EARLE, ALEXANDER CAMPBELL (1841 ~ 1916). Alexander Campbell Earle, co-founder of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and Confederate veteran, was born in South Carolina in 1841. It is believed that he was born in, or around, the city of Anderson.
Prior to the Civil War, Earle attended Bethany College in Virginia, where he co-founded the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. After the Civil War broke out, he left Bethany and returned to Anderson where he enlisted as a private in Company B of the 4th South Carolina Infantry.
The 4th Infantry was organized at Anderson in March, 1861, and was soon moved to Virginia, where the men fought at the Battle of First Manassas. The men of the 4th Infantry typically enlisted for only six months or a year of service, and, by March, 1862, were mustered out of the army entirely. With so many men leaving, the regiment, in April, 1862, was consolidated into five companies and renamed the 4th South Carolina Battalion. Earle does not appear to have served in the 4th Battalion, as he formed his own company, of which he was elected captain, A. C. Earle's Company, South Carolina Cavalry.
Most of Earle's men came from the 4th South Carolina Infantry and enlisted from the cities of Greenville, Anderson, and Pickens. That next month, on April 15, Earle and his men joined Lieutenant Colonel Ambrose Dunn's Partisan South Carolina Volunteers. Earle and his men made up Company B, for which Earle was again named captain. On August 2, 1862, Dunn's Volunteers was organized as Dunn's Partisan Ranger Battalion and on November 3, 1862, they were mustered into service as the 37th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, but they were still known as Dunn's Battalion Partisan Rangers.
To further confuse Earle's already bewildering military history, he and most of the men who formed his company were still considered to be a part of the 4th S. C. Infantry. The new leadership of this unit, even with new conscription laws, was unable to reach the number of men to qualify for a regiment. Eventually, the 4th Infantry was used to form the Thirteenth Infantry Battalion and Earle and his men were carried over on to this roster as well. Since they were not present for any of the musters, they were considered to have been deserters, even though their names can be found on the rosters of the 37th Battalion.
The 37th Battalion served in several theaters of war, including Virginia, Tennessee and the Shenandoah Valley. Earle served with the men of the 37th until his resignation on October 13, 1864.
Following the War, Earle moved to Arkansas and in 1872, he moved to Texas. He eventually settled in Campbell, Hunt County, where he worked as a carpenter. On March 19, 1915, following his wife's death, he moved to Austin to live in the Confederate Men's Home where he died on December 10, 1916. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery the next day.
Delta Tau Delta erected his headstone and the Gamma Iota Chapter of the fraternity at the University of Texas at Austin still makes annual pilgrimages to his grave.
Information taken from: Materials provided by the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity; Compiled Military Service Records; National Park Service website, http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss; A. C. Earle's Cavalry Company webpage, http://batsonsm.tripod.com/b/earleco.html; 37th Battalion Virginia Cavalry Dunn's Battalion webpage, http://www.26nc.org/Cav/37thvacav.html; Confederate Home Roster; and Death Certificate # 29028.
The A. C. Earle Cavalry Company webpage has changed to http://wbts.scgenealogy.com/sc/calvary/earleco.htm.