A True Civil War Story
A Night Drive in Calhoun
Written by “Memorist”
(Printed in the Calhoun Monitor July 1, 1909)
Recopied in The
For something like three years, the eventful Civil War had been waging.
The great South, whose daring sons were still fighting for principle and whose mothers and daughters were heroically suffering from want of clothes and food lay a practical waste. The great armies of Sherman, Grant and others had ceaselessly torn the South to pieces and everywhere in her broad domain, desolation, privation, destitution and dreary waste prevailed in abundance.
In the month of March, 1864, a column of Yankee soldiers out on a plundering
expedition had left the main body of Federal troops near
The little town of
In the afternoon on this particular day, I was standing on the street corner looking away toward Coffeeville, from whence a distant dull boom of cannon was wafted on the air for the report was true and a battle was being fought a little North of Coffeeville.
I was approached by Judge J. S. Ryan who wanted to know if I could drive an ox wagon on a particular errand. “I have already made arrangements for W. A. Sumners team”, said he, “And I want you to load all the records of our county into the wagon and take them to a point in Yalobusha bottom which ‘old Sam’ (a trusty servant of the Rev. ‘Uncle Tommy’ Goar) will show you.”
I told him I could take them and he said, “Then, let us get ready at once. The Yankees are now at Coffeeville and may come here at any time, and if they do they will certainly destroy all our records etc.”
So I promptly hitched the team designated, which consisted of three yoke of big oxen. I drove up to the fence that then surrounded the courthouse at the East side, and with the help of several men, piled everything that looked like County records, deed books, etc. into the great bed of the wagon.
When I left the streets it was late in the afternoon and the air was becoming chilly. I felt very lonely, for there was no one with me.
I shall never forget the way I felt when I reached a point in the road
between Pittsboro and where
As fortune would have it, I reached the stream a little before dark and immediately put my team in the water. They went slowly in and all but the “wheelers” made it to the bank on the opposite side. They could get no footing on account of the slippery banks and my wagon was mired down. I tried every way I knew to get it out and finally sat down to consider what I had best do next, when from down the bottom came a cherry “Hello!”, and you may rest assured that I was glad to hear this. The man was Abe Crutchfield and we set to work to get the wagon out, in which we were finally successful, and after thanking my helper, I again started out.
I reached the hospitable home of ‘Uncle Tommy’ Goar near where
Prof. Beasley now lives soon after dark. The ground on which the thriving
little town of
Here I got ‘Old Sam’ and with a big torch made of cypress boards, we started on, for I was determined to end my mission that night.
He led me down into the bottom near where the depot (at
“Wait a minute, boss, and I’ll start a fire,” which he did in a remarkably short while, and the tiny blaze soon grew until it shifted everything in the bare room to light.
He then removed a portion of the “puncheon” floor and we set to work to piling in the books under the house. We finished, put out the fire and started back. At promptly , the creaking wagon was stopped at the door of my host, and we put the oxen into the stables, where feed had already been placed in their trough.
After the war was ended, when a body of half-naked, tough noble men who had
gone joyfully forward to fight for an outraged country, had retuned to
the arms of suffering wives and mothers and hungry children to face a tottering
civilization; after a year of so of hopeless misery and despair under the
carpet-bag rule, the County of Calhoun began to stand on a slight footing, and
after another year or so of steady gaining, the books, records, deeds, etc.
that I had hidden were brought back, but they were so hopelessly mixed up that
the County employed Judge Duberry to straighten them
up, which took him something like a year.
[Interested in knowing who "Memorist" is? Read the story about "Courthouse Repairs and find out!]
Copyright: Rose Diamond for Calhoun MSGenweb
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