The Texas in the Civil War Message Board

Remembering Charles in Lincoln's backyard

Every soldier who died or served in the war should be properly remembered. Every soldier had a life and a story of his own. Sadly this Texas soldier has long been forgotten and his tombstone is totally incorrect at Camp Butler, Illinois.

Charles B. Estill known as C.B. Estill on his CMSR's with Company B 24th Texas Cavalry (Wilkes') 2nd Texas Lancers is a soldier that has been misidentified for over one hundred years.

While researching Camp Chase sometimes it will take me off the beaten path and to other soldiers as in this case.

According to Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002; Milton Estill married Louisa (Spelled as) Boulton on April 12, 1833 in Shelby County, Tennessee. (Memphis area)

According to the 1850 United States census Charles Estill, born about 1836 in Tennessee and noted as attending school within the year and living in the household of Milton Estill, born about 1807 in Kentucky and his wife Louisa Estill, born about 1816 in Tennessee. Other family household members were: Ben Estill, born about 1838 in Tennessee and Jas Estill, born about 1842 in Texas and Milton Estill, born about 1844 in Texas and Edwin Estill, born about 1847 in Texas. The family household was living in Walker County, Texas and the census was enumerated on September 20, 1850.

According to the 1860 United States census C. (A male) Estill, born about 1837, in Tennessee and noted his occupation as a farmer and living in the household of M. (A male) Estill, born about 1807 in Kentucky and his wife L. (A female) Estill, born about 1817 in Tennessee. Other family members will not be listed but are consistent with the 1850 census with the exception of new members born post 1850. The family household was living in Montgomery County, Texas and the nearest Post Office was reported as Montgomery and the census was enumerated on July 12, 1860.

Charles B. Estill did not own slaves.

A Company muster-in roll stated Private C. B. Estill enlisting on April 28, 1862 at age 26 (Born about 1836) at Camp Carter in Captain S. D. Wooldridges Company 2nd Carters Brigade Texas Lancers which subsequently became Company B 24th Texas Cavalry. It noted Private C. B. Estill enrolled on March 29, 1862 at Danville, Texas. (Located in Montgomery County)

His unit was at the Confederate debacle of Arkansas Post where Federal POW Records stated Private C. B. Estill of Company B 24th Texas Cavalry was captured on January 11, 1863 and taken to Camp Butler, Illinois located at Springfield.

The political Union General McClernand, from Illinois, once the surrender was over did not allow the Confederates back into their quarters to gather blankets and winter clothing. The Confederates were taken by vessels up the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers and many of the prisoners who slept on the deck were partly covered in snow and frost and perhaps ice and almost all without proper clothing.

Arkansas Post also known as Fort Hindman was the largest capture of Confederates west of the Mississippi River, nearly 5,000 prisoners prior to the capitulation in 1865.

The ill equipped clothing and transport of Confederates to northern prisons in the midst of dead winter was devastating within the Confederate ranks. It has been estimated as much as 30% of the POW's died while in transport or while in northern prisons.

Federal POW Records stated Private C. B. (Spelled as) Estill of Company B of the 24th Texas Cavalry was left at the Camp Butler hospital.

Federal POW Records stated Private C. B. (Spelled as) Eastel of Company B of the 24th Texas Cavalry died on April 13, 1863.

It appears the spelling was due to a Union clerks mistake at Camp Butler.

Today the National Cemetery Administration notes the name on the tombstone at Camp Butler, Illinois as C. B. Estel Company I 30th Mississippi Infantry and can be viewed at Find A Grave Memorial # 2553302

As many as one third tombstones at Camp Chase are incorrect in one form or another and are at times way off their mark. The tombstone at Camp Butler, Illinois is also incorrect insofar as surname and correct unit. Private Charles B. Estill served with the great State of Texas and not with a Mississippi unit.

Hopefully one day a descendant will note this error and he or she can request a new corrected tombstone or perhaps a local UDC Chapter or SCV Camp will petition for the change but for now folks in Texas will remember you Charles.