James Darsie Heath, 72nd Illinois Infantry

1, 2. James Darsie Heath was my great-great-grandfather and he served as a private in Company A of the 72nd Illinois Infantry.

3. I have in my possession two of James’ journals (two were also lost on the Mississippi River) and the second one begins in October 1864 shortly after the regiment left Vicksburg.

4. On November 29, my ancestor and 19 other men from company A were sent on a special mission down the Duck River from Columbia to get word to General Joseph Cooper to move north to Franklin. James wrote about this in his journal, as did Captain James Sexton of Company D in his essay, “The Observations and Experiences of a Captain of Infantry at the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864.” Captain William Mohrmann of Co. A also mentioned this expedition in his memoirs written after the war. Consequently, James missed the battle (though his brother didn’t and he was captured and sent to Andersonville) and met back up with the regiment in Nashville on December 1.

5. James survived the war and lived in Illinois for the remainder of his life. He died in 1930 in Geneseo.

6. He was my great-great-grandfather on my father’s side. My father was born in 1920 and knew our ancestor for a short time as James came to live with his daughter and her family in 1926.

7. Annawan, Illinois.

8. I have no photos of him that I can say for sure are him. I do have one that may be, from long after the war.

9. I would certainly be willing to share parts of his journal that have to do with Franklin, or after as well–Nashville, the regiment’s journey to Iuka and Corinth and finally to southern Alabama and Dauphin Island. James didn’t always write extensively of his experiences but of course for me every word is important. I have also written a book about his wartime journey, as well as the one my father took as a paratrooper during World War II. I published this book in 2007 and you can take a look at it on my wordpress website, http://betsyhowell.wordpress.com/acoustic-shadows/ or on Amazon too.

10. My email is betsyhowell@olympus.net

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