Civil War Questionaire

I met with a distant cousin yesterday who had some interesting information for me.  (Incidentally I had a couple of surprises for me.) 

First but not least in the info was a transcription of The Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire, Confederate Soldiers compiled by Gustaus W. Dyer and John Trotwood.  They sent the questionnaire to both Confederate and Union soldier and compiled the study around 1920.

I found the questions condescending and the answers very enlightening. (misspellings are as originally written)

These excerpt were from the form filled out by Samuel Mortimer Ownby, Woodbury, TN.


State your full name.  Samuel Mortimore Ownby.

State your age.  76

In what state and county were you born.?  Tenn. Marshall Co

Were you confederate or federal soldier? Confederate

Name of your company: Company I Reg 14 nixon's Cavlary

What was the occupation of your father? Farming

Give full name of your father.  Ely Craeg Ownby

Maiden name in full of your mother. Nancy Winstead  she was daughter of Samuel Winstead and his wife Fannie Winstead  who lived at Bedford Co.

If you owned land or other property at the opening of the war, state what kind of property you owned, and state the value of your property. I did not own any property

Did you or your parents own slaves? No

What kind of house did your parents occupy?  Log, two rooms.

As a boy, state what kind of work you did. If you worked on a farm, state to what extent you plowed, worked with a hoe and did other kinds of similar work.  Labored on the farm, plowed, hoed, in fact general farm work up to entering the war between the states.

State clearly what kind of work your father did, and what the duties of your mother were. State all the kinds of work done in the house as well as you can remember--that is cooking, spinning, weaving, etc.  Father did general farm work and between crops chimney & don other stone mason work and mother don all kinds of housework cooking sewin carding speneng weaving & raised children (11)

Did your parents keep any servants? If so how many? No servants. 

How was honest toil - as plowing, hauling and other sorts of honest work of this class - regarded in your community? Was such work considered as respectable and honorable?  Yes, wholy so.

Did the white men in your community generally engage in such work? Yes

To what extent were there white men in your community leading lives of idleness and having others do their work for them?  None live in idleness in way that you would lead others to idleness.

Did the men who owned slaves mingle freely with those who did not own slaves, or did slaveholders in any way show by their actions that they felt themselves better than respectable, honorable men who did not own slaves?  With few exceptions the people mixed and mingled freely, the wealthy with the poor. They married and intermarried without regard to financial standing.

At churches, at schools, at public gatherings in general, did slaveholders and non-slaveholders mingle on a footing of equality?  With few exceptions they did.

Was there a friendly feeling between slaveholders and non-slaveholders in your community, or were they antagonistic to each other?  Yes, there was little antagonism.

Were the opportunities good in your community for a poor young man, honest and industrious, to save up enough to buy a small farm or go in business for himself?  Yes, a man of industry and thrift had good opportunity to gain wealth.

Were poor, honest, industrious young men, who were ambitious to make something of themselves, encouraged or discouraged by slaveholders?  As I remember, they were encouraged as much by the slaveholder as they were by the non-slaveholder.

What kind of school or schools did you attend?  Free, or public schools

About how long did you go to school altogether?  Nine months, about.

How far was the nearest school?  About 2 miles.

About how many months in the year did it run?  Two and one half or three months.

Did the boys and girls in your community attend school pretty regularly?  Yes.

Was the teacher of the school you attended a man or a woman?  Two terms were taught by men, and one by a woman, of mature years.

In what year and month and at what place did you enlist in the service of the Confederacy or of the Federal Government?  I enlisted in the Confederate Army Novem 1863 in Cannon County.

After enlistment, where was your Company sent first?  To different places in Tenn

How long after enlistment before your company engaged in battle?  In my 1st company we did not engage in any kind of battle. Was captured.

What was the first battle you engaged in?  No regular battle but in a number of scurmishes.

State in your own way your experience in the War from this time on to it's close. State where you went after first battle--what you did and what other battles you engaged in, how long they lasted, what the results were; state how you lived in camp, how you were clothed, how you slept, what you had to eat, how you were exposed to the cold, hunger and disease. If you were in the hospital or prison, state your experience there.  Nov 1863 I enlisted in a company of Johnson's Scouts and remained with it until about the 1st of Sept 1864, then fell in with Gen Wheelers command on his raid in Tenn at that time and was captured and sent to Camp Chase prison Ohio where I exposed to cold hungry and all kinds of disease and without clothing and beding while with the company of scouts had clothing and were fed by good citizens of Tenn.

Tell something about your trip home.  I got on a boat on Tenn rivr to Johnsvill * by rail to Nashville then to Murfreesboro & then walked 18 mile home.

What kind of work did you take up when you came back home?  My business that of farming. Sick at close of war. I have lived 56 years where I now live in Cannon Conty 8 miles east of Woodbury. I was babtised into the church and Kingdem of Christ Aug 1867. Marred Dec 1867. Father of 6 children, have raised 15 children card for widows and orphans and old afflicted persons; had my own place 12 years now old and have retired from business.


I hope you find this as interesting as I did. Both the questions and the responses.  


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