JAMES LINDLEY-Danville Mounted Riflemen and Co. B, 24th Texas Cavalry

Photo from collection of Sue Bell. Submitted by Suzie Reese


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

James Lindley was the son of Samuel Washington Lindley and Elizabeth Whitley. He was a brother of John Lindley and Elijah Lindley, as well as of Rachel Lindley Kelton O’Banion, wife of Hamilton O'Banion, and also of Mary Lindley Little, wife of Hiram Little. He was born 13 March 1831 in Bond County, Illinois, and immigrated to the Republic of Texas in the early 1830s with his family. His mother died a few years after the family’s migration, in the spring of 1836. Another brother, Jonathan Lindley, died at the Alamo in the Texas War for Independence.

On November 22, 1853, James married Mary Lee R. Irvine in Montgomery County. She was born 28 June 1835 in Mercer County, Kentucky, the daughter of Benjamin Fielding Irvine, Sr., and Polly Belles. She was the sister of Peter Belles Irvine and of Benjamin Franklin Irvine.

James and Mary were enumerated in the 1860 census of Montgomery County in the community of Danville, with three children. A fourth child was inadvertantly omitted and was entered by the census taker in the John Hardy family two houses later. There is a little sketch of a hand with a pointing finger, indicating that the little girl, Sarah J. Lindley, age two, belongs between James' and Mary's four-year-old and two-month-old children.

The Lindleys are said to have lived just west of Shepherd Hill cemetery.

Some time after September of 1861, James joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen under Captain S. D. Wooldridge. He appears on the muster roll for February 14, 1862.

Then on March 29, 1862, in Danville, he enrolled as a private in the Second Texas Lancers, which became Company B 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry, with Captain Wooldridge. Also joining the company, in addition to his two brothers and a brother-in-law, were his two first cousins once removed, William B. Lawrence and Charles Lawrence.

Upon enrolling, James gave his age as thirty-one, the value of his horse as $165.00, and the value of his equipment as $20.00. It was fifty miles from his home to the place of rendezvous.

James trained at Camp Carter near Hempstead, then rode to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, with the rest of the regiment. There he was dismounted with the others and served as infantry from that point.


James fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863, was captured there with the rest of his regiment, and was transported to the Union prison camp at Camp Butler, Illinois. The Roll of Prisoners of War shows that his age was thirty-two, his height was five feet ten inches, his eyes blue and his hair brown. His residence was noted to be in Montgomery County, Texas, and his birthplace was recorded as Illinois.


On the Company B muster roll for April 30, 1863, taken after the prisoners were exchanged at City Point, Virginia, there is a notation that James was “Absent without leave, having taken the oath of allegiance to the U. S.” In June, another muster roll notation states, “Deserted, Took the Oath at Camp Butler, Illinois.”


Here it is necessary to understand the circumstances. Life at the prison camp was brutal. The Confederates didn’t have enough food or warm clothing. Many were sick with diarrhea and other chronic diseases, and there were several deaths every day. Many men saw taking the oath as a way out, a way to get home.

In order to be allowed to “take the oath,” it was necessary to prove to the Union authorities that you were a Union sympathizer who was forced into the Confederate army. Since the conscript law had not yet been passed in Texas at the time of James's enlistment, this could not have been easy.

However, a number men of the Twenty-fourth did take the oath. In Company B, there were six who took the oath out of the thirty-six who were imprisoned at Camp Butler. Those taking the oath were expected to rejoin the Confederates as soon as they got back to friendly territory. Some did, but some disappeared for good. A few joined the Union army, although none of those in Company B seem to have done so.

Somehow, James Lindley returned to Montgomery County after being released from prison. Once safe at home, he was required to voluntarily re-join the Confederate army, or a posse would be sent to arrest him and press him into service.


In James Lindley’s file is a letter to General Magruder.

Click on the following link to read the transcription.

Letter to General Magruder

Magruder was the commander of the Trans-Mississippi, and the letter was written by Captain R. S. Poole from Camp Groce at Hempstead, on October 2, 1863. Poole was the captain commanding the detachment of the 24th, composed of the members who, for any reason, were not at the battle front. The letter tells Magruder that, in compliance with his (Magruder’s) special notice requiring all men on “this side of the Mill Run belonging to the 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry to report to me, among others who reported are James Lindley and J. R. McIntire. The former reported to me at Montgomery and was furloughed to report to me at Hempstead on the 25th ult. which he failed to do.”

Captain Poole further tells Magruder that he sent a detachment of men to arrest the two and to bring them to Camp Groce. Upon being confronted by the detachment, the two men reported for duty on the fourth of the month.

But on the first day of the following month, they left the camp without permission and went to the camp of the militia, the Texas State Troops, and applied to Capt. Evans to be received into the militia. They were introduced to Maj. Barnes, who told them that they could not join the state militia without a special order from Magruder; but he gave them a letter of introduction to Col. Sayles who was on his way to Houston.

Lindley and McIntyre took off for Houston at that point. In this letter, Captain Poole alerts Magruder to this fact, and asks him to publish a notice as to their being deserters from his camp.

There are no further muster rolls in the file to tell us anything about James Lindley’s service in the last year-and-a-half of the war, although we know that James McIntyre was with Company I of the detached 24th, in Texas, in January of 1865. Presumably James Lindley also was compelled to do some sort of service until the end of the war, but there are no surviving records. It is possible he did the service in the state militia.

James and Mary L. lived their lives in the area of Danville, where they raised ten children, two of whom married McIntyres.

They were enumerated on the census of 1870 in Danville Precinct with seven children and two black children named Duncan and West Lindley, ages fourteen and seven.

In 1880, they were enumerated in Precinct 1 of Montgomery County with eight children, and James’s occupation was farmer.

Mary died 13 November 1882 and James died 18 October 1895. They are buried in Shepard Hill Cemetery at Old Danville.

Photos courtesy of Anna Shepeard, January, 2004

The information on James Lindley was compiled from census, county records, the History of Montgomery County, Texas, 1981, the James Lindley Compiled Service Records on file at the National Archives in Washington, D. C., the Lindley vertical file in the Montgomery County Memorial Library, and various web pages focusing on the family of Samuel Washington Lindley.

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 fjohnson@wt.net.

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