James Preston Doughty Biography
by Melinda Bossenmeyer
James Doughty was born 23 April in 1840. He lived in the small town called Cumberland in Il. His parents were John Doughty (Doty) and Jane McGuire.
In the Fall of 1861 nearly every young man in Coles County, Il was drawn to the notion of representing the North in the Civil War  and James was no exception. James Preston Doughty’s Civil War records show that he joined the 54th Regiment Company “G” of the IL. Volunteers on Dec. 2, 1861 joining near his home in Casey, IL. He enlisted as a “fifer” and made a three year service commitment. (A fifer is a non-combatant military occupation of a foot soldier who played the fife during combat, at reveille, meal time, formations, marching etc and often were charged with entertaining the troops in the evening.
James Mustered in on Feb. 28, 1962, at CAMP DUBOIS, in Anna, Illinois forming part of the Kentucky Brigade. His Civil War experience is documented which lists the movement of the 54th Regiment Ilinois Volunteers during the years James served from Dec. 1861-Dec. 1865 and provides documentation for battles and duties further illustrating James Preston’s war time experiences.
For much of 1862 the primary responsibility for the regiment was to guard the railroad which proved crucial for troop movement and the transportation of supplies. From Jan-Mar. 1863 the regiment was responsible for guarding train stations know as Toon Station and Medon Stations near Jackson, Tennessee. May 20, 1863 things began to change as they joined the famous “March to Vicksburg” joining the Third Brigade- Second Division, 16th Army Corps under Brigadier General Nathan Kimball. The primary objective in this march was to secure Arkansas for the Union.
By June 2 they had arrived at Haines Bluff on the Yazoo River a spot overlooking the river and strategic supply depot where they were on the extreme left of Sherman’s Army at Big Black confronting Johnson’s Army on Canton Road.
On July 24, 1863 they were ordered to Helena, Arkansas with General Steele’s expedition in an effort to secure Little Rock, Arkansas. The Battle of Helena takes place on August 13, 1863 and James’s involvement appears evident as he ends up in a convalescent hospital on that very day of the Battle according to his The Company “G” 54th Ill. Infantry Muster Roll. A subsequent Muster Roll indicates the regiment left James behind to recover in the convalescent camp when they move on continuing their march to Vicksburg on August 15, 1863. While circumstances seem obvious that he participated in the battle it should be noted that I did not find records indicating this fact and given that for every man that died in battle another two died from illness, I one can not be assured of his participation. Caring for the wounded and sick was a major challenge due to disease from bad drinking water and food, poor clothing and mosquitoes were also a major a major concern and certainly so on Arkansas mountainsides in the heat of summer.
However, as a fifer, it is likely that his role would have been to carry the wounded of the field of battles one could assume it was in this role he was injured.
Sept-Oct Muster Roll indicates that he was still in the convalescent camp and by Nov. & Dec. 1863 he ends up spending some time at the Jackson U.S.A. Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. After recovering in the hospital, he was furloughed for 30 days.
Like Three-fourths of the 54th IL infantry, James Re-enlists. His Declaration of Recruit Record and Volunteer Veteran Enlistment Records show the he re-enlisted on the 26 of December 1863 in Little Rock, Arkansas in the same Company and Regiment. His re-enlistment papers describe him as a Soldier with dark eyes, dark hair, dark complexion and is 6 feet 1 inch tall. At the time of re-enlistment he is listed as 23 years 8 months old. His occupation is listed as a shoemaker and he lists his home in Casey, IL. Upon his re-enlistment he is enrolled as a Principal Musician and becomes non-commissioned staff. A “fifer”-- promoted to a “Principal Musician” was relatively rare during the Civil War.
James next major battle occurs at at Jones Station, Arkansas where the 54h Regiment is guarding 16 miles of the Memphis to Little Rock Railroad. Two companies were guarding each of 5 stations. They were attached by 4,000 Confederate Rebels. Colonel Mitchell (Union) concentrated six companies at one station and they fought for five hours when they were forced from their hay breastworks on account of a fire and were captured by detail. Company G was one of the 6 companies captured in this battle. The day of the confrontation, August 24, 1864 his Company Field and Muster Roll lists him as “Missing in Action.” His military records in a subsequent document, A Memorandum From Prisoner of War Records lists him as “captured at Jones Station Arkansas, August 24, 1864”. He is paroled at Batesville, Arkansas on August 30, 1864.
James parole was based on a system of prison exchange agreed on by both sides early in the war. The written Memorandum of Understanding formally called a “Cartel” indicated that prisoners were to be released (ie “paroled” within 10 days of capture). Privates were exchanged 1 for 1 but officers and commissioned personnel were based on their rank. For example a 1 General = 46 privates. James, being a commissioned staff, would have been exchanged for 2 privates. Another interesting fact about the exchange “cartel” involved the rules for “excess prisoners”. Those who could not be exchanged were to be released on parole, which meant they could not perform any military service and were making a “Pledge Not to Fight” until they were officially notified that they had been exchanged. It was at this time that he was paroled and sent to the Benton Barracks , in St. Louis, Missouri arriving on September 9, 1864. The Benton Barracks, ASA Camp Benton was Missouri’s largest Civil War Training and Troop Deployment Encampment. Benton Barracks served as a parole camp; a military cantonment; hospital; and a camp for contraband or refuge slaves. It held 30,000 soldiers . It is reported the 54th IL Volunteer Infantry was a Union Army Unit that was stationed at Benton Barracks during this time.
Upon his release, he is subsequently exchanged by the Arkansas Dept of Government and is furloughed for 20 days on October 19, 1864. Wasting no time James returns home and marries his first wife Martha Ann Ellis on October 22, 1864. In January 1865 he is given orders to return to his Regiment.
From Jan-June of 1865 his regiment returns to Arkansas and again guards the railroad. On June 9 they are moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas and on March 18 arrive at Fort Smith, Arkansas. In October they march to Little Rock , Arkansas and on October 6 the Regiment returns to Camp Butler in Illinois and are Mustered Out on October 15, 1865.
James has served nearly a full four years for the Union. It should be noted that his presence is accounted for on all 2-month Field and Staff Muster Roll Cards for his complete 4 years of service. This is particularly note worthy given it is estimated that approximately 25% of the Union Soldiers went a-wall at some time during their Civil War service. History indicates that this was a problem for both the North and the South for they had limited supplies of food, rarely any shelter, insufficient clothing and were among disease and unsanitary conditions which led many soldiers to walk away and return home. Further, it is likely they observed other soldiers abandon their duty to serve in epidemic proportions.
By the end of the war the 54th Regiment Company “G” of the Ill Volunteers had marched 2,855 miles. They were transported by boat and rail cars 4,168 miles representing approximately 1800 soldiers and officers. 
Upon returning home from the war he reunites with his new wife Martha and wants to secure a homestead in Kansas like thousands of other discharged Civil War soldiers. He selects Kansas to claim a land grant that after the Civil War was termed a “military grant” for land. The homestead laws were made possible by liberal amendments by Congress designing the new “military grants as a payment for war service.”
James and Martha head to Kansas in 1866 to claim their Military Land Grant. Martha is pregnant and the distance from Clark County, IL to Anderson County, KS is 468 miles. Covered wagons averaged about 15 miles per day so a trip like this could take approximately 33+ days on average.
Somewhere into the trek crossing the plains from Illinois to Kansas Martha gave birth to their son Baby William and she dies during childbirth near Carthage, Missouri. She is buried on the trail in an unmarked grave in 1866. James without a way to feed his newborn decides to head back to Illinois for help with the infant. As James heads back to IL. (within the month or approximately 166 miles into his trip) William dies near Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri on the trip home to IL
James continues home to Illinois where he is introduced to Mariah Caroline Ellis, sister (to friend and Civil War comrade) , John Green Ellis. The following spring James marries his second wife Mariah Caroline Ellis in Coles County, IL on the 28th March 1867.  In 1870 they are still living in Illinois in Okaw, Coles County. By 1870 James has returned to Kansas and settled in Rich, Anderson County, Kansas. The Kansas Census shows house hold member James 35, M.C. 25 years, JO Doughty 3, E.A. Doughty 5 and Baby Doughty 2/12 months.
 Sections of a Master’s Thesis Edited by Dr. Coleman, EIU, The War and the Rebellion of Coles County. Coles County ranked near the top of the 102 names. Her population in 1860 was 14,174. Her total troop quota for the entire war was 2,728, and she furnished 2,741 in all, or 13 men in excess of the quota.
 54th Regiment Company “G” Il Volunteers Muster Roll for March-April 1862.
 Archives of the Civil War Enactors
 Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
 Benton Books Vol. 2 Meo Sept. 8, 1864.
 Written exchange contract or Memorandum of Understanding spelling out the specifics of the prisoner exchange rules.
 A compendium of the War of Rebellion by Federick Dyer
 History of 54th Infantry- Illinois Adjutant General’s Report 1861-1866.
 Kansas: A cyclopedia of state history, embracing …Vol. II pages 95-96
 Oral account of the trip as described by James Preston’s second wife Mariah Caroline Ellis. Notes from Nayda Easley genealogy research.
 Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900
 The 1875 Kansas State Census Kansas Historical Society.