It has been brought to my attention, that members of my bloodline, the Elamville Dansbys, may not have been entirely loyal to the Confederate cause during the America Civil War. It appears that four Dansby brothers, Daniel, Hiram, Emanual G. W. (George Washington?) and John, sons of John B. Dansby (1805 – 1896), enlisted with the Confederate 39th Alabama Infantry. It is alleged that they deserted the 39th and later joined the Union Florida 1st Cavalry Regiment at East Pass, FL on 20 May, 1864. The 1st Cavalry was under the overall command of Union General Nathaniel Banks and its area of operation was the Florida panhandle and Southeast Alabama. The Florida 1st Calvary conducted wartime engagements against Confederate soldiers and civilians.
It should be noted that 39th Alabama was part of the Army of Tennessee. As such, it was under the command of two of the most incompetent Confederate Generals that the South ever produced: Braxton Bragg and John Bell Hood. These two generals ineffectively used military tactics that were vastly inferior to union weaponry. They continuously employed frontal assaults, marching their men shoulder to shoulder, almost as if on parade drill, against strong union entrenched and interior lines. During the last two years of the war union troops were issued almost 300,000 single shot breach loaders and 100,000 repeating rifles. The Army of Tennessee could not match this firepower with muzzle loaders and was devastated at Cedar Creek, Franklin and Nashville. Sometimes suffering casualties of almost 10 to 1 in key parts of these engagements. The Union’s better fed, better clothed, better transported, and better armed soldiers were increasingly likely to beat these brave southerners who had none of these advantages, in addition to, being hindered by incompetent generalship. The southern soldiers, including the Dansby brothers, (John was cited for bravery at the Battle of Murfreesborough in General Orders No. 64) were willing to fight bravely and valiantly. The problem was that most felt that their lives were being “wasted” with little result against a superior armed foe.
I can understand the alleged desertion of the Dansby brothers, but what concerns me is that they may have taken up arms against their own people. It may be the root cause of why Hiram and George W. left or “fled” Elamville for Texas.
I am a civilian employee of the Department of Defense (DoD). Currently, I am in attendance at the National War College, Ft. McNair, Washington, DC. I will be going over to the National Archives to research this Calvary regiment and the enlistment records. If this happened, I intend to find it. If any of you have any insight about the actions of these brothers, please share it. I can be reached at:
The American Civil War was the most defining moment in America history. You cannot understand our country without having some understanding of this war. But I never expected to find this. I am now looking at this war, and my ancestors in a new perspective. My connection to the Dansbys is: Rex Alto Baggett (me), Dorothy Dansby Baggett, Alto Beal Dansby, Isham Beal Dansby, John B Dansby, etc.
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