The Family Curator continues to provide some interesting blogging prompts in her Blogger's April 2010 Almanac. Prompts for the third week, April 11 through the 17th, are related to the Civil War and how it affected our ancestors.
Now right from the start I want to make clear I don't really do alot of research into the military activities of my ancestors. It's not something that holds alot of interest for me. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of all my veteran ancestors but the military details... not so much. But Joshua Atwood Tilton, the subject of this post is a puzzle to me. He was indeed a veteran of the Civil War, enlisting less than thirty days after the shots fired at Ft. Sumter. What has me so puzzled is why he enlisted in the Confederate Army.
Joshua Atwood Tilton was born Feb 1, 1835 in Suffolk county, Massachusettes. He comes from a long line of New Englanders, both on his father's side, the Tiltons, and his mother's side, the Atwoods. These two families were some of the early founders of Massachusetts. Even as late as 1850 we find Joshua living with his parents and siblings in Boston. So why was he in Selma, Alabama in 1860? I don't find other family in the area so my guess: because of his occupation. He worked for the railroad. I surmise he had an employment opportunity and being a young, single man he took it. But that still doesn't explain why he would enlist in the Confederacy. I don't imagine I will ever know the answer to that question.
Joshua enlisted on May 10, 1862 in Selma, Alabama in Co. D, 8th Reg't of the Alabama Infantry. I have found part of his medical service record listing him as a private. It describes the gunshot wound and his subsequent medical discharge. Just two days after the battle of Antietam he was admitted to the hospital in Richmond, Virginia, Sept 19, 1862 to be treated for a gunshot wound to the right arm. Although I do not have his full service record I am making the assumption he participated in that battle and was one of the thousands of casualties.
Joshua was discharged on Oct 23, 1862 with the physician stating he was incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of "the effects of a gunshot wound in the lower third of the right arm. The flexor and extensor muscles are so much injured that it will be a long time before he will recover the use of it. I further declare my belief that said soldier is unfit for duty..". So thankfully, Joshua escaped the further ravages of the Civil War but whether or not he ever recovered the use of his right arm is unknown.
I do know he remained in the South. He married, probably in New Orleans, about 1865 to Lydia Marie Graham and his first child was born in 1867. By 1880 he and his family were living in Wilkinson county, Mississippi. Again I believe his choice of residence was influenced by his occupation; he continued to be a railroad engineer on the line from Centreville, Mississippi to New Orleans, until his retirement sometime in the late 1890's.