Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: John P. Little

Today's edition of Tombstone Tuesday In My Life, highlights my great-grand uncle, John P. Little. The fifth of Andrew Little (1800-1888) and Mary Ann Gallagher (1812-1984) 11 children, John P. was born about 1847 in probably New York State.

Family lore is that John ran away from the family home in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada, and enlisted in the Union Army. Documentation proves John's enlistment in the Union Army on February 28, 1863, in Rochester, NY, where he was assigned to Co. E, 19th Regiment of the U.S. Infantry; whether he ran away or not will always be up for debate.

John's military career was short-lived; seven months after his enlistment, John was captured by the Confederate Army on September 29, 1863, during the Battle of Chickamauga on the final day of the battle. He was confined in Richmond, VA, from September 29th to December 12th when he was transferred to Andersonville Prison. On June 30, 1864 John was admitted to the prison hospital where he died on July 2nd of Dysentery.

Found among the treasures that make up the Little Family Papers, were letters written by John Little to his family prior to his capture and imprisionment. Letters written to his parents told of life on the march through Tennessee, mentioning the beauty of the area, the comradarie of being with his fellow soldiers and how well he was doing. During this same period of time, letters to his brother told of the desolation: trees riddled with grapeshot and the soldiers having to forage for anything they could find to eat and the distrust the men had for their superiors. All that is left of these letters are less than desireable photocopies. The letters were in the possession of my aunt who thought she was keeping them safe between the pages of a Montgomery Ward catalog. It wasn't until my mother and I invested in archival safe storage and brought them to my aunt's home that we discovered she had disposed of the catalogs, not realizing they held John's letters along with several other Little and Facer family papers.

Included in these papers was a handwritten note from the commanding officer of John's company that read: Upon reference to our records, I find the following sad record regarding John Little Co. E 19th, U.S. Regulars. The record is ' J. Little Private Co E. 19th Regulars died in Prison Hospital at Andersonville, Ga. on the 2nd day of July 1864 of Dysentery, and was buried in grave No. 2774.' The above is all we know of him. (sign) H. Holbrook

My grandmother, Mildred Eileen Little, recalled her father Cyrus Austin Little's memory of Mary Ann Gallagher Little's final months in which she was consumed with memories of her son's imprisionment, repeating how she wished she could have given John a crust to bread.

Copyright (c) 2010 Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This is interesting and sad. Sad that John died so young. Sad that the papers were accidently destroyed.


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