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On January 10, 1863, nine men, including two Confederate officers and prominent local citizens and Masonic lodge members, were taken from a guardhouse near here, led to Samuel Vaughn's farm one mile northeast of Huntsville, and shot. Only one man lived. Lt. Col. Elias Baldwin of the 8th Missouri Cavalry (U.S.) was arrested for "murder of prisoners of war," but freed when witnesses failed to appear. The killings may have been motivated by the deaths of 18 Union soldiers escorting Isaac Murphy's daughters to their home in Huntsville in November 1862.
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The nine men killed on January 10, 1863, were Chesley H. Boatright, 39, a blacksmith; Confederate captains Hugh Samuel Berry, 31, and John William Moody, 22; former county treasurer William Berry, 60, a farmer; Watson Stevens, 29, the Berry's cousin; Robert Coleman Young, 56, a minister; and Askin Hughes and John Hughes of Tennessee, who were visiting Huntsville when the incident occurred. The sole survivor of the Huntsville massacre, John Parks, moved to Mississippi after recovering from his wounds. No one was ever punished for the Huntsville slayings.