By Frederick Walton, 6th NCST Historian
Meet Sergeant John Moore, Company B, 16th North Carolina. At least I think it’s John Moore, here’s why…
When I first saw this photo last week it was identified as Sergeant Willie Meadows of Company B, 6th North Carolina State Troops.
This didn’t seem right to me for several reasons. First the uniform was unlike any I had seen in previous photos of 6th NCST soldiers. Secondly, although he has a “B” on his cap, the letters “MR” below it didn’t make sense to me. Company B was known as the “Flat River Guards”. The letters on his cap should be FRG rather than the “MR”.
Most viewers were in agreement that the picture seemed to be an early war photo, but looking up Willie Meadows service record revealed that he didn’t make Sergeant until 1864, much too late to be considered an “early war” photo.
When expert Bob Williams identified the “MR” as the 6th North Carolina’s Madison Rangers, I was further confused because I didn’t think there was any company called the Madison Rangers in the 6TH N. C.
I was wrong!
A little more research revealed that the Madison Rangers was indeed the nickname of the 6th North Carolina’s company B… the 6th North Carolina VOLUNTEERS, that is. They became the 16th North Carolina Troops on November 14, 1861.
Now that I established that this was not Willie Meadows, I wondered if there was any way to find out who this young man was. I sought the answer by consulting the roster for Company B, 16th NCT and identifying the Sergeants listed. I reasoned that he had to be one of them. There were only 7 sergeants listed, and four of them were named John, so there is a better than 50 % chance that the guy in the photo is John somebody!
If we agree that this is an early war photo, we can eliminate three names that didn’t become Sergeant until Dec ‘62 or later.
- John W. Randall, 20, Promoted Sgt- 1 May ’63
- John Callahan, 29, Promoted Sgt- 22 Mar ’64
- Zachariah Peek, 25, Promoted 1st Sgt- 12 Dec ’62
The lad in the photo is clearly in his mid 20’s, so that eliminates Sergeant John Brown, age 51.
Our sergeant is missing the diamond of a 1st Sergeant, so that eliminates 1st Sergeant Ira J. Profit, age 27.
This leaves us with two remaining choices:
Moore, John A., 1st Lt.
Resided in Madison County and enlisted at age 25, April 29, 1861. Mustered in as Sergeant and was elected 1st Lt. on or about April 26, 1862. Present or accounted for until killed at Chancellorsville, Va. May 3, 1863.
Dalton, William A., Sergeant
Resided in Madison County where he enlisted on April 29, 1861. Mustered in as Sergeant but was reduced to rank of Corporal in September 1861-Feb 1863. Present or accounted for until captured in unspecified battle. Exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, James River, Va., Sept. 7, 1862. Reported AWOL from Nov. 11, 1862 through Aug 31, 1863. Reduced to Ranks prior to Sept 1, 1863. Company records do not indicate whether he ever returned to duty, however he DESERTED to the Yankees prior to March 5, 1865 when he took the Oath of allegiance at Louisville, Kentucky.
Hero or Traitor
Does the sincere face ln the photo look like a hero or a traitor? No disrespect meant to Sergeant Dalton, but, gee whiz, he seems to have a very spotty service record. Who knows what demons he faced during his service, but….AWOL? Desertion?
Whereas Sergeant Moore’s record is exemplary, including the fact that he made the ultimate sacrifice. So wouldn’t it be nice to remember him! That’s one reason I choose him.
Another reason is simple statistics. When 4 out of 7 sergeants are named John…well you can’t go wrong picking John, can you?
But the final data has nothing to do with something as arbitrary as personal feelings or as cold as statistics. What if we had a description? William Dalton has one in his compiled service record from his Oath of Allegiance:
Height: 6’ 3”” (Wow! a giant!)
This doesn’t match our photo at all:
Complexion: dark (albeit with rosy cheeks)
Height: guessing about 5’11’’ (based on my height when I hold my sword that way)
This, then, has to be our guy…we have run out of choices!
Meet Sergeant…later 1st Lieutenant John Moore…unless you have a better idea?