Confederate Memorial Photo taken by R. Hugh Simmons, Ft. Delaware Society.
It started with a DNA test.
One of my brick walls on my mother’s side (Bobbie Burks Dill Smith) had been Joseph Jackson, born 1849 in Kentucky. All I knew about him was from census records, a marriage record, and his tombstone. I couldn’t find his parents. There were some young Joseph Jacksons on the 1850 census in the area where he might have been born but I couldn’t be sure who was the correct one. In his later years, Joseph didn’t appear to live near any other Jacksons who could be family. I still have not located a death certificate for him and am not sure if he died in Illinois (where he lived on his last census) or in Kentucky (where he is buried).
So when a third cousin who I had been corresponding with, told me he had taken a DNA test at Ancestry.com and had gotten a match to several descendants of a John Jackson Confederate Soldier as a possible father of Joseph, I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t skeptical of the DNA match but doubted that the Confederate soldier named John Jackson, was the same John Jackson who was the father of my Joseph. Not long after, I took my own test at Ancestry and sure enough, one of my strongest matches (DNA Circle) was to John Jackson descendants. Was Joseph’s father really a Confederate Soldier?
This is what I learned about “My John”, the one I found on a census with “My Joseph”. He was born about 1812 in Kentucky. He married Catherine Spencer June 10, 1830 in Bullitt County, Kentucky. He had 11 children, one of them, Joseph, my great grandfather. Four of them (older brothers of Joseph) fought in the Civil War on the Union side. John was on the 1860 census with his family and listed his occupation as Cooper, but he was nowhere to be found in 1870.
There are 25 members in my DNA circle match to John Jackson. Susie “Sudie” (at right) is my great grandmother. All the yellow lines connect to other DNA matches. I’ve cut off their names for privacy reasons.
One of the things that troubled me about John was that “My John, would have been about 50 years old when he enlisted. “My John” also had four sons who enlisted on the Union side.
I know that many families were split during the Civil War, so his son’s alliances alone were not enough to make me doubt. It was his age. Two genealogy friends of mine who are experts in Confederate records said, “No way would a 50 year old enlist in the Army in 1862.” So I went about trying to find a record of how old the “Soldier John” was. This was my first real foray into Confederate Service Records. I had heard they were hard to find and incomplete but I was about to find out just how incomplete they were.
I found the service record for “Soldier John”, on www.fold3.com. He enlisted September 1, 1862 in Lexington, Kentucky. He was mustered into Company E, 4th Kentucky Mounted Rifles. This Company later became 9th Kentucky Mounted Rifles and most of his Service Record is filed under the 9th. He was captured June 13, 1863 in Bullitt County, Kentucky. Perhaps he was on his way home. If so, it must have been especially difficult to be so close to home when he was taken. Some of his descendants, say that his family may not have ever known what happened to him.
He was received at the military prison in Louisville, Kentucky just two days later and then on the 29th of June he was sent to Camp Chase. If he had stayed at Camp Chase perhaps his fate would have been different but on July 14, 1863 he was transferred to Ft. Delaware where he died three months later on October 14, 1863.
Unlike the Union service files which I was used to, his age was nowhere to be found. My Union soldier files had the age listed in more than one place. And there was another problem with the Service Records, “Soldier John” gave his middle initial as either M or N, but “My John” did not include an initial on any other record, census or marriage.
So I contacted Finn’s Point National Cemetery where “Soldier John” is buried. He is listed on their website under the KY 4th (rather than the 9th) because that is the unit he enlisted with. He is buried along with other Confederates under the Confederate monument pictured above.
Although I received more information and photos from Finn’s Point, they didn’t have an age for him either and the volunteer there told me that the Confederate Conscription Act (16 APR 1862) set age limits at 18 to 35 years and modified this to encompass men 18 to 45 years in September 1862. But a 49 or 50 year old didn’t seem likely.
So I went back to one of my Civil War expert friends and he said that the Camp Chase records were on http://www.familysearch.org. They were unindexed but it seemed worth a try. I settled in for what I thought was going to be a long, several day search, but I found him in less than an hour. “My John” and “Soldier John” appeared to be one and the same.
John (Jno.) is the last visible name on this list. Notice all the other prisoners on this page were in their twenties, but there is one 49 year old, my third great grandpa, “Soldier John Jackson”.
Still, several questions remain. Why would a 49 year old with a family to support, run off to join the Confederate Army, especially, since four of his sons had already joined the Union? Not even his closer descendants knew the whole story. One of his great great granddaughters, Dorothy F. Gore, stated in a 1999 article in a United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) album that it is not known if his family knew of his fate. A great granddaughter, Mary Lynch Fuchs, said that her great grandmother, Catherine, believed that he did not return home because he had died in the North. She apparently knew no other details. But that same article also claims that two of his sons fought for the Union and two fought for the Confederacy, while the Union Civil War records clearly show otherwise, that all four fought for the Union. At least my main mystery is solved. I now know who Joseph Jackson’s father was and I know that his name is engraved on the North Face of the Confederate Monument at Finn’s Point National Cemetery. Some day, I hope to visit there.
Photo taken by R. Hugh Simmons, Ft. Delaware Society.
 Lindstrom, Joyce (compiler), Bullitt County, Kentucky marriages. p. 23.
 1850 U.S. Census, Bullitt County, Kentucky, household 788, family 788, John Jackson, 30 Aug. 1850, online image, ancestry.com.
 1860 U.S. Census, Bullitt County, Kentucky, household 919, family 924, J. [John] Jackson, 11 Sep. 1860, online image, ancestry.com.
 1870 U.S. Census, Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky, household 12, family 12, [Mother] Jackson, 5 Jul. 1870, online, ancestry.com.
 Union Service and Pension records of Benjamin, Hillary, Theodore (Dory), and John T. on ancestry.com.
 Jackson, John, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who served in Organizations from the State of Kentucky NARA, card #586957, digital image from microfilm, M319, Record Group 109, Roll 0049, www.fold3.com.