Questionnaire completed by Jesse B. in 1915

The chief purpose of the following questions is to bring out facts that will be of service in writing a true history of the Old South. Such a history has not yet been written. By answering these questions you will make a valuable contribution to the history of your state.

1. State your full name and present Post Office address: Jesse Benton Caudle, Rives, Obion County, TN
2. State your age now.     72
3. In what state and county were you born?   Decatur County, TN
4. In what state and county were you living when you enlisted in the service of the Confederacy, or of the Federal Government?    Henderson County, TN
5. What was your occupation before the war?       working on farm
6. What was the occupation of your father?       farmer
7. If you owned land or other property at the opening of the war, state what kind of property you owned, and state the value of your property as near as you can.    My father owned land in Henderson and Decatur counties. I owned nothing in my name.
8. Did you or your parents own slaves? If so, how many?    No
9. If your parent owned land, state about how many acres.    Five or six hundred acres (he stated 800-1000 acres 6 years later on form 2)
10. State as near as you can the value of all the property owned by your parents, including land, when the war opened.      My parents were both dead.
11. What kind of house did your parents occupy? State whether it was a log house or frame house or built of other materials, and state the number of rooms it had.    A log house two stories high, four rooms, two above and two below and boy's house - kitchen and dining room separated from the main house.
12. As a boy and young man, state what kind of work you did. If you worked on a farm, state to what extent you plowed, worked with a hoe, and did other kinds of similar work.    Plowed, hoed, drove team, sawed, chopped and any other work that was to do on a farm.
13. State clearly what kind of work your father did, and what the duties of your mother were. State all kinds of work done in the house as well as you can remember - that is, cooking, spinning, weaving, etc.
My father died before I was old enough to know what work was.
14. Did your parents keep any servants? If so, how many?  I don't know.
15. How was honest toil - as plowing, hauling and other sorts of honest work of this class - regarded in your community? Was such work considered respectable and honorable?    It was.
16. Did the white men in your community generally engage in such work?  They did.
17. To what extent were there white men in your community leading lives of idleness and having others do their work for them?    There were very few. They were not respected.
18. Did the men who owned slaves mingle freely with those who did not own slaves, or did slaveholders in any way show by the actions that they felt themselves better than respectable, honorable men who did not own slaves?   I do not think they did. One very large slaveholder in my neighborhood, I think he owned 200-300 slaves, never seems to think himself better than other respectable people.
19. At the churches, at the schools, at public gatherings in general, did slaveholders and non-slaveholder mingle on a footing of equality?  I think they did.
20. Was there a friendly feeling between slaveholders and non-slaveholders in your community, or were they antagonistic to each other?    So far as the owning of slaves was considered they met on quality the people that did not own slaves. The majority did not.
21. In a political contest in which one candidate owned slaves and the other did not, did the fact that one candidate owned slaves help him in winning the contest?    I was not old enough to take part in politics.
22. Were the opportunities good in your community for a poor young man - honest and industrious - to save up enough to buy a small farm or go into business for himself?   They were. If he wanted help he could get it if he was worthy.
23. Were poor, honest, industrious young men, who were ambitious to make something of themselves, encouraged or discouraged by slaveholders?   They were encouraged.
24. What kind of school or schools did you attend?   The primary I was attending would be considered a big school when the war broke out.
25. About how long did you go to school altogether?   Only about 18 months.
26. How far was it to the nearest school?    One mile.
27. What school or schools were in operation in your neighborhood?    There were two.
28. Was the school in your community private or public?    They were public, but pay schools.
29. About how many months in the year did it run?   One in Prospect ran 3 months out of the year. Scotts Hill ran 10 months a year.
30. Did the boys and girls in your community attend school pretty regularly?    They did.
31. Was the teacher of the school you attended a man or a woman?    Man
32. In what year and month and at what place did you enlist in the Confederate or of the Federal Government?    August, 1861 at Scotts Hill, TN.
33. State the name of your regiment, and state the names of as many members of your company as you remember.  
The 27th Tennessee. Col. C. H. Williams organized the company and named it the Felix Rebels. He was elected Captain; William Timberlake - first Lt., Joe Ringold - 2nd, Felix Henry - 3rd, Joe Wheeler - Color bearer; there were about 100 men in this company. I will name a few of them. John Davenport, Sam Hillard, Alex Small, John Pridy and George and Dock Pridy, Marin Beaver, Charley Prichard, Jack Lyons, John Kennedy, Jim and George Mdline, John Swift, George McDaniel, Jim Smith, Silas White, John Lipscomb.
34. After enlistment, where was your company sent first?
Trenton, Tenn., where the regiment was organized. C.H. Williams was elected Colonel. We drilled daily but had no arms. We removed to Henderson in October and went from there to Columbus, KY.
35. How long after your enlistment before your company engaged in battle?
Our first battle was Shiloh, about 8 months after enlistment. We lost near three fourths of our regiment. Williams was killed, Brown wounded.
36. What was the first battle you engaged in?    Shiloh.
37. State in your own way your experience in the war from this time on until the close. State where you went after the first battle - what you did, what other battles you engaged in, how long they lasted, what the results were; state how you lived in camp, how you were clothed, how you slept, what you had to eat, how you were exposed to cold, hunger and disease. If you were in the hospital or in prison, state your experience here.
From Shiloh back to Corinth, Miss to Tupelo and from there to Chattanooga and Knoxville. We give Bewell such a whipping he could not follow us much. We come to Murfreesboro without any more fighting, landing there about the first of November. Our brigade was sent to Lavergen on pickett duty having a good time, but on Christmas Eve our picketts were done in and from that time on we had about all that humanity could bear.
38. When and where were you discharged?
I was taken prisoner near Nashville when Hood made his raid on Nashville with Amos Richardson who had charge of a detail. His home I think was Nashville.
39. Tell something of your trip home.
As a prisoner I was taken to Camp Douglas at Chicago where I had the worst time I had during the war. I had typhoid while in prison and was not every well at any time. I took the oath on the 18th of June, 1865 in front of the Cottage Grove Hotel in south Chicago.
40. What kind of work did you take up when you came back home?
I took up farming but went to school a part of one session.
41. Give a sketch of your life since the close of the Civil War, stating what kind of business you have engaged in, where you have lived, your chruch relations, etc. If you have held an office or offices, state what it was. You may state here any other facts connected with your life and experience which has not been brought out by the questions.
I went to work hauling on RR in 1866 and went to farming again in 1867. Was married in October, 1867 and joined the CPC in 1868 and the Masonic Lodge and have been farming ever since. I have tried my hand at sawmilling, cotton ginning, buying cotton, raising stock, buying stock, was elected Justice of the Peace in 1885 and served as such up to 1906 except one year. Have served on the school board 30 years of my life.
42. Give the full name and particulars of your father.
Absalom Caudle, born Anson County, North Carolina; lived in Decatur County at the time of his death; my father died when I was too young to know anything of his acts.
43. Give the maiden name and particulars of your mother.    Mary Hainey
44. Remarks on ancestry. Give here any and all facts possible in reference to your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., not included in the foregoing, as where they lived, office held, Revolutionary or other war services; what country the family came from to America; where first settled, county and state; always giving full names. It is desirable to include every fact possible and to that end the full and exact record from old Bibles should be appended on separate sheets of this size, thus preserving the facts from loss.
My father and mother both died when I was very small. I have no knowledge of them and my grandparents never came to Tennessee. I am about the only survivor of the family.
45. Give the names of all the members of your Company you can remember.
Company D 27th Regiment. This company was organized at Lexington, TN in August, 1861 going to Trenton to train the first of September, 1861. C.H. Williams who was captain Col., Capt. Brown, Lt. Brown, Lt. Col. Major Love. Bill Timberlake was elected Captain, John Parham 1st Lt, Joe Ringold, 2nd Lt, Felix Henry, 3rd Lt, John Davenport, ordley sgt., Alex Small, Dock Walker, Tom Dalton, Jim Parker, Jim Medlin, Alas Medlin, Johnson Kennedy, Jack Lions, John Furgurson, John and George Pridy, Dock Pridy, George McDaniel, Absalom W. Caudle, Martin Beavers, John Lipscomb, Joe Arnold, J. W. Reed, Jocob Hall, J.B. Caudle. If there is any living of this role I do not know it. I have been gone from home so long I have forgotten them. Joh Lipscomb I think is still living. If he is his Post Office is Greenfield, Tenn.
46. Give here the name of Post Office address of living veterans of the Civil War, whether members of your company or not.
John Head, Rives Tenn
Capt. Walker, Rives Tenn
J.W. Robinson, Rives, Tenn.
M.H. McCree, Union City, Tenn
James Imman, Troy, Tenn
Frank Stanley, Union City, Tenn