The Death of Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman

J. G. Spencer

Cowan's Battery, First Mississippi Light Artillery

Vicksburg, Mississippi, November 25th, 1907, I have this day marked the place where General Lloyd Tilghman was killed in the battle of Champion Hill, May 16th, 1863, by driving an iron pipe into the ground. Said pipe was driven on the ridge first west of the one on which the old Coker House stands and about fifty feet north of the center line of the Raymond Road. I know that the location made is accurate for the following reasons, namely: At the time of the battle I was a private in Capt. Cowan's batter (G, First Mississippi Light Artillery). During the forenoon of the day of the battle, my battery had been in position on the Coker House ridge, but not engaged. About 2 or 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon it was ordered to fall back to the next ridge to the west, the first section went into position on the north side of the road. In taking the new position we were under fire of the Union Sharpshooters and by the time our guns were placed, a Union Battery went into position on the Coker House ridge. General Tilghman went to the north side of the road, probably not more than one hundred feet from the gun that stood first on the north of the road, and first to the left of my gun. I saw him when he fell mortally wounded by a shot from one of the enemy's guns, immediately after he had sighted the said gun of my battery that stood first north of the road and first at the left of my gun.

As heretofore stated, I was probably not more than one hundred feet from the General at the time, and today I had no difficulty in locating the place where he was mortally wounded. The pipe that marks the place where the General fell was driven by me in the presence and with the concurrence of Mr. Sid Thomas, Mr. Z. Wardlaw, Capt. W. T. Ratliff and Capt. William T. Rigby. Mr. Wardlaw said to us while on the ground together that the statement made in his letter of October 23, 1907 to Capt. Ratliff was from common report and not from personal knowledge.

Signed by me in triplicate in the office of the Park Commission this 25th day of November, 1907.

J. G. Spencer
Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Photograph taken at the dedication of the Lloyd Tilghman Monument on May 18, 1909. Pictured left to right: the two men on the far left are thought to be Sid Thomas and W. M. Robb from Edwards; florist (woman), from Vicksburg; Ike Caston (colored man standing behind the florist), property owner; Tilghman brothers lawyer and banker from New York standing behind Tilghman who is kneeling to the left of the stone; Oswald Tilghman, nephew of the general, standing to the right of the stone; William Rigby, superintendent of the Vicksburg National Military Park; the other Tilghman brother kneeling; Captain William T. Ratliff, third from right; J. W. Ratliff, second from right; and Henry Howard Kitson, famous sculptor from Boston, on the end.
                                                                                                                                              Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Historical sources: Confederate Veteran, Sept. 1910, and a 1907 document presented to the Jackson Civil War Roundtable by Mrs. Louise Gervin Windham, whose family purchased the property in 1932. Author, J. G. Spencer, was a private with Cowan's Battery, First Mississippi Light Artillery, in the Battle of Champion Hill. Most likely Spencer was one of the men in the 1907 dedication photograph but he was not identified at the time. Ownership of the Coker House is presently being transferred from the Jackson Civil War Roundtable to the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History. The historic property was donated to the Jackson Roundtable in 1985 by Cal-Maine Foods, Fred Adams, president.


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