My Confederate Civil War ancestor is John A. Sawyer, who, like my Union Civil War ancestor, was from Gum Neck in Tyrrell County.
I know little about John Adam Sawyer. I know that he was my great, great-grandfather – my dad’s mother’s folks (where as William B. Liverman was my dad’s dad’s family). His wife was Martha A. Midgette whose brother, Belcher Midgette, was a Union soldier from North Carolina. John Adam Sawyer did not enter the conflict until October 1863. He joined earlier (February 1862) but evidently left and rejoined his unit in October 1863.
His service record indicates he was 23 years old when he joined the Edenton Bell Battery but census records all point to his being only about 16 years old (just barely) when he joined. In early 1864 his Edenton Bell Battery Company B was detached and sent to Fort Fisher near Wilmington, N.C. It remained there through the Federal assault and retreated towards Raleigh and ultimately Greensboro, N.C. There, according to his service record, he was paroled after Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his army to Gen. William T. Sherman. Evidently, John Adam Sawyer made his way home to Gum Neck, married Martha, raised a family and never left Gum Neck again.
I discovered in the reminiscences stored in the Military Collection of the State Archives a four-page story of the origin of the Bell Battery. To make the guns of war the local community actually offered up their church bells for the metal.
In 1911 the degenerative disease known as “Bright’s Disease,” which was a disease affecting the kidneys, got the better of him and left him almost blind and unable to work. He received a pension from the state of North Carolina and he was so disabled that his son had to travel to the county seat in Columbia to make affidavits for the pension application. John Adam Sawyer did not long enjoy the support of the pension – he died in 1912.
The people of Tyrrell County erected a monument to their Civil War Confederate ancestors and I was pleased to find his name listed among the other soldiers on a plaque on the side of the monument.