Clara Barton & the 13th

Painting by famed Civil War artist Mort Kunstler of Red Cross-founder Clara Barton on December 15, 1862, at Chatham Plantation near Fredericksburg, VA,  serving a Confederate POW—identified as Captain Thurman Thomas of the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment.

Or was he? Jess McLean and H. Grady Howell, Jr. identify the captain as Thomas W. Thurman, of Company D (E), the Newton Rifles, as does this history of Newton County which says he was a lawyer before the war. McLean says the records show he was later admitted to Emory General Hospital, in Washington City, where his leg was amputated.

McLean adds that “by process of elimination,” Thurman seems to be the POW that poet and volunteer nurse Walt Whitman wrote of as having “eyes bright as a hawk, but face pale—our affection is an affair quite romantic—sometimes when I lean over to say I am going, he puts his arms around my neck, draws my face down, etc., quite a scene for Rappahannock.”

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About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Fredericksburg, Jess N. McLean, Newton Rifles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Clara Barton & the 13th

  1. Deac England Tiley says:

    Captain Thomas W. Thurman was my Great Grandfather. I have his obituary and photo’s of him. I also have the story of how he lost his leg, from the Cival War Archives in Tallahassee and many family photo’s. How can I share this.

  2. Dick Stanley says:

    Thanks for the comment. I’d love to have some more detail on Captain Thurman. If you have any photos or other documents scanned or otherwise in digital format, you could email copies to me at scribbler AT texasscribbler dot com and I’ll post them here with whatever additional info you may want to add.

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