RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN BY: K. Jeffery Torgler and Cheri Todd Molter
Elias E. Day was born in 1831 in Surry County, North Carolina, and his parents were William and Nancy (Triplett) Day. Before 1850, William and Nancy had relocated their family to Wilkes County, North Carolina, and Elias and their other children helped them operate a farm (1850 Wilkes County Census). On November 29, 1852, Elias Day married Louisa Dunn in Wilkes County.
During the Civil War, Day served in both the Confederate and Union Armies. According to his military records, on Oct. 4, 1861, Elias enlisted in Company D of the 33rd Infantry (North Carolina), C.S.A. On June 25, 1862, he was hospitalized for a chest injury at Petersburg, Virginia. Elias returned to his company about a month later; however, Day deserted the Confederate Army on Oct. 15, 1862. (Source: North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster, 1993)
According to the Camp Chase Prison Records, Elias Day was captured on May 6, 1863 at Lewis County, Virginia and imprisoned at Camp Chase, Ohio. He was described as 6’3” tall and thirty-three years old, with blue eyes, dark hair, and a florid complexion. Those same records indicated that Day had served the Confederate Army in Company I of the 37th Infantry (Virginia). However, this was either an error on the part of the record keeper or Day purposely gave the wrong information to the capturing Federals to avoid the possibility of exchange, since he had deserted from Company D, 33rd Infantry (N.C.). Regardless, the roster of the 37th Virginia Infantry does not list an Elias Day.
Day was released from Camp Chase on June 8, 1863, after taking the Oath of Allegiance and enlisting in Company F, 11th Ohio Cavalry. He was one of the about 100 Confederate POWs from Camp Chase who enlisted in the Union army, and they served along the Overland Trail in the Dakota Territory (now Wyoming). Pension and military records indicate that, on March 3, 1864, Elias was discharged from the 11th OVC with a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability while at Fort Halleck (Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio, 1886).
On July 26, 1864, Day was residing at Leavenworth, Kansas, and enlisted in Company A of the 17th Kansas Infantry, but he was mustered out on Nov. 16, 1864 (Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, Hudson, 1896).
On August 16, 1884, Elias Day filed for an Invalid’s Pension back in North Carolina. Less than a year later, Elias Day died on April 25, 1885. A Widow’s Pension was filed in North Carolina by Louisa Day on Sept. 24, 1888.