Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Senator from Tennessee Accompanied Stonewall Jackson's Remains.

For the past few weeks, I've been spending a great deal of time reading deeply into the history of the Army of Northern Virginia. Most of that reading has centered around the staff of various high-ranking generals. I've perused the letters or reminiscences of Francis Dawson, Charles Marshall, Moxley Sorrel,Thomas Goree, Campbell Brown, Jed Hotchkiss, Walter Taylor, Henry Kyd Douglas, and maybe one or two others.

This past week, I've been reading Bean's biography on Sandie Pendelton. While I have read on Jackson and his death (and written about it on several occasions) something caught my eye and gave me pause. Pendleton was one of the officers who escorted Jackson's remains from Richmond to Lexington. Also in the party, according to Bean, are Jim Lewis, James Power Smith, Dr. Hunter McGuire, Governor Letcher, and Confederate Senator Gustavus A. Henry of Tennessee. (124) Why the Confederate Senator from Tennessee? Why not Allen T. Caperton or Robert M. T. Hunter, senators from Virginia, or maybe George Davis or William T. Dortch, senators from North Carolina? Mary Anna Morrison Jackson was from North Carolina, and the idea of burying Jackson in Charlotte was briefly considered. But why Henry?

Sen. Gustavus A. Henry
So I went looking into the biographies of Jackson. James I. Robertson only mentions Governor Letcher and his wife, and other "friends," but does not mention Henry. (728) Vandiver, in Mighty Stonewall, ends with his death and does not include burial. Neither does Farwell in his biography, nor Henderson in his. Burke Davis does, but not who escorted the remains. The same is true for Gwynne's Rebel Yell. Chambers writes that the party consisted of members of Jackson's staff, General Ewell, Governor Letcher and an aide, Col. S. Bassett French, "and a number of others boarded the train," but no mention of Henry. (2:455) Dabney simply states that the widow and General staff accompanied Jackson's remains, but makes no mention of anyone else. (731) Cocke makes no mention of who accompanied the remains to Lexington.

Bean gives two sources for this information. The first is an article from the Lynchburg Virginian, published May 12, 1863. I checked all three of my online sources, and apparently, that newspaper has not been digitized. The second is the diary of William M. Blackford, which also does not appear digitized. (It is held by the University of Virginia.) Online research can only take us so far.

Who was Gustavus A. Henry? First off, there does not appear to be biography of Henry. His papers are held on microfilm at the Southern Historical Society at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, as well as a few other institutions. Turning to Warner and Yearns' Biographical Register of the Confederate Congress, we learn that Henry was born in Scott County, Kentucky in 1804. Henry graduated from Transylvania University in 1825, studied law, and practiced in Georgetown, also serving in the Kentucky legislature. Later, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and became a leading member of the Whig party. Known as the "eagle orator of Tennessee," Henry served in the Tennessee Senate, and was twice defeated for the governorship by Andrew Johnson. Henry was one of the two Confederate senators from Tennessee, the other being Landon Carter Haynes. After the war, Henry retired from politics, died in 1880, and is buried in Clarksville. (116-117)

None of that gives any indications that Stonewall Jackson and Henry, or Mary Anna Morrison Jackson and Henry, had ever met. Yet one of those two war-time sources mentions that Gustavus A. Henry was along for the train ride from Richmond, at least to Lynchburg. Maybe the next time I get to Virginia, I can track down these two sources.

PS: Since Jefferson Davis and Henry were friends, did Davis ask Henry to be the Government's representative? Just a thought. 

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