Misinformation/misidentification on Civil War gravestones

John Winn

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Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
Rookie question - who gave the information for the engraving of the stones? I've seen many applications online for WW1 and WW2 and they often have corrections where the information filled out by the family was fixed. Likewise, I've seen a lot of pension applications where the family had facts wrong, especially those done by widows. Could a similar issue be at work here?

I've seen many of the applications and they don't have any info about who submitted them; just the name and unit. In the cemetery where I volunteer, many of the CW stones were obtained by the GAR as a number of the veterans didn't have any local living family. In one case the unit is incorrect and several have the names misspelled. In one case where there was family they added extra engraving to the issued stone; don't see that a lot. Bottom line is it's up for grabs who applied for the stone and how much they actually knew.

Very interesting story and investigation; another one where the group has worked together to solve a mystery. I do love a graveyard mystery.

Edit: I've seen a number of more modern (e.g. WWII) marker applications that had incorrect information. In one case we have a vet who got two markers: one ordered by his mother and another by his brother. Both were delivered to the cemetery but the one ordered by the mother got there first and was installed; the other just sat in a storage shed for decades (until I found it). Turns out both markers are incorrect regarding dates of birth and death. Now, one would think a mother would know at least the birth date but I've got good sources that say otherwise (e.g. the veteran's draft registration, written by him) and his death certificate (confirms the death date for certain). It's one of those things one has to consider when doing genealogical research: many "official" records have errors. It's one reason there's a rule of thumb in genealogy that something shouldn't be considered a fact unless you've got at least three original sources that all agree (more often than not something that never happens). So, in the end you often just have to make the best guess based on what you have and what seems most likely.
 
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bdtex

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I've seen many of the applications and they don't have any info about who submitted them; just the name and unit. In the cemetery where I volunteer, many of the CW stones were obtained by the GAR as a number of the veterans didn't have any local living family. In one case the unit is incorrect and several have the names misspelled. In one case where there was family they added extra engraving to the issued stone; don't see that a lot. Bottom line is it's up for grabs who applied for the stone and how much they actually knew.
That's what I was hoping for when I started this thread. I know other CivilWarTalk members have experienced this with Civil War burials and gravesites.
 

bdtex

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2017-02-10 17.57.48.jpg


Speaking of the Texas Brigade, the first time I went to Vicksburg in February 2017, I went to Soldiers Rest Cemetery both afternoons I was there. The second afternoon, I saw this gravestone and thought it rather odd that a soldier from Co. E, 5th Texas Infantry, who died in 1862, would be buried there. I looked him up on fold3 afterwards and found that he was in Co. E, 5th Texas Cavalry and was part of Sibley's Brigade in the New Mexico Campaign.
 

lupaglupa

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Apr 18, 2019
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It's one of those things one has to consider when doing genealogical research: many "official" records have errors. It's one reason there's a rule of thumb in genealogy that something shouldn't be considered a fact unless you've got at least three original sources that all agree (more often than not something that never happens). So, in the end you often just have to make the best guess based on what you have and what seems most likely.
This is so true. I have a rule that I accept the spelling on the tombstone as the "proper" spelling of a name. I figure if they were willing to cut it into stone, I can take that version.
 

farrargirl

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OK...this great thread definitely brings to mind my ancestor. Private Stephen Peter Rikard ( RIKARD ) of Co. C, 5th Alabama Infantry, lived in Monroe County, Al. (Company C was composed of almost entirely soldiers from Monroe County. I had 9 more in the family in it.).
On a genealogical note, our Monroe County, Alabama Rikards migrated here in 1825 from Newberry County, South Carolina with several other families of German origin. These and other families were part of a large immigration in the 1720’s from Wurtamburg, Germany to Philadelphia and on to South Carolina.
But on to Stephen’s story:
B5FA746C-78AD-4ADF-BACC-A2E0EF3C85DD.jpeg


Stephen remained in Richmond Hospital # 4 for a month due to the severity of his wound. His right hand was damaged so badly, his fingers necessitated amputation. I believe I have traced this, by his admission date to possibly the Battle of Hagerstown/Williamsport occurring during mid-July. This could also have been the event that mortally wounded Gen. Pettigrew. If someone has specifics on this timeframe, it is welcomed.
The various CMSR’s on Stephen contain a few examples of the Rikard surname misspellings:
61927DB5-8B8B-4C88-8BC2-8EA15917D052.jpeg

The last records are a good example of easily someone could get “lost”.
I think his record of death with the name “Kirkard” could have been taken from the entry in the Bowie List.
But, all things considered, I am very greatful that any records were preserved, and his name on his headstone at Mt. Olivet is not terribly wrong :+))...

99BEE1D1-0179-4423-BBE1-B3008C58F250.jpeg
 

lupaglupa

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My husband's family are old Dutch from upstate New York. His immigrant ancestor has so many different spellings we don't know which he himself used. The funny thing is, you can almost always tell the native language of the writer when you see the spelling - the Palatine Germans use one form, the English another, the Dutch another. We can't search by words, we just read lists until something looks likely.
 

bdtex

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Good work @farrargirl . Thanks for adding that to the thread. Great read.
 

farrargirl

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Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
My husband's family are old Dutch from upstate New York. His immigrant ancestor has so many different spellings we don't know which he himself used. The funny thing is, you can almost always tell the native language of the writer when you see the spelling - the Palatine Germans use one form, the English another, the Dutch another. We can't search by words, we just read lists until something looks likely.
Absolutely. The surname brought over by these Palatine Germans was “Raccurst”. From there, the Rikard name appeared fairly early in the South Carolina land grants. I have seen everything from Rykerd, Richard, Record, Rackard, Rikert, etc.etc...
 

Dave D

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Feb 21, 2019
My great grandfather's youngest brother died at Camp Chase prison in 1865 and is buried in the cemetery there - I have written about him before [ John's Grave ]. I first learned of John, his service with the 8th Virginia Cavalry, and eventual demise at Camp Chase from a list of the cemetery's burials. To learn more about him I looked him up in the Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers (CSRs) which indicated that he had been captured on the Winchester-Berryville Pike near Opequon creek on 13 September 1864.

Checking the Official Records of the War (the OR) I learned that the action in which he was captured is referred to as the 'Skirmish at Abrams Creek'; Union Brig Gen John McIntosh's 1st Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry made an armed reconnaissance of the turnpike and overran and captured the dismounted Confederate Cavalry pickets at the juncture of Abram's creek and the pike. The Federals continued their charge west along the turnpike and eventually captured a large proportion of the 8th South Carolina Infantry and its Colonel, and its battle flag. All the prisoners were marched back toward Berryville and eventually moved up to Harper's Ferry for further transport to POW camps.

In McIntosh's report [ OR, Series I, Vol XLIII, Part 1, Report #158 ] he enumerates the number of men captured by regiment :
McIntosh_Counts.jpg

I found the prisoner enrollment registers for Camp Chase online at Archive.org and FamilySearch.org [ e.g. War Department, Reel 23 ] and looked for John and the other 34 Virginia cavalry that were captured that day. I was able to find the 35 enumerated by McIntosh however, I came up -1 for the 21st Cav and +1 for the 36th Battalion :

NameRankRegimentCoRemarksGrave
Deatherage, J.G.Pvt8th VA CavBDied 23 Jan 1865 / Grave 855855
Mehan, PatrickPvt12th VA CavFTranferred to Point Lookout, March 26, 1865 for Exchange
Allen, W.S. [Wm T. - Reg Hist]Pvt21st VA CavGReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Barrow, B.F. [CSR]Pvt21st VA CavBReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Booth, William B.Pvt21st VA CavGDied 21 Feb 1865 / Grave 13641364
Chewning, H. F.Sgt21st VA CavHReleased 10 June 1865, G.O. 109
David, John P.Pvt21st VA CavGReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Dawn, W.H.Pvt21st VA CavATransferred to New Orleans May 2, 1865 for Exchange
Hampton, Alex.Pvt21st VA CavAGalvanized 22 April 1865
Lackey, John ElcaneyPvt21st VA CavGDied 20 December 1864 / Grave 638638
Page, W.H.Sgt21st VA CavHReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Shoop, Isaac W.Cpl21st VA CavEDied 26 Nov 1864 / Grave 519519
Tice, Abner N.Pvt21st VA CavGReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Valener, WilliamPvt21st VA CavAReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Ayers, Benjamin FPvt25th VA CavKDied 21 March 1865 / Grave 17231723
Fletcher, Newton L.Pvt25th VA CavGDied 12 May 1865 / Grave 19611961
Burge, David A.Sgt36th Bat VA CavDDied 21 December 1864 / Grave 643643
Carpenter, James A.Pvt36th Bat VA CavCReleased 10 June 1865, G.O. 109
Dake, ColumbusPvt36th Bat VA CavCReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Dudding, Charles [CSR]Pvt36th Bat VA CavCGalvanized 18 Feb 1865
Fitzgerald, AmosPvt36th Bat VA CavEDied 3 Feb 1865 / Grave 10321032
Hundley, James T.Pvt36th Bat VA CavEDied 26 December 1864 / Grave 668668
Legg, [Hasakiah] FrankliinPvt36th Bat VA CavBDied 24 December 1864 / Grave 863863
McAllister, HenryPvt36th Bat VA CavEReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Morill, H.Pvt36th Bat VA CavCReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Olmfield[Armfield], Henry BPvt36th Bat VA CavDReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
D [Davis], J.T.Pvt37th Bat VA CavGReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Mill [Millwee], R.B.Pvt37th Bat VA CavBReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Patterson, George W.Pvt37th Bat VA CavCTransferred to New Orleans May 2, 1865 for Exchange
Richards, JohnPvt37th Bat VA CavGDied 7 Jan 1865 / Grave 718718
Sigman, A. L.Pvt37th Bat VA CavGReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Sigmon, Norman T.Pvt37th Bat VA CavGReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Sizemore, DavidPvt37th Bat VA CavKDied 20 Nov 1864 / Grave 499499
Trotter, J.S.Pvt37th Bat VA CavBReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109
Wilson, J.L.Pvt37th Bat VA CavBReleased 11 June 1865, G.O. 109

12 of these cavalrymen died in the prison and are buried in the cemetery - I've located the graves of all twelve with the exception of Isaac W. Shoop (sometimes spelled, "Shupe"), Co. E, 21st Va Cav. According to the Camp Chase enrollment, death, and burial registers, Shoop died of small pox on Nov. 26, 1864 and was buried in grave #519. However, when the burial list was compliled for the engravers when the headstones were placed in 1908, Shoop's grave received a headstone with the name, "M.W. Roop, Co. D, 21st Va Cav".

There was a Martin W. Roop in Co. D of the 21st Va Cav but he was not captured at Abrams Creek, was never at Camp Chase; he survived the war and raised a big family in Montgomery county, Va.. I spoke with Martin Roop's great grand daughter and she said that Martin is buried the the family cemetery near Riner, Virginia.

Camp Chase Cemetery is a national cemetery and is maintained and administered by the Dayton National Cemetery, Ohio. I advised Dayton of the mixup and they said they'd submit the information to their historian in Washington for research. I also made contact with a great great nephew of Isaac Shoop in Wythe county, Virginia and passed the information along to him - he also contacted Dayton National Cemetery. All this was back in 2011-2012 and nothing was ever done - neither I nor, Shoop's gr gr nephew have heard a word back from the National Cemetery Administration.

Here's a photo of grave #519, taken in August, 2017 :
Grave519_2017.jpg
 
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