THE ASA LADD STORY
Asa Valentine Ladd was born 23 Nov 1829 in Wayne Co., Mo. He married Ama Gaines ca 1849. Amy was born around 1829-30. Amy had a twin sister name Namy who married Whitfield Taylor. Namy and her husband moved to Sharp Co., AR. Namy is buried in the Huett Cemetery near Yadkins in Randolph County, AR.
Asa and Amy were the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters. John A., Francis Ransome, William Burke, Henry Asbury, Cynthia Paralee, Mary C. (Etta), Rachel N.
Asa enlisted in the Civil War 10 Mar 1861 in Stoddard County, Mo. He served with Jacksons Co A, Burbridge's Regiment, 4th Missouri Calvery. He was captured by the Union army in Sedelia, Mo., on 16 Oct 1864. He was taken to Jefferson City and remained there for eight days, then was sent to Gratiot Street prison in St. Louis on the 25 of Oct 1864. According to his statement, which he made 28 Oct 1864 at the Gratiot Street prison, he was in the service constantly until his capture, yet he is listed on the muster roll as having deserted 27 July 1863.
While in service, Asa had two horses for his own use and was armed at all times, though he never took part in any general engagements; only a number of skirmishes. His outfit served under Marmaduke's command and they were with General Price on his infamous raid into Missouri in 1864.
Asa had been a farmer, and all this fight and run tactics must have been very wearing on him. He seemed to be quite confused at his interrogation in Gratiot Street Prison; he answered some questions as though he were not entirely sure of his answers. For example: To the question "Have you a wife - children?" he replied, Wife and four children. The Census Records show that he had seven children. To the question "Have you relatives in the Rebellion?" he answered that he had two brothers-in-law; this was scratched out and "a brother" inserted. (His brother-in-law, John Allen, served in the Union Army).
One can only imagine the feelings and state of mind he must have had when he learned of his fate the next morning. One thing that is certain is that Asa had a strong love for the Lord. He was raised of the Methodist faith; his father pastored the Sadlers Chapel Church in Dexter, Mo.
At the Battle of Pilot Knob, near Bloomfield, Mo., in Sept. 1864, a Union Major (James Wilson) and six of his men were captured by the Confederates. According to Brig.-Gen. Thomas C. Fletcher, USA, "they were held for one week, then turned over to Major Tim Reeves, CSA (called a guerilla by the Union Forces) of Marmaduke's command. It has never been determined who gave the order, but Major Wilson was taken out and hung and his men were shot. When word of this murder reached Gen. Rosecrans, commanding the Department of the Missouri, he issued a retaliatory order to the effect that a Major and six enlisted men of the Rebel captives be shot. In carrying out this order, only those prisoners who refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Federal Government were selected. These men were marched into a room where they were ordered to draw lots. A container which held marbles or small balls, of which there were six black ones, was held above eye level so the men could not see the color they were drawing. The ones drawing a white marble were paroled - those drawing a black one were to be executed.
Asa had been quite adamant in stating that he was a Southern sympathizer and would not take the Oath of Allegiance, consequently, he was among the men selected to draw lots. He was unfortunate in drawing a black marble, and was informed that he was to be shot between the hours of two and four o'clock that afternoon. His five companions in death were: Jas.W. Gates, Co. "H", Third Missouri Cavalry; Harvey H. Blackburn, Co. "A", Coleman's Regiment; John Nichols, Shank's Regiment, Second Missouri Cavalry; Charles W. Minnikin, Co. "A", Crabtree's Cavalry; George F. Bunch, Co "B",third Missouri Cavalry. They all died as they had lived - manly courageous, and steadfast. Of the six executed, Asa was the only man that had been baptized. He had requested that Chaplain McKim place his testament which he had carried with him through the was, on his breast in the coffin. Rev. McKim carried out his wishes. His body rests in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
(It might be well to add here the words of Brig. -Gen. Fletcher regarding the fate of the Major (Rebel): "Eleven Confederate Majors in our hands were compelled to draw lots to determine who should be shot in retaliation for the murder of Wilson. The man so selected was in charge, for a time, of Lieut.-Col. Charles S. Hills of the 10th Kansas, then on staff duty. Col. Hills became interested in him. The night before the morning fixed for his execution, Col. Hills appealed to Hon. Henry T. Blow, one of the noble-hearted, patriotic men who deservedly stood near to the great generous-hearted Lincoln. He telegraphed Mr. Lincoln and the answer came to stay the execution, and it remains stayed until this day."
Asa had written a letter to his father explaining what was to happen between two and 4 o'clock. He told his father not to worry about the state of his faith as it was well founded. He asked that his father take care of his debts and stated that he wanted his family to come back to his home place. The original letter still remains yellowed, and crumbled, tucked away in the bible of my Aunt.
He wrote a letter to his dear wife Amy. He advised her not to cross the St. Francis River when the water was up. He told her to stay there until the dry season. It has been told that Amy did not receive the letter for she had packed up and went to her home lands in Ark before the letter had ever arrived. Ransom had spent many months trying to locate Amy. It is said that Amy never received the letter from her husband and it was kept in Ransoms Bible until it was one day claimed by Asa's son-in-law Ike Emery.
Asa new well of the floods. For it is said that Amy loaded two wagons, hitched up the oxen, and hired a man to drive them, while she drove the other. It was during the time when the St. Francis river was in flood stage. In crossing the river, the first wagon tipped over and it, with all it's cargo were washed away. The oxen drowned and Amy lost the family Bible to the rushing waters of the river. The driver was able to swim out and the second wagon made it across safely. Amy and the children arrived in Maynard area near Pocahontas, Arkansas. From there, they went to a preacher friend in Walnut Hill near Ravenden Springs, AR and later moved to Fulton Co., AR. Amy raised her children here without ever seeing the letter. She died in AR, the date unknown. She is buried in the State Line Cemetery between Salem and Lanton, AR in Fulton Co., AR.
My father was the Great Grandson of Asa. Asa had Henry Asbury who had Elmer who was my grandfather. The story remains in the family and is one that is a favorite to tell. One can only imagine the hardships those families endured during those times. One thing for sure is that the Ransom Ladd remained faithful to their religion. They were hard working, good and honest Christian people.
Written by Misty Flannigan
SOURCE: Letters from microfilm placed in national Archives, 1864 article from St. Louis "Democrat, and family legends.
Submitted by:Misty Flannigan
Jan 17, 1998
Article from the St. Louis "Democrat," dated October31,1864, in which the execuxtion of the six Confederates is described in harrowing detail.
A MILITARY EXECUTION
Shooting of Six Rebel Soldiers. Retaliation For The
Murder of Major Wilson and his men.
Having already published the facts in the case of the murder of Major Wilson and six of his men, and the preliminary steps taken by the military authorities to retaliate upon the rebels for that barbarous deed, it remains for us to describe the last scenes in this terrible drama We have heard many express regrets in view of the retaliation inflicted, but measures must be taken to prevent barbarities upon our people by giving the enemy a lesson in their own tactics. If the rebels find that for every man they murder in cold blood one of their own number will suffer death, they will see that they are playing at a losing game, and be induced [to] practice more honorable warfare.
The six men selected to expiate the crime of Tim Reeves' murderers had previously been examined at the Provost Marshal General's office and their status ascertained by their own statements. One of die six, John M. Ferguson, of Crabtree's Arkansas Cavalry, was ascertained to have served but a short time as a soldier, having been employed much of his time as a teamster. His name was therefore stricken from the roll of death, and George F. Bunch, of Company B, 3rd Missouri rebel Cavalry, substituted for him. Ferguson was so rejoiced and grateful at this unexpected deliverance, that he shed tears and declared that hereafter he would fight only for die Union. The six men were in Gratiot Street Prison, and were not informed of the doom awaiting them until the day of execution. They were greatly affected when told they were to be taken out and shot. Father Ward, of the Catholic Church, and Rev. Philip McKim of the Episcopal Church, visited the men in the prison, accompanied them to the place of execution, and remained with them to the last moment. Mr. McKim baptised five of them on Saturday morning. The sixth (Asa V. Ladd) had already been baptised. He was a member of the Methodist Church. [See Asa Ladd's last letter]
At about two o:clock on Saturday afternoon, the six men were taken from the prison, placed in covered wagon[s], and escorted to the place of execution by a detachment of the 10th Kansas, followed by a number of other soldiers, and by a few citizens. Fort No.4, a short distance south of Lafayette Park[,] was selected as the place of execution. And to that point the procession marched without music.
On the west side of the fort six posts had been set in the ground, each with a seat attached, and each tied with a strip of white cotton cloth, afterwards used in bandaging the eyes of the prisoners. Fifty-four men were selected as the executioners, forty-four of them belonging to the 10th Kansas and ten to the 41st Missouri. Thirty-six of these composed the front firing party, sixteen being reserved in case they should not do die work effectually.
About three o'clock the prisoners arrived on the ground, and sat down attached to the posts. They all appeared to be more or less affected but, considering the circumstances, remained remarkably firm. Father Ward and Mr. MeKim spoke to the men in their last moments, exhorting them to put their trust in God. The row of posts ranged north and south, and at the first on the north was Asa V. Ladd, on his left was George Nichols, next was Harvey H. Blackburn, George T. Bunch, Charles W. Minniken and James W. Gates. Ladd and Blackburn sat with perfect calmness, with their eyes fixed on the ground, and did not speak.
Nichols shed tears, which he wiped away with a red pocket handkerchief and continued to weep until his eyes were bandaged. Nichols [sic] gave no sign of emotion at first, but sat with seeming indifference, scraping the ground with his heel. He asked one of the surgeons if there was any hope of a postponement, and being assured that there was none, he looked more serious, and frequently ejaculated "Lord, have mercy on my poor soul." Again he said: "0, to think of the news that will go father and mother."
After die reading of the sentence by Col. Heinrichs, Minniken expressed a desire to say a few words. He said: "Soldiers, and all of you who hear me, take warning from me. I have been a confederate soldier four years, and I have served my country faithfully. I am now to be shot for what other men have done, that I had no hand in, and know nothing about. I never was a guerilla, and I am sorry to be shot for what I had nothing to do with, and that I am not guilty of. When I took a prisoner I always treated him kindly and never harmed a man after he surrendered. I hope
God will take me to his bosom when I am dead. 0, Lord be with me!"
While the sergeant was bandaging his eyes, Minniken said: "Sergeant, I don't blame you. I hope we will meet in heaven. Boys, when you kill me, kill me dead."
The eyes of all being bandaged, they bade each othr farewell. "Good Bye, George," said one; "Farewell, Nichols," said another; "Goodbye Blackburn," uttered several, and two or three of them said "Boys, Farewell to you all, and the lord have mercy on our poor souls."
The firing party was about ten paces off. Some of the Kansas men appeared to be reluctant to fire upon the prisoners, but Captain Jones told them it was their duty, that they should have no hesitation as these men had taken the life of many a Union man who was as innocent as themselves.
At the word, the thirty-six soldiers fired simultaneously, the discharge sounding like a single explosion. The aim of every man was true. One or two of the victims groaned, and Blackburn cried out: "Oh, kill me quick!" In five minutes they were all dead, their heads falling to one side, and their bodies swinging around to the side of the posts, and being kept from falling by the pinions on their arms. Five of them were shot through the heart, and the sixth received three bal1s in his brest [sic], dying almost instantly.
The execution was witnessed by several thousand spectators, most of them soldiers, and it was conducted in a manner highly credible to those engaged in the performance of this disagreeable duty.
The bodies were placed in plain painted coffins, and interred by Mr. Smithers.
Submitted by:Misty Flannigan
Jan 16, 1998
From "The History of the Six Selected Victims." From interviews apparently conducted by Union officials before the execution:
HISTORY OF CHARLES W. MINNEKIN, CO. A, CRABTREE'S REG'T OF CAV., CSA
Aged twenty-two years, lives in Independence, Ark., born there; captured near Jefferson City, Mo., about 8th October 1864; cause, a rebel soldier, was sworn into the rebel service about the 10th day of June 1861 ,by Capain McIntosh of Sebastian County, Arkansas, for one year; was again sworn into the service, in Arkansas, on the 26th August 1863, for three years; arrived at Gratiot Street Prison October 26, 1864; twice in arms during the rebellion; served under Generals McCullough, Chruchill, McNair, McRae, Adams, and Fagan; in skirmishes at Oak Hill, Pea Ridge, and Murfreeshoro; furnished three or four horses for use of rebel army; is a Southern sympathizer and does not want to see the authority of the United States Government restored; has been in camp with his command in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, Arkansas and Mo.; came up from Arkansas with Price's troops, and was with Fagan's Division.
HISTORY OF ASA V. LADD
I am 34 years of age, live in Stoddard County, Mo.; born in Wayne County, Mo., was captured in Sedalia, Mo., 16th day of October 1864; cause of capture, was a rebel soldier, private, in Jackson's company A, Burbridge's Missouri cavalry; sworn in the rebel service 10th of March, 1861, by a recruiting officer in Stoddard County, Mo. for three years; have been in the service constantly until captured; when captured was first taken to Jefferson City, there eight days; not examined there; sent to Gratiot Street prison 25th October 1864; never took the oath of allegiance; in arms once; served under Marmaduke, no general engagements; a number of skirmishes; had arms all the time; furnished the rebels two horses for his own use; never pressed horses, etc.; he is a Southern sympathizer; does not desire to have the South put down in this war, and the authority of the United States Government restored; no slaves; wife and four children; farmer; one brother in the rebel army; was in camps with his command in Arkansas and Missouri; he came up with Price's troops under Marmaduke.
Sworn to by the prisoner,
October 28, 1864
Jan 16, 1998
Gratiot St. Prison St Louis, Mo
My Dear Father,
I am condemned to be shot today between the hours of two and four o'clock p.m.in retaliation for some men shot by Reeves (Major Wilson and six men). I am an innocent man and it is hard to die for another's sins. You can imagine my feelings when I think you, my wife and children.I want my family to come back to my old place. If you live till peace is made, I want you to settle up and pay off all my debts. You need have uneasiness as to my future state for my faith is well founded and I fear no evil. God is my refuge and hiding place. Meet me in Heaven
( I have a photo copy of this original letter and the of letter to Ransom from Rev. McKim . Contact me if you would like a copy. )
Rev Ransom Ladd, Sir,
It becomes my painful duty to forward to you the above communication as the cast earthly one from your Son A.V. Laddwho was shot to death on 29th Oct. I should have sent this before but feared it would not reach you in consequence of the irregularety of the mail communication with your part of the county He died a christian. God comfort you, his wife and children
And a letter to his wife:
Dear Wife and Children:
I take my pen with trembling hand to inform you that I will be shot between
2 and 4 o'clock this evening.I have but a few hours to remain in this unfriendly
world. There is six of us sentenced to die because of the six Union soldiers
that were shot by Reeve's men. My dear wife, don't grieve for me.I want you
to meet me in Heaven. I want you to teach the children piety, so that they
may meet me at the right hand of God.I can't tell you my feelings but you
can form some idea of my feelings when you hear of my fate.I don't want you
to let this bear on your mind anymore than you can help, for you are now
left to take care of my dear children. Tell them to remember their dear father.
I want you to tell my friends that I have gone home to rest.! want you to
go to Mr. Connor and tell him to assist you in winding up your business.
If he is not there, get Mr Cleveland. If you don't get this letter before
St. Francis River gets up, you had better stay there until you can make a
crop, and you can go in the dry season. It is now past 4 a.m. I must bring
my letter to a close, leaving you in the hands of God. I send you my best
love and respects in the hour of death. Kiss all the children for me. You
need have no uneasiness about my future state, for my faith is well
It becomes my painful duty to forward you the last letter of your lamented husband, who was shot to death on the 29th of Oct. last, in retaliation for the death of Major Wilson and six of his men by rebels (Major Reeves).
I attended your husband from the time he rec'd his sentence to his death, and am happy to say he bore his fate with Christian fortitude and resignation. At his request, I placed his testament which he had carried with him through the war, on his breast in his coffin. God comfort you and your children is the prayer of your humble servant...
Phillip McKim Chaplain, U.S.A.
Headquarters Department of Missouri,
Office of the Provost-Marshall-General,
Saint Louis, Mo., Oct 29.1864.
Col. J.V. Du Bois, Chief of Staff, in the Field:
Colonel: I have the honor to inform the commanding general that on this day the following rebel soldiers - JAMES W. GATES, Co H. 3rd Mo, Cavalry, CSA; HARVEY H. BLACKBURN, Co A, Coleman's regiment, CSA; JOHN NICHOLS, 2nd Mo. Cavalry, CSA; CHARLES W. MINNEKEN, Co A, Crabtree's cavalry, CSA; ASA V. LADD, Bumbridge's regiment, Mo. Cavalty; CSA; and GEORGE F. BUNCH, Co B, 3rd Mo. Cavalry - were executed by being shot to death by musketry in retaliation for the murder of six men of the Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia by Tim Reves' guerrillas, and in compliance with Special Order No.277, paragraph 12, dated ... October 6, 1864. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Joseph Darr, Jr. Acting Provost-Marshall-General
Saint Louis, MO.,
November 8, 1864.
Sir: This morning I was called from the prison where the Confederate officers were confined and taken to an anvil and a 12- pound ball and chain riveted to my ankle, and then my sentence was read to me as follows: "In retaliation for Major Wilson, Maj. Enoch, of Lieut. Col B. Ford's battalion, Col. T.R. Freeman's brigade, Gen. Marmaduke's division, Gen. Price's army,shall be shot to death with musketry on Friday next between the hours of 9 and 11 o'clock."
Now, general, I have one favor to ask and it is with you to say whether it is fair or not. The favor is this: If this inhuman and unsoldier-like deed was committed will you please ask General Price to deliver the per- petrator of this crime, and if he turned Major Wilson over to this notorious bushwhacking Tim Reves to be executed, he certainly will make satisfaction by delivering up to the authorities the man who committed this inhuman crime, and if he refuses to carry on an honorable warfare I think all those officers in prison will refuse to take up arms if ever exchanged.
I think these steps should be taken before you go further.I ask as a member of the Masonic fraternity. Excuse my bad writing.
Yours with respect,
E.O.Wolf Major, C. S.A.
Apparently President Lincoln had learned of Enoch Wolf's fate. He wired Gen W.S.Rosecrans for an explanation. In a November 11 telegram, Gen. Rosecrans explained:
... As to the policy of doing as I have done, I leave you to judge after reading the records in the case. All other motives having failed to secure my soldiers who have surrendered themselves prisoners of war from cold- blooded assassination or official murder by Price's command, I felt bound to appeal to the sense of personal security by declaring to these men that I should hold them individually responsible for the treatment of my troops while prisoners in their hands.
Among the instances Your Excellency will remember the incarceration of twelve of our officers. and the orders given by the rebel Government that they should be executed in case we executed, even by legal sentence, twelve pirates. You will also remember two officers, prisoners of war from my army, who were put in irons by order of the rebel Government and condemned to death for the execution, by General Burnside's order, of two rebel officers caught in disguise recruiting in the State of Kentucky.
Major Gen., Commanding
Note: Neither Major Wolf nor any other Confederate officer was executed (in this case) One can only speculate as to the state of mind (or lack thereof) of Gen Rosecrans. It may be helpful to remember that this was the same Gen. Rosecrans whose army was routed at the Battle of Chickamauga, GA. He was the first back to Chattanooga, TN. and was replaced by Pres. Lincoln and subsequently transferred to the Dept of MO. In his defense, it might be well to remember that he at least made the executions a part of the official records.
LETTERS FROM THE OFFICIAL RECORDS
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, OFFICE PROVOST MARSHAL-GENERAL,
Saint Louis, Mo., October 29, 1864.
Col. J. V. Du Bois, Chief of Staff, in the Field:
COLONEL: I have the honor to inform the commanding general that on this day
the following rebel soldiers--James W. Gates, Company H, Third Missouri Cavalry,
C. S. Army; Harvey H. Blackburn, Company A, Coleman's regiment, C. S. Army;
John Nichols, Second Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army; Charles W. Minneken, Company
A, Crabtree's cavalry, C. S. Army; Asa V. Ladd, Burbridge's regiment Missouri
cavalry, C. S. Army; and George F. Bunch, Company B, Third Missouri Cavalry,
C. S. Army--were executed by being shot to death by musketry in retaliation
for the murder of six men of the Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia by
Tim. Reves' guerrillas, and in compliance with Special Orders, No.277, paragraph
12, dated headquarters Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo., October
I respectfully inclose records in the case.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
JOSEPH DARR, JR.,
[Inclosure No. 1.]
HEADQUARTERS SAINT LOUIS DISTRICT,
Saint Louis, Mo., October 25, 1864.
Col. JOSEPH DARR, Jr.,
Actg. Provost. Marshal-General, Dept. of the Mo., Saint Louis:
COLONEL: Yesterday I received the inclosed dispatch from Colonel Stone, General
Pike's chief of staff, informing me that the bodies of Major Wilson and six
men, who were captured at Ironton, Mo., were found fifteen miles southwest
of Washington, Mo. To-day I received from Colonel Stone the accompanying
books and papers, which were taken from one of the bodies, and which show
conclusively to my mind that the body from which they were taken was Major
Wilson's, Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia. Captain Dinger, Forty-seventh
Missouri Volunteers, reports that he was paroled fifteen miles south of
Washington and ten miles west of Union, and that Major Wilson was at the
same time and place ordered by the field officer of the day of the rebel
army to be turned over by the guard to Tim Reves, and when he last saw him
he was waiting there under guard for Reves to come up. The facts and papers
conclusively establish to my mind the fact of his murder by order of the
field officer of the day, and fully justify and call for retaliation. I have
the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS EWING, JR.,Brigadier-General.
WASHINGTON, Mo., October 24, 1864.
The bodies of Major Wilson and six men, captured at Ironton, have been found about fifteen miles southwest from this place on the old State road, near Jeffrey's farm. Major Wilson was shot through the body several times. One of the bodies is supposed to be that of an artillery bugler, from the trimmings on his jacket.
<arl2O_1061> They were found by a man who was out gathering persimmons,
who identified Major Wilson by papers found on his body. All documents found
on these bodies are in the hands of Esquire Kiembacker, of this county, and
will be forwarded to you as soon as received here. G. HARRY STONE,
Colonel and Chief of Staff.
SPECIAL ORDERS No.279.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., October 28, 1864.
VIII. It appearing from the most conclusive evidence that Maj. James Wilson,
Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia, and six men of his command, taken prisoners
of war by the enemy in their late raid through the State at Pilot Knob, Mo.,
were turned over by some rebel officer, now unknown, to the guerrilla Tim.
Reves, at a place near the town of Union, in Franklin County, Mo., and that
subsequently Major Wilson and his men were brutally murdered by this
blood-stained outlaw; therefore, in compliance with so much of Special Orders,
No.277, paragraph 12, headquarters Department of the Missouri, dated October
6, 1864 (hereto appended), as can at this time be carried into effect, the
following six of the enlisted men of the rebel army--names W. Gates, Company
H, Third Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army; John N. Ferguson, Company A, Crabtree'
s cavalry, C. S. Army; Harvey H. Blackburn, Company A, Coleman's cavalry,
C. S. Army; John Nichols, Company G, Second Missouri Cavalry, C. S. Army;
Charles W. Minneken, Company A, Crabtree's (Arkansas) cavalry, C. S. Army;
Asa V. Ladd, Company A, Burbridge's (Missouri) cavalry, C. S. Army-will be
shot to death with musketry within the limits of the city of Saint Louis,
Mo., on Saturday, the 29th day of October, 1864, between the hours of 2 and
Lieut. Col. Gustav Heinrichs, Forty-first Missouri infantry, superintendent and inspector of military prisons, is hereby charged with the execution of this order.
JOSEPH DARR, JR.,
SPECIAL ORDERS No.277.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., October 6, 1864.
12. From testimony which cannot be doubted the commanding general learns that Maj. James Wilson, Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry, and six enlisted men of his command, prisoners of war, were given up by Maj. Gen. Sterling Price to the guerrilla Tim. Reves for execution. The provost-marshal-general of the department will send a major and six enlisted men of the rebel army in irons to the military prison at Alton, Ill., to be kept in solitary confinement until the fate of Major Wilson and his men is known. These men will receive the same treatment Major Wilson and his men received. The provost-marshal-general is held responsible for the execution of this order.
By command of Major-General Rosecrans:
FRANK ENO, Assistant Adjutant-General.
SPECIAL ORDERS No.280.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, October 29, 1864.
I. Paragraph VIII, Special Orders, No.279, headquarters Department of the
Missouri, office of the provost-marshal-general, Saint Louis, Mo., October
28, 1864, is hereby altered so as to erase from the same the name of John
N. Ferguson, Company A, Crabtree's (Arkansas) cavalry, C. S. Army, it appearing
from this man's examination that he never bore arms and was only employed
as a teamster, and substituting for the said Ferguson the following rebel
soldier for execution, viz, George F. Bunch, private, Company B, Third Missouri
Cavalry, C. S. Army. JOSEPH DARR, JR.,
Acting Provost-Marshal. General.
SOURCE: National Archives Microfilm
Jan 16, 1998
A STORY OF MAJOR WILSON
I am going to back the story up alittle and start with Major Wilson, I found it real interesting to find out why Major Wilson was killed to begin with. Major James Wilson was a heartless Union officer with a take no prisoner policy. He and his troops rode into Ripley Co. on Chrismas day of 1863 and killed 35 solders and 62 civilians, some as young as 12 months old while they were eating Christmas dinner. When Confederate Colonial Timothy Reeves (Babtist minister) learned of this he and his troops set out to to track down Major Wilson. On 9-27-1864 , they captured Major Wilson and troops at Pilot Knob MO . They were killed by a firing sqaud on this date. As you know some of the Ladds, Catos, and McGees had married and settled around Bollinger Co. At that time it was called Dallas MO.Henery Cato married Polly Ladd and Henry's younger sister Tabitha married Francis Ladd. They then moved to MO. The connection between the Catos and Ladds is what ties this story together, you see the Union solders set out to get Daniel Mcgee and his band of outlaws and guerrillas as they called them. They were reffered to as being the worst band of guerrillas that had infested Southeast Missouri, making there headuarters in the swamps. Simon Cato was said to be harboring these outlaws for a long time and his house was the headquarters for these guerrillas.
Lt. Col. Lazear said, That they have all been a terror to the whole country... He was sorry they were prisoners in his hands. That they should of been shot on the spot.
Another letter that Major Reeder said : "Pursuant to your order, I proceeded ... to Dallas, MO. for the purpose of killing, capturing and dispersing such bands of outlaws and rebels as infested the vicinity of Dallas and Mingo Swamps. They then set out to capture the notorouis McGee and his outlaws. Then he killed them to the last man when he found them "as he had been ordered to".
Greenbriar Cemetery in Southern Bollinger County, contains a mass grave discovered many years ago. An investication of the grave determined the plot contained the remains of Confederate solders. Uniforms coats, buttons and skeleton remains were found. The remains are thoughtr to be of the troops of Captain Daniel McGee. Although accounts may vary over 20 Confederates were killed in the encounter, while no union solders were enjured. at the Mingo swamp massicar..
It is kind of ironic that one of the six enlisted men that was shot for the death of Major Wilson, was a Ladd!
SUBMITTED BY: Pitter
"Shelby And His Men; or, The War In The West".
This is an excerpt from a book called "Shelby And His Men; or, The War In The West". It begins on page 389 and goes to 391. This book is apparently very old. The photocopy of the pages that I have say Kent Library on the edge of the book.**note: Kent Library is located at SEMO University **Here is the authors telling of the story.
"The execution of Major Wilson at Pilot Knob was an act of eminent justice, for he was a common murderer, and entirely destitute of manly and soldierly feeling. It is by no means certain that his death was authorized by General Price, although, as the commander-in-chief, he was, to a limited degree, responsible for it. Colonel Reeves, at whose door the sin lies, had a heavy score to settle with all those southeast commanders, and Wilson was hung first, or shot first, because he was captured first. General Shelby camped his command one night, on the upward march, around the house of Captain Leper, and, after taking charge of his forage and supplies, looked also to his papers and his official correspondence, among which was an order signed by this Major Wilson, directing leper to take eighty men, dress them in "butternut" clothing, march with them to White river, find out the intention of the "rebels" under Shelby, and on his return burn every mill, building, grain stack, and hay rick on the road, closing mysteriously with the following words underscored: "And you know I don't like to be troubled with prisoners." Among other letters were quite a number from the Hon. Charles Drake, United States Senator from Missouri, urging Leper to do his work thoroughly and well. These letters, together with Wilson's, are now in the hands of ex-Governor Thomas C. Reynolds, at present residing in the city of Mexico, but who will in due time, present them to the world, with other startling and damaging facts concerning the atrocities perpetrated by Federal soldiers in Missouri. Six brave and innocent soldiers, privates Jas. W. Gates, Geo. T. Bunch, H.H. Blackburn, John Nichols, Chas. W. Minnikin, and Asa V. Ladd, were taken from the prison in St. Louis and executed in retaliation for the death of Wilson. Three of these-Gates, Bunch, and Nichols-belonging to Shelby's division, and were true and splendid men, always in the regular army, and never, at any time, acting with guerrilla organizations. Blackburn, Minnikin, and Ladd were fearless Arkansans and regulars of four years' service. Young Minnikin was from Batesville, and an excellent and worthy man. Young Nichols belonged to Shank's regiment, where he had a brother and where he had made many friends. They all died as they had lived-manly, courageous, and steadfast. Rosecrans may have made Wilson's sleep sweeter in eternity by hi wanton and babarous cruelty, but how about the slumbers of those Federals executed for the six men murdered in St. Louis? They sleep in unknown graves from Jefferson City to Newtonia, clinching with an argument stronger than life the trite philosophy which makes a rule a poor rule unless it works both ways."
Submitted by Michael D. Ladd
May 7, 1998
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