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James Edwin Slaughter was born in Slaughter's (Cedar) Mountain, Virginia, in June of 1827. He was the great-nephew of President James Madison, and attended the Virginia Military Institute until 1846. He withdrew from VMI to accept a commission in the US Army. After serving in the Mexican War, he remained in the army until the Civil War. Slaughter was dismissed from the service in May of 1861, and joined the Confederate army. Appointed to Brig. Gen. Braxton Bragg's staff, he was promoted to brigadier general on March 8, 1862. Slaughter became Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's assistant inspector general at Shiloh. He held this position under Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard and Bragg; then served as chief of artillery and chief of staff under Maj. John B. Magruder. For the rest of the war, Slaughter served with Magruder in Texas. When the Confederacy surrendered, Slaughter moved to Mexico for several years, then returned to the United States. Living in Mobile, Alabama, he worked as a civil engineer, then as postmaster. After moving to New Orleans, he went on a visit to Mexico. He died while visiting Mexico City, on January 1, 1901, and was buried there.

VMI Civil War Generals

Related collection in VMI Archives Raleigh E. Colston Papers.

Biographical Information />

  • Early Life
    John Echols, born March 20, 1823, Lynchburg, Virginia son of Joseph Echols and Eliza Frances Lambeth.
  • VMI record
    attended VMI from August 15, 1840 until August 14, 1841, when he resigned Honorary graduate, VMI Class of 1843.
  • Pre-Civil War
    graduate Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) studied law at Harvard practiced law briefly in Shenandoah Valley, then moved to Union, Monroe County [West] Virginia where he was a county prosecutor in 1860, helped to organize and was leader of the Monroe Guards, a local militia unit. This unit subsequently became part of the 27th Virginia Infantry (Co. D).
  • Marriage
    1st- Mary Jane Caperton
    2nd- Mrs. Mary C. Reid
  • Civil War
    Commanded 27th Virginia Infantry Regiment severely wounded at Kernstown promoted April 1862 to Brigadier General brigade commander in Division of General John C. Breckinridge at Battle of New Market (May 15, 1864) commanded infantry brigade
  • Post-War
    Returned to law practice in Staunton was President of National Valley Bank, and of Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad Company died in Staunton, Virginia on May 24, 1896 buried Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Birkett Davenport Fry, born June 24, 1822 in Kanawha County, [now] West Virginia son of Thornton Fry and Eliza Thompson.
  • VMI record
    Entered VMI on July 20, 1840 as a member of the Class of 1843 resigned on June 2, 1841.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Entered West Point in 1842, but left before graduating because of an academic deficiency (math) practiced law 1st Lieut., United States Army, during Mexican War practiced law in California, 1849-1855 took part in Walker's expedition to Nicaragua returned to California where he remained until 1859, when he moved to Tallassee, Alabama managed cotton mill owned by his wife's family.
  • Marriage
    Martha Micou Baker in 1853, the daughter of William and Ann Micou of Augusta, GA.
  • Civil War
    At outbreak of Civil War commissioned Colonel, 13th Alabama Infantry Regiment wounded at Seven Pines, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg appointed Brigadier General in May 1864 and commanded Walker's and Archer's brigades at Cold Harbor commanded the military district in Augusta, GA until end of war.
  • Post-war
    Returned to cotton manufacturing business in Alabama and Richmond, Virginia died January 21, 1891, Richmond, VA.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Samuel Garland, born December 16, 1830 at Lynchburg, Virginia. Parents: Maurice Garland, an attorney, and Caroline M. Garland. Maternal grandparents: Spottswood Garland and Lucinda Rose. Before enrolling at VMI Samuel attended Randolph Macon College.
  • VMI record
    Matriculated on October 22, 1846 at age 16 was graduated on July 4, 1849, standing 3rd in a class of 24.
  • Marriage
    Elizabeth Campbell Meem in 1856 she died on June 12, 1861 their only child, Samuel, died in August 1861.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Studied law at University of Virginia practiced in Lynchburg, VA. Following John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859, Garland organized the Lynchburg Home Guard.
  • Civil War
    Colonel, 11th Virginia Infantry Regiment led his regiment 1st Manassas wounded at Williamsburg but did not leave field promoted to Brigadier General in May 1862 and commanded his brigade at Seven Pines, Gaines's Mill, and Malvern Hill mortally wounded on Sept 14, 1862, at South Mountain buried Lynchburg, VA.

The image on this page is from the Stegman collection (VMI Archives manuscript 0275)

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    William Young Conn Humes, born June 1830 in Abingdon, Virginia. Parents: John Newton Humes and Jane Conn White.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on November 20, 1848 was graduated on July 4, 1851, standing 2nd in a class of 29 (distinguished graduate) classmate of Gen. Alfred J. Vaughan.
  • Marriage
    Married 1st- Margaret Preston White of Abingdon, VA 2 children Margaret died in Knoxville before 1863.
    2nd- 1863, Sallie Elder of Memphis, TN 4 children.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Read law lawyer in Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Civil War
    1861-Captain Artillery, commanded guns at New Madrid captured and imprisoned at Johnson's Island after exchange became cavalry officer appointed Brigadier General Nov. 1863 and led brigade in Wheeler's Corps fought in Tennessee, Georgia the Carolinas appointed Major General March 1865.
  • Post-war
    Resumed law practice in Memphis died September 11, 1882 in Huntsville, Alabama

Please see our Stonewall Jackson Resources section for detailed information.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Alexander Caldwell Jones, 1830, Marshall County [West] Virginia. Parents: Garrison B. Jones and Martha Houston.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on July 28, 1846 was graduated on July 4, 1850, standing 16th in a class of 17.
  • Marriage
    1st- Ella Clemens (1857) of Wheeling [West] Virginia Issue- Clemens Ap-Catesby Jones Minnie Clemens Jones.
    2nd- name unknown one daughter
  • Pre-Civil War
    Studied law District Attorney in Minnesota territory probate judge, St. Paul, MN Minnesota's first adjutant general (1858-1860)
  • Civil War
    Lt. Col. and Colonel, 44th Virginia Infantry Regiment Chief of Staff to Generals Johnston, Magruder, Walker resigned staff position to serve in field promoted to Brigadier General at end of war was in command of brigade in Texas.
  • Post-war
    Diplomat U.S. Consul in Japan and China died January 13, 1898 in China.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    John Robert Jones, born March 12, 1827 at Harrisonburg, Virginia. Parents: David S. Jones and Harriet Yost. Attended private schools in Harrisonburg before entering VMI.
  • VMI record
    Entered VMI on July 28, 1845 and was graduated on July 4, 1848 stood 7th in a class of 24 graduates.
  • Marriage
    Married twice. 1st Miss Brashear of Annapolis, MD (no issue). 2nd Miss Weatherall of Baltimore, MD divorced after approx. one year they had one daughter. He also had two children by Malinda Rice, a former slave who came to work in Jones' household at the age of 16. Rice's and Jones' granddaughter, Carrie Allen McCray, wrote a history about her family: Freedom's Child, the Life of A Confederate General's Black Daughter (Algonquin, 1998).
  • Pre-Civil War
    Taught school in Florida and was Principal of a military school in Urbanna, Maryland.
  • Civil War
    Lt. Col., 33rd Virginia Infantry Regiment appointed Brigadier General (see this letter from Stonewall Jackson regarding the appointment) in 1862 but was never confirmed commanded 2d Brigade under Jackson at Cold Harbor and Malvern Hill accused of cowardice by subordinates for his actions at Antietam and Chancellorsville and never resumed command captured by Union troops in Smithburg, Maryland, on July 4, 1863 and never exchanged imprisoned at Fort Warren, Mass, until end of war.
  • Post-war
    Businessman and commissioner in chancery for circuit court in Harrisonburg, VA died April 1, 1901, Harrisonburg.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    James Henry Lane, b. July 28, 1833, Mathews Court House,Virginia. Parents: Henry Gardner Lane and Mary Ann Henry Barkwell
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on July 22,1851 was graduated on July 4, 1854,standing 2nd in a class of 14.
  • Marriage
    Charlotte Randolph Meade of Richmond, VA they had four daughters (Lidie, Mary, Kate, Lottie)
  • Pre-Civil War
    Attended University of Virginia, 1856-1857 civil engineer teacher (VMI, West Seminary at Tallahassee, FL., North Carolina Military Institute at Charlotte, NC).
  • Civil War
    Major and Lt. Col., 1st North Carolina Infantry Regt Colonel, 28th North Carolina Infantry appointed Brigadier General Nov. 1862 commanded his brigade at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Petersburg.
  • Post-war
    Educator taught at various universities, notably Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Missouri School of Mines, and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Auburn University), where he was professor of civil engineering. He died at Auburn, AL on September 21, 1907 and is buried there.
  • Papers
    An extensive collection of Lane's personal papers are located at the Auburn University Archives. VMI has information about his cadetship, photos, and other biographical information, as well as 2 miscellaneous family documents (Manuscript #304).

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    William Mahone, born 1826 December 1 at on a farm near Monroe, Southampton Co., Virginia. Parents: Fielding Jordan Mahone, a merchant in Southampton Co., and Martha Drew. Paternal Grandparents: William Mahone (b. Ireland) and Nancy Jordan.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on July 20, 1844 at age of 17½ was graduated on July 5, 1847, standing 8th out of 12 graduates. Mahone supposedly told fellow VMI cadet William Pryor (Class of 1848) the following story about his entrance into VMI:

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Born St. Louis, Missouri on September 13, 1836. Parents: John McCausland (b. County Tyrone, Ireland) and Harriett Kyle (b. Botetourt Co., Virginia). After the death of his parents (ca. 1849) he came to Mason County [West] Virginia to live with his uncle, Alexander McCausland.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on August 2, 1853 was graduated on July 4, 1857, standing first in a class of 22 (distinguished graduate).
  • Marriage
    Emmett Hannah, 1878 3 sons and 1 daughter.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Studied at University of Virginia Assistant Professor at VMI (Math and Tactics) in 1859 accompanied the detachment of VMI cadets sent to stand guard at John Brown's execution.
  • Civil War
    Commissioned Colonel, 36th Virginia Infantry April 1862-May 1864 commanded brigade in Dept. of Western Virginia appointed Brigadier General 1864 May 18 led cavalry brigade against Gen. Hunter in Shenandoah Valley in May-June 1864 and delayed Union advance upon Lynchburg, VA. until Confederate Gen. Early could occupy the city led cavalry raid into Pennsylvania and was responsible for the burning of Chambersburg, PA.
  • Post-war
    Spent several years in Europe and Mexico before returning to his farm in West Virginia died at his home near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on January 23, 1927.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Thomas Taylor Munford, born March 29, 1831 at Richmond, Virginia. Parents: George Wythe Munford and Lucy Singleton Taylor.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on July 30, 1849 was graduated in July 1852, standing 14th in a class of 24.
  • Marriage
    1st- In 1853, Henrietta Tayloe (died 1863)
    2nd- In 1866, Emma Tayloe
  • Pre-Civil War
    Cotton planter in Mississippi farmer in Bedford Co. VA.
  • Civil War
    Lt. Col., 13th Virginia Mounted Infantry Col., 2nd Virginia Cavalry in the Shenandoah Valley served under Jackson, succeeded Turner Ashby, fought at Cross Keys, Harrisonburg, White Oak Swamp, 2nd Manassas, Antietam appointed Brigadier General November 1864 took command of Fitzhugh Lee's division and fought at Five Forks, High Bridge, Sayler's Creek, and Appomattox.
  • Post-war
    Iron manufacturer and farmer President, VMI Board of Visitors, 1884-1888 died February 27, 1918 at the home of his son in Uniontown, Alabama buried Lynchburg, Virginia

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    William Henry Fitzhugh Payne, born January 27, 1830, Fauquier Co., Virginia Parents: Arthur Alexander Morson Payne and Mary Conway Mason Fitzhugh.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on August 12, 1846 he was a cadet for only one year declared an honorary graduate by the Board of Visitors in 1873.
  • Marriage
    In 1852, Mary Elizabeth Winston Payne (cousin) they had 10 children a son Harry F., attended VMI as a member of the class of 1877.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Studied law at the University of Virginia began law practice in Warrenton, Virginia in 1851 Commonwealth's Attorney of Fauquier Co.
  • Civil War
    Capt., Black Horse Cavalry Major, 4th Virginia Cavalry commanded regiment at Williamsburg, where he was severely wounded and captured exchanged and returned to duty as Lt. Col., 2d North Carolina Cavalry led 2d NC at Chancellorsville captured during Stuart's Pennsylvania raid and imprisoned at Johnson's Island exchanged and appointed Brigadier General November 1864 served in Valley under Early during final operations around Richmond commanded brigade under Thomas T. Munford.
  • Post-war
    Resumed law practice general counsel for the Southern Railway Co. died March 29, 1904 in Washington, DC.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Robert Emmet Rodes, born Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 30, 1829 son of General David Rodes and Martha Yancey.
  • VMI record
    was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in July 1848, standing 10th in a class of 24 graduates Assistant Professor (Physical Science, Chemistry, Tactics) at VMI, 1848-1850.
  • Marriage
    In September 1857 married Virginia Hortense Woodruff (1833-1907), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 2 children: Robert Emmet Rodes, Jr. (1863-1925) and a daughter, Bell Yancey Rodes (1865-1931).
  • Pre-Civil War
    In 1850 began Civil Engineering career, working on various railroad projects in Alabama and elsewhere in the south in 1860 was elected Professor of Applied Mechanics at VMI, but never served in this capacity because of the outbreak of war.
  • Civil War
    May 1861 was commissioned Col. 5th Alabama Infantry Regt Oct 1861 appointed Brigadier General, commanding his brigade at Fair Oaks, Gaines's Mill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville promoted Major General May 1863 led his division at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania went to Shenandoah Valley in June 1864, where he served under Early and fought at Kernstown and elsewhere killed at Winchester, VA, on 19 September 1864 buried Presbyterian Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    James Edwin Slaughter, born 1827, Culpeper Co., Virginia. Parents: Daniel French Slaughter and Letitia Madison. Grandparents: Philip Slaughter/Margaret French Strother William Madison/Frances Throckmorton.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled on August 6, 1845 and resigned on July 6, 1846.
  • Marriage
    Never married
  • Pre-Civil War
    Served in United States Army from 1847 until outbreak of Civil War, when he resigned to join Confederate Army.
  • Civil War
    1861 appointed 1st Lt. CSA Artillery and served on Beauregard's staff in Alabama and Florida appointed Brigadier General in March 1862 on staff of Gen. Bragg in Mississippi and Alabama 1863 April to Texas as Magruder's Chief of Artillery remained in Texas until end of war he went to Mexico after Lee's surrender.
  • Post-war
    Civil Engineer lived in Mexico for several years and then returned to live in Mobile, Alabama and subsequently in New Orleans, LA died in Mexico City on January 1, 1901 and was buried there.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    James Barbour Terrill, born February 20, 1838, Bath County, Virginia. Parents: William H. Terrill, a lawyer, and Elizabeth Pitzer.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on October 18, 1854 was graduated on July 5, 1858, standing 16th in a class of 19.
  • Marriage
    Charlotte Eucebia Drewry (Drury) of Chesterfield Co., in late 1861 or early 1862. Issue: James Mercer Terrill (b. October 31, 1862 died around age 18) and Emily Barbour Terrill (b. 1864 d. 1943. Emily married Henry Heth Vaden.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Studied law at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia under Judge John W. Brockenbrough practiced law in Bath County,Virginia. Appointed Major, Cavalry, in 1859 by Gov. Henry A. Wise.
  • Civil War
    Major and Lt. Col., 13th Virginia Infantry Regiment Brigadier General, May 30, 1864 battles included the Shenandoah Valley campaign, Gaines's Mill, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania killed in battled on May 30, 1864, near Bethesda Church, Hanover County,Virginia his nomination as BG was confirmed on the day he was killed. Full text 1861 Terrill letter

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    William Richard Terry, born March 12, 1827 at Liberty (now Bedford), Virginia. Parents: William Terry of Bedford County and Lettie Johnson of Pittsylvania Co.
  • VMI record
    Entered VMI on July 27, 1846 and was graduated on July 4, 1850, standing 15th in a class of 17.
  • Marriage
    Mary Adelaide Pemberton (died 1910) in 1856 they had 3 sons and 3 daughters.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Attended University of Virginia subsequently a merchant.
  • Civil War
    Raised Cavalry company in Bedford, 1861 Col., 24th Virginia Cavalry 1862- commanded Kemper's Brigade, Kemper's Division, 1st Corps, Army of Northern Virginia 1863-1864- commanded Kemper's Brigade, Dept. of North Carolina and Dept. of Richmond wounded at Gettysburg appointed Brigadier General, May 1864 commanded Kemper's (old) Brigade, Pickett's Div., 1st Corps, Army of Northern VA at Cold Harbor and Petersburg.
  • Post-war
    State legislator, prison superintendent, in charge of a soldiers' home died Bedford Co., Virginia on March 29, 1897.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Alfred Jefferson Vaughan, Jr., born May 10, 1830, in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Parents: Alfred Jefferson Vaughan and Dorothy (nee) Vaughan.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on July 17, 1848 was graduated on July 4, 1851, standing 15th in a class of 29 in his final year at VMI he was a cadet captain and company commander.
  • Marriage
    Martha Jane Hardaway (1838-1911) in 1856 they had 8 children (Mary Virginia, Mary Eliza, Lucy, Alfred J., Jr., Samuel, Willie, infant, ___ Franklin).
  • Pre-Civil War
    Civil Engineer in Missouri, California, and Mississippi. When the war began he was living in Marshall Co., Mississippi.
  • Civil War
    Capt., Lt. Col. and Col. of the 13th Tennessee Infantry Regt. commissioned Brigadier General, 1863 (Army of Tennessee) led brigade at Missionary Ridge and Atlanta campaign until Vining's Station (4 July 1864), where he was severely wounded (lost leg).
  • Post-war
    Farmer in Mississippi businessman general agent of the National Grange, organizing state granges of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee clerk of court of Shelby Co., TN died in Indianapolis, IN on October 1, 1899 buried Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    James Alexander Walker, born August 27, 1832, Augusta Co., Virginia. Parents: Alexander Walker and Hannah Hinton. Paternal grandparents: John Walker and Elizabeth Connelly. Maternal grandparents: Benjamin Hinton and Sarah Hopkins.
  • VMI record
    Entered VMI on August 23, 1848 court-martialed and dismissed May 1852, for disobedience in the classroom of Maj. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson he subsequently challenged Jackson to a duel granted honorary degree in 1872 in recognition of his war career.
  • Marriage
    In 1858, Sarah A. Poague [Poage] of Augusta Co., Virginia. They had six children.
  • Pre-Civil War
    Studied law at the University of Virginia (1854-1855) and began the practice of law in Newbern, Pulaski Co., Virginia. Elected Commonwealth's Attorney for Pulaski Co. in 1860.
  • Civil War
    Organized Pulaski Guards which became Co. C of the 4th Virginia Infantry commissioned Lt. Col. 13th Virginia Infantry Promoted to Brigadier General in the Stonewall Brigade in May 1863 severely wounded at Spotsylvania Court House on May 12, 1864 in Jan. 1865 was assigned to Early's Division.
  • Post-war
    Resumed law practice in Newbern active in local and state politics served two terms in state legislature 1877 elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, serving until 1881 1895-1899 served in U.S. Congress died at Wytheville, Virginia on October 20, 1901.

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    Reuben Lindsay Walker, born Albemarle County, Virginia on May 29, 1827.
  • VMI record
    Entered VMI on September 5, 1842 and was graduated on July 4, 1845, standing 19th in a class of 20.
  • Pre-Civil War
    After graduating was a civil engineer and farmer was engaged in farming in New Kent Co., Virginia when Civil War broke out.
  • Marriage
    married (1st) Maria Eskridge (d. 1854 leaving four sons) (2nd) Sally Elam, in 1857
  • Civil War
    Commissioned Captain, Purcell artillery battery, in 1861 promoted to Major in March 1862 and appointed A.P. Hill's Chief of Artillery he served with Hill until the end of the war promoted Lt. Col., Col., and finally (in Feb. 1865) Brigadier General.
  • Post-Civil War
    Farmer and civil engineer died at his residence at Point of Fork, Virginia on June 7, 1890 buried Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA

Biographical Information


Sunday, May 7, 1865 : In Kingsville, Missouri at 3:00 A.M., 110 Confederate guerrillas ride into the town. They proceed to sack the town and burn down 5 houses. Eight citizens are killed and 2 are wounded. In Kentucky, the most wanted guerrilla leader, William Quantrill is in hiding. Sometimes a man and his horse are inseparable, like two machines that works well together. Quantrill’s horse is injured and unrideable while being re-shoed. He said, “That means my work is done. My career is run. Death is coming, and my end is near.” The terror of Kansas was now just a cowering murder being hunted down in Kentucky.

Also still on the run ex-Confederate President Jefferson Davis is reunited with his wife, Varina, and their children. Together they move on through Abbeville, in Wilcox County, Georgia.

Major General William T. Sherman’s (US) army continues their march northward to Washington, DC. This time not for battle, but for a victory parade, the final Grand Review of his army.

Monday, May 8, 1865 : In Bolivar, Tennessee, seventeen year old Sally Wendel Fentress has reconsidered her earlier harsh comments about the assassination of Lincoln. She writes in her diary: “Papers of a late date give an account of Mr. Lincoln’s funeral. Everything went off in grand style. His death was, as bad, the worst blow the South has ever sustained. Although I am not an admirer of Mr. Lincoln yet I still deplore his loss to the people of the North. He was always so much more lenient to his fellow countrymen…than any other Northerner. But it may be for the better that this great tragedy has been enacted at the closing scenes of this bloody drama. If we are treated as a magnanimous foe everything may now be settled amicably, but if persecutions such as hanging, robbing, taunts, jeers and inhumanity are to be practiced, trouble has only commenced.”

Federal patrol leaves from Plum Creek to Midway Station in the Nebraska Territory looking for the Indians that attacked the wagon train near Mullahla’s Station on May 5.

Jefferson Davis is aware that Union forces are close behind. The pursuit of Davis results largely from the U.S. War Department’s false assumption that he was complicit in the assassination of Lincoln. A $100,000 reward was promised for anyone who could bring in the president and his aides. (Today, $100,000 would be worth $1,363,540.22 )

Tuesday, May 9, 1865 : Nathan Bedford Forrest was still in Selma, Alabama in April, when news of Lee’s surrender finally reaches him. He is urged to flee to Mexico, but chooses to share the fate of his men, and surrenders. Today, at Gainesville, Forrest officially disbands his Cavalry command and reads his farewell address to his troops. He will later be cleared of any violations of the rules of war in regard to the alleged massacre at Fort Pillow, and will be allowed to return to private life. Shortly after General Lee’s last battle at Appomattox, Robert E. Lee was asked to identify the best soldier he ever commanded. Lee replied: “A man I have never met, sir. His name is Forrest.”

Citizens of Covington, Tennessee are forewarned of a guerrilla attack was to take place this evening. Riding into town a band of six guerrillas are ambushed by some 30 citizens, killing three and mortally wounding another. Apparently the other two got away.

Wednesday, May 10, 1865 : In the early morning hours at Irwinville, Georgia, shots ring out and ex- Confederate President Jefferson Davis (pictured) and his party are captured. The Confederate Government ceases to exist. Davis is transported to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, where he remains a prisoner for more than two years.

William Quantrill was sleeping in farmer James Wakefield’s barn with about 30 of his men, when about 100 troops under US Captain Edwin Terrill rush the farm with guns blazing. In the excitement, and unable to escape on account of a skittish horse, Quantrill is shot in the back and paralyzed from the chest down. He was brought by wagon to Louisville, Kentucky and taken to the military prison hospital. He dies from his wounds on June 6, 1865, at the age of 27. Quantrill and Anderson actions remain controversial to this day. Some historians view them heros, others as an opportunistics, and others just bloodthirsty outlaws “pathological killers” who murdered and burned out Missouri Unionists. Some of Quantrill’s celebrity later rubbed off on other ex-Raiders

Jesse and Frank James, and Cole Younger, who went on after the war to apply Quantrill’s hit-run tactics to bank and train robbery.

Thursday, May 11, 1865 : The Confederate Commerce Raider, CSS Stonewall, arrives at Havana, Cuba in need of supplies. Spanish owned Cuba offers to buy the ship. Now without a country, the captain wants $16,000 for his crew’s back pay. The deal is done and the ship turned over to the US.

The Confederates in Texas were aware of the fate of the Confederacy’s eastern armies and many

had just packed up and gone home. Today, US Colonel Barrett orders 250 men of the Sixty-second United States Colored Infantry and fifty men of the Second Texas United States Cavalry (dismounted) to cross to the mainland from Brazos Island at Boca Chica Pass to occupy Brownsville. Carrying five days rations and 100 rounds of ammunition per man, the Union troops crossed over to the coast at 9:30 P.M.

Friday, May 12, 1865 : Near Brownsville, Texas, under the command of Lt. Col. David Branson, (US) this detachment marches all night and reaches White’s Ranch at daybreak. There Branson’s men halted and tried to conceal themselves in a thicket along the Rio Grande. The camp was spotted by “civilians” (probably Confederate soldiers) on the Mexican side of the river. Realizing that any hope of surprising the Confederates was lost, Branson immediately resumed his march toward Brownsville. At the Palmito Ranch, the Yankees encountered Capt. W. N. Robinson’s 190-man company of Lt. Col. George H. Giddings’ Texas Cavalry Battalion (CSA) which skirmishes briefly with the Union force before retiring.

Bolivar, Tennessee’s settler, planter, and diarist John Houston Bills writes in his diary: “Col. M T Polk returns after an absence of four years in this unprofitable war, in which the Country has lost Everything is laid in ruins. He says all is lost.”

Saturday, May 13, 1865 : The Battle of Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville, Texas and a few miles from the seaport of Los Brazos de Santiago (now known as Matamoros) continues as Col. Theodore H. Barrett (US) himself arrives at 5:00am with 200 men, bringing the Union strength up to 500 officers and men. Under Barrett’s (US) command the column moves on Palmito Ranch once more, and a “sharp engagement” takes place again this time in a thicket along the riverbank between Barrett’s 500 troops and Captain W. N. Robinson’s 190 Confederates. The outnumbered southerners were soon pushed back across an open prairie and beyond sight, while the exhausted federals paused on a small hill about a mile west of Palmito Ranch. At 3:00pm, that afternoon, Colonel John S. “Rip” Ford (CSA) arrives to reinforce Robinson with 300 men as well as a six-gun battery of field artillery. By 4:00pm a new plan of attack by the Confederates had the Yankee invaders on a running battle seven miles to Brazos Island. The action had lasted a total of four hours. Confederate casualties were a few dozen wounded. The federals lost 111 men and four officers captured, and thirty men wounded or killed. The battle is recorded as a Confederate victory. Estimated casualties are a total unknown (US 118 CSA unknown). Ironically, at the same time as the “Battle of Palmito Ranch,” the Confederate governors of Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas were authorizing Lieut General Edmund Kirby Smith (CSA) to disband his armies and end the war. Brig. General Joseph Orville Shelby (CSA) threatens to arrest Smith if he does.

The Battle of Palmito Ranch is considered the final engagement of the American Civil War. Fighting in the battle involved Caucasian, African-Americ an, His panic, and Native American troops. Private John Jefferson Williams (US)

(pictured) of B Company, 34th Regiment Indiana Infantry is reported as the last man killed in action. It was Private Williams only engagement with the enemy. A few days later federal officers from Brazos Santiago will visit Brownsville to arrange a truce with General Slaughter (CSA) and Colonel Ford (CSA). Later many senior Confederate commanders in Texas (including Smith, Walker, Slaughter, and Ford) and many troops with their equipment flee across the border to Mexico, possibly to ally with Imperial French forces, or with Mexican forces under Benito Juárez.

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The Battle of Britton's Lane

On a quiet, county road five miles southeast of Denmark, Tennessee, a fierce struggle between opposing armies took place on September 1, 1862. Only half-dozen historical markers dot the site, and there are no massive battlefield maps or push-button audio tapes to guide the curious observer. Britton's Lane boasts no cannons lining the road as does Shiloh or Stone's River in fact, the countryside is so calm and pastoral that it's hard to believe the land has witnessed anything more than an occasional disagreement between neighbors. Yet thousands of brave soldiers from Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio fought and died there in a feverish, four-hour battle. Many of those soldiers were from Madison County, and some tendered the supreme sacrifice within ten miles of their own homes.

Following the stunning Union victories of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh in the spring of 1862, Federal General Jeremiah Sullivan marched into Jackson on June 6th and occupied the city. Most Madison County citizens, being of southern sentiment, were disappointed and disillusioned by the Federal hold on West Tennessee. Throughout the hot summer months they hoped everyday for liberation by the Confederate Army now quartered in north Mississippi.

The Federal occupation army used Jackson primarily as a quartermaster depot in 1862, sending supplies to its lead armies farther south. Situated around the city, along critical points of the railroad line and at important bridges and river crossings, were isolated detachments of Union soldiers. Their mission was to guard against forays by Confederates against the Union supply line, and to give early warning of an attack on Jackson. When Federal outposts sent word to Jackson on August 28th that a Confederate General by the name of Armstrong was marching north from Mississippi with 10,000 men, the secessionists in Jackson were elated and the Federals and their sympathizers began scurrying about like ants to fortify the city.

The commander of all Confederate cavalry in the West, Major General Sterling Price, had indeed ordered Colonel Frank C. Armstrong to take his cavalry brigade north from Holly Springs, Mississippi into West Tennessee. Despite the exaggerated reports, Armstrong never had more than 3,300 troopers, and his mission was not to liberate Jackson. Armstrong's mission was classic for cavalry - raid north along the Mississippi and Tennessee Central Railroad, harass the enemy, stir-up the Federal detachments, interdict and disrupt the enemy's supply line, and do not become decisively engaged.

The man that Sterling Price chose to command the mission, Frank Crawford Armstrong, had only a year before been a Federal officer at the Battle of Bull Run. Having reconsidered his allegiance in the fall of 1861, Armstrong had earned his commander's confidence by performing well at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas, and received command of his own brigade.

On the 22nd of August, Acting Brigadier General Armstrong left Guntown, Mississippi with the core of this brigade, stopping in Holly Springs to pick up three more regiments. When he left there a few days later (August 27th), his command was 3,300 strong, including:

Col. McCulloch's 2nd Missouri
Col. Slemmons' 2nd Arkansas
Col. Pinson's 1st Mississippi
Col. Jackson's 7th Tennessee
Col. Barteau's 2nd Tennessee (commanded by Maj. Morton)
Col. Wheeler's 6th Tennessee (four companies)
Col. Wirt Adams' Regiment (Mississippians)
Col. Saunders Battalion (Alabamians)
Forest's old regiment (commanded by Ltc. Balch)
Wells' Scouts

In the August 1922 issue of Confederate Veteran, C.Y. Ford of Company G., 2nd Missouri Cavalry describes this group as "a magnificent body of fighting cavalry, ready and eager to measure arms with the Federal[s]." They camped the night of the 27th of August within four miles of LaGrange, Tennessee on a branch of the Wolf River, and remained there on the 28th, resting an extra day in anticipation of an arduous campaign.

After riding to within a few miles of Bolivar, Tennessee on Friday, the 29th of August, the Confederates were to taste their first battle when

Believing he couldn't defeat the Union garrison without a major or battle, Armstrong drew off to the west of Medon Station and camped that night on the Casey Savage farm. He must have realized that his encounters at Bolivar and Medon Station had alerted every Federal outpost for a hundred miles, and that the city of Jackson was bracing for an assault. In a dispatch to his boss, General Price, Armstrong seems to suggest that his mission has been accomplished.

. . .I have crossed the Hatchie [river] passed between Jackson and Bolivar destroyed the bridges and one mile of trestle work between the two places, holding for more than thirty hours the road.

The fast and arduous campaign had taken its toll on Armstrong's soldiers. According to Leut. Col. Frank Montgomery of the 1st Mississippi Cavalry, in his Reminiscences of a Mississippian (1901),

Early next morning we started on our return to camp in Mississippi, having accomplished all we could by our raid, and took a road leading towards a place or town called Denmark. The whole command was worn out, and decidedly hungry, since we had been out nearly a week, [counting the time from their initial startpoint of Guntown, Mississippi on the 22nd of August] and away from our wagon trains.

William Witherspoon confirms Montgomery 5 assessment from the private soldier's viewpoint.

We were ordered not to make any big fires, we gathered the brush and started our fires, not that it was cold, but the corn in the field was getting hard, September 1st, and we wanted to make embers and ashes to roast the corn. Our supper, exclusively a parched corn diet, breakfast ditto. Early we mounted 'en route' to Denmark.

As they road toward Denmark, on Monday, September 1st, Frank Montgomery confided in a fellow officer that he thought "there would be no more fighting on this raid." But that soldier didn't share his belief.

While marching along, it so happened I was riding by the side of Captain Beall, and I observed he was unusually quiet. He was always the life of the camp, a genial, jovial gentleman. At last he told me he was impressed by a presentiment he would be killed before we got back to Mississippi. I laughed at him and told him his presentiment would come to nothing and that he himself would laugh at it on the morrow.

The conversation between Montgomery and his worried compatriot was scarcely finished before the Southerners entered into one of the most intense battles that many of them would experience during the war.

From the first news of Armstrong's soiree into west Tennessee, the Federals had made the defense of Jackson their priority. A sergeant of the 20th Illinois Infantry, who was hospitalized in Jackson, made the following entries in The Civil War Diary of Allen Morgan Geer:

Sunday, Aug. 31st 1862-Sharp skirmishing reported in the vicinity of Bolivar our forces hold their ground.. Medon's Guards dispersed reinforcements sent to aid.

Monday, September 1st. 1862-. Jackson was deemed in danger of attack and the greatest activity prevailed in putting the city in a state of defense.

M.K. Lawler expected Armstrong in Jackson at any time, so on August 31st he sent a message to Colonel Elias S. Dennis who commanded a brigade stationed at Estanaula landing, some twenty-five miles from Jackson along the Hatchie River. Lawler ordered Dennis to strike tents, destroy what he couldn't carry, and double-time his infantry back to Jackson to help defend the city.

G.B. MacDonald, a musician with the 30th Illinois at Estanaula, writes in A History of the 30th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry (1916),

. our teams had been to Jackson for provisions, and two barrels of whiskey was in the supply. We hurriedly packed our knapsacks and loaded the wagons with camp equipage. The two barrels of whiskey was cumbersome for troops on a forced march. The heads were knocked in and the barrels upset and the whiskey went on the ground. The boys could not stand to see such a waste as that, and they got busy dipping it up in their hands and drinking it, and went on their way rejoicing.

Elias S. Dennis had under his command his own 20th Illinois Infantry, the 30th Illinois Infantry, the 4th Ohio Independent Cavalry Company, thirty- four men of the 4th Illinois Cavalry, and a two

un section of Battery E, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery - all totaling some 1,500 men. As his brigade marched for Jackson, Dennis continued to hear rumors of a large Confederate force moving north. When he reached Denmark, he received new orders from Lawler instructing him to march toward Medon "to intercept the enemy near that point." Dennis camped that night near the Presbyterian Church in Denmark.

The next morning, Monday September 1st, while Armstrong's men finished roasting their corn and began marching toward Denmark, Dennis' command set out along the most direct route to Medon, a fourteen-foot wide, dusty country lane named for the wealthy farmer Thomas Britton, who owned property along the road. Dennis expected no battle until he reached Medon. Armstrong, now moving west along present- day Collins Road, seems to have anticipated no fight at all. At about 9:30 that morning, the advanced guard of both elements ran into each other where the Steam Mill Ferry Road intersects Collins Road and Britton's Lane today.

In front of Dennis' command was his one company of independent cavalry, and close behind them was at least a company of infantry serving as advance guard. Next came the 20th Illinois, his artillery section with assorted supply trains, and the 30th Illinois behind them. The column must have stretched some three or four miles back in the direction of Denmark when Foster's cavalry encountered Armstrong. According to C.Y. Ford of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, it appears Dennis' men saw the Confederates first, for they had time to bring forward their two cannons from the center of their column, and deploy skirmishers before Armstrong's lead regiment know they were around.

. we [had] dismounted to rest a short time and were standing by our horses, when two pieces of artillery let loose two charges of grapeshot into our column at point-blank range.

Sergeant Edwin H. Fay, in a letter written to his wife four days after the battle, called it an "ambush" and blamed local citizens loyal to the Union for "let[ing] us rush right into it."

This began the Battle of Britton's Lane.

The realization that his 1,500 infantrymen might be facing 1 anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 well-armed Confederate cavalry (although there were never more than 3,300) forced Dennis to make an immediate decision. Actually, Dennis had little choice. If he turned and fled toward Denmark, he could not hope to outrun the cavalry that would pursue him, and such a move might lead to the wholesale slaughter of his brigade, or its capture at the very least. If he chose to fight, he'd be outnumbered and probably overwhelmed. Making a virtue of necessity, Dennis decided to take his chances with a fight, and quickly brought the rest of the 20th Illinois into line behind a wormwood fence to support his artillery. By selecting a strong defensive position along a ridge, covered on the flanks by rugged terrain that the enemy's cavalry would not be able to negotiate, he had effectively blocked Armstrong's route of march. Dennis initially deployed companies B and G of the 20th Illinois on the left of the road, and the remainder of the regiment on the right. Then after positioning his two cannon squarely in the middle of Britton's Lane, and dispatching a courier to order the 30th Illinois forward at the doublequick, he braced for an attack.

Immediately after taking fire, and more as a matter of reflex than that of planning, the lead regiment of Armstrong's brigade, the 2nd Missouri, along with Forrest's old regiment, made a hasty charge to silence the cannon. But the supporting Union infantry combined with the artillery to pour a heavy fire into their ranks and drive them back.

Frank C. Armstrong's decision to fight Elias S. Dennis along this country road in south Madison County has led to much speculation during the past century. Why did Armstrong, after declining to get heavily involved in two other battles - Bolivar, where he greatly outnumbered his opponent - and Medon Station, where a sudden, aggressive assault might have captured both the defenders of the depot and their on-rushing reinforcements - suddenly find it worth the price to fight at Britton's Lane? If Armstrong believed his mission was completed, as his report and the observations of his men would indicate, why did he not skirt west of Dennis' position and return to Mississippi unscathed via Estanaula? His command was full of Madison County men who knew every road and cowpath in that part of West Tennessee, and certainly he knew that by taking what is now called the Steam Mill Ferry Road he need not fight Dennis at all. Dennis' infantry were not going to catch him on foot, and given the Federals' situation, Armstrong moving on would probably have been a relief to Dennis. Instead he chose to fight his way through the Federals to get to Denmark. Many have advanced theories as to why it was so important for Armstrong to reach Denmark, suggesting everything from the need for supplies and ammunition to a quest for hidden gold. His reasons may never be known, but whatever they were, Armstrong began what amounted to a four-phase attack, and decisively committed his cavalry force against Dermis.

Hearing the artillery, Armstrong came galloping forward to the head of the column, just in time to meet the two regiments repulsed in their first attempt to silence the enemy cannon. It was almost ten o'clock now, and Armstrong immediately ordered the 2nd Missouri, with Forrest's old regiment (Ltc. Balch commanding) in support, to again charge the guns. A second time the Confederates drew sabres and galloped toward the enemy.

One of the Federals observed that "in front, and on the left and right were bare fields, swarming with rebels preparing to charge. At last on they came, the ground fairly trembling beneath their heavy tread Since the 20th Illinois had not yet fully deployed into line, this second charge was swift and determined enough to nearly succeed in capturing the artillery. Many of the Southerners rode up to within several feet of the enemy, who poured a murderous volley into them from behind the fence. But again they were turned back with considerable loss.

It was after ten o'clock now, and still the stubborn Federals held their grip on Britton Lane. But nearly losing their artillery in the last charge had caused them to limber-up and move the guns across a gully, some 300400 yards back in the direction of Denmark. Along with the guns, the line of infantry gradually gave ground until they reached yet another fence to offer them cover.

Colonel W.H. (Red) Jackson's 7th Tennessee, Colonel Pinson's 1st Mississippi, and Barteau's 2nd Tennessee Cavalry (Major Morton commanding) had been traveling in that order behind the two lead units when the firing began. They now rushed forward and were ordered to immediately assault the enemy position.

Ordering the 1st Mississippi to dismount and fight on foot, Armstrong sent them on the left of the 2nd Missouri, and then ordered the 7th and the 2nd Tennessee to charge mounted on the right. This third attack, which may have taken place before the Federals could re-establish their artillery in its new position, was also repulsed, but it is most likely during this charge that the Southerners captured several of the enemy's wagons and supply trains, seizing them before they could safely reposition. Still determined to drive the Federals from the field, the Confederate commander ordered all the above units to dismount, except the 2nd Tennessee, and to charge the enemy for a fourth time.

John Milton Hubbard of the 7th Tennessee described the scene:

The Seventh Tennessee was ordered to charge on foot through a corn field, from which the fodder had been stripped, against a heavy line of infantry lying behind a stout worm fence and in the woods. A galling fire was poured into Company E, but some of its men reached the fence. Dr. Joe Allen of Whiteville mounted the fence and fell dead on the enemy's side of it. How so many men got out of that field alive is one of those unaccountable things that sometimes occur in war.

It was past eleven o'clock now, and Armstrong's quiet, uneventful march to Denmark and back to Mississippi had turned into a desperate two-hour battle that some participants said was hotter than S

oh. These men would know, for soldiers on both sides had fought on those bloody April days along the Tennessee River.

At last Wirt Adams' Regiment, which had been in the rear of the march column, and Colonel Slemmon's 2nd Arkansas which immediately preceded it, arrived at the scene of the fight. Finally Armstrong was able to mass enough force to strike a decisive blow against Dennis. The 7th Tennessee, 2nd Missouri, and Balch's men were now badly mangled, and were withdrawn. Armstrong sent Wirt Adams' men and company L of the 7th Tennessee (which had been held out of the action thus far) on a wild and daring charge directly into the mouth of the enemy guns. Ordering both units to form a column of fours and charge, Armstrong struck the decisive blow. He also sent Col. Slemmons and Col. Pinson dismounted in support. Frank Montgomery writes,

Colonel Adams' charge was a brilliant one and as I write I can see him as I saw him then, charging at the head of his regiment straight at the guns we were not one hundred feet apart.

In October 1903 issue of Confederate Veteran, E.B. McNeil, a participant in the fight, quotes from a letter written only a few days after the battle:

Col. Adams, mounted on a beautiful cream- colored mare, well to the front leading his men at racing speed, was a conspicuous target for the enemy, and every moment I expect to see him fall. The fire was awful, and under the withering blast, the head of our column went down. Those behind, unable to see for the blinding dust, with the notes of the bugle sounding the charge still ringing in their ears, spurred madly forward toward the sound of the guns, only to stumble and fall over their dead and wounded comrades and horses in front until the narrow lane was completely blocked.

The confusion and bottleneck on the narrow lane is confirmed by William Witherspoon's statement that while riding toward the Federal artillerymen "the rear of the company became tangled." Yet even though the Southerners could see the enemy gunners desperately loading grapeshot and preparing at any second to discharge the lethal rounds into their faces, portions of Adams' regiment and the 7th Tennessee pressed forward, and "in a mad bound [they] were upon them." Using their sawed-off shotguns to clear away the gun crew (no Federal artillerymen were listed as killed, though several were captured), only about twenty of the attackers remained to occupy the center of the Federal line. The other cavalry charging in support were held up by the dead men and horses that choked the lane. Now the two cannons Armstrong had paid so dearly to possess were in danger of being lost, particularly since the 30th Illinois was making timely arrival on the battlefield, having doubl

timed at least two miles in the September heat. The fresh Federal troops wasted no time pouring a galling fire into the victorious rebels.

Just before we got to the front the rebs captured the two guns, and had the 20th pretty well demoralized, and was making another charge just as we were climbing a little hill, and the command was on right into line, and firing as we came into line, and with a yell drove the enemy back, and just had time to form a good line with the 20th when another charge was made.

This last charge probably refers to the dismounted men from Pinson's and Slemmon's regiments who moved up in support of the captured artillery. A Lieutenant Dengel, who commanded the gun section, was captured along with ten of his men but while the Confederates got the guns, they didn't get the caissons, thus they had no way to transport the weapons form the field except for dragging them into the immediate protection of their lines.

The arrival of the 30th Illinois probably prevented a complete rout of Dennis' command. Many Federals had already skedaddled, some of them not stopping until they reached Jackson. They carried with them wild reports of the capture or destruction of their regiment. The 20th Illinois had been steadily giving ground, and with the poor visibility, may have suspected they were being surrounded. Isolated defenders may have even tried to give up. This could account for William Witherspoon's curious observation.

The Federals were whipped several times in that fight, had hoisted several times the white flag, certainly an index of defeat. . citizens of Denmark [told that] over 200 of the Federals had returned there and were anxious to find some one to surrender to.

Linking up with the exhausted 20th, the 30th Illinois, under command of Major Warren Shedd, formed a line from which the Confederates were unable or unwilling to drive them. When the 30th joined the battle lines, a cheer rose up among the weary defenders. A captured Federal prisoner, when asked by General Armstrong what the noise was all about, declared that his fellow soldiers were cheering the arrival of 'Logan's Division."

By 12:30 or 1:00 p.m., the Confederate casualties were heavy. Montgomery reports that the 1st Mississippi Cavalry alone lost fifty men killed and wounded. Losses were also heavy in the 7th Tennessee and Wirt Adams' regiment.

What happened next is another source of debate and speculation surrounding the battle. The Confederate cavalry had clearly and decisively driven the Federals from their position, captured their artillery, and had many of them demoralized and looking for an end to the fight. The next tactical maneuver would normally have been to pursue a weakened and disorganized enemy and capture or kill as many of them as possible. But Colonel Armstrong chose instead to consolidate his position and not to pursue the enemy. His actions were questioned not only by later historians and scholars, but by the very men he led at Britton's Lane.

While Colonel Pinson and myself were consulting as to the advisability of renewing the assault on the enemy by a flank movement [against the 30th Illinois], which could easily have been done, as we believed, we were ordered back to the horses. To my surprise then and now, the attack was not renewed, for I am sure they were defeated.

Colonel W.H. (Red) Jackson of the 7th Tennessee said, "I thought we had whipped the fight, and Gen. Dennis afterwards told me he was ready to surrender." That the majority of Federals wanted to surrender is doubtful. The battlefield was hot, dry and dusty, and it was hard to see more than a hundred yards. Several men in the 20th Illinois did surrender, but the 30th seems to have been ready and willing to continue the fight. Despite the shaky condition of the Federal forces, Armstrong chose not to press the engagement, but to march north and west through the woods, emerging near Denmark, where he took the Estanaula Road toward the Hatchie River. At one point in this withdrawal, Armstrong and his escort (Company E, 2nd Tennessee Cavalry) ran into a number of the retreating Federals - possibly skulkers or deserters - and was nearly captured. William Witherspoon characterized their return to Mississippi this way:

We were certainly on the run, to say the least, a forced march, not halting or stopping until we were ferried across the Hatchie, sixteen miles distant, on a ferry boat.

Witherspoon's use of the phrase, "on the run," may reflect Armstrong's sense that the noose was tightening around his band of cavalry. The longer he tarried in West Tennessee, the more opportunity he provided the Federals to surprise and encircle him. His unexpected fight at Britton Lane had held up his march for almost a full day, and he may have believed the Union forces he bypassed at Medon were closing upon his rear. Perhaps he figured pursuing and routing the Federals was not worth risking his entire command in another protracted battle, particularly since his men were already weary and bloodied from the campaign.

The confusion about who won or lost at Britton's Lane did not wait to surface until aging veterans gathered for reunions years after the war. It began the day of the battle. Allen Morgan Geer was receiving mixed signals in Jackson on the very day of the fight.

Monday September 1st. 1862 - Prepared to go to the regiment [20th Illinois but could not be allowed to go since their fate or locality was not known. While at the depot news came that the 20th and 30th was taken prisoners. This at 2 p.m. At 6 p.m. while at supper stragglers began to come in from the scene of action. They all declared the forces gobbled up, heard the firing ceased: saw them surrounded, saw the wagons overturned, artillery [taken] & the general impression prevailed that the 20th & 30th were gone up except the skedaddlers who were shrewd enough to get away.

Geer and his fellow soldiers waited anxiously for more word from the vicinity of Denmark for the rest of the day and his last diary entry late on the evening of September 1st offers this simple, yet revealing phrase: "rumors came that the 20th and 30th stood ground." The next day Geer records that "they had whipped the rebels and drove them from the ground," and that they had "buried 180 rebels on the field." but still uncertain about Armstrong's intentions or his whereabouts, the Federals in Jackson remained braced for an attack several days after the Confederates were back in Mississippi.

For over one hundred years, veterans debated and local historians pontificated about who won or lost the Battle of Britton's Lane and whether or not Armstrong's Raid was a success or failure. By the strict yardstick of a classic cavalry mission, Armstrong did effectively harass, interdict, and destroy the enemy's supply line. In his report to General Sterling Price, Armstrong states "my loss was small," and he enumerates the capture of 213 enemy prisoners and the killing or wounding of 75 others. Sergeant Edwin H. Fay writes that the command "marched some 300 miles in less than ten days, fought two battles and three skirmishes, [and took] 350400 prisoners." But from the aspect of his classic cavalry mission to not become decisively engaged, Armstrong was unsuccessful. After the fight at Britton's Lane, where the Confederates lost at least 100 men killed in action (as compared to Federal casualties of 8 killed, approximately 50 wounded and more than 50 captured), Armstrong's men were demoralized. John Milton Hubbard of the 7th Tennessee writes,

The whole command was discouraged by the operations of this raid, and thought that, if we had gained anything at all, we had paid dearly for it.

On the days after the battle, several citizens of Denmark, among them a free negro named Shedrick Pipkins and a Mr. William Henry, buried twenty-three slain Confederates in a mass grave on the battlefield. Others were interred separately, and one account indicated yet another mass burial trench was dug some three miles from the site of the fight.

The diary of a fourteen year-old girl, who lived near the intersection of Steam Mill Ferry Road and Collins Road, describes the horrible aftermath of the fight at Britton's lane.

. many died last nite many was put in soil where they fell. it was to [sp] hot on bodies and many flies. awfull [sp] smel [sp] much sadness. Fences down, awfull [sp] flies new earth everywhere.

The Battle of Britton's Lane produced five men who would become general officers. Colonel (acting Brigadier) Frank Armstrong would shortly be made a full Brigadier General, and both William H. (Red) Jackson and Wirt Adams would rise to the rank of general during the war. On the Federal side, Colonel Elias S. Dennis would be promoted to general largely based upon his performance at Britton's lane, and his subordinate, Major Warren Shedd, who commanded the 30th Illinois at Britton's Lane, would also be a general before the end of the war. It is quite rare to find such a relatively small battle producing such a large number of general officers during the War Between the States.

Over the intervening century, the Battle of Britton's Lane and Armstrong's Raid have generated many fascinating stories that have remained alive in the oral tradition and written history of Madison County and West Tennessee. No one will contend that the battle at Britton's Lane determined the final outcome of the war but it forever changed the lives of the men who fought it and many of the citizens of Denmark and Madison County. Some lives were saved and many were tragically lost some careers were made and others were ended prematurely but in the final tally, Madison County holds its tiny share of history in what is perhaps the nation's greatest tragedy - The Civil War.

James D. Brewer
3058-B Von Steuben Pl.
West Point, NY 10996

  • Formed: March 2, 1857
  • County Population 1860: 3,133
  • Slave Population 1860: 36
  • Civil War Engagements
    -Suffered constant guerrilla warfare

Traditionally an area inhabited by Native American, principally Osage, the first white settlement in Howell County, Missouri took place in 1832 by James Howell, who settled near present-day West Plains. As the area he settled continued to grow over subsequent years, it was named Howell Valley. Early settlers’ farmed, collected wild honey, traded furs, and hunted wild game. Several businesses became prosperous, including a flour mill and a wool mill.

Howell County is located on the Missouri-Arkansas border. It contains natural fresh water, including the Eleven Point, Plateau, Current, and Gasconade Rivers. The soil is conducive to growing grains, fruits such as peaches and grapes, cotton, and tobacco. The area also has iron and zinc deposits numerous enough for development. Pine forests covered much of the county at the time of settlement, creating a good hunting environment that drew early settlers.

Howell County was organized on March 2, 1857, from parts of Oregon and Ozark Counties. It was named after James Howell, the early settler. The county seat is located at Howell Valley, the name of which was changed to West Plains. Howell was a growing community having 3,133 residents in 1860 and a slave population of 36 individuals. The county was still very young when the Civil War began. Because of its location on the Arkansas border, Howell County residents were predominantly pro-Confederacy. In July, 1861, Brigadier General James Haggin McBride held a recruitment meeting in Howell County. He declared martial law, and commanded all Union supporters to either join the Confederate army or flee, many citizens chose the latter. There were many Union supporters, however, who fought in the Confederate army because of McBride’s promises to protect their homes and loved ones. Men who openly spoke out against the Confederacy, including constable William Monks, were arrested.

There were no major battles in Howell County, though a federal fort established in West Plains caused many small conflicts. Guerrilla and border warfare was constant. Most Union women and children fled, along with other residents. Estimates show that there were probably less than 300 people left in the county at the end of the war. Most of the towns, including West Plains and the County courthouse, were burned during the war. After the war, railroad construction brought about an industrial boom. An ice plant, distillery, brick yard, cigar factory, and canning factory all became very successful.


After the battle, the whereabouts of James Andrews, a 30-year-old private in Company E of the 16th Maine, were unknown. Was he wounded or dead? A prisoner perhaps? "I think he was a Christian and if you should see him no more you will have the consolation that he will meet you in Heaven," Corporal George Williams of Company E wrote to Andrews' wife eight days after the battle.

More than a month after Fredericksburg, his commanding officer wrote this letter to Sophronia Andrews, who anxiously awaited news in Bath, Maine, of her husband's fate. The Andrews had three children: Cora, 5 Emma, 4 and Everett, 2.

Camp near Belle Plain, Va,
January 18, 1863

Mrs. Andrews,

Captain Archibald Leavitt:
"I deeply regret the loss
of such a brave and excellent
soldier." Leavitt died
of battle wounds in the
spring of 1864.
(Colby College collection)
In answer to your letter I will write you all I know in regard to your husband. He went into the fight near me and he kept in sight of me till about the time the order came for us to retreat. The last I saw of him he was firing at the rebels as fast as he could. When the order came to retreat I spoke to what few men I had left and told them to rally round the colors. Mr. Andrews started back at this command [and] as I learned from Lieut. [William] Brooks of my company he kept up with us till we had to cross the railroad where the rebels were concealed when we charged on them. (See above.) He had gone but a few rods beyond this when he was hit in the leg with a rifle bullet which disabled him from going farther. He asked my Lieut. to help him off, but he was at that instant himself wounded in the leg and could not render him any aid.

Your husband was severely though not dangerously wounded, and is without a doubt a prisoner, as he lay within the rebel lines so that we could not get to him when we returned after dark to carry away the wounded who were left on our retreat.

I deeply regret the loss of such a brave and excellent soldier. I have hope that he will soon return to his company and I feel quite sure that he is still living though a prisoner. Trusting that God will give you strength to endure the present loss of such a brave man as your husband.

I am,
Yours truly.
Captain Arch D. Leavitt
Co. E. 16th Regt. Me. Vols.

Andrews, whose body was never found, was declared killed in action. Leavitt, his commanding officer, died in Washington on May 30, 1864, of wounds suffered at the Battle of Laurel Hill (Va.)

SOURCE: James Andrews widow's pension file, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, via fold3.com.


Slaughter - Slauter Family Biography
by Carl W. Matthews
Submitted for use at this Website on Dec 1999

a biographical account of the life of

Francis Slauter is a name not often recognized in Navarro County, Texas history, but his name appears on many early land records of Navarro and several other Central Texas Counties. Francis Slaughter arrived in Texas December l, 1835 and was named "Chief Justice" of Robertson's Colony, responsible for filing deeds for land in more present day Texas Counties than one could imagine. (see notes)

Robertson County was formed in 1837 and organized in 1838. Almost every land transaction recorded in Robertson County from 1838 until January 1842 bore the official signature of Francis Slaughter. Those land transactions covered more than a little of frontier Texas. The deeds recorded by Slauter at the Courthouse at "Old Fort Franklin" represented the dreams of families who had left the comforts and safety of homes "Back East" to begin a new life in a raw and savage and unforgiving and hostile land area which was in Mexican Territory in 1835 and became The Republic of Texas in 1836.


l. Brazos l841 Part
2. Dallas l846 Part
3 Limestone 1846
4. Leon 1846
5. Navarro l846
6 Tarrant 1849 From Navarro
7. Ellis 1849 From Navarro
8. Falls 1850 From Limestone
9. Freestone 1851 From Limestone
l0. Johnson 1854 From Hill
ll. Parker 1855 Part from Navarro
12. Palo Pinto 1856 Part from Navarro
13. Hill 1853 From Navarro
14. Johnson 1854 From Hill
15. Hood 1861 From Johnson

Francis Slauter (1795-1842) must have descended from a hardy and adventurous family that was always seeking new frontiers. He was, also, one of many Slaughters who bore the name "Francis." The "First" Francis Slaughter wills identified in America were in Rappahanock Co Virginia in 1656, in Richmond in 1718, in Culpepper Co in 1766, and in Shenandoah Co in 1776. Some sources mention a Francis Slaughter living in Isle of Wight. a Coastal County. These dates indicate a constant move by the Slaughter family from the coast of Virginia to the frontier "over the mountains" and into the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia Wills reveals a Col. Robert Slaughter, who lived in Culpepper Co. Virginia who married Mary Smith in 1723, died in 1769, and left his estate to wife Mary, and three sons, Francis, Robert, and Thomas. A second Col. Robert Slaughter had served as a Lt. Col. in the French and Indian War and in the Virginia House of Burgess 1772-1775, quite possibly the son of the first.

The second Col. Robert Slaughter may have been among a group of settlers, many veterans of the Revolutionary War, who were given grants in The Kentucky Territory. Three hundred large boats of pioneers landed at the Falls of the Ohio River in 1780, a popular stopping place located near present day Louisville, Jefferson Co. Kentucky had but recently opened for settlement and many of the lands were given to veterans of the French & Indian War.

Military records from Kentucky state that a Robert Slaughter was mustered in September 1793 from the Cavalry unit headed by Capt. John Gordon. Three months later, September 17, 1793, Robert Slaughter, Esq., was licensed to practice law in Jefferson Co. This Robert Slaughter would not have been Col. Robert Slaughter for a Colonel would not have been serving under a Captain.

Some members of the Slaughter Family, apparently, remained in Kentucky. Gabriel Slaughter, whose relationship has not been established, was elected Governor of Kentucky 1816-1820.


1812 Francis Slaughter, Cpl. Perchal Hickman's Co. 1st Rifle Reg. Kentucky 1812 William B Slaughter, Pvt. Peter Jordan's Co Barbee Reg. Kentucky Militia 1812 Francis T Slaughter, Pvt. Peter Jordan's Co Barbee's Reg. Kentucky Militia 1812 Edmond Slaughter, Pvt. Peter Jordan's Co Barbee Reg. Kentucky Militia 1812 William H Slaughter, Cpl. James Ray's Co KY Mounted Vol. Col Sam South 1812 Francis I Slaughter, Cpl. Peter Dudley's Co, Boswell Reg. KY Vol. 1812 Francis Slaughter 2nd Cpl Peter Dudley's Co. Ky Mounted Boswell Reg. Ky Vol Detached 1812 Francis Slaughter, Pvt. Jacob Ellison's Co. Kentucky Mounted Infantry Col. Richard M Johnson

Robert Slaughter, Esquire, of Jefferson Co. Kentucky had a license to practice Law thee in December 1793. Seven months later, July 1794, a Robert Slaughter comes into the court of Davidson Co. Tennessee (Nashville) and is listed in the returns of the estate of one Malichiah Sutton. Two years later, March 16, 1796, Robert Slaughter purchases two hundred acres of land in Davidson Co. from Andrew Lucas. Davidson Co. records indicate that Robert Slaughter sold his land in July 1796 to Churchwell Hooper for Five Hundred Pounds. He, also, sold a slave boy on July 30, 1796 in Davidson Co. Robert Slaughter died in Davidson Co. July 21, 1806.

1793 Mary Hodge Slaughter born Mother: Sarah Hodge dau. Francis and Biddy (Mary Elizabeth)) Hodge 1795 - Francis Slaughter born (?)
1798 - Elizabeth Slaughter married Daniel Matthews - February 26 1798 - William H Slaughter born in Tennessee 1801 - William Slaughter married Peggy Carter March 2 1806 - Robert Slaughter died in Davidson Co Tenn 1806 - Sarah Slaughter born. died Maury Co February 22, 1877 1834 - Zeb Slaughter married Sally Matthews 1835 - Francis Slaughter married Minerva Catherine Matthews 1836 Millie Slaughter married Mastin (Martin) Matthews

1812 - Abraham Slaughter, Private East Tennessee drafted Militia
1812 - Bernard Slaughter 1st Reg. U S Riflemen Williamson Co .
1812 - John Slaughter Private, Volunteer Mounted Gunmen
1812 - Martin Slaughter Cpt. East Tennessee Drafted Militia
1812 - Reuben Slaughter Sgt. Volunteer Mounted Gunmen

Other Slaughters were identified as living in Mecklenburg Co. North Carolina in the late 1700's, an area from which many of the families living in Maury Co Tennessee in the early 1800's had migrated. A Mecklenburg Co NC reference mentions a Capt. Francis Slaughter whose will was probated in 1718 and who had lived at Isle of Wight. He is said to have married first Elizabeth Hudson and, second, Margaret Hudson. ?

George Slaughter is identified in Maury Co Tennessee in the 1820 U S Census. Francis, Andrew, and William are listed in the 1830 Census. Zeb Slaughter married Sally Matthews in 1834. Millie Slaughter married Mastin Matthews in 1836. Francis Slaughter married Minerva Catherine Matthews in 1835.

Many Slauter names appear in the ranks of those who served in the War of 1812 and Francis Slauter's name appears. He was nineteen when he enlisted Sept. 28, 1814 in the Militia under the command of Robert Evans. He was listed as a blacksmith from Franklin, Williamson Co. Tennessee. No information has been found regarding his discharge.

Three years later, at age twenty-three, he married Miss Gertrude Lowe in Nashville on September 11, 1817. The first child born to the union of Francis Slauter and Gertrude Lowe was a daughter whose name was Sarah L. Slauter, born 1819. Gertrude Lowe Slauter died at some point, possibly at the birth of Sarah L.

Three more years passed and Francis Slaughter married a second time. His bride was Lourania Evans, whose father was Daniel Evans, possibly a brother of the commanding officer under whom Francis had served in the War of 1812. Three children of record were born to this union. Daniel M. Slauter, born 1825. Lena (Linea) Slauter was born in 1828 and William W. Slauter in 183l.

Francis Slauter had contracted "the virus of excitement" about a land to the Southwest that offered great promise to those who could dare face the risks, the uncertainties, and the dangers involved. Francis Slauter had met a tall, handsome adventurer who made a trip to Texas in 1825. His name. Sterling Clack Robertson.

Robertson was born into a family of adventurers and entrepreneurs who had a hunger for political power. His father and uncles were the vanguard of settlers in the area that later became Tennessee. One uncle was Duncan Robertson, Governor of Tennessee. Another uncle was president of the Merchants Bank in Nashville. A young politician by the name of Sam Houston had been one of the original incorporators of the bank.

The Merchants Bank in Nashville had been responsible for the formation of a group of merchants, doctors, lawyers, and teachers called The Texas Association, a group desiring to create an empire in the Mexican province of Texas similar to what the Robertsons and other had created in Tennessee. Robertson made a visit to Texas in 1825, probably in company with Robert Leftwich who had been instructed by the Texas Association to obtain a contract from the Mexican government which would permit the settlement of professional people in a large area of Texas similar to what Stephen F. Austin had done.

Leftwich, accomplished the task..in his own name. and sold the contract to the Texas Association for $8,000.00. Political changes in Mexico brought changes in Mexican laws that restricted migration into Texas for a time, but in 1830 Sterling Clack Robertson gathered several families and the group traveled by horseback to the area obtained by Leftwich. The area. north of the El Camino Real (Old San Antonio Road) and between the Brazos and
Trinity Rivers covered thousand of acres of wilderness. Robertson led his initial group to a place just east of the Brazos and quite near the "Old San Antonio Road." He called his new town, Franklin, after a town southeast of Nashville, Tennessee.

Leaving the initial group at Fort Franklin, Robertson returned to Tennessee to recruit more settlers. Francis Slauter may have been an employee of Robertson in 183l for it was on March 26, 1831 that he served as a "witness" for an "indenture" by which Robertson took all but one thousand acres of land from a 4428 acres grant to be received by a settler from the Mexican government.

Three days later, March 29, 1931, Robertson paid passage on the ship, Criterion, for Francis Slauter and twenty-six others. The trip would entail travel north on the Tennessee River to Ashland, Kentucky. down the Ohio River. down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. Schooners..(sailing vessels with two or more masts). had established regular schedules to various ports on the Texas coast. Settlers for Robertson's Colony were, probably, landed at the mouth of the Brazos River and transported upstream to the ferry landing at the "Old San Antonio Road."

Some question exists as to whether Francis Slauter actually made the trip to Texas in 1831 for his name does not appear in the list presented to the Mexican Authorities at that time. His son, William M. Slauter, was born in 1831 and Margaret Lowe Slauter may have had some complications with the deliver of the child, a factor which may have prompted Francis Slauter to remain in Tennessee. This could well have been the time when Gertrude Lowe Slauter died.

Gertrude Lowe Slauter died at some point between 183l and June 2, 1835 for it was on that date that Francis Slauter married "Catherine Matthews" in Mary County, Tennessee. A note of interest is that Zeb Slaughter married Sally Matthews in 1834 and Mastin Matthews married Millie Slaughter in 1836..both in Mary Co. Minerva Catherine Matthews was the daughter of Robert Harvey and Mary Ann Stewart Matthews who had migrated to Mary County
from Mecklenburg Co., North Carolina c. 1808.

The first record of Francis Slauter being in Texas is found in a list of "new arrivals" to Robertson's Colony dated "Jany 8, 1836." The report lists Francis Slauter, aged forty, and from Tennessee. His wife, listed as " Manerva", is twenty-three. Three children are listed in the report: Daniel M. Slauter, aged ten Lena Slauter, aged seven William Slauter, aged four. The same list includes R. H. Matthews, age 21, from Tennessee and "family servants." Later documents report that the Slauters and Robert Harvey Matthews, brother of Minerva Catherine, arrived at Fort Franklin on December 1, 1935.

The first child born to Francis and Minerva Catherine Slauter was Robert Francis Slauter, born in 1836 in Texas. The second child, Mary Ann Slauter, was born in Tennessee, perhaps on a trip to visit Catherine's father, Robert Matthews, who died in 1839. Their third and last child was Louise Slauter, born in 1842, shortly before Francis Slauter completed his will.

Robertson's Colony must have been very small in 1835. Fifteen years later the 1850 Census registered a total population of "nine hundred thirty-four. six hundred forty whites. two hundred four blacks." Regardless of size, Francis Slauter was quickly recognized as a man with outstanding abilities and was, in a short time, made Chief Justice of the Colony. Slauter, as Chief Justice, was responsible for recording land transactions, probates of wills, and other matters of judicial and legal importance.

The office of "Chief Justice" was a prestigious position in the community, but it, apparently, failed to provide financial support to meet the needs of the Slauter family. Francis Slauter and his brother-in-law, Robert Harvey Matthews, engaged themselves in some type of retail store. The store sold corn for $1.00 a barrel. "Texas Money". The partnership, apparently, did a generous "credit" business. Accounts listed amounts from fifty cents to forty-one dollars and included many names that were prominent in Navarro County a century later.

James D. Matthews owed $41.00. James D. Matthews had married Martha Patricia (Patty) Matthews, his First Cousin and sister of Robert Harvey Matthews and Minerva Catherine Matthews Slauter. James D, son of Joseph Matthews of Maury Co Tenn., had arrived at Fort Franklin at some point prior to January 1837 when he ran for and won the position of County Coroner. 24 to 23. Other with accounts included:

J F Galloway another Mary Co, Tennessee native W M Cook whose families lived at Franklin and some settled in the Spring Hill area of Navarro county. James W Hill relative of Dr. George Washington Hill L B Prendergast whose name was later found in Navarro County George W. Morgan from Mary Co. Tennessee, whose relatives were killed by Indians in 1838 north of present day Marlin, Texas M I Treadwell who lived at Spring Hill and is remembered by Treadwell Branch that ran through the town James Graham who settled south of Dawson and whose grandson, James R.Graham, built a large home west of Dawson and opened "Graham's Park" to the public Thomas Flint whose descendents lived in Dawson for many years.

Francis Slauter lived only six years after coming to Fort Franklin, but he was to acquire several parcels of land during that time. He receive a grant for 4428 acres of land on July 29,184l. He owned l77 acres of land adjacent to three improved "Town Lots" in the Town of Franklin. He owned another 4602 acres of land. He had purchased 723 acres of land from Jesse Webb and another ll07 from the Jesse B Atkinson Headright. He held title to several Town Lots in Franklin in addition to the three where he resided and he held a "Quit Claim" deed to one half the Town Lots in the Town of San Augustine, Texas. His land holding included ll,067 acres and numerous "Town Lots" in two towns.

Francis Slauter was forty-seven when he began to write his very detailed will that covered seven handwritten pages. Francis Slauter was seriously ill and he was, apparently, knowledgeable of his condition. His will was signed on February 4, 1842 and witnessed by H R Persons, L B Prendegast, and Samuel S McMurry. He died at some point between February 4, 1842 and sometime in August when the will was filed for probate.

The preamble of his will was typical of many wills written in the 1800's and filled with beautiful, almost poetic language.

"REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, Robertson County: To all to whom these presents shall come. Know that I, Francis Slauter, a citizen of said County and resident of the Town of Franklin, being of sound mind and disposing memory, do make this my last will and testament and direct the following disposition to be made of the worldly estate which it has pleased God to entrust me with, (viz)."

Francis Slauter, judging him from his will, was a thoughtful and caring individual who made detailed preparation for every eventuality. He must have had some training as a lawyer for much of his will appears to bear the expressions of a legal mind.

His initial Article was to name an Executor and he named "my friend George W. Hill," Dr. George Washington Hill, born 1814 in Warren County, Tennessee. Some members of Dr. Hill's family may have arrived in Texas as early as 1830, but George Washington Hill remained in Tennessee where he attended a college in Wilson, Tennessee. He was to have studied medicine at Translyvania University in Kentucky, but no records of his having attended exist. He performed "services" for Robertson's Colony in 1835 for which he was paid Twenty-five cents. He served 1838-1839 as a representative from Robertson County to the Texas legislature and as Secretary of War & Marine for The Republic of Texas under Presidents Sam Houston and Anson Jones until the Republic was admitted to the United States in 1845.

Francis Slauter placed much confidence in Dr. Hill. So well respected was Dr. Hill that he was often named as executor on wills drafted in the county. Francis Slauter mention again and again in his will that "The Executor shall act as he sees fit." Dr. Hill eventually "Saw Fit" to marry Francis Slauter's widow. Dr. Hill and Minerva Catherine Matthews Slauter married November 17, 1847 and they lived together until his death in 1860. They had no children of their own, but Dr. Hill, apparently, served well in his role as father to the children of Francis Slauter. Dr.Hill referred in his will to Robert Slauter as "a dutiful step-son."

Slauter stated precisely the names of his heirs. The daughter by his first wife, Gertrude Lowe, Sarah L. Rankin who had become Mrs. John M. Rankin. Children by his second wife, Lourania Evans. Daniel M Slauter, Linea Slauter, and William W. Slauter. Children by his second wife, Minerva Catherine Matthews were Robert Francis Slauter and Mary Ann Slauter. He was careful to make provision for other children "as may hereafter be born in lawful wedlock of my wife Catherine Slauter." The concluding article of his will stated, "I hereby declare and name _______ Slauter, infant lately born of my wife Katherine M. Slauter, one of my heirs." That unnamed child, a girl, was later named Louise Slauter.

Slauter's will made provision for Catherine to remain in "reasonable possession, use and enjoyment of the three improved lots" located in the Town of Franklin "which I now reside." She was to "enjoy" the improvements on those lots and the Labor of Land (l77 acres) adjoining which Slauter referred to as "My Farm." She would be entitled to any additional six hundred forty acres contained in his estate. She would, as well, receive "two milch cows, four sows and pigs, and sufficient pork or large hogs..or aplentyful supply of meat for one year." Catherine would receive the household and kitchen furniture.

Slauter instructed that "My Negro woman, Viney, together with her present and future increase of children shall remain in possession of my wife Katherine free of charge for the term of four years." The provision carried two conditions: One, she would relinquish possession should she cease to become a widow, and, Two.".the negroes could not be ill treated." He stipulated that "They. the negroes. be well treated with respect."

The Executor was instructed to use the assets of the estate to provide his heirs with a "Good English education."

Daniel M. Slauter was twice given special mention in the will. Despite the fact that Daniel was seventeen at the time, Francis Slauter, apparently, had concern for his son's future. Daniel was to receive his choice of his Father's horses and his Father's bridle and saddle. He was, as well, to receive a "small rifle gun." Daniel must have had a hearing difficulty, possibly existing throughout his life. Francis Slauter instructed the Executor to use assets from the estate for any treatment that might restore Daniel's hearing.

One Article in the will mentioned that Francis Slauter was to receive a portion of the estate of George Hodge, then deceased, and formerly of Davidson Co. Tennessee (Nashville). Whatever portion he was to receive was to be upon the death of Elizabeth Hodge. He instructed the Executor to appropriate whatever was received from that source to "the common benefit of the heirs in this will mentioned." Who were George and Elizabeth Hodge. They may have been the maternal grandparents of Francis Slauter.

Francis Slauter was concerned as to where his children would live following his death and stated his wishes for each child. Sarah L.Slauter had married John M. Rankin June 20, 1833 in Mary County, Tennessee , came to Texas at some point , and eventually settled in San Augustine Co. Sons Daniel M. Slauter and William W. Slauter were to live with either of three relatives: William H. Slauter, brother of Francis John M. Rankin, his son-in-law or William D. Thomson, a relative who relationship is unknown. William D Thompson was listed as one of three hundred settlers brought to Texas by Robertson. Alexander Thompson was said to have been a partner of Robertson. Whoever took the two boys were to become their Guardian until the boys read the age of majority.

Slauter's will instructed that Linea (Lena) Slauter. then ten years of age. was to receive the Guardianship of Henry Smith of Monroe Co. Tennessee, a county located approximately one hundred fifty miles east of Maury County, Tennessee. Who was Henry Smith? William H Smith was one of the signers of the petition presented to the Mexican government verifying the character of Francis Slaughter. The Executor was instructed to use estate funds to "take any minor heirs to the United States should such become necessary." His children born by Minerva Catherine were to remain in her care.

Francis Slauter died April 25, 1842. His will was filed for Probate in August 1842 and confirmed on December 26, 1842. Alexander Patrick, J L McMurry, and Edwin LeRoy Patton were appointed by the court to inventory the estate and they made their report to the court on November 5, 1842. H Persons was serving as Chief Justice when the probate was finalized. Their report included the lands and Town Lots previously identified and named "Viney, the negro slave her daughter, Caroline and a three year old negro girl whose name was Adoline."

The inventory, also, included $600.32 due the estate from various "accounts receivable" both personal and from the partnership between Francis Slauter and Robert Harvey Matthews. The amount would not be substantial by modern standards, but would have purchased more than Twelve hundred acres of land in that day.

Francis Slauter was buried in Robertson County, but none of the graves registration lists bear his name. A stone marker was, without doubt, placed over his grave, but many of the old stones have weathered to illegibility and those individuals who remembered the location of the grave have long since gone to Glory.

Family history relates that Minerva and her three children moved into the home of her brother, Robert Harve Matthews and lived there until her marriage to Dr. Hill George Washington Hill on November 17, 1847.. Dr. Hill was heavily involved with the Republic of Texas until 1845 when the Republic of Texas became the 37th State of the United States. The date of their move to the area of Western Navarro County is not known, but, based on their marriage and the fact that Dr. Hill was named Postmaster at Spring Hill in 1848, it would appear that the move was made at some point in the fall of 1847 or early in 1848. The first burial in the cemetery located just north of Dr. Hill's cabin was in August 1848.

Dr. George Washington Hill, for whom Hill County, Texas was named, opened a Trading Post at the Indian Spring south of Richland Creek and was named the first Postmaster at Spring Hill, Texas in 1848. Dr. Hill died May 29, 1860 and was buried on two acres of land which he owned and which he, in his will, designated as a public cemetery. Minerva Catherine Matthews Slauter Hill died April 24, 1871.

ROBERT FRANCIS (Slaughter) SLAUTER.b. August l, 1836 d. August 6, 1883..continued to live at Spring Hill and is buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery. Robert Francis Slaughter was married three times and all three wives, apparently, died in childbirth and are buried at Spring Hill Cemetery. The markers above their graves are legible, but provide no clues as to the maiden names. Navarro Co. records reveal that Robert F Slaughter married Susan I Fullerton 17 March 1872. She was a daughter of Henry II (born in Ireland) and Nancy Walker Fullerton and a sister of Mary Jane Fullerton who had married William Clay Garner.

Robert Francis Slauter, son of Francis Slauter & Minerva Catherine Matthews Slauter, fathered the following children.

By L M Slaughter 1842-1864
Robert Frank Slaughter, 1859-187 buried at Spring Hill Cemetery.
Bobbie Anna Slaughter, born 1864-1884 buried Spring Hill Cemetery
married 3rd cousin, William Newton Matthews, Feb 10, 1883
Ottma Slaughter Matthews, their son born at Spring Hill, Texas on?.

By Susan Isabelle Fullerton Slaughter 1853-1878
James H. (Jim) Slaughter 1873-1934 Buried at Dawson Cemetery.
Cousin Jim married Katherine Ruth (Cousin Kate)Matthews, a cousin in 1898. They had no children. He was raised by his Mother's sister, Sarah Jane Fullerton who married William Clay Garner. Willie R. Slauter b. May 28, 1876 d. March 11, 1877 Henry Bell Slaughter 1879-1897. His father died when he was five and he went to live with Mary Ann Slauter Wheelock who was called "Aunt Puss" who had married George Ripley Wheelock. Henry Bell died Oct 17,1897 without issue. His will directed that his property be given to "Mrs. Mary Simmes" and "Jas. H Slauter." Mary Ann Wheelock's husband had died and she had become Mrs. Dan G. Simms by 1897 .

OTTMA SLAUGHTER MATTHEWS b. January l, 1884, became the only descendent of Robert Francis Slauter. His mother, Bobbie Anna Slaughter, died shortly after his birth and his Father, Cousin Will, carried him to Maury County, Tenn. where he lived with his Grandparents,"W R H Matthews, Southport, Tennessee" until Cousin Will remarried.

Ottma Slaughter Matthews married Flora Elouise Bankston and lived his life in Western Navarro Co. Texas as a successful farmer. Their children:

Bobbie Kenneth Matthews b. 1933
Billie Sue Matthews b. 1935 m. Cecil Sanders
James Herman Matthews b. 194l
Henry Newton Matthews b. 1945

MARY ANN SLAUGHTER b. April 7, 1838 Tennessee d. l9l0 Dawson, Texas

Married First..John Ripley Wheelock b. 18l9 d. 1889

Married Second Dan G. Simms (1864-1946) after the death of John Ripley Wheelock and before 1897. They had no children.

Mary Ann, named for her maternal grandmother, Mary Ann Stewart Matthews, was called "Aunt Puss." She had lived at Spring Hill from the time she was eight or nine years of age, but the family must have returned to Frankin for visits with relatives, Some members of the Slauter and Hill families remained in Franklin and it was probably on one of those visits that Mary Ann, not yet twenty, caught the eye of John Ripley Wheelock who was almost forty. Despite the age differences the two fell in love and were married in 1858. Their children and their families were:

Mary Olivia Wheelock b. l862 d. 1910
Married: W W Turner
s. Cliff Turner
s. Leonard Turner
d. Lizzie Turner
d. Sadie Turner
d. Pauline Turner
s. Wilmer Turner
s. Torrence Turner

Annette Wheelock b. 1864
Married: John R Smith Dawson Dry Goods Merchant
d. Verna Smith
d. Beuna Smith
d. Annie Smith
d. Joycie Smith
s. William Smith
s. Georgia Smith c1888 m. Dave Berry

Beuna Wheelock b. 1869 d. 1899
Married: Albert Berry
d. Carrie Annette Berry m. Mr. Foster
d. Mary Jane m. Mr. Hutchinson
d. M Hollis (Holly) Hutchinson RN JD Dallas TX
d. Theressa Berry
d. Mary Berry

John Ripley Wheelock b. 187l
Married: Lillian Ellura Wilkes
d. Theressa Ermadine Wheelock b. 1903
Married: Barney Wells 1920
s. Raymond Douglas Wells b. 1921
Married: Janet Woodall 1940
d. Cheryl Wells 194l
s. Gerald Wells l941
s. Weldon Earl Wells b. 1924
Married: Puselle Henley 1946
s. Weldon Earl Wells, Jr. l947
d. Ann Elizabeth Wells 1955
s. Johnnie Russell Wells 1956

Robert Harvey Wheelock b. 1874 d. 1880

LOUISE SLAUGHTER b. l842 d. August 2, 1867

Louise Slaughter was married c. 1857 to Robert A Younger (March 16, 1833) and had one child, Medora Younger, b. 1858.

A Warranty Deed given by "R H Matthews" dated Sept 25, 1860, granted to " R A Younger" "a certain lot of land." The "lot"covered approximately three acres and Younger constructed "a large brick storehouse." Robert A Younger joined the Confederate Army and was killed at some point during the Civil War. Louise died in l867.

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Harber’s History Lesson: Slaughter Pen was preeminent in Civil War history at Stones River

The ‘Slaughter Pen’ is located on the south side of the Stones River National Battlefield.

The term “slaughter” emanates cold chills down the spine of any individual in Rutherford County. Yet, slaughter was unending on December 31, 1862, with the perilous, bloodiest encounter of Union and Confederate troops in a heavy forest near the Stones River.

In a rally on the battlefield, a soldier’s cry rang loud and clear “show how a man can die.” Amid cursing and misery, young men died in a senseless encounter.

Federal Major Gen. William Rosecrans had great intentions to surprise the Rebel right flank and move their troops quickly down present-day Old Nashville Highway. Rosecrans directed soldiers under Major Gen. Thomas Crittenden across the Stones River to trick Gen. Braxton Bragg, who would certainly realize that most of his men were lined along to his left flank near Franklin Road.

On December 30, Rosecrans burned pseudo campfires in that region. In turn Bragg expected a definite encounter there and positioned his men away from center and right to strengthen the left.

In a twist of fate, Rosecrans’ orders turned in favor of Bragg, who attacked first in the morning of December 31. Bragg directed his left flank against Rosecrans’ over-exaggerated right, and Confederate troops quickly took control, while the Yankees were still having breakfast. Crittenden’s men had no chance to carry out the ruse.

From 6 to 10 a.m., Confederate soldiers forced the Federal right flank back toward Nashville Pike. At 10 a.m., Confederates captured 28 guns and 3,000 Union soldiers, yet the engagement was not over. By noon, Rosecrans realized the Rebels were dominating the right flank of his army, and his defense must be organized. He was not eager to be pushed beyond Nashville Pike with no escape route to Nashville.

Brigadier Gen. Philip Sheridan commanded the right-center division, while Gen. James Negley was in charge of a center line division. With good cover, concealment in the woods and strong artillery, Negley’s men became strong, forcing the Confederates into a frontal assault. These combined soldiers of Negley and Sheridan held on for two hours under heavy fighting, giving Rosecrans the time needed.

Initially, Sheridan’s brigades gave ground to the Confederates on the south. The Rebels positioned artillery within 200 yards of Sheridan. Negley faced east, and the V-shaped formation doomed their efforts.

With the Rebels near and surrounding the Federals, Rosecrans sent stubborn orders “stand your ground and hold the line.” Outnumbered three soldiers to one, the Union held tight, while Rosecrans prepared a new line of defense on Nashville Pike. The Union ran out of ammunition and fought by hand with bayonets, knives and knuckles.

In the end, both Confederates and Union had lost 40 percent in casualties. All three of Sheridan’s commanders were killed, and several Union units lost more than one third of their soldiers.

The Slaughter Pen site was comprised of large rocks and sinkholes. This limestone outcropping and slate bedrock is identified as karst topography and is an unusual setting for Civil War combat.

These rocks formed natural waist-high trenches that were extraordinary.

After the massive Confederate attack at the end, Union soldiers retreated, while the Rebel infantry shot men dead, leaving bodies piled in these rocks. Blood ran thick in the cracks of unforgiving stones. Federal soldiers stated the scene of carnage reminded them of the cattle pens of Chicago where these animals were held in confinement as they awaited slaughter.

Ghosts of soldiers in the Slaughter Pen are said to have been seen since the fateful day of battle. Reported sitings of these phantoms recently are quite stirring for re-enactors within this cedar thicket. Slaughter Pen has been said to be 10 to 20 degrees colder than the surrounding park. There is no warmth remaining in the devastation of war.

The Slaughter Pen is pivotal within the story of Stones River.

The thick, cedar forest was surrounded on three sides that collapsed with no Southern victory. When the battles concluded on January 2, 1863, there were 12,900 casualties for the Union and 11,700 for the Confederates.

The Civil War was uncivil in Murfreesboro with no winners or losers. Many of these Union and Confederate soldiers were not yet 20 years old. The bloodshed of the Slaughter Pen is engraved on our Stones River Battlefield in hallowed ground forevermore.

Watch the video: The American Civil War - OverSimplified Part 1


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