Pages

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daniel A. Troutman's Sisters: Ester


After I wrote about my great-grandfather Daniel A. Troutman’s brothers’ activities during the Civil War, I looked at his sisters’ names on the family tree and wondered what was happening in their lives at that time, as well. Women are not as easily researched as men. D. A. had four known sisters born to Henry Troutman and Margaret Elizabeth Leonard Troutman: Ester, Margaret, Anne, and Sarah. Today, Ester gets the spotlight.
Ester L. Troutman
About twelve years older than Daniel A., his sister Ester (or Easter) L. Troutman was born 7 September 1823.[1] She was most likely a typical little girl who learned to cook and sew and spin and weave and make soap and wash clothes and sweep the house and kiss the bruised knees and scraped elbows of younger brothers and sisters, so her mother could get the housework done. I don’t know what she dreamed or enjoyed. Did she learn to read? How did she fare being the only girl among three brothers until, at the age of 6 ¾, a baby sister arrived in 1830? Was she allowed to run and play outside with the boys? Did she climb trees? I can only imagine.
About 1844 at the age of 21, she first married John Thomas from Iredell County. [2] Was he a neighbor boy she had known a long time? Or did she meet him as a young adult? In 1840, ten families named Thomas lived in Iredell County of which four had sons in the age range of a possible husband for Ester. However, his life was too short for us to know for certain which family was his. A daughter, Barbara Elizabeth, was born to them on 22 March 1845,[3] and five years later, John was gone.

1850 census, Iredell County, Fielding Kyles family.

 By 1850, Ester had remarried a man named Fielding Kyles; they lived together in Iredell County with little Barbara.[4]  Soon, they added two more known children, Octavia, born 23 September 1851,[5] and Austin Alexander, born 9 April 1853.[6] Barbara is not listed with the family at this time, and her whereabouts is undiscovered at this point. In 1860, Fielding was farming land worth $500.00, his personal property worth $60.00.[7]

1860 census, Iredell County, NC; Fielding Kyles family.

Then the Civil War broke out.
At age 42, Fielding enlisted in Co. E, NC 11th Infantry Regiment on 26 February 1862 for “three years or the war.”[8] How difficult that must have been for Ester and her children when Fielding left for war! When their father left, Octavia was twelve years old and Austin was ten.
According to Confederate Muster Rolls, Fielding seems to have suffered several months with illness, as did many Civil War soldiers. He was reported sick at hospital, Staunton, Virginia, May-June, July-Aug., Sept.-Oct. and Nov-Dec 1863;[9] again sick at Brigade hospital, May-June 1864;[10] on sick furlough, July-Aug 1864, Statesville. [11]

Fielding Kyles, Hospital Muster Roll. Note that this one says, "Kyles is improving."

Fielding was first reported missing in action September through December 1864,[12] but in January his status changed to prisoner of war.[13] Captured near Petersburg on 27 October, he arrived at City Point on 31 October and was sent to Point Lookout[14] where his brother-in-law, Daniel A. Troutman, was also a prisoner. Fielding was released after taking the Oath of Allegiance on 28 June 1865. According to the record, he had light complexion, brown hair, blue eyes, and stood 5'11 3/4" tall.[15]

F. Kyles, Oath of Allegiance.

Back home in North Carolina, Ester, Octavia, and Austin probably heard from Fielding only sporadically. How did they learn that he had been captured and imprisoned? Did he write letters? We do not know. Sadly, for Fielding and the children, Ester died in 1865 at age 42 while her husband was in prison.[16] 
 
Ester's tombstone in the Troutman Cemetery, Troutman, NC. Photo courtesy of Find A Grave contributor, Kathi Shuler.
At ages 15 and 13, Octavia and Austin were left motherless, as was 20-year-old Barbara, and at the time of Ester’s death, they were also uncertain about their father’s fate. Fielding’s return home must have been mixed with joy and sadness. Later, he remarried and raised a second family. In 1880, he was farming.[17] He died in Iredell County in 1905 at the age of 81.[18]

Fielding Kyles tombstone, Saint Martins Cemetery, Troutman, NC. Photo courtesy of Find A Grave contributor, Kathi Shuler.



[1] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 October 2014), photograph, memorial page for Ester Levina Troutman Kyles (1823-1865), Find A Grave memorial no. # 77676936, citing Troutman Family Cemetery, Statesville, North Carolina; photograph contributed by Kathi Shuler. Name on tombstone is Ester Thomas Kyles. Also, Thomas L. Troutman, ed., Descending Jacob’s Ladder (Unknown place: Unknown publisher, 1993), 51, 62. This text gives her name as Easter Levina and provides day and month for her birth.

[2] Troutman, Descending Jacob’s Ladder, 62. Marriage year is estimated based on the date of birth of their first child known child.

[3] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 October 2014), photograph, memorial page for Barbara Thomas Lippard (1845-1909), Find A Grave memorial no. # 24863684, Troutman Family Cemetery, Statesville, North Carolina; photographs contributed by Lotsagenealogy (inactive).

[4] 1850 U. S. census, Iredell County, North Carolina, population schedule,p. 483 (stamped), dwelling 113, family 1173, Felding Kiles; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 October 2014); NARA microfilm publication, M436, roll 634.

[5] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 October 2014), memorial page for Margaret O. Plyler (1851-1899), Find A Grave memorial no. # 77676936, citing Troutman Family Cemetery, Statesville, North Carolina; no photograph.

[6] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 October 2014), photograph, memorial page for Austin A. Kyles (1853-1948), Find A Grave memorial no. # 24863750, Troutman Family Cemetery, Statesville, North Carolina; photographs contributed by Lotsagenealogy (inactive).

[7] 1860 U. S. census, School District 66, Iredell County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 49 (penned), dwelling 352, family 354, Frolomy Kyle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 October 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M653, roll 902.

[8] Fielding Kyles, Muster Rolls of Co. E, 11th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/271/49858308/ : accessed 15 October 2014); NARA M270, roll 0196.  

[9] Feling Kyles, Muster Rolls, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796039/ . This is for May-June 1863. Also, see http://www.fold3.com/image/32796049/ for July-August; http://www.fold3.com/image/32796057/ for Sept-Oct, 1863; and http://www.fold3.com/
image/32796064/ for Nov.-Dec., 1863.

[10] Felding Kyles, Muster Rolls, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796101/ .

[11] Fielding Kyles, Muster Rolls, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796108/ .

[12] Fielding Kyles, Muster Rolls, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796116/ for Sept-Oct, 1864; http://www.fold3.com/image/32796125/ for Nov-Dec, 1864.

[13] Fielding Kyles, Muster Rolls, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796131/ .

[14] F. Ryles, Muster Rolls, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796141/ ; and http://www.fold3.com/image/32796145/ .

[15] F. Kyles, Muster Rolls, Oath of Allegiance, http://www.fold3.com/image/32796145/ .

[16] Troutman, Descending Jacob’s Ladder, 62. Also Find A Grave, Ester Levina Troutman Kyles, 77676936.

[17] 1880 U.S. census, Fallstown, Iredell County, North Carolina, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 142, p. 14 (penned), dwelling 127, family 127, Fielding Kyles; digital image, Ancesrty.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 October 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T9, roll 968.


[18] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 15 October 2014), photograph, memorial page for Fielding Kyles (1824-1905), Find A Grave memorial no. # 77677161, citing St. Martin’s Cemetery, Troutman, North Carolina; photograph contributed by Kathi Shuler.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Returning to Our Roots: Reflections on the NC Troutman Reunion


Just a quick note about last week's blog. Inexcusably, I omitted one of my great-grandfather's brothers. He had six brothers, not five. I have corrected the error and updated the blog post.

My great-grandfather, Daniel A. Troutman, returned to North Carolina for only a few short years after the Civil War. When he left, maybe in 1868, driving horses to Virginia for trade, he surely intended to return, but marriage to a Virginia girl on 3 February 1869 changed his life’s course. 
When he took his bride to meet his family, she didn’t like North Carolina, so sweet man that he was, he took her back to the rolling valley of Virginia that she loved. There they lived their lives, there they raised their children, and there they are buried.  
Daniel A. left behind a close-knit family in North Carolina, many of whose descendants still live there today. Whether he ever returned to North Carolina to visit his family, I do not know, but his leaving home started a trend on his branch, some of whom ultimately ended up in Nebraska.
In 1904, the North Carolina Troutmans decided to celebrate the birthday of one of its esteemed elders, Henry Martin Troutman, son of Henry and Margaret Elizabeth Leonard Troutman, by hosting a reunion. The birthday boy was Daniel A.’s brother. At that time, D. A. and his family were still living in Virginia, not far away “as the crow flies,” but many miles over treacherous, unpaved mountain roads in reality. Whether they went to the birthday party/reunion, I do not know, but that reunion has continued without interruption every year since then. This year on October 11, the family marks the 110th year.
In August 1938, Daniel A.’s son James Henry "Uncle Jim" Troutman and his grandson Verne Troutman (my father), went to the North Carolina reunion. To my knowledge, they were the first of Daniel A. Troutman’s branch to return to his home place. Verne wrote to his parents in Nebraska about the warm welcome they had received and sent this picture of his dad's brother Jim (light hat) and himself standing in front of the old depot, which the Troutman family had moved to their historic grounds from town:
James Henry Troutman (light hat, age 58) and Verne Clinton Troutman (age 24), North Carolina Troutman Reunion, August 1938.

On the back of the next photo, Verne noted to his parents that he had marked himself and Uncle Jim with arrows. 
Troutman Reuinion, August 1938, James Henry Troutman and Verne C. Troutman, marked by arrows on right.

To my knowledge, the next time my dad returned to the North Carolina reunion was 1968 when he took my mother, my younger sister and me. Before that, my cousin Darrell, son of dad's brother Carl Troutman, took his family in the mid 1960s. For each visit, the vivid impression on us has been the warmth and expressions of joy we receive from our distant North Carolina cousins.

One of the most memorable trips for me was 1972. My dad’s two brothers, James and Carl Troutman and his sister Neville Lamson, came from Nebraska to Virginia to join my parents, Verne and Lois, my niece Teri Troutman, and me, and we all went to the reunion together. Watching my dad and his siblings laughing and sharing stories with distant cousins warmed my heart. They walked the red dirt trail to the tumble-down house in the woods where their grandfather, Daniel A., had been raised.
James G. Troutman, Carl J. Troutman, E. Tays Troutman, Blanche Troutman Canter, Neville Troutman Lamson, Verne C. Troutman, Troutman Reunion, August 1972. Photo by Z. T. Noble.
 
Verne Troutman, James G. Troutman, Lois McIntyre Troutman (Verne's wife) and Jay Troutman, 1972. Photo by Z. T. Noble.
Distant cousins, Sarah Blanche Troutman Canter and Neville America Troutman Lamson, 1972. Before this reunion, Neville and Blanche had corresponded through letters, so they were thrilled to meet each other in person. Photo by Z. T. Noble.

Teri Troutman at age 11, 5x great-granddaughter of Jacob Troutman, the Pioneer, granddaughter of Verne C. Troutman. North Carolina Troutman reunion, August 1972. Photo by Z. T. Noble.
 
Dad returned again in 1989, this time with my mother Lois and me and my three children, Jay, Sarah, and Lee. My mother took a picture of our three generations standing beside the tombstones of our ancestors Henry and Margaret Elizabeth Troutman, my great-grandfather Daniel A.’s parents.
Jay Samuel Noble, Zola Troutman Noble, Verne C. Troutman, Sarah Michal Noble, Lee Daniel Noble, at North Carolina  Troutman Reunion 1989. Photo by Lois Troutman.

Since all the children of Clint and Mary Troutman have now died, their children have taken up their mantle of keeping in touch with the North Carolina Troutman clan. For the 100th anniversary of the Troutman reunion in 2004, the Nebraska branch came about 30 strong to celebrate our heritage. During the morning meeting in the old school shown in the picture below, we sang hymns and listened to speeches that impressed us with the strong Christian heritage given to us.
Descendants of Daniel A.'s son Clint & his wife Mary Troutman who attended the 100th anniversary of the NC Troutman reunion, 2004. Photo courtesy of Genise Dostal Troutman.
With nearly every visit, we make the trek through the woods to see the crumbling house of our NC progenitor. Soon it will collapse.  Photo by Z. T. Noble
Our most recent trip to the reunion was in October 2012 when eight of Daniel A.'s descendants met once again for food and fellowship in Troutman, NC, under the cool cover of majestic oak trees.

On the Troutman grounds picnicking in October 2012. Photo by Z. T. Noble.

Grandchildren of Clint and Mary (Waggoner) Troutman at North Carolina Reunion, October 2012. All of us were born in Nebraska. Photo by Z. T. Noble.

More Clint and Mary Troutman descendants at North Carolina Troutman Reunion, 2012. Photo by Z. T. Noble.

The beautiful cemetery gate. Photo by Z. T. Noble.
 
And here’s the tree on whose branches we perch. Wish we could be there this year. Happy 110th reunion to the Troutman family!
This tree sketch on the wall inside the old school building on NC Troutman reunion grounds shows my great-grandfather Daniel A. Troutman sprouting as a twig off the lower left branch, which represents Henry Troutman, the sheriff, son of Jacob Troutman, the Pioneer, whose name is on the trunk. Photo courtesy of Genise Dostal Troutman.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Troutman Brothers: The North and South War Dilemma, Part 2


Before death claimed one of them, my great-grandfather, Daniel A. Troutman and two of his brothers, Adam and John, served two years together after John had joined Daniel and Adam in August 1862 in the 48th North Carolina Regiment, CSA. Four months after he was conscripted, John was given extra duty as teamster for which he was paid $7.50 a month.[1]


John, Daniel, and Adam fought together through Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg (where Daniel was wounded), and Fredericksburg; through the journey to South Carolina and the months spent in eastern North Carolina; to Richmond, to Bristoe Station where they suffered heavy losses; through winter quarters at Orange Court House; through the battle of The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse; and then in June 1864 to Petersburg where, from a half-mile away on 30 July, they heard the explosion that blasted out the Crater, and they occupied the position the next day.[2]

On 21 August, Lee ordered two divisions, and on the 24th a third one, to head south toward Reams Station to stop the Federals wrecking the Weldon Railroad, an essential Confederate transportation route.[3] Included among these troops was the 48th North Carolina in Cooke’s Brigade.[4] Skirmishes occurred on the 23rd and 24th as the Federals fended off the Confederates to protect the men tearing up tracks and burning railroad ties.[5] It must have been during one of these skirmishes on 24 August 1864 that John B. Troutman was killed. This date of death is accepted by his family.[6] The exact details of his death have been lost. Although on the 25th, the Confederates achieved a victory at Reams Station in fierce combat with Federals, the achievement seemed hollow for the loved ones of those whose lives were lost, especially for Daniel and Adam Troutman.

According to stories Daniel told his children, which they told their children, Daniel and Adam wrapped their brother’s body in a blanket and buried him near a tree near the railroad and marked the grave to return for him later. According to the record, John was “mustered out on 26 Aug. 1864 at Reams Station, Virginia.”[7] Is that a gentle way of saying he died? Or did they not have confirmation of this death? Although I could not find a record of John’s death among his muster rolls, I did find an undated Roll of Honor.


About five weeks after Reams Station, Daniel was captured at Petersburg, which I’ve related in a previous blog, Daniel A. Troutman, Prisoner of War.

After John died and Daniel was captured, Adam continued without them. In later years, he seems to have been full of war stories. One he enjoyed involved a close encounter with General Lee while Adam served in the supply department. He was applying the whip to a stubborn team hauling supplies, he claimed, when he heard a voice: “Young man, coax him.” Adam replied, “Coax him, yourself!” Then he looked up into the face of General Lee, who smiled and walked away.[8] Definitely, Adam would have been looking up, as he was about 5’4” and Lee was about 5’11”.[9]

According to W. H. H. Lawhon, “[The 48th] remained on Hatcher's Run until the Confederate lines were broken, 2 April, 1865.”[10] That was the day Adam was captured.[11] He was imprisoned at Hart’s Island in New York Harbor until 19 June 1865 when he signed an Oath of Allegiance and was released.[12]



Daniel told his children that he and Adam returned to Reams Station and tried to locate the place where they had buried John, but were unable to find it. Sadly, they continued home without him.

In 2003, I drove to Reams Station just to get an idea of the terrain where the battle took place, and to pay a small tribute to my great-grandfather and his brothers who fought there, especially to the brother who died there. I took a picture of Oak Grove Church, surrounded once-upon-a-time by battling armies, which now stands vigil over John B. Troutman’s unmarked grave.

Oak Grove Church, Reams Station, Virginia, April 2003, photo by Z. T. Noble.


[1] John B. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/271/49858436/ : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  

[2] W.H.H. Lawhon, “48th North Carolina Infantry,” article on SandersWeb.net (http://www.sandersweb.net/CivilWar/48thNC.htm : accessed 18 August 2014).

[3] John Horn, Destruction of the Weldon Railroad: Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Reams Station (Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1991), 120.

[4] Ibid, 202.

[5] Idid, 114-121.

[6] Thomas L. Troutman, ed., Descending Jacob’s Ladder (Unknown place: Unknown publisher, 1993), 63.

[7] U. S. Civil War Records and Profiles, 1861-1865, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 September 2014), John Burette Troutman.

[8] Troutman, Descending Jacob’s Ladder, 65.

[9] John W. Wayland, Robert E. Lee and His Family (Staunton, Virginia: The McClure Printing Company, 1951), full text online, Washington and Lee University (http://leearchive.wlu.edu/reference/books/wayland/13.html : accessed 2 October 2014).

[10] W.H.H. Lawhon, “48th North Carolina Infantry,” article on SandersWeb.net (http://www.sandersweb.net/CivilWar/48thNC.htm : accessed 1 October 2014).

[11] A. C. A. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/20/49857959/ : accessed 1 October 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  


[12] A. C. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/20/49857964/ : accessed 1 October 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  

© 2014, Z. T. Noble  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Troutman Brothers: The North and South War Dilemma



To tell the story only of my great-grandfather Daniel A. Troutman during the Civil War without adding the story of his brothers, especially two who fought beside him, would be to omit key elements. Daniel had six brothers: Jacob (1821-1891), Henry Martin (1825-1904), Robert Leonard (1827-1918), John Burette (1833-1864), Adam Carmi (1841-1911), and Theophilus Falls (1849-1935).[1] As in many families in North Carolina, opinions about the war varied among the sons of Henry Troutman.


The oldest, Jacob, does not appear in Civil War service records for North Carolina. Jacob is reported to have had some sort of “spells” during which he mind was affected.  As a result, his neighbors called him “Crazy Jake.” These attacks probably kept him from being conscripted.

The next brother, Henry Martin, opposed secession, so when a regiment of Union soldiers marched through the area, he allowed them to encamp on his land and provided them with food. This action was credited to having saved the surrounding area from  being plundered and destroyed.[2]

For Robert Leonard and Theophilus Falls, there seems to be no record of military service.[3] Theo was very young at the start of the war, only 12, but R. L. was of age. He somehow managed to keep out of the fray.

As for John, Daniel, and Adam, the war had been in progress for a year before the latter two joined the 48th North Carolina regiment, and longer than that for John. Daniel and Adam volunteered on 1 March 1862, and were mustered in 17 April, the day following passage of the Confederate Conscription Act.[4] 


Perhaps more reluctant to join the military because he had a wife and two small sons, John stayed home as long as he could, but he was conscripted 1 August 1862 and joined his brothers in the 48th.[5] The Troutman brothers’ reluctance to sign up and march off to war at the outset, as so many young men did, suggests the differences of opinion that may have occurred in discussions in their family about the war.  



Unlike people living in the Deep South where secession was cheered, where emotions ran high, where the economy was heavily dependent on slaves to work cotton plantations, those living in the Upper South were less eager to secede and loyalties were divided. The latter were leery of both zealous secessionists and adamant abolitionists. They wanted to work within the Union to procure opportunities for economic growth and due regard for Southern rights.[6]

In the Piedmont area of North Carolina, the people generally were not cotton planters, but farmers who worked the land on their own or with the help from their sons. Their crops included barley, corn, oats, rice, rye, sweet potatoes, and tobacco. Generally, they did not own slaves and did not want to own them.[7] Many non-slave owners, nonetheless, did not approve of large scale freeing of slaves. They feared the chaos it might bring, and they didn’t want former slaves in competition for jobs on the same level with poor whites.[8] They viewed slavery as necessary for keeping social order, but not a particularly admirable institution.[9] In other words, they saw it as a necessary evil. Issues were very complicated, not defined clearly, not simplistic.[10]

Until Lincoln was elected, most North Carolinians were against secession. His election showed that they were more pro-North Carolina than pro-Union.[11] The catalyst for secession for North Carolina occurred when the North mobilized troops and sent them South.[12] North Carolina was the last state to secede, which they did on 21 May 1861 “only grudgingly” to prevent warring against its neighboring states.[13] Ironically, North Carolina is closely tied with Virginia in sacrificing more of its men to the war than any other state.[14]


[1] Thomas L. Troutman, ed., Descending Jacob’s Ladder (Unknown place: Unknown publisher, 1993), 51.
[2] Troutman, Descending Jacob’s Ladder, 62.
[3] A search of Civil War service records on Fold3 and Ancestry.com produced negative results for Robert Leonard and Theophilus Falls. Also in Robert Leonard’s profile in Descending Jacob’s Ladder, page 62, there is no mention of military service, nor a reason that he may not have served.
[4] Adam C. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/20/49857893/ : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472. Also, Daniel A. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/20/
49858276/ : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.
[5] John B. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/271/49858394/ : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  
[6] William R. Trotter, Silk Flags and Cold Steel: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Piedmont (Winston-Salem, North Carolina: John F. Blair, Publisher, 1988), 11.
[7] Trotter, Silk Flags, 12.
[8] Trotter, Silk Flags, 11.
[9] Trotter, Silk Flags, 13.
[10] Trotter, Silk Flags, 14.
[11] Trotter, Silk Flags, 13.
[12] Trotter, Silk Flags, 15, 20.
[13] Jennifer L. Larson, “Highlights: A Free and Independent State: North Carolina Secedes from the Union,” Documenting the American South (http://docsouth.unc.edu/highlights/
secession.html : accessed 25 September 2014).
[14] Cameron McWherter, “Numbers War Between the States: New Research Questions Who in the Confederacy Had the Most War Dead,” The Wall Street Journal, 26 March 2011 (http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704662604576202823930087328 : accessed 25 September 2014). Also, “Civil War Casualties: The Cost of War: Killed, Wounded, Captured, and Missing,” Civil War Trust (http://www.civilwar.org/education/
civil-war-casualties.html : accessed 25 September 2014).

© 2014, Z. T. Noble

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Daniel A. Troutman, Prisoner of War


Captured at Petersburg on 1 October 1864, my great-grandfather, Daniel A. Troutman, 48th North Carolina Regiment, faced imprisonment at Point Lookout prison camp for Confederates located at the extreme tip of St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The camp housed over 20,000 prisoners on 23 acres during its nearly two years of operation. Of that number, 3,389 died, about 17%. “The deaths came from bad management, lack of adequate supplies such as clothing, blankets, wood and food, failure to establish sanitary conditions, and brutality and senseless killing by the guards.”[1]

The winter of 1864-1865 was intensely cold at Point Lookout.[2] In November, the new provost marshal, Major A. G. Brady requested “4,000 shirts, 3,000 pants, 2,500 pairs of shoes and 1,500 blankets. (At this time there were 13,811 Confederate prisoners plus 201 civilian prisoners).” When the supplies arrived, Brady protested that his request was filled with surplus “regulation U. S. blue pants” which he thought would make it easier for prisoners to escape, so he refused them. As a result, some of the prisoners apparently had to go without pants or wore rags. Prisoners also suffered from insufficient wood to keep a fire going, as firewood was rationed to three pieces of wood to a tent, every other day. Some days they had no fire.[3]

Journals, memoirs, and letters written by several prisoners offer a glimpse of Daniel’s life at Point Lookout. He arrived aboard a steamer[4] on October 5,[5] a “cloudy and pleasant day,” amongst a “batch of prisoners . . . from the Army of Northern Virginia.”[6] He was assigned to a tent with 12 to 16 tent mates.[7] When they slept, “they arranged themselves in a circle like spokes in a wagon with their feet toward the center.”[8] On cold nights they “spooned” to keep warm. Without mattresses, they slept on cold, damp ground.[9] The tents, arranged in two rows closely spaced side-to side and back-to-back, “fronted onto a wide avenue.”[10] Every morning, the men endured roll call and searches of themselves and their tents.[11] Sometimes the guards confiscated blankets and stole personal belongings.[12]

To relieve boredom, the prisoners formed drama and musical groups and staged plays and concerts.[13] Books and sometimes newspapers were available, and prisoners eagerly read the latter for news of the war.[14] They could also attend worship services and Sunday school.[15] Some of the prisoners with particular skills, such as mechanics or artisans, developed small business enterprises and sold or bartered their wares. One fellow even started a distillery “and made whiskey from potato rinds or whatever refuse he could pick up. . . .”[16] Some resorted to “chicanery and trickery” to get what they wanted. “Every conceivable trick was resorted to in order to make buckle and tongue meet. It was ‘root, pig, or die,’ and what was the then general term with the prisoners was ‘a possum eyed time.’”[17]

The food was good, one journalist wrote, but the men were always hungry. Breakfast consisted of bread or biscuits, butter or molasses, and tea or coffee, sometimes hard tack or potato pies.[18] For dinner, the menu included soup or a small piece of meat, with vinegar poured over it to prevent scurvy.[19] Occasionally, they enjoyed shipments of fresh vegetables and fruit.[20] Sometimes, they supplemented their diets by fishing.[21]

One practice at the camp that irked Rebel prisoners was that U.S. Colored Troops were assigned to guard them. Some of these guards seem to have abused their position. One prisoner notes in December 1864 (spelling and punctuation are his), “We have white gard now for patrols in camp of knights the Neagros got so mean that the General would not allow them in Side of the Prison they got so when they would catch any of the men out Side of thir tents after taps they would make them double quick or jump on their backs and ride them and sometimes they would make them get down on this knees and pray to God that they might have their freadom and that his Soul might be sent to hell”[22]

The prisoners were allowed time on the beach to bathe, and sometimes they seized opportunities to work outside of camp in various jobs, such as helping unload a boat or chopping wood or whitewashing a building.[23] A few prisoners attempted to escape during their time on the beach by hiding under a barrel and floating along the shore until out of sight of guards, then “taking to the woods.” These attempts were infrequent and often unsuccessful. “The punishment for trying to escape was cruel. Those who were caught at it were strung up to a pole by the thumbs, with the tips of their toes just touching the ground. Sometimes the men would faint, and had to be cut down.”[24]

Daniel A. Troutman endured prison life until he signed the oath of allegiance and was paroled on 14 May 1865.



Note: John I. Omenhausser, a prisoner at Point Lookout from June 1864 – June 1865, drew numerous detailed sketches of life at Point Lookout, events he experienced during the same time Daniel Troutman was there. I would like to post a few of them that illustrate some of the scenes described above, but they are copyrighted. You can view Omenhausser’s humorous and sometimes grim sketches, with captions, at this web site: University of Maryland, Digital Collections.


[1] “Point Lookout Prison,” National Park Service, Civil War Series
(http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/civil_war_series/5/sec6.htm#3 :
accessed 9 September 2014).
[2] Edwin W. Beitzell, “Life in the Prison Camp,” chap. 4 in Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates (Leonardtown, Maryland: St. Mary’s County Historical Society, 1972), 23.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Luther Hopkins, “Prison Life at Point Lookout,” in “Diary and Other Accounts of Prison Life, chap. 6, in Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates, by Edwin W. Beitzell, (Leonardtown, Maryland: St. Mary’s County Historical Society, 1972), 87.
[5] Daniel A. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/image/271/49858308/ : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.
[6] Charles Warren Hutt, “The Diary of Charles Warren Hutt of Westmoreland County, Virginia (Kept While a Prisoner of War At Point Lookout, Maryland – 1864),” in “Diary and Other Accounts of Prison Life, chap. 6, in Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates, by Edwin W. Beitzell, (Leonardtown, Maryland: St. Mary’s County Historical Society, 1972), 82.
[7] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 88. Also, C. W. Jones. “In Prison at Point Lookout,” in “Diary and Other Accounts of Prison Life, chap. 6, in Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates, by Edwin W. Beitzell, (Leonardtown, Maryland: St. Mary’s County Historical Society, 1972), 91.
[8] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 88.
[9] Jones, “In Prison,” 92. Also, Beitzell, “Life in the Prison Camp,” 22.
[10] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 88.
[11] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 88.
[12] Beitzell, “Life in the Prison Camp,” 22.
[13] Bartlett Yancey Malone, “The Diary of Bartlett Yancey Malone,” in “Diary and Other Accounts of Prison Life, chap. 6, in Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates, by Edwin W. Beitzell, (Leonardtown, Maryland: St. Mary’s County Historical Society, 1972), 62. Also, Hutt, “The Diary of C. W. Hutt,” 86.
[14] Hutt, “The Diary of C. W. Hutt,” 86.
[15] Malone, “The Diary of B. Y. Malone,” 61.
[16] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 89.
[17] Jones, “In Prison,” 90.
[18] Hutt, “The Diary of C. W. Hutt,” 86.
[19] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 88.
[20] Hutt, “The Diary of C. W. Hutt,” 82.
[21] John I. Omenhausser, “Scene on the Bay,” sketch in “True Sketches and Sayings of Rebel Characters in the Point Lookout Prison Maryland,” in Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates, by Edwin W. Beitzell, (Leonardtown, Maryland: St. Mary’s County Historical Society, 1972). The sketch pages are not numbered; “Scene on the Bay” falls between pages 76 and 77.
[22] Malone, “The Diary of B. Y. Malone,” 62.
[23] Jones, “In Prison,” 91.
[24] Hopkins, “Prison Life,” 88.