William Jackson Braswell (March 22, 1835 - March 11, 1919) served as a corporal in Company L, 13th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry.
William Braswell was born March 22, 1835 in Burke County, North Carolina to Rion Edward and Ann (Beard) Braswell. He married Louisa Allison (1840-1922) with whom he had nine children.
Braswell first enlisted as a private in Company H on October 27, 1863 in "Ratlers [Rarles?] Hill, Tennessee" for a period of three years and deserted three weeks later without being mustered in. In a record--likely obtained from Confederate records--from the Adjutant General's Office, U.S. War Department dated June 23, 1887 he, "Deserted the U.S.A. after serving three weeks. In his examination before [Commissioner] Carrington C.S.A. at Richmond[,] Va. Jany 8/64 he stated that he had always been a Southern man, was captured by bushwhackers, and to save his life enlisted in the 12th Tenn Cavly, Co H. Wishes to join Captain Bingham's Co. but don't know to what regiment it belongs, was never mustered into the Federal service, never drew pay nor clothing. Comr. Carrington recommends that he be treated as a conscript, and sent to the enrolling officer." This statement was returned as a rejection for a pension that Braswell was attempting to receive.
As late as 1918 he was continuing his attempt to receive a pension. This last rejection includes the 1887 statement and adds: "His name appears on a list of conscripts received at Camp Lee, Va., between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1864, which shows that he was enrolled January 20, 1864, and assigned to the 15th Va. Infantry, Confederate States Army, January 22, 1864. His name has not been found on any rolls of any company of that regiment. Nothing further has been found relative to the whereabouts of this man between Oct. 27, 1863, and March 17, 1865."
Remarkably, Braswell reenlisted in Company L on January 10, 1865 and was appointed corporal on February 1, 1865, but was never mustered in.
He is described as 27 years old, 5' 7" tall, fair complexion, blue eyes, dark hair, and by occupation a carpenter.
Braswell is listed as present for duty for which muster roll records have survived until June 1865 when he was left sick in U.S. General Hospital in Knoxville. He was discharged June 21, 1865 from there on orders from the War Department dated May 3, 1865. Upon his discharge, it was noted that he had never been paid, owed $66.69 to the government for clothing in kind or money advanced, and had not received any bounty.
Braswell first applied for an invalid's pension on June 9, 1879. He died March 11, 1919 in Johnson City, Tennessee and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Johnson City. His wife applied for a widow's pension on March 15, 1919.
- 1910 U.S. Census, 8th Civil District, Washington County, Tennessee.
- The location of Ratlers Hill or Rarles Hill has not been identified, but from his records it can be surmised that it was located near Gallatin, Tennessee.
- The 13th Tennessee Cavalry was initially designated 12th Tennessee Cavalry.