The Oklahoma Land Race

Posted on: November 21st, 2007

John Thomas Acre initially made a claim in western Kansas near Gove City (find it on my Acre Family Map) some time between his marriage in March 1887 in Indiana and February 1888 when Rufus was born in Kansas. The Land run in Oklahoma in which Kingfisher county was opened for settlement happened in April 1889 and in September of 1889, John Thomas Acre went by covered wagon to Lacy, Oklahoma. I know that families won land by running themselves, but also by proxy.  Do we know how John Thomas won his land?
In any case, the family lived where Lacy would be, spending that first winter living in their wagon and a shed. They lived in Lacy for 19 years and in 1908 or 9 moved to Canton. They moved twice more before settling for good.


Stories told by my Uncle Otha Acre (published in the Canton Times in 1980) and my grandmother Nell Acre Bredbeck and collected by my father.

Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison in the Civil War

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

While I knew that Ephraim Acre had served in the Civil War and I knew that he named his son Sherman after General Tecumsah Sherman of the Union Army, I did not realize until I started researching the stories of his service in the Union Army the scope and importance of the battles in which Ephraim Acre took part. It is no wonder that he chose to stay put in Indiana after marching, riding, and fighting all over Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.  Robert Morrison, who’s daughter Sarah married Ephraim’s son John T. Acre, fought alongside Ephraim Acre in the war.

Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison enlisted in the Union Army on 14 August 1862 and served in the 17th Indiana Infantry in Company A. This Regiment was organized in Indianapolis about a year earlier, and when Ephraim and Robert joined them they were attached to the 15th Brigade, 6th Division, Army of the Ohio. At the end of August 1862 the Company was near McMinnville, TN at a place called Little Pond. Buell’s Campaign was just ending, the Confederates were invading Kentucky, and moral would have been low.

During the summer of 1862, Major General Don Carlos Buell was supposed to lead 40,000 troops from the Army of the Ohio against Chattanooga. It was one of the biggest Union undertakings of the summer, and it did not go well. He lead his troops from Corinth through northern AL along the railroad lines. It made sense to stick to the railroad lines because it was a convenient way to move supplies and troops. Both sides were using this new technology during the Civil War, but it was also made a convenient and important target as taking out a rail line meant that supplies, troops, and communications could not get through to troops in the field. The civilians in the area were sympathetic to the Rebels and at night the Union soldiers were subject to repeated guerilla attacks, with supplies being stolen over and over again. Soldiers were on half rations and Buell was unwilling to fight or punish civilians. His progress, therefore, was very slow. He left Corinth in mid-June and by July 8 was only half way to Chattanooga. President Lincoln was unsatisfied. On July 13 Confederates destroyed the railroad and captured a garrison at Murfeesboro, TN, and Buell failed to capture them. Just as the rail line was repaired, the group struck again and destroyed several bridges. Again they were not captured and Buell was not making progress. President Lincoln was now very angry with Buell. Buell finally approached Chattanooga in mid-August when another group of Confederates caved in a railroad tunnel which cut off Buell from his supply base at Louisville, KY on the Indiana border. Buell retreated to Nashville. (from Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era).

As a result of General Buell’s failure to reach Chattanooga, General Braxton Bragg of the Confederate Army was in a position to launch a large scale invasion of Kentucky. General Buell was now commanded to head to Louisville in order to prevent this major Union supply depot from falling into Confederate hands. Possession of Louisville meant control over Kentucky. The pressure was on Buell not to fail again. So during Ephraim Acre’s and Robert Morrison’s first month of service the Army of the Ohio was marched north from Nashville to Louisville, desperately trying to beat the Confederate Army. The Union Army followed the railroad north from Tennessee through Kentucky. Bragg was able to capture Mumfordville in mid-September which cut off the Union supply route. But Buell did beat Bragg to Louisville (barely) and arrived with his Army of the Ohio, including Ephraim’s and Robert’s regiment, on September 25, 1862. They received 30,000 additional troops in Louisville.

Buell was no more popular with his officers than he was with the President. After the failed Buell’s Campaign there were so many complaints that at the end of September 1862, President Lincoln offered Major General George Thomas the opportunity to replace Buell as commander of the Army of the Ohio. General Thomas was reluctant to relieve his commanding officer of duty, and did not know that the suggestion had come from other officers in the Army. He turned down the officer and Buell was able to remain in charge.

On October 1, General Buell split his Army of the Ohio into four Corps, leaving Louisville for Bardstown to attack Bragg. The 17th Indiana Infantry was assigned now to the 15th Brigade, 6th Division, 2nd Corps under Major General Leonidas Crittenden. The 17th Indiana Infantry had duty in Bardstown, Kentucky from October 1 until October 18. When the Union Army advanced, Bragg retreated towards Perryville. The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War Battle fought in Kentucky. There is no mention of this battle in the description of the 17th Indiana Infantry’s service. Buell did not know the extent of the fighting, going on just out of earshot. Crittenden’s men sat around waiting for orders until it was too late. When he finally did send in some men, Bragg had already retreated.

Buell was slow in pursuit as usual. He didn’t follow Bragg’s Army until the day after the retreat, but no significant fighting occurred thereafter. Bragg eventually escaped through the Cumberland Gap when he was then called to the Confederate Capital of Richmond. Jefferson Davis was as unhappy with Bragg as Lincoln was with Buell. When Bragg was no longer a target, Buell decided to return his troops to Nashville. Lincoln removed Buell from duty after the Battle of Perryville and he was replaced on October 24 by William S. Rosecrans. The Army of the Ohio Corps II was renamed the Army of the Cumberland Left Wing and Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison, in their regiment, were assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division.

It was decided that the Army of the Cumberland should return to Nashville. Tennessee had been the last state to join the Confederacy, and Nashville was the first capital to be recaptured by the Union. It was important during the course of the war to keep it well fortified and to maintain troops there, and it was frequently assaulted by Bragg. It seemed like it might be where he would go after losing his grip on KY. So from October 18 to November 26, Ephraim Acre, Robert Morrison and the other soldiers marched south, returning to Nashville. The march back to Nashville was long and hard. Men were under-clothed because it had been so warm when they left Louisville, but quickly turned cold with the approach of winter. Enroute they passed through Lebanon, Columbia, and Glasgow, KY and Gallatin, TN. On arrival in Nashville they were assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 5th Division (Center), 14th Army Corps and had duty in Nashville until February 1, 1863.

Bragg, it turned out, had gone to Murfreesboro, TN following his retreat from Kentucky. And after Christmas, General Rosencrans set out from Nashville, with about half of his troops (not the 17th Indiana) to prove himself a better leader than Buell. The Second Battle of Murfreesboro, also called the Battle of Stones River took place on from December 31 to January 2, 1863. It had the ” highest percentage of casualties of any major battle in the Civil War” (Wikipedia) so perhaps we are lucky that our ancestors were not there. The result was that the Confederates were removed from Middle TN. Following the battle, Rosecrans had troops working until June in Murfreesboro to build “Fort Rosecrans” which served as a supply depot for the remainder of the war. Ephraim’s and Robert’s regiment was moved to Murfreesboro on February 1 and they worked there until June.

Rosecrans kept his troops in shape during the time in Murfeesbroro with constant skirmishing. The 17th Indiana Infantry made several short expeditions during their time there, including an expedition to Auburn, Liberty, and Alexandria February 3-8. The Confederates were guarding Liberty and probably other locations as well. Bragg had set up a line of defense north of Tullahoma which was supposed to stop the Union army from advancing towards Chattanooga.

While Rosecrans prepared his army for an unavoidable eventual battle with Bragg’s Army over he was dismayed at his lack of a useful calvary. On February 12, Ephraim’s and Robert’s Regiment was mounted and assigned to duty as Mounted Infantry.  A mounted infantry was a unit that that fought on foot with rifles but rode instead of marching. Many of the missions around Murfreesboro now involved practicing with horses. The men were not cavalry. They weren’t horse men. They practiced riding out, dismounting, leaving the animals with designated “horseholders,” and doing their job as infantry. They made an expedition to Woodbury, March 3-8 with action there on the 6th, another expedition to Liberty, Carthage and Lebanon April 1-8, an expedition to McMinnville April 20-30. It was during these expeditions to test the mounted infantry that they realized that their muskets were too unwieldy for mounted soldiers.

The Army of the Cumberland website states:

“…a volunteer Col. named John T. Wilder, a mechanical engineer and foundry owner from Indiana…came to Rosecrans with a revolutionary idea: take infantry, mount them on horses, arm them with the brand new 7-round Spencer repeating rifle, and use them as mobile shock troops who would ride ahead, dismount, and use their tremendous firepower to attack the enemy in the rear with the force of a much larger body of conventionally armed infantry. Rosecrans listened and gave Wilder the approval to round up the horses. Wilder contracted with Christian Spencer for the delivery of 1400 rifles and made an arrangement with his bank so that the members of his brigade would pay the purchase price ($35 dollars per rifle, a princely sum in those days) in installments out of their monthly pay. Later the government assumed this debt.”

Wilder had been researching guns for a while. Spencer had been touring the army, demonstrating his new weapon. The Spencer Carbines, fired 20 rounds per minute compared with previous guns which fired 3-4. This gave the Union army an advantage over the Confederates. The Army was initially reluctant to switch to the Carbine because of it fired cartridges, which needed to be carried and took up more space than gunpowder. Soldiers tended to, because they could, fire off all the ammo they could carry very quickly…and need to be replaced by another regimen.. So switching to Carbines meant creating a need for additional transportation to hall around additional ammunition. Wilder armed his mounted infantry, including Ephraim Acre’s regiment, with Spencer Carbines on May 18.

The Battle of Vicksburg was ongoing at this time and the Union was concerned that if the Confederates held certain strategical “gaps” through the Cumberland Plateau, they could get troops through to Vicksburg and break the seige. At the same time, Rosecrans may have waited until May to plan an attack on Bragg because by that time he knew that Bragg’s army had been reduced to defend Vicksburg. The battle for Vicksburg was a fight for control of the Mississippi River.

Rosecrans’ superiors wanted him to force the Confederates out of the “gaps”, so the next campaign in which Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison participated was the Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign during late June and early July, 1863 in eleven days of pouring rain. The 17th Indiana Regiment was now assigned to the 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 14th Army Corps (part of the Army of the Cumberland) under Major General George H. Thomas…with Col. Wilder in charge of the brigade.

Rosecrans designed a fake advance to the left of the gap that was supposed to be recognized as a fake and point the enemy towards a fake advance to the right (Shelbyville) that was supposed to seem real. Ephraim Acre’s and Robert Morrison’s regimental history includes Big Spring Gap in the events of June 24 and also says Hoover’s Gap, June 24-26. I cannot find anything about Big Spring Gap, but all accounts include a story about how the men “forced Hoover’s Gap” on the 24th of June and fought until June 26th. It was a big Union victory. And is described as follows by

“Thomas with the 14th Corps waited quietly in the middle. Early on 24 June he unleashed the main thrust. First Wilder’s newly mounted “lightning” brigade (with the firepower of a division) stormed through Hoover’s Gap and overwhelmed the pickets of Stewart’s division which were supported by a small unit of Wheeler’s cavalry. Never before in the history of warfare had so much firepower covered 12 miles so quickly. Wilder was thus able to establish himself on Hardee’s flank and await Thomas’s infantry. While he waited, he held off a counter-attack by Stewart’s entire division. When Thomas arrived, he said to Wilder that his action had prevented 2000 casualties.”

After the Battle of Hoover’s Gap, Wilder’s brigade was called “The Lightning Brigade.”

After the Battle of Hoover’s Gap. Bragg’s troops withdrew to Tullahoma, but Wilder’s Brigade moved forward to occupy Manchester as follows (from The Army of the Cumberland website):

“Wilder also spearheaded the drive into Manchester which turned Bragg out of Tullahoma. I quote from Wilder’s battle report:
‘On the morning of the 26th, we again moved forward, my command, on horseback, debouching into the valley of Garrison Fork, and filing over the chain of hills between that stream and McBride’s Creek, flanking the rebel left, and causing it to hastily fall back before the infantry column of General Reynolds, who was advancing on the line of the Manchester pike. We then moved up McBride’s Creek to the tableland, and marched rapidly around the head of Noah’s Fork for the purpose of turning the strong position of Matt’s Hollow; but on arriving at the Manchester pike, after it reaches the tableland, we found that the infantry column was passing, having met no enemy, they having retreated in the direction of Fairfield. We camped that night 6 miles from Manchester, and at daylight next morning moved forward, cutting off a rebel picket post, and were in Manchester before the few rebels there knew of our approach.’ “

With the occupation of Manchester, Bragg was in danger of being cut of from Chattannooga and he was forced to give up Middle Tennessee. Manchester was the goal for Rosecrans when they charged Hover’s Gap. With Wilder’s occupation on June 27 they had completed their Campaign and accomplished a major victory over Bragg and Confederate Army. For the rest of the summer, Wilder’s brigade camped near Tullahoma, raided the countryside, obtained horses, freed slaves, and participated in skirmishes. The was pressure from the President on Rosecrans to follow through and finish off Bragg once and for all, but Rosecrans was not willing. He wanted to refit his army, much as he had done in Murfreesboro in the winter. So from July 1 to August 16 Wilder’s Brigade was kept in shape by making raids on Bragg’s communications, probably the railroads.

In mid-August, Rosecrans was ready to move on Bragg, then in Chattanooga. When Rosecrans moved on towards Chattanooga he used similar tactics to those he had used before. When they reached the Tennessee River, he had Wilder’s Brigade, including Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison, on the north bank making a lot of noise and pretending to build boats to come across. They shelled the town from across the river, sank boats, and generally caused a disturbance on and off for two weeks. The Regimental history says they captured a depot of supplies at Dechard. Meanwhile the rest of the army had time to get over the mountains to the south. Rosecrans split his army into three groups to traverse mountainous, difficult terrain downstream of Chattanooga and do the actual crossing. The terrain and the smaller groups made them vulnerable, but the plan worked. On September 9, 1863 the Crittenden’s troups, covered by Wilder’s Brigade were the first to enter Chattanooga and Bragg retreated into Georgia.

Chattanooga was an important victory for the Union because it was a geographical hub, a strategically important location, and a Confederate base. They now had control of supplies on the Tennessee River. In addition, Chattanooga was a gateway to the south. It was the perfect staging point for an attack on Atlanta. On the downside, Confederate defeats elsewhere meant that troops were free to join Bragg’s army whereas Union victories meant that Rosecrans had to continue to leave men behind to guard the territory he had won. Bragg’s Army was growing to be as big as Rosecrans. Rosecrans was gleeful and cocky after capturing Chattanooga, but Bragg still held a firm line in the path of the Union Army.

After the capture of Chattanooga, Rosecrans split his troops up again in pursuit of Bragg. Crittenden was instructed to leave a part of the men in the town and take the rest to pursue Bragg. By splitting his troops, Rosecrans could cover more ground and engage the enemy on multiple fronts, but it also left his troops more vulnerable to attack due to their smaller numbers. Bragg intended to take advantage of their vulnerability and concentrate on Thomas’ troops and destroy them, but he was tired and depressed and not communicating well with his men. His orders were not carried out the way he intended.

During the days after Chattanooga, Ephraim Acre, Robert Morrison and their regiment passed through Ringgold, Georgia before arriving at Lee and Gordon’s Mills on the 12th where Rosecrans had instructed his troops to reconvene.  There, on September 12 Wilder’s Brigade had a severe skirmish in Leet’s Tanyard on the 12th and 13th. It was during these days that the Union Army passed many deserters who told them that Bragg was on the run, but Wilder began to understand that it wasn’t true. He needed to move with caution, hiding and skirmishing, as he headed for the Chickamauga Creek and Lee and Gordon’s Mills. As they approached the Creek the Confederates were everywhere, but Bragg’s opportunity to surprise his opponent during their vulnerable separation had been missed. If he had attacked when the troops were separated he would have had a definite advantage, but Rosecrans now knew that the Confederates were not on the run, they were preparing for battle. By September 17, 1863 the Union army was back together, both sides had established lines along the Chickamauga Creek, and the stage was set for the Battle of Chickamauga. (maps on Wikipedia)

On September 18, Wilder sent half his men to support Minty and cover Dyer’s bridge and left 1,000 to defend Alexander’s Bridge against 8,000 of Bragg’s army. Territory gave them an advantage as they could fire from above on anyone attempting to cross. The 17th Indiana Infantry was on the right side of the bridge. They held off the Confederates all morning, but they were able to cross to the south. By mid-afternoon, Wilder’s brigade was beginning to be surrounded. They made an orderly retreat, set up a new defensive line, and held off the Confederates so well that the enemy called off the fighting for the night, thinking they were up against a larger force. Wilder’s brigade held the front all night without blankets or tents until 4am when they were relieved and sent to the right side of the line. (Note: The Regimental History for the 17th Indiana Infantry says that on 9/18 they were at Alexander’s Bridge and Hall’s House. There is no mention of Hall’s House in accounts of the battle.)

On September 19, the Regimental History for the 17th Indiana Infantry says they were at Vinyard’s House. The battle description for that day states that it was a full battle in Vinlard’s field. By this time Bragg had managed to cross the Chickamauga. Different Regiments rotated in combat, fighting throughout the day with the Confederates until the cannons finally stopping the Confederate advance. It came on again in the evening. Wilder’s bridgade was a key force, the men were “ordered to wait until [they] could see the whites of their eyes.” (quote from Lightning Bridgade article). Ammunition was dumped on the ground near the soldiers so they could just work their rifles as fast as possible. Finally the Rebels fell back. Many were killed. The battle went on for two more days. The two Armies took turns attacking each other, but the Union Army was slowly retreating from the creek.

On September 20th a planning error by Rosecrans left a gap in the lines and the Confederates were able to split the army. Roscrans was headquartered at the Widow Glenn Farm and as the battle fell apart there was chaos. Troops were running in every direction retreating from the Confederate army. Wilder’s men were cut off (the 17th Indiana Infantry history says they were at the Widow Glen’s House) from the rest of the Army and ordered to fill the gap. Rosecrans fled his headquarters. General Thomas was the last Union commander to leave the battle. When Rosecrans ordered his troops to retreat to Rossville, GA Thomas couldn’t leave the field of battle because they were too heavily engaged. Finally they were able to get out under cover of darkness.Wilder’s brigade held position and was able to halt the Confederates and cover the Union retreat.

The Battle of Chickamauga was a big loss for Rosecrans, but General Thomas was commended for his tenacity. And Thomas commended Wilder for the performance of his Brigade in particular. The Battle of Chickamauga claimed 34, 624 lives. It was the biggest Civil War battle in Georgia, and it eventually cost Rosecrans his command.

Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga where he was besieged by the emboldened Bragg. Bragg wanted to do in Rosecrans. He sent General Joseph Wheeler to destroy the railroad north of Chattanooga and another Confederate General, Philip D. Roddy, called up from Alabama to support Bragg, was making numerous raids on Union communications and supplies. Bragg’s was hoping that Rosecrans would attempt to flee Chattanooga. If he made an attempt at escape Bragg would attack and do them in for good. Rosecrans put the cavalry in pursuit of Wheeler and Roddy, so from September 29th to October 17th, the 17th Indiana Infantry, working under Col. Wilder was engaged in operations against these two generals. Following are some of the details from that time.

On October 3, the Regiment was in Thompson’s Cove, near Beersheba. I found a description in War Talks in Kansas that stated that, in the Sequatchie Valley, Wheeler destroyed a loaded train with supplies. Union force came out of the mountains into “the cove” and

“We marched out in line, and after searching around in the dark for friend or foe for an hour or so, halted, facing a small timbered creek. On the other side, 50 or 100 yards off, we heard the noise of troops. Neither side knew what to do, each was afraid the other might be friends, and still more anxious lest they be enemies. In this dilemma a loud voice called from the other side, “Who are you?” The answer went back, “Yankees; who are you?” “Rebels, by God!” This raised a laugh on both sides, and when it subsided the Rebel spokesman added, “Come over.” To this polite invitation our commanding officer called out, “All right,” and then in a loud tone of command, “Forward, double quick, march’ commence firing.” We went over, pumping at out Spencer rifles, but the other fellows didn’t stay to shake hands, only five or six, and they were dead or suffering from newly inflicted gunshot wounds.”

On October 4, the Regimental history states they went through Glass Cocks and then were on the Mufreesboro Road, near McMinnville. It was here that the Union army was able to forage for food and fill their bellies in an abandoned Confederate camp. They were short on food on this expedition and the men were hungry.

On October 5, Wheeler cut the railroad to Nashville at Stones River. This was a major blow to the Union forces in Chattanooga. Rosecrans tried to send out General Crook to guard the river north of Chattanooga, but they were quickly overcome by Confederate troops. All mounted men in the area were ordered to support Crook, Wilder’s Brigade was among them. They followed Wheeler to Shelbyville (17th Indiana Infantry in Farmington, then Sim’s Farm near Shelbyville on October 7), arriving in Shelbyville on October 10. General Crook took several brigades to attack in the morning just as the Rebels were breaking camp. The Confederates had stolen some Union uniforms in McMinnville and some soldiers were wearing them. A rumor went around that soldiers wearing stolen uniforms were not to be taken alive. It is unknown whether this was a real order, but many Confederate soldiers were killed just for wearing stolen uniforms. The Union was outnumbered in Shelbyville, but what they lacked in quantity of soldiers they made up for in quality. The small Union force chased the Rebels across the Tennessee River and took Shelbyville. Wilder’s Brigade lost 268 men during the entire pursuit of Wheeler.

Rosecrans, still under siege in Chattanooga was finally relieve of duty on October 19. He was replaced by Ulysses S. Grant. Grant put General Thomas in charge of the Army of the Cumberland and the 17th Indiana Infantry was attached to Wilder’s Mounted Brigade within that army. Grant’s priority was to improve the supply lines to Chattanooga. He believed that if supplies could get through it would strengthen the army and make it possible to break the siege.

There is a mention in the 17th Indiana Infantry history about an expedition from Maysville to Whitesburg and Decatur on November 14-17. I do not have details about this expedition, but it was probably minor.

On November 23 General Thomas set out to engage Bragg’s army on Missionary Ridge and break the seige on Chattanooga. From November 23-27 General Thomas fought for Chattanooga. The regimental history states that the 17th Indiana Infantry were involved in the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign from November 23 – 27, including a raid on the East Tennessee & Georgia R.R. from November 24 – 27 (which included time at Charleston and Cleveland on the 26th). It is my belief that Wilder’s Brigade was probably not fighting at Missionary Ridge, but had been sent East.

The East Tennessee and Georgia R.R. ran between Chattanooga and Knoxville and on to the east. General Ambrose Burnside had secured Knoxville during the summer of 1863. He had been commanded repeatedly to come and assist Rosecrans, but he refused, preferring instead to defend his gains in East Tennessee. During November he was fighting off Confederate General Longstreet in Knoxville. On one website I found a note that said that Lily’s Battery (the cannons of Wilder’s brigade) was transferred to the 1st cavalry in November and “participated in a grueling cavalry campaign” in east Tennessee from November until April. It says there were heavy skirmishes and lots of casualties. While I could not find out many details about this “grueling cavalry campaign”, it sounds as though the the 17th Indiana Infantry was also a part of it as they were transferred to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland in November. While they weren’t involved in the major battle to break the siege on Chattanooga, the battles in East Tennessee split General Bragg’s focus and troops, and certainly would have contributed to the Union victory in Chattanooga. The siege finally broken, General Bragg took his Rebel soldiers and retreated into Georgia. The Union position was now strong.

The 17th Indiana Infantry was now sent to assist General Burnside in his defense of Knoxville. From November 28 to December 8 they marched in relief of Knoxville, TN. Things quieted down after that. The Regiment was attached to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland and for the first half of 1864 they had duty at Pulaski, Charleston, and Nashville, TN.  They reenlisted in January and the veterans had a furlough from January 22 to April 2. Ephraim Acre, Robert Morrison, and the others would have had a much needed break after all of the action they had seen in 1863.

It was during this time that General Grant was promoted to General in Chief of all Union Armies. He made Major General William T. Sherman leader of the Western Armies. Gen. Thomas still commanded the Army of the Cumberland. Under Sherman in Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, the Cavalry Corps was commanded by W. L. Elliott.

In the Confederate Army changes were also taking place over the winter of 1863-1864. Bragg was relieved as commander of the Confederate Army and was replaced by General Joseph E. Johnston. The Confederate Cavalry was commanded by Gen. Wheeler, and the Corps under him were commanded by Hood, Hardee, and Polk. The next campaign would be a march from Chattanooga to take Atlanta from the Confederates. It would occupy the entire summer of 1864.

The Atlanta Campaign began on May 1 when Sherman’s Army left Chattanooga. The Union Army engaged the Rebels on Rocky Face Ridge May 7-13. The 17th Indiana joined them on May 10 as they passed through Snake Creek Gap in three parts. Confederate General Joseph Johnston retreated towards Resaca, GA. The Battle of Resaca took place on May 14-15. It was not a clear victory on either side, but Sherman did succeed in pushing Johnston back when he threatened his railroad supply line.

Sherman opted not to follow him directly as he retreated towards Atlanta. He was concerned that the Confederates would have an advantageous position in the Allatoona Pass. Instead, the Union Army went around the pass towards Dallas, GA. Johnston anticipated Sherman’s movement and the two armies engaged in New Hope Church (near Dallas) May 25-26. Sherman underestimated the Confederate forces and part of his corps was badly damaged. Fighting continued in this area during the end of May with the 17th Indiana history stating that they were engaged in operations on Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles near Dalla, New Hope Church, and the Allatoona Hills from May 25 to June 5. Casualties were high on both sides and no one was getting anywhere until Sherman’s cavalry was finally able to get control of the railroad through the Allatoona Pass. Johnston was forced to move back.

The North was losing their will power. The march was tiring, the pursuit was relentless, and progress was slow. The whole Atlanta campaign was a never-ending series of attack, defend, sneak around from the side to gain some small advantage. Casualties continued on both sides. The 17th Indiana Infantry was in Big Shanty on June 9. Then from June 10 to July 2 they served in the area around Kenesaw Mountain. They were at Noonday Creek on June 19, engaged in skirmishes at Lattermore’s Mills in Powder Springs June 20-27. The Confederate Army was firmly entrenched on Kenesaw and it was July 3 before Sherman finally forced Johnston off the mountain. On July 4, says the 17th Indiana Infantry history, they were at Rottenwood Creek. Fighting at Ruff’s Mill’s turned Johnston back to the Chattahoochie River. Sherman thought that Johnston would fall back all the way to Atlanta. He was surprised by the continued resistance. He could not force the Confederates back across the Chattahoochie River. It was the last natural obstacle between the Union and Atlanta and would mean a significant boost in morale.

Fighting at the Chattahoochie River went on from July 5 to 17. Relying on the now familiar tactic to separate the Army into three parts, Sherman surrounded the Confederate position and finally forced Johnston to withdraw across the river taking down all the bridges as he goes. There was nothing now between Sherman and Atlanta.

General Hood replaced Johnston as head of the Confederate Army in Atlanta.

The Battle of Atlanta occurred on July 22 (the 17th Indiana Infantry states that they were in Covington that day), but the city didn’t fall. The siege would go on for the next 6 weeks with General Sherman shelling civilians and raiding the supply lines to cut off the city. Sherman used the cavalry, to which the 17th Indiana was now assigned, to destroy these rail lines. The Cavalry units were commanded by Garrard, McCook, and Stoneman. They would ride out for several days and then return.They successfully disrupted railroad communications to the west and east, but had a harder time with the Macon line to the south.

I believe that the raid on Macon is what was referred to as Garrard’s Raid (July 27-31) in the 17th Indiana history. The 17th Indiana was assigned to Garrard’s Unit. On July 27 Stoneman set out for Macon. The plan was that Garrard was to distract the Confederate Cavalry so that McCook and Stoneman could get a head start on Macon. They were to destroy bridges and rail lines and release POW’s in Macon. The 17th Indiana was at Flat Rock Bridge on July 28, Lovejoy Station on July 29-30 and Newman’s on July 30. Garrard engaged Wheeler’s cavalry, but a captured soldier told the Rebels the plan. Hood split his Confederate army to go after McCook and Stoneman. McCook’s unit was defeated. Stoneman was able to burn the bridge over the Oconee River, severing all rail lines into Atlanta, but he was then forced to surrender during the retreat. Many of his men were captured.

Sherman probably didn’t use the cavalry in the best way possible during the siege of Atlanta. Damage to the rail lines was easy to repair and the siege prolonged by lack of able cavalry. At the end of July, the only cavalry fit for service was Garrard’s. The siege continued until August 25. Garrard returned to the infantry following the siege on Atlanta.

The 17th Indiana was engaged in operations at the Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26 to September 2.

Hood finally left Atlanta on August 31 and the city finally fell to Sherman on September 2, 1864. This was a major factor in Lincoln winning the Presidential election in November. As a final blow, the city of Atlanta was burned in November.

Following the Atlanta Campaign Sherman did nothing during September. Men sat around in Atlanta waiting for orders. The Confederate Government decided that Hood should head for Chattanooga, TN to disrupt the railroad and cut off supply lines to Atlanta, which was now under Union control. They wanted to lure Sherman into battle. Sherman, however had other plans. He was determined to take Savannah and was planning his famous March to the Sea. He left Thomas in charge of pursuing the Rebel Army into Tennessee. The17th Indiana Infantry was now assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Wilson’s Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, and from September 29 to November 1 they were involved in operations against Hood in northern Georgia and Alabama.

The 17th Indiana Infantry regimental history places them in familiar territory as they pursued Hood through North Georgia at the beginning of October. They were near Lost Mountain in New Hope Church and Dallas October 4-7. This was in the vicinity of Allatoona Pass. Hood’s first order of business after giving up Atlanta was to take back control of the Western and Atlantic Railroad through the pass. In addition, there was also a depot in the town of Allatoona. The Union Army was too well fortified in the area. Hood was able to gain control of the pass but he couldn’t hold it and were forced to retreat. The 17th Indiana was in Rome and the Narrows on October 10-11 and there was a skirmish on Coosaville Road, near Rome on October 13 as Hood headed north along the rail line. After the Coosaville Road skirmish he abandoned his fight for the railroad and headed into Alabama.

The 17th Indiana followed Hood through Summerville on October 18 and then to the Little River canyon in Alabama on October 20.  If you look at the maps of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, General Thomas had taken the bulk of his army directly into Tennessee, converging with Hood’s army there.  Ephraim’s and Robert’s regiment on the other hand, appears to be following Hood directly. On October 21 they were in Leesburg and Grove Road Crossing, Alabama and on October 28 back in Georgia in Goshen.

On November 1, the 17th Indiana Infantry was dismounted and sent to Louisville, KY where they had duty until December 28. There were many people in the Louisville area who were still sympathetic to the Confederate cause. It was under military rule throughout 1864 with lots of guerilla activity making the Union presence very necessary. It was not the front lines, but it was not peaceful.

Hood was defeated near Nashville, TN in mid-December and the 17th Indiana Infantry was sent there at the end of December before being sent to Gravelly Springs, AL. They were still a part of Wilson’s Cavalry in the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi. The second division was commanded by General Eli Long. They had duty in Gravelly Springs until March 1865.

On March 22, 1865 Wilson set out on a raid to destroy a weapons arsenal at Selma, AL. It was one of the few remaining Confederate strongholds. General Forrest was in charge of the Confederate cavalry in the area and there were several skirmishes between the two forces on the way to Selma. Forrest made a stand in Plantersville, AL on April 1, but the Rebel army was not firmly entrenched until they had fallen back to Selma. In Selma, on April 2, the mounted men dismounted and fought hand to hand. General Long was wounded in the head and Forrest was also wounded. The Union Army worked for a week to dismantle “military facilities” in Selma before moving on to Montgomery.

Wilson’s Army occupied Montgomery on April 12. They received word of General Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865 and Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, but they continued towards Macon. They were in Columbia on Easter Sunday, April 16. There was much criticism of looting among the Union soldiers during the end of Civil War, but Wilson and Thomas did not tolerate looting among their men so although they continued to take control of cities and towns (Spring Hill, Mimm’s Mills, Tobasofkee Creek, Montpelier Springs, Rocky Creek Bridge) until they captured Macon on April 20 the men were not permitted to loot. Macon was the official arsenal for the Confederacy and a significant victory for the Union. Ephraim Acre and Robert Morrison had duty with the 17th Indiana in Macon until they mustered out on June 22 1865, their Civil War service complete.   One can imagine the two men, having enlisted together in Indiana, and having been through so much in almost three years, now traveling together, gratefully leaving the war behind.  The 17th Indiana infantry mustered out on August 8, 1865. During their service they lost 3 officers and 90 enlisted men to battle and 1 officer and 143 enlisted men to disease.

The war of course was near its end. General Johnston surrendered his army to Sherman on April 26. The last Confederate field general surrendered in Oklahoma Territory on June 23 and the last Confederate Naval force on November 4 in England.


18th Indiana Light Artillery: Lilly’s Battery – This was the source for one quote above, regarding Lilly’s battery. – Article titled “Mufreesboro, Civil War Tennessee, July 13, 1862.”

Army of the Cumberland – Webmaster: Bob Redman. Article titled “The Tullahoma Campaign 23 June – 3 July 1863”. Detailed description of the Campaign including the mounting and arming of Wilder’s Brigade.

Atlanta Civil War Campaign Map – Map of the campaign. Mapicurious is a great website where anyone can make a map of anything.

Bickham, William Denison. Rosecrans’ Campaign with the Fourteenth Army Corps, or the Army of the Cumberland. 1863. Moore, wilstach, Keys & Co.Details about duty in Nashville, the conditions of the troops after Buell’s campaign. Lots of personality added to the history. (Look it up on google books. Digitized February 2006).

Civil War Indiana – Regimental History of the 17th Indiana Infantry, including assignments and battles.

Civil War Timeline – Maintained by Georgia’s Historic High Country Travel Association, the state of Georgia, and Golden Ink. Detailed timeline. Very easy to search by month and year.

Commandery of the State of Kansas. War Talks in Kansas. 1906. F. Hudson Publishing Company. pp. 69-76. Description of the operations against Wheeler and Roddy with mention of Wilder’s brigade. (find it on google books. Digitized August 2006.)

Common Guns in the Civil War – Published by Emory Hackman. 2001-2007. Detailed history of the Spencer Carbine and other Civil War guns.

Confederate Invasion of Kentucky – site maintained by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Webmaster: Sue Rimmer. Supplies a detailed map of the conflict during Bragg’s attack on Kentucky. Focuses on geological factors.

CWSAC Battle Summaries by State – Part of the National Park Service website.

Garrison, Graham and Pierson, Parke. “Battle of Chickamauga: Colonel John T. Wilder and the Lightning Brigade.” Article found on, published by the Weider History Group. Originally published in America’s Civil War Magazine.

Goebel, Greg. “54.1 Rosecrans Moves South/Bragg Withdraws From Central Tennessee.” Writings in the Public Domain. – Detailed description with a lot of color about the Battle of Hoover’s Gap and the capture of Chattanooga.

Grose, William. The Story of the Marches, Battles and Incidents of the 36th Regiment Indiana. 1891. The Courier Company Press. Indiana. pp. 139-142. An account of the return to Nashville. (Look it up on google books. Digitized August 2006.)

Jones, Shirley Farris. “Building fortress Rosecrans was ‘Un-Civil’” and “Battle at Hoover’s Gap Key to Chattanooga.”Articles from The Mufreesboro Post. Account of the building of Fort Rosecrans – Discusses the building of Fort Rosecrans from the perspective of the locals and contains a detailed description of the Battle of Hoover’s Gap.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park – Part of the National Park Service website. Provides a general description of the Atlanta Campaign.

Klunder, Willard Carl. Review of the book: Sherman’s Horsemen: Union Cavalry Operations in the Atlanta Campaign by David Evans (1996). Originally published in History: Review of New Books. June, 1997. Found on

Lenz, Richard J. – The Civil War in Georgia, An Illustrated Travelers Guide. 2002. Provides a timeline, including Coosaville Road.

Mac Pherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. 2003. Oxford University Press. pp. 513-514. – Notes regarding Buell’s Campaign.

Military History Encyclopedia on the Web – Article titled “American Civil War: Tennessee and Kentucky” gives the greater context of Buell’s problem including what happened in Louisville.

New York Times Article from November 16, 1862 about the advance towards Nashville.

Shotgun’s Home of the American Civil War – Webmaster Dick Weeks. First Published: January 7, 1997. Wondeful site with many informative articles written to educate about the Civil War. Articles used: “The Western Theater: Bragg’s Kentucky Campaign,” “The Chickamauga Campaign,” “The Atlanta Campaign.”

War of the Rebellion – A Genealogy Inc. website with a myriad of civil war articles including the following which provided information for this narrative: “Battle of Perryville ” and “The Battle of Chattahootchie River.”

Wikipedia – Articles on the Western Theatre of the American Civil War, Spencer Carbines, John T. Wilder, Battle of Chickamauga, Kenner Garrard, Franklin-Nashville Campaign, Wilson’s Raid.

Wyeth, John Allan. Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest. 1908. Harper & Brothers. Information from the Confederate perspective about Chickamauga and earlier battles, including stories about Wilder’s brigade (find it on google books). I didn’t use any unique information from this book in my narrative.

Pre-Civil War Indiana

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

Indiana was settled after the War of 1812 by settlers from TN and KY. They were frontier families following the frontier. The Acres were one such family, although they seemed to follow the frontier after it had initially been tested by others. Unlike Kentucky, which drew families from the southeast with its rich farm lands, southern Indiana was rocky, not good farm land. After the south was settled, population gradually moved north with Indianapolis being settled about 1821 and later named the state capital. In 1829 the National Road (from Maryland) reached Indianapolis and in the 1830s the Michigan Road, running north-south connected Michigan City with Madison, IN, running through Indianapolis. This put the new state capital in a valuable position along two important roads. The Wabash-Erie canal was also important route, but canals came late to Indiana. Their thunder was stolen by the arrival of the railroad in 1847 running from Madison to Indianapolis. Another factor to the populizing of Indiana was the federal Indian Removal Act in 1830, which allowed the government to remove what natives remained in the states. Most lands had been ceded to european settlers before that.

So the Acres arrived in Indiana at a time when it was poised to take off and become a thriving state. After his initial appearance in the 1830 Orange Co., IN census, Leonard Acre and his children are found in Martin County. Martin Co. was formed in 1820 mostly from the larger Daviess Co. to the west. Many of the early settlers were from Kentucky and Tennessee, but others settled there from Dubois and Lawrence Counties in Indiana. It was already well established by the time Leonard and his family arrived.

Leonard’s son Ephraim would be the only generation of the family not to follow the frontier. Perhaps the Civil War represented enough adventure in his life. In any case, Leonard’s grandson, Ephraim’s son, John Thomas Acre would continue the push to the west when Oklahoma opened at the turn of the 20th century.


My Indiana Genealogy – Article titled “Indiana State History.”

Indiana History Part 4 – Article by the Northern Indiana Center for History regarding Pioneer Settlers in Indiana (1790-1849).

A Short Stay in Alabama

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

There is no record of the time that Leonard Acre spent in Alabama other than the births of his children. Interestingly, Leonard’s presumed uncle, Ephraim Acre’s son Joel was born in 1813 in Alabama (if I am reading the census correctly), according to later records. So perhaps Leonard joined family in Alabama when he went there after his marriage. Many settlers went to Alabama after the War of 1812. Agriculture was very important, and cotton was the main crop. It became a state in 1819 and between 1820 and 1830 the white population doubled.

As cotton plantation based agriculture took over the south, many small farmers were forced off their lands. Wikipedia states that southerners who held a strong anti-slavery position went north to Ohio. The rest went to Indiana, so while that state was not a slave state (the 1820 census shows 90 slaves, 1830 census shows 3) it was not strongly opposed to it either. Between 1820 and the start of the Civil War the divide between North and South grew and grew with slavery being one of the big issues. It was almost certainly a factor, directly or indirectly, of the Acres move to the north. As the Civil War approached we see the South clinging to feudal plantation based society and the North becoming increasingly democratic and manufacturing based.


Alabama Timeline – On the website for the Alabama Department of Archives and History

Wikipedia -Article on the History of Slavery in Indiana.

Digital History – articles on the 1810s in American History. Interesting

The Margaret Ballard Family

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

Sally Ballard’s parents are unknown. Her tombstone in Sinclair, IL indicates that she was born on 17 May 1803. Census records indicate that she was born in Kentucky. A family letter in the possession of H. Edgar Hill indicates that she was born in West Virginia and that she had a brother named William.

A woman suggested to me by email many years ago that Sarah’s mother was Margaret Ballard. I was never able to discover from her any source information or other important information, but I have learned the following through the census and a few other records about the Margaret Ballard family:

In 1810 she is listed in Garrard Co., KY as Margery Ballard (2m10-16, 2m16-26, 1f-10, 1f10-16, 1f45+). In 1820 in Monticello, Wayne Co., KY as Margaret Ballad (same page as William Ballard) (3m16-26, 1f10-16, 1f16-26, 1f26-45, 1f45+). In 1830 in Orange Co., IN as Margere Ballard (1m30-40, 1f70-80). She is not listed in 1840, but her son William, living in Martin Co., IN has a female age 80-90 in his household. Margaret dies in 1849 and his buried in Stampers Creek Cemetery, Paoli, Orange Co., IN. I have a note listing her as being 101 years old at the time of her death, but no source.

Margaret’s son William Ballard continues to be listed in Martin Co., IN in 1850. His oldest daughter is named Margary. It is due to that name that I assume he is her son.

Margaret’s children (and again I have no original source information) are presumably: Joseph, Nancy, John, William, Sally, Sarah, and Andrew. Joseph, William, and Nancy appear frequently in the census near their mother. The only conflicting information I have regarding this family and the connection to Sally Ballard Acre is the presence of another daughter named Sarah. If our Sally was really Sarah…it is highly unlikely that Margaret would have raised two daughters to adulthood with the same name. The other Sarah presumably married 14 Apr 1823 to William Blevins in Wayne Co., KY.

So research places the family of Margaret Ballard in the right places at the right times. The marriage of Sarah Ballard to William Blevins is a puzzle…but I don’t have any original source information. I doubt that both Sally and Sarah were daughters of Margaret Ballard….but more work needs to be done to sort out the facts.

Acre Migration NC to KY about 1804

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

According to the dates in William A. Acree’s pension file he probably moved to Wayne Co., KY (find it on my Acre Family Map) about 1804 (he states in 1832 that he had lived there for about 28 years). Assuming that Leonard traveled at the same time he would have moved to KY as a boy of about 6 years old.

Early Kentucky History states:

“The western emigration, which was so active after the close of the war for independence, carried into the country a large number of families from Virginia and North Carolina, who were especially attracted by the richness of its pasture lands. In 1784, the disorder which existed before the final establishment of the United States, 30,000 people began to demand an independent government. They were still seeking this when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. Under this, Kentucky was made in 1790 a territory, and on 1st of June 1792, was admitted into the Union as a state.”

One note of interest is that Daniel Boone lived in Wayne Co., KY (Boone Co., KY is named for him).

Kentucky was not new in 1804, but Wayne Co. was formed in 1800 with most families arriving between 1800 and 1810 so it was very much the frontier. When Wayne Co., KY was formed, families would often travel from the east on the promise of a land grant. It was not uncommon for them to arrive, after a hard journey, only to find other people settled on land which they thought belonged to them. It is hard to say what greeted the Acree family when they arrived in Kentucky or how they came to settle on Otter Creek, but they must have felt that they had come to the edge of civilization. I cannot find Otter Creek as a town on any map.

More About Wayne Co., KY – History of the County on the USGenweb site for Wayne Co., KY.

Wayne Co., KY – Early History – Article on the website of June Baldwin Bork.

William A. Acree in the Revolutionary War

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

At the time of the Revolutionary War between the British and their American colonies we find references to two political parties: the Whigs and the Tories. The Whigs are also called “patriots” and were those people who were fighting for independence from the crown. The Tories are also called “loyalists” as they were loyal to the crown and supported the British troops. Local government included both a crown appointed governor and the Royal Assembly (which was elected by the colonists. It is easy for us to identify with the label of “patriot” for the Whigs, but remember that at the time, opposing the British crown would have been seen as treason by the government, many colonists, and even by the patriots themselves. People didn’t want to oppose the crown. It was a scary, dangerous thing to do and many colonists who believed in independence did so in secret. As the conflict developed, however, more and more colonists found the courage to fight for American independence.

William A. Acree was a patriot, fighting for the freedom of the colonies from the British. In 1832, long after the war, William A. Acree made a statement about his war service which is contained in his pension files. From these files we have learned most of what we know about his life is from this statement. He took part in the Southern Conflict.

In 1774, British appointed Governor of North Carolina, Josiah Martin refused to call the Royal Assembly into session. He knew that the Assembly was sympathetic towards the growing spirit of Rebellion among the colonists. His decision only strengthened the feeling and the cause. By 1775 Governor Martin had abandonned the capital and was in exile on a British ship off the Cape Fear coast. He repeatedly asked for British support to help him regain control of the colony, but support was slow in coming. Finally the British sent ships down from the north. In addition, they raised a loyalist militia who were to meet in Fayetteville (then called Cross Creek) on the Cape Fear river and march down the river to Wilmington, on the coast, to meet the ships. There the troops would combine forces and take control of North Carolina and then head to South Carolina to support the British cause there. In the meantime, the colonists in North Carolina established a temporary goverment in late summer 1775 to replace the exiled Governor. On the recommendation of the Continental Congress they raised their own militia and “several batallions of the CONTINENTAL LINE.” [quote from the Moore’s Creek National Battlefield Administrative History (Chap 1)]. In an effort to stop the Tories from joining the British navy, the Whigs sent their militia to the Cape Fear River. William A. Acree’s pension statement reads as follows:

“…He entered the service of the United States in [Guilford] County at about the age of twenty five in the year 1777 or 1778 as a volunteer on foot under Colonel Martin. The Captain was Thomas Doogan (as he now thinks). They marched from Guilford to Moore County on the waters of the Cape Fear River to oppose the Scotch Tories, who had risen to join & aid the British. He states they had no very important engagement, but was engaged in a skirmish on Little River in the aforesaid County of Moore, a stream which runs into Cape Fear. His service in the aforesaid character of volunteer was for 3 months, when he was discharged, but did not obtain a written discharge.
[Footnote: The events described by applicant appear to refer to the actions taken by the Whigs to suppress the Scotch Tories from marching to Wilmington to join up with the British who were expected to arrive there in late winter of 1776. The Tories were defeated at the battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776.]…”

William A. Acree indicates that he volunteered for 3 months. If he engaged the loyalists in Moore County on Little River, as his statement indicates, he would have been fighting men who were enroute to Fayetteville. The loyalists moved out of Fayetteville on February 20, 1776. If he met them before this time then his 3 months service would have been sometime between the raising of the militia in August-September 1775 and February 1776 while the loyalists were still gathering their forces. Note that his statement says that the year was 1777 or 1778. This is probably incorrect.

By the time the Whigs met the collective Tory force William A. Acree was no longer in service. Tories were defeated, as is stated in the pension statement, at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge in February. The Moore’s Creek Bridge Historic Site website tell us that the British forces planned to meet at the coast in February 1776. As the loyalist militia marched south east along the Cape Fear River, the Patriots arrived at the Moore’s Creek Bridge and set up “earthworks” along both sides of the creek. Then they abandoned the west side and hid on the east side. When the loyalists found the west side abandoned they made the decision to charge across the bridge, but were ambushed by cannon and gun fire. 850 loyalists were captured in the days following the battle. As a result of this defeat, the British gave up North Carolina. The naval force tried to take South Carolina, but that attempt also failed. The victory of Moore’s Creek Bridge boosted the confidence of patriot supporters in the south and enabled delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence.

As a result of their defeat and less powerful presence in the south, the Tories remaining in the area turned to the Cherokee for help. In early 1776, they hired the indians in the south to kill Whigs. The Cherokee people were motivated by the desire to rid the frontier of the growing number of white settlers and felt that their interests would be served by helping the British sympathizers. They were encouraged by northern tribes. The loyalists wrapped a white cloth around a pole in front of their houses to signal to the indians to “pass over” Tory houses. The result was that many people along the frontier died at the hands of the indians. The Whigs attempted to communicate with the indians, but their messengers were killed. Armies from all over the south responded by destroying Indian villages.

William A. Acree’s pension statement continues:

“…About one year afterwards, he was drafted into the militia of the State of North Carolina in the said County of Guilford & served under General Rutherford [Griffith Rutherford], the said Colonel Martin being the Colonel of the Regiment to which he belonged; Henry Whitsel the Captain. He marched with the army aforesaid up across the Yadkin River, from thence to the Holstein River, which was crossed, thence across the Blue Ridge. They then crossed the Pigeon & French Broad Rivers & went on to the Tennessee River to the Indian towns, against whom they marched out, to prevent their further depredations upon the whites. When they reached the Indian towns, they were mostly deserted. They destroyed & burned the towns, the crops, the stock, etc, & returned home, he having served three months. He obtained, as well as he now recollects, no written discharge.
[Footnote: The events described by the applicant most likely occurred during the so-called Cherokee Campaign in the summer & early fall of 1776.]…”

While his memory appears to be accurate in stating that his second term of service was about a year after the first, remember that his original statement that the year was about 1777 was probably not accurate. The footnote to William A. Acree’s pension statement indicates that the Cherokee Campaign took place in the early fall of 1776, about a year after his service in the fall of 1775. As stated, he served under General Rutherford, who attacked the “Middle and Valley towns” and was joined by Col. Williamson from the South Carolina army. 50 towns were destroyed in the summer of 1776 (July – September ) by the entire southern armies. The Cherokee were left without food and shelter and the peace treaties that followed forfeited large parcels of land, including villages where they had lived for centuries.

The following description is from a biographical sketch about General Griffith Rutherford:

“To stop raids when the English stirred up the Cherokee against patriots during the Revolutionary War in 1776, General Griffith Rutherford of Rowan marched, along with a regiment of 2,400 men, through Haywood County. Rutherford’s troop marched up Hominy Creek and made a crossing at the Pigeon River in Canton. They proceeded along Pigeon Gap (present U.S. 276) east of Waynesville and from there on across Balsam Gap into the Tuckasegee River Valley and across Cowee Gap into the Little Tennessee River Valley.
The great army destroyed the Cherokee town of Stecoee with fire, along with some 35 other Indian towns. Crossing the mountainous wilderness was a great undertaking for 2,400 soldiers with supplies and equipment. It was an arduous journey through the wilderness, where only a few explorers had ventured before. There was the impending possibility of being discovered and ambushed by the Indians. The Rutherford expedition had shown the way for westward travel, although it’s likely that Rutherford had prior information from hunters, Indians and exploration accounts in guiding his army through this uncharted terrain.”

William A. Acree served again about 2 years later, which would have been about 1778 if we believe his recollection. His pension statement continues:

“…About 2 years afterwards, he was again drafted into the service in the militia of North Carolina in Guilford County under the aforesaid Colonel Martin (the name of the Captain of the Company, he does not now recollect), for the term of six months, but did not perform the service in consequence of taking the disease called the small pox about the time the army was going to march. He states that when the army or regiment aforesaid under Colonel Martin returned from the last-mentioned service, he was told by the officers that if he would volunteer in the horse Company & find his own horse, & serve as a volunteer for the space of three months, against the Tories & enemies of the country, that it should be considered in the same light & deemed as the equivalent to the service of the six months last mentioned which he was prevented from performing by reason of his aforesaid sickness. In accordance with the aforesaid statements of the officers, he took his own horse & volunteered & served in the horse Company three months under Colonel Martin & Captain Dougan. They marched down Cape Fear River through the swamps, took nine of the Tories & put them in jail. At the expiration of three months, they returned home, & was discharged, but did not get a written discharge. If he did, he has lost it. He states, that he has no documentary evidence and knows of no person whose Testimony he can procure by whom he can directly prove his service…”

Regarding William A. Acree’s last term of service in the Revolutionary War, the Cape Fear River was in important highway for getting supplies to inland ports. The shores were densely populated (compared to surrounding territory) and heavily traveled. It would have been important to both the Whigs and the Tories to patrol the river. Note that in 1781 when Cornwallis retreated it was down the Cape Fear river to the coast.


William A. Acree pension statement – Transcription available online at Southern Campign of the American Revolution (click on Pension Statements).

Cherokee Indians – Article in the Encyclopedia of North Carolina by UNC Press.

The Cherokee War of 1776 – Part of a description of relations between Whigs and Tories in South Carolina during the time of the American Revolution.

Elizabethtown – White Lake, NC Chamber of Commerce website – History of the area.

Harding, Gary R. General Griffith Rutherford. A biographical sketch by Gary Rutherford Harding reprinted on the”Rutherfords of Tippah County, MS and Our Kin” website by Steven D. Rutherford.

Moores Creek National Battlefield: Administrative History (Chap 1) – Brief history of the settlement of North Carolina and the context of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Detailed description of the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge.

Moore’s Creek Bridge Historic Site – Description of events leading up to the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge and description of the events of that day.

National Park ServiceRevolutionary War Timeline which includes places, dates, and events with links to Historic Battlefields and Parks managed by the NPS.

Acre Origins

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

Leonard Acre was born in North Carolina (find it on my Acre Family Map). He was married in 1824 in Wayne Co., KY (find it on my Acre Family Map), his marriage bond witnessed there by John Acre, presumably a relative. The best guess among Acre researchers is that Leonard was the son of John Acree and grandson of William A. Acree.   This hypothesis was formed by Cynthia Ziegler while researching her book about the descendants of Leonard Acre.   As I understand it, this suggestion is based on several facts and assumptions:

  • FACT: Leonard’s marriage bond is signed by John Acree.
  • ASSUMPTION: John was his father or brother
  • FACT: Leonard’s oldest son was named John.
  • ASSUMPTION: Following a frequent convention of the time, John Emerson Acre was named for his paternal grandfather.
  • FACT: John Acree had two sons: John Jr. and Leonard, who should be the right age to be our Leonard.
  • ASSUMPTION BASED ON LACK OF CONFLICTING EVIDENCE: John Acree is the only John, the right age in North Carolina at the time that Leonard is born.
  • FACT: Leonard was born in North Carolina according to all census records and John Acree and his family lived there at the time.
  • FACT: William A. Acree, John’s father, died in Wayne Co., KY and was living there at the time that Leonard was married.

All in all it seems like a reasonable assumption to make, and the evidence to prove Leonard’s parentage might never be found. What is confusing to me is that there appear to be multiple men named John Acre (with variations to the spelling) and at least one other John Acree living in North Carolina with a son named Leonard who appears to be unrelated. I am unsure how the connections were made that William A. Acree’s son John is the same man who then lived and died in Indiana…although both have a wife by the name of Catherine.  However, we know that William A. Acree moved to Wayne Co., KY from his Revolutionary War records. And we know that his will is written and proved in Wayne Co., KY. Since he lived in Wayne Co., KY at the time of Leonard’s marriage and both were from North Carolina it certainly seems a reasonable assumption that Leonard Acre is related to William A. Acree.

As for the origins of William A. Acree, we know from his pension file that he was born in Frederick, MD (find it on my Acre Family Map), that his father died there about 1765 and that his mother then moved the children to Guilford Co., NC. John Acre(e), Leonard’s presumed father, was born in Guilford Co., NC in 1776 and presumably is the John Acre who died in Clay Co., IN in 1851. William A. Acree also states that he lived in Guilford and in Randolph Counties in North Carolina.. For more about their presence in the census SEE BELOW.

One family tree I read on, says that William A. is the son of William Acre of Frederick, MD. The death date given for William Acre Sr. is 1765 so that matches the story that William tells about his father’s death in his pension application, but I do not know the reliability of the information as I have been unable to make contact with the author. In any case, that tree goes on to say that William Sr. is then the son of Simon Acres of Hopewell, NJ, son of William Akers.

It should be noted that at one time several of us believed that Leonard was related to a family from Bertie Co., NC. The names of the men in the family are very similar to the names of the Guilford Co. Acres…including the names Leonard, John, William, and Ephraim. They appear in the census in tandem with the family that I am following on this website and I have many of those details in my notes and would be happy to discuss them via EMAIL. It does not presently appear that we are related to that family. However, there is an Acre DNA PROJECT in progress which hopes to determine whether there is any connection between these and several other Acre families.


William A. Acree pension statement – Transcription available online at Southern Campaign of the American Revolution (click on Pension Statements)

Black Family Tree – found on, posted by member “lugose”

Genealogy of H. Edgar and Karen Robertson Hill website – I used this website to check to see that I had correctly written down the work of Cynthia Ziegler.

Various US Census Records – collected 1995 – 2007 at several libraries,, USGenWeb sites. Census online is a good source for online sources.

Ziegler, Cynthia. Descendants of Leonard and Sarah Acre. – Made the hypothesis that Leonard was the son of John, son of William A. Acree. She is clear to point out that there is no clear evidence to support this lineage. I looked at this book at a family reunion several years ago, but do not have a copy.

Children of Leonard Acre and Sally Ballard

Posted on: November 20th, 2007

Leonard Acre

b. 1798/1799 North Carolina

d. aft 1870

m. 9 Jan 1824 Wayne Co., KY

Sally Ballard

b. Kentucky or West Virginia??

d. 24 Jun 1875 Illinois


Nancy Ann (1826-1915) m. Moses H. Denney

John Emerson (1827-1897) m1. Laura Ann Douglas, m2. Catharine Johnson

Martha (1828 – )

Joseph L. (1829 – 1897) m. Caroline Cornelius Hamilton (sister below)

Ephraim (1831 – 1901) m. Margaret Elizabeth Hamilton (sister above)

Emerson (Anderson) (1834 – 1863) m. Lydia Norman

Rach(a)el (1836 – ) m. Joshua Hubbs

Delana Jane (1838 – ) m. ? Hubbs

Ephraim Acre (22 Aug 1831 Martin Co., IN – 30 Jan 1901 Martin Co., IN) m. 26 Jan 1854 Orange Co., IN to Margaret Elizabeth (b. 11 April 1837 – 4 Jul 1898 Martin Co., IN).

They had the following children:

Martha Jane Acre (1857 – 1895) m. 1874 to John A. Doss

Julia Ellen Acre (b. 1858/9) m1. 1885/6 to Milton Young Jones, m2. 1903 to Grant Sanders, m3. 1910 Matthias Robbins

John Thomas Acre (1861 – 1952) m. 1887 to Sarah Ella Morrison

Robert Hamilton Acre (b. 1865/6) m. 1888 to Mary Elizabeth Tomlinson

Rachel Dora Acre (b. 1869/70) m. to ? Williams

Sherman Acre (1872 – 1892)

George Elsworth Acre (b. 1876 – d. Denver, CO)

Jesse Acre (b. 1877).  Did not marry.