AUTHOR: Glenn Land
I trace my paternal roots to my 5 x great-grandparents, Thomas Land and Ann Sumter of Wilkes County, NC. One of their several great-grandsons and Civil War Veterans was my 2 x great-grandfather, David Land. David was last counted in the 1900 census of Caldwell County where he gave his birth date as March 1825. He was counted with his second wife Sarah (Kerley), and their only child, Hannah. David’s first wife, (and my 2 x great-mother), Rebecca (Knight), had probably passed shortly before or after my paternal great-grandfather and their oldest son, James Linville Land, came across the mountains to settle in Washington County, (East) Tennessee about 1870-1871. I’ve lived all my 70 years in neighboring Sullivan County, TN.
Three days short of my great-grandfather’s 13th birthday, David Land reported for duty at Camp Vance, Morganton, NC. He was a 39-year-old conscript, father of seven, who had probably never fired a gun in anger at anyone. He arrived in Virginia just before the beginning of the “Overland Campaign”. He took part in the terrible fighting in battles like the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Hanover Junction, Cold Harbor, Hatcher’s Run, Burgess’ Mill and on into the nine-month siege of Petersburg. He was one of twelve men of the 13th NC captured April 2, 1865. ” on the south side railroad. ” He was processed April 7, 1865, at City Point, Virginia. He was sent to the newly-opened ( and last Civil War prison in the North ) Hart’s Island, New York Harbor. He was released there June 20, 1865, after taking the Oath of Allegiance. Furnished rail transportation, probably as far as Wilkesboro. He probably walked the rest of the way to his home in the Brushy Mountains. On June 13, 1901, the 76-year-old applied to the State of North Carolina for a Confederate Pension. David passed sometime before July 1906 when Sarah applied for a Confederate Widow’s Pension in the name of her first husband, James Reid who had died in 1862.
I’ve often read about the fierce battles of the Overland Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg and marveled that David managed to survive. I’ve also wondered about my great-grandpa and his experiences in the mountains of North Carolina as the “man of the house” in his father’s absence while barely in his teens during those dangerous times.