Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Grave in Mobile...echoes of the past

Under this stone, among over 31,000 others, lies the mortal remains of Pvt. Carey S. Leatherwood, a member of the 5th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Company E (also known as the Pettus Rebels). He was the fourth son (born 1827) of my great-great-grandfather Isaac Leatherwood. The information at Find-a-Grave states he was killed in action March 24, 1862, and buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile Alabama.
While I can’t find any information on a battle around Mobile at that time, the regiment was at the Battle of Shiloh (Tennessee) in April of that same year. I did learn, however, that early in the war, Admiral David Farragut blockaded the port of Mobile. I’m left wondering, however, how the regiment covered the approximate 360 miles between Mobile and Hardin County TN between the end of March and the first week in April.
But I digress.
Carey left a wife and child and a widowed mother, Delilah. His father, Isaac, died in 1860 before hostilities erupted.
My great-grandfather, Carey’s just-older brother, served for a time. The unit served in Georgia, notably in the battle for Atlanta, but I don’t know if he was actually there. I haven’t found records for the military service (if any) of three other brothers. But the youngest enlisted in September 1861--and died of measles in Virginia scarcely four months later. I found his grave enumerated in Union Cemetery at Leesburg but no photograph of a marker. He was just 21 years old.
His mother Delilah, who lost two sons, moved with my great-grandfather’s family to Texas and died there sometime after the 1880 Federal Census. I can find no trace of her grave.
My grandfather (born in 1873) remembers evenings after dinner at his grandfather’s home when family members would sit around refighting the Civil War and declaring, “We’ll lick ‘em yet!” But mostly he remembers Delilah, who smoked a corncob pipe, and how she’d send him to the fireplace for a tiny coal to light it.

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