Abraham Bates Tower: Civil War Veteran
Andersonville Prison Survivor and My Great-Great Grandfather
Years ago, I read Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor and was appalled at the starvation and hardships that the prisoners endured there during the Civil War. Little did I know that my own great-great-grandfather was a prisoner there after being captured at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads.
Unfortunately we often don't become interested in our genealogy and family history until late in life. By then, many of the people who could answer our questions are gone. I'm lucky that my parents are still alive at 87 and my mother put in many years of dedicated research on the family tree. When older relatives passed away, many of them left their photos and memorabilia to my mom. She became the family historian.
Here's what I was able to find out about Abraham Bates Tower, my great-great grandfather, who fought in the Civil War.
(photo from our family album)
Abraham Bates Tower's Pocket Diary from the Civil War - August 4, 1865 - A List of Men in the 93rd Indiana Infantry
Follow the 93rd Indiana Infantry - in the Civil War
Abraham Bates Tower's Civil War Pension Record lists him as Company G. My mother's research found something showing him enlisted with Company B (possibly a misreading of a handwritten document). There is a complete listing at Civil War Archive online. Not all of the locations show up on the map as some place names may be too small or have died out.
- August 28, 1862 - Abraham Bates Tower enlisted here as a private - New Albany, Indiana
- until March 1863 - Corinth, Mississippi
- until March 1863 - Memphis, Tennessee (not clear on the Corinth & Memphis)
- March 13, 1863 - Helena, Arkansas
- May 3-14 and May 18-July 4, 1863 - Vicksburg, Mississippi
- Siege July 10-17 - Jackson, Mississippi
In trying to understand my ancestor's experience in the Civil War, I'm mapping out the movements and battles of the 93rd Indiana Infantry. Abraham Bates Tower was a private with Company G of the 93rd. Follow along with me as I try to visualize the movements of the 93rd Indiana Infantry.
Here's a link to the 93rd Indiana Infantry Officer Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Volume 3, by W.H.H. Terrell, Adjutant General, Indiana, 1866. You can view the entire book online.
I Looked for a Book about the 93rd Indiana Infantry - but only found letters and diaries of other Indiana regiments
I'll probably get a few of these to read so I'll have some concept of the day-to-day life of Abraham Bates Tower as an infantryman.
- A Fierce Wild Joy (Letters from 48th Indiana Volunteer Infantry)
- Off to Atlanta with the 27th Indiana Infantry
- Fighting for Liberty and Right (75th Indiana)
- History of the Seventy-ninth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War
Field Rations for a Civil War Soldier - Even at the best of times, the food looks pretty skimpy
Abraham Tower Suffered Starvation, Dysentary, and Scorbutus at Andersonville
Andersonville Prison in Georgia was notorious for the starvation suffered by Union soldiers there during the Civil War. Why did it happen and how did the prisoners survive the brutal conditions there? You can read more about it at Starvation at Andersonville Prison.
You may be wondering What Is Scorbutus? It's an old-fashioned word that you might find describing an American Civil War soldier. This health problem caused the deaths of many in years gone by.
Abraham Tower Was Captured at Guntown
The area where the battle took place is called both Brice's Crossroads or Guntown. The outnumbered confederate troops pulled off a stunning victory against the Union here on June 10, 1864.
Around 1500 prisoners were captured. Among those was my ancestor, Abraham Bates Tower. He would spend the next six months as a prisoner of war.
A Re-enactment of the Battle at Brice's Crossroads - The 145 anniversary of the battle
My Ancestor Was Sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia
Learn More about His Experience
To further understand my ancestor's Civil War experience, I visited the museum and prison site. You can see my photos of that trip at Andersonville Prison Photos. It was 150 years ago that the Civil War ravaged the United States. One particularly dark memory is the thousands that died at Andersonville Prison. These photos show it as it is today.
In reading many diaries and books on Andersonville, I've created a timeline. It will help me and others trying to understand their ancestor's experience in this Civil War prison. You can see it at Andersonville Timeline 1864.
A Documentary about Andersonville Prison
In December 1864, He Was Paroled
- Abraham Tower Leaves Andersonville Prison
My Civil War ancestor survived 6 months at Andersonville Prison. In December 1864 he was released. Here's what I've been able to discover about this part of his experience.
Here's How a Civil War Soldier Dreams of Arriving Home
Abraham Tower Survived Andersonville
For Abraham Bates Tower, it was quite different. He was released on parole December 6, 1864 weighing only 73 pounds. He spent some time in a Union hospital as his health was seriously affected by starvation and scurvy in the prison. When he returned to Indiana, his wife and children were no longer there. Thinking he was dead, his wife had moved to Missouri to live with her sister. Abraham finally found them. He died in Tyro, Kansas on February 8, 1930 at the age of 93.
The photo on the right shows Abraham with his family later in life. He had four more children after the Civil War and my great-grandmother was one of them.
Find Information about Your Civil War Ancestors
- Civil War Records
Civil War Records on Access Genealogy
- Cyndi's List - United States - U.S. Military: Civil War
More than 270,000 links! 260,000 links, categorized & cross-referenced, in over 180 categories. Another 10,000+ uncategorized new links in the works.
- Military History Online - Civil War Genealogy Database
Civil War Genealogy by Regiment
- Civil War
Genealogical resources available at the National Archives and Records Administration
- American Civil War Research Database
American Civil War Research Database; a database of over 4 million American Civil War Union and Confederate soldiers fully searchable by soldier's name and by regiments. The American Civil War Research Database will assist military tactics, reenactme
If you've come this far in looking up information about Abraham Bates Tower, perhaps we are distant relatives. If you are descended from A.B. Tower, please click on my profile picture, and then on the CONTACT button. I'd love to hear what you know about the family history.
© 2010 Virginia Allain