18th ARKANSAS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Summer, 1861 Devall's Bluff, AR
Mustered In: Inf. Not Avail.
Mustered Out: 5/26/65
The 18th, a western theater unit - also known as Colonels Carroll, Daly and Crockett’s Arkansas Infantry Regiment - was assembled at Devall's Bluff, Arkansas during the summer of 1861. Some of its members were from the communities of Camden, De Witt and Pine Bluff. With About 1000 men in ranks it moved from its home state to Ft. Pillow Tennessee. The move was a bad one as once in Tennessee, sickness brought on by the warmer climate decimated the men in the ranks.
From Tennessee the regiment was ordered to Corinth, MS. There many continued to suffer from illness. Unit strength was down to 425 effectives at Iuka and, when the 18th first saw combat action at Corinth (4/10 – 6/29/62) it suffered further losing 12 killed, 34 wounded and 82 missing. Later the regiment was assigned to Beall's brigade, Department of Mississippi and east Louisiana.
In April, 1863 the 18th was consolidated with Power's 14th and Lyles' 23rd Arkansas infantry regiments. That July all were captured at Port Hudson, MS. After being exchanged, the unit was mounted and attached to Dockery's brigade, Trans-Mississippi Department. The regiment fought at Marks' Mills, Cleveland County, AR on 4/25/164 as well as Jenkin's Ferry, Grant County, AR on 4/30/64 before being disbanded in late May, 1865.
Residence: Inf. Not Avail. Age: 27.10/11 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 3/3 or 4/1/62 Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 4/1/62
Mustered Out: Inf. Not Avail.
Discharged: Inf: Not Avail.
Highest Rank: Pvt.
While most U.S. Census tallies indicate Alexander P. Thomas was born in 1836, his 1916 obituary stated that, at death, he was aged 81 years, 1 month and 28 days. This would place his date of birth on October 8, 1835. Lacking more specific information, herein we will acknowledge the 1835 date. His birth state was North Carolina. No birth community is noted in available documentation.
Alexander's parents were Elijah (b. ca. 1810 NC) and Narcissa (no nee b. 1811 NC) Thomas. The eldest of eight documented Thomas children, younger siblings of Alexander were as follows: Tulles (b. ca. 1838 NC); James H.* (b. ca. 1840 GA); Albert (b. ca. 1844 GA); Matilda (b. ca. 1848 GA); Rosetta (b. ca. 1850 GA); William (b. ca. 1852 GA) and Janetta (b. ca. 1857 GA).
[* James would also serve in the Confederate Army. His units were 7th Georgia State Troops and the 55th Georgia Infantry]
Elijah Thomas was a farmer who - as noted by the birth locales of his children - at some point between 1838 and 1840, removed his family from North Carolina to Georgia. The family's place of resettlement was likely the Wolfork Valley, located in Rabun County in the far northwestern corner of the state near the North Carolina/Georgia border.
During the spring of 1862 Alexander enlisted in the Confederate Army. The enlistment period was three years. His unit was the 18th Arkansas Infantry regiment.
[Ed. Note: During the census of 1860 Elijah and his family were still in Georgia and Alexander was in his parents' home. A Decade later, in 1870, Elijah and family were in Benton County, Arkansas. (Benton County is in the far northwestern corner of the state near the (March 6-8 1862) Pea Ridge/Wilson's Creek battlefield along the Missouri/Arkansas border.) Also, in 1870, Alexander was married and had a family of his own residing in Benton County, Arkansas. The reason this is mentioned is that when Alexander joined the Confederate States Army in the spring of 1862 he joined an Arkansas regiment. While available documentation says he enlisted/enrolled in a community named Aburn, no such designation can be found on a contemporary map. Is it therefore possible that Elijah and family had moved to Benton County circa 1860/'61 thereby exposing Alexander to enlistment in the 18th? Unless new information is forthcoming, we likely will never know the answer to this question.]
Although Confederate military records are sparse, those that do exist show Private Thomas always being present for duty while he served. With that in mind, his military experience can be described as interesting and far from benign.
From October 3rd to the 5th, 1862 the 18th, including Private Thomas, was involved in the battles of Corinth and Hatchie Bridge, MS. During one of these actions Private Thomas was wounded to the extent that he ended up on a list of those killed and wounded. The nature of the wounding is not documented and, it was apparently, not of a serious enough nature to remove him from active duty.
1863. The next excitement - if it can be called that - for Private Thomas and his regiment came in mid-July when, at Port Hudson, MS the 18th and other Rebel troops were captured in masse by forces under the command of Union Gen. U.S. Grant. Private Thomas' capture came on July 9th.
Based on available records, the captured Rebels were paroled and released by the Federals. This is where military service documents pertaining to Alexander end. Did he desert the Rebel army and go home????????
Alexander Thomas is next documentally found in the aforementioned 1870 census for the community of Flink, Benton Co., Arkansas. By this time he is farming and married to Juliana "Julia" (nee Collins b. 1846/'47 GA). Julia would bear Alexander 10 children, 9 of whom were reportedly living as of 1910. Available documents, however, provide the names of only 9 and the name of one of those, a daughter, is identified in his obituary - when 8 of the 10 were living - only as "Mrs." The Thomas children were: Berry (b. 1866 GA), Rosetta "Zellie" (likely Zettie) (b. 1873 AR), Franklin "Frank" (b. 1875 AR), Robert E. (b. 1877/'78 AR), Birda "Birdie" (b. 1886 AR), Grover Edward (b. 1893 OK), Alonzo (b. unk.), and "Mrs. Richard Rose" (b. unk.).
As we know because Alexander's biographical profile is being presented herein, at some point during his life he and all or part of his family put down roots in Washington State. However, as evidenced by the birth of at least one son, after leaving Arkansas and before arriving in the Pacific Northwest, the Thomas family made a stop in Oklahoma. Documents provide no information - beyond the birth of son Grover - regarding this circa 1893 period.
There is a large documental gap in Alexander's life story between 1893 and when he and family next appear which is in the 1910 U.S. Census for Everett Snohomish Co., WA. As with many other aspects of Mr. Thomas' life, when and why they came to the Puget Sound area is not known. Those under his roof at the time were wife Julia, daughter Birda and son Grover. At that time Alexander was noted as working for the local water company. 1910 would be the last census tally for both he and Julia.
Julia died mid-August, 1911 in Everett, WA. No details are available pertaining to her passing. She was buried on 8/19 in the Thomas family “3 grave” burial plot which had been established earlier in Everett's Evergreen Cemetery. Son Robert (d. 4/6/15) would join her there before Alexander.
Former Civil War Confederate infantryman Alexander Thomas died in Everett on 12/15/16. Burial was two days later in the Evergreen family plot.
In closing, Alexander's 12/16 Everett Herald newspaper obituary read as follows:
Alexander Thomas died at the home of his daughter Mrs. A. Bell last evening….. He leaves four daughters Miss Birdie Thomas, and Roda (likely Rosa) Thompson of Seattle, Mrs. Richard Rose and Mrs. A. Bell of Everett, and three sons Berry and Frank in Honolulu and Alonzo in San Francisco. Thomas was in the employ of the Water Company for several years prior to his recent illness. He is a Civil war veteran. The body lies at Maulsby where the funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 1 o'clock, Rev. Heverline officiating. A funeral car will accommodate those wishing to attend the services in the Evergreen Cem.
Buried at Evergreen Cemetery Everett
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