25 March 2011

A Civil War Soldier's Life - Part 1 (James A. Rice)


My great-great-grandfather, James Alexander Rice, born October 2, 1835, and was five years old at the death of his father, Ransom Scroggins Rice. His mother, Ann, daughter of William & Elizabeth (Acklin) Hinds, remained in the Estill Springs, Franklin Co.,Tennessee, area where James was born. James A. Rice was still in that area when the 1850 census was taken.

After his mother's death in 1959, James A. Rice moved to Saline County, Illinois, where he used his skills as a stone cutter to build the county courthouse, as did other family members. An unmarried James was living with his brother, Arthur according to the 1860 census.

[Photo of James A. Rice provided by Rice descendant(s)]

When the Civil War broke out, James A. Rice enlisted as a soldier in the "Land of Lincoln."  He was a private in Company "B" in the 18th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry, enlisting on May 28, 1861, at Camp Douglas. From May 28, 1861, to December 1861 he was marked as "present" in the records. Private James A. Rice was "Absent," and "In Hspt. wounded Feb 15, 1862." A "Casualty Sheet" listed J. Rice's place of casualty as "Fort Donelson" and the date of casualty as "February 13, 14, 15, 1862." From the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Dist. Detached from report signed by R. J. Oglesby, Col., Index 11a, No. 19, Page 8.

Private James A. Rice's "Certificate of Disability For Discharge" from the Army of the United States for his service in the 18th IL Regiment was not the end of this soldier's story. But, for the record, the excerpts from Private Rice's discharge:

James A. Rice...was born in Winchester, in the State of Tennessee, is twenty-four years of age, 5 feet 8 3/4 inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair and by occupation when enlisted stone cutter. During the last three months said soldier has been unfit for duty ninety days.

I most earnestly recommend the above discharge...C. C. Weaver, commanding Company (Note on side says Approved Thos F. P__, Brig Surg ..)

I certify, that I have carefully examined the said James A. Rice, of Captain H. S. Wilson's company, and find him incapable of performing his duties as a soldier, because of gunshot wound to the left hand which fractured the second and third metacarpal bones and destroyed so much of the muscular and ___ tissues as to render the hand permanently stiff. The degree of disability is three-fourths.

O.B. [Orange Butler] Ormsby, MD, Asst Surgeon, 18th Reg./_ in charge Hosp.
Brig Genl H. M. Judah
Discharged this 21st day of May 1862 at Shiloh, Tenn.

[One of his papers was also signed by General Ulysses S. Grant]
However, his military career was far from over.


Julie Cahill Tarr said...

Can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

PalmsRV said...

Thanks for the comment Julie. Part 2 is posted and is a little messy with details (for my easy access in the future) but the embedded links might help add to the story.