Notes from the past…

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The 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, U.S.A. and the Internet

My second great-grandfather Isaac Turner is my only ancestor (so far) to have fought on the Union side during the Civil War. My family is filled with Southerners, so it came as quite a shock when I found his index card in Ancestry’s Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 a couple of years ago.

I eventually got his entire pension file from NARA and it told quite a story, not so much about Isaac and his military career, but about his family and the hardships they endured after his death.

But this was his pension file, not his active military file. I have yet to find that file, as it is not available at Ancestry, Footnote or FamilySearch Record Search. But I think it will appear in the not-too-distant future.

Why do I think it will soon be available? Because early this morning I found several original (compilation 1890) documents concerning Company E of the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, Isaac’s old unit, at the Internet Archive’s Allan County Public Library collection!

I had previously set up an RSS feed for this site, and this is the title that appeared yesterday and that I found when I got home from work at 2AM:

Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations [microform] (Volume Reel 0190 – Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations – TENNESSEE Fourth Infantry, Fourth Mounted Infantry, Fifth Infantry, Fifth Mounted Infantry, Sixth Infantry, Sixth Mounted Infantry, Seventh Infantry, Seventh Mounted Infantry, Eighth Infantry, Eighth Mounted Infantry, Tenth Infantry Co. A, East Tennessee National Guard Capt. Beaty’s Independent Scouts (Mounted) TEXAS First Cavalry Second Cavalry Second Cavalry (1 Year, 1865) Gen. Hamilton’s Body Guard, Cavalry Vidal’s Co., Independent Co., Partizan Rangers, Cavalry)

Wait a minute! Did I just see Tennessee Fourth Mounted Infantry???

I did!

And this is one of the images that I found when I clicked on the title:


This file has over 1300 pages. There is a search box but it really doesn’t work too well. So I’ll have to browse each page to find any actual mention of Isaac, although I think this file only deals with the individual military units, not the individual soldiers. My initial find of 6 pages shows places and dates of service for the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment. What a wonderful find!

For the past couple of weeks, this RSS feed has been showing various 1850 Federal Census state files. I haven’t been too excited about this data, since it’s already available at Ancestry ($$$) and FamilySearch Record Search (free). But Civil War documents that I haven’t seen anywhere else… now that is exciting!

In fact, I just checked the feed again this morning (sleep, what is sleep?) and now it is showing Index to War of 1812 Pension Application files!

Pardon me, I’m drooling again… :)

(By the way, to set up an RSS feed for the ACPL Collection at the Internet Archive, go to this page and click on the RSS icon that’s just a little way down the page. DO IT NOW!)

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Surname Saturday: Appling

Appling English: patronymic from Abel, which was a popular Middle English personal name. Compare Aplin.

“Appling.” Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2006. 02 Aug. 2009.

While the Applings are one of my more minor surnames (married into my major Stanley line), one Appling has been pretty interesting to me:

Dr Francis B Appling lived in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama during the Civil War and was loyal to the United States. Quite a dangerous position to take in Alabama at the time, I would think. I have several physician-ancestors from that time period, and all have served either as military surgeons or as civilian doctors contracted to treat sick or wounded soldiers. All except one: Francis B Appling. I have been able to find no evidence whatsoever of his involvement in the Civil War as a physician.

What is so interesting about Dr Appling is his legal fight with the Southern Claims Commission. His initial claim for the use of his mule by the United States Army, was for $150 and was disallowed in 1873. Dr Appling was apparently not impressed and in 1889 filed suit against the United States of America:

FraBAppling vsUSA4aFraBAppling vsUSA4b

29 years after his original claim was filed (and almost 2 years after he died!), on 27 May 1902, Under the General Claims Appropriation Act (the Bowman and Tucker Acts), authorized by the Court of Claims, Francis B Appling was allowed $130.

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The McBurnetts and the Civil War

If I were to do a one-name study, the McBurnett surname would probably be my first choice to examine. Nicholas McBurnett lived and raised his family in Georgia during the most turbulent period in United States history, the Civil War Era. Of his 11 children, 3 sons and 2 sons-in-law fought in the conflict. Sons Thomas and Joshua died while in the service and son-in-law Shadrack Thompson was severely wounded in the leg and left a cripple for the rest of his life. A second son-in-law, James Seigler, developed chronic diarrhea while serving and suffered from it until his death in 1883. 2 of the men were captured at the Battle of Vicksburg and 1 at the Battle of Perryville and became Prisoners of War. The families of four of Nicholas’ sons received Confederate Pensions in later life. Son Daniel McBurnett, only 13 years old in 1860, may also have joined up. Footnote has documents for D McBurnett of Carroll County, enlisting in March 1862 into the same unit as older brother James and being mustered out in July 1862. As not many men were mustered out of the service of the Confederacy in 1862, unless due to injury or illness, perhaps this D McBurnett was young Daniel and he was discharged because of his age.

Thanks to Ancestry’s Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960 and Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 and Footnote’s Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia, I have downloaded a wealth of documents pertaining to the McBurnetts’ Civil War experiences.

Some of the genealogical data to be found in these documents:

  • Name of the subject, including initials or little-used middle name
  • Names of spouse and children
  • Dates and locations of birth and death
  • Date and location of marriage
  • Military units served in and dates and locations of service
  • Financial data
  • Physical descriptions and wounds or illness from military service
  • Where the subject lived after Civil War service
  • Names of friends and fellow veterans

In conjunction with census documents, I have been able to trace Nicholas’ children and their families and have developed a good overall image of life in Civil War Georgia. Still needed is land, voter and tax documentation and also anything probate.

And where are all of these people buried at? Still working on that…