Enos Taylor, Confederate Soldier
Buried in Kinmundy, Illinois
This is a long overdue story of a young soldier from Hampshire County who lies buried in a borrowed grave in the Evergreen Cemetery in Kinmundy Township in Marion County, Illinois. We regret that we have not completed editing this page, but felt that the information should get out to public view at this time. If you have any additions, corrections or comments pleas let us know. We appreciate the assistance of Gladys See of the Kinmundy Historical Society who supplied the photographs and a copy of the Enos Taylor story from a local source. We may be able to post that version of the story sometime.
The Story of a Hampshire County Boy.
By Rev. Leslie Holliknd Davis.
[transcribed from the Hampshire Review May 14, 1913 or 1914]
At the session of the Baltimore Conference of the M. E.Ohurch, South, which met in Washington, D. C., March. 1875, in answer to a persistant call from our struggling church in Illinois, I was transfered by Bishop Marvin to that field and stationed at Kinmundy, Marion Co., in that state. The place had been made vacant a few weeks before by the death of the pastor. On entering upon my work I found an excellent people; among them were a number of cultured families from the south, who had left Alabama and other southern states to better their ﬁnancial prospects, as wel1 as escape the unsatisfactory conditions incident to the reconstruction period.
Soon after my arrival, I learned that in the city cemetery there had been buried during the dark days of conﬂict between the states, a noble Hampshire county boy. The name of Enos Taylor is found on the roster of Co. D., 11 Va. Cav., which was first commanded by the gallant E. H. McDonald. On his promotion Wm. Taylor now of Emeryville succeeded to the command.
Young Taylor, while away from his command visiting home and friends, was taken prisoner and sent to Camp Chase, or perhaps some other northern prison. After long and weary months, a part of the prisoners in confinement - among them the subject of this sketch - were started for the south by way of Cairo, Ill., for exchange.
I have often felt that an account of the peculiar circumstances connected with the career of Enos Taylor for publication in your excellent county paper was due the splendid family of this young man, whose history was so tragic. It would doubtless be appreciated, and seem to, in some measure, rescue from undeserved oblivion his final resting place, and how strangers took charge of the body when put off the train and imperfectly buried on the right of way, and gave it respectable interment in the city cemetery, where a lot was secured. His death occurred just north of Kinmundy while the train was passing down the Chicago Branch of the Illinois Central. A creditable coffin of rosewood finish was purchased and the body was buried in a respectable Confederate uniform.
Much has been said of the South's unkind treatment of Northern Prisoners. I once had an hours's talk on the subject with a splendid gentleman who during the war period was a clerk in the Legislature of Indiana. He was frequently at Camp Morton and was familiar with the conditions of the suffering in the prison. After rehearsing the story of the suffering incident to the men confined there, he remarked that anyone could readily see how men from the south in a more rigorous climate than that from which they came, would suffer more that those in southern prisons. From the death of the subject of this sketch following the consignment of prisoners for exchange it is evident that when they left the prison he was a more suitable subject for the hospital than a prison cell. A brave officer, on ascertaining his condition, would have stopped the train, and left him at some place where generous hearted men and self-sacrificing women would have ministered to his needs, as was done in numerous instances both north and south. The conditions were aggravated by the fact that most likely they were crowded in box cars. With no familiar friend or kinsman on the train to render assistance or comfort, or wipe the death damp from his icy brow, no sister or mother to press the kiss of love upon his cheek, the spirit of this noble boy took its flight to the realms beyond.
There were, however, on that train, among his fellow comrades those who, prompted by the thought of a mother who would never know the details in the history of her son's sad career who became interested and wrote on a slip "Enos W. Taylor, a Confederate soldier, Hampshire Co., Va." The slip was handed to the section boss by a prison guard. Mr. Tomlinson, who was formerly from Mississippi, with the aid of five or six other men who had hearts of sympathy for the people of the south, secured a lot and the body was removed to the city cemetery. He ordered a marble slab with instruction that it should contain the name, Enos W. Taylor, as it was on the slip, A Confederate Soldier, Hampshire County, Va. It came with the name chiseled on it but the descriptive words were omitted. It was not accepted; after laying around the depot some time it was broken. It was a time of bitter partisan spirit and strong prejudice. Another was ordered" from a marble firm not so biased in their opinions which was accepted and marks the grave according to design. When the practice a few years afterwards of decorating the soldier's graves came in vogue, the people gathered at the cemetery ln accordance with this appropriate custom to show their respect for the heroes who had fallen in the conflict. When Mrs. Parker, an elegant Alabama woman with basket of flowers in hand, came to the young soldier's grave, and began to lay flowers on the well kept mound, under which lay buried his mortal remains, unconscious of transpiring events, suddenly Mrs. Parker was interrupted by "A certain lewd fellow of the baser sort" who created an uproar by crying out, "Better stamp that grave," or language to that effect. In connection with this episode much bad feeling was aroused which led to the omission of the custom for several years.
The story of Enos W. Taylor affords an example of that unhallowed period in our history when many of our most worthy citizens along the border were by unworthy persons wrongly accused and arrested on trivial offences and sent:
"To grace in captive cells
The prisons of the North."
from which they were not permitted to leave until borne away a lifeless form to receive a mere pretense of burial rites amid hostile scenes.
I here mention a personal incident in some sense relate to the story of this sketch, and which occurred while I was living there. The wife who had left her Virginia home a few years before during the autumn following my arrival just when the leaves were falling closed her eyes in death, and joined our little Mamie who only a few weeks before had crossed over the mystic river. Though many years have come and gone my thoughts often turn to that sacred spot in the city cemetery at Kinmundy, Illinois, where what was then the most sacred treasures of my heart await the resurrection.
And now as the shades of evening draw nigh, the writer would join with the survivors of that often remembered and cherished home, and as we call to mind the resting places of our own long lost and loved we would breathe an earnest prayer to the God of our fathers for more faith in Him who said, “I am the resurrection and the life."
Capt. McDonald, in his history of the Laurel Brigade, refers to Abe Shingleton as having been killed at Brandy Station, and Herman Senoff dying in prison. My diary contains the following; “Ream’s Station, Sept. 1st, (1864), the (7th) Regiment still on picket duty. Our squadron was relieved. Rest of the brigade in a little battle in which Abe Shingleton and Herman Senoﬁ were killed. Both of Hampshire County." I feel assured that these are the real facts. I saw each of them after they were brought back from where they had fallen, and have a very distinct impression of the two unfortunate members of Co. D., 11th Virginia Calvary, who fell in a charge the company made. I was at their burial. Perhaps their remains were afterwards removed. I write the above in justice to the men who cannot speak for themselves and those who have a right to know.
Should this communication possesssufficient merit to give it a place in the columns of the REVIEW I may write again on matters of a more general nature.
[Enos Taylor, mentioned in the above article was a brother of M. H. Taylor, of this place. ED. REV1EW.]
Photos of Pvt Taylor's grave in Evergreen Cemetery
Photographs supplied by the Kinmundy Historical Society.