My seven Confederate ancestors, biographies, Robert M. Snell

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OldSarge79

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I have seven ancestors who served in the Civil War, all Confederate. They are:

Commodore Perry Snell, 2nd Ky Cavalry (Don't be confused, he was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the War of 1812.)
Franklin Agrippa Gayden, Bolivar Troop, 1st Miss Cavalry
James Cooper Riley, 1st Ark Battn of Cavalry (Stirman's)
William Campbell Richardson, 26th Arkansas Infantry
William J. Strickland, 26th Ga Infantry
William Devane, 50th Ga Infantry
William Martin Crymes Westmoreland, 55th Ga Infantry

As time permits, I plan to post biographies of them all, which are edited versions of those I have written for my family.
 
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WJC

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That's quite a heritage! Looking forward to the individual biographies....
 

OldSarge79

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Biography of Franklin A. Gayden

For those of you who read the following biography of my ancestor, I have a favor to ask. Please carefully read the section concerning his capture, written by his commanding officer, Frank Montgomery, and after considering what Montgomery wrote, post your answer to the following question:
Who's fault was the capture of Sgt. Frank Gayden in 1861?

Any response on that question will be appreciated. There are several very interesting sections in this narrative, after Frank Gayden's active duty with the Bolivar Troop, so please read on.


Franklin Gayden (always called Frank) was born south of Liberty, Mississippi on June 23, 1836. He was the seventh child of Agrippa and Margaret Gayden, wealthy plantation owners in Amite County., where numerous slaves worked the Gayden fields and in the house. On September 30, 1837, Frank was baptized at the Unity Presbyterian Church by Dr. E.P. McLean. In 1845 both of Frank’s parents died and his 22-year-old brother, George, became the head of the family. George was living one county to the south, in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana and the three youngest children lived with him until they were old enough to marry or became adults.i Frank, at just ten years of age, inherited his portion of his father’s property, including about a dozen slaves. We have the names of nine of them, as follows: Jack, Betsy, Amelia, Viny, Mary, Aggy, Catharine, L. Jack and Milly.ii

Frank received a good education and in 1850, at the age of 14, he is shown as the owner of 32 slaves.iii In the mid-1850’s George moved to Bolivar County, Mississippi, seven counties north of the family property in Amite County. There he bought Glenwood Plantation, on the Mississippi River (now Lake Beulah) from Joseph Sillers, who lived next to Glenwood, at Woodlawn Plantation.iv Frank went with George to Bolivar County and at some point shortly thereafter, began buying land there to build his own plantation.v

Emily Miles, daughter of an attorney, Charles T. Miles and his wife Mary, was born on December 3, 1840 in Fayette, Mississippi. Her father was a slave owner, although he apparently owned few. The Miles family moved to Elmwood Plantation, in Bolivar County, in about 1854.vi

Frank Gayden and Emily Miles were married on the evening of September 29, 1858vii and their first child, Albert Cage, was born in 1860. By that time Frank owned 46 slaves, ranging from small children to those of elderly years.viii A relative, J. Jackson Gayden, and two employees, John Mashice, 25, and A.N. Dixon, 28, also lived on the plantation. Perhaps one or both of these was a slave overseer. The real estate was, at that time, valued at $25,000 and personal property at $44,000.ix At just 24 years of age, Frank could be considered rather wealthy.

Frank was busy accumulating land at the beginning of 1860, and much of it appears to have been under mortgage, including $7,000 borrowed on January 23, 1860 from George’s father-in-law, Thomas Scott, to buy land from George.x In that same month he bought 5 ½ acres from S.D. Lee.xi It appears that the slaves were a considerable part of the value of his personal property. Frank and Emily are on a list of prominent residents and are shown as living at Laban Bayou,xii a narrow waterway about a mile from the Mississippi River. Their land also fronted on Dry Creekxiii (not far northwest of what is now the town of Beulah).

These were good times for Frank and Emily. With family living on nearby plantations, social events on Laban Bayou were common, all served by slave labor. Frank’s prospects as a plantation owner were good but this all changed when the country slid into war.

Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in December. Mississippi followed at the beginning of January, 1861 and men began enlisting in local military companies. Quoting from The Reconstruction Period by Hamilton, “The Confederate did not hesitate to leave his family...and fight in the army...knowing that the women, children and grandfathers could manage the farms, and that the slaves themselves would be faithful and protect them.xiv

Frank Gayden enlisted as a private on March 20, 1861 at the county seat of Prentiss. (This town is no longer in existence, having been burned by the enemy in 1862, then washed over by a change in course of the Mississippi River.) He joined the Bolivar Troop, a local company of cavalry commanded by his neighbor and relative by marriage, Captain Frank A. Montgomery.xv Each man was expected to provide his own horse. The men elected their officers and Frank Gayden was elected as 5th Sergeant, last in rank of the company’s five sergeants.xvi The company drilled on the grounds of Captain Montgomery’s plantation, Beulah, which fronted on the Mississippi Riverxvii and, it appears, bordered on Frank Gayden’s plantation as well. The first uniforms were red coats with white pants, but the impracticality being all too obvious, they were soon changed to Confederate gray.xviii

It should be noted that both Frank Gayden and his commanding officer, Frank Montgomery, were related by marriage to Confederate general and governor of Mississippi, Charles Clark, who lived nearby at Doro Plantation. Emily Gayden’s mother, Mary Darden Miles, was the sister of the governor’s wife, and Frank Montgomery was married to the governor’s sister..

In January the state of Mississippi had received shipments of Maynard carbines, 325 of .50 caliber and 300 of .36 caliber. The Bolivar Troop was issued with these carbines, beginning just four days before Frank Gayden enlisted.xix It is not known which caliber. The company was also armed with .36 caliber Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers and sabers.xx

The war began in April, and in May the Bolivar Troop, 68 men in all, loaded onto a vessel, some at Beulah, some at Prentiss and some along the way. Those boarding at Prentiss were accompanied to the landing by families and a “company” of admiring schoolboys.xxi They were transported up the Mississippi River to Memphis, Tennessee, where they were directed to set up camp at the fairgrounds. Second Lieutenant Lafayette Jones was ordered to lead the men through the city to their destination and here, quoting from Captain Montgomery’s book, is described what followed:
But few of the men had saddles, as I expected to be able to get a uniform saddle for the whole company, and therefore had instructed them not to bring their saddles. As soon as I could I hastened to follow them, and overtook them just as they turned out of Main Street. They formed a long, straggling column, some mounted bare-back, others leading their horses, all encumbered with baggage besides their arms, and presented a ludicrous appearance. Lieutenant Jones was riding at the head of the column, mounted on a fine gray horse, and just as I got in sight of him he turned in his saddle and gave the command, “draw saber,” and a scene of confusion ensued which provoked me to laughter, though I was vexed and mortified. The men tried to obey, and every man began to tug at his saber, whether mounted or unmounted. I, of course, put an end to the scene as soon as I could, and the truth was the lieutenant wholly forgot for the time being the condition of his command and what he was ordered to do, and thought he was on drill. We soon arrived at our camping ground, and in a short time had tents pitched, rations and forage issued, guards stationed, and for the first time we felt we were soldiers.xxii

They stayed in camp at Memphis for about two weeks.xxiii Proper saddles were obtained and time was spent in training. On June 13, 1861 they were mustered into the Confederate army for 12 months, under the command of Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow, a veteran officer of the Mexican War with a mixed reputation.

Very shortly afterward, the company headed north to its new camp at Union City, Tennessee, arriving after a five-day march. There, the Bolivar Troop was joined to several other Mississippi cavalry companies, from Pontotoc, Lafayette and Tallahatchie counties, and together they were designated as the 1st Mississippi Battalion of Cavalry, commanded by Major John H. Miller. More time was spent in training and drill.xxiv

In early August the men were told to prepare four days of cooked rations and ammunition, and with the rest of the army, broke camp, heading west. Within a few days they were at the Mississippi River below New Madrid, and were transported across by boat to the Missouri side. General Pillow’s army gathered there, preparing to cooperate with the Missouri State Guard under General Jeff Thompson.

The battalion was ordered to Sykeston for a few days, than back to the main camp. Then they were ordered down the river and marched about twelve miles, camping on the bank. The next day they were ordered to return. This seemed to be senseless, and perhaps frustrated, Captain Montgomery and Captain Bowles (from another company in the battalion) asked for and received approval from General Pillow to send out scouting parties to the area of Charleston, hoping to capture an enemy scout.xxv

On August 12 Captain Montgomery led a detachment of about 25 men to a secluded spot along the road south of Charleston, taking at least two of Jeff Thompson’s men, Lt. Gooden and D.S. Harris, with him as guides. They camped there and waited for any activity along the road. Here, we again pick up Captain Montgomery’s narrative:
While we were waiting for night to come I heard one of my men, Frank Gayden, talking about what he intended to do if he met the Yankees, as he called them. He never intended to take a prisoner, he would kill every one he got hold of. I remonstrated with him for his blood-thirsty talk, and asked him how he would like to have his intentions carried out against himself if he should be captured. That he said would never be, he would never be taken alive. Twelve hours more was to put him to the test. Nothing happened to disturb the quiet of my watch on the road I was guarding, and after waiting for some hours after daylight I concluded if a scout had that morning come out it must have taken the other road, and that perhaps Captain Bowles had been more fortunate, and so I directed the lieutenant I had with me (I remember his name was Gooden) to take me to a quiet place not far from Charleston, into which place I proposed to go later in the day, and where we could get some sleep, for we had but little for two nights. He guided me to a skirt of woods about a mile from Charleston, which was in full view across an open field, and then proposed with two or three men he had with him to picket the roads for me. Having confidence in him I consented, directing him if he got any news of the enemy to let me know at once. Feeling secure I went to sleep, as did, I thought, all the men, but after some time I was awakened by Frank Gayden, who said there was a squad of men on the road whose actions he did not like. I went to a fence where I could see, three or four hundred yards away across the field on the road leading from Charleston, and which ran by my bivouac, three men on horseback, all in citizen’s clothes, and one of them I recognized as Lieutenant Gooden by his horse. They were sitting quietly on their horses and seemed to be talking. I told Gayden it was Gooden and, I supposed, some citizens, but to mount his horse and go and see what news there was, if any, and come back at once and report, and then went to sleep again. I did not wake up for some time, but when I did, and inquired for Gayden, I found he had not returned. Some of the men said they saw him ride up to the three men in the three men in the road and then all had ridden off briskly towards Charleston. About that time seeing a citizen in the road, I had him brought to me, and to my surprise and chagrin learned Gayden and Gooden were prisoners, and by that time nearly to Bird’s Point. I got away at once from what I began to feel was a dangerous place, as indeed it was, for I was twenty-five miles from camp, and even with Captain Bowles I felt I was too weak for such a force as could be brought against me. I soon joined Bowles, and together we made our way back to camp.

When I reported to General Pillow that instead of bringing him a prisoner I had one of my own men taken, and the manner in which it was done, he said he did not see how a soldier could allow himself to be taken in the manner described, and neither could I, especially my blood-thirsty young friend Gayden. The worst of it was the news at home, it created more excitement than the killing and wounding of fifty men two years later. His brother (probably George, who was also Captain Montgomery’s neighbor) came to see about it, and strange to say I was very much censured, and great sympathy was extended to the silly fellow who deliberately walked into a trap with his eyes wide open in broad daylight.xxvi

Remarkably, we have an account of Gayden’s capture from the other side. Newspaper reporters were allowed to see Gayden in captivity, and in an article just three days after his capture, we learn that the man who captured him with a shotgun was Sgt. W. C. Carson.xxvii According to Carson’s account in the newspaper, after he and two other scouts captured two Confederates, “another mounted rebel emerged from the woods. Carson rode him down and captured him…The Mississippi sergeant had a broad yellow stripe on his pants and wearing grey shirts. The arms of the latter were a splendid Maynard rifle, a pair of Colt’s Navy revolvers, and a cavalry sword...The prisoners feel greatly crestfallen at being captured...that they thought their captors were in force...They were ________ off rapidly and boldly by their captors, through Charleston and brought to Cairo. They were kindly treated though under strict guard.xxviii This generally fits with Montgomery’s account, but Carson’s claim that he “rode him down” seems a bit exaggerated. Captured with Gayden were Lt. Jake “Blackhawk” Gooden and D.D. Harris of Thompson’s command. The incident was reported in other Northern newspapers.

On September 3, Major Miller left the battalion under a flag of truce to make a prisoner exchange to get Sgt. Gayden back. Four Confederate officers met their Union counterparts in Charleston, where the Union officers violated a prior agreement and came armed, while the Union officers complained that the Confederates had agreed to bring 20 prisoners for the exchange, but only brought three. The meeting went well, however, and Gayden was exchanged for Private Jonathan Doulin of Captain Burrell’s Federal company of cavalry. Both of Jeff Thompson’s men were also exchanged, and Gayden was soon back with the Bolivar Troop, none the worse for wear after three weeks of captivity.xxix

Here we continue with Frank Montgomery’s narrative: “From Gayden I learned that Gooden had been taken prisoner by two scouts in plain clothes; that he seeing Gooden thought everything all right and rode up to the men. One of them leveled Gooden’s shotgun on him and told him to surrender, which he promptly did. I asked him why he did not attempt to escape, as he was well mounted as well as armed, and he knew help was at hand. He said the fellow looked like he would shoot – and this was the man who the day before did not intend to take prisoners and would die before he would be taken!

Sgt. Gayden was the first in the company to see the enemy face-to-face and according to Captain Montgomery, he became a hero. When 2nd Lt. Dickinson Bell resigned shortly after Gayden’s return, the men elected him to the position. He was now an officer.xxx

Throughout September and well into October, the battalion was active in scouting northward into enemy territory, and it may be assumed that some of these expeditions were led by Lt. Gayden. All were without contact with the enemy until October 14th, when a detachment of 34 men led by Captain Montgomery and Lt. Lobdell encountered Lt. Tufts with 26 men of the 1st Illinois Cavalry south of Bird’s Point, Missouri. One Confederate was wounded, while the Federals had several wounded and left a sergeant dead on the field. This was the first combat for the Bolivar Troop.xxxi

In early November the Bolivar Troop, as well as another company of the 1st Mississippi Cavalry Battalion were stationed at Belmont, Missouri, along with a regiment of Arkansas Infantry and a battery of artillery. The remainder of the battalion was camped across the Mississippi River with the army. On November 7, General Grant, with about 3,000 Union troops attacked the small force at Belmont. Capt. Montgomery was away on leave, but led by 1st Lt. Lafayette Jones with 2nd Lt. Frank Gayden as second in command, the Bolivar Troop received Grant’s assault, mounted and as a skirmish line. Forced to fall back upon their infantry, they were put on the Confederate left. Grant’s troops pushed the Confederate line back to the river, but stopped to loot the Confederate camp, and as they did so, Confederate reinforcements arrived from across the river.

The Bolivar Troop, with the Thompson Cavalry Company, were sent south along the shore to meet advancing enemy reinforcements. Outnumbered and almost surrounded, the Bolivar Troop charged, breaking through, but found themselves cut off from the main force. Meanwhile, the main force counter-attacked, nearly trapping Grant. When the Federal troops retreated, the Bolivar Troop rejoined the fight, but only in time to fire at the enemy as they boarded their transports to escape upriver. The Bolivar Troop had lost only one man wounded and nine horses killed.xxxii

(continued on next post)

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OldSarge79

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(continued)

After the battle, the entire Confederate force was withdrawn across the river to winter quarters at Columbus, Kentucky. Here, the Bolivar Troop was responsible for picket duty on roads outside Columbus, but aside from some false alarms, saw no action.

In January, 1862, the battalion moved to Camp Beauregard, near Paris, Tennessee, and on the 13th had a skirmish with Union cavalry near Fort Heinman. The army moved to Corinth, Mississippi in March and came under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston.xxxiii From here Johnston planned to strike Grant’s army, in camp a short distance inside Tennessee.

With Captain Montgomery once again away on leave, 1st Lt. Jones was left in command of the company. He dispatched 2nd Lt. Gayden to lead a scouting detachment into enemy territory north-west of Grant’s camp. The following is Gayden’s report. The Colonel Jordan to whom his report was written is apparently Col. Thomas Jordan, chief of staff for General P.G.T. Beauregard. Jordan had experience
in espionage as coordinator with the famed Confederate spy, Rose Greenhow, and his job involved coordinating Confederate units and collecting intelligence. It is interesting that a 2nd Lieutenant addresses his report directly to the chief of staff of the army. It appears that Jackson, Tennessee, where the report was written on March 28 was a Confederate base.

Jackson, Tenn. March 28th 1862
Col. Jordan
Sir,
On the 18th ult, being ordered by Lieut Jones commanding Bolivar Troop! To take twelve men and scout towards Huntington, for the purpose of meeting some of Maj. Kings men and establishing a signal between us, I proceeded to complete the order. On arriving at a little town called Clarksburg, sixteen miles north of Lexington, I found one of Maj. Kings men, who informed me that Maj. King had been ordered to Union City. While resting my men, I saw a man approaching rather slyly. Thinking that I might find out something from him, I advanced & met him some distance from the crowd. I had scarcely halted him, before he asked me if I was Southern or Northern Cavalry. I replied in the negative. He said he was glad to hear it, & that he was in hopes that we would soon run those fellows from Lexington, that he had been detailed once to go into the Southern Army & had run off, and he was afraid those fellows at Lexington would catch him. He insisted on my going home with him & spending three or four days with him. I asked him why some of them did not come out and report to us the movement of the enemy. He said they did. I then asked him to tell me the names of the individuals who did it. He gave me the following names Jno. Miller, Pig Brewer, Alex Rogers. The name of the person who gave me the above information is Samule Woods.
I am Col -
yours most respectfully,
Frank A. Gayden
2nd Lieut Bolivar Troopxxxiv


There are several things to note in Gayden’s report. First, the exclamation mark (!) in the first line after “Bolivar Troop” seems out of place, but is not a typographical error. It is clearly written on the original report. One can only speculate as to its purpose, but on the surface it may emphasize the fact that Lt. Jones was in command of the troop and/or that he issued the order. Were some “politics” or dissension with Captain Montgomery involved?

Secondly, is it possible that Lt. Gayden and his men were not in uniform? When confronted, the man skulking around the camp had to ask which side they were from. This would indicate that there was no flag and he could not tell from what they were wearing. It also indicates that partisan or guerrilla units from both sides were known to be in the area, very possibly including those of Major King.

Thirdly, consider that the circumstances of this incident are incredibly similar to those that led to Gayden’s capture in Missouri the previous summer. Once again, we have a scouting detachment, stationary and at rest. Gayden spots someone outside the camp acting in a suspicious manner and goes alone to investigate. The difference now is that he does not have a superior officer telling him that his suspicions are groundless, but this time he decides on his own to go alone. Apparently he learned little from the first experience but this time it ends differently. He succeeds in deceiving the man and obtaining information from him.

At the beginning of April, the 1st Mississippi Cavalry Battalion was joined with other units to become the 1st Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, with the Bolivar Troop designated as Company H. Colonel Andrew Jackson Lindsay commanded the new regiment.xxxv

On April 6, General Albert Sidney Johnson attacked Grant at the Battle of Shiloh. The 1st Mississippi Cavalry Regiment was there, and it must be assumed that by that time, Lt. Gayden and his detachment had rejoined the command. Screening Major General Cheatham’s division on the Confederate left flank, the regiment saw no action on the first day of the battle.

The following day, with Lt. Col. John H. Miller leading, the regiment was ordered to cut off the Federal retreat. Observing a Michigan artillery battery, 300 yards away, beginning to unlimber their guns, Miller ordered a charge. At the cost of several wounded, the Confederates overwhelmed the enemy, capturing four cannon and 27 men, along with their horses. Major Herndon, with Captain Cole’s company, escorted the prisoners and guns to the rear.

As the Confederate army retreated the next day, the 1st Mississippi Cavalry were part of the rear-guard of Hardee’s Corps, and were the last to leave the battlefield, skirmishing with the enemy as they went, and having five men wounded. Though not involved in any of the hard fighting at Shiloh, the new regiment had performed well.xxxvi

The Confederate forces soon withdrew further south, to Tupelo, Mississippi. There, in May, in compliance with the Conscription Act passed by the Confederate congress, the men were paid a bounty for re-enlisting for the duration of the war, and new elections of officers were held. These elections had profound effects on the regiment. Major Herndon and Lt. Col. Miller, both resentful that Col. Lindsay had been brought in to command the regiment instead of them being promoted, did not put their names up for election, and instead left the regiment. Captain R.A. Pinson was elected as Colonel to replace Lindsay, while Captain Montgomery was elected as Lt. Colonel.xxxvii

Frank Gayden was not re-elected as lieutenant. Whether he put his name forward but was rejected by the men, or whether for other reasons he took himself out of consideration is not known. His original one-year enlistment was due to expire a month later, and he did not re-enlist. He served out his final month, once again as an enlisted man with the rank of sergeant.

Returning home after a year on active service, Frank was appointed as the policeman for Bolivar County’s 3rd District on October 15, 1862.xxxviii Twelve days later he enlisted in a company of state troops being raised by D.C. Herndon, his former commander. This company, known as Captain Herndon’s Independent Company of Partisan Rangers, was basically a home guard unit. Frank enlisted for a term of one year, with the rank of 2nd corporal.xxxix There were other former members of the Bolivar Troop in Herndon’s company as well, including former lieutenant Dickinson Bell, former corporal J.W. Lawler and former corporal Harry Bridges.

Called out of their homes along the Mississippi River to respond to Federal landing parties and raids, they frequently arrived too late to fight, as the raiders had already returned to their vessels. Known locally as the “Featherbeds” or “Featherbed Rangers” because they could be called out in the day and still sleep in their own beds at night, they were considered a guerrilla force by the enemy. What kind of uniform they wore, if any, is not known. Frequently the Federals would land a detachment to raid the home of a known member of Herndon’s Rangers to try to arrest him, sometimes with success.

Again quoting from F.A. Montgomery, “This company of home guards did a great deal of good, for they overawed the lawless element in the county, and there were, the last two years of the war, many who now and then passed through it. They cost me, however, a great loss, for it happened I had an abundance of forage on my place on the river, and they made it a frequent stopping place. One day, a transport with a regiment of soldiers on it landed at my landing and a skirmish ensued, which enraged the federals, and they burned every house on the place, except one shanty in which an old negro and his wife were living. Perhaps they might not have done this, but according to the old negro’s account, they had a man killed in the skirmish, while the “featherbeds” got away without harm.”xl

Sniping at enemy vessels always provoked a quick response. Landing parties making raids along the river and shelling by gunboats became frequent, especially in 1863. Most, if not all plantations along the river were abandoned. The Gayden, Montgomery and Sillers families, as well as others, were forced to leave their homes and were taken in at other nearby plantations further inland, often on Bogue Phalia.xli According to Frank Gayden’s daughter, Rosa, “As my father’s home was burned during the States war, it is supposed that the Gayden family records were destroyed at that time.”xlii Exactly when the Gayden house was burned by the enemy is not recorded.

In about June or July, 1863, Captain Herndon left the company and was replaced by Captain W. Eugene Montgomery, a cousin of Frank Montgomery, Gayden’s former commanding officer in the Bolivar Troop. By that time, Frank Gayden had been promoted to 1st Corporal. The company muster rolls dated June 12 to July 12, 1863 show him absent on sick leave, and absent without leave on the roll dated July 12 to October 25, 1863. His record with the unit ends there,xliii and as his enlistment expired at that time, it is assumed that he did not re-enlist. It may be coincidence but it is interesting to note that Frank’s absence from duty began at about the time Frank Montgomery’s cousin assumed command.

An interesting evaluation on the “featherbeds” appears in a report by Lt. D.B. Smith of the 28th Mississippi Cavalry, who was assigned to evaluate all of the independent companies of state troops: “Capt. Montgomery’s Company sustains the usual reputation of partisan rangers. They do not regularly picket on the river and are accused of indolence and trading with the enemy. It is said to be a good company and well-officered.” Of another independent company, commanded by Captain H.C. Price, he reported that they were robbers and thieves, plundering the countryside,xliv taking advantage of the citizenry they were supposed to be protecting.

In late February, 1864 this same Captain Price, leading about ten men through a three-county area, robbed a number of citizens. Some they arrested, accused of trading with the Yankees or avoiding duty in the Confederate army. Taken to Carrolton, they were all ordered released by General Richardson.

On March 7, Price and his men stopped John H. Henry on a road in Bolivar County, arrested him, took his money and threatened to hang him. They took him with them as they went to several houses which they broke into and robbed the residents. At 2 o’clock in the morning of the 8th, they arrived at Frank Gayden’s house. Forcing their way through the door, they found Frank and Emily in bed and ordered Emily, at gunpoint, to bring them all the weapons in the house, which while they held Frank, she did. They then demanded all of the money and Frank complied, giving them $650 in United States Treasury notes. Still holding them at gunpoint, the men plundered the house, even taking Frank and Emily’s clothes. There is no indication that the children were threatened, but John Henry, still being held by Price’s men, watched helplessly and later reported that the men “offered great insults” to Emily. They finally departed, taking Frank and his mule with them, but leaving the Gayden home a shambles.

Frank and at least two other prisoners were taken to the home of a Mrs. Walker, and while some of Price’s men held them nearby, the others broke down the doors and accosted Mrs. Walker, who Frank and the others could hear screaming. When they had finished looting the house, Price’s men returned. At some point after this, Frank and the others were released.

Price and his men were eventually arrested by Confederate authorities, and at least seven victims, including Frank, submitted affidavits in Madison County.xlv Frank signed his on April 3. At least one of Price’s men signed a confession, and Price was brought before a military court on a number of charges.

On December 21, 1864, Frank was arrested near Prentiss by Federal troops of the 87th Illinois Mounted Infantry, commanded by Lt. Col. J.M. Crebs. Frank must have been in civilian clothes. Col. Crebs wrote of Frank that he “claims to be (a) citizen, but we think he is more soldier than civilian.xlvi They probably suspected that he was a member of Montgomery’s Company of State Troops, which at the time, at least according to Frank’s military records, it appears that he was not. This does not mean, of course, that he wasn’t involved in some type of action against the Federals, and it seems very likely that this was when the Gayden home was burned.

Frank was sent under guard to Memphis, where his name appears on a roster entitled, “Report of Prisoners belonging to the Rebel Army in Custody of Provost Marshal, Memphis, Tennessee.” Dated December 29, 1864, his is one of only two names on the list with no regiment shown, but instead is a notation, “Confined by Col. Van ________ as a prisoner of war.” He was eventually released, possibly upon signing a parole or oath of allegiance to the United States.xlvii He returned home to Bolivar County, after his second capture by the enemy, to resume life with his family.

AFTER THE WAR

In 1863, a second child, Mary, had been born, followed by Ivanna in 1865 and Frank Jr. in 1867.xlviii In the 1870’s Joseph Redhead published a book promoting Mississippi. Frank’s rank was incorrectly given as captain and the claim was made that he was the first Confederate soldier captured in the Civil War.xlix This is also incorrect, but it is possible that he was the first from the state of Mississippi to be captured.

With Federal authority established in the South, all slaves were freed, and in 1866 a census was made, particularly concerning the former slaves or “freedmen” as they were then known. Frank is shown in Bolivar County with 25 former slaves living on his property.l Either they simply wanted to stay or had nowhere else to go, but they stayed and worked for their former master. As it had been for many years, Frank’s main crop was cotton.li

The post-war years, known as Reconstruction, were hard for former Confederates. Former assets had declined, almost certainly due to the loss of slaves and the harsh conditions of Reconstruction. With former Confederates prohibited from voting, the number of Black voters and “Radical Republicans” was far greater than the number of voting Southern whites, and oppressive laws and taxes were imposed. Many a land owner, unable to pay the high property taxes, was forced to sell.

In 1866, Frank Montgomery gave a piece of land to Bolivar county for the building of a new county seat. Formerly it had been a crossroads on his plantation, Beulah, with a store and blacksmith shop. The new town was duly named Beulah, and soon grew into a thriving community.

In September, 1866, Frank Gayden was appointed to a “jury” to study the best route for a road from Beulah Church to Pride’s Landing. Also appointed was one of his former commanding officers, D.C. Herndon. The following month they submitted a recommendation that the road should run from Frank Montgomery’s residence, up the east bank of Willow Slough to New Cut Road, to Pride’s Gin House.lii

The estate of J.M. Batchelor filed suit against Frank in October, 1866, presumably to recover unpaid debts.liii Although he had a good crop in 1866,liv by April, 1868 Frank was registered in county records as having declared bankruptcy.lv Apparently, lacking money to hire field hands, he took on sharecroppers. On July 10, 1869 he contracted with four former slaves, Jeff, Simon, Sanders and Harry Williams, to work a portion of his land. He would provide them “team, forage and implements” and they agreed to give Frank “one third of the corn and cotton they produced.” They further agreed “to do good and faithful work both in making and gathering said crop, and that they shall have full and entire control of their portion of same.”lvi

Frank leased land “west of Laban’s Bayou” from his brother, Iverson, at the end of 1869.lvii He still owned at least two pieces of property at that time, but sold them shortly thereafter. The first of these was the 5 ½ acres that he had bought in 1860. It sold on September 10, 1870 for $700, and on it had been his residence.lviii In October the following year, he and Emily sold 267 acres which he had bought from his brother, George in 1860, to Emily’s father and step-mother for $800.lix Although still a farmer, Frank is shown in the 1870 census as no longer owning property, but with personal property valued at $500.lx Exactly where he and his family lived after that is not known, but it was still in the Beulah area.

From the Mississippi Slave Narratives, we have the following memories of Beulah from Porter Bond, a former slave. I believe it refers to the first years of Reconstruction, when Beulah was the county seat. Frank and Emily Gayden were living less than a mile from the town as described here, and would have been very familiar with it.

Foreword: The following is an interview with Mrs. Laura Dickerson and an old Bolivar County negro. Mrs. Dickerson...gives us this interview in the exact words of this old colored man.

Lordy, Miss, I just can’t recollect just how long I is been here...Why dis was a young country when I first comed down here with Mr. Jim Bond from Franklin, Tennessee, way back yonder when he was a real young man, and I was too, but not as young as him... He had the biggest store at Beulah and de biggest furnishing in de county I guess. Why on Sadays de ******s and wagons come from every which o way to git grub and den in de fall, here dey come hauling in de cotton and everybody had money and was happy. Why Mr. Jim done so much business he had to send and git Mr. Tom, his younger brother, to help him. I tells you, Beulah was a hot town in dem days. The worst water, why you could pump it fresh and pour it in de glasses on de table fur dinner and before the folks could get there to drink it, it had a scum on it and had done turned yellow. And de mud was awful. Does you know a cow bogged down in
in de street one winter and natcherly died. Dey want no bottom to de roads, pore buckshot, and de more you traveled dem de deeper dey git. And whiskey! Well, you see, Mr. George Christmas had a whiskey boat in de middle of de lake. Dey say it was anchored on de Arkansas side. I don’t know how dey could tell, but it was dere and de supply never run out. Folks (men) would come between trains and walk over to de levee. Dere was always a row boat to meet you, and den here dey’d come reeling back to cetch de down train or up train and sometimes dey didn’t cetch up. And Sadays, specially nights, was terrible. Mr. Jim never let any of his women folks go to town on Saday, dere would be so many drunks and so much shooting. No, dey didn’t kill anybody much, dey just shot for the fun of hit, up through the roof of the porch to the Chinaman’s store and some of um would just set down on de side walk and shoot up in de air, jes shooting. Judge Cooper was there and had a buggy and a pair of horses that he hired to the drummers to drive to Rosedale. All de roads followed de levees and wound and twisted about till you couldn’t scarcely git no where.”


(Verifying Porter Bond’s account is an editorial in the Bolivar Times from an issue in the summer of 1869, deploring the discharging of revolvers in Beulah the previous Saturday night. I visited Beulah in 2015 and again in 2017. It is a small collection of buildings along Highway 1 from Rosedale. There appear to be few people living there and very little activity. Time has not been kind to Beulah. RMS)

More children came into the Gayden family, Rosa Belle in 1870, Charles in 1872 and Shelby in 1874. Frank, however, was not dealing well with the challenges of his life. Now quoting from Annie Eliza Clark Jacobs, “The suicidal mania struck Natchez about this time. So many young men sent to Europe as young boys when the Civil War was on, grown up at the universities of Europe or in Paris with nothing to do, simply killed themselves rather than work or, despairing of disappointed effort, and so many who went merrily to fight for sixty days came home weary, ragged, and penniless at the end of four weary years with all the bad habits of camp life and horror of doing work that only the Negroes had ever done. We had a striking example of this in Frank Gayden, who had married my cousin Emily. He went to the war leaving a nice family in a comfortable home with faithful slaves who stayed at their home and made a comfortable living for the young mistress and themselves, old family servants who let freedom pass on while they held to their settled ways, and accepted their wages as a gift from their master’s hand. But the free camp life had gotten into Cousin Frank’s blood; he must go into the woods on long hunting trips and vie with others in bringing home quantities of game, and night after night in Beulah in gambling and drinking with others like himself. It took but a few years to finish him; the pleasant home with its dancing hall, where we young folks had so often wound up our fish fries on the bayou, with a dance, all gone; plantation stock and everything. Cousin Emily, after his death, used to bring all four children to Doro when the food gave out at her home, and sew for us, she sewed nice too. Piece by piece, she sold the few belongings left her, for he had even taken her mother’s old silver to gamble on. At last she gave up and died, and the children were divided among the relatives. Sister Emma took one, I took one. They were nice children too. All these and many other things we used to talk over.”lxi

Genealogy charts by my father show that sometime in 1875 Frank Gayden died at the age of 38 or 39, at or near Beulah. However, a sheet of notes take from Rosa Gayden Snell’s papers, gives the date of his death as April, 1877. The exact day is not legible. Emily died not long after, on November 23, 1878.lxii Again, we don’t have any details but there was a severe yellow fever epidemic that year in Bolivar County and many died of it.lxiii Maybe Emily was one of them, but Annie Jacobs states that Emily just “gave up and died.” Perhaps it was a combination of the two.

I have found no record of their deaths in the Bolivar County courthouse and have not been able to determine where Frank and Emily are buried. It’s almost as if they never existed. One un-named source indicated that it is Amite County or possibly across the state line in East Feliciana Parish, off the path and one needs a guide. This fits the description of the Agrippa Gayden Cemetery, where there is indication that there are at least two unmarked graves out of a total of six.

My suspicions, however, are that not only Frank, but Emily and her mother, Mary Adelia Darden Miles, may all have been buried on the grounds of Elmwood Plantation, owned by Emily’s father, Charles T. Miles. He outlived them all. It would make sense that Charles would bury his first wife on his plantation, a common practice at the time. And, when Frank, and soon thereafter, Emily died, it appears that they no longer owned property of their own and were virtually penniless. It is unlikely that they could afford a cemetery plot, and burying then next to her mother on Elmwood Plantation would make perfect sense.

The land which was once Elmwood Plantation is now part of the Port of Rosedale, a large complex of buildings used for shipping local products. If Frank, Emily and Mary were buried there, their graves, unfortunately, would now be covered over or even built over. This could well explain why their graves cannot be found.

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OldSarge79

Private
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
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Location
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(continued)


ADDITIONAL SOURCES USED

Wikipedia website (photos of Montgomery and Pillow)
Compendium of the Confederate Armies, by Stewart Sifakis
America, The Men and Their Guns That Made Her Great, by Craig Boddington
Don Troiani’s Civil War, Cavalry and Artillery, p.11, by Earl J. Coates and Michael J. McAfee
Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898, by Dunbar Rowland


Robert M. Snell
2019


ENDNOTES

i U.S. Census, 1850

ii Amite County, Mississippi Chancery Court Book, 1847, Disposition of the property of the estate of Agrippa Gayden


iii Slave Schedules, East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, Sep 25, 1850, pp. 51-52


iv Letter from Rosa Gayden Snell to Amanda Blalock, about 1955
Sillers Family website


v Bolivar County Deed Book F, p. 273
U.S. Census, 1860


vi Early Mississippi Records, Bolivar County, Vol. 1. 1836-1861, p. 111


vii Susan Darden diary, entry dated September 29, 1858. Darden Family Papers, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi


viii Slave Schedules, Bolivar County, Mississippi, 1860


ix U.S. Census, 1860


x Bolivar County, Mississippi Deed Book L, p.32


xi Bolivar County, Mississippi Deed Book, Jan 1860, p.263


xii History of Bolivar County, Mississippi, p.584, by Florence Warfield Sillers, 1948, DAR


xiii Early Mississippi Records, Bolivar County, Vol. 3, 1866-1900


xiv The History of North America, by Francis Newton Thorpe, Vol. 16, The Reconstruction Period, by P.J. Hamilton, 1905 (This is, perhaps, not a popular image today of the mindset of the slaves, but it is borne out by statements made years later by many of the former slaves themselves in the WPA Slave Narratives.)


xv Confederate military records of Frank Gayden


xvi Ibid
Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, p.47, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xvii History Of Bolivar County, Mississippi, by Florence Warfield Sillers,1948, DAR, chapter entitled “As affecting Bolivar County
and Its Citizens, 1861-1862
” by Walter Sillers, p.139


xviii The Master OF Doro, An Epic Of The Old South, by Annie Eliza Clark Jacobs, p.45


xix Civil War Carbines, Vol. 2, The Early Years, pp.70-71, by John D. McAulay


xx St. Louis Democrat, issue of August 16, 1861, p.1


xxi History Of Bolivar County, Mississippi, by Florence Warfield Sillers, 1948, DAR, chapter entitled, “As Affecting Bolivar County And its Citizens, 1861-1862,” by Walter Sillers, p.139


xxii Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, p.49-50, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xxiii Ibid, p.52


xxiv Ibid, p.53


xxv Ibid, pp.55-56


xxvi Ibid pp.57-59


xxvii Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) October 14, 1861, p.1


xxviii St. Louis Democrat, August 16, 1861, p.1


xxix The Wallace/Pillow Agreement to Exchange Prisoners, Charleston, Missouri, September 3, 1861, Congressional Serial set,
p.504, 1894
Exchange of Prisoners,” The Courier, Charleston, Missouri, September 6, 1861, p.1


xxx Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, p.59, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xxxi Ibid, pp.67-68
War Of The Rebellion, Series 1, Vol.3, Ch.10, p.245, After-action report of Captain F.A. Montgomery


xxxii War Of The Rebellion, Series 1, Vol.3, Ch.10, p.351, After-action report of Maj. John H. Miller, Nov. 8, 1861


xxxiii Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, p.71, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xxxiv Military records of F.A. Gayden, fold3, Report of Lt. F.A. Gayden to Col. Jordan, March 28, 1862


xxxv Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, p.72, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xxxvi War Of The Rebellion, Series 1, Vol.10, Part 1 Reports, Ch.10, reports of Col., A.J. Lindsay and Lt. Col. John H. Miller, April 21, 1862


xxxvii Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, pp.73-75, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xxxviii Mississippi Department of Archives and History, microfilm roll #2830, p.121


xxxix Military records of Frank A. Gayden, fold3


xl Reminiscences Of A Mississippian In Peace And War, pp.116-118, by Frank A. Montgomery, 1901


xli History of Bolivar County, Mississippi, by Florence Warfield Sillers,1948, DAR, chapter entitled, “Incidents of the War in Bolivar County,” by Walter Sillers, p.151


xlii Letter from Rosa Gayden Snell to Amanda Blalock, about 1956


xliii Military records of F.A. Gayden, fold3


xliv Military records of 2nd Lt. D.B. Smith, Co. B, 28th Mississippi Cavalry, fold3


xlv See affidavits of F.A. Gayden and John H. Henry, dated April 3, 1864, and William Owens, dated March 12, 1864, under military records of Capt. H.C. Price, Confederate Misc., fold3


xlvi Confederate Citizens File, F.A. Gayden, fold3


xlvii Ibid, “Report of Prisoners Belonging to the Rebel Army in Custody of Provost Marshal, Memphis, Tennessee,” p.76


xlviii Letter from Rosa Gayden Snell to Amanda Blalock, about 1955


xlix Memoirs of Mississippi, by Joseph Redhead

l 1866 census, Bolivar County

li Letter from C.T. Miles to E.H. Hicks, p.2, Jan 25, 1867, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson,
Mississippi


lii Early Mississippi Records, Bolivar County, Vol.2, 1866-1904, p.45 (pkt 226, Chancery Court Packets, DRW # 225-249)


liii Ibid, p.49, Circuit Court Minutes, p.136, October 1866, Batchelor v. Frank A. Gayden


liv Letter from C.T. Miles to E.H. Hicks, p.2, January 25, 1867, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson,
Mississippi


lv Bolivar County Deed Book L, p.258


lvi Ibid, p.630


lvii Bolivar County Deed Book N, p.14


lviii Ibid, p,501


lix Early Mississippi Records, Bolivar County, Vol.3, 1866-1900, p.159


lx U.S. Census, 1870


lxi The Master Of Doro, An Epic Of The Old South, pp.178-179, by Annie Eliza Clark Jacobs, printed 2002 by AAA
Professional Word Processing, Columbus, Mississippi


lxii Paper entitled, “Notes taken from Rosa Snell papers by Perry Snell, Jr.,” undated


lxiii Daily Life Along The Mississippi, p.150, by George S. Pabis, 2007
 

OldSarge79

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Biography # 2, James Cooper Riley

James Cooper Riley was born on January 1, 1826 in South Carolina, possibly Laurens County. His father is believed to be Joseph Riley, born about 1790. His mother's name is not known.

In about 1849 James and his brother, Andrew J. Riley, headed west toward the California gold rush. In 1850 they were listed in the census in Ashley County, Arkansas. The census shows him as a laborer living with Thomas C. Denson at or near Fountain Hill Plantation. Also listed in the Denson household, which was apparently being used as a boarding house, is Mr. Denson’s niece, Elizabeth Ann Davis.

Family tradition says that Elizabeth Davis was a relative of Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, president of the Confederacy. She was born on November 11, 1833, according to various census reports in either Mississippi, Kentucky, or Tennessee. Blanche Riley Douglas states that Elizabeth was born in Sandhill, Mississippi, which is rather specific. Her father is believed to be Patrick H. Davis, but we do not know her mother's name.

One family story says that she left Mississippi for Arkansas, escorted by either her brother or uncle, in order to marry James Riley, which implies that he had courted her as he passed through Mississippi. Another family story says that Elizabeth slipped some warm sweet potatoes into James' jacket as he prepared to move on with others for California, and this began a romance. Whether this happened in Mississippi or later in Arkansas is not stated, but he went no farther west than Arkansas.

James and 17-year-old Elizabeth were married on January 1, 1851, under a tree at the Denson place. They settled at Berea, in Ashley County, and their first child, John, was born in November that year.

Records for 1852 show James owning one horse. In 1857, James purchased 120 acres of land, and in 1859, 40 acres more. There is no indication that he owned slaves.

CONFEDERATE SERVICE

For the first year of the Civil War, James remained at home, but in May, 1862, he enlisted in Company G, 1st Arkansas Cavalry Battalion. That same month, General Thomas Hindman had taken command of that part of Arkansas and began stringently enforcing conscription laws, so it seems likely that this is what led to James Riley enlisting. Evidence does indicate that he was not an enthusiastic soldier. He later said that when he enlisted, he prayed that he would never have to kill anyone.

He must have been home on leave at least a couple of times that summer. In mid-June, their sixth child, Samuel, was conceived, and on August 23, he and Elizabeth joined the Mount Olive Baptist Church “by experience and baptism.” This church would become central for the Riley family.

The battalion, commanded by Lt. Colonel Ras Stirman, suffered from a lack of horses, and was used as infantry. At some point, a detachment of sharpshooters was joined to the battalion, which thereafter was sometimes incorrectly referred to as the 1st Battalion Arkansas Sharpshooters. With at least seven companies, it was a large battalion. It was in camp or engaged at the following battles:

At Camp Maury, near Nashville, Tennessee, July, 1862

At Camp Armstrong, Tupelo, Mississippi, July and August, 1862

Engaged at Battle of Corinth, Mississippi, October 3-4, 1862 with rearguard action at Hatchie Bridge

At Camp Prichard, Crossroads, Mississippi, March, 1863 (Stirman having been promoted to command a regiment, the battalion at this time was commanded by Captain W.S. Catterman.)

Engaged at Battle of Port Gibson, Mississippi, May 1, 1863

Here the 1st. Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was posted on Thompson's Hill along the Big Black River with another battalion and a battery of artillery. After heavy fighting throughout the day and running low on ammunition, the Confederate forces withdrew.

Engaged at Battle of Champion Hill, Mississippi, May 16, 1863

Engaged at Battle of Big Black River Bridge, Mississippi, May 16-17, 1863
Here, about half of the brigade was captured as it fought a rear-guard action as the army retreated from Champion Hill.

By May 18, 1863, the battalion was part of the army at Vicksburg, which was besieged by General Grant's Federal army. Now commanded by Captain John J. Clark, the battalion was part of the 2nd Brigade of Major General John Bowen's Division, which appears to have been kept, at times, in reserve and at times on the front lines.

In May, 2015, I visited the Vicksburg National Military Park, and walked the ground that the 1st Arkansas Battalion had occupied in the Confederate line beginning June 2, 1863. It was at the crest of a steep slope, and was only about a 60 foot section of the line, which indicates that the number of men still in the battalion at that time was small.

After a long siege, starvation within the lines became severe. Finally, on July 4, the Confederate army surrendered. Now quoting W. B. Riley, “My father has told me how his grandfather, James Cooper Riley, told him about terrible times at Vicksburg, and that when Vicksburg fell, he swam across the Mississippi River and walked home to take up farming again.”

When one considers the fact that the Confederate troops had been starving for some time and were all in a weak and emaciated condition, swimming the Mississippi would have been quite difficult without assistance of some kind. The only logical possibility is that he could have used a raft of even a piece of wood for flotation. In any event, it is certain that he was not captured there as he does not appear on lists of prisoners. I have found records of men from other Confederate units swimming across the river to avoid being taken prisoner as well.

Here we seem to have conflicting information as to what James did after Vicksburg. He may have joined the first Confederate unit he found or he may have just gone home. If he did go home immediately after Vicksburg fell, that would have made him a deserter. Perhaps when his battalion was exchanged later that month, he re-joined them. There seem to be no surviving Confederate service records for him, and all we have is Elizabeth's later Confederate widow's pension application, with sworn statements saying that he served until the war's end in 1865, and never deserted.

If he did serve to the end of the war, there is no indication as to what unit. The approval of the pension application on the state archives website shows him serving in Colonel Monroe's 1st Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, which was in service to the end of the war, although it is probable that the pension staff confused it with the 1st Battalion. A possible indication that he was in Confederate service until the end of the war is that their next child, Susan, was not conceived until the end of May, 1865. The war had ended earlier that month. At any rate, when he came from the war, James stated that his prayer had been answered. He had not killed anyone.

AFTER THE CIVIL WAR

At some point, James joined the Masons, and on September 25, 1869, became a Master Mason in Lodge 209. Early in 1882, he became ill with pneumonia and died on April 9, aged 56. He was buried in the cemetery at Mount Olive Baptist Church. Elizabeth was left with four children under the age of 16, and became a midwife, which she did for many years.

A tribute, issued by the Masons, said of him, “The death of Brother Riley casts its shadow over the hearts of many, for he had a host of friends. All who knew him loved him for his goodness. He was a leading member of the Baptist Church – a faithful servant of God, and delighted to talk with his brethren about the better home on high. He bore his affliction with patience and Christian fortitude, saying he was waiting for the good Lord to call him home.....Bearhouse Lodge and the whole community have lost one of its brightest ornaments, and one whose example is worthy of being followed by all who love Masonry, morals, and everything that constitutes a kind, Christian gentleman.”

On June 9, 1906, Elizabeth applied to the state of Arkansas for a Confederate widow's pension. Two area residents, Staley Carpenter and William B. Johnson, gave supporting affidavits. They both simply stated they had known James since 1860 and “That he was a Confederate soldier belonging to Company G, 1st Bat. of Cavalry. That as such soldier he served from 1862 to (the) close of War. That he was honorably discharged, paroled or released from such service and did not desert the same....That my knowledge of these facts comes from personal knowledge, knew him during the war. Met him frequently while in service.”

Carpenter was 26 years old when the war ended, and Johnson was 20. Both were of military age, but like James Cooper Riley, I can find no Confederate service records for these men. If their sworn statements are correct, then James would have been home “frequently” during the war.

The proof of her husband's service being accepted, and citing her indigent circumstances, the state of Arkansas approved a pension of $50 on August 7, 1906. At that time she was 72 years of age.

The Ashley County Eagle, a weekly newspaper, reported in its issue of March 3, 1910 that “Grandma Riley was quite sick.” She died on March 7 at the age of 76, and was buried the following day, with her husband, at Mount Olive Baptist Church.

A NOTE ON CONFEDERATE SERVICE RECORDS

There are two James Rileys from Arkansas in Confederate service records. One was in Marmaduke's 18th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. He enlisted at Vicksburg in 1861 and served throughout the war. One of the biographic sketches on James Cooper Riley shows him to be in the 18th Infantry. This has to be an assumption. Both James C. Riley himself and Elizabeth Riley firmly stated that he was at the siege of Vicksburg, but the 18th Infantry was not.

The second soldier, from a different county, was in the 6th Arkansas Infantry. In 1864 he was captured in another state and found to be a deserter. There, he took the oath of allegiance to the United States.

Elizabeth stated that her husband enlisted in May, 1862, and that he was in the 1st Cavalry Battalion, which was at Vicksburg, even specifying the company. She should certainly have known those facts. Finally, research by Bryan Howerton, shows that “The battalion's records were lost or destroyed at Vicksburg, so there is not much service information on the individual soldiers.”

Sources available on request.

Robert M. Snell, 2019

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OldSarge79

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Biography # 3 - William Campbell Richardson

(with a special thanks to Robert Meeks for his excellent research on the 26th Arkansas Infantry Regiment)

William Richardson was born in Franklin County, Tennessee on February 5, 1830, to George and Mildred Richardson. Nothing is known of his youth other than that his father died when he was eight.

Susan was born on August 17, 1836, probably in Bute (now Warren) County, North Carolina to William and Sarah Perkinson Paschall. Her father was a farmer, and sometime between 1838 and 1841, the family moved to Tennessee, where they remained until at least 1846. By the following year, they had moved again, this time to Desha County, Arkansas. Susan’s father was an elder at the Piney Grove Presbyterian Church, which Susan joined on May 8, 1853.

On January 4, 1855, William and Susan were married in Arkansas at the Piney Grove Presbyterian Church. Their first child, George Henry, was born in Arkansas on May 21, 1856. Within the next three years, three more children, Elva, Betty and Sarah were born.

By the end of July, 1860 William and Susan had a 120 acre farm in Desha County. The value of the farm was just $400, considerably less than average in the area, and it may be assumed that the family struggled to make ends meet. William’s mother and brothers, Mathew and John, also came to Arkansas, and the brothers had their own farms adjoining or very close to William’s.

At some point, William’s farm seems to have been changed to neighboring Drew County. Whether the family moved there or it was included when the county boundary was changed, we do not know. A fifth child, a daughter who they called Willie, would be born in October, 1862.

SERVICE IN THE CIVIL WAR

William’s brother, John, enlisted in the Confederate army in 1861, but for the first year of the Civil War William stayed at home, farming. Then, on May 12, 1862, he and his remaining brother, Mathew, went to the nearby village of Selma, in Drew County, and enlisted in a company being raised by Captain James P. Stanley, a physician by profession. What motivated William to leave his pregnant wife and family and do this is not known, but there are three possibilities. Perhaps it was simply from a sense of loyalty to his state or the Confederate cause,.It could be because the draft was being vigorously enforced by General Hindman at about this time or it is possible that the $30 bounty for a 3-year enlistment and a soldier’s pay was tempting to a poor farmer with a family. Any or all of these factors could have contributed to his decision, but whatever his reasons, both he and his brother were now in the army.

First marched to Pine Bluff, they were transported on a vessel upriver to Little Rock in the second week of June. There, the company camped on the grounds of the Arkansas State House. Within days they moved across the Arkansas River to Camp Pike #1, and just as soon moved to nearby Camp Pike #2. Here, Captain Stanley’s company, now Company E, was combined with four others to form a battalion as part of the 3rd Trans-Mississippi Regiment.

Four days later, still without uniforms and armed with whatever personal weapons they had brought with them, they were marched about fifty miles to Fort Hindman, where earthen fortifications were constructed. This position was beset with sickness, poor food and vermin. By July, more units had joined the command and the regiment’s designation was changed to the 26th Arkansas Infantry, under Colonel Asa Stokeley Morgan.

In Mid-July, the regiment marched 50 miles to Camp Rust, west of Little Rock. Conditions here were just a poor as at Fort Hindman, and desertions became a problem. On July 25, William’s brother, Mathew, died in camp. On August 1, the 26th Regimen was formed to witness the execution of two deserters by firing squad. On August 4, the regiment moved again, this time to Camp Northwestern. Here they were transferred to the 2nd Brigade, commanded by Colonel Dandridge McRae, the other regiments in the brigade being the 28th, 30th and 32nd Arkansas. On August 13, the brigade began a long march toward Clarendon, on the White River. Once there, it was found that they were not needed and amidst much grumbling, they were promptly marched back to Fort Northwestern.

On August 20, the command moved to Camp Hope (soon renamed Camp Nelson), outside Austin, Arkansas, which proved to be a much healthier location. Still, an epidemic of smallpox swept through the camp, but once the epidemic had run its course, sickness all but disappeared. Shortly afterward, the 26th Regiment was announced as the most improved regiment in the brigade. Here also, the regiment was finally issued with military weapons; Company E specifically with .58 caliber Richmond Armory rifle muskets.

It was a period of badly needed outfitting and training. On September25, 1862, Private Richardson was given a seven-day furlough. No doubt he used it to go home, but two days before he was due back, the brigade left for the town of Des Arc, on the White River, arriving on October 2. They were there for just four days, and returned to Camp Nelson, arriving on the 7th. It may be assumed that by that time, William had rejoined the regiment.

They had no time to rest, however, and were on the march the next day, headed west with a large force commanded by General Thomas Hindman. It was a difficult march, hampered by heavy rain and mud. By October 24, they camped east of Fort Smith, where other Confederate forces gathered as well. Here, McRae’s 2nd Brigade was assigned to General F.A. Shoup’s division.

On November 14, the regiment arrived at a new camp outside the town of Van Buren, across the river from Fort Smith. It was at about this time that uniforms, probably made by inmates of the state prison at Little Rock, were finally issued.

On December 3, General Hindman let his 11,000-man army, described as “poorly equipped,” north through rugged terrain toward the northeast corner of Arkansas. The following day, the entire army stopped and formed for the presentation of a battle flag to each regiment. Chaplains prayed while all of the men kneeled. It must have been an inspiring event.

The third and fourth days of the march were difficult. In addition to enduring bitter cold, Hindman later reported that the men were “famished and exhausted troops – 15 mile march, no food for two days approaching Prairie Grove.” Union troops under General Blunt were coming to meet them. By the morning of December 7, Hindman had deployed his army on a line of hills near Prairie Grove. McRae’s Brigade, including the 26th Arkansas with just 412 men, was positioned in reserve behind the Confederate line.

The 26th Arkansas was ordered to support Marmaduke’s Division on the right of the Confederate line, and moved to the apple orchard behind the Borden house, and there were halted. Marmaduke had just repulsed the Federal attack. During this time, the 26th waited, and took casualties from enemy artillery and from a crossfire of small arms from their right and front.

The regiment was then ordered to the left of the Confederate line, where they took up position across the Cane Hill Road. They came under some fire there but not heavily. By the end of the day, the 26th Arkansas Infantry had not been heavily engaged.

That evening, the two armies rested, but while more Federal troops and supplies continued to arrive, the Confederates were almost out of ammunition and had no food or reinforcements. They began a retreat during the night.

The retreat was long and miserable. The men endured marching through at least one snowstorm and by the time they reached Van Buren, they were “demoralized, footsore and ragged.” When they passed through Dardanelle, twenty-two badly needed pairs of shoes were issued to Company E. After a 3-week march, some of the Confederate forces, including the 26th Arkansas, were sent to Little Rock, arriving in late January. There were no cabins available for winter quarters, and the 26th was forced to use tents. There, within just a couple of weeks, Private William C. Richardson died.

Family tradition says that he died in the Confederate camp of illness, which they believe was in an epidemic. After their long and difficult march, and suffering from exposure the entire way, it is not difficult to imagine an epidemic sweeping through the ranks. Private Richardson’s service records are incomplete, but simply state, “Died Feb 6, 1863.” Decades later, his descendants attempted to locate his grave at Confederate sites around Little Rock, but were unable to do so. If there was an epidemic, his body could be in a mass grave.

BACK ON THE FARM

Susan struggled on, raising her children alone, and during the war, George, the eldest at 7 or 8, took a job helping at a mill to bring in some money. In 1881 the family moved to Ashley County, the next county to the south. At some point, with all of her children out on their own, she moved in with her daughter, Elva Richardson Norell and her family, in Ashley County, helping to keep house.

On July 2, 1902, Susan signed an application to the state of Arkansas for a Confederate widow’s pension. Her application was supported by an affidavit from S.E. Aycock and J.P. Peacock of Drew County, who both stated that they had known William C. Richardson for three years and that Susan’s personal property was worth less than $400. (Samuel E. Aycock was 15 at the beginning of the Civil War, and lived on his family’s farm very near those of William Richardson and his brothers in Desha County.) Susan’s affidavit stated that her annual income was less than $150. Citing her indigent circumstances, the pension board approved a pension of $100.

Susan died on September 2, 1917 at the age of 81 or 82, and we have no information as to the circumstances. She was buried in the Carlock Cemetery at Hamburg, Ashley County.

(Sources available on request)

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OldSarge79

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Biography #4 - William Devane

William Devane was born to Francis Devane and his wife, Frances, on March 30, 1838 in Lowndes County, Georgia. He was raised on the family farm along the Nashville-Valdosta Road. In 1856, Lowndes County was divided, with the northeast section becoming part of a new county named Berrien, and it was in this new county that the Devane property was located. William lived with his parents, working on the farm until the Civil War had been fought for almost a year.

On March 4, 1862, at the age of 23, William enlisted in Nashville as a private in a locally raised company known as The Berrien Light Infantry. This company was comprised of a total of 94 men, who elected Elijah C. Morgan as their captain. Within days the company arrived at Camp Davis, near Guyton, outside Savannah, where they were sworn in as Company I, 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment. On March 21, they, along with the men of the other nine companies of the new regiment, elected William R. Manning as colonel.

The camp was home to four regiments, over 4,600 men, and with two streams and plenty of trees, seemed to be a pleasant enough place. In the beginning the men enjoyed their new location as their training began but within days sickness, reported as “measles, mumps, pneumonia, rheumatism, and other diseases” became a problem. It wasn't long before the first deaths occurred. Disease spread rapidly through the ranks and many died. In early April, Lt. Francis Mobley of Company I wrote his wife that only 36 men in the company were fit for duty.

In early May, with only a third of the regiment well enough, the 50th was ordered to a place south of Savannah to assist in the construction of Camp Brown (also known as Fort Brown and Fort Boggs.) While there, they were also tasked with blocking the Savannah River with logs and by sinking old ships, in order to keep Federal vessels from using the river. The regiment was eventually returned to Camp Davis as they were unfit for further labor.

On June 18, Private William Devane was discharged from the regiment, having furnished a substitute, J.R. Croley, to complete his three-year term of enlistment for him. This was an acceptable practice at the time. William remained out of the army for the duration of the Civil War. Croley, however, remained with the regiment until he was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, dying several days after the battle. Croley, a married man, apparently came from Lowndes County (next to Berrien County) and one cannot help but wonder what the feelings would have been if William had ever encountered Croley's widow.

It is not known exactly why William Devane left the Confederate army, but he had enlisted as a young man, probably like many with visions of glory. But with the rampant disease in camp and labor assignments, it is not difficult to imagine that he became disillusioned and was very possibly ill. Hiring a substitute was his only honorable way out and he took it.

Sarah “Sallie” Butler, was born on February 12, 1842, to Ezekiel and Eliza Butler of Dooly County. How she came to meet William Devane is not known, but they were married in Dooly County on May 10, 1865, ironically on the same day that Union troops captured Jefferson Davis outside Irwinville, about halfway between Berrien and Dooly counties. Their first child, Emma, was born the following year.

When his father died in 1868, William inherited the house, and some, if not all, of the land. This was confirmed in 1870 by arbitration among all of the heirs, and William obtained a deed to the property. At any rate, William is shown that year with 672 acres of land worth $1,000, with one horse, two mules, and a number of cows, oxen, pigs, and sheep, all worth $1,008. Sarah had borne three more children, Marcus, Columbus, and Adar. An eleven year old black boy, Rufus Prince, was also living on the farm, as a hired laborer.

By 1880, 45 more acres of land had been cleared, and three more children were in the house, Ezekiel (apparently named after Sarah's father), William, and Robert.

Later in life, it was noted, William was not a member of any church, a bit unusual at the time. Nor is there any record of involvement in any organization or political party. Perhaps, after his three and a half months in the Confederate army, he just wanted to live life minding his own business. From what record we have, he seems to have done just that, running his farm and raising his children, who all grew up working on the farm.

On June 16, 1896, Sarah died and was buried at Pleasant Cemetery, outside Ray City. By 1900, William still had six of his children living with him, as well as a three-year old granddaughter, Lurah Marsh. Two hired farm workers, Arthur Ray, a white 21-year old, and Hervey Evans, a black man of 22 were living on the farm as well.

William died on March 8, 1909 and was buried with his wife at Pleasant Cemetery.

(Sources available on request)

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DixieRifles

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William Campbell Richardson, 26th Arkansas Infantry

----
On August 20, the command moved to Camp Hope (soon renamed Camp Nelson), outside Austin, Arkansas, which proved to be a much healthier location. Still, an epidemic of smallpox swept through the camp, but once the epidemic had run its course, sickness all but disappeared.
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On July 2, 1902, Susan signed an application to the state of Arkansas for a Confederate widow’s pension. Her application was supported by an affidavit from S.E. Aycock and J.P. Peacock of Drew County, who both stated that they had known William C. Richardson for three years and that Susan’s personal property was worth less than $400.
My gr-gr-uncle.

William L. Pritchard (1834–1862)
He enlisted in Company B, 26th Arkansas Regiment. He died of disease that struck Camp Hope in 1862 in Arkansas at the age of 28.

His father, Jesse Pritchard Sr., lived in Drew County.
 
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DixieRifles

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After the battle, the entire Confederate force was withdrawn across the river to winter quarters at Columbus, Kentucky. Here, the Bolivar Troop was responsible for picket duty on roads outside Columbus, but aside from some false alarms, saw no action.

In January, 1862, the battalion moved to Camp Beauregard, near Paris, Tennessee,
I just had to comment on this bit of details. It is confusing as I think there was more than one "Camp Beauregard".
One Camp Beauregard formed at this time was located near Fulton, KY, which is on the state line with Tennessee and not far from Union City, Tenn. This is, of course, not too far from Columbus, KY. I think railroad ran through Fulton before going down into Tennessee.
I had a gr-gr-uncle who died at Camp Beauregard, KY, in December 1861---that very first winter of the war. Your account of winter quarters at Columbus would put them close to Fulton.
An epidemic broke out in the Kentucky camp and it was ordered to be evacuated and destroyed. I think the next camp that was established was also called Camp Beauregard but I forget where that was located. I will check my history of the Kentucky camp to see where the new camp was built.

So I just want to verify that you are referring to Camp Beauregard Tennessee and not Camp Beauregard, KY.
 

OldSarge79

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My gr-gr-uncle.

William L. Pritchard (1834–1862)
He enlisted in Company B, 26th Arkansas Regiment. He died of disease that struck Camp Hope in 1862 in Arkansas at the age of 28.

His father, Jesse Pritchard Sr., lived in Drew County.
Interesting. It sounds like our ancestors died in different epidemics.
Have you ever, by chance, determined exactly where the burial ground from the 1862 epidemic is?

As to Camp Beauregard, I'll have to do some more checking in my sources. Montgomery, in his book, details the move to Columbus but not Camp Beauregard. Will get back with you on this. It's been a few years since I wrote the basic bio on Frank Gayden for my family.
 

DixieRifles

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Have you ever, by chance, determined exactly where the burial ground from the 1862 epidemic is?
At one time I had a photo of a Monument that either marked the location of the camp or the cemetery.

There is a entry in Find-a-Grave for Camp Nelson's cemetery.
Link: Find-A-Grave Link

Historical marker
Camp Nelson.JPG


This link has an article about the rescue of the cemetery and includes photos of headstones.
burial site of Confederate soldiers rescued

Another Article
429 Stones


Ah! Here is the monument that I recalled. See photo in this article.
Link: Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery

Photo also found on CWT forum.
CWT on Caroline Sedberry

camp_nelson2_f-jpg.jpg


It sounds like our ancestors died in different epidemics.
In case you didn't catch it, I had one gr-gr-Uncle in the 26 Arkansas Regiment who died in the disaster at Camp Hope(poorly named).
Then I had another gr-gr-uncle who died on Dec 2, 1861 at Camp Beauregard, KY. Two ancestors who died early in the war.

Years later in 1910's, the UDC posted articles asking Veterans to write about their experiences at Camp Beauregard. One that replied was the Surgeon of the 22nd Mississippi, my gr-gr-uncle's regiment. He described the sickness as being cerebral meningitis based upon his current knowledge of medicine. The colonel of the regiment also died there. The new colonel wrote home a letter where he says they left Camp Beauregard, KY and within a few days had traveled to Paris, Tenn. So there may be a connection to your story and the "new" Camp Beauregard could have been one located at Paris. I just can't find another source at the moment.
 
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OldSarge79

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At one time I had a photo of a Monument that either marked the location of the camp or the cemetery.

There is a entry in Find-a-Grave for Camp Nelson's cemetery.
Link: Find-A-Grave Link

Historical marker
View attachment 328734

This link has an article about the rescue of the cemetery and includes photos of headstones.
burial site of Confederate soldiers rescued

Another Article
429 Stones


Ah! Here is the monument that I recalled. See photo in this article.
Link: Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery

Photo also found on CWT forum.
CWT on Caroline Sedberry

View attachment 328735


In case you didn't catch it, I had one gr-gr-Uncle in the 26 Arkansas Regiment who died in the disaster at Camp Hope(poorly named).
Then I had another gr-gr-uncle who died on Dec 2, 1861 at Camp Beauregard, KY. Two ancestors who died early in the war.

Years later in 1910's, the UDC posted articles asking Veterans to write about their experiences at Camp Beauregard. One that replied was the Surgeon of the 22nd Mississippi, my gr-gr-uncle's regiment. He described the sickness as being cerebral meningitis based upon his current knowledge of medicine. The colonel of the regiment also died there. The new colonel wrote home a letter where he says they left Camp Beauregard, KY and within a few days had traveled to Paris, Tenn. So there may be a connection to your story and the "new" Camp Beauregard could have been one located at Paris. I just can't find another source at the moment.
Okay, thanks for the clarification about two ancestors. I did miss it.

I found this about Camp Beauregard, Ky, which offers a good bit of information. Will still look for my reference about Tennessee when I have a bit more time.
 

DixieRifles

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I found this about Camp Beauregard, Ky, which offers a good bit of information. Will still look for my reference about Tennessee when I have a bit more time.
http://www.jacksonpurchasehistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ullrich.pdf
Yes. I found that and downloaded it. I have another booklet on this Kentucky camp that was originally published by the UDC to raise money for the first monument. The SCV re-published it later in 1988 to make improvements to the monument that stands in a cemetery. It contains the letters received by the Veterans back in the 1910-1920's.
I understand how busy it can get. I'm just trying to recall where I read about another Camp Beauregard. I recall reading about it but I never collected info on that camp. I do think it would have something to do with the early Kentucky campaign and their movement on Bowling Green. So Paris, Tenn., would make a good base camp to launch that campaign.
 

DixieRifles

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Here is a page from "Soldiering for Glory" about the lame "hospital rat" Col. Frank Schaller. He was assigned to Camp Beauregard as Lt-Colonel only a few days before the epidemic. In this letter to his wife, Sophy, he describes how they left the camp and moved towards Paris Tennessee on they way towards Bowling Green. They were called back in time to meet up at the Battle of Shiloh.

ColShaffer.jpg
 
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OldSarge79

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I've finished looking at my sources. It looks like that came from the Mississippi SCV history of the 1st Miss Cavalry. I had printed the page for my records some years ago, but could not pull up the document today on-line.
Am attaching a scan of the page, with the reference underlined in red in the 2nd paragraph.

Personally, I don't think the Confederates would have abandoned one camp and then give the next one they built the same name. It would just be asking for confusion.
I hate to say it, but I think the Mississippi SCV got that little detail wrong, and therefore, so did I. Thanks for catching it.

Scan0291.jpg
 
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