As researchers we read about Civil War battles and the high death rate sometimes without realizing there were actual people involved. Those huge numbers of men become real when we tell the stories of those who lived then. I’d like to share the “human side” of the Civil War by telling soldiers’ stories. Today’s blog post is by guest Loreen Ridge-Husum telling her 3x great uncle’s story.
TUDOR FAMILY and the CIVIL WAR
by Loreen Ridge-Husum
My 5th Great-Grandfather, John Tudor, was a native Virginian who moved to North Carolina and survived three tours of duty with the NC Militia during the Revolutionary War. He was then lured to Madison County, KY, by the promise of fertile and affordable farm land. This is significant to the Civil War stories about three of John Tudor’s grandsons, born and raised in Kentucky, who joined the Union Cavalry and fought against the states of their American origins, with significant events in both North Carolina and Virginia. I am descended from a sister of the three brothers in these stories.
SIDNEY TUDOR (Oct. 11, 1835-Dec. 8, 1903)
Sidney was 25-years-old and still single when he enlisted in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry on August 24, 1861 in Madison County, KY. By October 28, 1861 he was mustered in for duty with the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, Company G, at Camp Dick Robinson, a military training camp in nearby Garrard County. Camp Dick Robinson no longer exists, but a farmhouse used for it’s headquarters still stands. It is located near the present day junction of Hwys 34 and 27 between Danville and Nicholasville, KY.Sidney must have brought with him a very nice horse, since his muster records show it was valued at $115. This is significant because a horse could make all the difference in one’s survival. (NOTE: Younger brother Absolum’s horse was valued at $75 and was said to have been “the best horse” in the company according to a survivor.)
By the end of October 1863, Sidney’s muster card shows that he had not been paid in the past eight months for the use of his private horse and equipment. We don’t know if he was paid or when, but his muster record for November and December of 1863 shows that Sidney was active with his Company through December 7, 1862, when for reasons unknown, he went AWOL. By January of 1863 he was back with his company and was probably active through March. He appears as “present” on one muster roll, but another dated March 31-April 30 1863 shows that he was absent due to sickness. There is nothing to indicate the nature of his illness.
The 1st Kentucky Cavalry was near Maryville, TN, with the 11th Kentucky Cavalry on 14 November 1863. Records do not specifically mention Sidney’s company, and no muster card is found to prove that Sidney was active in the months of November-December 1863, but he was present in the months immediately before and after that period. Assuming he was on active duty, this would place Sidney in the same area with his youngest brother Absolum on the day Absolum was captured. It is possible that the Tudor family learned of Absolum’s capture through Sidney Tudor.
Muster records show that Sidney remained on active duty through the first half of 1864. In April, General George Stoneman became Commander of the Army of Ohio, to which the 1st Kentucky Cavalry belonged. The Kentucky 1st was ordered to Nicholasville, in Jessamine County, KY, to replenish their supplies. This provided many an opportunity to visit their homes and family before Stoneman’s pending march into Georgia to participate in the Atlanta Campaign.
The Kentucky 1st also participated in General Stoneman’s mission to destroy the railroad and supply lines between Atlanta and Macon, Georgia. In working their way south, Stoneman hoped to free Union prisoners of war in Macon and Andersonville. In late July, however, Stoneman’s Union forces were found themselves outnumbered at the Battle of Dunlap Hill, east of Macon, GA. Retreating northward to Jones County, they were hemmed in at what became known as the Battle of Sunshine Church.
General Stoneman found himself at such a strategic disadvantage he had resigned himself to surrendering. Lt. Col. Silas Adams, incensed at the idea of surrender, consulted briefly with Stoneman and agreed to take responsibility for any casualties his men may suffer during an escape attempt. Adams then led the Kentucky 1st Cavalry on a daring rush past the Confederate lines where they headed North to rejoin General Sherman’s troops in Atlanta. Most of Adams’s men made it through the Confederate line. Unfortunately, Sidney Tudor was not one of them.
Wounded and captured on 31 July 1864, Sidney was taken to Andersonville Prison where his brother Absolum had died a little more than a month earlier. We do not know the date Sidney arrived at Andersonville, the state of his physical condition. We do know that shortly after Sidney’s capture, Andersonville prisoners found some measure of relief in the form of Providence Spring, a source of fresh water that materialized inside the prison stockade in mid-August 1864.
Still, prisoners at Andersonville were subject to starvation, unsanitary conditions, and exposure to the elements, and the death rate at Andersonville peaked in October 1864.
Sidney’s POW record shows that he was admitted to the Andersonville Prison hospital on April 13, 1865, one day before President Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater. The wound(s) Sidney received the day of his capture ultimately resulted in the loss of one leg.
On 28 April 1865 Sidney was “parolled” as a prisoner from Jacksonville, Florida, and sent–presumably by boat–to Annapolis, Maryland. He was admitted to the U.S. General Hospital in Annapolis on May 11, 1865, where he stayed for over a month. On June 26, 1865 the hospital’s acting medical director, Alexander B. Hasson, requested a transfer for Sidney to the U.S. General Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Hasson’s request was granted on June 28th, although records show that Sidney may have already been en route to Louisville on June 27th. Hospitalized Union soldiers were usually mustered out of service from the hospital closest to their unit’s home base. This meant that Sidney still required medical care, but was well enough for travel.
Sidney was officially mustered out of service with the 1st Kentucky Cavalry on 1 July 1865, but his muster-out record shows that the Union Army still owed him back pay for the use of his private horse and equipment from 28 February 1864 to the date of his capture, plus three months extra pay of $48.
Sidney returned to Madison County, Kentucky, and resumed life as a farmer. Three years later he married Lucy F. Evans, also from Kentucky. The 1870 census shows that Sidney and Lucy took up where brother Absolum left off, taking care of the family farm and Sidney’s mother, Phoebe Frier Tudor in Madison County, KY. Sidney and Lucy Tudor had three children who survived to adulthood: Mike, Lemuel, and Daisy. Sidney lived the rest of his life in the Kirksville area of Madison County, west of Richmond, Kentucky. He died on December 8, 1903, at the age of 68.
Sidney and his wife Lucy were buried in Gilead Church Cemetery, where many other Tudors are buried. Gilead Church is still an active church, located on Poosey Ridge Road (Hwy. 595) in Madison County, west of Richmond, KY. The cemetery is on the north side of the Church, and potions of it can be seen from the road. This land was part of a parcel owned by his grandfather, John Tudor (a member of the North Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War). Upon John Tudor’s death, this parcel was willed to Sidney’s uncle Marcus Meredith “Mark” Tudor, while connecting parcels were inherited by John Tudor’s other children. We can deduce from this that Sidney and his family lived very close to this church for most of his life. It is still a farming community to this day.
Gerald R. Tudor of Madison County, KY
“The Wild Riders of the First Kentucky Cavalry” by Sergeant E. Tarrant (copyright 1894)
“Horse Soldiers of the Bluegrass: A History of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry” by Jerry A. Johnson (copyright 2004) which mentions “Corporal Abe Tudor” in Chapter 6, describing the Battle of Maryville.
Fold3 website (Muster Cards, POW record)
John Ransom’s “Andersonville Diary.”
“Andersonville” by John McElroy
Civil War Richmond website: www.mdgorman.com
About the author: Loreen Ridge-Husum was born and raised in the former Canal Zone, Isthmus of Panama. She graduated from Winthrop University with a BA degree in Mass Communications and now lives in Anderson, SC, with her husband and two children. Her love of genealogy was sparked by her adventurous grandparents and great-grandparents who lived well into their 90’s. Loreen’s seasonal job as a marketing coordinator allows her to spend summers indulging her passion for genealogical research and bringing to life the stories of her ancestors.