BG (“before genealogy”) the only thing I really knew about the Civil War was what I had learned in American history class and by watching Gone with the Wind! Never would I have dreamed that so many of my husband’s ancestors were Confederate Civil War soldiers. One such soldier was Tilman P. Curbow, my husband’s ggg-grandfather.
“Blue against Gray – Brother against Brother!” Credit: AOL Images
These were turbulent and difficult times to be a Southerner. I often reflect on the burden placed upon Elizabeth, Tilman’s wife, as she saw her husband leave for war. Upon her fell the duty of managing the household and the raising of the children. Keep in mind that at this time in history, “a lady” was not to leave the house without a gentleman escort; could not sign a contract on her own behalf; and could not vote. During the Civil War period, women out of sheer necessity picked up tools and harnesses that their men had laid aside. The southern home front during the Civil War was a place of severe hardship and heartache.
Perhaps sensing the impending doom, sometime around 1858, Tilman Curbow and family left their Mississippi home and relocated to Carouse, Ouachita County, Arkansas.
On April 12, 1861, the first shots were fired in the American Civil War. The State of Arkansas was a part of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and provided a source of troops, supplies, military and political leaders for the Confederacy. One year after the 1860 census was taken, and three months after the start of the Civil War, on July 19, 1861, Tilman Curbow enlisted into the Confederate States Army. He is indexed as follows: CURBOW, T.P. Pvt – Enlisted 19 July 1861 at Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Discharged 6 July 1862 at Tupelo, Mississippi; Age 42, farmer, ht 5’ 10 ½”, eyes gray, hair light, complexion light.
I do not know where Tilman’s family is located during this time period. It may be that Elizabeth and the children stayed in Ouachita County, Arkansas. Alternatively, it is possible that Elizabeth and children returned to Itawamba County, Mississippi to wait out the war with her father William Bolton Box. The more likely scenario, however, is that Tilman has taken them to live with his brother, Wiseman Curbow, in Bowie County, Texas.
Tilman was a member of the 6th Arkansas Infantry. This Infantry Regiment was formed at Little Rock, Arkansas in June of 1861 with 604 men. Its companies were recruited in Little Rock and the counties of Calhoun, Dallas, Ouachita, Arkansas, Lafayette and Union.
After its organization, Tilman’s regiment marched overland to Pocahontas, Arkansas (which is located in Randolph County). Remembering that Tilman was living in Carouse and enlisted in Arkadelphia, this could have been close to a 250 mile walk for him. Measles broke out in camp, and a great many died there.
In September of 1861, the regiment was transferred to Confederate service in the brigade (consisting of the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Arkansas Infantry regiments) commanded by Brigadier General William J. Hardee. After a raid into Missouri, the 6th Arkansas returned to camp at Pittman’s Ferry, on Current River. Pittman’s Ferry, was used by northern and southern forces alike. The Ferry had long been a landmark for early pioneers. Nearby Indian Ford was a crossing on a route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Present day Pitman’s Ferry area contains a number of trenches, rifle pits and cannon emplacements still visible today.
The latter part of September, 1861, the brigade was moved to southeast Missouri, and then by boat to Columbus, Kentucky, arriving on October 3, 1861. From there, it was sent to Cave City, Barren County, Kentucky, where it spent the winter of 1861.
While camped at Cave City, the 6th Arkansas had its first run in with a Union patrol. On December 17, 1861, the 6th Arkansas supported the 8th Texas Calvary in a clash at Woodsonville, Kentucky. The regiment occupied this advanced position until the fall of Fort Donelson (Tennessee), when it moved with the remainder of the Army to Corinth, Mississippi under General Albert Sydney Johnston. Colonel Shaver next commanded the brigade gallantly at the vicious Battle of Shiloh.
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the western theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6th and 7th of 1862, in Hardin County, Tennessee. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack against the Union Army of Major General Ulysses S. Grant. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day but were ultimately defeated on the second day. About 3,482 men lost their lives over this two day period.
After the Battle of Shiloh, when Corinth, Mississippi was evacuated, Tilman Curbow’s brigade retreated to Tupelo, Mississippi where it remained until July of 1862.
As noted above, Tilman is discharged from the Army in Tupelo, Mississippi on July 6, 1862 – and presumably heads for Texas – possibly on foot. Below is an excerpt of Tilman Curbow’s discharge report:
“I certify that the written name, T. P. Curbow, a private of Captain L. J. Hagg’s Company (F) of the 6th Regiment of Arkansas Volunteers, aged 42 years, 5 feet 10 ½ inches high, light complexion, grey eyes, light hair and by occupation a farmer was enlisted by Col. E. M. Garrett at Arkadelphia, Ark. on the 19th day of July 1861 to serve for one year and is now entitled to discharge by reason of being a Non-Conscripted (i.e, not drafted, rather a volunteer). The said T. P. Curbow was last paid by E. C. Jordan to include the 30th day of April 1862 and has pay due from that date to the present date. There is due him seventy dollars traveling allowance from Tupelo, Mississippi, the place of discharge to Arkadelphia, the place of enrollment. Transportation not being furnished in kind.”
The report goes on to say that Tilman is owed back pay for two months and 27 days of service at $11.00 per month; that he is being paid a 10 cent per mile travel allowance for 200 miles of travel; and that a deduction was being made for clothing – over-drawers. Tilman’s final pay was $61.90. The discharge report was signed by A. W. Steward and by T. P. Curbow.
If you would like to read more on 6th Arkansas Infantry you can read it at: Calvin L. Collier, First In – Last Out: The Capitol Guards, Arkansas Brigade - Unit History and Muster Rolls for Company.
When we catch back up with Tilman - he is in Texas !! He has reenlisted into the Confederate Army and is a member of Nelson’s Company of the 2nd Battalion Cavalry, Texas State Troops. His brother Wiseman Curbow (indexed as “Carlow”) has enlisted with him and is a member of this same battalion. The company mustered out in early 1864. The Battalion was assigned to Townes Cavalry Brigade, Slaughter’s Divisions for [Eastern] District of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
The 2nd Battalion of the Texas State Troops was part of the 14th Brigade territorial militia. According to law, all male citizens between 18-45 (later 50) were required to enroll in the territorial militia or state troops – so basically, all males of the above mentioned age that were not in the Confederate Army belonged to this reserve militia organization.
If you believe you may have an ancestor who served in the Civil War you can check the Soldiers and Sailors Systems website. I have a subscription to Footnote.com, and would be happy to pull a copy of your ancestor’s muster roll cards for you.