John T. Bolton was born in about 1830 in Kentucky and migrated to Montgomery County, Texas, before 1860. He settled in the town of Danville. In the census of 1860, he was enumerated as a single head of household, a blacksmith. His name was recorded as J. T. Boulton. In 1860, he rendered and paid taxes on a lot in Danville with a value of $400.00. The high value probably indicates that a building was on the lot, presumably his blacksmith shop.
Some time after September of 1861, John joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen, Texas State Troops, and was present for the muster roll of February, 1862.
On March 28, 1862, John was enrolled in the Second Texas Lancers by John E. George at Danville. He rode fifty miles to rendezvous and mustered in at Camp Carter at Hempstead. He trained at Camp Carter to become a cavalryman.
John rode to Arkansas with his company, and upon their arrival, they became Company B, 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry and were dismounted and forced to serve the remainder of the war as infantry. They were stationed at Camp Holmes at the time of the next muster roll on August 31, and it was noted on the roll that John was on guard at the commissary.
From Camp Holmes, the men were sent to Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post. There they were engaged in building winter cabins and fortifications. John was counted present on the October muster roll.
On January 11, 1863, Union soldiers attacked the fort. John was captured and sent up the Mississippi to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois, and his name appears on a list of prisoners captured at Ft. Hindman. A description of John on the prisoner rolls states that he had black hair and black eyes, that he was born in Kentucky and was a resident of Montgomery County, Texas.
At some point after being imprisoned, John decided to take the oath of loyalty to the Union. He was one of six members of Company B who took the oath at Camp Butler. He signed the oath on March 3, 1863; the document was also signed by Provost Marshall, H. W. Hect.
Oath of Allegiance to United States, signed by John Bolton
Most of the men who signed the oath saw it as a way to get relief from the miserable prison conditions. But they had to convince the prison authorities that they were in Confederate service against their will, not an easy task, since the 24th was composed of volunteers.
After the members of the 24th were exchanged in April, Johnís name appears on the muster roll one last time: ďAbsent without leave having taken oath of allegiance to the U. S.Ē
John apparently did not go back to Montgomery County after his release, and no further trace of him has been found.
The above was compiled from census records and from the compiled service records, housed at the National Archives and accessed at the Confederate Research Center at Hillsboro, Texas.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated May 25, 2007
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