R.A. Davidge (1864)

18 December 2021

Robert A. Davidge enlisted as a Private in Company B of the 4th Texas Infantry in July 1861. According to the Confederate muster rolls and US Army records that comprise his Compiled Service Records, these are the highlights of his military service:

  • absent without leave when his Company fought at Fox’s Gap on 14 September 1862, but present at Sharpsburg on the 17th
  • captured at Chickamauga, GA on 18 September 1863 and in the Federal prison at Louisville, KY
  • captured again on 6 December 1863 in Dickson County, TN
  • while a prisoner, admitted to a US Army hospital in Nashville on 1 March 1864 with typhoid pneumonia
  • died at the hospital on 6 March 1864

A little odd, with those various apparently overlapping captures, but otherwise fairly straightforward, right?

If there’s any truth in the following news piece, his actual experience was far more interesting than the dry records suggest. See what you think …

R. A. Dᴀᴠɪᴅɢᴇ.
—Hon. A. C. Niles received a letter from Judge Searls on Monday evening last, from which he has permitted us to make the following extract in relation to an old Nevadan:

“Robert A. Davidge, formerly of Nevada [City], was in Texas at the commencement of the war and enlisted in the [4th] Texas regiment, served a year or so in Virginia and deserted: was arrested by the rebels in Tennessee and got clear through the influence of influential friends. Was arrested by the Federal authorities near Nashville for alleged disloyalty — took the oath and enlisted in the Union army; served a few weeks, deserted and joined a band of guerrillas known as Ray’s band. Was finally captured and thrown into prison at Nashville, and while awaiting his trial for desertion and murder, finally died on the 27th of last February.”

“My informants were a physician from Hopkinsville, Ky., who knew him from boyhood, and a Capt. Moore, now in the Union prison at Donelson, who belonged to the same brigade.”

Davidge came to this city [Nevada City] in 1852 and was appointed Deputy Clerk of this county at that time by Theodore Miller. During the following year Miller returned to the Atlantic States and Dividge acted as County Clerk for the remainder of the term. Davidge was then appointed Postmaster of this city through the influence of old Gwin; and while acting in that capacity was selected as editor of a new paper started at that time called the Young America, to advocate the interests of the chivalry, which had control of all the offices in the county. Having become disgusted with everything and everybody, he left for his home in Kentucky in the year 1855, where he remained up to the time of the breaking out of this rebellion, editing a newspaper. Thus, one by one, the would-be chiefs of this county in early times have received the deserts they merited.

— Nevada Transcript.


That article is from the Marysville (CA) Daily Appeal of 9 June 1864, online from the California Digital Newspaper Collection.

The view above of Nevada City in March 1855 is a copy of a print sold by Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.

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