Posts Tagged 'ancestry'


[This was originally posted August 16, 2015]

The following is an excerpt from a draft of a family history written by my father:

     Back to Great Grandpa Mark Mayo.  I’ve enclosed some information about his war years–the history of Grandpa Mark’s unit, Company “E”, the roster of the men, and a brief summary of their engagements.  In November of 1864, Company “E” had some men captured at Pine Barren, Florida (about 25 miles north of Pensacola), and they were held as prisoners of war until the war ended. Most of the 15th Cavalry Regiment’s engagements were in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana but as stated in the record, Company “E” was detached for special assignments for months at a time throughout the war as cavalry support for other outfits or for scouting enemy units.  Enclosed is a newspaper article from the Mobile paper about the battle of Eliska, Alabama, which was the last battle Grandpa Mark was in.  On his pension form, he told about his last battle around Claiborne, Alabama, which took place at the community of Eliska. As the information I’ve enclosed states, about 400 regular Confederate cavalry troops of the 15th Cavalry Regiment were sent to Eliska to help the local militia and some local people repel what was thought to be not too large a force of Union troops heading their way.  Grandpa Mark’s and Uncle Frederick’s Company “E” was one of the companies that went.  They ran into from 4,000 to 6,500 of some of the best equipped troops in the Union Army under General Steele, who were commanded in the field by General Lucas.  The Confederate troops were completely defeated.  The local people up there call it Lucas’ Raid.  A few days later General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant at Appomattox, which effectively ended the Civil War.  Grandpa Mark and his brother were barely able to get away from Eliska alive.  After the South surrendered, Grandpa Mark took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America at Milton, Florida as was required of all Confederate veterans.  I don’t know where his brother, Frederick, and the McCurdy brothers took their oath–maybe the same place.

     I might mention that after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, just a couple hours later there was one more great battle raging farther South, which would be the last major engagement of the Civil War.  It was at Blakely, Alabama–a town across the river from Mobile where Confederate troops were guarding the eastern approach to Mobile.  Sixteen thousand Union troops completely overwhelmed the Confederate troops at Blakely.  The Confederate troops at Blakely were made up of regulars, and many old men and young boys. Many of the Confederate troops drowned while trying to swim in the river to escape the overwhelming force of Union troops.

     After the Civil War, Grandpa Mark drove a stagecoach for a while.  In 1880 Grandpa Mark and Aunt Mercy Jane’s husband, my Great-Great Uncle Francis Marion McCurdy, went into the timber business together in Escambia County, Florida.  Great-Grandpa Mark had married Margaret Angeline Jernigan in 1867. Great-Grandma Angeline was born in Santa Rosa County in 1843.

What did the Confederate Flag mean to Confederate troops?  Same things the Union Flag meant to Union troops: home, security, and survival.

My great-great grandfather Mark Mayo, my great-great grandfather Francis Marion McCurdy, and my great-great-great uncle Frederick Mayo were Confederate soldiers in the War between the Confederate States of America and the United States of America.

Like most Confederate soldiers, these three young men were not a part of the slave-owning aristocracy that had supported secession from the United States–their families had no say in that.  And like most Confederate soldiers, these three young men did not fight in the interest of slavery–or even for the cause of states’ rights.  They simply fought to protect their homes and families from an overwhelmingly powerful, invading army.