George Washington Walton; 1st Corporal, 7th Tennessee Cavalry Regt, CSA and  Private, 12th Tennessee Cavalry Regt, CSA
Contributed by Jeffery Gatlin

George Washington “Wash” Walton was the fourth son of Harmon Butner Walton and Elizabeth “Betsy” Barkley Walton. He was born on 3 January 1825 and was reared in the vicinity of Walton Loop near Oak Grove in Tipton County, Tennessee where some of his descendants still live as of this writing in August of 1998. On 21 March 1849, Wash Walton married the first of his three wives, Miss Minerva Jane Myers. Minerva Jane Walton died in 1860 of typhoid fever and pneumonia. Wash and Minerva Jane had five children. Wash had one other son with his second wife, Elizabeth Yarbro Brown.

Family tradition says that Wash served in the Mexican War, though the author was unable to locate any official record of this service. When the War Between the States began, Wash Walton was a 36 year widower with five young children. On 15 March 1862, Wash enlisted in Company I of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, Provisional Army of Tennessee. Wash was enrolled for a three year term by Captain Lafayette Hill, and was immediately either elected or promoted to be the 1st Corporal of the company. His brother-in-law, James M. Myers, was a Sergeant in Company B.

On 15 March, Wash and the 1st Tennessee were ordered to Fort Pillow by General Beauregard, and from there they traveled to Union City, Tennessee. On the 31 March, the 1st Tennessee was attacked by surprise and retreated to a nearby bottom without firing a single shot. The attacking Federal infantry captured fourteen prisoners and twelve wagons, and occupied the Confederate encampment and the town of Union City for two hours before moving on.

From the Union City disaster, the 1st Tennessee marched through a torrential rain storm to Trenton, Tennessee. on 29 April, General Beauregard ordered them to march on Paducah, Kentucky and destroy an estimated $3,000,000 in supplies and arms stored there. They departed on 4 May from McKenzie, Tennessee and were at Paris, Tennessee by nightfall. At Paris, the 1st Tennessee learned that their mission to Paducah was known to the enemy and that Paducah had been fortified against them. Turning east from Paris, Wash and the 1st Tennessee caught up with the 5th Iowa Cavalry and defeated them after a hot pursuit at Lockridge Mill.

On 3 June 1862, Wash was at Fort Pillow, Tennessee covering the evacuation of the infantry forces garrisoning that place. By 10 June, the 1st Tennessee was at Abbeville, Mississippi where the regiment was reorganized. During the reorganization, the regimental designation was changed to 7th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, Colonel W.H. Jackson was placed in command, and Wash Walton was demoted to the rank of Private.

On 30 June, the 7th Tennessee captured a Federal wagon train near Morning Sun in Shelby County, Tennessee. From Shelby County, Wash and the 7th Tennessee retired to Senatobia for a brief respite and then moved on through Hernando, Byhalia, Abbeville and Holly Springs, Mississippi. From 25 July through late September, Wash and the 7th Tennessee were involved in skirmishes and battles in the Bolivar and Denmark, Tennessee area. In late September, they withdrew to northeast Mississippi.

On 27 September, Wash was at Ripley, Mississippi, and from there he moved with the 7th Tennessee to Pocahontas and Chewalla, Mississippi. On 3 October, the 7th Tennessee marched on Corinth, Mississippi and were involved in the battle at that place.

Wash’s career in the 7th Tennessee Cavalry was exciting but short lived. J.P.Young reports that on 8 November 1862, G.W. Walton was part of a detachment of the 7th Tennessee under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Montgomery who were charged by Federal cavalry who had gotten in their rear near Lamar, Mississippi. In the hasty and unorganized retreat the lead troopers rode their horses into a ditch. The horses stumbled and fell, and the horses and men in the rear of the rout fell on top of them. The whole detachment was captured. On 8 November 1862, Wash was sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi for parole.

Wash did not take his parole too seriously, though. By 5 April 1863 he had been captured again. When he was captured for the second time, Wash was a Private in the 1st Regiment Tennessee Partisan Rangers. This organization was only semi-legal at the time Wash was a member, though the regiment went on to great success and fame as the 12th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.

There is no record of when Wash joined the Partisan Rangers. He was captured near Dancyville, Tennessee on 5 April 1863 and sent to Memphis, arriving on 18 April 1863. From Memphis, Wash was sent to the Gratiot Street Military Prison in St.Loius, Illinois, arriving on 25 April 1863. After less than a day in St. Louis, Wash was transported to the Alton Military Prison in Alton, Illinois. Wash Walton, along with 314 other Confederate prisoners, were taken from Alton by Captain Garret, 77th Ohio Volunteers, and sent to City Point, Virginia for exchange. The men were exchanged on 28 April 1863.

Wash Walton returned to Tipton County, Tennessee where he married two more times and had another son before dying of cancer on 11 August 1896. Wash was interred at the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Tipton County.

The End