The Cold-Blooded Murder of Little Francis Winston Baker

In my time working in the Genealogy Department, I have heard of the tale of a little ten year old boy, son of Wesley John Quincy Baker, walking along the streets of Monroe with one of his family’s slaves (unnamed) who was about the same age. In 1863 a Confederate soldier (said to be of Mexican descent) walked up to the little boy and shot him for no reason. The story always made me wince and recoil when I read about it. Before my trip to Baton Rouge to visit the Archives earlier this month, I scanned a finding aid for their “Rebel Archives Collection”. I found three files in the collection about the murder and made sure I looked at them while I was down there. Although I didn’t find out a reason for the senseless murder, i did find out some details of the trial and hanging of the murderer.

On December 29, 1863 on the streets of Monroe, Emanuel Gardseer walked up to Francis Winston Baker, placed a gun to the right side of the boy’s head at his ear and pulled the trigger. The man was arrested and thrown in the local jail. I’m very surprised he was not taken out and lynched! I would imagine that part of the reason why is that Monroe was a major recruiting and training area for Confederate soldiers so the streets were swarming with soldiers!

On February 11, 1864 a Grand Jury was called. The following men were called to potentially serve : Hypolite Filhiol, D.G. Temple, Harry Petersen, Byron McKeen, Robert W. Faulk, Richard Fullam, Jehu Dickerson, Robert Dixon, George Essick, John G. Sanders, Martin Tillman, J.A. Rainbolt, Isham Netherland, H.W. O’neil and L.A. Halloway. These men found a true bill and a trial was called.

The men picked for the Jury trial: Richard Gainey, C. Bishop, Jehu Dickerson, P.L. wym, H.B. Watkins, D. Hasley, D.B. Sanford, Wm. Westberry, D.B. Ramsey, J.M. Stamper, H.J. Wood and A.W. Sanford. M.C. Hardy was Ouachita Parish Sheriff at the time, R.W. Richardson was Judge of the 12th District Court, R.J. Caldwell was D.A. of the 12th District who prosecuted the case and S.L. Slack was picked to be the Defense Attorney. A plea of “Not Guilty” was entered.

Gardseer was found guilty and immediately asked for a new trial, but was overruled. Judge Richardson ordered that on March 11, 1864 between the hours of 10 and 2 o’clock, Gardseer would be hung by the neck until dead. On that date, he was lead up to the gallows in front of the courthouse and his punishment was carried out.

Once I got home, I wanted to know what regiment Emanuel was in. I couldn’t find anything on Ancestry, then it hit me; his last name sounded like “Garcia” when you said it out loud. Sure enough, there was one hit, and his service record was on Fold3. Emanuel Garcia/Garsillo enlisted March 20, 1863 as a private in Company D, 22nd Texas Cavalry (Dismounted). His service record even states on the last page he was in prison at Monroe on December 29, 1863! Researching further, I found that Garcia was a substitute for Moses Nussbaum, a Bavarian merchant. The 22nd was part of Polignac’s brigade. WOW!

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