Last Rebel to Concede Gets His Due

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 20, 2009 | Go to article overview

Last Rebel to Concede Gets His Due


Byline: Linda Bartlett, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Brig. Gen. John Crawford Vaughn of East Tennessee was the last Confederate general to surrender to Union Forces east of the Mississippi River in the main theater

of the Civil War. Vaughn led the 3rd Tennessee Regiment into battle on June 8, 1861. He did not surrender until May 10, 1865.

Like the fictional Forrest Gump, Vaughn seemed to be everywhere the action was, said Retired Army Col. Charles Larry Gordon, author of The Last Confederate General: John C. Vaughn and His East Tennessee Cavalry, published in March. Col. Gordon recently presented his book at the Centreville Public Library to the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, a club that shares knowledge of the Civil War.

Col. Gordon was born and raised in Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University and spent 26 years on active duty, specializing in tactical and strategic communications and foreign intelligence. He has been a longtime student of the Civil War and for the past 14 years has been a volunteer interpretive guide at Manassas National Battlefield Park. He became interested in Vaughn when asked a question about him by a descendent of the Civil War general.

Vaughn grew up in Madisonville, Tenn. In his youth, he was ambitious and had a great sense of adventure. He had no military training or experience, yet he joined the Army during the 1846-48 Mexican-American War. He then tried his luck at the California gold rush. When he did not strike it rich, he returned to his beloved East Tennessee with visions of creating a prosperous and commercialized agricultural economy. He opened several local businesses, became a lawyer, participated in local politics and was elected sheriff.

When the Civil War erupted, Vaughn aligned himself with the agricultural South and never looked back, Col. Gordon says. Vaughn was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1860 and witnessed the Rebel attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. His success in June in a battle near Romney, Va. (now West Virginia) attracted the attention of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In July 1861, he was part of the Confederate victory in the first major land battle of the war known as First Bull Run or First Manassas. …

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