Private Elisha Hall, Company A, 8th Florida Infantry
Elisha Hall was born on February 14, 1831 in Hamilton County (Civil War Florida).
Prior to the war, Hall lived in Suwannee County. He is described as 5 foot 11 inches tall, with grey eyes, brown hair, and light skin. Hall enlisted on April 1, 1862 as a Private in Company A, 8th Florida Infantry, in Madison, Florida, but shortly after, he deserted his company on June 16, 1862 (Civil War Florida).
Hall later reenlisted as Private in Company C, 2nd Florida Battalion in Lake City, Florida, on August 2, 1862 (Civil War Florida). Why he did not remain with his first company is unknown.
Unfortunately, Hall was imprisoned at Point Lookout Prison in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, about September 11, 1864. However, the exact date is not known. After approximately ten months, he was released on an oath on June 30, 1865 from Point Lookout Prison (Civil War Florida).
Elisha Hall died on June 6, 1920, and was buried at Union Cemetery in O’brien, Suwannee County, Florida. The exact date of interment is not known; however, it is approximated as June 7, 1920.
It appears that there were three pension applications were filed for Elisha Hall. Two of them seem to have been filed together, but are clearly separate, as one can see by the dates.
The first was file number D02314, filed in Suwannee County, Florida, in October 1, 1900, a “Soldier’s Application for Pension”. From this fact, it is safe to assume that Hall returned to his original county of residence following the war. It is stated that he enlisted on or about the 21st day of August 1862, in Captain J. Q. Stewart’s Company. He states that while he was in actual service of the 10th Regiment of the state of Florida, he was in the line of duty at Petersburg, on or about September 10, 1864. Hall says that at that time, “I was captured by the U. S. Army and while in prison at Point Lookout, Maryland, I contracted cold which brought on rheumatism from which I suffer now. The rheumatism is worse in my legs than other parts of my body, and I am almost unable to walk at times.” As proof of his need for the pension, he attests that he and his wife combined do not have real and personal property in the value of $600, and that they have not purposely disposed of said properties in order to obtain the pension amount. Perhaps Elisha Hall was unable to write, as on the signature line is an “X” and the words “His Mark.” His signature is written on either side of the “X.” Hall gives his address as O’brien, Florida. James M. Follin (?) and William Warner attest to the fact that Elisha Hall served in J. Q. Stewart’s Company, 10th Florida Regiment and that he never deserted the Confederate Army. C. B. Haynes and C. W. Fillolins (?) attest that Elisha and his wife were not in possession of real or personal property exceeding $600, and that neither of them had any source of sufficient income nor were able to earn a livelihood. Finally, in the physician’s statement, S. J. Overstreet and T. S. Anderson stated: “he is suffering from chronic …. Rheumatism of knees and ankles …. rendering him totally unable to earn a livelihood by manual labor.” (Pension Application).
The following letter on Elisha Hall’s behalf provides some insight into his life. It is written by Eli Stanford, and is a permanent part of Hall’s pension application.
“State of Florida
Before me, a Notary Public, in and for the State of Florida at large, personally appearing Eli Stanford, who on oath says as follows: I was in the Confederate Army with Elisha Hall – was in the same brigade and we were sharpshooters on the same line. I first met him at Cold Harbor, Virginia, in the spring of 1863. He was sound and in good health. He was captured on the 10th day of September 1864 on the plank road to Petersburg and he was sent to prison at Point Look Out, Maryland. He was frozen in December 1864 while in prison. He was in prison at the time of the surrender. I have known him continuously ever since and he has been in bad health all the time. He has always been lame in his feet ever since he was frozen.
I was in Company H (Tucker’s) 8th Florida Regiment, Vol Inft Confederate Army. Witness my hand and seal this 15th day of October 1900.
Subscribed and sworn before me this 15th day of October 1900.
D. E. Hamm
Notary Public, State at Large”
The second following letter on Elisha Hall’s behalf provides some more insight into his life. It is written by J. G. Smith, and is a permanent part of Hall’s pension application.
“State of Florida
On this 8th day of October 1900, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the State of Florida at large, J. G. Smith who says as follows: I was in the Confederate Army and was captured at Rocky Creek Station Virginia on the 1st day of December 1864 and was sent to prison at Point Look Out Maryland. A short time after I was put in the prison I became acquainted with Elisha Hall who was in the prison before I went there. A great many of the prisoners were frozen – some froze to death – some in their hands and feet. And it is my recollection Elisha Hall was frozen at the same time. He was sent to the small pox hospital soon after and I did not see him any more until after the war was over.
J. G. Smith
Sworn and subscribed to before me this 8th day of October 1900.
D. E. Hamm
Notary Public, State at Large”
These last two letters provide a horrible view of what life must have been like in Point Lookout Prison. The winters in Maryland are bitterly cold, and there were never any barracks built at the prison. Instead prisoners were given tents, until the overcrowding became so severe, that there were not even enough tents to go around. Between 1863-1865, approximately 50,000 men were kept within the walls of Point Lookout. Although the capacity of the prison was only 10,000, anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 men were there at a time. There were shortages of food, water, and firewood. Prisoners died from exposure, starvation, and disease. Although the exact number of those that died at Point Lookout is unknown, it is certain that the number was large and unnecessary (Point Lookout). Please see the stories of John R. King at http://home.jam.rr.com/rjcourt52/cwprisons/king.htm and Rev. J. B. Traywick at http://www.csa-dixie.com/csa/prisoners/t59a.htm.
Although this second application is bundled together with the file number A6049, there are some discrepancies in the dates, as though it is possible that it is three applications put together.
On May 5, 1902, Elisha Hall filed a “Soldier’s Application for Pension,” with the file number 1502. His capture details are listed as the same as the first application, as are his illnesses. Eli Stanford and William Warren attest to serving in the Confederate Army with Hall. They also attest to the fact that Hall and his wife do not possess in excess of $800 worth of real or personal property. S. J. Overstreet and T. S. Anderson attest to Hall’s injuries and illnesses and the fact that he cannot earn a livelihood by manual labor. It appears that this pension was approved on July 15, 1902, for the amount of $120 per annum (Pension Application).
The “Soldier’s Pension Claim” is dated July 16, 1909. In this application, Hall states that he was paroled thirty days after the close of war from Point Lookout, Maryland. Instead of the amount of property being set at $600, it was set at $5,000 between the soldier and wife. He has his property listed as follows: $500 for real estate in Suwannee County, $125 for cattle, horses, and other livestock, and $10 for personal property, for a total of $635. Further, he states that he had previously been granted a pension in the amount of $120 per annum, certificate number 1502. His disabilities were listed as rheumatism and a “ruptured right side.” (Pension Application)
On September 12, 1913, Hall filed an “Application for Increase in Pension.” His address is still given as O’brien, Florida. The physician’s affidavit states that Hall is “laboring under effects of double hernia, chronic intestinal indigestion and is lame from frostbite during war,” and is signed by Dr. J. H. Reynolds (Pension Application).
Civil War Florida. Retrieved from: http://www.civilwarflorida.com/site/soldiers/soldier_detail.php?soldierREF=572.
Pension Application D02314. Source: Record Group 137, Series 587, Florida State Archives. All Florida Confederate Pension Application Files appear courtesy of the Florida State Archives. Retrieved from: http://www.civilwarflorida.com/site/sources/florida_pensions/show_pension.php?floridaPensionAppREF=67.
Pension Application A6049. Source: Record Group 137, Series 587, Florida State Archives. All Florida Confederate Pension Application Files appear courtesy of the Florida State Archives. Retrieved from: http://www.civilwarflorida.com/site/sources/florida_pensions/show_pension.php?floridaPensionAppREF=66.
Point Lookout Civil War Prison. Retrieved from: http://www.censusdiggins.com/prison_ptlookout.html.