William Yarael Slack

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

William Yarael Slack was born in Mason County, Kentucky, August 1, 1816. When Slack was three years of age his father moved to Boone County, Missouri, and settled near Columbia, where Slack received his education and eventually studied law. He later moved to Chillicothe, Missouri, to commence practice. Having served as captain of the 2nd Missouri Volunteers under Sterling Price in the war with Mexico, he resumed his profession after fourteen months in the army. In 1861 he was appointed brigadier general of the Missouri State Guard by Governor Claiborne F. Jackson. He fought at Carthage and Springfield and was severely wounded in the hip at the latter battle, but recovered to rejoin his command in October. On March 7, 1862, at the battle of Elkhorn, General Slack was again struck by a rifle ball only an inch from his old wound. He was taken to a house a mile east of the battlefield and seemed to improve for a few days, but due to fear of capture, he was again moved to Moore's Mill, located about seven miles farther east. Here his condition rapidly deteriorated and he died early on the morning of March 21. First buried in the yard, his remains in 1880 were re-interred in the Confederate Cemetery at Fayetteville, Arkansas. General Slack was posthumously promoted brigadier general in the Confederate service on April 17 to rank from April 12, and was duly confirmed by the Senate. There is a possibility that, due to the withdrawal of the Confederate forces from the vicinity of the battlefield, the news of his death had not reached Richmond.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

Previous Page