Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Madison Argenbright

Madison L. Argenbright

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • Daniel McCook Post #105 Wenatchee, Chelan Co.WA

Unit History

  • 13th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry C
  • 6th Missouri State Militia Cavalry C
  • Missouri George Butler's Company Brown's State Guard Cavalry

See full unit history

Madison Argenbright
Full Unit History

Discharged: Inf. Not Avail.

Mustered Out: July, 1865

7/22/64 to 9/1/64 St. Louis, MO
Mustered Out: 1866 Colorado (est.)

Regimental History


  As a "border state," the American Civil War was especially traumatic for Missouri. Early on, both Union and Confederate factions attempted to seize the infrastructure of the state. This resulted in both sides fielding militia units, those with Federal leanings being designated as Missouri State Militia (MSM) forces and those siding with the Confederacy as Missouri State Guard (MSG) forces.

  As of this writing no history for Captain Brown's MSG Cavalry has come to light. However, from various sources it can be determined that the nascent unit fought in many of Missouri's first skirmishes and battles in 1861 including Carthage, Springfield, Wilson's Creek, Lexington and Drywood Creek.

  During the 8/10/61 battle of Wilson's Creek which temporarily drove the Federals from Missouri,  the unit fought under the command of Confed. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch as part of Brig. Gen. Monroe M. Parson's 6th Division. Also in the division were Kelly's Infantry and Guidon's Battery of artillery. According to Missouri sources during this conflict most Confederate MSG units that saw action fought in civilian attire.

  The fate of Brown's MSG Cavalry is not known. However, at the end of 1861 or early 1862 it was likely either disbanded because of expiring enlistments or assimilated into the Confederate States Army as a "numbered regiment."


  Although no official history has been found for the 6th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, available information indicates that throughout its existence the unit was assigned within the State of Missouri even though some assignments took it into adjacent territories including the Indian Nation (present day Oklahoma). During its wartime tenure the 6th confronted and skirmished with regular Confederate Army troops, but primarily focused on rooting out and destroying the numerous Rebel guerilla or "bushwhacker" bands, including one lead by the notorious "Bloody" Bill Anderson.

  One Rebel band lead by a man whose last name was Coffee was routed by Union troops on August 12, 1863 at Pineville, MO with 60 to 70 of his men killed. As retaliation in October of the same year Coffee's troops captured the federal garrison in his hometown of Greenfield and burned the courthouse. As an interesting side note, among the destroyed records that October was Coffee’s land deed which would ultimately mean he could not reclaim his property in Missouri.

  ** While the state militia 6th continued to function until the War's end, in mid-1864 a group of veterans from the regiment was used to form the new 13th Missouri Cavalry, a federal unit.  6th Missouri State Militia Cavalry losses: 2 officers killed or mortally wounded; 0 officers died of disease, accidents, etc.; 48 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded; 104 enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc


  The basis of this three year "western theater" regiment was a contingent of veterans who had formerly belonged to the 6th Missouri State Militia Cavalry. The organization was authorized on 7/22/64, but before such could be completed the "veterans" noted above, under the command of Major Austin A. King were ordered to northwestern Missouri to suppress Rebel guerillas. Colonel E.C. Catherwood then returned to St. Louis to finalize the regiment's organization. 

  After the bushwhackers had been run out of the northwest counties King marched his forces to Glascow to confront the notorious "Bloody" Bill Anderson and his gang. Time was then spent through various counties killing/disbursing guerillas and capturing horses, etc.

  The 13th passed the winter at Rolla MO where it was engaged in scout duty and routing gangs of bushwhackers. This assignment continued to May, 1865 when it was ordered to Ft. Larned, Kansas except for four companies left at Rolla. From Ft. Larned, troops were then sent to Ft. Riley, KS which was reached in June. Elements of the regiment were then parceled out to different parts of the state.

  On the last day of July, 1865 nine companies of the 13th were concentrated at Ft Zarah, KS and from there returned to Ft. Larned, KS where they reported for service in an expedition against the Indians. With that expedition subsequently abandoned, after some further duty in Kansas the regiment was ordered to Denver, CO and was still there as 1865 drew to a close. Final muster appears to have been in Kansas during mid-1866.

  Total regimental losses - Officers killed/mortally wounded = 0; Officers died of disease, accidents, etc. = 0; Enlisted men killed/mortally wounded = 11; enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc. = 28.  

Soldier History

SOLDIER: (Col. Brown's MSG Cav. CSA)
Inf. Morgan County, MO   Age: 21 (plus) yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: Spring, 1861   Rank: Unk.
Discharged: 12/61 Granby, MO
Highest Rank: Unk.

Residence: Morgan County, MO   Age: 22.6 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 6/23/63 Jefferson City, MO   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 1/1/64 Springfield, MO
Transferred Out: 12/29/64 by order dated 8/2/64
Highest Rank: Pvt.

SOLDIER: (13th Cav. US)
Morgan County, MO   Age: 24.7 yrs.
Transferred In:  7/20/64   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 12/7/64 Rolla, MO
Discharged: 5/12/66 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Highest Rank: Pvt. 

Family History


  Madison Lyle Argenbright was born 12/9/40 in Augusta County, VA to parents John ( 1798/'99 VA) and Catherine J. (nee Steele, b. 1804 VA) Argenbright. John Argenbright was employed as a cooper.

  Madison was the third of six children. His older siblings were: William Henry White (b. ca. 1837) and Preston (b. ca. 1838). His younger siblings were: Littleton H. (b. ca. 1842), Martha A. (b. 1844 as per family records) and Salina/Salena A. (b. 1846 as per family records.) Nothing is known about his childhood, formative or early teenaged years, except that they were spent in the home of his parents.

  In 1855 the Argenbright’s moved from Virginia to Saline County, Missouri and, within the following year or two resettled in Morgan County. Once in Missouri Madison remained in his parents' home until the death of his father likely in the latter months of 1860. Exactly, where he settled at that time is not documented, but it was within Morgan County as Morgan would be his home territory for many years.

  April, 1861. Civil war beset the United States dividing it into two factions - the northern states and the southern states. In north/south border areas like Missouri, however, the schism was even more dramatic as the north/south division existed within the state itself as each side attempted to wrest control of the state from the other.

  During the initial call for troops within Missouri, Madison, sided with the nascent Confederacy, joining "Capt. Butler's Company," Colonel Brown's MSG Volunteer Cavalry in which he served from the spring of 1861 until December of that same year. According to a history of Morgan County, MO compiled later, "His term of service was one filled with hardship, but he passed through without a murmur. He participated in the battles of Carthage, Springfield, Wilson's Creek, Lexington and Drywood, besides numerous skirmishes, finally being discharged near Granby, MO, in December, 1861, after which he returned home." Again, while the specific location of "home" is not documented, it was obviously in Morgan County.

  The Morgan County history once again: "Mr. Argenbright remained at home until June, 1863, but finding everything so disturbed he enlisted at Jefferson City under Col. Catherwood in the sixth Missouri State Militia (MSM)." Madison Argenbright had joined the Federal militia cavalry. The Morgan County account goes on to say "While a member of the (Federal) militia he was in the skirmish at Jefferson City, but was mostly engaged in fighting guerillas, and at one time, for about fifteen days had only one hour's rest out of the twenty-four."

  A closer look at Madison's period of 6th MSM service via his military records discloses that at enlistment - which was for a period of one year - he was a twenty-two year old farmer who stood 5'8" tall, was light complexioned, and had grey eyes and light hair.  Also, of note was that while in the Federal militia he supplied his own horse (valued at $100) and "equipment" for which he was reimbursed on a daily/monthly basis for "use and risk" throughout his period of MSM service with the 6th.

  During the spring months of 1864 plans were being laid for Union Gen. U.S. Grant's Overland Campaign in Virginia. At that time President Lincoln put out a call for veteran volunteer troops to enter Federal service. Responding to this call, a contingent of 6th MSM cavalry, including Private Argenbright, volunteered to form the nucleus of a new non-militia, Union cavalry regiment numbered the 13th Missouri.

  According to the Morgan County narrative the 13th was one of the Federal units that, during the latter half of 1864, pursed Confed. Gen. Price during his last raid into Missouri. Price being repulsed, Private Argenbright was amongst a continent of the 13th assigned to escort Confederate prisoners to St. Louis. He and his regiment then went into winter quarters at Rolla, MO.

  At some point during 1865 the 13th escorted Union Gen. Upton into Kansas. Once in Kansas, elements of the regiment were scattered to a number of cities and towns, one being Pawnee River where Madison reportedly saw the famed frontiersman, Kit Carson. The regiment then moved westward to Colorado.

  Military records for 1865 reveal that from 7/24 until 11/16 Private Argenbright was on detached service as a cook at the regimental hospital. Then, from 11/16/65 through 2/66 he served additional detached duty as a clerk at post headquarters, Camp Wardwell. Some of this detached service was in likely in Kansas, while the latter was in Colorado.

  By March, '66 Madison had returned to his company, and on April 11th the 13th started back toward Ft. Leavenworth, KS which was reached on 5/5/66. Private Argenbright and the 13th remained there until mustered out of the service on 5/12. Madison Argenbright’s military tenure had come to a close.

  Leaving the service, Madison returned to farm life in Morgan County, MO.  The next documented entry pertaining to his post war activities is from 1/27/67. On that date in Morgan County he married Mary E. Wilson (b. 4/45 MO). The couples' first child, Anna "Annie" Leroy was born (11/9 MO) that same year. The union would produce one additional child, Charles Burton (b. 1/24/71 MO).   Madison and family remained in Morgan County until the early years of the 20th century. While there, only one U.S. census placed them in or near a specific community, that being the census of 1880 which noted the name Versailles, MO.

  While in Versailles, or at least Morgan County itself, Madison established himself as a successful "farmer and stockman." The Morgan County history elaborated on his community status in this way: “Mr. Argenbright owns about 125 acres of land in the home farm and has a one-third interest in twenty-seven acres of lead land.  His buildings are all in excellent condition and he is quite well fixed financially. He is a Democrat in politics, and in his religious views is a Methodist." 

  Circa 1899/1900 Madison's life conditions changed dramatically when a kick to the head by a horse created a blood clot in the brain which paralyzed his speech. If not immediately, at least by 1901 he was unable to work and in need of continual care.

  Mary Argenbright died on 11/9/06 from causes unknown. From that date to the end of Madison's life some of the information provided herein is   based, to a degree, on assumption and speculation.

  One initial assumption is that Madison and Mary were residing in Morgan County, MO at the time of her passing. Perhaps without Mary to care for him Madison was forced to depart Missouri for the home of his married daughter and son-in-law,  Alex Mc Gregor, It was there, in the City of Spokane, Spokane County, in far, eastern Washington State, the U.S. census found him in 1910. The census again found Madison with the McGregor’s in 1920, this time residing in the north central Washington community of Wenatchee.

  Three years later, in 1923, Madison had departed Chelan County and was living in the Puget Sound region of Western Washington in or near the Snohomish County City of Everett with granddaughter Susan Geyer. Perhaps the move westward was prompted by daughter Anna becoming ill, as by 1926, she was deceased.

  More moves were yet in the offing for Madison before the end of his days as, sometime between 1923, when he arrived in Everett to live with Susan, and 6/23/26, also in Everett when the paperwork process was initiated to try and gain him a U.S. Government disability pension based on his years of Civil War soldiering, he spent some time in Oregon State. Exactly when that was, why the move southward was made, with whom or where he resided and why he was returned to his granddaughter's home in Everett is not known. Was it to be cared for by his son? If so the return to Everett could have been prompted by Charles' passing as, by 1926, he too, was deceased. Madison Argenbright had outlived his wife and two children.

  The pension application of 1926 sought Madison a pension based on his old age and incapacitation resulting from the horse kick to his head.  By this time he had been unable to care for himself or carry on a conversation for 25 years. Madison, more likely his granddaughter, Susan, made "his X mark" to sign the application form.

  Further insight into Madison's condition is revealed within an additional document filed 2/25/26. That form indicated the old soldier was not totally bed ridden and could leave the house from time to time. However, he needed constant care and suffered from paralyzed speech which, although he could communicate at times with those with whom he was familiar, his affirmative and negative answers were often reversed. This affidavit form as signed by Mary E. Geyer, Susan’s daughter and Madison's great great-grand daughter. It is not known if the pension request was granted.

  Private Madison Lyle Argenbright, a Civil War soldier who served honorably for both the South and the North died 12/21/28 in the Snohomish County y, WA region of Lakewood near the present day community of Arlington.  His 12/23 obituary in the Everett Herald newspaper noted that, at death, he was 88 years of age. Cause of death was listed as senility.  Passing came at Mary’s home. Burial was in Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery.  Surviving Madison were eight grand- children, three great-great grand- children and one great great-great grandchild. Also his sister, Silina.


Buried at Evergreen Cemetery Everett
Row: 30
Site: 384

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