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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).
ANDY AND JOHN ALFORD
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!
- Aug 17 to Nov 1, 1861 Stationed at Camp Benjamin, Benton County, AR.
[Andy's and John's muster reports for 12/31/1861 say "when last paid - Never!"]
- Dec 31, 1861 to Feb 2, 1862 At Camp Strickland on the Boston Mountain, Washington County, AR. ["in the Boston Mountains"]
- Feb 28 to Jun 30, 1862 In the field. At London, TN.
- Jun 30 to Aug 31, 1862 In the field.
- Aug 31 to Oct 31, 1862 Stationed London, TN. The months of Sept. & Oct. in the field in KY. Also the latter part of August. At Richmond, KY on Aug. 30 we were engaged with the enemy. Wounded: 1 corporal, 2 privates. Landed at London, TN, Nov. 5, 1862.
- Nov 1 to Dec 31, 1862 London, TN. Oct 31, 1862 the last place of muster came to Bridgeport, TN, distance 110 miles. Thence to Manchester, TN, distance 40 miles. Thence to Readesville, TN, distance 30 miles. Thence to Murfresboro, TN where we went into action Dec 31, 1862. Killed: 1 private. Wounded: 1 1st Lieut and 8 enlisted men. [One of them was Sgt Andrew J. Alford, having been promoted to Sergeant on Dec 19, 1862].
- Dec 31, 1862 to Feb 28, 1863 Near Shelbyville, TN. [Company C's report provides more detail. It says: "Jan 1, 2, & 3 we were in line of battle before the enemy. Left there the night of the third, marched to Murfresboro that night & remained the next day and on the night of the fourth we started from there and arrived at the camp (near Shelbyville) on the fifth. Distance 35 miles." Andy's report says, "Absent. Wounded at Murfresboro on Dec 31, 1862. At hospital." John's report for the same dates says: "On detached service at hospital". Was he also wounded, or was he detached to accompany his brother?]
- Feb 28 to Apr 30, 1863 Near Shelbyville, TN. Andy's report says "present".
- Apr 30 to Jun 30, 1863 Camp near Livingston, MS. Andy's report says "Absent. At hospital". John's report says "Present".
- Jun 30 to Aug 31, 1863 Camp Bowen, MS. July 1 in camp on Big Black River, MS. Engaged in skirmish fight on Jul 11. Marched to Forest, MS, on the 16th & 17th. Marched to Meridian, MS, on Aug 1.
- Aug 31 to Oct 31, 1863 Stn. Brandon, MS. Sep 1 taken the cars at Meridian, MS, to go to Ringold, GA, by way of Selma and Montgomery, AL and Atlanta, GA. Arrived at Ringold on the Sep 16. On the 19th and 20th was engaged in the Battle of Chicamauga, GA. On the 23rd taken the cars for Meridian, MS, by way of Atlanta, Montgomery and Mobile. Arrived at Meridian Sep 29. Oct 19 taken the cars for Brandon, MS. Arrived at Brandon on Oct 20, 1863, and camped.
- Dec 31, 1863 to Feb 29, 1864 Near Mobile, AL. Jan. 9, 1864 the Command moved on the cars from Brandon, MS, to Meridian, MS, there camped. [Here, on Jan 20, 1864, Andy and John had apparently had enough! They walked away.] [Company G's report continues:] Feb. 4 taken cars at Meridian bound for Jackson, MS. Got off the cars at Jackson on the morning of Feb 5. The same day marched on foot to Brandon. MS. On 6th marched in direction of Newton Station on the Southern Railroad where we arrived on Feb 12 & taken the cars bound for Mobile. Arrived at Mobile on the 17th and camped.
- Jue 30 to Aug 31, 1864 Stn. Lovejoy, GA. Remained on the Kennesaw Mountain until Jul 3. Retreated to the Chattahoochie River 8th. Retreated across the Chattahoochie River 19th & 20th. Engaged the enemy 22nd. Fell back to Atlanta 28th. Engaged the enemy near Atlanta Aug 19. Taken the cars bound for Lovejoy 20th. Engaged the enemy at Lovejoy Station 22nd. Returned to Atlanta 28th. Taken cars bound for Jonesboro 30th. Skirmished with the Feds 31st. Engaged the enemy in his works, drove him and taken portion of his works.
WILLIAM D. ALFORD
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.