Saturday, June 11, 2011


From the Library of Congress Civil War Collection

Synopsis: Our Quaker Browns have been ever present in America's struggle for independence.  Now they find themselves in the middle of yet another battle and it is one that will find cousins and brothers pitted against each other in a civil war that will bring heartache to many.  The Brown family has grown, the two original brothers William and James have seen their children move in different directions not only geographically but in their mindset as well.  Some have settled in the north and the west,  and others have made their homes in the south.  A major bone of discontent is the continued dependence on slavery.


 1862:  Suddenly the world they know is a different place.  The distant whiff of gunpowder is in the air. In Indiana, Dennis and Hannah Brown, the children of Quaker forebears fear for their family’s future.

Aged 38, Dennis has known only the life of a farmer, though for a brief three years he did try his hand running a mixed store in the small town of Royal Centre between Logansport and Winamac.  Maybe his timing wasn’t the best; had he waited just a few years, until 1861, he would have seen the town begin to boom with the arrival of the railway line.

He is nevertheless still reasonably cashed up and buys a 200 acre farm back in Indian Creek  where their youngsters can run wild and maybe they can add some new additions to the family.

Nearby is the comfort of familiar faces, kin and childhood friends.  But all this is set to change.



From Harper’s Weekly of the 1860’s

History has recorded the why’s and wherefores of the Civil War, the abolition of slavery coupled with the economy of the times; it’s not for me to explore them. My interest lies in the effect the long conflict had on my distant ancestors, and in retrospect to their families, friends and neighbours on both sides of the fighting.

All through this story the Quaker Brown’s have avoided violence, moving steadily away from areas of contention and conflict.

Now as I enter their lives again on the eve of a civil war I wonder how Dennis faced this new threat; was he still adhering to the strict guidelines of Friends Meetings instilled in him by his father and grandparents before and during the long journey to Indiana?  Or had he by the 1860’s already distanced himself from the Quakers strict adherence to non violence and the non taking of civil oaths?


Early 1861 when Abraham Lincoln was elected President of  America, the State Legislature of South Carolina voted to remove their state from the Union.  Six other states followed suit, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.  It wasn’t long before Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina joined them, the eleven states eventually forming the Confederate States of America.

The war between the north and the south officially started in April of 1861, after Lincoln’s inauguration when the new President requested South Carolina surrender Fort Sumter to Union Troops.  They refused, shots were fired.

Civil War had become a reality.

But it was to be a curious struggle, an internecine one where neighbour fought neighbour, brothers and cousins stood on opposing sides and where, even in the President’s own family there was a great divide with tragic results.



On the surface it seems almost ironic that a 1730’s  Quaker solution to a land dispute should today be a lasting symbol of America’s 1860’s Civil War.

If you go back to the first chapters of this Quaker Brown history you will read about the brothers from England, William and James Browne, two of the original settlers of the Nottingham Lots, William Penn’s olden day version of a sub division.  The idea then was to create a Quaker homeland, a place where the Society of Friends could practice their ideals of pacifism and tolerance without the authoritarian interference of the Crown.

Andrew Job’s Journal provided a key to the Quaker men and women who first settled the Nottingham Lots. Many of these families intermarried, their children later moving on from Pennsylvania; some to the new settlements springing up in the south, others north to New York, while some seemed to wander for some time through the southern states of the Carolinas and Georgia before crossing into Ohio and then to Indiana.

But before the gradual migration south, about  the same time our original Brownes were settling into their new homes on the Nottingham Lots, a land dispute flared between the powerful Lord Baltimore in Maryland and the Quaker’s sponsor William Penn. 

On Penn’s part it was a bitter dispute; to lose would mean the Quakers and he himself, must be subject to the will of England. Finally Penn and Baltimore commissioned two Englishmen, one a surveyor, the other an astronomer to draw a 233 mile long boundary between the two emerging states of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the 83 mile long line between Maryland and Delaware.

They did, and the Nottingham Lots were left in Penn’s jurisdiction.

The two Englishmen were named Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the project took five long years to complete and today the Mason Dixon Line still serves as the Maryland Pennsylvania Border, and its name lives on as the symbolic divider between north and south in America’s Civil War. 

And curiously at least nine of those original pacifist Quaker families listed on Andrew Job’s Nottingham Lots map would 130 years later provide front line soldiers on both sides of that future war.

Times had indeed changed.


A modern day descendent of the Quaker Janney family, a researcher like me, shows a classic example of just how the old world of the Quaker Browns had probably moved on.

Asa Moore Janney, a present day Loudon Friends historian tells the story of how he researched Quaker ancestors for a woman in California.  Reluctantly, he wrote to tell her they had been “kicked out of meeting for swearing, fornication and drunkenness.”

The woman wrote back: “Thank you very much.  My family has done better since we joined the Methodists.” 


Two sides of the war – friends once, enemies now.

By the beginning of the Civil War Quaker families from the time of the Nottingham Lots had scattered to the far corners of America, but some had taken much the same route as our Browns and settled either in Indiana or Ohio, while others stopped off enroute to make their homes in the southern states.

In this way the numerous Brown offspring having married into other Quaker families from the Nottingham days, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, were for evermore separated, gradually losing touch until by the time  of the Civil War many were not even aware of their kinship to each other.

Over the ensuing years some had adopted the religion of a spouse or for convenience had chosen to worship in churches rather than at Friends Meetings.  For them the Quaker way of life and worship had been left behind.
I’m sure their grandfathers and great grandfathers though could never have envisaged a time when their offspring would be taking up arms, much less opposing each other on opposite sides of  battle. 

 But they did, as these family names from those Nottingham Lots days show...

Original image held in the Library of Congress
 These Quaker surnames, all to be found on Andrew Jobs map represent just some of the early settlers who married into the families of  the Quaker Patriarchs, William and James Browne.

  • Jesse H. Jobe (as the name is sometimes spelled) for instance served as a private in Company E of the 9th Indiana Infantry Volunteers in the Civil War.  His later pension details states he ‘suffered diarrhea contacted (sic) during war of 1861, now suffers from piles, rheumatism, heart problems, stomach problems, lung problems and a broken wrist for about 20 years’.   He received a $4.00 month pension from 1867.
  • Another Jobe history states all of the male members of the Jacob W. Jobe family served in the Union army during the Civil War.
  • John Beeson enlisted in 1862 as a Private in G Company of Indiana’s 79th Infantry.  Another Beeson’s historical mansion, Aspen Hall was used as a Civil War hospital where blood stains are still distinguishable on the wooden floors beneath the carpet in an upstairs suite.
  • Both Stephen Janney and George Janney enlisted in the Civil War, Stephen went with General Sherman, George was sent down the Mississippi to New Orleans and on to Florida where he contracted yellow fever...from which one third of his company died.
  • George Byrd Bailey (Bayley spelling at time of the Nottingham Lots) enlisted in the Union Army as a teenager and served with distinction.
  • A Mercer Brown served as a Suttler in the Civil War, supplying weaponry to the forces.
  • William Henry Empson fought with the 124th Ohio Volunteers.
  • When Tennessee was caught in the middle of the Civil War emotions ran high, which side to support?  Two young men, related to the Nottingham Lots Browns and Mercer’s, were John Stephen Churchman a Private in the Confederate 10th Regiment Cavalry, and Henry Jouette Churchman a Lieutenant Colonel in the Union Army.
  • After the war was over with both brothers surviving, their father John Knight Churchman wouldn’t let son Henry return home because he fought against the south.
  • Another Churchman family, that of John Wesley Churchman, saw one son and three grandsons march to war with the 4th Arkansas Union Cavalry;  all except Joseph Churchman died in battle.
  • Yet another Churchman descendent, this time Patrick M. revealed how he was hi-jacked into the Confederate Army.  "I was sitting on my horse in New Orleans when a couple of men rode up from the river and told me to get off my horse. They said I was drafted and had to go into the Confederate Army. There was no questionnaires like they have now; there was no selection about it. If they saw you and wanted you, why, away you went without getting ready. As far as I know my horse is still standing where I got off him.... They put me in the 13th Louisiana Regiment with the ambulance corps and gave me a uniform.”
  • Robert Dutton’s young descendents, Quaker sisters Lida and Lizzie Dutton* from the Virginia, and Confederate, town of Waterford were both faithful to the Union cause. With their cousin Sarah Steer the young women published a popular underground newspaper while at the same time hiding and caring for wounded Union soldiers.

*Original Nottingham resident Robert Dutton married our 1st American ancestor William Browne’s daughter Ann, by his second marriage to Ann Mercer, which makes the Civil War Dutton girls Dennis Brown’s many times ago first cousins, a relationship I’m sure he was unaware of...a future story will enlarge on Lida and Lizzie Dutton’s life and times.



·  While Abraham Lincoln had no Nottingham Lots nor Quaker connections, his family was caught up in the tragedy of a country split in half. Lincoln had five brothers in law who served in the Confederate Army, three of whom died.  One Benjamin Hardin Helm was a West Point graduate from Kentucky who had been in the United States Army before the civil war. He became a Confederate General and his death at Chickamauga in 1863 greatly saddened the President.  

·  Mary Lincoln did not mourn her brothers publicly telling one visitor that in joining the Confederates they ‘had made their own choice.’


And though it took him a while, our direct ancestor, Dennis W. Brown finally joined D Company of Indiana’s 23rd Volunteer Infantry in 1864, just in time to join General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army and the burning of Atlanta. 



Dennis Brown wasn’t among the first rush of men from Indiana to join the growing ranks of the Union army.  In fact he didn’t sign on until October 19th 1864 when the conflict was already 2 years and more in duration.

I wondered why? 

·      Was there a personal conflict to do with his Quaker background that kept him teetering on the edge... 

·      ...could the Brown family have been ‘Copperheads’, the term first used by the Cincinnati Gazette to describe people who would not admit for whatever reason they were Southern sympathizers... 

·      ...could it have been the Union’s first Conscription Act passed in March of 1863 making all men between the ages of 20 and 45 liable to be called for military service... 

·      ...or could it have had something to do with the much publicized and daring incursion by Confederate cavalry into Indiana in 1863?



In July of 1863 the charismatic Confederate cavalry officer, Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan led his two and a half thousand strong force of cavalry and light artillery on a guerrilla style 46 day raid from Tennessee, through Kentucky to northern Ohio.  Despite being ordered by his superiors not to cross the Ohio River, Morgan persisted, rampaging into Indiana and leaving behind a trail of destruction and anxious civilians fearing invasion.

He and his men covered nearly 1000 miles destroying bridges, railroads and government stores.  News of Morgan’s progress spread like wildfire through the northern States as newspapers of the day took up the story.

The raid of the rebel Morgan into Indiana, which he seems to be pursuing with great boldness, has thoroughly aroused the people of that State and of Ohio to a sense of their danger. On 13th General Burnside declared martial law in Cincinnati, and in Covington and Newport on the Kentucky side. All business is suspended until further orders, and all citizens are required to organize in accordance with the direction of the State and municipal authorities. There is nothing definite as to Morgan's whereabouts; but it is supposed that he will endeavor to move around the city of Cincinnati and cross the river between there and Maysville. The militia is concentrating, in obedience to the order of Governor Tod.
                                                   Harper's Weekly, July 25, 1863

Morgans trail in red...

As Morgan pushed further into the  north, hastily positioned Union forces blocked his way preventing an escape to the south.  For 46 days he evaded capture, his men living off the land and looting stores and houses.

Morgan was eventually forced to surrender what was left of his command in northeastern Ohio. Imprisoned in the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus he and six of his men tunnelled to safety.  It’s said he made his way to Cincinnati by train and from there crossed the Ohio into Kentucky where southern sympathizers helped him reach Confederate lines. 

His fame spread and his daring raid spawned a  multitude of memorial keepsakes much like this china plate offered for sale not so long ago at auction.


"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace." 

                                                 Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.


Whatever catalyst propelled Dennis Brown into the front line of war on October 19th 1864 he finally said his goodbyes to Hannah and joined the 23rd Regiment of the Indiana Volunteers, Company D.

His enlistment papers show he had been drafted into the army for 3 years.

His particulars are given, aged 40, height 5 feet 7 ½ inches, fair complexion, blue eyes and black hair.  Not all that dissimilar to my Grandfather, Dennis’s grandson, the lad he knew as Bertie Brown, the same man I knew as Charles Brown Parker.

General William Tecumseh Sherman with his staff, photographed at Federal Fort No. 7, Atlanta
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-B811-3626C
By the time Dennis sailed down the Ohio River with other draftees to join his regiment, the 23rd Indiana Volunteers had already accounted for themselves in a number of campaigns with the armies of both General Ulysses Grant and General Sherman.

As Sherman progressed through Georgia his troop’s met little resistance, and no wonder, his army contained around 65,000 soldiers plus thousands of former slaves who joined in the tail end of the cavalcade, all creating havoc as they steadily stripped plantations, farms and stores along the way.

By comparison the only forces the Confederates had managed to send after them were about 14,000 men.  Eventually the Confederate General Beauregard was sent to stop Sherman.  He and General Hill knew it would be hard to stop the Union’s troops so they sent out the message to...

... "Every citizen with his gun and every ... with his spade and axe can do the work of a soldier. You can destroy the enemy by retarding his march. Be firm!"

But it was too little and too late, the die was cast and Atlanta would be burned to the ground.


The burning of Atlanta dealt the Confederate morale a devastating blow.  Sherman’s forces had occupied the city for several months as he prepared for his epic March to the Sea. Then finally on November 11th he ordered that Atlanta be burned to the ground, agreeing only to a request to spare the city’s churches and hospitals.

He was determined to destroy Atlanta’s railroad and supply infrastructure while at the same time giving its population time to flee. Accordingly, before  instructing the city to begin the evacuation of its citizens he gave fair warning to the Mayor in a lengthy letter dated September 12th, 1864.  (For reasons of brevity I have heavily abridged the letter.)


 I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the cause, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only at Atlanta but in all America...... but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible.

We don't want your Negroes, or your horses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States...... That we will have, and if it involved the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it..... 

 But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter. 

 Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them, and build for them, in more quiet places, proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes in Atlanta. Yours in haste, 

                                       W.T. Sherman, Major-General commanding.


As a result there was pandemonium as people tried to flee the city, over-loading the trains to such an extent personal goods were jettisoned to allow more people to fill the carriages.  Wagons and horses and belongings were strewn around the abandoned railway buildings.

Only then was the order given and the destruction of the city began. Sherman described his last sight of Atlanta burning in his Memoirs written 11 years after the event.

 “Behind us lay Atlanta, smoldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air and hanging like a pall over the ruined city...”



Civil War Harper’s Weekly December 1864.

Both armies, the north and the south virtually stripped countryside bare: Homes and plantations were looted, fields and crops stripped  to feed the huge numbers of men on the move. 

As Sherman’s juggernaut of men and equipment rolled on towards the coast, pasture was trampled, bridges damaged, wasteland left in their wake. The forces and needs of war could afford no pity.

To the women and children of the south with their men folk away fighting with Confederate forces, Sherman’s huge army must have been a terrifying sight. Helpless and alone they could do nothing to defend themselves or their property.

How could Dennis Brown, a farmer born of gentle Quaker stock accept the wanton waste and destruction he was contributing to?

 His thoughts at the time must have been with Hannah and the children, their farm at Indian Creek, their friends and neighbours. At some time he must have worried that marauding Confederate soldiers might be inflicting on them exactly what he was now doing to the people in the South. 


This eyewitness account was written by a  southern woman who saw her life’s work destroyed overnight by Sherman’s massive push to the sea. 

Dolly Sumner Lunt was born in Maine in 1817, moving to Georgia as a young woman.  She was a school teacher when she met and married Thomas Burge a plantation owner.  When her husband died before the war Dolly was left alone to manage the plantation and its slaves.


She kept a diary of her experiences; we join her as Sherman’s army approaches her home...

November 19, 1864

Slept in my clothes last night, as I heard that the Yankees went to neighbor Montgomery's on Thursday night at one o'clock, searched his house, drank his wine, and took his money and valuables. As we were not disturbed, I walked after breakfast, with Sadai [the narrator's 9-year-old daughter], up to Mr. Joe Perry's, my nearest neighbor, where the Yankees were yesterday.

Saw Mrs. Laura [Perry] in the road surrounded by her children, seeming to be looking for some one. She said she was looking for her husband, that old Mrs. Perry had just sent her word that the Yankees went to James Perry's the night before, plundered his house, and drove off all his stock, and that she must drive hers into the old fields. Before we were done talking, up came Joe and Jim Perry from their hiding-place. Jim was very much excited.

Happening to turn and look behind, as we stood there, I saw some blue-coats coming down the hill. Jim immediately raised his gun, swearing he would kill them anyhow.

'No, don't!' said I, and ran home as fast as I could, with Sadai.

I could hear them cry, 'Halt! Halt!' and their guns went off in quick succession. Oh God, the time of trial has come!

I hastened back to my frightened servants and told them that they had better hide, and then went back to the gate to claim protection and a guard. But like demons they rush in! My yards are full.

To my smoke-house, my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way. The thousand pounds of meat in my smoke-house is gone in a twinkling, my flour, my meat, my lard, butter, eggs, pickles of various kinds - both in vinegar and brine - wine, jars, and jugs are all gone. My eighteen fat turkeys, my hens, chickens, and fowls, my young pigs, are shot down in my yard and hunted as if they were rebels themselves. Utterly powerless I ran out and appealed to the guard. 

'I cannot help you, Madam; it is orders.'

...Alas! little did I think while trying to save my house from plunder and fire that they were forcing my boys [slaves] from home at the point of the bayonet. One, Newton, jumped into bed in his cabin, and declared himself sick.

Another crawled under the floor, - a lame boy he was, - but they pulled him out, placed him on a horse, and drove him off. Mid, poor Mid! The last I saw of him, a man had him going around the garden, looking, as I thought, for my sheep, as he was my shepherd. Jack came crying to me, the big tears coursing down his cheeks, saying they were making him go. I said: 

'Stay in my room.' 

But a man followed in, cursing him and threatening to shoot him if he did not go; so poor Jack had to yield.

...Sherman himself and a greater portion of his army passed my house that day. All day, as the sad moments rolled on, were they passing not only in front of my house, but from behind; they tore down my garden palings, made a road through my back-yard and lot field, driving their stock and riding through, tearing down my fences and desolating my home - wantonly doing it when there was no necessity for it.

...As night drew its sable curtains around us, the heavens from every point were lit up with flames from burning buildings. Dinnerless and supperless as we were, it was nothing in comparison with the fear of being driven out homeless to the dreary woods. Nothing to eat! I could give my guard no supper, so he left us.

My Heavenly Father alone saved me from the destructive fire. My carriage-house had in it eight bales of cotton, with my carriage, buggy, and harness. On top of the cotton were some carded cotton rolls, a hundred pounds or more.

These were thrown out of the blanket in which they were, and a large twist of the rolls taken and set on fire, and thrown into the boat of my carriage, which was close up to the cotton bales. Thanks to my God, the cotton only burned over, and then went out. Shall I ever forget the deliverance?

November 20, 1864.

About ten o'clock they had all passed save one, who came in and wanted coffee made, which was done, and he, too, went on. A few minutes elapsed, and two couriers riding rapidly passed back. Then, presently, more soldiers came by, and this ended the passing of Sherman's army by my place, leaving me poorer by thirty thousand dollars than I was yesterday morning. And a much stronger Rebel!"



Time hung heavily for many of the troops on both sides of the war.  Between the fighting and the incessant marching from place to place were long hours and days of nothing but the constant search for food and rest.  Each man no doubt had their allotted chores but nothing could dispel the moments went thoughts turned to home and the loved ones they had left behind.

While some of the men amused themselves with card games and chitchat others wrote letters home, to mothers and sisters, to sweethearts. For some this may have been the first time they had ever put pencil to paper. 

With regret I have to admit we have no such mementoes from Dennis, but a great many surviving war time letters have been preserved by The University of Virginia as part of their Digital History project, the Valley of the Shadows; the following excerpts are only a few from their extensive collection of Civil War letters and diaries. 


A letter from a young Confederate soldier, C. Brown to his mother and sister concerns purchases to send home that he made in Pennsylvania prior to the battle of Gettysburg.  The money mentioned, C.S., is Confederate currency.

June 25th 1863

Camp at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Dear Sister & Mother,

Yesterday I purchased a large lot of dry goods comprising three dresses for H.S.B. & two for Mother, or rather one of the girls' dresses is for Lizzie. There are sundry other articles too numerous & unfamiliar to me, to mention, except that I send a piece of shirting cotton. The whole concern cost me (4 lbs. tea at $3.00 included) $163.00-- It would cost you about $700 if you could get it at all, I suppose I hope to be able to fill another box if we get to Harrisburg or Carlisle, and will try to send the things included in your list & not sent now. There are no silk dresses in this town - all being [illeg.] off or hidden. I bought for C.S. money & used no threats for compulsion whatever. 

Chickens sell for 10 cents here, butter for 12 1/2, but we generally have to pay in Yankee money for them as Genl Ewell does not allow us to force our own currency upon the people - a [unclear: leniency] which I think utterly thrown away upon men who behave as these have done, or at least as their troops have done. The people in the towns seem to stir about as much as usual or more, and behave pretty well except that now & then women turn their backs on us, or bring up a decided pout, which as they are naturally very much uglier & coarser than ours, doesn't improve them in fact is a trial their faces are not equal to..... 

I hope you'll get the valise I send, packed, as a sort of "amende honorable" for taking your carpet-bag supply, especially as the things are very valuable to you. I will try next time to buy something for winter use. We are all well

Yrs affecy

G. C. Brown

I hope the tea will be drinkable- It was the only article in town above the degree of abominable


Augusta County: John Newton Pearce to Lizzie Brown, December 21, 1863, a letter that barely paused for breath and contained no full stops  nor breaks in thought.

Dec 21st 1863

Camp Chaffies Damn

Dear Miss Lizzie

I set down to write you a few lines to let you know that i am well i dont know that this letter will be acceptable but if you think this is worth the time of answering i will be very glad to here from you i would take a great pleasure in reading your letters i wish this cruel war was over so we could all come home again and enjoy ourselves once more but i would like might well to be at home Christmas So i could come to Staunton i think i could enjoy myself first rate in Staunton but there is no chance of my getting away from here a soldier is worse than a negro used to be we have to get a whole sheet of paper full of writing before we can get home and it is such a lazy life not praising myself for i am a little touched with it myself i have been very hard at work all day getting timber to build a house you must excuse this short letter but i will try and do better next time it is very cold here at this time but we enjoy ourselves first rate we have good quarters and plenty of wood there is not much news here to write if you think this is worth answering i would like to hear from you in a short time so good night 


John N. Pearce


Advert in Cincinnati Daily 1860

Franklin County: Joseph B. Sweigart to His Cousin, July 24. 1862. - Sweigart writes that his regiment is close to Richmond and will attack it very soon. He also describes the atrocities that the rebels have committed and discusses a family matter... I doubt he paid much attention to schooling, especially spelling...

July 24 1862


Dear Cosin

I reseavd your civill an welkom lettar and was very glad indead to hear from yous aul. Whe are within 30 miles of Ritchma and expect to atact the Rebels at Ritchmond in 4 or 5 dayes. i think their will be som fiting don their but our cos is just. i must be done and an bound to se it through. the Rebels are wors then a set of heathren. they take our men and pin them up aganst treas with their buynetts and fire upon our hospitals wheir the sick are. An they have fired on severails of our flag of truth and whe it comes to that [unclear: roust ] i thik it is time to du somthig it rais my blud evry time i see sutch things.

 i have seem more then i ever expect to see and more then ever i want to see again. general pope has gaven orders to take evrything Whe want of the farmers and whe will du so. i think the rebels will not get mutch on the ground. Whe have went over that [unclear: ought of bean ] dun suner and the rebels supply would not be so great when ever whe had to [unclear: retied ]

Why the rebels got their supplies by that is over and tho the war is not over yet and i thik 1 year will not end it but i am bound to see it As far as i can. uncle david said that aul was rite. he doant thik hard ataul of [unclear: youns ] ataul. he will lend you the money if he doant come home till august. he is promist again that time his discharg. i am in a hury. you must excuse bad riting. i can not rite mutch this time. i will rite more next time. rite soon. 

J. B. Sweigart 


Some despairing thoughts were confined to diaries, meant for no other eyes, as was this heart rending yet matter of fact account of the deaths in one small community...they were written in her wartime diary by Nancy Emerson, a northerner by birth living in Augusta County with her brother Luther, a Presbyterian minister.  Nancy was strongly pro-Confederate.  

July 6, 1862

Sab. July 6

About this time the funeral of Wm. H. Randolph
took place. He lies in the centre of the grave yard by
the side of his young wife. Was killed in the battles of Richmond. Not long after was the funeral of Mrs.
Buchanan. Aug 11th was the funeral of George Baylor
killed at the battle of Cedar Run in his 20th year,
so young, & such a universal favorite. 

December 29, 1862

Dec. 29

A long hiatus. Couldn't help it. So many
things to occupy the attention. It would be in vain
[added: to attempt] to enumerate the multitudes of events which have transpired since the last date. The 29th & 30th of Aug. the
second battle of Manassas took place. At this battle
Col. Wm. Baylor was killed, leaving a heartbroken
wife & mother & sister to mourn his loss, but they
have hope in his death. James Gabert was also killed
at this battle. His brother John was wounded before
but died after, & was brought home to be buried.
L Kerr another neighbor of ours died the 14th Sept.
of typhoid fever. Before this on the 10th, little Emily
Baylor died of diptheria. 

On the 20th, David B. died of
the same disease at the age of twelve. Thus two [added: or rather six,] died out of three families, two from each. Fifteen new graves have been added to our grave yard during this year. 

A Mrs. Wright living with her two of three illeg. went
to S. to see her son who was wounded, took the small
pox, & she & her husband died. The son
of another neighbor came from the army with it,
& nearly all the family took it. One, an infant
died. Another neighbor who visited them, took it, & died.




Depending on which side you were, north or south, Sherman’s campaign through Georgia was either a masterful one to deny the rebels access to supplies and strategic aide or a despicable ‘scorched earth’ policy that left in its wake numerous ‘Sherman sentinels’ – the chimneys of burnt out houses and ‘Sherman neckties’ – railway rails heated and wrapped around trees.

War historians present the overall result of Sherman’s March to the Sea, that it was significant in gaining Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia and North Carolina.  That in doing so he cut the Confederacy in half, that he effectively trapped the rebels in Savannah leaving them no way out.

Sherman's "scorched earth" campaign began on November 15th when he cut the last telegraph wire that linked him to his superiors in the North. He left Atlanta in flames and pointed his army south. No word would be heard from him for the next five weeks. His March to the Sea had begun.

Sherman's objective was the port of Savannah, already blockaded by the Union’s Navy. The battle for control of the city lasted 12 days when with considerably little damage to the city itself, Sherman finally claimed Savannah for the Union on December 22nd.

Two days later President Lincoln received a message from General William Tecumseh Sherman saying... 

"Merry Christmas President Lincoln, as a gift please accept Savannah."

But for Sherman himself the victory would be a hollow one, while in Savannah he learned from a newspaper that his infant son Charles Celestine had died during the Savannah campaign, a child the general had never seen.



Courthouse at Appomattox, Maryland where General Robert E.Lee surrendered the forces  of the Confederate Army.

With the fall of Savannah the war was virtually over. The next few months saw a steady march through both South and North Carolina with much of the town of Columbia destroyed by fire on February 17th 1865, though contention continues whether deliberately lit by Union troops or set alight by retreating Confederates.

In records Sherman comments the horrendous trek north through torrential rains across the Lumber River into North Carolina through the swamps and creeks of Robeson County ‘was the damnedest marching I ever saw’.

These body sapping marches through the swamps and low lying areas of the south would prove injurious to many of the rank and file veterans of the 23rd Indiana.  Twenty five years later Dennis would claim a war pension for rheumatism and old age and be granted $12 a month. 

As witness to his eligibility a doctor wrote...have known him for 20 years have treated him several years for rheumatism.  He is not an intemperate man and his trouble is not due to vicious habits...

Surprisingly in the four years of combat, the Indiana 23rd Regiment alone suffered only 524 deaths, 179 of those from disease and 345 from their wounds.  There is no mention though of the many sent home sick and ill either from their wounds incurred in battle or from illness contracted in the field. 

The total number of Americans who lost their lives in the Civil War is estimated at between 618,000 and 620,000.


President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15th, 1865 just five days after the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his forces at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, thus officially ending the American Civil War.

A month later victorious Union Armies paraded before President Johnson along the same route Lincoln's funeral cavalcade had taken.
Dennis Brown marched alongside his comrades from Indiana’s 23rd Volunteer Infantry when it took part in the triumphant march of the concentrated armies of the United States through the streets of the capital, Washington.

The Grand Review of the Armies was a two day event with Major General George Meade leading his 80,000 strong Army of the Potomac down Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House on May 23rd 1865, while on the next day General William T. Sherman led his 65,000 men of the Armies of Georgia and Tennessee along the same route.

With the fury of war behind them the 23rd Indiana then proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky where, coincidentally on the 23rd of July the Regiment was honourably discharged and demobilised out of the service.

Dennis returned home to Indian Creek to Hannah and the farm where they wasted no time adding two more sons, Van and Charley, to the family.

Dennis would live to see his grandson, Bertie Everett Brown, born in 1874 grow to his teens, but I have to wonder what his thoughts would have been had he known the identity the boy would later assume, Charles Nelson Brown Parker.


Next – Quakers 9 – 1874: To John and Laura my Grandfather    is born....and a lie begins.

Robyn Mortimer ©2011