1 Francis M Poore photo

Photo owned by Melvin Tingle of Newton County, Mississippi.

Sometimes photos or other artifacts from after the Civil War can give you clues about your Civil War ancestor’s military service.

Take, for example, the above photo of three Confederate veterans. On the right is Francis M. Poore. The other two men, from the left, are Thomas Scanlan and Thomas Shockley, Francis’ comrades in the 13th Mississippi Infantry.

Although taken maybe 50 years after the Civil War, it tells us something about the men during the war. For one thing, the men developed such a bond during the war that many years later they thought it important to have their picture taken together.

Such a photo might be dismissed as just three old war comrades gathering by chance for a photo at a veterans’ reunion, except that there is other post-war evidence that the three men became close during the war. Scanlan and Shockley were listed as witnesses on Francis’ application for a state pension for his Confederate service.

With these facts in hand, we can start asking other research questions such as:

  • Did Scanlan or Shockley leave a diary, memoir or other written record of their service that might tell something about Francis?
  • Did Scanlan or Schockley become prisoners of war with Francis?
  • Did the three men know each other before the war started and perhaps serve in a militia unit together?
  • Do the three men have any family members in common?

This is similar to researching related family lines to find more information about your own. Depending on your interest in your Civil War ancestor’s service, you could expand your research until you eventually encompassed every member of his military company.

Have you had any success in expanding your research in this way?

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