Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Under Both Flags: C.S.A Soldier/"Galvanized Yankee" Private Jacob Nowell, my 1st cousin 5x removed

Jacob Nowell was born in Chowan County, NC in 1833.   He enlisted as a Private in Company F of the North Carolina 11th Infantry Regiment on Feb. 16, 1863.   This Company was also referred to as the "Bethel Regiment" due to it's early war success at the Battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861.  He was present and accounted for in his first Muster Roll for March and April of 1863.

1st Muster Roll for Jacob

Although Jacob had originally enlisted for 3 years or the duration of the war, his actual service to the Confederacy would be much shorter.   He was captured at Hazel Run a/k/a Amissville, VA on July 28, 1863.  

Muster Roll showing Jacob's capture

Jacob was reported as missing after being sent on an errand and not returning.

After his capture, he was sent to Point Lookout, MD.  There, he appeared on a Roll of Prisoners of War.

Point Lookout wasn't a very hospitable place for Jacob and his fellow prisoners.  The camp was originally designed to house about 10,000 prisoners, but numbers swelled to nearly 20,000 at their peak.  The only thing that protected the prisoners from the elements was a small canvas tent.  Nearly 4,000 Confederate soldiers would perish in these conditions.  

In early 1864 Jacob was given two options, either stay in the Prison and face possible death or swear allegiance to the United States and serve in the Union Army.  Jacob chose the second option.  On February 2, 1864 he swore his Oath of Allegiance to the Union and enlisted in Company B of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry.

Jacob's Volunteer Enlistment Document

His former comrades in the Confederacy didn't take too kindly to that choice given their language in his final Muster Roll for the Confederate Army. 

The term "Galvanized Yankee" refers to Confederate Prisoners of War who swore allegiance to the United States and enlisted in the Union Army.  There were approximately 5,600 Galvanized Yankees in the Civil War. 

The Company Descriptive Book listed Jacob as being 5 feet 7 inches, having a light complexion, with blue eyes and light colored hair.  It also lists him as being a farmer from Chowan County. 

Jacob's first Muster Roll for the 1st U.S. Volunteers would be for February through April of 1864. 

from Wikipedia: 


"The 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry was recruited at Point Lookout prison camp, Maryland, between January 21 and April 22, 1864, as a three-year regiment. Assigned to the District of Eastern Virginia, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, it moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where on orders of General Ulysses S. Grant it was relegated to provost duty there, Portsmouth, Virginia, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina. In August 1864 Grant ordered it to the Department of the Northwest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 1st U.S.V.I. traveled by ship to New York City, and by train to Chicago, where it received further orders splitting the regiment. Four companies continued to Milwaukee, while six companies (B, C, D, E, H, and K) were sent to St. Louis, Missouri, arriving there August 22. They moved by the steamboat Effie Deans and by forced march to Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, arriving there October 17 for garrison duty. Conditions were hard over the winter, and fully 11% of the command died of illness, primarily scurvy. Between May 10 and August 31, 1865, Company K garrisoned Fort Berthold and Company B the trading post known as Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone, obliged to travel by steamboat through hostile territory. Four companies were present at Fort Rice, along with two companies of the 4th U.S.V.I., when a large force of Lakota and Cheyenne led by Sitting Bull attacked for three hours on July 28, 1865, making away with the entire horse herd and killing two soldiers. In October 1865 the battalion returned to St. Louis to muster out November 27."

He would be sent to Fort Rice, North Dakota for "Pioneer Duty" in August of 1864.  I'm sure Jacob was thankful that his duty with the Union Army would keep him far away from his former comrades in the Confederate Army.  I have no substantial proof, but I believe this was probably part of his agreement to enlist in the Union Army. 

Barracks at Fort Rice, ND

Conditions on the frontier were oftentimes no better than the conditions in the heat of battle in the war.  Disease was prevalent.  Jacob would find this out the hard way.   He would only enjoy about a years service time in the Union Army.   Private Jacob Nowell died of scurvy on February 21, 1865. 

The Company Descriptive Book lists Jacob as being a "good and faithful soldier".

Muster Roll showing Private Jacob Nowell died in the Fort Rice Hospital.

Jacob was originally buried in the cemetery at Fort Rice. 

For reasons unknown to me, he was disinterred from the Fort Rice Cemetery and moved to the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery for re-interrment on March 6, 1905.  

Jacob's Grave

Here's my relation to Jacob:

Pvt. Jacob Nowell (1833 - 1865)
is your 1st cousin 5x removed
Isaac Nowell (1790 - 1833)
Father of Pvt. Jacob
Dempsey Nowell Jr. (1755 - 1810)
Father of Isaac
Rev. John Nowell (1803 - 1859)
Son of Dempsey
Joseph Warren Nowell (1829 - 1889)
Son of Rev. John
Walter Hinton Nowell (1855 - 1922)
Son of Joseph Warren
Joseph Warren Nowell (1889 - 1954)
Son of Walter Hinton
Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes (1918 - )
Daughter of Joseph Warren
Selby Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
Son of Ruth Adelaide
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby 

1 comment:

  1. Chip,
    I found your blog while researching the galvanized Yankees buried in Custer National Cemetery. Seemingly, there are at least 71, most enlisted with the 1st U.S. Vol. Inf., and more than 40% of which are from North Carolina. Jacob Nowell is one of the 146 bodies reinterred here from the Ft. Rice cemetery, after military operations ceased. However, I believe they were transferred here in 1892. I have seen that 1905 date in numerous locations, but it doesn't coincide with original records. The 1896 Burial Ledger lists your cousin, and therefore he must have been buried prior to that. Custer National Cemetery is the final resting place for the men, women, and children of nearly 20 western military posts and forts. I hope this information helps clear up your inquiries.
    (I am the archives technician for Little Bighorn Battlefield and Custer National Cemetery.)