Silas James Lankford Confederate and Union Soldier

by deb - May 4th, 2011.
Filed under: Genealogy.

I recently had an email that started…I may be able to help you in your quest of Silas James Langford.     He was my wife’s third great grandfather.  Silas was in the 24th Tennessee Infantry as you have stated.   When it is stated (on his soldier record) that he was absent…Silas was captured and taken prisoner by the Union.  He was a Union prisoner for almost 2 years.   If you explore the Civil War records even further, you will find that Silas J. Langford mustered into Company A 1st Reg’t Tennessee Mounted Infantry for the Union Army.

My wife’s father told me…Silas mustered into the Union Army in 1864.   Thus Silas fought for the South and the North…After the War, Silas returned to his family in Smith County ….and received…grief from his friends and neighbors.   He just disappeared, leaving (his wife, son and daughter) still with the Langfords in Smith Co.

Silas went to Dickson (County, TN) and according to (my father-in-law) no one knew where he was until one of his brothers found him in Dickson.   We think that perhaps Silas started another family in Dickson, but that is passed down word of mouth.    Silas died there (Dickson Co, TN) in 1905.

Wow, was I excited to read this!    I’ve been to the Tennessee State Library twice since this email, trying to “prove” this information with records.     Here’s what I’ve found so far:

I already had the Confederate service record of Silas J. Lankford who joined M Co of the 24th TN Infantry in 1861.   However, as stated in a previous blog, there were only two cards for Silas J. Lankford’s service in the 24th TN Inf and the second card said he was “left with baggage in Bowling Green, KY”. 

I looked and found the records for Silas J. Langford’s service as a Private in A Co of 1st Mounted Infantry.   This service record consisted of several cards showing Silas was present from Jan 1864 until Jan 31, 1865, when he “mustered out” of service.   Also a part of his service record was the Volunteer Enlistment card which gave great info:   Silas J. Lankford was born in Smith Co. TN and was age 26 years old and a farmer in Jan. 1864 when he enlisted.   This soldier had:  blue eyes, dark hair, dark complexion and six feet tall and was signed by Silas J. Lankford.

I also found on a record of Civil War Prisoner of War Records 1861-1865 that listed Silas J. Langford, stating he was captured Feb 22,1862 and released July 11, no year stated.   Finally, also found on Civil War Pension Index: Langford, Silas J. and Langford, Emma.    Silas filed for a pension in 1902 and was listed as an invalid and Emma Langford fliled in 1905 listed as widow.   Silas served in A Co of 1st TN Mtd Inf.  Unfortunately, this is not a pension that is posted on, but will have to be ordered from the National Archives.

Back to the Tennessee records, I again found an entry for Silas James Lankford in the 1890 Civil War Veterans Census of Tennessee by Sistler and Sistler, 1978.   His entry read:  Lankford, Silas J. Di-36-1 (Dickson Co); Pvt H Company 24th TN Inf 6-24-61 to 1-14-65 Bellsburgh P.O.; CONF.   At the time Silas filled out this questionnaire he lived in Bellsburg, Dickson Co.    The “funny” part here is that he listed all of his service as a Confederate.     It’s funny because this is mainly a census of Union soldiers and he would have received the questionnaire because of his service to the Union.   I wonder, though, if because of all of the grief he’d received over his Union service that he decided to just claim his service to the Confederacy.

What I have still not learned is where Silas and “Emma” (who is not my direct line) were in 1900.    The 1900 census for Dickson Co. TN is printed and neither Silas nor Emma is there.   So, as always, some questions answered and some mysteries still to try to solve.   Next step?   Order the pension application for both Silas and Emma Lankford.

Till next time…..happy ancestor hunting!

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11 Responses to Silas James Lankford Confederate and Union Soldier

  1. Wow!! What a break! I wonder what he would think about you looking him up all these many years from then…. Sounds like you are hot on the trail. :-)

  2. Larry Satterfield

    I am so glad that you found that everything i told you about Silas J Langford was true. As i said previously, Silas disappeared and went to Dickson County, Leaving Susan and the children in Smith County. We can only thank my Fatherin-law stiill has his memory and knew all about his great grandfather Silas.
    Here was Susan’s Maiden name
    Nancy Susan McKinnis Birth1836 Smith, Tennessee, USA Death1887 Smith, Tennessee, USA Family InfoFather Mother Spouse Silas James Lankford

    I am so happy that i could open these doors for you. I am at this time trying to get Silas added to the Smith County Civil War Register.
    Please Remember that Silas was more or less on the *run* when he went to Dickson County, and He may have never listed himself as being married to Emma.
    Please email me and keep me informed. My Father-in-Law has not heard of Emma before.
    Larry Satterfield

  3. Hello Deb and all,

    I followed up on Debbie’s post after confirming that I am a distant cousin of the subject Silas James Lankford. Below is a link to my RootsWeb World Connect database page for Silas:

    Silas’ grandfather, Jesse Lankford, is the brother of my ancestor, William Langford, identified by an (*) in his name in my database. I have traced the roots of the family only a few generations back to Henry Langford & wife Catherine Williams. Jesse’s father, Parrish Lankford/Langford, married Sarah Lawrence. My sources have traced the ancestry of Sarah Lawrence back into antiquity via the LAWSON line.

    I hope my info is helpful to descendants of the subject Silas……………..Kent

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