52 Ancestors, Week 28: Timothy Walton Blanchard

Timothy Walton (TW) was born 10 Dec 1835 in Gates County, North Carolina.

It appears that TW's father died in 1839 when he was 4 and his mother died in 1840 when he was 5.   TW had three sisters who were 7,4 and 2 when their mother died.

click within image to enlarge
In the 1850 census:

  • TW (14) lived in Gates County, NC with his uncle Elisha’s family:  Elisha (35) and Mildred (30) Blanchard, (family #313)
  • His sister Lucinda (16) lived with relatives James(32) and Sarah Ann (30) Blanchard, (family #737)
  • His sister Mary (13) lived with neighbors, Wiley and Mary Fardess, (family #316) 
  • I don’t know what happened to the youngest, Sarah.  

Somehow, probably between 1854 and 1861, TW traveled over 900 miles and went west to Illinois.

The civil war began in April 1861, and many thought it would be a short-lived war, and soldiers enlisted for 3 month terms.   After the summer of 1861, recruitment began for 3 year terms or longer.

TW's roots in NC were southern, and NC was one of the states that seceded.  But he was living in Illinois now, and TW(25) enlisted on 15 Oct 1861 as a private in the Union Army, Company B of the 49th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Company B Roster

TW mustered out on 9 Sep 1865 in Paducah, KY.  In other words, TW served for nearly 4 years (nearly the entire war.) During those four years, TW was promoted to Full 1st Sergeant, then to Full 2nd Lieutenant, and then to Full Sergeant.  He must have been very brave, because his regiment saw a lot of action:

Excerpts from the 49th Illinois Infantry, Regiment History, Adjutant General's Report (with embellishments):

Battle of Fort Donelson, by Kurz and Allison (1887).
  • The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to 16, 1862. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River, an important avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of major general, earning him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant in the process (using his first two initials, "U.S.").  The Illinois 49th lost 14 killed and 37 wounded.

Battle of Shiloh by Thure de Thulstrup.
  • The Battle of Shiloh, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee.  Confederate forces launched a surprise attack on the Union Army. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day. Union reinforcements arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when the Union commanders launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi. The Illinois 49th lost 17 killed and 99 wounded.
  • January 27, 1864: moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and accompanied Major General Sherman in the Meridian campaign, returning to Vicksburg March 3, 1864
Battle of Pleasant Hill by C. E. H. Bonwell
as illustrated in Frank Leslie's Weekly, May 14, 1864.
  • April 9, 1864: engaged in the battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. The battle was essentially a continuation of the previous day's Battle of Mansfield, fought nearby, which ended around sunset due to darkness — night time provided a brief interlude in hostilities. Officially, the battle was a Union victory — as the Confederates were successfully driven from the field. However, because the Union Army had retreated so soon afterwards, many argued over who had really won.  
  • June 24, 1864: ordered to Illinois for veteran furlough. The detachment of non-veterans remained, commanded by Captain John A. Logan, participating in the battle of Tupelo, July 14 and 15, 1864.
  • After expiration of veteran furlough, rendezvoused at Centralia, Illinois, and proceeded via Cairo and Memphis to Holly Springs, rejoining the command. 
Federal outer line on December 16, 1864.
  • Dec 1, 1864: Took part in the battle of Nashville, December 15 and 16. The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater.  It was one of the largest victories achieved by the Union Army during the war.
  • December 24, 1864: ordered to Paducah, Kentucky, to muster out the non-veterans, since which time the Regiment has been doing garrison duty.
  • Mustered out, September 9, 1865, at Paducah, Kentucky, and arrived at Camp Butler, Illinois, September, 15, 1865, for final payment and discharge. (1)

TW (age 29) returned from the war in September 1865.

A year and a half later, TW (31) married Mary Isabell (Belle) Vernatti (22) on March 12 1867 in Brighton, Il. They moved to Millwood, Missouri, and TW became a farmer.

They had five children in 11 years: John (1868), Dora Mae (1871), Anna (1875), Charles (1877), and Walter (1879).

On March 17, 1876 (age 40) TW filed for a pension based on his war service. I wonder if he was ill?

Then they packed up the whole family and moved to Colorado in 1880:  TW (44) and Belle (35), the children, ages 12, 9, 5, 2 and baby Walter.

...to be continued...


  • 1850 United States Federal Census
  • American Civil War Soldiers
  • U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
  • U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Donelson
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shiloh
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Pleasant_Hill
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nashville
  • (1) http://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/history/049.html  © 1997 The ILGenWeb Project All Rights Reserved,


  1. So sad to have lost both parents by age 5 and fortunate that TW and his siblings were saved by extended family and neighbors. Interesting life journey to be born in The South, move to The North, then on to The West.


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