Written by Dr. Tim Hudson
Since the earliest Europeans arrived in what is now Union Parish, young male residents have answered the call to defend their homes, state, and country. The War Between the States remains the conflict during which the largest number of Union Parish soldiers perished, both in battle and from disease. This is the first in a series of brief biographies of Union Parish soldiers who either died or were mortally wounded on battlefields across the South during the Civil War.
Private Joseph C. Clayton
Co. C, 17th Regiment Louisiana Infantry
Born in Mississippi, he moved to the Spearsville region about 1845. Joe enlisted in the “Phoenix Rifles” in mid-summer 1861, and after training at Camp Moore and a serious bout of measles that fall, in 1862 his regiment saw action at Shiloh in April and then helped garrison Vicksburg for the remainder of the year. In late December, Joe’s company consisting of Union Parish soldiers were ordered to advance through the swamps as the lead pickets to detect enemy troop movements as Union General William T. Sherman’s forces began their attempt to take Vicksburg by land. Two days later, as the Federal soldiers emerged from the swamps and began their assault on the Confederate entrenchments at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou on 27 December 1862. Clayton admonished his comrades saying, “…come on boys who is afraid of the Yankees.” A few moments later, as the Union artillery opened up a barrage on the Confederate forces. “…a six pound cannon ball struck him in the eye and tore off one side of his head. He never knew what killed him, for he never breathed.” Joe Clayton was nineteen years old.
Private Jonathan W. Upshaw
Co. D, 4th Battalion Louisiana Infantry
Born in Georgia, Jonathan moved to the Camp Creek community south of Spearsville about 1855 with his mother and brothers. He and his brother, William Elisha Upshaw, originally enlisted in the “Yankee Pelters” a unit raised in Union Parish by Larkin C. Callaway, but subsequently disbanded after arriving at Camp Moore. Remaining there, the Upshaw brothers enlisted with men from Carroll Parish in the 4th Louisiana Battalion. After service in western Virginia, the battalion was ordered to James Island, South Carolina to defend Charleston. On 16 June 1862, Federal troops attacked in their only attempt to take Charleston by land. Known as the Battle of Secessionville, the Confederate forces managed to prevail after an intense struggle. Jonathan Upshaw suffered a severe leg wound during the battle, with the doctors amputating the limb afterwards. He lingered until July 18th, when he perished in a Charleston hospital. Jonathan W. Upshaw was twenty-two years old.
Private Joseph M. Auld
Co. 1, 12th Regiment Louisiana Infantry
A resident of the Louter Bottom area east of Farmerville, Auld enlisted along with two brothers, his uncle, and first cousin in the “Farmer Guards” in early 1861. After training at Camp Moore, Auld went with his Regiment to Kentucky to garrison Columbus in late 1861, then to New Madrid and Island No. 10, followed by service in Mississippi and Port Hudson. Auld’s Regiment fought at the Battle of Corinth in October 1862 and helped garrison Port Hudson against the Federal naval bombardment on 14 March 1863. After traveling to Atlanta, the men immediately returned to Mississippi in an attempt to defeat a Yankee cavalry raid. They then went to Port Gibson, near the Mississippi River. On 16 May 1863, Auld’s regiment fought at the Battle of Baker’s Creek (Champion Hill), the pivotal battle that resulted in the Confederate Army retreating into Vicksburg, this initiating the Siege. Auld’s regiment successfully covered the Confederate Army’s retreat from the Baker’s Creek battlefield, but Auld suffered severe wounds in the action The nature of his wounds prevented his comrades from rescuing him from the battlefield, and either died after the Confederate Army retreated or soon afterwards. Joseph Auld was twenty-four years old.
Private Jayne Henry W. Auld
Co. E, 19th Regiment Louisiana Infantry
A younger brother of Private Joseph M. Auld, Jayne Auld and his first cousin enlisted together in the summer of 1861 in the “Stars of Equality”. After training at Camp Moore, they saw action during the Siege of Jackson and Battles of Pittsburgh Landing (Shiloh), Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and the opening stages of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign. His regiment fought at the Battle of Mill Creek Gap on May 8-11, followed by the Battle of Resaca on May 14-15. Auld was killed in action while serving with his regiment on the second day of Resaca. Jayne Auld was twenty-one years old.
Private Milton L. Barron
Co. C, 19th Regiment Louisiana Infantry
Born in Alabama, Milton moved to the Camp Creek community south of Spearsville in 1852 with his family. He enlisted in the fall of 1861 and served with his unit during the Battle of Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh) in April 1862 and at Farmington in May, as well as the Siege of Jackson in July 1863. Barron was wounded in the action at the Battle of Chickamauga, a significant Confederate victory. He received a furlough to recover from his injuries and returned to duty within a few months. In mid-summer 1864, Barron’s regiment belonged to the Army of Tennessee under General Hood, then attempting to stop Union General Sherman’s march across Georgia. Hood’s army attacked the Yankees at the Battle of Ezra Church on 28 July 1864 and suffered a gunshot wound in this action and died on the battlefield. Milton Barron was twenty-eight years old.
Lt. Col. Sidney H. Griffin
Co. 1, 31st Regiment Louisiana Infantry
Union Parish citizens elected Spearsville planter Sidney H. Griffin as one of their representatives to the January 1861 Secession Convention held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After casting his vote for Louisiana to secede from the Union, Griffin returned to Louisiana and focused on the operation of his plantation. In early 1862, he raised a company of soldiers from the Spearsville area who took the moniker of the “Sparrow Cadets” and the men of the company elected Griffin as their captain. The Cadets entered the Confederate service in March at Monroe as part of the 31st Regiment, and the troops elected Captain Griffin as their Lieutenant Colonel. The men trained near Trenton (near West Monroe) for most of the summer, and then operated in northeastern Louisiana until ordered to Jackson, Mississippi in November. In late December they participated in the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, helping to repulse the Yankee assault. They garrisoned Vicksburg for the next several months, but as the Union Army began their next campaign to take Vicksburg. Col. Griffin and the 31st saw action at the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1 and later helped cover the Confederate Army’s retreat into the defenses of Vicksburg. The regiment helped to repulse General Grant’s two major assaults on May 19th and 22nd, and then fought in the trenches during the siege. On June 26, the troops engaged in heavy skirmishing all day. The fighting died down on the 27th, a cloudy and very warm day. Sometime during the day, Col Sidney H. Griffin peered over the top of the trench to observe the enemy troop movements, and he apparently raised his head too high. A Yankee sharpshooter spotted Griffin and put a miniball into his head, killing him instantly. Col. Griffin was twenty-nine years old.
Captain Allen M. Callaway
Co. A, 6th Louisiana Infantry Regiment
A native of Alabama, Allen M. Callaway followed the Gold Rush to California with his brother in the 1840s. In 1850, he mined for gold in El Dorado County, California. Sometime in the 1850s, Callaway returned east and settled in the Downsville area with his brother, Larkin C. Callaway. Union Parish citizens elected Callaway as their sheriff in the latter 1850s, and he held this position until the spring of 1861, when he resigned to enlist in the “Union and Sabine Rifles” a company of men from Union and Sabine Parishes who joined the Confederate service at Camp Moore in June 1861. The company’s troops elected Callaway as their 1st Lieutenant. After training, the men went to Virginia and joined General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s Brigade. They participated in his 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. In May, the company’s commanding officer, Captain Arthur McArthur, was promoted to Major, prompting the company to elect Callaway as their captain. Capt. Callaway received his commission on May 8th. Callaway led his men through numerous battles that summer, including Battle of Port Republic (June 9), Hundley’s Corner (June 26), Gaines’ Mill (June 27), Bristoe Station (August 26) Kettle Run (August 27), 2nd Bull Run (August 29-30), and Chantilly (September 1). Capt. Callaway’s men saw heavy fighting at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) on September 17th, regarded as the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Capt. Callaway was killed in action at Sharpsburg. He was thirty-three years old.
Private Abner B. Hinton
Co. E. 19th Regiment Lousiana Infantry
A resident of Downsville, Abner enlisted in the summer of 1861 in the “Stars of Equality”. After training at Camp Moore, he saw action at the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing (Shiloh) in April 1862. Between May and August, he was assigned to drive teams of wagons hauling army equipment near Chattanooga, but he rejoined his unit in September 1862, seeing action during the Siege of Jackson and Battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and the opening stages of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign. His regiment fought at the Battle of Mill Creek Gap on May 8-11, followed by the Battle of Resaca on May 14-15. In midsummer 1864, Hinton’s unit helped to stop Union General Sherman’s march across Georgia. The Confederate army attacked the Yankees at the Battle of Ezra Church on 28 July 1864 and suffered a serious defeat. Hinton was killed in action and died on the Ezra Church battlefield. Abner B. Hinton was twenty-three years old.