Since today is the 150th anniversary of the start of the War Between the States, I am publishing a quick post about those in the Wilson-Gray family who served in the military during this dark time in American history. As you may recall, this civil war began on Friday, April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter, just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Although many of our ancestors lived in South Carolina during Revolutionary War days, most moved west in the following decades.
There are no Union soldiers in our direct line that I’m aware of. We have several who served the Confederacy, none of whom were slave owners as far as I know.
Wilsons — Joel Fowler Wilson was the patriarch. He was 31 and the father of seven when the war broke out. Three more children were born between 1862-1865 making it unlikely that the Reverend served in the military at this time. However, his eldest sons Dixon L., Isom A. and Joel L. were old enough to have possibly served. More research needed.
Albert Pierce Mitchell and his brothers Whitman, George, and Ben served in the 30th Mississippi Infantry, Company D (Dixie Heroes). He was injured severely in the jaw during the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His older brother Whitman came to his aid and was killed. Pierce was sent to a confederate hospital in Marietta, Georgia. On 24 November 1863 he was captured at the Battle of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee and was imprisoned in Rock Island Barracks, Illinois. He was exchanged on 28 March 1865 and sent to Camp Lee near Richmond, Virginia. He returned to Attala County. (Read more about his brothers’ military service in an earlier post. [Albert Pierce Mitchell’s daughter, Leona Mitchell Wilson, is the mother of L.A., Roy, Frank, and Willie Wilson]
Grays — Annabelle Gray Wilson’s father, Lott Dulin Gray, and most of his siblings were born during or after the war but their father, Coleman C. Gray, might be the C.C. Gray listed in the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System among the soldiers in Perrin’s Battalion – Company H, also known as the Chicksaw Rangers, and/or the 8th Mississippi Calvary – Company E, also from Chickasaw County. Coleman might have had a brother, Lott (Lod) D. Gray, that also served. Much more research is needed.
Thompsons — Annabelle Gray Wilson’s maternal grandfather, John F. “Jack” Thompson, lost a leg in battle. His wooden prosthesis, shaped like a fork without the middle tine, is still in the family’s possession. I believe he was a member of the 31st Mississippi Infantry. Again, more research is needed.