Sketch of Robert A. Southerland

by admin on September 19th, 2003

Kimbro-Field: A History of the Kimbro and Field Families of Middle Tennessee byKenneth Kimbro, 1992, pp. 82-83John and Mary (Southerland) had ten children. Their third child, Robert A., was born January 7, 1839.



On November 29, 1861, Robert enlisted in Company B, 49th Tennessee Infantry, Confederate States Army, and was sent to Fort Donelson. In January of 1862, a measles epidemic swept the fort, resulting in the deaths of several soldiers. Those who lived near the fort were sent home.

About two weeks before the Battle of Fort Donelson, Robert and his brother, John J., were given a furlough and returned home to recuperate from the disease. The battle was raging when the two brothers and a Lieutenant Harding(?) attempted to get back to their units. Nearing the fort, they discovered that it was surrounded by Federal troops.

Before they could escape, they were captured and taken to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. According to John, in Hopkinsville, the Federal soldiers made them “take the oath. If not, they would send my self and R. A. Southerland to Federal prison back north as I and R. A. Southerland was weak from the measles it would mean death to us is whey we accepted the oath rather than go to the Federal prison.” (Confederate Pension Applications [Soldiers], Microfilm Roll No. 77).

Even after taking the Yankee oath Robert claimed that he attempted to rejoin his unit but could not find it. Apparently, he tried to enlist in another unit but was rejected because of his health.

The war record for the Southerland family was not outstanding. The three oldest boys joined the Confederate Army, but wer sent home with the measles and never returned. The two youngest boys became the black sheep of the family when they joined the Federals. According to their sister, “The two who fought for the North ran away from home. We didn't know where they were goint.” (Mrs. M. D. Corlew, Dickson County Herald, March 10, 1939).

Robert Southerland married Nancy Dona Harrell February 19, 1873, and they had eight children. Robert died in Birmingham, Alabama, August 18, 1922.

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