Leroy Pickens Bean
Navarro County, Texas


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Leroy Pickens Bean & Malinda Francis (Williams) Bean
 
Submitted by Don Babbs

 

LEROY PICKENS BEAN, PVT 1st ALABAMA VOL REG. CO. G. CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA

This will be a small tribute to my great great grandfather, Leroy Bean, a veteran of the Civil War between February 17, 1862 and November 30, 1864.  Leroy Pickens Bean was the son of a wealthy and prominent farmer from Farriorsville, Alabama, Marshall Jacob Bean and Rhoda Nobles.  He was educated at the old Perote Institute in Perote, Alabama.  He was a student there when, on February 17, 1862, he gave up his studies to answer the call to arms.  He immediately enlisted in the 1st Ala. Inf. Reg. Co. "H" Perote Guards.  He was enlisted and sent to Island No. 10, in the Mississippi River at New Madrid, Missouri.

The 1st Alabama was trained on the heavy guns at Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, Florida and being one of those hard luck regiments in the war, they spent much of their time being captured and paroled several times.  Well, enough of that story, here are the facts as the related to the 1st Ala. as reconstructed from their battles and regimental history.

Island No. 10, no longer exists it is now part of the Missouri shore.  In 1862 it was about a mile long and a quarter-mile wide and lay at a long inverted S-shaped bend in the river.  At. Island No. 10, the Mississippi made a sharp bend and then ran northwest.  The town of New Madrid, Missouri, actually farther north than Island No. 10, was 6 miles downriver.  Cypress-entangled swamps, Reelfoot Lake, and the great river itself surrounded island No. 10.  To take Island No. 10, the Union forces would first have to capture New Madrid and cut the fort off from communication downriver.

On March 3, 1862, General John Pope's new army of the Mississippi with 18,000 men brought New Madrid under siege, against Brigadier General John P. McCown's 7,500 confederate defenders.  On March 12, panicking, McCown abandoned New Madrid under a heavy thunderstorm losing much equipment and effectively cutting off Island No. 10 from most river communication and means of supply.


Oakwood Cemetery
Corsicana, Navarro Co., TX

Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard hoped that Island No. 10's defenders would at least buy time to strengthen Fort Pillow and enable General Albert S. Johnston to attack General Grant at Pittsburg Landing.  During the next 27 days Island No. 10's defenders would see constant bombardment from shore batteries and gunboats, this gallant stand by the men of Island No. 10 would, at the loss of many lives and equipment, give the south much needed time to prepare and attack the northern troops.  On April 18, 1862 Captain W.Y.C. Hume commanding Island No. 10 accepted the unconditional surrender terms of the union army.  Only about 1,000 Confederates, principally from the upper batteries on the Tennessee side of the river, managed to escape.  600 of these were from the 1st Ala. and would later be reunited with those that were captured including Leroy Pickens Bean.

Leroy Pickens Bean was captured on April 8, 1862, and sent to Camp Chase Ohio arriving there on April 13, 1862.  He appears on a list of War Prisoners dated August 25, 1862 as being sent to Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois from Camp Chase, Ohio to be sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi to be exchanged.

The roll bares the following endorsements: "On board steamer Jon. H. Done near Vicksburg, Mississippi 11th September 1862, received the following named prisoners of war amounting to Ten Hundred & Twenty  in Number. N. G. Watts, Major & Agent for the exchange of prisoners of war. "Exchanged Wm. H. Ludlow, Lt. Col. & Agent for exchange.  Aikens Landing, November 10, 1862"  It was at this point that Leroy Pickens Bean had been a prisoner of the Yankees for six months, enduring the hardships and insults incident to such a life.

During this six months the Battalion of the regiment which had escaped had been engaged in the defense of Fort Pillow under Captain R. H. Isbell, and after its evacuation it was assigned to the brigade of General Villipelgue, in the campaign of the summer of 1862 in North Mississippi.  This battalion participated in the hard fought battle of Corinth, and was a rear guard in that difficult retreat after that disaster.  The 1st Alabama after its release from prison on the first general exchange of prisoners at Vicksburg rendezvoused a few days later in camp at Jackson, Mississippi.  Here, through the kindness of the ladies of Mobile, the regiment was re-clothed, no furloughs were granted and without being armed it was at once ordered to Port Hudson on the Mississippi where it was joined by its gallant little battalion.  Here it was found that the regiment had lost three hundred men by the campaign of Island No. 10 and the resulting imprisonment of the six months had resulted in one hundred and fifty additional deaths.

Under a through recruiting system the regiment was soon filled up to its original compliment of 1,000 men and its standards and its efficiency restored under the command of Col. Steedman.  At Port Hudson the regiment was again assigned to heavy artillery batteries.  Coming as they did into this malarial region in the fall, the men debilitated by their imprisonment, suffered greatly from malarial fever and diarrher. In the winter and spring of 1862 and 1863, men of the 1st Ala. labored religiously to fortify their positions and improve their artillery skills.  It is at this point that in all probability Leroy Pickens Bean transferred into the artillery batteries.  Extracts from Official War Records show that the report from General Frank Gardner, Fort Hudson that the "Battery is served by four companies of Col. Steedman's regiment Heavy Artillery, Lt. Col. M. B. Locke commanding.  This would be further documented by the information on Malinda Frances Beans's Civil War pension application in which she said her husbands commanding officer was Col. Locke. and the he transferred to artillery.

On May 27, 1863, the Federal batteries opened up and the siege of Port Hudson begain in earnest, it would continue until July 9, 1963.  During this time the gallant men of the 1st Ala. would prove themselves time and time again.  It was here that the African-American Native Guards from New Orleans would be sent against the confederate position to the northwest of Port Hudson they were caught in a Confederate cross fire of rifle and artillery commanded by Lt. Col Locke and were decimated.  The Battle for Port Hudson continued under heavy artillery siege.  With provisions running out the defenders were forced to eating dogs and rats sustenance.  Finally, when word reached the area that Vicksburg had surrendered there was little reason to continue and a surrender was agreed upon.  Here again Leroy Pickens Bean had to suffer the humiliation of defeat and seeing his unit capitulating to the demands of the hated Yankees.  He was paroled there on July 12, or 13, 1863.

Leroy Pickens Bean appears on the company muster roll as a Private Company "G" 1st Ala. Inf. Reg. (With this note: "This Reg. was originally called into service for the State by the governor of Alabama, January, 1861, for 12 months as 1st Reg. Alabama Artillery, and again re-organized April, 1862 at Memphis, Tenn as 1st Reg. Ala. Infantry)  From January thru December 1863 for the purpose of pay $50.00 which was never paid and for leave from 30 November, 1863 to 31 December 1863 (its quite possible he went home to Farriorsville, Ala. for the holidays)  The next and last roll he appears on is dated April 16, 1864 shows Leroy P. Bean of Co. "G" 1st Ala.  Artillery Listing Capt. R. H. Rileys Co. "G" 1st Ala Vols., Army of the Confederate States, Col. Steedman, In compliance with Par. III, 6.0 No. 27, A & Inspector Genl., Richmond, Va. dated April 16, 1864, Fort Gains, Alabama.

From August of 1863 to April 30, 1864 the 1st Alabama and Pvt. Leory Pickens Bean served with General Dabney H. Maury in the district of the Gulf.  It was ordered to Meridian, Mississippi November 10, 1863 as a heavy artillery brigade.  It was then ordered to the garrisons at Forts Powell and Gaines, on the 25th of March 1864.  The 1st Ala. was temporarily attached to General Cantey's Alabama division, Second brigade, army of Mississippi at the battle of New Hope Church, Ga. May 25-26, 1864.  Immediately after this it was reassigned to General Quarles brigade, General Walthall's division, General Stewart's corp.  This is the first time that Pvt. Leroy Pickens Bean will serve under General Quarles and he will do so until the end of the war.

The next battle for the 1st Ala. and Pvt. Leory Bean will be at Kennesaw mountain, Ga. on June 27, 1864, however a new Commander of the Army of Tennessee General John Bell Hood (a Texan) would be chosen for his aggressiveness.  The 1st Ala lost considerably at Peachtree Creek and continued their futile defense of Atlanta when on July 28, 1864 they were engaged in a desperate assault against the enemy's lines.  After the fall of Atlanta, General Hood took his army north in October 1864 in hopes of cutting off General Sherman's supplhy lines, and again, engaged in battle at Allatoona, Ga. a prelude to the Franklin-Nashville Campaign.  Again the Yankees held and General Hood withdrew and proceeded north into Tennessee.

On November 30, 1864, General Hood and his army of Tennessee would engage in a battle that would later be called Bloody Franklin.  This would be the last campaign that Pvt. Leroy Pickens bean would have to endure, for it was here that he would suffer wounds serious enough to require his hospitalization.   This was a serious and fatal battle for the 1st Ala. as they would sustain perhaps 150 casualties.  On that day it was reported that the confederates assaulted desperately time and again in the face of withering fire and more than 6,000 valiant Confederates dropped.  The next day corpses were found in the trenches, supported by dead comrades heaped as many as seven deep.  A Federal colonel wrote long afterwards.  At some of the earth works the press of men was so great that the dead having no place to fall, remained in an upright position.  It is said that Pickett's farm charge at Gettysburg fades in comparison to what happened at Franklin.  The 1st Ala. would follow General Hood for the next four months finally surrendering at Greensboro, North Carolina on April 27, 1865.  At this time only 100 men were left to surrender their colors.  Upwards of 3,000 names were on the rolls at different times during the war, including those companies that did not re-enlist.

Leroy Pickens Bean would stay in the hospital in Franklin, Tennessee recuperating from his wounds.  It is here that we believe he met his wife Malinda Francis Williams.  She was born in Harris County Georgia on Oct 11, 1847 to Phillip and Malvina Williams.  They were married September 12, 1865 in Harris County Georgia.  Leroy and Malinda would move to Alabama where one of their daughters and two sons would be born later moving to Texas in 1871 they would have three more daughters and four sons.  Leroy Pickens Bean was a manufacturer of medicine in Corsicana, Texas up and until his death in 1907.  His widow would continue to live in Corsicana until her death in 1842.

The descendents of Leroy Pickens Bean have a lot to be thankful for, because if were not for the divine providence of almighty God in his divine protection of our grandparents we would not be here, not you who will read this account nor myself who has spent many hours researching in checking our ancestry.  When all is said and done we can only stand in awe in the hardships and deprivations that he suffered at the hands of his sworn enemy.  The many hours and long miles he had to march, without food, clothing and at times, no place to sleep in harsh weather conditions.  The times he must have been ill, but yet he kept on going.

He was only eighteen years old when he answered the call to arms, he was from a family of wealth and culture, of the best of Southern families, and inflamed with resentment against the North for long-continued aggressions upon the rights of the South.  He had quitted his surroundings of luxury and, classic halls of learning, and had seized his musket and gone to war for his beliefs and way of life.  As indicated by his war record and devotion to duty he remained true to the cause and never gave thought to desertion or shirking of duty.  He was a proud and honest man true to his family and country.

I can honestly say that I am proud to be Southern and a great grandson of Leroy Pickens Bean.  It has been a great joy to unravel the threads of life that have led me to understand somewhat the times and life of my ancestors, to understand the physical effort it took to live in that time and raise a family.  The War Between the States just about destroyed the agrarian society in Alabama.  The large farms and plantations had been dependant on slave labor, and when that was gone in 1865, they had no other major labor pools the war loses had cost them dearly in manpower, so that many farms only had widows and children left to operate them.  The "Reconstruction Period for the next 12 years brought in Federal occupation troops, and the northern "carpetbaggers."  They appointed black officials who had no education, but merely acted as puppets.  They also raised taxes to uncollectible levels, and seized lands for non-payments, and enforced in many cases a dictatorial rule on the populace.  So I expect that this was the reason that Marshall Jacob Bean sold his lands and moved with his son to Hunt Co. Texas.  I also understand more now as to why my grandmother spoke harshly about "those Yankees."

I hope this small insight into the life of my great grand parents and grandparents will be of interest to my children as well as to the Beans who are still living at this time.

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Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox