Website backs belief Civil War blanket’s owner surrendered

Published 12:27 pm Friday, July 6, 2012

A surrender oath signed by the Confederate veteran whose Union Army-issued blanket has been donated to the Old Depot Museum is on file at the military records website, a Vicksburg man has discovered.

Jacob Senile Heller, a member of the 31st Louisiana Infantry captured at Vicksburg after the surrender July 4, 1863, signed the oath “not to take up arms again against the United States, nor serve in any military, police or constabulatory force in any fort, garrison or field work held by the Confederate States of America,” on July 13, 1863.

The document was one of several discovered by Larry Holman, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1354.

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Holman said he was intrigued by reading Heller’s story in The Vicksburg Post Wednesday.

Heller immigrated to the United States at the age of 20 from Austria and enlisted in the 31st in April 1862. He eventually was part of a prisoner exchange at Shreveport, La., family members said.

The blanket passed down in Heller’s family had been issued to him when he was a prisoner of war, according to family lore. It had been preserved in tissue paper and moth balls.