Category Archives: Mississippi

Widow of Mathew A. Dunn, of the Amite Defenders, 33rd MS, receives condolence letter from fellow soldier

Letter of Condolence to widow of Mathew A. Dunn
John C. Wilkinson, 33rd Miss, Company K, Amite Defenders

Hamburg, Edgefield District, S.C.
February 15, 1865

Mrs. Mathew A. Dunn,
[ed. Her name was Virginia Lenorah Perkins]

My Dear Friend, I seat myself with a heart filed with sorrow to pen you a few lines to let you know that I do truly mourn and sympathize with you on account of you great irreparable loss.

On the 22nd____, I received the sad and heartrending intelligence that Mr. M. A. Dunn and J.L. Anderson [ed: probably John L. Anderson] of my mess and seven others of our Co. were killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee on the 30th of November 1864.

Mr. Dunn and I were only slightly acquainted when our Co. organized, but before leaving our beloved homes, we agreed to be members of the same family in Camp and drew our first rations together and continued so until I was wounded in May last.

And to me, he proved to be a true friend under all circumstances, in sickness, in health, in trials, and under all the hardships we had to undergo, he was always a patient and cheerful friend.

I am incompetent to write a eulogy upon such a character, and will only say to you that M. A. Dunn was free from the influence of the many vices and evils so common in Camp which entice so many from the path of rectitude.

But did by a well ordered walk and godly conversation make manifest to his comrades that he was a devoted Christian, true gentleman and patriotic soldier.

Being kind and obliging, he enjoyed the good will and confidence of all who had the pleasure of being acquainted with him.

By this sad bereavement of Co. lost one of its first members, Amite County a good citizen, Ebenezar [ed. referring to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Amite County where Mathew was baptized and a member] a worthy member, and you and your dear little ones, a kind and dearly beloved husband and father.

Dear Friend, though I join you in shedding a tear of grief, let us not mourn as those who are without hope, for we feel assured that our loss is his Eternal gain, that his freed spirit is now singing praises to our Blessed Savior in the Paradis above where all is joy and peace.

O, that we could truly adopt the language of Paul under this heavy affliction – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Then, how consoling would be the language of our Saviour, “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. For because I live, ye shall live also.” Then, my afflicted Sister, be admonished by the poorest of the poor to look to the fountain whence cometh all our help and strength; Jesus alone can comfort you in all your trails.

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, his ears are open unto their prayers.” We have the promise of the comforter, and Paul says, “Likewise, the spirit also helpeth our infirmities for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.”

And to give us full assurance, our Blessed savior informs us that He maketh intercession for the Saints, that according to the will of God.

And so, there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God, and we have so many sweet and precious promises. Let us therefore come boldly into the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in each time of need.

I know that the ties of nature are such that you cannot refrain from weeping and though your dear husband cannot return to you, yet you have hope that you may go where he is, and join him in singing a song of deliverance.

And may God on tender mercy remember you and your dear Little Ones. May He lead, rule, guide, and direct you safely through this life, giving you that sweet consolation which He alone can give. And finally, through the merits of his dear Son, crown you His (with your dear husband) in his kingdom above where “God will wipe away all tears from your eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither shall there be any more pain, but where all is Joy and Peace is the desire of one who wished you well.

You have no doubt seen a list of the killed, wounded and missing at the Battle of Franklin, Tenn. on the 30th November 1864. And many more mush have fallen at the Battle of Nashville on the 15th of December from which I have no news from my company.

When I left Camp I left six messmates whom I loved, four of them, J.P. [ed. probably Josiah P. Lea] and C. C. Lea [ed. probably Charles Lea], J.L Anderson [ed. probably John L. Anderson], and Mathew. A. Dunn have poured out their life’s blood in defense of their country. R.S. Capell is severely wounded and my dear son, W.H.W. [William H. Wilkinson] reported captured. Truly, we have cause to mourn but I desire not to mourner.

Not wishing to weary you with my imperfection, I close; when at the throne of grace, remember me and mine and believe me to be your friend in deep affliction.

John C. Wilkinson

[Thanks to Michael N. Pittman MD, descendant of John Cain Wilkinson, for a copy of the letter.]

33rd MS soldier – Dunn – was killed on the very land now being preserved by Save the Franklin Battlefield and the Civil War Trust.

The five acre tract – Loring’s Advance – currently being preserved by a local battlefield preservation group was the very site that a Confederate soldier named Mathew Andrew Dunn was shot and killed on November 30, 1864, during the Battle of Franklin. Dunn was a member of Company K, the Amite Defender’s, 33rd Mississippi, Featherston’s Brigade.

One of his commanding officers wrote his widow after the battle to detail the circumstances of Dunn’s demise at Franklin. He is buried in an unknown grave at McGavock Confederate Cemetery.

The Civil War Trust is leading the preservation effort at the national level.


Featherston’s Brigade

Near ____________

January 11, 1865

Mrs Dunn,

Dear Madam,

I received a note from Mr Harrell a few days ago inquiring into the circumstances of your husband’s death.

On the evening of the 30th Nov 1864, our brigade was formed in line of battle and moved through a very dense wood driving the enemy before us. On emerging from the woods we found ourselves in front of the enemy breastworks at Franklin. We were ordered to charge and at the word the Brigade moved forward your husband in the front rank. The charge was a gallant one, many of our men reached the works and fought for a while hand to hand with the enemy – but we were compelled to give way – and fell back some two or three hundred yards and there remained until next morning. Mat was killed in about 50 yards of the breastworks. He was killed instantly. During the night the enemy retreated and at daylight next morning I went immediately to the battlefield to look after my dead and wounded friends. Matt was one of the first I found. He was lying on his back. He appeared to be peacefully sleeping. A Spirit was on his countenance and everything indicated that he passed away without a struggle. He was wounded four times – two of which were sufficient to have caused instant death. One ball struck him directly in the front just below the breast bone passing through – another struck him in the right side passing through – another in the right cheek, and another in the left hand. Early as I was, others had been there before me and had taken everything of value from him. I found his testament lying near his breast and thinking of his widow far away, I put it in my pocket for you. I will be home sometime this winter and will bring it to you. My duty required my presence at other points and I left him. I saw afterwards that he received a decent burial at the hands of his friends and comrades.

_____________ has preserved a lock of his hair for you. His mess mates tell me that he had no baggage except what he had with him (his knapsack and his blanket) and these were taken by the inhuman robbers of the dead. It would certainly be a consolation to you to have received some last messages from your loved one, but the unexpectedness of the battle and the circumstances of his death precluded the possibility of such a thing. You have two strong sources of consolation Mrs Dunn, that your husband died as he had lived, a true Christian, and his death was such as becomes the true soldier, on the battlefield with his face to the foe, and followed by love and regrets of all his comrades.

Your loss is great and deeply do I sympathize with you, but you “mourn not” as one without hope,

I am respectfully

Your friend,

C.P. Neilson (1)


Mrs M.A. Dunn

Liberty. Miss

Source:  The Jonathan Dunn Kinfolks, 3rd Edition, 1987.

(1) Charles P. Neilson was Sergt-Major and A.A.G. Brigade

Service record of Capt. Nathan W. Wilcox, Engineering regiment

On 13 August 1861, Nathan W. Wilcox joined the Engineering Regiment of the West, out of Missouri. He lived in New London, Iowa. He recruited over 20 of his fellow Iowans before reporting for duty. He spent the next two-plus years building roads, bridges, canals, and railroads. He was discharged in Nashville where he continued to work under contract to the government doing surveying and architectural work.

When the war was over, he sent for his family and settled in Tennessee, living and working in Knox, Davidson, Montgomery and Franklin counties, over the next 25 years. When his body finally gave out 9 Sept 1891, he was interred in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.  If he had a tombstone originally, it has long-since disappeared.  Descendants of Captain Wilcox recently replaced his tombstone with a new marker.

27th Mississippi soldier survived Franklin

Pvt Robert A. Jarman, 27th Mississippi, Co K.

Jarman served in the Army of Tennessee for three years. He was one of only four members remaining in his company after the Battle of Nashville in 1864.

Source: Soldier Life, Time Life Books, 2007: 134.

At Franklin, the 27th was in Lee’s Corps, Johnson’s Division, Brantley’s Brigade; serving with the 24th, 29th, 30th, 34th Mississippi units too.

5th Iowa cav soldier – Schlapp – writes about being captured near Corinth

5th Iowa Cav. (Curtis Horse) – August Schlapp

Tells story of action at Lockridge’s Mill, TN (part of Siege of Corinth) where the 5th Iowa suffered severe casualties, over 60 soldiers captured, including Schlapp

The 5th Iowa was engaged in Hood’s middle Tennessee campaign, fought at Nashville and was much engaged in Hood’s Retreat in late December.

Iowa Cavalry soldier, prisoner of war story in relation to the siege of Corinth, battle detail between cavalry units, middle TN action, soldier and a Cav unit that saw significant participation at the Battle of Nashville and in Hood’s retreat.

– – – – – –

Fort Heiman, TN (near Dresden and Ft Henry)
Soldier (August Schlapp, Co. F) writes “Seven miles from Dresden we stopped and camped, when we were attacked by 2200 Secesh cavalry, we slapped on our saddles and off we went to where our main force was encamped, you will remember that 40 of our whole force of 128 fleeing, one of them kept a mile in the rear of the balance as rear guard. Many of our rear guard was killed, wounded or taken prisoners, before they got to their horses. When we got to the other camp they was not mounted, but most of them soon became so, and we formed a line of battle, but after a very short stand were ordered to retreat, then commenced such a funny race between Secesh and Union soldiers which I never witnessed before. Horses plunging into holes, men tumbling off killed or wounded or jumping off and taking to the bushes, with the constant roar of musket, carabine and pistol fire, saber rattle and Indian like yell of the men made a laughable fuss for a cool listener. To make short a long story 61 of us were taken prisoner … back to Corinth where we were sent on parole across the lines, into Halleck’s Camps. There we met with severe ill treatment from Halleck who contrary to our oath put us to hospital work such as digging graves and burying dead. At last we were sent to our Regiment and upon refusing to report for duty before regularly exchanged, were put in the Guard house and bound to hard labor. After two weeks confinement they read us an order wich releaved us of our parole,”

Notes from Schlaap’s letter

1. He is describing the severe engagement at Lockridge’s Mill, TN where he and 60 of his comrades were captured during a surprise raid by Rebel cavalry.

2. Details incredible action during the raid between Union and Confederate cavalry forces.

3. Mentions 61 of the Union men were taken prisoner, and were taken back to Corinth, paroled, and had to dig graves under Halleck’s supervision.

Research notes on August L. Schlapp, Co. F. 5th Iowa Cavalry

August L. Schlapp was from Burlington, Iowa. He was 24 years old when he enlisted on September 7th, 1861 as an 8th Corporal. On October 25, 1861 he mustered in to Co. F., 5th Iowa Cavalry. He reenlisted 1/14/64 and mustered out 8/11/65.

About two months prior to writing this letter he was listed as a POW at Lockridge’s Mill, TN.  He was returned to his regiment on 6/10/62, writing this letter just a few weeks later. Schlaap was born in Germany.

At the time of Schlapp writing this letter he was a member of the District and Army of West Tennessee.

According to David Conzett’s web site: Schlapp was one of the men who was part of an amazing episode in the regiment’s history. The Official Roster entry says “taken prisoner May 5, 1862, Lockridge’s Mill, Tennessee. Returned to Company June 10, 1862.” However, the story did not end there. The men had been paroled by the Confederates, but were not properly exchanged. Nevertheless they were coerced by their commander to reenter the fray. This was contrary to laws of war, and the men knew it. Some disobeyed the order, but most acquiesced when they witness the punishment of their friends. Schlapp’s entry in the 1888 Portrait and Biograhical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa describes the event this way, stating he “was captured near Mayfield, Ky., in 1862, held a prisoner for two weeks and discharged on parole. The parole was not respected by his superior officers, and, with others of his comrades, he was forced to return to active duty.”

The 5th Iowa Cavalry saw action at:

  • Paris, TN – March 1862
  • Lockridge’s Mill, TN – May 1862
  • Cumberland Iron Works, TN – August 1862
  • Lafayette, TN – October 1862
  • Garrettsburg, KY – November 1862
  • McMinnville, TN – September 1863
  • Wartrace, TN – October 1863
  • Chattahoochee River, GA – July 1863
  • Atlanta Campaign – summer 1864
  • Duck River, TN – November 1964
  • Battle of Nashville – Dec 15, 1864; “when the great battle before that city was fought it took part at the extreme right where it suffered but little.”
  • Pulaski, TN (Hood’s Retreat) – late December; In the pursuit of Hood, which nearly annihilated his whole army, the regiment was very active, repeatedly overtaking and engaging his cavalry, with some loss.
  • Other places: Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee

Key words this letter pertains to:

5th Iowa Cavalry | August Schlaap | Confederate Cavalry | Union Cavalry | Lockridge’s Mill, TN | Prisoner of War | Corinth | Burying the Dead | Fort Heiman | Battle of Nashville | Duck River | Hood’s Retreat

More about Schlapp:

August L. Schlapp, a member of the wholesale grocery house of Biklen, Winzer & Co., was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, July 27, 1837, and is a son of H. L. Schlapp, also a native of that country. He was educated in the gymnasium of his native city, taking a classical course, and then was employed in an antiquarian book-store for a time as a salesman, but subsequently emigrated to America, coming direct to Burlington, Iowa, which he reached in July 1857. At this time he was but twenty years of age. He engaged as a farm-hand in Des Moines County, also doing some work of he same character in Henry County until the war broke out, when he enlisted in the Fremont Hussars, an independent cavalry regiment, but was subsequently transferred with his company to the 5th Iowa Cavalry, was captured near Mayfield, Ky., in 1862, held a prisoner for two weeks and discharged on parole. The parole was not respected by his superior officers, and, with others of his comrades, he was forced to return to active duty. His promotion to the rank of Second Lieutenant occurred Oct. 20, 1864. Until 1863 Mr. Schlapp’s services were employed in hunting guerrillas, but at that time his regiment joined the main army, the Army of the Cumberland, before Murfreesboro, and participated in the battles of Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Tullahoma, Chattanooga, capture of Atlanta, battle of Jonesboro, Franklin, Nashville, Decatur, the raid through middle Tennessee, Wilson’s Raid, the capture of Selma, Ala., and of Columbus, Ga. He was mustered out at the close of the war, Aug. 20, 1865.

On his return from the war, Mr. Schlapp located in Burlington, Iowa, and engaged with Starker & Hagemann, wholesale grocers, as shipping clerk, and one year later left them to engage in the retail grocery business at Ft. Madison. He carried on that business successfully until 1875, when he sold out, returned to Burlington, and with Biklen and Winzer succeeded the wholesale grocery house of Starker, Hagemann & Co. Mr. Schlapp has been an active member of the firm of Biklen, Winzer & Co., the most extensive house in this line in the city since its incorporation.

On the 13th of October, 1866, in Burlington, Iowa, Mr. Schlapp led to the marriage alter Miss Lina Krust, a native of St. Louis, Mo. Three living children grace their union, two sons and a daughter–Carl H. L., Ernest Otto and Anna.

Mr. Schlapp was a Republican for many years, but is now known as a member of that class called Mugwumps, and, having never been an aspirant for the honors of public office, has devoted his attention strictly to business pursuits. He is a member of the Turners’ Society, the Crystal Lake Shooting Club, the Burlington Commercial Club, and Burlington Schuetzen Verein, and has always taken an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare and development of the city, being recognized as one of the representative business men.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Desmoines County, Iowa. Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.

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