Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cpl. John W. Crow, 10th Alabama Infantry, Company A, 1841-1865

I haven't really been concentrating on the Crow side of my family lately, but since Bill West issued his Civil War challenge here, I thought I'd go ahead and put together what I know about my 3rd cousin (5x removed) who perished in the war.

John W. Crow was born March 8, 1841 in Ashville, St. Clair County, Alabama.  He was the third of 10 children born to Roland Bryant and Elizabeth (Lankford) Crow.  I know very little about his childhood at this point, except that his father was a farmer.  I have been able to get my hands on some of his military documents from Footnote and Ancestry, and I am hoping to obtain some additional documents from the archives in Alabama when I make the 4-hour drive to Montgomery in a few weeks.

On June 4, 1861, at the age of 20, John enlisted with the 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment (Company A) of the Confederate Army.  During his enlistment, he participated in the following battles:

Dranesville (20 Dec 1861)
Yorktown (5 Apr - 3 May 1862)
*absent at Williamsburg (5 May 1862)
Seven Pines (31 May - 1 Jun 1862)
Richmond/Frazier's Farm (30 Jun 1862)
Second Manassas (30 Aug 1862)
Harper's Ferry (12 Sept - 15 Sept 1862)
Sharpsburg (17 Sept 1862)
Fredericksburg (13 Dec 1862)
Salem Church (3 May 1863)
Gettysburg (1 Jul - 3 Jul 1863)
Bristoe Station (Oct - Nov 1863)
Mine Run (27 Nov - 2 Dec 1863)
Wilderness (5 May - 7 May 1864)
Spotsylvania Courthouse (8 May - 26 May 1864)
Hanover Junction (23 May - 26 May 1864)
Atley's Station
Siege of Turkey Ridge
Wilcox Farm
Courtesy of Civil War Service Database found at Alabama Dept. of Archives and History

John W. Crow was appointed the rank of Corporal on April 1, 1864.  He was captured at Ream’s Station on June 29, 1864 and taken to the POW camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he died on April 22, 1865 from dysentery and was buried.

I found a record of him at Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery at Find-A-Grave, which gives a bit of history of the cemetery:
Originally, the soldiers were buried in two cemeteries near the prison camp. However, because the cemetery land started to erode into the Chesapeake, in 1870 the state of Maryland removed the remains. In 1910 they were moved again and re-interred in a burial trench one mile inland, near where a federal monument was constructed that year. The 80-foot granite obelisk marks the site, just outside Point Lookout State Park, but the actual boundaries of the pit are not marked.

Point Lookout POW Camp (Camp Hoffman) was established after the Battle of Gettysburg to incarcerate Confederate prisoners.  It was in operation from August 1863 through June 1865. Being only 5' above sea level, it was located on approximately 30 acres of leveled land. It was the largest Union prison camp for Confederates.  Point Lookout was one of the most secure POW camps, being surrounded on three sides by water from the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, with Union cannons pointed toward the prisoners from Ft. Lincoln and guns of Union ships anchored in nearby waters.  Only an estimated 50 escapes were successful.  A more in-depth history of the prison camp can be found here.  Warning: the website also contains stories from some of the survivors of Point Lookout.  They are quite graphic.

The records that I have been able to review show that John was absent at the battle of Williamsburg in May 1862.  It is possible that he was in the hospital during that battle, and I hope to find out for sure if I am able to find additional records in Alabama to fill in the blanks.


Bill West said...

Interesting post, Jenny. I'd never heard of Camp Lookout before.

Thanks for sending this post into the Challenge!

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