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David C. Blue in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

May 28, 2012

David C. Blue (1.1.3.6.1.7 in Blue Family Genealogy) was the seventh of eight children born to Solomon David Blue and Nancy C. (Graham) Blue. His parents had moved to Carmi, White County, Illinois where David was born in 1830. He married Lucinda Ary in 1854 and they had five (or seven?) children. In the 1860 U.S. Census, he and Lucinda were living with two of their young children, David’s sister Alvina, and their father Solomon. David’s occupation was farming.

David enlisted on December 21, 1863 and joined Co. E of the 13th (Consolidated) Illinois Cavalry Regiment on January 20, 1964 with several other men from White County. His regiment spent much of its time in Missouri and Arkansas. The Regiment has been organized early in the war, but had suffered many losses. They reorganized in January 1864 with many new recruits. Prior to his mustering in, the regiment was involved in the Battle of Bayou Forche which immediately led to the capture of Little Rock on September 10, 1863.

The cavalry regiment then moved on and spent several months in or near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. From this location, detachments would set out to other areas for some of their missions.

Private David  Blue died at Pine Bluff on June 20, 1864, having served less than six months. He is listed in the regiment’s roll call as one of nine men who died in Pine Bluff in the summer and fall of 1864. Only one man on that roster was listed as “killed” although several “died.” As with most regiments in this war, there were terrifically high numbers of deaths due to disease. The 13th Regiment of the Illinois Cavalry had 21 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded over the course of the war. They lost four officers and 360 men to disease.

In the book by Kenneth Carley, Minnesota in the Civil War: An Illustrated History, the author shares an excerpt from Dr Albert C. Wedge, a surgeon with the Third Minnesota Infantry (p 178):

I come to the memorable summer of 1864 in Pine Bluff, Ark. While there our regiment suffered from a most violent epidemic of malarial fever, and I will only attempt to deal with the causes. In the first place, it is a flat, swampy, unhealthy locality–the Arkansas River on the north and a filthy bayou on the south. The season was dry and hot. The south wind came over the bayou night and day, bringing miasma into our camp. One reason of suffering was the addition to our regiment of a lot of unacclimated men fresh from the North. In April, 1864, several hundred recruits joined us, and were immediately taken into this unhealthy locality. Of these recruits about eight-tenths were stricken down of malarial fever, and eighty-nine died. In June there were added to our number some drafted men. Nearly all fell sick of this disease, and thirty died. It is very unfortunate to be compelled to put men into such an intensely unhealthy locality in the very beginning of their service. We suffered here very much for the want of medical supplies. I could not get a dose of quinine to break the fever on myself. I was relieved from duty August 1st, and went home with the veterans. Had it not been for that circumstance I probably would not be writing this.

Maybe David died in the malaria epidemic. Maybe he suffered from typhoid fever. Another Illinois soldier, Garrett Burkett applied for disability after the war for ongoing consequences from the typhoid pneumonia he suffered while in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in the summer and fall of 1864. In his application for disability it stated, “At Pine Bluff State of Arkansas on or about August or September as now he recollects whilst in camp he was taken sick with typhoid pneumonia in the year 1864.”

Looking at records of regiments from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, there were many men who died from disease in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1864. Whatever the cause, it seems likely that David was among that group of men who died from disease in the terrible living conditions of Pine Bluff, Arkansas in the summer and fall of 1864.

From → Aderman/Bates

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