The Curtain Closes – What Happened to James & Clary DICKERSON?

Portrait of James H DICKERSON


James probably never considered that his 12 letters written in 1862 would be shared and read by his descendants.  They were not meant for us but we have gleaned so much from his correspondence to his wife.

About 16 days after his injury, James died in the Richmond Hospital.  From the military document it reads, “He was wounded in the hand from which gangrene developed causing his death in the hospital at Richmond a short time after being wounded.  The precise date of his death not recollected.”

According to a Civil War Statistics site, the Confederates lost 94.000 men killed in battle, 164,000 to disease and 31,000 as prisoners of war for a total of 289,000 deaths.  That left a lot of widows and orphans, not to mention devastation of the southern states where most of the fighting took place.

Cause of Death for James DICKERSON in the Civil War

By 1870 Clara and son Monroe (age 10) were living with her mother, Charlotte McCoy age 75, brother Henry age 40, and older sister Jane age 51.

Aletha (Lethia) DICKERSON, James’ daughter from his first wife Sarah HOBBS was about 15 years old in 1862.

A tribute to the soldiers of the civil war states they were “highly independent-minded. They went off to war as citizen-soldiers: volunteers who tended to remain more citizen than soldier. Very seldom did these men became fully regimented and militarized. Many of them retained in large measure an ignorance of army life and an indifference to army discipline. In camp, on the march, and in battle, they fought with a looseness that no amount of training could remove. Soldiers on both sides demonstrated that they could be led but they could not be driven; and any officer who attempted the latter was bound to encounter at least resistance and at most rebellion. The individualism of the Civil War’s common soldiers was but a reflection of the societies that spawned them.

Typical human beings in mid-nineteenth century America, the army volunteers of North and South performed as one might expect. Many of them became outstanding soldiers, some of them had rather poor records, a few were shirkers and cowards; most of them, however, were just average. Yet for four horrible years those representatives of the nation’s common folk bore on their shoulders the heaviest responsibilities that have ever been placed on the people of this land. And they carried that burden so well that we still marvel at their strength and endurance.

Their story is a mixture of hardship, humor, and heroism—which are doubtless the ways in which Johnny Rebs and Billy Yanks would like to be remembered.”   the National Park Service .

‘Thank you’ to James for being brave.


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