Submitted by Tom Fagart; vetted and edited by Cheri Todd Molter and Kobe M. Brown
Henry Vines enlisted in the Confederate army on April 30, 1862. He served in Company G of the 36th Regiment, NC Troops. Vines was taken prisoner at Ft. Fisher on January 15, 1865, and confined at the prison in Elmira, NY, two days later. He was listed as prisoner #597. The conditions at Elmira were severe, and Vines and the other prisoners of war suffered while there. Vines had both of his legs amputated to the knees because of frostbite. He survived the ordeal, and on July 26, 1865, Vines was released after taking the Oath of Allegiance. Afterward, he returned to North Carolina.
On February 5, 1911, Henry Vines died. He was buried in the Vines Cemetery at Delco in Columbus County, NC. One side of his headstone reads, “He was a faithful soldier in the Confederate war and served under Carl Lamb and Capt. Daniel Russel Company G, 36th NC.” The other side is engraved with the words “Make the perfect man & behold the upright for the end of that man is peace. Gone but not forgotten.”
His obituary was published in The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC) on Feb. 28, 1911 (p5). The following is an excerpt from it: “A young man of 24 when the war broke out, he left a young wife, and enlisted in Company G., 36th N.C. Regiment…He was captured at the memorable battle of Fort Fisher and carried to Elmyra [sic] Prison. While imprisoned there he went through many hardships with hundreds of other comrades, finally having both legs amputated at the knees as a result of frost bites which caused blood [poisoning]. …With the close of the war and return of the survivors, nothing was heard by his family, and he was finally given up for dead, when some months later he was found wandering about the streets of this city by Mr. Edward Wells who fought with him, and recognized, although he had lost his legs since Mr. Wells had seen him. Mr. Wells carried him home to his family, where after a time his wounds were entirely healed.”
Pvt. Henry Vines was luckier than at least four other compatriots who were also captured at Fort Fisher: Cpl. Joseph Carroll of Elizabethtown, NC, who served in Company K, 40th Regiment NC; Pvt. John A. Folks from Whiteville, NC., who served in Company A, 36th Regiment NC; Sgt. Samuel Joyner from Whiteville, NC, who served in Company E, 36th Regiment, 2nd NC; and Pvt. Chancy G. Mercer from Brunswick County, NC, who served in Company A, 36th Regiment NC. They all died of gangrene of the feet caused by frostbite while they were imprisoned and were buried in the Woodlawn National Cemetery at Elmira, NY.