Need help finding info on the Union Sgt who captured my gg granddaddy

OldSarge79

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Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
I have been blessed to have three newspaper articles concerning the capture on August 15, 1861, of my ancestor, Sgt. Frank A. Gayden, Bolivar Troop, 1st Mississippi Battalion of Cavalry. He was captured, along with a Lt. Gooden (or possibley Goodin), and a Private D.S. or D.D. Harris, both Missouri men under General Jeff Thompson, Missouri State Guard.
Their captor is identified as a Sgt. W. C. Carson, on General Prentiss' staff, one article says he was an orderly, maybe from Illinois. The 1st Illinois Cavalry was under Prentiss at the time, but I can't find Carson there.
I may have found Gooden in the Slave Schedules, and there is a Lt. John Gooden listed in the Missouri State Guard prior to the war.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find Carson, Gooden or Harris in any CW military records, and would greatly appreciate ANY assistance in doing so. I consider myself pretty good at this kind of research, but am hoping one of you may have the key.
Thanks.

a a gayden article transcribed.JPG


a a gayden article .JPG


Gayden 8-15-1861 St Louis Republican.png


Goodin.jpg
 

lupaglupa

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I looked at the rosters of the Illinois units that were with Prentiss at Cairo in the summer and fall of 1861 and did not find any one who fit the facts given for Carson. I did a general search for a soldier from Illinois named Carson and couldn't find a match either. Very curious!
 

Fairfield

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This whole thing is strange. Like @lupaglupa, I can't find an appropriate William Carson (I can find a William Carson from Chicago--but the dates are wrong). From what I can find, Sgt. Gayden didn't enlist into the MS 1st Btn Cavalry until the 1st of September--but the newspapers are quite clear that he was captured on the 15th of August. There was an "Corp. F.A. Gayden, also of Mississippi (likely to be the same person?) whose service date was 1863 and who had service in Herndon's MS Cavalry Battalion but I can't find information on this unit (other than https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/1st_Battalion,_Mississippi_Cavalry_(Miller's).

I admit to being easily confused by Confederate units and genealogy. ☹️

 

OldSarge79

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Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
From what I can find, Sgt. Gayden didn't enlist into the MS 1st Btn Cavalry until the 1st of September
Not sure where you're seeing that, but his service record on fold3 shows that he was mustered in on March 20, 1861. And you're right, the one in Herdon's State Troops is the same person.

Also, on Carson, the articles don't give his first name, just initials.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
I have been blessed to have three newspaper articles concerning the capture on August 15, 1861, of my ancestor, Sgt. Frank A. Gayden, Bolivar Troop, 1st Mississippi Battalion of Cavalry. He was captured, along with a Lt. Gooden (or possibley Goodin), and a Private D.S. or D.D. Harris, both Missouri men under General Jeff Thompson, Missouri State Guard.
Their captor is identified as a Sgt. W. C. Carson, on General Prentiss' staff, one article says he was an orderly, maybe from Illinois. The 1st Illinois Cavalry was under Prentiss at the time, but I can't find Carson there.
I may have found Gooden in the Slave Schedules, and there is a Lt. John Gooden listed in the Missouri State Guard prior to the war.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find Carson, Gooden or Harris in any CW military records, and would greatly appreciate ANY assistance in doing so. I consider myself pretty good at this kind of research, but am hoping one of you may have the key.
Thanks.

View attachment 378536

View attachment 378537

View attachment 378538

View attachment 378539

My best shot. If he was on General Prentiss staff, wouldn't he be regular Army?

 
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Fairfield

Sergeant
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Dec 5, 2019
Not sure where you're seeing that, but his service record on fold3 shows that he was mustered in on March 20, 1861. And you're right, the one in Herdon's State Troops is the same person.

Also, on Carson, the articles don't give his first name, just initials.
My dates come from Historic Data Systems and Mississippi Service cards.

You're right--the "William" comes from my own poking about--can only find Williams that might fit.
 

OldSarge79

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Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
My best shot. If he was on General Prentiss staff, wouldn't he be regular Army?

Regular army....perhaps, but would an enlisted man from a volunteer regiment with a special talent be picked? Perhaps. The top article refers to Carson's "favorite horse, the fastest in the brigade." If he was an infantry sergeant, he probably would not have had a horse at all....or would he have one as an orderly? Maybe so.
I would like to think that gravestone is him. Maybe it is. Maybe he enlisted in the regulars when his time in the volunteers ended. He seems to be as elusive now as he was then.
 

lupaglupa

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It's hard to get at distinct facts in stories like this one that are written for the folks back home. Likely the nut of the story is true but the details differ and may all be mix of what actually happened and what got repeated.

Can you tell us what the first source is and why it has so many missing words?
 

OldSarge79

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Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
A couple more angles perhaps. I have tried the name Cason, on the possibility that the original "news release" by the army might have gotten his name wrong, but nothing on that either.

Then there is "the Eighteenth Regiment" mentioned in the third article. The two men with Carson came from that regiment. But the eighteenth what? Missouri? Illinois?
And is it possible that Carson originally came from that regiment as well?

Then there are the two other men captured. They seem to be pretty elusive as well. Gooden especially, sounds like an interesting guy.
 

John Hartwell

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The same report in the NY Times of Aug. 16th prints it as "Sergeant GARSON, of Chicago."

Edit: I note that later the article changes to "Carson." Also has "F. A. GAYBEN." This is from a possibly inaccurate transcription; to see the original requires a paid subscription.

Edit-Edit: please ignore this post, per @lupaglupa 's post following (#13). The transcription quoted herein was, indeed, inaccurate -- probably made by an electronic character-recognition program.
 
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lupaglupa

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Got it - Irving W Carson! There's a long article about him here -

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (199:cool:
Vol. 102, No. 3/4 (Fall-Winter, 2009), pp. 307-323 (17 pages)

You can read it online for free but you need to make an account

Must go serve dinner to hungry boys, can't share more - sorry
 

lupaglupa

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For those who can't get through to the article - Irving Carson moved to Chicago about 1853 (from either Connecticut or Scotland, the writer can't find clear records). He worked as a law clerk (later qualifying to practice) and worshiped at a Baptist church with an anti-slavery preacher. He was among the first men in Chicago to enlist after Fort Sumpter, joining Captain Barker's Dragoons. Records say he was 6'2" tall, quite thin though strong, with black hair and eyes. He was considered fearless. When the three month enlistment ended Carson became a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Sent on assignment to report on U. S. Grant, he was soon placed on Grant's staff. He was known to disappear on horseback and return the next day having disguised himself and gone spying in enemy territory. Grant used Carson, now a Captain, as both a courier and a scout. He was killed on the first day of the Battle of Shiloh by a shot which took off most of his head, narrowly missing General Grant. His body was returned to Chicago where overflow crowds attended his funeral. He was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, where his tombstone reads "Capt Scout with Gen Grant." Despite his military duties, he was evidently still working as a reporter and is considered the first correspondent to be killed in the Civil War.

This profile has both a picture of Carson and excerpts from some of his articles:

 

OldSarge79

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Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Got it - Irving W Carson! There's a long article about him here -

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (199:cool:
Vol. 102, No. 3/4 (Fall-Winter, 2009), pp. 307-323 (17 pages)

You can read it online for free but you need to make an account

Must go serve dinner to hungry boys, can't share more - sorry
Now you're getting me excited. What you found is more than I could ever have hoped for. Even a photo!

Also, the article you provided does show the 18th regiment as the 18th Illinois. Awesome!
 

lupaglupa

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Lupaglupa, what newspaper and date is the article you posted, for my record sources.
Which one?

It is very cool to find that the person involved in Frank's capture was someone interesting! And it sounds just like something Carson would do - the stories about him are pretty cool. He evidently loved undercover work.
 

OldSarge79

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Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Which one?
The newspaper article shown on your post of 6:17pm yesterday, where it identifies the 18th Regt as the 18th Illinois.

And you're right. The article about Carson is fantastic. Quite a guy!
It's really neat for me to look at his photo and realize my ancestor looked at that same face on August 15, 1861.

This is the rest of the story, which I posted in a bio of my ancestor last year, including an account of the incident written by his commanding officer after the war:

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.... 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 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."

Then, Sgt. Gayden's account, also written by Capt. Montgomery:

“(Later,) 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!
 
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