Meanwhile, investigations by the Union army continued, seeking to determine if any so-called “atrocities” had been committed by Confederate forces following the battle at Milliken’s Bend. Rumors had been rife all throughout the summer, and as fall began, word began to drift back to Union headquarters that indeed, two white officers from the Colored Troops that fought at Milliken’s Bend had been executed at Monroe, Louisiana. Reports from Maj. John G. Davis, Gen. Mortimer Leggett, and Col. Hermann Lieb had all been forwarded to Vicksburg. Another report from Provost Marshal Kent provided names of the perpetrators – Maj. M.W. Sims and Lt. Jesse Sparks, both of Hebert’s staff.
Sparks apparently was captured, but it is unclear what his role was in any executions, and he must have spent a relatively short time in Union custody.
With Sims, however, it was a different story. By the time he returned to Vicksburg in the early fall, ready to be exchanged, the report from Provost Marshal Kent had worked its way to Union headquarters. Sims was thrown in the Vicksburg jail, where he remained for some time. Eventually, he was sent north to Memphis aboard a steamship. It was said he would be put to death.
Now, what was interesting to me yesterday was Cousin Milton Walker Sims's role in the battle at Milliken's Bend as written about in 2013 by Linda Barnickel.
I knew I had to check out Lieut. Sparks, but first things first. I kept Jesse Sparks in the back of my mind.
Turns out, Jesse was the grandson of the Revolutionary William Sparks, a western North Carolina cousin of mine who settled in Nacodoches, Texas.
I noticed a couple of years ago that a Rudisill cousin and a Sparks cousin, no kin to each other, as far as I know, were riding in the same police car, partners, in Nacodoches.
What is this with Nacodoches?