1841 to 1906 — TEXAS &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Tennessee
Robert Arthur Nolan and James Tiry (Tire) Nolan, Brothers
6th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Confederate States of Army
Robert Arthur b. Apr 1841, and James Tyre b. Aft Oct 1842, in Wilson County, Tennessee were brothers. They had an older brother, William b. 1822. SC, who was listed in each census as deaf and dumb. Their sisters were Patience C.b. 1833, and Lydia A. b. 1836/8. A definite link to their father James D Nowlin is found, but his will in 1844, it listed them with their last name spelled Nowlin. They were in Wilson County in 1850 with all the family listed above. Their mother Arabella died with their father in 1844. Mary was listed as the head of family in the 1840 and 1850 Wilson County census (She was their grandmother and raised them from 1844 to 1851. The census of 1820 list only heads of families, and Mary is not found in Tennessee or South Carolina. Their Grandfather was David Nowlin, Mary's husband who died about 1823.
Robert Arthur Nolan was in McKinney, Texas in 1860, in the Josiah Willson home as a field worker. James Tiry was living in the home of David C. Wilson, Josiah’s brother, and both Wilsons came from Tennessee. This data was found in the 1860 Texas census. Their mother had passed away in 1851, and the boys, only 10 and 11 had probably lived with their brother until their migration and adventure to Texas. Lydia their sister and James Gilbert whom she married, were also in McKinney.
In May 1861, Robert joined Company ”K”, 3rd Texas Cavalry Regiment, Texas State Troops (also known as 11th Texas ) , commanded by CPT James W. Throckmorton, a future Governor of Texas. The State Troops are considered by historians as Texas Rangers. The unit was part of a Border Regiment commanded by Col. William C. Young and had the mission to capture the Union Forts in the indian Territory. The Company captured Ft Cobb and Arbucle in the Wichitaw Mountains in the Indian Territory. The Union troops had abandoned these forts about the time Texas sesusceeded from the union. After two months of service along the North Texas Border and in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), on August 31, 1861 the company was disbanded due to a lack of funds in the Texas Treasury and were told to return to Sherman Texas and prepare for a long winter campaign. This data comes from military records and the Handbook of Texas Online. James’ records have not fully established that he was a Ranger. James joined Compsny D in September, maybe with one of his other Ranger friends, as his first Ranger enlistment may have started at McKinney and ended in Waco,
On September 12th, 1861, Robert and his unit turn up in Dallas, Texas and are mustered into the Confederate Army as Company K, 6th Texas Cavalry Regiment, still commanded by CPT Throckmorton. It is not known whether Capt. Throckmorton asked them to come, or had they come on their own. Eighty seven were mustered in and an additional 13 were enlisted to fill out the company. Robert’s brother James Tiry Nolan joins Company D the same day. These companies train at Camp Bartow in South Dallas. Five months later James transfers to Company K, after the unit’s first battles in the Indian territories.
Companies I and K were first located in Flat Creek at a Camp called Washington, Missouri in Nov 1861. The companies were directed to help Col Young and a detachment of 500 from the 6th and 500 from the 9th Texas went into the Indian Territory from the northeast against Union Indians Units. In December 1861, they are found at Fort Gibson in the Cherokee Nation. More than likely James fought in the Battles of Chusto Talasah and Chustenahlah and on operations against Chief Hopo-eith-le-yo-ho-la and his Union force of Creeks and Seminole Indians. Robert was left behind in Camp Washington sick with either the mesles or mumps.
The 6th then begin to travel east to North Arkansas. They were at the Battles of Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge). Sul Ross led a detachment in an attempt to destroy the enemy rear at Bentonville, and Leetown, Arkansas between March 6th and 8th, and participated in the first grand charge at Elkhorn but failed to get into more of the battle because their division commander, General McCullogh and his successor General MacIntosh, were killed in the first hour of the battle and no one took command. General Pike incharge of the Indian troops was then in comand. The two units, I and K stayed together during these times. In March, April, May, June and July and the two units were at Camp McIntosh, Camp Murry, and Camp Rogers. Mississippi.
The boys are with Company K unit until July 17, 1862, when they are transferred to Company I, as sharpshooters. Both must have been good shooters,. Company I was initially part of an ad hoc battalion commanded by the Company I, Commander Major Henry W. Bridges. On August 1, 1862 this unit became part of Colonel Ras Stirman's Sharpshooter Regiment assigned to Col Phiffer's Brigade for the Iuka and Corinth, Mississippi Battles in September and October, 1862. These Sharpshooters normally would have been employed in the front lines of these battles as skirmishers to clear the way for the division. The Texas Cavalry and the Sharpshooter Regiment were dismounted to fight as Infantry for these battles because of the need for infantry. . On September 11th , Company I, forced marched from Saltillo, Mississippi south of Corinth toward Iuka, which is east of Corinth. Their route was circuitous and took 60 miles to get there. At this point the regiment was attached to Phifer’s Brigade for the battles. The 6th Cavalry Regiment and the Sharpshooter Regiment contained about 800 men each, at this time. The battle at Iuka was of short duration and they were not involved. Phifer’s Division was not in position to join the battle and the 6th was assigned to hold a hill over looking the town and the enemy did not approach their site.
The Confederate force, Commanded by Major General Earl Van Dorn, attacked directly into the Union defenders at Corinth. The Sharpshooter Regiment was directly in front of a seam in the Union lines. Part of Phifer’s Brigade exploited this break and drove through the outer works, killing, wounding and taking many prisoners. They made it to the center of the Corinth and almost over ran General Rosecarn’s headquarters, but were unable to exploit the situation due to their losses fatigue, and the heat of the day and battle. As darkness fell the Confederates had to retreat, as two fresh Union Divisions arrived. The Union failed to exploit the retreat. The next day the Sharpshooters and the 6th Texas were the third and fourth units to cross Hatchie Bridge. As the lead units ran into a blocking force the Sharpshooters and 6th Texas began to take shots from their flank. They were immediately told to re-cross the bridge which was under heavy fire. The sharpshooters made it across with some losses, and dug in on the river bank to provide covering fire for the units still trying to re-cross. The 6th Texas provide cover as a blocking force and protected the Corps retreat. The Confederate force was able to find a way around the Union blocking force at Hatchie Bridge and to escape into Mississippi.
On the 5th of October 1862, Robert’s arm was broken. How we do not know, but he listed it as one of the reasons for the request for pension. Wounded, he is captured at Hatchie Bridge, Mississippi. In a few days he is paroled and returns to Company I. The company probably had one half of it men captured, wounded or lost. The 6th Cavalry reported 143 men wounded or missing after these battles.
Van Dorn took the Army to the Holly Springs area (NW Mississippi) after Corinth/Hatchie Bridge battles. Fairly soon thereafter, the horses were returned from Texas for the cavalry regiments in Van Dorn's army. Robert was listed as absent to shod his horse on October 31, 1862.
The 6th Texas, 3rd Texas, and 9th Texas Cavalry and Whitfield's Texas Legion (27th Texas Cavalry) were formed into a brigade under Col. Whitfield. This brigade fought with Union cavalry around Oakland Mississippi, in early December 1862, during Grant's advance south form Memphis. It was Lt. Col.Griffith of the 6th Texas that came up with the idea of attacking Grant's supply base at Holly Springs, and Pemberton approved the plan and put Van Dorn in charge of the cavalry. Acting Texas Cavalry Brigade Commander Griffith's (inc. 6th Texas) participated in the Holly Springs raid in mid to late December and Griffith was the honorary leader for devising the plan. After destroying the base, then moving into southwest Tennessee to destroy railroad track, the Confederate force returned to Pemberton's Army around Grenada, Mississippi, a few days after Christmas. Both Robert and James were listed as present for this raid and were probably there.
A January 20, 1863 report still shows the Texas Cavalry Brigade with Van Dorn's Cavalry Corps around Grenada. In February 1863, Van Dorn took his corps (four brigades) into middle Tennessee and joined with Forrest's Brigade. The Texas brigade (now lead by Whitfield) and Armstrong's and Forrest's Brigades defeated Union Raid at Thompson's Station in early March. The Texas brigade first stopped a Union dismounted Cavalry charge, then counter-attacked on foot. Some of Van Dorn's and Forrest's troops (although I don't believe all of the Texas brigade) also fought sizable actions at Brentwood and near Franklin over the next several weeks. In January, February, March and April 1863 the 6th camp was at or near Spring Hill, Tennessee, south of Nashville and north of Elkton, Giles County, Tennessee. Robert and James had been raised near Nashville and were later married and lived in Elkton. Thus they were camped in their own back yard. During the Months of March and April, Robert were detached and in a sharpshooter reconorder unit commanded by Major White, the Brigade Major. This unit was in the thick of a river boat battle on the Tennessee River when Major White was killed on April 26, 1863. This unit had operated in battle without casulty for two months only to have Major White as its only death, from a single bullet to the head. A few days later General Van Dorn was killed by a jealous husband and the Corps was disbanded.
In May and June the 6th was camped at Birdsong, Mississippi and in July and August at Richland. On July 14th they left Jackson to scout the rear of the enemy at Clinton, Mississippi. They continued on to Clinton and on September 16th they encountered the enemy and during the skirmish neither “G” or “ I” Companies, who were fighting together, neither lost any men.
Colonel Whitfied’s health failed and the Texas Brigade containing the 6th Texas was usually commanded by Sul Ross. Ross who was later a Texas Governor and President of Texas A&M University, and had a university named afer him. The brigade returned to Mississippi in late May 1863, and generally stayed in the Jackson area during the next 11 months except for one short period when a detachment of the 6th and the 3rd Mississippi Cavalry Regiment along with Generals Jackson and Stephen Lee, went to eastern Tennessee to block a Union Cavalry Corps. Colonel Ross did so well the Corps moved back to the Corinth area, because they thought they were fighting a division. Colonel Ross was promoted to General and took over the Brigade in December of 1863. In early 1864, it fought with Sherman's force as it advanced to Meridian and back from Vicksburg. They out maneuvered a larger force.They continued to operate in the Black River to Yazoo City area for most of the year 1863 and early 1864.
In February 1863, Company I may have been part of a force protecting General Stephen D. Lee. A large Union force appeared and Lt. Col. Bridges the commander was killed during a charge which routed the union force. This action was described in the Southern Historical Papers.
The brigade went to Georgia as a part of Jackson's Division. It participated in the Atlanta campaign, on the Confederate left flank in the first half of the operation; it later played a major role in stopping Union cavalry raids south of Atlanta in August. Sherman’s Army was over 60,000 strong and lost 35,000 men in 100 days of fighting. The 6th went from about 700 men to 200 during this time. Though constantly backed up by larger forces they delayed Sherman and prolonged the war. Where Robert and James were during the 100 days of combat and during the McCook and Kilpatrick Union Raids near Atlanta is not known, but it is likely that they were in the thick of the combat. The 6th suffered greatly from lack of rations and supplies for much of this period, but captured a lot of supplies during the attacks on the raids.
The 6th returned to Tennessee in November 1864, Leading Hood's Army of Tennessee, and fell back as the rear guard a delaying force commanded by Nathan Bedford Forest, to northeast Mississippi after the battle at Nashville. It remained in Mississippi and Alabama for the rest of the war. It did not go with Forrest into Alabama, but did have forces in skirmishes at Corinth.
Robert was listed on detached service in October 1863, with Major White the regiments major and again on May 10th, 1864 but not with or for what. A detailed account of these operations has not been found. Major White was killed in a battle in Tennessee in April of 1863 with a force made up of one company from each regiment. It is likely that Company I of the 6th and H of the 9th were there as they were sharpshooter companies. Newton Asbury Keen of Company C was there for he described the death of Major White in his book.
The regiment fought in the Indian Territories, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama. Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Georgia. They ended up as part of Brigadier General Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross’ Texas Cavalry Brigade. Which at one point the unit was in continuous contact for 112 days. They were known as fierce fighters but lacking the true discipline of a military unit
Both remain in Company I throughout the war and were paroled in May 1865 though Tyre's service is spotty at the end. When Robert left the service he said his home town was Athens, Texas. Some time after this he marries Sarah a Creek Indian girl from Wionona, Mississippi. She and Robert have two children in Mississippi, Oceola (Otis, Asa, Ose)and Argozona (Ida, Anna, Onna) and she disappears or dies about 1870/71. James marries in Giles County, Tennessee in 1865. His new wife was also part Creek Indian. Both brothers are found in the 1870 census for Elkton, Giles County, TN, as Robbert Noland and John T. Nolin.
. Robert marries again in 1871 in Elkton, Giles County Tennessee. His wife is Lucy Francis Newman. Robert is found in the 1880 census for Elkton, Giles County TN as R.A. Nolan with Lucy Frances and 5 children, two being from his first wife. Edmond or Edward Arnold Nolan was my grandfather. James is listed in 1880 as James W. Nolan with wife Lucy Ann and four children.
Shortly after 1880 Robert moves his family to Winona, Mississippi and in 1882 then on to Marion County, Florida in the Orange Business. At times Robert lives in Bartow, Tampa, Ocala and near Lake Weir in Orange growing and in construction and has two more children. The big freeze of the winters of 1894 to 1898, wipes out his orange growing interest and takes all his money. In 1902 Robert submits a request for a pension from Florida in Ocala, Marion County for Civil War Action. This was granted. He died just after its approval on September 7, 1902. It is said that he is buried near Lowell or Reddick, Florida area at a Baptist cemetery, but when and actual location is not known. Lucy Francis is found in Tampa, Florida in 1910 married to Lawrence Noble with her youngest child William Francis and her other child Harold living next door with his wife Alpine (Prevatt). Living in Tampa at that time is a Collie Nolan and his wife Lulu. This may be Roberts other son. Lucy died suddenly in 1911 in Tampa.
Not much is known yet of James Nolan after 1880 until September 1906, when he dies in Georgia where his daughter lived. He is buried in a small cemetery near Cave Springs, south east of Rome, Georgia, which is very near the first site that the 6th Texas Cavalry Regiment fought in Georgia. His children have not shown up on the computer horizon, but one is known to be buried in Giles County, Tennessee in the Cates’ Cemetery. He is also listed in some Cates’ documents. Lucy, his mother is buried in the same cemetery.
This is an on-going document compiled by William K. Nolan, LTC USAR Retired, great grandson of Robert A. Nolan. Latest revision March 2, 2012. Facts of this document come from Military Records, Pension Request, Census documents, battle records, Texas records, and Ranger records. Some comes from family history both fact and fiction. Discovery of the Pension request in Florida, allowed finding Robert in Texas that validated the Ranger and Civil war service. Unit rolls led to the discovery of James. Census tied the two together in Tennessee and in Texas. Census also provided the family in Tennessee.