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Friday, May 4, 2012

Civil War Photo Friday: John Alphonso Beall, 14th Texas Cavalry

Now that the April A to Z Challenge is over (whew!) I'm getting back to my regular Civil War Photo Friday posts. This guy is Third Lieutenant John Alphonso Beall of Company D, 14th Texas Cavalry Regiment. His regiment was formed in the summer of 1861 and saw action in many different battles and campaigns. Like many regiments from west of the Mississippi, they were sent east for the duration. This genealogical website has some more information.

An interesting fact about this regiment was that they were dismounted a year into their service and fought as infantry for the rest of the war. This happened to many cavalry units because of a shortage of mounts, and tended to have a bad effect on morale. Guys like John signed up to serve as glamorous cavalry, not foot-slogging ground pounders! That disappointment didn't stop the 14th from fighting well and fighting until the end.

John is armed with a Spencer carbine, an early repeating rifle that some Northern soldiers had. John must have retrieved it from a dead Union soldier.

Judging from his photo, John seems like a nice guy, with an open face and a ready smile. It would have been sad to have to shoot him on the battlefield, but with him shooting at me, I doubt I would have have hesitated. I wonder how many of these of veterans of the blue and gray carried the faces of the enemy slain in their memories.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. Lots of just normal, nice guys died I'm sure.

  2. That's one of the after-effects of any war. The emotional baggage that is attached is something the military doesn't always deal with.

    It was a time when change was required if the USA was to become a civilized nation. Changes don't come easy.

    Have a good weekend!

  3. I've heard Maryland companies from the North and South, small town neighbors before the war, called out to each other across the lines at Gettysburg. Don't know if it's true, but it's a sad story. Everyone who died was an American.


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