Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alfred Darden, Civil War Solider Mystery, Sometimes Ya Just Cannot Let it Go, New Discoveries

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

After spending a few hours preparing my 3 part (now becoming 4 part) series on Alfred Darden for Bill West's Civil War challenge, and after reading several other bloggers contributions, I just had to revisit part of his story.  Namely, I had to go back and look at the Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865.  I have a image, it is huge, I have had a spot of trouble following the lines across.  There are many ditto marks, there are many lines with no dittos, and there are even a few ~ ~ type marks.  I just found the entire document a bit  frustrating to read and try to deciper.  Here is only part of the document, I have cropped off the right hand page and a good portion of the bottom of the left hand page.  You will have to click on the document to open it in a new page which hopefully will be a bit larger and easier (????) to read.

Here are the column headings:  No.; Names;, Rank, Regiment, or County and State;Co.; Where Captured; When Captured;

Now, here is what it says for A.T. Darden,

No 24
A.T. Darden
Hines Co.
for Company it says ~
Captured at Raymond Miss (if you assume he was captured the same place as the previous 2 prisoners - the lack of ditto marks is so frustrating).
Captured on May 12  (not the 17th as is reported on the compiled service record - and again the lack of ditto marks is frustrating, but this time we do have ditto marks for the month and year).

So, after studying this very closely, AGAIN and AGAIN, here are some things I failed to note the first several times I studied it.

1.)  It says he is a citizen.  Well, no wonder there is no company stated!  Citizens do not have company assignments, eh??

2.)  Captured, Raymond Mississippi on the 12th (assuming ditto marks not printed).  And, yes indeedy friends there is a battle on that day in that place, (Google the term "May 12 1863 battles of Civil War" and there are 538,000 hits.  YIKES!  So, take the easy way out and refer to the Wikipedia article.)

And, after finding this, I went right to maps and discovered that Raymond, Hinds County, Mississippi is 12.3 miles from Edwards, Hinds County, Mississippi.  How awful is this, he was captured almost in his own back yard!

Now, here are the disclaimers, I am assuming that he was captured in Raymond Mississippi as were the previous two prisoners, even with the lack of ditto marks.  I am assuming the capture date of May 12, again, noting the lack of ditto marks.

So, my take on this is that A. T. Darden, a citizen, NOT a volunteer nor a draftee into the Confederate Army or other branch of service, from Hines (sic - - Hinds) County Mississippi was captured during the Battle of Raymond on May 12, 1863.

And, this explains why there are only 3 pages of his compiled record, he was NOT a solider.  I don't quite understand why I was unable to find records for him in Fort Delaware, of course, unless I simply missed them, which is so possible!

*Thanks Debbie!!

**Review, works every time!  Just when you think you have found every little tidbit on a document, go back and review it again, something new is likely to jump out at cha!


Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

Interesting!! Good work, Carol. It looks like 2 other citizens were captured along with him.

Carol said...

Actually Debbie, on the same page, on the part I cropped off for this post, there are about 6 more citizens that were captured. Very interesting stuff.

Anthony said...

Hi! Just stumbled onto this entry. I wrote the wiki page for the Battle of Raymond. I'm sure there were citizens who picked up their arms and joined in the fray, but there was also a state home guard unit at the battle ... about 50 cavalry. If Darden lived in Pocohontas, it's likely he was serving with the state troops ... because on the 12th the Confederates were convinced the real action was going to go down at Edwards where 2/3's of Grant's army had pushed to within just a few miles of town. The Confederates had no clue that the federals were also poised to strike Raymond. General Gregg, Confederate commander at the Battle of Raymond, thought he was facing a detached cavalry brigade and had no clue that he had attacked an entire federal division.

Anonymous said...

Be careful, the Compiled Service Record for A.T. Darden is not really a separate record from the POW record. The POW record existed first, the CSR was written based on, or after the fact from, the POW record.

Based on my experience with similar manuscripts, I feel that he was captured at Raymond on May 12, not on the 17th.

Anonymous said...

The 1860 census shows A.T. Darden, age 43, living with his family in the Edwards Depot Post Office area of Hinds Co.

Anthony said...

Yes, I noticed that her earlier posts said he lived at Edwards, which is even more reason to believe that he didn't simply arm himself and join in the fray. Otherwise, Darden would have been with Pemberton's main body protecting Edwards itself, which was threatened at the time by Sherman's XV Corps and McClernand's XIII Corps. Confederate intel (or lack thereof) on May 12th only aware of a single cavalry brigade lurking on the Utica-Raymond Road. If Darden and these other guys were picked up at Raymond, that means they were riding with Captain Hall's Mississippi State Troops.

Anthony said...

One thing to remember ... if Darden was 43 years old, he was under the age of conscription (45). So he had to be serving in *some* capacity unless he had 20 slaves or more. My 42 year old GGGG-Grandfather was serving in the same type of unit in Attala County about 100 miles northeast of Edwards. It was a nice way to avoid the rather draconian Confederate conscription ... until Grierson's Raid proved just how useless such units really were to the defense of the state. In September 1863, all such units were forcibly consolidated into regular Confederate regiments of cavalry.

Hugh Simmons said...

I monitor the Mississippi Civil War Message Board and picked up on this discussion about Alfred T. DARDEN. I have studied the transfer of prisoners captured east of Vicksburg in May 1863 to Fort Delaware and beyond. I am a member of the Fort Delaware Society and research queries about individual prisoners who were “guests of the government” on Pea Patch Island.

Alfred's name does not currently appear in the Fort Delaware Society database, but I was able to examine his Compiled Military Service Records and will be adding him. The single record shows that "Private" A. T. DARDEN of Mississippi was paroled for exchange at Fort Delaware on 30 JUL 1863 and delivered to Confederate authorities at Aiken's Landing (James River east of Richmond) on 1 AUG 1863. He was one 752 sick and/or disabled POWs released from Fort Delaware and returned on this date.

Sick or debilitated, he should have been examined and treated at a military hospital in either Petersburg or Richmond. Determined to be fit for duty, he would have been declared exchanged and returned to duty with his unit in Mississippi. Determined to be sick, he would have been furloughed home as a paroled POW on sick leave. None of that appears in his CMSR.

The number of citizens released normally appears in the receipt/delivery record footnoted at the end of the CMSR record card. No citizens were numbered among the 752 paroled prisoners delivered on 1 AUG 1863. However, the CMSR contains handwritten notes from a 1907 query to the Adjutant General's Office in Washington. A War Department archivist noted that a duplicate of the Fort Delaware POW transfer roll dated 1 AUG 1863 shows Alfred T. DARDEN as a citizen.

Relative to his age and conscription, the Confederate Conscription Act was modified in September 1862 raising the upper age limit for required Confederate service from 35 years to 45 years. Few exemptions were available (married with children was not one of them!) and a 43 year old white male resident would have been subject to enrolled Confederate service in 1863. Mississippi also had militia laws which covered those not covered by the Confederate conscription law.

One of the dirty little secrets of the American Civil War is the large number of civilian detainees who were “arrested” in Confederate territory and sent to various military prisons in the north. Without benefit of habeas corpus, they were detained until someone determined them to be no threat to the administration in Washington. Usually they were allowed to depart after taking an oath of allegiance. Records of these citizens are hard to come by since the War Department was focused on military records when they created the Compiled Service Records at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. I believe that the National Archives now refers to this collection as the Compiled Military Service Records.

I would very much to have the names of the other citizens so I can do a lookup of them and perhaps add them to the Society’s database as well.

Hugh Simmons
Fort Delaware Society

Carol said...

Hugh if you click on the image, you will see the names of two other "citizens". G. W. Donohue and John Dawson.

Thank you all for this interesting discussion, obviously you understand this subject far better than I ever did or will.

Anthony said...

What was the actual percentage of men marked "citizen" in northern POW camps, and how many of these were incorrectly labeled as such as per this A.T. Darden who was actually an official combatant?