Pleasant Easley



Private in Company K,

Illinois 124th US Infantry Regiment

American Civil War





by


Lionel Nebeker


2009







Pleasant Easley was born on 11 April 1823 in Robertson County, Tennessee.  Sometime by his teenage years the family had moved to Macoupin County, Illinois.  At least his older brother, George Washington Easley, was married there in 1840; and Pleasant was also married there two years later, on 18 Dec. 1842, to Louisa Sinclair, the daughter of James Clark Sinclair and Rebecca Parks.  Pleasant was the second of eleven children born to William Pyrant Easley and Jane W. Perry.  


We believe that Pleasant and Louisa had seven children, but there is some inconsistency in the early censuses about the first two sons: 

     Joseph C. Easley           born 24 Aug. 1848 in Williamson Co., Illinois

     John P. Easley               born 17 July 1849           “

     Edward Elliot Easley    born 16 Jan 1852             “

     Pleasant Philander Easley     born Feb 1854        in Illinois

     Ida Louisa Easley          born 1857 in Macoupin Co., Illinois    (Great Grandmother of Bette Nebeker)

     Celia Alice Easley          born Nov. 1861 in Macoupin Co., Illinois   (twin)

     Robert Allan Easley      born Nov. 1861 in Macoupin Co., Illinois  (twin)


Each of these children was born prior to, or very early in, the American Civil War.   Although they had southern roots, when the war began, Pleasant Easley, along with his extended family, felt the need to support the preservation of the Union.  On Aug. 12, 1862, he, along with three of his brothers, enlisted in Company K of the Illinois’ 124th US Infantry Regiment.  They were mustered in at Camp Butler, near Springfield, IL on Sept. 10, 1862.  Most of the soldiers in this company came from Sangamon Co., Illinois, which is immediately to the north of Macoupin Co.  The four brothers who enlisted to serve together in Company K on that date were: 


     George Washington Easley   – age 39 – b. 12 Jan. 1821       From Fairfiled, Ill

     Pleasant Easley                       – age 38 – b. 11 April 1822     From Carlinville, Ill

     John Young Easley                  – age 26 – b. 10 Feb 1836        From Taylorville, Ill

     Harrison T. Easley                   – age 22 – b. 1 Feb 1840          From Springfield, Ill


Each of these men were married, with young Harrison having married on 7 May, 1862, just four months prior to his enlistment.   On the Internet, we find the following for Pleasant Easley’s enlistment papers by clicking on:  “Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database” 



Home • Departments • Archives • Databases • Illinois Civil War Detail Report 


ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


Illinois Civil War Detail Report


Name          EASLEY, PLEASANT 

Rank           PVT 

Company    K 

Unit            124 IL US INF 


Personal Characteristics

Residence   CARLINVILLE, MACOUPIN CO, IL 

Age            39 

Height        6' 

Hair           LIGHT 

Eyes          GRAY 

Complexion      DARK 

Marital Status   MARRIED 

Occupation       FARMER 

Nativity            SPRINGFIELD, SANGAMON CO, IL 


Service Record

Joined When            AUG 12, 1862 

Joined Where           MACOUPIN CO, IL 

Joined By Whom      S N LANDERS 

Period                       3 YRS 

Muster In                  SEP 10, 1862 

Muster In Where      CAMP BUTLER, IL 

Muster In By Whom 

Muster Out 

Muster Out Where 

Muster Out By Whom 

Remarks                  TRANS OCT 28, 1863 TO VRC 





From the internet we find the following description about the service record for Company K of the 124th Illinois Infantry Regiment, including Pleasant Easley’s service: 


  Civil War Service


  Sep 1862-Oct 1863 , Civil War 

  Private, Co K, 124th Regt., Illinois Infantry

On Aug. 27, 1862, the first company went into camp at Camp Butler, near Springfield, [IL] and

six days later all were in camp and the field officers chosen.  On Sept. 10, it was mustered into

the U.S. service for three years and on Oct. 6, left for the front, arriving at Jackson, Tenn., on the

9th.  On May 1, [1863] after a rapid march of about 12 miles, it received its baptism of fire in the

battle of Port Gibson [Mississippi, during the Vicksburg campaign].  It bore an important part in

the battle of Raymond, was also at the capture of Jackson, and did noble service at the battle of

Champion's hill, capturing more men from the 43rd Ga. than its own ranks numbered.  It also

killed most of the men and horses of a battery, and captured the guns.  The loss of the regiment

in this action was 63 killed and wounded.  It was in the fearful charge at Vicksburg on May 22,

and occupied the extreme advance position gained that day during the whole of the siege.  At the

mine explosion on June 25, the regiment lost 49 men in killed and wounded in what was called

the "slaughter pen," being ordered into the crater formed by the explosion, two companies at a

time for half an hour, all day of the 26th.   Pleasant stayed in guard at Vicksburg until mustered

out.        


Found on Ancestry.com  (Cox-John B. Family Tree)

[Items in brackets in the above recitation were added by this author to give clarity.] 








The Battle of Port Gibson was in the southern theater of this map and marked the opening of this great campaign.  The Battle of Raymond was further to the NE of Port Gibson, leading up the Nachez Trace toward the main headquarters of General Albert Sydney Johnston at Jackson, MS.  From here the Union forces began moving westward to the battle of Champion Hill, then to the Big Black River Bridge, and on to Vicksburg where final victory did not occur until July 4, 1863.   Pleasant Easley, and his Company K, participated in this entire engagement.


It appears that all four of the Easley brothers survived the terrible battles associated with this very bloody campaign.  Afterwards, the Union army settled in to occupy, to recuperate, and to regroup before being directed to the next major offensive.   However, the youngest of these men, Harrison T. Easley, died on the Black River in Mississippi on 4 Dec. 1863.  We do not know the particulars surrounding his death but it was most likely due to diseases that were so common in the swamps along the rivers in that part of the country.   It is sad to consider that he left behind a young widow, who had only been married to him for four months, prior to his enthusiastic enlistment in the army.


Pleasant’s other two brothers, George W. and John Y. Easley both seemed to have survived their three year tour of duty and were mustered out of the Army on 15 Aug. 1865 after the war had ended.  By then, George had been promoted to the rank of Corporal—see roster of Company K below [available on the internet by typing: “Company K Illinois 124th Infantry Civil War”, and then clicking on “Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database”, and then clicking on “124th Regiment, Illinois Infantry”, and then scrolling down to “Company K” and clicking on their “roster”.]   Notice that Pleasant Easley was a resident of Carlinville, Maucoupin Co., IL at the time of his enlistment, but each of the brothers were then living in different towns, yet they came together to enlist in the same company so they could live and fight together.  [See p. 443 below.]  










That autumn, following the Vicksburg Campaign, Pleasant Easley became incapable of any additional fighting action.  Whether this was due to a war wound, disease, or some other injury, is not totally clear.  But, on 28 Oct 1863, he was transferred to the V.R.C. (Veterans Reserve Corps).  The V.R.C was created for invalid, injured, or ill soldiers who were still capable of making some positive contribution towards the war effort, but not well enough to continue fighting in the field.

 

In an email from a distant cousin, Jack Easley, a grandson of Pleasant’s brother, John Young Easley, (dated 1 July 2012) he stated that Pleasant Easley was hospitalized for “Epigastrocele” which is a hernia in the upper abdominal region.  For more on the V.R.C, we find the following in a Wikipedia article on the Internet:


Veteran Reserve Corps


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search 








10th VRC band in Washington, 1865      [This photo does not contain Pleasant Easley]



The Veteran Reserve Corps (originally the Invalid Corps) was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the American Civil War to allow partially disabled or otherwised infirmed soldiers (or former soldiers) to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines.


The Invalid Corps The corps was organized under authority of General Order No. 105, U.S. War Department, dated April 28, 1863. A similar corps had existed in Revolutionary times. The Invalid Corps of the Civil War period was created to make suitable use in a military or semi-military capacity of soldiers who had been rendered unfit for active field service on account of wounds or disease contracted in line of duty, but who were still fit for garrison or other light duty, and were, in the opinion of their commanding officers, meritorious and deserving.


Qualifications

Those serving in the Invalid Corps were divided into two classes:

Class 1, partially disabled soldiers whose periods of service had not yet expired, and who were transferred directly to the Corps, there to complete their terms of enlistment;

Class 2, soldiers who had been discharged from the service on account of wounds, disease, or other disabilities, but who were yet able to perform light military duty and desired to do so.


As the war went on, it proved that the additions to the Corps hardly equalled the losses by discharge or otherwise, so it was finally ordered that the men who had had two years of honorable service in the Union Army or Marine Corps might enlist in the Invalid Corps without regard to disability. The soldiers shown in the rosters of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment (where they originally enlisted) and who then transferred to the V. R. C. belong to Class 1.


The Veteran Reserve Corps

The title "Veteran Reserve Corps" was substituted for that of "Invalid Corps" by General Order No. 111, dated March 18, 1864. The men serving in the Veteran Reserve Corps were organized into two battalions; the First Battalion including those whose disabilities were comparatively slight and who were still able to handle a musket and do some marching, also to perform guard or provost duty. The Second Battalion was made up of men whose disabilities were more serious, who had perhaps lost limbs or suffered some other grave injury. These later were commonly employed as cooks, orderlies, nurses, or guards in public buildings.


We understand that from Vicksburg, Pleasant was sent north to a hospital in Quincy, Illinois.  One of the VRC posts was in Rock Island, IL and he may have been stationed there, but family history (from extended family) indicates that he was in the Quincy hospital for some time.  An Email message from a distant cousin, Jack

Easley, says that: 


“From the Ill. Civil War Detail Report: He was a Pvt. in Company K of the 124th IL US INF and lived at Carlinville, Macoupin Co. IL and was 39 with light hair, gray eyes, dark complexion, married, and a farmer. Joined 12 Aug.1862 and mustered in 10 Sept., 1862 at Camp Butler, IL Under remarks, it says he was trans 28  Oct 1863 to VRC ( which was the invalid Corps.). it continues – with Epigastrocele and sent to the hospital where he died.  That was in, “Military, Death: GAR Veteran Civil War.” That Hospital was in Quincy, ILL.”


As noted here, Jack Easley understood that Pleasant died in this hospital, but the records do not state that.  Instead they say that he was “transferred” on 15 April 1864, but do not indicate where he was transferred.


American Civil War Soldiers about Pleasant Easley 

Name:             Pleasant Easley

Residence:      Carlinville, Illinois

Enlistment

Date:               12 Aug 1862

Side Served:    Union

State Served:   Illinois

Service Record:

     Enlisted as a Private on 12 August 1862.

     Enlisted in Company K, 124th Infantry Regiment Illinois on 10 Sep 1862.

     Transferred into Regiment U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps on 28 Oct 1863.

     Transferred out of Company K, 124th Infantry Regiment Illinois on 28 Oct

     1863.



Again, from the above Civil War record, there is no indication of his death while serving in the US military. 


Our research shows that he returned to his home in Macoupin Co., IL, for a short time before moving his family very briefly to Missouri, and then resettling in Thayer, Neosho Co., Kansas.  We found him there in the 1870 US Federal census with the younger children that he and Louisa had in prior US censuses in Illinois,

but without his oldest sons, who by then would have been out of the home and living on their own. 


Just two years later, however, Pleasant died, on 15 April 1872, age 49, and was buried in the local cemetery in Thayer, KS.  His wife, Louisa Sinclair Easley, died the following year on 16 Sep. 1873, age 50,  and she was buried near him in the same cemetery.

 

Kansas had a State Census in 1875 and in that one we find his family still living in Neosho Co., KA, but without either of their parents.  


Headstones for Pleasant Easley and Louisa Sinclair Easley [can be found on the Internet at “Find a grave”]: