Moses Wright Hannon

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Moses Wright Hannon was born in Baldwin County, Georgia, on December 14, 1827, the son of John and Elizabeth (Wright) Hannon. His father, a Maryland native, was a planter and lawyer; his mother was an aunt to Confederate Major General Ambrose Wright. Raised in Georgia, Hannon moved to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1847 to join his older brothers. He became a wealthy merchant there and married into a prominent local family. Except for eight years spent in California, Hannon resided in Montgomery until 1861.

When the war began "Wright" Hannon (as he was commonly called) was elected captain of Company B of the 1st Alabama Cavalry and was swiftly promoted to lieutenant colonel. The 1st was organized in Montgomery in late 1861. The next spring it was ordered to Corinth, Mississippi, and fought in the Battle of Shiloh. In the fall of 1862 Hannon raised the 53rd Alabama Partisan Rangers, a mounted regiment, and was commissioned its colonel on November 5,1862." The "valiant Colonel Hannon" and his regiment were stationed around the city of Tuscumbia, guarding northern Alabama from Union incursions. In April, 1863, the 53rd was formally attached to the cavalry brigade of Brigadier General Phillip Roddey, which operated in northern Alabama. On August 15,1863, Hannon's regiment was transferred to the Army of Tennessee. It saw action at the Battle of Chickamauga that September. For reasons unknown, Colonel Hannon resigned his commission on December 16, 1863; the resignation was revoked the next month. During the Atlanta campaign of 1864 Hannon commanded a small brigade (the 53rd Regiment and the 24th Battalion) of Alabama cavalry and occasionally, as senior colonel, Kelly's Division in the corps of Major General Joseph Wheeler. Hannon helped defeat a Union cavalry raid that July. In August, Hannon's brigade was detached from the main army to raid the supply lines of the Union army investing Atlanta. Taking only three hundred of the best-mounted men with him, Hannon hit Sherman's supply line near Calhoun, Georgia. Hearing of a nearby Union wagon train, Hannon smashed the train's escort and seized a herd of over a thousand cattle. With this herd, he returned to the main army defending Atlanta, whereupon General Hood, delighted with this unexpected addition to his army's meat supply, promoted him to the rank of acting brigadier general, subject to confirmation by the president. Throughout 1865 Hannon's brigade opposed Major General William T. Sherman's advance through the Carolinas. Hannon was wounded on March 10, 1865, at the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads in North Carolina and was disabled for the balance of the war.

After the war Hannon returned to Montgomery, resuming his mercantile career there and in New Orleans. In 1870 Hannon moved to Freestone County, Texas, and was a planter there at least through 1883. Sometime afterwards he removed to Leon County, Texas. Hannon died there on June 3, 1897, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

CMH, CV, and SHSP list Hannon as a general, the first alleging an 1865 (month unspecified) appointment. Presumably this is based on General Wheeler's report of April 15, 1865 (See discussion under James Hagan), which says that Hannon was a general and was wounded. The OR show Hannon as a colonel as late as February 15, 1865. The promotion, if any, must have come after this date. However, there is no record of such a promotion, and even CMH acknowledges that "the commission was never received" by Hannon. In his postwar pardon application, Hannon states that he never rose above the rank of colonel; however, by 1876 he was signing letters as "brigadier general in the Confederate service," and his tombstone labels him "general."

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Reference:  More Generals in Gray.  Bruce S. Allardice.  A companion volume to Generals in Gray.  Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.