Civil War Travels With Ms. Rebelle
Ms. Rebelle and her sister decided to take a "Thelma and Louise" road trip together. We didn't get into as much trouble as Thelma and Louise but we had a great time driving through our beautiful West in a little sporty red car. We saw several hitchhiking young men, but none looked like Brad Pitt so we passed them by.
Now I know you are all saying what does the West have to do with the Civil War? But, as I’ve written before, I don’t go anywhere without checking out the Civil War aspect of the area. We landed in Phoenix, AZ which is pretty close to Pichaco Peak, the only Civil War battle in AZ, but due to time constraints and time differences, we weren’t able to get there. But I was close! I did talk my sister into stopping at Citizens Cemetery in Prescott, AZ on the way to Sedona. She’s not into the Civil War, or cemeteries as her sister is, but she agreed to stop with me long enough to put some flags on graves of the Civil War Veterans there. My list of graves in Prescott had three on it – one Confederate, and two Union Veterans. When we drove into the cemetery, we met a gentleman there who likes to volunteer taking care of the cemetery. He showed us that there were lots of Civil War Veterans buried there. Who would have thought there would be so many in Arizona!
My first objective was to find the grave of Brevet Union General William Henry Harrison McCall. He’s listed as a Lt. Colonel on his stone with the 200th Pennsylvania Infantry. Now comes the interesting part. McCall’s unit was out of Harrisburg, PA, and he was on the staff of General John F. Hartranft, commander of the Washington Arsenal Penitentiary during the Civil War. Hartranft and his staff were responsible for the Booth Conspiracy trial prisoners - a Booth connection way out in AZ. McCall was there when the conspirators Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt were all hung on July 7, 1865. He’s standing behind General Hartranft who is reading the death sentence at the hanging.
McCall was born in 1841 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 20 years of age, he was mustered into the Union Army as a Sergeant of Company D, 5th PA Reserve Infantry. On September 3, 1864, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel in the 200th PA Infantry. In August, 1865 he was brevetted to Brigadier General for his bravery, coolness, and skill at Fort Stedman in the Siege of Petersburg, VA. McCall led sort of a colorful life after the Civil War. He stayed in the Army for a time and settled in Kansas. He rode with General Sheridan with Forsyth’s Scouts against the hostile Indians. He fought in the battle of Beecher Island near Wray, Colorado and received a bullet wound to the neck. After Forsyth’s Scouts were disbanded, McCall settled in Hays City, Kansas and opened a saloon and a brothel. McCall also had connections to Virgil Earp at Fort Whipple, AZ. The 1880 census taken in Prescott, AZ lists McCall living next door to Doc Holliday of the OK Corral fame in Tombstone, AZ. He died at the young age of 43 on June 13, 1883.
One of several Confederates in the cemetery was lst LT., Brevet Colonel, Hiram Alfred Owen of the 7th GA Infantry, Co. A. He was born in 1842 and died July 7, 1909. After the war, he was known as Chloride Jack and was a miner in AZ Territory.
Major Crawley P. Dake, 5th Michigan Cavalry, fought under General Custer and was at the battle of Gettysburg. He was mustered in as a Captain and later promoted to Major. Dake fought in more than 20 battles, was wounded in 1864, and returned to Michigan. After the war, Dake became a tax collector with the Internal Revenue Service for Southeastern Michigan. In 1877 he was appointed a Deputy U.S. Marshall for Eastern Michigan. In 1878 he was appointed the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall for the Arizona Territory with his headquarters in Prescott. Dake has connections to the Earps as well. He appointed Virgil Earp as Deputy Marshall for the town of Tombstone when lawlessness broke out there. After Virgil was ambushed and wounded, Dake then appointed Wyatt Earp as Marshall. He also had mining interests in AZ. On April 9, 1890 he died of complications from his old Civil War wound. With the help of our cemetery guide, my sister and I found Civil War veterans’ graves from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. He showed us the grave of Farrell Tiernan, Pvt., Co. E, 6th California Infantry. In front of his grave was a bundle of three pieces of wood tied together. He told us the story that Tiernan was sent out to find wood, didn’t find any, and was court-martialed. He came back after more than a year with some wood but was refused entrance back in the Army. Our cemetery guide put the bundle of wood there in tribute to Tiernan.
The West is a photographer’s dream come true. We drove through Sedona, Grand Canyon, Page (for the slot canyon, Antelope Canyon), Monument Valley, The Arches, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Zion National Park, and ended up in San Diego. It was quite a trip and always a thrill to find something Civil War-related.