Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Search: Confederate Service

Following my records request that I filed with the National Archives a few weeks ago I decided to do a little more digging into the service of George William Clapsaddle during the Civil War. It seemed odd that he would have been discharged less than a year after enlisting in the 28th Virginia Infantry. This was especially intriguing as there was little information on including the vague details found in his application for assistance from the Federal Government that he filed on 10 November 1902. 

While I am still waiting on the documents from the National Archives, the next logical step was to reach out to the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. With the few details that I had been able to record, I posted my query to their Facebook page and, through the assistance of a very helpful member of the group, I was able to learn about a few more details about my 3rd great grandfather. Following our discussion, I turned my focus to (I have a membership but, too often, I neglect to search this site) and was able to get a much more complete picture regarding his service in the Confederate Army.

George William Clapsaddle was born on August 29, 1834 to John Jacob Clapsaddle (who also served in the Confederacy even at his advanced age at the time) and Catherine Rinehart. One of four known children, he grew up on a farm in Botetourt County, Virginia. According to records, he enlisted in the 28th Virginia Infantry (Company K) in Amsterdam, Virginia by Lieutenant Robertson on 20 July 1861 (one day before the regiment’s participation in the First Battle of Bull Run (Battle of First Manassas) and, despite originally enlisting for a period of one year and having not received any pay, he was “Discharged from military service… by Secretary of War” at Fairfax County Court House in Virginia on 30 September 1861. Later documents recording the receipt of back pay show that he was discharged on December 28, 1861.

While there is no supporting documents from 1862, it is likely that, after having received compensation for his previous service, he immediately reenlisted in the Confederate Army this time serving in the 12th Virginia Calvary (Company E and D). It is possible that, during this time, George Clapsaddle participated in what would late be called Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862. However, it was while in service of this company that he was captured by Union forces at Charleston, Virginia on June 15, 1863, charged with assisting in the capture of cavalry officers and sent to Fort McHenry, Maryland and later Fort Delaware, Delaware.

After being included in a prisoner exchange on July 30, 1863, he returned to the 12th Virginia Calvary where he was once again discharged. In early 1864, he enlisted for a third time this time serving as a private in Captain W. Hays Otey’s Company of Virginia Light Artillery in charge of local defense and assigned to the Confederate Arsenal Ordinance Depot in Danville, Virginia as a machinist where he served until the end of the war.

After the war, George Clapsaddle returned home, resumed farming, and married Margaret Ann Bowyer (daughter of Joseph Brown Bowyer and Elizabeth Betsy Stevers) on November 30, 1865 in Fincastle, Botetourt County, Virginia. They would go on to have eleven children including my 2nd great grandmother, Sallie Betty Clapsaddle, who was born June 20, 1870 and married Roy H. Teaford on June 21, 1892.  

Late in life, while living with his oldest surviving son, Ray, he did apply for assistance from the Federal Government which he filed on 10 November 1902. While it is unknown whether he ever received assistance, what we do know is that he passed away on December 16, 1916 at the age of 82 not from old age but rather “epithelioma of upper lip, nose, and cheek”. While not specified, it is likely that it was a cancerous growth from which he has been living with for two years prior to his death. He was laid to rest, along with his story, in the cemetery at Galalia Church in Gala, Virginia.