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Abel Herman (1833-Sept 12, 1864)
Abel Herman was born in the year 1833 and died in a Civil War Prisoner Camp Sept 12, 1864 at age 33. Complete information on Abel Herman's final days can be found in the book, Resurrected Memories, The Story of a Lifetime by author Jim Herman, published June 2004 with PublishAmerica LLC and in the book Voyage to America 1766 published in June 2006. Follow this link for an excerpt in this historical fiction genre which is a letter Abel Herman wrote while a prisoner in a Federal Prison during the Civil War>>>>> Letter from prison
Rebel prisoner of war camp, Elmira, NY - 1864 (photo is from a commercially produced postcard available from US Government Archives and retail outlets)
Abel Herman married Pheobe KENT on Feb 13, 1853 in Catawba County, North Carolina. Ephraim Yount was the Justice of the Peace on the marriage records.
Abel Herman and Pheobe Kent had the following children:
>Louisa Etta "Lula" Herman (b. Feb 1853)
>Harriet Catherine "Katie" Herman (b. Jul 1854)
>John Pinkney Herman (b. Dec 24, 1858)
>Noah Elkanah Herman (b. Aug 1861)
>George F. Bullinger (b. 1866 but went by the surname Herman, however born after Abel Died)
Pheobe Kent Herman was the daughter of John L. Kent (b. 1791) and Sarah Reynolds Kent (b. 1807) from Wilkes County NC. Phe0be remarried Joseph Davis and had one son, Deline Davis b. Mar 28, 1868.
ADDITIONAL FAMILY HISTORY ON PHEOBE KENT HERMAN
This appeared in the Tarboro Southerner, Tarboro, NC, Thurs., June 9, 1881:
Year after year again rolled around and the children here were at as much lose to know his lodging place as the first family in Tennessee, who had long since remembered him with those who silently rest in the tomb. One of the daughters, Pheobe, married Mr. Abel HERMAN, a very estimable citizen of the county, who was killed during the late war.
The other daughter, married Mr. Wallace PROSPST, who now lives on the same place Mr. KENT left behind. The son, Mr. John KENT, Jr., became a very useful citizen and was deputy sheriff when he left the county to enter the Confederate service, where he went as lieutenant in Capt. Thos. LOWE'S company, 28th regiment. He died in camp near Richmond.
Abel Herman's Letter from Prison, December 25, 1863
1861 – The American Civil War
Abel Herman bent down on his knees. Calling each of his children by name, he asked them to give him a hug before his departure. Watching tearfully with her right hand cuffed over her mouth to soften her uncontrollable sobbing, Abel’s wife, Phoebe Kent Herman, looked on as each of her children gave their father a goodbye hug. Hugs she hoped would sustain and keep her husband of eight years safe during the battles of war he surely would encounter from enlisting in the Confederate Army.
December 25, 1863—It is with such joy and gladness I write. I am fine and in no danger from the madness that has befell us to kill or be killed. Since August past my battles are over and now I have succumbed to lock up in a Federal Prison they say in the coastal town of Point Lookout in the state of Maryland. There are many of us rebels and we are guarded by the very people we have enslaved. Most are unkind but keep away at a distance from us. I miss the food near as much, but not altogether, as my family. It is you that have keep me warm when I freeze from the northern cold, and you my dear wife and children have been with me every day from when I first left. There is talk of exchange and hopefully each of us hears that our name will be called. But now a swearing of allegiance to the Federal Government must be uttered before selection. I swear not with many others, so must remain until wars end and the Confederacy rescue me. My wish for you to remain patient and hold my children, tell my father and mother, and all others, we will unite at wars end, whenever it may be.
Here I recount my duties from when I first enlisted.
We marched from Newton Township to High Point Township, North Carolina and joined many more that made us number to a Company of size. Staying only a short time here we next marched near twenty days to the port of Wilmington North Carolina and took up guarding the port as well as the coast to the south down to Fort Caswell. There we stayed the winter which was mostly mild with much sun for warmth and no cold from home. The local habitants were friendly and supplied more than adequate food, but they speak strangely.
Phoebe, I entrust you to protect these words from my children as you see fit. Relay to them my love and longing, with much to say that surely I will be home sooner now than when I have been gone these more than two years. So much I would give to have your cooking and take you to bed. It is only now that I can rest from no fear of dying, although it is in confinement with guards saying we are not worthy of living. It is indeed strange to see people who were slaves sitting with muskets and now exhorting authority over so many who were past masters.
Our marching continued endlessly, only stopping for engagement battles and skirmishes. Through Maryland we left, crossing the Potomac River back into Virginia near Williamsport and on down the river through Martinsburg to Harpers Ferry. It was here at Harpers Ferry we captured twelve thousand troops and also some of the largest stores of arms and ammunition a mind could comprehend. From here on to Sharpsburg and a close by place called Antietum with battles stirring up every day. From a distress message received, we double quick marched up the river to Shepard’s Town, crossing the Potomac River back into Maryland, engaging the Federal Army as we relieved General Longstreet and General D. H. Hill, who were in a fierce and deadly battle with the Federals along the river bank. Our relief lent a hand to drive the Federals from the battle field. We continued the fight well into the night, shooting at the sight of any flash or cannon fire, then immediately moving quickly away to avoid the like. Near first light we were chased back across the river where we regrouped and chased them back across to the other side. The Potomac River crossing there at Shepard’s town was red from blood and the bodies floating in the waters were a sad sight to take a look at. It was said the Federals lost three thousand dead to only two hundred and sixty-one of our boys.
Once again we marched to Martinsburg, stopping long enough to dismantle railroad beds and the iron tracks. It was a safe task, but tiresome for our poor bodies so long from good food. From here we continued and took up camp at Bunker’s Hill. We tarried but two nights and food was brought in. Normally I would not eat stew made from dead mules, but nourishment was needed for all of us. Next we marched up and through to the Shenandoah where destruction from war battles lay frozen in time. Crossing the Shenandoah River near Winchester we wound the mountain to the top. It was a nine mile climb feeling like fifty. Below the once productive and proud valley lay in blackened ruin as far as the eye could see. Over the mountain we marched on to Fredericksburg and found a sharp engagement—our first in many days. This December 13, 1862 battle would be our last since winter was arriving swiftly and here we made winter camp. After we drove the Federals back across the River, women and children slowly passed by our lines to find their homes from where they left before the battle. These poor souls make a heart cry out, but we stand silently and watch them go by.
The winter of 1862-1863 in Fredericksburg was cold. More so than any I have felt these more than two years from when I left you. There is so much not to do in winter camp but boredom to drive you crazy. From our more than twenty thousand soldiers, it was said over one thousand deserted for home. I too longed for home here more than for the Confederacy. I fear not the battles more than the home guard. Too keep me here with sanity I think only of you and my children and the day I gloriously come home to their open arms and hugs. Never will I set foot again from our Carolina Catawba lands and county.
Breaking winter camp in late April, the springtime was upon us and upon the land. Marching on to Chancelorsville we combined with more of our boys to form more than fifty thousand. Engaging Federal troops of like force we drew a most bloody battle on the 2nd of May. Throughout the night fighting did not cease; nor did we sleep. Cannon fire and burst along with the deadly grape shot from canister fire made the air deadly thick with unseen death. The morning of the 3rd we advanced to the Federals left U flank and here I took a minor wound to my shoulder. It was tended and wrapped with no damage except to skin. Sadness befell us all, not for my wound, but this same day our General Stonewall Jackson took shot and became gravely wounded. We learned later he passed on the 10th of May where he was taken to Guineas Station. It was a Sunday.
It is this Christmas day I celebrate the gracious gift of our Savior and I think of you and my family to whom I long to see before the next celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Abel Herman was transferred to a recently opened Rebel Prison Camp in Elmira, New York, August 16, 1864, due to over crowded capacity at Point Lookout Prison, Maryland. Arriving dehydrated, weak and sickly due to the deplorable food and conditions from where he left, Abel Herman died in less than thirty days following arrival at Elmira, New York Rebel Prison Camp. He was found in his bunk the morning of September 12, 1864-seven months before the end of the war—by his two cousins Frederick Herman who also was transferred here two weeks before Abel, and Rufus D. Herman who was transferred here August 8, 1864. Abel Herman had served with cousins, nephews and relatives from Catawba County, North Carolina, whose fate fared some better and some the same as him.
Civil War - Old Capital Prison, Washington DC
Elmira NY Rebel Prison Camp - Civil War
Point Lookout Prison - Maryland
HERMAN, ABEL, Private - 28th Regiment, Co C - Born in Catawba County where he resided prior to enlisting in Catawba County on August 13, 1861. Wounded at Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 2-3, 1863. Returned to duty prior to July 14, 1863, when he was captured at Falling Waters. Maryland Confined at Old Capitol Prison, Washington, D.C., until transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, August 8, 1863. Transferred to Elmira, New York, August 16, 1864. Died at Elmira on September 12, 1864, of "chronic diarrhoea." [NCT-8:145]
Woodlawn National Cemetery grave location number - 186
Copyright 2006 Jim Herman, Voyage to America 1766
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