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Private Mark Reeves

Private Mark Reeves
Phillips Legion Infantry, Company M

Born November 9th, 1834, Mark Reeves grew up in Cobb and Milton counties near Marietta, Georgia. Mark's father, Leroy Reeves, is believed to have migrated from South Carolina to DeKalb County where he successfully drew a 40 acre lot in the 1832 Georgia Gold Lottery in what became Cass County. Mark married Tempa Lurena Bell (November 1, 1832 - July 26, 1871), and after her death he married Nancy Emlie Reid (December 12, 1840 - December 17, 1906) on August 28, 1872. Little else is known of Mark's early years, but at the age of 28 he joined Infantry Company M of the Phillips Legion in April of 1862.

Company M was one of three new companies added to the Legion's Infantry Battalion in early 1862. The three new companies (designated L, M & O) journeyed to Hardeeville, SC to join the Legion and spent several months training and guarding the Charleston & Savannah Railroad. In late July of 1862 the Legion was made part of a brigade under General Thomas F Drayton and ordered to join General Robert E Lee's Army near Richmond, Virginia.

Shortly after mustering into service, Mark contracted hepatitis and heart disease which debilitated him considerably. He was hospitalized for some time but rejoined his comrades rather than taking a discharge. Because of his physical condition, Mark was unable to drill regularly or perform hard duty. Instead he served as an assistant of sorts to the officers. Nonetheless, Mark volunteered to go into battle with his comrades on frequent occasions .

Second Lt Benjamin Judson Hamby had this to say when Mark applied for a veteran's pension after the war..........

"That while in Virginia in 1862, he contracted some disease of the liver and heart that he was required to stay in the hospital for some time. Before going into the service he was a healthy, strong man. He was a good, brave soldier and did as efficient service as any man of his rank."

As to why he continued in service until 1865, Hamby says that after Mark came out of the hospital "he was favored in every way officers could favor a private. He was allowed to cook for and stay with the officers, and do such light service as he could do and was never compelled to drill after his stay in the hospital. He was not made to go into any fight afterwards, but often voluntarily and of his own accord would go into battle and do valiant service as any man could do under the same circumstances. It was simply his patriotism that called him into these last battles. He was really not able to do such service. After each battle was over, in which he was engaged, he was utterly exhausted and broken down and (would) lie in his tent for several days."

"I (Hamby) am not drawing any pension and (am) able to live without it and under the law am not entitled, but allow me to say that if there is any man who was in the Confederate army entitled to pension, it is M Reeves."

His Compiled Service Record shows him present on surviving muster rolls done July 1, 1862, December 3, 1862, January 14, 1863, October 5, 1864, December 13, 1864 and January 30, 1865. The last record found for him (other than his entry on the January 1865 roll) is a series of clothing receipts dated November 1864. Mark's name is not found in the Appomattox Parole Records, but according to certified records by a Legion officer, Mark served throughout the war. It is probable that Mark was one of the many soldiers who became separated from their commands in the chaotic retreat to Appomattox and simply "went home".

An interesting side note about Mark Reeves involved his daughter Mary Matilda, Mary was born in early January of 1863 while Mark was in service. When Mary was not quite two years old Sherman's Army entered Georgia and began the Atlanta campaign. One day little Mary was in her front yard with her Aunt near the Marietta Camp Ground on Roswell Road. Yankee soldiers rode by and one stopped and rode his horse into the yard. The soldier leaned down and scooped little Mary up into his saddle. The family was terrified that the soldier would ride off with the child, but the soldier just said, "God Bless your little soul". Then he said, "I wish I had something to give you", and found a comb among his possession and gave it to her.

Mary lived to be over one hundred years old, passing away in 1968.

After the war, Mark returned to farming in his native Georgia. He participated in Confederate Veteran's reunions and had his picture taken with a group of veterans at a reunion held in Alpharetta in 1913. Mark passed away five years later in 1918 and is buried at New Providence Church Cemetery near Tempa and Nancy.

Photo courtesy of Mr Richard Reeves of Boulder, Co

Written by:Kurt Graham