You may procure his records, 13 cards, through the service noted in the Red enclosed box above. These include his signed parole certificate. Note the two different physical descriptions.
John E. Thornton*, Private, Company A, 17th Alabama Infantry, enlisted May 10, 1862 at Greenville, Alabama by Judge Bolling for the duration of the war, recorded on the June 1862 Regimental Return as "Sick at Interior Hospital," employed as a Laborer on extra duty at Mobile, Alabama August, 1863, paroled June 15, 1865 at Montgomery, Alabama, sign's as "J.E. Thornton, 5' 9", dark hair, blue eyes, dark complexion"
* Described as a 26 year old Farmer, born in Conacuh, Alabama, 5' 11", gray eyes, dark hair, fair complexion
17th Alabama Infantry Regiment
The 17th Alabama Infantry Regiment was organized at Montgomery in August, 1861. In November, it moved to Pensacola and was present at the bombardment there that month and again in January. In March 1862, the regiment was sent to western Tennessee where it was brigaded under J. K. Jackson of Georgia, with the 18th, 21st, and 24th Alabama regiments. The unit fought at Shiloh and lost 125 k and w. A month later, it was in the fight at Framington, with few casualties. In the autumn, when Gen'l Braxton Bragg moved into Kentucky, the 17th, weakened by illness, was left at Mobile. It was there drilled as heavy artillery and had charge of eight batteries on the shore of the bay. It remained at that post until March 1864 when it was ordered to Rome, GA. The brigade consisted of the 17th and 29th Alabama regiments, and the 1st and 26th Alabama and 37th Mississippi regiments were soon after added. The brigade was commanded at different times by Gen'l Cantey of Russell, Col. Murphey of Montgomery, Col. O'Neal of Lauderdale, and Gen'l Shelley of Talladega. The regiment was engaged at the Oostenaula bridge and in the three days' battle of Resaca, with severe loss. The 17th had its full share of the campaigning from Dalton to Jonesboro, fighting almost daily, especially at Cassville, New Hope, Kennesaw, Lost Mountain, and Atlanta. In the battle of Peachtree Creek, it lost 130 k and w, and on the 28th of July, 180 k and w. The entire loss from Resaca to Lovejoy's Station was 586, but few of whom were captured. The regiment moved into Tennessee with Gen'l John Bell Hood and lost two-thirds of its force at Franklin; a number of the remainder were captured at Nashville. A remnant moved into North Carolina and a part fought at Bentonville. It was then consolidated with the 29th and 33rd Alabama regiments, with E. P. Holcombe of Lowndes as colonel, J. F. Tate of Russell as lieutenant colonel, and Willis J. Milner of Butler as major. The regiment surrendered at Greensboro, NC, in April, 1865.
Field officers: Cols. Thomas H. Watts (Montgomery, resigned); R. C. Fariss (Montgomery, resigned); and Virgil S. Murphey (Montgomery, captured at Franklin); Lt. Cols. R. C. Fariss (promoted); Virgil S. Murphey (promoted); and Edward P. Holcombe (Lowndes, wounded at Resaca); and Majors Virgil S. Murphey (promoted) and Thomas J. Burnett (Butler, wounded at Atlanta).
1850 United States Federal Census about John Thornton
Name: John Thornton
Estimated birth year: abt 1835
Birth Place: Alabama
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Conecuh, Alabama
Family Number: 560
Needham Thornton 59 Farmer, born in N. C.
Sarah Thornton 54 born in N. C.
Mary A Thornton 12
Susan Thornton 10
John Thornton 15 [believe it spells Farmer]
Wm Thornton 7