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Interesting notes on the Battle of Shiloh from you, the readers

Ned Jilton II • May 8, 2019 at 3:17 PM

It’s spring cleaning time in the old history column. Time to follow up on past postings and answer some e-mails.

Starting off with some good news about some recent bad news.

According to the Johnson City Police Department, a tip led to an arrest in connection with the vandalism of a monument in the Boones Creek area on March 12. Since the suspect is a juvenile, his identity has not been released.

Also, the stolen grave markers of Civil War soldiers in Hawkins County have been returned and are back in place.


Under the photo published with my column online March 20, the caption read, “Columbus Etter from Mooresburg in Hawkins County was killed at the battle of Shiloh. His brother James was next to him when he was killed.”

Not long afterwards, I received an e-mail from Nelson Dalton, which said, “Looking at the history of the Etter family in our church history (Mooresburg United Methodist Church) I found that the brother (Augustus) of Columbus Etter that was beside him when he was killed was his twin brother.”

I went back and checked the regimental history, and the brother was listed as William W. Etter.

So I did some more checking through the records.

Columbus and Augustus Etter were twins; William was a younger brother. All three could have easily started out in the 19th Tennessee, but I have only found paperwork showing Columbus and William in the regiment. Documents from later in the war show Augustus with the 63rd Tennessee.

This doesn’t mean Augustus wasn’t in the 19th Tennessee at Shiloh. It was common during the war for a soldier to be wounded, return home to heal, and then join up with another company to get back into the fighting.

Either one of the two could have been next to Columbus when he was killed at Shiloh.

As to the name “James Etter,” that mistake is on me. I failed to check the information attached to the photo before publishing. James Etter was the father of the three brothers, and he wasn’t at Shiloh.


Another nice e-mail I received came from Jeremiah Houser, who said his great-grandfather was in the 19th Tennessee at Shiloh. He said his dad was told a story or two about it.

I asked if he had written down any of the stories or had any of the great-grandfather’s things from the war, and he replied, “Unfortunately, my dad said the grandkids got hold of his rifle and other things to play with and of course were lost. He did tell me something interesting about the rifle, that it had like a mono pod with it. I have written down what I can remember him telling me.”

Houser said his great-grandfather’s name was William Carr, but he couldn’t remember what company he was in. So I did some checking. He was in Company C.

I looked up William Carr in the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires and learned a bit about him, some of it quite sad.

Before the war, Carr was a blacksmith. His education was limited to six months of primary school. He said his grandfather and great-grandfather came to Sullivan County from Ireland.

When war came, Carr said, “[I] laid my hand hammer down enlisted under James Snapp captain. Went to Knoxville and camped in the old fair ground.”

Carr actually wrote “Gem Snapp,” but records show James P. Snap as captain of Company C of the 19th Tennessee.

When asked if he remembered any of the men he served with, he wrote down 15 names. Among them were Sam Vance, Jim Roberts, Jack Roberts and Robert Harr. Both of the Roberts were wounded, and Vance and Harr were killed at the Battle of Shiloh.

Carr was later captured around Vicksburg, (the 19th Tennessee was involved in fighting there in the year before Gen. U.S. Grant’s siege would begin) and later released through a prisoner exchange.

Returning home, Carr joined the 61st Tennessee and was sent back to Mississippi, where he fought in the Battle of Champion Hill and the Battle of Big Black River before ending up in Vicksburg and suffering through Grant’s siege, becoming a prisoner of war for the second time.

The very last thing that Carr wrote on the questionnaire was, “All the boys that were with me are dead but three, Winte Love (the person transcribing the answers wasn’t sure of this name), in Bristol, Tennessee; Isic Minnick, Indian Springs; and John Miles, Reedy Creek. All the officers are dead.”

Ned Jilton II is a page designer and photographer for the Times News as well as the writer of the “Marching with the 19th” Civil War series. You can contact him at [email protected] timesnews.net .

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