Sunday, June 3, 2012

Andrew Baker's Civil War Service

So my 4th great grandfather, Andrew Baker, was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Arkansas 14th Infantry during the Civil War. He was discharged May 23rd, 1862 when the regiment was re-organized. As far as I could find for the longest time, that was the end of his documented service. However, two biographical sketches of Andrew's son Felix, including one put together while Andrew was still alive, indicated that Andrew's service did not end after his discharge from the 14th.

In Godspeed Brothers' Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region (1894), Felix's biography, which was made when Andrew was still alive, claimed that Andrew took part in the Battle of Port Hudson. I found a comprehensive list of all the units stationed at Port Hudson through the duration of the war here: The 14th Arkansas is listed, as it participated in the siege and two engagements at Port Hudson and then surrendered and disbanded there, but Andrew was no long in the unit at that time, so if he was really there as the biography states, then he must have been a part of one of the other units listed. Unfortunately, in searching their rosters, I found no one that matched up with Andrew.

A biography in Fay Hempstead's Historical Review of Arkansas: Its Commerce, Industry, and Modern Affairs, Volume III (1911) goes into even greater detail about Andrew's service. "He was in General Price's army and went on the raid into Missouri, [and] subsequently was detailed to raise a company in Newton County [AR] in support of the losing cause." So after having spent my time mostly scouring Arkansas units for a trace of Andrew, I decided to look at Missouri units a little closer. I had looked through them before briefly, but didn't delve into them much because of my assumption that since he was an officer in the 14th, he likely would be an officer in his new unit. That clearly wasn't a good idea, because once I started looking closely at the Andrew Baker's in Missouri's Civil War service records, I finally found what I was looking for.

I found a service record for a Private Andrew Baker in Jackman's Missouri Cavalry. The only record was a Muster and Descriptive Roll of soldiers paroled at Jacksonport, Arkansas on June 5th, 1865. According to the roll, Andrew Baker was 46 years old, with blue eyes, grey hair, and fair complexion. He was 5'9", a North Carolina native, and enrolled for duty in Searcy County, Arkansas. Well, "my" Andrew's headstone says he was born August 9th, 1820, which based on that would mean in June of 1865 he would be two months shy of 45 years old. However, in July of 1901 when he was re-applying for his Confederate Pension, he said he was 81 years old, which based on his August 9th birth-date would put his year of birth at 1819. Based on that, he would have been two months shy of 46 years old in June of 1865. There are 3 other facts that contribute to my determination that this is indeed "my" Andrew who is a part Jackman's Cavalry.

1. He enlisted in Searcy County, which is adjacent to Newton County where "my" Andrew lived.
2. He was born in North Carolina, just as "my" Andrew Baker was born in North Carolina.
3. I went through all of the 1860 Census for Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas for good measure and could not find another Andrew Baker who fit this description other than "my" Andrew. There was an Andrew Baker born about 1820 living in Linn County, Missouri, but he was born in Kentucky. There was another Andrew Baker born about 1821 living in McDonald County, Missouri, but he was born in Tennessee. And another Andrew Baker born about 1823 living in Nacogdoches County, Texas, but he was born in Tennessee. None of those 3 counties are very near Searcy County, with McDonald County being the closest. And in the entire state of Arkansas for 1860, there were no other Andrew Baker's besides "mine" who were even close to the age of 46. And finally, "my" Andrew Baker was the only Andrew Baker in that aforementioned tri-state area who was born in North Carolina.

So all together, I am thoroughly convinced that this the Andrew Baker in Jackman's Missouri Cavalry is the same Andrew Baker found in the Arkansas 14th Infantry. I've become even more convinced while reading up on Colonel Sidney D. Jackman, to whom the unit belonged. According to his well-sourced Wikipedia page (, Jackman and his cavalry fought under General Sterling Price, and took part in Price's Raid, which lines up well with Hempstead's description of Andrew's Civil War exploits. So at this point, it would take an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary to convince me that the Andrew Baker of Jackman's Missouri Cavalry is not "my" Andrew Baker, and I am very glad to have found another piece in the puzzle of Andrew's life.

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