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By Donald Ray Alford, AAFA #0059

Great Grandnephew of Andy, John, and Bill

[Published in AAFA ACTION, Issue #17, June 1992, pages 43-44.]
The Civil War Confederate muster records of three Alford brothers, Andy (born 1842), John (born 1837), and Bill (born 1835) have been submitted to AAFA. They traveled 355 miles from near Murfresboro, Pike County, Arkansas to Mt. Vernon, Missouri where they enlisted in the newly formed Company G, 4th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, Confederate States Army, on August 17, 1861. This Company was also known as Captain James F. Black's Company, South Arkansas Regiment, C.S.A. These records and the following comments, except as otherwise noted, were excerpted by the author on June 21, 1988, from the National Archives, Civil War Files, Micro Copy No. 317, Roll No. 70, 4th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, Confederate States Army (CSA).


Briefly, Andy and John were assigned to Company G from the date of their enlistment until their departure from their unit on January 20, 1864. Except for periods of absence when they were hospitalized, both participated in all of the fighting, marching, and deprivation which their unit experienced during this period. This included the bloody battle of Murfresboro, TN (the Union Army called it the battle of Stones River), where Andy was severely wounded in the neck, resulting in two extended periods of hospitalization. Family information says that after he was shot, he crawled into a large stump hole where he hid from the Feds for more than a day until he was rescued by his confederate countrymen. Uncle Andy (as he was known) was somewhat disabled for the remainder of his life.

Following the Battle of Murfresboro on December 31, 1862 and January 1-3, 1863, Andy and John marched and fought through the year 1863, including three days in the Battle of Chicamauga, GA.

The muster records state that Andy and John deserted from their unit on January 20, 1864 while it was camped at Meridian, MS. Family information says that they were tired, hadn't been paid, were needed by their families after being absent since 1861, and couldn't obtain "leave" from their units. So they walked home. If one reads the muster roles of Companies C and G (Co. C's reports help fill in Co. G's gaps, since both companies served together), it is understandable that they would take this action. Extracts from the Company records and their records are as follows, with the author's notes in brackets: The last report, ending August 31, 1864, but actually dated Sept 12, 1864, is the last report in the record of Company G, 4th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A. After Andy and John's experiences up to January 20, 1864, perhaps they understood what possibly lay ahead for their unit. In any case, had they chosen to continue the fighting through the Kennesaw Mountain, Chattahoochee River, Atlanta, Lovejoy Station and Jonesboro conflict, they may not have survived the war! As it turned out, it would have been futile to continue!


William D. Alford, the third brother who enlisted in Missouri that August day in 1861, experienced the war in a totally different way. Incidentally, he was the only one for whom we have a physical description, provided by the U.S. Prisoner of War Camp at Indianapolis, lndiana on May 18, 1865. It reads: "Complexion-florid; Hair-sandy; Eyes-blue; Height-5ft. 7½ inches".

Briefly, Bill remained with Company G until sometime between February 28 and June 30, 1862, when he was "transferred with pay certificate" to St. John's College Hospital at Little Rock, AR. This hospital was used as a Confederate military hospital during the war. His military record shows his employment as Steward, Ward Master, and Wagon Master (?). In view of the poor legibility of the records from which the archive transcriptions were made and in view of family information, it is believed that his duties throughout his tenure were similar to those of today's military corpsman. Thus, the correct listing would be as Ward Steward or Ward Master. It was this experience that caused Bill to enter medical school and obtain his M.D. certification after the war. That, in tum, led to his practice of medicine in Pike County, AR, until his death in 1923 at the age of 88.

The Union Army captured Bill when the hospital was taken by a Federal raid on Little Rock on September 10, 1863. He was imprisoned at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, IN, until he was released under oath on May 18, 1865.

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