Captain Peddicord and "Morgan's Independent Company of Scouts"

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Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
#1
While researching my own ancestor, Private C.P. Snell's Civil War story, I came across a reference in his record of "Captain Peddicord." Finding information on this captain proved to be a challenge, but after a year of research, a trip to the Tennessee State Archives and two trips to Sumner County, Tennessee, this is as complete a biography of Captain Peddicord as I can write. Hopefully anyone who reads it will find it both interesting and informative. If anyone has more information on him or his men, please let me know.

Having never previously posted anything like this, I'm not sure how it will all look and be organized on the post, but I am attaching four photos, as follows:
1. Columbus A. Peddicord, (taken from his sister's book)
2. Private C.P. Snell, 2nd Ky Cavalry (Confederate), photo taken ca: 1875
3. Family photo with Madison Denning on right, ca: 1900
4. Descendants Robert Snell (L) and Michael Denning (R) meet in Sumner County Archives, Spring, 2017.


Columbus A. Peddicord was born in Ohio on July 18, 1831 to Wilson Lee Peddicord and Keturah Barnes Peddicord. The oldest son, he was followed by Kelion, Indiana, Ruth, Carolus. Laura and Louisa.i Originally from Maryland, Wilson and Keturah moved to Belmont County, Ohio sometime before 1831.ii Their household there was rather large, even by the standards of the time, with fourteen whites and, interestingly enough, two free blacks. These, no doubt, were hired workers on the farm.

Sometime in the 1840’s, the family moves several counties to the south, to a farm in Washington County, Ohio.iii By 1860 they had moved south again, to Sumner County, Tennessee, just a few miles from the Kentucky state line. Establishing the exact location of the Peddicord property there has been difficult, but it appears to have been just a mile or two to the south or south-west of what was then the town of Richland (now Portland).iv County records show that on August,1859, Wilson Peddicord and Patrick Gilbride jointly sold land, described as Sections 146, 147 and 148, to the new Louisville and Nashville Railroad,v which ran from Louisville, Kentucky, through Bowling Green, Richland, Tennessee, Fountain Head, South Tunnel, Gallatin and on to its terminus at Nashville. There seems to have been a dispute soon thereafter between Peddicord and Gilbride and the railroad.

Columbus, meanwhile, had become a farmer in his own right. On March 15, 1859 he married Isabella Sarver Meador, widow of James B. Meador, who had died in 1853.vi At the time of her marriage to Columbus, Isabella was 27 years old, with two children. By the following year, their household included her two children and a newborn baby, who they named Charles. Isabella’s grandmother, Mary Sarver and a farm worker, William Ellis, were also living on the farm.vii By that time Columbus had a substantial farm, worth over $3,000, with about 100 acres of improved land and 205 acres unimproved, and livestock worth $1,500, including nine horses. He had also become a slave owner, with between 10 and 13 slaves, ten of whom were male, indicating primary use in the fields.viii

His sister, India, later described Columbus as being six feet tall with chestnut colored hair and hazel eyes, a “splendid shot” and “...afraid of nothing. Impetuous tempered, any who affronted him he forgave at the first overture.”ix

On April 25, 1861, just a couple of weeks after the outbreak of the Civil War, Columbus enlisted as a private in the Silver Greys, a company being formed by Captain Humphrey Bates in Sumner County at Castalian Springs, for a term of twelve months.x The company traveled by train from Nashville to Lynchburg, Virginia, where, on May 14, they were mustered into Confederate servicexi as Company K of the 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Soon thereafter, for a fifty dollar bounty, Private Peddicord extended his enlistment for an additional two years.xii Meanwhile, in November that year, while he was in Virginia, a second son, Frank, was born back in Sumner County.xiii

After duty along the Potomac River, the majority of the regiment was given a 60-day furlough to return to their homes, beginning in early February, 1862. Peddicord’s furlough began on February 14. During this period, Confederate troops evacuated Sumner County and by the beginning of March, Union troops had begun their occupation of the county, which would last until after the war.xiv Even though their homes were now behind enemy lines, many of the furloughed soldiers of the 2nd Tennessee, including Columbus Peddicord, stayed in the county for much of their remaining furlough.

On March 16, Confederate Captain John Hunt Morgan with forty men crossed the Cumberland River into Sumner County and stopped at Castalian Springs on their way to raid Gallatin. Susan Wynne, at Castalian Springs, wrote in her diary, “Some six or eight of Bates’ regiment, who are on furlough at this time were visiting the family. As some of Morgan’s men had been fortunate enough to capture a number of Yankee overcoats….they presented quite a Lincolnite appearance. For a few moments our anxiety for the soldier boys was very great. They rushed out in all directions trying….to make their escape. The most of them did not go far before they found their mistake and were glad to return….The squadron was piloted by Mr. Peddicord who lives in this vicinity.” Whether this Mr. Peddicord was Columbus Peddicord is not stated, but it seems almost certain that it was.xv If so, this is the first known direct contact between Columbus Peddicord and John Hunt Morgan. As subsequent events show, it was not the last.

After Morgan’s raid, Union troops consolidated their hold on the county. By the beginning of April, their furloughs almost over, Private Peddicord had returned with his fellow soldiers to the 2nd Tennessee, by now based at Corinth, Mississippi. The regiment fought at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6 and 7, and sustained heavy casualties.xvi

The Louisville & Nashville Railroad had now become a critical factor in the supply of Union forces to the south of Sumner County, and by the middle of 1862, disrupting its operation became equally important to General John Hunt Morgan, who held a portion of the Confederate line from south-east of Nashville to Granville.xvii That railroad was now entirely behind enemy lines, and much of it ran through Sumner County.

It was in this period that Private Peddicord’s military service took a decidedly unusual turn. The muster rolls of his company for July and August, 1862, show him “Detached from the regiment,” with no further explanation. Muster rolls for September and October show him similarly “On detached service.” On October 30, however, he was at least temporarily with the regiment at Knoxville, as he signed a receipt that day for $147 in pay for the period of January 1 to July 1, 1862.xviii Interestingly, his rank of “Private” is scratched off on this document, and “Musician” is written above. The significance of this is not known, but considering what followed, it may have been part of a cover story. There is no indication, prior to this or afterward, of him being a musician.

The muster rolls for the months immediately following the October 30 pay receipt, November and December, 1862, now added new and tantalizing information on Private Peddicord, “Detached on secret service by order of Gen’l Kirby Smith.” This was reiterated in January and February.xix

What kind of “secret service” was this heretofore obscure private detached for? It soon became clear that he had been chosen to return to Sumner County and assist General John Hunt Morgan by operating there behind enemy lines. His mission: to recruit men and obtain supplies to be smuggled across the lines, but most importantly, to disrupt the L&N Railroad.

Why had Columbus Peddicord been pulled out of the ranks for this assignment? It can only have been at the request of General Morgan himself, who had evidently been impressed enough with Peddicord at their first meeting in March, when Peddicord had personally guided Morgan on his raid into Sumner County, that he wanted him for the job.

Furthermore, from that point on, Columbus is always identified as Captain Peddicord, commanding “Morgan’s Independent Company of Scouts.”xx It seems probable that Peddicord reported to Morgan in July and was given the rank of captain, with orders to raise a company of guerrillas to operate in Sumner County. There is no record of this promotion being confirmed by higher Confederate authorities.

If this mission began as secret service, it did not remain a secret very long. He did raise a company of guerrillas and quickly became known to the enemy. Attacks on the railroad and enemy operations in Sumner County by him and his men stirred the occupying troops into action. The 129th Illinois Infantry Regiment was assigned to guard the railroad, while other units were based throughout the county, with their primary base being at Gallatin. The enemy began “watching” or at least checking the Peddicord home regularly. They now knew him as Captain Peddicord.xxi

One source states that Peddicord made an initial raid into Sumner County and returned to General Morgan with recruits and supplies, at which time Morgan officially mustered the men into Confederate service before sending Peddicord back into Sumner.xxii That there were separate raids seems probable, especially given that he was briefly back with his old regiment in October, collecting his pay.

Peddicord and his men became a constant irritation to the enemy. Small detachments of Union soldiers were frequently attacked, captured and paroled, their arms and supplies taken. Trains were subjected to attacks, rails were ripped up and supply stations along the line were destroyed.

It is difficult to determine how many men Captain Peddicord commanded. If he kept any records, which is highly unlikely, they have not survived. I have only been able to identify four with any certainty: Ellis Harper, Peter Blaine, Willie Berrymanxxiii and Carolus Peddicord, one of Captain Peddicord’s younger brothers, who it appears, left the 1st Ky Cavalry in 1862 to be with his brother.xxiv

(Later, Carolus, still with the guerrillas after Columbus was no longer in command, was captured in October, 1863 and held in Gallatin. Threatened with death unless he would reveal the locations of his fellow guerrillas, he refused to the end and was quoted as saying, “I can die but can never betray a trust.” On December 3rd he was “taken many miles out into the country and shot in the forehead.”xxv This type of thing was a common occurrence in Sumner County by Union troops under the command of General Eleazer A. Paine.)

Now quoting Durham, “Northeastern Sumner, east of the L&N, was the scene of repeated visits by Captain Peddicord’s band during February and March, 1863. Allegedly ‘prowling around the country with a band of thieves,’ Peddicord appropriated ‘horses, money, clothing and provisions’ from Union citizens in the area.xxvi

Since Peddicord’s guerrillas were on horseback, the enemy mounted a portion of their infantry in their efforts to stop him. Company C of the 129th Illinois was one of these. The 129th, commanded by Colonel George P. Smith, was a new regiment, raised in late 1862, and it was assigned to protect the L&N Railroad between Bowling Green and Gallatin. Five of its companies were stationed at South Tunnel to protect both entrances.

One incident, attributed to Peddicord in a Union report, is recorded in Rebellion Revisited, by Durham, now quoting:
...guerrillas ripped up four or five rails from the Louisville and Nashville track just south of Richland on February 5 and did other damage that interrupted rail service for two or three days. Passengers on a south-bound train, turned back because of the wrecked track, reported that the Confederate cavalry had captured and paroled a company of the 129th Illinois Infantry.
Attributing the incident to ‘an outlaw by the name of Peddicord, with forty men,’ General Paine said that fifteen men from the 129th Illinois flushed them from their task. He explained: “The rebels ran. They were dressed in our overcoats. I have 350 men after them, and I expect to hear that the rebels fell off their horses and broke their necks
(implying that they would be hung if caught). Fifty or more citizens collected at the place with the rebels to look on, aid and assist. I propose to make an example of some of them.”

Durham concludes, “Although Captain C.A. Peddicord may have participated in the raid, it was directed by a certain Major Street with four captains and eighty-five men.”xxvii

A more detailed account of this engagement is found in a letter written by one of the soldiers involved, Private Charles F. Dunham, Co. C, 129th Illinois: “We run on to a nest of rebels, about a 100, thay was riden long the railroad. Thay tore up one rail and cut both of the telegraph wires. There aim was to captur a train of horses that was going down… We ordered him (the Confederate) to stop and he put spurs to his horse and lunged into the bushes… He was drest in our close (clothes). In a few minutes thare was about a dozen came in plane lite but our commander did not order us to fire… About that time thay all broke and run… Thay let 8 prisoners go that thay had taken, too of our men and 6 sitizens. We had the range write throug the timbers shouting, the snow flew for certain. Thare wasnt but too shots fired. Thay were fired at the lieutenant (who commanded) but thay did not hit him.”xxviii

There were other bands of Confederate partisans operating in Sumner County in addition to Peddicord’s, but his appears to be the only one with any kind of official sanction. Morgan himself also raided into Sumner County on more than one occasion, and once set a captured train on fire inside South Tunnel, effectively shutting the railroad down for weeks.

Columbus Peddicord’s family remained at home during the war, and quoting from Jennifer Bohmstedt, “Colonel Smith targeted the home of Confederate Captain Petticord (sic) for close observation. Smith believed it was a depot of sorts for goods heading south to Confederate troops. Upon visiting, he found ‘his (Capt. Petticord’s) bed still warm.’ In retaliation Smith confiscated barrels of meat and other provisions from his home, while Mrs. Petticord cursed him and his men. To his dismay, when Mrs. Petticord protested to General Paine, she was permitted to ‘take the oath,’ make a sworn statement that she would become a willing subject of the occupying Union troops and not engage in support of the Confederacy. Colonel Smith became so angry when she was permitted to return to her home along with the confiscated provisions that he protested directly to General Manson at Bowling Green, ‘I do not relish the kid gloves treatment of robbers disguised in the garb of Federal soldiers.’” xxix This last refers, of course, to the guerrillas’ habit of wearing captured Union army overcoats, which not only kept them warm in the winter months, but often caused Union troops to mistake them for their own men, a clear violation of the accepted rules of war.

Captain Peddicord did, in fact, spend time at his home in this period. A third son, who was named after him, was born there later in 1863.xxx There would be no more. His home and property seemed to be an active place. In 1863, Colonel Smith wrote the following, probably to General Paine:

Prisoners brought in Feb. 17th, 1863.

C.P. Snell
I.F. Davis, believed to be officers, belong to Gen Morgan’s rebel brig. Were captured near Capt. Peddicords, with arms. Belong to Col. Duke’s Regt. Crossed
the
(Cumberland) River 15 miles above Carthage.
Madison Denning, lives in Sumner Co, Ten. ten miles from Fountain Head. A bad rebel.
J.B. Eubank, lives in Allen Co, Ky, on Sulphur fork, a rebel informer.


Both the last named bad men; will send you additional items and evidence against them in a day or two.

Col. G.P. Smith
Comdg 129th Ills
(Illinois)
South Tunnel, Tenn. Feb. 18th 1863"

Two questions come to mind after reading this letter. What does “near Capt. Peddicords” mean? It is certainly open to speculation, but my guess is that it could mean anywhere from a hundred yards to a quarter of a mile. Any distance closer would probably be referred to as “at Capt. Peddicords” and farther away might not have been associated with his home at all.

Secondly, what were two of Morgan’s men doing there? They were, in fact, not officers, but privates, probably hiding out there while passing through on a personal expedition to obtain horses in Kentucky, as Morgan’s men were sometimes known to do.xxxi Denning and Eubank appear to have been there to guide and support them. It is clear that, along with guerrillas, Peddicord employed a network of civilian supporters.

Peddicord’s time as a guerrilla leader came to an end on either March 7 or 8, 1863, when he and some of his menxxxii were captured at or near Richland (now Portland) by a mounted patrol of Company C, 129th Illinois led by Captain John B. Perry. It appears that Perry’s detachment tracked the guerillas for three days, stopping only to feed their horses. According to Private Dunham, the detachment finally captured the guerrillas in a wooded area at about nine o’clock on the evening of the 7th without a shot being fired. Leading their prisoners through the woods toward the base at South Tunnel that night, they expected to be ambushed along the way in a rescue attempt, but that never happened.xxxiii They made camp for the night before going on to South Tunnel the next morning.

Further details were noted by Lt. Bradbury of the 129th Illinois, “The scouting party caught Capt. Petticord (sic), a notorious rebel capt. of guerillas last night about 12 o’clock. It is a great feather in their cap. Capt. Perry slept with him last night. I saw them both under the same blankets this morning. It looked very funny but the capt. (Perry) was bound to stick to his prisoner.”xxxiv

Leadership of the remnants of Peddicord’s company was assumed by Ellis Harper. Although I have found no indication that Peddicord or the men, while under him, ever committed any atrocities, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t. I simply haven’t found anything written to indicate that. On the other hand, Ellis Harper soon became notorious for repeated atrocities, and has been credited by some with scores of murders. The guerrilla war in Sumner County clearly took a brutal turn for the worse after he took command of the company. One source states that; like Peddicord, Harper was commissioned a captain by General Morgan,xxxv but this cannot be verified.

Columbus Peddicord, meanwhile, was sent to the military prison at Louisville, Kentucky. On May 28, he left Louisville for Fort Delaware (in the state of Delaware), where he arrived on June 1. On July 18, he was transferred to Johnson’s Island, at Sandusky, Ohio, arriving on July 20. There he was paroled upon his agreement not to take up arms for the Confederacy, and stayed until September 16, 1864, when he was transferred to Fort Monroe in Virginia, in preparation for exchange. On September 21 he was moved to “Varina, Aiken’s Landing,” where on the following day, he and 1,079 other Confederate prisoners were exchanged for the same number of Union prisoners.

The next day, September 23rd, he was admitted to General Receiving Hospital #9 in Richmond, Virginia and on the 25th was transferred to General Hospital #4, suffering from chronic diarrhea. When he had recovered enough, he was furloughed on October 9.xxxvi His service record ends there. If he ever returned to the 2nd Tennessee, it is not recorded. Presumably, since he was paroled, he was free to go home. Just when he did is not known, but for him the war appears to have been over.

Simmering animosities were understandably prevalent in the time immediately after the war ended in 1865. Federal troops continued to occupy the southern states long after the war during the Reconstruction period. There must have been some hostile feelings toward him in Sumner County by the military or the Unionist civilians, and soon after he came home, Columbus and his family moved to Barren County, Kentucky, near his brother, Kelion. As it turned out, however, the left-over bitterness of the war soon caught up with him there.

Of this time at the end of the war and after, Peddicord’s sister, India Logan, later wrote of him:
He was taken prisoner in 1863, and spent nineteen months starving and freezing at Johnson’s Island. Exchanged in 1864, he returned to find his wife in a Federal prison at Gallatin, Tennessee – a ruse to catch him. His father succeeded in getting her freed by going to Nashville to General Rosecrans, who banished her from Tennessee, where she owned one hundred and sixty acres of land, which was sold for taxes during Reconstruction days. My brother, Columbus, was furious at his wife’s treatment…

He was farming near Glasgow Junction (now Park City) in Kentucky until August 1, 1867 when he attended a Democratic barbeque at Glasgow City. While riding in his carriage driven by the old faithful slave driver, he was approached by four men, and asked if he would take them to the grounds. He acquiesced. Three rode with him and one with the driver. ‘You are Captain Peddicord,’ said one. He smiled, saying, ‘The captain is played out.’ The man, using vile epithets, said, ‘A fine carriage for a ****ed rebel to ride in.’ Brother, thinking they were joking, replied, ‘Yes, but the rebel is played out too.’ After he found out they were antagonistic, he stepped out and said, ‘Get out of my vehicle.’ The one who got out first went behind the carriage and shot at my brother, hitting him in the left arm, shattering the bone. My brother then pulled out his pistol, but as he said afterward, it failed to go off the first time. The man shot again and struck his spine. He fell and the men ran, and as there were many old Confederates on the grounds, the crew disappeared quickly. My brother lived thirteen days. He is buried in the old Bell Family Cemetery.”xxxvii

Whether these men were ever brought to justice is not known. Isabella, now a widow, kept the land in Sumner County until at least 1870, the last year her name appears on the county tax lists.xxxviii It was probably the following year when she lost the property. By 1880 she had moved to Warren County, Kentucky.xxxix She died there on September 27, 1912.xl

Endnotes

i US Census, 1850, 1860
findagrave.com

ii US Census, 1840

iii US Census, 1850

iv The general location of the Peddicord property was determined by locating the known neighbors shown in census
reports and slave schedules, as well as the fact that Wilson Peddicord sold land to the L&N Railroad, which runs
north-south through Richland/Portland.

v Microfilm #1285 from loose records of County Court, Chancery Court and Circuit Court, Sumner County, Tennessee
Index to the Loose Records: 1786-1930 by Shirley Wilson.

vi ancestry.com

vii US Census, 1860

viii Non-census Population and Agricultural Schedules, Sumner County, Tennessee,
1860 Slave Schedules, Sumner County, Tennessee

ix Kelion Franklin Peddicord Of Quirk’s Scouts, Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A., by Mrs. India W.P. Logan, 1908, pp.12,13

x Confederate service record of Columbus A. Peddicord

xi Rebellion Revisited, by Walter Durham, pp.18,19

xii Confederate service record of Columbus A. Peddicord

xiii Kelion Franklin Peddicord Of Quirk’s Scouts, Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A. by Mrs. India W.P. Logan, 1908, p.12

xiv Rebellion Revisited, by Walter Durham, pp. 65,66

xv Columbus Peddicord is the only Peddicord man shown in the 1860 census for Sumner County.

xvi Rebellion Revisited, by Walter Durham, p.73

xvii History of Morgan’s Cavalry, by Basil W. Duke, 1867, p.351

xviii Confederate service record of Columbus A. Peddicord

xix Ibid

xx Ibid

xxi Confederate service records of Privates C.P. Snell and Isham F. Davis, both of the 2nd Ky Cavalry

xxii Ellis Harper: Partisan Raider, author and date unknown, Tennessee Division, Sons of confederate Veterans

xxiii Rebellion Revisited, by Walter Durham, p.145

xxiv Kelion Franklin Peddicord Of Quirk’s Scouts, Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry, CSA., by Mrs. India W.P. Logan, 1908, p.17

xxv Ibid, pp.17,18

xxvi Rebellion Revisited, by Walter Durham, p.139

xxvii Ibid, p.138

xxviii Through The South With A Union Soldier, edited by Arthur H. DeRosier, Jr., p.55, letter from Charles L. Dunham to Miss Hercey Dunham, dated Feb 7, 1863, South Tunnel, Tenn.

xxix While Father Is Away, The Civil War Letters Of William H. Bradbury, edited by Jennifer Cain Bohmstedt, p.63

xxx Kelion Franklin Peddicord Of Quirk’s Scouts, Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A., by Mrs India W.P. Logan, 1908, p.12

xxxi The Bold Cavaliers, by Dee Alexander Brown, p.169

xxxii Ellis Harper, Partisan Raider, author and date unknown, Tennessee Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

xxxiii Through The South With A Union Soldier, edited by Arthur H. DeRosier, Jr., p.58, letter from Charles L. Dunham to Miss Hercey Dunham,
dated March 8, 1863, South Tunnel, Tenn.

xxxiv Confederate service record of Columbus A. Peddicord
While Father Is Away: The Civil War Letters Of William H. Bradbury, edited by Jennifer Cain Bohmstedt, p.73, letter
from Lt. Bradbury to his wife, dated March 6, 1863
(Federal records consistently show the date of Peddicord’s capture as March 8, while Private Dunham shows it as the
evening of the 7th. To further complicate matters, Lt. Bradbury’s letter is dated March 6. There is a possible
explanation for the discrepancy with Bradbury. It could simply be that he started his letter on the 6th and finished it
two or three days later, with news from those days included.)

xxxv Ellis Harper, Partisan Raider, author and date unknow, Tennessee Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

xxxvi Confederate service record of Columbus A. Peddicord

xxxvii Kelion Franklin Peddicord Of Quirk’s Scouts, Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A., by Mrs. India W.P. Logan, 1908, pp.13,14

xxxviii Sumner County Tax Lists, 1869-1871

xxxix US Census, 1880, Warren County, Ky
ancestry.com

xl ancestry.com

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Joined
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Messages
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#2
"for a fifty dollar bounty, Private Peddicord extended his enlistment for an additional two years.xii"

$50= $972.50 in today's cashola. Imagine signing up for TWO YEARS of 1860's warfare for the equivalent of $486.25 a year.

"“He was taken prisoner in 1863, and spent nineteen months starving and freezing at Johnson’s Island. Exchanged in 1864, he returned to find his wife in a Federal prison at Gallatin, Tennessee – a ruse to catch him. His father succeeded in getting her freed by going to Nashville to General Rosecrans, who banished her from Tennessee, where she owned one hundred and sixty acres of land, which was sold for taxes during Reconstruction days. My brother, Columbus, was furious at his wife’s treatment…"

War is hell.....

Thank you for taking the time to research this and post it.
 



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