Ellis Kile/Kyle, born abt.1845 was the second born son of Thomas Kyle and unknown mother that may have been Judy/Julia Kyle identified as wife to his father Thomas Kyle in the 1880 census in Mississippi.
Oral history passed on by William T. Atkins, Sr. who knew him in the flesh is that Ellis and his brother Robert escaped slavery in Salem in attempts to follow a Union Regiment that had passed by during a raid into the area. In the course of doing so, his younger brother fell off a bridge in vicinity of Winchester Virginia, broke his leg and unable to travel was left there by Union troops and subsequent capture by Confederate rebels, and return to slavery in Salem.
The events above we assume likely occurred in early 1864. The 45th Infantry Regiment that Ellis joined was not created until June 1864 wherein preparations began sometime later, August 1864, to have General Philip Sheridan defeat confederate rebels in the Shenandoah Valley and cut off food supplies to places like Richmond. It is our understanding via William T. Atkins, Sr. that his beloved Uncle Ellis lived and worked in Cleveland, Ohio after the war; owned a grocery store, married twice, had no children and after retirement many years later returned to Salem.
It is uncertain as to whether or not Ellis also served in one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments that Congress created and sent out west. His rifle obtained by William T. Thomas indicates that such may have been so. The rifle he allegedly used during the Civil War is in possession of his descendent William Thomas Atkins, Jr. and conclusions are the short-barrel is a type that was common among cavalrymen albeit following the war he may have shortened by the practice of sawing off the longer extrusion.
We know for a fact that when he died in Salem, Virginia around 1938, he reportedly was the oldest Civil War veteran in Roanoke County; and still able to fit into his Union Army uniform that he wore when marching during Roanoke's annual Veterans Day celebration.
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