At the end of part one I mentioned getting one of those “gold mine” packages in the mail from the researcher I had hired to retrieve records from the General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office collection at the National Archives. The documents included spanned the years from 1887 to 1909. I’ll share some of the highlights, sticking to the spellings, dates, locations in the originals as best I can.
Affidavit from William Tyree of Crawford County, Indiana, signed 25 March 1887 and sent by his attorney to the Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, DC:
William Tyree being duly sworn upon his oath, say that he enlisted as a soldier Co. “K” 8th Reg. Cal. Tenn Vols. in the war of the rebellion in Green County, Tenn. sometime in the fall of 1864. That he served two months and a half, that he took the fever, then the mumps and measles and was sent to the hospital in Knoxville Tenn. sometime in the later part of 1865. That before he recovered that his regiment was discharged & peace was made. That he never received his discharge. That he prays the government to give him one yet.
Return correspondence to William’s attorney from the Assistant Adjutant General, dated 22 June 1887:
In reply to your letter of March 25th, 1887, requesting a discharge certificate for William Tyree, as a member of company “K”, 8th Tennessee Cavalry, I have the honor to inform you that the official records of this office show that this man was enrolled September 20th, 1863, was mustered in October 27th, 1863, after which there is no further records of him; there is no record of his presence in any hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, and that a discharge certificate cannot, therefore, be furnished him, he being regarded as a deserter from on or about November first, 1863.
The War Department requested information from the hospital in Knoxville but no record was found. Note the discrepancy in the date that William Tyree claimed he entered the hospital and the actual year he was regarded as a deserter. Records were requested for Fall 1864.
Much of the correspondence over the next ten or so years was repetitive, with requests coming from attorneys and denials coming from the government. Then in 1900 William went to Hancock County, Tennessee to get statements from those involved:
“Proof of Disability” affidavit on standard form, by Ira E. Mosier, age 68, a resident of vicinity of Fairview, Scott County, Virginia dated 5 Feb 1900:
That the said William Tyre while in the line of duty, at or near Knoxville in the State of Tennessee did on or about the 15 day of December 1863, became disabled in the following manner, viz.: That he was taken sick with something like fever and was taken to the hospital at Knoxville Tennessee I visited him soon after he was taken to the hospital and he seemed to be suffering verry bad and at that time he told me that the physicians were treating him for fever and a short time after that our command was ordered off from there and left the Soldier William Tyre in the hospital at Knoxville Tennessee and never saw him after that time to the present time. That the facts stated are personally known to affiant by reason of Being with him at the time claimant contracted his disability.
And deponent further state that he was well acquainted with the claimant, having known him for at least 45 years and further, that his knowledge of the facts above stated was derived from said acquaintance, and from having served as Ira Mosier of Company K of the 8th Regiment of Tennessee volunteers, from the 20th day of Sept 1863.
Signed by Ira E. Mosier in his own hand.
“Proof of Incurrence of Disability” deposition on standard form, by William Kilgore, age 56, a resident of vicinity of Whitesburg, in the County of Hamblin, and state of Tennessee, who, being duly sworn according to law, states that he is acquainted with William Tyre, applicant for Invalid Pension, and knows the said William Tyre to be the identical person of that name who served as a Private in Company K, 8th Regiment of Tennessee Cav Vol:
That the said William Tyre, while in the line of duty, at or near Knoxville, in the State of Tennessee did, on or about the 15th day of December, 1863, became disabled in the following manner, viz: that the soldier William Tyre was taken sick about the time above stated and was taken to the hospital at Knoxville, Tennessee and I was sick and went to the hospital with him and the physicians treated him for fever and diareah and I know of my own knowledge that he had diareah verry bad I staid with him until he got some better of the fever and while in the hospital our Regt was ordered to Camp Wilson Ky and as soon as we got able to travel we started to go to our command and got to Tazewell Claiborne County Tennessee and met the Rebels there and had to take to the woods to save ourselves and therefore could not get to our command and Tyre was very weak and was still suffering with chronic diareah so that he could not travel we then went a short distance to a neighbors and friends house and kept concealed about 2 or three weeks and then went to my home in Hancock County Tenn and stayed there and kept concealed about 3 months and then he took a notion that he would go to his house in Scott County Va and I went with him part of the way as he was still weak and suffering with chronic diareah and I never saw him any more till now.
And deponent further state that he was well acquainted with the claimant, having known him for about 36 years; and further, that his knowledge of the facts above stated was derived from having served as a Privat in Company K of the 8th Regiment of Tenn Cav Vols, from the 20th day of Sept 1863.
Signed by William Kilgore by his mark, with witness signature in the own hands of Zedediah Fletcher and William Tyre.
“Proof of Disability” affidavit on standard form, by W.W. Fletcher, age 47, a resident of vicinity of Blackwater, Lee County, Virginia and Zedahiah Fletcher, age 47, a resident of Blackwater, Hancock County, Tennessee dated 30 January 1900:
That we was personally acquainted with William Tyre about January or February 1864. That on or about the time above stated he came to our house with William Kilgore and was Sick when he come here he had Chronic Diareah and he said that it was caused by him having the fever before he come here and he was not Able to travel at that time and we kept him concealed to keep the Rebels from getting him until he got able to travel and my recollection is now that he staid here about two or three months and we have had no Acquaintance with him since he left here at that time until now.
That these facts are personally known to the affiants by reason of his being her at the time above stated.
W.W. Fletcher and Zedahiah Fletcher both signed their names in their own hands.
This attempt in 1900 was not successful in getting the charge of desertion dropped. In 1902 William’s son-in-law/brother-in-law William McLemore and his wife Amanda (nee Tyree) composed a document in support of William Tyree:
State of Indiana, Crawford County
On this 22nd day of March 1902 personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for said County, William McLemore aged 52 years, and Amanda McLemore aged 51 years, … state: We and each of us are personally acquainted with William Tyree. We remember that during the war, we were at Rockcastle County, in the fall of 1864 about September, while there said Tyre was brought there sick, he had mumps measles and fever, he remained to the close of the war after he got over measles he bled at the lungs, and was in bad condition long after the close of the war. He was not able to return to his regiment.
There are some problems with timing in relation to this document. William McLemore’s family was already in Rockcastle County before William Tyree & family arrived, but he and Amanda Tyree did not marry until 1879. The Tyree family did likely go to Rockcastle County sometime in 1864, but Amanda would have been with them and not already there with William McLemore as she was only about three years old. The last Tyree child to be born in Virginia was Mary Ann in January of 1864, and the first Tyree child to be born in Kentucky was James in September 1866.
And this letter did not help William Tyree’s case. There were a few more pieces of correspondence, but the latest date I found was 1909 when the War Department once again said that the application for desertion had been “repeatedly denied, and now stands denied”.
So how did William Tyree end up buried in Crawford County, Indiana with a headstone from Company C, 14th Kentucky Cavalry? Well, there was a William Tyree of approximately the correct age that served in Company C. Just one William Tyree. And that William Tyree was William R. Tyree of Rockcastle County, Kentucky (some degree of cousin to my William). So when William’s daughter Florence Tyree Satterfield applied for a stone using the Company C, 14th Kentucky Cavalry service it was granted.
It is impossible from the documentation that has been found to know what was in William Tyree’s heart. Scott County, Virginia was an area with very divided sentiments. Did William get home, feel like his wife Ellen, new baby and two other children under five were not safe there? Whether or not he intended to return to his regiment if/when he was healthy did he feel like moving them to Kentucky where some of his family was already settled was the smart thing to do? Or did he just have enough of the fighting and desert? We may never know.