"However, quite a few soldiers of the time were illiterate and the transcribing clerk many times had to rely on what they thought they heard."
"I’ve seen quite a few transcription errors on both census and military records for those signing with an ‘X’ “his mark.”
Completely agree with you on both points. I probably should have said originally that Rufus Jetton's unit and State were correctly identified.
The National Cemetery Administration listed him as Jetton on his tombstone and although I was a bit surprised to see they got his surname correct; in my opinion. However they listed his unit as Molain's Tennessee Cavalry below his name which is obviously in my opinion an incorrect entry and should have been Company A Moreland's Battalion Alabama Cavalry. I always try to look at all possibilities and look both sides before making my personal decision. I could find nothing to suggest the NCA had been wrong when making the tombstone insofar as his name.
I was a bit surprised to learn how many of the younger soldiers who died at Camp Chase had attended school. Rufus Jetton according to the 1860 had been a farm hand and was attending school so I'm assuming he knew the basic's including how to spell his own name. 1st sergeant's or orderly sergeant's on occasions had their own spelling issues and sometimes spelled surnames as it sounded to them.
Going to the NARA in DC over the past two decades I've been able to pull knowledge from experienced staffs and employees who had been their for a long time. One of the things I learned was the X and how it was used. (However there are exceptions for the X) For example the X above the surname Gitton on page three of his POW Records indicates an incorrect spelling. And on page four we will see the letters Ala above the letters Tenn indicating the correct entry was Alabama. There appears to be another faint X by the surname of Gitton on page 5. And on page 9 another Alabama above Texas.
In my opinion Gitton = Jetton and Jaton = Jetton. Of course I could be incorrect of Rufus not having a middle name but until I see something different that is how I'm leaning.
I use a myriad of sources and yesterday I received another. For example we all have heard of the SCV magazines that are in three or four bound volumes. I now have access to the UDC magazines going back to 1952 and many articles about Camp Chase this thanks to a dear friend how has special access.
In a few days I'll do a short biography on Rufus Jetton and list it here on the Alabama site.