Lionel F. Booth. Commander of Fort Pillow.

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#1
I would like to know more about Major Booth. I am thinking he was a very interesting character. If anyone could guide me to a good book about him or just talk about him with me. I only know what I read on Wikipedia.
 

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#2
"In April 1864, the Union garrison at Fort Pillow, a Confederate-built earthen fortification and a Union-built inner redoubt, overlooking the Mississippi River about forty river miles above Memphis, comprised 295 white Tennessee troops and 262 U.S. Colored Troops, all under the command of Maj. Lionel F. Booth.
The garrison was unable to depress its artillery enough to cover the approaches to the fort Rebel sharpshooters, on the surrounding knolls, began firing into the fort killing Booth." http://www.civil-war-journeys.org/fort_pillow_tn.htm

I found that on the above website. Indeed, he could prove to be a very interesting character. I'm always interested in lesser known (to me) campaigns and individuals. Since I'm a genealogist, maybe I can dig up some interesting events in his life.
 
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#5
perhaps he was a fan of Shakespearian actors
LOL. Nooooo. Some of his personal correspondence I have found in a brief search allude to a more mysterious background. "
Mary,
I am ashamed to attempt to write to you, yet I must for my conscience smites me so at times that I would rather be dead than alive. I would write to my Mother but I am ashamed to. I have terribly wronged her. She that was my best and kindest of Mothers. I pray from the bottom of my heart that she will forgive. Tell her for me that I have sinned both against her and heaven and earth, and tell her that I have wronged deeply wronged her, yet I will redeem the past if she has not cast me forth. I will return as the Prodigal Son and say am not worthy to be called her child.
..."
 
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#8
Here's a twist. I've been going through newspapers. One account lists Maj. Booth and an Adj. Limmings among the officers killed at Ft. Pillow. I've started a research tree on George H Lanning alias Lionel Booth to see what falls out of the trees. There is also an account of a dramatic address by Mrs. Booth in which she produces the blood stained flag to Col. Jackson at Ft. Pickering. So. if George Lanning married Lizzy Way when he was stationed at St. Louis, MO, who did Lionel Booth marry and wouldn't that make him a bigamist? This gets better as it goes along. Well, must break away and tend to family.
 
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#9
I imagine its the more common reason of a criminal background, but was giving him benefit of doubt
Interesting theory. Here is a quote from a letter he wrote to his aunt. He was stationed at Ft. Riley, KS.
"You tell me that Edward has a place you did not tell me if he was learning a trade or no any way if he can get along with you and if it is impossible for him to get along where he now is I would rather have him with you, because I do not want him to be or have any intercourse with men who are addicted to drinking liquor of any kind. I have seen the consequences and they have proved fatal."
Makes me wonder if he is alluding to the fact that he might have killed a man and was hiding from the law.
 

diane

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#10
If I was going to leap to a conclusion, I would conclude he may have killed a close relative while drinking. His parents and his grandparents appear to have run him off from somebody who needed his protection, so they could have things their way. Sounds like it was a heck of a family dust-up.
 
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#12

diane

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#14
There was a George H Lanning who was a clerk for Nathaniel Lyons in Missouri. Which one was it or was it yet another Lanning! Three of them running around seems to be a bit more than coincidence, but then stranger things have happened.

Booth's widow produced the letter regarding the family feud to prove Lionel Booth and George Lanning were the same person in order to get her pension. There was some argument about it but the government accepted that Major Lionel F Booth and Major George H Lanning were the same person after all. (Who was in Missouri is uncertain, however!)

Told you Major Booth was a fun study! :D
 
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#15
There was a George H Lanning who was a clerk for Nathaniel Lyons in Missouri. Which one was it or was it yet another Lanning! Three of them running around seems to be a bit more than coincidence, but then stranger things have happened.

Booth's widow produced the letter regarding the family feud to prove Lionel Booth and George Lanning were the same person in order to get her pension. There was some argument about it but the government accepted that Major Lionel F Booth and Major George H Lanning were the same person after all. (Who was in Missouri is uncertain, however!)

Told you Major Booth was a fun study! :D
I haven't found the letter yet that Booth's widow produced. Booth's widow was Lizzy Way, they were legally married, so there should have been no question about her widow's pension. She filed under Major Booth. It wouldn't matter if Lanning as a nom de guerre for Booth; she couldn't have collected under a fictional soldier. Just saw the thread about Ft. Pillow and will continue over there.
 

matthew mckeon

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#16
I haven't found the letter yet that Booth's widow produced. Booth's widow was Lizzy Way, they were legally married, so there should have been no question about her widow's pension. She filed under Major Booth. It wouldn't matter if Lanning as a nom de guerre for Booth; she couldn't have collected under a fictional soldier. Just saw the thread about Ft. Pillow and will continue over there.
It was posted here, somewhere, that Booth's widow realized that a lot of the widows of the black men killed at Pillow might not get pensions, because the they all been slaves recently and their marriages didn't have legal status. She lobbied to make sure they could make the same kind of claim she could.
 

diane

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#17
I think @DixieRifles might be able to help!

The three George H Lannings actually are our very interesting Lionel F Booth, and Lizzie Wayte/Mary Booth is the same person. She was interesting herself, helping inspect Southern women to see if they were smuggling contraband in their clothes (amazing what could be stashed in those huge hoop skirts!) and got in dutch because she let pass a woman carrying bars of gold - money for the Confederates. She did a good thing indeed, though, by helping black women with pensions and with their husbands. She was shocked to find these women couldn't even claim their husbands because their marriages were not recognized. Booth was at first thought to be one of his black artillerists but Lizzie identified him by a ring and a piece of his uniform which showed he was an officer, which automatically made him white.

I believe all the George Lannings are actually Lionel Booth. The separate listings of bodies in Ft Pillow with Booth and Lanning being unrelated individuals I think is related to this problem of body identification and Lizzie's collecting the military pension.

One of the unusual features of Ft Pillow was that many of the Union and Union sympathizers there were...not who they claimed to be! There were a lot of fake identities, usually to cover an unsavory background. Some of the civilians killed were not civilians but deserters, outlaws or other less than upstanding individuals. William Bradford used Booth's identity to deal with Forrest because Forrest knew the Bradford family - raised in the same county. Every other body was some other body around that place!
 

DixieRifles

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#18
I haven't had time to read the Link in the 2nd post.

One account lists Maj. Booth and an Adj. Limmings among the officers killed at Ft. Pillow.
Lieutenant Mack Leaming was wounded in the battle. His name is recorded in different books and sources by various spellings: "Leming", "Lemming", "Learning", and even "Seaming". Lt. Leaming (printed with name "Seaming") testified to the Congressional investigation that he was shot at 15 paces after surrendering. Ward's book stated a Confederate, who was a fellow Mason, removed him from the field and placed him in one of the make-shift hospitals. He testified several colored troops were killed before the wounded were moved to the steamboat. His previous service was as a private in 72nd Illinois Infantry Regiment. The card in his pension file mentions the 6th Tennessee Cavalry.

Here is the Prisoner Form in his files.
Leaming__PW Form.JPG
 
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#19
It was posted here, somewhere, that Booth's widow realized that a lot of the widows of the black men killed at Pillow might not get pensions, because the they all been slaves recently and their marriages didn't have legal status. She lobbied to make sure they could make the same kind of claim she could.
That is a very interesting aspect of the Civil War that never occurred to me. (Smacking myself in the head) A great deal of information would be tucked away nicely in the military records, not to mention the free persons of color who might have volunteered.
 



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