Saturday, November 30, 2013

The fate Of A Soldier

Confederate Brigadier General John Adams was one of six Confederate officers killed November 30th 1864 during the Battle of Franklin.

John Adams was born July 1st 1825 in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Irish immigrants.  He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and graduated in 1846 ranked 25th in the class.  Adams’ first posting was under Captain Philip Kearny in the United States 1st Dragoons.  He served in the Mexican American War, and was brevetted for action during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales.  After which he served mostly in the western frontier, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1853 when he served as the aide-de-camp for the Governor of Minnesota.

When Tennessee seceded in 1861 Adams resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy.   He was commissioned Colonel in 1862 and in December of that year became Brigadier General taking command of the late Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman’s Mississippi brigade.  Adams’ service was entirely preformed in the Western Theater of the war.

When Confederate John Bell Hood broke off from Union General William T Sherman and the Atlanta Campaign, Adams’ brigade led the advance into Tennessee.  During the Battle of Franklin on November 30th 1864 Adams was killed while at the head of his men.  His death was described in June 1897 by an Indiana Colonel, who witnessed the action, “General Adams rode up to our works and, cheering his men, made an attempt to leap his horse over them. The horse fell upon the top of the embankment and the general was caught under him, pierced with [nine] bullets. As soon as the charge was repulsed, our men sprang over the works and lifted the horse, while others dragged the general from under him. He was perfectly conscious and knew his fate. He asked for water, as all dying men do in battle as the life-blood drips from the body. One of my men gave him a canteen of water, while another brought an armful of cotton from an old gin near by and made him a pillow. The general gallantly thanked them, and in answer to our expressions of sorrow at his sad fate, he said, 'It is the fate of a soldier to die for his country,' and expired.”

If you are interested in reading more, check out BRIGADIER GENERAL JOHN ADAMS, CSA

Friday, November 29, 2013

Poor Planning

The Battle of Fort Sanders a part of the Knoxville Campaign was fought November 29th 1863, hastening the end of the Siege of Knoxville.

When a Union force occupied Knoxville, Tennessee, engineer Captain Orlando M Poe built several earthwork fortifications around the city, including Fort Sanders to the west of Knoxville.  The Fort was 70 feet higher than the surrounding plateau, and included a ditch 12 feet wide and 4 to 10 feet deep.  The fort was held by 440 men of the 79th New York Infantry with 12 cannon.

Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet was ordered to the area of Knoxville to prevent Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside from moving his troops to support Union troops at Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Longstreet decided that Fort Sanders was the best place to attempt a break in the Union line.

On November 29th 1863 the assault began, which quickly went wrong due to poor planning and unknown obstacles the Confederate soldier would run into.  In the very early morning hours Longstreet’s men moved to within 130 yards of the Fort, and then waited for dawn in a freezing rain.  The men first encountered telegraph wire which had been strung about knee high, then reaching the ditch they found the ground to steep, frozen and slippery to get up.  The Union soldiers defending the Fort shot into the massed Confederates below them with deadly fire.  As the Confederates attempt to reach the top, they climbed up each other.  For a short time the flags of the 13th Mississippi, 16th Georgia, and 17th Mississippi Infantry were planted at the top of the ditch, but color bearers were quickly shot down.

Twenty minutes into the attack Longstreet had it called off.  Union soldiers captured over 200 Confederates, stuck in the ditch.  The casualties were quite lopsided, with the Confederates loosing 813 to the Union’s 13 looses.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Caught Up With Them

Gen Judson Kilpatrick
The Battle of Buck Head Creek was fought November 28th 1864, a part of the March to the Sea.

Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler caught up with two Union regiments on November 26th 1864, and attacked their camp.  This kept Union Brigadier General H Judson Kilpatrick from destroying a railroad trestle over the Briar Creek.  Kilpatrick then found out the Union prisoners being held at Camp Lawton that he was supposed to release, had been moved, and so he began a move of troops to meet up with Union Major General William T Sherman.

Kilpatrick’s cavalry made camp on November 27th 1864 near Buck Head Creek.  Early the next morning November 28th 1864 Wheeler came up on the camp, almost captured Kilpatrick, driving the Union cavalry across Buck Head Creek.  The 5th Ohio Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Thomas T Heath fought a rearguard action with the support of two pieces of artillery.  They raked Wheeler’s men with canister, and then burned the bridge they had crossed on.  Wheeler’s cavalry crossed the river, pursuing the Union troopers to Reynolds’ Plantation, where they found the Union soldiers behind barricades.  Wheeler’s men retired from the field, and Kilpatrick continued the join up with Sherman.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

If I Had A Thousand Lives

Sam Davis known as the “Boy Hero of the Confederacy” was executed on November 27th 1863.

Sam Davis was born October 6th 1842 in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of Charles Lewis and Jane (Simmons) Davis.  He attended local schools, before going to the West Military Institute in Nashville, Tennessee in 1860-61, where his headmaster was the future Confederate General Bushrod Johnson.

At the beginning of the Civil War Davis enlisted as a private in the Confederate 1st Tennessee Infantry.  He would see his first action at Cheat Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley.  Davis was wound at the Battle of Shiloh and again at the Battle of Perryville.  The Perryville wound was serious, and after recovering he became a courier for Coleman’s Scouts.

It was while doing service with Coleman’s Scouts that Davis was captured on November 20th 1863 near Minor Hill, Tennessee.  He was wearing a partial Confederate uniform, had a pass from Confederate General Braxton Bragg and was in possession of Union papers detailing troop movements and private papers belong to Union General Grenville M Dodge.  Davis was arrested as a spy, and sentenced by a military court to be executed by hanging.  He was given an out, if he would name his Union contact, to which Davis was supposed to have said, "If I had a thousand lives to live, I would give them all rather than betray a friend or the confidence of my informer.”  Just before the execution Davis wrote a letter home to his family, "Dear mother. O how painful it is to write you! I have got to die to-morrow --- to be hanged by the Federals. Mother, do not grieve for me. I must bid you good-bye forevermore. Mother, I do not fear to die. Give my love to all.  Father, you can send after my remains if you want to do so. They will be at Pulaski, Tenn. I will leave some things with the hotel keeper for you."  He was hung November 27th 1863 at Pulaski, Tennessee.

Monday, November 25, 2013

McClellan's Headquarters Guard

The Sturges’ Rifles a company of Illinois militia were mustered out of Union service November 25th 1862.

The Sturges’ Rifles were a company of Illinois sharpshooters who mustered into the Union army May 6th 1861.  The company was organized in Chicago, Illinois.  A Solomon Sturgis saw to it that the men were equipped and armed with Sharps rifles.  They served from June 1861 with Union Major General George B McClellan as his headquarters guard and they served with him until he lost his command.  McClellan had been a member of the company before the start of the Civil War.  The men saw action in the Battle of Rich Mountain, the Peninsula Campaign, and Antietam.  The company was mustered out of service November 25th 1862, having lost just one man.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

You Have Got Too Much

The Battle of Orchard Knob, a rocky hill to the east of Chattanooga was fought November 23rd 1863.

Union General George H Thomas formed his troops up in the valley between Chattanooga, Tennessee and rocky hill about 100 feet high, known as Orchard Knob on the afternoon of November 23rd 1863.  Confederates posted on top of Orchard Knob watched the Union troops from behind rifle pits, as they move as though on parade in front of their position.

Somewhere around 1:30 pm the 14,000 Union soldiers began to march on the Confederate position at the double quick.  There were only 634 Confederates holding the line on Orchard Knob.  The Confederate soldiers had time only to fire a single volley before Thomas’ troops closed in on the Knob, pushing the Confederates back to the base of Missionary Ridge.  By 3 pm Union General Thomas J Wood was sending the message to Thomas, that "I have taken the first line of the enemy's entrenchments."  Thomas sent back the order, “Hold on; don't come back; you have got too much; entrench your position."

Union General Ulysses S Grant would use Orchard Knob on November 25th 1863 as his forward observation point, while watching the Union assault on Missionary Ridge.

Friday, November 22, 2013


The 125th New York; a regiment raised in Rensselaer County, New York, was officially exchanged on November 22nd 1862 from Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois.

The 125th New York Infantry was raised in Rensselaer County, New York and was mustered into Union service at the end of August 1862 in Troy, New York with Colonel George L Willard as their commander for a term of three years.  The men left Troy by train August 30th 1862 for Martinsburg, Virginia.  Just a few days later they were involved in the Battle of Harper’s Ferry.  Several of the men of the regiment were killed and wounded.  The 125th were also among the 11,500 men garrisoned at Harper’s Ferry who surrendered to the Confederates on September 15th 1862.

The 125th along with the other captured troops were sent under parole to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois to await exchange.  They would be referred to as the “Harpers Ferry Cowards”   The exchange came for the 125th on November 22nd 1862, and the men were sent back to Virginia, where they took up position in the defense of Washington, DC.  They were camped at Centerville on June 24th 1863, when they became part of the II Corps, Union General Alexander Hay’s Division.  Their commander Colonel George L Willard became the brigade commander.  The men marched off to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  During the Battle of Gettysburg the 125th lost 139 men killed and wounded, including Colonel Willard.

The 125th would go on the fight at Bristoe Station, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and many more.  They would be engaged every day during the siege of Petersburg from July 16th 1864 through April 1st 1865.  The 125th or what was left of it was at Appomattox when Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered.

Following the Grand Review of the troops in Washington, DC, the men of the 125th proceeded to Troy, New York, where they were mustered out of service June 15th 1865.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Devotion And Unswerving Loyalty

The Union Colored Regiments from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania got their “Grand Review” November 14th 1865 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Most Union troops paraded through Washington, DC on May 23rd and 24th 1865 in front of dignitaries and citizen in a “Grand Review of the Armies”.  There were however about 180,000 soldiers missing, the United States Colored Troops.

The black soldiers who had served in regiments formed in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania gathered for a “Grand Review” of their own in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania November 14th 1865.  A prominent resident and recruiter of Colored Troops, Thomas Morris Chester was the grand marshal for the parade.  The troops marched through the main streets of Harrisburg; the capital of Pennsylvania, to the home of Senator Simon Cameron.  Cameron, who was an abolitionist and advocate for raising black soldiers, delivered the speech in their honor.  He said, “I cannot let this opportunity pass without thanking the African soldiers for the compliment they have paid me, but more than all to thank them for the great service which they have been to their country in the terrible rebellion. Like all other men, you have your destinies in your own hands, and if you continue to conduct yourselves hereafter as you have in the struggle, you will have all the rights you ask for, all the rights that belong to human beings.”  There were letters read from those who couldn’t attend, including Union General Benjamin F Butler, who wrote, I “witnessed…[African American soldiers’] bravery and good conduct on the battle-field, and, above all, their devotion and unswerving loyalty to the flag and government.”

It was reported that about 7,000 Colored soldiers attended the “Grand Review”.  It ended with a grand ball held for the soldiers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Make a Demonstration On The Flank

Joseph Wheeler
A diversionary tactic, the Action at Maryville was fought in Tennessee in November 13th 1863.

Confederate General James Longstreet crossed the Tennessee River with his infantry.  The goal was to seize the heights on the southern bank of the Holston River overlooking Knoxville, Tennessee.  His cavalry, commanded by Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler was sent to make a demonstration on the Union flank.  The cavalry moved to capture a Union force located at Maryville, Tennessee.

Wheeler’s trooper crossed the Tennessee River at Motley’s Ford on November 13th 1863, and with a night march got between the Union soldiers posted at Maryville and their line of retreat.  The Union 11th Kentucky Cavalry was stationed at Maryville, and were outnumbered by the Confederates.  Wheeler surprised the Union troopers when he attacked.  The Union cavalry were quickly routed and the Confederates captured 151 men.  From a nearby camp Union Brigadier General William Sanders sent in 1st Kentucky Cavalry and the 45th Ohio Mounted Infantry, but they too were outnumbered by Wheeler’s men, and retreated to Little River.

The next morning Wheeler found the river crossing undefended.  Union soldiers had pulled back toward Knoxville.  Wheeler put out skirmishers, continuing to push back the Union cavalry.  After crossing the Stock Creek, the Confederates attacked sending the Union troops into retreat, and placing another 140 prisoners in Confederate hands.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Belle Of The North

Katherine Jane Chase the daughter of the United States Secretary of the Treasury, married Rhode Island Governor William Sprague November 12th 1863 at the Chase home in Washington, DC.

Katherine Jane Chase; always called Kate, was born August 13th 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Salmon P and Eliza Ann (Smith) Chase.  She was sent to school in New York City to the Haines School, where she learned elocution, history, languages, music, and most importantly the social graces.  After being away at school for nine years Chase returned to Columbus, Ohio, a beautiful 18 year old, to serve as hostess for her widowed father, who had been newly elected Governor.  She was a beautiful, intelligent young woman who impressed her father’s many political friends.

Chase came to Washington, DC with her father, when he became President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1861.  She set up their home in Washington and continued to act as his hostess.  The parties she held were much sought after invitations, and she quickly became the “Belle of the North”.  Chase made a point of visiting the Union camps surrounding Washington, and making friends of Union General.  She was also out spoken on her views of how the war should be fought.

On November 12th 1863 Chase married Rhode Island Governor William Sprague in her father’s home in Washington, DC.  It was the social event of the year.  The United States Marine Corps Band played a march composed by Thomas Mark Clark just for the occasion.  President Lincoln attended the ceremony, but his wife Mary, who didn’t like Chase, did not go.

Hers was not a happy marriage.  Both Chase and her husband apparently had affairs, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1882.  After the divorce she took back her maiden name.  Chase moved with three of her children to her late father’s estate “Edgewood” near Washington, DC.  She died there July 31st 1899 in poverty of Bright’s disease.  She is buried beside her father in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

If you are interested in reading more, check out The Nuptials of Miss Kate Chase and Ex-Gov. Sprague

Monday, November 11, 2013

Brought Back From Canada

As the Civil War was wrapping up, and so was the Dakota War of 1862, when on November 11th 1865 Dakota Chief Shakopee was hung for his role in the uprising.

Shakopee III or in English “Little Six” was born about 1811 near the town of today’s Shakopee, Scott County, Minnesota.  He was the son Chief Shakopee II.

Shakopee was one of the leaders involved in the Dakota War of 1862.  The death of 13 women and children were placed on him.  Following the uprising in Minnesota, the United States ordered the removal of all Dakota from the State, and so Shakopee fled in early 1863 to Canada.  It was while in Canada in the winter of 1864 that he was illegally captured and brought to Fort Snelling, Minnesota.  Shakopee was brought before a military tribunal for his actions in the Dakota War, found guilty he was sentenced to death.

United States President Andrew Johnson upheld the sentence in early November 1865.  On November 11th 1865 Shakopee and another Dakota; Medicine Bottle were brought to the gallows at Fort Snelling.  French Jesuit, Father Augustin Ravoux administered the last rights, and the two Dakota were hung.  The St Paul Weekly Press reported that, “the lid was placed over them, and they were taken, each coffin borne by four soldiers, to the place in the Fort assigned for the dead. They were buried at 6 o'clock p.m. in the military burying grounds."  There is some question as to this statement; it seems likely that bodies were sent to an eastern medical college.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

McNeill's Raiders

Confederate Captain and the leader of McNeill’s Rangers, John Hanson McNeill died from wounds received earlier on November 10th 1864.

John Hanson McNeill was born June 12th 1815 in Moorefield, Hardy County, Virginia [now a part of West Virginia], the son of Strother and Amy (Pugh) McNeill.  He was known in the family as Hanse.  He moved first in 1838 to Bourbon County, Kentucky, and then in 1848 to Boone County, Missouri, where he went into the cattle business, and would become a Methodist minister.

When the Civil War started McNeill commanded Company B in the 4th Missouri State Guard.  He was with them at Boonville, Carthage, Lexington and the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.  While on recruiting duty he was captured and held as a prisoner of war in St Louis, Missouri, before escaping June 15th 1862, and traveling back to Virginia.  McNeill went to Richmond, Virginia where he requested permission to form an independent command to operate in West Virginia.  Richmond gave him command of Company E in the 18th Virginia Cavalry on September 5th 1862, commonly called McNeill’s Rangers.  They led attacks and made raids on Union camps, wagon trains, and railroads.

On October 3rd 1864 while leading an early morning raid in which the McNeill Rangers attacked the Union 8th Ohio Cavalry that was guarding the bridge at Meems Bottom near the town of Jackson, Virginia, McNeill was wounded.  He was taken first to the home of Reverend Addison Weller, and then moved to Hill’s Hotel in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It was there over a month later that McNeill died on November 10th 1864.  He was first buried in Harrisonburg, but a few months later his body was moved to the Olivet Cemetery in Moorefield, West Virginia.

If you’re interested in reading more, check out The McNeill Rangers: A Study in Confederate Guerrilla Warfare

Saturday, November 9, 2013

For The Purpose Of Military Operations

Union General William T Sherman issued his Special Field Orders Number 120 on November 9th 1864, in preparation for the March to the Sea.

Union Major General William T Sherman issued Special Field Orders Number 120 just before leaving the Atlanta, Georgia area on November 9th 1864.  It contained the orders for conduct while marching to Savannah, Georgia and the coast.  The Order explained Sherman’s plan to destroy the property of the Southern people, bringing an end to the Civil War through physical and psychological war fare.  The men were instructed to forage, taking what they needed even if that left the population starving.

“Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

I. For the purpose of military operations, this army is divided into two wings viz.: The right wing, Major-General O. O. Howard commanding, composed of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps; the left wing, Major-General H. W. Slocum commanding, composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps.

II. The habitual order of march will be, wherever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The cavalry, Brigadier - General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the commander-in-chief.

III. There will be no general train of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition-train and provision-train, distributed habitually as follows: Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance; behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition - wagons, provision-wagons, and ambulances. In case of danger, each corps commander should change this order of march, by having his advance and rear brigades unencumbered by wheels. The separate columns will start habitually at 7 a.m., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to keep in the wagons at least ten day's provisions for the command and three days' forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but during a halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and to drive in stock of their camp. To regular foraging parties must be instructed the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.

V. To army corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.

VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or bridges. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts, and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along, but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one and that his first duty is to see to them who bear arms.

— William T. Sherman, Military Division of the Mississippi Special Field Order 120, November 9, 1864”

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Win Of An Incumbent

United States President Abraham Lincoln was voted into a second term on November 8th 1864, by around 400,000 votes.

The United State presidential election was held Tuesday November 8th 1864, despite the ongoing Civil War.  Sitting President Abraham Lincoln was the Republican or “National Union Party” candidate, running against Democratic “Peace Candidate” Union General George B McClellan.  When the votes were counted, Lincoln won the popular vote by more than 400,000 votes.  Many of these coming from soldiers in the field, and on the strength of the Union win in the Battle of Atlanta on September 6th 1864.  It was the first time that soldiers in the field were allowed to cast ballots, and around 70% went for Lincoln.  From the stand point of the Electoral College Lincoln took 212 of the 233 available votes.

Lincoln was the first incumbent president to win a reelection since Andrew Jackson was reelected to a second term in 1832.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

They Rushed The Bridge

Albion P Howe
Along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad on November 7th 1863 the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station was fought.
Confederate General Robert E Lee withdrew his forces across the Rappahannock River in late October 1863.  A pontoon bridge was left at the town of Rappahannock Station, the only connection to the north shore.  The crossing was protected by two redoubts and Confederate artillery posted on the south side of the river.

Union commander Major General George G Meade approaching the river divided his force.  Major General William H French was to cross the river downstream at Kelly’s Ford, while Major General John Sedgwick attacked the Confederates at Rappahannock Station.  They were to rejoin and move on Brandy Station.

On November 7th 1863 about noon French’s force crossed the river at Kelly’s Ford, pushing the Confederates at the crossing back.  Shortly after noon Sedgwick advanced on Rappahannock Station.  Lee moved his troops to meet the threat on the two fronts.  Union Major General Albion P Howe’s division, a part of Sedgwick’s VI Corps drove in Confederate skirmishers about 3 pm and began to pound the Confederate batteries with his own artillery fire.  Posted at the bridge that day was Confederate Brigadier General Harry T Hay’s brigade with four guns of Captain Charles A Green’s Louisiana Guard Artillery, about 2,000 troops.  Sedgwick continued the shelling through the late afternoon, leading Lee believe the move against Rappahannock Station was feint to cover French’s crossing.  Sedgwick waited until almost dark, and then his infantry rushed the Confederate works.  Union Colonel Peter Ellmaker’s advanced on the double quick, surging over the Confederate works and fighting hand to hand with Hay’s men.  On the Union right Colonel Emory Upton’s brigade seized the bridge.

The Confederates gave up quickly.  Hundreds of Confederate soldiers surrendered, while others excepted by swimming the icy cold river.  There were 1,670 Confederate killed, wounded or captured in the short fight.  Union casualties were only 419.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Killed In Mexico Unrepentant

Confederate Officer Mosby Monroe Parson received his commission to Brigadier General November 5th 1862.

Mosby Monroe Parson was born May 21st 1822 in Charlottesville, Virginia, the oldest child of Gustavus Adolphus and Patience Monroe (Bishop) Parson.  His family moved to Cooper County, Missouri when he was thirteen, finally settling in Jefferson City, Missouri.  He worked in his father’s brickyard, to pay tuition at St Charles College.  Parson read for the law with Judge James W Morrow and passed the bar, becoming a lawyer in 1846.  When the Mexican American War started he served with the rank of Captain with the Cole County Dragoons and was cited for gallantry at the Battle of Sacramento.  He returned to Missouri after the war and served as the United States District Attorney for western Missouri as well as in the Missouri State Legislature.

When the Civil War started Parson took an appointment to lead the Sixth Division of the Missouri State Guard.  He led his men in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.  After this action, Parson went to Richmond, Virginia to try to get an appointment in the Confederate Army.  He received a commission on November 5th 1862 to Brigadier General, and one month latter was leading men at the Battle of Prairie Grove.  He would see action at Helena, Arkansas, and in putting down Union Major General Nathaniel Bank’s Red River Campaign, the Battle of Pleasant Hill, and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry among others.  He finished the war in the Trans Mississippi Department under Confederate General Kirby Smith, as the commander of the District of Arkansas.

After the Civil War was over Parson didn’t return to Missouri, but went to Mexico, planning to join up with Confederate General Joseph O Shelby.  While in Mexico, he along with former Confederate Congressman Aaron H Conrow and Parson’s brother-in-law Confederate Captain Austin M Standish were taken captive by Mexican Juaristas cavalry, and executed on August 15th 1865 near Chino, Mexico.  Their bodies were thrown into the San Juan River.  There is a marker for Parson in the Maplewood Cemetery in Charlottesville, Virginia.