Col. Preston Brent of the 38th Mississippi
Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg While in Paducah, KY—Whhhaaat?
As you all know, I am not from Vicksburg. This past week, I was back “up home” in Paducah, KY, to see family and attend my sister’s wedding. This could be entitled “It’s a Small World After All—Part Two” because while I was in Paducah—well, y’all guessed it—I Rediscovered Historic Vicksburg, again!
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As we were leaving from our recent trip to Paducah, KY, I received the usual notice in my email to rate or review the place we had stayed. We had been very pleased with our accommodations, so I was happy to do so. (I do not enjoy when I have negative things to say.) Upon completion, I zipped the gentleman a quick message to let him know I had given him “rave reviews”. He thanked me and said he hoped we came back to stay again. He then added that his family was from Mississippi and that he actually had an ancestor with a monument in Vicksburg National Military Park. He gave me a name, and, of course, my search was on!
Col. Preston Brent
Col. Preston Brent was born in Pike County, Mississippi, near Holmesville, on May 25th.—that is my birthday too—in the year 1833. (One source listed Copiah County, MS as his birthplace.) His father, Preston Brent, Sr. was born Feb 27th. 1799, in Fairfield District, South Carolina. Most sources list his mother as Elizabeth Briley, born May 1st. 1804, in the Mississippi Territory. (One source listed her name as “Unknown”.) All sources agree that he married Frances E. “Fanny” Brent, a distant cousin, Sept. 14, 1854. The best I can tell, confusion in sources about his parentage comes from the fact her sir name was the same as his—Brent—and her parents are at times listed as his parents. From what I gleaned, her father, John A. Brent served as a private under his son-in-law, and her mother was Rebecca Kaigler Brent.
Col. Preston Brent, a doctor, had very good organizational skills. Before the war, he served as an officer in the Mississippi State Militia. At the beginning of the Civil War, he started the Quitman Guard and Company K, also known as The Brent Guards or The Brent Rifles, a part of the Mississippi 38th Infantry Regiment.
Timeline of Col Preston Brent’s Civil War Service
(According to WikiTree.com https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Brent-312 )
1861—Became Major of 1st Regiment of Mississippi
1862—Became Captain of Company K 38th Mississippi Infantry Regiment following Col Adam’s Injury
1862—Became Lt. Colonel of 38th Mississippi Infantry Regiment
1862 – 1865—Became Colonel of 38th Mississippi Infantry Regiment
1863—He was wounded in face during battle at Vicksburg, Mississippi
1863—He was captured and paroled at Vicksburg, Mississippi
Col. Preston Brent died in 1884, of pneumonia. Frances, his wife, lived until 1909. Both are buried in Brent Cemetery, the family cemetery, which is near where they lived. Today, there is a gentleman in Paducah, KY, who is proud of his relative and there is indeed a monument with his name on it in Vicksburg National Military Park. However, Col. Brent and Fanny had eight children. If you “Google” Col. Preston Brent, you will not just find articles about him and service during the Civil War, but also about a Daughters of the Confederacy group named after him, an impressive historic home built by his family, and more. Yes, Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg often leads me to information on the Civil War, but that almost always leads me on to so much more. In this case, I found a colonel—a son, husband, father, and doctor—who served as he felt he must then returned home leaving a legacy including and extending well beyond the Civil War.