Monday, October 10, 2011

The Case of the Comingled Service Records (Mystery Monday, Military Monday)

Recently I wrote about my discovery that John A Edmonds of Fayette County Alabama had served for both the Confederacy and the Union during the Civil War. Thanks to reader Cedar Posts, I have now done even more digging.

Cedar Posts and I both assumed that the John Edmonds of O’Neal’s 26th Alabama Infantry, Company A, was our relative. However, we each assumed that the John Edmonds was a different person.

It turns out that there really were two John Edmonds from Fayette County Alabama in Company A. However, there is only one set of consolidated records for John Edmonds in the Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Alabama units at fold3.com. The entries for John Edmonds and John A Edmonds at Civil War Soldiers and Sailors cross-reference each other.

In my previous article, I mentioned that genealogists easily confused the 2 John Edmonds from Fayette County. It looks like the confusion goes back many years.
First of all, I’d like to remind us of a few things:
  • The absence of a middle initial doesn’t mean that one doesn’t exist. “John Public” could be “John Public, no middle initial” or “John J. Public” or “John Q. Public” or…
  • Misspellings are commonplace in old records, especially handwritten or transcribed ones.
I’ve pulled the information on the two John Edmonds to see how they compare.
John Edmonds, Son of Nathan Edmonds John A Edmonds, Son of William A Edmonds
Born 1833-1835 in Georgia per census records Born 1841—1842 per census records
Enlisted in Company A, O’Neal’s 26th Alabama Infantry on October 3, 1861.
There is only one record of enlistment, possibly because they were combined.
Enlisted in Company A, O’Neal’s 26th Alabama Infantry on October 3, 1861.
There is only one record of enlistment, possibly because they were combined.
One of them was admitted to a hospital in Virginia on October 16, 1862 and returned to duty on December 17 or that year. Since no initial is listed, this was probably the older John, son of Nathan.
Captured at Gettysburg on July 4, 1863
Another record indicates he was captured on July 2nd
Captured at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863
Another record indicates he was captured on July 2nd
Transferred to Fort McHenry, Maryland on July 6, 1863
Transferred to Fort Delaware between July 7 & 12 1863 Held at Fort Delaware from July 6 through October 20 1863
Transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, on October 20, 1863
Entered the US Service on July 15, 1863 as a Private in Ahl’s Delaware Heavy Artillery for a term of 3 years or the end of the war. Joined US Service January 29, 1864 as a Private in Company D of the First Regiment US Volunteers for a period of 3 years.
Union Records indicate birth in Pike County, Georgia. Union Records indicate birth in Wilkes County, Georgia.
Mustered into service at Fort Delaware on July 27, 1863 Mustered into service at Norfolk, Virginia, on May 1, 1864
Promoted to Lance Corporal on May 16, 1864
Promoted to Corporal on July 1, 1864
Spent time at Fort Benton, Minnesota Territory, May through July of 1865.
Deserted September 11, 1865 from Fort Rice, Dakota Territory
Mustered out of service at Wilmington, Delaware, on July 25, 1865 Had he not deserted, he would have mustered out at Leavenworth, Kansas on November 27, 1865
Drew a pension for his service for the Union
Married Manerva Kilgore Studdard in October 1866
Died November 7, 1910 and is buried at Natural Bridge, Alabama Death and burial unknown

Given that even the government seems to have confused/combined the two John Edmonds from Fayette County, Alabama, who served in the same company of the same regiment in the Civil War, and who were both captured at Gettysburg, and who both subsequently served in the Union Army, it is no wonder that distant relatives and genealogists have confused the two.

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