Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Long-lost brothers met midstream at Vicksburg

My grandpa, James Lawrence Henry Jr., was born at Easton, N.Y., in 1839. He married Frances Lampton in March l861 and that same year, at age 22, answered Gov. Claiborne Fox Jackson’s urgent call for Confederate volunteers. He and other Boone Countians reported to Boonville in June but were sent home because there weren’t guns or ammunition for them. They were sworn in at Conley School in Boone County before Christmas.

Jim Henry ran away from home when he was 17. He left the comfortable home and the life of "the doctor’s son" in Easton. He worked a year in Iowa in the machine shops, went to Edina, where he learned the milling business, sold his interest in the mill and moved to Macon City, where he was superintendent of a livery stable. In 1859 he came to Boone County and drove the Columbia and Sturgeon stagecoach. In the spring of 1860, he bought a mill near Centralia and soon moved it to Hinkson Creek, 10 miles northeast of Columbia.

Grandpa was James Lawrence Jr., despite the fact that he was the third son. The twins were John Barnard and William Gregory, and a fourth son was Albert Fox Henry. His brothers’ middle names were from their mother’s family - the Gregorys having come from Nottingham, England, to Boston, Mass., before 1639.

Nobody knew that one day, one of the twins would fight in a blue uniform while Jim was fighting in gray.

I quote from Switzler’s History of Boone County, Page 768: "Under Captain Amos Hulett, Henry was captured in the summer of 1862 and imprisoned in St. Louis, Alton and Washington City. He was exchanged and sent to City Point, Virginia. From there he joined Capt. Harvey McKinney’s Company in which he was made first sergeant. He joined Johnston’s army at Kingston and participated in the battle of New Hope Church. He took part in Hood’s raid on Nashville and was wounded at Altoona station. His brigade was captured at the siege of Fort Blakely and sent to Ship Island, in the Gulf of Mexico." There they were guarded by black soldiers with bayonets for four weeks after 2,000 men held back Gen. E.R.S. Canby’s army of 20,000 for seven days.

Once, when wounded, he lived on raw corn before being taken to the hospital at Columbus, Miss. During the siege of Vicksburg, they ate mule meat and cow pea bread. After long fighting at Vicksburg, there was a lull to allow both sides to bury their dead. Men in blue and men in gray took advantage of the same creek to freshen themselves, and Grandpa met one of his brothers in midstream. They visited and exchanged coffee and tobacco before resuming the battle.

An after-the-war report listed Grandpa’s major battles as Baker’s Creek, Big Black, Kingston, Dalton, Smyrna, Fire Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Mobile and Vicksburg.

His first wife died, leaving Grandpa with two girls and a boy. Later he married young Huldah Logan Pratt - my mother’s mother - and they had two girls and a boy. Before his death in 1922, Grandpa wrote, at the request of the Daughters of the Confederacy: "At Vicksburg no Yankee crossed our line of entrenchments until we had marched outside and stacked our arms. We were starved out, not conquered." That was one last blow from a tough old soldier who survived - but didn’t relate many war stories.

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