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The Execution of Major James Wilson 3rd MSM Cavalry

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Borderruffian, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    Major James Wilson 3rd MSM gained infamy among Southern Forces in Missouri and Arkansas for his Skirmish at Pulliam's Farm, Ripley County Missouri on Christmas Day 1863 and his burning of Doniphan Missouri. In 1864 Wilson was captured and executed by Southern Forces along St John's Creek in Washington County Missouri. Here is a an account.

    Twenty-four year old Michael Zwicky of rural Washington, Missouri walked along St. John’s Creek on October 23, 1864 with four of his neighbors. They were hunting persimmons when suddenly they spied three bodies lying on the ground partially covered by leaves. Two were in federal uniform, one distinguished as an artillerist, and one in civilian clothing. Horrified, the young men saw three more bodies, one with major’s straps on his coat. The other two bodies were “torn to pieces (I suppose the hogs and buzzards tore them and I saw pieces of brown jeans lying around and near the bodies)”. Zwicky and his comrades hastily reburied the bodies since the retreating Confederate invasion force had recently passed through. They quickly notified the local Justice of the Peace and Coroner, Esquire Kleinbeck.[1]

    Kleinbeck rounded up another local man, James M. Kitchen, to investigate the suspicious deaths. Kitchen had heard “fourteen or fifteen shots [being fired] in rapid succession” three weeks earlier on a Monday while hiding in the brush from Sterling Price’s invading forces. Kitchen rifled through the dead major’s pockets to try and identify him. He removed two pocket diaries, a receipt for $25, the two shoulder straps, and several sets of orders including one from Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, signed by his aide-de-camp, Captain Charles S. Hills, Tenth Kansas Infantry. In each case the recipient was Major James Wilson. The body with civilian clothing had a $10 Confederate bill and a $5 Federal greenback, and a photograph of a soldier. Kitchen also found a letter dated May 13, 1864 to “Mr. T. Boyd, ever dear and sweet husband. Most of the letter was unreadable.[2] By that time the Rebels had left the area quickly moving to the west and already on the verge of engaging the Kansas militia and Federal forces in front of Kansas City at the battle of Westport. Only a few weeks before (September 26-27) a much stronger Confederate army had broken itself on repeated charges against the self-same Brigadier General Thomas Ewing and a small 1,000-man force at Pilot Knob, Missouri. Among the missing Union men was Major James Wilson, 3rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry.

    The Federal authorities were notified and had been looking for the missing Major. The mystery was quickly solved. Captain Hills had provided Major Wilson with orders early in the action when Price’s army converged across the Arcadia valley in front of Fort Davidson, Pilot Knob. He noted that Major Wilson had a minor head injury and was exhausted from regrouping his 3rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry trying to slow the Confederate onslaught. On September 27th, Wilson was captured along with Captain Franz Dinger, 47th Missouri Infantry.[3]


    Account continued here: http://www.civilwarstlouis.com/Gratiot/tenthkansas4.htm
     

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  3. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
    OFFICE PROVOST MARSHAL-GENERAL,
    Saint Louis, Mo., October 29, 1864.
    Col. J. V. Du Bois, Chief of Staff, in the Field:
    COLONEL: I have the honor to inform the commanding general that on this day
    the following rebel soldiers--James W. Gates, Company H, Third Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army; Harvey H. Blackburn, Company A, Coleman's regiment, C. S. Army; John Nichols, Second Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army; Charles W. Minneken, Company A, Crabtree's cavalry, C. S. Army; Asa V. Ladd, Burbridge's regiment Missouri cavalry, C. S. Army; and George F. Bunch, Company B, Third Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army--were executed by being shot to death by musketry in retaliation for the murder of six men of the Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia by Tim. Reves' guerrillas, and in compliance with Special Orders, No. 277, paragraph 12, dated headquarters Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo., October 6, 1864.
    I respectfully inclose records in the case.
    I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
    JOSEPH DARR, JR.,
    Acting Provost-Marshal-General.
    [Inclosure No. 1.]
    HEADQUARTERS SAINT LOUIS DISTRICT,
    Saint Louis, Mo., October 25, 1864.
    Col. JOSEPH DARR, Jr.,
    Actg. Provost. Marshal-General, Dept. of the Mo., Saint Louis:
    COLONEL: Yesterday I received the inclosed dispatch from Colonel Stone, General Pike's chief of staff, informing me that the bodies of Major Wilson and six men, who were captured at Ironton, Mo., were found fifteen miles southwest of Washington, Mo. To-day I received from Colonel Stone the accompanying books and papers, which were taken from one of the bodies, and which show conclusively to my mind that the body from which they were taken was Major Wilson's, Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia.
    Captain Dinger, Forty-seventh Missouri Volunteers, reports that he was paroled fifteen miles south of Washington and ten miles west of Union, and that Major Wilson was at the same time and place ordered by the field officer of the day of the rebel army to be turned over by the guard to Tim. Reves, and when he last saw him he was waiting there under guard for Reves to come up.
    The facts and papers conclusively establish to my mind the fact of his murder by order of the field officer of the day, and fully justify and call for retaliation.
    I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    THOMAS EWING, JR.,
    Brigadier-General.
    [Sub-inclosure.]
    WASHINGTON, Mo., October 24, 1864.
    Brigadier-General EWING:
    The bodies of Major Wilson and six men, captured at Ironton, have been found about fifteen miles southwest from this place on the old State road, near Jeffrey's farm. Major Wilson was shot through the body several times. One of the bodies is supposed to be that of an artillery bugler, from the trimmings on his jacket.
    They were found by a man who was out gathering persimmons, who identified Major Wilson by papers found on his body. All documents found on these bodies are in the hands of Esquire Kleinbacker, of this county, and will be forwarded to you as soon as received here. G. HARRY STONE,
    Colonel and Chief of Staff.
    [Inclosure No. 2.]
    SPECIAL ORDERS No. 279.
    HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE MISSOURI,
    OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
    Saint Louis, Mo., October 28, 1864.
    VIII. It appearing from the most conclusive evidence that Maj. James Wilson, Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia, and six men of his command, taken prisoners of war by the enemy in their late raid through the State at Pilot Knob, Mo., were turned over by some rebel officer, now unknown, to the guerrilla Tim. Reves, at a place near the town of Union, in Franklin County, Mo., and that subsequently Major Wilson and his men were brutally murdered by this blood-stained outlaw; therefore, in compliance with so much of Special Orders, No. 277, paragraph 12, headquarters Department of the Missouri, dated October 6, 1864 (hereto appended), as can at this time be carried into effect, the following six of the enlisted men of the rebel army--names W. Gates, Company H, Third Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army; John N. Ferguson, Company A, Crabtree's cavalry, C. S. Army; Harvey H. Blackburn, Company A, Coleman's cavalry, C. S. Army; John Nichols, Company G, Second Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army; Charles W. Minneken, Company A, Crabtree's (Arkansas) cavalry, C. S. Army; Asa V. Ladd, Company A, Burbridge's (Missouri) cavalry, C. S. Army-will be shot to death with musketry within the limits of the city of Saint Louis, Mo., on Saturday, the 29th day of October, 1864, between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m.
    Lieut. Col. Gustav Heinrichs, Forty-first Missouri infantry,
    superintendent and inspector of military prisons, is hereby charged with the execution of this order.
    JOSEPH DARR, JR.,
    Acting Provost-Marshal-General.
    SPECIAL ORDERS No. 277.
    HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
    Saint Louis, Mo., October 6, 1864.
    12. From testimony which cannot be doubted the commanding general learns that Maj. James Wilson, Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry, and six enlisted men of his command, prisoners of war, were given up by Maj. Gen. Sterling Price to the guerrilla Tim. Reves for execution. The provost-marshal-general of the department will send a major and six enlisted men of the rebel army in irons to the military prison at Alton, Ill., to be kept in solitary confinement until the fate of Major Wilson and his men is known. These men will receive the same treatment Major Wilson and his men received. The provost-marshal-general is held responsible for the execution of this order.
    By command of Major-General Rosecrans:
    FRANK ENO, Assistant Adjutant-General.

    [Inclosure No. 3.]
    SPECIAL ORDERS No. 280.
    HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE MISSOURI,
    OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
    Saint Louis, October 29, 1864.
    I. Paragraph VIII, Special Orders, No. 279, headquarters Department of the Missouri, office of the provost-marshal-general, Saint Louis, Mo., October 28, 1864, is hereby altered so as to erase from the same the name of John N. Ferguson, Company A, Crabtree's (Arkansas) cavalry, C. S. Army, it appearing from this man's examination that he never bore arms and was only employed as a teamster, and substituting for the said Ferguson the following rebel soldier for execution, viz, George F. Bunch, private, Company B, Third Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army.
    JOSEPH DARR, JR.,
    Acting Provost-Marshal. General.
     
  4. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Excellent as always. I honestly wouldn't have wanted to be wearing a blue uniform in those parts. Very short life span.
     
  5. noman

    noman First Sergeant

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  6. Southron Sr.

    Southron Sr. Private

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    Yep, it was a Nasty War in those parts.
     

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