Monday, April 13, 2015

Hachaliah McMath, Jr. (1840-1916): Prisoner of War

April 9, 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of  Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.  This seems like such little time - and such a long time all at once, yes?

It dawned on me this week that last week also marked the 150th anniversary of my 3rd great-grandfather's capture after the Battle of Saylor's Creek...one of the major turning points in the ultimate demise of Lee's Army.  This battle fractured his starving, weary troops just days before the inevitable end.  On April 6, 1865, Hachaliah McMath, Jr (1840-1916) - a sergeant in the 11th Florida Infantry Regiment - was one of many (almost three quarters of Lee's entire remaining Army, from what I've read) captured. 

Context: Hachaliah McMath, Jr. is my 3rd great-grandfather on my father's maternal side of the family.

McMath and other prisoners were sent to City Point, VA (Grant's headquarters) on April 14, 1865 and then on to Newport News, VA to be interred as a prisoner of war at Camp Butler.  Ironically, this is just minutes from my current house!

Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 - Ancestry.com

From McMath's Civil War Service Record - detailing date of capture, transfer to Newport News POW Camp

Scanned image of a family photo kept by my father

More information about the Battle of Saylor's Creek - as well as a map of the engagement - can be found HERE.

On my agenda for the coming week: a visit to the site of Camp Butler, the prisoner of war camp located in Newport News, VA where Hachaliah McMath, Jr. signed his Oath of Allegiance to the Union on June 15, 2015.  He was then released to return home, though I am still trying to located information pertaining to how he managed to travel from Hampton Roads in VA all the way back to Henry County, Alabama.


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