18 January 2015

Loose Trains and Bolts in the Gut Part III

Our continuing series of "Loose Trains and Bolts to the Gut" continues with part of a deposition from William Kile himself. Kile adds a few new details that are not contained in other statements extracted to this point.

[begin transcription--extracted]

“At the time affiant received the injury complained of the detail which was composed of fifty men all from his regiment command of Lieut Markham of Co “G” The Regimental Camp was about two miles from the Depot. The detail was marched from the Camp to Memphis Depot to take a trail for Holly Springs as heretofore stated.

The detail upon arriving at the Depot was halted along the side of a large brick warehouse close to which and on the same side there was a side track for freight cars to be loaded from said warehouse. The detail was halted and the men were standing against said warehouse. The orderly Sergt” seeing the freight cars coming down on said side track ne
xt to the men stepped toward the Lieut in Command and spoke to him about the danger. The Leiut paid no attention to the Sergt” but by a motion of his sword ordered the Sergt back.

It was said at the time that the Lieut was intoxicated whether that was true or whether the Lieut believed the cars would be stopped before reaching the men affiant does not know. but no order or command was given to the men and in a moment the cars which were coming on the siding on a down grade were upon the men. At the point where affiant received his injury there was just twelve and a half inches of space between the car by which he was injured and the wall of said warehouse. A bolt or a nut on the end of a bolt struck him on the right side of the lower abdomen and turned him about half around tearing a hole in his lower abdomen causing the hernia complained of. Affiant was immediately taken back to the camp in an Ambulance where his injury was dressed and attended to by the Surgeon of the Regt who died soon after the Muster out of the Regt. Said Lieut Markham was immediately after said accident placed under arrest but what further proceedings were had in relation to the matter affiant does not know.”

[end transcription--extracted]

Kile's statement parallels the other two that have already been used in this series. He does add two significant pieces of information:
  • Markham was drunk
  • Markham was arrested
It is important to remember that those pieces of information are only as accurate as Kile's memory. Neither one may have happened, one may have happened, or both may have happened. Pension affidavits made by claimants are usually made to enhance the chance of their claim being approved. 

Kile also provides more detail about the incident itself, including how close the train was to the warehouse. 

Kile's statement makes the point that it's important to read all such statements in records of this type as one may contain statements not contained in other documents. 

It may be worth our time to research Markham's military career and see if there was any consequences to his actions at that warehouse in Memphis in August of 1863.

Stay tuned!

Source:18 July 1884 affidavit of William Kile, stamped as received in the Pension Office 23 October 1884, Civil War Pension File of William Kile, Company B, 37th Iowa Infantry Invalid’s Application #525005, Invalid’s Certificate #321230, NARA Record Group 15.