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William Y. Slack

William Y. Slack: “

8th Ohio Volunteers: +cat

{{Infobox Military Person
|name= William Y. Slack
|born= August 1, 1816
|died= March 21, 1862
|placeofbirth= [[Mason County, Kentucky]]
|placeofdeath= [[Moore’s Mill, Arkansas]]
|allegiance= [[Confederate States of America]]
|branch= [[Confederate States Army]] (aligned)
|serviceyears= 1861–62
|rank= [[Brig. Gen. (CSA)|Brigadier General]]
|unit= [[Missouri State Guard]]
|commands= 4th Division
|battles= [[American Civil War]]
*[[Battle of Carthage (1861)|Battle of Carthage]]
*[[Battle of Springfield I|First Battle of Springfield]]
*[[Battle of Wilson’s Creek]]
*[[Battle of Pea Ridge]]
|laterwork= Attorney, state legislator
”’William Yarnel Slack”’ (August 1, 1816 – March 21, 1862) was a [[Missouri]] lawyer, politician, and [[general officer|general]] in the [[Missouri State Guard]] (aligned with the [[Confederate States Army]]) during the [[American Civil War]]. He led a [[division (military)|division]] in some of war’s earliest major battles in the [[Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War|Trans-Mississippi Theater]] and was mortally wounded in the [[Battle of Pea Ridge]] in [[Arkansas]].<ref name=Eicher490>Eicher, p. 490.</ref>

==Early life and career==

William Y. Slack was born in rural [[Mason County, Kentucky]], in the summer of 1816. Three years later, his father John Slack moved the family to [[Boone County, Missouri]], and settled near [[Columbia, Missouri|Columbia]]. John Slack, a potter by trade, became the first justice of the peace for Perche Township.<ref>”History of Boone County”, p. 1071.</ref> As a young adult, William Slack studied law, passed his bar exam, and established a private practice in [[Chillicothe, Missouri|Chillicothe]]. He was among the leading citizens that helped raise cash to found what later became the [[University of Missouri]].<ref name=Bay137>Bay, pp. 137-38.</ref>

During the [[Mexican-American War|Mexican War]], Slack raised a company of volunteers and served as their [[captain]] in the 2nd Missouri Volunteers under [[Sterling Price]]. He mustered out of the army in 1847 after fourteen months of service.<ref name=Eicher490/><ref name=Warner278>Warner, p. 278.</ref>

Slack served in the [[Missouri General Assembly]], where he was noted as a strong pro-[[slavery]] advocate. He became a member of the state convention called to develop and ratify the new Missouri state constitution.<ref name=Bay137/>

==Civil War service==
Shortly after the start of the Civil War, pro-Confederacy factions in Missouri became organized as the Missouri State Guard, and Slack, with his previous military experience and political connections, was appointed by [[Governor of Missouri]] [[Claiborne F. Jackson]] as a [[Brigadier General (CSA)|brigadier general]] in command of the 5th Division of the MSG. His commission dated from July 4, 1861. In an August reorganization of the Guard, Slack assumed command of the 4th Division, which consisted of both [[cavalry]] and [[infantry]]. He saw action in the battles of [[Battle of Carthage (1861)|Carthage]] and [[Battle of Springfield I|Springfield]]. He was wounded by a bullet in the left hip at the [[Battle of Wilson’s Creek]] on August 10.<ref name=Eicher490/><ref>Welsh, p. 197.</ref>

By the end of October, Slack had recovered sufficiently to resume his field duties. He took command of the 2nd brigade of the Missouri State Guard on January 23, 1862. On March 7 of that year, he was shot again in the left hip during the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) in Arkansas. He was taken to a house a mile in the rear lines, where he improved and was assumed to be recovering. Because of fears he might be captured by [[Union Army|Union]] forces, he was transported seven miles eastward to a field hospital in Moore’s Mill, where his condition rapidly deteriorated. He lingered for two weeks before dying early in the morning of March 21. He was buried in the yard, but in 1880, his remains were exhumed and reinteered in the [[Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery]] in [[Fayetteville, Arkansas]].<ref name=Warner278/>

Ironically, due to communication delays between the Trans-Mississippi District and the Confederacy’s War Department in distant [[Richmond, Virginia]], his formal commission as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army was awarded posthumously dating from April 12, 1862.<ref name=Eicher490/><ref name=Warner278/>

His commander at Pea Ridge, Sterling Price, deemed Slack as one of ‘my best and bravest officers.'<ref>”Official Records”, Series 1, Volume VIII, p. 306.</ref>

== References ==
* Bay, William Van Ness, ”Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar of Missouri”, St. Louis: F. H. Thomas and Company, 1878.
* Eicher, John H., and [[David J. Eicher | Eicher, David J.]], ”Civil War High Commands”, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
* ”History of Boone County, Missouri”, St. Louis: Western Historical Company, 1882.
* U.S. War Department, [ ”The War of the Rebellion”]: ”a Compilation of the [[Official Records of the American Civil War | Official Records]] of the Union and Confederate Armies”, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901.
* Warner, Ezra J., ”Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders”, Louisiana State University Press, 1959, ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.
* Welsh, Jack D., ”Medical Histories of Confederate Generals”, Kent State University Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0873388535.

== Notes ==

== External links ==
* [ Photo of Slack’s headstone at Find A Grave]

== Further reading ==

* Bridges, Hal, ‘A Confederate Hero: General William Y. Slack,’ the ”Arkansas Historical Quarterly” (Volume X, Autumn 1951).

{{DEFAULTSORT:Slack, William Y.}}
[[Category:Confederate Army generals]]
[[Category:American militia generals]]
[[Category:Missouri State Guard]]
[[Category:People of Missouri in the American Civil War]]
[[Category:American military personnel killed in the American Civil War]]
[[Category:American military personnel of the Mexican-American War]]
[[Category:People from Mason County, Kentucky]]
[[Category:People from Livingston County, Missouri]]
[[Category:Missouri lawyers]]
[[Category:Missouri Democrats]]
[[Category:Members of the Missouri House of Representatives]]
[[Category:1816 births]]
[[Category:1862 deaths]]

(Via Wikipedia – New pages [en].)

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