Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Washington Becham - A Different Kind of Confederate Service

Washington Becham, born about 1832, enlisted with his brothers in Company F, 57th Georgia Infantry in Crawford County, GA, on 3 May 1862.  Muster rolls of July 1862 show that he was rejected by the surgeon, although no reason was given.  However, in 1863 he was recruited by the office of the Confederate Surgeon General to make pots and other vessels for the confederate hospital in Macon.  The text of the contract is below.  One item of note is that one of the witnesses was his brother Elijah Becham, who we had previously assumed had died before the war since he disappeared from the census.   B.J. (Benjamin)  and John Becham were also his brothers.  Robert Hancock was married to his wife's sister and Gray Andrews was a neighbor.   In his military pension application, he states that he was in the 57th for the duration of the war but detailed to do pottery work in Georgia for the military. The original of the document was found on fold3, Confederate Citizens File.

State of Georgia
Bibb county

This contract made at Macon State and county aforesaid this thirtieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three between Washington Becham of Knoxville Crawford County State aforesaid.  Party of the first part and William H. Prioleau Surgeon & medical purveyor Confederate States army.  Party of the Second part.  Witnesseth that the said Washington Becham Party of the first part does hereby bind himself and does here by promise and agree to furnish and deliver to the said W. H. Prioleau Surgeon & Medical Purveyor Party of the second part within the period of eight calendar months from the date of this instrument of writing, for the use of the Medical Department of the Army of the Confederate States of America.  The following named articles at the prices affixed.

500 vis Five hundred chamber pots at one dollar each
500  Five hundred plates at fifty cents each
200  Two hundred mugs at ((blank))
200  Two hundred jars of the capacity of two (2) pounds each
300  Three hundred jars of the capacity of (5) pounds each

And the said Surgeon W. H. Prioleau Party of the Second part does hereby bind himself and his successors in office to pay to the said Washington Becham Party of the first part at the expiration of each month, the value of whatever of the articles contract for in this Instrument of writing.  With the promise that he

((page two))
the said surgeon W. H. Prioleau Party of the second part, shall retain in his possession one third of the purchase money until the whole contract shall have been completed, and the said Washington Becham party of the first part, does with his securities Robert Haancock, residing at Marysville Crawford county and John Beckum residing in Crawford County state aforesaid, bind themselves their heirs executors and assigns to pay or cause to be paid to the authorized agent of the Confederate States of America.  The sum of one thousand dollars should he the said Washington Becham county of the first part fail to deliver the articles contracted for in this instrument of writing within the time specified herein.  It is further agreed between the contracting parties that no member of Congress is to be admitted to any part or portion of this contract or to any benefit to arise therefrom.

Witness our hands and seals at Macon State and County aforesaid day and year above written.

Washington (x) Becham

B. J. Becham
Gray Andrews
Robert Hancock
Elijah Bekcom

Osceola Butler     W. H. Prioleau
                  Surg, Med Purveyor

S.G.O. Richmond Va Dec 7 1863
 S. Moore
 Surgeon General
  C.S. Army


  1. Great digging and the writing isn't too bad either.

    1. Great work, Sharon. Enjoyed reading this. -Mona