Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ebenezer Denyer (1828-1872)

I signed up for a 3-day free trial of Footnote this weekend. There was a 28-page dossier on my Civil War ancestor, Ebenezer Denyer, which I wished to download.

Turns out he was a regimental teamster, and a "Regimental Return" form was filled out for him on an almost monthly basis, so a lot of the pages are repetitive.

However, there was one "Descriptive List and Account of Pay and Clothing" (see left) It contains a physical description of Ebenezer. Blue eyes, dark hair, dark complexion. He appears to have been a mutant, as he had five feet, and was only 10 inches tall. (There may be another way to read that.)

The form also mentions that he was captured at the Battle of Vicksburg, and paroled on July 7th. Another form says he was captured on July 4th, and the Wikipedia article confirms that was when the surrender occurred. So he was a PoW for 3 days. (I am not a Civil War buff, so while I vaguely recalled that the Battle of Vicksburg was one of the important battles I had to memorize in high school, I had to look it up to find the details.)

So how well does the documentation match up with the brief bio that appears in: A Brief History of John and Christian Fretz and a Complete Genealogical Family Register With Biographies of their Descendants from the Earliest Available Records to the Present Time – by Rev A.J. Fretz of Milton N.J. copyright 1890. Mennonite Publishing Co. Elkhart, Indiana. pp. 326-333.

This is the Civil War info:
he joined the 2nd, Texas Company Volunteers, mustered at Marcos, Hays County, in the summer of 1861, and served throughout the war in the Confederate service. He was taken prisoner at Vicksburgh, Mississippi, was exchanged, and laid in the hospital at Galveston until the close of the war.
Company is correct. He actually enlisted on June 12, 1862. The "Second Company" itself wasn't formed until September of 1861. There's a Regimental Return form filled out for every month from March 1864 until April 1865 identifying him as a teamster, so I don't think he was in the hospital until the close of war, unless there were teams of horses for him to drive through the corridors of the hospital. However, the 'Descriptive List' says he was paroled by 'the medical authorities', so maybe from July 1863-March 1864, which is a significant amount of time. On the other hand, there are no hospital forms in the dossier -- I'm not sure if those would have been kept separate or not.

One thing I am curious about the Fretz history is who submitted the information for Ebenezer's family. Rev Fretz supposedly began researching for the book in 1872, which is when Ebenezer died. His brother Samuel, and sister-in-law were both deceased too. He had one sister, Elizabeth, and one brother, William, who may have submitted the information. His wife Sarah is another possibility. That's the biggest problem with the book - there are very few citations.

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