19 January 2015

Loose Trains and Bolts in the Gut Part IV

As expected, the testimony of Lieutenant Henry Markham differs slightly from that of William Kile as his peers. Markham made out a statement in Ringgold County, Iowa, on 6 November 1886.

He does not mention ordering the soldiers to stay put, but instead indicated that there simply was no time to move the men from their position alongside the warehouse because the men were so "alarmed."

Markham is also somewhat evasive about who was injured, but that does not seem unusual. There were quite a few men involved, Kile was not under his immediate command, and twenty years had elapsed between the incident and Markham's deposition.

It important to remember that what's material in this pension case is Kile's injury--after all, it's Kile's pension claim and not an inquiry into Markham's actions. Whether Markham should have ordered or allowed the men to move is a separate issue. It is possible that there are records contemporary to the incident that more specifically address Markham's behavior.

[begin transcription]

State of Iowa-Ringgold County

In the matter of clame No 525005 of William Kile late private of Co B. 37 Iowa Inft" I Henry C. Markham-resident of Mt Ayr Iowa state on oath that I was a First Left"[sic] of Capt. Joab Stovers Co of 27 Iowa Volunteer Inft" And was detaled With a squad of private soldiers from the 37 Iowa Inft and took command of said squad to guard a transport train from Memphis Tenn" to Hamelton or Hollow Springs (as it acors to my memory now) I do not now remember the name of the R. Road
marched said Detail from the Quarters of the 37 Iowa then on duty at Memphes Tenn" And to my best recolection and memory now William Kile was a member of said detail and was injured at the Memphis Dept" in the latter part of July 1864 while in the line of duty--under the folowing curcumstances as I now recolect them. After arriving at dept I halted the command preparetry[?] to getting aboard of transportation train on a side track of said R R and close to a ware Roome and in a few minutes after halting (having just arrived) there was send down said track a  lot of switching cars with oute notice to clear the track from any signell or Ringing of Bell
with sutch force that it was impossible for the soldiers to get away or giving me time to move my men and regardless of the consequences they continued that Speede and the men seeing the danger they was in and taken by surprise the result was the men be came so alarmed it was imposable for me to command or move them oute of danger and resulted I think now that one was Kiled and several was crushed and injured by the cars cruching them between the ware Roome Spoken of and the Space was as I now

recolect Sume 18 or 25 inches between the [rwy?] of moving cars and waeroome and to my best recolection now William Kile was one of those that was caught between the cars and war roome But say now where that injury was on the extent of it I am unable to say or do not remember but if injured it was as I have stated above.

These are the facts as I now recollect them not having any thing to refresh my memory as to names of the soldiers in my command except those detail from my own company and by a faint recolection of mine now I believe myself and his commanding officer of Co B and me had some talk about Kile but not a posative recollection as to any one oute side of my own Co--The above are the facts as I recollect them...Henry C. Markham
[end transcription]

The 1864 train incident involving William Kile was an unexpected discovery in his pension file. Our next research approach will be to locate Markham's service record and see if there is any mention of the incident.

That research is ongoing.

Stay tuned.

Source:6 November 1886 affidavit of Henry C. Markham, stamped as received in the Pension Office 12 February 1888, Civil War Pension File of William Kile, Company B, 37th Iowa Infantry Invalid’s Application #525005, Invalid’s Certificate #321230, NARA Record Group 15.