Monday, January 27, 2014

Military Monday: Thomas Nelson, Captured at Vicksburg

Thomas Nelson, Roll of Prisoners of War card

Thomas P Nelson, my husband's Great Grandfather, was a soldier in the Civil War, serving in Company B of the 34th Georgia Infantry.  On 4 July 1863, Private Thomas Nelson was among the 484 soldiers in the 34th Georgia Infantry captured following the Battle of Vicksburg.(1)  He was also among over 29,000 Confederates taken prisoner at that time.(2)

Parole Oath, Thomas Nelson
Thankfully, Thomas Nelson's term as a prisoner of war was short lived.  Four days later on 8 July 1863, the 484 prisoners from the 34th Georgia were paroled along with virtually all the Confederates who had been taken prisoner on July 4.(2)  This mass parole of the Confederate prisoners at Vicksburg was part of the surrender terms negotiated at the conclusion of the Battle of Vicksburg.(3)  One part of the parole process required Thomas to sign an oath that he "will not take up arms again against the United States ... or serve in any military [of] Confederate States of American".

The following newspaper account appeared in the Southern Confederacy a few days after the fall of Vicksburg.  It details the terms of capitulation as well as providing additional information about the parole of the captured Confederate soldiers.

Southern Confederacy, 9 July 1863 (4)

Thomas Nelson, along with so many from his regiment, was free, free from prison, and free to fight another day, parole oath notwithstanding.  And that is another story ...

(1) "Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 ", database and images.
(2) "July 4, 1863." The American Civil War 150 Years Ago Today, 18 Jul 013. : 2014.
(3) " National Military Park,: National Park Service : 2014
(4) "By Telegraph, Jackson, July 7." Souther Confederacy, 9 July 1863.

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