Part of my personal research has included a search for the civil war records of my paternal 2nd great grandfather, John Worden. I finally found his pension file and other war records, after two decades of looking for the right soldier. Turns out that there is an interesting story to this; one that confirms something my mother alway said. When I was growing up, it was her unfounded contention that her side of the family had fought with my father's side in the war. She had no specific reason to think this, other than knowing there were soldiers on both sides. It was just a gut feeling. What would the odds be that they'd really ever have had close contact? Surely a long  shot!

I am now able to place both men on opposite sides of the same fence, so to speak, at a POW camp.


War of the Rebellion: a North and South Family


John Worden                

2nd US Cavalry, detached to Point Lookout prison as a guard from the fall of 1863 until the fall of 1864.

Paternal 2nd great grandfather

My maternal 3rd great grandfather was David Milton Tannehill. He was captured at Snyder's bluff, along with his son, William. They were both send to POW camps. William died at Fort Delaware, and his father was sent on to Point Lookout camp in Maryland, where he died in March of 1864. 

In John Worden's pension file is a sworn affidavit, detailing his service record. It turns out that he was sent to Point Lookout as a guard from fall of 1863 until the fall of 1864! He was there during the same time as David Tannehill. Here is that transcribed and excerpted portion of  John Worden's affidavit:


Snyder’s Bluff  

David Milton Tannehill and his son, William, were both captured here during the Siege of Vicksburg. William was captured on 19 May 1863, and his father on the following day. David died at the Point Lookout POW camp, and is interred in the mass grave there. His son died before him at Fort Delaware. 

Description: To insure that troops were not withdrawn to Grand Gulf to assist Confederates there, a combined Union army-navy force feigned an attack on Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi. After noon, on April 29th, Lt. Cdr. K. Randolph Breese, with his eight gunboats and ten transports carrying Maj. Gen. Francis Blair’s division, inched up the Yazoo River to the mouth of Chickasaw Bayou where they spent the night. At 9:00 am, the next morning, the force, minus one gunboat, continued upriver to Drumgould’s Bluff and engaged the enemy batteries. During the fighting, Choctaw suffered more than fifty hits, but no casualties occurred. Around 6:00 pm, the troops disembarked and marched along Blake’s Levee toward the guns. As they neared Drumgould’s Bluff, a battery opened on them, creating havoc and casualties. The Union advance halted and, after dark, the men reembarked on the transports. The next morning, transports disembarked other troops. The swampy terrain and enemy heavy artillery fire forced them to retire. The gunboats opened fire again, about 3:00 pm on the 1st, causing some damage. Later, the boats’ fire slackened and stopped altogether after dark. Sherman had received orders to land his troops at Milliken’s Bend, so the gunboats returned to their anchorages at the mouth of the Yazoo.


Flag of the 3rd LA

Confederate Research Sources, Volume 3, page 766:
Tannihill, D. M. (also on Rolls as Taumahill, D. M.),Pvt. Co. C, 3rd La. Inf. Federal Rolls of Prisoners of War, Captured Snyder's Bluff, May 20, 1863. Sent to Memphis, Tenn., May 25, 1863. Recd. Fort Delaware, Del., June 15, 1863. Transfd. to City Point, Va., for exchange July –, 1863. Forwd. to Pt. Lookout, Md., Sept. 20, 1863. On Hospl. Register, Admitted to Hammond U. S. A. Gen. Hospl., Pt. Lookout, Md. Oct. 19, 1863. Died March 7, 1864.

Confederate Research Sources, Volume 3, page 773:
Taumahill, William M. (also on Rolls as Tannehill, W. N.),Pvt. Co. C, 3rd La. Inf. Federal Rolls of Prisoners of War, Captured Snyder's Bluff, May 19, 1863. Sent to Memphis, Tenn., May 25, 1863. Recd. Fort Delaware, Del., June 15, 1863. Transfd. from Fort Delaware, Del., to City Pt., Va., for exchange, July –, 1863, Died Fort Delaware, Del., Aug. 16, 1863.

The four documents, above, are all part of John Worden’s pension file. The page closest to the bottom definitively proves this John Worden is my paternal great grandfather, as it names his wife and children. John Worden’s affidavit further proves he is the same man who also served in the 2nd US Cavalry, and was detached to Point Lookout prison as a guard during the time Tannehill was there.

© Copyright Shae Leighland, 2009. All Rights Reserved. Ask permission, please.

Above is the monument to the prisoners who are interred in the mass grave at Point Lookout, Maryland.

On the left, top line, is the memorial to “TANNERHILL, D. M.”

The name Tannehill was recorded throughout the war using several phonetic variations, including Tannyhill and Taumahill.

Below is part of the original affidavit of John Worden.


David Milton Tannehill

Company "C", Winn Rifles, 3rd Louisiana Infantry; he was captured at Snyder's Bluff, Mississippi, and sent to the prisoner of war camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he  died on 7 March 1864.  He remains there in a mass grave.

Maternal 3rd great grandfather

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