Thursday, March 29, 2018

March to the Sea: 52 Ancestors

War changes the world.

If there had been no Civil War, how would life have differed for the Maddox family of Scott County, Illinois? What would have happened if David Maddox had not died and Lewis Maddox had not served?

David Maddox was the eldest son of William Maddox and Nancy Jane Webb. He was born about 1843, making him about 18 at the start of the war in 1861. There had been an older brother, John, who died before his second birthday. Therefore David was the oldest and, no doubt, the leader of his younger siblings.

David was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, moving with his family to Scott County, Illinois, when he was about 10 years old. He enlisted for three years on August 13, 1862, in Company F, 129th Illinois Infantry. The company muster roll tells us that he was 19 years old, 5 foot 7 inches tall, dark complected, with dark hair and blue eyes. He was a farmer and supposedly married, though no marriage record has been found.

The Illinois Adjutant General's Report gives a brief history of the regiment, which spent the early years of the war first in Kentucky and then in Tennessee. In May of 1864, the regiment joined Sherman's army and began the march to Atlanta.

David was wounded in the side at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia, on May 15, 1864. He recovered and stayed with the regiment as they fought the Atlanta campaign and occupied the city. On November 15, Sherman's army began the famous march to the sea. The army was large and the soldiers had to scour the countryside for food. It was probably on one of these expeditions that David was captured near Madison, Georgia, by some Confederate soldiers on November 20, 1864.

His captors took his weapons and then turned him loose with an agreement known as parole. David had to agree to not resume fighting. His absence was noted as desertion in the company records. However, the final notation in the muster roll was that he had been a prisoner since that date. It also states that no discharge was furnished.

There is no further record of David. By the time of his father's death in 1869, he was not living. It is probable that he died trying to make his way home from Georgia to Illinois.

The loss of David as the eldest brother and leader forever changed the dynamics of the Maddox family.

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