Eyewitness to Shooting of Colonel Henderson

from the research of Joey Chessor

james-chessor-smallJames William Chessor was a pioneer who moved to Hickman County around 1810.  In 1873, he recorded in Hickman County the account below about the death of Colonel James Henderson for whom Henderson Co. was named.

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State of Tennessee

Hickman County

This day personally appeared before me J. D. Murphree County Court Clerk for said county, James Chesser an applicant for pension under Act of Feb 14th 1871 No. 22502 who made oath in due form of law that he was mustered into the U.S. Militia Service in Capt Hills Company at Warren Courthouse in Warren County, Tennessee in the year 18__ and marched from there to Nashville, Tennessee, where we took boat and went to New Orleans. When we got to New Oreleans, Capt Hills Company was put in Col Henderson’s Regiment. Maj Smithson(?) was the Maj of the regiment did not get there in time to be in the fight of the 23rd of December, but was in the fight on the 8th of January. During the fight there was a fence in the way of our cannon. Col Henderson said he would take a company of his men and move it, and was shot down by the enemy while in the act – was shot through the neck – died that night. I loaded and shot for an hour and a half by the watch. – John Surrat was second man from me. He was wounded in the head by a ball. A few days after the battle, John Surrat was discharged, he was over age. He had a brother in our company, James Surrat, who was sick. John concluded to stay and wait on him and proffered to take any man’s place for the balance of his time provided he would pay him for his Service. I asked him what he would charge me to take my place, he said he would take it for $30 and my wages, I agreed to give it. He took my place and I started home. The army was disbanded in a few days after I left. John Surrat did not see any active service after he took my place, and only remained a few days after I left. I paid him $30 for his service when he got home. Peace was really made at the time he took my place

James Chessor

Sworn to and subscribed before me this Jan 21st 1873

J. D. Murphree clk of County Court


  1. Angela Hawkins on June 23, 2016 at 9:13 pm said:

    I am a descendant of the Smithson mentioned. So glad to come upon this story and letter to add to our archives, thank you! Mrs Angela Rochelle Smithson Hawkins

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