Martin Hildreth - Civil War Veteran
An email from his great-great niece - September 1999
Martin T. Hildreth enlisted in the 4th Cavalry 12/15/1863 in Grafton at
the rank of Private. He eventually made Sergeant. He was killed at Gum Creek (or Gum Swamp
or Gum Ford), Florida 10/24/1864
(all info. per his pension record).
According to the book "Confederate Military History", p. 119, this is what I
believe occurred (paraphrased):
on 10/23/1864 a Confederate Captain learned that the enemy had been met & driven back
app. 3 miles away (near Green Cove Springs, FL). He immediately responded. Arriving the
morning of the 24th he planned an attack expecting the enemy to reappear. They didn't but
he learned of a crossing app. 5 miles above the ford and a scout confirmed their placement
on the road to Middleburg. He went to meet them and the enemy "were seen returning,
driving in a large drove of fine cattle to enrich their commissary stores with what they
called 'rebel beef'". The Confederates killed or captured almost the entire command.
Sounds like they were doing some Union "cattle rustling." My mother has
confirmed that my father used to tell the story of his ancestor whose horse returned
without him. Martin's mother claimed his pension, as she was a widow and he had been her
support before the war.
I am hoping to check the area near Green Cove Springs one day to see if he was buried
"decently" although I don't expect to find much. War was war after all, but
there's always a chance for a marker.
Proud descendant of a Union soldier,