Confederate Prisoners from the Battles of Franklin & Nashville

Battle of Franklin & Nashville Confederate Prisoners

at Johnson’s Island, Ohio

The post will continue to be changed and constructed though the spring and summer of 2016.

The Battle of Franklin and the final blow at Nashville two weeks later to Hood’s Army in Tennessee are well documented here on this site and elsewhere, including two masterful books by Eric Jacobson. Eric documents how the devastation reached far into the ranks of Hood’s officer corps; including 14 Generals and 55 regimental commanders. One-Hundred and Twenty-Seven captured officers were transported and housed on Johnson’s Island. In addition to those 127 on this list, two of the CSA Generals captured at Franklin and were sent here; Gen’s Thomas Benton Smith and Edward “Alleghany” Johnson.

The captured represent Seventy-One CSA units from nine states. The consolidated 1st and 3rd Missouri Cavalry lost nine officers and the consolidated 2nd and 6th Missouri Infantry six officers; the most from any one unit. The 2nd, from Cockrell’s Brigade, ran into the 65th Indiana and the 6th Ohio Artillery at a well constructed Abatis near the center of the battle at Franklin. Roughly two-thirds of Cockrell’s Missouri Brigade became casualties that day. In general though, the losses are pretty well spread out evenly over states and units.

Opened in April 1862 Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War Depot held within its walls over 10,000 (Wikipedia states 15,000) Confederate prisoners during the war. Almost all of them were officers. It was closed at the end of the war in 1865.

The prison contained 13 block houses, 12 of them housing, one a hospital. The houses were two stories high and approximately 130 by 24 feet. There were more than 40 buildings outside the stockade used by the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry to guard the prison. Two major fortifications, Forts Johnson and Hill, protecting Johnson’s Island were constructed over the winter of 1864.

The 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was led by William S. Pierson, a former mayor of Sandusky, Ohio. Because of his cruelty to prisoners and inability to handle problems he was replaced in January 1864 by Brigadier General Harry D. Terry.  A few months later, in May 1864, Colonel Charles W. Hill took command at Johnson’s Island, remaining until the end of the war.

Prisoners could receive packages and mail. The mail and parcels were inspected and often damaged before the prisoner received them. The prisoners on Johnson’s Island, along with most of the soldiers that fought in the Civil War endured harsh winters, food and fuel shortages, disease, along with the mental anguish of uncertainty about their families and their own futures. Close to 300 prisoners died on Johnson’s Island during the war.

In 1990, Johnson’s Island was designated as a National Historic Landmark. The Confederate Cemetery, located on Johnson’s Island is currently the only publicly available part of the prison.

Source: http://

johnsonsisland.heidelberg.edu/index.html

Please visit their website for more information and comprehensive prisoner lists. Their work continues and to say the least it is impressive. Here is some of the background story.

In 2013, the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center acquired a very important document about the POWs at the Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison.  The document lists, by Housing Block and Company the prisoners incarcerated there in the Fall of 1864.  The Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island, with the assistance of Heidelberg University students, will be incorporating the information from these lists into their overall POW database.  Below, we will be sharing much of what we know about each prisoner listed on this document.  We will be updating this page as we progress, first arranging the listings by the blocks represented.  Place your mouse over the appropriate block and once we have the listing complete, a link to that database will appear.  Once all records are entered, we will also have an alphabetic arrangement of the files.  The database is google drive generated and you can search the database by using Ctrl-F or by selecting the header of each column and choosing the information you desire. Send comments to dbush@heidelberg.edu regarding anything related to the web site.  The site is maintained by Dr. David Bush, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology of Heidelberg University.

Here is our list of prisoners from the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, November and December 1864. If you do a http://www.findagrave.com cemetery search there are many prisoners documented. The cemetery is 61% photographed and to date none of these men are listed. It is very likely that most all survived given the conditions at the prison in 1865. Following that is a list sorted by “Block” number. In Heidelberg’s web-site is a drawing showing the locations of each block house. This summer we’ll try to document that with photos.

Alphabetical

Contents in order; Last Name, First Name and Middle or Initial, Rank, Regiment, Home Town

Aldridge William C. Captain 1st & 3rd MO Cavalry California MO
Allen William E 2nd Lt. & Adjutant 16th LA Infantry Sparta, LA
Allen John K. Major 30th MS Infantry McNutt MS
Anderson Charles H. 2nd Lieutenant 1st GA Confederate Infantry Powders Spring, GA
Anderson James A. 2nd Lieutenant 4th AR Infantry Goodness AR
Anderson Harry;Henry Y. 2nd Lieutenant 1st & 3rd MO Cavalry St. Louis MO
Anthony Jesse 3rd Lieutenant 30th GA Infantry Jonesburo, GA
Archer Benjamin Lafayette Captain 19th AL Infantry D Gadsden, Leu Islands, AL
Avery Alfred B. 1st Lieutenant 45th AL Infantry H Burzelia GA
Aydbott Arther F. Captain 48th TN Infantry H Columbia, TN
Bailey William O. 1st Lieutenant 20th AL Infantry K Tusculoosa, AL
Ballard Thomas W. 1st Lieutenant 29th GA Infantry I Thomasville GA
Barnes William 1st Lieutenant 49th TN Infantry C Springfield TN
Bean John Captain 16th AL Infantry H Mt Hope AL
Bell West 2nd Lieutenant 3rd MS Infantry A Harrisville MS
Bowen Caleb P. Captain 30th GA Infantry C Cambleton GA
Brewer George E. 1st Lieutenant 25th GA Infantry I Walthomville, GA
Brown Henry M. 1st Lieutenant 42nd TN Infantry E Bluff Springs TN
Burdim William M. 2nd Lieutenant 3rd MS Infantry B Richmond MS
Burns Alexander F. Captain 1st & 3rd MO Inf & Cav. H & N Graham, MO
Carbry James T. 1st Lieutenant 3rd MO Infantry G
Cargill Thomas H. Captain 42nd TN Infantry C Collierville, TN
Carney LeGrand V. 2nd Lieutenant 11th TN Cavalry
Cawthorn Benjamin J. F. 2nd Lieutenant 2nd Battalion GA Sharp Shooters B Thomaston GA
Coker Darling 2nd Lieutenant 8th MS Infantry H
Collier Thomas E. 1st Lieutenant 45th AL Infantry F Decatur, GA
Cooper Charles R. 2nd Lieutenant 49th TN Infantry A Clarksville, TN
Cornelius Cader R. Captain 4th LA Infantry G Clinton LA
Cowan George E. Captain 18th AL Infantry A Stevenson, Al
Cowlong Doul C. Captain 19th AR Infantry G Columbus, AR
Crittenden Robert F. Colonel 33rd AL Infantry Haw Ridge AL
Crosby William H. 2nd Lieutenant 5th Confederate Infantry G Memphis, TN
Dale John J. 1st Lieutenant 3rd MS Infantry H
Davis Christian S. 1st Lieutenant 2nd MS B
Day James B. 1st Lieutenant General Sharp’s Staff Louisville KY
Devall David Captain 4th LA Infantry B Homitage, LA
Dickson Mumford H. Captain 3rd Confederate Infantry E
Dodd William W. 2nd Lieutenant 29th TN Infantry H
Duncan James L. 1st Lieutenant 2nd MO Infantry B Louisville MO
Dunklin James H. Lieutenant Colonel 33rd AL Infantry E
Enyart Logan Captain 1st MO Cavalry B Pattensburg, MO
Evans Robert L. Captain 53rd TN Infantry Lynnville TN
Fulton Joseph E. Captain 25th GA Infantry Savannah GA
Garret(t) Geo. Wahington B. Major 23rd MS Infantry Jonesborough MS
Ger Tho. W. 1st Lieutenant 1st, 3rd MS Cavalry B Pattensburg, MS
Glenn Adolphus B. 1st Lieutenant 32nd MS, 22nd MS Infantry I Greenville, MS
Gordon George Washington Brig. Gen. Vaughn’s Brigade Waverly, TN
Graham Samuel J. 2nd Lieutenant 22nd MS Infantry H Greenville, MS
Graham Thomas H. 2nd Lieutenant 14th MS Infantry B Enterprise, MS
Henry Hugh William Captain 22nd AL Infantry K Montgomery, AL
Howard Daniel,David Capt. 42nd TN. Infantry I Memphis TN
Inglis John Livingston Capt. 3rd FL Infantry D Madison FL
Johnson Jerry Martin 2nd Lieut. 10 TX Infantry C Loudon City TX
Johnson Robert T. Capt. 29th GA Infantry L Jefferson GA
Kennedy James M. 2nd Lieut. 8th MS Infantry G Tristwood MS
King Richard C. 1st Lieut. 1st Batt GA SS D Waresboro GA
Kinow, Kinnow Charles E. Capt. 14th LA Infantry J Tangipaha, LA
Knight Levi J. 2nd Lieut. 29th GA Infantry G Milltown GA
Kointy/Koonte Doctor F. Capt. 2nd MO&6th MO Infantry K New Franklin MO
Leonardey Philip 2nd Lieut. 3rd FL Infantry B Savannah GA
Maybee Milton J. Capt. 1st GA Infantry Powder Springs GA
McAdve; McAdoo Hugh M. Capt. 4th TN Infantry B Waverly TN
McBeth John C. 1st Lieut. 5th MS Infantry K High Hill MS
McCarthy Charles E. 1st Lieut. 30th LA. Infantry A New Orleans LA
McCleskey Louis A. 2nd Lieut. 5th AR Infantry E Chalk Bluff AR
McDavid Robert J. 1st Lieut. 7th TX Infantry I Bellvue TX
McDonald Elbert M. 2nd Lieut. 20th AL Infantry C Elyton AL
McGavehy/McGevney Michael Colonel 154th TN Infantry Memphis, TN
McKinnon John L. 2nd Lieut. 1st FL Infantry D Uchllanna, FL
McKinnon Neil J. 1st Lieut. 1st FL Infantry D Knoxhill, FL
McMillan Angus Capt 6th FL K Orange Hill, FL
Melton Daniel William 1st Lieut. 7th AR Infantry B Grand Glaize, AR
Middlebrooks Thomas J. 2nd Lieut. 37th GA Infantry C Cornicopia, GA
Miles William 2nd Lieut. 12th LA Infantry Winryfield, LA
Mitchell William D. Colonel 29th GA Infantry Thomasville GA
Murphey Virgil Col. 17th AL. Infantry Montgomery AL
Parson John D. Capt. 2th Mo. Infantry C Savannah GA
Patterson Thomas Capt. 25th Texas InfantryE Madisonville TX
Pennington William F. Lt. Col. 4th LA Infantry Lake Providence, LA
Perry Edward C. 1st Lieut. 17th Texas Cavalry K Jonesville, TX
Picelot Arthur Major 30th LA Infantry New Orleans, LA
Porter Thomas M.J. 2nd Lieut. 17th AL Infantry B Georgiana, AL
Powell James T. L. 2nd Lieut. 25th GA Infantry C Morgan GA
Pullen Edward J. Major 4th LA Infantry Clinton LA
Robinson James Henry 1st Lieut. 15th TN Infantry K Yorksville, TN
Sanders William H. 2nd Lieut. 12th LA Infantry M Woodville, LA
Schlatter Charles H. 2nd Lieut. 1 Bat GA S.S. Wausburo GA
Sharp John T. 1st Lieut. 5th MS Infantry F Noxapater, MS
Sherrod Frederic O. Capt. 16th AL Infantry B Florence AL
Simms, Simmons James E. Capt. 33rd MS Infantry A High Hill MS
Singleterry Thomas H. 2nd Lieut. 7th TX Infantry E Alto TX
Smith William M. 2nd Lieut. 1st & 3rd MO Infantry E Savanah MO
Smith Benjamin S.G. 1st Lt. and Engr. 6th FL Infantry C Quincy FL
Stamper Martin W. 2nd Lieut. 8th MS Infantry D Union MS
Stephens Joseph F. 2nd Lieut. 18th AL Infantry H Troy, AL
Stephens William Anderson Lieut. 46th AL 40th AL Infantry K Louina, AL
Stoker Richard J. 2nd Lieut. 30 MS Infantry C Lodi MS
Stuart/Stewart Thaddius/Thomas 1st Lieut. 2nd MO Infantry Sturgeon, MO
Talley Charles E. Capt. 7th TX D Marshall TX
Taylor William A. Major 24th TX Cavalry Waco TX
Thompson George W. 1st Lieut. 52nd TN. or 2nd TN Infantry Calladonin, TN
Thompson John B. 1st Lieut. 42nd TN Infantry C Morning Sun TN
Thompson, Thomason William W. Captain 24th MO A McLeads, MS
Truchart David Major Matthatts(?) Div C Artillery Richmond VA
Turner Benjamin M. Capt. 4th GA S.S. C Barnesville, GA
Usher John 1st Lieut. 22nd MO Infantry G Black Hawk MS
Voohies William M. Col. 48 TN Cav Cavalry Columbia TN
Waldrop William C. 1st Lieut. 41st MS Infantry New Albany, MS
Walker Francis M. 1st Lieut, Capt 16th AL D Evergreen AL
Watts Samuel B. Capt. 10th MS Infantry H Brandon MS
Weathers Benjamin F. 1st Lieut. 17th AL Infantry E Roanole, AL
Wells John S. Capt. 2nd MO Infantry B Louisville MO
Wier Dabney S. 2nd Lieut. 14th MS Infantry B
Wiggins Thomas P. Capt. 46th MS Infantry F Alamatsha, MS
Wilkerson Harris Capt. 3rd;1st MO Infantry F Columbia MO
William A. 1st Lieut. 18th AL Infantry F Garland AL
Wright Thomas P. 2nd Lieut. 7th AR Infantry H
Yaretzky Julius 2nd Lieut. 33rd AL. Infantry A Ella, AL
Yeatman William E. Capt. 2 TN Infantry C Nashville TN

By Blockhouse (name, unit, house#)

Murphey Virgil 17th AL. 2
Pennington William F. 4th LA 3
Enyart Logan 1st MO 3
Johnson Jerry Martin 10 TX 3
Picelot Arthur 30th LA 4
Burns Alexander F. 1st & 3rd MO 4
Garret(t) George Wahington B. 23rd MS 4
Waldrop William C. 41st MS 4
McGavehy; McGevney Michael 154th TN 4
Thompson George W. 52nd TN. or 2nd TN 4
Truchart David Matthatts(?) Div C 4
Stephens Joseph F. 18th AL 5
William A. 18th AL 5
Archer Benjamin Lafayette 19th AL 5
Bailey William O. 20th AL 5
Anderson James A. 4th AR 5
Anderson Charles H. 1st GA Confederate 5
Maybee Milton J. 1st GA 5
Brewer George E. 25th GA 5
Fulton Joseph E. 25th GA 5
Anthony Jesse 30th GA 5
Turner Benjamin M. 4th GA S.S. 5
Allen William E 16th LA 5
Yeatman William E. 2 TN 5
Howard Daniel,David 42nd TN. 5
Aydbott Arther F. 48th TN 5
Evans Robert L. 53rd TN 5
Porter Thomas M.J. 17th AL 8
Ger Tho. W. 1st, 3rd MS 8
Glenn Adolphus B. 32nd MS, 22nd MS 8
Graham Samuel J. 22nd MS 8
Gordon George Washington Vaughn’s Brigade 8
Powell James T. L. 25th GA 9
Ballard Thomas W. 29th GA 9
Johnson Robert T. 29th GA 9
Knight Levi J. 29th GA 9
Henry Hugh William 22nd AL 10
Cowlong Doul C. 19th AR 10
Cawthorn Benjamin J. F. 2nd Battalion GA 10
Bowen Caleb P. 30th GA 10
Graham Thomas H. 14th MS 10
Wier Dabney S. 14th MS 10
Wiggins Thomas P. 46th MS 10
Bean John 16th AL 11
Weathers Benjamin F. 17th AL 11
Cowan George E. 18th AL 11
Crittenden Robert F. 33rd AL 11
Avery Alfred B. 45th AL 11
Collier Thomas E. 45th AL 11
Crosby William H. 5th Confederate 11
Inglis John Livingston 3rd FL 11
Leonardey Philip 3rd FL 11
King Richard C. 1st Batt GA SS 11
Schlatter Charles H. 1 Bat GA S.S. 11
Kinow, Kinnow Charles E. 14th LA 11
McCarthy Charles E. 30th LA. 11
Cornelius Cader R. 4th LA 11
Devall David 4th LA 11
Pullen Edward J. 4th LA 11
Enyart Logan 1st MO 11
Aldridge William C. 1st & 3rd MO 11
Anderson Harry;Henry Y. 1st & 3rd MO 11
Smith William M. 1st & 3rd MO 11
Burns Alexander F. 1st & 3rd MO 11
Parson John D. 2nd MO. 11
Thompson, Thomason William W. 24th MO 11
Watts Samuel B. 10th MS 11
Allen John K. 30th MS 11
Bell West 3rd MS 11
Burdim William M. 3rd MS 11
Stoker Richard J. 30 MS 11
Simms, Simmons James E. 33rd MS 11
Sharp John T. 5th MS 11
Stamper Martin W. 8th MS 11
Robinson James Henry 15th TN 11
Brown Henry M. 42nd TN 11
Cargill Thomas H. 42nd TN 11
Thompson John B. 42nd TN 11
Barnes William 49th TN 11
Cooper Charles R. 49th TN 11
Perry Edward C. 17th Texas 11
Taylor William A. 24th TX 11
Patterson Thomas 25th Texas 11
Singleterry Thomas H. 7th TX 11
Talley Charles E. 7th TX 11
Day James B. General Sharp’s 12
Sherrod Frederic O. 16th AL 12
Walker Francis M. 16th AL 12
McDonald Elbert M. 20th AL 12
Dunklin James H. 33rd AL 12
Yaretzky Julius 33rd AL. 12
Stephens William Anderson 46th AL 40th AL 12
McCleskey Louis A. 5th AR 12
Wright Thomas P. 7th AR 12
Dickson Mumford H. 3rd Confederate 12
McMillan Angus 6th FL 12
Smith Benjamin S.G. 6th FL 12
Mitchell William D. 29th GA 12
Middlebrooks Thomas J. 37th GA 12
Wilkerson Harris 1st & 3rd MO 12
Duncan James L. 2nd MO 12
Stuart/Stewart Thaddius/Thomas W. 2nd MO 12
Wells John S. 2nd MO 12
Usher John 22nd MO 12
Carbry James T. 3rd MO 12
Davis Christian S. 2nd MS; Valentine’s Regt. 12
Dale John J. 3rd MS 12
Coker Darling 8th MS 12
Carney LeGrand V. 11th TN Cavalry 12
Dodd William W. 29th TN 12
McAdve; McAdoo Hugh M. 4th TN 12
Voohies William M. 48 TN Cav 12
Cooper Charles R. 49th TN 12
Melton Daniel William 7th AR 13
McKinnon John L. 1st FL 13
McKinnon Neil J. 1st FL 13
King Richard C. 1st Batt GA SS 13
Schlatter Charles L. 1 Bat GA S.S. 13
Miles William 12th LA 13
Sanders William H. 12th LA 13
Wells John S. 2nd MO 13
Kointy/Koonte Doctor F. 2nd MO&6th MO 13
McBeth John C. 5th MS 13
Kennedy James M. 8th MS 13
McDavid Robert J. 7th TX 13

Josiah Meigs and the 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery, Battery “A”

A couple months ago a photograph traveled the Civil War web-site and blog scenes. There were captions, but never a story that told more. The captions were things like “colored artillery,” “Battle of Johnsonville,” or 2nd Light Artillery.” I looked upon that as a challenge; here is the rest of the story, but first, of course, the photo.

 The camp of the Tennessee Colored Battery, pictured during the Siege of Vicksburg at Johnsonville, Tennessee, in 1864.

Johnsonville, TN. Camp of Tennessee Colored Battery – Library of Congress

A report by Col. R. D. Mussey, Commissioner for the Organization of Colored Troops, dated October 10, 1864, stated “Josiah V. Meigs, a native of Tennessee, received permission in January to raise a battery of Light Artillery at this place (Nashville). This is Battery A, 2nd U. S. Colored Light Artillery.” The report continued “The battery is full, and has been stationed here. It has but recently gotten horses. The men are pretty well advanced in the school of the piece and have had a few mounted drills.” See the end of this article for the short, but full, report.

During its service it performed garrison duty at Nashville and in Middle Tennessee, until January, 1866 and was at the Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, 1864. It was mustered out January 13, 1866. At Nashville it was assigned to Steedman’s Brigade on the far left of the Union’s lines. They were posted near the rail-line to Chattanooga and during battle were pitted against Smith’s Brigade, led by Col. Olmstead and his Georgia troops.

All but a few of the black volunteer units that served during the Civil War belonged to the United States Colored Troops. One hundred thirty-seven infantry regiments comprised the bulk of these black troops, but they also included 6 cavalry and 13 heavy (or foot) artillery regiments, along with 10 light artillery batteries. More than 25,000 black artillerymen, recruited primarily from freed slaves in Confederate or border-states, served in the Union Army during the Civil War. “Remember Fort Pillow!” became a battle cry of the U.S. Colored Troops. Combat for the black artillerymen, in this case heavy artillery, was rare, but four companies from the 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery were serving at Fort Pillow, Tennessee in April 1864, when Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest attacked. The ensuing “massacre” of almost two-thirds of the black soldiers, many of them after they had surrendered, was decried in the North, and “Remember Fort Pillow!” was born – from Black Artillerymen from the Civil War through World War One by Roger D. Cunningham

On Nov. 1, 1864 a call from the quartermaster forces at Nashville called for volunteers to go to the reinforcement of Johnsonville. Listed as part of the force that volunteered was “one section Battery A, Lt. Meigs, two Napoleon guns, 30 men.” Col. Mussey reported: “the behavior of the colored troops at Johnsonville was, I am informed by several eye-witnesses, excellent. A section of Meigs Battery made excellent practice, dismounting one of the guns of a battery placed by the rebels on the opposite shore, causing the battery several times to move its position.”

The Battle of Johnsonville was without doubt a Confederate “victory,” however it barely altered events that were about to follow. During the evening of November 3, 1864, Confederate General Bedford Forrest’s Artillery positioned their guns across the river from the Federal supply base at Johnsonville. The base was a transfer point for Union boats and the rail line that connected Nashville to the east. Forest was intent on disrupting Sherman’s Atlanta supply line. Forest’s guns bombarded the Union supply depot and the 28 steamboats and barges positioned at the wharf. All three of the Union gunboats were disabled or destroyed. The Union garrison commander ordered that the supply vessels be burned to prevent their capture by the Confederates. Forrest observed, “By night the wharf for nearly one mile up and down the river presented one solid sheet of flame. Having completed the work designed for the expedition, I moved my command six miles during the night by the light of the enemy’s burning property.” (Wikipedia)

During his bombardment of the base Forrest caused enormous damage at very low cost. He reported only 2 men killed and 9 wounded. He described the Union losses as 4 gunboats, 14 transports, 20 barges, 26 pieces of artillery, $6,700,000 worth of property, and 150 prisoners. One Union officer described the monetary loss as about $2,200,000. An additional consequence of the raid was that the Union high command became increasingly nervous about Sherman’s plan to move through Georgia instead of confronting Hood and Forrest directly.

Josiah Meigs 

Josiah Meigs was born in June, 1840 in Tennessee. He was the son of Return J. and Sarah Love Meigs. Josiah married Eugeina B. Shaffer on Dec. 20, 1864 in Nashville, Davidson County. Quite incidentally, Dec. 20th is immediately after the Union Army defeated Hood at Nashville where Josiah’s men where garrisoned. The roster of his regiment lists Josiah and his younger brother Fielding as Captains of the unit. The family moved to Massachusetts where Josiah later died in 1907 of A Cerebral Hemorrhage. He is buried at Lowell Cemetery and his death certificate was signed by his son, Josiah “Joe” V. Meigs, M.D.

His obituary states that Josiah invented firearms and ammunition and invented steam powered elevated monorail. Army pension records recorded the family’s residence as 22 Cordis Street, Boston, Mass. Cordis St. is a stone’s throw from the Bucker Hill Memorial Monument and Park. As I say below I am unable to make family tree connections, but this fact alone tells me much about the man and his ancestors.

Meigs Family Connections

Try as I might I am unable to confirm these connections, although there seems little doubt. It might appear that our Josiah is the son of Return J. Meigs III. The following from Wikipedia;

Return Jonathan Meigs, born Dec., 1740, died January, 1823, was a colonel who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, was one of the founding settlers of the Northwest Territory in what is now the state of Ohio, and later served as a federal government Indian agent working with the Cherokee in Tennessee. His son Return J. Meigs, Jr. became an Ohio governor and U.S. Senator. A grandson, Return J. Meigs IV, married Jennie Ross, daughter of principal Cherokee chief John Ross, and immigrated to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.

Return J. Meigs, Jr. did not have a direct male heir, but two of his younger brothers, John and Timothy, each named a son Return Jonathan Meigs. The first of these, Return J. Meigs III passed the bar in Frankfort, Kentucky, commenced law practice in Athens, Tennessee, and became prominent in Tennessee state affairs before the Civil War. He moved to Staten Island, New York, however, at the time of Tennessee’s secession from the Union in 1861.

Of further interest, particularly to Nashville history; the current Meigs Magnet School is housed in the Meigs Building on Ramsey Street. The building was the location of the first African-American High School in Nashville and James L. Meigs was Superintendent of Schools at the time.

Report of Col. Reuben D. Mussey, One hundredth U. S. Colored Infantry, relative to action at Johnsonville. HDQRS. COMMISSIONER ORGANIZATION U. S. COLD. TROOPS, Nashville, Tenn., November 14, 1864. CAPT.: ~ ~ ~ The behavior of the colored troops at Johnsonville, Tenn., during the recent attack upon that place was, I am informed by several eye-witnesses, excellent. A section of Meig’s battery, temporarily there, made excellent practice, dismounting one of the guns of a battery placed by the rebels on the opposite bank of the river and causing the battery several times to change their location. The rebel battery devoted its attention to this section, shelling it furiously. The men stood their ground well. Some of the Thirteenth U. S. Colored Infantry, who were at Johnsonville, were upon the river-bank as sharpshooters, and armed with the Enfield rifle, and did good execution. The affair was slight, but it has gained credit for the colored troops. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. D. MUSSEY, Col. One hundredth U. S. Colored Infantry, Commissioner Organization U. S. Colored Troops.      OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, p. 868.