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Confederate Veteran Biographies

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Riley Harrison Hylton

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Posted: Date Sunday, April 15th 2007, 6:33 PM Icon 4979 Date 0

1827 - 1913
Co. A, 24th Va. Infantry

Riley Harrison Hylton was born 26 May 1827 near Willis, in Floyd County, Virginia. He was the son of Burwell and May Ann “Polly” (Slusher) Hylton. He married Hannah Elizabeth ”Betsy” Wade 7 December 1848. She was one year younger than he.

Although he was the second oldest child of Burwell, he was the last of the seven brothers to enlist in the CSA. Letters have been found that appear to refer to Riley as staying home to operate a general merchandise store and render aid to the women and children left behind. His six brothers serving in the CSA were; Ira, Lorenzo Dow (wounded in action at Missionary Ridge 25 November 1863, died in Marietta, Ga. hospital 13 Feb. 1864 and is buried in a Confederate cemetery in Marietta), Nathan, Jacob, John Hancock, and Levi. Three others are said to have also died in the war, but research has not been completed.

On his pension application, Riley stated that he entered the CSA 6 April 1864 in Richmond in the 24th Virginia Infantry, Co. A. Records show the 24th had only eight enlistees for April 1864, so Riley must have been one of these.

Riley apparently was among the last Confederate POWs who took the federal oath of allegiance as a requirement for their release from Point Lookout Prison in Maryland. He had been captured at Farmville 4 April 1865 and records of the 24th Va. Infantry show 33 POWs taken in that engagement, none were killed or wonded. The battle is also referred to as Long Bridge/ Farmville.

On his ‘Certificate of Release of Prisoner of War’, dated 3 June 1865, at Headquarters, Point Lookout, Md., the release is signed by A.G. Brady, Major and Provost Marshal. The back of the certificate describes Riley as; “light complexion, sandy hair, blue eyes, 5 ft. 9 5/8 inches high.” The oath reads: I, Riley H. Hilton [sic] do solemnly swear that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign; that I will bear true faith, allegiance, and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, or laws of any State, Convention or Legislature, to the contrary notwithstanding; and further that I will faithfully perform all the duties which may be required of me by the laws of the United States; and I take this oath freely and voluntarily, without any mental reservation or evasion whatever.” When Riley applied for a pension 12 May 1908, he cited; rheumatism, kidney trouble and old age” as reasons why he could not work and needed money. He asked for “the set sum of thirty two dollars annually.” He wrote, “I will be 81 years old on 26 May 1908.” He stated that he was born in Floyd County and had lived there all his life with farming as his usual way of making a living. “But I have not been able to do any work within the last two years.” He attributed his health problems to typhoid fever which he said he contracted 40 years earlier. He suffered “no disease while in the service.”

When his widow Hannah died in 1916, her property included $54.33 left from the sale of Riley’s property two years earlier. Also listed is $13.16 in cash and $60 in “pension money,” presumably Confederate.

After the war Riley came home to run his store and be a Federal Postmaster. By 1908, he had become feeble and applied to the U.S. Government for a pension marking his Confederate service. It was granted and he collected $32 a year until his death 14 June 1913. At that time, his widow, Hannah successfully filed for a widow’s pension.

Riley signed his pension application “Riley H. Hylton” in the same hand as that on his POW release form. When Hannah applied for her own pension at age 86, she said her husband’s immediate supervisors during his CSA service were Major Bentley and J.W. Haden. Riley listed elsewhere that he had served under “Capt. Haden.” Haden is listed with Company F at the time of the Farmville engagement.

Riley and Hannah are buried in Greasy Creek Cemetery, Alum Ridge Road near Willis in Floyd County. His grave was marked a few years ago with a tall Confederate tombstone.
He is the great, great grandfather of Linda Stanley and the great, great, great grandfather of Alice Self and Sally Adams.

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