W. C. Tunstall, Co. D, 5th AL

7 11 2009

Reader Maxwell Elebash of Tuscaloosa, AL provided this letter written by his ancestor, and wrote the below biographical sketch:

Wiley Croom Tunstall was born 16 Dec. 1839 in Greensboro, AL (then Greene County but now Hale). His parents were Dr. James L. Tunstall of King William Co. VA and Eliza Ann Croom. He married Augusta Elizabeth Hobson (sister of Edwin L. Hobson of 5th Alabama) 10 Dec. 1862. They had five children. I am descended from their daughter Cammie Tunstall.

Wiley attended the University of Alabama and also Hampden-Sydney College. Post war he was a cotton planter in Hale County, member of the Alabama Legislature and served as Railroad Commissioner 1885-1895. He died in Anniston, AL 8 Aug. 1916 and is buried in Greensboro Cemetery.

Interestingly one of his wife’s sisters was married to Sydenham Moore, Col. of the 11th Alabama Inf. was MWIA at Seven Pines. Her mother was a sister of Lt. Col. John Clarke Mounger of the 9th Georgia Infantry KIA at Gettysburg attacking the Wheatfield on day two. One of Mounger’s sons was killed at Chancellorsville (14th Georgia Inf.) and the remaining two were killed in the Wilderness (8th Georgia Inf.).

Per G. Ward Hughes (ed.), Voices from Company D: Diaries by the Greensboro Guards, Fifth Alabama Infantry Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia:

Tunstall, Wiley C. (c. 1840, Alabama-1916).  In 1860 living with his mother, who reported $40,000 in real estate and $90,000 in personal estate, including eighty-six slaves; enlisted April 25, 1861, in Greensboro; third lieutenant in April 1862; resigned in October, 1862, citing chronic diarrhea; in 1880 married with five children.

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W. C. Tunstall, Co. D, 5th AL on the Aftermath of the Battle

7 11 2009

Union Mills Aug. 6th, 1861

Dear Mother,

I received your letter a few days since by Uncle Herndon.  That is yours and Bettie combined.  I was very glad to hear that you all had heard that we were not killed.  We were not in the battle.  I wrote you a letter after the Battle on the 18th & the one on the 21st also.  The last letter I wrote you I gave you a minute description of our maneuvering on that day, also an account of our retreat from Farrs X Roads, which letter I suppose you have received some time ago.  I suppose you all were very much distressed in Greensboro about our Company.  I was very glad to hear through Uncle H. that you were not kept in suspense but one day when you received the intelligence that the 5th Reg. was not in the Battle.  I rode over the battle field on Sunday.  It was truly a sad scene to witness the many graves scattered over the field of our brave and gallant men.  I saw where different officers of high rank fell.  The places being marked out by posts being driven down and names of the officers inscribed upon them.  There were a great many dead horses lying on the field but all of the dead were [line illegible] on our side.  There were so many Yankees that it was impossible for us to bury them very decently.  Sometimes they would bury 40 or 50 in one grave.  I understand from men that visited the battle Field the day after the battle that the whole field was covered with dead bodies.  Sometimes you would see them lying in large heaps on different spots.  The Yankees carried off their dead and wounded up to 3 o’clock in the evening.  The cars were brought out near the field and they were sent back to Alexandria.  We have not been able to find out the exact loss on both sides but the [line illegible] yet I think is from Russell the correspondent of the London Times.  He was in Alexandria and Washington when the enemy retreated and afterwards came to Richmond.  His estimate of loss is between 4 & 5000 killed & wounded on our side and between 10 and 12000 on the Yankees.  We are stationed at Union Mills in a very healthy place about 4 miles from Manassas Junction.  We are all doing very well.  We have fine water and plenty of it to drink and plenty to eat.  Although the fare is rather rough we are willing to submit to much greater privations and hardships to serve our Country in this great and grand cause.  I do not think we will have any fighting soon as…

Letter provided and transcribed by Tunstall descendent Maxwell Elebash of Tuscaloosa, AL.

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Notes

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