Written By: Peter J. Gossett on 4/2/2005
Francis Bell (3rd great-grandfather) entered the Union army as a private in 1862 and was discharged in 1863 for disability. Itís probably lucky that he did get discharged, since he had two brothers to die in the Union army, both within two weeks of each other and one of those being at Andersonville prison. Another brother died in the Confederate army, and their father, James B. Bell, wrote letters to his son in the Confederate army trying to convince him to come home. James died himself in 1862 while caring for his sons in Tennessee. Imagine how Jamesí wife, Elizabeth, felt! My favorite quotes from the letters are where he was glad to hear his son was doing well "but it was disgusting to me to think that I had Raised A Child that woud Cecede from under the government that he was bornd and Raised under..." and you haven't "seen nor heard nothing but disunion secession confederate confederated and confederation and you all haive Swollode it down like Sweet milk and Softe peaches..." After the Rebellion, Francis started a church that is still organized today: Old Union.
Jesse Daniel Hyde (3rd great-grandfather) entered the Union army as a carpenter in 1863 and was discharged in 1865. He married Sarah Jarome Barton, who had five brothers in the Union army. One of those, William, died in Andersonville prison.
Robert Asa Godsey (4th great-grandfather) entered the Union army as a private in 1863. He was captured by the Confederate army and was held as a prisoner of war. He deserted army life after this, and I donít blame him.
Joseph Jackson (4th great-grandfather) entered the Union army as a private in 1865; of course the Rebellion didnít like much being over with. His occupation before the army was a shoemaker.
David C. Manasco (4th great-grandfather) never entered the Union army; he did try but was rejected because of his age. He even had children in the Confederate army, and he was repeatedly threatened with his life and home because of his being pro-Union, including being arrested. He was also a part of the Union League, an underground movement. He always led people through the county and into the Union army, FORTY-ONE at one time!
Thomas M. Martin (3rd great-grandfather) never entered the Union army. He was a preacher, and he was also threatened many times and arrested by the Confederates. He was one of those that fed and harbored Union-minded people trying to avoid conscription into the Confederacy. He also went down to the town of Jasper in late 1864/early 1865 as a SPY! He came back and told where the arms and ammunition was kept and that there were Union prisoners in jail. He told this information probably to Anderson Ward, and Anderson along with 25 other men went down to Jasper, and as the sun set on January 10, 1865, they released the prisoners and torched the jail!
And guess what? All those mentioned above was from Winston County, Alabama! I do have Confederate ancestors, including one who fought at Shiloh, but the one I am proud of is my 3rd great-grandfather, William Jackson Gossett. He entered the Confederate army as a private in 1862. According to his military papers, he "has never reported to his command since called into the service."