Monday, March 19, 2012

Military Monday - An Andersonville Connection?

Many months ago I requested two photos on the FindAGrave website for Peter and Susan Bodine. I knew they were buried in Pioneer Rest Cemetery, Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio, but I was not sure of their death information.

Yesterday I received photos of their headstones, plus extras, from generous volunteer MShirleyRN. She sent me not only the photos of the headstone for Peter and Susan, but also photos of all sides of their monument and an additional Bodine surname headstone next to it. Such kindness is wonderful and I will pay it forward. Anyway, it is clear that the individuals on the other sides of the monument are related, though it is not clear how. I would assume they are children of Peter and Susan, but you never know. One side shows the following:
Thos. Smith Bodine
Died March 27, 1864
Andersonville, GA
Aged
38 Y 7 D

If this Thomas was born in 1826 then he would be a son of Peter and Susan. I did not have Thomas in my records because I have not, to date, found a conclusive link for most of Peter and Susan's children. I was immediately intrigued by his death year, 1864, and death place, Andersonville, Georgia. Andersonville is the famous Confederate prisoner of war camp notorious for its deplorable conditions.
Andersonville Prison, Camp Sumter, Ga., as it appeared August 1st 1864 when it contained 35,000 prisoners of war / drawn from memory by Private Thomas O'Dea. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540
The prisoner of war camp opened its doors in February 1864 as Camp Sumter in honor of the county it was located in. It soon became known as Andersonville due to its proximity to that town. While only open for 14 months, the camp held a total of 45,000 prisoners with 13,000 dying in its walls from disease, malnutrition and exposure. At its height in August 1864 Andersonville held 32,000 captives at one time in a 26 1/2 acre area.

A quick search shows that a Thomas S. Bodine did in fact die at Andersonville. Date of death is listed as March 28, 1864, just one day different from that of the headstone above.
The Thomas S. Bodine listed above is buried in the Andersonville National Cemetery. He was assigned to the 45th Ohio Infantry as an Orderly Sergeant. I also found the Widow's Pension documents for Thomas Bodine's wife, Emma. It appears that he died of dysentary.

Are Thomas Smith Bodine of Richland County, Ohio and Thomas S. Bodine of Andersonville one and the same? I'm not sure. It is not unusual for a family to have a headstone placed at a local cemetery for a loved one that died in a distant location. So the headstone in Ohio may only be a place of remembrance for his family. Other than the headstone I have nothing linking Thomas S. Bodine to Thomas S. Bodine...if you get my meaning. The documents I have found for Thomas S. Bodine (POW), put him in Ohio, but not in Richland County. I'm inclined to think it is too big of a coincidence to ignore. Perhaps the next step is to research Richland County newspapers of the time to see if there is mention of his death.

For more information on Andersonville Prisoner of War Camp check out the following links:


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