William Tyson

Company D, 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

See William Tyson's description of life in Southern prisons below.

Pvt. WILLIAM TYSON; born April 2, 1841, in Bainbridge Township, Schuyler County ILL. His early life was spent on the home farm, attending the common country schools of that vicinity, where he received an education sufficient to enable him to teach "several schools. At the age of sixteen years he accompanied his parents to Missouri, where he lived on a farm until the breaking out of the Civil War. On the 27th day of June, 1861, he enlisted in the United States service in Company D, Cass County Regiment of Cavalry, Missouri Home Guard Volunteers, for "three years or during the war;" and was discharged at Harrisonville, MO., February 28, 1862, by reason of General Order No. 25. During this service he participated in several skirmishes, but no regular battles. He was one of the soldiers who helped to guard the first wagon train of provisions to Lyon's army after the battle of Wilson's Creek, Mo. Soon after his discharge he started to Illinois and was obliged to cross the entire state at a very dangerous time of the war. On August 12, 1862, he re-enlisted in the army as a private in Company D, 115th Illinois. He was with his company and regiment all of the time and did his full share of marching and fighting, the scouting and picketing, the digging and suffering, as well as the foraging and picnicing. He participated in the battle of Franklin on April 10, 1863. He was in Rosecrans' campaign from Murfreesboro to Tullahoma from June 23 to June 30, 1863; in the battle of Chickamauga, September 18, 19, and 20, 1863, and in the Dalton raid under General Palmer in February, 1864. He was in the charge on Tunnel Hill, May 7, 1864, and in the battle of Resaca, May 15 and 16, 1864. He was one of that brave little band of forty-two men who formed Company D under Captain Hymer's command, and who held their own against such fearful odds at Buzzard Roost Gap, and was there captured with them October 13, 1864. William Tyson wrote the history of the Buzzard Roost Gap battle. (WLB 2002)

Source: History of 115th Reg ILL Vol. Infantry
By: Isaac Henry Clay Royse
2nd Lt. Co. E
Published 1900 Windsor & Kenfield Pub. Co. Chicago
Library # 973.7473R892
Terre Haute, IN. July 1900

Submitted by William Baran

The history of the 115th being already well supplied with incidents connected with the Southern prisons, I will content myself with a very brief outline. Our tour through the South was much the same as that of others. As we marched into Selma, Ala., the sidewalks were lined with Southern women waving their handkerchiefs at the rebel guards and shouting, "Here’s your Yankee! Here’s your Lincoln dogs! Here’s your nigger officers!" From Selma we had a steamboat ride to Cahaba and were then sent to Millen, Ga., by way of Montgomery. When Sherman was on his march to the sea he sent General Kilpatrick to rescue us, but the rebels learning of it, hurried us down to Savannah, thence to Thomasville, and from there march us across the country to Andersonville, a distance of about sixty miles. A pack of ten or twelve bloodhounds followed our trail until we were safe in Andersonville, which we reached on the 26th of December, having marched through creeks and swamps filled with ice much of the way.
As I have not seen them published elsewhere I submit here with the:


1. There will be two daily roll calls at the prison; one at 8 a. m. and one at 4 p. m.
2. The prisoners are divided into detachments of one hundred men each. Five detachments will constitute a division.
3. Each division must occupy the grounds assigned to it for encampment. No huts or tents must be erected outside the camping grounds.
4. Each detachment must elect a sergeant. The five sergeants of a division will appoint one of their number to draw the rations of the whole division.
5. The sergeants are responsible for the cleanliness of their encampment. They will each day make a detail from among their men to police the camp throughout. Any man refusing to do police duty will be punished by the sergeant by bucking him for the rest of the day.
6. No rations will be 'issued to any division unless all the men are present at roll call. The sergeant in charge of the detachment must report every absentee. If he fails to do so, and the missing man makes his escape he will be put in close confinement until the missing man is recaptured.
7. The sergeant of a detachment will report all the sick in his detachment and will carry them, after roll call, to the receiving hospital. After examination by the sergeant in charge he will leave those who are admitted and carry the others back. He will at the same time take charge of those belonging to his division who may be discharged from the hospital.
8. The prisoners have the privilege of writing twice a week. No letter must be over one page in length and must contain nothing but private matters.
9. Any prisoner has the right to ask an interview with the commandant of the prison by applying to the sergeant in charge of the gate between the hours of 10 and 11 a. m.
10. The sergeants of detachments and divisions must report to the commandant of the prison any shortcoming of rations.
11. No prisoner must pass the dead line or talk with any guard on post or attempt to buy or sell anything to the sentinel, the sentinels having strict orders to fire at any one passing the dead line, if attempting to speak to or trade with them.
12. It is the duty of the detachment sergeant to carry any men, who should die in quarters, immediately to the receiving hospital, giving to the hospital clerk the name, rank, regiment and State of the deceased.
13. To prevent stealing in camp the prisoners have a right to elect a chief of police, who will select as many men, as he deems necessary to assist him. He and the sergeants of the divisions have a right to punish any man who is detected stealing. The punishment shall be shaving of one half of the head and a number of lashes, not exceeding fifty.
These rules were secured by A. J. Terrill of Company D, to whom I am indebted for them.
Our mess in Andersonville consisted of Sergeant Jacoby, P. A. Zimmerman, A. J. Terrill, M. P. Julian and myself. While we were there John S. Smith was taken sick and died on February 1, 1865. On the 25th of March, 1865, we left that villainous pen and were sent to Vicksburg for exchange, and were thence transferred to St. Louis, paid off, and furloughed home.

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