Morgan Countian honored as veteran of Union Army
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A wreath laying ceremony in honor of Union Army veteran James Willis Jaggers of Morgan County was conducted May 14 at Cedar Creek Freewill Baptist Church, Participants included members of the sponsoring organization, Major Bell Reynolds Tennessee Tent No. 4 of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and about 25 of the honoree's descendants.
His daughter, Naomi Jaggers Moore, 85, of Sunbridge Care and Rehabilitation in Decatur had the honor of laying the wreath on her father's gravesite. A former resident of Hartselle, she is believed to be Alabama's last surviving child of a Union veteran.
"We're honored to be here today to pay tribute to a patriot who sacrificed so much to help preserve the Union," said Pat Latham of Jackson, Tenn., Tent No. 4 president. "We're honored to have his daughter, Mrs. Moore, as one of our members."
Tent No. 4 secretary Rita Antle of Tippah County, Miss. read a brief history of Jaggers' military unit, First Alabama Calvary, U.S.A. She said it was organized July 12, 1862 and reached a strength of 2,066 members, of which 345 lost their lives in battle. "They were considered traitors by Confederate sympathizers," she added.
A poem entitled "When the Boys in Blue Are Gone" by Jim Hendricks was read by Latham and Reita Burress of Etheridge, Tenn, Tent No. 4 chaplain, gave the benediction.
Jean Garner of Hartselle, a descendant of a Union Army veteran, also assisted with the program.
Jaggers was born May 14, 1845 in Morgan County to Thomas Jaggers and Martha Vest Jaggers. His military records show that he joined the First Alabama Calvary July 21, 1862, about four months after the Union Army invaded North Alabama. Subsequently, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and served as a courier.
In early 1865, he was captured by the Confederate Army in North Carolina and held as a prisoner of war until March 10, 1865. He was paroled at Camp Chase, Ohio, and mustered out of the Union Army in Nashville on July 19, 1865.
He returned to Morgan County after the war and married his first wife, Mary Jane Riggs Dec. 17, 1865. They had no children and following her death he married Dovie Jane Powell April 9, 1913. He was 67 and she was 22. Mrs. Moore is the couple's only surviving child.
Jaggers was the first justice of peace in Hartselle and was also a Methodist minister and a judge. He died February 22, 1923.