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Confederate (CSV)

Assistant Surgeon

Hezekiah Ford Witherspoon

(1834 - 1894)

Home State: Louisiana

Education: Castleton Medical College (1856); Jefferson Medical College, Class of 1857

Branch of Service: Medical

Unit: 9th Louisiana Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

After graduating from medical school he was a physician in Minden, LA. In about April 1861 he enlisted as a Private in the Minden Blues - which became Company G of the 8th Louisiana Infantry in June. He was assigned as a hospital attendant in July and August and, on 2 September 1861, was appointed Assistant Surgeon of the 9th Louisiana Infantry and transferred to that regiment.

On the Campaign

He was captured at Sharpsburg, probably on 19 September 1862 while tending to the wounded.

The rest of the War

He was paroled at Fort McHenry in Baltimore in October and exchanged at Aiken's Landing, VA on 15 November 1862 and returned to duty. His commission as Assistant Surgeon, Medical Department, Provisional Confederate Army was approved by the Confederate Senate in April 1863 - he had been nominated in January 1862. He was absent on sick furlough for much of 1863 and in hospitals in Petersburg and Richmond, VA. There is no military record for him after February 1864.

After the War

He was a surgeon, physician, and proprietor of the Sear & Witherspoon Drug Store in Marshall, TX in July 1865. In 1868 he went to Chatfield in Navarro County and had a practice with his brother Abel Norris Witherspoon (1828-1905). In 1875 he moved again, to Corsicana. He died there almost 20 years later of chronic hepatitis at age 60.

References & notes

Service information from Booth,1 as H.F and Hezekiah Witherspoon, the Rolls of 8th Louisiana Infantry (Howard-Tilton Library, Tulane University), and the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, the latter two as H.F. Witherspoon. His medical education from Frederick C. Waite's First Medical College in Vermont: Castleton, 1818-1862 (1949), as H. Ford Witherspoon. Personal details from a memorial bio sketch in Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association (Vol. 27, 1894) and from family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Martha Ellen Hodge (1849-1872) in 1868, and they had daughter Hattie (b. 1869) and son Robert Hodge Witherspoon (1871-1947). Martha died very young, age 22, just over a year after Robert was born. Dr. Witherspoon married again, in 1879, Clara Lena Newman (1861-1928) and they had two children: daughter Tenie Witherspoon Holsey (1882-1964) and son H. Ford Witherspoon, Jr (1885-1947).

As far as I can tell, he was not directly related to Cora Witherspoon (1890-1957), a well-known stage and film actress of the 1910s-1940s. Some references for Cora say her father Henry Edgeworth Witherspoon (1844-1898) was a CSA Assistant Surgeon, but that seems unlikely, particularly considering Henry was only 17 years old at the start of the War. Perhaps someone looking into her family came upon our H.F. Witherspoon, the surgeon, and confused him with her father H.E. Witherspoon.


06/06/1834; Franklin County, MS


09/07/1894; Corsicana, TX; burial in Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana, TX


1   Booth, Andrew B., Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, 3 Volumes, New Orleans: State of Louisiana, 1920, Vol. 3, Book 2, Part 2, pg. 1143  [AotW citation 22320]