Lost to the Civil War: James Madison Pope and Zachariah Pope

Memorial Day is the day of remembrance. Remembrance of family members lost to war. At the end of 1862, the Pope family of Macon County, Illinois lost two of their beloved sons. The patriarch of the family, Dempsey Pope, died in 1853 and thus was spared the heartache of losing two sons. Left were the widows: Sarah Edwards Pope, the mother of the two boys; Louisa Taylor Pope, the wife of James Madison Pope; and Emily Nisewaner Pope, the wife of Zachariah Pope.

James and Zachariah enlisted in Co. E., 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Union Army on 13 August 1862. Zachariah was mustered into service as a private on 30 September 1862 at Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois. James was mustered into service as a sergeant on 13 September 1882.

Pope, Zachariah Picture_2

Zachariah Pope

The first to die was Zachariah Pope. He died on 11 November 1862 of typhoid fever. He died in a hospital in Lexington, Fayette County, Illinois. He was thirty-two years old and the father of five children. He is buried in the Pope Cemetery in Blue Mound, Macon County, Illinois.

Next to die was James Pope. He died on 31 Dec 1862 in a regimental hospital in Danville, Kentucky. Conflicting documents show he died of measles or cardiac obstruction. He was thirty-eight and the father of eight children. He is buried in Halls Cemetery, also known as Waltz Cemetery, in Blue Mound.

Pope, James Madison

Headstone James M. Pope

Neither saw battle instead dying of disease. It is estimated that 620,000 people died in the Civil War. “For every three soldiers killed in battle, five more died of disease.”¹ They missed the carnage of war but sadly gave their lives for a cause for which they never saw the conclusion.

Please take a moment to remember all who gave their lives for our country as we remember my husband’s great-great grandfather, James Madison Pope, and his great-great uncle, Zachariah Pope today, on this day of remembrance.


This is my husband’s Pope family line:

James Madison Pope, great-grandfather
William David Pope, great-grandfather
Lola Devin Pope, grandmother
Russell C. Ferguson, father

¹From the Civil War Trust, https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/civil-war-casualties