Friday, July 25, 2008

I've Been Workin' on the Railroad Boys

As some of you all are aware, the 1st Tennessee (of Sam Watkins fame) is one of my research interests. Yesterday I was running the CSRs of some of the more popular characters from Co. Aytch that weren't actually in the Maury Grays. We all remember Tom Tuck and his game cock Fed, Confed, or Confederacy but I found more of interest to old Tom too. Tuck was a member of the original Co. F, the "Railroad Boys" from Nashville, a company that (not surprisingly) had large numbers of Irishmen serving with it. In Tuck's CSR there is a note to see some correspondence in H.J. Sutton's file of the 24th Tenn. Spurred on by this lead, I found a jewel.
Lt. Gen. Polk
Comd'g Corps

Hd Qrs Army of Tenn
Tullahoma March 23d 1863

The General Commanding desires to know whether the hereafter named men are accustomed to Rail Road work and if they were in the employ of the Nashville and Chattanooga Rail Road and its branches previous to enlistment.
H.J. Sutton Capt. Burnett's Co 24th Tenn
M. Ross Co. F 1st "
John McAffee " " 1st "
W.H. Cumming " " 1st "
Isaac Shewin " " 1st "
Morgan Dickison " " 1st "
James Wade " " 1st "
Joseph Taylor " " 1st "
Thos Tuck " " 1st "
W.H. Myres " " 1st "
L. Taylor " " 1st "
A.J. Hull " " 1st "
Moses Vannoy " A 1st "
Patrick Blunkall Capt Falcher's Co 1st "
F. Quinn Capt Daniel's " 26th Ala
J.H. Forrst Co E 5th Geo
G.W. Angel Co K 24th Tenn
Thos Welch Co I 10th Texas

I am General
Very Respectfully
your obt servt
George Wm Brent
A A Gen

The Railroad Boys were railroad boys indeed. Now, I had always presumed that Co. F men were the unskilled railroad labor that was essentially expendable when the war came along, and could afford to enlist but I may have been proved wrong. These men were detailed for work on the Nashville & Chattanooga throughout the summer of '63 and it would follow that Bragg would not detail raw, unskilled labor but instead tap men with specific knowledge and specific skills. Unfortunately, because of the transient nature of railroad work, Tuck doesn't show up in the 1860 census in Nashville. I wonder what we'd find if he did. Incidentally, Tuck was captured while on his railroad detail, eventually exchanged, and served out the war with the 1st, being one of the handful to surrender in North Carolina.

Also of note, the fighting cock Confed does not have his own CSR file. Though a game personality and a favorite among the troops of the 1st, he (like other living property taken into the army by Confederates) was not a soldier. Neither was Weary Clyburne. Also, thanks to Kevin for posting this Pete Carmichael paper.

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