Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ellison K. Plyler

The following is a repost from my family blog, Widespread Roots.

My fourth-great granduncle, Ellison Kershaw Plyler, was born 18 Feburary 1837 to Elisha Plyler and Mary Elizabeth Hancock. Whenever I see some male with a birthdate in Ellison's range, I instantly search for Civil War service records. I was not disappointed when I searched for Ellison's.

Ellison enlisted as a Private with the 12th South Carolina Volunteer Regiment, Company I, on 15 May 1862 at Camp Jackson, Virginia for the duration of the War.
Taken from Service Records
Ellison doesn't seem to have a very easy experience at Camp though. By July or August 1862, he is sent to the hospital and he appears "absent" in the muster rolls. I don't, however, find him in any hospital records until October. On 3 October 1862, I see he is admitted to the C.S.A. General Hospital at Farmville, Virginia with rheumatism.
Taken from Service Records
Just a few days later, Ellison is transferred to General Hospital No. 6 in Richmond, Virginia. Whether in this hospital or another hospital, Ellison is listed as being "absent" from his Company due to being in the hospital all the way until 10 January 1863.
Taken from Service Records
After his return, Ellison seems to stay with his company for his longest stretch yet. He appears as "present" up until 1 July 1863 when he is "wounded at Gettysburg, Pa. ... and left."
Taken from Service Records
That phrase "and left" is a little haunting. Growing up near Camp Lejeune, I grew up hearing "no man left behind" a lot. The men in Ellison's Company did not seem to feel that way. They simply left him there when he was wounded.

Ellison's fate was seemingly unknown to his Company for quite some time because they repeat this wording up until March of 1864 when they seem to update the status of their wounded man.
Taken from Service Records
Finally, they list him as being "in the hands of the enemy."

Ellison would remain a Prisoner of War for the remainder of the War. Upon capture, he is sent to Fort McHenry in Maryland. He stays there for about a week or two until he is transferred to Fort Delaware, located in Delaware.

He stays at Fort Delaware until he is finally released on 10 June 1865 having taken the Oath of Allegiance.

Often, when a person took the Oath of Allegiance, their physical description was recorded. I assume this was to help enforce the Oath in the case that the person chose to go back to the Confederacy and pick up arms again against the Union. Ellison's description is one that is a bit unique.
Taken from Service Records
They list his complexion as "sallow." I have seen "light," "dark," and all kinds of various shades in-between described here, but I have never seen "sallow." I wonder if he appeared sallow because of his rheumatism. Or I wonder if his nearly two years as a POW caused his complexion to become sallow.

In any case, Ellison left the War and seemed to go straight home to his wife, Mary (last name unknown), and his two young children, Margaret and Jonas. Not long after being home, Mary becomes pregnant with their third child, John, who is born in 1866. Their fourth, and the last known child I have for the couple, Mary, was born a few years later in 1869.

Ellison lived to be 80 years old. He died of "old age" on 8 January 1918.
Taken from Death Certificate
I'm glad to see that despite his rough experience in the War, he didn't seem to let it hinder his ability to lead a long, full life.

  • 1870 Cabarrus County, North Carolina U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of South Carolina (accessed on Fold3)
  • Death Certificate, Ellison Kershaw Plyler (accessed on Ancestry)

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