Monday, June 24, 2013

Military Monday - Two Cousins in the Civil War

Parson's battery position
photo Wikipedia

On 12 April 1861, the day of the first battle of the Civil War, brothers William Fergason and Jeremiah Ferguson were farmers in the small community of Willow Hill in Jasper County in southern Illinois.  The crops typical of the area included buckwheat, Indian corn, oats, wheat, potatoes, and apples.  There were also a few cows, pigs, and chickens in addition to horses used for plowing and transportation.  Soon their concerns about the price of seed or too much or too little rain would turn to worries about the was as each man watched his oldest son go off to war.

Jeremiah was the first to wave good-bye to his son George W as he enlisted on 14 Aug 1862 in Granville, IL.  He was twenty years old and 5 ft 9 3/4 in tall.  He was assigned as a private to Company E of the 123 Il  US Infantry and mustered into the unit on 6 Sep 1862.  His unit was sent to Louisville, Ky then on to join the the 3 brigade of the 10th division of the Army of Ohio under the command of General Buell.  After chasing General Bragg's army into Kentucky they became involved in the Battle of Perryville.  This battle became known as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War with casualties in excess of 7,677 from both sides.
On the Union side 894 soldiers died.  George W Ferguson was killed in action on 8 Oct 1862 at Perryville, KY.  It had been less than two months since he had enlisted.

The battle of Perryville
photo Wikipedia
On a cold winter day William A Ferguson, son of William and nephew of Jeremiah joined the Union forces.  7 Feb 1865 Captain Scott enlisted William for 1 year at Olney, Illinois.  He was a Private assigned to Company B 155 IL US Infantry.  William joined the army with Oliver Allison another 18 year old farmer from Willow Hill.  They moved to Louisville, KY and then to their mission to guard the block houses of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad from Nashville to Duck River.  They were mustered out on 4 Sep 1865 at Murfreesboro, TN by Captain Wilson.  William returned to Willow Hill to marry and continue farming.

Cousins George and William Ferguson shared many things but both did not return from war.  They shared grandparents, occupations, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  They even both had grey eyes.