As my father, brother, and I began our initial research into our family history … we didn’t have a lot of information. My father visited a distant cousin and was able to obtain access to several original documents. One of which was the original Vicksburg Parole certificate for 1st Lieutenant George Washington Askew of the 42nd Alabama dated July 10, 1863 and signed by a paroling officer from an Illinois Regiment. These were issued to Southern soldiers shortly following the July 4, 1863 Confederate surrender. Initially both the U.S. and Confederate governments relied on the traditional European system of parole and prisoner exchange. The terms called for prisoners to give their word not to take up arms against their captors until they were formally exchanged for an enemy captive of equal rank. These exchanges were completed on paper … while the soldiers remained in their unit Parole camp until formally exchanged. Later the parole system was abolished and the Prison Camp system was established by both sides during the War. On the back side is a note providing transportation and an approved 30 day leave of absence for my GGGrandfather at the end of which he will report to the Parole Camp at Demopolis, Alabama. The approved leave of absence is signed by his Regimental Commander, LTC Thomas Lanier on July 20, 1863.
Of course, my GGGrandfather’s Parole Certificate captured our curiosity as to the actions of the 42nd Alabama during the campaign and siege of Vicksburg. We conducted quite a bit of research which included several trips to Vicksburg National Battlefield Park. The positions for the 42nd Alabama are clearly marked and located just behind the Visitors center near the old city cemetery. During the siege the cemetery was the approximate location of the 2nd Texas lunette. The 2nd Texas was a sister regiment of the 42nd Alabama under the brigade command of General John C. Moore. The 42nd Alabama covered the right flank portion of entrenchments for the Brigade. The road in front of the Visitors Center cuts perpendicular through the 42nd Alabama positions. Their position of entrenchments ran from the current cemetery across the road and overlooked the railroad cut of the Southern Railroad of Mississippi.
For more information of the 42nd Alabama’s participation in the campaign and siege of Vicksburg please feel free to read my web published articles.
The 42nd Alabama and the Campaigns for Vicksburg
The 42nd Alabama and the Siege of Vicksburg