Civil War mystery solved

By Chris Berendt Staff Writer

April 25, 2014

A 150-year-old mystery at a cemetery in South Carolina has been solved and will soon be celebrated. The only unknown Confederate soldier to be buried in Beaufort National Cemetery has been identified as a Sampson man, whose new headstone will be officially unveiled during a ceremony next month.

The only Confederate soldier interred in the cemetery with a tombstone marked as “unknown” was identified last month as Pvt. Haywood Treadwell of the 61st N.C. Volunteers, Co. G. He was a farmer in Sampson County, where he was raising his family prior to his time in the war.

Treadwell will be recognized along with other Confederate soldiers as part of a two-day event in Beaufort May 9-10 in conjunction with Confederate Memorial Day.

Treadwell was brought to a Union hospital in Beaufort after being wounded in July 1863 defending Fort Wagner (also called Battery Wagner) which protected Morris Island, S.C., south of Charleston Harbor. That battle was depicted in the movie “Glory,” in which the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, a black regiment, charged Wagner.

Research on the William Wigg Barnwell House in Beaufort, which served as Union Hospital #4, turned up records helping identify Treadwell. Historical researcher Penelope Holme Parker, a Beaufort resident conducting research on the nearly 200-year-old house for owners Conway G. and Diane Ivy, led to the discovery of Treadwell’s identity.

“It turned out this house was used as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War,” said Joel Rose, president of the Sampson County Historical Society. Rose was contacted by Parker in September 2012 and helped trace some of Treadwell’s background.

During her research, Parker consulted the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and was able to obtain a roster of troops and those who died at the Union hospital in Beaufort. Name by name, Parker was able to whittle the list down, cross-referencing the roster of hospital patients with the men buried at various local and national cemetery sites.

“But there was one name that was unaccounted for,” Rose said.

It was Haywood Treadwell of Sampson County. Parker reached out to Rose via email regarding the discovery about a year and a half ago.

“My research into the history of the William Wigg Barnwell House in Beaufort S.C. led to a discovery we were not anticipating,” she wrote, “the discovery of the identity of the Confederate Unknown Soldier in Beaufort National Cemetery.”

Treadwell came to the house in 1863 as a patient and prisoner-of-war when the house was Union Hospital #4 and ultimately died there Sept. 12, 1863. There are 117 Confederate soldiers buried at the Beaufort cemetery, which was originally established as a burial ground for Union troops.

Burial records found in a cardboard box at the cemetery building more than two decades ago listed a Heyward Treadwell — not Haywood — buried in the unknown soldier’s gravestone.

“Union errors in recording his name on hospital and cemetery records as Heyward Treadwell appear to have led to his misidentification as unknown when tombstones were made at a later date,” Parker stated.

She noted “the horrific service” Treadwell saw as one of the defenders of Charleston harbor at Battery/Fort Wagner, in which 1,515 Union soldiers were killed, captured or wounded in the July 18 assault, called the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, about a week after the first, to go along with 174 Confederate soldiers.

In her correspondence with Rose, Parker said it appeared that Treadwell left a widow and two children, noting Louisa Treadwell’s 1885 petition for a widow’s pension. Louisa Treadwell was found in the 1870 Census, 23, white female, head of household, with two young children, John, 8, and Mary, 6, living in the Lisbon Township. Other Census information identified Mary later as Cornelia. At 23, Louisa was quite younger than her husband, who was 42 at his death,when Louisa was 16.

“A point of interest is also Haywood Treadwell’s service record, which shows he enlisted in New Hanover County where he resided and his place of nativity is recorded on his burial records as Sampson County,” Parker stated. “Louisa’s petition request lists her residence as Sampson County.”

Rose confirmed that Treadwell was indeed from Sampson.

While Louisa Treadwell was found in the 1870 Census, along with her two children, a search into 1860 Census records did not turn up Haywood Treadwell, but a Haywood Scarboro in Kerr Station of Sampson. He was a farmer who lived with his wife and newborn child, which would have been John.

“I was going through the Census one name at a time when I stumbled upon him in 1860,” Rose recalled. “He dipped turpentine and probably had a little garden with some potatoes and a few hogs. I could find no trace of his son or daughter after 1870. Our search kind of ended there.”

Rose went through the 1880 Census for the Lisbon Township area but was unable to find Louisa or the children. The 1900 Census finds her once again as a head of household, 60, in the Lisbon Township with her daughter, Cornelia, 40. Rose said he could not explain the difference in children between the 1870 and the 1900 Census.

In the 1900 Census, it reflected that Louisa (also spelled Louiza in records) had two children but only one was alive, and that was Cornelia. By 1910, Louisa was likely deceased and the Census reflected Cornelia Treadwell as living in Clinton with the family of Edward Lewis as a cook. Death certificates were required beginning in 1913 and Cornelia was found to have passed away in 1915 at the age of 51, born March 28, 1863, born less than four months before her father was wounded in battle.

However, Rose’s pursuits into the South Carolina Census found clues toward what became of John. It showed that John lived in Dillon at the time of the 1910 Census. Those Census figures also uncovered that John had a son. The son’s name — Haywood.

The young Haywood had moved back to Sampson County for a time but ultimately moved on. There are still Treadwells in the Lisbon and Delway communities and some descendants will be at the unveiling of the tombstone.

“There are direct descendants including some who live locally,” Rose said.

Haywood and other soldiers are not forgotten, and will be remembered next month.

A two-day event will include a symposium Friday, May 9, at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Performing Arts Center and a formal memorial ceremony Saturday, May 10, at the Beaufort National Cemetery with the unveiling of the new Treadwell gravestone.

During the symposium, Rose and Parker will trace the life of Treadwell, from his years as a turpentine farmer in Sampson County to his military service, his wounding and capture during the battle for Battery Wagner in Charleston Harbor and ultimately to his death in Union Hospital No. 4 in Beaufort and his burial on Sept. 12, 1863.

“There is tremendous satisfaction in being able to restore the soldier’s identity,” said Parker. “He lost his life and his name 150 years ago. But now it has been recovered and his descendants know part of their family history they didn’t know before. It is wonderful, too, that so many people have taken an interest in the discovery.”

The May 10 memorial ceremony will feature an honor guard of Confederate re-enactors, a cannon salute to Pvt. Treadwell and the other Confederate soldiers interred in the cemetery and the unveiling of Treadwell’s new gravestone, which provides closure for a soldier, his family and those who cared enough to discover them.

The city of Beaufort has also proclaimed the second weekend in May Pvt. Haywood Treadwell Weekend.

“Haywood Treadwell was one of Sampson County’s own,” said Parker, who thanked her clients Conway and Diane Ivy with making the discoveries possible. “Without them none of it would have come to light.”

For more information on the symposium and the Confederate Memorial Day celebration, call 843-521-4145 or visit

Some information from wire reports. Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at