JAMES E. WILSON, Co. B 24th Texas Cavalry

/Barrett Family Branches


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

James E. Wilson was sometimes listed in the Civil War muster rolls as James A. Wilson.

He was born in about 1830 in South Carolina. His wife, Eliza Jane Smith, was born in Alabama in about 1836, possibly in Montgomery County. She was the daughter of Saul Smith, Sr., and Anna Derrick, who moved with their families from South Carolina to settle in eastern Montgomery County, Alabama, in the 1820s and were married there after their arrival.

James Wilson and Eliza Jane Smith were married in Montgomery County, Alabama, on July 8, 1852; they migrated to Walker County, Texas, in about 1857. They are enumerated in the Walker County census of 1860 with their two children.

James E. was either a brother or cousin of William Pinkney Wilson. Another brother or cousin was fellow cavalryman T. Alexander Wilson.

Wilson descendant Lee Murrah (Wilson Family Page) has located James Wilson in the 1850 census of Macon County, Alabama, where he was living in the household of Mary Wilson, but was not listed in birth order with the other children. However, in the slave schedules of 1850, he was listed with the other children of Mary Wilson, all of whom reported owning slaves. The slaves were presumably inherited from their father.

Eliza Jane Smithís brother, John Owen Smith, married Eliza Wilson in Macon, Alabama; and her brother, William Owen Smith, married Penelope Annie Wilson in Walker County, Texas, in 1866. Whether these Wilsons were related to each other is not known at this time. Penelope was born in Alabama, was the daughter of a J. H. Wilson, and was living in Montgomery County in 1860.

In 1860, James E. Wilson was a witness for a deed in which Pinckney Wilson bought land from Theophelus Josey in Walker and Polk Counties. Theophelus was married to Mary Wilson.

Jamesís muster rolls are confusing, but it appears that he enlisted at Huntsville, Walker County on June 20, 1862, which was well after the other men enlisted in the Second Texas Lancers. He was enrolled by J. D. “Priek” of Huntsville, possibly the John Scheik who was listed on the 1860 census of Huntsville as a wagon maker.

Capt. Wooldridge’s company of Second Lancers became Company B, 24th Regiment Cavalry. Instead of being mustered and trained at Camp Carter at Hempstead, James was mustered at Shreveport, Louisiana, by Col. Wilkes. James is also found in the muster rolls with the alternate name of James A. Wilson.

He apparently rode his horse with the men to El Dorado, Arkansas, where they were dismounted by General Hindman. They went on from there to Camp Holmes at Sulphur Springs, Arkansas.

James was one of the eight men detailed by Captain Wooldridge to take the company's horses back to Montgomery County. Each man was to be in charge of ten horses, and they were to be grazed. General Hindman's orders stated that the Confederate government would not pay for fodder.

James returned to Arkansas, probably by train, some time before the muster roll of October, 1862. This roll indicates that he was sick in his quarters at the time of the muster. By this time, the men were stationed at Ft. Hindman, Arkansas Post, where they were engaged in building cabins for the winter. Several epidemics affected the troops, including measles, cholera, malaria and diarrhea.

James fought with the other troops in the Battle of Arkansas Post. He was captured there at Ft. Hindman on January 11, 1863 and was sent to Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, Missouri. This prison was one of the worst of the Union prisons of the Civil War, and few who went there left alive. James was received at the prison on February 12, 1863.

Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis

He was admitted to Gratiot Street Prison Hospital with chronic diarrhea on March 28th. From there he was transferred to Hickory Street U. S. A. General Hospital in St. Louis. He is on a Report of Sick and Wounded, and his disease is listed as Chronic Diarrhea.

He died at the hospital on March 20, 1863. The final muster roll in his file has a notation of his death, “Died at St. Louis Mo.March 28 63.” He died of chronic diarrhea, according to the Certificate of Government Undertaker found in his files.

Jefferson Barracks researcher Michael Pierce sent the following in an e-mail dated September 23, 2006: “I have a book (maybe you've got it) titled Register of Confederate Soldiers and Sailors who died in Federal Prisons and Military Hospitals in the North (1994, Ericson Books, 1614 Redbud St., Nacogdoches, TX 75961-2936.) †

“On page 324 of this book, in the section for Jefferson Barracks, there's 3 James Wilsons listed.† Yours is listed as J.E.Wilson.† The other two are listed as a soldier from the 60th N. Carolina and a citizen of Wayne Co. MO.† There's a special footnote for yours which reads:† †

Reported as having died at St. Louis or Jefferson Barracks, and in some instances borne on the burial registers for Wesleyan and Christ Church Cemeteries, but not shown on the register at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, to which cemetery the remains of the deceased soldiers and prisoners of war buried in the first-named cemeteries were subsequently removed; nor was the grave identified in the Wesleyan Cemetery of the present day [1912] it being presumed that the remains were removed by friends before the removal of the soldiers and prisoners of war to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

“This note isn't particular to Wilson.† Every time I've encountered it, so far, the body was taken back home by family and/or friends. So maybe he was taken back to Texas by someone.”

His Undertaker's Certificate is in his file in the Compiled Service Records.

Name of Deceased: James E. Wilson
Rank:Private Name of Regiment: 24th Texas Cavalry
Name of Company:
Age (if known):
Height of Deceased: 6 feet
Date of Death: March 20th 1863
Place of Death: Gratiot Street Prison Hospital
Cause of Death: Chronic Diarrhea
George H. Hood

The rear of the certificate has a handwritten note:

James E. Wilson
Priv 24 Texas Cav
Died March 20 63
St. Louis, Mo
Gratiot St. Prison H

Eliza J. Wilson, presumably his widow, married J. D. W. Hibbits on 23 June 1864 in Walker County. They were married by J. J. A. Roach, Minister of the Gospel. The Hibbits family lived two doors from James and Eliza in 1860.

Smith family history was contributed by family researcher and Saul Smith descendant Annette Bradberry. Wilson family researcher is Lee Murrah. Other biographical information was compiled from census and county records and from the Compiled Service Records, housed at the National Archives and accessed on microfilm at the Confederate Research Center at Hillsboro, Texas. Many thanks to Jefferson Barracks Michael Pierce, who has been researching Jefferson Barracks burials since he was sixteen years old.

For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at [email protected]

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