Written by Dr. Timothy D. Hudson
Submitted by Jon R. McKinnie
The birth of David Ward and Cynthia Seale’s eldest son Elijah Hubbard Ward occurred on 13 July 1830, just a few months after the January 20th creation of Lowndes County Alabama from the northern portion of Butler. When he was about seven years old, Hubbard and his parents moved to northern Louisiana. Other than an 1841 trip up the Mississippi River to Tennessee and his military service during the War Between the States, Hub Ward spent the remainder of his life in eastern Union Parish Louisiana.
On 5 February 1852, twenty-one year old Hubbard Ward married eighteen year old Permelia Lavincy Lee, the daughter of Martin Batte Lee and Lavincy Albritton. Natives of North Carolina, the Lees had married in May 1817 while still living in Georgia. In the early 1820s, they settled near Snow Hill, in Wilcox County Alabama. In about 1847 or 1848, the Lees and Albrittons moved to Union Parish and settled near the Wards. After his marriage, Hubbard Ward acquired a rather substantial plantation near that of his father and siblings Jack and Rachel Jane Ward Auld, and Hub developed into a successful and prosperous planter.
Like most Union Parish married men with families, Hubbard Ward did not enlist in the Confederate Army in 1861. However, by the spring of 1862, it had become clear the South would not quickly win the war. Due to what was probably a combination of patriotism and the desire to avoid being conscripted (drafted), around 450 Union Parish men volunteered for service in the Confederate army in March and April.
These men formed into three companies according to the neighborhoods in which they resided, and in late April or early May they went from Union Parish to Monroe and enlisted for Confederate service. They combined with several other companies from neighboring parishes to form Morrison’s Battalion. With the final addition of another company in June, the Confederate officials designated Morrison’s Battalion as the 31st Louisiana Infantry.
Hubbard’s unit became Company G, and the men elected him as their 2nd lieutenant, a position he held for the duration of the war. At his official Confederate enlistment on 6 May 1862, Ward’s mustering officer reported that he had hazel eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, and he stood 5’ 11” tall.
The 31st Louisiana operated in northeastern Louisiana until November, but due to the ravages of disease and the incompetent Confederate leadership of the army department that controlled northeastern Louisiana, the regiment remained poorly armed and relatively ineffective during this period. As the North regrouped after their failed 1862 Vicksburg campaign, the Yankee military began a multi-pronged invasion of Mississippi. In response, the Confederate officials increased the defenses of that post.
As a part of this re-enforcement, in November Hubbard and his regiment received orders to travel from Louisiana to Jackson, Mississippi, but they soon turned then back west again towards Vicksburg. To respond to a perceived Yankee attack upon Jackson, one night in late November the Confederate officials ordered the 31st Louisiana soldiers to cook two day’s rations and prepare to travel back to Jackson by 3 a.m. They went to Jackson in box cars on a rainy day, one company (slightly over 100 men) crowded into a single car. This forced the men to stand the entire trip, and as the cars leaked badly, they became soaked. As soon as they arrived in Jackson, they were ordered back to Vicksburg, arriving at 3 a.m. the next morning; this made twenty-four hours on their feet in wet clothing. Within ten days, 40 soldiers of the 31st Regiment died as a result of what the regimental physicians termed pneumonia and meningitis.
On the day after Christmas, 1862, Yankee General William T. Sherman landed north of Vicksburg and began his attack upon the northern defenses of Vicksburg. After wading in the swamps and pouring rain for several days, his men emerged onto dry land at the base of Chickasaw Bluffs on Monday, December 29th. The Confederate forces had excellent defenses along the ridge of the bluffs, but at about 2 p.m., Sherman formed his army into double columns, eight abreast, and marched them double time across the widow Lake’s old field at the base of the bluffs. The columns divided, filed right and left towards the corners of the field, then fronted and charged the Confederate army’s position along the bluffs.
The 31st Regiment had a strong defensive position behind and on either side of the Indian mound at the top of the bluffs. Despite their overwhelming numbers (31,000 Yankees attacking a position defended by 14,000 Rebels), the Confederate defenders soundly conquered their attackers with relatively few losses. After their defeat at what became known as the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs (or Chickasaw Bayou), Sherman’s army retreated through the swamps to their transport ships. After lingering for a while, they sailed north back towards Memphis. As his officers listed Hubbard Ward as present for duty throughout this period, presumably he participated in his regiment’s defeat of General William Tecumseh Sherman and his army at Chickasaw Bluffs.
The men spent the early months of 1863 drilling and performing picket duty, as well as preparing for the inevitable Northern summer offensive against Vicksburg. On April 30th and May 1st, Grant’s men crossed unopposed to the east side of the Mississippi River south of Vicksburg in what was the largest amphibious landing undertaken in U.S. military history until the 1944 Normandy invasion. Grant’s army immediately moved towards Port Gibson.
At this time, the 31st Regiment was stationed nearby at Grand Gulf, and after the initial fighting broke out in the early morning of May 1st, they hurried to Port Gibson to intercept the Yankees. The 31st arrived in time to participate in the latter stages of the Battle of Port Gibson, waged in a land of steep, sharp ridges and gullies covered with thick vines and snaring undergrowth. The regiment suffered several casualties from Union Parish, including both killed, wounded, and captured. Finally overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the Yankee army, the Confederate forces fell back to Port Gibson. Two days later, they evacuated Port Gibson and withdrew across the Big Black River. Grant now held both Port Gibson and Grand Gulf, giving the Northern forces their first secure base on the east side of the Mississippi River below Vicksburg.
Grant’s army south of Vicksburg united with Sherman’s troops on May 7th, and the moved towards the railroad near Edward’s Station, about fifteen miles west of Jackson Mississippi. This move kept the Yankee left flank protected by the Big Black River and prevented Pemberton and his Confederate army from knowing whether the invaders planned to attack Vicksburg or Jackson. Realizing that the situation was critical for the Southerners, Confederate forces from Jackson attached Grant on May 12th, but the outnumbered Rebels had to withdraw to Jackson later that day. Grant followed, attacked, and then captured the Mississippi capital on the 14th.
Back in the Mississippi Gibraltar, Confederate General Pemberton took three of his five divisions and began to move eastward from the city, following General Joseph E. Johnston’s orders for Pemberton to attempt to unite with Johnston’s army. The 31st Regiment remained behind and helped to garrison Vicksburg during Pemberton’s absence. As Pemberton’s men moved east towards Jackson, Grant’s attack upon Jackson forced Johnston’s troops to withdraw eastward from the capital city, so lack of intelligence and communications between the Confederate forces doomed the plan to merge the two armies.
Grant moved his troops west from Jackson and engaged Pemberton’s army of 22,000 men at Baker’s Creek or Champion Hill, the bloodiest battle of the Vicksburg campaign. Repeated charges by the Yankee soldiers and devastating artillery fire caused Pemberton to withdraw from the battlefield to the earthworks on the banks of the Big Black River.
On the morning of May 17th, Union troops charged the earthworks and overran them, forcing the Confederate troops to withdraw in disarray across the river and into the Vicksburg defenses. At he withdrew from Champion’s Hill at end of the day on the 16th, Pemberton ordered the 31st Regiment to march to the Big Black River. On the 17th and 18th, the regiment performed picket and guard duty, and acted as the army’s rear guard as the bulk of the Confederate troops retreated across the river and into the defenses of Vicksburg. After burning the bridges across the Big Black River, the 31st Regiment followed the main army into the Vicksburg perimeter.
Grant launched his first general assault upon the Vicksburg defenses on Tuesday the 19th, immediately after crossing the Big Black. The Rebels repulsed the attackers, however, and inflicted severe casualties. Grant’s army summoned all the power it could muster and launched another assault on Friday the 22nd, again unsuccessful. Grant did not again attempt a direct assault upon the Confederate defenses of Vicksburg, but instead lay siege to the city. He constructed trenches and built artillery positions. The 31st Regiment spent the next six weeks manning the trenches, enduring the constant Yankee bombardment and sharpshooters, and eating green corn and mule meat. When no reinforcements came and with food running out, Confederate General Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg and his army of 29,000 to Grant on July 4th.
2nd Lt. Hubbard Ward was present for duty when the army surrendered on July 4th, and he signed his parole on July 8th. With the rest of the army, Ward returned home on parole and remained there until the next spring. Some soldiers went to a parole camp near Vienna in January 1864, but then returned home on furlough after a few weeks since the exchange had been delayed. Ward reported to Vienna in April, but still the exchange was not made so he went home again. In May or June, the men went into camp near Minden, where they remained until June 14th, when they moved to Shreveport. The Yankee forces managed to delay the official exchange until August, a tactic that succeeded in keeping the Vicksburg parolees out of action for over one year.
Sometime during the summer of 1864, the men moved to Alexandria and then went into camp at Pineville, where they remained until February 1865. During this period, the regiment was assigned to General Allen Thomas’ brigade and acted as a support for Fort Buhlow and Fort Randolph near Pineville, guarding the Red River.
In February the regiment moved up the Red River to Bayou Cotile, where they remained until Robert E. Lee surrendered his army in April. The 31st moved to Natchitoches until May, when they marched towards Mansfield. Along the way, they disbanded just prior to the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department. Ward signed his official parole at Monroe, Louisiana on June 18th.
After the war, Elijah Hubbard Ward resumed his farming operations on his plantation near Farmerville. He managed to evade the chronic financial problems that plagued his brother Jack and other relatives. On the contrary, Hub enjoyed a fairly high standard of living during the Reconstruction period and substantially increased the size of his planting operation between 1867 and 1870. In 1867 he had 40 acres in cultivation, 60 acres in 1868, 99 acres in 1869, and 134 acres in 1870. By 1871, Hub owned 1260 acres of land in eastern Union Parish. After his father remarried and retired to Shiloh in 1867, Hub bought David’s old farm, including his cotton gin. He continued to operate his father’s old gin at least through the mid-1870s.
However, after Hub’s return from the army, he and Permelia only had four years together, for she died of consumption (tuberculosis) on 29 December 1869. Her death left Hub with a house full of seven children, including one infant. Hubbard remarried quickly, within two months, to Annis Sawyer Goyne, the widow of Hiram Davis Goyne, Jr. who died in the Confederate army of disease just prior to the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. Hub and Annis had only one known child: Mary, born in 1871. After their marriage, Annis’ two daughters by her first husband lived with her and Hub, as well as his children.
During the 1870s and 1880s, Hubbard Ward devoted much of his time to politics. He was either elected or appointed as the Union Parish deputy surveyor on 2 February 1875 and as a justice of the peace for Ward One on 3 January 1876. In late 1878, the citizens of his neighborhood elected him as their police juror (their representative in the governing body of the parish), and he took the oath of office on 6 January 1879. Hubbard was one of several Union Parish deputy tax assessors sworn in during July 1880, and the next month on August 10th, he took the oath of office as the official Union Parish surveyor. The Union Parish citizens re-elected him as parish surveyor in the next several elections. In the 12 June 1885 issue of the
“Home Advocate”, a newspaper published in Farmerville, editor Thomas C. Lewis wrote:
“Our very efficent [sic] parish surveyor – Mr. E. H. Ward – was in town on Saturday. Persons desiring boundaries of land located or surveying of any description, should secure the services of Mr. Ward, as he is always prompt and accurate in the discharge of duty.”
Lewis had previously served as the editor and founder of the only newspaper in the parish during Reconstruction – the “Union Record”, and he has worked on earlier Farmerville newspapers as well.
Hubbard managed the affairs of his father’s estate following David Ward’s death in May 1882, assisted by his brother Jack. Despite Jack’s continual financial problems, Hub allowed his brother to purchase property from the estate on credit and also co-signed a loan for Jack in the early 1880s. Hub also permitted his step-mother, Ellen Brazeal McLelland Ward, to purchase property from David’s estate on credit. However, neither had paid for their purchases prior to Jack’s death in December 1883 and Ellen’s in March 1884. These unpaid debts caused David Ward’s estate to become insolvent, which resulted in an apparently unpleasant legal battle between Hubbard and Ellen’s daughter Sarah C. McLelland Taylor, the widow of longtime Union Parish Judge John Taylor.
In the 27 November 1885 issue of his “Home Advocate”, Judge Lewis included this article:
“A negro man named Wesley Miller, who lives on Mr. E. Hub Ward’s place, eight miles east of Farmerville, was arrested and brought to town Saturday, charged with making an assault on Mr. Ward with a dangerous weapon. He was placed under the supervision of Mr. Turnage, in the brick building, to await a preliminary hearing.”
We have no information as to the extent of Hubbard Ward’s injuries sustained in this attack. However, considering the subsequent events in his life, I believe there is a strong possibility that this attack left Hubbard with lingering injuries that contributed to his death within two years.
Through his lawyer, Hubbard filed his final account as his father’s administrator the next summer. Later that year, beginning in December 1886, Elijah Hubbard Ward began to dispose of his vast land holdings in eastern Union Parish and set his legal affairs in order. He sold off property to his son John M. Ward and a neighbor that December, and in January 1887, he made a property exchange with his neighbor Matthew A. Scarborough.
Then in early 1887, Hubbard had his youngest son Henry Wesley Ward petition the Union Parish court, requesting that they decree him an “emancipated minor”, a Louisiana legal status of that era that allowed people over eighteen and under twenty-one years of age to control their own money and property without a court-appointed guardian.
After the court emancipated his son, on March 15th, Ward had the clerk of the Union Parish District Court, William W. Heard, Farmerville attorney John Edgar Everett, and Ward’s nephew John Martin Lee, Jr. (who had previously been a deputy sheriff but at that time served as the parish tax assessor) come to his residence about eight miles east of town, located near the existing road from Farmerville to Port Union (the river port at the mouth of Bayou D’Loutre).
With Heard acting as a notary and Everett and Lee as witnesses, Ward proceeded to dispose of his entire estate. He declared to Heard that he owed his children by Permelia a total of $993 as their share of their mother’s estate. To settle this debt in full, Ward transferred to them ownership of 560 acres of land, including his “home tract” of land containing his primary residence. Next, Ward declared that upon his second marriage to Annis Sawyer Goyne in early 1870, he had taken possession of various properties belonging to her worth $853. To compensate, Ward made “restitution” to his wife, a legal act common in Louisiana during the 1880s and 1890s as the culture gradually recognized the rights of women. Hubbard gave his wife 164½ acres valued at $720 and livestock valued at $150.
Elijah Hubbard Ward’s actions between December 1886 and March 1887 leave me with the impression that he suffered from some type of terminal condition and did not expect to live much longer, perhaps the result of injuries sustained in the attack upon him in November 1885. Certainly, disposing of his entire estate prevented his heirs and widow from the legal hassles of handling his probate, or worse, fighting in court for his property after his death. Hubbard Ward died at the age of fifty-seven on 7 August 1887, and his family buried him in the Ward’s Chapel Cemetery beside his 1st wife, Permelia.
Annis Sawyer Goyne survived Hubbard by many years, filing a Confederate pension application as Ward’s widow in 1908. She died on 6 April 1919. There was no physician attending her at her death, and her death certificate reported that she died of “old age & paralysis”. She was buried in the Rocky Branch Cemetery, although her grave has no marker.
Submitted by: T. D. Hudson
I wrote the above biography based upon my own personal research into the Ward family plus information shared with me by Mark Ward, Debi Richard, and the late Geneva Ward Chevalier Aulds. Sources for the non-military statements include family Bible records, census data, land records of the United States and various court records from Union Parish Louisiana.
## Combined Military Service Records for Lt. Elijah H. Ward and his various Auld first cousins, all on file at the National Archives.
## Confederate Pension Applications for E. H. Ward’s widow Annis Sawyer Goyne Ward and various applications of his Auld first cousins, all on file at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
## A Collection of Louisiana Confederate Letters, edited by Frank E. Vandiver, The Louisiana Historical Quarterly 26 (1943), pp. 937 – 974.
## The History of Claiborne Parish Louisiana, D. W. Harris and B. M. Hulse, W. B. Stansbury & Co., New Orleans, 1886, pp. 211 – 215.
## Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Maj. J. E. Gaskill, Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXXIII (1915), p. 128.
## Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units 1861 – 1865, Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr., LSU Press, Baton Rouge, 1989.
## The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac 1861 – 1865, E. B. Long with Barbara Long, Da Capo Press, New York, 1971.
Dr. Timothy D. Hudson is the mathematics department head at Southeastern Louisiana and an avid historian on Union Parish. Hudson is a Union Parish native and graduate of Farmerville High School.
Originally from Union Parish and a resident of Farmerville, Jon R. McKinnie enjoys writing and spending time with his wife, Phyllis Richardson Hall, two children and four grandchildren. Jon also serves as the Historian for Lt. Elijah H. Ward Camp #1971, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Farmerville, La.