Moses C. Cooley was born May 14, 1832 in Choctaw County, Alabama and he died March 19, 1922 in Wayne county, Mississippi. Moses is my 2nd-Great-Grandfather. He served as a private in the 7th Infantry Battalion, Company C, Mississippi Confederate Army. As was typical with the times he, like so many others, signed-up by placing an “X” in the appropriate spaces being it was his official signature.
Moses’ wife, Margaret Ann Butts (Dec. 11, 1837 – Apr. 26, 1903), was blessed with a little more literacy as evidenced by the letter she wrote to her brothers, John and Andrew Butts. Margaret wrote her letter a month after the war began which was, of course on April 12, 1861.
Since she did not write anything about the war or the firing on Fort Sumter, I feel certain that she and Moses had yet to hear the news of the war or were simply deluded of occurrences in South Carolina – so far from deep South Mississippi. Perhaps Moses and Margaret felt that the conflict was so distance from them that it was like the faint sound of rumbling thunder one might hear on a peaceful summer day – posing little or no threat to them.
Following is her letter in her very own vernacular:
Miss. Wain County May the 11, 1861
I take my pen in hand to let yo know that I
got yore letters and we was glad to heare that yo
was well and that yo was coming to see mee this
fall. I will look for yo. Yo must be shore to some
to see mee. Times is hard and money is (s)case
(scarce). Yo must write to mee as soon as yo get
these fiew lines. When yo write tell us what all of
the friends and connecktion is doing and where
they are living.
Tell grandmaw and Uncle Mabry’s folks that I han’t
forget them yet. I han’t got time to
write to them a letter this time. I
want to send these letters in the morning to the
depot. Tell them to write to mee I will write to
them the next time. I would write oftener than I
do but it is so far to the depot and money is (s)case
till we make something to sell.
We have a rite smart of cotton planted and
it looks very well. The crops looks very well we
have plenty of rain here.
They had two men in
jail and they was going to hang them yesterday
they hired a man to kill another man.
Sister Cory’s gal run away with a man Jack Overstreet
and Maryan run away with his brother his name
is John and he can’t see out of but one of his eyes.
Her daddy won’t let her come to see them he don’t
Andrew, Cory has got one girl left and
she will soon be grone. She is a pretty girl and she
is smart too. Yo must come and steal her. I have
just got out my pease of cloth they was thirty one
and half yards in it. I work it myself and put it in
the loom. I must come to a close it is getting late
so no more at presant but remains brother and
sister untill death.
Margaret A and Moses Cooley
To John and Andrew Butts
Probably the War precluded the trip that she was hoping her brothers would make. Both perished during the war and I suppose that she and Moses never saw her brothers again. John, 6th Texas Infantry, Company F, was in prison at Camp Butler when he died February 28, 1863. Andrew was born 29 Sept 1843 and died 4 July 1863 from injuries received after being thrown from a horse in Banquete, Texas. I can’t determine if he was in the confederate military at the time of his death.
Margaret wrote about Maryan referring to Mary Ann Cooley, Moses sister and twelfth child of Harbard and Easter Sumrall Cooley. Harbard and Easter had five sons Albert F. Cooley, Martin Van Buren Cooley, Nelson Cooley, Littleberry Cooley, and Moses Cooley. All served in the Confederate Army. To suffer with five sons at war at the same time must have been especially difficult - to say the least.
Exactly a year after Moses’ wife wrote her letter to her brothers from Wayne County Mississippi, Moses enlisted in the newly formed 7th Infantry Battalion on May 12, 1862 near Quitman Mississippi, Clarke county. He was 29 years old and signed his name with an “X”. Private Cooley was paid a $50.00 bounty for joining the Confederate Army.
They received training and didactics for awhile in Quitman and Enterprise before the battalion deployed to Saltillo (Present day Lee County) in September 1892 and attached to brigade commanded by General M.E. Green which was in Major General Sterling Price’s Army of the West. It was with this Army that the 7th Infantry Battalion, the one that Private Moses Cooley was a member, on September 14,1862, seized the pretty little resort town set in the rolling hills of Northern Mississippi, Iuka. Iuka was being used by the Federals as a supply depot and General Price’s move brought the Confederates a trove of hardtack and salt pork.
Records reveal that Private Moses Cooley was sent to the hospital in September – October and I would venture to surmise that he was wounded in the Iuka battles.
The Confederates slipped out of Iuka right under the noses of the Federals because their real target was Corinth – one of the principle rail junction in the Western Confederacy.
October 3-4, 1863 - battle of Corinth
December 31, 1863, Snyder’s Bluff
May 17-18, 1863 marched from Snyder’s Bluff to Vicksburg and engaged Grant’s Army on the 18th.
July 4, 1863 at 10 o'clock, they stacked arms and marched back to bivouac, where they were captured and paroled.
(Confederate Parole Records indicates that Pvt. Moses C. Cooley, 7th Mississippi Battalion, Company C, was paroled July 10th while in the Field and after being captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863.)
In parole camp at Enterprise the battalion was reorganized. ( Moses was recorded absent with out leave since 23 August 1863 on the October 31 Muster roll.)
November 1, 1863, Moses reported to parole camp and declared an exchanged prisoner on December 20
May 16, 1864, Battle near Resaca, Georgia and constantly engaged in a line all the way down to Atlanta
June 5, 1864, Moses was captured near Dallas, Georgia and sent to Rock Island, Illinois Yankee prison camp on June 14th. He was later transferred to the Department of West Mississippi/New Orleans for prisoner exchange which took place on May 23, 1865.
October 5, 1864, Allatoona, Georgia
October 13, 1864, Tilton, Georgia
October 26-29, 1864, Decatur, Alabama
December 4-7, 1864, Murfreesboro
December 15-16, Nashville
February 1, 1865, brigade was ordered to Mobile, Alabama
April 8, 1865, The remnant of the battalion were among the defenders of the Spanish Fort, east of Mobile, and being captured there, were sent as prisoners of war to Ship Island, and from there to Meridian, where they were paroled.
May 23, 1865 Moses was exchanged and paroled.
2. War On The Mississippi by Jerry Korn and the editors of Time-Life books