The Deal Brothers Enlist (Page 2)

  Andrew Marcus Deal, born in June, 1832 in Morgan County, Indiana, was almost 30 years old when he enrolled with his brother Martin Van Buren Deal on January 16, 1862, at Iola, Kansas, in Captain Henry Flesher's Company E, 9th Regiment of Kansas Volunteers. Margaret C. Myers Deal, wife of Andrew, stated later that Andrew enlisted out of patriotism; Martin may have also. The brothers enlisted for three years and were mustered in as privates the same day.

  Two articles were published in The Humboldt Union newspaper in October and November, 1949, about this family. A local history column called "Neosho Valley Facts and Legends" was written by Audrey Z. McGrew, who interviewed Andrew's son, Paris Deal. Paris was 4 years old when his father went to war, but he clearly recalled his father leaving. Paris remembered that his father paused after walking a short distance and turned for what might be his last view of his family, who were standing framed in the door of their homestead. Paris remembered the loving expression on his father's face and shared it in the interview, conducted when he was 88 years old and living with a niece and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Moore.

Martin's Career is Cut Short

  Martin Deal was 21 years old when he enlisted, and was 5ft 10 1/2 inches tall, with dark hair and eyes. He listed his occupation as farmer. Company E was in winter quarters, and in those close conditions he contracted measles. Having barely settled in to army life, Martin died on March 11 1862 of "Disease" in the hospital at Iola, Kansas. This same measles outbreak qualified Martin's brother-in-law, George Myers, for disability and forced his discharge from the service.

  Martin's military file includes both an "Inventory of Effects" and a "Final Statement of Deceased Soldier." Both documents are signed by Captain Henry Flesher, who stated he released Martin's effects to his family on June 27, 1863 at Coldwater, Kansas. Did Captain Flesher actually sign this? As I'll discuss shortly, he had died a few days before, on June 17, 1863.

Company E Joins the Western Campaign

  Company E of the 9th Kansas became a cavalry unit at the time of Andrew and Martin's enlistment. The companies of the 9th Kansas seldom remained together. Company E joined others in what was called the Locust Grove affair in Cherokee Nation. The company was among those of the 9th that pursued and engaged the forces of Confederate General John Coffey for eight days and nights. The company joined Brigadier General James G. Blunt's campaign in Missouri and Arkansas from August to December, fighting at Newtonia, Missouri; Crane Hill, Missouri; and Prairie Grove, Arkansas. When not pursuing the enemy, Company E escorted paymasters and supply trains to Fort Scott. They scouted, cleared areas of refugees, and convoyed refugee wagons through hostile country. On February 4, 1863, Private Ed Corman wrote home to his family that it was a popular belief that the war would be over by the following June.

  In 1863, Department of Kansas Commander Brigadier James Blunt ordered the destruction or expulsion of all persons from southwest Missouri, both male and female, who were suspected of aiding the enemy. A mass exodus of families from the region began; however, many people were summarily executed. One letter from the Bender collection, written November 20, 1863 in Carlton, Kentucky, was signed merely "Refugee" and written to an unknown Amanda. The writer described a desire to return to "our loved ole Missouri and meet and live with our dear old neighbors again in peace." This same writer described a letter to someone named Bina from Bettie Glenn that said a great many farms had been burned in the writer's former neighborhood. Even so, Refugee expressed the family's hope of returning as soon as possible to "the land of trouble."

  One young Missourian and Southern sympathizer, 23-year-old Jim Vaughn, bravely faced execution per General Blunt's order and eloquently proclaimed his innocence. His death became a rallying cry for the Bushwhackers; this would have dire consequences for Private Andrew Marcus Deal and others of his company.