshire was born in Arkansas about 1843. He grew up in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. In 1861 served four months under General Jeff. Thompson. Enlisted under Captain Townstend. Captured at Bloomfield Jan. 27, 1863. Exchanged. Assigned to 6th Missouri Infantry and sent to Vicksburg. Captured at Vicksburg July 4, 1863. Sent to St. Louis where he was tried, convicted, and executed. Married (wife's name unknown).

and from the following link: http://ozarks-history.blogspot.com/2014/08/execution-of-john-f-abshire.html

After being taken prisoner a second time, Abshire, according to his own later story, decided he did not want to be exchanged again but instead wanted to get out of the Southern army and become a Union man (as was not uncommon during the Civil War in Missouri). He was taken to Camp Morton, Indiana, where he made arrangements to join the Union Army. The day before he was to be released from custody for the purpose of joining the Union Army, however, he was taken to St. Louis and locked up at Gratiot Street Prison but for what reason he did not know.
After his capture someone had recognized him as having been a member of Ellison's band, and he was charged with operating as a guerrilla against the rules of war and with killing a man named William Hayes in Wayne County the previous January.
 

AndyHall

Colonel
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Keep in mind that the Confederates who surrendered at Vicksburg did not sign an"Oath of Allegiance." They signed a parole document, that only restricted their behavior until they were formally (i.e., administratively) exchanged as prisoners.

denmanparole1.jpg
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Thanks, I was reminded of that in another thread - it's an old habit I'm trying to kick. I have updated the first post to read 'parole document' where appropriate. Here is my g-g-grandfather's parole doc (which I gave the filename 'oath' when I created it years back):

Page 5Oath.jpg
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
From 'To Die in Chicago': The Dix-Hill Cartel of July 22, 1862 provided for a general exchange of prisoners. Ironically (to this thread, anyway), many of them were sent to Vicksburg for exchange. Stanton excluded those classified as 'guerillas'. He also ordered that prisoners could decline exchange and take the oath of allegiance to the U.S.; however, they had to remain north of the Ohio River.

Those who 'refused parole' at the surrender of Vicksburg would have been sent North to prison. From reading journals of Confederate prisoners, at various times some prisoners were allowed to take the oath, but many were not - sometimes the distinction was made based on the fact that they had been soldiers in the Confederacy (the Northern prisons housing Confederate soldiers also had loads of prisoners that had not been soldiers, including women and negro civilians).
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Just found this:

from https://archive.org/stream/campmorton186118133wins/campmorton186118133wins_djvu.txt

One group of prisoners had been trying for many months to secure their release [from Camp Morton] by amicable means. They were mostly Louisianans who had been captured in the Vicksburg campaign in July, 1863. Many of them had been conscripted into service and were not sorry to be taken prisoners. When offered parole on the field, they refused it, having got the impression from some source that they would be allowed to take the oath of allegiance to the Union and return home.

Instead of being sent to St. Louis or Memphis, given the oath and released, as they expected, they were sent to Camp Morton, and there they had remained. They kept themselves aloof from the other prisoners, and presently, under the leadership of Louis Lefebvre, began an agitation to secure their liberty. Stevens was impressed by their story and by their good behavior. He gave them what help he could, and allowed them to communicate with their New Orleans friends. In May, 1864, Governor Hahn of Louisiana petitioned for their discharge, and in July, Adjutant General Noble, of Indiana, wrote to Hoffman on their behalf. It was decided at Washington, however, that no exception to the rules could be made in their case : the amnesty proclamation did not apply to prisoners of war, and the Louisianans were in no way dis- tinguished from other prisoners who wished to take the oath of allegiance.

Noble next applied to the generals who had been in charge of operations at Vicksburg. Had any promises been made to the Louisianans? Major General John A. Logan had made none ; General Sherman said that Grant must know about the matter if anyone did; Grant replied that he had made no pledges, but recommended on September 22 that all prisoners sent north from Vicksburg after its capture be allowed to take the oath of allegiance and be set at liberty.

An order for their release was given on November 25. As soon as the prisoners' rolls were forwarded, the oath of allegi- ance was administered to over four hundred and fifty men and they were released on January 2 and 3, 1865. After eighteen months of confinement they were a worn, ragged, sorry crew, most of them without funds; the Sentinel, indig- nant at their long, undeserved imprisonment, demanded that they be given care and assistance in making their way home. The prisoners themselves showed a generous spirit, acknowledging with gratitude the efforts that had been made on their behalf by camp and state officials. 38

edited to add: I'm now finding other Louisianans from the 1st LA Heavy Artillery who refused the parole and were sent to Gratiot and then Camp Morton (both men in the examples below died in Camp Morton). Given the expectations of the Lousianans described above, this might explain the mystery as to why so many members of the Heavy Artillery batteries along the river refused their parole, putting to rest the theory that they refused parole because they felt they had never surrendered the river defenses. They were just tired of fighting;on the other hand, the ones who DID sign the parole might very well have known that it would NOT keep them from fighting later. My ancestor (8th LA Hvy Artillery, as opposed to 1st LA Hvy Artillery examples shown below) signed his parole, then fought the rest of the war with Wingfield's 3rd Partisan Rangers. It's also a little ironic that those who did not want to fight, went to prison and died, while others fought and lived.

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 1.28.52 PM.png
Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 1.34.00 PM.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
Everyone knows Grant's conditions of parole after Vicksburg's surrender; however, what happened to the soldiers after they signed the parole document?

(some research, followed by a question)

It took days to get the parole documents together; in fact, the work was so cumbersome that civilians were hired to help. Meanwhile, the soldiers waited for days, giving them time to contemplate their futures. The Louisianans were too close to home to not consider the option of traveling home. Many others did not have that option, but still didn't like the idea of going to a parole camp. Others did not want to fight any more and thought they might have a loophole.

Most of those who did not sign the parole document were in the Heavy Artillery battalions that defended the river. It has been suggested that they did not sign because they did not consider themselves defeated. That's a romantic thought, but it doesn't hold up - a letter written by U.S. Grant suggests that they did not sign because they simply didn't want to fight any more: signing the parole meant that you agreed not to fight against the Union until you had been officially exchanged. Once exchanged, you were again a soldier and could be sent back to fight.

Some of the Confederate soldiers wanted to simply sign the parole document and then go home. Because of the parole agreement with Pemberton, Grant couldn't agree to this. Any soldiers who did not sign were sent north to Union prisons. But Grant also suggested that these soldiers should be allowed to sign the Oath once arriving at prison, and could then be released. Where they went at that point was up to them. In fact, upon arrival some took the Oath and then fought for the North.

Those who were paroled at Vicksburg began marching out of the city soon after. If they came in contact with Union soldiers, they showed their parole documents and were not hassled. Some continued marching for days, until they arrived at the Confederate parole camps in Meridian Mississippi and Demopolis Alabama. Pemberton realized the futility of making the soldiers stay in a parole camp, so issued 30-day furloughs. This also allowed him to save face regarding those who didn't show up at the parole camps. Most of the army had headed East toward Meridian, but had to go south below Jackson due to conflict there. This was a good point for some to continue south and head home to southeast Louisiana (or cross the Mississippi further down and head west), and many did. Others continued to Meridian, received their furlough, and then immediately turned around and headed back the way they had come.

I don't know what happened to the soldiers from areas East of Demopolis (I haven't researched it). I assume they stayed in the parole camps until 'exchanged'. Pemberton did not handle the prisoner exchange the way Grant had intended (parole list was supposedly lost, among other things), and largely as a result of this Vicksburg exchange fiasco, the North halted prisoner exchanges soon after. There is quite a bit more to this, but that's another subject.

As mentioned earlier, most of the paroled soldiers headed east toward Meridian. But not all of them. In particular, some of the Louisianans attempted to take a shorter route home - west across the Mississippi river. These were soldiers who had agreed to the parole conditions, signing the parole document, but who did not head toward a parole camp with their command. Those who stayed with their regiments and marched with their command, as expected, toward Meridian, were not hassled by Union troops - there were tens of thousand of them, so it was logistically impossible to pay much attention to them. But those who 'straggled' across the Mississippi, without their command, sometimes ran into problems when they encountered Union troops.

I have found at least one instance of soldiers traveling south toward New Orleans (and home) being stopped several times by Union boats on the Mississippi, showing their parole papers and being sent on their way; however, I have also found instances of soldiers being captured crossing the Mississippi immediately after leaving Vicksburg, and being sent to prison.

Does anyone have additional information about where these paroled men who immediately violated the conditions of parole (by not heading to parole camps), ended up? e.g-what prisons were they sent to?

Confederate east Tennesseans returned here from Vicksburg and reported to various "Parole Camps" that had been established to await exchange.
 

civilken

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 25, 2013
nice work boys I enjoyed the story and the copies of the paroles I'll bet most wanted to just go home after nearly starving to death some home cooking and a warm bed.
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Confederate east Tennesseans returned here from Vicksburg and reported to various "Parole Camps" that had been established to await exchange.

Most of those who refused parole were from the Heavy Artillery Batteries along the river: 1st Tennessee, 1st Louisiana, 8th Louisiana. There were two decisions to be made: 1) Do I sign the parole?; 2) Do I report to the parole camp? These decisions seemed to be based on information received in advance;e.g-Louisianans from the 1st LA HVY ART thought they could refuse parole and then take the oath up North; others signed the parole document and them headed straight home; others signed the parole document and then headed straight for the Demopolis parole camp. Some thought that, upon arriving in Demopolis, they were given a furlough because they deserved it, not realizing that the furloughs were being given to cover all the no-shows who headed straight home.
 
Joined
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Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
Most of those who refused parole were from the Heavy Artillery Batteries along the river: 1st Tennessee, 1st Louisiana, 8th Louisiana. There were two decisions to be made: 1) Do I sign the parole?; 2) Do I report to the parole camp? These decisions seemed to be based on information received in advance;e.g-Louisianans from the 1st LA HVY ART thought they could refuse parole and then take the oath up North; others signed the parole document and them headed straight home; others signed the parole document and then headed straight for the Demopolis parole camp. Some thought that, upon arriving in Demopolis, they were given a furlough because they deserved it, not realizing that the furloughs were being given to cover all the no-shows who headed straight home.

A number of the east Tennesseans didn't report or deserted from the parole camps. After hiding out for a year several of them joined the Union 90-day mounted infantry regiments that were formed in the State in 1864. One was a 2nd great-grandfather of mine that served in the 3rd Maryland Artillery during the siege.
 

ucvrelics

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Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
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I have spent over 6 years, researching, mapping and excavating the parole camps from the Vicksburg troops. I'll give you the short version. All the Vicksburg troops that were official paroled were sent to Enterprise, Columbus or Demopolis, to parole camps where they couldn't do anything until official exchanged. All soldiers who lived east od the Miss river got 30 days leave and where to return at that time. The troops from Miss that were at the parole camp at Enterprise got 30 days leave and they when home to JONES county aka Free State of Jones.

A lot of other soldiers just slipped away after the surrender of July 4th and a lot made it home across the Miss river, some didn't. If you didn't have a copy of your parole you were arrested. The US Customs house in New Orleans was full of captured CS soldiers that were shipped North.

Speaking of the 1st Tenn Hvy Arty Here is one my favorite tintypes in my collection. This is George Washington Whitten 1st Tenn Hvy Arty. I believe this image was taken at Vicksburg soon after the Tenn Arty arrived. He is holding all the usual photographers props.

And that is the very short version.

20160309_145713(1).jpg
 

AUG

Major
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Location
Texas
To note, Cockrell's 1st Missouri Brigade and the Missouri batteries attached to it were among the few units from west of the Mississippi that remained to fight east of it. IIRC they were sent to Demopolis for eventual 'exchange,' and as with many of the Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia units, the Missourians joined Polk's Army of Mississippi, which later became the Third Corps of the Army of Tennessee in 1864.

Most of the Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas commands were later reorganized back in their respective states after the troops were 'exchanged,' and most remained in the Trans-Mississippi throughout the rest of the war.
 

Vicksburger

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Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Saint Joseph
I have spent over 6 years, researching, mapping and excavating the parole camps from the Vicksburg troops. I'll give you the short version. All the Vicksburg troops that were official paroled were sent to Enterprise, Columbus or Demopolis, to parole camps where they couldn't do anything until official exchanged. All soldiers who lived east od the Miss river got 30 days leave and where to return at that time. The troops from Miss that were at the parole camp at Enterprise got 30 days leave and they when home to JONES county aka Free State of Jones.

A lot of other soldiers just slipped away after the surrender of July 4th and a lot made it home across the Miss river, some didn't. If you didn't have a copy of your parole you were arrested. The US Customs house in New Orleans was full of captured CS soldiers that were shipped North.

Speaking of the 1st Tenn Hvy Arty Here is one my favorite tintypes in my collection. This is George Washington Whitten 1st Tenn Hvy Arty. I believe this image was taken at Vicksburg soon after the Tenn Arty arrived. He is holding all the usual photographers props.

And that is the very short version.

View attachment 112318
It would be interesting if you would care to post any pictures of your excavation of Enterprise or Demopolis.
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
It's interesting the take on what the parole document meant to various soldiers. All who signed were obviously ordered to go to a parole camp, and marched out of Vicksburg with their units. From the diaries and journals I've read, some headed straight to the parole camp as ordered, and didn't seem to consider the option of not doing so, while others never considered going - they headed out toward the parole camps with their companies, but then veered off toward home as soon as they thought it was safe. Most had about 7 days from the surrender to think about what they would do, and they were mostly sitting around doing nothing during that period.

As far as furloughs are concerned, I believe the majority of those were issued once the dust settled at the parole camps and the Confederate brass realized that there were a high percentage of no-shows. Issuing furloughs at that point seemed like the best way to handle things, even to no-shows. This probably encouraged the no-shows to come back (not fearing reprisal for being gone), as well as those who did show up. I wonder if it wasn't also an effort to save face for the botched effort to get the prisoners to the parole camps. The gentleman's agreement of prisoners honoring paroles and showing up for exchanges, even when not escorted, might seem strange to us given that 'anything goes' in war, but many soldiers talked about it in their journals and thought very little of anyone who violated that agreement. Examples abound.
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
This is George Washington Whitten 1st Tenn Hvy Arty. I believe this image was taken at Vicksburg soon after the Tenn Arty arrived. He is holding all the usual photographers props.

View attachment 112318

Do you have a bigger scan of this? I'm collecting heavy artillery images, trying to match uniforms to units. I have two images of 1st TN HVY ART soldiers, and would like to compare.

Whoops - just figured out how to enlarge it...duh.
 
Last edited:

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Most of the Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas commands were later reorganized back in their respective states after the troops were 'exchanged,' and most remained in the Trans-Mississippi throughout the rest of the war.

That agrees with what I've seen. There is a posted image of two 1st TN Heavy Artillery brothers in another thread, and one of them (at least) ended up in the cavalry. My ancestor who was in the 8th LA Heavy Artillery also ended up in the cavalry, and I found one other example, the details of which elude me. I wonder if that tendency was because the soldiers at Vicksburg were stuck in the same positions for so long and thought they would be moving around as much as possible if on horseback?
 
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