Since about 1988 I have wondered when, where, and how my great great grandfather John Dickens, Jr died. I last found him in the 1860 Census. Then the the records were silent until a Smith County Court case began in 1865 to dispose of his property. I thought the account of my Dickens family would close without any record of John's death.

A few days ago I received an Email from Bob Dickens-Tobin containing records of John's military service in the infantry of the Confederate States of America. These simple records provided a way to track John's major movements for the last five and a half months of his life.  

The map below is too small to read. There is a larger one on the next page.  But to track John's military history, follow the numbers I placed on the map below.

1. John's home at Hurricane Creek.

2. Army Training Camp.

3. Battle at Fishing Creek, KY.

4. John's death reported at Murfreesboro, TN.

I'm no scholar when it comes to the Civil War. Like many of us, I depend on others for information. I've found in the past few days that some of the Internet sites I've searched have varying opinions on the facts. But I've found enough agreement among writers plus the physical evidence that Bob Dickens-Tobin sent  (the three Enrollment Cards shown below)  to trace the highlights of John Dickens' last five and a half months of life.   

From the card : "Confederate 28 Tenn.
John Dickens
Pvt.    Co. G, 28th Reg't Tennessee Volunteers.
Appears on Company Muster Roll of the organization
named above for Sept 7 to Oct 31, 1861.
When:    Sept 7, 1861.
Where:   Camp Zollicoffer
By Whom:   Jas. W. McHenry
Period:   12 mos
Present or Absent:   Present."

John Dickens enlisted as a Private in the 28th Regiment of the Confederate Army on September 7, 1861, just five months after the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumpter on April 12, 1861.
John was mustered in at Camp Zollicoffer about forty 
miles as the crow flies, from his Hurricane Creek area home. Camp Zollicoffer was situated about one and a half miles north of Livingston, TN.    Another training area, Camp Myers, was located another three and a half miles to the north of Zollicoffer. 

In October 1861, John Dickens was assigned to the
"2 Mountain Regiment, Tennessee Volunteers." 

From the Card: Confederate 28 Tenn.
John Dickens
Pvt,  (in)   Capt. Wm. C. Trousdale's Co.,
                2 Mountain Reg't Tennessee Vols,
Age 48 years.
Appears on
Company Muster-in Roll
of the organization named above.
Roll dated: Camp Zollicoffer
Oct 3, 1861.
Muster-in to date:     September 7, 1861.
Date of arrival at general rendezvous
when service commences   Sept 7 186_.
When mustered into service   Sept 7, 186_.
By whom mustered into service
A. B. Hardcastle
Period: 12 mos.
Remarks:  Joined Camp Zollicoffer. 
Present for duty.

Pvt. John Dickens continued his duties with the 28th Regiment through early 1862 operating along the Kentucky and Tennessee border in a futile effort to keep the Union Forces from entering Tennessee.

John Dickens' Regiment was involved in one major battle during his time of service. That battle is known as The Battle at:   Logans Crossroads and/or Mill Springs and/or Fishing CreekAll three of those names are used to identify the same battle. On a current map look for the town of Nancy, KY. It's a little to the west of Somerset, KY and that is the battle area.

In November of 1862 Brigadier General Zollicoffer moved his troops to strengthen Confederate control around Somerset, KY.

On January 7, 1862, the 28th Regiment reported 748 present out of 892 on the roll. 

On January 19, 1862, at dawn, The Battle of Fishing Creek or Mill Springs began and General Zollicoffer was killed shortly thereafter. The 28th Regiment lost 12 men killed, wounded, and missing.

The Confederates were soon defeated and a long retreat ended at Murfreesboro, TN, where the Confederates regrouped.

From the Final Card: Confederate 28 Tenn.
John Dickens
Pvt,       Capt William C. Trousdale's Co.,
             28 Reg't Tennessee Volunteers.
Appears on Company Muster Roll
of the organization named above.
for:  dated April 28, 1862.
Joined for duty and enrolled:
When     Sept 7 1861.
Where    C. Zollicoffer
By whom    J.W. McHenry
Period      12 mos
Remarks: Died Feb 24, 1862.

Excerpt from:
"The Battle of Mill Springs, as it came to be called, was one of the first great battles of the Civil War. It proved to be one of the most significant for federal troops as well by marking the very first major defeat of Confederate forces. The first break in the Confederate defense line in Kentucky occurred and marked the beginning of Union operations leading across Tennessee and Mississippi."

The forces joined General Albert Sydney Johnston at Murfreesboro, and from there moved down into Mississippi in preparation for the Battle of Shiloh.

At Murfreesboro, February 23, 1862, the 28th was in General Crittenden's Division, Colonel W. S. Statham's Brigade

Pvt John Dickens didn't go to Shilo with the 28th Regiment. He died on February the 24th, 1862 at age 48. There is no report located on the circumstances of his death. Was he one of the wounded at Mill Springs on the 19th and died at Murfreesboro on the 24th? Or was it an illness that killed him? Perhaps we will never know, unless someone finds an old manuscript hidden away or notes in some family Bible that explains it.  

The three Cards that are pictured on this Web page are all we know of the last days of John Dickens, Jr. 

Perhaps this is why I've never located his grave. Since he died at Murfreesboro, he was probably buried at Murfreesboro.
Thanks to Bob Dickens-Tobin for sharing these Enrollment Cards without which this information about Private John Dickens' Confederate military service would not be possible.

Several of John's relatives joined the Union Army. In 1864 his son Joshua Jr. and his brother Joshua Sr.
(yes, the Jr and Sr are correct) along with other relatives were enrolled in Company A, First TN Mounted Infantry of the Union Forces. You may visit the Company A Web site at the link provided below.

Private John Dickens Jr., CSA,   b. 1813 - d. 1862
Camp Zollicoffer was named to honor the legislator, publisher,and Whig, Felix K. Zollicoffer. He had no military experience but he was given the rank of Brigadier General and placed in command of several regiments, including the 28th.
The camp was named in his honor before he was killed in November of 1862.
To learn more about the early days of the Civil War and the last months of John's life, please read the
 next page.