Mississippi


Virtute et armis
Mississippi was the second state to declare succession from the Union. About 80,000 men from Mississippi fought in the Civil War. Northeast Mississippi saw fighting from the war’s earliest days to its final months. Mississippi troops fought in every major theater of the Civil War. In the Battle of Vicksburg, over 3,000 soldeiers lost their lives.

Joseph J. McCaa

By Danella Dickson

Joseph J. McCaa was born January 23, 1842 in Franklin County, Mississippi, the son of Elihu and Nancy M. Miller McCaa. The McCaa family migrated from South Carolina to Mississippi in the early 1800’s. Elihu was a Baptist minister in Franklin County in 1850. Elihu and Nancy were the parents of five sons, all of which who fought for the Confederacy and survived the war to return home.

Joseph J. McCaa was mustered into service May 4, 1861 in Company E, 7th Mississippi Volunteers, becoming a member of the same unit his brother Charles had joined in April of that year. The regiment was first sent to Natchez, Mississippi to be used for costal defense, then in February 1862 they were ordered to Tennessee. The regiment was sent to New Orleans from which they were to be transported by train. In the early morning hours of February 27, 1862 the troop train had a head on collision with another train. Apparently Joseph J. escaped without serious injury, his brother Charles is on record as among the injured, the extent of his injuries is unknown.

Following the accident the regiment regrouped and those able resumed their journey. In April the regiment was with the Confederate Army when they met the enemy at Shiloh. The Confederates approach had been hampered by rain and mud, they arrived within two miles of the Union Army on April 5th. On the morning of April 6th the Federals remained unaware of the approaching Confederates until they burst into the Union camp. The Union Army found it difficult to recover from the surprise attack and began to fall back. The battle continued throughout the day ending in a Confederate victory. The battle resumed the following day but Confederate forces seeing they had no chance of victory withdrew from the field. The causalities at Shiloh were shocking to the North and the South. Both sides were forced to acknowledge that this was going to be a long and bloody war.

As verified by company muster rolls Joseph was present for duty the remainder of 1862, all of 1863 and most of 1864. We can assume he was with the regiment at the battles of Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and the 1863 Atlanta Campaign. Joseph’s muster rolls end in August of 1864. We know from his Confederate pension application that he served until the end of the war and surrendered in Alabama.

Following the war Joseph returned home to Franklin County, Mississippi where he married Sarah Ann Stroud on October 5, 1865. They were the parents of eight children. Joseph was a farmer and was able to support his growing family despite his war time injury. In September of 1915, at the age of seventy three, Joseph applied for a Confederate pension from the state of Mississippi. He stated that he served four years and during that time was wounded in the ankle and neck at the Battle of Chickamauga. Joseph said the neck wound had a lasting effect, in a later report he said a ball had lodged in his neck leaving him with a permanent reminder of the war. The local Board of Inquiry recommended that Joseph be approved since they knew he was physically unable to earn a living by his own labor, and that this was caused by wounds received during the Civil War. The board awarded Joseph an annual pension of $75.00. In 1924 Joseph applied for an increase to $150.00. He said he was now totally disabled and living with a daughter, Mrs. Stroud.

After forty five years of marriage Joseph’s wife Sarah Ann died October 22, 1910. Joseph died November 28, 1926 and he is buried in Cool Spring Church Cemetery, Franklin, Mississippi, next to Sarah.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts

Isaac Newton McCaa

By Danella Dickson

Isaac Newton McCaa was born March 22, 1838 in Jefferson County, Mississippi, the son of Elihu and Nancy M. Miller McCaa. The McCaa family migrated from South Carolina to Mississippi in the early 1800’s. Elihu was a Baptist minister in Franklin County in 1850. Elihu and Nancy were the parents of five sons, all of which fought for the Confederacy, and survived the war to return home.

Isaac enlisted April 1, 1862 at Meadville, Mississippi as a Private in Company D, 33rd Mississippi Infantry. The Company muster rolls show him present for duty April through December, 1862. On January 1, 1863 at Granada, Mississippi he was promoted to 4th Corporal. On May 16, 1863 the 33rd Mississippi Infantry took part in a battle at Champion Hill, Mississippi as part of the Confederate defense of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Following the battle many members of the 33rd Infantry became separated from their unit, as a result of being on detached service or because they were taken prisoner. Apparently Isaac was one of those taken prisoner who did not show up on the rolls of prisoners. Company muster rolls for May and June list him as absent without leave while in a later record he is considered “deserted May 17th”.

Isaac joined Company I, 14th Mississippi Cavalry on October 5, 1863 as a “paroled prisoner” verifying that his absence had not been voluntary. Isaac served with the 14th Mississippi through June 1864 after which no record survives. In a pension application filed many years later his service until the surrender was verified by two fellow soldiers who served in the same unit.

Following the surrender of Confederate forces Isaac returned home to Franklin County, Mississippi. He married Cassandra Lee on May 7, 1868 and they were the parents of at least six children. Cassandra died after 1886, possibly in Franklin County, Mississippi.

About 1898 Isaac migrated to Texas with several of his adult children. In 1900 he was living in Cherokee County with his daughter Annie and son-in-law George Reynolds. At that time elderly parents spent the last years of their lives living with first one child and then another.

In 1915 while living in Firestone County, Texas Isaac applied for a Confederate pension from the State of Texas. He listed his military service as Company D, 33rd Mississippi Infantry, apparently forgetting the time he spent as a Prisoner of War and serving with the 14th Mississippi Cavalry. Included in the application were affidavits from two men who served with him and swore he served until the surrender in 1865. When Isaac’s military records were ordered from Washington they showed he deserted from the 33rd Mississippi Infantry and the pension was denied. Isaac told his children he would not appeal as he felt the local government was against him.

McCaa family historian Leon McCaa shared the following story concerning the last year of Isaac’s life as related by Ervin McCaa (son of Isaac Newton McCaa Junior), “The year of 1937 started off as usual, wet and cold and the Depression was still on. My Grandpa looked forward to spring and starting his garden which he always worked with only a hoe.
I was his helper (Ervin would have been about fourteen years old) and would change his shoes and help him to bed each night. We slept together and in the morning I would help him up and dress him. We would have breakfast and start a new day by working in the garden, or sitting on the porch. He would tell me stories about the Civil War and things that happened.
The doctor told my dad (Ike Jr.) that Grandpa had hardening of the arteries. For treatment he told my dad to give him some whiskey. Grandpa said “Whoa, I’ve lived nearly 100 years without alcohol and I ain’t starting now”. So my dad would fixed him a glass of milk and spike it with whiskey to get him to drink it. After he drank it my dad asks him how it was and he said “Don’t ever get rid of that cow”. “

Isaac Newton McCaa died October 26, 1937 at the age of 99 years and 8 months. He had lived eighty seven days after suffering a stroke leaving his throat paralyzed and Isaac unable to speak or eat much. Isaac is buried in the Old Palestine Cemetery, Cherokee County, Texas.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts

Charles W. McCaa

By Danella Dickson

Charles W. McCaa was born about 1844 in Mississippi, the son of Elihu and Nancy M. Miller McCaa. The McCaa family migrated from South Carolina to Mississippi in the early 1800’s. Elihu McCaa was a Baptist minister in Franklin County, Mississippi in 1850. Elihu and Nancy were the parents of five sons who fought for the Confederacy and after the war all returned home.

Charles W. McCaa enlisted April 29, 1861 as a Private in Company A, 7th Mississippi Volunteers. Charles’ brother Joseph J. joined the regiment prior to being sent to Natchez to be used for costal defense. In February 1862 the regiment was ordered to join the Army of Tennessee. The story of the fateful train trip is told by Jim Perrin of the Ponchatoula Times, “The troop train left the train station in New Orleans around 4:00 a.m. on the foggy morning of February 27, 1862. As the train mumbled along the tracks many of the soldiers were sleeping or reposing as best they could.

While the troop train was steaming north, another train pulled out of the siding at Ponchatoula and headed south on the same set of tracks. The Ponchatoula train was carrying flat cars loaded with timbers for railroad bridge repairs. The railroad personnel in Ponchatoula understood that the night passenger train had been cancelled but in fact the troop train had been scheduled in its place. Regardless, according to the railroad regulations the repair train at Ponchatoula should not have started south without specific clearance. Picking up speed as the repair train left Ponchatoula Station, the engines light did not pick up the fast approaching troop train until it was impossible to stop. The horrendous crash occurred about 7 a.m., a mile and a half south of Ponchatoula Station as the two trains hit with a tremendous force. The wooden rail cars of the troop train smashed into each other as the collision brought their engine to a sudden stop.”

Charles McCaa was among the 50-60 soldiers injured. The extent of his injuries is unknown possibly he was taken to a New Orleans hospital for treatment. Company muster rolls are missing for this time period so we have no way of knowing how long he was out of commission. Possibly he was missing from the regiment when they took part in the battle of Shiloh in April, 1862. We do know he was present and available for duty from May, 1862 till October, 1863. During this time span the 7th Mississippi Regiment was actively engaged in battles at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Chickamauga, Georgia, Missionary Ridge, TN and the 1863 Atlanta Campaign.

According to muster rolls Charles deserted February 18, 1864. However he is listed on the records for Company G, Powers’ Regiment, and the 23rd Mississippi Cavalry and was with this regiment when they surrendered at Citronelle Alabama and were paroled May 12, 1865.

In 1870 Charles was listed on the Franklin County, Mississippi census. At the time he was working as a laborer and apparently the widowed father of ten month old son William R.. Both McCaa’s are missing from the 1880 census but family historian Leon McCaa shared a story passed down in his family, “Charles McCaa married in Arkansas and had a son, Charles Jr.. According to my grandfather, Charles got on his horse one day, and told his wife he was going to Texas to see his brother Isaac. He allegedly died while in Texas”. This would have been in the early 1900’s since Isaac didn’t move to Texas until 1898. No other record for Charles W. McCaa has been found.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts

David A. Kizer

By Danella Dickson

David A. Kizer was born about 1835 in Alabama, the son of Francis Marion Kizer Senior. The family was living in Tishomingo County, Mississippi when the county was formed from the Chickasaw Cession of 1832. Several member of the Kizer family were active in the formation of the new county’s government.

David A. Kizer married Elizabeth E. Stevens August 30, 1857 in Tishomingo County. They were the parents of two sons, Thomas W. and David A. Junior..

In the summer of 1861 the 26th Mississippi Regiment Infantry was organized at Iuka, Mississippi. David A. Kizer, 26 years old, enlisted as a private August 16th in Captain Benjamin J. Kizer’s Company. David was soon detailed as a teamster, his responsibilities included not only driving the wagon but maintaining it, feeding and caring for the mule team. His cargo might have been food, medicines, weapons, ammunition, clothing, tents and tools, basically anything the army need transported from one location to another.

The regiment was in Tennessee in February 1862 for the battle of Fort Donelson, the site of the Union Army’s first major victory. At the time of the battle David and his brother Francis M. Jr. were on detached service, located about thirty miles east of the battlefield with the regimental wagons. David and Francis were among the 11,500 Confederates who were taken prisioner and then in short order paroled. The Kizer brothers were unable to rejoin their old command and because of this became attached to Company K, 32nd Regiment Mississippi Infantry. . In January of 1863 General Bragg ordered all previous members of the 26th be returned to their original command.

In May of 1863 the 26th Regiment, under command of Gen. Joseph Johnston, was ordered back to Mississippi to counter the Union attack on Vicksburg. The 26th Regiment was stalled at Jackson, the state capital. The Confederate brigaded held Jackson as long as possible and then withdrew from the city. Jackson was briefly occupied by a Union force that burned part of the town and destroyed any industry that was war related. When Union forces left Jackson the Confederates returned. Finally on July 1, 1863 General Johnston sent a relief force containing the Kizer brothers toward Vicksburg, located forty miles to the east. At this point Vicksburg had been under attack since May and had settled into a siege. It is doubtful that the Kizer brothers became involved in the fighting prior to their capture July 4th. Francis died of disease a short time later while in a Vicksburg hospital. David was paroled and returned to duty with his regiment

In 1864 the 26th Regiment was ordered to Virginia where they took part in battles at the Wilderness, Talley’s Mills, Spotsylvania Court House, Hanover Junction, Cold Harbor, Gaines Mill and Petersburg. After three years of war David A. Kizer died near Petersburg, Virginia on July 10, 1864, not from a bullet but chronic diarrhea.

A final statement attached to his military records listed his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Kizer who received $44.00 back pay and other effects. Elizabeth Stevens Kizer remarried in 1865 to James Raymond Nichols, a veteran of the 26th Mississippi. She died April 1905 and is buried in Friendship Cemetery, Prentiss County, Mississippi.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts

Francis Marion Kizer Junior

By Danella Dickson

Francis Marion Kizer Junior was born about 1821 in Alabama, the son of Francis Marion Kizer Senior. The Kizer family was living in Tishomingo County, Mississippi when the county was formed in 1836 from the Chickasaw Cession of 1832. Members of the Kizer family were active in the formation of the new county’s government.

Francis M. Jr. was listed on the 1850 Tishomingo County census with a four year old son named Isaac F.M. leading us to assume he married about 1845 and his wife died prior to 1850. There is no record of a marriage for Francis M. Jr. in the Tishomingo County records.

In the summer of 1861 the 26th Mississippi Infantry Regiment was organized at Iuka, Mississippi. Francis M. Jr., at the age of forty, enlisted as a Private in Captain Benjamin J. Kizer’s Company. The regiment was in Tennessee in February of 1862 for the battle of Fort Donelson, the site of the Union Army’s first major victory. At the time of the battle Francis M. Jr. and his brother David A. were on detached service as teamsters, located at Clarksville about thirty miles east of the battlefield with the regimental wagons. Francis and David were among the 11,500 men who were taken prisoner and then in short order paroled. The Kizer brothers were unable to rejoin their old command and because of this became attached to Company K, 32nd Regiment Mississippi Infantry. In December of 1862 Francis returned to the 26th Mississippi Regiment without permission, as noted on his military records. Then in January, 1863 General Bragg ordered all previously members of the 26th Mississippi Regiment to return to their old command.

In May of 1863 the 26th Mississippi Infantry under the command of Gen. Joseph Johnston was ordered back to Mississippi to counter the Union attack on Vicksburg. The 26th Regiment was stalled at Jackson, the state capital. The Confederate brigades held Jackson as long as possible and then withdrew from the city. Jackson was briefly occupied by a Union force that burned part of the town and destroyed any industry that was war related. When Union forces left Jackson the Confederates returned. Finally on July 1st General Johnston sent a relief force containing the Kizer brothers toward Vicksburg, located just forty miles to the east. At this point Vicksburg had been under attack since May and had settled into a siege. It is doubtful that the Kizer brothers became involved in the fighting prior to their capture July 4th. Francis was in a hospital in Vicksburg when he died July 12, 1863 of chronic diarrhea.

Following the battle many Confederate dead were buried at Cedar Hill (Vicksburg City) Cemetery, a beautiful cemetery that is one of the oldest and largest in the United States that is still in use today. A section of the cemetery was set aside to provide a fitting burial place for Confederate soldiers who died of sickness or wounds. Known as “Soldiers Rest” the plot is the final resting place for an estimated 50,000 Confederate soldiers. Francis M. Kizer is not on the list of marked graves therefore it can be assumed he lies in an unmarked grave.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts