Discussion Looking for information on teamsters

James N.

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View attachment 392899
Image of Union Teamster (likely with the 2nd Vermont) - source Library of Congress

In various research I've done I've come across service cards for teamsters. They seem, to me, to exist somewhere in an in-between state - not soldiers and yet not civilians. I'd love to get some clarification on these men. For instance:
  • Were they enlisted men?
  • What role did they play?
  • Did they qualify for pensions?
  • Were there differences between the CSA and Union teamsters?
I really need a "Civil War Teamsters for Idiots" level instruction here! Thanks in advance to all who answer.
The two terms, wagoner and teamster, were used interchangeably. Also called a "driver," but for some reason the latter was more often associated with an ambulance. There also existed a managerial position known as the "wagon master," who was paid more and was mounted on a horse.
This subject has already been pretty fully covered, but I'd like to stress that, at least at regimental and probably also brigade level, many men were detailed to the duty because of age, illness, or infirmary. Somewhere I remember a father who was a teamster for the regiment in which his son served. One of the war's most famous wagon masters was former stagecoach line owner and operator John Harmon who with the title of Chief Quartermaster was legendary as Stonewall Jackson's during his Valley Campaign and later in Jackson's Second Corps.
 
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Fairfield

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One of the soldiers in my study was a waggoner with 19th Maine Infantry. His enlistment paper says that he was 44 years old--but that isn't so: genealogical records show that he was 66! He was given the job of waggoner (looks like his military superiors weren't fooled--I suspect that he got that assignment because elderly fighting soldiers weren't much in demand). He was in charge of the Company's wagon; he also had the responsibility of collecting rifles and clothing that soldiers had discarded. He qualified for a pension; he didn't live to collect it, but his widow did.
 

bflowers

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View attachment 392899
Image of Union Teamster (likely with the 2nd Vermont) - source Library of Congress

In various research I've done I've come across service cards for teamsters. They seem, to me, to exist somewhere in an in-between state - not soldiers and yet not civilians. I'd love to get some clarification on these men. For instance:
  • Were they enlisted men?
  • What role did they play?
  • Did they qualify for pensions?
  • Were there differences between the CSA and Union teamsters?
I really need a "Civil War Teamsters for Idiots" level instruction here! Thanks in advance to all who an

View attachment 392899
Image of Union Teamster (likely with the 2nd Vermont) - source Library of Congress

In various research I've done I've come across service cards for teamsters. They seem, to me, to exist somewhere in an in-between state - not soldiers and yet not civilians. I'd love to get some clarification on these men. For instance:
  • Were they enlisted men?
  • What role did they play?
  • Did they qualify for pensions?
  • Were there differences between the CSA and Union teamsters?
I really need a "Civil War Teamsters for Idiots" level instruction here! Thanks in advance to all who answer.
I only have a few moments to respond, but one of the men I am researching was a teamster. He was an enslaved Black man, conscripted into the Confederacy. He did receive a pension, several decades later. The delay appears to me a lack of knowledge that he was entitled to one. I have a copy of his application and what was needed in order for him to receive said pension. I'm very curious to understand his job description.
 

lupaglupa

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I only have a few moments to respond, but one of the men I am researching was a teamster. He was an enslaved Black man, conscripted into the Confederacy. He did receive a pension, several decades later. The delay appears to me a lack of knowledge that he was entitled to one. I have a copy of his application and what was needed in order for him to receive said pension. I'm very curious to understand his job description.
Did he receive a state or Federal pension?
 

Rhea Cole

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William Stansel is buried in the Hazen Brigade Monument enclosure at Stones River NB. Stansel was gazetted by a group of wounded Union officers that he evacuated back to Nashville on the night of Dec 31, 1862 & Jan 1, 1863. Despite attacks by scattered elements of Wheeler’s cavalry, Stansel was steadfast. He survived the battle, but was struck in the head with a piece of firewood during an altercation over a card game a few weeks later.

Even as Stansel carried on into the night, other teamsters abandoned their loads of wounded men to their fate. The self-liberated teamsters had good reason to be skiddish. Earlier in the day, Wheeler’s troopers had herded 33 captured teamsters into the middle of the Nashville Pike & gunned them down. CSA raiders & irregulars habitually killed both the mules & black teamsters they captured.

In Nashville, the quartermaster in charge of the depot was constantly on the lookout for teamsters. He was also constantly butting heads with the provost guards. In order to keep the supplies moving, he would have to bail his teamsters out of jail. They were repeatedly
charged with speeding on city streets.

There was no such thing as unemployment in wartime Middle Tennessee. Advertisements were placed in newspapers as far north as Chicago offering top wages for teamsters.

On the Mississippi, Tennessee & Cumberland Rivers any teamster, deckhand or USCT member who fell into regular or irregular CSA attackers hands were murdered in cold blood. What would seem, on the face of it, to be a non-combatant post was actually fraught with mortal danger.
 

bflowers

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Did he receive a state or Federal pension?
I did not realize there was a difference, but you are right. This appears to be a pension from the state. It is listed under Alabama, Texas, and Virginia U.S. Confederate Pensions. The form says it needed to be filed with the clerk of their city or county. The language of the fill in the blank at the bottom specifically says, "in the (blank) of the (blank) in the state of Virginia." So, it does seem that the document was specific to the state.
 

John Hartwell

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I did not realize there was a difference, but you are right. This appears to be a pension from the state. It is listed under Alabama, Texas, and Virginia U.S. Confederate Pensions. The form says it needed to be filed with the clerk of their city or county. The language of the fill in the blank at the bottom specifically says, "in the (blank) of the (blank) in the state of Virginia." So, it does seem that the document was specific to the state.
There were no Federal pensions for ex-confederate veterans. Each former CSA state had its own pension provisions.
 

bflowers

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There were no Federal pensions for ex-confederate veterans. Each former CSA state had its own pension provisions.
So, your comment made me wonder where the funding came from, which lead me here: https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/w...-government-still-pays-two-civil-war-pensions

"In the 19th and early 20th centuries, only Union soldiers were eligible for military benefits. It wasn't until the 1930s that confederate soldiers began receiving pensions from the federal government. Prior to that, confederate soldiers could apply for benefits through the state they resided in."

The gentleman I've researched died in 1929. He requests for help with filing for this pension in 1925. And while, I am now pretty certain he only received a state pension, I wonder if part of why he was made aware of it was because of talks regarding this becoming a federal thing as well. I'm sure that was an ongoing political conversation. He actually brought a newspaper article on Confederate pensions with him when he asked someone for help in filing for one.

This makes me wonder more about the climate of his petition for a pension. It also makes me wonder if the federal pension was reserved for soldiers, specifically, and would not have applied to teamsters.

The article I attached was written in 2012 and at that time, there were still two dependents receiving federal Civil War pensions, though I do not see where they state if the dependents were from Confederate or Union ancestors.
 

lupaglupa

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@bflowers the fact that he was enslaved and conscripted may have put him into a different category than regular CSA veterans. I know that in Mississippi the state did give pensions to formerly enslaved persons who "served" in the army, usually as servants to their owners. I'm not sure how other states handled that.
 
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A 2 x great-uncle served as a teamster in Company A 1st TN Cavalry (Union). He was an enlisted man & drew a post-war pension.

The Union 13th TN Cavalry had a number of Colored Teamsters & Cooks on the regiments muster-roll.

Confederate Private John N. Chase (married to a 3 x 1st cousin) served as a Teamster and drew a pension from the State of Tennessee.

"In the fullest sense, any man in the military service who receives pay, whether sworn in or not, is a soldier, because he is subject to military law. Under this general head, laborers, teamsters, sutlers, chaplains, are soldiers. In a more limited sense, a private soldier is a man enlisted in the military service to serve in the cavalry, artillery, or infantry. He is said to be enlisted when he has been examined, his duties of obedience explained to him, and after he has taken the prescribed oath".

General August Kautz's, USA,” Customs of Service, for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers" (1864), page. 11
 
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CThrasher

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John Sparkman of the 48th Tennessee Infantry served with the quartermasters in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. He worked with teamsters and his diary included comments on "teamster negroes." You can read some quotes from his diary here.

http://www.tennessee-scv.org/camp155/Dr Bradley,Civil War/cwrc/sparkman.html

There is also a published version of the diary which I believe includes more details.
 

bflowers

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