If your searching for a male ancestor born 16-30 years prior to any war, check out http://FOLD3.com. This is a military website that can provide immense information. Looking for my husbands great-grandfather’s military records I made a HUGE discovery. His name was Daniel Burnett Knight, born in 1833 and the oldest son of nine siblings. From Fold3’s carded records much information can be learned. Age, Rank-in/Rank-out, location enlisted, battles fought, injuries as well as all the other members enlisted in the same company.
On October 17, 1861, in Middleburg, Florida, at the age of 27, Daniel Burnett Knight enlisted under the command of Captain Summerlin to Florida’s First Calvary, Company C, entering with the rank of 3rd Lieutenant. As I explore the other members of Company C, I realize many are first and second cousins to Lt. D.B. Knight, all enlisting the same day, in Middleburg, FL. The further I dig, I find the deaths of three brothers, Lt. Knight’s first cousins, who were killed under his command at Missionary Ridge where the confederates took serious casualties. What a sobering letter he must have written to his Aunt and Uncle reporting the deaths of their three boys. Then I find a father’s signature signing for his three son’s belongings and pay. I can’t imagine the grief they withstood.
Looking through each card whether a receipt or a commission, injury, or illness a forgotten story emerges. I find a letter that was written to the wife of a General who was captured along with Daniel Burnett Knight at Missionary Ridge. The letter explains that Lt. Knight escaped the Unions grips and made if back to the Confederate camp without further issue, telling information of the captured officers condition to be passed on to their loved ones. Riveting stuff!
Would I have found this information without FOLD3? Maybe, maybe not, but its a great website to start with even with the minimal membership costs. Its a great tool!