Monday, May 27, 2013

Military Monday : The Tale of Two Brothers

photo source:

Memorial Day is set aside to remember those soldiers who lost their lives while serving in our military.  My husband’s GreatGrandfather, Jesse Padgett, was one such soldier.  Telling Jesse's story also needs to include the story of his younger brother, Benjamin Padgett.

Jesse Padgett had moved from the family farm in Hamilton County, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was farming in the early 1860s.  Much of what we know of his life comes from the application filed by his widow Parthenia for a Confederate Widow’s Pension from the state of Georgia.(1)

State of Georgia Confederate Widow's Pension Application for Parthenia Padgett

Although family stories indicate that both Jesse and Parthenia were opposed to slavery, Jesse enlisted as a Confederate soldier on 20 August 1861.  He served in Company H of the 7th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry, also know as the Roswell Guards.

In late December of 1861 Jesse was serving with the Roswell Guards in Virginia, seeing action at Manassas Junction.  According to Parthenia’s pension application, Jesse contracted typhus fever after which he was moved to the military hospital at Richmond, Virginia, where he died on 2 January 1862.  Like so many during the Civil War, Jesse died as a result of disease and / or sanitary conditions rather than from an actual battlefield wound.

Some records indicate that Jesse was buried in the Confederate Section of the Military Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, but specific documentation has proved difficult to locate. His widow Parthenia was left to raise their four children, five-year old twin son and daughter, a three-year old daughter, and a year-old son.  She never remarried, and following The Battle of Atlanta in 1964, according to family stories, she loaded all the family possessions into a wagon and moved the family to Gordon County, Georgia where some of her relatives lived.  Parthenia lived in Gordon County until her death in 1898.

But this is also the tale of Jesse’s younger brother, Benjamin.  According to the 1860 census, Benjamin was a medical student still living with his family in Hamilton County, Tennessee. His life took a different turn as he enlisted to serve in the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry of the Union Army in December of 1862, less than a year following the death of his brother Jesse who had served in the Confederate Army.(2)  Benjamin served as a doctor in the Union forces, an occupation he continued after the Civil War.  He also served several terms in the Tennessee State Legislature.  Following his death in 1907, Benjamin was buried in the Chattanooga [Tennessee] National Cemetery.

Living in East Tennessee for many years, I have heard and read of numerous situations in which families were torn as they had relatives serving in both the Confederate and Union forces.  This was true for the Padgett family, two brothers, enlisting to fight in support of two different causes, two different outcomes for each brother and his family, two different burial places.  But two brothers, both willing to serve and even die for their country.

(1)  "Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960," database and images. ( : accessed 26 May 2013); citing Confederate Pension Applications,Georgia Confederate Pension Office, RG 58-1-1, Georga Archives.
(2)  John Wilson, "The Padgetts Were Pioneer of Ooltewah," The, 19 Feb 2006, ( : accessed 26 May 2013).
(3)   United States Department of Veterans Affairs. "National Gravesite Locator." : 2013.


1 comment:

  1. Mary, This is priceless information. Just incredible! Thank you for sharing. Cherie