John Nelson Key, from Emanuel County, Georgia, joined the 32nd Georgia with his nephews, sons of his brother Burrell Kea, also from Enamuel County. The nephews were named Dennis Kea, James Kea and Wesley Kea.
Burrell had changed his family name from Key to Kea after he found the name carved on an old chair from England. The rest of the family kept their name as Key.
According to the muster roll of Company G, 32d Georgia Volunteer Infantry, John Nelson Key was appointed 5th Sergeant on 7 May 1862. (Daryl - see below - feels certain that John's brother Warren also joined and was later killed in action.)
Sergeant John Key died at at Battery Harrison near Savannah, Georgia, 15 August 1862, but not from combat. Like two-thirds of the soldiers who died in the Civil War, John died of other causes.
Sergeant John Nelson Key, of the Confederate army, was home on furlough when a daughter was born on August 1, 1862. According to Aunt Callie Pollette Kindon, (Key family) when he took the train back to Savannah, he rode in the open and was exposed to a rain storm. He became ill and died on 15 August 1862, of pneumonia.
Although John Nelson Key had been dead almost two years when the Battle of Olustee was fought, his photograph is one of the few we have of members of the 32nd Georgia and is included here for that reason. The Keys (and Keas) were typical of the men who joined this regiment early in the war.
According to the muster roll of the 32nd Georgia, Wesley Kea, John's cousin, was appointed 4th Sergeant of Company E, 5th Regiment Georgia State Troops, on 12 October 1861. He mustered out in May 1862 and enlisted as a private in Compnan. G, 32d Georgia, on 7 May 1862.
Wesley Kea was admitted to C.S.A. General Military Hospital #4, at Wilmington, N. C. with fever, 5 January 1863. He returned to duty 21 (or 31) January 1863. No futher record of his activities while in service is available.
Thanks to Daryl Hutchinson (email@example.com), great-great-grandson of John Nelson Key, for providing the photograph of John Nelson Key and a brief history of the Key (Kea) family during the war.
Thirty-second Georgia Infantry Regiment
Battle of Olustee home page