The remainder of this story is from from Vol. 9 No.3 Greene County (Ark) Historical and Genealogical Society quarterly of 1996. and is reprinted here with the permission of the above organization.
My Dear Father,
I am condemned to be shot today between the hours of two and four o'clock p.m. in retaliation for some men shot by Reeves (Major Wilson and six men). I am an innocent man and it is hard to die for another's sins. You can imagine my feelings when I think you, my wife and children. I want my family to come back to my old place. If you live till peace is made, I want you to settle up and pay off all my debts. You need have uneasiness as to my future state for my faith is well founded.
Good bye, Asa
And a letter to his wife:
Dear Wife and Children:
I take my pen with trembling hand to inform you that I will be shot between 2 and 4 o'clock this evening. I have but a few hours to remain in this unfriendly world. There is six of us sentenced to die because of the six Union soldiers that were shot by Reeve's men. My dear wife, don't grieve for me. I want you to meet me in Heaven. I want you to teach the children piety, so that they may meet me at the right hand of God. I can't tell you my feelings but you can form some idea of my feelings when you hear of my fate. I don't want you to let this bear on your mind anymore than you can help, for you are now left to take care of my dear children. Tell them to remember their dear father. I want you to tell my friends that I have gone home to rest. I want you to go to Mr. Connor and tell him to assist you in winding up your business. If he is not there, get Mr Cleveland. If you don't get this letter before St. Francis River gets up, you had better stay there until you can make a crop, and you can go in the dry season. It is now past 4 a.m. I must bring my letter to a close, leaving you in the hands of God. I send you my best love and respects in the hour of death. Kiss all the children for me.You need have no uneasiness about my future state, for my faith is well founded...
* * * *
Headquarters Department of Missouri,
Office of the Provost-Marshall-General,
Saint Louis, Mo., Oct 29. 1864.
Col. J.V. Du Bois, Chief of Staff, in the Field:
Colonel: I have the honor to inform the commanding general that on this day the following rebel soldiers - JAMES W. GATES, Co H. 3rd Mo, Cavalry, CSA; HARVEY H. BLACKBURN, Co A, Coleman's regiment, CSA; JOHN NICHOLS, 2nd Mo. Cavalry, CSA; CHARLES W. MINNEKEN, Co A, Crabtree's cavalry, CSA; ASA V. LADD, Burnbridge's regiment, Mo. Cavalty; CSA; and GEORGE F. BUNCH, Co B, 3rd Mo. Cavalry - were executed by being shot to death by musketry in retaliation for the murder of six men of the Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia by Tim Reves' guerrillas, and in compliance with Special Order No. 277, paragraph 12, dated . . . October 6, 1864.
I have the honor to be,
Joseph Darr, Jr. Acting Provost-Marshall-General
It becomes my painful duty to forward you the last letter of your lamented husband, who was shot to death on the 29th of Oct. last, in retaliation for the death of Major Wilson and six of his men by rebels (Major Reeves).
I attended your husband from
the time he rec'd his sentence to his death, and am happy to say he bore
his fate with Christian fortitude and resignation. At his request, I placed
his testament which he had carried with him through the war, on his breast
in his coffin. God comfort you and your children is the prayer of your
humble servant. . .
Phillip McKim Chaplain, U.S.A.
* * * *
Saint Louis, MO.,
November 8, 1864.
Sir: This morning I was called from the prison where the Confederate officers were confined and taken to an anvil and a 12- pound ball and chain riveted to my ankle, and then my sentence was read to me as follows:
"In retaliation for Major Wilson, Maj. Enoch, of Lieut. Col B. Ford's battalion, Col. T.R. Freeman's brigade, Gen. Marmaduke's division, Gen. Price's army, shall be shot to death with musketry on Friday next between the hours of 9 and 11 o'clock."
Now, general, I have one favor to ask and it is with you to say whether it is fair or not. The favor is this: If this inhuman and unsoldier-like deed was committed will you please ask General Price to deliver the per- petrator of this crime, and if he turned Major Wilson over to this notorious bushwhacking Tim. Reves to be executed, he certainly will make satisfaction by delivering up to the authorities the man who committed this inhuman crime, and if he refuses to carry on an honorable warfare I think all those officers in prison will refuse to take up arms if ever exchanged.
I think these steps should be taken before you go further. I ask as a member of the Masonic fraternity. Excuse my bad writing.
Yours with respect,
E.O.Wolf Major, C.S.A.
* * * *
Apparently President Lincoln had learned of Enoch Wolf's fate. He wired Gen W.S.Rosecrans for an explanation.
In a November 11 telegram, Gen.
. . . As to the policy of doing as I have done, I leave you to judge after reading the records in the case. All other motives having failed to secure my soldiers who have surrendered themselves prisoners of war from cold- blooded assassination or official murder by Price's command, I felt bound to appeal to the sense of personal security by declaring to these men that I should hold them individually responsible for the treatment of my troops while prisoners in their hands.
Among the instances Your Excellency will remember the incarceration of twelve of our officers. and the orders given by the rebel Government that they should be executed in case we executed, even by legal sentence, twelve pirates.
You will also remember two officers, prisoners of war from my army, who were put in irons by order of the rebel Government and condemned to death for the execution, by General Burnside's order, of two rebel officers caught in disguise recruiting in the State of Kentucky.
Major Gen., Commanding
Note: Neither Major Wolf nor
any other Confederate officer was executed (in this case)
ED Note: One can only speculate as to the state of mind (or lack thereof) of Gen Rosecrans. It may be helpful to remember that this was the same Gen. Rosecrans whose army was routed at the Battle of Chickamauga, GA. He was the first back to Chattanooga, TN. and was replaced by Pres. Lincoln and subsequently transferred to the Dept of MO. In his defense, it might be well to remember that he at least made the executions a part of the official records.
Asa Ladd was buried in Jefferson
Barracks National Cemetery.
Amy packed up, loaded two wagons with her belongings, hitched up the oxen and hired a man to drive one of the wagons. While crossing the St. Francis, the first wagon and all of its possessions were lost.
Amy continued to the Maynard area near Pocahontas (AR). From there she went to Walnut Hill near Ravenden Springs where a preacher friend assisted her in settling.
Later, she moved to Fulton County, Arkansas. She is buried in State Line Cemetery between Salem and Lanton, in Fulton County.
Amy's twin, Nanny Taylor, is buried in the Huett Cemetery near the community of Yadkins in Randolph County, not too far from Ravenden Springs.
What is my connection with this?
ASA LADD was my great grandfather. (Name withheld)
(Editor's note: There have been several versions to the killing of Major Wilson and his six men. Those with confederate connections claim he was tried of crimes involving the death of women and children, and of destroying civilian property, and found guilty by a military tribunal. Of course the OFFICIAL RECORDS, edited and published by the War Department, presents a different picture.
Our thanks to the Great Grand Daughter of ASA LADD and to the GCHGS for supplying parts of this story. Other parts came directly from the OFFICIAL RECORDS publication.
It should be remembered that there are other stories connected with this case that will probably never be told, included are the five other men executed with Mr Ladd and the stories of Major Wilson and his six men.
Edward G. Gerdes
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