Sunday, December 28, 2014
...down to the 4th generation...
My grandfather, Sam Brice -- that's him sitting in the foreground with his feet tucked under -- was born in 1889, and looks to have been slightly less than 10 years old when this family picture was taken, dating it to shortly before 1900.
His father, Timothy Brice, is seated at center beside his dour-looking wife Mary, surrounded by their ten children and, on the other side of the white picket fence holding the clan's first and at this date only grandchild, the inevitable "Aunt" Ellen. This was, after all, Brooks County in Southern Georgia.
Until coupIe years ago I never knew any but the barest facts about my great-grandfather, that he was born in 1838 and looked a lot like me. I had done the math and knew that he was 23 and his brother David was 24 when the Civil War commenced in 1861. Born and brought up in South Georgia, they were grade-A cannon fodder.
Undoubtedly, social necessity as well as patriotic motives and a looming universal conscription order from the CSA led to their walking down to Savannah to volunteer for duty in the 50th Georgia Infantry on March 4,1862. But when the regiment marched out of Savannah four and a half months later, traveling north where it was attached to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, only David marched with them. He fought at Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, and met his death on the second day of the Battle of The Wllderness, May 6, 1864.
Meanwhile, Tim was heading home from an army hospital in Macon, above the fall line and outside the malarial zone surrounding Savannah, where he had become sick during training with Camp Fever, a form of malarial dysentary which killed as many during this conflict as died in battle.
Tim Brice was discharged from service on the same day the regiment marched from Savannah, and presumably returned home to Brooks County, where he married in 1866, fathered 13 children, 10 of whom lived, and spent the rest of his days.
It would take a very serious flaw in one's constitution or character to be unconditionally discharged from an army as desperate for manpower as the Confederacy's was. Perhaps my great-grandfather was gravely ill, or maybr he was painfully unfit for soldiering and warfare. In any case, Timothy Brice had a very shoirt interlude in service, and did no fighting for the CSA.