A Civil War soldier who died in service 159 years ago, on Feb. 8, 1862, soon will have a memorial grave marker thanks to local historian Elaine Russell. Only one thing stands in the way: Finding a relative of Bennett Amburn to approve the placing of the marker at Four Mile Cemetery in rural Blount County.
Russell explained the situation in an email, and asked for my help in getting the word out. She wrote, “It seems that to get a memorial grave marker for a Blount County Confederate soldier, Bennett Amburn, even though Nathan Weinbaum, Blount County Veterans Affairs officer, signed the application with me, I need a descendent to sign off on the request for the VA to provide one. According to his service cards, Bennett Amburn died in service, place unknown. He also had a brother, Uriah Amburn, and a nephew, Joseph Amburn, who also served the CSA.”
Uriah later moved to North Carolina. Bennett Amburn was unmarried at the time of his service. He joined the Confederate Army on Aug. 13, 1861, in Knoxville, and served in Co. E., 5th Battalion (McClelland’s) Tennessee Cavalry, according to his muster cards obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration. Russell also has the muster cards of Bennett’s brother, Uriah, who joined on the same day, and Bennett’s nephew, Joseph Amburn, who enlisted July 14, 1862. “Joseph has a government marker at Four Mile Cemetery,” Russell emailed. “There must have been family that signed off for Joseph’s marker, but no cemetery records can be found.”
Joseph was the son of Alexander Amburn as documented by the 1850 Census and his death certificate from 1929. He is a nephew of Bennett and Uriah Amburn.
Russell also found the grave of Gabriel Amburn, an older brother of Bennett. “He is buried in Arkansas and has a CSA iron cross on his grave,” she wrote. “No record of his service has been found. He may have been a citizen employee, as he was a blacksmith by trade. He lived in Louisiana in 1860, so his service was probably in that state.”
Bennett Amburn’s place of death and burial are not known. Russell speculated, “Maybe he’s buried in a mass grave someplace, possibly Kentucky. His service cards do not mention if he was killed or died of disease, only that he died and the date.”
She has done some research on the father of Bennett, Uriah, Alexander and Gabriel, grandfather of Joseph. “His name was also Joseph,” Russell wrote. “His will is dated February 1854. I have a copy of a Tennessee Land Grant for Joseph Amburn, Bennett’s father, for 100 acres ‘on the waters of Nine Mile Creek,’ dated February 1826. Also, I have one for 75 acres on Nine Mile Creek, dated March 3, 1832, plus two others.”
I asked Russell why it’s so important to remember a young man who died so long ago. “The reason for putting a memorial marker at Four Mile is so that he can be remembered by his family, as is his nephew who has a government marker for his service,” she said. “The church’s Decoration Day is in May. If we are lucky enough to find a family member, regardless of how distant, we could possibly be ready for a grave marking then.
“It is a ‘close-to-home’ story of Confederate history and must be told, lest we forget.”
If you have any information, email Russell at erus