Samuel Norvell McCaa

By Danella Dickson

Samuel Norvell McCaa was born March 6, 1835 in Jefferson or 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 fought for the Confederacy, and survived the war to return home.

Samuel married Martha Ann Sullivan October 19, 1859 in Franklin County, Mississippi. They were the parents of four children.

Samuel enlisted January 10, 1862 at Franklin County, Mississippi in Garland’s Battalion. In August 1863 several organizations were consolidated to form the 14th Confederate Cavalry. Samuel was a Private in Captain William M. Porter’s Company I. The only muster rolls available for Samuel cover the period October 15, 1861 to June 30, 1864 and report that he was a teamster for the regiment. It is believed by McCaa family historian Leon McCaa that the 14th Mississippi Cavalry was a Partisan Ranger unit. Samuel Brown, author of the History of the 1st Partisan Rangers explained, “The Partisan Ranger Act was passed in April 1862 by the Confederate Congress as a stimulus for recruitment of irregulars for service into the Confederate States Army. Their purpose was to operate more or less independently against small bodies of the enemy, to disrupt his communications, and to damage him in every way possible without being drawn into a fixed battle. Usually they were mounted but distinguished from regular troops by a special provision that for any munitions of war captured from the enemy they were to be paid in cash in such manner as the Secretary of War might prescribe. This feature places them in much the same dubious category on land as privateers on the high seas. Ranger warfare and privateering were recognized as integral parts of military and naval warfare.” A possible advantage for Samuel and other men in his regiment was the chance to remain close to home for the protection of their families. We have no record of the movement of Samuel’s regiment or involvement in any significant battle. From his pension application filed many years later we know that in 1865 when the Confederate Army surrendered Samuel was at home sick.

Between 1870 and 1880 Samuel’s wife Martha Ann died, her burial place is unknown. Samuel married Ida Kinnison January 20, 1884 in Franklin County, Mississippi. Apparently he supported his family by farming.

Samuel applied for a Confederate pension from the State of Mississippi September 6, 1915. He was eighty two years old and stated that he was indigent and no longer able to earn a living. The value of his property was $100.00. The application was approved by the County Board of Inquiry and also by the state pension board for an unspecified amount which he drew until his death in 1916. Samuel Norvell McCaa is buried in the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery, Franklin County, Mississippi.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts