Sunday, August 12, 2012

Col. Timothy Reeves, CSA

Letter to Gen. MarmadukeCol. Timothy Reeves (he signed his name as Reves), was the youngest son of William Reeves (Reves) and Anne Terrill of Ashe County, North Carolina. William's father was George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia, a soldier of the Revolution.

The internet has numerous sites with various references to Col. Timothy Reeves, commander of the 15th Missouri Cavalry of the confederacy. He is referred to as both a devil and a saintly hero depending on each individual's point of reference - he was a baptist minister and a ruthless military commander. The determining factors seem to be based upon Civil War sympathies.

He was present and had preached at the gathering held on 25 December 1863 at Pulliam's Farm in Ripley County that is recalled as "The Wilson Massacre". Union forces under Major James F. Wilson made a surprise attack during a Christmas dinner gathering killing 35 confederate soldiers along with 60 civilians including women and children, families of the confederate soldiers and neighbors. Col. Timothy Reeves is said to have commanded the Confederate forces who began immediate reprisals against the union forces which culminated in the execution of Major Wilson.

Col. Timothy ReevesAfter 150 years the validity of this story and whether the massacre did indeed take place is still hotly debated on countless websites. The complete truth of the incident will probably never be known, but there is much evidence to support the belief that the event did take place. There are even references to it carved on some confederate tombstones in the Ripley County area.

His brother, William, also a baptist minister as well as his adjutant in the 15th Missouri Cavalry, may have died during the war for there is no historical record of him afterward.

In May of 1865 Confederate General M. Jeff Thompson surrendered 10,000 men at Jacksonport, Arkansas. Out of those 10,000 men, only one was not paroled - Confederate Colonel, Timothy Reeves, Commander of the 15th Missouri Cavalry, CSA. Thompson wrote that:
"In a few days we finished all the paroles, except that of Timothy C. Reeves, whom Col. Davis would not agree to parole, considering him outlawed for the shooting of Major Williams (Major Wilson, this was a misprint) and five men on the Price Raid; but I must state for Col. Reeves, that he was as good a man and soldier as any in the command, and his shooting of that party was entirely justifiable.."
From all accounts Timothy Reeves lived the remainder of his life in peace, preferring to be known only as a minister. When he died on March 10, 1885 three wives and most of his children had predeceased him.


  1. Hi I've been researching the Wilson Massacre for quite some time and would like to correspond with you in hopes you can help me with my research.

    1. Clint,

      You can write to me at if you want.


  2. I am looking for any information regarding Mary Ann Reeves, the daughter of Timothy Reeves and first wife of my Great Grandfather, John C. Langford. I can see where they lived in Ripley County, MO and in Arkansas, and then nothing further. I wonder if she may have died in childbirth. She may be buried at the Reeves family farm, but I believe the graves other than Timothy are unmarked. Any information would be much appreciated.