About James Cameron Fullenwider

By: Karen Zach

James Cameron was the eighth child of Eleazer and Lavina (Allen) Fullenwider’s eleven children. He was a graduate of the Waveland Academy and was attending Wabash with a bright future, until war broke-out. He, like so many from his home area of Brown Township joined-up. In fact, the brother closest in age to James was Robert Allen who was in some large battles of Murfreesboro and Corinth, enlisting in the 40th Indiana. The next younger, Chalmers went with the 55th Indiana, Co G, on a 100-day tour. The fourth born, third son, Joseph Newton entered the 40th in 1863 and was in several tough battles, as well (Buzzard Roost, Resaca….). The Fullenwiders gave about all they could, including one son’s life.

James Cameron at age 23, who like most of the Fullenwider’s was tall for the times (5’10”), unlike most I’ve known he had light complexion and light hair. He enlisted at Indianapolis Sept 16th in 1861 for three years. He did some work in the commissary but was then off in the thick of the fighting.

It was on March 5, 1863 when James Cameron and about 2500 other Federal soldiers fought against approximately 1,000 Confederates. Through a deluge of mud, the troops managed to conquer the large hill overlooking Thompson’s Station but panicked as they viewed the mass of gray in town. Col. John Coburn didn’t give his men retreating orders but that they did right into the hands of Nathan Bedford Forrest who had come-up behind them. A Confederate soldier wrote that, “the carnage continued for five hours – hand to hand combat quite common” (American Battlefield Trust).

It was in this carnage that Sgt. James Cameron Fullenwider was severely wounded (along with 84 others, 13 killed and 407 captured in the 33rd alone – Wikipedia). As a Prisoner Of War, James Cameron was taken to a Confederate Hospital where he passed away, the specific date in question. One of his Civil War papers notes he died on the 12th, my choice since it was a few days after the battle, another the 18th (from wounds received on March 5th) yet another notes March 16th (these two I think are too late) in Columbia (Maury County, Tennessee), all agreeing that he died “of wounds received in action at Thompson’s Station on March 5th.” Fascinating fellow with the multiple death dates but suffice to say it was due to the March 5th battle.

It is unknown (100% sure) where JCF was buried, as Chris Walker, PHD (in history) of Indiana Wesleyan states that as far as he could find, none from that battle were returned home, yet he has a quest to preserve and honor those who earned it and lucky for our young Waveland fellow, he felt James Cameron Fullenwider’s life deserved to be set in stone. Chris became interested in the 33rd because he had two Bartholomew County, Indiana ancestors in it, both luckily returning home after imprisonment (Libby, one of the worst) and heavy fighting (Peach Tree Creek where they were wounded), but he and his father began making sure they and other 33rd members had a stone, dad being too old now to go with him but at this point. Chris has been in or in contact with people in 12 different states in order to have government stones put in for over 100 of the 33rd. He has worked on this project with monument companies, American Legion members, other historians and folks in charge of various cemeteries as was this case.

Chris contacted Jim Thomas on the Presbyterian Cemetery board (where JCF’s parents are buried) who in turn contacted Waveland resident and local historian, Dave Fullenwider, (see the pic of the three prepared to work and the finished product-thanks Dave) James being Dave’s second great grand uncle and together they worked to discover a good place to mark the young soldier’s grave. Dave and Jim got out the burial plat maps and they decided a place for the stone would be next to his parents (stone shown here) and among so many of the soldier’s other relatives. Rest in Peace, James Cameron Fullenwider and thank you for your ultimate sacrifice and those who have now marked your life in stone!

– Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at [email protected].