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Alexander Frazier

Alexander Davidson Frazier (December 17, 1835 - December 8, 1908) served as a 2nd lieutenant in Company B, 13th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry.

Alexander Davidson Frazier.png
2Lt Alexander D. Frazier, ca. 1865.

Personal life

Alexander Frazier was born December 17, 1835 in Stoney Creek, Tennessee.[1] He married first Melly Matilda Hinkle (1842-1881) with whom he had at least four children.[2] He married second Manerva Edna Finney (1857-1922) with whom he had at least one child.

Bridge Burner

According to the regimental history, Frazier voted against secession in the elections held on February 9, 1861 and June 8, 1861. When the Confederate conscript act was passed, he "refused to accept a detail, or to either work or fight for the Confederate Government."[3] Instead, he worked as a scout in Holston Mountain, mostly near his home, going there "at intervals to see his wife and child and procure a change of clothing."[4]

Frazier was an active participant in the bridge burnings in 1861, and was in the fight at Taylor's Ford after the destruction of the bridge across the Holston River at Union Depot. He was captured and "easily" escaped, but rebels searched his house and took the gun he had used at Taylor's Ford.[5]

The second time he was captured was at Nave's Forge in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Frazier was taken to his house by three rebel home guard soldiers. "His wife got breakfast for them and two of them sat down to the table to eat while the third sat in the door to guard it. Frasier's wife went out on the front porch and called to him, he passed out by the guard, jumped off the porch and ran around the corner of the house and towards the woods, the soldiers firing a number of shots at him, but he reached the woods and mountains in safety."[6]

Civil War service

Frazier enlisted as a 2nd lieutenant in Company B on October 28, 1863 in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee for a period of three years; according to company records, he was never mustered in. Frazier was sent on detached duty into upper eastern Tennessee for recruiting on November 1, 1863. He was captured and was reported as killed, which caused him being dropped from the company rolls. Frazier escaped on March 10, 1864; it is not recorded when he returned to the regiment. He was again sent on detached duty into upper eastern Tennessee for recruiting until March 1, 1865. He is credited for bringing 365 recruits to the regiment and other regiments during his service.[7]

On his first recruiting trip, Frazier only recruited James Nave and Michael Roberts. One night they lodged in a barn and Nave was discovered by a company of rebel soldiers under a Captain Boren who was charged with hunting conscripts and arresting Union sympathizers. Nave gave up Frazier and Roberts, telling Boren that Frazier was a Federal recruiting officer in "full uniform and armed with two navy pistols."[8] The rebel company surrounded the barn and demanded that they surrender. Roberts climbed down and was struck in the head with a rifle. Frazier refused to give up, thinking that he would be executed, not taken as a prisoner. Boren's men set fire to the barn and Frazier removed his coat and with it hid his pistols and recruiting papers in the hay, thinking that they would be destroyed in the fire. He then surrendered and "was treated nicely by a Lieutenant of the company."[9]

The fire was extinguished and Frazier's coat and pistols were found; the recruiting papers were apparently lost. "They found his pistols cocked and asked him what that meant. He told them it meant if they had attacked him instead of firing the barn he intended to kill as many of them as he could. Some of the soldiers cocked their guns to shoot him, but the Lieutenant interfered."[10] Frazier was robbed of his money and some of his clothes and was taken to the home of Reuben Brooks, a prominent rebel citizen of the area. There, Frazier was tied to another captured Union man named Frank White.

From there they were taken to the home of Christian Crow, another rebel sympathizer, and a dance was held with Frazier playing violin for the group.[11] "That evening, Lieut. Isaac L. Nave, of the Confederate army ... came there. Frasier, who had worked for Nave in his forge and had known him from his boyhood thought he would find in him an influential friend who would save him from the imprisonment, if not death. He asked to have an interview with Nave, which was permitted, and told him the trouble he was in and implored his assistance on the grounds that their families had always been warm friends and had supported him for office; but Nave told him he could do nothing for him, that 'he had joined the wrong cause,' and turned coldly away."[12]

The next day, Boren set out again searching for Union men and Confederate deserters. Frazier was being guarded by only one man and they were considerably in the rear of the Confederate company. Frazier's guard was wearing his lieutenant's coat, apparently proud of its quality. The rebel soldier "stepped over a small stream of water that crossed the road and Frasier, remarking that he wanted a drink got down on his knee and placing his right hand on a good-sized stone in his hand he threw it at the guard, placing him hors de combat, and taking advantage of the situation, fled, but the guard recovered in time to send a bullet through his clothing."[13]

Frazier mustered out under Paragraph 2, Special Orders No. 49 dated August 25, 1865 from Headquarters of the Department of Tennessee. He had never received any pay. No records of where he was confined as a prisoner of war have been located.

Later life

Frazier applied for an invalid's pension on April 18, 1879.

He died December 8, 1908 in Hunter and is buried in Kitzmiller Cemetery in Elizabethon, Tennessee. His wife applied for a widow's pension on January 11, 1909.

Notes

  1. Hunter is the present-day name of this unincorporated community. His surname is spelled both "Frazier" and "Frasier" during the war and after. His second wife and all of his children adopted the "Frazier" spelling.
  2. 1880 U.S. Census, 9th Civil District, Carter County, Tennessee.
  3. Scott & Angel, p. 285.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Scott & Angel, p. 386.
  8. Scott & Angel, p. 394.
  9. Scott & Angel, p. 395.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Scott & Angel, p. 395-396.
  13. Scott and Angel, p. 397.
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