James H. Norsworthy was born in about 1840 in Tennessee. In about 1841, he moved with his family to Union Parish, Louisiana. His father was Wiley B. Norsworthy (1816), and his motherís name is not known. Wiley is enumerated in the 1850 census of Union Parish, with six children and no wife in the household.
The family moved to Montgomery County, Texas, before 1860. With them in 1860 was Joseph E. Milburn who was married to Wiley's daughter Mary Martha Norsworthy and whose brother was M. J. (Mack) Milburn. Also with them in 1860 was Samuel Terry, who was married to Wiley's daughter Sarah Norsworthy. At some point, Wiley Norsworthy married, as his second wife, Maryann Milburn, a sister of Mack. She died prior to 1860.
James Norsworthy joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen on May 4, 1861, and is listed as a private on the muster roll of September 13th.
On October 10, 1861, at the age of twenty-one, James enrolled at Montgomery in the Ninth Regiment (Nichols') Texas Infantry. James was in Company I under Captain R. F. Oliver of Montgomery. The Ninth (Nichols') was a six-month regiment formed under General Hebert for the purpose of building fortifications at Galveston in order to defend the coast against an invasion by Union forces.
James appears in three muster rolls. These include the muster-in roll of November 7, 1861 at Galveston, and a muster-out roll of April 24th. On April 24th there was a notation that he was absent. Reenlisted, absent on furlough.
On April 16, 1862, James enlisted in Second Texas Lancers, Co. B 24th Texas Cavalry under Captain S. D. Wooldridge. He was a private.
His first report shows that he was enrolled at Galveston by Lt. Steel. It was fifty miles from his home to place of rendezvous, which was at Camp Carter near Hempstead.
James mustered in at Camp Carter on April 28th. His age was given as twenty-two.
He rode to Arkansas with the men of his company, leaving from the Crockett area in May. Upon reaching El Dorado, he was dismounted with the others.
His next muster roll is dated August, 1862, at which time the men were at Camp Holmes near Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. After infantry training at Camp Holmes, the men of the 24th were assigned to Garland's Brigade and were sent to Arkansas Post where Ft. Hindman was being built.
Arkansas Post was near the confluence of the Arkansas and White Rivers, deep in the swamps, and was a very unhealthy place.
The men suffered many diseases, including typhoid, chronic diarrhea, and pneumonia. There were several deaths a day throughout the fall, according to letters that the soldiers sent home. You may read the letter written at Arkansas Post by another member of Company B, Peter B. Irvine. The men who were able began building cabins for the winter.
James was counted as present on the muster rolls through October. But he died at Arkansas Post on November 11, 1862. Though no cause of death is given, it is certain that he died from one of the many illnesses that plagued the soldiers. Ranger Eric Leonard told us that the cemetery in which the soldiers were buried has never been found.
His father, Wiley B. Norsworthy, moved to Harris County after the war and died in 1883. He is buried with his third wife in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.
The above family information is from the records of Nancy Hargesheimer, and of Linda McNiel. Military information is from the Compiled Service Records in the National Archives. Other records consulted were census and county records.
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. TThe book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at email@example.com.
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