GHL Blog Rotating Header Image

Civil War Sources: Untangling James D. Knott

Share Button

Recently, I talked about GHL’s 1901 Confederate Pension database. It gave me an idea for this week – a blog post on how different books and databases in our collection about Confederate troops can be used together to give a fuller picture of Civil War veterans.

Below, I will give an example of how I untangled two soldiers with the same name, from the same county and even in the same company and regiment. There is a list of sources at the end with links to the catalog record or digital collection website. My goal with this post is to to show how searching all of these sources for information on an ancestor can help give a deeper understanding of an ancestor’s service during the Civil War.

Cover of a volume from the series "North Carolina Troops: a Roster, 1861-1865"

Two Men Named James D. Knott, Granville County

Company I of the 23rd Regiment had two soldiers named James D. Knott. Both were residents of Granville County when they both enlisted on June 17, 1861. One of them (hereinafter known as James1) was 24 years old at enlistment and was wounded in the right leg at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He remained absent wounded through December 1864. At the time he was wounded, his rank was 2nd Lieutenant and he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant after he was wounded (NC Troops, vol. 7, p. 227). The other James D. Knott (hereinafter known as James2) was shot through the head at the Battle of Seven Pines in May 1862 and later died from his wounds (NC Troops, vol. 7, p. 231).

Both the surviving James1 and James2 have pension files (widow’s pension in the case of James2), but in different years. James1, who survived the war, received a pension in 1901 (1901 Pensions.) The widow of James2 received a pension in 1885. That record shows his widow as Jenashab, who lived in Person County at the time she applied for a pension on May 12, 1885. The information about being wounded (it does not specify how) at the Battle of Seven Pines in Virginia in 1862 is the same. It gives his death date as May 31, 1862 (Dead and Disabled, p. 60-61).

If I had just looked in the first source, I wouldn’t have learned the name of the widow in 1885, nor would I have learned the date that James2 died. By looking at both sources, I was able to better distinguish between two men from the same place with the same name. This is just one example of how sources supplement each other.


North Carolina Troops v. 7 pp. 227, 231;

Dead or Disabled pp. 60-61;

1901 Confederate Pension Applications


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.