Nov 2018 Story
CIVIL WAR IMPACTS (Part 1)
Written By Angela Stout November 2018
The Civil War (1861-1865) had a tremendous impact on the lives of Joseph Roberts’ children and grandchildren. The war changed everything! Not only did we lose family members to the war but the lives of those who survived would feel the effects of the war for years to come. Over the next few months, we can explore some of the impacts the Civil War had on the descendants of Joseph Roberts. Joseph Roberts had six sons--William, Benjamin, Henry, John Harrison, Francis Marion, and Joseph Denton and four daughters--Sarah “Sallie”, Marinda “Mandy”, Malissa and Violet. This month’s story captures the Civil War service of Joseph Roberts’ sons.
From this summary, we can see that all of Joseph Roberts’ living sons served for the Union Army during the Civil War and we have documentation as such. While considering why they decided to fight for the Union, I learned some helpful information about the civil war draft. The first Conscription Act, passed by the Confederate Congress on April 16, 1862, made all white males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five eligible to be drafted into military service. (This was the first such draft in American history.) This would have made all of Joseph’s sons of age to be drafted by the Confederate Army. The Union Army had not begun drafting at this time. Therefore, Henry, Francis Marion and Joseph Denton decided to join the Union versus being drafted into the Confederate Army. Their brother, John Roberts, chose a different path. It is said that he rode with the “Mine Lick Gang”. According to the DeKalb County History book, the area between Mine Lick Creek and Second Creek was patrolled by the Mine Lick Gang. This was a “Home Guard” non-regular force that banded together to protect the families in the Union sympathy area from being preyed upon by the opposing side.
John enlisted in the Union Army in 1863, the same year the Union began their draft. It was a tenuous, dangerous and lawless time in Tennessee with both the Union and the Confederate Armies drafting people to serve, sometimes forcibly. In the case of Joseph’s sons, they chose the Union.
According to military service records, Henry Roberts enlisted in the Union Army on 24 Nov 1862 in Nashville, Tennessee, along with his son Joseph M. Roberts, and his two brothers, Joseph Denton, and Francis Marion for a three year service agreement. All were members of Company I of the 5th Tennessee Calvary. After being mustered into service, Henry was listed as "sick" in the Nashville convalescent camp from 26 Dec 1862 up into Jan 1863. U.S. Army Surgeon General’s office documents that Henry then died in a Regimental Hospital in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on 12 Feb 1863 from measles. His widow, Elizabeth, filed a pension application based on his Civil War service.
According to military service records, Henry’s son Joseph M. Roberts, enlisted with his father and uncles on 24 Nov 1862. Joseph M. Roberts died of chronic diarrhea in a Regimental Hospital in Nashville on 20 Dec 1862 (less than 30 days in the Army).
According to military service records, John Harrison Roberts enlisted with the Union at Carthage, Tennessee on 21 Oct 1863 for 1 year service and honorably discharged on 13 Dec 1864. He held the rank of private while he served with Company C, 1st Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry during Civil War. Amanda, his 2nd wife, filed a pension application based on his Civil War service.
Military tombstone of John Harrison Roberts
Military records tell us that Francis Marion Roberts enlisted in the Union Army on 24 Nov 1862 in Nashville, Tennessee and served as a private and as a corporal in the Union Army Company I, 5th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry until his honorable discharge on 14 Aug 1865 at the rank of private.
According to pension depositions, Francis Marion came close to being a commissioned officer. It was his claim that after enlisting, he and George Washington Elmore (Wash) were sent back home to get more men to sign up and make another company. The company was to be the Company C of the 8th Regiment Mounted Infantry. During the Civil War, the captain and the lieutenant were elected by the men of the company. Francis Marion and Wash thought they would become the captain and the lieutenant of the newly formed company. Wash was indeed elected as the lieutenant but James B. Terry was elected as Captain. This left Francis Marion to return to Company I in Murfreesboro. He also was sent to the Nashville hospital for chronic diarrhea, mumps and contracted measles while in the hospital. Francis Marion filed for civil war pension based on numerous ailments he claimed to have been caused by his service in the war. His widow, Sarah, filed for a widow’s pension.
According to military records, Joseph Denton Roberts served with Union, Company I of the 5th Tennessee Calvary. He enlisted on 24 Nov 1862 until honorably discharged on 14 Aug 1865. According to the U.S. Pension Office, he was treated in a field hospital and then spent two months in the Carthage Hospital for chronic diarrhea. Joseph Denton filed for civil war pension based on numerous ailments he claimed to have been caused by his service in the war. His widow, Silvia, his 2nd wife, filed a pension application based on his Civil War service.
Military tombstone of Joseph Denton Roberts