Silvaman Texas Hilliard

Pvt., Co. F, 10th Texas Cavalry

By Richard McAuley

Three Hilliard brothers served in the 10th Texas Cavalry, Company F, Hilliard, A. (Alexander or "Sandy") C., 1st Sergeant, Co. F, Hilliard, C. (Claiborne or Claybern) T., Private, Co. F, and their younger brother, Silvaman Texas (or S. T.) Hilliard. Silvaman Texas Hilliard was killed at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Below is a transcript of a letter dated at "Camp near Shelbyville, 17 March 1863" by Claybern T. Hilliard, Jr and his brother, A. C. "Sandy" Hilliard (b1838), that relates to the death of their brother Silvaman Texas Hilliard (b1839).

Camp Near Shelbyville, Tenn Mar 17th /63

Mifs,, N,, V,, Tatum

Dear Cousin- I Seat myself this Sabbath eavening to write to you oncemore, but it is not because you have been so affectionate and kinde in answering my other letter- I have recieved five letters from Cousin Henrietta McRae since I have been up here and she requested me to write to all of our connections and give them her best respects and tell them that she was well and would be glad if she could write to you all but it is out of her power to do so now- They live about thirty miles from here- They have no mails at all- The Yankeys are with in seven miles of them- My self and Sandy would go to see them but we are a fraid of the yankeys getting us- if they was to get us we would go up to Camp Chaise-

Uncle Duncan & Uncle Alexander & Cousin D have been up to see us once since we have been up here- they staide one day and knight with us- They would have staide longer but they were a fraide the Yankeys would come to there House and take evry thing they had while they wer up here-

Well Cousin Verginia Uncle Alexander is the same old Fellow yet I can't see any change in him at all- Cousin D. is grown up out of all reason- He is a grate deale larger than I am- He dose not be long to the survice yet but says he intends joining this spring-

Well Cousin Verginia I understood that Cousin Tatum was Taken out with the Malitia- if that be so I don't see how you get a long with out him- I was truly sorry to here of Cousin Molleys Death and Plesent Smiths and the babys death, Though I can sympathize with you all for I have experianced the same feeling-I have lost one of my brothers lately, Texas- he was killed in the Murfreesboro Fight- he was shot plume through with a Minie Ball- he was Willing to die- he lived a bout 12 hours after he was wounded- I think I have lost my bravest Brother- he seemed to have no fear a bout him at all- I am in hopes he is in Heaven with the Blefsed Ones where pain and sorrow is no more-

Well Cousin Verginia we all enjoyed ourselves here first rate considering- There is a grate many Pretty young Ladys here in this State- I exepct to stay here untill Peace is made if it should please God to let me live to see that day- Well Cousin Verginia Sandy is Lying flat on his back telling a taile on Cousins Tatums Negro Zack to the ballance of the Boys While they are eating there suppers- he says that When the other negros would ask Zack if he was going to Preaching in the morning and he would say that if my head don't ache to bad- Well Cousin Verginia We have fine fun these days playing Town Ball- We can have just as many games going on as we want- it remindes me of my School days when I use to have so much fun playing with the boys-

Well Cousin Verginia I must close- You must give Aunt Nancy mine and Sandys best Love and respects and tell her that we are as fat and saucy as little pigs- We are still Beardlefs Boys- Kiss all the girls for us if they will let you kifs them for us, and if they will not, tell them that no Boddy is hurt and give them our best respects- Give Cousin Tatum and all of the Family our best wishes and receive a double portion for your self-

your Cousin untell death

C,,T,, Hilliard,, jr

This letter is further collaborated by another soldier's letter by Henry Watson, also a member of Company F (later H) dated at a "Camp near Shelbyville, Tennessee" on January 22, 1863. It was transcribed by Marylee Watson Knight and is available online at

Claiborne (or Claybern) T. Hilliard, Jr. (1836-1891), of Shelby County, Texas, with his brothers Alexander ("Sandy") C. Hilliard and Silvaman Texas Hilliard enlisted in Co. F, 10th Regiment Texas Cavalry at Camp Flournoy, in Woods County, TX, on September 16, 1861. A tin-type photo of the elder two brothers is in the family's possession and it was published along with an article on the family in the History of Shelby County, Texas (1988) by the Shelby County Historical Commission, top of page 570. In the photo, each is armed with double-barreled shotguns, a brace of revolvers, with one brandishing what appears to be a Confederate cavalry sword while the other a D-hilted Arkansas toothpick.

They were sons of Claiborne T. Hilliard, Sr. (1802-1865), and Elizabeth McRae (1805-1862), formerly of Maury County. The letter's recipient was Claiborne's second cousin, Nancy Virginia Tatum, daughter of the Rev. A.J.G. Tatum (1815-1867) and Susannah E. McAddams (1820-1894), and was the granddaughter of Samuel McAddams and Nancy McRae (sister of Elizabeth McRae Hilliard) of Shelby County. Nancy Virginia Tatum was born on 25 October 1843 in Tennessee, and married April 27, 1865 to Benjamin Milam Johnson (1838-1915) of Shelby County. The couple had three children before her death on April 1, 1871, and was buried in Tatum Cemetery, near Flat Fork Creek in Shelby County.

As Claiborne prayed, he and Sandy lived to see the war end on May 4, 1865, and were with their regiment on its surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama, and afterwards paroled at Meridian, Mississippi on May 9, 1865. Uncle Duncan and Alexander (McRae) lived in Maury County, near Hurts Crossroads in 1860, and Cousin D (or Duncan McRae) later enlisted as a private in Co. F, 1st Tennessee Cavalry but may not have survived the war. Following the death of his first wife, Claiborne T. Jr., married Virginia's sister, Susannah Frances Tatum (1846-1901).

The McAddams, Hilliards, and Tatums came from Maury County, TN, to Shelby County in 1844, where Samuel McAddams established a mercantile business. His son-in-law, C. T. Hilliard Sr., soon acquired 250 acres from Milam's father, Alvey R. Johnson (1803-1862) formerly of Lincoln County, TN, who came to Texas in 1830, and had served in the Third Congress of the Republic of Texas.

Submitted 2 Jul 2006 by By Richard McAuley, Email:, Savannah, GA.