Nathaniel was born about 1821 at Tishomingo County, Mississippi to Samuel Barlston Reed and Rebecca White. They were farmers and devout Primitive Baptists. Nathan was one of my paternal 2nd great grand uncles.

Nathaniel was married three times. His first wife, Nancy White, he married in 1840 in Tennessee. He married his second wife, Sylvania Toland Loller, on 31 Jul 1853 at Tishomingo, Mississippi. His third, Chris, in 1879, probably ay Brown County, Texas. He had 9 children.

His family seems to have survived the height of the 1949 Cholera Epidemic. Thousands on thousands died during the epidemic.  What is worse, their world of Medicial Science did not know how to treat it. This may add some explanation to all the family moves Nathaniel began to make.

Nathaniel moved his family to Arkansas from Tishomingo, Mississippi, three times. Each time returning to Mississippi. The first time he moved was to White County, Arkansas.

By 1850, Nathaniel had moved his family the second time to Ward, Yell County, Arkansas. Shortly before 1857 and his family’s 1860 Federal Census Records, show them at Center, Polk County, Arkansas. In the latter case, he was not with them. Stories abound as to his whereabouts. Some say he was West looking for gold, others say he was leading wagon trains west.

Summer of 1861, Nathaniel and his family moved to Texas. They did so to escape the rigors of the coming war. We don’t know where exactly they went in Texas, but he had family living in Fayette County. His uncle, Ezekiel Fenwick Reed and family were located in Fayette County, between Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

Texas had a special convention in 1861 to debate the issue of secession from the Union. Succession was adopted by a vote 166 to 8. By popular referendum on 23 Feb 1862, Texas ratified the succession. Although causes were specified as Indian and across the border bandit raids, it did include slavery as a justification. The Union General Twiggs at San Antonio, Texas surrendered his command and 10,000 muskets to the State of Texas.

Nathaniel joined the Confederate Army 25 Oct 1862 at San Antonio, Texas. He became a Private in Company E, Madison’s Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Phillips) (3rd Arizona Brigade). Capt Henry H Hall was his company commander.

The Company was stationed at Camp Baylor, Colorado County, Texas. They departed for Louisiana on 24 Apr 1863. Their first action was at Plaquemine, where they captured 3 steamboats and a commissary store. Next they attacked Fort Butler at Donaldsonville. Their leadership losses were heavy. The Regiment commander was killed storming the fort walls. It is during this time, I believe that Nathaniel Reed was promoted to Captain. I’ve found nothing in official records to support this. Family stories and the losses at Donaldsonville go towards supporting his rank of Captain.

The remainder of the year in 1863, they fought at Stirlings Plantation and Bayou Bourbeau. They returned to Galveston, Texas in Dec 1863 to help depend the area. Later they returned to Louisiana, where they fought in The Red River Campaign. They fought at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Monet’s Ferry, and Yellow Bayou.

Nathaniel’s regiment followed the retreating forces of Union Gen Nathaniel Bank’s. They engaged in several skirmishes with the Union rear guard.  They helped chase them back to Alexandria, Louisiana.

His unit went for a short while to Arkansas in Sep 1864, and returned to Houston, Texas by Dec 1864. There they remained until the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department on 26 May 1865.  They mustered out of their unit at Hempstead. They were allowed to keep their side arms, personal effects and horses. Nathaniel’s service record is incomplete. Only two of his bi-monthly muster records are available.

Nathaniel was awarded the Civil War Campaign Medal.  Background information on this medal provided by the Institute of Heraldry seems to suggest that only those on active duty or retired as of 1905 were entitled to the award. They are actually referring to the no-cost issue of the medal not the entitlement for the medal.

Nathaniel did not own any slaves according to his families 1850 Federal Census Records and the Federal Slave Schedules for 1850..

In the Fall of 1865, he and his family moved by oxen wagon from Texas back to Polk County, Arkansas. Later, we find him and his family back in Mississippi in 1869 on the occasion of  the birth of his daughter. By 1877, we find him back in Texas for the birth of another daughter. The 1880 Federal Census shows him residing at William’s Ranch, Brown County, Texas with his last wife, Chris.

In notes written by Mary Arizona Reed, one of his daughters, in 1910, She indicates the family lost track of Nathaniel and had not heard from him since 1880. I might add, these notes were essential in the telling of events concerning Nathaniel. They were found in Arizona’s personal effects when she died. Passed to Margo Kimp (another descendant of Nathaniel), Margo provided a copy on to me.

His date and place of death are unknown. We suspect he died shortly before 1900 and was buried along the Red River.

Donald Patrick

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