Many Questions About Another Second Great-Grandfather's Service

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Aug 2, 2011
Charleston, SC
I'm finally moving on to another second great-grandfather who served for the Confederacy in the Civil War - Alexander Edward Powell from South Carolina. I have copies of his muster sheets, am waiting on (hopefully more) records from the NARA, have a copy of his pension. But as with everything, the more information I obtain - the more questions I come up with.

So here are the questions - and there are a lot of them! Any help at all would be greatly appreciated! I've gotten pretty good at looking up personal information, but with regards to battles, consolidations of regiments, details such as injuries, furloughs, etc. - I still get completely lost.

His service summary:
  • Enlisted as Private with the South Carolina 10th Infantry Regiment, Company F (Pee Dee Rangers) on July 19, 1861 at White’s Bridge in Marion, South Carolina.
  • In June 1862, listed on a report of soldiers who have “lost their arms and accoutrements in Wither’s Division, 2d Corps, Army of the Mississippi. Report dated near Tupelo June 28, 1862. ‘Lost Musket and accoutrements’”.
  • Listed as “deserted” in October 1862.
  • Listed as “absent without leave” in November 1862.
  • Listed as “absent” in November & December 1862 – “Left near Frankfort, Kentucky”.
  • Listed “Deserted January 1863” for January and February 1863.
  • Listed as “Returned from Desertion March 27, 1863” for March 1863 muster.
  • For September and October 1863, listed as “Wounded and sent to hospital by surgeon from Battle Chickamauga Sept 20, 1863”.
  • For November and December 1863, listed as “Wounded and sent to hospital by surgeon from Battle Chickamauga September 20, 1863”.
  • Admitted March 6, 1865, appears on a register of Jackson Hospital in Richmond, Virginia with diagnosis of “debilitis”. Furloughed March 8, 1865 for 30 days.
  • Applied for and received pension from state of South Carolina January 20, 1920. It states “Wounded at Battle Chickamauga and has suffered some”.
My Questions ...
(1) How was his pension approved in 1920 considering he had deserted for several months in late 1862/early 1863? Why did he "desert" in the first place? Was this a valid statement, or could he in fact have been injured and was given leave to recuperate? (He had a son born "abt 1864" ... so it is assumed/determined he was at home in South Carolina for at least part of the stated time of his desertion.)
(2) What happened at Tupelo, Mississippi when he lost his arms and accoutrements? Many members of his regiment were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
(3) What hospital was he sent to following his injury at Chickamauga?
(4) How did he end up at Jackson Hospital in March 1865? Where did he spend his furlough? What does “furloughed for 30 days” mean? Was he able to rejoin his regiment following his furlough, or did he make his way back home, considering the ANV surrendered April 9 1865 and his regiment surrendered April 26 1865?



2nd Lieutenant
Nov 9, 2010
Chesapeake, VA

I'll take a shot at answering a few of your questions:

1) Based on some info I found on your ancestor's unit [ and ], the 10th South Carolina was involved in the Kentucky Campaign in the fall of 1862, when Bragg's army marched north from Tennessee into Kentucky. In September, the regiment was involved in the fight at Munfordsville, KY, Sep 14-17, in which a large Union garrison was captured. The Battle of Perryville followed on October 8th, after which Bragg's forces retreated back into Tennessee. That retreat caused low morale among the Confederates involved (many felt they won the fight at Perryville and didn't understand why they were retreating), as did the paucity of food. Your ancestor might have been fed up with the situation and wanted to go home for a while. (Maybe his family needed him at home.) Also, because of the bad weather and thus bad roads, bad logistics, etc, Civil War fighting often took a break for the winter and the troops went into "winter quarters" to await the spring and good weather. Perhaps your ancestor thought he wouldn't be needed over the winter anyways, so his absence wouldn't hurt the cause. However, as the spring (and the fighting season) was approaching In March 1863, he might have thought that he would be needed again in his unit and so returned. I believe Bragg may have also offered an amnesty at that time to all deserters if they returned. In any event, those that returned from a desertion were often welcomed back into the fold. The fact that he returned from his absence to fight and then got injured obviously made him appear deserving of a pension.

2) I don't think anything actually happened at Tupelo in June. After the battle of Shiloh in April, 1862, the Confederate forces withdrew to Corinth, MS. The Union forces slowly advanced on Corinth and then laid seige (Apr 29 to May 30). Confederate forces were able to sneak out of Corinth during the night of May 29, after which they withdrew to Tupelo. At that time, it seems the Confederates were able to catch up with all their administrative work, which included reports on the actions of the previous month or two. It is likely that the Pee Dee Rangers were involved in some action during the Corinth campaign that wasn't accounted for in the reports until June, when they had a chance to get resupplied.

3) I believe the Confederate wounded after Chickamauga went to various hospitals set up in that area of northern Georgia (not Chattanooga as that's where the defeated Union forces were holed up.) A "hospital" might simply have been a church or house that was converted into a makeshift hospital, not a built-to-purpose medical center like we know today.

4) By March 1865, your ancestor's unit had been involved in the fighting at Chattanooga TN; Atlanta, GA; Franklin and Nashville, TN--all defeats for the Confederates--and then, with the remnants of the Confederate Army of Tennessee pulled east to help defend against Sherman's movements through the Carolinas, your ancestor was probably in North Carolina, where he was stricken with "debilitis" (which apparently is another name for dysentery [ ]). Evidently he was sent to Richmond, VA for care. At that time, Richmond had been surrounded by Grant's forces for months and supplies were becoming scarce. Your ancestor was likely given a furlough (a leave of absence, or in his case, a sick leave) to recuperate as the hospital in Richmond may not have been able to handle him. He may have gone home to South Carolina. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether he returned to his unit before their surrender.

Hope my info helped. Other forum participants might be able to correct my info or add more. Meanwhile, let us know if you have more questions.


P.S. Here's a short history of the unit from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, run by the National Park Service
10th Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Marion, near Georgetown, South Carolina, in July, 1861. Its members were raised in the counties of Georgetown, Horry, Williamsburg, Marion, and Charleston. The regiment moved to Cat Island where many of the men suffered from typhoid fever, measels, and mumps. In March, 1862, it was sent to Mississippi, then in the Kentucky Campaign it was involved in the capture of Munfordsville. During the war it was assigned to General Manigault's and Sharp's Brigade and from September, 1863 to April, 1864, was consolidated with the 19th Regiment. The unit served with the Army of Tennessee from Murfreesboro to Atlanta, endured Hood's winter campaign in Tennessee, and saw action in North Carolina. It lost 16 killed, 91 wounded, and 2 missing at Murfreesboro, and the 10th/19th had 236 killed or wounded at Chickamauga and totalled 436 men and 293 arms in December, 1863. During the Atlanta Campaign, July 20-28, the 10th Regiment lost 19 of 24 officers engaged and surrendered on April 26, 1865, with no officers and 55 men. The field officers were Colonels Arthur M. Manigault and James F. Pressley, Lieutenant Colonels Julius T. Porcher and C. Irvine Walker,and Major A.J. Shaw.
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