Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Civil War Stories

The Revolutionary War was a battle for the establishment of what we would later call the United States of America – the Civil War was fight to try to preserve that union.  So many expectations of mine have been proven false when I have looked at my Civil War ancestors.  My mother’s family primarily lived in the South so I expected them to probably be Confederates and I expected my father’s family to be fighting for the Union and to be fairly numerous because of their history of fighting in our countries battles.  I found that I was mostly wrong.

My great grandfather’s Gage and Gallup ancestors stayed primarily out of the Civil War from what I have been able to ascertain.  Perhaps they were needed for their farming or manufacturing ability.  I don’t find evidence that my great grandmother’s Shawver and Pitsenbarger family were involved either.  They lived in Nicholas Co., VA which later became Nicholas Co., WV – and there must have been other forces that caused problems.  However, my father’s one line that was in the South was involved…just not in the Confederacy. 

When I was in Carter Co., TN several years ago, I found a book written about the 13th TN Calvary…I picked it up wanting to find information about my mother’s great grandfather who I know was in that unit and found that my 4th great grandfather Moses Johnson along with his son Nicholas and son-in-law, Green Walker.  They were involved in the bridge burning that the 13th TN Calvary did to slow the Confederate troops down. They and their families were mentioned specifically for protecting and providing for the soldiers who were hiding from the Confederate troops who were pursuing them.

Moses Friddles
Moses Friddles was an Artificer in 13th TN Calvary.  His job was to repair muskets and artillery and keep track of the company ordinance.  The story goes in the family that his young son, Albert, spent part of the war with him.  Moses had left his two children with a family and the family had gotten sick and died of small pox.  Albert took his sister and found somewhere for her to stay and then went looking for his father.  He would have only been about 10 years old at the time.  Albert found his father and spent the remainder of the war helping out by holding the reins of the horses for visiting soldiers.  Moses survived the war as did Albert and married Mary Ann Crosswhite (his 3rd marriage) which didn’t last.  In 1878, he married 16 year old Martha “Mattie” Brown.  He was 36 years older than she.  Their youngest son was my great grandfather, David Carl Friddle.  According to his pension, Moses was afflicted with chronic diarrhea, rheumatism, and piles.  Sounds like a pretty miserable life to me!

Jasper Bailey
Jasper Bailey was my mother’s great great grandfather.  His daughter Buena Vista Bailey was my great grandmother, Sophia (Mom Friddle’s) mother.  Jasper was a member of the 3rd NC Infantry – a Union division.  He fought at Morgantown, Bulls Gap, and the Red Banks of the Chucky River which is where he was injured in his leg.  Jasper’s injury didn’t affect him much as a young man because he made his living as a bear hunter, but by the time he was an old man he was so crippled that he couldn’t walk very much.  He died on 1 Jan 1928 in Washington Co., VA.

My one Confederate ancestor was Alexander Monroe Dollar.  He was my great grandmother’s (Mom Friddle) other grandfather.  He was a member of the 58th Infantry of North Carolina.  He enlisted on 20 Jul 1862, deserted on 9 Feb 1863 at Big Creek Gap, TN and then returned for duty on 10 Dec 1863.  Monroe Dollar then deserted from camp near Dalton, GA on 19 Mar 1864 and went over to the enemy on an unspecified date.  He took the oath of Allegiance at Knoxville, TN on 10 Oct 1864.  From what I have read, the 58th North Carolina had one of the worst desertion records of any group in the Confederacy.

My last Civil War ancestor is John Lyons Tannahill.  He and his brother, Henry, found in the 7th IA Calvary.  They enlisted in March 1864 and were mustered out in 1866.  Their primary duty during the war was guarding telegraph lines, and those traveling, escorting trains and protecting immigrants.  They primarily battled attains the Sioux Indians.  I don’t think he spent any of the war battling the Confederates just the warring Sioux along the Nebraska and the Dakotas.

My five Civil War ancestor all had unique experiences that covered the realm of experience for Civil War soldiers.  One worked as guard & protection duty, while another helped keep the artillery in working condition, another helped sabotage bridges to prevent the enemy from utilizing them for transport and still another was serving in battle and wounded and the last deserted his post and returned home.  Most of them lived to be old men except John Lyons Tannahill.   I still don’t know what he died from – he was only 33 when he died and he left behind a widow and three sons.  All of them died in their 60’s or 70’s.  I’m sure they had lots of tales to tell about their experiences…I wish I could go back in time to hear them!


  1. I wish I could go back and hear my ancestors stories too! Alexander Monroe Dollar was one of my ancestors as well. In fact, my maiden name is Dollar. It might interest you to know that his brother also served in the civil war, was injured and then spent his remaining time helping the hospital that mended his battle wounds.

    From what I understand, the conditions were such that it was quite common for a soldier to desert his post only to return later after a "refreshment" period.

  2. must be descended from John Dooley Dollar...what is your me directly - I have a lot of stuff!