DECEMber 2004


Written and Published Online by John Silver

w/contributing articles by cousins Rex Redmon


Thanksgiving has come and gone …


We hope you enjoyed yours as much as we did.  We can all be thankful that we were able to enjoy our children and grandchildren as well as great-great-grandchildren for some.  Looking out the window at a lovely sparkling day it’s hard to believe that yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) we had rain, wind and cold, at least here in Delaware.

There has been no correspondence lately from family members.  I would be happy to print any news of family happenings.  Birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, as well as get-well messages.  If you have items of interest, please share them with us.

We shall miss our Editor, Rex Redmon, who is stepping down.  Despite our pleas to remain, he says that he just has too much on his plate and must give something up.  Rex will continue to donate articles.  This is great -- since we can’t have him as editor we can still enjoy his well-done articles.

I won’t be able to write too much in this issue.  I have so much news to pass on that I would be remiss if I did not have room for it.  I’ll start the bad news first with four obituaries.





Charles Madison Silver
Chief Warrant Officer 4, USMC Ret.
Sun City West, Arizona


Mr. Charles Silver was born in Talking Rock, Pickens Co., GA on September 26, 1928.  He moved to Arizona in 1994.  He passed away at the Sun Health Hospice in Sun City West, AZ on August 27, 2004 with his wife and stepdaughter by his side.  Mr. Silver attended school through the 7th grade, at which point the available schooling ended.  He worked in the Ball Creek area until he was eligible to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1950. 

During his 21 years of service to his country, Mr. Silver was in the Inchon Landing followed by the Chosin Reservoir Campaign of the Korean Conflict, one of the toughest and most severe battle engagements in the history of the Marine Corps.  Mr. Silver served as Commander of the detachment in Subic Bay in the Philippines. He was on the Med-Cruise and served as an adviser to the Royal Thai Marine Corps.  Mr. Silver served two tours in Viet Nam.  In all, he was awarded 11 battle stars.  He served two tours as Senior Drill Instructor, one at Parris Island, SC and one at San Diego, CA.

When Mr. Silver retired from the Marines, he attended college majoring in Police Science and Law. He became the Manager of Security of the Coca-Cola Company until he retired from the Coca-Cola Company.  Mr. Silver is survived by his loving wife Judith; step-daughter, Linda Delles of Arizona; his three children, Charlene Blanke, Karen Silver and Charles Madison Silver II of Georgia; four sisters, Audrey Crump, Elsie Cox, Goldavee Davis and Ruby Dean; a brother, Sam Silver, all of Georgia.

Mr. Silver requested that no memorial service be held.  Instead, he requested a wake.  The wake will be held at his home in Arizona on October 3rd, 2004 in accordance with his wishes.  He requested that a donation be made in lieu of flowers be made to either the Marine Corps Drill Instructor Association, 4085 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92110 or the Sun Health Hospice, 19702 N. Routzahn Way, Sun City West, AZ  85375.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > John Silver > William Riley Silver > Samuel Fleming Silver > Grady Silver > Charles Madison Silver)


James W. Silver

James W. “Wade” Silver, 83, passed away Thursday, October 14, 2004 at the Veterans Administration Hospital.  He was born September 14, 1921 in Spruce Pine, Mitchell Co., NC.

Mr. Silver was an employee of PPG Industries (Pittsburg Plate Glass). He married Rosemary Kuffler on September 1, 1947 in Harlingen, TX.  He was also a veteran of World War II serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Harlingen, TX

He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary Kuffler Silver, his parents, Roy and Verdi Silver and an infant daughter, Diana Lynn Silver.

Survivors include his son, Jerald Silver of O’Fallon, IL; daughters Judy Bezek of Cheyenne, Patricia Cody of Temple, TX; brothers, Gene Silver of Houston, TX, 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. A private family service will be held at a later date.

Friends who prefer may contribute to the V.A. Hospice, c/o Eileen MeCormick, 2360 W. Pershing Boulevard, Cheyenne, WY in memory of James W. Silver.

Mr. Silver was a lifelong resident of Harlingen, Texas prior to his move to Cheyenne in 2001.  He was much loved and had many friends in both communities.  He will be greatly missed.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Schrader Funeral Home, 2323 Carey Avenue,  Cheyenne, WY.  82001-3697

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > William Jacob Silver > Samuel Jacob Patton Silver > Roy Felix Silver > James W. “Wade” Silver.)


Althea “Vergie” Darnell
Griffith-Crown Point, Indiana

Vergie Darnell, age 93, of Griffith-Crown Point Indiana, passed away Tuesday, August 10, 2004. Survivors: two sons and daughters-in-law, Kenny and Phyllis Darnell of Griffith and Terry and Colleen Darnell of Cedar Lake; two daughters and son-in-law, Margaret and Charles “Chuck” Huff of Crown Point and Sharon Darnell of Munster; seventeen grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-Grandchildren. One brother, Curtis “Jackie” Monday of Tennessee; four sisters, Lucille Miller of Georgia, Edna and Walter Loden of Illinois, Mildred Jenkins and Floria Adams, both of Tennessee.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Dannie Darnell, a son Harold Darnell, grand daughter Gayle Susan Darnell, brothers, Alvah Monday, Leonard Monday; a sister, Beatrice Manning and parents Catherine and James Gaither Monday.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 13, 2004 at 9:30 a.m. at the Kuiper Funeral Home Chapel, 9035 Klienman Road (2 blocks south of Ridge Road), Highland, with the Reverend Mark Promnitz officiating.  Burial will be in the Calumet Park Cemetery.  Friends are invited to visit with the family at the Kuiper Funeral Home on Thursday 4 to 8 P.M.

Mrs. Darnell was retired from the Griffith True Value Store after many years.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Thomas Silver > Thomas D. B. Silver, Harriett Savannah Silver m. James Washington Darnell > Danny James Darnell m. Althea “Vergie” Monday.


Charles Alfred Hensley
Morganton, NC

Charles Alfred Hensley, 60, of Morganton, affectionately known as “Hondu” by his friends, died suddenly Friday, November 5th, 2004 at Catawba Memorial Hospital in Hickory, NC.  Charles was the son of the late Farrell Hensley and Lucille McMahan Hensley of Morganton. 

Charles is survived by his brother, Joseph C. Hensley; sister-in-law, Sandra Hensley; sister, Carolyn Hensley Denton and brother-in-law, Edward Lee Denton.  He is survived by his nieces, Sherrie Hensley York, Graham Denton and nephew Chris Denton.  He is also survived by 1 great niece, 2 step-nephews and 3 step-nieces.

Charles was a proud Navy veteran and served on the aircraft carrier, USS Oriskany, as an aviation machinist.  His service included extensive tours in the Pacific and South Pacific from 1961 to 1965.  He was   employed by Griffith Security of Hickory and previously worked in restaurant management for many years in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton areas.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 7, 2004 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Pastor Jeff York officiating.  The family will receive friends one hour before the service at the funeral home.  Following the services, family and friends will gather at the Hensley Home Place on Overlook Drive off East Union Street in Morganton.  Memorials may be sent to the American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Thomas Silver > Jacob William Silver > Lillie Louise Silver m. Marion Malcolm McMahan > Elenor Lucille McMahan m. Farrell Hensley > Charles Alfred Hensley.




The 58th North Carolina Infantry of the Confederate Army


Civil War Letters to Home by Extended Silver Family Members.



Jeffery Craig Weaver of Arlington, Virginia, wrote and published a very fine manuscript about the 58th North Carolina Infantry in which many of our extended Silver Family Cousins served during the Civil War. In his manuscript Mr. Weaver includes some detailed history of the 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment of which our Mitchell and Yancey County Civil War letters describe. With all credit due to Mr. Weaver, some information from his manuscript will be used in conjunction with the Family Civil War letters that have recently been published as part of the Silver Family Newsletter, Silver Threads, to better give our readers an opportunity to understand and also better appreciate the activities of the men of Yancey and Mitchell Counties, NC during the Civil War.

The 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment was actually not formed until July of 1862, two years after the Civil War began. The regiment was formed in Mitchell County, North Carolina, 24 July 1862. (Mitchell County officially became a county on 16 February 1861. The county was formed from parts of Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Watauga and Yancey Counties.)

John B. Palmer of Mitchell County was elected Colonel of the Regiment. William W. Proffitt of Yancey County was elected as a Lieutenant Colonel and John C. Keener of Yancey County was elected Major. Both Proffitt and Keener resigned their commissions in 1863.

Company “K” of Mitchell County had as its company commanders, Captain Samuel M. Silver and David R. Silver.[1] Captain Sam was later promoted as battalion executive officer which made him a Major. David Silver, his brother, replaced him as CO. Before the war ended Major Sam was a Lieutenant Colonel with the responsibilities as a Battalion Commander. Lt. Col. Samuel Silver (b. 1833) was next to the youngest son of Rev. Jacob Silver. David R. Silver (b. 1832) was twenty two-months older than his brother Sam. Lieutenants in the Company were J. W. Duncan and Levi Deweese Silver, son of Alfred Silver, older brother to Sam and David.[2] When one is battalion executive officer or battalion commander, promotions to family members were commonplace in the Civil War.

The first assignment after the regiment was formed and trained was to march to Johnson City, (then Johnson’s Depot) Tennessee, where the command drilled constantly before being sent out as companies to man various posts in Upper East Tennessee for several weeks”, quotes Weaver in his manuscript. On August 25, 1862 an order was given to Colonel Palmer by the Adjutant General at Knoxville, Tennessee that the men of the 58th were to be supplied with three days ration and forty rounds of cartridges on their person, plus twenty rounds per man carried in their baggage on the supply wagon.  By the 27th of August the regiment left Camp Stokes in Johnson City and reached Camp Reynolds near Cumberland Gap near the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. The regiment became part of the division commanded by General Stevenson. The intent at the time was to have a fullscale invasion of Kentucky.[3]

The North Carolina 58th remained at the Cumberland Gap until October 25, 1862. That date saw the regiment marching 32 miles in three days to Big Creek Gap in Campbell County, Tennessee, where they were supposed to go into winter camp. However the winter camp did not happen. Big Creek Gap is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border and it became the duty of the 58th to help protect the Virginia-Tennessee railroad.[4] By Christmas of 1862, part of the regiment was marched to Jacksboro, Tennessee where we find Little Billy Gouge writing a letter to his father on the 24th of December.[5]

Several of the Little Billy Gouge‘s letters we have previously published referred to his duty station as the Cumberland Gap area. Again, this deployment of the 58th went into winter quarters at Big Creek Gap near Jacksboro during the winter of 1862/63. Colonel Palmer’s command during their camp at Big Creek Gap at the time had 125 officers and 1526 enlisted men. The primary duty for the regiment was “picketing” in the passes of the Cumberland Mountains. Picketing was an outpost responsibility of a minimum number of men whose duty was to delay any enemy troops who might try a sortie against the confederate forces. “Hold until reinforcements arrive”, were their orders. Also during the winter, the regiment made numerous expeditions into Kentucky to reconnoiter enemy positions and movements.[6]

During the hard winter months  of 1862/63, the soldiers of the 58th mostly lived in cloth tents where they were exposed to the elements of cold weather. Their food, more often than not, consisted of corn bread, old beef, bits of pork, some old bacon, a few peas and hardtack as the letters of Little Billy Gouge indicate frequently. Also in a letter written on March 15th, 1863, by Tilman Blalock Silver to his grandparents, William M. Gouge and Martha Thomas, Tilman describes camp life as “a hard life to live“.  Tilman also describes the hard times the citizens who live near Jacksboro are having when he says in his letter, “If your country had been eaten out like this country, you would know what it is to shift. The citizens are about to perish“. (To shift is to make do with what you have.) A few soldiers, such as Tilman, frequently lived in abandoned scattered homes in the area of their deployment. He refers to that fact in his letter on March 15th. “We are all tired of Powell’s valley and Jacksboro. I shall hate to leave this on account of getting to stay in a house.”[7]

During the winter of 1862/63, the soldiers of “K” Company served guard duty every other day according to Little Billy Gouge in one of his letters. Also Mr. Weaver‘s, manuscript states that,

“The details for guard duty in this service were excessive and the command suffered greatly from privation and exposure. The loss from death by disease was appalling camp fever and an epidemic of measles being extremely fatal, the natural result of inexperience and a deplorable lack of hospital accommodation and facilities“.[8]


Little Billy also stated in his letters that two members of his company had died that winter of small pox.

As the spring of 1863 arrived, the brigade was placed under the command of General J. W. Frazer, a man of Scottish descent. The troops of the 58th were stationed at Clinton, Tennessee and other points in East Tennessee according to Mr. Weaver.[9] We can verify that history of the 58th because Little Billy Gouge and his brother, Garrett Gouge, state in their letters of April 5, 14, 20, 25 and May 3 they were in Clinton, Tennessee.[10]

The 58th North Carolina Regiment left Big Creek Gap on March 29, 1863 with orders to proceed to Clinton, Anderson County, Tennessee. (Near the Kentucky-Tennessee border in Upper East Tennessee.) On May 14, the day Garrett Gouge wrote one of today’s published letters, the 58th had marched sixty miles and was in route to Monticello, Kentucky which they reached on May 18th.[11]

The two Civil War letters we will read today are written by Garrett (G.D.) Gouge to his wife Rosanah Gouge. The first letter is written on 14 May 1863 and the company has moved from Clinton, Tennessee to Fentress County in Middle Tennessee according to the letterhead on Garret’s letter. Fentress County is located in Northern Tennessee near the Kentucky border. The 58th was getting ready to enter Kentucky. Garrett’s letter follows.


Fentress County, Middle Tenn.
May 14, 1863


Dear Companion:


I am blessed with another opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you know I am well, hoping this note may find you enjoying the same.


I have not had the opportunity to write to you this week until now. I have been on a hard march for several days. (The march from Clinton To Fentress County.) We marched from our camps to meet the enemy but before we got here, General (John Hunt) Morgan had driven them across the Cumberland River.


We have taken up camp and will stay here a few days. I think we will move back to Clinton before long although we may stay a month to two. We left all our clothing at Clinton but what we have on; and our blankets.


I have no interesting news to write. I am doing the best I can and you must do the same. You and little Anderson must not work too hard. I am afraid he will hurt his arm. Be good to Richmond and don’t let him forget Pap. I am in hope he will soon be big enough to plow.


You must write to me as soon as you get this letter and give me all the news. Write whether Joseph Murphy has broken my colt or not. Give all the neighbors my respects. Give William Silver and wife my respects. Tell him to write to me.


Rosanah, write how my wheat looks and how you are getting along with your work. I would like to be with you and help tend the crop. I would like to see you the best kind but no chance now.


I will close. I remain you husband till death. Farewell.


G.D. Gouge to Rosanah Gouge


L. D. Silver sends his respects.


OK! We see that Company K and perhaps other company’s of the 58th have marched 63 miles from their camps in Clinton, Tennessee to a position near the Cumberland River in Fentress County, Tennessee, on their way to Monticello, Kentucky. Historians such as myself use letters like the above letter to document the movement of Civil War troops and the rolls the soldiers played in the events. Here is verification that at least Company K of the 58th was on the move in early May of 1863. This kind of documentation makes the reading of these letters a lot more exciting.

The William Silver and wife, to whom Garrett alludes in his letter, is probably William Jacob Silver and Sarah Ann Patton. William Jacob Silver (b. 1829 was an older brother to Lt. Col. Sam and Captain David Silver and lived in Bandana near the Gouge family.

The above letter was probably written by Levi DeWeese Silver for Garrett Gouge because the second letter we read today was written by Levi as it states at the bottom of the letter. As we read the next letter, written by Garrett Gouge, we see that K Company has moved from Fentress County, Tennessee to Wayne County, Kentucky, in hot pursuit of the Yankees.

Seven days have now elapsed since Garret wrote his last letter on May 14.


Camp near Monticello,

Wayne County, Ky.

May 21, 1863


Dear Companion:


I with pleasure, drop you a few lines which I hope will find you well and doing well.


I can inform you that your kind letter came to me on the 20th of this instant bearing date May 15, which found me in good health and doing the best I can.


I have been on a hard march for six days but we have taken up camp. We are 105 mils from Clinton today. We have been camped here three days. We left all our clothing at Clinton but our blankets and what we had on.


I cannot tell you how long we will stay here. We have been expecting battle ever since we got here. General (John Hunt) Morgan ran the Yankees across the Cumberland River and I hardly think they will attempt to cross back. If they do, I don’t think the will stay long for we have a large force here.


Some persons think we will cross the river and attack them but I don’t think so for the Yankees have been giving back toward Somerset.


I saw a man shot the 16th day of this instant for bushwhacking and stealing horses. This man’s name was Peter Beech. His family lives in Tennessee near the Kentucky line. Tennessee cavalry shot him. He had six balls in him.


You said in your letter you was going to send me a jacket and socks and bread. You need not send anything without you send me a pair of socks. As to the jacket, I have as much clothing as I can carry. As to the bread, I would like to have it but its too far to carry bread. Don’t put yourself to any trouble. I get plenty to eat such as bread and meat. I have never suffered.


You must write and let me know how your wheat looks and how Joseph Murphy is getting along with my colt.


Tell little Anderson to be a good boy and mind his book. Rosanah, you must kiss little Richmond for me. Give father and mother my love and respects. I was sorry to hear sister Patty was sick. Give all my friends my respects. Tell your mother’s folks to write to me. They all have my best wishes. I must close my bad letter. Tell Uncle Robert I have not forgotten him.


I will send you some money when I draw. I have never drawn yet.


Written by L. D. Silver: I also send my respects and wish to be remembered by you all. I would be glad to receive a letter from any of you. Direct your letters to Knoxville, Tenn., Co. K 58th Regiment, N.C. troops in care of Captain (Samuel Marion) Silver.


G.D. Gouge to Rosanah.


            A genealogist would have a field day with this letter. So many things are verified in this letter such as Patty being a sister to Garrett. Also he talks about his children for whom he has great affection. Jeffery C. Weaver verifies the movement of the 58th also. He says the Regiment had reached Monticello, Kentucky on the 18th of May. The Regiment would remain in Monticello until May 27th when again they headed for Clinton. The regiment arrived at Clinton on May 30th. [12]

            Up to this time during the Civil War, the 58th had not seen much action. Also on April 27th, part of the command of Colonel Palmer was possibly reduced. Weaver says, “The command was reduced considerably in size“. Most likely part of the command went to Kingston, North Carolina, where on May 22nd, Yankee Major General J.G. Foster reported from New Bern, North Carolina that his forces had surrounded the 58th North Carolina on four sides and captured 200 to 300 of that regiment.

            Next month, we will read where the 58th marches again in defense of East Tennessee. Knoxville will eventually fall to Union forces by the end of 1863 and also we will read about the involvement of the 58th at Chickamauga. Until then…

Happy Holidays everyone…

Cousin Rex



John Silver
Genealogist & Editor
64 S. Fairfield Drive
Dover, DE 19901
[email protected]

Rex Redmon
Historical Contributor
11 Cantera Circle
 Greenville, SC 29615

 [email protected]

Barney Kaufman
7408 Lake Drive
Manassas, VA 20111-1960
[email protected]






[1] 58th North Carolina Infantry, Company K. Jeffery Craig Weaver, 1995, 1997, Arlington, Virginia.


[2] Silver Family Genealogy as compiled by John Silver of Dover Delaware.


[3] 58th North Carolina Infantry, Company K. Jeffery Craig Weaver, 1995, 1997, Arlington, Virginia.


[4] Ibid.


[5] Civil War Letter to Home by Little Billy (William) Gouge, December 24th 1862.


[6] 58th North Carolina, Infantry, Company K. Jeffery Craig Weaver, 1995, 1997, Arlington, Virginia.


[7] Letter by Tilman Blalock Silver to his grandfather, W.M. Gouge. Dated March 15, 1863.


[8] 58th North Carolina Infantry, Company K. Jeffery Craig Weaver. 1995, 1997. Arlington, Virginia.


[9] ibid.


[10] Civil War Letters To Home by William “Little Billy” and his brother, Garrett Gouge.


[11] 58th North Carolina Regiment, Company K. Jeffery Craig Weaver. 1995, 1997. Arlington Virginia.


[12] ibid.