A reflection on three of my Civil War Nash kin: Allen D., William A., and Edmond

Edmond Nash

On a summer day August 5, 1865, 18 year old William A. Nash died near Sparta, Tennessee. He was a Union Army soldier at the time. He is one of my ancestor cousins. He was buried in Perkins Cemetery in what was White County (now Putnam County), Tennessee. I don’t know if his cousin Edmond Nash (my second-great grandfather) attended the burial. I’d like to think he did, but he was also in the Union Army at the time. He may have been in the field somewhere. News traveled slowly in those days. There is a possibility that Edmond didn’t know about the death until he returned home from the war. Both William and Edmond were in the 8th Tennessee Mounted Infantry (though in different Companies). Still, being kin, I’m sure they kept “tabs” on each other. Edmond wasn’t discharged until August 31, 1865 shortly after William’s death. They were both born and had been living in White County.

There is another Nash kin I wonder about. He was my third great-uncle Allen D. Nash. He was born in North Carolina but his parents moved to White County when he was a young child. Was he at the burial of his kin William A. Nash? He could have been. He was out of military service by October 1864. Not only do I not know if he attended but I don’t know also if he would have wanted to. William A. Nash died wearing the uniform of blue. Allen D. Nash was a Confederate veteran. He had served in the 16th Tennessee Infantry. What, if any, were the tensions in the Nash family regarding loyalties? Was there bitterness in the aftermath of the conflict among the family members? Ironically, Allen had enlisted in 1862 for Confederate service in Sparta where his cousin William died and was laid to rest in 1865. If Edmond and Allen both attended the burial- was their “blood” thicker than their allegiances?

Speaking of allegiances, Allen D. Nash had taken an Oath of Allegiance to the United States in October 1864. At the time, he was a prisoner of war at the Rock Island Barracks in Illinois. According to his military record, he was captured at Ringold, Georgia- November 26, 1863. Did he mean it when he took the oath? Who knows? Some took the Oath to get released from prison. Who could blame him if he did? He spent 11 months there in what must have been “pure hell.” There were outbreaks of smallpox, medical care was poor, food and water were lacking, and conditions remained overcrowded. Of the more than 12,000 Confederate prisoners held there during its use, many died. Allen survived the Rock Island Barracks. Having been wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro in 1862 and imprisoned in 1863, I’m sure he had been through enough. I picture him and Edmond at the burial of William. I fantasize that they are united because they are part of the Nash family. I hope they realized the war was over and that they had to try and move on with living. Whatever the reality was-it is all forgotten and lost to time, history, and death-the great equalizer.

 Mail this post

Leave a Reply