Alexander M. McGilvary was the son of John Martin and Eleanor McIver McGilvary, and we first find him in the 1850 census of Montgomery County as a six-year-old, in the home of his parents. He was born in Shelby County, Tennessee, in about 1844, and his parents were born in North Carolina. They immigrated to Texas in about 1846 and are enumerated on the census as "McGilberry."
There was also an Alexander M. McGilvary living in Walker County in 1850, a twenty-nine year old carpenter who was born in North Carolina. He was the uncle of our Alex, and it was the older Alex who married Sarah Jane Irvine, sister of Peter B. Irvine and Benjamin F. Irvine.
In 1860, J. M. "McGilbey" was a widower with eight children, and "A" (Alexander) is sixteen years old in the home of his father.
Alexander is variously found in service records as T. A. McGilvary, S. A. McGilvary, and A. M. McGilvary. "S" McGilvary is on the muster roll of the Danville Mounted Riflemen on Februrary 14, 1862. We can guess that his nickname was Xan or San.
On April 28, 1862, Alexander enlisted in the Second Texas Lancers at Danville. He gave his age as eighteen and the value of his horse as $80.00. It was fifty miles to the place of rendezvous, Camp Carter at Hempstead. The muster rolls record his name variously as T. A., S.A., and A. M. McGilvary, but all the extracted records are filed together.
Alexander rode his horse to Arkansas with his company, which became Company B, 24th Regiment, Texas Cavalry, (Dismounted). He was dismounted there at El Dorado with the other men. After infantry training at Pine Bluff, he was assigned to Garland's Brigade and sent to defend Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post.
He was captured at the Battle of Arkansas Post with the other Confederates on January 12, 1863, and was sent to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois. His name appears on a roster of troops captured at Arkansas Post and on a roll of Prisoners of War. He was paroled with the other men of his company in April, 1863.
Alex was counted present on the muster roll through June, but a notation on his July and August 1863 muster roll shows that he was "absent, sick in hospital."
He had been admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Dalton, Ga., on June 5,1863. He was then transferred to a hospital in Atlanta.
A special requisition for clothing is in Alexander’s file. He received "one pr. pants, one pr. drawers, and one shirt." The clothing was issued to him on September 13, and he signed a receipt roll on September 14.
Alexander was last counted present on a muster roll covering the months of January and February, 1864. A muster roll extract for the months of March and April, 1864, has a notation that he was absent on furlough. Furloughs were not given for travel back across the Mississippi, so undoubtedly he was allowed only to visit relatives or friends who lived in the area. There are no muster records for the Twenty-fourth Regiment from this date until the surrender at the end of the war. Alex’s name is not on that final muster.
According to McGilvary descendants, Alexander died in the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. This battle, in Tennessee, was one of the bloodiest of the war. His death cannot be confirmed due to the lack of reports from this period of the Confederacy. Thus, his place of burial is unknown.
Compiled from county and census records and from the Compiled Service Records housed in the National Archives. Thanks to McGilvary researcher Dan Hyde, who gives Alexander’s middle name and death information according to records of family researcher Juanita Vollintine.
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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