Veteran of the
Civil War, Alfred died in service of disease at the age of twenty in
an army hospital at Nashville, Tennessee.
He was born on the fifth of March 1843, at Lawrence County, Ohio, the fifth of ten children of Easton
Tindall and Elizabeth Lantz or Lawtz. He died on April 23, 1863, and is buried next to his mother
in the PleasantGroveCemetery, one and one-half miles southwest
of Eden, Illinois.
Alfred enlisted in
the Union Army with his brothers Allen and John as a Private in
Company I, of the 86th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
August 11, 1862, at Lancaster, Illinois. They joined together for a
three-year term. The 86thIllinois was organized with several other
regiments, including its “twin” the 85thIllinois, in response to
President Lincoln’s call for 300,000 new troops in July 1862, on the
heels of the Battle of Shiloh. The 86th was mustered into
service later that month in
at CampLyon on the site of the old
fairgrounds, at the west gate of Glen Oak Park. The 86th was
initially attached to the Army of the
service in the western theatre, organized to check Confederate
From late that year until the end of the war, the 86th
was attached to the 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
On September 6, 1862, the Tindall
brothers and the 86th broke camp in Peoria and boarded
trains bound for Louisville, in pursuit of General Braxton Bragg’s
Army of the Tennessee. While waiting in vain for Bragg in defensive
positions ringing the city, the Union Commander, Major General Don
Carlos Buell reorganized his largely inexperienced Army of “Squirrel
Hunters.” The 86th was assigned to Major General Charles
Champion Gilbert’s Third Corps and Brigadier General Phillip
Sheridan’s 11th Division. The 86th was one of
four infantry regiments comprising the 36th Brigade,
under the command of Colonel Daniel McCook.
On October 1, 1862, the Army began offensive operations in
the midst of a prolonged drought, advancing southeast in pursuit of
the enemy. Buell’s advance elements overtook Bragg’s Confederates at Perryville, Kentucky, with Sheridan’s Division arriving on the evening of
the 7th. Now desperate for water, Buell’s 55,000 Union
troops fronted Bragg’s 16,000 Confederates deployed west of the town
and the ChaplinRiver. The next morning on the eighth in
the twilight before sunrise, the 36th Brigade was ordered
forward on the extreme left of the Union lines, carrying a creek and
a range of hills. The 86th was on picket duty that
morning, skirmishing as they advanced. After entrenching on ChaplinHeights, the Division was attacked with a
furious frontal assault which was repulsed. The Division then pushed
the retreating Confederates back toward the town, gaining favorable
batteries to menace the flank of Confederate infantry units which
were routing the Union 1st
Corps on their right. The battle ended about in the afternoon, more or less a stalemate.
Bragg’s Army then retired under cover of darkness. In their first
encounter with the enemy, the 86th lost one man killed
and thirteen wounded. Overall, Buell’s Army did not fare as well.
4,211 Union troops fell that day with 845 killed, compared to 3,396
Confederate casualties with 510 killed The bloody mess at Perryville
proved a lost opportunity for the Union
and cost Buell his command.
In pursuing the
retreating Confederates, the Army charted a course for the
transportation hub of Nashville, captured from the Confederacy
earlier in the year. The Army arrived on November 7. Much to its
consternation, at least according to its Division commander, the 36th
Brigade was relieved and assigned garrison duty to protect depots
and supply lines in the city. The Brigade then went into winter
It is unclear
whether Alfred was with his unit at the regiment’s first battle at
Perryville. He may have been hospitalized. Grouped with a large
number of men in unsanitary conditions, the new recruits in
particular began to suffer from camp diarrhea and other illnesses in
camp and on the march. In his memoirs, General Sheridan wrote that
his forces were much diminished by sickness in the fall of 1862:
“many poor fellows, overcome by fatigue, and diseases induced by the
heat, dust, and drought of the season, had to be left at roadside
hospitals.”Conditions were hardly better in Nashville. Provisions, proper clothing and
clean water there were scarce and the men were inexperienced in the
art of winter camping. To make matters worse, medical services were
primitive and the early Army hospitals were poorly equipped. One
veteran of the regiment described the times at Nashville as “sad and
Some twenty odd
men would live in the same tent, cook from a camp kettle swung in
the middle of it, make their beds on the damp ground, frequently
without even straw or boards under them. Snow fell, and the cold,
keen winds of winter whistled about, while the poor soldiers lay
cold and damp within… Many were taken ill and died from this
exposure; more died and were discharged during this winter than in
all our previous and after term of service.
Whether or not
Alfred fought at Perryville, it is clear that sickness overcame both
he and his brother Allen that fall and winter, ultimately killing
the youngest of the three brothers and permanently removing Allen
from the ranks of the 86th.
were likely buried on the hospital grounds and disinterred for
shipment home and reburial after the war, as part of the great
Federal effort to identify and honor the union war dead. Alfred was
one of eighty-six men in the Regiment to die of disease out of the
923 men mustered into service.
decades after Alfred’s death, on October 6, 1899, President McKinley dedicated an
extraordinary civil war monument in the memory of Peoria’s honored dead in the city’s Courthouse Square.
Alfred’s name is carved in bronze with other Illinois veterans from the Peoria vicinity lost in
the war. Alfred’s grave marker in the small
PleasantGroveCemetery is well worn, but still legible,
citing his service in the 86th Illinois Infantry
Regiment. The grave is in the middle section of the cemetery and is
the last in the fourth or fifth row from the back and adjacent to
cemetery pathway. (headstone
It appears that
Alfred’s parents were deceased before he went to war. Easton and Elizabeth married on March 10, 1831, and began raising
their large family in
Lawrence County, Ohio
coal country in the extreme southern-central portion of the state on
the Ohio River. Family genealogy records indicate that the
family resettled to Mt.
in the early 1840s. The family then traveled west to Illinois, arriving in the Peoria area in about 1850.
By that time, their family was considerable. Besides the three
brothers in the war, the family included James (b1833), Becky
(b1841), Charlotte Emaline (2/8/1845-8/15/1925), George (b1847),
Martha (1849), Emma and Jarvis who died as a small child. Their
mother Elizabeth (b5/28/1813) died in her early 40s on
April 14, 1855.
Family records indicate that Easton traveled west for the gold rush sometime
before 1860, and died or was killed in the process, leaving his
large family behind.
Their son Alfred did not marry before his death
in the war.
corrections, or suggestions would be deeply appreciated!