Dallas, Tex., July 11, 1920.
To the Commander and Comrades of the Sterling Price Camp, No. 31, U. C. V.: We, the committee appointed to obtain the war record of Comrade W. R. McEntire, who passed away on June 22, 1920, submit the following report:
Comrade William Randolph McEntire, only son of Bevil and Elizabeth Wells McEntire, was born on January 6, 1839, in Buncombe County, N. C. His youth was spent in North Carolina under the guardianship of his paternal grandmother, Rilla Postom McEntire.
In 1858, at the age of nineteen, he went to Atlanta, Ga., joining his uncle, Chambers McEntire, under whom he learned his first lesson in business life, that of a wholesale grocery merchant.
On March 12, 1861, he was married to Miss Catherine Daniall, of Fulton County, Ga. Of this union a daughter was born. Both wife and child died in 1863.
Descended from a long line of Scotch Revolutionary ancestors, the McEntires, McKenziers, Postoms, Wellses, and Phillipses, naturally his dormant fighting instincts were easily aroused when the subject of secession became so generally discussed in the South, for
Between a man of peace and war."
Military Record of W. R. McEntire, Compiled by His War Comrade, David Crawford Legg, Trinidad, Tex.
William Randolph McEntire enlisted in Company A, 9th Artillery Battalion of Georgia Volunteers, on February 27, 1862, and was elected junior second lieutenant at Camp Kirkpatrick on May 15, 1862, Maj A. Leydon commanded the battalion of six companies, and it was known as the "Leydon Artillery." After drilling and securing cannons and its equipment, the battalion tendered its services to the Confederate government instead of the State of Georgia; consequently there was considerable delay in going into the service.
At length the battalion was sent to Abingdon, Va., and assigned to the command of Gen. Humphrey Marshall. Shortly after this it was ordered to join General Bragg's army in Northeast Kentucky, going by dirt road through the mountains of West Virginia and East Kentucky to the bluegrass region. After General Bragg fought the enemy at Perryville, he decided to retreat to Middle Tennessee, and the 9th Georgia Battalion was returned to Virginia and placed in camp at Wytheville for the purpose of repelling enemy raids on the salt wells at Saltville and the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.
In the spring of 1863 the command was sent to East Tennessee, operating between Bristol and Knoxville. Its task was to keep out raiders from Kentucky and the mountains of East Tennessee, where there were many Union men. At Knoxville, in March, 1863, a Federal cavalry raid under General Saunders was successfully repulsed by the artillery fire of Leydon's men. Later in the summer of 1863 the battalion was sent again to Bragg's army, Polk's Corps, which was crossing the Tennessee River west of Chattanooga. This was just before the battle of Chickamuga.
About this time occurred the incident of the capture of Andrew's raiders and the famous engine, the "General," William Fuller, engineer. Only a part of Company A was with Lieutenant McEntire at the time of this event, which has since become of so much interest in the history of the war.
It being reported the General Burnside with a large force was moving on East Tennessee through Kentucky, Company A (McEntire's) of the battalion was sent to Cumberland Gap to help check this move. This gap in the mountains was very easily defended by a small force. Gen. J. A. Frazier was in command with two regiments of infantry and a four-gun battery. About the 4th of September Burnside appeared in our rear on the road to Knoxville with a small force of cavalry and artillery. He had turned our position by going through Powell's Gap a few miles to the west. Our situation was not desperate. We had fourteen pieces of artillery in position on the mountain and plenty of ammunition.
Our officers and men, save General Frazier, were not alarmed. General Frazier called a council of war and suggested surrendering. The other officers were opposed to this. However, the next day, flags of truce began to pass between the generals. At this time Lieutenant McEntire, in command of Captain Barner having been killed, had a section of artillery on our extreme left. The enemy brought up there guns and put them in position in Lieutenant McEntire's front, thus placing him in danger of capture or destruction. General Frazier gave no hope of relief. Lieutenant McEntire could stand the situation no longer, so he gave the command to open fire, pointing the first gun himself. His aim was so accurate that it came near dismounting one of the enemy's guns; so the Federals did not return the fire, but put their guns in a place of safety, for they were not ready to fight. General Frazier ordered Lieutenant McEntire under arrest, but this order was not executed. Instead, the next day, September 7, 1863, General Frazier surrendered, and LIeutenant McEntire, aided by three of his men, spiked his guns and pushed them over the bluff.
This ended Lieutenat McEntire's military career. On September 7, 1863, being a Mason, he was permitted to return to his home in Atlanta, Ga. From Atlanta he went without escort to the officer's prison camp on Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, Ohio.
LIeutenant McEntire was a born soldier, manly in form, of vigorous health, and of such firm nervous system the nothing could disturb his equilibrium. Very early in his training he developed a great aptitude for mastering military science and practice. His morals were good; he never indulged in drinking or gambling; in fact, he had no camp vices. He was industrious and gave his whole time and attention to his duties as an officer.
After spending twenty-one months in prison, on June 12, 1865, Lieutenant McEntire was permitted to leave Johnson's Island. Returning to Atlanta, he collected the remains of his scattered fortune and again became engaged in the wholesale grocery business. On November 23, 1865, he was married to Miss Missie Carmelar Burnett, of Clark County, Ga. Of this union four children were born: Mrs. Leslie Battle Clark, of Dallas, Tex.; R. B. McEntire, of Colorado, Tex.; Emma Catherine McEntire (died in infancy); George Herbert McEntire, of Sterling City, Tex. He is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.
From Atlanta he removed to Rome, Ga., in 1868, continuing in the wholesale grocery business, adding a large flour and grist mill to his enterprises. In 1873 he came to Texas, locating in Dallas, representing several large Eastern cotton spinners in the Western cotton market, which he practically controlled for several years. In 1880 he became interested in Western land and cattle, having purchased the "U" ranch in Tom Green County (now Sterling County), in which business he was actively engaged up to the time of his death. He also continued active in the banking business in Dallas, his last service being as director in the Security Bank.
Comrade McEntire was always vitally interested in the South, its possibilities and wonderful development. But as "old age crept on apace" he loved to dwell in retrospect on the Dixieland of his youth. Keeping close touch with members of his company led to a visit to Atlanta in 1898, when on July 22 he called the remnants of his command together, and seventeen again sat at a dinner together after a seperation of thirty-five years. This reunion led to a permanent reorganization of Company A known as the "Survivors' Association," which met annually up until 1918, the last trip the Lieutenant was able to make to his old home. It was also his custom to entertain the daughters of his war comrades each year with picnics and dinners. One summer he took five of the young ladies in a special car through the mountain regions of Virginia and Tennessee, giving them a months vacation. One of the most valued possessions in the home is an oil painting of "The Flags of the Confederacy," presented by "Our Girls." as he and his wife affectionately termed them. In recognition of his faithful and enthusiastic interest and his untiring efforts to keep alive the spirit of the sixties, Lieutenant McEntire was on May 1, 1907, appointed a member of the staff of Maj. Gen. Andrew J. West, ranking as Lieutenant Colonel, assigned as Assistant Adjutant General of the Georgia Division, U. C. V.
On Tuesday morning, June 22, 1920, surrounded by the members of his family,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there."
With glorious visions of his future state."
The foregoing memorial was adopted by Sterling Price Camp, No. 31, U. C. V., July 11, 1920.
George W. Blair, Adjutant.
SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, October, 1920.
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