The Writing Process — Tennessee Valor (Pvt. Thomas Hale)

Posted on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

24-year-old Thomas Hale enlisted into Company K, 7th Tennessee Infantry

The Writing Process — Tennessee Valor

Communications with descendants of men from the 7th Tennessee has been a most rewarding experience. Many descendants have generously provided information about their ancestors, and in some cases, furnished marvelous photos. One such example is 24-year-old Thomas Hale, whose Tennessee background so typified the experiences of young men growing up in the South. Unfortunately, Hale’s military episode was tragic. However, his experience also represents what happened to many young soldiers.

Thomas Hale was born in 1837 and raised on his parents’ farm in Wilson County. By 1860 he had moved away from home and boarded where he worked, on the farm of 63-year-old Thomas Kirkpatrick, not far from Gladesville, Tennessee. Hale’s employer, Kirkpatrick was a machinist who lived with his son, Dr. Foster Kirkpatrick and his wife, Eliza. The couple had four children. The Kirkpatrick’s farm and savings totaled $5,500 and included five slaves.

Thomas Hale was the primary farm laborer for the Kirkpatrick’s, as well as directing, and working side-by-side with slaves, Moses Blackwell and George Sims.

When the call came to support the cause in May 1861, Thomas Hale enlisted into Captain Thomas Bostick’s “Wilson Blues,” a company from Wilson County. Bostick’s formation mustered into the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment as Company K, with Hale proudly shouldering his .54 caliber Mississippi rifle, along with the other 100 enthusiastic volunteers.

Unfortunately, military life did not set well with Private Hale and sadly, his health rapidly declined. His illness forced him to begin missing roll calls in January 1862, and by February he was confined to a hospital. Hale’s demise came soon after, and he died of pneumonia on March 2, 1862. He was buried in a cemetery in Virginia.

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