Monday, September 5, 2011

Military Monday - Prisoner of war...how many times?

Colonel H. Megonnigil was my fourth great grandfather and had a surname that I both love and hate (see my lengthy discourse here and here). I have found nothing in addition to what I mention in these previous posts. But I did do a little research on Colonel's time as a prisoner of war in 1863.
Colonel, who was not a colonel at all, served in the 6th Missouri State Militia Cavalry as a bugler. His records show that he enlisted on December 17, 1861 for the duration of the war. He was mustered out January 16, 1865. Throughout the war he was reimbursed for the use of his horse and equipment. A nice extra bonus, I imagine. Unfortunately, poor Colonel's horse and equipment were taken by the Confederates at the Surrender of Neosho, Missouri on October 4, 1863.
Maj. Eno, commander of the 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, provides this report regarding the capture of the 6th M.S.M.
Report of Maj. Edward B. Eno, Eighth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, of action at Neosho, Mo.
NEWTONIA, October 5, 1863--11 a.m.
COLONEL: Reached here with force from Cassville at 4 a.m. Shelby attacked Captain McAfee at Neosho yesterday, capturing him and his whole force, 165 men, with a train of 6 wagons loaded with subsistence. Captain McAfee fought them as long as he could, but they knocked the court-house down with their artillery (three pieces). Their force is 1,200 or 1,500 strong. They left Neosho for Carthage about 4 o'clock last evening. About 200 prisoners paroled have arrived. I suggest that you order the artillery, with the balance of the cavalry, to join us here, when we could push on and be further re-enforced at Greenfield. Shelby will march night and day to reach Jackson County. If we start after him, subsistence must be sent after us. We have five days' rations. Will arrive to-day.
E.B. ENO, Major [Eighth] Missouri State Militia [Cavalry]. to Col. J. Edwards, Springfield*

It is unclear whether Colonel Megonnigil was among the number of 6th M.S.M. captured, but it is certain that his horse was.

But Colonel's records show this was not his only time as a captive. Among Colonel's civil war files is his prisoner of war record. Similar to his time in Neosho, Missouri, he was only held captive for one day:

The document states that he was captured and released at Roseville, Arkansas, on September 26, 1863. Just nine days prior to his surrender at Neosho, Missouri. I currently live in Arkansas and couldn't help but try to find the location of Colonel's capture. This is all I could find:
I kid you not. It wasn't even listed on most maps that I looked at. I did not have time to visit the county historical society for more information so this little sign was all I found. Was Colonel really here?

Well, it turns out that if you flip over the P.O.W. card shown above you find this:
The last line of this record reads: "No record of Capture at Roseville, Ark. Sept. 26/63." So there you have it. According to the Adjutant General's Office Colonel wasn't there. The only record I find of a skirmish at Roseville, Ark. is November 12, 1863, well after his supposed capture and release. It appears that my research and drive across the state of Arkansas were based on the misinformation of a clerk. I'm pretty sure somewhere he is laughing.

* - Ancestry.com. Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865, Vol. XXII, Part 1, page 658; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M262, 128 rolls); National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is my 35th birthday...my how time flies. My son will be celebrating his first birthday on Saturday, so in his honor I thought I would share my first birthday. Gotta love the shag carpet. Note all the albums and the massive speaker in the background...told you music was important to us!

What if they went back? - Sicilian Birds of Passage

I have mentioned before that I enjoy researching my husband's Italian roots. Not only did his Italian ancestors leave their homeland of countless generations in search of a better life, they traveled through Ellis Island and were part of the immigrant lifestyle that has made New York City what it is today. I'm fascinated by their trials and tribulations.

Currently, I'm trying to iron out the path the Pagano line took from Ventimiglia, Sicily, to New York City where they settled. There were two Pagano men that originally traveled from Ventimiglia in 1892: Salvatore and Vito Pagano. Their port of arrival was New Orleans, where many Sicilian immigrants traveled. Salvatore and Vito were close in age so I had assumed they were brothers, but I found Sicilian records that indicated they were not brothers...perhaps cousins? That is a fact yet to be discovered. Somehow both men ended up in New York City prior to 1896. I do not know how they got there or what precipitated their move from New Orleans north. More than likely it was work related. Family stories indicate that they worked in the sugar cane fields in New Orleans. Perhaps farming yet again in their new home was just more than they wanted to deal with.

I know that both men were "birds of passage" that returned to Sicily to retrieve their wives and younger children. Where are the records tracing these arrivals by in Sicily? The United States did not begin to record individuals leaving the United States until 1908. How do I track their return trips?