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Sunday, January 29, 2017

In honor of William Phillips

My father's mother's grandfather. He died before my grandmother's mother was 4 years old. His wife had died late in 1861, and he left his 2 daughters with their Aunt Lucy, sister to his wife. (See below for update on his wife, Mary H. Phillips death date.)  Then he joined the Army of the Confederacy and wrote one letter that survived.

This might have been a promising thing to do under those circumstances.  His wife's family took in his daughters.  He speaks of either his father-in-law or his step father visiting him in camp as "Pa."  I had determined it must have been his step-father when I transcribed the letter several years ago. Now I think it must have been his father-in-law, because he brought news of the children to him, and he's forwarding it to his sister-in-law. (contents of his only surviving letter are below)

Cavalry Soldier Uniform
Cavalry Soldier uniform, not William Phillips

I have now found a document of an index card as to when he enlisted in the Confederate army, March 1, 1862.  He signed up with Col. Burnett's 13th Texas Cavalry.  I already knew that from his letter to Lizzie in April of 1862 (still below.)


I found Texas History gave some good information about the 13th Texas Cavalry. Note especially all the illness that the men suffered, and some died from.


13th Texas Cavalry and Camp Burnett
The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment was organized in the winter of 1861 at Crockett, Texas, and mustered into service at Camp Burnett in Houston County near Crockett, Texas, on February 22, 1862. The original field officers included: Col. John H. Burnett, Maj. Charles R. Beatty, Lt. Col. Anderson F. Crawford, and Maj. Elias T. Seale. The unit was composed of ten companies that included men who came primarily from Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Leon, Henderson, Houston, Hunt, Jasper, Kaufman, Madison, McLennan, Newton, Polk, Trinity, Tyler, and Orange counties. There were originally 1,125 men, however, due to the Confederate Conscription Act of April 16, 1862, the number was reduced to 842. The unit was known by several alternate names including: Burnett's Cavalry, Beatty's Cavalry, Seale's Cavalry, Crawford's Cavalry, Young's Cavalry, Bean's Cavalry, and Smith's Cavalry.
The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry primarily served west of the Mississippi River and was ordered from Camp McCulloch near Tyler, Texas, to Camp Nelson near Little Rock, Arkansas, on July 2, 1862. The regiment was delayed in Lafayette County, Arkansas, due to an epidemic of measles and typhoid fever in which the unit lost thirty men. The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment camped near Spring Bank but later moved near Walnut Hills. During the winter of 1862 the men suffered from terrible conditions and epidemics of typhoid fever, pneumonia, and tuberculosis at Camp Bayou Metre near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. By the end of February 1863, the unit was reduced to 615 men, and the following harsh winter resulted in twenty-five deaths. They were attached to McCulloch's, Young's, and Waul's Brigade, as well as Gen. John G. Walker's Texas Division and dismounted shortly thereafter for the duration of the war. Thomas J. Rounsaville recalled, "When we dismounted we was sadly disappointed for we was compelled to take it afoot and we walked about two hundred miles and our feet was blistered considerably. Some of our boys gave entirely out."
The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment helped construct earthworks near Pine Bluff and attempted to relieve Confederate units at the siege of Vicksburg. The unit participated in several engagements in western Louisiana from April 1863 to May 1864, including: Young's Point, Fort Bisland, Bayou Teche, Brashear City, Cox's Plantation, Bayou LaFourche, Teche Country, Bayou Bourbeau, the Camden Expedition, Wilson's Farm, Sabine Cross Roads, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Jenkins' Ferry, and Alexandria. In February 1864, the regiment included only 145 men, and it suffered more than fifty losses during the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill that spring. Following the Red River campaign, the unit was stationed in Shreveport for the remainder of the war. Due to chronic health problems Colonel Burnett resigned on April 22, 1864, and returned to Crockett, Texas. In November 1864 the unit moved to winter quarters near Minden, Louisiana, and by January 27, 1865, relocated to Shreveport. On February 18, 1865, the unit was honored by a huge barbeque in Shreveport. The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment was ordered back to Texas and arrived at Camp Groce near Hempstead on April 15, 1865. They officially surrendered in Galveston, Texas, on June 2, 1865.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Richard G. Lowe, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).Vertical File, Historical Research Center, Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas.
Brett J. Derbes, "THIRTEENTH TEXAS CAVALRY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qkt17), accessed June 24, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.



Civil War small arms. - Page 2
A Confederate Soldier, not William Phillips
(Transcription and notes by Barbara Rogers, May 23, 2013. Posted to Ancestry.com under Ada Phillips Swasey Family Tree

This is the hand written letter on lined paper, by my grandmother’s grandfather, William Phillips, to Elizabeth (Lizzie) Granger, (sister to Lucy Granger, his sister-in-law who had the care of his 2 daughters in Galveston.)
Camp Burnett  Head Quarters
                April 13 1862

Dear Sister Lizzie
        I have been promising myself to write you for some weeks, but without excuse have not.  I have been in camps 2 weeks.  I am better satisfied here than I’ve been for months past.  At home I did nothing but grieve over my misfortunes.  I was no comfort or company to anyone, - it was hard to part with my dear babes.  I have stood the hardest trial man has ever to stand.  Lucy is a dear good sister she does all and aunt can do, she was anxious for me to go to the war, promised to take good care of the dear little ones.  Camps are a great place to see human nature all sorts of men from the grey hairs of 50 years to the stripling youth of 15, the best and the meanest are mess mates.  We are a cavalry Regiment (Alabama Regiment is the name of it).  We expect to march in 15 days.  Col. Burnett has gone to Richmond, expect him back next week.  There is some talk of our being disbanded if so I intend going directly from here to Missouri.  I have the position of

(back of sheet page 2)
Provost Marshall rank of a Lieutenant, a very easy berth – relieves me from all fatigue duty and the responsibility & cares, are right so far –
        Pa has come up on a visit and will return tomorrow, all well at home.  Zulieka says Papa has gone to kill old Lincoln because he won’t let her have a crying baby.  Ada points to the plantation with her little fat hand whenever my name is called.  Mother & Lucy will visit you as soon as they can.  I will write you soon again, in day light when I can see the lines.  I might get a letter from you directed to Little Rock, Aks. (sic)
                        Your affectionate Brother
                William Phillips


Newer blogger comments 2017: Zulieka was his 4 year old daughter who would become my grandmother's mother.  Ada was her little sister at about 1 year of age.  Mother & Lucy refer to his mother-in-law, and her daughter  who was caring for his children.  He also says he's already in, or about to go to Arkansas.  It's also interesting that he says he's a Lieutenant, when all the papers say he was a private.  Mmm, looking good for the family perhaps.


Confederate Uniforms & Equipment on Pinterest | Virginia, Civil Wars ...
A Confederate soldier, not WIlliam Phillips
I have now seen a compiled service record of Private William Phillips. These muster roll copies state he had extra duty in May, June, July and August 1862.  But one says he had sick-leave for 20 days in June 1862.  There is a listing in Nov 1862 that he had been sick since Oct 23, 1862, in Tyler Texas.  He was also listed as sick in Tyler Co, Texas in Dec. 1862.  A Jan./Feb 1863 card is combined of the two months. It says something that is really hard to read..."In conory deft, since 1 Feb 1863.  Name appears in Col "names Private canceled."  G. C. West was the copyist, and I'm sure someone will know more about this last listing about Pvt. William Phillips.


But apparently he never made it to any battles, nor even to the camp in Arkansas.  Somehow he remained in Tyler County, Texas.  That was where his plantation had been, as well as that of his step-father, Samuel Gainer. His mother, Mary Phillips Gainer died in 1866, and Samuel died in 1867. They are buried in Hickory Hill Cemetery in Spurger, Texas.  

When I just followed the link to that site, the cemetery also is the resting place of Mary Hull Granger Phillips. And it gives her date of death, Nov. 5, 1861, which I'd not known specifically before. Her husband, William Phillips is not buried there however.

There are just 6 graves in Hickory Hill Cemetery, which is quite overgrown

William's older brother Marion Phillips, also lived in Tyler County, Texas, and lived until 1907...never marrying.  He is buried in Woodville, Tyler County, TX in Magnolia Cemetery, a much bigger and well cared for site.

May they all rest in peace:

William Phillips 1832-1863
Mary Hull Granger Phillips 1829-1861
Samuel Gainer 1796-1867
Mary C. Phillips Gainer 1803-1866
Marion Phillips 1823-1907

Today's Quote:



“The future is an accident. It’s an accident because you explore...you can’t see it-you just have to go somewhere you haven’t been before.” — Skrillex, Musician.

 






 






4 comments:

  1. Fascinating stuff, especially the letter. Nothing can bring the past alive like the actual words of those who were there.

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