Note from moderator: Some time ago, before my move to Missouri temporarily engulfed my life, I had an interesting set of exchanges with Shelby Harriel, who had posted a comment beneath Ed Payne’s post, “Jasper Collins and the Ellisville Patriot.” After conducting extensive research on her family, Shelby was astonished to discover that several of her Mississippi ancestors had fought for the Union during the Civil War. “Being a Southerner to my very soul, it’s been difficult to understand and accept,” she wrote. Determined, however, to understand rather than dismiss (or hide) her kinfolk, she quickly realized that the Civil War South was anything but unified over secession from the Union. In email messages to Ed and me, she further digressed on her fascinating journey into the past. With her permission, I am publishing her letter describing what she learned about the Civil War service of her Smith, Harriel, and Bounds ancestors.
First of all, this all started when my paw paw’s first cousin, Mr. Hollis Smith, began sharing with me the history of our families. He was born in 1915 and actually remembered talking to his Civil War relatives. When asked why they fought for the Union, he looked at me as if I were crazy and replied, “They didn’t believe the Union should be dissolved!” He provided me with a copy of the picture I have attached. Sadly, Mr. Hollis passed away in September at the age of 95.
From left to right: Telfair (Mr. Hollis’ grandfather), Thomas R., Nimrod “Peter” (standing), John Lampkin, and Sherrod Smith.
I have the service and pension records for all of these men. I have service records for a Sherrod Smith of the 17th Battalion Cavalry but am not sure if the soldier was the man in the picture or their first cousin, also named Sherrod.
Thomas rose to the rank of sergeant in Co. G, 1st New Orleans Infantry (Union). He was 5’8″ with light colored hair and green eyes and was 21 when he enlisted. I have found a T.R. Smith of Co. B, 7th Battalion MS Infantry from Jackson County which is next to Harrison County where the Smiths were from at the time, so I have assumed this is “my” Thomas R. Smith. His enlistment is given as April, 1862 but his record states “absent without leave having never reported. Nor correctly reported….should be marked deserted.”
John Lampkin was 22 when he enlisted in the same regiment, Co. H. He was 5’11” with black hair and blue eyes. He died in a hospital in Carrollton of small pox in January, 1865. There is a rumor that he wasn’t actually the soldier that died of small pox in the hospital but switched identities with another soldier and went on to be a professional gambler in New Orleans when he was shot in the back and killed over a game of cards. For some reason, I don’t feel that is true. There appears a John L. Smith of Co. B, 7th Battalion MS Infantry with the same information as Thomas’.
Pete is a mystery. When I sent off for his papers, I received records for an “N.J. Smith” of Co. B, 3rd Mississippi Infantry. Those were his initials, and that was a unit raised in this area, but this particular soldier was listed as having been “severely wounded” on July 20, 1864 at Peach Tree Creek and died on July 24, 1864, in a Macon hospital. But Pete survived into his 80’s. Mr. Hollis swore up and down that Pete never served, but yet he applied for a pension in 1924 where he claimed to have enlisted in the 3rd MS Infantry in 1863 (he would have been 16 even though he definitely doesn’t look that young in the picture!). The officers listed on the application are correct, and the pension was granted. Two Confederate headstones were applied for, one for the 4th MS Cavalry. According to the application, he enlisted in 1861 with no discharge date. And then there’s another application for a headstone where the regiment is the 3rd MS. According to this document, he enlisted in October, 1863, and was discharged April 26, 1865. I sent away and received papers for a “Peter Smith” of the 4th MS Cav. But I don’t think this is the same person because this unit was formed in another part of the state. However, it was at Camp Moore, Louisiana, which is about an hour and a half away from here. I suppose he could have served in both. So that leaves the question of the soldier “N.J. Smith” who was killed outside Atlanta. Even though Mr. Hollis said he didn’t fight, he was granted a pension in 1924. At any rate, I’ve concluded that Pete did fight due to the fact that the pension was granted, and his two older brothers fought against him for the Union, one of whom, Thomas of course, signed as a witness on his pension application!
The Smiths had two first cousins, Reuben and Rufus, who served in the 3rd MS Infantry. Both appear as AWOL at certain times, but they also show up as having been sick. So it doesn’t appear that they deserted and joined the 1st NO like their cousins. It seems that Unionist loyalties are connected through family ties. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with this branch of my family.
While doing this research, I took a look at the rosters of the Union unit Thomas and John Lampkin joined out of New Orleans. Lo and behold, there appeared the name of one Reutilus Hariel, Jr. in Co. G (The army misspelled my paw paw’s name by putting an extra “r” in it when he went to fight in WWII. He liked it and kept it.). His name was spelled every way imaginable, but that was him, the man of whom I am directly descended. He went with the Smith brothers to New Orleans and joined with them. Unlike the Smiths, I could not find him in a Confederate unit prior to his enlistment in the 1st NO. At any rate, after being told my entire life that we had no direct ancestors who fought, I found out three years ago that wasn’t true. After telling Mr. Hollis of my discovery, he just laughed because I think he knew all along but didn’t want to tell me that my direct ancestor fought for the Union. As for my direct family, I think it was known at some point but was covered up over the years until it became forgotten. Reutilus, after all, died in his 40’s. His father, Reutilus Sr. is another family mystery. We don’t know where he came from or what happened to him. He rode off to work on the telegraph lines one day and never came home. Neither he nor his horse were ever discovered. We believe he was robbed and murdered because he is rumored to have always ridden the finest horses and wore the finest clothes.
There was another man named William Bounds whose sister married Reutilus Jr. While looking for his Confederate records, I kept coming up empty. Later, I found his name with those of the Smith brothers and Reutilus. Now it made sense why his headstone wasn’t pointed. He wasn’t a Confederate. He was in Co. I of the 1st NO and was listed as a deserter as of Jan. 13, 1866. He was cleared of the charge in 1886.
Thomas, Reutilus, and William are all buried together in a cemetery about five miles from where I live. It’s kind of funny because they’re buried in the middle of the little cemetery while everybody else is buried along the fence row and away from them. I wonder if that’s on purpose. At any rate, according to Mr. Hollis, the Smith’s mother made it known she did not want to be buried near her Yankee son, and she’s not. She’s buried in another cemetery a couple of miles away, along with Pete, her Confederate son. I don’t know where, exactly, in New Orleans John Lampkin is buried.
After doing more research on William Bounds, I have found out that he is the son of John E. Bounds and Nancy Sumrall. Rumor has it that John was harboring Confederate deserters and run out of the county because of it.
I have discovered that William had two brothers who joined the 1st NO with him: James and Addison, both of whom were 6’3″! James had red hair and black eyes. I hope I can find a picture of him one day. Addison had light colored hair and blue eyes. William was just under six feet with red hair and green eyes.
Addison made corporal. As a part of the provost, he was detailed to escort prisoners to Fort Jefferson in the Tortugas, beginning in February, 1866. I read where most prisoners there were Union deserters. Talk about irony…..my Southern-born ancestor fighting with a Union unit based in New Orleans and guarding Yankee deserters. Addison himself appears to be a Confederate deserter as I found an “A. Bounds” of Co. B, 17th Battalion Cavalry from Harrison County. He was enrolled in April, 1862 and listed as present. However, that’s where the records for that particular unit end for him.
In addition to housing Yankee deserters, Fort Jefferson was also the prison where Dr. Samuel Mudd was sent. He was there the same time as Addison.
I could not find a Confederate unit for James unless I overlooked something.
These Bounds had first cousins, Richard and John Clark Bounds of Jasper County, who were in Co. K, 37th MS Infantry. They were the sons of Addison Bounds, brother of John E. Richard was wounded in 1862 and sent to a hospital in Holly Springs. He was paroled after Vicksburg and then was listed as AWOL February 9th, 1864. I don’t have his 1st NO records yet, but they’re on the way. John was on detached service and missed out on the whole Vicksburg experience. His records show he was paroled at Meridian in May, 1865. So why did he choose to remain loyal to the Confederacy instead of deserting and joining the 1st NO like his brother? I wonder if he knew that Richard had deserted and joined the Union.
I have in my notes a Joseph A. Bounds listed as a brother of Richard and John Clark. There is a Joseph A. in Co. F, 19th MS who served in Virginia throughout the war, but I don’t think these are the same men.
There were other relatives to the Bounds listed above:
There is a Stephen, Solomon and George Washington Bounds who all served in Co. H, 3rd MS Infantry. George Washington was discharged due to disability. Nathaniel Bounds of the 38th MS Cavalry died at a hospital in Okolona in June, 1862. I could not find any of them in the NO unit. I have also found a W. S. Bounds whose name is given as Woodward on one of the cards. He was also in Co. H, 3rd MS and detailed as a teamster in 1863. His records don’t indicate what happened to him after that year. There is a D.W. Bounds in the same company. He is listed as AWOL since November, 1863. I don’t know who the D.S. is but I have found a Daniel Woodward in my genealogy notes. There is a D.W. Bounds of the 2nd NO, a unit that failed to organize resulting in soldiers being transferred to the 1st. And there is a Daniel W. Bound listed in Co. H of the 1st. Furthermore, there is an Ellis Bounds in Co. G. I could not find a Confederate unit for him although his father filed for a pension where he listed the 3rd MS as his son’s unit. In my notes, I have Ellis’ death date as 1864. There are also John and Henry of Co. G of the 1st NO. In my notes, I have a John Riley and James Henry listed as brothers of Ellis and that they were twins. No Confederate unit could be found for them either even though their father, Gillium, (2nd cousin of John E.) was in Co. H, 3rd Battalion MS State Troops. He is listed as present in August, 1862 but deserted a few months later in January, 1863. All of these Bounds were from the Coastal area.
I have the Confederate service records for this set of Bounds. Their Union service records, where applicable, are on the way.
In addition to these Smiths and Bounds, I have a Uriah Lee of Co. G, 1st NO. I could not find a Confederate unit for him. His service records are on the way as well.
If it’s one thing you can say it’s that the Bounds family was torn in two. Speaking of being divided, I have always felt for my great-great-great aunt, Nancy. She married Elijah Lee whose headstone says he was in the 4th MS Cavalry. However, I think this was a mistake and that he did not fight at all or maybe in a unit I haven’t discovered yet. But his brother, Uriah, fought in the 1st NO. Their first cousin, Eli Lee, however, fought in the 7th Battalion MS Infantry and was paroled after Vicksburg. So Nancy’s brother and brothers-in-law fought for the Union while her cousin and possibly her husband fought for the Confederacy. No Confederate unit could be found for Uriah and Eli did not join the 1st NO after paroled. As a sidenote: these Lees are third cousins to Robert E. Lee.
This is what I have discovered in my research so far. I haven’t been able to find much on the 1st NO other than the brief history available on the Internet and have assumed it was more or less a type of home guard unit for the protection of New Orleans from all the guerrilla warfare going on in southwestern Louisiana.
I appreciate you taking the time to read through this. I’d be interested in learning anything you have to share. Thank you for your time.