A recent theme for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was Large.
I thought my 3rd great-grandfather, Renatus THOMAS of Richland County, South Carolina (1799-1874), won the prize in my family tree for having the largest number of sons who served in the Civil War. Five in total: James S. (1828-1912), Renatus Jr. (1832-1863), Shadrack (1835-?), John (1836-1931), and Jesse (1843-1932). Four of the five made it home, though there were injuries causing lifelong problems. Renatus Jr. did not make it home, but he did not die in the war. He died in a tragic accident. I wrote about it here.
Enter Allen Miles
While doing some research, I recently discovered that another of my relations, my 4th great uncle Allen MILES Sr., of Williamsburg County, South Carolina, (1802-1870), actually won the prize for the largest number of sons who served in the Civil War. Seven of his sons served.
Were he and his wife, Martha McALLISTER MILES, proud of them for enlisting or afraid for them? Did Allen encourage them to enlist? Did others in the community? We can’t know for sure why any of them enlisted or what the emotions of their loved ones were; but using my ‘parent’ eyes and heart I think Allen and Martha must have been afraid even if only somewhat.
Sadly, five of the seven died during the war. Two made it home, but one died not long after getting home. All of them served in the 26th South Carolina Infantry.
Josiah “J.J.” (1822-1863) was the first to enlist on 11 Dec 1861. He died 25 Sept 1863. The location is not noted in his service record. He left behind a widow, Elizabeth MILES.
William (1825-1864) enlisted on 11 April 1862. William died on 19 July 1864 at the Petersburg General Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia from fever, pneumonia, and typhoid. He left behind a widow, Mary YARBOROUGH MILES, and three children.
Francis (1828-1864) enlisted with William. Francis died 20 Oct 1863 at the hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. He had been sick in the hospital since August 1863. He left behind a widow, Susannah MILES, and three children.
Thomas (1830-1863) enlisted on 13 Jan 1862. Thomas was reported as sick at a hospital in Meridian, Mississippi in Aug 1863. He died at the hospital in Columbia, South Carolina on 17 November 1863. He left behind a widow, Agnes MATTHEWS MILES, and five children.
Benjamin (1838-1863) enlisted with Thomas. Benjamin was reported sick on 20 September 1863. He made it home and died there on 5 November 1863. He left behind a widow, Sarah GAUSE MILES, and one child.
Allen, Jr. (1843-1863) enlisted on 2 Jan 1862. He died 10 July 1863 in Mississippi.
Jacob (1833-?) enlisted 13 January 1863. He’s the only one who survived the war and its aftermath.
Those who perished left behind five widows, twelve children, both parents, and several siblings.
Five of the six that died did so within a four-month period of time.
I cannot imagine the anguish and heartache of their loved ones.
There are no words.
I’m sure other families lost this many sons or more during the Civil War, but this is the largest number in my family tree. At least I certainly hope I do not come across another one that’s larger still.
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