My mind focuses on genealogy about 90% of the time. While I’m working, driving, watching TV. Even when I’m on the computer and not really doing anything, I search out something. I just found something that I will want to go back and look at some more. I have a subscription to footnote.com because there was a special for members of the Austin Genealogy Society and I decided to take them up on it. I haven’t found it to be of great use because you might search for, say, “Janice Williams” and it will give you 6,000 newspaper articles that have Janice on the same page as Williams, though possibly not together (yes, even if you put quotes around them).
But just now I did an idle search for Moore in their Civil War records. My mother’s mother’s mother’s father was Grandpa Moore and he fought in the Civil War. I did come up with a document that sounds like it might be related to him. It is difficult because his name was William Joseph, but he went by Joe so I never know where to look. But under W.J. Moore and the Alabama troops I found a muster roll that says “Missing since battle of Gettysburg July 3, 1863.” That was the battle he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war. Of course I need to check the regiment and see if it really is him, but it sounds like a match. It gives me chills. Imagine your brother or your husband or your son having to fight a battle for your country and then getting word that he is missing after a battle.
What we do know from newspaper articles where he was interviewed in later years was that he was taken to Delaware andÂ incarceratedÂ along with thousands of other Confederate soldiers. Yes, he did survive the war, married, moved to Texas and had a long full life. But he was taken to Delaware first. The story he told was that he and a couple of other prisoners decided to try to flee. The latrine of the prison camp extended out over the Delaware River. The men dropped through the hole in the latrine and were carried off by the raging torrent of the river. Joe and a friend were separated from the other and he and the friend soon separated, too, for their own safety. Their clothes were torn off by the river, but they somehow managed to steal clothes from a line or find a sympathetic farmer. It is a harrowing story where he came close to Yankee camps and had to make the sounds of a wild pig so the Yankees would think the rustle they heard in the bushes was only a pig and not a spy. Eventually, he walked from Delaware back to Alabama. And that did not end his military career. He rejoined his forces and was there when Robert E. Lee signed the surrender.
Mother remembers he had a long beard. I have a picture of him with his brothers and sisters late in life and they look like Dickens characters with their long beards (well, just the men) and the glint in their eye. She also remembers that his life had many associations with water. First the water of the Delaware and then when he died in Gustine, Texas, the rains poured and his grave filled with water. His grave, along with wife Trissia “Mindy” Faulkner, is in the Newburg Cemetery that I love so much. There is no Moore family reunion like there is the Cunningham Reunion, but I put flowers on their grave every August and tell the story of his heroic escape from a Yankee hellhole prison.
It amazes me to find a document online from over 150 years ago that so succinctly tells about an event in his life. Missing since Gettysburg. I’m sure there were a lot of men on the muster rolls that were missing and were never heard from again. I don’t know how all these amazing things happened that had to have happened for me to be here. I don’t know what other amazing things would have happened if they had happened differently.