Death of a Veteran
Confederate Veteran has been my go-to source for all things Rebel for the last decade. Published between 1893 and 1932, it is a valuable postwar historical resource when it comes to deciphering the attitudes and sentiments of former Confederate soldiers, civilians, and politicians. In addition to the battle narratives, opinion pieces, and biographies, the obituary section, The Last Roll, offers a great place for biographical notes on all sort s of people – prominent and otherwise. Most obituaries will allow the researcher to peer into a veteran’s life somewhat beyond his military exploits and also provide a starting point for further research on the veteran’s post war activities: church and business affiliations, family, etc.
Here is a sample picked at random from a 1922 edition of Confederate Veteran. I knew little about this individual before I read his brief obituary – but it offers quite a bit to work with: he was a border state Confederate who served on A.P. Hill’s Staff and saw action through much of the war. He became a Texas farmer in the postwar years…read on:
A prominent citizen of Chillicothe, Tex., and possibly the oldest Confederate veteran of Hardeman County, is mourned in the death of Jesse Ferguson Allensworth, which occurred during the month of June. He was born in Christian County, Ky., July 5, 1842.
At the age of nineteen young Allensworth entered the Confederate army as a member of Company H, 14th Tennessee Regiment, Archer’s Brigade, A. P. Hill’s Division. He was later made a courier for General Hill, and was in the battle of Chancellorsville when Jackson was wounded, his own horse being shot from under him. He was wounded twice during the great conflict, once receiving a sword cut on the head, and a Minie ball which struck his shoulder finally lodged in his elbow, and he carried it to the grave. Though his service was interrupted by these wounds, he returned to the ranks as soon as able to do so, and was still wearing the gray when General Lee surrendered.
In 1884 Comrade Allensworth was married to Miss Mallic Reynolds, of Clarksville, Tenn., and in January, 1888, they removed to Wilbarger County, Tex., and settled on a farm, going later, in 1904, to Chillicothe, which had since been his home. Two sons and a daughter were born to this union, all surviving him. His wife died in 1914.
At the age of seventeen he became a member of the Christian Church, and through the threescore years since then he had lived a consistent Christian life.
So we know his wife’s name, we know that he had two children, and we know where he lived and what he did after the war. It might be fun to see what else he was up to in the last decades of his life. Maybe I will check out the rest of the Veteran run to see if he turns up anywhere else. The whole thing has been reprinted and indexed – what a boon for historians!