Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pvt. James P. Vance and Company H, Third Kentucky Infantry, CSA

Members of Fort Heiman Camp #1834 conducted a memorial service for Private James P. Vance, a Confederate soldier of Company H, Third Kentucky Infantry, CSA. PVT Vance is buried at Haynes Cemetery on Kentucky Lake. About 30-35 family members were present for the service held on October 25, 2009. Private Vance of Calloway County was severely wounded in action at the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee April 6-7, 1862 and captured on the field of battle. He was transported to Paducah as a wounded prisoner of war, but less than two weeks later he died there in a hospital. His body was then brought home and buried, now lying here amongst members of the Vance family. The new military headstone was acquired with the help of VFW Post 6291 of Murray. Pictured from left to right are: Dan Griggs, David Garland, J.R. Moore, Barry Grogan, John Young and Gary Jones.

By Greg Miller

James P. Vance was born December 15, 1842 in Calloway County, Kentucky, to parents Andrew and Parmelia (Cunningham) Vance. At the age of nineteen years old he would die April 18 or 20, 1862 at Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky, defending the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Vance had reached the fateful conclusion of his life by enlisting with other brave and valorous men from his community on July 22, 1861 in Company H, Third Kentucky Infantry, Confederate States Army.

Company H was enrolled at Murray, Kentucky, in early July 1861 of recruits primarily from Calloway County, Kentucky. The company was officially organized and enlisted at Camp Boone, Montgomery County, Tennessee, on July 22, 1861 becoming part of the Third Kentucky Infantry Regiment, CSA. The unit's first action was at Shiloh, Tennessee, on April 6-7, 1862. The unit received heavy casualties and Pvt. Vance was seriously wounded receiving a bullet wound. Captured on the field of battle, Vance was transported by steamboat as a wounded prisoner of war to a hospital at Paducah, Kentucky, and there less than two weeks later died in the hands of the enemy.

The Third went on to fight other important battles at Baton Rouge, Corinth, Baker's Creek, Jackson, Paducah, Brice's Crossroads, Harrisburg, Franklin, Nashville, and with Selma, Alabama their final action. The last year was spent as mounted infantry in the Kentucky Brigade of Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's celebrated Confederate cavalry. The Third would forever after be known as an integral part of Forrest's Kentucky Brigade.

On May 4, 1865 at Citronelle, Alabama, Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, CSA, surrendered his army to Major General Edward R.S. Canby, USA. The Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Taylor's command were spread out over parts of several states. The Third Kentucky, as part of General Nathan B. Forrest's cavalry under the command of Lt. Gen. Taylor, was at Columbus, Mississippi, for the surrender, and remained there to receive their parole on May 16, 1865. Nine members of Company H were there at Columbus on the 16th to receive their parole, say their goodbyes to their comrades and start for home. Many other men of the company at the time of the surrender were spread out on patrols in the Jackson Purchase of Kentucky, West Tennessee, and Mississippi; others were otherwise too disabled to be in the field fighting with some being medically discharged; a few were in a Yankee prison, while others had died during the war with their passing undocumented.

At least Pvt. Vance's death was documented and his remains brought home to rest in the family cemetery

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