WITHERINGTON-L ArchivesArchiver > WITHERINGTON > 1999-12 > 0944751204
From: "Lynn & Bill King" <>
Subject: [Witherington] The Morgan Nelson and Captain Robert Withers and Augustus Levan Witherington (owners about 1860-1865)
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 08:53:24 -0600
Riverboats and Riverboat Captains & Owners
I am searching for info on the Morgan Nelson that plied the Mississippi and
Ouachita Rivers from New Orleans up to Grand Encore (Camden, Arkansas)
during the period 1860-1865. Can you possibly help me, as I can find
nothing of the Nelson, other than the description taken from Ways Packet!
Would really like to have a photo of the MORGAN NELSON if one is available.
My Gr Gr Granduncle, AUGUSTUS 'GUS' LEVAN WITHERINGTON, was said to have
been co-owner of the Nelson with CAPTAIN ROBERT WITHERS. I have family data
that tells the very interesting stories of Capt. Bob and Gus enlisting a
company of men at Champagnolle, AR and going down to New Orleans to join the
troops there. However, the recruiting officer, persuaded (?) Gus and Capt.
Bob to use the Morgan Nelson in the service of the CSA in ferrying
foodstuffs, munitions and troops from New Orleans up into Southern Arkansas.
Shown below is a letter written by General Kirby Smith, CSA, which makes
reference to the Morgan Nelson also serving on the Red River in Louisiana
during the war.
Following the Civil War, Gus was murdered at the village of Moro Bay,
Bradley County, Arkansas in 1869. He operated the store and Pigeon Hill
ferry landing on the Union County side of the Ouachita River, across from
Moro Bay. Shot three times in the back and head. He is buried at New
London Cemetery in Union County, AR, just a few miles south of his store and
ferry landing at Pigeon Hill in Union County. I have visited his gravesite.
The family lore says, and your web page seems to confirm, that A. J.
Witherington (likely A.L. Witherington) also served as Captain of the Dr.
Buffington out of New Orleans. Gus was married to Amelia Finch, who he met
on one of his trips to NO. Amelia was teaching piano to the children of Dr.
Buffington when they met. I feel certain that your web page reference to
A.J. Witherington should be corrected to read " A. J. Witherington"
[Augustus (Gus) Levan Witherington].
Dave, should you be interested in obtaining additional family stories of
"Uncle Gus" and Captain Bob Withers and their escapades during the war, just
drop me a note and I will be happy to share with you.
Thanks for your helpful web site and for any possible help that you might
provide me, Dave.
Houston, TX (281) 493-6767
Morgan Nelson: Sternwheel, packet, wooden hull, built at Middletown, Pa.
109 tons. 120' x 21'.8" x 4'.4". She appeared at New Orleans Jan. 24, 1861,
by Josiah and James Dillon of Wheeling, Va., with Capt. Joseph Richardson,
of Wheeling, in charge. She had seven changes of ownership at New Orleans
1861-1868, when dismantled.
>From Chuck Jackson - St. Louis /February 1999
'Morgan Nelson, CSA Marine Service'
Bill - found mentioned in a letter to General Buckner from General E. Kirby
Smith. Will "snail mail" the
letter to you but will transcribe verbatim below. I think this letter
answers the question as to the role of
the Morgan Stanley in the Civil War and why I could not find Withers,
Witherington, nor Finch in the Civil
War books. Headquarters Trans-Mississippi Department. Chuck
Shreveport, February 27, 1865.
To: Lieut. Gen. S. B. Buckner,
Commanding District of West Louisiana
Major Buckner's communication from Monroe of 21st February
with your indorsement is just received. The steamer Barkman was burned
in the Bartholomew. The Fletcher and Morgan Nelson have by telegraph to
Camden been ordered to Monroe, where they will be at the disposition of
Major Buckner for the purpose of procuring corn. The Ouachita country
above the Louisiana line is absolutely stripped of forage. To maintain
that line the garrison at Camden is compelled to supply itself from the
lower Ouachita and its tributaries. It is of vital importance for the
protection of Northern Louisiana, as well as the planting interests in
the Red River Valley, in the District of Arkansas, that Camden should be
held by us. General Magruder estimates that 30,000 bushels of corn will
meet his necessities and enable him to maintain the line of the Ouachita
until the coming crop can be gathered. The boats will at the disposal
of your officers, and I wish you would instruct them to use dispatch and
energy in securing and removing the corn from the Boeuf. What is not
needed for the District of Arkansas and your cavalry on the Ouachita can
be transported up Little River to within sixteen miles of Alexandria,
and be made available for the troops in the lower portion of your
district. As the wants of the garrison at Camden are pressing, I wish
the first load of the Fletcher sent to that point. You can afterward,
as your necessities will allow, increase the amount of corn sent to
Camden to 30,000 or even 50,000 bushels. The boats will remain under
your control, and General Magruder instructed that he can depend upon
your officers forwarding to Camden the corn necessary for the support of
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. Kirby Smith,
Carrie Poole: Sternwheel, packet, wooden hull, built at Evansville, Ind.,
118'.7" x 21' x 3'.7". Advertised August 1866 running New Orleans-Red
Capt. J.F. Muse, "draws only 12 inches light." Had four or five owners
Red River Packet Co., and Capt. Noah Scovell. When she burned at Algiers,
was owned by James M. Kane, New Orleans, with Capt. W.H. King, master. This
on July 27, 1870.
Dr. Buffington: Sidewheel, packet, wooden hull, built at Cincinnati, Oh.,
157'x32'x5'. Ran New Orleans-Grand Encore, owned by A.J. Buffington, New
Orleans. Capt. L.T. Moore was master in 1858.
In 1861 owned by A.J. Witherington, <<A. L. Witherington?>>
Carrollton(New Orleans), who also was master.
Made trips up White River, and was lost there, December 1862.
I don't know if this is the kind of info you are looking for or not.
Is this A. J. Witherington, Augustus J. ?
These steamboats were mentioned in a paper called The County Explorer.
It says: Captain Robert J. Withers, a well known and respected leader of the
community operated two of several boats that plyed the Marie Saline. The
Carrie Poole and the Morgan Nelson. This at Longview, Saline River,
The other information was obtained from Way's Packet Directory.
From: Robert Owens, Riverboat Researcher
>From the Web Pages
(2) "Riverboat Captains"
1. Name: DR. BUFFINGTON
Type: Sidewheeler, Wooden hull packet Size: 175 X 32 X 5
Launched: 1857, Cincinnati, Oh.
Destroyed: 1862, Dec. lost on White R. (See ** below)
Area: 1857-61, New Orleans - Grand Encore; 1861, N. O. - White R.
Owner: 1857, Buffington, A. J.
*1860, Avant, Nathan T. of Union, Ark.
*1860, Dec. 4, Buffington, Capt. A.J.
1861. Witherington, A.J. of Carrollton, La.
Captain: 1858, Moore, L.T.
*1860, March, 28, - 1861 Avant, Nathan T.
*1861, Witherington, A.J. <<Likely Augustus Levan
Comments: From site visitor:
*"I have a letter from the National Archives addressed to my
Mother in 1940 when she was
asking for information on the Dr. Buffington. They replied that the Doctor
Buffingtion was built in
Cincinnati, Ohio in 1857. A.J. Buffington was the original owner. On March
28,1860 Nathan T. Avant of Union Co. Arkansas became the owner and master.
On December 4,1860, A.J. Buffington was again the owner and Nathan T. Avant
**The Doctor Buffington may have one of six vessels sunk by Confederate
forces in December 1862, to obstruct the channel of the White River and also
to prevent capture by the Federal forces. I have spoonsoff of the Steamer
Doctor Buffington. I would like to find out more if possible but have been
hitting deadends. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Sarah Jane Brown EMail:
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