If you have information, stories, photographs, etc., to share about anyone in my family, please contact me - howardka at earthlink.net. If you use anything from this blog, please contact me for permission to post/use elsewhere. I don't mind sharing but would like credit for these original posts and family photos.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

William Franklin Pritchett and Thomas A. Pritchett - Confederate Soldiers

In a past post (November, 2011), I've written about a great+ uncle who was a Confederate soldier during the Civil War . . . William Ashley Gilley. There are others I haven't written about yet. The BIG news is I've now found a direct ancestor who was a Confederate soldier, William Franklin Pritchett, my grandmother's grandfather. I've written about him in previous posts in September, 2011. Use the Blog Archive to find them.

William Franklin Pritchett enlisted in Company K, 34th Alabama Regiment in late 1862. He was about 42 years old. While that seems rather old to join the Army, circumstances of the war changed age restrictions after September, 1862.

All healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 were liable for a three-year term of service in the Confederate Army. All soldiers already in the army for one-year terms now had their length of enlistment extended to three years. In September of 1862, the upper age limit raised to age 45. The age limits expanded to the age range between 17 and 50 in February of 1864.   Source: http://www.nellaware.com/blog/the-confederacys-conscription-act.html 

At that time William was married to his second wife, Nancy Ann Lindsay, my great great grandmother. They had a daughter, Margarett Emma Pritchett, my great grandmother, who was born November 21, 1860. He also had two sons, Thomas Wiley Pritchett (born February 14 1849) and James Phillip Pritchett (born May 20 1851). Their mother, William Franklin's first wife, Margaret Lena Striplin, died sometime after James Phillip's birth and probably before 1858-1859. So, when he went to war, W. F. left a wife, 32 years old, two sons, ages 13 and 11, and a 2 year old daughter.

Battle Flag of the 34th Alabama Regiment

Provenance Reconstruction:
This flag was probably issued to the regiment in the spring of 1864. It bears characteristics which are common to flags issued to artillery batteries in the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston. The flag of the 34th Alabama Infantry is the only known flag of this size to have been issued to an infantry regiment. After the war, the flag was preserved by Dr. John N. Slaughter of Coosa County who had served as a major in the regiment. It was donated to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by his son Dr. Jasper M. Slaughter on April 20, 1910.
       Curator's Object Files, Civil War Flags, Alabama Department of Archives and History.
       Madaus, Howard Michael. The Battle Flags of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1976.

His unit in the 34th Alabama Regiment also included his younger brother, Thomas. They fought together in the battles at Chicamauga, Mission Ridge and the campaign of 1864 from Dalton to Altanta. They also fought in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and Nashville. There the two brothers were captured by the Union Army on December 15, 1864. They were transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, and from there they were sent of prison at Camp Douglas, Illinois, near Chicago. Camp Douglas was known as the Union equivalent of the Confederate's Andersonville Prison. (Can you imagine how these two Southern soldiers taken to a prison camp in Illinois in winter survived? I'm sure it was very difficult for them.)
Camp Douglas was named for Stephen A. Douglas, whose estate provided about 60 acres on the southern side of Chicago. It was originally a training site for newly recruited Union soldiers from the area. The first Confederate prisoners (5,500) arrived in February, 1862. Camp Douglas was one of the longest continuous operating prisons in the Civil War and had the greatest number of prisoner deaths of any Union prison. Disease was rampant within the camp: smallpox, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, anemia, tuberculosis, rheumatism, scurvy, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, not to mention battle wounds and injuries.

It was here that William Franklin's brother, Thomas, died on April 23, 1865, just days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The cause of death was listed as Intermittent fever. His original grave was #1084, Block 3, Chicago City Cemetery. Later he was buried in Oak Woods Cemetery. The buried Confederate soldiers were moved in early 1867 when the Chicago City Cemetery was closed for the creation of Lincoln Park (on Chicago's north side). One section of Oak Woods is known as the "Confederate Mound". A 46-foot monument stands alone, surrounded by cannon and cannonballs. Buried around it are the greatest number of Confederate soldiers buried north of the Mason-Dixon Line  (about 4,039, maybe more). One of these is Thomas Pritchett.

Confederate Mound Monument, Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago, IL

Confederate Mound Monument Dedication

Thos. Prittchett's name is in the 3rd column from the left, 15th name from the bottom

William Franklin Pritchett was held prisoner until the end of the war and was paroled in June, 1865. He made his way home to Dale County, Alabama, to his family.

Here are Confederate records for William Franklin Pritchett.


 Here are the Confederate POW records for William F. Pritchett.

 Here is the Confederate POW record for Thomas A. Pritchett.

Below is a Confederate Pension ledger page that shows where William Franklin Pritchett signed for his money. His is voucher #14149 in the amount of 25.00. The interesting thing to note is W. F. didn't sign his name. He made his mark "X" and his name was signed by J. J. holes and witnessed by Lincy Crawford. I don't know if W. F. didn't know how to write his name (being illiterate) or if it was because of his age, 91 years old. The cover page said the pension was "for the relief of needy Confederate soldiers and widows of those who have not remarried."

Confederate Pension Record for W. F. Pritchett, Date April 1, 1911 Third column is No. of Warrant, Fourth/Fifth columns are the amount, Sixth column is Signatures, Seventh column is Witness to Signature

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