Facebook Civil War Genealogy

One place to get help in finding genealogy information about your Civil War ancestor is Facebook. There are several groups devoted to this pursuit and members help each other with advice and even help with searching.

The Civil War Soldiers – Genealogy group will get you started. With almost 2,000 members, it is “For posting queries on Civil War Soldiers, and their Histories and Families.”

After joining a group, search the back postings using the little magnifying glass. Search by the last name of your ancestor or a battle or a regiment. You may hit it lucky that someone has already asked about that topic.

Example of a Query in the Civil War Soldiers – Genealogy Group

At first, I like to get acclimated in a group by liking and commenting on a few interesting things. Then you can put a question or share some information you have once they are used to seeing your face on the site. The more detail you provide in your query, the easier it is for people to help with some aspect of your search.

Be polite and show appreciation when others help you.

Civil War Roots is more of a blog style page on Facebook relating to Civil War ancestry. The posts are by an administrator and there are over 7,000 members. Members can comment on the posts but not post directly.

Sample Post on the Civil War Roots on Facebook

Case Study – The Drummer

We have a new case study to work on. Betsy Thal Gephart posed the question below to the Civil War Genealogy group.

Thomas C. Wilson – Drummer

Thomas C. Wilson, my husband’s ancestor, was a drummer in the 1st Ohio Infantry, 45th Ohio Infantry, and 15th Kansas Cavalry. The latter service he did under the name Benjamin Wilson. He was “ruptured” in service and claimed an invalid pension. A later claim of deafness, and then a full investigation into his legal widow – he had married four women! – provided me with a 500-page pension file! It’s a treasure!

List that includes Thomas C. Wilson – drummer

I am very interested in learning about two things in particular.

  1. First, the regimental bands. I have a book, “Bands and Drummer Boys of the Civil War,” which is helpful, but if anyone has more specific information, especially about Ohio or Kansas, that would be wonderful. In one place, the Kansas band is called the “Silver Band.”
  2. Also, about the Kansas unit. By the time he joined, in November of 1864, the regimental history has pretty much finished. They apparently served with the “Department of Kansas and Missouri.” Does anyone know of this, or where I might find more information?
Reunion of Civil War drummers

Suggestions for Research

Add Your Ideas in the Comments Section

Civil War Tips from The Handwritten Past

Civil War Archives The Handwritten Past

Blog posts from The Handwritten Past blog on Civil War genealogy.

You’ll want to read the blog postings about the Civil War from the site, The Handwritten Past. The bloggers are professional genealogists and cover a variety of topics.

Here are Civil War topics they’ve covered recently:

You can subscribe to that blog to get other useful genealogy tips.

Argosy Disaster and William Winesburg

Argosy No. 3  

Timeline & Disaster

by Lori Drawl

I have attempted to combine numerous newspaper reports and brief snippets from regimental histories, etc.  to come up with a semblance of understanding of the events surrounding this incident.


  • Items highlighted in blue are of special interest or represent contradictory information.
  • Items highlighted in red indicate a major problem, which will be addressed at length at the end.


The one-year-old Argosy No. 3 steamboat was enlisted into the Union war effort to help transport troops home during the demobilization effort, traveling from Cairo, Illinois, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Piloted by Capt. Lewis Vandegrift.

10 Aug 1865 Pvt. Wm. Winesburg (Indiana 93rd Inf, Co. A) officially mustered out in Memphis TN, but he is listed as “Absent; POA”. He is not with the other members of his regiment as they head home on this date.

14 Aug 1865 Under the command of Col. Henry L. Phillips, the 70th Ohio Infantry mustered out in Little Rock, AK. From there, the regiment of 300 troops took a river steamer to Magnolia TN and on to Memphis TN.  While in Memphis, they transferred to another steamer bound for Cairo, IL. They relaxed in Cairo for one day and one night before boarding the Argosy No. 3 for the trip to a port in Cincinnati. From there they would travel on to Columbus, Ohio, before reaching their final destination of their homes in Adams County, OH.

21 Aug 1865 Day of the Argosy Disaster

  • Transporting about 300 passengers to Cincinnati OH, comprised primarily of mustered out men of the 70th Ohio Infantry
  • At Oxbow Bend on the Ohio River, near Hatfield Landing, KY, a tornadic storm blew the ship onto rocks on the Indiana side of the Ohio River causing the mud drums to explode.
  • Reportedly, 30-50 men jumped overboard to avoid the steam as the Sultana disaster earlier that year was surely still very fresh in everyone’s mind. Eight of these individuals were never found and presumed drowned. I have been unable to locate information regarding the military or civilian status of the drowning victims.
  • The ship “Morning Star” happened by and was hailed to assist the wounded. The captain did not heed the plea, which may have been attributable to the weather/night not making the wreck visible.  

The Colonel of the OH 70th later laid the case before military authorities to investigate.

  • Ironically, the steamer Argosy (No. 1) was the next ship to come along. This boat then transported survivors to Cincinnati for medical care.

Casualties and Confusion


  • Severely Scalded


Most newspaper sources report anywhere from 12-18 individuals were scalded and transported to Louisville KY for medical care.  

The History of Adams County Ohio states that of the troops from the Ohio 70th,  twenty-three were scalded severely and nine drowned.

Severely scalded troops mentioned by name in almost every newspaper article are:


  • William Egelshoff (OH 70th, Co I)
  • Michael Murray (OH 70th, Co. D)
  • William Norton Shelby (OH 70th, Co. D)
  • Mr. Brosher/Brasbee/Brisbee/Brashee/Brisble/Busbee (OH 70th, Co. D)
  • Isaac Taylor (OH 70th)
  • One of these men died en route to Cincinnati and was left there for internment.
  • Another was expected to die before they reached Cincinnati or shortly thereafter.
  • Local historian, Bert Fenn, reported that two of the injured are thought to be buried in Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville, KY.
  • Fenn also mentions speculation that the Unknown Soldier may be one of the injured who died in Louisville and was subsequently buried with the others in the mass grave near Rono, IN.



  • Deceased and Memorialized in Magnet, IN


Local Farmers collect bodies and prepared a mass burial at the accident site near the Town of Rono IN,  (later renamed Magnet, IN). A historical marker was erected in 1865.

#1-8 From the Ohio 70thnine drowning victims” (History of Adams Co. OH)


  1. John Herman Behren (OH 70th, Co. F)
  2. John Robuck (OH 70th, Co. G)
  3. Amos Rose (OH 70th, Co. C)
  4. Alfred Rader (OH 70th)
  5. John/Joseph McDaniel/McDonald (OH 70th, Co. F)
  6. Hugh Taylor (OH 70th, Co. K)
  7. Aaron Fiscus (Oh 70th, Co. K) ”only drowning victim recovered”
  8. George W. McKinnley (OH 70th)



#9-10 Immediately Scalded to death


9. Martin Van Buren Long (OH 70th, Co. K)

10. Unknown Soldier discharged from the 39th Indiana Infantry


“We Have a Problem”

PROBLEM #1: Who was left in Louisville KY for internment, and are they buried at Cave Hill Cemetery?


  • One of these men died en route to Cincinnati and was left there for internment.


  • Another was expected to die before they reached Cincinnati or shortly thereafter. (can apply to Problem #1 or #2)


  • Local historian, Bert Fenn, reported that two of the injured are thought to be buried in Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville, KY.


SOLUTION (and you aren’t going to like it):

Source: Civil War Roll of Honor (Vol. 17) Union soldiers buried in Cave Hill National Cemetery (05), Louisville KY

  1. Martin Long – Ohio 70th, Company K   died Aug 22, 1865.  Buried Section D, Range 4, Grave 10 National Cemetery Internment Control Record: Stone #3539
  2. Aaron Fiscus  – Ohio 70th, Company K died Aug 21, 1865. Buried Section D, Range 2, Grave 11 National Cemetery Internment Control Record: Stone #3314

NEW PROBLEM: If they are buried in Cave Hill, who is buried at Magnet, IN?


  • I have NEVER seen mention of anyone being reinterred to Magnet. If someone was going to go to the bother of reinterring Long & Fiscus, why not just take them home to Ohio?


  • I have NEVER seen mention that the tombstones at Magnet are only symbolic memorials for those who died and their bodies are elsewhere.

Winesburg Theory graves

Aaron Fiscus at Cave Hill, Aaron Fiscus gravestone at Magnet, Martin Long gravestone at Magnet.

I could not obtain an online photo of Martin Long’s tombstone at Cave Hill, but I have requested one.

PROBLEM #2: “Unknown Soldier”


  • Fenn also mentions speculation that the Unknown Soldier may be one of the injured who died in Louisville and was subsequently buried with the others in the mass grave near Rono, IN.
  • Another was expected to die before they reached Cincinnati or shortly thereafter (could apply to Problem #1 or #2)
  • Unknown Soldier discharged from the 39th Indiana


  • Every source consistently states that the unknown soldier was discharged from an INDIANA infantry. Some sources mention the 39th and some don’t state any regiment number.
  • The 39th Indiana Infantry ceased to exist on October 15, 1863, when its designation was changed to 8th Indiana Cavalry.  There hadn’t been a 39th Indiana Infantry for almost two years before the Argosy disaster, so this regiment designation for the unknown soldier seems highly unlikely.
  • My theory is that it could be William Winesburg of the 93rd Indiana (a clerical transposition of 39th or incorrect information given to reporters). He would not have been traveling with his regiment due to his POW status, which would explain the inability to identify him accurately.
  • The oral history and all regimental documentation available from the National Archives seem to be in agreement.  Fortunately, I have yet to find any information that negates this theory. Unfortunately, I may never be able to prove the theory beyond a reasonable doubt…but I am still looking for evidence!

POTENTIAL SOLUTION: Michael Manning  (Hold onto your hat!)

  • Source: Cairo Evening Times (Cairo IL) Wed, Sep 6, 1865

“Michael Manning, Co. D. 36th Illinois Infantry, was scalded and died on the Steamer Argosy, and was buried six miles above the head of Flint Island in the Lower Ohio. Captain Vandegriff left his discharge and a small amount of money with Cunningham & Bennet, of this city, for his relatives.”

[Cunningham & Bennett was a transportation company contracted by the military to assist with the war effort. The description of his burial site matches the location of Magnet, IN]

  • For Manning to be the Unknown Soldier, the “discharged 39th Indiana” soldier would have to be an inaccurate reporting of a soldier from the “36th Illinois”.
  • If Manning is the Unknown Soldier, why is he “unknown”?    Vandegrift, the steamship captain, knew his identity (presumably from some sort of documentation he was carrying).
  • Source: Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles 

Michael Manning enlisted in Company I, Illinois 36th Infantry Regiment on 15 Dec 1861. Captured 9/20/1863 and sent to (and survived) Andersonville.  Captured again 8/26/1864; prison not listed . Mustered out 7 Mar 1865. Remarks: Known to be discharged, no official notice recd.  He is listed as being in two Companies: I and D.

Would he not have been traveling with his regiment during the muster out process due to his POW status? His name is only found in ONE newspaper article, which may indicate that he was traveling without his regiment and why nobody mentioned his name to the newspapers.

I am struggling to find additional accurate information on this individual, in part because there are numerous soldiers with the name “Michael Manning” in Illinois (two in the 36th Illinois regiment alone).

  • My theory: Michael Manning is buried at Magnet IN.  We now know that Aaron Fiscus and Martin Long are NOT BURIED there! So, if ten bodies are in the mass grave, Michael Manning and William Winesburg could both be there in an “unknown soldier” status….and one more left to be identified.

Newspaper Sources:

  1. Cincinnati Enquirer; 24 Aug 1865, 26 Aug 1865
  2. New York Times; 25 Aug 1865
  3. Janesville Gazette, Wisconsin;  25 Aug 1865
  4. Daily Empire (Dayton OH);  24 Aug 1865
  5. Indianapolis Star; 24 Aug 1865
  6. Argosy Disaster Remembered, Perry County News; 31 Aug 2015
  7. Waterways Journal Weekly;  2 Apr 2018
  8. Cairo Evening Times; Sept 5, 1865
  9. The Gazette & Comet (Baton Rouge LA), Sept. 7, 1865
  10. The Herald (Jasper IN) Feb 26, 1971
  11. Buffalo Courier (Buffalo NY) Aug 25, 1865
  12. Wheeling Daily Intelligencer (Wheeling WV) Aug 25, 1865
  13. Pittsburgh Gazette (Pittsburgh PA) Aug 24, 1865


John William Winesburg Timeline

Lori Drawl created this timeline for

John William Winesburg

(Aka: “William Winesburg”, “John Winesburg”, Winesburgh)

(* indicates pension-related actions taken by his wife, Wilmath Winesburg)

Link to Ancestry.com profile and media representations of official supporting documentation:

1821 Born in Maryland / Marshall Co, OH

29 Mar 1847   Married Wilmath Ann Dixon (widow of Perry Miller) in W. Alexander, Washington Co., PA

Had eight children & a stepdaughter between 1844-1861

Occupation: Cooper

1850 Residence: District 44, Ohio County, VA

1860 Residence: Jackson, Bartholomew Co., IN

9 Aug 1862 Enlistment:  Jonesville, Bartholomew Co., IN by Capt. Hubbard

15 Aug 1862 Mustered in as a Private in the Union Army, Private, Co. A, 93rd Indiana Infantry in Indianapolis, IN as a teamster; Description: 5’ 11 ½ “; Dark complexion, Gray hair & eyes

Sep-Dec 1862 Muster Roll “Present”

Mar-Oct 1863 Muster Roll “Present”; appointed Wagoner on 1 May 1863

Jan-May 1864 Muster Roll “Present”; Teamster

William Winesburg muster roll

Muster roll for William Winesburg – Company A, 93rd Indiana Infantry.

10 Jun 1864 Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, Guntown, Mississippi

The 93rd Regimental History lists names of 13 killed (members of Companies D, F, and I).

NO FATALITIES from Co. A (Winesburg’s unit), B, C, G, & H

Jun ‘64-Jul ‘65 Muster Roll “Absent; Prisoner of War”

Captured and sent to Andersonville Prison through mid-September 1864

17 Sept 1864 Andersonville Prisoner Exchange / Relocation

Andersonville roster and POW Memorandum lists him as “exchanged Atlanta, Sept. 17, 1864”. However, Gen. Grant canceled the exchange as Sherman advanced south. Andersonville evacuated most prisoners to other prisons (mostly Carolinas or GA) due to their potential liberation of Andersonville by Sherman.

I suspect that relocation to a different prison was Wm. Winesburg’s fate, as Muster Rolls list him as POW through July 1865.  A representative from the National Parks Service in Andersonville advised that: some “exchanged” prisoners were reunited with their regiment and that Winesburg’s paperwork indicates that the intention was to return him to his regiment in Atlanta. This is unlikely because the 93rd Indiana was on the move from Arkansas to Kansas at the time of Winesburg’s “exchange”. If he indeed went to Atlanta, he went to another prison, not a reunification with his comrades.

Unfortunately, a National Archives (NARA) representative advised that attempts to officially track Winesburg’s movements after he left Andersonville are basically futile, as the Confederacy purposefully destroyed most prison records.  The five 93rd Regimental Books at NARA (some of which are highly disorganized and incomplete) list exchanged prisoners, paroled prisoners, those returned to duty, those hospitalized, and discharge notations. No information pertaining to Pvt. Winesburg after he left Andersonville was located in these records.

3 Aug 1865* Declaration of Widow’s Army Pension; Ohio County, WV (filed 5 Aug 1865)

Widow claims that Wm. Winesburg died at the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads. Other documentation states that he was captured at Brice’s Cross Roads and sent to Andersonville. Adjutant General will later deny pension.

10 Aug 1865 Mustering Out of 93rd Regiment

Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA (after regrouping in Gainesville AL)

He was listed as “Absent POW” and as a wagoner. This may indicate that he had not been released from prison yet OR if he was released, he had not been able to meet up with his regiment for the trip home.

He does NOT appear on the final roster in the 93rd Regiment Books as a deserter or deceased.

Scores of soldiers were demobilized at nearly the same time, making Muster Out/Discharge record keeping highly rushed and often lacking in accuracy. Often during the end of the war, a blanket muster out of an entire regiment occurred rather than handling each individual personally to expedite the process.

Note: While the regiment was regrouping, traveling to Memphis, taking a steamer upriver, and presumably taking a train to Indianapolis, I would think that some sort of personal accounting would have been done, even if only casual conversation to fill the time. If someone in their company was not present, wouldn’t there have been a discussion about his fate? “Whatever happened to Winesburg?” The records don’t even show him as “missing in action” or “presumed dead”. This continues to make me believe that his comrades thought he was still a POW as the official paperwork implies.

11 Aug 1865 93rd Indiana Infantry Homecoming – Winesburg: Absent/POW

Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, USA  

“…upon reaching (Indianapolis) on the 11th of August, (they were) greeted with a public ovation in the State House Grove…” (Guide to Indiana Civil War Manuscripts by Ann Turner, 1965)

21 Aug 1865 DeathTheory – Argosy Disaster/ Winesburg the“Unknown Soldier”?

Family oral tradition (which came down through the family via his sister and her descendants) as follows: William Winesburg had been in Andersonville and was ill there. He died en route home from the war while traveling on the Ohio River. (date unknown; location of his body unknown)

Note: Who was providing this information about his fate to the family?

Oxbow Bend, Ohio River near Rono (Magnet), IN

The Argosy (No.3) Steamboat picked up 300 soldiers from the 70th Ohio in Cairo, IL bound for a port in Cincinnati, OH.  A fierce storm blew the ship onto rocks causing the mud drums to explode.

Nine named soldiers from the 70th Ohio and an unnamed, discharged soldier from 39th Indiana were killed. Injured/scalded soldiers were taken to a hospital in Louisville KY, of which at least two were expected to die.

Note: the 39th Indiana regiment disbanded in 1863 so this information cannot be correct. Could this be a transposition (39th / 93rd) thus fitting my theory that the “unknown soldier” is William Winesburg, who is finally returning home? In fact, since the 93rd is already home, he would likely be traveling alone, thus explaining why nobody was able to identify him. He surely introduced himself to others aboard, but his name and regiment may have been difficult to remember for identification.

(An extensive dissection of the Argosy Disaster is documented in the next post)

23 Oct 1865* Pension Re-filed and later DENIED

6 Nov 1865* Pension Denied (5 Aug 1865 Claim)

Adjutant General Office – Pension #113365: Mustered out 10 Aug 1865, “Captured at Battle of Brice Cross Roads 10 June 1864; No discharge given at muster out of organization”, no evidence of death on file.

9 Jun 1870* Pension Denied Again (23 Oct 1865 Claim)

Adjutant General Office – Pension #113365: Captured at Battle of Brice Cross Roads 10 June 1864; No discharge furnished

Oct-Nov 1872* Petition to Change Status to “Deceased”; Circuit Court, Ohio Co., WV

Widow’s Pension – Original with Increase; Incidental Matter

False pension claims became a serious problem for the military and strict requirements had to be adopted.  As required by law, a soldier living out-of-state or out-of-county from the petitioner must testify to the fate of his comrade. George Lambert Grable signed an affidavit stating that Winesburg was killed at Brice Cross Roads, however, this is in direct contradiction of regimental records indicating that there were NO DEATHS from Company A.

Note: The family oral tradition states that the widow got someone to lie for her so that she could finally get the pension funds (perjury for charity). Widow falsely claims that the Regiment’s Colonel was not at the battle, and did not properly record Winesburg’s death, while regimental records show his first-hand description of the event. Due to the fact that the widow started this false claim (intentional or not) about his death at Brice Cross Roads before knowing the truth, I believe she felt the need to stick to her story for it to look more legitimate.

Interestingly, George Lambert Grayble’s obituary INCORRECTLY says he belonged to the 39th Indiana rather than the 93rd. Another transposition?

27 Feb 1873* War Dept. Notation / Change of Status to KIA

Adjutant Gen. Office 7139-C-72 “Killed at Guntown MS, 10 Jun 1864”; ”. Notations of this change may be seen recorded on many of his military documents.

The court may have agreed to this change to finally close the case. It would take five more years.

16 May 1873* Widow’s Pension – Original with Increase;

Proof/affidavits required pertaining to children’s DOB, marriage record –  no  reply due to negligent POA

Jan-Apr 1878* Incidental Matter / Declaration for Original Pension of a Widow & Children

Atty. Joseph Hale became the new POA and provided proof requested.;  Filed in Wheeling WV; Prior application #710.113.565

5/13 Jun 1878* Widow’s Pension Awarded #181265

1884 Widow Wilmath Winesburg died never knowing the location of her William’s body

Her financial situation forced her to place her youngest children with people who could care for them or employers who could offer them a place to work and live. She outlived two husbands and two or three children.

Winesburg Mystery – Part II

Lori D. has been looking further for information on others who died in the Argosy disaster looking for hints to help in her research on Private J. William Winesburg.  This is a good strategy when you are having trouble finding direct information about your Civil War ancestor. One of the tools she is using is Newspapers.com which is part of an extended subscription on Ancestry. You can also access this in some public libraries.

Argosy Disaster (Indianapolis Star)Argosy Disaster (Indianapolis Star) Thu, Aug 24, 1865 – Page 3 · The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Here’s some of the new information she’s uncovered:

Some of the newspaper articles mentioned that two of the scalded men from the Ohio 70th  were transported to a Louisville KY hospital after the accident, where they subsequently died and were buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.
I located the Civil War Roll of Honor (Volume 17; 05 Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville KY). Only three men in the entire cemetery were from the Ohio 70th, and one died well before the Argosy disaster that occurred on Aug. 21, 1865.

Those two men listed as buried in Cave Hill Cemetery are:

  • Martin Long (OH 70th Co. K) died 22 Aug 1865. Buried Section D, Range 4 , Grave number 20 (pg 79 of actual book)
  • Aaron Fiscus (OH 70th Co. K) died 21 Aug 1865. Buried Section D, Range 2, Grave number 11 (has a tombstone at this location) pg. 82 of actual book
Here’s the kicker!…..They are also both “buried” with tombstones in the Argosy disaster’s mass grave in Magnet. I don’t believe these are simply memorial tombstones, because accounts have been written describing local farmers burying the dead. Approximately eight passengers drown and were reportedly not recovered; don’t know if these were all soldiers or if some civilians were among this group.
Several of the newspaper accounts say that Fiscus drowned, so would he have been transported to Louisville or buried in the mass grave? Maybe he was scalded but alive when pulled from the water, and succumbed later on. The “Gazette & Comet” (Baton Rouge LA; Sept.7, 1865) and “The Cincinnati Enquirer” (Aug. 26, 1865)  state that one of the scalded soldiers died en route to Louisville and was left there for internment…was this Fiscus?
If Fiscus and Long have been misidentified as two of the ten deceased individuals in the mass grave, then who is buried there?  Well…I still have my fingers crossed that “discharged soldier from an Indiana Infantry 39th/93rd” is my William Winesburg.
Now the story gets crazier. I think I found out that one of the soldiers in Magnet might actually be from ILLINOIS:
He is mentioned in the Cairo Evening Times (Cairo, IL; Wed, Sept 6, 1865) as follows:
“Michael Manning, Co. D, 36th Illinois Infantry, was scalded and died on the Steamer Argosy, and was buried six miles above the head of Flint Island in the Lower Ohio. Captain Vandegrift left his discharge and a small amount of money with Cunningham & Bennet, of this city, for his relatives”. 
Cunningham  & Bennett was a transportation company hired by the military. “Six miles above the head of Flint Island” would put his buried in the vicinity of Magnet IN.  Since his name and fate are known, I wouldn’t think he would be the “Unknown” soldier. If Manning was buried in an established cemetery, I have been unable to locate him.
With so much contradictory or scrambled information to digest, it will take more research to sort it out.
(Check back for further developments in the research on Private Winesburg)

What Happened to Private Winesburg?

A reader shared with me a puzzle that she’s been working hard on. Her Civil War ancestor has conflicting accounts about how and where he died. I’m posting it here to get more eyes and minds working on it. Since it is long and very detailed, I’ll divide it into 2 posts.

Here’s her research so far:

“I am researching my 3x great-grandfather, Pvt. J. William Winesburg (Co. A, 93rd Indiana Infantry). The oral family tradition has always been that he was ill while in Andersonville. He died en route home on the Ohio River. After decades of dead ends, I believe he may be the “unknown soldier” buried in Magnet IN.

If you are a member of Ancestry.com, here’s a link to William Winesburg’s profile page, where you can view his military service records from the National Archives (NARA) and follow my thought process to his fateful demise.

Civil_War_Memorial_Grave magnet indiana wikivisually

Photo from wikivisually.com The Civil War historical marker at the Magnet, Indiana site where the soldiers were buried.

I need to make the documentable connection between his release during the Andersonville prisoner exchange and what I believe to be his fatal trip home on the steamboat Argosy No.3 (traveling with 300 soldiers from the Ohio 70th) on 21 Aug 1865.

The Andersonville roster book says he was “exchanged Sept 17” in 1864. His POW Memorandum says “exch. Atlanta Sept 17” with basically nothing else filled in on the form except his name and regiment ID. A consultant at NARA said there was no way to track his movements in the exchange process.

Dead end at NARA? Any ideas or suggestions?

The official Andersonville website states the following, which poses the possibility that he was sent to another prison (rather than exchanged). His muster rolls seem to corroborate this, as he is listed as a POW from the time of his capture at Brice’s Cross Roads (near Guntown, MS) on June 10, 1864, until he was mustered out in Aug 1865.

Note in The Standard, a London, England newspaper on Sept. 9, 1865 about the tragedy on the Argosy.Note in The Standard, a London, England newspaper on Sept. 9, 1865 about the tragedy on the Argosy. Sat, Sep 9, 1865 – 5 · The Standard (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.com

“In just the one week of September 7-13, nearly 17,000 prisoners were transferred to other prisons in Georgia and the Carolinas. In mid-September, Sherman and Confederate General Hood negotiated a “special exchange” for those captured in the Atlanta campaign and around 2,000 prisoners were sent to Atlanta for exchange.”

I then contacted the Nat. Park Service/Andersonville for any clarification on where he went on/after Sept 17, 1864. Their reply:

“His Memorandum from Prisoner of War Records should be able to answer this question. However, if he was a part of one of the September exchanges, then he went back to his regiment or was paroled out – so he wouldn’t have been received by another prison after Andersonville. His exchange would have taken place in Atlanta, GA. His “Memorandum from Prisoner of War Records” in his compiled service records from the National Archives should detail where he was held.”

Unfortunately, the POW Memo doesn’t say where he was held nor does it indicate that he was paroled out. I don’t know if the Brice’s Cross Road battle was officially part of the “Atlanta campaign” (different authorities have given me opposite opinions), which would determine his eligibility for exchange. During the month of Sept. 1864, his regiment was on the move from Arkansas to Kansas, so I don’t see how he could be returned to his regiment in Atlanta. Likewise, the muster rolls never reflect that he returned to duty. This reinforced my belief that he must have gone to another prison. (FYI…he has no hospitalization records at NARA).”

She Would Like to Find Information on These

  • Any knowledge of documents/diaries/letters that might offer details on those involved in the prisoner exchange of Sept 1864?
  • Any knowledge about the movement of prisoners from Andersonville to other prisons?
  • Conflicting sources claim the 93rd Indiana Regiment was mustered out 10 Aug 1865 in Memphis TN or Gainesville, Alabama. However, if he was in a Confederate prison and not with his regiment, I am not sure how to follow his trail.
  • If he was released from a prison at the time of mustering out, would there be a prison record of this?

(I thank you in advance for your generosity in sharing your time and experience with me. My goal is to uncover who may be buried in the Unknown Soldier grave (even if it turns out to be someone other than my ancestor) and have a proper tombstone erected to honor his sacrifice. Lori D.)

Stop back tomorrow for additional information provided by Lori.