25.6.2014

Private Jesse Davis Co I. 1st Conn Cav.- Co. D 71st Pa.- Co. C. 69th Pa. - Co C. 5th. U.S Cav.
(Robert R Howington alias Robert Harrison alias Jesse Davis)


I suppose to the ordinary rank private soldiers in the companies of the 69th. Pa and 71st Pa. not a lot of attention would be paid to each and every comrade they fought alongside with and depended upon in the numerous life and death situations they would find each other in. It was total interdependence. Yes they would most certainly know of the general background of the company whether the particular company had a higher percentage of Irish, Dutch, German,or American born soldiers within it. They would all be true Union soldiers born and bred!. Well maybe but not always the case.
To date I have discovered that two men at least in the 69th Pa. had fought in the Confederate grey and for whatever reason changed sides to Union blue. One wonders why?. Perhaps some did it through conviction but no doubt others did through expediency. Here are two examples where expediency seemed to have been a better choice. This choice at the time of their capture would appear ( his was post Gettysburg) stay a prisoner or do a "deal" join the Union forces and serve out West and fight the Indians. Let us look firstly at Pvte. Jess Davis of Co. C. Who exactly was he with his various aliases.
Let us look at what documentation we have. Looking at the P.A. Civil war cards we see that there was a Pvte Jesse Davis listed in Co. C. Let us look at his paperwork.
On the P.A. Civil war card list we see that Jesse Davis was drafted on the 26th Sept 1863 into Co. D of the 71st Pa. Inf. at Pottsville Md. He was noted as being aged 19. There are three interesting bits of information on this card ie he was "drafted" and also the date he was drafted 26th Sept 1863. He was also noted as being a rebel deserter and he was transferred to the 69th Pa. Infantry 12th June 1864. The battle of Gettysburg had taken place on 2nd/3rd July 1863 about 6 weeks earlier. So when and where did he desert?.

The next time we see reference to him is in another P.A. Civil War card which confirms he was now attached into the 69th Pa. records, it confirms when he was drafted and where. However no reference is made to his having been a deserter it stating he was absent sick at muster out which would have been early 1865.

However the plot thickens when we read the pension record of a man called Robert R Howington. It states that Robert R Howington had two aliases Robert Harrington and also and interestingly Jesse Davis. It states that this man had served in Co. G. 1st Conn. Cav. Co. D. 71st. P.A. Inf.Co. C. 69th. Pa. Inf and Co. C. 5th. U.S. Cavalry. It states that he had filed for a pension from Georgia July 29th. 1898 with pension application No. 1208787. The attorney handling the application being M.B. Stevens & Co.

So what was the circumstancs of Robert R Howington's defection to the 71st and 69th and also what were his links to the 1st. Conn. Cavalry and the U.S. 5th Cavalry? We find that Robert R Howington was captured at South Mountain on 5th. July 1863 two days after Gettysburg in an area where Picketts troops were heading south after their defeat at Gettysburg.

The Roll of Prisoners of War document above shows some detail about his capture. Also that he was being detained at Fort Delaware Del. and that he had been transferred to the 1st Conn. Cavalry. Quite a change from being a 19 year old infantry soldier. Was he one of many captured? Were his sympathies with the Union? Also at some stage he was operating under the alias Robert Harrington. At some stage it was thought fit by someone that he would now be given the alias Jesse Davis and put into Co. C of the 69th. Pa. One wonders how he would fit into a company with many Irishmen in its ranks if he was actually deployed into its ranks. One wonders who suggested that Davis (the name of the Confedererate president) would be a good alias name. Did he suggest the name or perhaps the person allocating the rebel deserters, as a kind of name hidden in full view?. We shall never know.
Research of the various Federal Census for Georgia shows a Robert R and Sarah Howington listed in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census for Powder Springs Ga. It also states that this man Robert R Howington was born in Alabama. Looking at the 1920 census for Cobb Co. Ga Militia District 846 Powder Springs Town enumeration carried out on 6th and 8th Jan 1920 the following information is shown. He was living in what appears to be Depot Street in Powder Springs Town as Robert R Howington and his wife Sarah J. He was 74 and she 67. They also had a boarder called Alice E White a widow aged 58 living with them. It also notees that Robert could read but not write though his wife and boarder were able to do both. Also his wife had been born in Georgia. This is interesting and losely confirms that though born in Alabama he obviously after the war came back to Georgia and married there and claimed his pension from there.
Further investigation of Sarah and Robert is interesting. Did they end their days in Powder Springs? A search on the Find a Grave site for the Powder Springs area showns the following memorial in Powder Springs City Cemetery, Powder Springs Cobb Co. Ga. in Plot No 2.
There are two markers in the same Row 2. One states that Robert R. Howington was born 9th Sept 1845 and died 8th Sept 1921. He would have been aged 76, On the seperate marker also in Row 2 is Sarah Jane Mayo Howington born May 30th 1852 and died Jan 14th 1925. She would have been aged 73. It is seen that she was about 7 years younger that Robert. This ties up with the dates given on the 1920 census. Link to the site below.

So many questions still to be asked. It is noted that he was absent sick at muster out. that would be mid 1865. Did he head south or did he in fact join Co C of the 5th. U.S. Cavalry then after that service head home to Ga. At this juncture I feel he probably did. However I feel that in his heart of hearts he was still a rebel and left little trace of his involvement with his former Union comrades or Regiment. It kind of looks as though after Gettysburg and capture at South Mountain he did a deal and then fell into the bureaucratic hand written note system of communication used at the time to get him "attached" to a Union regiment and then enrolled into a regiment operating somewhere else in this case Fort Delaware. After the war he applied fo a pension but this was refused.

Private Peter B Kivett Co. A. 69th. Pa. ex Confederate Army 22nd. Regt. N.C. Vols.

This man appears to have kept his original name. Peter Kivett was born about 1846 in Randolph County N. Carolina to Eli and Scotton Kivett. We do not know as now where he enlisted into the 22nd Regt. North Carolina Vols.(Confederate Army). We know he also had brothers also in the regiment in Co. M where he was serving.
He would appear to have deserted as seen from records on hand to the Union Army on or about March 12th 1864 long after Gettysburg. He was captured by Federal cavalry and was imprisoned in Point Lookout prison in the Wash D.C area.Here he would appear to have been offered the traditional deal, fight out West against the Indians or stay a prisoner. He would appear to have accepted the deal and threw in his lot with the Union Army on March 17th 1864 after taking the oath of allegiance to the Union. He was assigned to the 69th Pa. and was then sent to join or more likely enrolled into the 1st Conn. Cavalry who were serving at Fort Rigley in Minneota, well away from the action in the eastern States. On the Register of oaths and deserters of the Provost Marshall General Wash. D.C. he is recorded as Peter P Kevett Pvt. 22 N.C. Vols. The entry is dated: When received: March 12 1864. In the Where Sent From entry: Hqrs A. of P. (the army of the Potomac). In the Action Taken Column it states: Taken the oath of allegiance trans him to Phil Pa. About a week later from his new residence at Rockhill Township Pa. he enlisted into Co. A. of the 69th Pa. Infantry. More likely the authorities did the "enlisting" for him ie get him "on the books".

In the P.A. record card (see above) he was noted as being aged 19, with a florid complexion, about 5ft 9ins in height, brown eyes, and dark hair. His occupation was noted as being a farmer.
The other information recorded is that he had been been born at Point Lookout Va. and most interestingly noted as being a rebel deserter. Other informatio on hand is that his wife was called May or Mary and that they had three children the last being born in Illinois. May or Mary was born in N.C.
At this point we do not know what happend to him after his war service or whether he went back to N.C. or perhaps went to Illinois where his third child was born. He would appear to have stayed with the army until released by General Order from Wash. 15th Sept 1865. I feel that he was never actually "in" the 69th as such but simply "assigned" in a process of a quick attachment link and then get rid of him fast out West where he would be out of harms way and also useful to the Federal troops facing the Indians. A conclusion on both Davis and Kivett from what information is on hand is that they opted for "deals". Join the Union army and be deployed into the West and fight the Indians of stay in a northern prison such as the infamous Fort Delaware establishment into which hundreds of Confederates were dumped after Gettysburg.

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