Joseph L. Bishop

Photo J. Bishop

10th Arkansas Cavalry

Private Joseph Leonard Bishop was born in Hempstead County, Arkansas on July 3, 1844. His parents, Wiley (b. 1813 in North Carolina) and Mary Elizabeth McMullen Bishop (b. 1818 in North Carolina) had been married and lived in Carroll County, Tennessee before they moved to Arkansas where Joseph was born. His other siblings were Stephen George (b. 1843 in Tennessee), William, Cephas, Prentice, Matt, and Camille. Joseph L. Bishop married Mary Harlow Griffith Bizzell (b. May 26, 1844 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi) in Gatesville. Coryell County, Texas on April 29, 1870; her third marriage and his first. Joseph and Mary Bishop had the following children all born in Texas: Hydie Camille (b. 1872 in Comanche County), Lydie Ben Griffith (b. 1874 in Comanche County), Joseph Ringold "Buster" (b. 1877 in McCulloch County), John Cephas "Buck" (b. 1879 in Comanche County), Mary Virgil Carter "Kate" (b. 1882 in Brown County), and Nan Anna Cora Floried (b. 1884 in Taylor County).

According to family history, Joseph Leonard Bishop enlisted as a Private in Company C, 10th Arkansas Cavalry, C.S.A. when he was 16 years old. 1860 census records indicate that he and his family were living near Richmond, in Sevier County, Arkansas at the time. Documents from the Sevier County History Museum in DeQueen, Arkansas list both Joseph Bishop and his older brother William Prentice Bishop as members of Company C, 1st Battalion, Arkansas State Cavalry under Captain Allen T. Pettus and Colonel William H. Trader. William Bishop is listed as having enlisted on October 3, 1863 and Joseph Bishop as "recruited after Oct. 3". Other names in the unit are "J.M. McCreary, R.P. McCreary, and Thomas M. McCreary" . At this time, Cyprus K. Holman was the 1st Lieutenant of the unit.

Microfilm documents in the Herndon Supplement of Arkansas CSA Soldiers stored at the Arkansas History Commission in Little Rock, Arkansas list both Joseph L. Bishop and William P. Bishop as being "guards at Camp Reed during the Winter of 1864-65" and belonging to Company C, 10th Arkansas Cavalry under now Captain C.K. Holman and Col. Robert C. Newton. Documents in the Official Records of the War of Rebellion suggest that Co. C, Ist Batt'n Ark. State Cav. (Oct. 1863) became Capt. C.K. Holman's Co., Arkansas State Troops, then Co. C, 3rd Regt. Ark. State Cav. (Sept./ Oct. 1864) before becoming, finally, Co. C, 10th Ark. Cav. (Newton's) (Winter 1864-65).

Although not certain at this writing, it is possible that Pvt. Joseph L. Bishop and his brother, Pvt. William P. Bishop may have participated in the battles of Poison Springs, Arkansas and Marks' Mills, Arkansas Under the command of Allen T. Pettus and William H. Trader. Both Confederate officers are described in historical documents as leading Arkansas State Troops under CSA General Cabell in these two battles during the Spring of 1864.

Family stories recorded by Joseph Bishop's youngest child, Nan Bishop Byrd of Phoenix, Arizona in March of 1964, describe events experienced by her father in the Confederate army. One recounts a surprise night attack by Federal soldiers upon Joseph's unit; in the resulting confusion, Private Bishop was unable to untie his horse and finally had to cut the rope, he later commented that " the time, it seemed the biggest rope on earth." This story may describe an actual event at Bogg's Mill, Arkansas during January of 1865 when Confederate cavalry under Col. R.C. Newton were surprised by Federal soldiers.

Another story involved Private Joseph Bishop helping escort Yankee prisoners across a river on a flat boat; one of the captured Federal officers removed two pistols from his person and dropped them into the river instead of giving them to his Confederate captors. An enraged Confederate officer shot the prisoner and let him fall into the river after his guns, stating "That's the last guns he will ever drop into the river". This story may well describe an event that happened during Private Bishop's service as a guard at Camp Reed during the Winter of 1864-65.

Family history also states that Private Joseph Bishop and his brother George were captured by Federal soldiers and held as prisoners for some 9 months, most of the time wearing a ball and chain. He and his brother were able to escape when sent to the river to fetch water by jumping in and swimming for their lives, thus eventually rejoining their units. At this writing, the only other documented / confirmed brother of Joseph Bishop who also served in the C.S.A. appears to have been William Prentice Bishop who was also in both the 1st Batt'n Ark. State Cav. and the 10th Ark. Cav. (Newton's) as described above.

After the war, Joseph Bishop and three Confederate companions, M.E. Ringold Griffith, Colonel John Griffith (his future brother-in-laws), and Mat McCrary returned to their homes near Richmond, in Sevier County, Arkansas only to find butchered livestock, burned barns, confiscated wagons and grain, and their families missing. Learning from former slaves of the Griffiths that their families had left for Texas, the four comrades headed west, keeping a low profile to avoid Federal troops. Just after they had crossed the Red River, they were alerted to Federals on the other side by Mat McCrary who exclaimed to Colonel Griffith, "Hell, Colonel! Here's the whole damn Yankee army" After evading capture, Joseph Bishop found his family in Coryell county. In 1884, Joseph and Mary Bishop moved near the town of Junction, along Cajack Creek in Kimble County, Texas and were neighbors of Mary Bishop's older brother , Colonel John Griffith (see biography of Colonel John Griffith) on a nearby ranch.

Private Joseph L. Bishop died on December 1, 1930 and was buried in the Junction Cemetery. Kimble County, Texas with the inscription "J. L. Bishop, Co. C, 10 Ark. Cav.. C.S. A." on his tombstone. According to a document from the U.S. War Department dated September 16, 1907 and included in Joseph Bishop's approved Confederate Pension, Harrell's Battalion Arkansas Cavalry was also known as the 10th Arkansas Cavalry (Witt's). Documents described above from the Herndon Supplement indicate that the correct Confederate unit, however, was the 1Oth Arkansas Cavalry (Newton's).

10th Regiment Web Site

- by

  1. Mag Fleming Spaeth - Mason, Texas
  2. Nina G. Hale - Winters, Texas
  3. Rolene Guthrie Stewart - Junction, Texas
  4. Loraine Fleming Ake - Abilene, Texas (dec.)
  5. Kenneth Elburn Byrd - Indianapolis, Indiana
revised June 1, 1998
  • . (1 - great-granddaughter of Pvt. Joseph L. Bishop)
  • . (2 - great-niece of Pvt. Joseph L. Bishop)
  • . (3 - great-niece of Pvt. Joseph L. Bishop)
  • . (4 - great-granddaughter of Pvt. Joseph L. Bishop)
  • . (5 - great-grandson of Pvt. Joseph L. Bishop)

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Last Revised 05/03/98

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