Saturday, April 27, 2013


One of the best ways to get a handle on the events of an ancestor's life is with a timeline.  From a disparate bunch of records I pull together an orderly timeline to see what, when and where events of their life took place.  Better yet I can place my ancestor's activities in historical context by comparing it to events of, say, the Civil War.

Below is a timeline of records for William Hunter Davis from 1861-1865.

18 July
- 31 August 1861
Tybee Island
Enlisted as Sargeant in Olmstead’s 1st Infantry, “Way’s Company” also known as the Forest City Rangers.
Compiled Service Records (CSR) see sources below)

11 November 1861
Fort Pulaski
Special Requisition receipt for supplies (1 hatchet, 2 buckets, 1broom)
18 September -18 November 1861

Copyist noted receipt for payment signed by W. Hunter Davis
13 February 1862
Savannah, Chatham County, GA
Marries Annie Rebecca Graham
Georgia. Chatham County. Marriage Books, (see below)

17 February 1862
Savannah, GA
Enlists in 5th Georgia Cavalry, Co. B by Richard F. Akin for the period: “War”
Jan-Feb 1863

Absent “Sick in Savannah, GA”
CSR, Muster Roll
11 Feb 1863

Elected 2nd Lt. Jr
CSRMuster Roll
28 Feb 1863

Subject:  Sick
“Insp. R. #60”, CSR
Mar-Apr 1863

CSRMuster Roll
May-June 1863

Absent.  “Detached as Recorder for Board Examiner.”
CSRMuster Roll
July-Aug 1863

CSR, Muster Roll
31 Aug- 1 Nov 1863

(note AWOL below on 25 Sept 1863)
(CSRMuster Roll
25-26 Sept 1863

October 1863
CSRMuster Roll
16 Dec 1863
Bivouac near Green Pond (South Carolina?)
Request for leave of absence
Leave was approved.  Other date on record
Handwritten note from Confederate Service Records
17-18 Dec 1863
Paperwork noting approval of leave request
31 Dec 1863 – 30 Apr 1863

CSRMuster Roll
May – June 1864

20 Dec 1864
Near Savannah
Reported missing in action
CSRMuster Roll
1 February 1865
Arrived Hilton Head, South Carolina
Captured 21 Dec 1864.  “Transferred to Washington, DC Feby 1, 1865.
“Appears on Roll of Prisoners of War, CSR)
2 Feb 1865
Washington, DC
“Appears on a register of Prisoners of War at Old Capitol Prison, Washington, D.C.
When committed: Feb 2, 1865
Where captured: near Savannah
When:  Dec. 21, 1864
Remarks: Sent to Ft. Del Feb. 7-65”
8 Feb 1865

Special Order 32/7,
Subject: Dropped
8 Feb 1865

Appears on Roll of Prisoners of War received at Fort Delaware, Del., from Old Capitol Prison, Washington, D.C., February 8, 1865.
17 June 1865
Fort Delaware, Del.
Name appears as signature to an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, subscribed to at Fort Delaware, Del. 
Place of Residence: Chatham, GA
Complexion:  Dk : hair:  Dk
Eyes:  Bck;
height:  5ft 101/2 in.
Remarks: Released June 17, 1865

You'll notice on 16 December 1863 W. Hunter asks for 2 weeks leave.  He does so with a note that shows up in the records.  I believe it's the original.  In it he asks permission to "visit the communities of Chatham and Effingham on business of the utmost importance."

The absence for May-June 1863 causes me to wonder:
What did it mean to be a Recorder for the Board of Examiners?  Was it because of his excellent penmanship?

One of the gaps in the records is from July-December 1864.  I know from other sources such as regimental histories and Civil War histories that W. Hunter's cavalry unit (5th GA, Company B) was involved in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and the Atlanta campaign, so perhaps they were a bit too busy to take roll and tend to clerical duties.  You can visit the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain today and still see the remains of the bunkers that the Confederates built.

There's so much to explore that could give me a better idea the world W. Hunter was living in, including his experience as a P.O.W.  I'll show more of that in my next post.


Georgia. Chatham County. Chatham County Marriage Book, Microfilm. Georgia Archives, Morrow, GA.

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia. M266. : National Archives (United States). Sargeant, Way's Company, Forrest City Rangers, 1st (Olmstead's) infantry, 1861 and also 2nd Lt., Co. B, 5th Georgia Cavalry 1862-1865.  Accessed 3 March 2012 at


  1. Timeline are wonderful! I use them often. I can easily see gaps in my research. I also include local, state, ... events to see the world they lived in.

  2. I agree Colleen! I hope to do more "coloring in" with timelines. It really helps me to see things in a different perspective.