John Bates’ Final Years, Part 1

This is part one of the final years of John BATES’ life.  For those of you just getting here, I’ve posted several times about my maternal 3rd great grandfather, John.  My initial post about John is here  and it gives you the background you’ll need about John’s life.  My cousin visited Rock Island (where we thought John had died) and he guest-wrote a blog post that you can find here.  On a trip to Georgia I found some documents related to John and wrote about some of those here.  Recently I made another discovery that initiated this blog series about John and you can read that post here.  The initial timeline for the final years of John BATES is included in that post but I was able to create a more accurate timeline that will serve as the outline for this series and I posted that here.  Since I posted the updated timeline and this post on a Tuesday, I will try to continue posting John’s story installments on Tuesdays just to keep things simple.  Today’s post will begin with the early years of John’s first enlistment and will go through Battle of Mill Springs in 1862.  So let’s get started.

The Beginning of the End

John’s initial enlistment was on 10 November 1861 and was supposed to last 6 months.  He enlisted with Company C, 10th Georgia State Troops, Walker’s Brigade, Army of State Troops (Captain was John OATES).  According to the Murray County Museum records, John fought in a battle at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was captured at Tullahoma, Tennessee, and died at Rock Island (Illinois- the Union military prison camp).  There are notes on this document that the company reorganized and went into Confederate service in May of 1862.  They became the 3rd Confederate Regiment, Company F, Wharton’s Brigade, Army of Tennessee (the unit that John enlisted in for his second enlistment; also captained by John OATES).  My theory is the Murray County Museum records are incorrect.  I think it’s too much of a coincidence that there was a John BATES in both units and both units had John OATES as their caption.  Both John BATES’ enlisted at Spring Place, Georgia.  I’m not saying it’s beyond the realm of possibility that there were two in the same unit.  I just don’t think it’s probable in this case.  None of my research so far has indicated that my theory is incorrect.

Murray County document John Bates enlistment

According to the Georgia Archives website, the Captain of Company C of the 10th Regiment Infantry, Third Brigade of the Georgia State Troops was Captain John OATES.

georgia archives document john bates enlistment

Records for this unit show that John BATES was called into service on 16 December 1861 as a Private.  He joined for duty and was enrolled on 16 December 1861 at Spring Place, Georgia by Captain John OATES for a period of 6 months.  (I’m aware this information conflicts with the November date and I’m trying to get it all figured out.)  This document shows he was last paid by Paymaster Major Lamar through 31 January 1862.  It’s interesting to note that on this document John’s name is crossed off and the remarks state, “Details to Napier Battery February 8 1862”.  There are several possibilities for “Napier Battery” and I’ve been unable to determine which unit is being referred to here.  Two websites discuss possible units: Tennessee Genweb website and  Tennessee Genweb website.  Hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to solve this problem.

company c ga state troops john bates

On the far right of the document you’ll see John BATES’ signature in the section showing payroll from 31 January 1862 through 31 March 1862.  I do believe that is actually John’s signature since the guy above him  has a “his mark x” note beside the name and John’s signature doesn’t have that notation.

john bates signature

Please note this copy of the same document.  John’s name is not crossed out on this copy and it shows that he was paid $12 per month.  (Tennessee Genweb)

John Bates payroll 2

In addition to those details, the remarks section says, “Details to Napier Artillery February 8 1862”.  (See discussion above about Napier Battery.)

During the payroll periods of 16 January through 31 March 1862, the 10th Regiment, 3rd Brigade was stationed at Camp Jackson.  There were a number of Camp Jackson’s in existence and I haven’t been able to narrow it down more than that yet.  One thing I enjoyed about this document is the description of Captain OATES’ assessment of the unit.  He graded the unit fair in discipline, good in arms, fair in instruction, competent in accoutrements, good in military appearance, good in clothing.  (See bottom left corner)  For the initial period from 15 December 1861 to 31 January 1862, Captain OATES had rated the unit like this: discipline tolerable, arms good, instruction tolerable, accoutrements complete, military appearance tolerable, and clothing tolerable.  (Georgia Archives)  One additional fact for that initial period from December 1861 to January 1862 is that John was paid for 1 month and 15 days at $11 per month for a total of $16.50 in pay.  He was also given $10 for clothes.  Third Lieutenant T. R. BATES witnessed John’s receipt of payment.

muster roll 10th regiment

You can find the muster roll page with John’s name on it here.  He’s number 17.

I am checking into ordering Confederate military records but am not sure what exists for this time period other than what I’ve found online.  I will come back to this time period in John’s life if I find more information at some point.

What is more certain about this time period is what was going on in the United States and in the war in general.  In November of 1860, Abraham LINCOLN was elected president.  On 20 December 1860 South Carolina seceded from the Union, quickly followed by six other states.  On 9 February 1861 the Confederate States of America was formed and Jefferson DAVIS was appointed President.  He was sworn in as President of the United States 4 March 1861.  (History Place website)  In April of 1861 Confederate forces fired shots on Fort Sumter, thus beginning the Civil War.

Confederate States of America Cabinet

Harper’s Weekly, 1 June 1861; found at Son of the South/Lee Foundation website.

The Battle of Fishing Creek in Kentucky

**Please note that I have no documentary proof that John was in this battle.  Records have been hard to come by for his units.  I can only look at his enlistment dates and presume that he was here based on where his regiment was stationed at this point in time.

In early January of 1862, troops began congregating around Mill Springs, Kentucky.  Kentucky was important to both sides and the side that won Kentucky would have a definite advantage in the war.  A battle ensued there on 19 January 1862.  The Confederates called it the Battle of Fishing Creek.  The Union called it The Battle of Mill Springs and, since the winner is the one that gets to write the history, it became the Battle of Mill Springs.

Confederate troops had marched much of the night through cold and rain to advance on Union troops in this area.  Unaware that Union troops had just received reinforcements, the order for Confederate troops to advance was given at midnight on 18 January 1862.  At 6:30 the next morning, the battle ensued.  Confederate guns were not firing consistently in the rain.  One estimate given was that only about one-fifth of the Confederate weapons were firing.  (Mill Springs Battlefield website)  Weapon issues, along with cold, mud, rain, and fatigue from marching all night were some of the major issues the Confederates faced in that battle.  Confederates camped and tried to regroup that night but realized they could not hold their position and survive.  They crossed back over the Cumberland River to safety in the middle of the night that night leaving behind all of their artillery, wagons, camp equipment and most of their horses.  In that battle, the Confederates suffered twice as many casualties as the Union.  The bodies of two Confederate officers killed in action (General Zollicoffer and Lieutenant Peyton) were removed from the battlefield and returned to their Confederate families.  The rest of the Confederate dead were left on the battlefield to be buried in a mass grave.  Most of the Union dead were buried in Mill Springs National Cemetery.  You can read the details of the battle and of Confederate Lieutenant Peyton’s bravery before his death at Mill Spring Battlefield website.

gen zollicoffer death

This is a print for sale at showing the moment of General Zollicoffer’s death at the Battle of Mill Spring.

Meanwhile, Back at the Confederate Capital

In March of 1862, just a couple of months after the Battle of Mill Springs, Confederate President Jefferson Davis discussed drafting men for service.  In April, the first draft was passed into law and instituted.  The initial Confederate draft required 3 years’ service from draftees.  The draft was not received well.  (Wikipedia)

My initial guess about John’s re-enlistment was that John was drafted and unable to hire a substitute to serve his time and was also unable to buy his way out of service (both of which were permitted by law during the Civil War).  However, initially only men ages 18-35 were drafted.  John was 44 years old.  Men ages 36-45 weren’t required to enlist until September of 1862 and even then, men over 40 weren’t initially accepted.  (Civil War Daily Gazette)   So it appears that he voluntarily joined the second time.  I have found information that says that any man who volunteered before 15 May 1862 was eligible to “organize their own regiments or reorganize existing ones and elect their own officers”  and “receive a $50 bounty”. (Rootsweb Genealogy Pages)  John enlisted the second time on 10 May 1862 and mustered in on 16 May 1862, for Confederate service in Captain John OATES’ Company, HOWARD’s Battalion, Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry.  He enlisted in Spring Place, Georgia.  Since John enlisted so close to the deadline, I think it’s possible he had bigger plans to organize his own company or have available the option to reorganize a unit he had previously been in, possibly the opportunity to name his son as an officer, or something along those lines.  If he had bigger plans, those plans never materialized for whatever reason.  A side note on this website states that $50 in 1862 would equal about $1,120 in 2010 so that would be hard to pass up if you were inclined to do the work and needed money.).

The 3rd Confederate was attached to Joseph Wheeler’s division within the Army of Tennessee and they fought under the leadership of Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest.  John enlisted at Spring Place, Murray County, Georgia for a 3 year stint.  (The draft law required a 3 year stint initially.  It was later increased. Some information I’ve read says he was Captain of Company F but resigned.  Other documents I’ve found say he was a Sergeant.  One record listed him as a “4 Sergeant”.  The 4 Sergeant led a section of men within the Company.  I’m assuming he led the fourth section and that’s why he was designated “4 Sergeant”.  There would have been four sections within Company F and each section was led by a Sergeant.

Next Up…Shelbyville, Tennessee

We’ve made it through the Battle of Mill Springs, or if you were John, the Battle of Fishing Creek.  It was intense for me to read all the details and think that someone important in my life was probably there and fighting.  Between now and the next time we meet to talk about John he will have marched from the Cumberland River near Mill Springs, Kentucky all the way to a location near Shelbyville, Tennessee- a distance of 184 miles.  Think about that walk this week and then meet me back here next Tuesday to learn about the next stop on the journey.  I’m looking forward to it.  I hope this week’s journey for us will be easier than the journey was for John.

Until then,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Notes: Websites were accessed between 1/16/2018 – 1/29/2018.

John Bell and Sarah Hardin- Another Postmaster and His Wife

Today’s blog post is about my paternal 4th great grandparents, John BELL and Sarah HARDIN who were married in January of 1822.  I have never found a marriage certificate for them.  The date given is one I have received from other researchers.  I mentioned this couple in an earlier blog post.  As I was writing this week I realized that in recent posts I’ve forgotten to tell you which line leads me to each of these ancestors.  For John and Sarah, I descend through John and Sarah’s son Quincy, through Quincy’s daughter Eliza (whom I recently wrote about here), and Eliza’s daughter (and my great-grandmother) Bessie.  I’ll try to remember to include an ancestral line in future posts. 

John BELL was born about 1795 possibly in North Carolina or Kentucky.  I don’t know for sure who his parents were.  There is much about John that I haven’t been able to figure out.  I have yet to find a birth or marriage record.  His burial location is on private property and in the 1970’s the then-owners of that land destroyed the headstones and the Bell family cemetery.  This information comes from researcher Shirley Davis who visited with the people who owned the land at that time.

Sarah HARDIN was born about 1806 in Rutherford County, North Carolina to Hardy and Tabitha (ROBERTS) HARDIN.  Their last name is also commonly spelled HARDEN.  Sarah has been easier to research than John but there is still much about Sarah that I don’t know.  She is buried in the same location as John so there are the same difficulties with no one knowing exactly where that is.

John and Sarah lived in Sweetwater, McMinn County, Tennessee at the beginning of their marriage between 1820-1830.  In 1838 they moved to Greene County, Missouri with their children- Quincy, Calvin, Serena, Elvina, Catherine, Alexander, James, Sarah, and Hannah.  After the family moved there, Phebe and Mary were born.

John was the first Postmaster at the Dallas, Missouri, Post Office (Greene County).  The first Postmaster appointment I can find for him was at the Dallas (Missouri) Post Office on 19 December 1844.  He as there until 27 May 1846.  The following day John SMITH replaced him at Dallas Post Office.  On 15 January 1847, John was appointed Postmaster at the post office in St. Paul, Missouri.  Another researcher (Shirley Davis) has said that the St. Paul Post Office was on John’s property.  As I’ve said in previous blog posts, the postmaster often kept the post office in his own home.  John’s property was Southwest of Marshfield, Missouri, on the James River.  I believe it is that area that is known as Bell Ford, which you will see on several of the family records.  There is also a place called Bell Spring that was named after our Bell family.  Here is a map showing Bell Springs Road and Bell Ford Road.

Bell Hardin post - bell springs map

Here is a zoomed-out map of the same area.  #1 is Marshfield, Missouri.  #2 is Fordland, Missouri.  #3 is Seymour, Missouri.

bell hardin post zoomed out bell spring map.jpg

This map will give you a better idea of location.  Within this triangle of Marshfield-Fordland-Seymour is where John and Sarah HARDIN BELL lived and where Bell Springs and Bell Ford are located.  My guess is they lived closest to where #4- High Prairie- is.  When I looked for St. Paul (the name of the post office John ran out of his home) the Geographic Names Information System indicated that St. Paul Cemetery is located in a place now called High Prairie.  So this is my best guess as to where they lived.  St. Paul Post Office didn’t exist for very long and there is no longer a place in Webster or Greene County, Missouri going by the name St. Paul.  The area shown in the map would, of course, also be the general area where the Bell family cemetery is located.  These maps were found at Any Place America’s website.

I’ve read that John ran the St. Paul Post Office until his death.  Government records show that he was Postmaster there until 30 November 1848.   However, the will transcription given by Shirley Davis shows that John died “on or about” 7 September 1848.  The Postmaster records for this time period are difficult to read so it is very possible that John had no gap in employment as a Postmaster.  In addition to being difficult to read, the records aren’t indexed.  At this time though, these are the only records I’ve found of his employment as Postmaster.  The census records for his era do not list types of employment so this may be all we ever learn of what John did for a living.  

After John’s death in 1848, Sarah remained in Greene County, Missouri.  In 1855, Webster County, Missouri was created from part of Greene County, Missouri.  This area included the place where Sarah BELL lived.  As far as I can tell, Sarah remained there until her death.  Her adult daughters lived with her for much of her life.  At least one of the daughters never married.  Sarah and John, along with some of their children and grandchildren, were buried in the Bell family cemetery which is on private property.  (See above discussion.) 

Here is a teaser for the next time I post about Sarah.  She had two little girls living with her in the 1870 census- Sarah C. DeSHZER and Cynthia A. BELL.  I don’t know who these girls are but I suspect they are grandchildren.  Notice that living close to Sarah was her daughter Elvina BELL JACK.  I believe the woman living in between Sarah and Elvina was one of Sarah’s other daughters but I haven’t been able to prove or disprove that theory.  Here is a screenshot of that census:

bell hardin census image

(Screenshot from

There is so much more to know about this family but I’m going to stop here for now.  I plan to return to this family later in the year to finish their story.


Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

New, Updated Military Timeline for John Bates

Following is the updated timeline of John Bates’ final years in the military.  This is the timeline I’m currently working with after finding better information online than what I was working with last week.

10 Nov 1861                     Initial enlistment

19 Jan 1862                      Battle of Mill Springs (KY)

11-16 Feb 1862                Battle of Fort Donelson (TN)

March 1862                      Confederate President Jefferson Davis discusses drafting men 18- 35 years old

10 May 1862                     John re-enlists

16 May 1862                     John reported for duty/joined service/Mustered in

September 1862              Confederate Congress passes legislation requiring men 18-35 to enlist for a period of 3 years

8 Oct 1862                         Battle of Perryville (KY)

16 Oct 1862                       Battle (?)- Lexington, KY

31 Dec 1862- 2 Jan 1863  Battle at Murfreesborough, TN (Battle of Stones River?)

2 Jan 1863                          Battle (?)- Tullahoma, TN

Between 2 Jan-10 Sep 1863    Captured at Tullahoma, TN- Prisoner of War

Between 2 Jan-10 Sep 1863    POW- Rock Island Military Prison, Rock Island, IL (information obtained from the Murray County Museum, Murray County, GA.  They got it from info in a book at the courthouse there.  This info differs from military records.)

31 Aug 1862-18 Jan 1863     Last paid by Captain Gibbons to 31 Aug 1862 PRESENT

31 Dec 1862-30 Apr 1863     Undated/non-information military document (perhaps they didn’t know where he was?)

6 May 1863                            Unit was reorganized into Company A, 37th GA Volunteer Infantry Regt. while John was imprisoned

19-20 Sep 1863                     Battle of Chickamauga (GA)

15-25 Oct 1863                     Battle of Philadelphia (TN)

20 Oct 1863                         Captured in Monroe County, Tennessee, during Battle of Philadelphia

14 Nov 1863                       Appears on a descriptive roll of Prisoners of War at Camp Chase, Ohio from Camp Nelson, KY received by Colonel S. G. Griffin.

31 Dec 1863                       Muster Roll: 30 Apr-31 Dec 1863 dated 31 Dec 1863; last paid 30 Apr 1863 ABSENT FROM DUTY

Jan & Feb 1864                  Undated; last paid by Captain J. L. Gibbons to 30 Apr 1863 ABSENT

22-27 Feb 1864                   Battle of Dalton (GA) occurred while John was a POW.

29 Feb 1864                        Transferred from Camp Chase, OH to Fort Delaware, DE

4 Mar 1864                          Received at Fort Delaware, DE from Camp Chase, Ohio

7 May 1864                          Skirmish (?)- Tunnel Hill (GA) occurred while John was a POW.

14-15 May 1864                  Battle of Resaca (GA) occurred while John was a POW.

4 July 1864    Pay            May & June 1864; Last paid by Captain Gibbons to 30 April 1863 ABSENT

14 Oct 1864                        Admitted (notes don’t say where- maybe Point Lookout, MD?)

30 Oct 1864                        Discharged/”paroled” at Fort Delaware in prisoner exchange

31 Oct 1864                       Other record says date of arrival at Fort Delaware is 31 Oct ; Exchanged on this date.

14 Nov 1864                     John must have died en-route to Venus Point as his tombstone says this date.

15 Nov 1864                   Received at Venus Point, Savannah River, Savannah, GA from Point Lookout, MD.  Delivered by Lt Col. John E. Mulford & Assistant Agent for Exchange- 3,023 paroled Confederate Prisoners of War including 4 citizens and 4 surgeons & 74 officers.  W. H. Hatch asst agent of exchange. Note: Venus Point is attributed to both Jasper County, South Carolina and to Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia.

At Last!

Imagine the opening words of the song At Last sung by Etta James.

“At last…..”

You know you’re singing it.  Go ahead and listen to it if you need to get your fix before you continue reading.

At long, long last, I finally know what happened to my Confederate soldier John C. BATES.  I can write the end of his story.  This has been a 3-decade-plus search but I was in it for the long haul and what a reward!  I wanted so much to tell you the full story right away but it is taking considerably more research time than I anticipated.  So today I will give you a timeline of where he was during the Civil War and I will expand on that timeline in the coming weeks.  I want to make sure I get the story right.

John BATES, 4 Sergeant (and former Captain) of Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry

John Bates is my maternal 3rd great grandfather.   In January of 2015 I made a last-minute change of blog topics so I could write about an exciting new discovery about John that I had made the night before.  In June of 2106 my cousin wrote a guest post about his visit to Rock Island and the veteran’s cemetery there.  He learned that if a prisoner of war died en route to the Rock Island military prison the soldier’s body “was unceremoniously dumped off the train” and that in some of the communities the train went through, the people there would bury the unknown Confederate soldiers.  We had never been able to locate a grave for John.  No family stories had been passed down about where he was buried either.  So, since June of 2016 I have believed that it was likely that John had been dumped on the side of the train tracks and buried as an unknown soldier in a location no longer remembered  or recorded by anyone and that made me sad.  In September and October of 2016 I was able to spend a few weeks in Georgia doing some genealogical research.  Exactly one year ago today, I wrote another post about John that detailed some of the documents I found on that trip.  The research I did on location in Georgia led me to John’s parent and grandparents.  Despite all these great discoveries, I still didn’t know about the end of John’s life.  I still believed he had probably been dumped off the train at some unknown location to be (hopefully) buried by people who had no idea who he was.

Fast forward to this week.  I have discovered the rest of the story and I want you to know about the end of John’s life and where he is buried so that no one has to wonder anymore.

Some things to remember before you start reading the story:

  • I couldn’t always follow Company F (or Company C) so I will sometimes revert to giving you the location of the 3rd Confederate Cavalry as a whole with the understanding that it is possible his Company was elsewhere at the time.
  • This new information was given to me by other researchers and I’m in the process of verifying what I can.
  • I may add to this timeline as needed and when needed if new information is found.
  • I’ve done the best I could with the resources available to me to compile an accurate account of John’s whereabouts during the final years of his life.  If you have different information, I would love to be corrected on this.  I want an accurate account of his life.
  • Remember that today is just a timeline and I will flesh out the story in the weeks to come.
  • Some of the information may change over the next few weeks as I continue to research.  Please keep coming back so you have the full story.

November, 1861- John BATES enlisted, Company C, 3rd Confederate Cavalry, Whorton Brigade, Army of Tennessee

March, 1862- Confederate President Jefferson DAVIS discusses a draft of men ages 18-35

May, 1862- John C. BATES enlists in Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry, at Spring Place, Georgia

September, 1862- Men ages 36-45 are required to enlist

September-October 1862- possibly had a base camp at Shelbyville, Tennessee during this period

December, 1862 through early January, 1863- Battle of Stones River

Late January, 1863- marched to Fort Donelson, Tennessee

Early April, 1863- skirmish near Liberty, Tennessee

Late April 1863- stationed at Varnell, Georgia

September, 1863- Battle of Chickamauga

October, 1863- Battle of Philadelphia (Tennessee)

20 October, 1863- John was captured and taken as a prisoner of war

March, 1864- John was received at Fort Delaware (Delaware)

October, 1864- John was part of a prisoner exchange and was “paroled” at Venus Point, Savannah, Georgia

14 November 1864- John died and was buried in Savannah, Georgia.

So there’s the timeline we’ll be fleshing out.  I chose to space out the story because I felt like I was having to choose between giving you a marginally researched story versus taking my time and giving you a solidly researched story.  I am erring on the side of solid research since I hope this blog will be on the internet for many years to come.  In the near future I’ll be telling you about the locations John was at and what he might have experienced.  I’m hoping to come up with even more information than I have now.  Stay tuned!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives