The Last Confederate Veteran – Age 112

Pvt. Salling Will Lie in General’s Garb

John Salling & William Boush Confederate Veterans in 1951

The Last Three Confederate Veterans in 1951

Kingsport, Tenn., March 16 [1959] — The last but one of about 4 million men who served in the armies of the North and the South in the Civil war died Tuesday of pneumonia in a clinic here, 60 days short of his 113th birthday. He was John Salling, who spent three years as a private in Company D of the 25th Virginia regiment, Army of the Confederacy.

His death left Walter Williams, 116, blind and bedridden in the home of a daughter in Houston, Tex., the sole survivor of the Civil war. The last veteran of the Union army, Albert Woolson of Duluth Minn., died in 1956 at 109.

Never in War Uniform
Salling saw no combat and spent the term of his enlistment in his native Scott county, Va., digging for saltpeter needed for Confederate gunpowder. He never had a uniform because uniforms were scarce. His home was a 35 acre mountain farm on the Clinch river, near Slant, Va. He was born on the farm and lived there all his life, even while in service. By turns he was a farmer, logger, horse trader, and moonshiner. Several years ago he told fellow veterans at a Confederate reunion in Mobile, Ala., that he had to get back to tend his corn crop, which he expected to run three gallons to the acre. He smoked a daily cigar until he broke his hip at 106. He chewed plug tobacco and admitted he liked a occasional nip of mountain liquor. A lanky, rawboned man, his hair remained black and he had many of his own teeth.

Wife 20 Years Dead
His wife, the former Mary Flanary, a Scott county neighbor, died 20 years ago.

The United States army will pay full military tribute to Salling. A chaplain from 2d army headquarters will conduct the funeral Thursday in the national guard armory at Gate City, Va., and graveside services at the family cemetery in Slant (VA). The body, clad in a Confederate general’s uniform, will lie in state from Tuesday until Thursday in the armory.

Other news items:
Slant, Va., – A clear-eyed old man resplendant in a uniorn receive today the homage due a survivor of this nation’s greatest conflict. Gen. John B. Salling, one of three living Civil War Veterans was set to receive dignitaries and friends as he celebrated his 111th birthday.
The general title is purely honorary.
A motorcade from Gate City, about 12 miles south of here was to bring the main body of visitors. There were to be speeches, band music and a huge birthday cake decorated with four Confederate flags.
Salling, who claims his shock of black hair has never been washed was presented greetings from Congress yesterday. The communication came from Rep. Jennings (D-Va), Salling’s congressman.
Salling’s uniform which he wears on festive occasions now was given to him several years ago. On his birthday last year Gov. Stanley presented him a Confederate shirt and the Texas Rangers sent a 10-gallon hat. (El Dorado Times, Wednesday, Front Page, May 15, 1957 – Submitted by Peggy Thompson)