Wednesday, May 30, 2012

* Decoration Day *

      It was the War Between the States.  The American Civil War started on April 12, 1861 at Ft Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina and after four long years, the bloody battle ended n April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House in Appomattox, Virginia.
     Decoration Day was started on this day, May 30, in 1868 as a day of remembrance for the soldiers who died in the Civil War.  General John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Army veterans' organization wanted to honor the brave men who died fighting for their country.  The graves were decorated with flowers.
     I only know of two ancestors who died in the Civil War and both of those men were on my maternal grandmother, Eleanor's father's side.  MaMa's father, Samuel George Davis had an ancestor on his father's side as well as on his mother's side who fought in the Union Army.
     Samuel's maternal grandfather, Samuel C. Braught lived in northwestern Ohio with his wife and two children when he joined the army.  I don't have much information on my 3rd great-grandfather other than what I found in a pension record.  In one of the records for his daughter, I saw that Samuel was from New York.  I don't know where or when Samuel C. Braught was born and died.  I wonder if he is buried in Ohio?
     Samuel Davis' other ancestor who died for his country was his grand-uncle Daniel Davis, his paternal grandfather William Davis' younger brother.  According to the records I found, Daniel was born April 15, 1838 in Marlborough, New York.  He enlisted in the 120th regiment on June 8, 1862 at the age of 22.  In the 16 months that he served, he fought in the Battle at Fredericksburg and Chancellorville, was wounded at Gettysburg and taken prisoner at James City where he died as a POW on Belle Isle and is buried.
     Belle Isle is a small island in the James River in Richmond, Virginia.  During the American Civil War, the island served as a prison for Union soldiers.  The prisoners were not housed in buildings.  They were sheltered by tents.  Many of the soldiers died of starvation, exposure to harsh weather and trying to escape the island.
     I came across another record which has conflicting information.  I have records that show Daniel joined the army in June of 1862 and served 16 months before dying as a prisoner of war at Belle Isle prison.  The 1865 NY State Census Civil War Death Record has Daniel joining in August of 1862 and dying in February of 1863 in Libby Prison which was in Richmond, Virginia.  I'm sure both of these records are for my ancestor.  How many Daniel Davis from Marlborough,NY joined at the age of 22 and died a POW in Virginia at the age of 23?  I read that enlisted men passed through Libby Prison but didn't necessarily stay.  Maybe Daniel was actually at Belle Isle after Libby?  I still don't know where he is buried.

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