Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Cousin of Turner Ashby: Henry Marshall Ashby

Gen Henry Marshall Ashby

Henry Marshall Ashby

       Henry Marshall Ashby was born in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1836. Although, he attended the College of William and Mary, he failed to graduate, but became a merchant in Chattanooga, Tennessee until the Civil War began. 
       Henry entered Confederate service in early July of 1861. He organized a company of cavalry and became a captain. That company was a part of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. It eventually became part of the 2nd Tennessee Regiment. Henry Ashby became colonel of the 2nd on May 24, 1862. He was wounded in the foot on one of his raids into Kentucky in 1862. 
       His regiment served under Brigadier General John Pegram in Forrest's Cavalry Division for most of the early part of the war. Pegram's Brigade managed to capture a Federal wagon train during the fighting around Murfreesboro. He would also see action at the Battle of Chickamauga. 
       His command was then assigned to Joe Wheeler's Cavalry Corps. Although Ashby commanded four regiments, a position for higher rank, he would never be promoted to brigadier general. He would end his military career as a Confederate colonel. He would continue to face Sherman for the remainder of the war. He was wounded again at Monroe's Crossroads. He commanded a division near the end of the war, although he was only a colonel. Joseph Wheeler claimed that Ashby and two other colonels under his command had been promoted to brigadier general before the war ended, but the commissions never arrived. 
       Following the war, Ashby moved to New York City briefly. He soon returned to Knoxville, Tennessee and began practicing law. Former Major Eldad Cicero Camp of the 142nd Ohio Infantry had accused Ashby of mistreating Federal prisoners during the war. They met on Gay Street in 1868, Ashby had a cane and Camp had an umbrella, a brief fight erupted. The following day, the two men met again at Camp's law office (on the corner of present day Walnut and Main). Again Ashby wielded his cane (some say a derringer), Camp drew a pistol and killed the Confederate Colonel. 

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Eldad Cicero Camp

       Although Camp was called a murderer, he was never prosecuted. Numerous Unionists during the war paid his bail. He would never serve a day for this dastardly deed. Of course Camp would eventually be relieved of his job as district attorney by President Ulysses Grant because he was enriching himself on legal fees. 

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Colonel Henry Marshall Ashby's grave

       In the meantime, Colonel Ashby was buried in Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee. He was either 31 or 32 years old. He still rests there today.