Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

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Private William Gracen Cooper

Private William Gracen Cooper was a private in the (Union) 10th Missouri Cavalry, Company C. He was born June 24, 1841 in Putnam County, Indiana and was living in Linn County, Missouri when the Civil War began. On August 2, 1862, he enrolled in the 45th Enrolled Missouri Militia, Company H and saw service with that regiment until he enlisted on September 10, 1862 at age 21, as a private for three years into Bowen's Regiment of the 9th Missouri Cavalry which was consolidated with Cornyn's 28th Missouri Infantry to become the 10th Missouri in October of that year. Company C of the 10th was detached from the regiment and was assigned as escorts to Congressman/Brigadier General Francis (Frank) Preston Blair, Jr. and served as his bodyguards throughout Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. Actions he was involved in included Sherman's attack on Chickasaw Bluffs (December 29, 1862), Fort Hindman/Arkansas Post (January 10 - 11, 1863), the canal projects including Grant's Canal, the Bayou expeditions north of Vicksburg and Sherman's Demonstration at Hayne's / Haines / Drumgould / Snyder's Bluff on April 30 and May 1, 1863. He crossed the Mississippi River at Grand Gulf, Mississippi on May 11, 1863 and was at Raymond shortly after the battle was fought on May 12th. He was at the Battle of Champion Hill/Baker's Creek on May 16, 1863 and the Battle of the Big Black River on May 17, 1863. He was at the first and second assaults against Vicksburg on May 18 and May 22, 1863, respectively, took part in the siege, and was in the company of General Blair who was with Grant at the time of the formal surrender of Pemberton. He was at the second taking of Jackson from July 10 through 17, 1863. He was back at Vicksburg in September 1863 when he became ill, and was listed as being sick, aboard the USA Hospital Ship (Red Rover) on the Mississippi. From Vicksburg he was sent to Memphis where he was listed as being a patient at various USA Hospitals, including Webster, Gayoso, and Overton. He was in the Western Sanitary Commission Hospital at St. Louis, Missouri when his regiment mustered out of federal service at Nashville, June 20, 1865. He went back to his home in Linn County, Missouri, resumed his occupation as a farmer, and soon married a widow with three children. Her late husband was a Union soldier who had been killed by bushwackers when he was home for the birth of his last child. The union of William Gracen Cooper and Martha Jane Canada Bruce produced nine children. In 1891, he loaded up his family into covered wagons and made the journey to Perkins, Oklahoma. Besides farming, he became a Free United Brethern Minister, preaching in school houses and brush arbors around the county, for there were no churches in Indian Territory at that time. He died in Perkins, Oklahoma on October 28, 1926 at the age of 85 and is buried there along with his wife. Photograph and information supplied by the great-great grandson of William Gracen Cooper, and member of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War's John S. Phelps Camp #66, Springfield/Wilson's Creek, Missouri, Len Eagleburger.


Private William Gracen Cooper

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