Saturday, February 16, 2013

Six Brothers Go Off to War

Update 5/21/2014: As you can read from the comment on this post, I made a mistake. I confused two  people named David Moncrief who were contemporaries living in different parts Georgia. In my defense, I worked on this part of my family tree very early in my genealogy journey. But it is a lesson to me that public trees you may find anywhere on the Internet should only be used as leads to sources and not sources themselves. And sources should be double and triple checked to ensure they "belong" to your ancestor. I have also learned to become very familiar with the geography of where my ancestors lived. When did county borders change? Why would they move from here to there? -- and so on. I really appreciated the correction and welcome anyone who takes the time to make my research better. Jessie' grandfather was not David Harvey Moncrief, but David Moncrief who did marry Sarah Pollard and have the children mentioned, but I cannot trace his lineage back to Currituck County, Colony of North Carolina.


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.
Joseph was taken prisoner near Winchester, Virginia, and transferred to what is generally considered one of the worst prison of war camps established by the Union -- Camp Hammond at Point Lookout, Maryland. It was hastily constructed after the war began, a thoroughly slipshod affair.

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

Camp Chase was established near the west side of Columbus, Ohio.  In May of 1861 a Union military training ground was established there under the name Camp Jackson; by July of that year, when the first prisoners were admitted, its name had been changed to honor President Lincoln's Secretary of State (and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), Hamilton County native Salmon P. Chase.

Camp Chase

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.

Camp Chase

Although there were at least 160 buildings at the camp, giving it the appearance of a sizable town, most of the prisoners -- especially enlisted men -- were housed in tents.

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. 


  1. Dear Schalene,

    I think you may have your David [Harvey] Moncrief (of Bibb Co.) confused with David Harvey Moncrief (of Penfield Co.) who was married to Nancy Ann Price. It is the latter (Penfield Co) David whose father (William Alexander Moncrief) I think you reference with the story of having married his daughter-in-law's sister.

    I've never seen your David (of Bibb, who married Nancy Pollard) mentioned in any record with a middle name. They are two separate individuals.

    All that having been said.. I really like your blog and am enjoying the way you color your ancestors' lives with the paintbrush of history, and embellish with period photos. Cheers! Art

  2. Art, You are absolutely correct. I did confuse my David Moncriefs! I received a message from a very nice member who set me straight. I have since corrected my family tree. But did not think to go back and correct any blog posts I made.

    Thank you for letting me know. I like to keep my tree as correct as I know how to make it so any information about improving it is always welcome.

    I'm glad you enjoyed reading my blog. I enjoy the research and learning about the lives of my ancestors.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! Henry H Moncrief was my great great grandfather,my grandmother is the daughter of Henry's son George Bailey Moncrief.

    1. Stephen, I'm glad you found my blog and it was helpful to you. You and my sister-in-law are cosigns. Her 2X great grandfather, was David Moncrief and her grandmother was Jessie (Moncrief) Tucker.

    2. Thank you so much for this information. I was married to Rufus Moncrief. His Great Grandfather was Joseph Moncrief. Most of his ancestors was from Bibb, Crawford and Peach County.