The Civil War News & Views Open Discussion Forum

an email From Jim Huffman

After researching one, specific Wayne County, MS, Choctaw Confederate Veteran, I decided to dig a little deeper into his command. Here's what I found on him and thirteen of his fellow MS Choctaw Confederate Patriots. Thought you all might enjoy this Confederate Heritage Month Moment! -- Jim Huffman, Adjutant, Gainesville Vols, SCV Camp 373, Pearl River County, MS
BURIAL SITE NOT FOUND. Pvt. Isaac [no last name given in the military records; also found as "Isaick" in Yankee POW records] (b. prob. Newton County, MS, ca. 1835-d. prob. Wayne County, MS, after 1902), 1st Choctaw Battalion MS Cavalry. No enlistment date/data. Known only from Yankee POW records. Captured and paroled at Ponchatoula, Tangipahoa Parish, LA, on May 13, 1863, but not released, as would be a White POW. Pvt. Isaac "appears on a List of Choctaw Prisoners captured in the Department of the Gulf and sent to Washington, D.C., via Boston and New York," with notation "New Orleans [LA], May 23, 1863. The above (14) fourteen Choctaw Indians, Confederate Prisoners of War, were delivered to Capt. Nott, Aide-de-Camp to Provost Marshal General, by him to be taken North by the way of Boston and New York, there to be held subject to the orders of the Provost Marshal General at Washington, D.C." Confederate records show that these captured Confederate-Americans were put in chains and displayed in parks in New York City as curiosities for the non-racist Northern populace. "Isaac (Indian), Prisoner of War," was admitted on Sept. 8, 1863, to U.S.A. General Hospital, Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, suffering from chronic diarrhea, and was released back into the POW population on Oct. 2, 1863. Once the fun and games and the novelty had worn off, "Isaac (Choctaw Indian), Pvt., Co.__, 1 Choctaw Battalion [MS Cavalry] appears on a [Yankee] Roll of Prisoners of War (Choctaw Indians) sent from Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, to New Orleans, La., [on] Oct. 3, 1863." No further information in his military file with this command. Southern Patriot! "Isaac Johnson (Choctaw Indian)" filed a Confederate Pension application in Wayne County, MS, in 1902, in which he stated that he was a Confederate soldier in the 18th Miss. Battalion of Scouts, that he enlisted in Newton County, MS, in 1862, that he served under Maj. Pierce, and that he served until war's end. A letter was written in support of his pension application by one "Jno. Blakeley, Adjutant, [United Confederate Veterans] Camp Dabney H. Maury, #1312," of Newton, Newton County, MS: "This is to certify that Isaac Johnson, [aka] Nenakanubba, served as a soldier in the Confederate army under Maj. Pierce in the 18th Battalion of Scouts, composed of cavalry and infantry, both. He belonged to one of the Infantry Companys under Capt. Ducksworth. He was one of the Choctaws that rendered such great help in Securing the wounded and drownded (sic) dead Soldiers and others in that awful [railroad] Smash up in west Chunky Swamp in the year 1863. There was 76 dead, beside[s] the wounded. He has applied to me to make proof of his Service as a Soldier. I can testify that he did. He had a brother killed in that fight near Lake Pontchartrain [on] this side of New Orleans. Maj. Pierce resigned and the Battalion went under Maj. Spann and finished up, balance of war life. Went under Spann in 1862. Those Choctaws done good Service. I think the old broke down men should have pensions. They are justly entitled to them. There is several on our pension rolls in this county [i.e., Newton County, MS]. I belonged to [the] 18th Battalion [of Scouts] under Maj. Spann with the Choctaw Cavalry portion all [last word illegible]." Other written accounts of the referenced train wreck specifically state that Isaac Johnson (aka Nenakanubba) was one of the Choctaw who rushed to the scene of the wreck and both rescued the living and recovered the dead. Burial site not found. [Note: The Pvt. Isaac Johnson (aka Nenakanubba) under consideration here should not be confused with Pvt. Isaac Johnson, (New) Co. K, 1st Regiment Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Volunteers, which command was raised in what, at the time, was known as the Indian Territory (now mostly Oklahoma), as they are two entirely different men.] [Note: The other thirteen MS Choctaw soldiers who were sent North in chains for public display were: "Billy" (died Sept. 28, 1863, at Fort Columbus Hospital, New York Harbor); "Charley"; "Chubby" (aka "Thomas Chubby") (after returning from the North, he died Dec. 23, 1863, in the Corps a'Afrique U.S.A. General Hospital, New Orleans, LA); "George Washington" (after returning from the North, he died on Dec. 4, 1863, in Saint Lewis U.S. General Hospital, New Orleans, LA, while still a POW; buried in Grave No. 23, No. 2 Cypress Grove Cemetery, New Orleans, LA); "Gibson" (died Nov. 14, 1863, in Saint Louis U.S. General Hospital, New Orleans, LA, upon returning from the North); "James"; "James Davis" (still a POW at New Orleans, LA, on March 12, 1864); "Jefferson" (imprisoned at New Orleans after returning from the North, sent to Convalescent Camp on Nov. 23, 1863, and still a POW on Dec. 31, 1863); "Selvis"; "Silas"; "Silas Joshua"; "Wigginton"; "Williamson" (died Sept. 18, 1863, at Fort Columbus Hospital, New York Harbor); and, "Wilson". I have never seen these names listed anywhere before. Let these men's names not be forgotten!]