Jesse Farris Phillips (c.1829 - c.1910)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Washington, Washington, TN, USA
Death: Died
Managed by: John Bayne, Jr
Last Updated:

About Jesse Farris Phillips

From the family albulm by James and Joan Phillips (2001):

Civil War (added to American Civil War project) records indicate that Jesse enlisted in Mark Bacon's Company F, Crawford's 60th TN Regiment of Monuted Infantry, Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn's Second Brigade at Jonesborough TN Sep 27-1862. He was 34 years of age at that time, a family man with children. His younger brother John M. Phillips, along with their uncle Abraham Ball enlisted at the same time.

Crawford's Regiment, formerly known as the 79th TN Regiment of Infantry, was redesignated as the 60th TN Mounted Infantry and in Novermber of 1862 sent to Haynesville TN (later renamed Johnson's Depot, then Johnson City) for outfitting and training. In March of 1863, Vaughn's Brigade was ordered to Vicksburg MS to join Gen Pemberton's forces.

The 60th TN had been assigned the task of guarding the line of communications between Vicksburg and Jackson Company F was among those stationed at a bridge crossing the Big Black River where it was overwhelmed by an entire division of Gen Grant's forces sent eastward to outfland Vicksburg's defenses. Jesse's younger brother John and his uncle Abraham Ball became POWs.

On 15 Sep 1863, remnents of the 60th TN were ordered to reassemble in Jonesborough TN. An inspection report shows that only 48 members answered muster. It was at this time that Jesse rejoined his organization. For the remainder of the war the reconstituted 60th TN Mounted Infantry operated in East TN, North Carolina and Virginia.

Early in October 1864, Vaughn's Brigade had badly beaten a Union brigade under Brig Gen Alvan C. Gillem at Bull's Gap TN. The troops under Gillem had withdrawn from the battle scene so rapidly that the action was called a "stampede". Nearly all of the troops in both commands were Tennesseans.

After being resupplied and seeking to avenge his humiliation, Gen Gillem marched westward from New Market VA. At Beans's Station TN he met Gen Vaughn's forces who had come from Greeneville. After a see-saw action between Bean's Station and Morristown, Gen Gillem fell back on New Market to regroup. He then assaulted along the railroad through Washington County. He succeeded in isolating a unit of Col Crawford's 60th TN at Majlin Sherfey's house east of Johnson's Depot. The Confederates resisted strongly until 30 pounder Parrot Rifles were brought up to dislodge them. As they fell back into Carter County, a number of Rebels were captured - which may have included Jesse.

The captured Confederates were taken to Jonesborrough TN where they were held for three days without food or water in the top room at the courthouse. They were subjected to summary court martial where they faced a death penalty. At 1a.m. of the fouth morning, seven of the prisoners were able to get out through a window and escape by clibing down a lightning rod. The above account may be the source of the paragraph which follows.

The remainder of this narrative is taken from family legends and not from any official record.

Jesse worked as a "pilot" (scout or guide) for the CSA forces during this war. He was well familiar with the hills and hollows and streams of East TN and thoroughly qualified to provide information on Federal troop locations and movements. During the course of the battles and skirmishes that raged up and down the Nolichucky River and surrouding hills, he was captured by Union troops and harged with being a spy. He was summarily sentenced to be hanged. On an occasion when two Union soldiers were assigned to guard him, one of the guards proved to be a kinsman. When this guard purposely relaxed his viligance, Jesse struck the other guard over the head with his shoe, knocking him unconscious and making his escape. Union soldiers set out on horseback to hunt him down, but Jesse was able to make his way through mountain laurel thickets too dense for a man on horseback to follow, and accross gullies too difficult for a horse to manage. He made his way to a friend's house where he borrowed a shotgun. When his pursuer, coming by a longer way, caught up with him, Jesse shot and killed the soldier.

It was during this period when Jesse's son Stephen starved to death while being held a POW.

As the war wore on into its final stages, Jesse became reconciled to the idea that the South was going to lose and fall upon hard times. He decided that his best course was to sell of all his holdings and be prepared to pursue new interest. After the war he worked for a while as a cooper; a trade practiced by his father. In those days barrel making was a good paying business because a wide variety of goods was shipped or stored in barrels. Jesse's first wife had disappeared from all records and he married again to Margaret L. (Peg) Dykes in 1857 and had started a new family.

When the war ended he found himself in dire financial straits. The money he had received for his property had been in Confederate banknotes, which had become worthless in the economic collapse of the South.



      
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Jesse Phillips's Timeline

1829
August, 1829
Washington, Washington, TN, USA
1850
September 27, 1850
Age 21
Washington, TN, USA
1850
Age 20
1852
1852
Age 22
1854
1854
Age 24
1855
1855
Age 25
Washington, Washington, TN, USA
1856
1856
Age 26
1857
November 15, 1857
Age 28
Washington, TN, USA
1857
Age 27
1858
November 11, 1858
Age 29