Gill Family History
William "Billy Bud" Gill
A Confederate Family goes to Brazil
From the Levelland notes: "(Uncle Fleet said that Pa was in North Carolina when he was discharged from the Army, so he must have been with Joseph E. Johnston when he surrendered at Bentonville, N.C., after Hood’s barefoot retreat from Nashville. History tells us that when the men were discharged to return home, they received one Mexican dollar and twenty - five cents for those four bloody years of war. Faye said that Pa was quite a “walker” for he walked all the way home to Waco, Texas from North Carolina, stopping by Tennessee to visit relatives.)"
It was estimated that fewer than one hundred officers and enlisted men were still with the 7th Texas Infantry when they surrendered at Bennett's House, Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865. Of the eleven thousand who served in the Texas Brigades only four hundred and forty survived to be at the surrender. According to a listing of soldiers who were present with his command at the last surrender, William "Billy" Gill was not present. That does not negate the possibility of his being in North Carolina or even at the parole area. On April 2nd Richmond fell and Gen. Lee surrendered and for all practical purposes the fighting ended. It was 26 April before Gen. Johnson and Gen. Grant successfully negotiated the surrender. It was not until May 2nd that the paroles were issued, and the trek home began for the majority of Lee's command.
The walk home was shared by most of the parolees
Notes made at Levelland, Texas
21 October 1960 at Uncle Fleet Gill’s House
“Grandpa Gill came to Nacogdoches County, Texas in 1833, from Tennessee. (This is William Steven Gill, born July 17, 1811, died June 13, 1866. He married Solia Eavens on Feb. 29, 1864. Solina Eavens parents were William Eavens and Ophelia Harrison, both of Virginia. William Eavens parents were David Eavens, from Scotland, and Jane Watson from Kentucky. William Steven Gill was in the Mexican War and it is his name that is on the San Jacinto Monument in Houston, Texas.)
“Pa (William Alexander Gill, father of Gene Gill, Fleet Gill, and Billie Frost) was injured at Vicksburg. A shot hit him in the chest, but his big silver watch took the blow and saved his life, though the flesh all around was shattered.
(William Alexander Gill had enlisted in the Confederate Army early in 1861, Company “A” 7th Texas Infantry, Gen. Granbury’s Brigade. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Fort Donelson, but made his escape from prison camp and rejoined his regiment at Port Hudson.) (Fort Donelson battle was Feb. 12 to 16, 1862.)
“The South had held Vicksburg for 8 months. (Nov.1862 to July 1863). A chain across the river had stopped the gun boats & the South still held 200 miles of the river (Miss.) and Vicksburg. They were completely surrounded by Grant’s army - 3 lines, and had been on ½ rations for months. Now they were out of food and ammunition, the chain had finally been cut and the gun boats had driven them from the River’s edge. The Captain called for a volunteer to take a message through the enemy lines to Gen. Joseph E. Johnson and Pa was the only one that volunteered. Pa was a big man, tall, extra wide shoulders. The Capt. Wanted a smaller man for he felt he’d have a better chance to slip undetected through the enemy lines, but he had to take Pa as no one else offered to go.
“Under cover of darkness, Pa slipped out and waited his chance. The two sentries would pass each other, then the 1st man would call out “All’s Well” & the 2nd would answer him. He jumped the 1st Sentry, knocked him out and broke his gun, then answered his call. Then he knocked out the 2nd man. He used the same tactics and made his way through all three lines to safety. (I find this in my notes “Jess Coleman of Comanche watched Pa escape to safety”, but I don’t know whether this was his escape from Fort Donelson or through lines at Vicksburg. Which was it, Uncles/)(In history notes I see that prisoners taken at Fort Donelson were sent to 3 different prison camps, I.e.: Camp Chase, Ohio; some to Camp Butler, Ill., and some to “Johnson’s Island.” I’d like to know which one Grandpa escaped from. Anyhow, after he escaped, he met up with 8th Texas Calvary under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and joined them, fighting with them for several months. It was Gen. Forrest who is said to have “Cut his way out and escaped with his command” at Fort Donelson. He refused to surrender. He was probably the greatest Confederate Cavalryman & to him is attributed this formula for victory: “Get there fustest with the mostest men!” Pa met up with (the) 8th Calvary in Kentucky. After several months with the 8th, he rejoined the 7th in time to be in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. It was in this battle that Pa’s horse was killed. This was one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
“At the Battle of Vicksburg they called for volunteers to man the guns. Sharpshooters were picking off the men as fast as they manned the guns. Pa teased Capt. & said “I’m not big and able bodied.” He was the biggest one there - not fat. He took over the gun and manned it. He was (an) expert sharp shooter. (At home, he dilled chickens for meals by shooting off heads with carbine type Winchester 44. He used this gun all through his Ranger Service.)
Page 2 - Notes taken 10-21-60 at Levelland.
(Uncle Fleet said that Pa was in North Carolina when he was discharged from the Army, so he must have been with Joseph E. Johnston when he surrendered at Bentonville, N.C., after Hood’s barefoot retreat from Nashville. History tells us that when the men were discharged to return home, they received one Mexican dollar and twenty - five cents for those four bloody years of war. Faye said that Pa was quite a “walker” for he walked all the way home to Waco, Texas from North Carolina, stopping by Tennessee to visit relatives.)
Pa married Fannie Garlington at the close of the Civil War. Her family was from Mississippi or Louisiana & had settled at Waco. They were neighbors in McLellan County. The first time Pa saw Fannie was the result of their (Pa and Brother Ed) finding a package of candy in the road. They followed the wagon tracks, looking for the owner, and it led them to the Garlington place. The parents had been to town and bought the candy for the children, losing it on the way home. Pa met Fanny, who was very beautiful. They danced many a set during their courtship. They went to Brazil with a small band of Patriots in 1865. Their ship, containing 370 odd people, was ship-wrecked in Cuba. When the storm was over the ship was one mile from the water. They posted watch at night, taking turns. One night Pas was one of the men on watch and they caught a Brazilian carrying off their belongings. They knew they were supposed to turn him over to the authorities but the man begged so piteously because under Brazilian law he’d be thrown into a dungeon for 4 or 5 years. Pa and the other man guarding the prisoner talked it over and decided to let him escape. They pretended to be asleep and the prisoner slipped away. Immediately the “Discovered” him to be missing, so the other guard pretended to shoot at him so he would run faster. They found the prisoner dead where one shot had accidentally reached him. Soldiers came and investigated, trying to find out who actually killed him. But no one except Pa knew for sure that they hadn’t. Pa hadn’t fired his gun, so he hid in the ship until the soldiers were gone so he wouldn’t have to swear a lie about the incident.
Pa, being such a good “walker,” was chosen to help select a site for their new home. They walked around 1000 miles up the Amazon River looking for a place to settle. The two men selected 3 places from which a final choice was to be made. The first was Santa Rem; 100 miles further was another site, west of San Paula. Here they left their canoes and had to travel across country; the site they finally selected was named “America Villa.”
They planted crops and found that the ground was as fertile that two sweet potato slips would cover a whole acre. The Brazilian Government did not treat the new settlers as well as they had promised, so most of the families returned to America. Pa & his family stayed 4 years. Two children were born in Brazil: Willie Antonio and Charlie Tillman. Charlie Tillman was named for Charlie Tillman who was a Democrat, Governor of South Carolina & running for President of the United States. Charlie died and was buried in Brazil.
Willie was burned to death after the family returned to Texas. He was about six years old - Uncle Gene said he could remember seeing it happen. Willie was trying to start a fire with coal oil, caught fire and burned to death. This happened at Comanche.
When the family first came back from Brazil they moved to Waco - at Bosqueville Plantation - fall of 1870. Uncle Gene was born here December 14, 1870. Carl was born at Bosqueville about 1873, died when he was about 16. I see in the notes Grandma Gowan gave me the following: “They left Willie and told him to be sure and keep a good fire in the big range cook stove. Willie poured kerosene on the fire - it exploded. Uncle Gene was right behind him - tried to help him - he ran and & hired man caught him. They put out the fire. A Weaver Cousin rushed to his aid, too, but he died.”
Two reasons influenced Pa’s decision to return to this country. The first was letters he received from his sisters. He had signed his part of the estate over to them (Cousin Laura Garrett told me that the first time I saw her.) so they could get an education. His sister Harriett had married Winfield (Pony) Scott, a lawyer, and after Pa went to Brazil, Pony had disabilities removed so all the girls could sign papers about the estate. The girls signed whatever he asked them to, not knowing they were signing all they had over to him. The girls finally wrote Pa an told hem they’d thought they had some property when their father died, but had learned they had nothing at all. It was too late to recover any of it. Scott had nothing when he married Harriett Gill, but got wealthy on the Gill property and lived to be a “big man” around Kerrville.
The other reason was the death of Pa’s 18 year old brother, Charles, who had been dilled, shot in cold blood. Pa decided he was needed in Texas. His Mother had written, begging him to return too. Pa’s sister Kate married Oakley, Sister Laura married Garrett, and Marie (Marion) married Phil Steveson and they separated.
Pa was a Texas Ranger for 2½ years . He kept a Diary of his entire service, but it was lost in the Stamford area when Uncle Fleet moved from there. There were 40 men in Pa’s Ranger Squadron. I William A. Gill, Corporal, Company C, Texas Frontier Battalion. It was through this service that Mama was able to get Grandma Gowan her pension, which was granted 20 Feb, 1932 and continued until her death. Such pensions were approved under the Act of March 3, 1927, number 1695247, Indian Wars Pensions, Bureau of Pensions. [Grandma’s Pension was No.1695247 - pension file No XC 2 642 173, William A. gill, 3072/212B1.])
Pa’s ranger Company was 40 days on one Bivouac at Ranger Lake, New Mexico. They had one of the biggest hails in history. The men had no place to hide - nothing to get under - so they held their saddles over their heads for protection. Pa got rheumatism so bad he couldn’t ride - got bad sick and couldn’t be moved from camp. The men wouldn’t go without him, but hat to ride a distance from camp after water. One day they returned with water and found Pa gone. They couldn’t imagine what had happened to him, but a man named Witt Springer had come by in a wagon, found him, loaded him into his wagon and had taken him home.
In 1918 Uncle Fleet and papa (Homer L. Frost) went into a café in Breckenridge. An old white-headed man sitting alone at a table raised up and introduced himself to Uncle Fleet. When he heard Uncle’s name was Gill, he told him that the best friend he ever had was named Gill. He turned out to be Witt Springer, the man that had brought Pa home. Uncle Fleet got to know (& Uncle Gene) all the Springer brothers, Jim, Ned, Witt and John.
Pa was a Democrat and quite an electioneer. Once 2 Yankees, (Capt, John Roach and Ed Royce) decided to waylay him on the road and kill him. They did waylay him & argued and John drew a six-shooter on Pa. Pa opened his knife, exchanging words with them, and John called Pa a liar. Pa jumped at him and swung at his throat took his gun, disarmed the other man, then left them there. They later became the best of friends especially John Roach. Who was one of the best friends Pa ever had. John even changed from a Republican to a Democrat under Pa’s influence.
End of Levelland Notes
Dear All: If there are inaccuracies, I will appreciate your indulgence and correction of same. I was trying to take notes , yet miss nothing both wonderful Uncles were saying, so I’m afraid my notes were pretty incomplete. Bit I loved trying to get it all proper anyhow, and hope there will be another time when I can do better. Love to all Buena (Frostie) Strange.
On the back of the letter was pinned.
Dearest Dottie: (my mother Dorothy Hensley)
This is the story of Grandpa Gill’s service in the civil war. Every word is true, told to me by Uncle Fleet and Uncle Gene.
Love - Frostie
Gill Family History
William “Bud Billy” Alexander Gill
The Civil War Years
The war did not just start with the rise of the 7th Texas Infantry. It can be assumed that for the men that volunteered for war there must have been some sympathies for the cause. It can also be assumed that the community embraced the same sympathies. I do not have a diary or letters from the Gill family, but there is several copies or excerpts if the local newspaper the (Marshall) "Texas Republican" and it's counterpart the (Marshall) "Harrison Flag" published between the 1860 - 1861 period. I have also looked through as many other papers printed in Texas that I could find on line. These include the following: Alamo Express (San Antonio); Austin State Gazette (Austin); Bellville Countryman (Bellville); Cairo City Weekly News (Cairo); Clarksville Standard (Clarksville); Galveston Weekly News (Galveston); LaGrange (LaGrange); Ranchero (Corpus Christi); San Antonio Herald (San Antonio); Texas Baptist; Tyler Reporter (Tyler); The Crisis(Galveston). In all except the "Harrison Flag", the editorial staff were pro-slavery. The emotional headlines were about either the northern attempts to rile up the slaves and turn them against their owners, or efforts to better build the patriotism for the Southern cause.
The editorial staff generally framed the articles around the North instigating the Negros of the South to rebel and either overthrow their masters or escape to the north. To be in favor of the abolition of slaves was to be an enemy of the South and Texas. Here are some examples from around the State of Texas.
ALAMO EXPRESS [San Antonio, TX], August 18, 1860, p. 3, c. 1
Hung.—It is reported that the gentleman who was in our city some weeks since, engaged in the laudable undertaking of selling maps, has been hung in Eastern Texas, for tampering with negroes. He hung many a map with all our country on it, and at last was hung himself.
ALAMO EXPRESS [San Antonio, TX], September 10, 1860, p. 1, c. 1
Two persons were recently hung in Robertson county for tampering with negroes.
ALAMO EXPRESS [San Antonio, TX], September 10, 1860, p. 1, c. 6
A vial of supposed poison was found in a well-bucket, at Mr. Thompson's place, in Forkstown, one day this week. A meeting of the Vigilance Committee of that beat was called to investigate the matter. Nothing definite was discovered at latest dates. Let everybody be on their guard. Lincolnites must have been about recently.—[Bellville Countryman.
Muggins found an old jack-knife the other day. His suspicions are aroused to the highest pitch, and he says, "let everybody be on their guard. Lincolnites must have been around recently."
ALAMO EXPRESS [San Antonio, TX], September 10, 1860, p. 2, c. 3
Significant.—A correspondent of the Gazette, writing from Fairfield, makes the following significant remarks:
"We are, however vigilant and are guarding our village every night, and expect to do so until the November election."
That is just what we have been telling people that this infernal agitation about the "Abolition plot" was only gotten up for effect, and that it would die out after the election.—Intelligencer.
AUSTIN STATE GAZETTE, January 26, 1861, p. 2, c. 3
Milledgeville, Jan. 19.—The Ordinance for the immediate secession of the State of Georgia passed to-day with the following vote: Ayes 208; nays 80. Majority 119. There is great rejoicing throughout the State. Guns are being fired, bells tolled, Lone Star flags unfurled to the breeze, and every manifestation of joy at the welcome verdict.
AUSTIN STATE GAZETTE, January 26, 1861, p. 4, c. 3
A Southern Marsellaise.
Ye sons of the South, awake to glory!
Hark! Hark! what thousands bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary,
Prevent their tears, and save their cries!
Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
With sectional hosts, a ruffian band,
Affright and desolate our land,
While peace and liberty lie bleeding!
To arms! to arms! ye brave!
The avenging sword unsheath!
March on! march on! all hearts resolved
On victory or death!
Now, now the dangerous storm is rolling,
Which treacherous men confederate raise;
The dogs of faction loose, are howling,
And lo! our homes will soon invade.
And shall we basely view the ruin,
While lawless force with guilty stride
Spreads desolation far and wide,
With crimes and blood his hands imbruing!
To arms! to arms! etc.
O, Liberty! can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy generous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts and bars confine thee,
Or threats they noble spirit tame?
Too long the South has borne, bewailing
That falsehood's dagger Northerns wield,
But freedom is our sword and shield,
And all their arts are unavailing.
To arms! to arms! etc.
BELLVILLE [TX] COUNTRYMAN, July 28, 1860, p. 2, c. 1
Excitement in Northern Texas.—By an extra from the office of the Brenham Enquirer dated the 23d inst., we learn that [tear in paper] excitement in Northern Texas [tear in paper] an insurrection movement among the negroes, led on by white men. Enough has been discovered to show that a deep laid plot was on the eve of being consummated to free the negroes and destroy the whites. The insurrection was to take place on the election day in August. The burning of the town of Dallas on the 8th inst., and of Denton, Pilot Point, Belknap, Gainesville, Black Jack Grove, etc., has been traced to the agency of these emissaries. With such warnings about us it is time to beware. Let every citizen and every member of the households in our County be on the look-out—be vigilant, be watchful. There are many itinerating strangers among us. Some pretending to follow one occupation and some another. They may be spies and fiends intent on the destruction of our homes, our property and our lives. No harm can result from "Eternal vigilance."
P.S.—We learn since writing the above, that a meeting has been held at Hempstead, to devise ways and means on these matters. What will our people do?
BELLVILLE [TX] COUNTRYMAN, August 4, 1860, p. 2, c. 6
The Abolition Plot in Texas.
We extract the following from a letter to the Houston Telegraph, from Dallas, giving further particulars of the extensive Abolition plot discovered there a few days ago:
The outhouses, granaries, oats and grain of Mr. Crill Miller, were destroyed a few days after the destruction of Dallas. This led to the arrest of some white men, whose innocence, however, was proved beyond a doubt. Several negroes belonging to Mr. Miller, were taken up and examined, and developments of the most startling character elicited. A plot to destroy the country was revealed, and every circumstance even to the minutiae, detailed. Nearly or quite a hundred negroes have been arrested, and upon a close examination, separate and apart from each other, they deposed to the existence of a plot or conspiracy to lay waste the country by fire and assassination—to impoverish the land by the destruction of the provisions, arms and ammunition, and then when in a state of helplessness, a general revolt of the negroes was to begin on the first Monday in August, the day of election for the State officers. This conspiracy is aided and abetted by abolition emissaries from the North, and by those in our midst.
The details of the plot and its modus operandi, are these: each county in Northern Texas has a supervisor in the person of a white man, whose name is not given; each county is laid off into districts under the sub-agents of this villain, who control the action of the negroes in the districts, by whom the firing was to be done. Many of our most prominent citizens were singled out for assassination whenever they made their escape from their burning homes. Negroes never before suspected, are implicated, and the insurrectionary movement is widespread to an extent truly alarming. In some places the plan was conceived in every form shocking to the mind, and frightful in its results. Poisoning was to be added, the old females to be slaughtered along with the men, and the young and handsome women to be parceled out amongst these infamous scoundrels. They had even gone so far as to designate their choice, and certain ladies had already been selected as the victims of those misguided monsters.
Fortunately, the country has been saved from the accomplishment of these horrors; but then, a fearful duty remains for us. The negroes have been incited to these infernal proceedings by abolitionists, and the emissaries of certain preachers who were expelled from this county last year. Their agents have been busy amongst us, and many of them have been in our midst. Some of them have been identified, but have fled from the country; others still remain, to receive a fearful accountability from an outraged and infuriated people. Nearly a hundred negroes have testified that a large reinforcement of abolitionists are expected on the first of August, and these to be aided by recruits from the Indian tribes, while the Rangers are several hundred miles to the North of us. It was desired to destroy Dallas, in order that the arms and ammunition of the artillery company might share the same fate.
Our jail is filled with the villains, many of whom will be hung and that very soon. A man was found hung at our neighboring city of Fort Worth, two days ago, believed to be one of those scoundrels who are engaged in this work. We learn that he had stored away a number of rifles, and the day after he was hung a load of six-shooters passed on to him, but were intercepted. He was betrayed by one of the gang, and hence his plans were thwarted. Many others will share his fate.
I have never witnessed such times. We are most profoundly excited. We go armed day and night, and know not what we shall be called upon to do.
STANDARD [CLARKSVILLE, TX], February 4, 1860, p. 2, c. 4
It seems that Mr. Mills of Navarro, has found it necessary, in his place in the State Legislature, to define the position of the people of Northern Texas upon the Slavery question. We were not before this aware that the people of Northern Texas required any definement of their attitude in this respect, but suppose that of course Mr. Mills had heard something which called out his remarks. The debate arose upon a bill to grant 200 acres of land to actual settlers upon the frontier. We suppose that individuals could be found, here and there, having anti-slavery prejudices; but we have never met with one yet, in Northern Texas, who expressed them, in our hearing, and we imagine that the number is quite small. There is no danger of the growth of any such sentiment or prejudice in a slaveholding community; where persons can see the actualities of slavery; the sickly sentiment is grown upon fallacies, at a distance from the realities, the close observation of which, would obliterate all such poorly founded fancies. It does not matter what part of the Union a man comes from, or with what notions he was indoctrinated when he left home. Let him live in a slaveholding community for a few months, and he will be ready enough to acquire negro property whenever opportunity is favorable; and he will be oppressed with no qualms of conscience in so doing. There is no room in any sensible man's mind for such romantic fancies, after he sees and knows what slavery really is, and what slaves are by the organization of the Supreme ruler, who suited their capacities and tastes to their position, and unfitted them for any other.
"I have heard some of my friends upon the floor, who are honest in their opinion, object to this measure, because the atmosphere of the State has been poisoned with the idea that the people who are settled in that upper country, are not sound in relation to the peculiar institution of the South. I apprehend that this is all a mistake. So far as my knowledge of that country extends, the people in the Northern part of the State are more sensitive upon the subject of slavery, than those in the vicinity of Austin, or any interior portion of the State. Abolitionists, and their incendiaries and emissaries, have taken advantage of these slanders that have been circulated generally over the State, to the injury of that section, and believing them to be true have attempted to go to that country and indoctrinate the people with their treasonable sentiments. Some of these individuals have lately shown themselves in that region, and on every occasion (and I defy contradiction) where their incendiary objects were made known to the people, they have been driven away and expelled from their midst. They were driven out of Dallas county, out of Cooke, out of Fannin and out of every other portion of that country where they have made themselves known. And I warn such gentlemen have been lecturing to respectable audiences and receiving applause in the city of Austin not to go to that country, for if they did they may receive an invitation from the people of that region to visit the nearest black jack in the vicinity. If the gentlemen who had [illegible] boldness to address a letter [illegible] city to the President of the United States, acknowledging that he had been principal secretary of an organization having for its object those which were developed in the late insurrection at Harper's Ferry—I say if he had written that letter in the midst of that people, he would have paid for it by the forfeit of his life. I want gentlemen to reflect on fact—and the apportionment committee will bear me out in it—that the people of Northern Texas, have increased more rapidly in the last eight years, than those of any other portion of the State. And why is it Mr. Speaker, that their population augments so fast and has become so overwhelming? It is answered thus, sir: within the last eight or ten years the abolition spirit in the Northern portion of this Confederacy has been increasing; it has been resisted, however, until within the last six or eight years, by the conservative and patriotic citizens of that section. They have fought gallantly, but they have at last fallen before the foe. For a long number of years they stood in serried columns around the Constitution and the Union. Now they are crushed down and overwhelmed by an all powerful majority. Many of them have left the homes of their infancy and youth, as the Puritans left England, to escape persecution, on account of the faith that was in them. Many of them have come among us because they were patriots devoted to the Constitution of their country, and wished to live where the common sentiment around them was congenial with their own. They have settled in this Northern country because the soil and climate is adapted to the growth of such products as they have been accustomed to all their lives. And from the fact that these slanders have been circulated all over the State, and even found an echo in this hall, they have become more sensitive on the subject of Slavery than the citizens of any other portion of the country. And, hence, they have adopted every measure, and made use of all the means in their power, to prove that the settlers in their section of the State are not at enmity with that institution, which is the very life blood and existence of the whole South. I have felt it my duty, as it has been suggested by friends that these reports are having their influence on this very measure, to endeavor to disabuse the minds of the members in relation to this slanderous charge brought against the people of that portion of the country.
[LAGRANGE, TX] TRUE ISSUE, January 20, 1860, p. 2, c. 2
We learn that the negro man who was forcibly taken from Mr. Henry Munger, of which mention is made in our local columns, returned to his master, Mr. Sample. We think that he should be made to give some information of the persons who attacked Mr. Munger, as it was surely a very great outrage, and public safety demands that this matter be investigated.
[LAGRANGE, TX] TRUE ISSUE, January 20, 1860, p. 2, c. 3
Mr. Henry Munger hired a negro man from Mr. Sample, the negro rebelled and attempted to use an ax. He was disarmed, however, but ran away. Mr. M. pursued and caught him in this place. He bound him and started home with him on Sunday night, when he was waylaid on the outskirts of our town, assaulted by rocks and other deadly missiles, and the negro effected his escape. This is a most dastardly outrage, and if possible the perpetrators should be ferretted [sic] and severely dealt with. The negro [was?] allowed too many liberties. It [illegible] that our authorities should put a stop to the nightly prowlings and thefts of [illegible] slaves.
TEXAS BAPTIST [Anderson, TX], April 6, 1860, p. 2, c. 4
During the past session of our court, nineteen negroes chose masters for themselves and were made slaves for life. Wise choice, far better than to sink to the level with the free blacks of Canada and the North.
[GALVESTON, TX] THE CRISIS, September 10, 1860, p. 3, c. 3
A Contrast.—When John Brown made his unsuccessful raid into Virginia, Henry A. Wise, then Governor of that State, brought all the weight of his great influence and all the power of the State to bear to bring the offenders to merited punishment and to preclude the possibility of further outbreaks. Will the citizens of Texas contrast the action of Gov. Wise with the "masterly inactivity" of the present Executive of this State? While his organ at Austin and some of his most prominent partisan friends are plastering over the abolition incendiarism and attempts to excite the servile population to insurrection and massacre, Governor Houston has neither uttered a word of rebuke, nor has so much as suggested a single measure of protection or defense! What does this mean?
It can be seen from the above articles that there was a pro-slavery feeling throughout the State of Texas prior to the Civil War.
We do know the Gill family owned slaves and a good part of their wealth was derived from the labor of these men and women (see "The Early Years" - according to the 1860 slave census they owned fifteen slaves and three slave houses. Four of those slaves were reported fugitives). It has also been shown that this was not a recent addition, but had gone back at least one other generation to his grand-father who also was a slave owner in Kentucky. It has been debated that the secession of the South was a State's rights issue and has little to do with slavery, but for at least this family, the slavery issue hit hard at their live style and their pocket book.
As reported in the "Intrepid Gray Warriors" (Chapter 1 page 8 paragraph1 - and footnote 10 of the same chapter) "The men of the 7th Texas possessed a very small stake in the future of slavery with only 9 percent of the entire original regiment owing slaves."
When looking at the community around the Gill family, it is easy to see the leaning of the community. Here are some examples of the articles from the [Marshall] "Texas Republican" beginning in early 1861, and the development of the "Bass Grays" which would also make up a part of the 7th Texas Infantry.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, January 26, 1861, p. 2 c, 4
Hung in Effigy.—On Thursday morning an effigy of Abraham Lincoln, duly labled [sic] and covered with various devices, was to be seen hanging upon a temporary gallows within the enclosure of our Court-house square. It was gotten up we presume by some of the "b'hoys" during the preceding night. A bad representation of Abraham; stout and fat while [illegible due to scratch in film] raw-boned, and cadaverous. Thus would the Abolition President himself be served were he to enter a Southern state, and yet there have been, and perhaps there are yet some, who hope to find him a conservative President; the chief executive of the entire Union. Such figures are disgusting and unsightly and ought not to remain pendant for a great length of time. If we had the original we would not hang him longer than half an hour.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, February 16, 1861, p. 2, c. 3
When the news reached Marshall that Texas had failed to follow promptly the glorious example of South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the Lone Star Flag was lowered, draped in mourning, and hung at half mast, to express the mortification of our people at the action of the Convention.
On the occasion of the departure of the W.P. Lane Rangers, the first of the units commissioned from the area, a flag and address was presented by the ladies of the Marshall area. The following article gives an insight to the temper of the public at that time.
Miss Sallie O. Smith:
The undersigned Committee, in the discharge of a pleasing and acceptable duty to themselves, and in behalf of the citizens of Harrison county, respectfully request a copy of the beautiful and patriotic address delivered by you in the presentation of the Flag of the Confederate States, to the W. P. Lane Rangers, on last Saturday morning.
The Revolution of 1776 was distinguished by the heroism and self-sacrificing spirit of your sex. It is gratifying to know and feel that the same spirit burns in the bosoms of their descendants; and that if the present revolution is to be marked by similar difficulties, trials, and dangers, that the fair ladies of the South will bear a part equally as memorable and glorious.
You have spoken for the ladies of Harrison county, and we believe that "the thoughts that breathe and the words that burn" in your address, will find a patriotic response in the hearts of your sex throughout the limits of the State.
A. W. Crawford,
L. R. Ford,
W. P. Lane,
Marshall, April 22, 1861.
Gentlemen: Your polite note of this date, requesting for publication the address which your kind partiality prompted me to deliver to the gallant "W. P. Lane Rangers" on the 20th inst., is before me.
Under ordinary circumstances, I should feel that a production so hastily written, and prepared amidst so many distractions and engagements as attended the preparation of this, would be more appropriately consigned to the privacy and oblivion of the boudoir, than to the scrutiny of public gaze. But the kindness of your invitation and the courteous and flattering terms in which your request is conveyed, overcomes my scruples and deprives me of option.
The address is at your disposal. If this ephemeral, the offspring of a sudden effervescence of patriotic spirit, has to any extent satisfied the expectations of the Committee and will in any degree requite their gallant attentions upon the occasion of its delivery, the highest ambition of the writer will be realized.
With very great respect for you, gentlemen, individually and collectively, I am your friend and obedient servant,
Sallie O. Smith.
To Messrs. A. W. Crawford, W. P. Lane, L. R. Ford, E. Greer.
Citizen Soldiers—W. P. Lane Rangers:
We come to greet you this morning as the gallant inheritors of the renown and valor of the Alamo and San Jacinto!
The tocsin of war again echoes oe'r our vales; again the manes [sic?] of slaughtered innocence and outraged humanity invoke your vengeance. The war whoop of the savage and the still more demonic yell of the dastardly Mexican call for retribution.
Again the wail of woe breaks upon your generous ears. The tented field is invoked. The morning breeze and the evening zephyr, as they wing their flight from the wilds of the far West, come in tears. Tainted with the scent of blood, they bear the sad tale of conflagration and carnage.
To arms! To arms! the patriot heart and the patriot tongue respond.
Hail, then, chivalry of Texas! All hail ye brave sons of heroic sires!
Our own patriot heart swells with generous pride, as we survey your manly forms, and fancy that we behold a hundred swords buckled to your sides, eager to leap from their scabbards to avenge the wrongs of savage violence, inflicted upon the widow, the orphan, and the patriot.
Think you our hearts are untouched by magnanimous, disinterested, heroic daring? Believe it not. Know that beneath these slender forms which ordinarily your gallantry "suffers not the winds of Heaven to visit too roughly," there slumbers no indifference to your fame, your fortune or your achievements. No! no! no! In behalf of a thousand bounding and exultant hearts, in behalf of the tender mothers, wives, sisters, loved,--and it may be betrothed, ones—you leave behind; in behalf of the more than ten thousand female hearts who this day pray God speed your patriotic toils, I come to present you this pledge, a pledge designed by patriotic hearts and wrought by patriotic fingers, that they will neither forget nor forsake you; our prayers and our contributions shall follow you. Through we wield no sword, and direct no unerring ball upon the field of battle, yet, be assured that in our bosoms burn a patriotism as lofty—a courage, in our appropriate sphere, as daring—and a heroism as chivalric, as that which nerves the brawniest arm which wields the battle-axe, and cleaves down the foe upon the field of carnage. I would it were my privilege to-day to buckle every sword to your heroic sides, to engrave upon every blade, "semper paratus"—"always ready," to tender to each of you a talismanic flag, and were I permitted to do it, would say—and every true Southern woman's heart would bound in response to the sentiment—bear this where glory waits you; let no faltering hand or timid heart ere sully its brightness. Do battle under its inspiration, and if you fall, fall amidst its trophies, make its folds your winding sheet, and "look proudly to Heaven from that death bed of fame."
Gentlemen, the occasion awakens exciting and spirit-stirring memories and associations. Who has not studied with admiration the miracles of prowess and valor achieved by Texan heroes? They are world renowned. Fame, with her thousand trumpet tongues, has no prouder note to sound. Amid this throng to-day are heroic Rangers, gallant survivors of former cohorts, who endangered life and limb in their country's service. Their scarred and wasted forms point to the death scenes of San Jacinto, Monterey, Buena Vista, Saltillo, and Mexico.
Heroic Lane, and your brave companions in arms! Though no sculptured urn—no monumental marble, transmit your names to future generations, still, remember, that when your once stalwart frames and iron nerves shall have crumbled into dust, posterity, as her sons shall again tread the heights of Monterey, Buena Vista, Mexico, or San Jacinto, will regard those grounds as eternal mausoleums, reared by the hand of God himself, as imperishable monuments to your valor and patriotism.
Then, the valorous cohorts of Texas went forth under the guidance of that Lone Star which shone so long and so gloriously upon her fortunes, and so triumphantly conducted her to the Bethlehem of safety.
To-day, that hallowed luminary, around which cluster so many proud associations, shines in yon political firmament, girdled by six sister stars of the first magnitude. And that dazzling constellation, rising upon your vision to-day, like the seven stars in the celestial firmament, beckons you to the field, and bids you "like reapers descend to the harvest of death." How propitious its rising! Hopeful as the bow of promise which once spanned a deluged world.
Rangers, the occasion is suggestive. Omens of fearful portent hourly salute us. Every gale which sweeps from the East is burdened with the machinations and menaces of maddened and discomfited Fanaticism.
The Northern Bear so lately startled from his lair, and so recently crouching and growling before the harbor of Charleston, pretending to await the favorable moment to seize and rend his prey, has wisely taken counsel of his prudence rather than his valor, and ingloriously sought refuge under cover of a tempest. In the terror and perturbation of his flight, he abandoned his half-starved bantlings kenneled in Fort Sumpter, and consigned them to the tender mercies of Charleston cannon, shells, and sabers.
All hail to the gallant Beauregard! Standing upon the ramparts of Charleston, he showed them, not the head of Medusa, but the still more appalling image of his deep-throated engines of death, gaping wide their hideous mouths charged with ten thousand thunders, and disgorging thunder-bolts, plagues, iron globes, leaden hail, and villainous saltpeter. Astounded and dismayed, they forgot resistance, dropt their idle weapons, and begged for leave to live.
Patriots of the Southern Confederacy, sound loud your notes of granulations—
"Raise high your torches on each crag and cliff;
Let countless lights blaze on your battlements;
Shout, shout amid the thunder of the storm,
And tell the dastards what to hope."
A brave people take no counsel of their fears. The Leonidas of the South, surrounded by twenty thousand Confederate sons, fearless and determined as Sparta ever knew in her palmiest days, now guards that Southern Thermopylae. On its ramparts waves that seven starred flag, and sooner than it shall trail in submission to the mandates of tyranny, or one abolition track contaminate the soil which it protects, the blood of a hundred thousand Southerners will fatten the soil and dye the waters over which it floats!
Nor will the fury of the contest end there. When your strong arms shall all be palsied in death, and your dead bodies lie piled in hecatombs upon the beach there,--and let the Lincolns and Sewards and Garrisons of the day hear it and tremble—then some Southern Pentheailea [?], some Joan—not of Arc, but of Texas; some Boadices, burning with Southern fire, shall leap from her retirement, and full panoplied, like Pallas from the head of Jupiter, shall brandish her saber and call, like avenging spirits from the deep, another hundred thousand heroines to avenge the wrongs of their brothers and their country.
We will not, like Volumnia and the Roman matrons, approach the enemy's camp as suppliants, but rather in embattled squadrons, raging with the fire and fury of desperation, rush with dagger in hand and achieve victory or immolation.
Let the world know that Southern fathers and Southern mothers, Southern sons and Southern daughters are not to be enslaved or subdued upon Southern soil,
Volunteers of the "W. P. Lane Rangers" accept this Flag. I tender it to you in the name of the fair and the brave.
In the desert and on the mountain, in the city and in the forest, let it be your passport and your protection. On the field of carnage, where the roar of battle is loudest may this flag float high and long. And when in conflict with the foe, your gallant leader shall cast his eyes upon those stars and contemplate their import, and his bosom shall kindle with a more generous rage, and his saber shall gleam with refurnished radiance, may you his brave companions in arms, catching renewed inspiration from the same source, bear it victorious o'er every battlement and fortress which it assails. Follow where those propitious omens shall lead you, and when the renown of its career shall be chronicled, then shall some Southern Sapho strike her lyre and link your deeds to immortality. If in sustaining its honor you fall, as some of you may fall, then, as the young Ascanius during his long sleep was borne by the Goddess of Love and Beauty to Ida's consecrated mount, and laid amidst the flowers and fragrance of that hallowed retreat, so shall your memories be embalmed upon the proudest heights of Parnassus, enchanting minstrelsy shall attune your praises, and poetry and song shall shed immortal fragrance and glory around your names.
Our parting injunction to you is, that you emulate the heroic example of the gallant leader whose worthy name you bear.
God speed the heroic enterprises of the W. P. Lane Rangers!
Mr. Holcomb's reply was warm and glowing. That flag would remind him of home, of kind friends, dear relatives, and warm hearts. Could the soldier look upon a flag thus consecrated, and fail or falter in his duty? They would think of the fair forms to whom they were indebted for that gorgeous ensign of their country and their country's rights, and honor. Never would they sully or dishonor it. We hoped to publish the speech but failed to obtain it.
The Rangers were accompanied to the outskirts of town by the Marshall Guards and large number of citizens. A brief, pointed and eloquent address was there delivered by Mr. T. J. Beall, when the Rangers took up their line of march for the west. We have no doubt that if duty calls them into action they will give a good account of themselves.
[Roll of the W. P. Lane Rangers]
The May Day celebrations also proved to be a time of unification for the Confederate cause.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, April 27, 1861, p. 2, c. 4
The Flag of the Confederate States was raised at Sherman, Grayson county, Texas, on the 9th, and was hailed by the firing of guns, and the general rejoicings of the citizens. Northern Texas is rapidly becoming a unit.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, April 27, 1861, p. 2, c. 4
Military Spirit at Jonesville.—May day Celebration.—One of the finest drilled companies in this section of the State, composed of the young men of Jonesville, has been organized and offered to the Governor of the State of Texas. These are about forty members at present, and it is desired that the full complement shall be raised as early as possible. In accordance with [line lost to scratch in microfilm] will take place at Jonesville on the first day of May. The young ladies of the vicinity are preparing a banner which will be formally presented by one of their number, and an address is expected from a gentleman of talent.
In addition to these attractions, there will be a May Day Celebration in which a May Day Queen will be crowned. The Marshall Guards have been specially invited to attend, and the invitation is extended to the public generally. We have no doubt there will be a large attendance, as the Railroad leaves early in the morning, and can carry any number of persons.
In the mean time the Marshall Guards, and by inference the Waco Guards, were not being idle, but were in fact drilling and in other ways preparing for war.
Headquarters Marshall Guards,
May 1st, 1861
At a meeting of the Marshall Guards, at their Armory, the following proceedings were had:
On motion, Capt. F. S. Bass in the chair, a committee of three was appointed, consisting of K. M. Van Zandt, J. N. Coleman, and G. McKay, to draft resolutions relative to their trip to Jonesville. On motion the Chairman was added to the committee.
The committee offered the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, the Texas Hungers, on the occasion of the presentation of a flag to their Company, by the ladies at Jonesville, on the 1st of May, having invited the Marshall Guards to be present on the occasion; and whereas the gentlemanly Superintendent of the Southern Pacific R. R. Co., C. E. Hynson, having presented the Company with a free ticket over the road till the 1st of January 1862, therefore,
Resolved, That the thanks of the Company were hereby tendered to the Texas Hunters for their invitation, and the kind and gentlemanly manner in which we were treated on said occasion.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this Company, that the material which compose the Texas Hunters, their proficiency in drill, their superior horsemanship, with sixteen shots to each man, render it pretty certain that when called into active service, there will be "somebody hurt."
Resolved, That the thanks of this Company are tendered to C. E. Hynson, Gen. Supt., for the free use of the Railroad to and from Jonesville, for the extra preparation on our account, and for his gentlemanly and polite attention to us as a company.
Resolved, That the Secretary furnish a copy of these proceedings to the Editor of the Texas Republican, a copy to Capt. Winston, of the Texas Hunters, and a copy to C. E. Hynson.
F. S. Bass,
K. M. Van Zandt,
J. N. Coleman,
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, May 25, 1861,p. 2, c. 7
To Young Soldiers.
How to prepare for the Campaign.—"An Old Soldier," in one of our exchanges makes the following pithy hints to young volunteers, and they should be heeded.
1st. Remember that in a campaign more men die from sickness than from the bullet.
2nd. Line your blanket with one thickness of brown drilling. This adds but four ounces in weight and doubles the warmth.
3rd. Buy a small India-rubber blanket (only $1.50) to lay on the ground or to throw over your shoulders when on guard duty during a rain-storm. Most of the Eastern troops are provided with these. Straw to lie upon is not always to be had.
4th. The best military hat in use is the light colored soft felt; the crown being sufficiently high to allow space for air over the brain. You can fasten it up as a continental in fair weather, or turn it down when it is wet or very sunny.
5th. Let your beard grow so as to protect the throat and lungs.
6th. Keep your entire person clean; this prevents fevers and bowel complaints in warm climate. Wash your body each day if possible. Avoid strong coffee and oily meat. Gen. Scott said that the too free use of these (together with neglect in keeping the skin clean,) cost many a soldier his life in Mexico.
7th. A sudden check of perspiration by chilly or night air often causes fever and death. When thus exposed do not forget your blanket.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 1, 1861, p. 2, c. 1
For the Ladies.
As Col. E. Greer is now engaged (by order of Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War) in organizing a regiment of volunteers, who will leave for the field of battle, in ten or fifteen days; it behooves us all to assist in every possible way those who are leaving all, and risking all in defense of our rights, our homes, and all that is dear or sacred to us on earth; and I would humbly suggest to our lady friends, who are ever ready to encourage and assist in all humane labors, that they meet at the Court House, next Tuesday, at 3 o'clock, P.M., for the purpose of supplying lint, bandages, and all such articles as may be useful to the sick and wounded.
Will not some of our physicians be present, as their advice would be useful.
W. C. Dunlap.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 1, 1861, p. 2, c. 1
Don't forget to save garden seeds, for if the war continues, it will be impossible to get them next year. Besides, we must, in any event, learn to live without the North.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 1, 1861, p. 2, c. 3
Departure of the Marshall Guards.
On Tuesday morning last, the Marshall Guards under the command of Capt. F. S. Bass, took up their line of march to join the Confederate army. Capt. Bass is a proficient in military tactics, having for years taught a military school, is a brave man, and will make an excellent and efficient officer. We are not personally acquainted with every individual in his command, but we are satisfied that he has some as good and true men as ever went forth to battle, and we do not doubt that every member will prove himself worthy of the noble cause.
The ladies of Marshall, several weeks ago, sent off the money for the necessary materials to make a beautiful flag for this company, but failed to get it. As the Company were about to leave, a number of them prepared a flag with such material as they could get. It was not very fine but the young men will remember the warm hearts of the fair donors, and it will appear beautiful to them.
Between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning, the company assembled on the public square, to receive this flag, and the fond "good-bye" of relatives and friends. It was an interesting and imposing sight. War's dread clarion has summoned them to the field, and men resolved "to do or die," may never return again. Hands clasped hands in expressive silence; many of the assembly were melted to tears. Col. Alexander Pope, in behalf of the ladies of Marshall, presented the flag, with an appropriate and eloquent address, in which he reviewed briefly the causes of the war, and the necessity of action; applauded the Guards for their patriotism; assured them that those left at home would sympathies with all their movements; that if they fell, their friends would follow to avenge their deaths; and that if they too fell, the children of the country, trained to arms and drilled for the emergency, would, in turn, fill their places. In fine, that the South would suffer extermination before subjugation.
The Marshall Guards, were this reaches many of our readers, will be in New Orleans, and perhaps half-way to Virginia. They carry with them the warmest wishes and highest hopes of our people.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 8, 1861, p. 1, c. 7
At West Point, Georgia, a company of Jews are organized, and an oath taken by the members requiring half an hour in the reading. A splendid banner was presented to the company, bearing the inscription "Jehova nissi"—"God is with us," and the Ensign on receiving it took a solemn oath to plant it on the Capitol at Washington, or die in the attempt.—Baltimore American.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 8, 1861, p. 2, c. 6
Departure of the Marshall Guards.
R. W. Loughery, Esq.
Dear Sir:--The Marshall Guards, after leaving home reached Swanson's Landing, where they expected to take a boat the same day for New Orleans. They were disappointed, however, and did not leave there until Thursday morning. The steamers Texas and Fleta, were both above, and the company expected to take passage on the Texas; she did not get down until Wednesday evening, and when she came, she refused to land. She had on board Capt. Clopton's company, the Star Rifles from Cass, besides considerable freight.
After the Texas left, the Guards, believing that she had other reasons besides that of low water, for refusing to take them, held an indignation meeting, and passed resolutions condemning the boat, and requesting their friends behind to withhold their patronage from her in future. They dispatched two messengers that night to New Orleans, with their muster roll, one to go by Vicksburg, the other to go on the Texas. But when they reached Shreveport, they found that it was the intention of the Texas to take them down, and that she would wait their arrival, which she did. The company reached there on Thursday evening on the Fleta. The Guards appointed a committee to wait on the Captain of the Texas, for an explanation, which he gave to their satisfaction—the boat is therefore exonerated from all blame.
Our two Texas companies were received by the Shreveport Sentinels, and the three together, marched through several of the principal streets, then back to the wharf where several patriotic speeches were made. Col. Austin and Col. Landrum spoke for the citizens, and Capt. Clopton responded in behalf of his company, and T. P. Ochiltree for the Guards. Tom never appeared to a better advantage than on that occasion. He was loudly cheered by the citizens, and particularly when he alluded to their deserted streets, as the best evidence of the patriotism of their people, and, sir, the streets of Shreveport are deserted; inquire for some friend, and you were told he was at Pickens, in Virginia, or at some other place ready to die for the South. The ladies were present in great numbers, and when Tom concluded his speech, beautiful bouquets fell at his feet, from all directions.
At 12 o'clock on Thursday night, our company went aboard the Texas, and she left immediately for New Orleans. Our company expecting to get a boat at Swanson's, carried no provisions with them—but several gentlemen of the neighborhood were there, and went immediately home and sent in provisions by the cart-load, and continued to do so until we left. The company wish to return publicly their thanks to Capt. Winston, Levin Perry, Col. Hood, Maj. Andrews and others, for their kind and hospitable treatment; and particularly to Mrs. Mary F. Swanson, who furnished provisions in abundance, and also beds and blankets for the men to sleep on—and before we left on Thursday morning, she presented to Capt. Bass, for the use of the men, a considerable sum of money, and as the boat moved off, three cheers were given to the fair dame, that made the welkin ring. I heard several of the boys declare it would be a luxury to fight, and if necessary to die, in defense of the rights of such people as live in the neighborhood of Swanson's Landing.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 22, 1861, p. 2, c. 3
Bass Grays.—This company, named in honor of Capt. F. S. Bass, who is now in Virginia, in command of the Marshall Guards, is now fully organized, and will, in a short time, be handsomely uniformed. It is commanded by Capt. K. M. Van Zandt. The material for the uniforms is now on hand. Several of the Marshall ladies have expressed their willingness to make it up for the company, and there are doubtless other ladies who would take pleasure in assisting in this patriotic work. All who are desirous of thus assisting will please send in their names to the committee, composed of Messrs. Pope, Horr, and Talley. The names can be left at Ford & Horr's, or at Bradfield & Talley's.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 29, 1861, p. 2, c. 4
Artillery Company.—The Germans of Marshall will meet on Monday night, at the Armory, for the purpose of organizing an Artillery Company. Several of these Germans have seen active service, are thoroughly drilled artillerists, and all that can do so, are solicitous of serving their adopted country, in the existing war.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, June 28, 1861, p. 2, c. 7
The following was handed us by Hon. W. T. Scott, upon his return from New Orleans. We are also indebted to him for late city papers.
The "Marshall Guards" (Texas) desire to return their sincere thanks to Mrs. Stevens and Mrs. McCants, managers of the "Ladies Sewing Society," for the Confederate States Army, No. 82 Camp Street, New Orleans. Also to Mrs. H. Parsons, who volunteered especially for the "Marshall Guards." These patriotic ladies have been constantly engaged for the last ten days in making our uniforms, and doing all in their power to equip us expeditiously as possible; none of them have enjoyed the comforts of home during that period, but have been constantly engaged in their noble task, to fit us out for the war.
Col. S. H. Peek, (Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines,) was also liberal and generous in his attention to us; kindly giving the use of five machines, and competent hands to the Ladies of the Society, for the benefit of the Guards' uniform.
Mr. R. Pitkin, wholesale clothier, Camp St., also desires our thanks for his attention to us while in the city.
To these noble, self-sacrificing, and patriotic ladies, Mrs. Stevens, McCants, and Parsons, as well as the many ladies who have assisted them in their laudable endeavors to send us out in "harness" to the battle field, we again return our heart-felt thanks. We will ever remember them, and cordially commend them to the people of Texas.
With such heroines inspiring us with their Spartan firmness, and gentle sympathy in the glorious cause in which we are engaged, we cannot but succeed.
All hail to the noble matrons of New Orleans.
S. W. Webb,
C. S. Mills,
B. S. Pope.
Committee on Uniform.
Col. Scott, we understand, contributed $200 to the purchase of the material for these uniforms.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, July 20, 1861, p. 2, c. 2
The "Bass Grays."
On Monday morning this company left for Col. M. L. Locke's encampment at the Chalibeate Springs, in Upshur county. On Saturday evening a flag was presented them by the ladies of Marshall, through Hon. C. A. Frazer, who made a very sensible, well-timed, practical, patriotic speech, which was responded to, in behalf of the Company, by Mr. S. Lassiter, whose effort has been highly spoken of by those who heard it. Judge Frazer expressed his gratification at the course pursued by the Governor in ordering all the troops likely to be called into active service into encampments. In his opinion, it was the best and most sensible move that had yet been made. . ..
"The 7th Texas (Infantry) was raised by thirty-three year old John Gregg in 1861. The nine companies that formed the regiment were mustered into confederate service at Marshall, Texas, during the first week of October 1861 (There seems some point of conflict. According to information received from the Confederate Museum [see appendix b] the 7th Texas Infantry was organized in both Waco and Marshal, Texas and was mustered into Confederate service at Waco). William A. Gill, according to the National Archives (see attached records) enlisted on 2 October 1861 at Marshall, Texas, and would have enlisted for a period of three years or the duration of the war. This agrees with the Loveland Notes, "William Alexander Gill had enlisted in the Confederate Army early in 1861, Company “A” 7th Texas Infantry, Gen. Granbury’s Brigade."
The companies that made up the 7th Texas Infantry:
A Company led by Captain H. B. Granbury "Waco Rifles"
B Company led by Captain R. S. Camp "Texas Patriots"
C Company led by Captain E. T. Broughton "Johnson Guards"
D Company led by Captain K. M. Van Zandt "Bass Grays"
E Company led by Captain Jack Davis "Cherokee Rifles"
F Company led by Captain W. H. Smith "Lone Star Rebels"
G Company led by Captain W. L. Moddy "Freestone Freeman"
H Company led by Captain W. B. Hill "Texas Invincibles"
I Company led by Captain J. W. Brown "Sabine Grays"
I was able to get this insight from "Intrepid Gray Warriors: The 7th Texas Infantry, 1861 - 1865"
"The companies that arrived in Marshall during the last weeks of September 1861, contained rugged frontiersmen who believed they were ready to face the harsh realities of war. Although these units had received little training and only a few had engaged in drills with more than one company, some notable exceptions did exist. The Bass Grays had participated in joint exercises at Chalybeate Springs in Upshur County, with Rusk's "Sabine Blues" and Wood's "Rough and Readies," in preparation for the possible call to service. Some of the other companies, such as the Lone Star Rebels and Sabine Grays, had practiced with other militia companies. After seeing men from other units, Lieutenant J. Sam Norvell of the "Waco Guards" stated in a letter home, "we are dark and rough looking like we were prepared for almost anything, the others are as fair and delicate as though they had never seen the sun in their lives."
Unlike today's army, the volunteers would have been required to bring their own equipment including their own fire arms. "Each volunteer furnished a gun, preferably a rifle instead of the popular and prevalent double-barrel shotgun, and a large knife. For these the War Department agreed to provide reimbursement. Men brought anything they could find, hoping the Confederate Government would replace their old or broken weapon with a new rifle at some future date." (Intrepid Gray Warriors: the 7th Texas Infantry, 1861-1865 by James Lynn Newsom; page 4 paragraph 2). The unit was helped by a call for arms in the (Marshall) Texas Republican.
This article was a plea by Col. Gregg for arms to supply his unit prior to departing for the war.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, September 28, 1861, p. 2, c. 2
An Appeal to the Citizens of Harrison.
Col. Gregg's Regiment will be ready in a few days to march to the seat of war. But one thing remains, and that is the question of arms. No one doubts that the services of these men, and tens of thousands of others are needed immediately, and that unless they are placed promptly in the field disastrous consequences may follow. The Confederate Government has exhausted its supply of arms, and the question is presented, will they be furnished from the private arms in the country?
The late inventory of the private arms in the State, instituted under the order of General Clark, has proved conclusively that there are a sufficient number of guns in Texas to army every company that may be sent to the war, and leave a sufficient number behind for home defense. This inventory exhibited what no one would have believed in reference to this county, in which it was found that there were between twenty-one and twenty-two hundred guns, with the number in one or two precincts not reported. Say [illegible due to fold] in Gregg's Regiment get off there will not be over 700 men left in Harrison capable of bearing arms, showing that this county alone can furnish 1800 guns and have enough left to arm every man remaining at home.
It is desired, therefore, that every man who has a gun that he can possibly spare, will bring it in without delay, and deposit it at the store of Messrs. G. G. Gregg & Co., or at Messrs. Bradfield & Talley's, where it will be examined, and a fair price allowed for it in Confederate paper.
The undersigned deem it unnecessary to make an appeal to the patriotism of the people. Men who volunteer for the defense of the country, ought not to be kept idle for the want of arms, and the man who stays at home, and is unwilling to surrender his gun for such a cause, is, to say the least of it, a poor patriot. But we want our fellow citizens to be prompt so that the Regiment may not be unnecessarily delayed.
J. F. Womack,
G. G. Gregg,
J. B. Webster.
The need for arms and supplies plagued the Confederate Army from the beginning. It was also an issue with the 7th.
The Waco Guards were a Civil War company organized from McLennan County. Sworn into service on October 1 and 2,1861, in Marshall, the unit had four officers and 71 men. According to History of Company A, 7th Texas Infantry, The Waco Guards by Tim Bell, "the men who would later form the Seventh Texas (infantry) were sent from Marshall to Memphis, and from there to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where Albert Sidney Johnston, the overall Confederate commander in the west, was trying to build an army and secure Kentucky of the Confederacy."
What set the Waco Guards apart from their Texas brethren were buttons affixed to their jackets and coats. The two-piece buttons had the words "Waco Guards" surrounding a lone five point star. According to Tom Holder's book Lone Star General this belt plate has been associated with various central Texas military units both pre-war, war-time, and post-war. Although normally attributed to men serving in company "A" (the Waco Guards) of the Seventh Texas Infantry, the plate may have been used by early ranger companies from 1860 through the Civil War and possibly worn by Texas Rangers well into the 19th century.
A majority of buckles were found in Franklin, Tennessee and Nashville. Others came from families of descendants in the Waco area whose ancestors were members of the Waco Guards. They were often made of nickel or silver, and some were gold-plated like this one.
Waco Guards belt plate, ca. 1861-64
Courtesy of Texas Museum of Military History, San Antonio
Displayed on the Museum's second floor through September 2012
Photograph courtesy of Cheryl Bowman Nesmith, San Antonio
On the same day the 7th. was requesting additional arms to further the cause, the "Texas Republican" was making an effort to comfort those families left behind, and to think ahead for those who may not return.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, September 28, 1861, p. 2, c. 2
To the Benevolent.
The reputation of Harrison county is pledged to the support and protection of the families of those who have gone forth to fight the battles of the country. Several of these require aid. Besides, there are widows, with large families of children, who have been thrown out of employment by the times, and unless they receive assistance, must suffer.
It is our duty as a Christian community to take care of these worthy people, and to see that their necessities are provided for.
Articles of food, clothing, or money sent to this office, under the direction of Messrs. Gregg, Pope and Dunlap, will be properly distributed.
Our citizens have frequently made up enough for a single barbecue, to feed these families, with their own assistance, for twelve months. Corn meal, flour, bacon, lard, potatoes, eggs, butter, in fine anything to eat will be acceptable. Every family in good circumstances can send something.
And then a month after the Waco Guards left the following article appeared.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, November 2, 1861, p. 2, c. 2
Every family in Harrison county requiring assistance, will please make their wants known to the Relief Committee, who will take pleasure in doing all that they can to render their condition comfortable. Let none be deterred by false delicacy, from claiming assistance.
The following list of articles will be found convenient to those who are desirous of contributing to the Relief fund, to wit: corn, corn meal, wheat, flour, beef, pork, mutton, sweet and Irish potatoes, turnips, cabbage, peas, butter, honey, eggs, chickens, dried fruit, rice, hominy, salt, sugar, molasses, coffee, tea, lard, fish, pickles, and in fact any and everything fit to eat. Wood is very much needed at this time. Cannot some who live close to town send in a few loads
This was also a time to begin thinking about the coming winter and the conditions the troops would be facing in the more northern latitudes. Many of the men had never ventured away from the East Texas area, and would not have taken or been issued the proper equipment. Therefore, the call went out for blankets and warm clothing to be shipped to the troops in the field. This would not only warm them, but it would also make it clear that they were being supported and thought highly of by the "home folks."
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, September 21, 1861, p. 2, c. 1
Bring in the Clothing.—The clothing Committee requested us to state that the clothing for the volunteers is ready to be sent off. They are only waiting for a few suits that have not been brought in, and they desire us to urge the parties who have taken them to make up, to send them in as early as possible. They have a few suits for the Marshall Guards not taken out, which they are anxious to have made up, and they wish the attention of the Ladies called to it. An ample supply of shoes, ordered from the city, are expected in a few days, when the clothing for the different volunteer companies will be forwarded without delay.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, September 21, 1861, p. 2, c. 1
We hope that every family in Harrison county will contribute every blanket they can spare to our noble, self sacrificing, brave volunteers. Supply their places with comforts, and send in the blankets without delay. Winter is nearly upon us, and our soldiers are stationed in rigorous latitudes, where they will need every blanket we can send them. It will never do for those at home to be surrounded with every comfort, and our friends abroad, engaged in the defense of all that we hold dear, to be suffering. Let us make them feel that our hearts are with them and the glorious cause which they are defending, and that all that we possess is at the service of our country.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, September 21, 1861, p. 2, c. 4
What the Ladies of Marshall Did.
Before Col. Greer's Regiment left Texas, the ladies of Marshall prepared of box of lint, bandages, &c., which was sent with the baggage of the soldiers. The contents of this box proved very valuable after the battle of Oak Hill. Col. Greer, in a private letter thus alludes to it, and to the flag presented to the Texas Hunters by the ladies of Jonesville.
"I was in Springfield yesterday, and visited our hospital. Saw Dr. McDougal our regular surgeon. He told me that the box of lint, bandages, &c., sent by the ladies of Marshall, was doing an immense amount of good for our wounded. In fact, he pronounced the box a perfect out-fit for a hospital. He said our dead were buried as neatly as if they had been at home. He said there is lint and bandages enough for a whole army. He has furnished five regiments with material for their wounded. There is scarcely anything of the sort in the whole army. The sheets were the shrouds for our brave, gallant dead. Our wounded have new lint and bandages every day, while the other troops have to wash and re-apply theirs again and again. The physician says anything he wants, he can get it out of that box, from a pin up.
"I write this because the dead cannot speak, the wounded yet live to bless the hands that did so much to alleviate their pains and sufferings, and their restoration to health.
"This [is] a most destitute army. There is a want of arms, munitions, supplies, clothing, bedding, and almost everything else.
"You know the ladies of Jonesville presented the Hunters with a beautiful flag. I would not let them carry it on the field. The Dutch came along, took the flag, and shouted "hurray for the Southern Confederacy." Soon the boys charged and routed them, and re-captured the flag. They rushed into Springfield, and hoisted the Texas Hunters flag; and it was the first Confederate flag that waved over the conquered city."
CONTENTS OF THE BOX.—The box mentioned above contained the following articles, made up and prepared under the direction of our physicians, to-wit: 14 lbs. of lint; 6 pr. pillow cases; ___ sheets; 131 assorted cotton bandages; 24 linen bandages; 100 linen cloths; 60 linen compresses; 15 linen towels; 23 domestic towels; 18 mustard bands; pins, tape, needles, wax, flax thread; saddler's silk; spool cotton; pads, hoods, flannel bands; wrapping paper; pasteboard, drawers, Bible and Almanac.
Every company ought to have such a box.
Gen. Greer to Eastern Texas.
Regimental Headquarters South }
Kansas Texas Rangers. }
Camp near Scott's Mills, McDonald county, Mo.
September 9, 1861.
To the Citizens of Eastern Texas:
Fellow Citizens—When the State of Texas was called upon to furnish troops for the defense of the rights and interests of the Confederate States, though her interests were not in immediate jeopardy, her brave and hardy sons promptly responded to the call. . . Under such circumstances, I feel safe in applying to their friends at home, to supply them with comfortable clothing, in which to meet the rigors of a winter in Missouri. It will be very inconvenient, if not impossible, to supply their wants in this respect, from any other quarter, before the winter sets in. With warm, comfortable clothing, suited to this latitude, I may safely indulge the hope that the chivalrous spirits under my command will be returned to health, to their homes and families. I send one man from each company to receive and bring such contributions of clothing as you may wish to make, and will suggest that the wants of the soldier will be better met by consulting the following list: 1 heavy Overcoat; 1 Woolen Frock Coat; 2 pairs woolen Pants; 2 woolen Shirts; 2 pairs Woolen Drawers; 2 Hickory Shirts; 1 pair stout Boots; 1 pair stout Shoes; 1 Wool or Felt Hat. . . .
I remain, yours, truly,
Col. Comd'g S. K. Texas Reg't.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, October 12, 1861, p. 1, c. 4
To the People of Texas.
Adjutant General's Office,
Austin, September 4, 1861.
The Secretary of War of the Confederate States, has requested the State Executive to have made up, at an early day, a large quantity of Woolen Clothing, to supply the wants of the army, to be charged to the Confederate Government. The Medical Purveyor has also asked aid from the Executive on a plan to procure blankets for the sick and wounded of the army. he suggests very wisely that almost every family, with little or no inconvenience to itself, can contribute a blanket or comfortable to this Department. Warmly approving these suggestions, the Executive issued his address of the 31st ult., inviting the formation in every county in the State, of a Society or Committee to solicit and receive heavy clothing, blankets, comfortables, and other articles which will be needed by our army during the coming winter. The military stores thus furnished, will be paid for in the bonds of the Confederate States. To effectuate this plan, depots will be established at central points, under the superintendence of the following agents, viz:
At Jefferson W. P. Saufley;
" Henderson J. H. Parsons;
" Palestine A. E. McLure;
" Dallas Dr. Sam'l Pryor;
" Sherman W. E. Sanders;
" Waco J. W. Speight;
" Austin W. H. D. Carrington;
" San Antonio Vance & Brother;
" Victoria Wm. M. Glass;
" Houston E. W. Taylor;
" Beaumont John J. Herring.
They will receive and forward to the proper destination the contributions of the county associations, and of the citizens generally, and, whenever necessary may furnish transportation, and incur other expenses growing properly out of the discharge of their duties, on the faith and credit of the Confederate States. The State itself will sustain that credit to the utmost limit of its resources. All valid accounts for military stores thus furnished, or otherwise contracted by such agent in the discharge of his duties, will be certified by him to this office, where the same will be examined, approved and registered.
The County Societies will forward their contributions to the agents at the most convenient or accessible depots. Each of the agents at Henderson, Palestine, Dallas, Sherman, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, and Victoria, will forward his collections to the most accessible depot, either at Jefferson, Houston, or Beaumont, directed to the agent at that point. General depots will be established at the latter points, from which the military stores thus accumulated, will be transported, or distributed under the directions of the President of the Confederate States. The agents designated for these purposes will also receive contributions from the County Associations, private individuals, or any other quarter.
The State Executive has received assurances from the managers of the different Railroad Companies in Texas that "they will transport troops and military stores, intended for the defense of the country, free of charge."
To give vigor, efficiency, and life to this plan the great body of our citizens must lend to it their persevering and active labors. No appeal can be necessary to arouse them to early and efficient action, to prevent a frequent recurrence among the brave youth whom we have sent from our mild climate, to Virginia and Missouri, of the horrors of Valley Forge. No time should be lost. Winter will soon be upon them.
Wm. Byrd, Adjutant General.
The contributions did come in, but they did not meet the expectations, or possibly the needs of the troops. Therefore, the following article was published to encourage, cajole, or shame more residence not fighting to make further sacrifices.
[MARSHALL] TEXAS REPUBLICAN, November 30, 1861, p. 2, c. 2
Those who have made contributions thus far have done so, as a general thing, in a liberal spirit; but we regret to find them so few in number. We naturally supposed that every man in the county, who possessed the ability, would contribute something, without waiting for a personal appeal upon his liberality and patriotism. Surely a worthier cause could not present itself, than an appeal for defenseless women and children, many of whom have relatives in the army. These women, mothers, wives, and sisters—will write to their sons, their husbands, and their brothers, a truthful account of affairs at home. Their letters will be marked by either want of confidence and gloomy despondency, or they will be pervaded with a spirit that will animate our troops to deeds of valor that will carry them triumphantly to victory on every battle field. It was this spirit that impelled our soldiers at Bethel, Bull's Run, Manassas, Springfield, Leesburg, and Columbia, rendering them invincible. Suppose they write: "We are here suffering for the common necessaries of life, and without prospect of relief. We would gladly work upon any terms, and at any price, but there is nothing for us to do. Even the little that could be done, such as work for the soldiers, is monopolized by ladies who have abundance at home, who, in their ardor to do something for the army, fail to reflect on the defenseless condition of those who are dependent upon their labor for subsistence. With a few honorable exceptions, the community is cold, selfish, and parsimonious. Business men are endeavoring to extort the last cent that can be obtained, while speculators are permitted to range over the country and buy up every article of prime necessity, and enforce prices that place many of these articles entirely out of the reach of the poor and needy. A relief committee was started in Marshall, and the ministers of the Gospel enlisted in its support, but whether it was that they did not go to work with their accustomed zeal, or became disgusted with the reception which their appeals met with, the result has been almost a failure. No one would suppose that these people felt that the present war was one in which all that they held dear and sacred was involved, or that they appreciate the noble sacrifices of those who have gone forth to fight the battles of their country."
Just imagine the effect of the reception of such letters in the army? On the contrary, let us suppose our soldiers are greeted with such letters as these: "If I had a wish, it would be, if such were possible without detriment to the service of the country, to have you at home for a single week, so that you might witness for yourself the feeling that pervades our people. Not one, but all, from the highest to the lowest, there is but one sentiment, and that is an ardent devotion to country, worthy of the best days of the revolution. They are prepared to make any and every sacrifice, and, if necessary, to place all that they possess upon the altar of freedom. The liberality of the people is unbounded. Say to the soldiers in the army that they need give themselves no uneasiness about their relatives and friends at home, or to labor under an apprehension that they are forgotten. Everything necessary for their comfort will be collected and forwarded without delay. Providence has graciously blessed the South with overwhelming harvests, and this bountiful yield affords an abundance for all. It is distributed with a munificence that would surprise even you who have witnessed so many noble examples of the liberality of the Southern people. Extortion is unknown. The man who would attempt it, would be visited by such an expression of detestation and scorn as would render his position in the community too uncomfortable to be borne. Merchants and citizens alike conspire to keep down the price of everything to a reasonable standard, knowing full well that Lincoln and his merciless minions have not the power to do the Southern cause half the mischief that could be inflicted by a band of mercenary, conscious less speculators."
Consider the effect of such letters, and then reflect that numbers of them will be written, of the one character or the other, not only from Harrison, but from every county in the State.
We understand that a number of objections have been urged to this relief fund, and, so far as our informat6ion extends, by men not remarkable for their liberality. To all such we would say, that, for the purpose of keeping down caviling, a book has been opened, containing a list of the articles received, and the manner in which they have been distributed. This list is subject to inspection. We defy anyone to look over it, and find a single well-grounded objection in the distribution. So that, in future, if any one possessing the ability is unwilling to contribute to this fund, let him do so upon proper grounds, and not by objections that have no just foundation. The soldiers in the army will recognize their friends, and the friends of the glorious cause of Southern independence, at home, while our columns, many years hence, when these scenes shall have passed away, will show who stood by the country in this trying period of its history.
On to Hopkinsville
Company A, the Waco Rifles or the Waco Guards (there seems to have been a name change at some point), along with the other five companies were urgently needed in Tennessee.
We have this from "Intrepid Gray Warriors: the 7th Texas Infantry, 1861 - 1865" (page 16 Paragraph 1)
"During the first week of October 1861, the 7th Texas Volunteer Regiment officially joined the service of the Confederate States. In their enlistment, the men agreed to serve three years of the duration of the war. Since all companies were not yet present and because the army urgently needed the men in Tennessee, they agreed to wait until reaching their destination east of the Mississippi River before organizing the regiment. Six companies proceeded toward Memphis."
From "Force Without Fanfare: the Auto Biography of K.M. Van Zandt" (page 80, pps 1 and 2)
"...Leaving Marshall on October 10, the several companies started overland to Monroe, Louisiana, and from there by railroad to Vicksburg, Mississippi. There orders were received to proceed to Memphis, Tennessee, and report to General A. Sidney Johnston at Bowling Green, Kentucky. From Memphis, in obedience to orders from General Johnston, we proceeded to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, via Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee.
From Intrepid Gray Warriors (page 19) "Southern railroads, notorious for being in poor repair, were not conducive to sleep. Van Zant stated that he was "pretty tired" traveling three nights in succession without sleep. He also said that he had not eaten a regular meal since leaving Monroe because they had traveled continually, only stopping to change cars. At Memphis, the exhausted troops camped two miles from town.
(Paragraph three) The men of the 7th Texas began preparations for the difficult job of war. Companies used this time to receive precious training before marching to the front lines. Norvell wrote that they trained four hours each day -- in the morning and two in the afternoon. -- but the lack of an experienced drillmaster and appropriate weapons hampered the instruction. For the moment, the regiment used whatever was available. Confederate commanders promised to remedy both problems when the regiment reached its final destination."
"At Memphis, orders from General Albert Sidney Johnston awaited Gregg. Traveling through Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee, the 7th was to proceed to Hopkinsville, Kentucky....
"During the three-day trip from Memphis to Hopkinsville the weather turned unfavorable, engendering terrible results for the men, Exposed to open train cars and on a steamboat, they faced constant rain. With no opportunity to build a fire or obtain shelter from the elements the soldiers remained in wet clothing. In addition to these deplorable conditions, the weather was cooler than that to which the men were accustomed. Gregg reported that because of the prolonged exposure, there were more sniffles and sneezes among the troops than he had ever observed. This outbreak of sickness was only the beginning."
We reached Hopkinsville on November 4, and in a few days the regiment was organized..."
William "Billy Bud" Gill would have left Texas with the rest of the regiment almost immediately for Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where the regiment was officially organized on November 9th, 1861. John Gregg was elected colonel, Jeremiah Clough was elected Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Granbury, of Company A, was elected Major, and "Billy Bud" was elected 3rd Corporal.
William A. Gill shows on the Company muster-in Roll dated 2 October 1861 as a 3rd. Corporal. There is no record that I have found as to why a young man of 18 would have been deemed fit for the rank of 3rd Corporal.
In a narrative documented by my aunt, his daughter, Eugene Victor Gill (son of William "Billy Bud" Gill) states: "Gill's father, at seventeen years of age, joined the Confederate Army. Being an extra good shot, the father got into the sharpshooter's brigade." In this capacity he would have been in the forefront of many of the scouting parties, but it would have also exposed him to severe punishment or a sentence of death if captured by the Union Army. This would have given reason why he was so prompted to escape and evade capture at Ft. Donelson and later at Vicksburg. We can also speculate that as a son of a prominent landowner, and having been raised in the area he would have been known by many of the other enlistees. In a vote, either or both of these factors may have come into play. By pay records, we do know that he advanced to 4th. Corporal by the end of the war effort.
The fact that Billy Bud was one of the first to join would not be too surprising. The family owned hundreds of acres of land, at least three slave buildings, and at least fourteen slaves to work the land. Their principle source of income was agriculture. His father was a known member of the community as a founding member of the Bosqueville Baptist Church in 1854, as well as a trustee in the school district which was created at about the same time.
The regiment stayed near Hopkinsville for the next three months. While there nearly one hundred men died of disease before ever seeing the enemy. Why were so many affected and "Billy Bud" not? The answer was probably exposure. Unlike many of his fellow soldiers, "Billy Bud" was brought up in a semi-urban environment. We know that "Billy Bud" was literate and therefore went to school. This would have been reinforced by the fact that his father was a trustee with the school district. By having been exposed to a
great number of people and diseases of the area, he probably was able to built up an immunity not available to many others who were isolated on their farms or ranches.
What follows is an account of the camp life at Hopkinsville during this formidable time.
Letter from the "Bass Grays."
Camp near Hopkinsville, KY.,
December 5th, 1861.
R. W. Loughery,
Dear Sir:--I wrote you last from the town of Princeton. You discern we are again in our old camp at Hopkinsville. . . .
I spoke of our regiment as being "masterly inactive." I alluded to our perfecting ourselves in drill. We drill constantly in company and regimental, also skirmish drill, and with commendable proficiency. Genl. Johnston has sent us a drill master; a dutchman named Herscher or Hauser, (pronounced Howser.) he is quite proficient, and under his able instruction our regiment can now perform almost any evolution impromptu. Some of our company drills are amusing. Capt. D. the other day ordered his men to "right dress." The order was executed, and the line formed by his company looked like the letter S. "Now aint that a h__l of a line," said Capt. D. "Draw in your bellies," said he. "By Blood you shant have any more turnip soup for a month, it swells you out so you can't form a straight line." Capt. D. is the most decided original in camp. . . .
The Gregg Regiment is now armed with the Enfield rifle. They are marked on the locks "London," and "Tower," and dated "1861." Where did the War Department get these guns? If my experience entitles me to an opinion, they are the best gun extant. They are very light; the length of heavy muskets; varnished black; provided with bayonet; nipple secured by fixed cover, to keep dry in any weather; rifled sextuple continuous three raised three depressed, stock white hickory; sights for range of nine hundred yards. They shoot with immense force and accuracy. It is needless to say we are delighted with our guns. We parted with our old game guns to the government at a most liberal valuation, but—we—have—not—got—the money yet—the money is said to be ready.
Army Regulations are being enforced all over Kentucky by both belligerents. It is impossible to get along without passports or safe conducts. Provost Marshals are in every town. The system of arrest still prevails, of suspected persons. The Yankees exceed us, however, in having a test oath. The sale of intoxicating beverages is entirely suspended by the military authorities, however a "wee drap" is occasionally smuggled into lines. Several "sly" grocers have happened to have to their mortification to see their "eau de vie" beheaded in the streets. By the soldiers universally, this is considered an insupportable hardship. . .
You will please pardon this trespass on your space and patience. I hope the matters herein contained will not prove uninteresting to you or your readers. Paper, pen and ink, and leisure, and health, are rare commodities to most of us, and difficult to procure. When we do write it is frequently night, our desk is an empty candle box, pen a pencil, our light a scant candle stuck in the muzzle of an inverted bayonet stuck in the ground; our seat the mellow earth, or frozen ground beside it. I hope this candid confession will assure you that the infliction is shared. Yours, &c.,
R. R. H.
British Pattern 1853 Enfield Percussion Rifle-Musket with New Jersey Surcharge @Dated 1862
The 39 1/2 inch barrel in .60 caliber. Breech with British proofs and stamped 24. Steel and brass furniture, the buttplate stamped 24. Full walnut stock stamped between counterscrews 24 and N.J. for New Jersey.
Early US Civil War infantrymen on both sides were armed with P/53 Enfield rifled muskets, made by Enfield from 1855 to 1858 in Britain. Southern forces traded their flintlocks for the Enfield just before the Battle of Shiloh. This British Enfield rifle saw extensive services during the Civil War. This weapon has the distinction of being the second most common infantry weapon of the Civil War. It was made in England and was imported by ordinance officers of both the North and South to meet the sudden increase in demand for small arms caused by the outbreak of hostilities. Originally produced at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, England, it was the standard arm of the British Army at the time. Several contractors later provided arms for export. Its .577 caliber bore made it compatible with .58 caliber ammunition that was very common in the American armies. An estimated 900,000 of these Enfield rifles were procured for use in the United States.
Enfield Rifle Musket
The second most widely used weapon of the Civil War was the British Enfield three-band, single-shot, muzzle-loading musket (above). It was also the standard weapon for the British army between 1853-1867. American soldiers liked it because its .577 cal. barrel allowed the use of .58 cal. ammunition used by both Union and Confederate armies. Originally produced at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, England, approximately 900,000 of these muskets were imported during 1861-1865. Many officers, however, preferred the Springfield muskets over the Enfield muskets--largely due to the interchangeability of parts that the machine-made Springfields offered.
Loading a Musket
A muzzle-loading rifle required 10 specific movements to prepare it to fire: (1) lower musket to ground, (2) handle cartridge, (3) tear cartridge, (4) charge cartridge, (5) draw rammer, (6) ram cartridge twice, (7) return rammer, (8) cast-about [return gun to firing position], (9) prime [insert primer cap], (10) cock the hammer and point the rifle. Trained soldiers were expected to complete these steps in 20 seconds and be able to fire three aimed bullets per minute.
From Intrepid Gray Warriors: "General Lloyd Tilghman made a formal request for cadets, non-commissioned officers or privates from other units, to instruct the Texan. Tilghman appointed David Hirsch, a former Prussian soldier and non-commissioned officer in the 3rd Kentucky, to work with the men and turn them into a fighting unit"
Conditions and Deaths at Camp Alcorn, Hopkinsville, Kentucky
In the first week of October, 1861, a Confederate force of mainly volunteers from Mississippi under General Alcorn set up camp and a recruiting station a few miles outside the city of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. During the harsh winter that ensued over the next five months, more than 300 soldiers died there of disease, said to be “measles, dysentery, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other illnesses.” Some of the sick were sent to a Confederate hospital in Clarksville, Tennessee, in November and 53 of the Texans died in Clarksville, plus some others. “Camp Alcorn” (as it became known) was evacuated ca Feb. 7-8 when the soldiers were sent to defend Fort Donelson in Tennessee. Some of the very sick remained behind in hospitals in Hopkinsville.
The most often cited reason for the lethality of the disease(s) there is the lack of proper clothing and blankets, coupled with the rather harsh winter. Nutrition was apparently not a problem, with adequate supplies of grain, chickens and pigs being requisitioned from the countryside.
An eyewitness account of the epidemic was recorded in the booklet The Story of a Monument published in 1888:
“What caused the mortality here, if there was no fighting” asked the visitor. “ The plague of the camps, ' Black Measles,' as the boys called it,” was the reply. “ Hopkinsville was first selected as a recruiting station, and after a few weeks the soldiers were taken to more active fields of service, until there remained here only some 1,200 troops. The soldiers from the Gulf States wore light clothes when they came here, and the supplies of the quartermaster's department were indifferent in respect to winter outfits. “ Winter arrived, and the soldiers, hundreds of them mere boys – look at that headstone, ' Aged 16 years,' and that one, ' Aged 18 years' – began to suffer from lack of warm clothing and blankets. Then proper medicines and food were wanting. Most of the doctors were young and unfamiliar with the climate and its diseases. While half the camp were down with measles, cold, drenching rain set in, and death began its work in good earnest. There were so few well soldiers left in a short time that men were sent, still weak and staggering from disease, to do picket duty. Pneumonia and erysipelas followed. It was a reign of terror.”
“Were no regular hospitals established?” was asked. “Yes; ten of the largest buildings in the place were taken for that purpose. You can imagine what the amount of sickness was when you learn that the Ninth Street Presbyterian, Cumberland Presbyterian, Christian, Methodist and Colored Baptist Churches, the old County Seminary, the Ritter Hotel, South Kentucky College and Baptist Bethel College, and Mr. B. E. Randolph's residence, then General Forrest's headquarters, were all filled with sick soldiers. Numbers of officers were taken to private houses. An officer of the Ninth Street Presbyterian Church told me that every pew in that church was occupied by a sick soldier. Of course the women did all they could to relieve the sufferers. They organized a society, including nearly every woman in the place, and two of this number were detailed to visit each hospital daily. A lady visiting the Ritter House one day saw twenty corpses laid out for burial. Dr. R. W. Gaines, President of the Kentucky State Medical Association, who was employed in Forrest's command for some time as assistant, states that there were thirteen deaths in three days at Bethel College. ‘They died like sheep,’ said one of the visiting committee. Two soldiers were sent one morning to purchase shrouds for two of their dead comrades who were lying at South Kentucky College. On their way back one of them dropped dead on the street, and the other died a few minutes after reaching the college. It was no wonder, when soldiers, too feeble to leave the hospital, were sent to stand guard in the chilly rains and snows of winter nights, coughing pitifully as they shivered in ragged clothes and almost unshod feet. Several pickets died on guard.”
On October 19, 1861, Gen. Alcorn wrote to headquarters to provide a report on the situation there:
“My command, after furnishing nurses for the sick, is reduced to a battalion. It appears that every man in my camp will directly be down with measles. The thought of a movement in my present condition is idle. I am not more than able to patrol the town.”
By the 29th of October, Gen. Alcorn had been replaced by Gen. Tilghman, who reported the following to headquarters:
“I had hoped that the picture, sketched to me of matters here might not have been realized, but I am compelled to think it not too highly colored. Under all the circumstances, 1 doubt not General Alcorn has made the best of things, his camp being merely one large hospital, with scarce men enough on duty to care for the sick and maintain a feeble guard around them, with insufficient pickets at prominent points. Over one-half the entire command are on the sick list, with very grave types of different diseases. Those remaining and reported for duty leave not enough really well men to do more than first stated. The Kentucky Battalion of Infantry, numbering 547, have only 45 cases reported sick. The measles have made their appearance, and the battalion will average 20 new cases per day, judging from to-day's report. The morning brigade report, herewith enclosed, shows only 716 for duty out of a total of 2237.”
[HOUSTON] TRI-WEEKLY TELEGRAPH, November 1, 1861, p. 2, c. 5
Five companies of Texas volunteers belonging to Col. John Gregg's regiment, passed through Vicksburg on the 23d, for Memphis, where they are ordered to report to Gen. Johnston. They were in command of Quartermaster Wm. M. Bradford.
On November 2, General Tilghman wrote:
“You will have some idea of [the situation in Hopkinsville] when I tell you that in endeavoring to get up a little command last evening to move on Princeton, 1 found that the First Mississippi had 151 for duty, the Third 128. Out of these, guards and pickets had to be taken, giving me only 100 men from each regiment, half of whom were really unfit for the night march (raining in torrents). I managed, however, to get together 400 men and two pieces of artillery, the poorest clad, shod, and armed body I ever saw, but full of enthusiasm. I soon found that half the infantry were so unfit, that the surgeon stated that humanity demanded they should not go.”
On November 7, 1861, reinforcements arrived -- volunteers from Texas led by John Gregg, who wrote the following:
“Except a number of sick men on the road our nine companies are all here. The number is 749. Five of our number died on the way. From exposure to cold and wet on our journey we have more coughs and colds than I ever saw among the same number of men.”
Also in early November, a battalion (number of men not known) of Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry arrived from Fort Donelson. His unit conducted a busy winter of raids and reconnaissance in the area around Hopkinsville, though many of the men fell sick while camped here; 12 deaths were recorded in his unit.
A letter from one of the Texans describes the terrible conditions at camp in January:
January 13, 1862
… we are now losing on an average only 4 men a day. But my God, until only a few days ago we have buried as many as 15 in one day, and for about two weeks not less then 10 a day out of 739 men that we had belonging to our Regiment when we got to this place. We are now unable to muster on Battalion Drill of an evening only 125 men. The rest all being on special duty [waiting on the sick] we have at the Hospital. And about four fifths of them are sick. There is not a Company in the Regiment but what has lost from 14 to 25 men out of each of them. Our Company has lost less men than any of the other Companies. And we have lost 14 of our men. And the Mexican which makes 15. Captain Moody’s Company has buried 21 of their men. His Company came from Fairfield. Our Regiment has lost 140 men since we have been up here to the present time.
The disease most prevalent is that of measles and while down with them, they by carelessness of some kind or another catch cold which gives them the pneumonia, and when they once get that they are past curing as I have never yet heard of a single case cured. At the present time of writing we have belonging to our Company, sick at the Hospital 10 of our men.
The following came from ”freepages.miliary.rootsweb.ancestry.com"
I have just come into camp two days ago, having had a severe spell of sickness and was at the Hospital some four weeks. My disease was the measles first and after having got well of them I took the mumps. But thank God, I have got well of both.
Jack Middleton who belongs to Captain Davis Company is now at the Hospital sick with the pneumonia, and is lying at the point of death. He has been out of his head for the last 4 days and the Doctor says there is no hope for his recovery. I would not be surprised if he was not dead now.
Anyone facing this situation would not be blamed for having lowered moral, and this was the case for the men of the 7th Texas Infantry. The emotional highs of going to war and having a rousing send off by the home crowd, the encouragement by the many supporters on the way, and the expectation that once the battle was engaged they would be victorious quickly and back home before the end of the year, was in great contrast to the realities of what they were faced with.
Again from Intrepid Grey Warriors: (page 24 - 29)
"...Yet they also reveal a patriotic zeal. The soldiers believed the fledgling nation must first receive a baptism of fire and blood. They viewed their suffering as part of a christening process: "We must be familiarized with death before the blessings of liberty can once more be enjoyed in our beloved land, hence it becomes us to bear up under our affliction." (from a letter home)
"The men yearned for a fight, anything to take their minds off the sickness and the monotony. Confederate commanders constantly expected a Union attack. In preparation for the assault that never materialized, the 7th Texas drilled continually and engaged in scouting missions along the Cumberland River. One such expedition was to Princeton, Kentucky, thirty miles northeast of Hopkinsville. On November 14, 1861, Gregg received orders from General Tilghman to muster 250 men from Camp Alcorn, the name of the 7th's camp near Hopkinsville, and send them out on patrol. Major H.B. Granbury commanded the men drawn from five companies for the forced march. In addition to the infantry, five companies of Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry, also numbering around 250 men, and one piece of artillery, with its crew, accompanied the mission. Major Kelly, of Forrest's cavalry, commanded the expedition until Colonel Forrest arrived. (my speculation is that this may have been the meeting that allowed for introductions, which ultimately allowed "Billy Bud" to escape Ft. Donelson with Bedford Forrest's cavalry before its capitulation) The Rebels investigated signs of Union activity in the area and hoped to goad the Yankees inot a skirmish -- but to no avail. The cavalry did capture thirteen Federal wagons loaded with dry goods, shoes, blankets, whiskey, and coffee. The troopers kept of destroyed most of the supplies, but some items -- such as sugar and coffee -- they passed to the infantry."
The 7th was away from camp at least a week and once again those in charge failed to show foresight in their planning. The men took rations and blankets, but no tents. Rain fell all the first night. Without shelter, the soldiers were soaked. Many already had sore throats, coughs, and sneezes. Such negligence only compounded the grip of sickness on all those at Hopkinsville. Upon reaching Princeton, the men bivouacked in the new Cumberland College buildings during the remainder of the expedition...."
(Once back at Camp Alcorn) - "Camp routine consisted of drill, picket duty, eating , sleeping, and more drill. Moody wrote that he would become sick of he had the time. Guard mounting occurred at 78:30 A.M. with companies drilling until 10:30
A. M. Officers participated in training until lunch, followed at 2:00P.M. with battalion practice. Finally at 4:30 P.M. the units mustered for parade...."
"Mid-January brought improvement in the health of the regiment. In a letter on January 22, 1862, Moody wrote that Colonel Greggs's Adjutant, William D. Douglas, had reported no deaths that morning. This was the first day in two months no one had died. The sicknesses, especially the measles, had run their course, and the men were slowly recovering."
Nine companies (740 men) of the 7th Texas Infantry arrived at camp on Nov. 7. All except the sick left camp on Feb. 8 for the battle at Fort Donelson. It was estimated that 194 men were either dead or unfit for battle. Before the first battle they had lost about twenty seven percent of their forces.
From Basic Training to War
Ft. Donelson Battle, Capitulation, and Escape
The Loveland Notes listed several events subsequent to William Gills enlistment. "He was taken prisoner at the battle of Fort Donelson, but made his escape from prison camp and rejoined his regiment at Port Hudson."
The Battle and Capture of Fort Donelson, Tennessee took place from February 12 - 16, 1862. At Ft. Donelson the 7th Texas Infantry was under the command of Col. John Gregg. The brigade was under the command of Col. T. J. Davidson and Col. J. M. Simonton and was made up to the 8th Kentucky Infantry, commanded by Lt. Col H.B. Lyon; the 1st Mississippi Infantry, commanded by Col. J. M. Simonton, Lt Col. A. S. Hamilton; and the 3rd Mississippi Infantry, commanded by Lt. Col. J. M. Wells. This was one of six brigades which made up the left wing for the defense of the fort. The wing was commanded by Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, who also served as the chief of staff for Fort Donelson.
Here are two first hand reports of what happened during the battle of Fort Donelson and the subsequent surrender. The first from Capt. Jack Davis of Company E, 7th Texas Infantry, and the second from then Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Extracts from report of the special committee on the recent military disasters at Forts Henry and Donelson and the evacuation of Nashville.
FEBRUARY 12-16, 1862.--Siege and Capture of Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 7 [S# 7]
Hon. HENRY S. FOOTE,
Chairman, &c., House of Representatives.
Statement of Capt. Jack Davis, of Texas.
I was in the different battles of Fort Donelson, and belonged to the outside forces; was captain of Company E, Colonel Gregg's regiment Texas volunteers. I was in the battles of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Was one of those taken prisoners, but made my escape on Sunday morning on a flat-boat across the river from Dover. To the best of my knowledge we were surrendered on Sunday morning between daylight and sunup.
Some hours before daylight we were aroused from our slumber (which, by an arrangement of alternation, we were allowed to take) by the announcement that we were to retreat immediately. In pursuance of this announcement we immediately took to our line of march, and had advanced some distance to an open field, when a halt was ordered. At this order the men became much dissatisfied. It was exceedingly cold and uncomfortable. We remained in this position until it was understood that we were surrendered, and we were ordered to march back to our quarters.
Our regiment belonged to Brigadier-General Clark's brigade; stationed at Hopkinsville, Ky. We reached Fort Donelson, to the best of my recollection, on the Monday evening preceding the battle; were in all the conflicts that occurred outside the fort. The great body of the soldiers behaved with gallantry and valor, and had the most implicit confidence in the generals, which I believe the generals merited.
The enemy commenced the regular attack on Thursday morning, their infantry assailing us on the right, while their batteries opened on our left. We had, so far as I am able to form an opinion, about 12,000 altogether, in the fort and outside. The whole body of our troops was not engaged in the battle of Thursday, reserves having been kept on the left, and, I suppose, also in the fort and between the fort and our entrenchments. I will here explain what I mean by entrenchments. They consisted of small saplings, with which that country abounds, thrown lengthwise along the outside margin of ditches, dug some 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep, the dirt having been thrown upon the saplings, and giving us a protection of about 5 feet. These ditches extended about 3 miles in length, the whole or the greater part of the work having been thrown up during the night of Wednesday, some slight additions and improvements having been completed on Thursday night.
The locality was most judiciously selected. This line of ditches was so constructed that it afforded a complete protection to the fort, which was situated in its rear, except on the water side, the fort being on the bank of the Cumberland River. The infantry of both armies mainly conducted the battle on Thursday, the heaviest fighting having occurred on our right wing, the left being assailed with shot, shell, and grape from their batteries. Our loss on the right wing, from the best information I could obtain, amounted to from 50 to 100 killed, while that of the enemy, as I was informed, was not less than from 400 to 500 killed and wounded. On the left wing our loss amounted to from 4 to 6 killed.
On Thursday night I suppose that the various regiments were able, by alternately relieving each other, to obtain some partial repose, which was facilitated by having the reserves already referred to.
On Friday morning the fight was renewed about 8 or 9 o'clock, the battle, as on Thursday, having been chiefly confined to our right wing, the left being assailed by the enemy's sharpshooters. The battle continued on Friday between the infantry on both sides until about noon, resulting in about equal loss on both sides with that of the preceding day. The fighting on land ceased about noon, and the gunboats, four in number, opened upon the fort, which returned the fire, resulting, after a conflict of about one hour and a quarter, in but little, if any, damage to the fort, while all but one of the gunboats were disabled. I will be more particular:
The gunboats commenced the assault when about 1 ¼ miles from the fort, coming up four abreast and, continuing their fire until they were opposite the fort. The fort kept up a regular fire with guns of a smaller caliber, evidently reserving the heavy guns until the gunboats were within a distance of about 150 yards. The effect, as witnessed by our troops and by the citizens who had gathered on the hills around Dover, was beyond the power of description. After having received a shot from a 128-pounder one of the gunboats rolled towards the opposite bank of the river, silenced, crippled, and apparently unmanageable; a second soon shared the same fate; a third was totally disabled; and the fourth, turning her head, took to a precipitate flight down the river. The excitement at this time among the military and citizen spectators was intense and almost wild, the latter testifying their joy by tossing their hats in the air, and the former by a general huzza, commencing on the right wing and soon caught up and became universal along the entire line.
With the exception of some random shots from both sides there was no further fighting on that evening. On that night we received orders to cook three days' provisions and be ready for marching the next morning. We did not know whether we were to proceed, but we supposed in the direction of Fort Henry, to which it was believed the enemy were retreating.
On Saturday morning the battle was renewed about sunrise, commencing to-day on our left. At an early hour in the morning we were informed that we were to attack the enemy. This I regarded as an indiscreet though a bold movement, as we did not know the force of the enemy or the number and locality of his batteries.
Three of our regiments commenced the attack on the enemy's right, and the fight was kept up until they commenced retreating, when our batteries were brought to bear upon them. We pursued them over a mile, the regiment to which I belonged having been relieved and a fresh regiment having taken our place in the pursuit. From the movements of the enemy this morning I became convinced that when we can get within a hundred yards of the enemy they will not stand either a close fight or a charge. The result of to-day's fighting was much more disastrous to the enemy than on any of the preceding days, their loss being at least three to one. On each day our army took prisoners, varying in number.
Another result of to-day's battle was the capture by our troops of eleven or more pieces of artillery, five of which I know of myself; the capture of the others I learned from good authority and general belief. This battle continued until between 11 and 12 o'clock, the enemy at this time having been driven over a mile--perhaps a mile and a half--along their camp.
Our army returned, all believing that we had gained a signal victory, but later in the day the fight was renewed by an attack of the enemy on our right wing, with results on both sides more disastrous than at any previous period of the conflict. The disasters on our side were attributed to the fact that, for some cause unknown to me, a portion of our forces left their entrenchments, which were immediately occupied by the enemy. Our greatest loss occurred in connection with a successful and gallant charge, conducted by General Buckner, to dislodge the enemy from the entrenchments.
As to the subsequent surrender and the circumstances connected with it, I have no personal knowledge. We went to rest supposing ourselves completely victorious, but I was informed by several persons, especially by some prisoners, that on that night as well as on the night previous the enemy were re-enforced to an extent that increased their army to 80,000 men. Meanwhile we received no re-enforcements, although we had been led to believe that they were on their way to our relief from Bowling Green.
I have already referred to our movements on Saturday morning. When the intelligence of our surrender was communicated to the troops there was a general feeling of indignation, mingled with surprise, among all. The men were frantic to be permitted to fight their way out. It is my firm belief said the general impression that had a re-enforcement of 10,000 men reached us on Sunday morning we could have held out and secured a decisive victory.
Interrogatory by H. S. Foote. Had the steamer or steamers that were employed in taking off General Floyd and his command been employed in removing our men and munitions of war on Saturday night, could they have done so?
Answer. Yes; two boats could have taken the men and munitions of war in two hours. The enemy did not come within gunshot distance of ;he fort until after the surrender. Had some 5,000 men been kept in the entrenchments even on Sunday morning, we could have transferred across the river 10,000 men.
Captain Co. E, Col. John Gregg's Regiment Texas Volunteers
Statement of Col Nathan Beford Forrest, Colonel Commanding Forrest's Regiment of Cavalry.
at the Battle of Fort Donelson
This statement was originally presented as an enclosure to a report by
Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, C. S. Army.
Statement of Col. N. B. Forrest.
MARCH 15, 1862.
Sworn to and subscribed before me on the 15th day of March, 1862.
Intend ant of the Town of Decatur, Ala.,
and ex-officio Justice of the Peace.
Between 1 and 2 o'clock on Sunday morning, February 16, being sent for, I arrived at General Pillow's headquarters, and found him, General Floyd, and General Buckner in conversation. General Pillow told me that they had received information that the enemy were again occupying the same ground they had occupied the morning before. I told him I did not believe it, as I had left that part of the field, on our left, late the evening before. He told me he had sent out scouts, who reported a large force of the enemy moving around to our left. He instructed me to go immediately and send two reliable men to ascertain the condition of a. road running near the river bank and between the enemy's right and the river, and also to ascertain the position of the enemy. I obeyed his instructions and awaited the return of the scouts. They stated that they saw no enemy, but could see their fires in the same place where they were Friday night; that from their examination and information obtained from a citizen living on the river road the water was about to the saddle skirts, and the mud about half-leg deep in the bottom where it had been overflowed. The bottom was about a quarter of a mile wide and the water then about 100 yards wide.
During the conversation that then ensued among the general officers General Pillow was in favor of trying to cut our way out. General Buckner said that he could not hold his position over half an hour in the morning, and that if he attempted to take his force out it would be seen by the enemy (who held part of his intrenchments), and be followed and cut to pieces. I told him that I would take my cavalry around there and he could draw out under cover of them. He said that an attempt to cut our way out would involve the loss of three-fourths of the men. General Floyd said our force was so demoralized as to cause him to agree with General Buckner as to our probable loss in attempting to cut our way out. I said that I would agree to cut my way through the enemy's lines at any point the general might designate, and stated that I could keep back their cavalry, which General Buckner thought would greatly harass our infantry. in retreat. General Buckner or General Floyd said that they (the enemy) would bring their artillery to bear on us. I went out of the room, and when I returned General Floyd said he could not and would not surrender himself. I then asked if they were going to surrender the command. General Buckner remarked that they were. I then slated that I had not come out for the purpose of surrendering my command, and would not do it if they would follow me out; that I intended to go out if I saved but one man; and then turning to General Pillow I asked him what I should do. He replied, "Cut your way out." I immediately left the house and sent for all the officers under my command, and stated to them the facts that had occurred and stated my determination to leave, and remarked that all who wanted to go could follow me, and those who wished to stay and take the consequences might remain in camp. All of my own regiment and Captain Williams, of Helm's Kentucky regiment, said they would go with me if the last man fell. Colonel Gantt was sent for and urged to get out his battalion as often as three times, but he and two Kentucky companies (Captains Wilcox and Huey) refused to come. I marched out the remainder of my command, with Captain Porter's artillery horses, and about 200 men of different commands up the river road and across the overflow, which I found to be about saddle-skirt deep. The weather was intensely cold; a great many of the men were already frost-bitten, and it was the opinion of the generals that the infantry could not have passed through the water and have survived it.
N. B. FORREST,
Colonel, Commanding Forrest's Regiment of Cavalry.
The 7th Texas then marched down to Fort Donelson where it was captured in February 1862. Officers were sent to Camp Chase and Johnson's Island, and the enlisted men were imprisoned at Camp Douglas, Illinois. By the time the regiment was exchanged in September, another sixty-five men had died." (McCaffrey, James M.; This Band of Heroes, Eakin Press 1985
Several things pop out from these statements. First, is that all the men of the 7th. Texas were immediately put to rugged physical work. The digging and fortifying of the trenches around Ft. Donelson would become the norm during the subsequent battles throughout the remainder of the war. The solders of the South became experts in the building of fortifications. Secondly, men of the 7th were in the thick of battle shortly after arrival and until the surrender. They also purported themselves well giving honor to themselves and their units. Third, not all wished to surrender peacefully either at that time or later after being transported to a prisoner of war camp.
If we go strictly be the narrative, it states that "He was taken prisoner at the battle of Fort Donelson - but made his escape from prison camp and rejoined his regiment at Port Hudson". We do know from pay records that he did indeed join the 8th Texas Cavalry as a private, but subsequently, rejoined his unit when they were repatriated to Port Hudson on or about 7 March 1863. This gives a period of about twelve or thirteen months from the capitulation of Ft. Donelson until he rejoined his unit. What happened and how?
Was it possible to escape from the prison camp at Camp Douglas, located just our side of Chicago, Illinois and make it to Kentucky in time to join the 8th for the Battle of Shiloh? The answer is yes. From A Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume 7, Prisons and Hospitals, we learn that Camp Douglas was constructed for the prisoners taken at Fort Donelson, When the first train load of prisoners arrived, the camp was not completed. The fence around the facility had not been erected nor had the barracks been completed. Many (no indication of how many) prisoners were able to walk away in the night. Once away from the prison a southerner would , if discrete, find many sympathizers in his migration to the south to rejoin the war. As he got further south he would even have been able to spend any Confederate monies he may have had. Here is a firsthand account of that happening.
A Letter from Fort Donaldson [sic] Prisoner, Who Recently Escaped. Nacogdoches, Texas, May 1st, 1862.
R. W. Loughery, Esq.
Dear Sir.—Since my arrival at this place, (about a week since) I have received several letters from Marshall, making inquiries respecting the general condition of the prisoners at Chicago, Ill., and specially in regard to individual members of the companies commanded by Captains Van Zandt and Hill. I have thought best to answer, as far as possible, through the columns of your paper, that the whole community may be placed in possession of such information as I am able to give.
As you are already aware, the 7th Texas, under command of Col. Gregg, at the battle of Fort Donelson occupied "a place in the picture near the flashing of the guns," and our list of killed and wounded itself shows that we were in the hottest of the fight. I will not attempt to enter into a detailed account of that engagement, as that has undoubtedly been already done ere this by some of those who were so fortunate as to make their escape immediately after the surrender.
On Sunday morning, the 16th of February, we were ordered to stack our arms, as we had been surrendered prisoners of war to an overwhelming force. In the evening we embarked on the transports in waiting, and were taken directly to Cairo, where we were transferred to the cars and taken directly to Camp Douglass, about four miles from Chicago, on the lake shore. Comfortable barracks had been already erected, which we took possession of, and in a few days were as comfortable as one could be made in that frigid climate. Blankets were immediately furnished to those who needed them, as also clothing and shoes for those who were deficient. Up to the time that I made my escape (28th of March,) the prisoners were well treated, being very well furnished in clothing, rations, medical attendance, &c. Many of the ladies of Chicago were very kind, visiting the prisoners every day, bringing with them in their carriages large quantities of clothing, delicacies for the sick, as well as substantials for the well. There were over five hundred sick in the hospitals, when I left, and up to that time about 120 had died. The sickness was principally caused by our exposure in the trenches at Donelson. I think that some ten or twelve had died out of our regiment. At the time of our arrival at Chicago, the weather was extremely cold, but had moderated much when I left, so that the boys could take considerably outdoor exercise, which was improving their health and spirits considerably. Before I left, the commissioners from Washington visited the prison, to ascertain who were willing to be released upon taking the oath of allegiance to the Lincoln government. To the credit of Harrison count be it said that each and every one from that section indignantly refused the proposition, and but very few of the regiment entertained the idea for a moment. The most of those who applied for release upon those terms were of the Tennessee regiments. It was all of no use however, for old Abe placed his veto upon any releases on any terms, and gave us distinctly to understand that we were all to be held until the close of the war. I therefore concluded to take "French leave," and accordingly started one very dark, tempestuous night, after fooling the guard and scaling the walls. The next morning I took the cars for Louisville and there found Southern friends who furnished me with means to proceed on my journey. I passed through Nashville, and by the way of Lewisburg, through to Decater [sic] and thence to Memphis, running the blockade of Mitchell's army, who were advancing on Huntsville and Decater. I will now answer some inquires which have been made of me relative to members of the Harrison companies.
J. W. Taylor (son of uncle Jo,) was in fine health when I left, as also Mr. Stansbury, one of the Weathersby's. Tom Johnson, both of the _____ brothers, Corp'l Smith, Ben. Scoggin, and the Orderly Sergeants of both companies. There are others whose names I do not now recollect, that I knew very well. I do not remember Hiram G. Austin, Wilson, nor Fyffe, concerning whom inquiry has been made.
I leave here for Tyler to-night and hope to be on my way again to the seat of war in a very short time. Every energy which I possess, mental or physical, is at the service of my country, and I never intend to lay down my arms so long as there is to be found one patriot battling for the rights and freedom of the South. Now is the time for every man to hasten to the field, and strike at least one blow for the salvation of his country. I do not intend to await the exchange of our own gallant regiment, but shall join some already organized company, or else assist in raising one immediately.
With assurances of esteem, I remain,
Your obed't serv't,
S. M. Warner,
O. S., Co. C, 7th Tex. Reg't.
There is one problem with this scenario as it relates to William Gill; he was never listed as one of the captured soldiers, nor does his name appear as one of the detainees at Camp Douglas. This would imply that he escaped either prior to the surrender of Ft. Donelson, or prior to the transportation of the prisoners to Camp Douglas. Was this a possibility? The answer is yes.
In Shelby Foote's book "The Civil War a Narrative, Ft. Sumter to Perryville, page 213", he quotes General Grant: Sullen of friendly, spiteful or morose, men who had been shooting at each other a few hours ago not mingled on the field for which they fought. Indeed, the occasion was so informal that some Confederates strolled unchallenged through the lines and got away." He is subsequently quoted as saying "It is much less job to take them than to keep them."
It can be seen from the above that Billy could have simply walked through the enemy lines and kept on going. This is especially true because of where the 7th Texas was located, They were assigned to the left wing. After the surrender there was little in front of them except the enemy. It should also be remembered that this was one of the first engagements for both armies. Neither was hardened to war yet. For the Union, it was the first big victory of the war for General Grant. With a greater feeling of relief of surviving than of victory, it would have been a great time for someone who kept his head about him to take advantage and move on.
There was also a third and more probable option made available.
From Intrepid Gray Warriors: The 7th Texas Infantry, 1861-1865 by James Lynn Newsom pp33 -37
… “Only one option appeared open to the Confederate commanders General John B. Floyd and General Gideon J. Pillow in an attempt to escape Union encirclement. Both, believed they would receive harsh treatment, if not death, from the Federals if captured. Pillow, commanding the troops on the left wing of the fort, thus hoped to drive the Yankees from his front. His objective was to curl the enemy’s right flank and open a passage for the remaining Fort Donelson soldiers to withdraw down the Charlotte and Forge roads to Nashville. Once the garrison evacuated, then his troops would disengage and follow as a rear guard. For this action to be successful, the Southerners had to implement it immediately before Union reinforcements arrived and strengthened the besiegers.
In the freezing cold and darkness of the predawn hours of February 15, 1862, Pillow organized the attack. The Confederate left would begin the advance. The 7th Texas commander, General Bushrod R. Johnson, placed his division in battle order, with Colonels William E. Baldwin’s Brigade forming the extreme right and those of Colonel Gabriel C. Wharton and Colonel John McCausland on his left. Colonel John M. Simonton, commander of the 1st Mississippi Infantry, replaced the sick Colonel Davidson as leader of the 7th Texas’ brigade. He positioned his men on the left of McCausland and Wharton. Colonel Joseph Drake’s soldiers composed the extreme left of the Confederate line.
Colonel Simonton’s Brigade, forming the right flank of the attack, performed splendidly. In regimental columns through the accumulated snow, the 7th Texas, 1st Mississippi, 3rd Mississippi, and 8th Kentucky advanced across the small valley separating the Confederate trenches and the Union forces. Once through the valley, they moved uphill under a withering Union fire. The 3rd Mississippi formed a battle-line and engaged the enemy. The 8th Kentucky formed a line on the right flank of the 3rd Mississippi. These units stalled until the 7th Texas and the 1st Mississippi could also shift formations from column to line and advance to the right flank of the 8th Kentucky – all of which was done at the double-quick and under fire from the Yankees on the crest of the hill. Colonel Simonton commented, “those officers executed [the movement] with as much coolness and their commands in as good order as if they had been on review.” The men slowly advanced up the hill, firing and loading, paying for each inch of ground with an increasing body count of dead and wounded. “That heroic ban of less than 1,500 in number marched up the hill, loading and firing as they moved, gaining inch be (sic) inch on an enemy at least four times their number.”
For an hour the brigade fought to take the hill. Fearing the brigade would give ground, Simonton requested reinforcements. Pillow ordered the extreme right regiment of Colonel John McCausland’s Brigade, the 36th Virginia, to come to their aid by flanking the hill and catching the Union forces in a crossfire. As the 7th Texas reached the crest the Union regiments fired one final volley. “Colonel Gregg’s regiment met with severe losses while near the top of the hill; in some places it seemed as if a whole rank fell at a time. Lieutenant Colonel Clough and Lieutenant Nowlin… fell dead near together.” Despite losses, the regiments continued to advance and the Union line broke and ran. The Confederates gave pursuit, breaking through a second defensive position and capturing a cannon, ammunition, and horses. A third Union line slowed the attack, but it soon opened as the retreating enemy soldiers became tangled in felled timber, allowing the Confederates easy shots. The left wing had performed its task, pushing open a door in the Union lines; the evacuation of the besieged garrison was now a possibility
(Skipped the next paragraph)
The men of General Pillow’s command succeeded in their assignment; the road to Nashville was open at least for an hour. But Confederate commander General Floyd committed one of the greatest blunders of the war. Instead of following the outlined plan and withdrawing the garrison of Fort Donelson down the road to Nashville, he ordered General Pillow’s force to return to the trenches. Floyd then telegraphed General Johnston that the Confederates had achieved a great victory, when all he really had done was ensure the ruin of the Confederate Army in the West. Union forces continued to land that afternoon and evening, and by Sunday morning, February 16, the Confederate forces would not break out. General Pillow together with Floyd and his Virginia brigade, escaped by riverboat, and Colonel Forrest led his cavalry out through the frozen swamps. These defenders would be the only ones to escape, save a few stragglers from various regiments that fled without their units. Captain Jack Davis of the 7th Texas [Company E commander] along with a small group of men from his company, escaped across the river in a boat.”
Form the above it can be seen that the 7th participated in opening up the way north only to see it shut down. From other accounts we know that the decision to stay and surrender or to attempt to escape was left up to the individual unit commanders. From the actions of Copt. Jack Davis it can be inferred that the command of the 7th Texas allowed those who wished to attempt to escape the right to do so. With this scenario in mind which best fits the fact that Billy Gill ended up with the 8th Texas Cavalry. The answer is that he was able to escape with Col. Forrest through the swamps.
On to Shiloh
Again we read from the Leveland Notes: " Anyhow, after he escaped, he met up with 8th Texas Calvary under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and joined them, fighting with them for several months. It was Gen. Forrest who is said to have “Cut his way out and escaped with his command” at Fort Donelson. He refused to surrender. He was probably the greatest Confederate Cavalryman & to him is attributed this formula for victory: “Get there fustest with the mostest men!” Pa met up with (the) 8th Calvary in Kentucky. After several months with the 8th, he rejoined the 7th in time to be in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. It was in this battle that Pa’s horse was killed. This was one of the bloodiest battles of the war."
We know that he was with the 8th Texas Cavalry because we have his pay records. This would also give credit to the escape with Col. Forrest, because he (Col. Forrest) was made the head of the 8th Texas Cavalry for a period of time. He came in as a Private with the unit. This would confirm the story that he was at the battle of Shiloh (April 6 - 7, 1862) even while the remainder of the 7th was in prisoner of war camps at the time of the battle. We also know from the "roll compiled by John M. Claiborne for the Reunion in Galveston, Feb. 20-82" that W. A. Gill Pvt., was discharged from Co. E, Terry's Texas Rangers, 8th Cav. CSA. June 17, 1862. The pay records note that he rejoined "Bailey's Consolidated Regiment*" from the 8th Texas Cavalry on November 4, 1862.
*From the notes of the pay records at the bottom - Bailey's Consolidated Regiment : "This company was also known as Company B, Bailey's Consolidated Regiment of Infantry. It was formed by the consolidation of Companies A, D, F and G, 7th Regiment Texas Infantry.
Bailey's Consolidated Regiment of Infantry was a temporary field organization which was formed in October 1862, by order of Gen Tilghman and consisted of eleven companies, kA to L Companies and A and B were composed of a remnant of ht 7th Regiment Texas Infantry; Companies C to G and L consisted of members of the 49th Regiment Tennessee Infantry, and Companies H, I and K were formed of men who belonged to the 55th (Brown's) Regiment Tennessee Infantry, The organization appears to have been broken up in January or February, 1863, and the men returned to their former commands."
As an adjunct to the above, the following appears at the bottom of the pay records for the 7th Texas: "The 7th (also known as Gregg's) regiment Texas Infantry was organized November 9, 1861, an Hopkinsville, Ky., with nine companies, A to L which had previously been mustered into service for three years of the war. It was captured at Ft. Donelson, Tenn., February 16, 1862; released at Vicksburg, Miss. about September 20, 1862, and declared exchanged at Atken's Landing, Va., November 19, 1862. It was temporarily consolidated with the 49th and the 55th (Brown's) Regiments Tennessee Infantry from October 8, 1862 to about February 1863 and formed Bailey's Consolidated Regiment of Infantry. Company K was organized February 10, 1863 and Company F was disbanded in May, 1863. About April 9, 1863, this regiment became Companies B and C of the regiment which was formed by the consolidation of Granbury's Texas Brigade, and was paroled at Greensboro, N. C. about May 1, 1863."
Date: April 6-7, 1862
Confederate Commander: Albert Sidney Johnston/ P. G. T. Beauregard
Union Commander: Ulysses S. Grant
Confederate Forces Engaged: 40,335
Union Forces Engaged: 62,682
Casualties: 23,741 (13,047 Union and 10,694 Confederate)
With the above stated what would he have been a part of during the Battle of Shiloh? I have found two references. First from the Unites States Army Combat Studies Institute, and secondly.
Staff Ride Handbook for
the Battle of Shiloh,
6-7 April 1862
LTC Jeffrey J. Gudmens
and the Staff Ride Team
Combat Studies Institute
The cavalry of both sides played a minor role in the battle due to its organization within the armies. Grant had nine battalions and eight companies of cavalry. On 2 April he had ordered the cavalry to reorganize, assigning all of it to infantry divisions. Each division had from four companies to two battalions. On 6 April the cavalry had no patrols out because no one expected an attack. Johnston had approximately five battalions of cavalry. There was no standard organization of cavalry in the Army of the Mississippi. Some brigades had cavalry troops, while others did not. A small cavalry force remained under the Army’s command. When the action was joined, the Union cavalry spent most of the battle in the rear serving as escorts and couriers. The Confederate cavalry did little more. Most of the cavalry spent the battle supporting artillery batteries. The Confederates did try mounted charges, but these attacks were usually easily repulsed and suffered high casualties. However, during the retreat from the Hornet’s Nest, the 1st Mississippi Cavalry captured the entire 2d Michigan Battery as it tried to run to the Pittsburg Landing. During the night of 6 April, COL Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry conducted extensive reconnaissance of Pittsburg Landing. Forrest reported that the Army of the Ohio had arrived, but none of the Army’s leaders would listen to his reports.
(taken from pages 25 - 26 of the above referenced handbook)
"Terry's Texas Rangers"
The regiment relaxed at Corinth as Johnston drew his scattered forces to that place during March and early April. Regimental strength climbed as the survivors of winter illness returned to duty. Some recruits arrived from Texas, among them Clinton Terry, Wharton's law partner and the younger brother of their dead colonel.
A Ranger feeling of well being at this time was complemented by a conviction of their own superiority over ordinary Confederate troops. Some of this shines through in a letter written by Chaplain Bunting to a Texas newspaper:
"Colonel Wharton has authorized me to say that he will not admit amateur fighters into the Regiment and further, that the Government will mount no more men; but all who come mounted and equipped (or can purchase horses here) will be received for the war. This opens the way for joining a cavalry regiment that has seen perilous service and which already enjoys more reputation than any other in the army. We want none but Texans."
At the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, the Rangers were principally engaged on the left flank of the army, across Owl Creek, an area covered with a dense secondary growth of trees and thickets. In several charges during the two days, one or two of which were executed dismounted, they suffered casualties not justified by the meager results. On Tuesday, April 8th, the regiment covered the army rear as it withdrew towards Corinth. Disabled by a wound received on the 6th and supposing the fighting was over, Wharton relinquished command to Harrison, Lieutenant Colonel Walker being absent on sick leave, and proceeded ahead to Corinth.
It thus fell to the Rangers to be both at hand and under command of their "Jimtown Major" when Nathan Bedford Forrest, the colonel of the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry, assembled a scratch force to smite a reinforced brigade of Federal infantry pressing on the Confederate rear.
Holding his restless men in line, determined they should charge together on Forrest's signal, Harrison's own shouted order was "Now follow your Jimtown-Mark Time Major!" The nickname was never used again.
This charge, made through a belt of fallen timber, stunned and completely halted Federal pursuit on the Corinth Road. To Ranger annoyance, however, no popular account of the affair made it clear that only one company of the 3rd Tennessee accompanied Forrest into action, that the larger part of the forces involved were Texas Rangers. An account of the charge by one of these, the previously quoted Fayette County veteran, J. K. P. Blackburn, is of particular interest:
"Forrest ordered forward. Without waiting to be formal in the matter, the Texans went like a cyclone, not waiting for Forrest to give his other orders to trot, gallop, and charge as he had drilled his men. By the time the Yankee skirmishers could run to their places in ranks and both lines got their bayonets ready to lift us fellows off our horses, we were halted in twenty steps of their two lines of savage bayonets, their front line kneeling with butts of guns on the ground, the bayonets standing out at right angle or straighter and the rear lines of their bayonets extended between the heads of the men of the first line. In a twinkling of an eye almost, both barrels of every shotgun in our line loaded with fifteen to twenty buckshot in each barrel was turned into that blue line and lo! What destruction and and confusion followed. It reminded me then of a large covey of quail bunched on the ground, shot into with a load of bird shot: their squirming and fluttering around on the ground would fairly represent that scene in that blue line of soldiers on that occasion. Every man nearly who was not hurt or killed broke to the rear, most of them leaving their guns where the line went down, and made a fine record in getting back to their reserved force several hundred yards to their rear. After the shotguns were fired, the guns were slung on the horns of our saddles and with our six shooters in hand we pursued those fleeing, either capturing of killing until they had reached their reserved force. Just before they reached this force, we quietly withdrew; every man seemed to act upon his own judgement for I heard no orders. But we were all generals and colonels enough to know that when the fleeing enemy should uncover us so their line could fire on us, we would have been swept from the face of the earth."
Ranger dead at Shiloh included Clinton Terry, mortally wounded on the 6th. Among the wounded were three company commanders: Captain Rufus Y. King, Company A, Captain L. N. Rayburn, Company E, and Captain Gustave Cook, Company H.
During the remainder of April, the regiment performed routine cavalry chores as the Federals inched their way from Pittsburg Landing to Corinth. Then, early in May, General P.G.T. Beauregard, successor to Albert Sidney Johnston, killed at Shiloh, brigaded the Rangers with the 1st Kentucky Cavalry under Colonel John Adams as a senior colonel. This small command was ordered on a raid into Middle Tennessee.
Wharton disputed Adams' seniority and, possibly with good reason, regarded the latter as unduly reluctant to engage with the enemy. The two regiments floundered about Middle Tennessee for three weeks. In a single engagement of little consequence, on Elk River, near Bethel, Tennessee, on May 9th, 1862, Captain A. D. Harris of Ranger Company I was killed. Late in the month Wharton brought the Rangers out of the state, crossing the Tennessee River below Chattanooga and going into camp in the shadow of Lookout Mountain. Here they rested during the month of June.
At Tupelo, Mississippi, his headquarters after evacuation of Corinth on May 30th, Beauregard considered the problem of half-disciplined cavalry regiments and made a decision affecting the Rangers. On June 9th, he recommended the promotion of Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest to Brigadier General and ordered the Tennessean to proceed with as little delay as possible to "North Alabama and Middle Tennessee and assume command of the cavalry regiments in that section, commanded respectively by Colonels Scott, Wharton and Adams."
Forrest reached Chattanooga in the third week in June. He found Adams' 1st Kentucky Cavalry going to pieces, the one year enlistments of its men expiring and its members not amenable to the new Confederate Conscription Act. Colonel John S. Scott, 1st Louisiana Cavalry, was senior to Forrest, whose promotion would be delayed until July 21st. In addition, both the Kentuckians and Louisianans raised the old objection to Forrest as a prewar slave trader. Major General E. Kirby Smith, commanding the District of East Tennessee, presumably with authority from Tupelo, resolved the problem by replacing both commands with the 1st and 2nd Georgia cavalry regiments.
The Texas Rangers, untroubled by social pretensions, accepted Forrest for the fighter he was known to be, as did their commander. On July 9th, the brigade left Chattanooga, heading across the Cumberlands to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, occupied by Federal Brigadier General T. T. Crittenden and upwards of two thousand men, these critical to the security of the Nashville-Chattanooga Railroad and Major General Don Carlos Buell's contemplated advance on Chattanooga.
At 4:30 A.M., July 13th, 1862, Forrest's Brigade, the Texas Rangers in the lead, struck the Federals at Murfreesboro in a charge of such stunning fury as to set a pattern in shock action during the rest of the war for both it and its commander. Colonel Wharton was wounded again in a fight which lasted well into the day, but the Federals were forced to surrender with twelve hundred men and much needed equipment, including horses for the eternally necessitous Confederate cavalrymen and a battery of guns.
Murfreesboro citizens had suffered badly during this first occupation by Federal forces. Confined in the local jail was a considerable group of local residents, one or two awaiting execution. These were released to their grateful friends and relatives. A Ranger story, told in after years, was that General Crittenden refused Forrest's offer of parole on the grounds he could not deal with a guerrilla. Forrest then turned him over to the Rangers to guard. By them he was allocated to two Texans of such villainous appearance and demeanor that within an hour or two, General Crittenden became infected with a suspicion that their purpose was to kill him. Reconsidering Forrest's status, he demanded and received his parole.
Forrest's operations in Tennessee continued through July and August, nonplussing Buell with a threat which seemed to endanger even Nashville and paving the way for a Confederate invasion of Kentucky in September. On August 29th, Captain W. Y. Houston, Ranger Company G, was killed in an attack on a stockaded bridge site at Short Mountain Cross Road, eight miles southwest of McMinnville.
In September Wharton took command of the brigade, Forrest being relieved to raise another command. He led the right wing of Wheeler's cavalry as General Braxton Bragg, now commanding the Army of Tennessee, and Buell, his Federal counterpart, raced in parallel columns for Kentucky. Major Harrison assumed command of the regiment, Lt. Colonel Walker, who had never recovered use of his arm after Woodsonville, resigning sometime during the same month. S. C. Ferrell and Mark L. Evans, senior captains, became acting major and lieutenant colonel, respectively, under provisions of a new Confederate statute providing for promotion by seniority and abolishing election to any grade above second lieutenant.
Wharton's entire brigade, including the Rangers, fought almost daily through September and early October, for the most part, however, in one, two and three company detachments over a wide front. After the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 7, 1862, the Texans were part of the rear guard which covered Bragg's tedious withdrawal from the state.
The Rangers followed the army back into Tennessee by way of the Cumberland Gap. Rations were short, and the march was made difficult by an October cold spell. They found it snowing at Knoxville. From Knoxville, they marched into Middle Tennessee, camping at Nolensville, fifteen miles southeast of Nashville. In forty skirmishes and fights in Kentucky they had suffered fewer than thirty casualties, but the count included Acting Lieutenant Colonel Evans, wounded on the 7th and left at Harrodsburg. In November they would learn from a chance Louisville paper of his death at that place.
In Kentucky, too, the Rangers crossed that significant line which divides new soldiers from old veterans. They had established the reputation which they would maintain for the remainder of the war, and they were as well known to the enemy as they were to their Confederate comrades. It was some sort of acknowledgement of their accomplishments when, it late November, Wharton was promoted to brigadier general and Harrison was officially promoted to colonel of the Texas Rangers. Captain Ferrell, who was absent sick, became lieutenant colonel, and Captain Rayburn, just returned from convalescent leave and still suffering with an arm shattered at Shiloh, was promoted to major.
From April until Billy's rejoining the 7th Texas Infantry in November of 1862 the 8th Texas Cavalry was active in the following events: Operations against advance Siege of Corinth, Miss. April 29 - May 31, 1862; Pursuit to Booneville, Miss., May 30 - June 12, 1862; Skirmish, Sparta, Tenn., Aug. 4 1862; Skirmish, Round Mountain, near Woodbury, Aug. 27,1862; Skirmish, Readyville, Round Hill, Tenn. Aug. 28; Skirmish, Perryville Pike, Ky. Oct. 5, 1862; Pursuit to Loudon, Ky. Oct. 10 - 21, 1862; Skirmish, Nelson's Cross Roads, Ky., Oct. 18,1862; Skirmish, Wildcat, Ky. Oct. 19, 1862; Skirmish, Pitman's Cross Roads, Ky., Oct. 21, 1862. It can be assumed that Billy participated in some if not all of these actions. The next action accorded the 8th Texas Cavalry was in mid December, after Billy had rejoined the 7th Texas Infantry.
The operations against Port Hudson, Louisiana began on or about 7 March 1863 eight months later. If we assume that Billy escaped capture directly from Ford Donelson without being transported to Camp Douglas, then it is very possible that he could have joined up with the Eighth Texas Cavalry when the regiment was at Bowling Green, Kentucky. We know through pay records (see attached) that he was with Company A 8th Texas Cavalry and from there to Company E, Terry's Texas as a private.
He was paid on 30 June 1862 by G.M. from the 8th Texas Cavalry. He was next accounted for by the Company Muster Roll as a 4 Corpl., Consolidated Co. B, 7th Regiment Texas for the period from 31 July to 31 December 1862, with a note "Rejoined from 8th Texas Cavalry Nov. 4 1862". I have not been able to find records of either a transfer or transportation from the 8th to the 7th during this time period.
On to Vicksburg
The next mention of the war from the Leveland Notes was the battle of Vicksburg. The battle was mentioned three times, once for having been shot, then for manning the guns, and later for having escaped capture when Vicksburg surrendered.
William Alexander Gill, father of Gene Gill, Fleet Gill, and Billie Frost) was injured at Vicksburg. A shot hit him in the chest, but his big silver watch took the blow and saved his life, though the flesh all around was shattered.
What really happened to Billy Bud? The 7th, after having been repatriated, then took part in operations against Port Hudson, La., operations against Grierson's Raid from LaGrange Tenn. to Baton Rouge, La., and then to an engagement at Raymond, Miss. I believe it is at this engagement that Billy Bud was shot and then taken to the nearest hospital. The nearest hospital would have been Vicksburg. Here, while recovering, he would have been caught up in the siege by Gen. Grant, and subsequently made his escape, and eventual reunion with the 7th.
Battle Of Raymond
The Confederate infantry making its way to Raymond by way of the rail and road included Gregg's and Maxey's overstrength brigades from Port Hudson, Louisiana, and William H.T. Walker's and States Rights Gist's brigades from the east. Complicating the journey, however, was Grierson's Raid, which rendered unusable portions of the railroad east of Jackson and about 50 miles (80 km) of track south of Brookhaven, Mississippi. Gregg's men consequently marched all but 85 miles (137 km) of the 200 mile (300 km) journey from Port Hudson to Jackson, arriving on May 9. A second cavalry raid, launched by Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, cut the railroad just north of Brookhaven, trapping the cars of the Jackson & New Orleans Railroad with General Maxey's brigade too far south to assist in the ensuing battle.
After being granted a day of rest on the Pearl River just north of Jackson, Gregg received orders to march to Raymond at first light on May 11. Subsequently, Gregg's brigade arrived in Raymond late in the afternoon, and "dropped to rest as soon as halted." The rest would prove to be a short one. Rather than finding Wirt Adams's cavalry regiment guarding the roads into town, Gregg found the network of roads posted by a five-man detachment of Confederate cavalry and a company of state cavalry. Gregg was forced to picket the roads out of town with his weary infantry.
Unbeknownst to anyone in the Confederate army, McPherson's men of the XVII Corps were lurking near Utica, Mississippi, maintaining strict drum and bugle silence and a strong cavalry screen. The two divisions had been inching along the parched ridge road between Utica and Raymond for two days, struggling to maintain proximity to a water source, while the remainder of Grant's army probed north towards the railroad. Having uncovered Pemberton's main body, Grant ordered McPherson to move his two divisions 10 miles (16 km) into Raymond by mid-day May 12. Rising before daylight, Federal cavalry screening General John Logan's Third Division triggered the alarum from the state cavalry posted on the Utica road almost immediately.
Because the roads had not been properly posted, news of the arrival of thousands of Confederate troops in Raymond had spread. Having discovered from the locals that a large Confederate force was waiting just up the road, Logan attempted to deploy the 20th Ohio Infantry into a broad skirmish line and march nearly a mile through the almost impassable tangles. After an hour of stops and starts to straighten the line, and "a great expense of time, breath and strong language," Logan ordered the skirmish line shortened. Around 10 a.m., Logan's second brigade emerged into a small field that bordered Fourteen Mile Creek.
Word had reached Gregg that the Federal main body was due south of Edwards, so he estimated that this body of troops must be a raiding party. To much fanfare, he marched his men through the streets of Raymond to meet the threat. Arriving on the hills overlooking Fourteen Mile Creek, he ordered his troops to conceal themselves, then ordered Col. Hiram Granbury, commander of the veteran 7th Texas Infantry Regiment, to send Company A and a portion of Company B to picket the bridge over the creek due to their new Enfield Rifles. Gregg's plan appears to have been to lure the raiding party into making a rash charge over the bridge to save it from being burned. Once the Federal force was on the Confederate side of the bridge, Gregg's 3,000 men, bolstered by local volunteers, would erupt from their hiding places and drive the Union force into the creek bed where they would be pinned for the slaughter.
Gregg watched with anticipation as the Federal skirmish line crossed the field and engaged his pickets. Anticipation turned to surprise, however, when at 10 o'clock the skirmishers halted in the tree line and called up DeGolyer's 8th Michigan Battery Light Artillery to clear the bridge with a few rounds of canister shot. The presence of artillery could only mean one thing: the force occupying the field before him was no mere raiding party, but at least a full Federal brigade. Gregg remained undaunted, and merely altered his plan for attack. His main body would shift to the left, leaving the fields that were now threatened by the federal artillery a mere 500 yards (500 m) away for the safety of the hills above Fourteen Mile Creek. Two large regiments of infantry would launch the ambush when the Federal brigade crossed the creek, while two more large regiments would slip silently through the woods into the rear of the Federal line, capturing the artillery battery and trapping the Union troops in the bed of Fourteen Mile Creek, where they would be forced to surrender. In the heat of preparation, Gregg forgot to inform Pemberton of these plans.
Pemberton's plan had been to allow Grant to dictate the focus of the Federal attack. Grant could turn east and attack Raymond, or turn west and attack Edwards. In doing so, Grant's vulnerable rear would be open to attack by whichever force was not engaged.Pemberton had explicitly ordered Gregg not to bring on a general engagement with a larger force, but to withdraw to Jackson in the face of overwhelming odds while Pemberton dealt the Federal army a heavy blow from behind. Technically, Gregg did not feel he was violating that order, because the over-strength Confederate brigade of 3,000 men, bolstered as it was by hundreds of local volunteers and expecting reinforcements soon, outnumbered the average federal brigade by over 2-to-1 odds. What Gregg could not see, because McPherson was orchestrating his own ambush, was the entire Third Division of McPherson's Corps silently deploying into the field beside the Second Brigade.
Knowing that the woods ahead hid a large Confederate force, McPherson began to suspect an ambush. After having his men stack arms, eat lunch, and rest for the fight ahead,] he deployed a brigade to the rear for reserves, and posted his left flank with cavalry and his right flank with the 31st Illinois Infantry Regiment and additional cavalry. The men were just wrapping up lunch when an artillery duel opened up between the Union artillery near Fourteen Mile Creek and Gregg's artillery, which had been called forward by General Gregg to a hilltop 700 yards (600 m) distant. Around noon, McPherson ordered Logan forward.
Chaos and irony
The men of the First and Third Brigades faced the same challenge faced by Second Brigade earlier in the day. The vines in this area hung like ropes between the trees, and some of them boasted thorns three inches (76 mm) long. Additionally, though Fourteen Mile Creek was just inches deep, the nearly vertical banks rose over 10 feet (3.0 m) above the creek bed in places. To compound the command problems created by the terrain, McPherson's men were operating under drum and bugle silence and orders had to be delivered by courier, causing the line to lurch forward unevenly. The men of the 23rd Indiana Infantry Regiment experienced what must have seemed like a stroke of luck at the time—because of a turn in the creek, their right flank rested very near the creek. With a little effort, the unit was across the creek and standing in formation. In order to close the gap created by the march, the unit quick-stepped back the other direction looking for the rest of the brigade, and stumbled sideways into the jaws of the Confederate trap. The only thing that saved the 23rd Indiana Infantry from wholesale slaughter was the fact that the Confederates had never been issued bayonets.
Col. Manning Force, the commander of the 20th Ohio Infantry Regiment, heard the rebel yell, followed by the sounds of musketry, and panicked. He ordered his regiment to charge, running through the nearly impassable tangle and then leaping into the creek bed. There his men must have been stricken with horror at their mistake—the rest of the division was holding its ground to the rear, and the walls of the creek were too steep to either move forwards or retreat. Luckily the creek made a turn here, and the soldiers utilized it as a bunker as they traded blows with the right battalion of the 7th Texas Infantry, the ends of the Texans' rifles discharging just inches away as the Confederates utilized the other side of the creek bed in the same manner. Force crawled out of the creek bed with difficulty and sought help from the rest of the division, begging Colonel Richards of the 20th Illinois Volunteer Infantry regiment to move forward and connect the Federal line.[
The left battalion of the 7th Texas Infantry, and the 3rd Tennessee Infantry, wild with their easy victory over the 23rd Indiana Infantry, had pushed across the creek and past the 20th Ohio in a wave, encountering the Union battle line still standing in the woods. For a few minutes, the Union line and Confederate line stood obscured in the thick woods and smoke and killed each other at short range, "both lines [standing] equally firm; both equally determined as a couple of bulldogs engaged in a death struggle". Just after Force returned to the creek bed, the Federal line was ordered to leave the woods for the safety of the fence line, allowing the Union commanders to sort out what had happened. In executing this movement, Colonel Richards was lost, and with him Manning Force's desperate plea for assistance. The Confederates, perceiving that the Federals were withdrawing, imagined that the Federal line was being forced back. The rebels pushed forward with vigor, only to be ripped apart by a volley from federal troops now hiding behind the fence. Aggravating the situation for the Confederates was the fact that the 31st Illinois, hearing the fighting erupt behind them, had merely to about-face from their position on the Union right flank, and step forward in line a few yards before they were in firing position to enfilade the line of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry.
On the Confederate left flank, two Confederate regiments (50th Tennessee and consolidated 10th/30th Tennessee) were sneaking forward in complete silence, ready to stream into the field in the federal rear and seal the trap. Skirmishers of the leading 50th Tennessee chased off the cavalry pickets with a few ill-aimed shots. In the field behind the federal army, General Logan must have been near panic. The cavalry protecting his right flank was scrambling from the woods, his rightmost infantry regiment was nowhere to be seen, and what was left of the next regiment in line had emerged from the woods in disorganized groups of three and four, and was attempting in vain to regroup. Normally calm in battle, Logan was noted to be riding behind the lines screeching like an eagle for his troops to plug the perceived gaps. He pulled the 8th Illinois and the 81st Illinois out of line, sending the former to the left where the 23rd Indiana was reforming, and the latter to the right where the 23rd Indiana should have been, and then sent the remaining two regiments of his reserve to probe for the force that had scattered his cavalry picket.
The commander of the 50th Tennessee emerged from the woods ahead of his skirmishers, and his heart sank. To his right, a line of blue stretched as far as he could see. To the left, he could hear Logan's two reserve regiments moving past his flank. General Gregg had made a grave miscalculation. The federal infantry brigade he had been ordered to rout from the field had somehow turned into an entire federal division. The Confederate force withdrew across the creek with haste, and for a moment was too stunned to do anything but stand in formation waiting for orders.
At this point, McPherson sent a note back to Grant stating that he had been engaged with a Confederate force of about 1,000 men for two hours and was about to get the upper hand. This was an incredibly accurate statement. So far, the Confederates had only managed to commit the 7th Texas and 3rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, just under 1,000 men in total. Strangely enough, the Confederates engaged now found themselves caught in the same trap that they had planned for the Federals: they had been lured in a disorganized mass across a nearly impassable creek, and now faced the danger of being driven into the creek and slaughtered. The enfilading fire on the 3rd Tennessee began to take its toll, and the its left flank crumbled. Col. Hiram Granbury of the 7th Texas decided to order a withdrawal, then had second thoughts and sent a courier to his right battalion with a message to rescind the order. A timely bullet killed the courier before he could deliver the message, meaning that for a few valuable minutes five companies of the 7th Texas regiment were holding back an entire Federal army division. This allowed hundreds of Confederates to withdraw safely across the creek. A final push by the fresh 8th Illinois Infantry regiment finally broke the 7th Texas. A proud veteran regiment that had once boasted that it had never been broken in battle was now reduced to fleeing for its life in scattered groups, with hundreds of Federals in pursuit.
Confederate fight for survival
Colonel Randal McGavock, 10th Tennessee Infantry, commanding the consolidated 10th/30th Tennessee, sent a courier to find General Gregg. The courier returned, not with orders from General Gregg, but with news that the Confederate center had been routed. In a panic, McGavock ordered his regiment to the center without pausing to inform the 50th Tennessee now protecting the Confederate left flank. Marching double time by the right flank back to the position he had occupied earlier that morning, McGavock emerged from the woods in time to see scattered groups of Confederates being pursued by a wave of blue. Before all his troops had even emerged from the woods, McGavock ordered an oblique charge by his own 10th Tennessee "Sons of Erin," some seven companies, across the open field into the midst of the blue mass. What McGavock failed to realize was that the field was now enfiladed by the 31st Illinois, lying hidden in the edge of the woods along the creek. In a dramatic flourish, McGavock threw back his cape, exposing the red liner and inspiring his fellow Irishmen as he led the counterattack. Unfortunately for the 10th TN, this also made McGavock a fine target and he was shot almost immediately. The 31st Illinois "opened fire as if by file" as the Irish Southerners charged across their front, successfully forcing the Federal pursuers of the Confederate center to return to the shelter of the creek. The success came at a cost: the 10th Tennessee suffered a majority of its 88 reported casualties in this action.
Receiving enfilading fire, the 10th Tennessee withdrew, loading and firing the entire time, to join the three companies of the 30th atop the hill. Lt. Colonel James Turner, commander of the 30th Tennessee who succeeded to command of the consolidated unit, positioned the whole prone to sweep the field below. Helping stem the Federal tide was the arrival of Gregg's reserve—the 41st Tennessee Infantry—and the fact that "McGavock Hill" had become a rallying point for remnants of other units, most notably the right battalion of the 7th Texas Infantry.
At this point, the battle devolved into a contest of sniping, as the Federal commanders attempted to reform the men into organized units in the difficult tangle while suppressing the fire from the hill top. Gregg, meanwhile, found himself scrambling to provide enough time to allow the routed units to reform for the retreat. The 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion spent the afternoon feinting in various directions, and suffered heavy casualties for its efforts. The 50th Tennessee, having grown tired of standing in the Gallatin Road, traversed the battlefield from left to right, while the 41st Tennessee marched to the sound of firing on the left flank to protect it, unaware that the 50th Tennessee was already there. Moving to the left, it passed the 50th Tennessee headed in the opposite direction, and took up the 50th's former position on the flank.
Eventually, McPherson began to extend his right flank beyond the Confederate hilltop. The position having been turned and his routed units reasonably reformed, Gregg ordered a withdrawal through Raymond towards Jackson. Here, the Federal artillery finally made its mark in the battle, pounding the Confederate ranks as Gregg continued the delaying action to allow his battered units to withdraw. As his disorganized force came scrambling over fences and through yards in Raymond, they were met by the 3rd Kentucky Mounted Infantry and 800 cavalry under the command of Wirt Adams, the leading elements of reinforcements headed to Raymond from all over the Confederacy. Help had arrived too late to do anything but provide cavalry rear guard protection to General Gregg's spent force.
The Union casualties at Raymond consisted of 68 killed, 341 wounded, and 37 missing. The Confederate casualties were nearly double: 100 killed, 305 wounded, and 415 captured. Indicative of the number of locals and state troops who answered Jefferson Davis' desperate request to the Mississippi governor for help turning back Grant  is the fact that the Union Army buried and captured more Confederates at Raymond than the number of casualties reported by General Gregg, total (500). Many of the Confederate dead were interred in the Confederate Cemetery at Raymond, Mississippi, by the townspeople.
Grant's plan had been to lure Pemberton into splitting his force, allowing the Confederate army to be defeated in detail. News that Pemberton's left wing had retreated to the rail center at Jackson, Mississippi, where it was receiving reinforcements from across the Confederacy, led Grant to change his plan of attack. Whereas initially he had planned to detach McPherson's two divisions to destroy Jackson, Grant now planned a full scale assault on the Mississippi capital. This led to the Battle of Jackson on May 14, 1863, which was essentially a rear-guard action for the suddenly timorous Joseph E. Johnston.
The threat of Confederate reinforcement having been eliminated, Grant turned and defeated Pemberton at the Battle of Champion Hill on May 16, and the Battle of Big Black River Bridge on May 17. Pemberton, his army all but shattered, retreated into Fortress Vicksburg, where his men rallied to thwart two Federal assaults, but finally accepted the inevitable and surrendered on July 4, 1863.
It can be seen that the 7th. Texas Infantry and specifically Company A played a significant part in the Battle of Raymond. It can be reasonably surmised that 3rd. Cpl. "Billy Bud" Gill would have been in the thick of it. This would lead credence to the story of how he was wounded. A large caliber bulled to the chest, even if it was stopped or deflected by his big silver watch, would have, at a minimum, cracked a couple of ribs and would have caused other damage. The other point of this would be that the damage, though painful and would have severely restricted his breathing for a while, would not have been either fatal or permanently debilitating. The average time for a bone recovery is six to eight weeks. Rib damage is complicated because the ribs are not able to be immobilized during the recovery period. It is further complicated because they are constantly being moved by the lungs as breathing occurs. There is also the comment of the "flesh was shattered." This would indicate some scaring and possible shrapnel injury. All in all the time table of about six to eight weeks would have been plausible.
The Battle of Raymond took place about the middle of May, and Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863. This period of about seven weeks corresponds nicely with "Billy Bud's" escape through the lines of Vicksburg to rejoin his regiment.
The Leveland Notes reference a chain across the river at Vicksburg.
'“The South had held Vicksburg for 8 months. (Nov.1862 to July 1863). A chain across the river had stopped the gun boats & the South still held 200 miles of the river (Miss.) and Vicksburg.
In my research I have found only one reference to chains across a body of water near Vicksburg, and that was to prevent an attack from the north via the Yazoo River.
A Pictorial History of the Mississippi Steamboat Era
...An approach via the Yazoo River north of Vicksburg, was blocked by rafts, chains, and torpedoes, stretched across its mouth.
There was another reference of a great chain across the Mississippi, but it was around New Orleans.
Vicksburg guide book 1939
While Grant, ably assisted by the fleet, had been successful in opening the upper Mississippi River, Farragut was now assigned the task of opening the lower Mississippi. Successfully running the barricade of a great chain across the river and the fire of two strong forts, Farragut forced the surrender of New Orleans, April 25, 1862.
It is possible that Billy Bud saw the chain across the river at New Orleans prior to his repatriation. This is where I believe this reference came from.
The next reference is to his "manning the guns" because of sharpshooter action around Vicksburg.
This, I believe, is also out of context to the facts of the siege of Vicksburg. The guns of Vicksburg were positioned at the top of a large escarpment, or, in the cased of the mortars, located behind. In either case the danger was not from snipers but instead from the ironclads firing from the river with large cannon.
My guess, and I have not proof, is that this episode took place at another battle that the 7th had a prominent role in - the action at Missionary Ridge. More about that later.
I believe I have laid out a logical time table and explanation of what happened to Billy Bud. He was shot at Raymond, taken to Vicksburg for treatment and recovery. We also know that by July he was back with his unit, by pay records. His injury would have prevented his movement for a minimum of four weeks and that would have put him into Grant's siege of Vicksburg. We also know that he was not listed as having been taken captive in the surrender of Vicksburg on 4 July. This would indicate that he escaped.
They were completely surrounded by Grant’s army - 3 lines, and had been on ½ rations for months. Now they were out of food and ammunition, the chain had finally been cut and the gun boats had driven them from the River’s edge. The Captain called for a volunteer to take a message through the enemy lines to Gen. Joseph E. Johnson and Pa was the only one that volunteered. Pa was a big man, tall, extra wide shoulders. The Capt. Wanted a smaller man for he felt he’d have a better chance to slip undetected through the enemy lines, but he had to take Pa as no one else offered to go.
“Under cover of darkness, Pa slipped out and waited his chance. The two sentries would pass each other, then the 1st man would call out “All’s Well” & the 2nd would answer him. He jumped the 1st Sentry, knocked him out and broke his gun, then answered his call. Then he knocked out the 2nd man. He used the same tactics and made his way through all three lines to safety.
I have not been able to find any evidence that "Billy Bud" was able to deliver the message to Gen. Joseph E. Johnson, but we do know that he was with his unit in time for the rest of the war. We know this from pay records. This would have been the second time he escaped through enemy lines and rejoined his unit.
The Leveland notes do not give any other references to the war until it's end, but based on the history of the 7th Texas Infantry there is one battle that I believe may have light to shed on the narration.
The Battle at Missionary Ridge.
The Battle of Missionary Ridge was fought November 25, 1863, as part of the Chattanooga Campaign of the American Civil War. Following the Unionvictory in the Battle of Lookout Mountain on November 24, Union forces underMaj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assaulted Missionary Ridge and defeated theConfederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Gen. Braxton Bragg.
In the morning, elements of the Army of the Tennessee commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman attempted to capture the northern end of Missionary Ridge, Tunnel Hill, but were stopped by fierce resistance from the Confederate divisions of Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne, William H.T. Walker, and Carter L. Stevenson. In the afternoon, Grant was concerned that Bragg was reinforcing his right flank at Sherman's expense. He ordered the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, to move forward and seize the Confederate line of rifle pits on the valley floor, and stop there to await further orders. The Union soldiers moved forward and quickly pushed the Confederates from the first line of rifle pits but were then subjected to a punishing fire from the Confederate lines up the ridge.
At this point, the Union soldiers continued the attack against the remaining lines, seeking refuge near the crest of the ridge (the top line of rifle pits were sited on the actual crest rather than the military crest of the ridge, leaving blind spots). This second advance was taken up by the commanders on the spot, but also by some of the soldiers who, on their own, sought shelter from the fire further up the slope. The Union advance was disorganized but effective; finally overwhelming and scattering what ought to have been, as General Grant himself believed, an impregnable Confederate line. In combination with an advance from the southern end of the ridge by divisions under Maj. Gen.Joseph Hooker, the Union Army routed Bragg's army, which retreated toDalton, Georgia, ending the siege of Union forces in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Further information: Chattanooga Campaign
After their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, the 40,000 men of the Union Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen.William Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga. Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee besieged the city, threatening to starve the Union forces into surrender. Bragg's troops established themselves on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, both of which had excellent views of the city, the Tennessee River flowing through the city, and the Union supply lines. The only supply line that was not controlled by the Confederates was a roundabout, tortuous course nearly 60 miles long over Walden's Ridge from Bridgeport, Alabama. Heavy rains began to fall in late September, washing away long stretches of the mountain roads. On October 1, Maj. Gen.Joseph Wheeler's Confederate cavalry intercepted and severely damaged a train of 800 wagons—burning hundreds of the wagons, and shooting or sabering hundreds of mules—at the start of his October 1863 Raid through Tennessee to sever Rosecrans's supply line. Toward the end of October, Federal soldiers' rations were "four cakes of hard bread and a quarter pound of pork" every three days.
The Union Army sent reinforcements: Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker with 15,000 men in two corps from the Army of the Potomac in Virginia and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman with 20,000 men from Vicksburg, Mississippi. On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies, designated the Military Division of the Mississippi; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas.
Thomas launched a surprise amphibious landing at Brown's Ferry on October 27 that opened the Tennessee River by linking up his Army of the Cumberland with Hooker's relief column southwest of the city, thus allowing supplies and reinforcements to flow into Chattanooga over what was called the "Cracker Line". In response, Bragg ordered Lt. Gen. James Longstreet to force the Federals out of Lookout Valley. The ensuing Battle of Wauhatchie (October 28–29) was one of the war's few battles fought exclusively at night. The Confederates were repulsed, and the Cracker Line was secured.
Sherman arrived with his 20,000 men of the Army of the Tennessee in mid-November. Grant, Sherman, and Thomas planned a double envelopment of Bragg's force, with the main attack by Sherman against the northern end of Missionary Ridge, supported by Thomas in the center and by Hooker, who would capture Lookout Mountain and then move across the Chattanooga Valley to Rossville, Georgia, and cut off the Confederate retreat route to the south.
On November 23, Sherman's force was ready to cross the Tennessee River. Grant ordered Thomas to advance halfway to Missionary Ridge on a reconnaissance in force to determine the strength of the Confederate line, hoping to ensure that Bragg would not withdraw his forces and move in the direction of Knoxville, Tennessee, where Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside was being threatened by a Confederate force under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Thomas sent over 14,000 men toward a minor hill named Orchard Knob and overran the Confederate defenders. Grant changed his orders and instructed Thomas's men to dig in and hold the position.
Surprised by Thomas's move and realizing that his center and right might be more vulnerable than he had thought, Bragg quickly readjusted his strategy. Bragg assigned Col. Warren Grigsby's brigade of Kentucky cavalry to picket the Tennessee river northeast of Chattanooga and ordered Brig. Gen. Marcus Joseph Wright to bring his brigade of Tennessee infantry from Cleveland, Tennessee, by train to Chickamauga Station. He recalled all units he had recently ordered to Knoxville if they were within a day's march. Maj. Gen.Patrick R. Cleburne's division returned after dark from Chickamauga Station, interrupting the process of boarding the trains. Bragg began to reduce the strength on his left by withdrawing Maj. Gen. William H. T. Walker's division from the base of Lookout Mountain and placing them on the far right of Missionary Ridge, just south of Tunnel Hill. He assigned Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee to command his now critical right flank, turning over the left flank to Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson. Bragg's concern for his right proved justified and his decisions were fortuitous. In the center, Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge ordered his men to begin fortifying the crest of Missionary Ridge, a task that Bragg had somehow neglected for weeks. Unable to decide whether to defend the base or the crest of the Ridge, the divisions of Brig. Gens. William B. Bate and J. Patton Anderson were ordered to move half of their divisions to the crest, leaving the remainder in the rifle pits along the base. James L. McDonough wrote of the upper entrenchments, "Placed along the physical crest rather than what is termed the military crest ... these works severely handicapped the defenders."
November 24 was dark, with low clouds, fog, and drizzling rain. Sherman's force crossed the Tennessee River successfully in the morning then took the set of hills at the north end of Missionary Ridge, although he was surprised to find that a valley separated him from the main part of the ridge. Alerted by Grigsby's cavalry that the enemy had crossed the river in force, Bragg sent Cleburne's division and Wright's brigade to challenge Sherman. After skirmishing with the Confederates, Sherman ordered his men to dig in on the hills he had seized. Cleburne, likewise, dug in around Tunnel Hill.
At the same time, Hooker's command succeeded in the Battle of Lookout Mountain and prepared to move east toward Bragg's left flank on Missionary Ridge. The divisions of Stevenson and Cheatham retreated behind Chattanooga Creek, burning the bridges behind them.
On the night of November 24, Bragg asked his two corps commanders whether to retreat or to stand and fight. Cleburne, concerned about what Sherman had accomplished, expected Bragg to retreat. Hardee also counseled retreat, but Breckinridge convinced Bragg to fight it out on the strong position of Missionary Ridge. Accordingly, the troops withdrawn from Lookout Mountain were ordered to the right wing to assist in repelling Sherman.
The Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, consisting of the XV Corps under Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair, Jr., and the 2nd Division of the XVII Corps under Brig. Gen. John E. Smith.
The command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, consisting of the XI Corps under Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard and the 2nd Division of theXII Corps under Brig. Gen. John W. Geary. (Starting with the Battle of Lookout Mountain, Hooker also commanded divisions detached from the IV and XV Corps.)
Hardee's Corps, under Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee, consisting of the divisions under Brig. Gen. John K. Jackson (Cheatham's Division), Brig. Gen. J. Patton Anderson (Hindman's Division), Brig. Gen. States Rights Gist (Walker's Division), and Maj. Gen.Simon B. Buckner (detached November 22 to Knoxville).
Breckinridge's Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge, consisting of the divisions of Maj. Gens. Patrick R. Cleburne,Alexander P. Stewart, Carter L. Stevenson, and Brig. Gen. William B. Bate (Breckinridge's Division). During the battle, Cleburne's division operated under Hardee's control.
On November 5, Bragg had seriously weakened his forces by sending Longstreet's Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, with the divisions of Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws and Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins (Hood's Division), against Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnsidenear Knoxville. On November 22, Bragg had further weakened his forces by ordering the division of Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner to reinforce Longstreet at Knoxville.
On November 25, Grant's plan concentrated on the attack by Sherman against Bragg's right flank at Tunnel Hill. He gave a supporting role to Thomas:
I have instructed Sherman to advance as soon as it is light in the morning, and your attack, which will be simultaneous, will be in cooperation. Your command will either carry the rifle pits and ridge directly in front of them or move to the left, as the presence of the enemy may require.
Grant had no particular expectation for Hooker other than to divert Bragg's attention by continued demonstrations on Lookout Mountain. However, Thomas wanted support on his flank and called Hooker to cross the valley and demonstrate against Bragg's left flank directly at the Rossville Gap.
Sherman at Tunnel Hill
In a letter to his brother, Sherman wrote:
The whole philosophy of the battle was that I should get, by a dash, a position on the extremity of the Missionary Ridge from which the enemy would be forced to drive me, or allow his depot at Chickamauga Station to be in danger. I expected Bragg to attack me at daylight, but he did not, and to bring matters to a crisis quickly, for the sake of Burnside in East Tennessee, Grant ordered me to assume the offensive.[
Sherman had about 16,600 men in the three divisions of Brig. Gens. Morgan L. Smith, John E. Smith, and his foster brother and brother-in-law Hugh Ewing, and three regiments of Col.Adolphus Buschbeck's brigade from the XI Corps; Hardee had about 9,000 Confederates in the divisions of Cleburne and Walker with another 4,000 soon to arrive in Stevenson's division. Sherman also had Jefferson C. Davis's division guarding his rear; likewise Hardee had Benjamin F. Cheatham's division in reserve. However, at dawn, when Sherman initially planned to attack, he was opposed by three small brigades under Cleburne—about 4,000 men—and only the Texas brigade of Brig. Gen. James A. Smith was actually positioned on Tunnel Hill. But seemingly unnerved by his incorrect positioning, Sherman delayed well past his orders to attack at dawn. He selected just two brigades from Ewing's division to attack. Brig. Gen. John M. Corse would approach from the north, Col. John M. Loomis from the northwest, across the open fields between the railroads.
Sherman ordered Corse's brigade, with a detachment from Joseph A.J. Lightburn's brigade, to attack along the narrow length of Tunnel Hill. Col. John M. Loomis's brigade, supported by Bushbeck, would move across the open fields on the west of the ridge while Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith's brigade would move through the valley on the east side of the ridge. The brigades of Brig. Gen. Charles L. Matthies and Col. Green B. Raum were held in reserve to follow up any successful attack; the brigades of Cols. Joseph R. Cockerill and Jesse I. Alexander would hold the heights seized the day before.
Corse drove off the Confederate skirmish line and seized some half-built defensive works at the north end of Tunnel Hill. Continuing over the crest of the hill, Corse charged Cleburne's main position but was repulsed. After several attempts, Sherman gave up on attacking from Corse's position and the fighting shifted to the west side of the ridge. Loomis had advanced to the railroad in front of the ridge where he skirmished with Walker's division. Bushbeck, followed by Matthies and then Raum were sent up the west slope of Tunnel Hill between Loomis and Corse. Cleburne's salient began to feel the pressure and it came close to breaking. Hardee fed in reinforcements from Stevenson's division, and Cleburne ordered a general counterattack. Charging down the hill at 4 p.m., the Confederates routed Sherman's men, who were too tired and low on ammunition to resist, and captured numerous Federal prisoners.
Sherman should have put in all his force to turn Bragg's right, instead of attacking the strongest place on the right, for Bragg had given to the right every man that he could safely spare.
Sherman's attack came to a halt, a tactical failure in which he lost almost 2,000 casualties but committed only a fraction of his available force in a direct assault on a strong position, rather than attempting to outflank Bragg. Military historian David Eicher called this Sherman's "worst experience as a commander, first miscalculating the terrain and then stumbling through a prolonged, unsuccessful, and needless attack." On the other hand, Steven E. Woodworth judged that "Cleburne was in fine form today, deftly shifting troops around his hilltop position and skillfully judging when and where to launch limited counterattacks—often leading them himself."
An alternative view has been expressed by B. H. Liddell Hart, who contends that Sherman did not commit his entire force because he was expecting Bragg to attack him to dislodge the Union force from a threatening position. He "gave the Confederates several hours in which to attack them and when he saw that they showed no signs of accepting the invitation, he made it more pressing by launching three brigades against their position. But his real desire is unmistakably established by the fact that he kept three brigades to hold his own ridge, with five more in reserve behind."
Thomas's assault on the Confederate center
At around 2:30 p.m., Grant spoke with Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, a classmate of his fromWest Point. "General Sherman seems to be having a hard time," Grant observed. "It seems as if we ought to go help him." He decided to send Wood's and Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's divisions against the Confederate rifle pits at the base of the ridge, hoping to concern Bragg and relieve the pressure on Sherman. Grant suggested his idea to Thomas, but personal relations between the two generals were chilly during the campaign and Thomas rebuffed Grant's idea—he had no intention of attacking until he was assured that Hooker was successfully attacking the enemy's flank. Meanwhile, IV Corps commander Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger was nearby, completely absorbed in the activities of a battery of artillery.
Irritated, Grant asked Thomas to order Granger to "take command of his own corps. And now order your troops to advance and take the enemy's first line of rifle pits." At 3 p.m. Thomas passed the order to Granger, but incredibly, Granger ignored the order and resumed commanding the battery of artillery. After a further scolding from Grant, Granger finally issued orders to Wood and Sheridan. Messengers also went to Brig. Gens. Absalom Baird and Richard W. Johnson of Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer's XIV Corps, ordering them to move upon hearing the rapid, successive discharge of six artillery pieces.
Thomas deployed 23,000 men in four divisions with brigades in line—from left to right (north to south), the divisions of Baird (brigades of Col. Edward H. Phelps, Col. Ferdinand Van Derveer, and Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin), Wood (brigades of Brig. Gens. Samuel Beatty,August Willich, and William B. Hazen), Sheridan (brigades of Brig. Gen. George D. Wagner, Col. Charles G. Harker, and Col. Francis T. Sherman), and Johnson (brigades of Col. William L. Stoughton and Brig. Gen. William P. Carlin). Each brigade consisted of two lines, one behind the other, with skirmishers leading the way.
There were about 14,000 Confederates defending the center of the ridge against which Thomas's men marched, overlapping just slightly the Union approach. From right to left (north to south) were Cheatham's division (brigades of Brig. Gens. Edward C. Walthall, John C. Moore, and John K. Jackson), Hindman's division (commanded by Brig. Gen. J. Patton Anderson, brigades of Brig. Gens. Alfred J. Vaughan, Zachariah C. Deas, and Arthur M. Manigault), Breckinridge's division (commanded by Brig. Gen. William B. Bate, brigades of Brig. Gen. Joseph H. Lewis, Col. R. C. Tyler, and Brig. Gen. Jesse J. Finley), and Stewart's division (brigades of Col. Randall L. Gibson, Brig. Gen. Otho F. Strahl, Brig. Gen. Marcellus A. Stovall, and Col. James T. Holtzclaw).
Grant's order to halt at the rifle pits at the base of the ridge was misunderstood by far too many of the generals charged with executing it. Some doubted the order because they thought it absurd to stop an attack at the instant when the attackers would be most vulnerable to fire from the crest and to a counterattack. Others apparently received garbled versions of the order.
Peter Cozzens, The Shipwreck of Their Hopes
At about 3:40 p.m., the signal guns fired before Baird could brief Turchin. Some regimental officers claimed to get conflicting orders from the same brigadier. When asked where he was to stop, Willich told one officer, "I don't know, at Hell, I expect." Sheridan sent an orderly back to Granger inquiring whether the objective was the base or the top of the ridge, but the signal guns fired before he got an answer. Wagner, Turchin, and Carlin thought they were supposed to carry the ridge top. Most officers were guided only by what the units on either side of them did.
The 9,000 Confederates holding the rifle pits at the base of the ridge were also plagued by conflicting orders. Some were ordered to fire a volley then retreat, others to hold their ground. Those who stayed to fight were swamped by Union numbers. The Union tide was irresistible, with charging men shouting, "Chickamauga! Chickamauga!" Many of the Confederates were captured while the rest started the 5–600-foot climb to the ridge top in fear of being shot in the back. Those who escaped were completely winded by the effort and in no shape to defend themselves for several minutes.
The 100 Confederate cannons initially hit few of their enemies during the Union rush, but once the Union soldiers stopped at the rifle pits, they began to zero in on them. The Confederate riflemen also poured in their fire. Some Union unit commanders moved their men forward to get out of the worst fire. Willich's skirmishers started up the ridge without orders. Deciding that following them was preferable to being massacred in the rifle pits, Willich gave orders to advance, although several of his units were already doing so. Seeing this, Hazen and Beatty also ordered their first lines up. When Wood reached the rifle pits, the men in the second line begged him to order them up as well. Wood sent them forward.
While Cleburne skillfully made the terrain work for him at Tunnel Hill, Confederate dispositions along the central and southern portions of Missionary Ridge allowed the terrain to work for the attackers. ... In the final analysis the strength of the seemingly impregnable Missionary Ridge position turned out to be mostly a bluff.
Grant was shocked when he saw the Union troops climbing the ridge. He asked first Thomas then Granger who had given the orders. Neither general claimed responsibility, but Granger replied, "When those fellows get started all hell can't stop them." Granger then sent a courier to Wood allowing him permission to take the ridge top, if he thought it possible. Several messengers went out at about this time with differing orders, leading to more confusion.
On the far left Phelps and Van Derveer captured the rifle pits and held their position. Having negotiated some rough ground, Turchin's brigade lagged behind. But as soon as his men overran the rifle pits, the "Mad Russian" immediately urged his men up the ridge. Before Baird could send his other two brigades, he received an order to halt.
Wagner's and Harker's men started climbing soon after Wood's brigades. Wagner got halfway up before he received an order that he was to stop at the base of the ridge. He ordered his men to pull back. As they did, they suffered heavy losses from the elated Confederate defenders. Wagner's brigade suffered more casualties, around 22%, than any other brigade in the assault. When Wagner and some of Harker's men returned to the rifle pits they saw that Wood's division on their left and units of their own division on the right were still moving uphill. Disgusted that a rival division was getting ahead, Wagner sent his second line up the ridge. Sheridan soon ordered Harker back up also. To their right, Francis Sherman's brigade faced an entrenched line about one-half of the way up the ridge and had hard going. On the far right, Johnson's two brigades faced determined resistance at the rifle pits and were slow in starting up the ridge.
The Confederate line first cracked at Bird's Mill Road, at about 5 p.m. One of Willich's regiments, joined by two of Hazen's, worked its way within 50 yards of the Confederate breastworks. Protected by a roll of ground, they crept closer, then with a rush they leaped over the works belonging to Col. William F. Tucker's brigade. Surprised, the nearest defenders surrendered or fled for their lives. Alertly, the Union field officers swung their regiments to the right and left and began rolling up the Confederate line. Tucker bravely rallied his men, but by this time Willich and Hazen's men were flooding over the breastworks.
Since Bragg had not provided for a tactical reserve, his defenses were only a thin crust. To seal off the breach, the Southern generals were placed on the horns of a dilemma. When they found Union troops on their flank, they had to pull regiments out of their defense line for a counterattack. This weakened the main line of resistance just as the Union brigades to their front were swarming up to the crest.
Once atop the ridge, Hazen swung his brigade south. The Confederate lines in this direction were held by Brig. Gen. Alexander W. Reynolds's brigade, whose men had to endure a hard climb from the base of the ridge. Hit in front and flank, most of Reynolds's tired men melted away. Continuing south, Hazen flanked Col. R. C. Tyler's brigade of Bate's division out of position, allowing Wagner's brigade to reach the crest. Bate's Florida brigade was soon driven away, allowing Harker's men to reach the top. Col. Randall L. Gibson's brigade was defeated by Francis Sherman's men. Dogged by tough resistance and very steep slopes, Johnson's two brigades took the longest to climb the ridge, Carlin's men finally reaching the top around 5:30 p.m. Seeing that his position was hopeless, Stewart pulled the brigades of Brig. Gens. Otho F. Strahl and Marcellus A. Stovall off the ridge.
Meanwhile, Willich wheeled to the north and began crushing the flank of Anderson's division. Willich's success assisted Beatty's brigade to get to the top. The two brigades first drove off Brig. Gen. Arthur M. Manigault's men and continued rolling north. As they came up the ridge, the Union brigades of Turchin, Van Derveer, and Phelps (who was killed near the crest) added their weight to the assault against the Confederate brigades of Brig. Gens. Zachariah C. Deas, Alfred J. Vaughan, and John K. Jackson. Some Confederate soldiers resisted stubbornly, but many panicked and ran when they realized that Union troops were bearing down on them from the flank. Often, the Southern infantry fled before the supporting artillerists could escape with their cannons. In this manner, Anderson's entire division and Cheatham's left flank brigades of Brig. Gens. Jackson and Moore were routed. The northward Federal advance was only stopped by the stout fighting of Walthall's brigade and nightfall. Cheatham, Gist, Stevenson, and Cleburne were able to get their divisions away more or less intact, although the Confederate soldiers were demoralized or chagrined by their defeat.
The Army of the Cumberland's ascent of Missionary Ridge was one of the war's most dramatic events. Military historians Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones contend that the Battle of Missionary Ridge was "the war's most notable example of a frontal assault succeeding against entrenched defenders holding high ground." A Union officer remembered that little regard to formation was observed. Each battalion assumed a triangular shape, the colors at the apex. ... [a] color-bearer dashes ahead of the line and falls. A comrade grasps the flag. ... He, too, falls. Then another picks it up ... waves it defiantly, and as if bearing a charmed life, he advances steadily towards the top ...
By 6 p.m., the center of Bragg's line had broken completely and fled in panic, requiring the abandonment of Missionary Ridge and a headlong retreat eastward to South Chickamauga Creek. The sole exception to the panicked flight was Cleburne's command, his division augmented by two brigades from another division. As the only command not in complete disarray, it was the last unit to withdraw and formed the rearguard of Bragg's army as it retreated eastward. Only Sheridan tried to pursue beyond Missionary Ridge, but he finally gave up late that night when it was clear that he was not being supported by either Granger or Thomas.
Hooker at Rossville Gap
After Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's command left Lookout Mountain at about 10 a.m. and moved east, they encountered a significant obstacle. The bridge across Chattanooga Creek, about a mile from Rossville Gap, had been burned by the Confederates as they withdrew the night before and the creek was running high. Brig. Gen. Peter J. Osterhaus assigned a 70-man pioneer unit to start rebuilding the bridge while men of the 27th Missouri created a rickety footbridge and began crossing one by one. Hooker decided to leave his guns and wagons behind so that all of his infantry could cross first, but his advance was delayed about three hours and he did not reach Rossville Gap until 3:30 p.m.
Breckinridge was absent while the Union attack wrecked his corps. Worried about his left flank, he rode to the end of his line in the early afternoon. At 3:30 p.m., about the time Thomas launched his four-division attack on Missionary Ridge, Breckinridge visited Stewart's left flank brigade of Col. James T. Holtzclaw, whose commander pointed to the southwest where Hooker's men were busily bridging Chattanooga Creek. Concerned about Rossville Gap, which lay undefended beyond his left flank, Breckinridge ordered Holtzclaw to send a couple of regiments to hold the position. It was too late; by the time the Southerners reached the gap, Osterhaus's division had already marched through. Lt. J. Cabell Breckinridge, the general's son and aide-de-camp, rode into a group from the 9th Iowa and was captured.
Hooker quickly faced his troops to the north and organized a three-pronged attack. He sent Osterhaus along a trail east of Missionary Ridge, Cruft onto the ridge itself, and Geary along the western face of the ridge. Holtzclaw faced his men south and put up a fight, but Cruft and Osterhaus soon began herding the outnumbered Confederates north along Missionary Ridge. Hearing a tremendous racket to the north, Breckinridge finally rode off to find out what was wrong. As Holtzclaw retreated before Hooker's command, he eventually bumped into Col. Anson G. McCook's 2nd Ohio of Carlin's brigade, now astride the ridge. Surrounded by superior forces on four sides, approximately 700 of Holtzclaw's men surrendered.
During the night, Bragg ordered his army to withdraw toward Chickamauga Station on the Western & Atlantic Railroad (currently the site of Lovell Air Field) and the following day began retreating from there toward Dalton, Georgia, in two columns over two routes. The pursuit ordered by Grant was effectively thwarted by Cleburne's defense at the Battle of Ringgold Gap.
Casualties for the Union Army during the Battles for Chattanooga (Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge) amounted to 5,824 (753 killed, 4,722 wounded, and 349 missing) of about 56,000 engaged; Confederate casualties were 6,667 (361 killed, 2,160 wounded, and 4,146 missing, mostly prisoners) of about 44,000. Southern losses may have been higher; Grant claimed 6,142 prisoners. In addition, the Union Army seized 40 cannons and 69 limbers and caissons. When a chaplain asked General Thomas whether the dead should be sorted and buried by state, Thomas replied "Mix 'em up. I'm tired of states' rights."
The Confederate enthusiasm that had risen so high after Chickamauga had been dashed at Chattanooga. One of the Confederacy's two major armies was routed. The Union now held undisputed control of the state of Tennessee, including Chattanooga, the "Gateway to the Lower South." The city became the supply and logistics base for Sherman's 1864 Atlanta Campaign, as well as for the Army of the Cumberland, and Grant had won his final battle in the West prior to receiving command of all Union armies in March 1864.
This Band of Heroes, by James M. McCaffrey, Chapter 6 "Missionary Ridge "beginning in page 88 paragraph 2.
"After dark Cleburne sent to his wagon train for axes so that trees could be felled and breastworks erected. Having anticipated a retreat across the Chickamauga, he had earlier sent his artillery across and he not ordered the guns to rejoin him. During the night the Texas Brigade abandoned its original works and fell back to a prominent elevation known as Tunnel Hill. The brigade established temporary residence about one hundred and fifty yards north of the railroad tunnel. The Sixth, Tenth and Fifteenth Texas now occupied a position along the western face of the crest with Swett's Mississippi Battery on its right. The line bent back toward the east along the north slope of Tunnel Hill where the Seventh Texas was stationed with the Seventeenth, eighteenth, Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Texas on its right. Some Georgia troops were to the lift of the brigade and Colonel Daniel Govan's Arkansas were to the right. As the Confederates labored to throw up some protection they were interrupted by a lunar eclipse which made it too dark to work. By dawn they were driven to cover by vigilant Federal pickets who could see them through the haze.
During the early morning hours of November 25th, skirmishers were active between the lines and Union artillery played along Tunnel Hill. At about 10:30 A.M., General Smith's skirmishers were forced back to the main works and Federal skirmishers occupied the Confederate works that had been deserted the night before. Large bodies of blue clad soldiers could also be seen moving south near the west face of Missionary Ridge as they positioned themselves for and attack on Tunnel Hill from that direction.
Heavy skirmishing continued until shortly after noon when a general advance was undertaken by the Federals ear the apex of the Texas Brigade's line. Swett's Battery was very effective and the attackers made every effort to shoot down the gunners. There were no breastworks protection the cannoneers and many fell as the enemy infantry crept to within fifty yards of the guns. In order to protect the cannons a counterattack was mounted by the left of the Seventy Texas and the right of the Sixth, Tenth and Fifteenth Texas. The Federals were effectively pushed back but not without cost to the Confederates. General Smith and Colonel Mills were both wounded and command of the brigade passed to Colonel Granbury of the Seventh Texas. The Yankees regrouped and came charging back up the hill. By this time all of the officers and many of the enlisted men in Sweet's Battery had been killed or wounded and the guns were commanded by a corporal. Colonel Granbury detailed a number of infantrymen to help serve the guns and another enemy attack was turned back." (my emphasis added)
It is at this point that I believe the story in the Leveland Notes took place. “At the Battle of Vicksburg they called for volunteers to man the guns. Sharpshooters were picking off the men as fast as they manned the guns. Pa teased Capt. & said “I’m not big and able bodied.” He was the biggest one there - not fat. He took over the gun and manned it. He was (an) expert sharp shooter. (At home, he drilled chickens for meals by shooting off heads with carbine type Winchester 44. He used this gun all through his Ranger Service.)"
The Seventh Texas went on to fight many other battles, but there were no other stories about them in the Leveland Notes. The last entries about the war concerned the capitulation and "Billy Bud's" travel home. " (Uncle Fleet said that Pa was in North Carolina when he was discharged from the Army, so he must have been with Joseph E. Johnston when he surrendered at Bentonville, N.C., after Hood’s barefoot retreat from Nashville. History tells us that when the men were discharged to return home, they received one Mexican dollar and twenty - five cents for those four bloody years of war. Faye said that Pa was quite a “walker” for he walked all the way home to Waco, Texas from North Carolina, stopping by Tennessee to visit relatives.)"
We do know that William A. Gill was not listed as one of the men who surrendered at Bentonville.