Lately, I've been researching the Moncrief family. Jessie Moncrief is my sister-in-law's grandmother.
The Moncrief family is of Scottish origin. I can trace the first Moncrief to the Colony of North Carolina, Currituck County, which was one of the five original ports in the colonies. I can't say I've got everything sorted out, though. After the death of one Moncrief wife, he married a sister of his youngest son's wife. It's situations like those that can make you want to tear your hair out! Anyway, back to Jessie...
Jessie's great grandfather was David Harvey Moncrief; he married Sarah Pollard on 5 Sep 1827 in Bibb County, Georgia. They had 12 children who lived past infancy, of which seven were boys. Six of their sons served in the Civil War:
- Joseph Jackson (1832-1919) enlisted 6 May 1862 as a private in the 61st Georgia Infantry Regiment, Co I, known as the Thompson Guards. He was taken prisoner near Winchester, Virginia, on 19 Sep 1864 and transferred a few days later to Camp Hammond, a prisoner of war camp in Point Lookout, Maryland. He was released on 14 Feb 1865 and served with Co K, the same company in which is brother, Richard, served. He stayed with Co K until he contracted small pox and was sent home a few months before the war ended.
- George N (born 1837-19 Sep 1863) enlisted on 25 Sep 1861 as a private in the 30th Georgia Infantry Regiment, Co D, known as the Huguenin Rifles. He was promoted to corporal 14 May 1962 and was killed in action during the Battle of Chickamauga.
- Leroy Eli (1838-Sep 1863) enlisted on 25 Sep 1861 as a private in the 30th Georgia Infantry Regiment, Co D. He was wounded during the Battle of Chickamauga and later died in a Confederate hopsital in Savannah, Georgia.
- Richard Bassett (1839-1927) enlisted on 15 Jan 1864 as a private in the 61st Georgia Infantry Regiment, Co K, which was formed with volunteers from companies A through I.
- Henry Harrison (1842-1921) enlisted on 25 Sep 1861 as a private in the 30th Georgia Infantry Regiment, Co D. On 19 Dec 1864 he was taken prisoner and transferred to Camp Chase, in Ohio. He was released 12 Jun 1865.
- Wiley A (1845-8 May 1863) enlisted as a private in the 10th Georgia Infantry Battalion, Co D, known as the Whittle Guards. His battalion participated in the Seige of Suffolk and he died a few days after the seige was lifted.
|Prisoner of War Camp at Point Lookout|
Prisoners at the camp were kept in the “bull pen,” a 1,000-square-foot area surrounded by a 14-foot-high fence with guard posts. The prisoners were given only thin tents for shelter. The tents offered little protection from the extreme weather on the unprotected peninsula. When high tide came, the low-lying bull pen would flood, often creating knee-deep mud and swamp-like conditions. The camp's prisoner population ballooned from 9,153 in December of 1863 to about 20,000 by June of 1865 – more than double the number the camp was designed to hold. Supplies at the camp were stretched thin. There would often be 16 or more men to a single 15-square-foot tent. Three or more men would share a single blanket.
Just three months later, Henry was taken prisoner near Nashville, Tennessee, and transferred to Camp Chase.
|Henry Harrison Moncrief|
At first, Camp Chase took only officers as prisoners, with enlisted men going to Fort Warren, near Boston Harbor. A large number of officers came from 1862 Union victories at Fort Donalson, Tennessee, and Mississippi Island No. 10. In 1863 a new stockade was built on Johnson's Island in Lake Erie, and most of the Camp Chase officers were sent there. By 1863 there were 8,000 men incarcerated behind the high, staked walls of the Camp.
Can you imagine sending six sons off to war? In May 1863, maybe, you receive a letter informing you the youngest has died somewhere around Suffolk, Virginia. Four months later you learn you've lost two sons -- one killed in action and one wounded and a few days later dies in the hospital. And in the next year two sons are taken prisoner of war.