HENRY ELSWORTH BELL, 24th TEXAS CAVALRY







HENRY ELLSWORTH BELL


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014




Henry Ellsworth Bell was born in 1844 in Alabama and came from Marion County to Texas with his parents, James H. and Sarah A. Bell, in about 1852. The Bells lived next door to Iredell and Nancy Reding in 1860 in Danville, Montgomery County, as per the 1860 decennial census.

Henry was eighteen when he enlisted in the Second Texas Lancers on March 29, 1862 at Danville. He was enrolled by John E. George, and went with Captain Wooldridge to rendezvous at Hempstead on April 28, 1862. The Lancers became the 24th Regiment, Texas Cavalry, when accepted into the Confederate service later that year.

Henry was a private in Company B, serving under Captain Wooldridge.

He rode his horse to Arkansas with the rest of the regiment, was dismounted with the others and was sent to Camp White Sulphur Springs near Pine Bluff to be trained as an infantryman. He was there when the muster roll of August was taken.

From Camp White Sulphur Springs, Henry was sent with his company to Ft. Hindman, Arkansas Post. During the fall, he was engaged in building cabins for the winter.

The attack by the Union forces on January 11, 1863, was unexpected.

Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis

Henry was captured and was sent to Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, one of the worst prisons in the United States. He was listed on a roll of prisoners captured at Arkansas Post.

Henry developed “intermittant fever,” which is an old name for malaria. He was admitted to Hickory Street U. S. A. General Hospital in St. Louis on January 26, 1863.

Amazingly, Henry did not die in the hospital as did the other men in his company who were admitted. Instead, he “took the oath” of allegiance to the U. S. in March and was released from the hospital and allowed to leave.

On a muster roll taken after the other Twenty-fourth Regiment prisoners were exchanged at City Point, Virginia in April, there is a notation that Henry was “Absent--taken prisoner Jan 11, 1863, whereabouts not known.”

Henry obviously returned home, because he married Adner Childers in Montgomery County on 30 December 1867. Adner was the daughter of Douglas Childers and Amanda Cheshire and was a sister of Henry's fellow soldiers Jefferson P. Childers and Reuben Childers.

She was listed as A. Childers, age fifteen, on the 1860 census. Adner was the granddaughter of Richard Jesse Cheshire. According to Childers descendant Patsy Johnson, Adner was born in 1845 in Stewart County, Georgia.

The couple was living near Maysfield in Milam County in 1870, where Henry was farming. They had one daughter aged two. In 1880, they were living in Robertson County with two children, a girl and a boy. In 1910, they appear on the census of Tyler, Texas as ages 66 and 64, with no children living in the household.

Henry applied for a Texas Confederate pension on 31 December 1914 and was at the time a resident of Jefferson County, Texas. He stated that he was seventy-one years old and was born in Alabama. He also stated that he had lived in Texas for sixty-two years. He was a resident of the town of Voth, Jefferson County. He swore that he had no home and no other property. His pension was approved and is filed under No. 30200.

Henry seems to have moved back and forth between Texas and Pineville, Louisiana, where his son lived. He died in Pineville, Rapides Parish, on 20 October 1930. He was about eighty-six years of age at the time of his death.

The above biography was compiled from county and census records, from the Compiled Service Records which are on file at the National Archives and were accessed on microfilm at the Confederate Research Center at Hillsboro; and from the Texas Confederate Pension records, housed in the Texas State Archives. Thanks also to Childers descendant Patsy Johnson for help in locating this couple in 1910 and for information concerning the birth of Adner.


For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at fjohnson@wt.net.

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

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