Kinsearching August 2, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Last week's Kinsearching column (26 July 2009) mentioned the death of 113-year-old Henry ALLINGHAM, World War I veteran and the last surviving member of the original British Royal Air Force. About the same time, newspapers like the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (26 July 2009, section C, page 9) printed news about the death of 111-year-old Harry PATCH, Britain's last World War I survivor. Dying in England on 25 July 2009, he was also the final British survivor who had served in the trenches during that war. With the passing away of these World War I veterans and the continuing loss of those who fought in World War II, people will hopefully recognize and appreciate the sacrifices made by all.

     On 22 August 2009, the public is invited to attend the ceremony and history seminar commemorating the 196th anniversary of the Battle of Medina in Pleasanton, TX. The largest and bloodiest battle occurring on Texas soil, the fight between the Royal Spanish Army and the Republican Army of the North (a diverse group that included Tejanos, adventurers from the U. S., Native Americans, and at least one African-American) took place about twenty miles south of San Antonio on 18 August 1813. Protesting against Spanish authority in Mexico (of which Texas was a part at the time), as many as 1,300 men (primarily members of the Republican Army of the North) were killed, making it the largest loss of life of any battle in Texas history. Descendants of the approximately 3,200 participants who fought on either side are eligible for membership in the Sons of the Republic of Texas or the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. For details about the commemoration activities, call Tom Green at 281-922-1118 (home) or 832-687-3474 (cell)..

     Perhaps in the aftermath of all wars, whether major or minor, discrepancies exist between individuals' service records and postwar recollections. To be certain that Tar Heel participants in the deadliest war fought on U. S. soil are not forgotten, the awarding-winning series NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, 1861 - 1865: A ROSTER has a new addition--VOLUME XVII: JUNIOR RESERVES. Edited by Matthew M. Brown and Michael W. Coffey, this publication carries on the excellent standards set by former editor Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr.

     During the final months of the Civil War, seventeen-year-old males--known as the Junior Reserves--were drafted to serve in non-combat positions, such as guarding the state's depots and bridges. Due to the extreme shortage of Confederate troops, however, many reservists became involved in the fighting. Between the spring and fall of 1864, North Carolina raised eight battalions composed of teenagers. Later, the eight battalions were consolidated into three regiments and one independent battalion. Numerous Junior Reserves saw action in several minor clashes in eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia and in major battles at Fort Fisher and Bentonville.

     Following the format previously established, VOLUME XVII begins with an authoritative, footnoted history of its subject. Included in the 120-pages of background material are interesting facts about the officers of the reserve units. When Walter CLARK was elected major, for example, he was the same age as the boys he led. Commander of the Tar Heel reservists, Theophilus Hunter HOLMES graduated from West Point in the same year as Robert E. Lee. Along with other future Civil War leaders, Holmes and Lee served in the Mexican War (1846-1848), where they received military experience.

     Following the informative narration is a complete roster along with military records of the field officers, staff, and reservists. Details about individuals vary widely from entry to entry. For John STRAYHORN, a private in Company G, 1st Regiment, only a few facts appear on page 209: "Enlisted at Camp Holmes, near Raleigh, August 29, 1864, for the war. Reported present in September, 1864 - February, 1865. No further records." More data, however, is available on page 221 for George S. FREELAND, a private in Company I, 1st Regiment: "Born in Orange County on or about September 18, 1846, and was by occupation a farmer prior to enlisting at Camp Holmes, near Raleigh, at age 17, May 18, 1864, for the war. Reported detailed by Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes to work at home on June 2, 1864. Rejoined the company prior to December 31, 1864. Sent to hospital on January 1, 1865. No further records. Survived the war." Interestingly, as they became older, some officers like John W. PITTS and Jahew N. CROUCH of Company A, 3rd Regiment, tendered their resignations from the Junior Reserves. Each stated: "I am eighteen (18) years of age, and wish to enter regular service."

     By focusing on the state's reservists, Brown and Coffey bring attention to perhaps an overlooked group of young servicemen and the part they played in the last months of the Civil War. The authors have produced another work that will be helpful to historians, genealogists, and amateur Civil War buffs. VOLUME XVII: JUNIOR RESERVES of the series, NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, 1861 - 1865: A ROSTER, is a "must have" for historical and genealogical collections on the Civil War in the South.

     The 509-page hardbound book contains a preface, an informative introduction to the text, maps, photographs, an abbreviated list of citations, and a thorough index of names of persons, places, and military units. Priced at $63.38 (which includes tax and shipping costs) for individuals or $58.03 for libraries, VOLUME XVII may be ordered online at or at It may also be purchased from the Historical Publications Section (N), Office of Archives and History, 4622 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4622. For credit card orders, call 919-733-7442, extension 0.

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