Sunday, April 13, 2008

UDC honors daughter of Civil War soldier

Reenactors fire a volley in Daisy Knight's honor

By Mike West Managing Editor
Murfreesboro Post

Reenactors fire a volley in Daisy Knight's honor Many of us have a father who is a veteran of military service.Some of them served in combat during World War II, Korea, Vietnam or in any of the other military conflicts of the last 50 years.But how many of you had a father who fought in the Civil War?The late Daisy Knight, a teacher in the Murfreesboro City Schools, did and was the last person in Rutherford County to hold that distinction.Her father, Hersey Baylies Parker, served in the 7th North Carolina Cavalry and fought with Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.Both father and daughter were honored Sunday, Sept. 23 with a unique event, a United Daughters of the Confederacy grave marking ceremony at historic Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro.The United Daughters of the Confederacy is the outgrowth of many local memorial, monument and Confederate home associations and auxiliaries to camps of United Confederate Veterans that were organized after the Civil War. The National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Nashville on Sept.10, 1894, by founders Caroline Meriwether Goodlett of Nashville and Anna Davenport Raines of Georgia. At its second meeting in Atlanta, Ga., in 1895, the organization changed its name to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The United Daughters of the Confederacy was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia on July 18, 1919.At one point, the UDC was the largest organization for women in the United States and like the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames of America it strives to preserve the heritage of its forebearers.Daisy Knight was what UDC members call a “Real Daughter,” meaning she was the daughter of an actual Civil War veteran. She was the last daughter of a Confederate soldier living in Rutherford County and one of a handful left in Tennessee.“Her idols were her father, Robert E. Lee and Elvis,” said her daughter, Roseanne Jacobs of Murfreesboro.Jacobs and her sister, June Tomlinson of Huntsville, organized the grave marking with the cooperation of UDC Chapter 91 of Murfreesboro, the local chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy and the Tennessee UDC.“Papa was 75 years old when Mother was born and she was 5 when he died,” Jacobs said.Daisy Parker Knight was born Aug. 10, 1912 in Aulander, N.C., which is located in the northeast part of the state near Windsor, N.C. She was the daughter of Hersey Baylies and Sara Ward Parker.He served in Company G, 16th Battalion of the 7th North Carolina Cavalry.The16th Cavalry Battalion [also called 75th Regiment-7th Cavalry] was formed in July, 1864, by consolidating the five North Carolina companies of the 7th Confederate Cavalry Regiment, the three North Carolina companies of the 62nd Georgia Cavalry Regiment and Company C of the 12th North Carolina Cavalry Battalion. Assigned to W.P. Roberts’ Brigade, the unit skirmished the Federals in Eastern North Carolina and south of the James River, and then was active in the Appomattox operations. During March 1865, it contained 315 officers and men but surrendered with only 48.Robert’s Brigade was under the command of Brig. Gen. William Paul Roberts, who at age 23 was the youngest general in the Confederate army. The brigade belonged to the division of Gen. W.H.F. “Rooney” Lee, who was the second son of Robert E. Lee. Rooney Lee was the youngest Confederate major general.Rooney Lee attended Harvard and after the Civil War served in the U.S. Congress, representing Virginia. His brother, G.W.C. Lee, was a major general as well and served as aide-de-camp to President Jefferson Davis. Their mother, Mary Custis Lee, was the daughter of G.W.P. Custis, George Washington’s adopted son.The 16th Cavalry Battalion was present at the death throes of the Confederate States of America. In early April 1865, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attempted to flee from Federal Gen. U.S. Grant with the goal of uniting with the remnants of the Army of Tennessee.Surrounded on three sides, Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865 at the McLean house at Appomattox Court House, Va.Mrs. Knight was unsure of her father’s role in the cavalry and was quoted as saying:“I don’t know exactly what he did as part of his cavalry unit, but I am pretty sure he was spreading the gospel when he was in the Civil War.”After the war, Parker was a Baptist preacher.Mrs. Knight, the wife of the late George V. Knight, was a graduate of East Carolina Teacher’s College and of MTSU. She was a second-grade teacher at Hobgood School and taught special education for 11 years at Mitchell-Neilson prior to her retirement in 1977. She was a member of the Rutherford County Retired Teacher’s Association and was active in UDC Chapter 91, serving as chapter treasurer for 11 years. She was a member of First Baptist Church for more than 60 years. She died Dec. 29, 2006 at age 94.UDC members and her family did the honors at the grave marking ceremony with Annette Floyd, president of UDC chapter 91, presiding over the ritual. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren unveiled the marker after covering her grave with rose petals. Aron Tomlinson, her youngest great-grandson, removed the black cloth covering the grave marker. Her daughters, Roseanne Jacobs and June Tomlinson, dedicated the marker, quoting from Robert E. Lee:“There is one true glory and one true honor, the glory of duty well done and the honor of integrity of principle.”A series of tributes from friends and family members followed with the playing of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes by Jessie Dean and taps performed by Bradley Johnson. Confederate reenactors, carrying the Confederate battle flag and the Confederate National Flag, fired three volleys in her honor.

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