Six Brothers in the Civil WarSix Brothers
Line of Descent:
Dirck VOLCKERTSZEN and Christine VIGNE
Volkert DIRCKS and Annetje PHILIPS
Dirck VOLKERTSON and Maria DE WITT
Volkert DERRICKSON and Dinah VAN LIEU
Jacobus VOLKERTSEN (Capt. James Fulkerson) and Mary VAN HOOK
Peter FULKERSON and Margaret CRAIG
Dr. James FULKERSON and Frances PATTERSON
Thomas Graham FULKERSON

 The following letter was written by Thomas Graham Fulkerson of Tazewell, TN, to his son, William, in Ohio.  Thomas was the fifth son in the family, born in 1842.  Thomas gave this account orally around 1923, shortly before he died, and it was typed either then or at a later time. Because he skipped back and forth in his narrative, I have rearranged portions of the letter to maintain the chronological sequence of events.  Additional notes or clarifications are enclosed in brackets.

Dear Will:

    As your mother asked me to write an account of my service in the Confederate Army I will write of the six brothers that volunteered in that army.

    Brother Will [William Houston Fulkerson, born 1834] was with the U. S. Army as courier, Mail carrier, etc., during the Mormon War and carried dispatches from Kansas City, St. Joe, and other towns on the frontier, to the Army around Salt Lake, or other government posts but quit that and came home and raised a Co. [company, about 100 soldiers] in March, 1862 with Henly Fugate as first Lieutenant, Isaac Parkey second Lieutenant, and Jefferson Baker as third Lieutenant. Of these Will was wounded twice, Fugate's left arm shot off, Parkey, through a brave man was never wounded, but captured at Petersburg three days before Lee surrendered. Will went up to Major and then Lieutenant Col.

    Frank, the second son [Robert Francis Fulkerson, born 1836] went very early to Va. and joined the first Va. under Col. Stewart, who was promoted till he was Gen. Stewart, the highest officer of Cavalry under Lee in Va. His Capt. was Wm. E. Jones who also became Gen. before he was killed.

    Frank served under those two officers through his first year in Va. At the end of the year the Company re-organized, but Frank did not re-enlist on account of bad health (asthma). But soon got better and raised A Co. and joined Carter's First Tenn. Cavalry, and went through much service in Tenn. and Va. but was never wounded. [Frank rose to the rank of Major. He died in 1880 following a blow to the stomach by a Texas longhorn steer.]

    During his first year in Va., Capt. Rob. Patterson raised a Co. with George Daz as first Lieutenant, brother James [James Whitehill Fulkerson, born 1838] as second Lieutenant, and Tom Shoemaker as third Lieutenant. At the end of the first year, the Co. re-enlisted and re-organized for the war, and elected brother Jim their Capt. He served with the army of Tenn. and was in all the leading battles with Bragg in Tenn. Ky. & Georgia. Was wounded at Murfreesboro and again at Missionary Ridge, shot through both thighs, breaking both bones, from which he never recovered but died in a hospital at Atlanta [at the age of 25]. Mother had a stone put to his grave, it is near a monument in the cemetery. All the original officers in his Co. were either killed or wounded.

    Ham [Peter Graham Fulkerson, born 1840] was in Mo. at the breaking out of the war and the John Brown War in Kansas had everything very bitter and the Yanks had control, but Ham and a few more Southerners attempted to raise a Co. and join the nearest Rebel forces, but U. S. Detectives found them out and according to the "Kansas Jayhawkers" rules was intending to shoot them but Uncle Craig Fulkerson, who lived there was a union man and got them to send him North on condition that he stay North during the War. So he went to Philadelphia, Pa. and Uncle William Patterson put him to work and gave him employment until the War ended. [He returned to Tazewell to become a prominent lawyer and at one time was Attorney General of the State of Tennessee.]

    Lieutenant Baker was wounded in the leg in Tenn. and in the forehead in Va., killing him instantly. I was a private or third Sergeant in this Co. and was with it from the organization through all of Bragg's fights in middle Tenn. and Georgia, and when Longstreet was sent by Bragg to drive Burnside back, who was coming through Cumberland Gap to reinforce the Yanks forces. We had been in and around Chattanooga. We met them at Louden and drove them back to Knoxville and got them hemmed in there but Grant came in with re-enforcements and whipped Bragg off of Missionary Ridge and then sent Gen. Howard with a Corps to relieve Burnside.

    So we had to fall back to Morristown and Bean Station and had to live off the country and what we could capture of Yankee supplies, notably a large drove of fat cattle from Ky. We cut off and captured these near Walker's Ford, and then we fell back to near Rogersville, and the Yanks attempted to send a long train of wagons loaded to their front at Bean Station but Gen. Jones found it out and sent his Cavalry through Flat Gap and down to Thorn Hill to meet this train and capture it but at the same the he sent the infantry down to attack their Army at Bean Station which we did and whipped them, so they could send no help to the guard with the train. This gave us good rations for awhile, but the fellows we whipped set fire to all their store so we got only the train, then we went to French Broad and drove them back and all those rich bottoms that carried us well that winter, but the wheat, oats and corn were all ground together in the little water mills and our surgeon carried a sifter on his horse and all used it so his horse was well fed on grain.

    I neglected to tell you that we left home nearly two years before with 115 men, that I as third sergeant commanded the Co. in the fight at Bean Station as Sr. officer. Everything above me was knocked out and the Co. was reduced to five men including myself and we had one of them wounded, so we lost twenty percent there, but several of the sick and wounded got back, we were fifteen or twenty strong, then in April we were ordered with all of Longstreet's forces to join Lee, so as I had been promised by Lieutenant Achekin a transfer to Cavalry as soon as the Co. could recruit a little, I asked Col. Abe Fulkerson for a transfer, he being in command of the Regiment at this time. He refused it so when we started to take the train at Abingdon, I just stepped out and went to Frank's Co. in Carters first Tenn. Cavalry.

    I neglected to say when we first went into service, we organized a regiment with Richard Fain as Col., Abe Fulkerson as Lieutenant Col., and John Aiken as Major. Of these Aiken was killed, Fulkerson wounded twice, Col. Fain was an old man and seldom with us and resigned our Co., being Co. A.

    I neglected to say that Frank's Regiment 7 Co. was ordered to Va. to meet a Yankee raid coming into the Valley of Va. We met them at Piedmont near Stanton with two brigades, they had three brigades. I thought we were whipping them but a courier came to Col. Carter. He looked around and then gave orders to fall back slowly, which we started to do but soon ran into a fresh regiment of Yanks all standing with guns leveled on us and their officers telling us to surrender. But we undertook to fight our way through them and most of the boys got through but me and fifteen others of the Co. were captured together with 1500 others. We were sent to prison at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, where I stayed till a month before the war closed, was exchanged and got back to my regiment in time to surrender with Johnson at Charlotte, N. C.

    Fred the youngest son [Frederick Eberle Fulkerson, born 1845] joined Blackburne's Co. in the First Tenn. Cavalry and saw active service in East Tenn. and Va., was wounded too bad to be taken off by Yanks in same fight that I was Captured and again later but was able to be with the Regiment when surrendered by Johnson at Charlotte, N. C.

by Thomas G. Fulkerson



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