Sons of Union Veterans of
19779 Sprague Court, Castro Valley,

My Union Ancestor



Company C, 9th Tennessee Cavalry

Great-great-grandfather of Kenneth G. Felton


Hannah (Smith) Dyke and Hugh Douglas Dyke
Hugh is wearing an officer's badge of the Grand Army of the Republic

Hugh Douglas Dyke was born in Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee on September 29, 1835, son of John Dyke and Katherine (Frazier) Dyke. He married Hannah Jane Smith, daughter of George W. Smith and Margaret Melissa (Fink) Smith, on June 23, 1858 in Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee. Hannah Jane Smith was born on June 13, 1837 in Greene County, Tennessee, and she died on December 9, 1929 in Williams, Colusa County, California. She was buried on December 11, 1929 in the Dyke Family Plot of the Williams Cemetery in Williams, California.

Hugh and Hannah Dyke are found on the 1860 U.S. Census, living in the same household with the family of Thomas and Sarah Ann (Smith) Day in Bulls Gap, Hawkins County, Tennessee. Thomas Day and Sarah Ann Smith were married in Greene County, Tennessee on October 30, 1858. The two wives, Hannah Jane (Smith) Dyke and Sarah Ann (Smith) Day, are sisters. The two young baby daughters, Margaret E. Dyke and Margaret Day, are also found on this 1860 U.S. Census in the same household. Hugh and Hannah Dyke’s first child, Margaret E. Dyke, was born in May of 1859 in Tennessee. The two babies, both named: "Margaret", apparently were named after their grandmother, Margaret Melissa (Fink) Smith. The 1860 U.S. Census listing actually shows: "Thomas & Sallie Day; Margaret Day; Hugh & Hannah Dike; and Margaret E. Dike." When the U.S. Civil War began, Hugh Douglas Dyke did not volunteer for the Confederate side or the Union side. Thomas Day also did not join either side. The town of Bulls Gap is located in Hawkins County, just across the Greene County boundary line, near the Southwest corner of Greene County, Tennessee.

The Confederate Draft began by early Spring of 1862. Hugh Douglas Dyke and Thomas Day both had to decide to either join the Confederate side or be imprisoned, or leave Tennessee and travel to Kentucky to join a Union regiment. According to Hannah Jane Dyke’s obituary, Hugh Douglas Dyke was imprisoned and Hannah paid $1,000.- ransom (likely sometime between 1862 and 1863) to have Hugh released from prison. The standard price for a substitute Confederate soldier was $1,000.-, so it appears that the ransom money paid was for the cost of a substitute soldier. It is not known if Hugh Douglas Dyke was captured by Confederate forces in 1862, attempting to escape Tennessee, or if he was arrested in Tennessee in 1862 for refusing to join a Confederate regiment. It is not know where Hugh Douglas Dyke was imprisoned. Thomas Day did escape from Tennessee in 1862, and he enrolled in Company D of the 4th Tennessee Infantry (Union side) at Flat Lick, Kentucky on April 15, 1862. Later Thomas Day was reported to be near Lexington, Kentucky, with a team (this was sometime during the Spring or Summer of 1862). The 4th Tennessee Infantry was reorganized on or about November 1, 1862 at Camp Dennison, Ohio, and it became the 1st Tennessee Cavalry. Later on January 5, 1863, Thomas Day enlisted in Company H of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry.

After Hugh Douglas Dyke was released from prison, Hannah (his wife) cared for him at home, and later he recovered from an illness. He then left home and escaped Tennessee traveling to Kentucky. Confederate soldiers constantly patrolled the Blue Ridge Mountains from Virginia to the Cumberland area in Middle Tennessee, looking for traitors (or Republican / "Union men") attempting to escape the Confederate states between 1861 and early 1863. These escaping Southern men were often led by guides, and they may have traveled at night and taken routes that were considered as impassable (such as, climbing up cliffs). These men sometimes would hide in caves or other hidden areas to escape detection by the Confederate patrols. Hugh D. Dyke did escape and he arrived at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. Col. Joseph H. Parsons enlisted Hugh Douglas Dyke in the 9th Tennessee Cavalry for a period of 3 years on August 7, 1863 at Camp Nelson. Hugh D. Dyke was mustered-in Company C of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry as a Private on August 15, 1863 at Camp Nelson. The Company C – Descriptive Book information for Hugh Douglas Dyke reports: Age – 27 years; Height – 5 feet, 5 inches; Complexion – Dark; Hair – Dark; Where born – Greeneville, Tennessee; Occupation – Farmer.

On August 15, 1863, Colonel John F. DeCourcy was ordered to organize a brigade at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, and to report to Major General J.G. Parke, commanding the IX Army Corps. Colonel Joseph H. Parsons' 9th East Tennessee Cavalry was assigned to this brigade. On October 1, 1863, Secretary of War Stanton was advised: "Colonel Parsons' 9th Tennessee Cavalry, 800 strong, at Camp Nelson, has neither arms nor horses, and is ordered forward." No other report is found regarding this regiment until April 30, 1864, when this regiment was with the 8th and 13th Tennessee Cavalry regiments, guarding railroads in Middle Tennessee. It was assigned to Colonel John K. Miller's 3rd Brigade of Brigadier General Alvan C. Gillem's 4th Division, Cavalry Corps, Department of the Cumberland. The 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment was reported to be at Gallatin, Tennessee on May 31, 1864 and it remained there until August 4, 1864, when it began a march of 128 miles to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee (in East Tennessee). General Gillem reported that seven companies of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel John B. Brownlow, took part in a fight at Blue Springs on August 23, 1864. On August 31, 1864, the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment was reported to be at Bulls Gap, Tennessee. The 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment remained in the area of Bulls Gap, Tennessee, for several months (through November of 1864). The Headquarters of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment for this period was at Bulls Gap, Tennessee.

Commanders of the Union forces at Bulls Gap, Tennessee received a report (or reports) during the night (between the hours of 8 and 9 o’clock) on September 3rd of 1864 that Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his forces were at Greeneville, Tennessee. General Alvan C. Gillem was opposed to traveling to Greeneville, Tennessee that night (about 18 miles away), especially with the weather being so bad and with estimates of the Confederate forces numbering between 1,800 and 2,000 men. But Colonel John K. Miller urged Gillem to proceed at once to Greeneville, as he believed that a surprise early morning Union attack would likely be successful in routing the Confederate forces. Miller demanded that he should be allowed to undertake the expedition with his own regiment, as he did not want to miss out on such an opportunity. Gillem had reports that the Confederate forces greatly outnumbered the Union forces and Gillem worried that he might be court-martialed by his superiors if this attack is not successful. Gillem finally yielded to Miller’s plan, provided that Colonel John K. Miller be in charge of this expedition. The Union forces consisted of: 9th Tennessee Cavalry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John B. Brownlow; 13th Tennessee Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William H. Ingerton; a small battalion of the 10th Michigan Cavalry, commanded by Major Newell; and two pieces of Tennessee Light Artillery. This expedition, consisting of between 1,100 and 1,200 men, set out at about 12 o’clock midnight. The weather conditions that night was reported as being very dark, with continuous rain falling in sheets, and lots of thunder and lighting. It was reported as being so dark that it was nearly impossible to see the adjacent soldiers riding their horses. The attacking Union forces were aided by the lighting, providing enough light, to show the riders where to go as they proceeded along the trail. They arrived at Greeneville by early morning, and the attacking Union troops reached a full gallop on a good road the last few miles before they reached Greeneville. They discovered the Confederate guards sleeping, while at their guard post, and most of the Confederate soldiers were asleep, when this battle first started. There apparently was a lot of confusion on the part of the Confederates. The 9th Tennessee Cavalry captured two pieces of artillery. One of the captured cannons was sent to Andrew Johnson (later President of the United States), and this cannon eventually was placed on a hill near the Tennessee State Capital in Nashville for a couple of months. It was identified as a General John Hunt Morgan cannon. There is some confusion regarding the number of killed, wounded, and captured on each side, but the Union numbers appear to be: 0 – Killed; 6 to 13 Wounded (3 mortally); and 0 – Captured. The Confederate numbers appear to be about: 10 – Killed; 60 – Wounded; and 106 Confederates taken prisoner. During the battle, General John Hunt Morgan was killed in a garden. There is a lot of confusion regarding this incident, involving the death of General John Hunt Morgan. It appears that he was shot through the heart.

Hugh D. Dyke states in his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension Application that he received a right arm injury in the line of duty at Morristown, Tennessee (on or about December 1, 1864). Civil War research reveals that the Battles of Morristown, TN and Bulls Gap, TN (near Morristown, TN) actually occurred sometime around November 10 to 13, 1864. Oral family history says that Hugh D. Dyke somehow was knocked off of his horse during a Civil War battle, as he was too close to an artillery explosion. It is not know if this was the same incident involving his right arm injury at Morristown, Tennessee, but it could be the same incident. The oral history says that Hugh D. Dyke was able to get back to his horse and get mounted on his horse and continue onward in the battle. One account of the Morristown Battle states that the Union and Confederate forces fighting consisted of mostly East Tennessee soldiers, and that this battle literally involved brothers fighting brothers, neighbors fighting neighbors, and sons fighting fathers. The internet summary of this Morristown Battle lists the original source as an article by Howard Hill (Hamblen County, TN – Civil War Research). The Morristown Battle is listed as a Union victory, and that the Union Cavalry captured Morristown, chasing the Confederates to Russellville, Tennessee. The number of men killed in this Morristown Battle is listed at about 90, mostly Confederates. Hugh D. Dykes states in his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension Application that he contracted Rheumatism, during December of 1864 Saltville, Virginia Battle (December 20-21, 1864). This Saltville, Virginia Battle was part of General George Stoneman’s Raid into Southwest Virginia. Hugh D. Dyke was listed as “Present” on each Muster Roll taken of Company C of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry, from the date of being Mustered-in until his Muster-out. Hugh D. Dyke was mustered-out as a Private in Company C of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry at Knoxville, Tennessee on September 11, 1865.

After the Civil War, Hugh D. Dyke, resided with his wife and children in Greene County, Tennessee from 1865 until about 1870. Between 1870 and 1880, Hugh D. Dyke lived in Sullivan County, Missouri, near many of his wife’s family members, who had lived in Sullivan County and Grundy County, Missouri for several years, even before the Civil War. About 1880, Hugh D. Dyke moved with his family from Sullivan County, Missouri to Williams in Colusa County, California. Hugh D. Dyke was an Officer in the Williams, California GAR (known as Williamsburg Post, No. 116). He is listed as Chaplin on page 179 of the Register of the Department of California Grand Army of the Republic – 1886. Hugh D. Dyke and Hannah J. Dyke had 10 children, listed as follows:

  1. Margaret E. Dyke — born about May 1859 in Tennessee
  2. Mary J. Dyke — born September 28, 1860 in Tennessee
  3. John Douglas Dyke — born September 4, 1862 in Tennessee
  4. Nancy C. Dyke — born February 4, 1866 in Tennessee
  5. Georgia Pearle Dyke — born January 6, 1868 in Tennessee
  6. Lavina Belle Dyke — born May 7, 1870 in Tennessee
  7. Sarah M. Dyke — born July 27, 1872 in Missouri
  8. Robert Jackson Dyke — born June 17, 1875 in Missouri
  9. Amy Melissa Dyke — born October 17, 1877 in Missouri
  10. William Ephram Dyke — born June 4, 1879 in Missouri

Hugh Douglas Dyke died in Williams, Colusa County, California on December 2, 1931. He was 96-years-old when he died. Hugh D. Dyke was buried in the Dyke Family Plot, next to his wife, Hannah, in the Williams Cemetery, Williams, California. He was buried on December 4, 1931.

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Created 31 Dec 2011; Revised 25 Aug 2015

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