Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thomas L. Davis, Civil War Vet

On 21 January 1862, my great grandmother, Nancy Caroline Davis, was born in Union Parish, Louisiana to Thomas L. and Martha Emmaline (Farris) Davis. She was their third child.

Two months later on the 16th March 1862 in Monroe, Louisiana, Thomas L. Davis enlisted as a Private in Company I, 31st Louisiana Infantry.

The 31st Infantry was engaged in several battles.  In December 1862, they fought at Chickasaw Bayou near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Then in May 1863, they were engaged in the battle at Port Gibson, Mississippi.  On the 22 of May 1863, they helped to hold off Union forces at Vicksburg only to be overtaken on the 4th of July 1863.  Several men of the 31st were killed at Vicksburg including Colonel S. H. Griffin, their company commander.  The rest of the men, including Thomas L. Davis, were taken as prisoners of war.

In order to be released, the prisoners were forced to sign an oath stating that they would no longer fight for the Confederacy.  Thomas L. Davis signed the oath on 13 July 1863.  Once the oath was signed the men were free to return to their homes.  It is not known when Thomas Davis began his trip home to Union County, Louisiana; however, he never made it back to his wife and three children.  He died near Natchez, Mississippi on or about 21 July 1863.  In his honor, the following letter was written to his wife and children by their church.

The Baptist Church at Mount Olive [Louisiana]
In Memory of Brother Thomas L. Davis

Bro Davis was born in Fayett County, Ga on the 15th of Oct 1830 Emigrated with his Farther James G Davis to Arkansas in 1840 and to this State & Parish (after the Death of his Farther in 1846) where he lived, the most of his time til he volinteered in the Service of his cuntry on the 16th of March 1862  he made a good and faithful Soldier up to the time of his illness which he bore with christian fortitude he was in Siege at Vicksberg, was surrendered a prisnor of War on the 4th of July 1863 Died on his way home on the 21st day of July 1863 and was buried at or near Natches.  He was married on Jan 12th 1854 to M E Farris the Daughter of Elias Farris, He was united to this church by Experiance & Baptism in Sept 1859 of which his wife was a member he made a consistant and pias member  He was an affectionate husband, a kind farther a good nabour and a worthy citizen (Resolved) that we deepley simpathise with our bereaved, Sister Davis & children and the relations in the Loss of her Husband, We feel that we have lost in the person of Bro Davis a useful member we feel our Loss to be his gain and do not sorrow as those who hav no hope  We feel that we will meet him where Husbands & Wives children friends & christians will part no more Resolved, that the above be spread on the church Book and a copy be sent to the Widow & children of our Brother
Don[e] in conferance on Saturday, before the 2nd Sabbath in Oct 1863
                               H. R. Elkins
                               M. M. Harris
                                          Church Clerk

This post was written for Bill West's The American Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge.  Thanks, Bill, for the inspiration!

Copyright © 2011 Debbie Blanton McCoy.
Do not copy the articles or pictures in this blog without the consent of the author.


  1. Well done Debbie. After reading your post, I got to thinking about my Alfred Darden, and did some more snooping, believe he was captured on May 12, 1863, in Hinds County, just miles from his home.

    Your church letter is such a wonderful piece of information. Oh, to have something like that for my Civil War vets!

  2. This war was such a tragedy for so many families.

    Thanks for sharing your ancestors' story in the


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