In my last post, A Mom’s Goodbye, I began the story of Greene Dodson and his home-leaving to join the Army of the Confederate States of America. Today I continue building proofs which document my family’s lore.
All sorts of paper have been saved by our federal, state and local governments, and while I may groan about filling out the forms today I am sure grateful my ancestors completed theirs. The Confederate’s Citizens File is one such collection of forms and notes, offering proof of services and goods rendered by private citizens and businesses to the Confederate States of America. My search of this data-mine was possible through the entity of Footnote.com through which I pulled up a file on James H Dodson, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Previous work with Federal census data from the mid-1800’s has confirmed the existence of only one James H Dodson in Mecklenburg County, and therefore this file documents some of the transactions my great-great-grandfather made. Bonanza! for among these records was this scrap:
The search moved to the files of Civil War Soldiers, Company I, 25th Battalion, Virginia Infantry (Richmond Battalion). Upon clicking my cursor I felt a connection so palpable, I could almost talk to my ancestors. In November of 1863, with the war continuing far longer than anyone had ever dreamed, Greene Dodson dropped out of school and traveled the hundred or so miles to Richmond, Virginia, capital of the Confederate States of America. His father accompanied him in order to give his consent, which reads:
Richmond, Virginia Nov 21, 1863
I hereby consent for my son, William G. Dodson, to join and become a member of Capt. Aston’s Co. I 25th Inf Batt. James H Dodson
Witness: W.E. Hitchcock
It appears that someone had written out the text, with James filling in his son’s name, and signing his own name.
Four other documents are included in this file, yielding precious nuggets of information, keystone elements of my family’s story. William Greene Dodson, seventeen years and eight months, stood 5’9″ tall. Greene was light complected with dark hair. His hazel eyes must have burned with earnest bravado as the young farmer signed the enlistment papers for Captain Samuel T. Bayly. Volunteering to serve three years or the duration of the War, my great-great-uncle took the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America and its leaders. By the end of the day 25 November 1863 all the forms had been filled out, all the recruitment exams and procedures conducted–William Greene Dodson was a Private with Company I, 25th Battalion Virginia Infantry.
I imagine James and Sarah down home in southside Virginia, pausing during their chores, half expecting to see their son’s lanky frame come ’round a barn door. And then remembering with a mixture of pride and fear that Greene had stepped into being a man, answering a call to duty.
We leave Greene in Richmond, where he is on the List of Recruits, 31 December 1863. There are no further muster cards for this ancestor with this company. I can only speculate at this point what Greene did between December 1863 and 15 April 1864 when he re-enlisted.
Next: The Dodsons of Company B, 34th Regiment Virginia Infantry.