CIVIL WAR QUESTIONNAIRES|
The chief purpose of the following questions is to bring out facts that will be of service in writing a true history of the Old South. Such a history has not yet been written. By answering these questions you will make a valuable contribution to the history of your State.
1. State your full name and present Post Office address: Zachry Taylor Dyer, Pulaski, Giles county, Tenn. R. #5 Box 44
2. State your age now: 68 years 4 months 12 days; born Oct. 9th, '46(1846)
3. In what State and county were you born?: Giles county, Tenn.
4. In what State and county were you living when you enlisted in the service of the Confederacy, or of the Federal Government?: In same (see above)
5. What was your occupation before the war?: Hired out to farm labor
6. What was the occupation of your father?: Farmer, he was overseeing when he died in '52 (1852) leaving mother with 3 children the I the oldest.
7. If you owned land or other property at the opening of the war, state what kind of property you owned, and state the value of your property as near as you can: Father dieing in '52 left mother with some nine hundred dollars my uncle was the administrator of our guardian the courthouse burning about that time record all were destroyed and left us without anything in this world but hard labor and cold charity, my mother found some warm friends.
8. Did you or your parents own slaves? If so, how many?: none
9. If your parents owned land, state about how many acres: none
10. State as near as you can the value of all the property owned by your parents, including land, when the war opened: had mare and colt, cow and calves, some hogs.
11. What kind of house did your parents occupy? State whether it was a log house or frame house or built of other materials, and state the number of rooms it had: Generally of logs and very bad sometimes containing but small room with cook room detached some distance away.
12. As a boy and young man, state what kind of work you did. If you worked on a farm, state to what extent you plowed, worked with a hoe, and did other kinds of similar work: I did all kinds of farm work. In other words I went with general farm hands.
13. State clearly what kind of work your father did, and what the duties of your mother were. State all the kinds of work done in the house as well as you can remember - that is, cooking, spinning, weaving, etc. Father superintended the negroes for other men that owned them. He had care of the farm. After his death mother taught me how to plow, hoe, to spin, knit, weave, sew, milk, cook, wash, fill quills, make up bead and anything that came to hand and I can do it now thank God for such a mother.
14. Did your parents keep any servants? If so, how many?: did not
15. How was honest toil - as plowing, hauling and other sorts of honest work of this class - regarded in your community? Was such work considered respectable and honorable?: With but few excepting it was ther wer some with mor money than brains seemed to think honest toil degrading. They soon spent this money and came to want. Lone instace the poor then own........(?)
16. Did the white men in your community generally engage in such work?: as a general rule they did with few exceptions
17. To what extent were there white men in your community leading lives of idleness and having others do their work for them?:ther were very few in community that did not work some old men that owned slaves that did not work but the young boys when not in school went to the field with the hands.
18. Did the men who owned slaves mingle freely with those who did not own slaves, or did slaveholders in any way show by their actions that they felt themselves better than respectable, honorable men who did not own slaves?: as a general thing the slave owners mingled freely with all honorable men upon a common level socially. The poor class as a general rule wer to blame for what nonsociability existed in my section.
19. At the churches, at the schools, at public gatherings in general, did slaveholders and non-slaveholders mingle on a footing of equality?: they did in my community. I lived in one of the best communities God sun ever shone upon. They were nearly all slave holders. But Chirstian people - remember Christ words to Judas the poor you have with you always.
20. Was there a friendly feeling between slaveholders and non-slaveholders in your community, or were they antagonistic to each other?: friendly so far as the slave holders wer responsible the non slave holder seemed to envy the slave holder to some extent the same as the people are today the rich are envied by the poor to some extent.
21. In a political contest in which one candidate owned slaves and the other did not, did the fact that one candidate owned slaves help him in winning the contest? As a general thing slave owners never asked for any political office in county. Never hearing discussed but qualification not wealth
22. Were the opportunities good in your community for a poor young man - honest and industrious - to save up enough to buy a small farm or go in business for himself? As good as any spot on earth have known favor, young men several of them being assisted to obtain an education through the help of the slave owners was in the same company with several of them.
23. Were poor, honest, industrious young men, who were ambitious to make something of themselves, encouraged or discouraged by slaveholders?: they wer encouraged and financed wherever they were found worthy
24. What kind of school or schools did you attend? All private there were no public schools then. Some old farmer in the neighborhood would get up a subscription school after he had laid by his crop.
25. About how long did you go to school altogether? About ten months something like 2 months a yer for five or six years
26. How far was it to the nearest school?: some time 1 � to 3 miles as we moved nearly every year the distance changed.
27. What school or schools were in operation in your neighborhood?: where I lived the last two years of mothers widowhood there was a good school maintained by the old Presbeterian Church at Bethany all poor children that would attend were taught free. I being one of them.
28. Was the school in your community private or public?: private
29. About how many months in the year did it run?: most of them from 2 to 5 months the last school that I attend at Bethany ran 10 months.
30. Did the boys and girls in your community attend school pretty regularly?: Some did and some did not. Some parents took no interest education.
31. Was the teacher of the school you attended a man or a woman?: Very seldom did women teacher it was thought they could not govern it.
32. In what year and month and at what place did you enlist in the Confederate or of the Federal Government?: In year 61 (1861) month April Place Elkton Giles county Tenn.
33. State the name of your regiment, and state the names of as many members of your company as you remember:Third regment Tenn. Volunteers. I can give Roll of my company by heart now which I will send you on another sheet telling of those that wer killed died of sicknes of discharged. In thinkin over the roll ever mans face seemes to appear as plain to my vision now as they did then at roll call fifty odd years ago.
34. After enlistment, where was your company sent first?: we first went to Linville Tenn there the regment was organized on the 16th of May 61 (1861) went to Nashville that evening camped in old Fairgound Sworn into State Service next day. Went to Camp Cheatham that next.....
35. How long after your enlistment before your company engaged in battle?: Nine months we drilled at Camp Cheatham then at Troosdale were the first confederate regment that went to Bolling Green KY.
36. What was the first battle you engaged in ?: Ft. Donnelson we left Bolling last of Jan 62 camped sometime at Russelville arrived at Donnelson about 12 January.
37. State in your own way your experience in the war from this time on until the close. State where you went after the first battle - what you did, what other battles you engaged in, how long they lasted, what the results were; state how you lived in camp, how you were clothed, how you slept, what you had to eat, how you were exposed to cold, hunger and disease. If you were in the hospital or in prison, state your experience here: went to prison at Camp Douglas Chico (Chicago) Ill. Arrived there 23 of Feb.62 Staid there until first Sept. were exchang at Vicsburg Miss. Went then to Jackson reorganized then to Holly Springs then to Coldwater then to Granada. The President reviewed us there on Christmas day. Then we went to Vicksburg and fought the Battle of Chicasaw Bayou on 29th of Dec.62. Marched down to Vicksburg took boat for Port Hudson La. Here I was discharged being under age. After being discharged at Port Hudson came home staid here awhile the yankees would not let me stay went out to Chatanooga to Braggs army. Staid there till after the battle of Chicamauga then joined Wheeler and remained with him till the close was in evry battle fought by Wheeler - Sherman to Savanna and back to Averysboro and Bentonville. Which must have been fifty or perhaps more I was never sick a day nor missed any duty that my company engaged in thank God I have not been sick a day since Sept. 61 up to present time.
38. When and where were you discharged?: Paroled at Charlotte N.C. on 2nd of May 63 I was then in first Tenn. Cavilry Ashby's Brigade Humes Division Went with Wheeler to Savanna and back to Bentonville.
39. Tell something of your trip home: According to terms surrender we were allowed horses bridles saddles side arms every 4th man his gun when we got to Strawberry plains they were all taken from us we were put into box cars and brought to Knoxville taken off marched thro the street brought back put on same cars. Brought to Chatanooga there the same performance was carried out as at Knoxville at Decherd I and one companion left the train and walked through, could write a great deal more but would puzzle you to get any out of it writing is the hardest work ever done hoping you may understand what I have tried to tell I will close. Z. T. Dyer
40. What kind of work did you take up when you came back home?: Went to cutting wheat the next day to enable me to get some clothes and shoe for I was destitute of either after getting some clothes the old man proposed to me that he would board me as long as I could induce his boy to go to school it lasted 3 or 4 months.
41. Give a sketch of your life since the close of the Civil War, stating what kind of business you have engaged in, where you have lived, your church relations, etc. If you have held an office or offices, state what it was. You may state here any other facts connected with your life and experience which has not been brought out by the questions: In Jan '66 (1866) came back to same school that I was attending when I went into the army. Working on farm between terms to pay board bill and tuition taught som subscription schools. Joined Masonic fraternity in Aug. 69 at Elkton where I joined the army. Was married in Sept. 69 went to Ala. Taught public school ther 4 years then moved back to the old neighborhood in which I was born and reared. Bought a little track of land have lived here ever since reared six children all to be grown and married except one of my youngest who is a Cumberland Teacher (should be Preacher) (had 3 boys and 3 girls). My wife died 9 years ago this month so I am here alone except my God. My church membership is with the C.P. (Cumberland Presbyterian) denomination. Never held any office except school Director; in politicks I am independant and have voted that way for the last 25 years for principal versus party never did like a collar. Well I have filled out your blank in a bungling way hope you may get some good out of it.
Yours truly, Z.T. Dyer
Submitted by Annette Keen