There are two purposes for Comments in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Comments can either add information to aid in the understanding of the entry or add information that provides an alternate interpretation of the historical record.


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Thomas Evans Riddle was telling the truth. The 1862-born Riddle was a different man. Terry D. Lowry's history of the 22nd Virginia lists him where he said he was, providing his claimed birthdate as well. He is also mentioned by name in a February 1863 entry in the diary of another member of the regiment, John B. Sheets. 
 
Response from Dr. Robert Patrick Bender, entry author:
Mr. Riddle’s date of birth and military service are much more debatable than the commenter suggests. At various times Riddle claimed enlistment in the 12th Tennessee, 22nd Virginia, and 33rd Virginia (and that his mother was supposedly related to Robert E. Lee). He never produced any legitimate form of documentation to substantiate any of his claims (and the claims seemed to change with every interview). The name “Thomas Riddle” is listed on the NPS Civil War Soldiers and Sailors site, but it lists the same individual variously as “Thomas E.” and “Thomas C.” (making it anyone’s guess as to whether that individual is the Thomas Riddle in question). Many volumes in the Virginia “Regimental Series,” including Lowry’s, are available as searchable Google Books, but I find no reference to a Thomas Riddle in the volumes for the 22nd or 33rd Virginia. William Marvel’s 1991 investigation of this issue was very thorough and published a couple years after the regimental histories. As for the 1862 date and the comment that it was for a different man, I do not know on what source the commenter based that statement. Much of Riddle’s story has been posted and reposted on Internet discussion boards, but such references merely repeat portions of Riddle’s various undocumented claims. There are simply too many holes and inconsistencies in Riddle’s story for it to be verified.

Okiku Saji