Sgt. Junius H. Farrar, 2nd AR Cavalry Company F, Union Army
Edited and Submitted by descendent, Floyd L. Farrar, Sons of Union Veterans
Secretary, Historian, and Treasurer
Sedgwick-Granger Camp 17, Santa Ana Tustin CA
My great-great grandfather Junius was born 12 Feb. 1823, in North Carolina. His father, John Howard “Jack” Farrar, a confirmed veteran of the War of 1812 in the 10th Regiment of the US Infantry, moved to Lincoln/Bedford Counties of Tennessee around 1830-1834. Ultimately he went to Benton County, Arkansas without his wife where he passed away in 1865.
Grandfather Junius was married to Catherine Nail on July 7th 1843, at the residence of Ben Hubbard in Benton County, Arkansas by pastor Jimmie Cowan. They had ten children between 1843 and 1863, eight boys and two girls, the eighth child was Clark Wallace Farrar, my great grandfather, born in 1857 in Benton County AR. Junius and brother Albert Galitin (spelling on middle name is questionable) migrated to Benton County, AR around 1854. According to general land records, Junius registered 40 acres on Nov. 15, 1854 and again on February 1, 1860, he registered 40 more acres next to his brother Albert’s section. Then again on July 1, 1861, I find him registering 40 more acres near the same section in and around Elm Springs AR.
According to his testimony taken on January 10th 1873, when he filed a claim against the US government of his farm being foraged by Union forces under a General Blunt. He states that he had a 355-acre farm, seventy of which was under cultivation, at Elm Springs, ten miles south of Bentonville, Arkansas. From his own words it was around three miles east of Elm Springs.
Ironically from his testimony, Junius stated that he tried to enlist in the Union Army on April 1st 1863 in Fayetteville but the 1st AR Cavalry surgeon turned him down on account of an unstated disability. He accompanied the command in their retreat to Springfield, MO as the 2nd AR Cavalry was being formed there. He applied again and was successful at enlisting. Grandfather Junius including his two sons, John and Nicholas, were inducted at Fayetteville AR. On July 12, 1863, Junius at age 40 was sworn in as a Sergeant in Company F, 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, Union Army.
The deposition taken in his claim, including the words of his wife Cassie, sons John, and Nicholas about the Union army’s foraging of his farm before joining the army, is over twenty-eight pages of hand written material. It is the stuff of documentaries on the History Channel! I wondered why the entire document was hand written. It finally dawned on me that in 1873 in rural Arkansas; stenographers were in short supply (Pitman shorthand was invented in 1837 but not widely used, and the commonly used Gregg shorthand was invented in 1888) and tape recorders were not invented yet. Depositions and testimonies were done in long hand and written with flourishing penmanship.
As I have learned from his own words, life as a civilian farmer in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas during the War of the Rebellion, especially if you were a unionist, were incredibly difficult and very stressful. Man made, life-threatening events were commonplace. I will try to hit only the highlights of his testimony before the claims commissioner in January of 1873.
The following is a very brief outline of over thirty hand-written pages of Junius’ claim filed for restitution by Union forces foraging his farm before he enlisted in the Army:
Junius learns in the fall of 1862, that a rebel company commander by the name of Brown wants to find him and hang him for being a union sympathizer. His brother in law, (not named by Junius, but my investigation shows most likely it was James Garrett, wife Cassie’s sister Elizabeth’s husband …1860 Census Benton County AR resident or maybe Charlie Nail, Cassie’s brother, rebel & half Cherokee Indian) and “a rebel” (his words) said that the only way to save his life, as he had no chance to escape this fellow, was to join a group of confederate home guard. He did this and was placed into a loose knit militia group. He says that they “armed themselves.” He states emphatically that he did it to save his life and was not sworn in or had any allegiance to the south. They were stationed “in the woods” for less than two weeks and were detailed to keep people and confederate troops from eating fruit from the farm trees. He escapes and returns home.
He states that from the spring of 1862, onward his farm was occasionally raided and robbed by Cherokees, Confederates, and then Union forces. He describes loosing crops in the fields, livestock, mules, and at least four head of horses including their tack. He said his life and the lives of his family were in constant danger. They lived with threats constantly of being killed or maimed by one side or another. He describes being robbed repeatedly by the Arkansas rebel home guard. Then the robbers cursed him for being a “damned old man” and not having anything more of value to steal! Junius further describes being robbed and threatened by Bushwhackers on a trip home from Fayetteville in March of 1863. (The above paragraph was much more detailed than I have described it.)
After he went into the army and the Union forces seemed in control his family lived in some kind of peace and “raised a little stuff” (his words). Then in the fall of 1864, his family was robbed once again and the house was burned, all on account of him being a “union man.” The family then left for Green County MO where I assume they stayed with friends or relatives. It was well known that granddad and his sons were Union Soldiers and the southern factions did not like this.
Junius clearly describes his farm being foraged by Union forces commanded by General Blunt.* He tells of exactly what was taken and how many wagon loads left his farm. He calculated closely how much it cost too. Junius was taking four mules to town to sell. Union soldiers accosted him on the road and forced him to relinquish the stock, stole his bridle and saddle, then let him go under death threats! He said he was glad to get away with his life.
He then recounts how he saw a Col. Hart riding HIS mule in town and told him of it. The Union officer said he purchased it from the Quartermaster legitimately. He was indignant about this (my words) and graphically described the mules stolen from him to the officer and in effect was brushed aside. Junius told the interviewer in no uncertain terms that the fine brown mule, fifteen hands high was worth at least one hundred and fifty dollars, “green backs.” (This figures prominently in his monetary settlement from the US Government)
During his army service I found he had one bout with dysentery from Feb. 25 of 1865 thru March 1st. He was honorably discharged and mustered out at Memphis TN on Aug. 20, 1865. As best I can tell Junius, and his two sons walked back his family in Green County, Missouri. Where they had fled after his family house on the farm was burned.
* General James Gillpatrick BLUNT Born July 21 1826, Trenton ME Died July 27 1881, Washington DC
Pre-War Profession Sailor, doctor. Post War Career Doctor, claims agent.
War Service: July 1861 recruited the "Kansas Brigade" in which he commanded a cavalry regiment, April 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded Dept. of Kansas, Old Fort Wayne, commanded 1st Div/Army of the Frontier, Prairie Grove, November 1862 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers, dismissed from command after his wagon train was attacked by guerillas, sent to recruiting duty, opposed Sterling Price’s Missouri raid, commanded Districts in Arkansas and Kansas.
His claim against the US Government was for $710.32 and filed in early 1873. It was settled December 14, 1874 for $160.00, and a check was issued in March of 1875. Even with many pages of testimony they said without direct witnesses, the stolen mule was the only thing they would allow.
He tells of witnesses who lived near him but all had been killed, vanished, or moved to the western territories, and he had no addresses for them. Only one friend (I could not make out his name) from the 48th MO Infantry Union Army testified in his behalf and confirmed his mule story.
In further hand written addendums wife Cassie, sons John and Nicholas describe in greater detail the foraging of the farm by General Blunt’s men.
The deposition sworn on March 28, 1873 in Bentonville AR
There were at least ten more pages of hand written history of Junius’ later years describing his health and medical problems. Then dealing with the government on filing claims for medical treatment expenses. He lost a left eye in the late 1880s due to an ulcerated infection, reason not given. He had major kidney and urinary tract infections also about this time. The government treated his problems but he had trouble with the claims.
It seems as if the government bureaucracy of 1870s and 1890s was not much different than it is today.
Junius passed away 24 June 1899 in Benton County AR and was buried in Elm Springs Cemetery, Washington County Arkansas. His wife Cassie passed away in 1900 and is buried there also.
I have not been able to get a photo of him or the grave yet.
NOTE: I wish to thank my 3rd Cousin Patsy O’Gilvy, who resides in Orange CA, for providing me with stacks of information, which she obtained thru the National Archives and various other sources. Most all of the story is exactly as grandfather described it, I have only added a bit here and there to make it more readable.
September 25, 2005