Friday, October 25, 2013

The Wheel of a Broken Gun Carriage Marks his Grave, 1862

On October 25 1862, the Memphis Daily Appeal reported the deaths of two Memphians at the battle of Perryville: Frank M. Gailor and W.A. Seay.  Gailor had been the local editor at the Avalanche in Memphis and Mr. Seay an attorney.  They both died on the battlefield October 8, 1862.

Frank M. Gailor was born about 1833 in New York.  In 1855 he was in Jackson Mississippi and married Miss Charlotte Moffett, born about 1833 in Ireland.  The 1860 Census places him in Memphis with his wife and son Thomas F. Gailor who would go on to become the Right Reverend Thomas Frank Gailor, the third bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee from 1898-1935.  During the war Frank Gailor served under his friend William H. Carroll as a Major and Adjutant Quartermaster of the 7th Regiment TN.  Charlotte Gailor died in 1887 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

The following account of Major Gailor's death was first published in the Knoxville Register and republished in the Memphis Daily Appeal, November 11, 1862.

"On the morning of the battle, Major Gailor applied to General Wood for permission to go upon the field. The general hesitated, reminding Gailor of his recklessness at Shiloh and Farmington.  It was in this last mentioned battle that Gailor found one of our batteries, Capt. Baker's with not force enough to man its guns. he dismounted and for some time supplied the connoniers with cartridges.  He led in pursuit of the Abolitionists, and narrowly escaped with his life on several occasions during the engagement.  General Wood was again prevailed upon to assent to his presence on a battle field.  he rode at once to the front of the 32d Mississippi regiment, every man of which was his personal friend.  On his appearance in front of the regiment he was greeted with loud cheers.  He turned in his saddle, and pointing to the Yankees, said: "Boys, if you will follow me, not one of those accursed invaders of the south shall live to tell the talke of the battle of Perryville."  The regiment was almost instantly ordered to advance, and its colonel was very soon severely wounded.  Gailor from thirty to forty paces in advance of the line, then led the charge, when within thirty or forty yards of the enemy, he deliberately fired at them each barrel of his repeater.  At this instant his horse staggered and fell beneath him, pierced by a minnie (sic) ball.  while he was disengaging himself, he saw adjutant McClung fall severely wounded he rushed to his assistance, and McClung, pointing to the Yankees, begged Gailor not to approach him.  He raised McClung's head, and while giving him water from his canteen, with one hand waved a white handkerchief above him.  At that very instant a ball pierced his breast, and he fell dead.

Lieut. Frank Foster, of Cheatham's staff, once of the Avalanche office, who loved Gailor with all his impassioned nature, found his friend late that night stark, stiff and cold on the battle field.  The pale moonbeams rested on Gailor's face.  Foster thought him overcome by fatigue and that he was sleeping.  He sought to arouse the slumberer in vain.  He tells us that he has been on many a battle field, and witnessed many a scene of mortal anguish, but that he never shed tears and wept as when he stood above the cold, lifeless body of Frank Gailor.  The body was removed to a little churchyard not far from the scene of strife, and at midnight was consigned to its last resting place.  The wheel of a broken gun carriage marks the grave of one of the noblest and bravest men who has fallen in defense of the South."

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