Birth: May 6, 1835 Anson County North Carolina, USA
Death: Oct. 3, 1864 Andersonville (Sumter County) Sumter County Georgia, USA
John R Stewart was the son of Alfred Merrill Stewart, Sr and Catherine Richardson Stewart. He was also the brother of my g.grandfather, Alfred Merrill Stewart, Jr.
During the Civil War Sgt John R Stewart was captured and imprisoned at Andersonville Stockade in GA. Within 6 months there he died of starvation and for 148 years he has been buried as one of many 'Unknown US Soldiers'.
In May 2013 the VA approved my request for a Memorial Marker for John and on Jun 6, 2013, anniversary of D-Day, John's marker was placed in Union Hill Cemetery in his hometown of Reagan, TN.
On Saturday June 22, 2013 a Memorial Service was held at the cemetery. Around 27 descendants and friends came to honor the memory of Sgt John R Stewart. Ret. Major General Dan Wood was the guest speaker and in the end the haunting sounds of 'Taps' were played by Danny Frizzell, bugler for the TN National Guard Color Guard. The service was very inspiring.
Sgt John R Stewart is no longer an 'Unknown US Soldier' and he will be remembered and honored for his sacrifice to preserve the Union.
According to family records John R never married. He was a school teacher and a farmer. He "raised a crop every year and would teach school to provide for his widowed mother". He lived with and supported his mother and two unmarried older sisters, Mahala Caroline Stewart and Roseanna Margaret "Peggy" Stewart.
On 7/6/1863 in Adamsville, TN John R enlisted in the Union Army as a private to serve 3 years in the 7th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry. John was "detailed as clerk in the adjutant office", probably because he could read and write.
On 3/24/1864 John and his company were captured at Union City, TN. He was imprisoned in Andersonville Prison in Georgia. On 9/30/1864 he was admitted to the hospital at Andersonville, patient #13382, where he died 3 days later on 10/3/1864 of starvation and scrobutus (scurvy, lack of Vitamin C). Andersonville National Cemetery reported there is no headstone with his name and no record of his burial.
A friend obtained copies of some official documents for me which showed John R Stewart was a prisoner at Andersonville Prison. They also showed that John had been promoted to Sargeant. I hope his beloved mother received that news. Since Andersonville National Cemetery had no record of his burial, they suggested I request a memorial headstone marker to be placed in a cemetery in his hometown of Reagan near Lexington TN so John may finally get the recognition he deserves and can rest in peace - he will no longer be unknown!!
Andersonville, also called Camp Sumter, was one of the largest and worst military prisons established by the Confederacy during the Civil War. In existence for 14 months, over 45,000 Union soldiers were confined at the prison. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, and exposure to the elements.
John's younger brothers William R Stewart and Alfred Merrill Stewart, Jr (my g.grandfather) served in Co E, 11th Illinois Infantry. They survived the war and were able to return to their homes.