Wednesday, June 13, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Military

This post is part of Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2018. The prompt for the week of May 21, 2018, is Military. I wondered who to write about for this prompt. I’ve already written about my dad’s World War II experiences and about my maternal grandfather, William Liming Redles, who retired as a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Marine Corps. I have several ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. But then I thought about James Pendleton, brother of my paternal great grandfather Alexander Shaw Pendleton. My dad had a copy of James' American Civil War diary (dated 1865), both a transcribed copy and a copy of the original, that he received from a cousin. I'd never taken the time to read the diary.

James Aubrey Pendleton was the son of my paternal 2nd great grandparents, Philip Coleman Pendleton and Catharine Sarah Melissa Tebeau. During the Civil War, he was in the Surveying Corps of Georgia under his uncle, Major John R. Tebeau, who was his mother’s brother. James was 18 years old. His sixteen-year-old brother Philip was with him during this time. James’ father Philip and older brother William Frederic were both soldiers in the Civil War. 

Since I love maps, I decided to look up the places James went with the surveying corps on Google maps. The first entry in his diary is below:
March 1 Thursday. A diary for 1865 beginning March 1st. Engineering Dept. Of Georgia in camp at Abbeville C. H. [court house] awaiting orders from Maj McCrady who left us at Edefield [sic] C. H. [court house] on our way here, to go to Columbia [South Carolina]. Weather, cloudy and wet - The finishing up of a long wet spell which I sincerely hope has left Sherman in a bog. 
I believe James is referring to Abbeville, South Carolina, as there’s also an Abbeville, Georgia, south of Warner Robins. Also, I wonder if he meant “Edgefield” rather than “Edefield.” There’s an Edgefield, South Carolina, which today is part of the metropolitan area of Augusta, Georgia, and is southeast of Abbeville, SC. 

The surveying corps left Abbeville on March 6, two weeks after they’d arrived, and headed back to Augusta, GA. On March 7, James writes, “This day we joyfully took up our line of March for Old Georgia.”

Map from Google Earth with most of the locations marked where James traveled during the American Civil War (click on the map for a larger view).

On March 11, the corps arrived at Fury’s Ferry. When I looked this up on Google maps, it shows a Furys Ferry Road (see map above), now Highway 28 South. This highway runs by Abbeville, SC, and crosses the Savannah River, the dividing line between South Carolina and Georgia, northwest of Augusta. The surveying corps crossed the ferry on March 12 and set up camp near Augusta, “the same day we left it just one month ago.” On March 17, they passed through Augusta heading east to South Carolina. They surveyed several miles of road from Bath, SC, to Graniteville, SC. 

On March 22, the corps received word they were to return to Augusta to prepare to go to Chester [sic], SC. Later, James says the town is Chesterville: “March 30th The Engineer wagon train left Augusta this day for Chesterville [sic], S.C. at two o’clock - marched about ten miles and camped for the night.” There’s both a Chester (southwest of Charlotte, NC) and a Chesterfield (southeast of Charlotte, NC) but no Chesterville that I could find.

After the corps arrived in “Chesterville” on April 4, they were told to leave on April 8 for Hillsborough, NC. They traveled to Charlotte by train and on to Hillsborough, arriving on April 10. The next day, April 11, they were sent north to Roxboro, NC. They set up camp that same day and then received word to return to Hillsborough! They wondered why such a quick change in plans and found out that General Robert E. Lee had surrendered. The surveying corps was ordered back to Charlotte, NC, “without delay.” James’ entry on April 14th states: 
On the road to Charlotte. We travel at the rate of twenty miles a day carrying our luggage on our backs. Our party consists of twenty-one men and boys, white and black, with one wagon.
On April 23rd, James writes: “All are enjoying today the rest they so much need after a steady march of nearly two hundred miles.” He doesn't say where they are. On April 24th, they prepared for “another long tramp to Augusta, Ga.” 

On May 1, 1865, James says: 
Crossed Banknights’ Ferry on the Saluda, marching a distance of 23 miles. Weather clear and mild. It is reported that peace is declared on what terms we know not.
James’ last entry: 
May 2nd Marched twenty-two miles today and camped. Slight showers during the night. It is reported today that all the country east of the Chattahoochee is surrendered and all the men to be paroled; if this is so we will all soon be home.
What a slog for three months around parts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina! James writes about getting soaked to the skin marching through the rain; camping in open pine groves, in the woods, and in deserted slave houses; and marching anywhere from 10 to 23 miles a day. His brother Philip was sick part of the time. The weather was pleasant some of the time. James was able to send $100 back home; quite a sum back then.

I can't imagine what James' mother must have felt having a husband and three sons away during the war.


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