Md. man corrects Civil War tombstone

A Maryland resident is correcting an error on the tombstone of his great-great grandfather that misidentifies the man as a Confederate soldier.

The Cecil Whig first reported that John Goff researched the life of James D. Alexander, his great-great-grandfather, and was able to show that Alexander served in the Union Army, using honorable-discharge papers and pension papers.

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2 Responses to “Md. man corrects Civil War tombstone”

  1. It is quite possible that James D. Alexander began the war on one side and ended on the other.

    Early in the war, men were simply paroled and were free to return home. They pledged not to fight for the Army from which they were captured.

    I have relatives who were paroled from a CSA unit, and then re-emerged as part of the Confederate Navy, and worked at the Gosport (Norfolk/Portsmouth) Virginia Navy yards.

    As for Mr. Alexander, I doubt that family who were close to him in age, at his burial, would have simply accepted the CSA headstone, without justifiable cause.

    I will do some research among the CSA regimental records and see if I can find records of Mr. Alexander’s service in the CSA.

  2. I was able to find dozens of men with the surname of Alexander in the Regimental Record of the CSA. Several were mustered under the name James Alexander, and others under various combinations using the initials of J and/or D, but not both initials followed by Alexander.

    It is possible that Mr. Alexander served in the Army of Northern Virginia, or one of the militias, early in the War, then after being paroled, or after otherwise leaving the CSA Army, took a job with the Union side, however my research on this subject was neither exhaustive or conclusive.

    I did not review the records of the Union Army, nor did I examine records of the G.A.R. Perhaps someone else would enjoy doing some additional research on this soldier’s service records.

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