Posted By:Terry Thornton
Subject:Profile Characteristics of Southern Loyalists/Desertion
Post Date:February 06, 2003 at 06:46:20
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Forum:Southern Unionist Forum
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Joel Mize's "Profile Characteristics of Southern Loyalists" (Jan 30 post to this forum) is on target if my family from North Alabama (Fayette County)is typical. My great-grandfather JAMES MONROE THORNTON and two of his brothers, HENRY M THORNTON and MARTIN V THORNTON, all joined the 1st ALA CAV USA. Henry died in hospital in Corinth (burial place unknown) and Martin died in hospital in Nashville (buried in Nashville National Cemetery).

According to my read of James Thornton's pension file, he was "home" more days than he was on active duty. James at 38 years of age volunteered for a one year enlistment in the 1st ALA CAV USA in March 1863 (enrolled at Glendale, MS) and was mustered out in Memphis on December 22, 1863. Returning to north Alabama as a "scout" in June 1863, James became ill and didn't return to his unit until early December. Never classified as AWOL, his experience seems to confirm what Mize says in his post about desertion -- that "commanders looked upon these periodic desertions . . . with some sympathy."

James returned to Fayette County, AL after he mustered out in Memphis. He and his wife, NANCY JANE LAY THORNTON, eventually moved to Monroe County, MS, where both are buried in Lann Cemetery. James died in 1913. The only picture I have of him is of the of the "gray-beard" variety.

Terry Thornton
Rinnie, TN