Ashley J. Davis / Ashley J. Davis

Ashley (sometimes also spelled Ashly) J. Davis was a son of  Hugh C. Davis who was a brother of Richard White's 2-great grandfather, Jonas B. Davis (not to be confused with Jonas B. Davis's son Hugh C. Davis and many others in the family who have since borne the name Hugh C. Davis).  Like other sons of the family of Ashley's grandfather, Joseph Davis, Hugh C. Davis settled with him in Decatur County, Georgia, as soon as lands there were opened for settlement in the early 1820s... but only for a awhile.  Hugh C. Davis soon moved on to Alabama, and later to Florida.  It is believed that immediately before the Civil War Hugh C. Davis was living in Washington County, Florida, and that Ashley J. Davis was living in Holmes County, Florida... however, his Union Cavalry enrollment record says that Ashley's enlistment was "credited to Jackson County, Florida".  Ashley was enrolled initially, on 7 October 1863, in Company A of the 4th Florida Infantry Battalion (Confederate).  The 2nd Florida Infantry Battalion and the 4th Florida Infantry Battalion were combined and redesignated as the 11th Florida Infantry Regiment, when the 11th Florida Infantry Regiment was sent to join the Army of Northern Virginia... which was probably just after Ashley J. Davis deserted.  Some of the details of the history of the 11th Florida Infantry Regiment are a bit murky, including exactly how companies were redesignated after the merger of the two battalions into one regiment.  Ashley Davis deserted Confederate service on 7 December 1863.

He was enrolled on 19 December 1863 in the 1st Florida Cavalry (Union).  He sent word to his wife Mariah (her name is sometimes also given as Mary) to bring their six children and to join him in Pensacola.  Ashley Davis's mother Prudence Lewis Davis later received a pension based on his Union military service, and a fairly detailed but not altogether complete account of what happened to his wife and children is contained in a a witness's affidavit that was part of the pension application.  Mariah Davis took the children down to St. Andrews Bay in an attempt to get to Pensacola, but ended up being carried instead (probably by a vessel of the Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron of the U.S. Navy) to the Cedar Keys... most likely to Atsena Otie where both the town of Cedar Key and the U.S. Navy installation were then situated (the town was relocated to another key after the Cedar Keys Hurricane of 1896 destroyed it).  Only a few ruins and a lot of burial sites now remain on Atsena Otie.  It is presently uninhabited and is part of the Cedar Key Federal Wildlife Refuge.  Anyhow... at the Cedar Keys, Mariah and all six of their children died. There was a Yellow Fever epidemic along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and in Union vessels in the Gulf in the general time frame that Mariah and the children died at the Cedar Keys.  Though the witness's account did not specifically name Yellow Fever, it did say that the illness was "a malignant type of fever that prevailed there at that time."

Ashley Davis, also became ill... and he died of "chronic diarrhea" at the 1st Florida Cavalry (Union) regimental hospital at Barrancas, Florida, on 29 September 1864.    Ashley's cause of death, though not named either, sounds like he possibly had Dysentery.  That sort of condition, whether named or un-named as to cause, often resulted from the poor sanitation practices followed in military camps and especially in prisoner of war camps in this period.  Chronic diarrhea was a fairly common cause of soldier's deaths on both sides of the conflict.  Exactly where the regimental hospital was located at Barrancas is not known.  There were several hospital facilities owned by the Navy around Pensacola... but the upon their withdrawal from the area in 1862 Confederates had burned the very substantially built Naval Hospital that had it's own 15 acre, 12-foot high, brick-walled enclosure west of the Pensacola Naval Yard (which was also walled).  In addition, the various military service departments sometimes cooperate and sometimes do not cooperate.  The regimental hospital might have been inside of the old Fort Barrancas work.  Built by the Spanish of stone... which was an adequate material for a fortification during the period in which it was constructed... Barrancas was converted into a massive earthwork to withstand the explosive shells of the Civil War era.  There is, on present maps, a street only slightly east of Fort Barrancas, that is named "Old Hospital Area".  However, that could easily be a reference to a hospital existing during a different period, so far as I know at this point.  Fort Barrancas is on the seaward side of the large peninsula to the southwest of the Pensacola Naval Yard.  Although Ashley Davis is not identified by name, at least in the cemetery interrment listing of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that is available on the web, his body was probably buried at what is now the Barrancas National Cemetery, near the landward side of the peninsula.  There are a number burials there indentified only as "Unknown Union Soldier"... as well as some attributed to named troopers of the 1st Florida Cavalry (Union).

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This page was created by Richard White on 20 January 2004.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  23 January 2004.