Private, Company C, the Kemper Legion, 13th Mississippi Infantry
Private Francis Burns, Company C, the Kemper Legion, 13th Mississippi Infantry, Barksdale Brigade, enlisted at Corinth, MS on May 24, 1861. He was born in County Donegal, Ireland in 1827 and immigrated to America in 1849 during the great potato famine. He settled in Mississippi and was 34 when he enlisted.
He fought at Manassas and Leesburg before being severely wounded at Garnett’s Farm on June 27, 1862during the Seven Days Campaign outside Richmond. He missed Malvern Hill, Maryland Heights, and Sharpsburg but returned to duty the day the retrograde began from Sharpsburg. He was present at First and Second Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Knoxville, prior to Wilderness.
He was in Humphrey’s MS Brigade, Kershaw’s Division, Longstreet’s Corps at the Wilderness. Company C came pounding up Orange Plank Road just in the nick of time and deployed on the right (east) side of the road, across from Widow Tapp field. Company C’s Commander, LT William Davis, was severely wounded along with 18 KIA, 61 WIA, and 12 MIA from the unit.
Pvt Burns then fought at Spotsylvania, Hanover Junction, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. He missed Charlestown, Berryville, and Cedar Creek due to illness (AS – Absent sick). On the retreat to Appomattox, he was captured at High Bridge on either April 6 or 7, marched to City Point, and the transported to New York where he spent the next 6 months, not arriving back in Mississippi until January 1866. The last fight of the war took place April 9, and the formal surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia took place April 12, 1865. Therefore Pvt Burns almost made it to Appomattox, but not quite.
He moved to Grant County, Kentucky around 1870 and married Anna O’Donnell, also of Count Donegal, and “a handsome Irish woman”. They had four daughters and four some, the youngest being my grandfather, Bernard Miles Burns. Great Grandpa Francis Burns died at age 83 at home on Warsaw Road on September 8, 1910, and is buried in the Mother of God cemetery in Latonia, Covington, KY nearby. Great Grandmother Anna Burns is also buried there as are my grandparents Bernard Miles and Anna May Lyons Burns.
Private Burns was a tough old rebel. His comrades said that “there was no braver or better soldier ever marched to battle than Frank Burns”.