I. J. Burgess was eighteen when he enlisted in Captain Wooldridge’s company of Second Texas Lancers on April 8, 1862. He was signed up at Montgomery, Montgomery County, Texas, by C. L. Jones, Justice of the Peace. Captain Wooldridge's company of Lancers was to become Company B 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry.
The identity of I. J. has not been positively established. However, there was an Ira E. Burgess in the household of Matilda Burgess in the 1860 census of Walker County, Texas, living in the town of Tuscaloosa. Since there are few male names beginning with I, it is likely that Ira is the I. J in Company B.
Ira was enumerated as age fifteen in 1860, and would have been only seventeen, rather than eighteen, when he enlisted. Ira was born in Mississippi, and his mother was born in North Carolina.
The value of I. J.s horse and equipment are not given on his first muster roll. In fact, his name is not recorded on the muster rolls for Company B of the 24th Cavalry until the roll of October, 1862, at which time the men were stationed at Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post, Arkansas. It is likely that he joined the regiment late, riding his own horse to Arkansas by himself and joining the men there.
The men were engaged in building winter cabins and fortifications in the autumn of 1862. Then the Union forces attacked the Confederates at Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863. I. J. was captured with the other men of the 24th and was transported up the Mississippi River to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois.
His name appears on the Union’s Roster of Troops Captured at Ft. Hindman, and on a Roll of Prisoners of War Captured January 11 at Arkansas Post.
There was much sickness among the prisoners at Camp Butler, and I. J. Burgess was one of seven members of Company B who died of illness while in prison there. His name appears as S. J. Burgess on a List of Deaths at Camp Butler, Illinois as of April 25, 1863, printed in newspapers of the day and extracted by L. L. Knight for Volume II of Their Last Full Measure.
I. J. must not have died in the prison hospital, as there is no mortuary certificate for him. His death was not recorded by his company officers until several months after the soldiers were exchanged in April in Virginia. On November 14, it was noted that J. J. Berges was captured on January 11, 1863, and died at Camp Butler, Illinois, on March 13.
Camp Butler Cemetery records show I. J. buried under the name of J. J. Burgess on March 13, 1863, in Grave #765. Confusingly, J. R. Baugass of the same company and regiment is buried under the name of I. J. Burgess in Grave #315.
Many thanks to Gene Schnierle of Illinois, who went to Camp Butler to photograph I. J.'s stone. See his other photos at Twenty-Fourth Regiment Texas Cavalry Burials at Camp Butler National Cemetery.
If you have further information on I. J., please e-mail me at the address below.
The above information was compiled from census records and from the Compiled Service Records, housed in the National Archives and accessed on microfilm at the Confederate Research Center, Hillsboro, Texas. Also, the volumes by L. L.Knight were consulted, Their Last Full Measure; and the Camp Butler, Illinois cemetery records were found online.
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.
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