Monday, January 21, 2013

Military Monday - Marcellus White, Civil War Prisoner of War

Marcellus White was an unlucky fellow. Or at least that is what some local history books would have you believe. Marcellus was a soldier in the 9th Virginia Infantry, Salem's Flying Artillery during the Civil War and it is believed that he may have been a prisoner of war. Twice.

The Powhatan, Salem and Courtney Henrico Artillery (Virginia Regimental Histories Series) by Richard Nicholas and Joseph Servis lists the following for Marcellus:

White, Marcellus F. Quartermaster Sergeant (Also White, J.M.) Occupation Farmer, Resides Salem. Enlisted May 14, 1861 at Salem for 3 years, age 29. Detailed Quartermaster Sergeant, August 1, 1862. Prisoner of War July 5, 1863 at Waterloo, Pennsylvania. Sent to Fort McHenry, transferred to Fort Delaware July 9, 1863. Transferred to Point Lookout October 22, 1863. Exchanged by November 1864. Sick Furlough, November - December 1864. POW, captured with wagon train December 1864, sent to Point Lookout, later exchanged. Paroled at Appomattox Courthouse April 1865 with one horse.

Listing for Marcellus White in the Point Lookout roles. He was exchanged October 30, 1864.
Well, that is a wealth of information. I can verify everything from his enlistment through his sick furlough in November and December 1864 through his service records. The history then mentions a second capture while Marcellus was with a wagon train in December 1864. If this is true, what a blow. He had spent 14 months as a prisoner of war only to get a small respite and back into the enemies' hands.

I can find no record of this capture. Ancestry.com in conjunction with the National Archives has Civil War prisoner of war records available for searching. The records have been indexed, but the index is only as good as the initial entry. Marcellus F. White is listed as Marcellus F. White, M.F. White, J.M. White and N. White. He may also be listed as Mar. F. White, but I haven't yet found that record.  Marcellus was a quartermaster sergeant, so being captured with a wagon train is a realistic possibility. My next step will be to see if I can find the daily reports for the unit and find details for their movements in December 1864.

I'm also curious about the statement that he was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse. It is true that his unit was there, in fact they are sited has having shot the last round of the war. But I wonder if he was really there for the final blow to the Confederacy or if he was paroled in absentia. We will never know. Either way, Marcellus had a rough go during his service.

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