Thursday, October 2, 2014

Troutman Brothers: The North and South War Dilemma, Part 2

Before death claimed one of them, my great-grandfather, Daniel A. Troutman and two of his brothers, Adam and John, served two years together after John had joined Daniel and Adam in August 1862 in the 48th North Carolina Regiment, CSA. Four months after he was conscripted, John was given extra duty as teamster for which he was paid $7.50 a month.[1]

John, Daniel, and Adam fought together through Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg (where Daniel was wounded), and Fredericksburg; through the journey to South Carolina and the months spent in eastern North Carolina; to Richmond, to Bristoe Station where they suffered heavy losses; through winter quarters at Orange Court House; through the battle of The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse; and then in June 1864 to Petersburg where, from a half-mile away on 30 July, they heard the explosion that blasted out the Crater, and they occupied the position the next day.[2]

On 21 August, Lee ordered two divisions, and on the 24th a third one, to head south toward Reams Station to stop the Federals wrecking the Weldon Railroad, an essential Confederate transportation route.[3] Included among these troops was the 48th North Carolina in Cooke’s Brigade.[4] Skirmishes occurred on the 23rd and 24th as the Federals fended off the Confederates to protect the men tearing up tracks and burning railroad ties.[5] It must have been during one of these skirmishes on 24 August 1864 that John B. Troutman was killed. This date of death is accepted by his family.[6] The exact details of his death have been lost. Although on the 25th, the Confederates achieved a victory at Reams Station in fierce combat with Federals, the achievement seemed hollow for the loved ones of those whose lives were lost, especially for Daniel and Adam Troutman.

According to stories Daniel told his children, which they told their children, Daniel and Adam wrapped their brother’s body in a blanket and buried him near a tree near the railroad and marked the grave to return for him later. According to the record, John was “mustered out on 26 Aug. 1864 at Reams Station, Virginia.”[7] Is that a gentle way of saying he died? Or did they not have confirmation of this death? Although I could not find a record of John’s death among his muster rolls, I did find an undated Roll of Honor.

About five weeks after Reams Station, Daniel was captured at Petersburg, which I’ve related in a previous blog, Daniel A. Troutman, Prisoner of War.

After John died and Daniel was captured, Adam continued without them. In later years, he seems to have been full of war stories. One he enjoyed involved a close encounter with General Lee while Adam served in the supply department. He was applying the whip to a stubborn team hauling supplies, he claimed, when he heard a voice: “Young man, coax him.” Adam replied, “Coax him, yourself!” Then he looked up into the face of General Lee, who smiled and walked away.[8] Definitely, Adam would have been looking up, as he was about 5’4” and Lee was about 5’11”.[9]

According to W. H. H. Lawhon, “[The 48th] remained on Hatcher's Run until the Confederate lines were broken, 2 April, 1865.”[10] That was the day Adam was captured.[11] He was imprisoned at Hart’s Island in New York Harbor until 19 June 1865 when he signed an Oath of Allegiance and was released.[12]

Daniel told his children that he and Adam returned to Reams Station and tried to locate the place where they had buried John, but were unable to find it. Sadly, they continued home without him.

In 2003, I drove to Reams Station just to get an idea of the terrain where the battle took place, and to pay a small tribute to my great-grandfather and his brothers who fought there, especially to the brother who died there. I took a picture of Oak Grove Church, surrounded once-upon-a-time by battling armies, which now stands vigil over John B. Troutman’s unmarked grave.

Oak Grove Church, Reams Station, Virginia, April 2003, photo by Z. T. Noble.

[1] John B. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image, Fold3 ( : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  

[2] W.H.H. Lawhon, “48th North Carolina Infantry,” article on ( : accessed 18 August 2014).

[3] John Horn, Destruction of the Weldon Railroad: Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Reams Station (Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1991), 120.

[4] Ibid, 202.

[5] Idid, 114-121.

[6] Thomas L. Troutman, ed., Descending Jacob’s Ladder (Unknown place: Unknown publisher, 1993), 63.

[7] U. S. Civil War Records and Profiles, 1861-1865, database ( : accessed 18 September 2014), John Burette Troutman.

[8] Troutman, Descending Jacob’s Ladder, 65.

[9] John W. Wayland, Robert E. Lee and His Family (Staunton, Virginia: The McClure Printing Company, 1951), full text online, Washington and Lee University ( : accessed 2 October 2014).

[10] W.H.H. Lawhon, “48th North Carolina Infantry,” article on ( : accessed 1 October 2014).

[11] A. C. A. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image, Fold3 ( : accessed 1 October 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  

[12] A. C. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, digital image, Fold3 ( : accessed 1 October 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  

© 2014, Z. T. Noble  

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