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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Military · #2296364
A man's life in the 1800s.
Brief description: An account of an event in the life of my great-great-grandfather, based on true moments in his life. Herein, you will see what he might have said and felt in his heart.

In Defense of Gilmore Justice

My name is Gilmore Justice, or is it? The people born in the years after my birth are, and forever will be, unaware of the name of my father. I have assumed the maiden name of my mother, Nancy Justice. I was born in the year 1834, in Logan County, Virginia. I have heard speculation that my grandparents, Thomas Justice and Elizabeth Justice (nee Blackburn) were my parents. Huh? That's hogwash; it was began by an individual who had no proper education, but was a learned individual in the field of speculation.

          I enlisted into the 39th Kentucky Infantry in the year of 1862. The 39th Kentucky Infantry was a group of volunteer soldiers formed and organized by Col. John Dils at Peach Orchard, Lawrence County, Kentucky on November 18, 1862, for future service as a unit of the United States Army. At the time of its creation and organization, it was not a part of the United States Army. Its official designation as a regiment of the United States Army took place on February 16, 1863, when it was mustered into the service of the United States. Each man of the 39th was to take an oath of allegiance to the U. S. Constitution at the mustering in ceremony. On completion of the mustering in ceremony, each man became a soldier under the authority of the United States.

         However, before the 39th Kentucky Infantry was formally accepted, or mustered in to the United States Army, I was captured by soldiers of the Confederate States of America while on my way to muster in.

          I did not muster in and become a United States soldier because of my imprisonment by the Confederate States. Furthermore, I did not take the required oath of enlistment due to the same predicament.

         Unbeknownst to me, some official of the 39th Kentucky Infantry left my name on the muster roll and pretended I was present for the ceremony. Although the command structure had the records of my capture, I was declared a deserter from the 39th Kentucky Infantry by those in command. If any wrong was done by myself, it was in not fulfilling a contract between myself and the 39th Kentucky Infantry prior to its mustering in as a unit of the United States Army. I did not desert from the Union army. The truth of my statements are substantiated by the Civil War records of the United States.

         I know of no effort on the part of the 39th Kentucky Infantry to secure my release from capture. Therefore, I was able to secure my own release. I was offered my freedom if I enlisted in the Confederate States Army. It was a difficult choice, my loyalty to the land I was born in was great, but my loyalty to myself took precedence. I enlisted in the 10th Kentucky Calvary, Company C, Confederate States of America on March 17, 1863, with no sense of regret or betrayal. I was free.

         Much to my chagrin and disappointment, I was again captured, in Pike County, Kentucky on October 1,1863. This time by Col. John Dils and the, by then mustered in, 39th Kentucky Infantry of the Union army. I was forwarded to McLean Barracks, a Union dispersal prisoner of war camp in Cincinnati, Ohio where I was confined on October 11, 1863. On November 11, 1863, I was released and sent to Johnson's Island, a Union prison located on an island in Lake Erie.

Note: Col. John Dils was later court-martialed and removed from the U. S. Army by Sec. of War Stanton under orders of President Abraham Lincoln, among the charges were: abuse of enlisted soldiers and incompetence.

Sources: Militia acts of the Congress of the United States in the years 1792, 1795 and 1861.

          Records of Confederate prisoners of war held at McLean Barracks, Cincinnati, Ohio.

          Muster rolls of the 39th Kentucky Infantry where Gilmore Justice is listed as: captured by the rebels. (. . . before the 39th became a regiment in the United States Army).

          Muster rolls of the 10th Kentucky Calvary.

©j holloway
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