Note    H1656         Index

SQ p. 233 shows Caleb Sparks 22, born KY, and Elizabeth Sparks, 26, born KY in the 1850 census for Lewis County, KY.


Note    H1657         Index

SQ 3196-99: "The Civil War had a tragic impact upon the little family of Reuben and Nancy Sparks. Their eldest son, Calton, now 19 years of age,
enlisted on May 3, 1862, as a 3rd sergeant in Company I of the 61st R egiment, North Carolina Infantry, Confederate States Army, on May 3, 1862. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on June 9, 1863. Then, at the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, he was killed on July 30, 1864.
"Parts of the story of the military service of Calton Sparks are told by entries written in the family Bible of his parents. (The Bible is now in the
possession of the Rev. Elmer Ray Sparks of Sparta, North Carolina. ) The first record states that he (Calton) "became a Soldier May the 3rd 1862 and left home on the 6 day of June 1862." Another record states that he "Returned home on furlough March 26, 1864 for 20 days leave." This is followed by the entry: "Calton Sparks fell in the Battle of Peters Burg 30 of July 1864."

"The most poignant account of the death of Calton Sparks is found in a letter (also in the possession of the Rev. Elmer Ray Sparks) written on
July 31, 1864, by Solomon Fender to Calton's father. Here is the letter just as it was written [over] 125 years ago.

"July the 31 1864 In the entrenchment near Peters Burg Va. Mr. Rubin Sparks Dear friend it is with pleasure that I seat my Self to try and write you a few lines to let you know how we are all getting a long as to the health of our co it is tolerable good but we all are a seeing hard times here I can inform you that we had a severe fite here yesterday we made a considerable Slaughter a mong the enemy and repused them in ever attempt but we Suffered considerable loss on our Side and among them I haf to Say to you that your Son Calton was one among them he was
killed dead on the field he was shot threw the neck with a minny ball he was the ondly officer that was lost in our co and he was as good a officer as ever could of been to his practice the loss of Lieut. C. Sparks is greate to his co it is awful nuse for me to haf to try to announce to you but there is not doubt in my mind but which your loss of him is his eternal gain for there has never been a man in the army that did not conduct his Self any better than he did there is no doubt but what he is better off to day than any of us that is left in thiss troublesom world I Will Say to you Hay Wood Crowse is now gone to Peters Burg to get a coffin to Burry him in he will be put away as good as we can do it here we will have his
grave marked and numbered Sow you can come and get him if you choose to do so.

"Calton has some few little notions here that Haywood Crowse will try to Save for you he will Send them to you the first opportunity if
you dont come down after his boddy come down if you can I cannot give a correct account of our losses Lieut was all the man that was killed in our co we had onelly 2 men wounded in our co Doc Caudle and Meredeth Cheek they was severely wounded it is thought by the most of the enemy we taken about 1000 prisners the lines is quiet thiss morning but it is thought that the yankies is a reen forcing veryy fast as I cant tell much more at this time I will close write to mee as soon as you get this send it to Peters Burg VA so no more onelly I remain your friend til death thiss from Solomon Fender

TO Ru Bin Sparks and family
"I onlely hope that thiss will find you all well and doing well I fear that you cant read thiss for it is the warmest time here that I ever
saw and I am a Swetting So that my paper is wet with swet and I cant write on it you may be sure that I am in bad order for writing
this morning for I am very feeble this morning no more at this time So fare well for the present
"S. Fender to R Sparks."

"(Editor's Note: The Union Army's Petersburg Campaign began in June 1864 and laster until May 1865. General Grant's object was to capture the Confederate stronghold at Petersburg (a vital communications center for the Confederates) and then to move on Richmond from the south of the James River. The incident on July 30, 1864, in which Calton Sparks lost his life, followed an attempt by the Yankees (under the command of General Burnside) to construct a mine beneath a Confederate battery and trenches. The mine was dug between June 25 and July
23, 1864, and extended from the Union trenches some 511 feet with two lateral galleries 75 feet long--it was 20 feet beneath the surface. Eight thousand pounds of black powder were then placed in this mine. The explosion came at 4:45 a.m. on July 30, creating a crater 170 feet long, 60 to 80 feet wide and 30 feet deep; at least 278 Confederates were killed or wounded. In the battle which followed, the Union forces failed to take advantage of their dr amatic surprise; by 8:30 a.m., over 15,000 were engaged in the area of the crater.

The assault cost the Union army 3,798 casualties (out of 20,708 troops engaged) while the Confederate army's casualties were about 1,500 (out of 11,4 66) engaged. Writing of this event in his memoirs, General Grant stated : "The effort was a stupendous failure..." General Burnside was relieved of his command during the investigation that followed. Petersburg did not fall to the Union army until April 2, 1865."