The Civil War News & Views Open Discussion Forum

Did a Mississippi soldier keep his promise?

This is about two brothers with the surname of either spelled as Early or Earley. Both had enlisted on August 16, 1861 in the Marietta Rifles of Company G of the 26th Regiment Mississippi Infantry. Both had fought and were captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee on February 16, 1862. The older brother was Lieutenant spelled as Alberto E. Earley on his CMSR's. The younger brother was 4th Corporal Humphrey Posey spelled as Earley within his CMSR's and today has a tombstone at the Camp Chase Cemetery. Shortly after his brothers death A. E. Earley wrote the following letter home to his parents at Camp Chase.

The compiler notes part of the letter that his brother A. P. Early wrote: “Dear Parents, Brother H. P. died at this place the second day after we arrived there of pneumonia he spoke to me calmly of his death a day or two before he died. I waited on him as best I could until a few hours before he died when I was taken suddenly very sick. I was confined to my bed for several hours. Tully ___ and Farmer then waited on him till he died we labeled the coffin and the officer promised to put the same on the head board, if I should live I want to remove his remains to Mississippi, as he made that his last request.” The _____ indicates a non transcribed word.

Lieutenant A. E. Earley would be transferred to Johnson's Island in April of 1862 and later paroled and exchanged in November of 1862 at Vicksburg, Mississippi per the Dix-Hill Cartel Agreement.

The compiler notes the life expectancy of a wooden head board was approximately five years.

Captain Alberto E. Earley was last saw as absent on furlough at Hatcher's Run, Virginia on February 6, 1865. However he did survive the war and was listed as Alberto E. (Spelled as) Early living in Grayson County, Texas according to the 1900 United States census and the following year according to Find A Grave Memorial # 28008407 A. E. (Spelled as) Earley died on October 1, 1901 in Grayson County, Texas.

Camp Chase began keeping records of interments on April 6, 1862 but H. P. Earley died in March of 1862. It is my opinion he was probably buried at the East City Cemetery which was used for both Confederate and Union soldier alike until the summer of 1863. In early August of 1863 the creation of the Camp Chase Cemetery was established located about 1/3 of a mile south of Camp Chase.

There were about thirty plus Confederates re-interred from the Chase Cemetery to the Southland during and after the war however Early or Earley's name is not on the list as those removed.

In May of 1869 Agent Mark E. Irving of the Quarter-Masters Department moved the Confederate dead from the East City Cemetery to the Camp Chase Cemetery. In a letter found at the NARA in DC Irving stated to his superior General Judson Bingham of the Great Lakes Department that he had dug 58 Confederate graves at the East City Cemetery and 8 were vacant and no other Confederate graves were located around Columbus, Ohio. The compiler notes there were closer to 100 Confederates buried at the East City Cemetery. In 1881-1882 the East City Cemetery was removed to the Green Lawn Cemetery and for those who had the money for their dear ones individual graves were made. As for the rest they were either left at the East City Cemetery or disposed of in one large box of remains buried in a particular plot at the Green Lawn Cemetery. I found a receipt at the Ohio Historical Society located in Columbus, Ohio as to the City of Columbus paying the Green Lawn Cemetery for the so-called mass grave although the Green Lawn Cemetery has stated on several occasions that they know nothing of the mass burial. We know from newspaper accounts in the 1950's the folks building homes for basements around the East City Cemetery had found human remains. The East City Cemetery was a place where many poor people were also buried. In all about two thousand dead were buried at the East City Cemetery.

To make matter worse the Starling Medical College was located a few blocks away and they had been known for stealing bodies for dissection purposes however they probably would only have taken the bodies in the late fall as there was no way of keeping the bodies cold and fresh and the anatomy classes were also held in the fall.

In late 1861 some Confederates were also buried at the North Cemetery and a few years ago while doing road construction parts of the Cemetery were exposed and some graves were found to be vacant with only old clay pipe stem to be found. Mark E. Irving found no Confederate graves at the North Cemetery according to his reports.

So the question remains..........Did H. P. Earley's brother honor the dying brothers last request? Perhaps only a GPR reading someday might yield some answers.