12th Regiment Tennessee Infantry (Consolidated)
Life is very short for some of us, and then we are gone and very much forgotten.
This seems to be the fate of this young man.
Firstly, I must admit that he was difficult to find, and much of the information that I have used to identify the soldier identified as burial #7 in the Confederate Lot (Lexington Cemetery) is circumstantial. I do believe, however, that I have identified the correct person, although his name appears to have been muddled throughout his short military career.
The Lexington Cemetery website (http://www.lexcem.org) identifies a person named Thomas O Putman, who was buried on September 15, 1862 in the National Lot (this should not be confused with the Lexington National Cemetery; no Confederate soldiers are buried in the National Cemetery, as I understand).
This information is similar to the name T. O. Putman of the 12th Tenn. who is identified on the Confederate monument as being burial number seven in the Confederate Lot.
The military record, Register of Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, and Citizens who died in Federal Prisons and Military Hospitals in the North, 1861-1865, identifies a T. O. Putnam of the 12th Tenn. as having died on September 15, 1862 and buried in the Confederate Lot. Notice that the surname in this record is “Putnam”, rather than “Putman”, a simple enough error, but important given that it too is an actual surname.
Thus far, the records seem to indicate that this soldier’s name is likely Thomas O. Putman.
The Confederate Service records for the person likely this same soldier differ in that the Corporal who enlisted into the 12th Tennessee Infantry is identified as T. S. Putman. There are few pages of records, I have found six pages, but they are consistent with the name.
This leaves open the possibility that T. O. Putman and T. S. Putman are different individuals. I do not believe this is so, however. I believe it is likely that the soldier’s name is likely T. S Putman, as he would have given his name at enlistment. I believe that “Thomas O.” is a miscommunication that occurred after he had died and his middle initial was misremembered or misread by the cemetery administrators who were attempting to keep records of the soldiers being interred during this chaotic time in the city’s history.
This is where I take a slightly bigger leap and attempt to link this young man to his family in the community prior to enlisting in the Confederate army.
The record indicates that at least some part of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was indeed in Lexington at the time this soldier’s death.
The 12th Tennessee was one of a number of regiments who joined with Major General Kirby Smith to participate in the Kentucky Campaign, including the Battle of Richmond (KY) on August 30th, 1862.
The 12th Tennessee Infantry organized in May 1861, enlisting men largely from the Gibson County, Tennessee area. The young man whom I believe to be this Thomas Putman was living in Carroll County, Tennessee adjacent to Gibson County. Thomas Putman (or T. S. Putman) enlisted into the 12th Tennessee on May 30, 1861 in Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee, adjacent to Gibson and Carroll Counties, Tennessee. He was 18 years old as per the service records.
In 1850, there is a four year old boy named Thomas Putman who is living with his mother, Mary Putman and two younger brothers, William and John. This family may be difficult to find on Ancestry.com because their surname is misspelled in the index as “Tulman”! In 1850, they are living in the household of 70 year old Adam Little and some other adults named “Little”.
I believe they are living in this household because Thomas’ father, John Putman had just died in May 1850, and Mary had moved in with family, as marriage records indicate that she was probably Mary Little, prior to marriage to john Putman on July 21, 1842 in Carroll County, Tennessee.
In 1860, Thomas Putman is 16 years old, and is still living with his mother and two younger brothers in Carroll County. He is identified as a farm laborer. There is another female living in the household, her relationship not identified at this time.
On May 30, 1861, T. S. Putman enlists into the 12th Tennessee. I cannot identify another person whom this might be. The age is a little off, but he would not have been the first young man to advance his age a bit to be of age to enlist.
In one year, three months and seventeen days, he would be dead and buried far from home. Nearly 152 years later, he still will not have had a proper headstone and it appears likely that no one who might consider him family knows where he lies (as per a quick sweep through Ancestry.com family trees).
Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.com
Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.com
Fold3.com. Confederate Civil War Service Records (fold3.com)
Kenneth A. Hafendorfer, Battle of Richmond Kentucky, August 30, 1862 (Louisville, Kentucky: KH Press, 2006).
Lexington Cemetery Website (Lexcem.org)
The National Park Service (nps.gov). Civil War Regiment Details.
Register of Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, and Citizens who Died in Federal Prisons and Military Hospitals in the North, 1861-1865; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M918, 1 roll); Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Ancestry.com
Note: I am aware that I need to improve my referencing of material. This is something I will work on as I move along with this project.