(A letter written by Joe
Ann Northcut McIver to a Civil War query site about her great grandfather
A C Taylor, reprinted here with her permission).
My great grandfather, ANDREW CARROLL TAYLOR, enlisted from Pope County Arkansas - Co. C 17th and Co D 21st Arkansas Infantry. In May 1863, he was captured at Big Black Bridge near Vicksburg, Mississippi and taken prisoner by the Army of Tennessee. He was sent to Point Lookout Maryland Prison Camp and was one of the last soldiers to be exchanged in Dec. 1863. History tells us he spent 4 yrs in the war and was never wounded. However, his grandchildren remember feeling of his legs where bullets had never been removed and the stories he told of his war experiences (some of which were too horrible for him to relate without tears). His other brothers, Harper, Shields, Henry, and Robert, also enlisted from Pope County and fought during the war. "Bob" died from his wounds and Harper was injured.
Andrew met several good friends with whom he kept in touch over the years. One in particular was a young man by the name of Thom A. McKay from Mississippi, who enlisted in 1864 and saw duty in Louisiana. Little did he know at this time that their lives would one day be brought together again. For you see when Andrew married his 3rd wife, Louisa Ann Dorsey, in 1883, it was then that he found out that she was the niece of Thom McKay, his old war buddy.
As time went by, Andrew was able to talk about some of his war experiences.
One story was related to his granddaughter, Lenah Taylor Northcut.
One night his unit came to a river which had a thin coat of ice.
His comrades dived into the river with their clothes on and swam to the
other side. Being an expert swimmer, he took off his clothes, rolled
them up in a bundle and swam across the icy river on his back being ever
careful to keep his clothes from getting wet. When he reached the other side, he put on his dry clothes while his buddies spent several hours drying their clothes by campfire and shivering.
Another story was told about the time his unit was camped out during cold weather. Each soldier had been issued one blanket. Andrew and one of his buddies decided to share their blankets. They cut some brush and laid it on the soggy ground. They spread one blanket on top of the brush and used the other blanket as cover and went to bed. During the night, Andrew woke up warm for some odd reason. It was then that he realized that there was three inches of snow covering them. This was the warmest night they had spent in a good while.
His son, Sam Taylor, remembered his Dad telling him that they had parched field corn and mule beef to eat for three months and had to wear their clothes for nine months without a change. The only time they had to clean their clothes was when they camped on a stream.
ANDREW CARROLL TAYLOR later moved to Rains County Texas and raised 18 children, two of them were step- children. He received a pension and later died 15 May 1921 - buried at Pilgrim Rest Cemetery in Rains County, Texas. Research is being done to locate his brothers and their descendants. Please contact me if you can help.