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Title: Life in Dixie during the War - 1861-1862-1863-1864-1865
Author: Gay, Mary A. H.
Language: English
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  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897,
  By MARY A. H. GAY,
  In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS                                                   9

  CHAPTER I.--The Magnolia Cadets                                       17

  CHAPTER II.--The War Record of DeKalb County                          22

  CHAPTER III.--Labors of Love--Musical--Decatur                        36

  CHAPTER IV.--Labors of Love--Knitting and Sewing, and Writing
      Letters to “Our Soldiers”                                         42

  CHAPTER V.--The Third Maryland Artillery--Some Old Songs              48

  CHAPTER VI.--A Daring and Unique Chase--The Capture and
      Re-capture of the Railroad Engine, “The General”                  52

  CHAPTER VII.--Coming Home from Camp Chase--The Faithful
      Servant’s Gift--A Glimpse of Confederate Braves                   58

  CHAPTER VIII.--Some Social Features--Morgan’s Men Rendezvous
      at Decatur--Waddell’s Artillery--Visits from the Texans--
      Surgeon Haynie and His Song                                       72

  CHAPTER IX.--Thomie’s Second Home Coming--He Leaves for the
      Front--His Christian Labors in Camp--He Describes the
      Battle of New Hope Church--The Great Revival in
      Johnston’s Army                                                   77

  CHAPTER X.--A Visit to Dalton--The Fidelity of an Oldtime
      Slave                                                             94

  CHAPTER XI.--A Perilous Trust                                        104

  CHAPTER XII.--A Scene in an Atlanta Confederate Hospital             108

  CHAPTER XIII.--Concealing Confederate Clothing--Valuables
      Carried to Atlanta--Toby Taken Ill                               113

  CHAPTER XIV.--The Advance Guard of the Yankee Army--I am

  CHAPTER XV.--The Battle of the 22d of July, 1864--The Death
      of Toby                                                          135

  CHAPTER XVI.--Everett’s Desertion                                    146

  CHAPTER XVII.--A Visit to Confederate Lines--A Narrow Escape--
      My Return--The Fall of Atlanta                                   156

  CHAPTER XVIII.--The Ten Days’ Armistice--Going Out with the
      Confederate Clothes--Scenes at Atlanta, and at Lovejoy’s
      Station--The Visit to Granbury’s Brigade--The Last
      Interview with Thomie                                            168

  CHAPTER XIX.--The Return Home--From Jonesboro via Augusta--
      Scenes and Incidents by the Way--The Lonely Journey from
      Stone Mountain to Decatur                                        193

  CHAPTER XX.--On the Verge of Starvation--A Worn-out Army
      Horse is Found--Uncle Mack Makes a Wagon--I Make a Unique
      Trip--Starvation is Warded Off--Dangers and Scenes by the
      Way                                                              207

  CHAPTER XXI.--A Second Trip for Supplies--Gathering “Fodder”
      from a Cane-brake, as a Preliminary--The Lonely Journey--
      Changing Yankee’s Name--I Meet the Federal Raiders               226

  CHAPTER XXII.--News from the Absent Brother--He Marches into
      Tennessee with Hood--Extracts from His Letters written on
      the Way--Two Ears of Parched Corn--The Night Burial of a
      Soldier                                                          243

  CHAPTER XXIII.--An Incident of the War--Related to the Writer
      by Hon. Roger Q. Mills, of Texas                                 251

  CHAPTER XXIV.--Picking up Minie Balls Around Atlanta--
      Exchanging Them for Bread                                        255

  CHAPTER XXV.--The Decatur Women’s Struggle for Bread--Sweet
      Singing in Hard Places--Pleasant Visitors--I Make a Trip
      to Alabama--The News of My Brother’s Death                       260

  CHAPTER XXVI.--My Mother’s Death--Rev. John S. Wilson
      Performs the Funeral Service                                     274

  CHAPTER XXVII.--A Reminiscence                                       281

  CHAPTER XXVIII.--How the Decatur Women Kept Up the Sabbath
      School                                                           289

  CHAPTER XXIX.--Postal Affairs--The Postmaster, Hiram J.
      Williams--A Life that was a Reality, but Reads like a
      Romance                                                          298

  CHAPTER XXX.--The Tragic Death of Sallie Durham--A Sketch of
      the Durham Family                                                302

  CHAPTER XXXI.--The Death of Melville Clark                           310

  CHAPTER XXXII.--The Morton Family--Incidents Thrilling and
      Affecting                                                        313

  CHAPTER XXXIII.--Hon. Joseph E. Brown’s Pikes and Guns               319

  CHAPTER XXXIV.--The Pursuit and Capture of the Andrew’s
      Raiders                                                          325

  CONFEDERATE LOVE SONG                                                349

  CONCLUSION                                                           351

  APPENDIX                                                             354


I am asked to write a few words of introduction to these reminiscences of
a lady who, in the pleasant afternoon of a life devoted to deeds of mercy
and charity, turns fondly and sympathetically to the past. But there is
nothing to be said. What word of mine could add to the interest that
inheres in this unpretentious record of a troubled and bloody period? The
chronicle speaks for itself, especially to those who remember something of
those wonderful days of war. It has the charm and the distinction of
absolute verity, a quality for which we may look in vain in more elaborate
and ambitious publications. Here indeed, is one of the sources from which
history must get its supplies, and it is informed with a simplicity which
history can never hope to attain.

We have here reproduced in these records, with a faithfulness that is
amazing, the spirit of those dark days that are no more. Tragedy shakes
hands with what seems to be trivial, and the commonplaces of every-day
life seem to move forward with the gray battalions that went forth to war.

It is a gentle, a faithful and a tender hand that guides the pen--a soul
nerved to sacrifice that tells the tale. For the rest, let the records
speak for themselves.



By way of preface to “Life in Dixie During the War,” I scarcely know what
to say. I have long felt that it was the duty of the South to bequeath to
posterity the traditions of that period; for if we do it not ourselves
they will be swallowed up in oblivion. Entertaining this opinion, I have
essayed the task of an individual effort, and hope that others may follow
my example.

No woman who has seen what I have seen, and felt what I have felt, would
be apt to write with less asperity; and yet, now that we have come back to
the United States, and mean to stay in it, let the provocation to depart
be what it may, I would not put into practice an iota of the war-time
feeling. In thus expressing myself, I am sure I represent every Christian
in my own beautiful Southland.

There was one for whom these sketches would have had a special interest.
An inspiring motive for writing them was that they would be read by my
nephew, Thomas H. Stokes, of Atlanta, the only child of the brother so
often mentioned. But, ere he had had more than a glimpse of them, he was
called away by an Inscrutable Providence, in his pure and beautiful young
manhood, as we trust to a Land of Peace more in keeping with his noble,
true, and tender heart, than earth with its sin and strife. “Blessed are
the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”


Decatur, Georgia.



The tocsin of war has resounded from Mason and Dixon’s line to the Gulf of
Mexico, from the snow-crested billows of the Atlantic to the tranquil
waves of the Pacific.

War! War! War! is the battle cry of a people, who, long suffering and
patient, but now, goaded to desperation and thoroughly exasperated, are
determined, at all hazards, to protect the rights for which their
forefathers fought, bled and died; and which their own Thomas Jefferson
embodied in an instrument of writing which, for beauty of diction and
wisdom of thought, will go sounding down the corridors of time, so long as
time itself shall last--unequaled, unparalleled; and which was adopted
without a dissenting voice by the ablest convocation of men ever assembled
in national councils as their declaration of human rights and liberties.

Thus, under auspices favorable to the happy and speedy development of a
new and glorious country, commenced the government of the freest and
happiest people on earth, under the administration of George
Washington--an administration which caught the eye of the world and called
forth its admiration; and which the most censorious never had the temerity
to attack; an administration which secured for the country the alluring
title, “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” And its fame
went abroad in story and in song, and every nation on earth sought its
blessings and advantages, and it grew to be a mighty country.

Coeval with the settlement of this beautiful continent by the white man,
there came, or rather, there was brought, a race of people which needed
the fostering care as well as the strong arm of slavery to kindle the
latent spark of intellectual fire which had smoldered for centuries, in,
as President Cleveland would say, “innocuous desuetude.”

This race of people came not as pioneers in the building up of this great
nation, but as a menial race, sold into bondage by their own kith and kin,
and not to be endowed with elective franchise nor representation in its
councils. It was held in bondage alike in Massachusetts and in South
Carolina. Under the auspices of slavery, it became a powerful factor in
the building up of the staple industries of the country--the Southern
portion of it directly, the Northern portion indirectly, and it received
in return more than any other people in bondage has ever received--as a
usual thing, good wholesome food, comfortable homes and raiment, and
tender treatment in sickness. When they failed to receive these benefits,
their masters were improvident and careless alike of the comfort of their
own wives and children, and they, too, showed hard usage and neglect. This
is not said by way of apology for any treatment received at the hands of
Southern slaveholders by this vassal race. I repeat that no people held in
bondage ever received so many benefits.

Slavery, as all other institutions, had its evils, and those evils were
far greater to the slaveholder than to the slaves. Climatic and other
considerations rendered the system of slavery unprofitable in the Northern
States of this great and growing republic, and the men at the helm of
their respective governments agitated the subject of emancipation.

Having given themselves time to bring the greater number of their slaves
South and sell them, they nominally freed the others by legislative
enactment; and by this great and magnanimous action, there were so few
left that to this day, as attested by Northern tourists, a “darkey,” or a
“colored person,” is an object of curiosity and great interest.

The country, North and South, was too prosperous. The agitators could
stand it no longer. Discord and strife took the place of harmony and peace
in the halls of congress, and in the senate chamber of the United States.
Men who could in no other way acquire prominence, became conspicuous as
champions of an “oppressed and down trodden race,” and were swift to
slander the white people of the South. Our slaves were taught that murder,
rapine, arson, and every species of wickedness known in the catalogue of
crime which, in any way, could weaken, yea, destroy the South, was service
most acceptable.

The country was in the clutches of an organized mob, determined to
precipitate it into the jaws of dissolution. By way of confirming this
statement the following resolutions are reproduced.

These resolutions were adopted by a large and representative body of men
at Worcester, Massachusetts, soon after Fremont’s defeat in 1856, and
long before Governor Gist of South Carolina, and other Southern leaders,
began to take measures for a peaceable separation, rather than to be
forcibly expelled:

“_Resolved_, That the meeting of a state disunion convention, attended by
men of various parties and affinities, gives occasion for a new statement
of principles and a new platform of action.

“_Resolved_, That the conflict between this principle of liberty and this
fact of slavery has been the whole history of the nation for fifty years,
while the only result of this conflict has thus far been to strengthen
both parties, and prepare the way of a yet more desperate struggle.

“_Resolved_, That in this emergency we can expect little or nothing from
the South itself, because it, too, is sinking deeper into barbarism every
year. Nor from a supreme court which is always ready to invent new
securities for slaveholders. Nor from a president elected almost solely by
Southern votes. Nor from a senate which is permanently controlled by the
slave power. Nor from a house of representatives which, in spite of our
agitation, will be more proslavery than the present one, though the
present one has at length granted all which slavery asked. Nor from
political action as now conducted. For the Republican leaders and press
freely admitted, in public and private, that the election of Fremont was,
politically speaking, the last hope of freedom, and even could the North
cast a united vote in 1860, the South has before it four years of
annexation previous to that time.

“_Resolved_, That the fundamental difference between mere political
agitation and the action we propose is this, it requires the acquiescence
of the slave power, and the other only its opposite.

“_Resolved_, That the necessity for disunion is written in the whole
existing character and condition of the two sections of the country--in
social organizations, education, habits and laws--in the dangers of our
white citizens of Kansas and of our colored ones in Boston, in the wounds
of Charles Sumner and the laurels of his assailant--and no government on
earth was ever strong enough to hold together such opposing forces.

“_Resolved_, That this movement does not seek merely disunion, but the
more perfect union of the free States by the expulsion of the slave States
from the confederation in which they have ever been an element of discord,
danger and disgrace.

“_Resolved_, That it is not probable that the ultimate severance of the
union will be an action of deliberation or discussion, but that a long
period of deliberation and discussion must precede it, and this we meet to

“_Resolved_, That henceforward, instead of regarding it as an objection to
any system of policy that will lead to the separation of the States, we
will proclaim that to be the highest of all recommendations and the
grateful proof of statesmanship; and we will support politically and
otherwise, such men and measures as appear to tend most to this result.

“_Resolved_, That by the repeated confession of Northern and Southern
statesmen, the existence of the union is the chief guarantee of slavery,
and that the despots of the whole world and the slaves of the whole world
have everything to hope from its destruction and the rise of a free
Northern republic.

“_Resolved_, That the sooner the separation takes place the more peaceable
it will be; but that peace or war is a mere secondary consideration in
view of our present perils. Slavery must be conquered; peaceably if we
can, forcibly if we must.”

To keep before the people of the United States, North and South, the
hostility of the then controling spirit of the North towards the South,
the above resolutions cannot be repeated too often. Nor were they an
isolated example of party fanaticism. The stock and staple of the entire
republican press was slander of the Southern people; and like noxious
weeds it well nigh rooted out all that was elevating to man, and ennobling
to woman. The pulpit became a rostrum from which bitter invective of the
South flowed in Niagaran torrents; and the beautiful fields of Poesy were
made to yield an abundant crop of briar and bramble and deadly Upas.

The burden of every song, of every prayer, of every sermon, was the “poor
down-trodden slave” of the South. What wonder that seed thus constantly
and malignantly sown sprang up and bore a crop of discontent which nothing
short of “separation” from the enemy could appease. We, too, felt that
under the existing circumstances peace or war was a mere secondary
consideration in view of our perils in the union, and took measures to
withdraw from a sectional union of States that had ceased to respect State
sovereignty outside of its own borders.

The insults and taunts and the encroachments of fifty years had welded the
people of the South into a compact party organization, animated for all
substantial purposes by one sentiment and one glorious principle of
patriotism, and never was there a movement in the annals of nations that
had a more unanimous support. And when the tocsin of war resounded from
one end of the country to the other, and reverberated over hills and
through valleys, the sons and sires in the beautiful Sunny South, from the
high born and cultured gentleman in whose veins flowed the blue blood of
the cavalier, to the humblest tiller of the soil and the shepherd on the
mountain sides, buckled on the paraphernalia of warfare and reported for
duty. To arms! To arms! was the patriotic appeal of a people who had no
other redress; and I repeat with emphasis that never a people responded
with more chivalrous alacrity or more earnestness of purpose.

I was too well versed in the politics of the country, too familiar with
the underground workings of the enemy, to hesitate. I, too, enlisted in
the struggle, and in the glorious efforts to establish “home rule and
domestic felicity,” not literally in the ranks of the soldier, but in the
great army of women who were willing to toil and to suffer, and to die, if
need be, for the cause of the South.

I had but one brother, a darling young half brother, Thomas J. Stokes, who
had gone to Texas to practice his chosen profession. With all the
intensity of my ardent nature I loved this brother, and would have died
that he might live; and yet with all the perils involved, it was with a
thrill of pride that I read his long letter breathing, pulsing, with the
patriotism illustrated by our ancestry in the revolutionary struggle for
American Independence. And now this noble brother and myself, though
widely separated, enlisted in aid of the same great cause; the perpetuity
of constitutional rights. He to serve on the battle-field, and I to care
for the sick and wounded soldiers, or to labor in any capacity that would
give greatest encouragement to our cause.

Life in Dixie During the War.



Notwithstanding the restful signification of “Alabama,” the State bearing
that name had passed the ordinance of secession, and mingled her voice
with those of other States which had previously taken steps in that

Then followed a call for a convention, having in view the election of a
President of a new Republic to take its place among the nations of the
earth, and to be known throughout the world as the Southern Confederacy.
As an intensely interested spectator I was at that convention; and will
remember, to my dying day, that grand spectacle. Yea, that was a grand and
solemn occasion--that of issuing a mandate “Let there be another nation,
and to all intents and purposes there was another nation.” In the course
of human events it requires centuries to evolve such moral courage and
sublimity of thought and action; and the proceedings of that day will
stand out in bold relief as the acme of patriotic greatness.

Ah! that scene at the capitol of the State of Alabama, when Jefferson
Davis, the chosen leader of the Southern people, took the oath of office
and pledged undying fidelity to the best interests of his own sunny land.

On that momentous occasion not a word was uttered denunciatory of the
States we were seeking to leave in their fancied superiority, and the
great concourse of people there assembled was too familiar with the
history of the times to require recapitulation of the causes of the
alienation which led by rapid ascent to the summit of discontent, and
determination to no longer submit to the domination of an enemy.

That scene being enacted as a preliminary, a call was made for Alabama’s
quota of volunteers to defend the principles enunciated and the interests

The Magnolia Cadets, under the leadership of Captain N. H. R. Dawson, of
Selma, were among the first to respond. I accompanied my cousins of
Alabama to see this company of noble, handsome young men mustered into the
military service of their country. It was a beautiful sight! Wealthy,
cultured young gentlemen voluntarily turning their backs upon the luxuries
and endearments of affluent homes, and accepting in lieu the privations
and hardships of warfare; thereby illustrating to the world that the
conflict of arms consequent upon the secession was not to be “a rich man’s
war and a poor man’s fight.”

I saw them as they stood in line to receive the elegant silken banner,
bearing the stars and bars of a new nation, made and presented to them by
Miss Ella Todd and her sister, Mrs. Dr. White, of Lexington, Kentucky, who
were introduced to the audience by Captain Dawson as the sisters of Mrs.
Abraham Lincoln, the wife of the president of the United States.

I was thus made aware that Mrs. Lincoln and her illustrious husband were
Southerners. I have since been in the small, mud-chinked log cabin in
Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in which he was born, and in which his infancy
and little boyhood were domiciled. Mrs. White had married an Alabamian,
and as his wife became a citizen of his State. Her sister, Miss Todd, was
visiting her at the enactment of the scene described, and under like
circumstances, also became a citizen of Alabama. She married the valiant
gentleman who introduced her to the public on that memorable occasion.

I have sought and obtained from Mrs. Mary Dawson Jordan, of Chattanooga,
Tennessee, a daughter of Captain Jordan, a complete record of the names of
the officers and members of this patriotic company of Alabama’s noble
sons--native and adopted--which I subjoin as an item of history that will
be read with interest by all who revere the memory of the Lost Cause and
its noble defenders.

_Muster Roll of the “Magnolia Cadets.”_

  N. H. R. DAWSON, Captain.

(Enrolled for active service at Selma, Ala., on the 26th day of April,
1861. Mustered into service on the 7th day of May, 1861, at Lynchburg,

Commanded by Col. Ben Alston of the Fourth Alabama Regiment of Volunteers.

  1. N. H. R. Dawson, Captain.
  1. Shortbridge, Jr., Geo. D., 1st Lieutenant.
  2. McCraw, S. Newton, 2nd Lieutenant.
  3. Wilson, John R. 3rd Lieutenant.
  1. Waddell, Ed. R., 1st Sergeant.
  2. Price, Alfred C., 2nd Sergeant.
  3. Daniel, Lucian A., 3rd Sergeant.
  4. Goldsby, Boykin, 4th Sergeant.
  1. Bell, Bush W., 1st Corporal.
  2. Garrett, Robert E., 2nd Corporal.
  3. Brown, James G., 3rd Corporal.
  4. Cohen, Lewis, 4th Corporal.
  1. Melton, George F., Musician.
  2. Marshall, Jacob, Musician.


   1. Adkins, Agrippa
   2. Adams, William S.
   3. Avery, William C.
   4. Byrd, William G.
   5. Beattie, Thomas K.
   6. Briggs, Charles H.
   7. Bohannon, Robert B.
   8. Baker, Eli W.
   9. Bradley, Hugh C.
  10. Cook, Thomas M.
  11. Cook, James W.
  12. Cook, Benson.
  13. Caughtry, Joseph R.
  14. Cole, George W.
  15. Cleveland, George W.
  16. Clevaland, Pulaski.
  17. Cunningham, Frank M.
  18. Coursey, William W.
  19. Daniel, John R.
  20. Densler, John E.
  21. Donegay, James G.
  22. Friday, Hilliard J.
  23. Friday, James L.
  24. Friday, John C.
  25. Ford, Joseph H.
  26. Grice, Henry F.
  27. Haden, James G.
  28. Harrill, Thornton R.
  29. Hannon, Wm. H., Sr.
  30. Hannon, Wm. H., Jr.
  31. Hooks, William A.
  32. Hodge, William L.
  33. Jones, William.
  34. Jordan, James M.
  35. Jackson, Felix W.
  36. King, William R.
  37. Kennedy, Arch.
  38. Kennedy, George D.
  39. Lamson, Frank R.
  40. Lane, William B.
  41. Lowry, Uriah.
  42. Lowry, William A.
  43. Littleton, Thomas B.
  44. Luske, John M.
  45. Lamar, John H.
  46. Mather, Thomas S.
  47. Martin, James B.
  48. May, Syd M.
  49. May, William V.
  50. Melton, Thomas J.
  51. Miller, Stephen J.
  52. Mimms, George A.
  53. Moody, William R.
  54. Mosely, Andrew B.
  55. McNeal, George S.
  56. McKerning, John W.
  57. Overton, John B.
  58. Overton, Thomas W.
  59. O’Neal, William.
  60. Paisley, Hugh S.
  61. Pryor, John W.
  62. Pryor, Robert O.
  63. Peeples, Frank W.
  64. Raiford, William C.
  65. Reinhardt, George L.
  66. Robbins, John L.
  67. Rucker, Lindsay.
  68. Rucker, Henry.
  69. Shiner, David H.
  70. Stokes, William C.
  71. Stone, John W.
  72. Stewett, Mayor D.
  73. Turner, Daniel M.
  74. Thomas, Lewis.
  75. Tarver, Ben J.
  76. Taylor, William E.
  77. Terry, Thomas B.
  78. Thompson, John S.
  79. Thompson, William E.
  80. Ursory, Edward G.
  81. Vaughn, Turner P.
  82. Wrenn, Theodore J.
  83. Whallon, Daniel.

    Copied from the original Muster Roll of the Magnolia Cadets, owned by
    Henry R. Dawson, son of N. H. R. Dawson.



DeKalb county, Georgia, of which Decatur is the county site, was among the
first to enroll troops for Confederate service. The first volunteers from
Decatur were James L. George, Hardy Randall, L. J. Winn and Beattie
Wilson, who went with the Atlanta Greys the last of May, 1861.

The first company from DeKalb county was that of Captain John W. Fowler.
It was called the DeKalb Light Infantry, and was mustered into service in
Atlanta, as part of the 7th Georgia Volunteers, and left for Virginia on
the 1st of June, 1861. Those going from DeKalb county in this company
were: First Lieutenant, John J. Powell; Second Lieutenant, John M.
Hawkins; Third Lieutenant, James L. Wilson; First Sergeant, M. L. Brown;
Second Sergeant, D. C. Morgan; Third Sergeant, D. E. Jackson; Fourth
Sergeant, John W. Fowler, jr.; Corporals--H. H. Norman, R. F. Davis, C. W.
L. Powell; Privates--W. W. Bradbury (afterwards captain), E. M.
Chamberlain, W. W. Morgan, W. L. Herron, P. H. Pate, C. E. McCulloch,
James W. McCulloch, L. C. Powell, H. G. Woodall, J. S. Woodall, A. W.
Mashburn, V. A. Wilson, W. J. Mason, J. V. Austin, W. M. Austin, John
Eads, E. A. Davis, Dr. A. S. Mason, John W. Norman, E. L. Morton, Henry
Gentry, W. M. Cochran, J. B. Cochran, James Hunter (promoted captain), W.
W. Brimm, William Carroll, C. W. McAllister, J. O. McAllister, and many
others from the county, making it a full company.

The second company from DeKalb was the Stephens Rifles, captain, L. J.
Glenn. They went into Cobb’s Legion about August, 1861. Dr. Liddell, Frank
Herron, Norman Adams, John McCulloch, John J. McKoy, and some others, went
from Decatur in this company.

The third company was the Murphey Guards, captain, John Y. Flowers. They
came from the upper part of the county, near Doraville. This company was
named in memory of Hon. Charles Murphey, of DeKalb county, a prominent
lawyer and member of Congress, but then recently deceased. The company had
been uniformed by the people of the county, a large share being
contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Milton A. Candler, and Mr. and Mrs. Ezekiel
Mason. Mrs. Candler, whose maiden name was Eliza Murphey, the only child
of Charles Murphey, gave the banner, upon which was inscribed, “The God of
Jacob is with us.”

The Fourth Company was The Bartow Avengers, Captain William Wright, from
the lower part of the county about South River. The Fifth Company, Captain
Rankin, was from Stone Mountain. These three last mentioned companies went
into the 38th Georgia Regiment, in September, 1861, and belonged to the
Virginia Army. The Sixth Company, Captain E. L. Morton’s, entered service
the last of August, 1861, in the 36th Georgia Regiment, and was with the
Western Army under Johnston. The Seventh Company, the Fowler Guards,
Captain Clay, went into the 42nd Georgia Regiment in the early part of
1862, and was also in the Western Army.

There were several companies, mostly composed of DeKalb County men, that
were made up and went from the camp of instruction near Decatur. Moses L.
Brown was Captain of one, and L. D. Belisle of another. Besides the
companies already named, all of which went into the infantry, there were
many soldiers from DeKalb that went into the Cavalry and Artillery service
of the regular army.

In the year 1863, when Georgia was threatened by Rosecrans coming into the
State on its northern border, special troops were raised for its defence.
Major General Howell Cobb commanded the division; General Henry R. Jackson
one of the brigades. In Jackson’s Brigade, in the 10th Georgia Regiment
State Guards (Col. John J. Glenn and Lieutenant-Colonel J. N. Glenn), we
find Company A of Cavalry troops. Of this company Milton A. Candler had
command. These troops served through 1863 and 1864.

In April, 1863, Paul P. Winn, now a Presbyterian minister, then a mere
youth, went into the army in the 45th Georgia Regiment, commanded by Col.
Thomas J. Simmons. Other Decatur boys went into the service from other
sections where the war found them located. Among these were Dr. James J.
Winn, who enlisted at Clayton, Alabama, with the Barker Greys, and was in
the battle of Bull Run. After a year or two he received a surgeon’s
commission, being the youngest surgeon in the army.

John C. Kirkpatrick, just eighteen, went into the service from Augusta
with the Oglethorpe Infantry. With him were his cousin, William Dabney
(now a Presbyterian minister in Virginia), and his friend, Frank Stone.
This was in 1862, and John remained in the service until the close of the
war, having been in severe battles (for he was in Cleburne’s Division),
including that of Jonesboro. In this engagement were other Decatur boys in
other commands. Mr. John B. Swanton, but seventeen years old, was in that
battle, and says that by his side stood, when mortally wounded, Franklin
Williams, the brother of Mr. Hiram J. Williams. Says Mr. Swanton: “He was
so near me I could have touched him with my hand.” Three sons of Mrs.
Martha Morgan, and cousins of DeWitt Morgan, were all in the service,
Henry, Daniel, and Joseph Morgan. Jesse Chewning and Samuel Mann were in
the 64th Georgia.

Josiah J. Willard, the only son of Mr. Levi Willard, while a sprightly,
active youth, was near-sighted. He had a position in the commissary
department at Camp Randolph, near Decatur, and went with it to Macon, July
11th, 1864, and remained there until the place surrendered after the fall
of Richmond. He, also, is mentioned in other sketches.

There were also several companies of old men and boys who went into the
State service when the last call for troops was made by the Confederate

Before the DeKalb soldiers go to meet the fortunes of war, let us recall
some incidents that preceded their departure. On the northern side of the
court-house square there stood a large building, the residence of Mr.
Ezekiel Mason. Here, day after day, a band of devoted women met to make
the uniforms for the DeKalb Light Infantry. These uniforms had been cut by
a tailor, but they were to be made by women’s hands. Among the leading and
directing spirits in this work were Mrs. Jonathan B. Wilson, Mrs. Jane
Morgan, Mrs. Ezekiel Mason, Mrs. Levi Willard, Miss Anna Davis, Mrs. James
McCulloch, and Miss Lou Fowler. The most of this sewing was done by hand.

To the DeKalb Light Infantry, the day before its departure, a beautiful
silken banner was given. The ladies of the village furnished the material.
The address of presentation was made by Miss Mollie G. Brown. In
September, of that same year, my sister was invited to present a banner to
Captain William Wright’s Company. Her modest little address was responded
to in behalf of the company by Rev. Mr. Mashburn, of the Methodist Church.
In March, 1862, there was another banner presented from the piazza of “the
Mason Corner”--this time to the Fowler Guards, by Miss Georgia Hoyle. This
banner was made by the fair hands of Miss Anna E. Davis. By this time the
spirit of independence of the outside world had begun to show itself in
the Southern-made grey jeans of the soldiers, and in the homespun dress of
Miss Hoyle.

This banner, so skillfully made by Miss Anna Davis, had a circle of white
stars upon a field of blue, and the usual bars of red and white--two broad
red bars with a white one between. The banner of this pattern was known as
the “stars and bars,” and was the first kind used by the Confederate
States. In May, 1863, the Confederate Congress adopted a National Flag,
which had a crimson field with white stars in a blue-grounded diagonal
cross, the remainder of the flag being white. But, when falling limp
around the staff, and only the white showing, it could easily be mistaken
for a flag of truce; therefore in March, 1865, the final change was made
by putting a red bar across the end of the flag.

But what of the fate of these gallant young men, going forth so full of
hope and courage, with tender and loving farewells lingering in their

Soon, ah! so soon, some of them fell upon the crimson fields of Virginia.
James L. George (“Jimmie,” as his friends lovingly called him) was killed
in the first battle of Manassas. “Billy” Morgan died soon after the
battle, and was buried with military honors in a private cemetery near
Manassas. Two years after, his brother, De Witt Morgan, worn out in the
siege of Vicksburg, was buried on an island in Mobile Bay. At the second
battle of Manassas, James W. McCulloch and James L. Davis were both
killed. Later on W. J. Mason, William Carroll, John M. Eads, H. H. Norman,
Billy Wilson, and Norman Adams, were numbered among the slain. Among the
wounded were Henry Gentry, Mose Brown, John McCulloch, W. W. Brimm, Dave
Chandler, Riley Lawhorn, and Bill Herring.

A volume could easily be written concerning the bravery and the sufferings
of the DeKalb county troops; but I must forbear. Concerning Warren Morton,
of the 36th Georgia Regiment, who went into the service at the age of
fifteen, and suffered so severely, I will refer my readers to a sketch in
the latter part of this book. Of William M. Durham, so young, so gallant,
who enlisted in Company K., 42nd Georgia Regiment, much of interest will
be found in another chapter.

Among the Decatur members of Cobb’s Legion was Mr. John J. McKoy, who went
out in the Stephens Rifles when not more than nineteen years old. He was
in the battle of Yorktown, Seven Pines, and in the Seven Days Fight around
Richmond. Owing to illness, and to business arising from the attainment of
his majority, he came home in 1863, and, hiring a substitute when the
conscript law was passed, went to work at the Passport Office in Atlanta.
In this same year he was married to Miss Laura Williams of Decatur. Having
raised Company A., for the 64th Georgia Regiment, Mr. McKoy was with it
when it was sent to Florida, and was in the battle of Olustee or Ocean
Pond, in February 1864, where General Alfred H. Colquitt won the title of
“The Hero of Olustee.” Mr. McKoy remembers to have seen on that eventful
day, Col. George W. Scott, then of Florida, but now of Decatur. At the
battle of Olustee, Col. Scott was in command of a regiment of Cavalry. The
banner of the regiment is now in possession of his daughter, Mrs. Thomas

The 64th Georgia was then sent to Virginia in General Wright’s brigade. A
few days after “The Mine Explosion,” or undermining of the Confederate
works, an engagement occurred at Deep Bottom. Here, General Girardy, of
Augusta, was killed, and several hundred of the Confederates were
captured, among the number being Mr. McKoy. This was in July, 1864. He was
sent to Fort Delaware, where he remained in prison until the close of the
war. Here he spent a whole winter without a fire, and was subject to all
that Fort Delaware meant. To escape the horrors of that prison, many of
the two thousand officers there confined, took the oath not to fight
against the United States. But Mr. McKoy and thirty-four others remained
in prison, firm and loyal, even after the surrender, believing and hoping,
up to July, 1865, that the war would be carried on west of the Mississippi

The soldiers who went to Virginia knew from their own experience the
scenes of Manassas, Malvern Hill, Fort Harrison, Sharpsburg,
Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and the Wilderness. Yet some of them were left
to be surrendered by Lee at Appomatox Court House. The companies which
were in the Western Army were in the leading battles of that Division, and
were equally brave and abiding in their devotion to the cause.

For many of the foregoing facts concerning the troops from DeKalb, I am
greatly indebted to Mr. Robert F. Davis, who went with DeKalb’s first
company, and who, after braving the perils of the war, came off unscathed.
He still lives near Decatur, and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

I greatly regret my inability, even if I had the space, to give the names
of all the soldiers who went from DeKalb, and to tell of their deeds of
bravery and endurance. It has not been intentional that many are wholly
omitted. It has been my privilege to see but one muster-roll of our county
troops--that of Company K, 38th Georgia Regiment, kindly furnished by Mr.
F. L. Hudgins, of Clarkston, a brave soldier who was in command of the
Company when Lee surrendered. This muster-roll shows that out of the 118
names, forty-six were killed (or died), and seventeen were wounded; that
its first Captain, William Wright, resigned, and that three other Captains
by promotion were all killed, _i. e._, Gustin E. Goodwin, George W. Stubbs
and R. H. Fletcher. Indeed, in nearly every instance, promotion in this
Company meant death upon the battle field. And can we wonder that both the
commissioned and the noncommissioned fell, when some of the principal
battles in which they were engaged bore such names as Cold Harbor, Malvern
Hill, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,
Winchester, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania Courthouse,
Mechanicsville, Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek, Louise Courthouse and High

In memory of the dead, for the sake of the living and for the descendants
of all mentioned therein, I copy the muster-roll of this company:

_Company K., 38th Georgia Regiment_:

Captain William Wright--resigned July, 1862.

1st Lieutenant Julius J. Gober--Died July 26th, 1862.

2nd Lieutenant Gustin E. Goodwin--Promoted captain; killed August 28th,

3rd Lieutenant George W. Stubbs--Promoted captain; killed July 24th,

1st Sergeant John S. Johnston--Killed June 27th, 1862.

2nd Sergeant W. R. Henry--Promoted to 1st Lieutenant; lost a leg December
13th, 1862.

3rd Sergeant J. A. Maddox--Killed at Wilderness, May 5th, 1864.

4th Sergeant F. L. Hudgins--Promoted 1st Sergeant; wounded at Malvern
Hill; shot through the body at Gettysburg.

5th Sergeant E. H. C. Morris--Promoted 3rd Lieutenant; killed at Second
Manassas, August, 1862.

1st Corporal F. M. Gassaway--Killed at Second Manassas, August, 1862.

2nd Corporal J. M. Walker--Died in camp.

3rd Corporal W. A. Ward--Died in camp.

4th Corporal James L. Anderson--Wounded at Manassas and Spottsylvania
court house.

John H. Akers--Killed at Second Manassas, 1862.

A. W. Allman--Killed at Cedar Creek, October 19th, 1864.

John Adams--Died in camp.

Enos Adams--

Isaac W. Awtry--

W. A. Awtry--

H. V. Bayne--Disabled by gunshot wound. Still living.

Allen Brown--

Lewis Brown--

Killis Brown--

William M. Brooks--

H. M. Burdett--

J. S. Burdett--

John S. Boyd--

James E. Ball--Killed at Gettysburg, July, 1863.

W. H. Brisendine--

L. R. Bailey--Transferred to Cobb’s Legion.

John E. J. Collier--

James Collier--Died at Charlottesville, Va., 1862.

Z. J. Cowan--

J. J. Cowan--

G. G. Cook--

James E. Chandler--Killed at Sharpsburg, Md., September 17th, 1862.

W. B. Chandler--Died in camp, May 31st, 1863.

John W. Chandler--Killed at Second Manassas, August, 1862.

W. A. Childress--A physician in Atlanta.

J. H. Childers--

J. M. Dowis--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.

W. H. Ellis--

John Eunis--

R. H. Fletcher--Promoted Captain; killed in 1865.

A. M. Gentry--Died at Savannah in 1862.

W. F. Goodwin--Promoted 3rd Lieutenant; killed at Gettysburg in 1863.

C. H. Goodwin--Killed at Coal Harbor.

Joseph Grogan--

J. H. Grogan--

J. D. Grogan--Killed at Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17th, 1862.

Gideon Grogan--Killed at Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17th, 1862.

James H. Gasaway--Disabled by gunshot.

William Gasaway--Disabled by gunshot.

John Gasaway--Discharged.

W. L. Goss--

F. L. Guess--Transferred to the 9th Georgia Artillery Battalion.

H. L. Head--

J. L. Henry--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.

W. B. Heldebrand--Died recently.

H. H. Hornbuckle--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.

Joshua Hammond--Killed at Sharpsburg, September 17th, 1862.

R. F. Jones--Killed at Coal Harbor.

J. W. Jones--Disabled by gunshot.

C. S. Jones--Killed in Richmond.

R. D. F. Jones--Disabled by gunshot.

J. M. Jones--

J. H. Jones--Disabled by gunshot.

James Jones--

John F. Kelley--

John H. Kelley--

James Kelley--

W. J. Little--Disabled by gunshot.

George Lee--Died in camp.

A. J. Lee--Discharged.

Wiley Manghon--

J. R. Mitchell--Killed December 13th, 1862, at Fredericksburg.

W. G. Mitchell--Disabled by gunshot.

E. J. Mitchell--

W. R. Maguire--Disabled by gunshot.

W. A. Morgan--

B. S. McClain--Died in camp.

John W. Nash--Killed December 13th, 1862, at Fredericksburg.

David N. Fair--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.

W. B. Owen--

J. J. Pruett--Discharged.

John W. Phillips--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.

John B. Thompson--

Will Thompson--

W. M. Richardson--Disabled at Second Manassas.

J. S. Richardson--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.

D. D. Richardson--Died at Hanover Junction, 1862.

A. W. Stowers--

W. A. Smith--

J. M. Summey--Shot through at Coal Harbor.

S. J. Summey--Killed at Winchester, Va., June 13th, 1863.

James Toney--Musician.

C. W. Toney--Musician.

M. J. Tweedle--Wounded at Winchester, Va., September 19th, 1864.

S. J. Thomas--

R. L. Vaughn--Died at Savannah, Ga.

J. S. Vaughn--Wounded eight times at Coal Harbor.

W. T. Vaughn--Had both hands blown off.

J. C. Wiggins--Promoted Second Lieutenant; killed in June, 1864.

J. M. Wiggins--

R. W. Wiggins--Killed at Petersburg, Va., March 27th, 1865.

E. W. Wiggins--Killed at Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17th, 1862.

G. W. Wiggins--

M. O. Wiggins--Disabled at Cedar Creek, October 19th, 1864.

G. W. Wade--Musician.

E. D. Wade--

F. M. Wade--

B. L. Wilson--Killed at Marie’s Heights, May 4th, 1863.

W. A. Wright--

W. R. Wood--

Amos Wheeler--Killed at Spottsylvania, May 12th, 1864.

J. H. Wilson--Killed at Gettysburg, July 1st, 1863.

Jordan Wilson--Killed at Coal Harbor, June 27th, 1862.




To a woman who lives and moves and has her being in the past, an
invocation to time to “turn backward in its flight,” would seem
superfluous. The scenes of other years being ever present, it would also
seem that time, as a loving father, would linger fondly around her with
panaceas for decay, mental and physical; that her heart would never grow
old, and her person never lose the attractions of youth; but, in the
economy of Him who doeth all things well, such is not the decree regarding
aught that is mortal. And when the ravages incident to one’s career have
destroyed personal charm, and divested the mind of sparkling gem, the soul
yearns for the protection of childhood and the companionship of youth.
Scenes of the past, though dyed with “the blood of martyrs,” are ever
passing in kaleidoscopic beauty before the mind’s eye, and tones too sweet
for mortal ear are ever thrilling the heart with strange, sweet, expectant
pleasure. This train of reflection, only far more elaborate, seizes for
its guiding star, on this occasion, a scene which at the time of its
enactment was indelibly impressed upon my mind, and left living, glowing
tints, illuming my pathway through subsequent life; a scene in which
lovely girlhood, arrayed in pure white robes, lent a helping hand in the
important work of supplying our soldiers with comforts, all the more
appreciated because of the source from which emanating. With closed eyes,
I see it now and listen to its enchanting melody. To render it more
realistic than could be done by any description of mine, I subjoin a copy
of the “Programme,” the original of which I have preserved:


  THURSDAY, MAY 15, 1862,

By the ladies of Decatur, Georgia, assisted by William H. Barnes, Colonel
Thomas F. Lowe, Professor Hanlon, W. A. Haynes, R. O. Haynes, Dr.
Geutebruck and Dr. Warmouth, of Atlanta.


Part I.

1. Opening Chorus--Company.

2. Piano Duet--“March from Norma”--Miss Georgia Hoyle and Miss Missouri

3. Solo--“Roy Neil”--Mrs. Robert Alston.

4. Quartette--Atlanta Amateurs.

5. “Tell Me, Ye Winged Winds”--Company.

6. “Our Way Across the Sea”--Miss G. Hoyle and Professor Hanlon.

7. March--Piano Duet--Miss Laura Williams and Miss Fredonia Hoyle.

8. Solo--Professor Hanlon.

9. Comic Song--W. H. Barnes.

10. Violin Solo--Colonel Thomas F. Lowe.

11. Solo--Dr. Warmouth.

12. “When Night Comes O’er the Plain”--Miss M. Stokes and Professor

13. “The Mother’s Farewell”--Mrs. Maggie Benedict.

Part II.

1. Chorus--“Away to the Prairie”--Company.

2. Piano Solo--Miss G. Hoyle.

3. Song--Atlanta Amateurs.

4. Coquette Polka--Misses Hoyle and Stokes.

5. Chorus--“Let us Live with a Hope”--Company.

6. “Mountain Bugle”--Miss M. Stokes and Company.

7. “Mazurka des Traineaux”--Piano Duet--Misses Hoyle and Stokes.

8. Shiloh Retreat--Violin--Colonel Thomas F. Lowe.

Concluding with the Battle Song: “Cheer, Boys, Cheer”--W. H. Barnes.

Tickets, 50c. Children and Servants, half price.

Doors open 7:30 o’clock. Commence at 8:15 o’clock.

  Atlanta Intelligencer Power Print.


The citizens of Decatur were always invited to entertainments, social,
literary, and musical, in Atlanta, that had in view the interest, pleasure
or comfort of our soldiers; therefore the invitation accompanying the
following programme received ready response:

  --of the--

  Monday evening, June 24, 1861,
  For the Benefit of
  Captain Woddail,
  and the
  Captain Seago,
  Who Are Going to Defend Our Land.

  Let all attend and pay a parting tribute to our brave


Part I.

1. We Come Again--(Original)--Company.

2. Dreams--(A Reverie)--Miss J. E. Whitney.

3. Violin Solo--(Hash)--Colonel Thomas F. Lowe.

4. “Not for Gold or Precious Stones”--Miss R. J. Hale.

5. Yankee Doodle--According to W. A. Haynes.

6. Dixie Variations--Mrs. W. T. Farrar.

7. “Two Merry Alpine Maids”--Misses M. F. and J. E. Whitney.

8. “When I Saw Sweet Nellie Home”--Misses Sasseen and Judson.

9. “Root Hog or Die”--W. H. Barnes.

Instrumental Trio, “La Fille du Regiment”--Messrs. Schoen and Heindl.
Vermicelli, (Variations)--W. H. Barnes and Openheimer.

Part II.

1. “Our Southern Land”--C. P. Haynes and Company.

2. “Through Meadows Green”--Miss M. F. Whitney.[1]

3. Solo--Thomas D. Wright.

4. “Home, Sweet Home”--Miss R. J. Hale.

5. Violin Exemplification--Col. Thomas F. Lowe.

6. “Happy Days of Yore”--Mrs. Hibler.

7. Quartette--(original)--Misses Whitney, Messrs. Barnes and Haynes.

8. “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep”--Prof. Hanlon. Encore--Ballad.

9. “I Come, I Come”--Misses Sasseen, Westmoreland and Sims.

The whole to conclude with the grand original.


(In Two Parts).

The Women and Children of Dixie Rejoicing Over the Success of the
Confederate Banner.

Scene 1. The Children of Dixie.

Scene 2. The Women--The Soldiers--Our Flag--Brilliant Illumination.

Doors open at half past 7 o’clock. Curtain will rise at half past 8

Tickets, Fifty Cents. Ushers will be on hand to seat audience.

  W. H. BARNES, Manager.



Knitting and Sewing, and Writing Letters to “Our Soldiers.”

A patriotic co-operation between the citizens of Decatur and Atlanta soon
sprang up, and in that, as in all things else, a social and friendly
interchange of thought and feeling and deed existed; and we were never so
pleased as when aiding each other in the preparation of clothing and
edibles for “our soldiers,” or in some way contributing to their comfort.

Many of us who had never learned to sew became expert handlers of the
needle, and vied with each other in producing well-made garments; and I
became a veritable knitting machine. Besides the discharge of many duties
incident to the times and tending to useful results, I knitted a sock a
day, long and large, and not coarse, many days in succession. At the
midnight hour the weird click of knitting needles chasing each other round
and round in the formation of these useful garments for the nether limbs
of “our boys,” was no unusual sound; and tears and orisons blended with
woof and warp and melancholy sighs. For at that dark hour, when other
sounds were shut out, we dared to listen with bated breath to “the still,
small voice” that whispered in no unmistakable language suggestions which
would have been rebuked in the glare of the noonday sun.

No mother nor sister nor wife nor aunt of a Confederate soldier, need be
told what were the depressing suggestions of that “still, small voice” on
divers occasions.

When the knitting of a dozen pairs of socks was completed, they were
washed, ironed and neatly folded by one of our faithful negro women, and I
then resumed the work of preparing them for their destination. Each pair
formed a distinct package. Usually a pretty necktie, a pair of gloves, a
handkerchief and letter, deposited in one of the socks, enlarged the
package. When all was ready, a card bearing the name of the giver, and a
request to “inquire within,” was tacked on to each package. And then these
twelve packages were formed into a bundle, and addressed to an officer in
command of some company chosen to be the recipient of the contents.

I will give a glimpse of the interior of my letters to our boys. These
letters were written for their spiritual edification, their mental
improvement and their amusement.

“Never saw I the righteous forsaken.”

  “Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
  Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

  P. S.--“Apples are good but peaches are better;
          If you love me, you will write me a letter.”--M.

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”

  “If in the early morn of life,
    You give yourself to God,
  He’ll stand by you ’mid earthly strife,
    And spare the chast’ning rod.”--

  P. S.--“Roses are red and violets blue,
         Sugar is sweet and so are you.”--M.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

  “May every joy that earth can give
    Around thee brightly shine;
  Remote from sorrow may you live,
    And all of heaven be thine.”--

  P. S.--Remember me when this you see,
         Though many miles apart we be.--M

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of
the law.”

  “This above all--to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow as night the day,
  Thou canst not then be false to any one.”

  P. S.--“Sure as the vine twines round the stump,
         You are my darling sugar lump.”--M.

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us, therefore, cast off
the works of darkness and let us put on the armour of light.”

  “As for my life, it is but short,
    When I shall be no more;
  To part with life I am content,
    As any heretofore.
  Therefore, good people, all take heed,
    This warning take by me--
  According to the lives you lead,
    Rewarded you shall be.”

  P. S.--“My pen is bad, my ink is pale,
          My love for you shall never fail.”--M.

“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of

  “The harp that once through Tara’s halls
    The soul of music shed,
  Now hangs as mute on Tara’s wall,
    As if that soul were fled.
  So sleeps the pride of former days,
    So glory’s thrill is o’er;
  And hearts that once beat high for praise
    Now feel that pulse no more.
  No more to chiefs and ladies bright
    The harp of Tara swells;
  The chord alone that breaks at night
    Its tale of ruin tells.
  Thus Freedom, now so seldom wakes,
    The only throb she gives
  Is when some heart indignant breaks
    To show that still she lives.”--

  P. S.--“My love for you will ever flow,
          Like water down a cotton row.”--M

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and they that
dwell therein.

“For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in his
holy place?

“He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his
soul unto vanity nor sworn deceitfully.”

  “Know thyself, presume not God to scan.
  The proper study of mankind is man.”

  P. S.--“Round as the ring that has no end,
         Is my love for you, my own sweet friend.”--M.

“God is love.”

  “Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
    Fooled by those rebel powers that there array,
  Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
    Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
  Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
    Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
  Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
    Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body’s end?”

  P. S.--“If you love me as I love you,
         No knife can cut our love in two.”--M.

“But this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and
he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully. Every man
according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly,
or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

  “Before Jehovah’s awful throne
    Ye nations bow with sacred joy;
  Know that the Lord is God alone;
    He can create and He destroy.”

  P. S.--“Above, below, in ocean, earth and skies,
         Nothing’s so pretty as your blue eyes.”--M.

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should
not abide in darkness.”

  “And neither the angels in heaven above,
    Nor the demons down under the sea,
  Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

  P. S.--“Remember me! Remember me!
         When this you see--Remember me!”--M.

“The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in the storehouses, and in
all that thou settest thine hand unto.”

  “Lives of great men all remind us,
    We can make our lives sublime,
  And departing, leave behind us,
    Footprints on the sands of Time.”

  P. S.--“Remember well and bear in mind,
         A pretty girl’s not hard to find;
         But when you find one nice and Gay
         Hold on to her both night and day.”--M.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and
forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

  “I’d give my life to know thy art,
    Sweet, simple, and divine;
  I’d give this world to melt one heart,
    As thou hast melted mine.”--Mary.

  P. S.--“As the earth trots round the sun,
         My love for you will ever run.”--M.



Some Old Songs.

At some time in 1863, it was my privilege to meet a gallant band of men
whose faith in the justice of our cause was so strong that they were
constrained to turn their faces Southward and imperil their lives in its
defence. These men represented the highest type of manhood in Maryland.

Sickness entered their camp, and the good ladies of Decatur insisted upon
providing the comforts of home for the sick and wounded. Those to whom it
was my privilege to minister belonged to the Third Maryland Artillery,
under command of Captain John B. Rowan.[2]

Among them was one whose appreciation of kindness shown him ripened into
an undying friendship, Captain W. L. Ritter, a devoted Christian
gentleman, and now an elder in Doctor LeFevre’s Church, Baltimore.

His fondness for that beautiful Southern song, by James R. Randall,
entitled “Maryland, My Maryland!” was truly pathetic.

I subjoin the words to stir up the souls of our people by way of


  The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  His touch is on thy temple door,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  Avenge the patriotic gore,
  That flowed the streets of Baltimore,
  And be the battle-queen of yore,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  Hark to a wand’ring son’s appeal,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  My mother state, to thee I kneel,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  For life and death, for woe and weal,
  Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
  And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
  Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,
  And all thy slumberers with the just,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  Come, ’tis the red dawn of the day,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  Come with thy panoplied array,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  With Ringold’s spirit for the fray,
  With Watson’s blood at Monterey,
  With fearless Lowe and dashing May;
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  Dear Mother! burst thy tyrant’s chain,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  Virginia should not call in vain,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  She meets her sisters on the plain,
  “Sic Semper,” ’tis the proud refrain
  That baffles minions back again,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  Come to thy own heroic throng,
  That stalks with liberty along,
  And give a new Key to thy song,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  I see the blush upon thy cheek,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  But thou wast ever bravely meek,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  But, lo! there surges forth a shriek,
  From hill to hill, from creek to creek,
  Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  Thou wilt not yield the vandal toll,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  Thou wilt not crook to his control,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  Better the fire upon thee roll,
  Better the shot, the blade, the bowl,
  Than crucifixion of the soul,
      Maryland, My Maryland.

  I hear the distant thunder hum,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  The Old Line bugle, fife and drum,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb--
  Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum;
  She breathes! She burns! She’ll come, she’ll come!
      Maryland, My Maryland.

An additional verse as sung by Mrs. Jessie Clark, of Crisp’s Co., Friday
night, Sept. 12th, 1862.

  Hark! tis the cannon’s deaf’ning roar,
      Maryland, My Maryland!
  Old Stonewall’s on thy hallow’d shore,
      Maryland, My Maryland.
  Methinks I hear the loud huzza
  Ring through the streets of Baltimore--
  Slaves no longer--free once more
      Maryland, My Maryland.

There were other songs sung in those days. Some of the most popular were
“Bonnie Blue Flag,” “Dixie,” “Bob Roebuck is my Soldier Boy,” “Who will
Care for Mother Now?” “Her Bright Smile Haunts me Still,” “Let me Kiss Him
for his Mother,” “All Quiet Along the Potomac To-Night,” “Rock me to
Sleep, Mother,” “When I Saw Sweet Nellie Home,” “Just Before the Battle,
Mother.” In a collection of old music, now never played, there lie before
me copies of these songs. They were published in various Southern cities
on paper not firm and smooth, but rather thin and coarse, but quite
presentable. What memories these songs awake! Where, oh where, are those
who sang them over thirty years ago! Who of the singers are now living?
How many have gone to the Eternal Shore?



The Capture and Re-capture of the Railroad Engine, “The General.”

In the early spring of 1862, there occurred an episode of the war which,
up to that date, was the most exciting that had happened in our immediate
section. The story has often been told; but instead of relying upon my
memory, I will condense from the written statement of Mr. Anthony Murphy,
of Atlanta, Georgia, who was one of the principal actors in the chase.

Mr. Murphy begins his narrative by saying: “On Saturday morning, April
12th, 1862, about 4 o’clock, I went aboard a passenger train that started
then for Chattanooga, Tennessee. My business that day was to examine an
engine that furnished power to cut wood and pump water for the locomotives
at Allatoona, a station forty miles from Atlanta. As foreman of machine
and motive power, it became my duty to go that morning. This train was in
charge of Engineer Jeff Cain, and Conductor W. A. Fuller. It was known as
a freight and passenger train. The train arrived in Marietta, twenty miles
from Atlanta, shortly after daylight. I stepped from the coach and noticed
a number of men getting on the car forward of the one I rode in. They were
dressed like citizens from the country, and I supposed they were
volunteers for the army, going to Big Shanty, now known as Kennesaw, a
station about eighteen miles from Marietta, where troops were organized
and forwarded to the Confederate army in Virginia and other points. At
this station the train stopped for breakfast, and, as the engineer,
conductor, myself and other passengers went to get our meals, no one was
left in charge of the locomotive. I had about finished, when I heard a
noise as if steam were escaping. Looking through a window I saw the cars
move, saw the engineer and fireman at the table, and said to them: ‘Some
one is moving your engine.’ By this time I was at the front door, and saw
that the train was divided and passing out of sight.”

Mr. Murphy, the conductor, and the engineer then held a brief
consultation. He asked about the men who got on at Marietta (who
afterwards proved to be a Federal raiding party, Andrews and his men), and
remarked: “They were the men who took the engine and three cars.” At the
time he thought they were Confederate deserters, who would run the engine
as far as it would have steam to run, and then abandon it. Mr. Murphy and
his two comrades concluded that it was their duty to proceed after them. A
Mr. Kendrick, connected with the railroad, coming up, they requested him
to go on horseback to Marietta, the nearest telegraph station, and
communicate with the superintendent at Atlanta, while they “put out on
foot after a locomotive under steam.” Knowing they would reach a squad of
track-hands somewhere on the line, they had some hope, and they did, in a
few miles, meet a car and hands near Moon’s Station, about two miles from
Big Shanty. They pressed the car, and two hands to propel it, which
propelling was done by poles pressed against the ties or ground, and not
by a crank. Soon they reached a pile of cross-ties on the track, and found
the telegraph wire cut. Clearing off the ties, they pressed on until they
reached Acworth Station, six miles from Big Shanty. There they learned
that the train they were pursuing had stopped some distance from the
depot, and having been carefully examined by its engineer, had moved off
at a rapid rate. This satisfied the pursuers that the capturers of the
engine “meant something more than deserters would attempt;” and then they
“thought of enemies from the Federal army.” Says the narrator: “We moved
on to Allatoona. At this place we received two old guns, one for Fuller,
and one for the writer. I really did not know how long they had been
loaded, nor do I yet, for we never fired them. These were the only arms on
our engine during our chase. Two citizens went along from here, which made
about seven men on our little pole-car. As we proceeded toward Etowah, we
moved rapidly, being down grade, when suddenly we beheld an open place in
the track. A piece of rail had been taken up by the raiders. Having no
brake, we could not hold our car in check, and plunged into this gap,
turning over with all hands except Fuller and myself, who jumped before
the car left the track. The little car was put on again, and the poling
man sent back to the next track-gang to have repairs made for following

Arriving at Etowah, the pursuers found the engine “Yonah,” used by the
Cooper Iron Company, and pressed it into service. They got an open car,
and stocked it with rails, spikes and tools, and moved on to Cartersville.
Passing on to Rogers’ Station, they learned that the raiders had stopped
there for wood and water, telling Mr. Rogers that they were under military
orders, and that the engine crew proper were coming on behind. At Kingston
the raiders had told that they were carrying ammunition to General
Beauregard, on the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, near
Huntsville, Alabama. At this point the “Yonah” was sent back to Etowah,
and the supply car of the pursuers coupled to the engine “New York.” But
at Kingston the Rome Railroad connects with the Western & Atlantic road,
and the Rome engine and train were in the way. Instead of clearing the
track for the “New York,” the crowd at the Kingston depot, having learned
the news, took possession of the Rome engine and some cars attached, and
pulled out for the chase, which compelled Mr. Murphy and his friends to
abandon their outfit and run to get on the same train. A few miles were
made, when they found a pile of cross-ties on the rails, and the telegraph
wires cut. Clearing the track they moved on, when they encountered another
gap. Here Messrs. Murphy and Fuller, believing that they would meet the
engine “Texas” with a freight train, left the obstructed train and pressed
on again on foot, advising the crowd to return, which they did. The
pursuers met the “Texas” two miles from Adairsville, and, motioning the
engineer to stop, they went aboard and turned him back. At Adairsville
they learned that Andrews had not been long gone. Says the narrator:
“About three miles from Calhoun we came in sight for the first time of the
captured engine, and three freight cars. They had stopped to remove
another rail, and were in the act of trying to get it out when we came in
sight. * * * As we reached them, they cut loose one car and started again.
We coupled this car to our engine, and moved after them. * * * From Resaca
to Tilton the road was very crooked, and we had to move cautiously. The
distance between us was short. * * * I feared ambushing by
Andrews--reversing the engine and starting it back under an open throttle
valve. * * * To prevent us closing in on them, the end of the box car was
broken out, and from this they threw cross-ties on the track to check our
speed and probably derail us. * * * I had a long bar fastened to the brake
wheel of the tender to give power so that four men could use it to help
check and stop the engine suddenly. I also stood by the reverse lever to
aid the engineer to reverse his engine, which he had to do many times to
avoid the cross-ties.

“Passing through and beyond Tilton, we again came in sight. At this point
the road has a straight stretch of over a mile. A short distance from
Tilton and just as we rounded the curve, ‘The General’ with the raiders
was rounding another curve, leaving the straight line, giving us a fine
view for some distance across the angle. * * * The fastest run was made at
this point. * * * I imagine now, as I write this, I see the two great
locomotives with their human freight speeding on, one trying to escape,
the other endeavoring to overtake, and if such had happened none might
have been left to give the particulars of that exciting and daring
undertaking. The chances of battle were certainly against us if Andrews
had attempted fight.”

Just beyond Dalton the pursuers found the telegraph wire cut. On reaching
the “tunnel,” they were satisfied that Andrews was short of wood, or the
tunnel would not have been so clear of smoke. Passing through the tunnel
they kept on, and beyond Ringgold, about two miles, the captors left “The
General” and made for the woods. The pursuers were in sight of them. Mr.
Fuller and others started after the raiders. Mr. Murphy went on the engine
to examine the cause of the stop. He found no wood in the furnace, but
plenty of water in the boiler. Says Mr. Murphy: “I took charge of the
engine, ‘General,’ had it placed on the side-track, and waited for the
first train from Chattanooga to Atlanta. I reached Ringgold about dark. I
went aboard, and reaching Dalton, the first telegraph station, I sent the
first news of our chase and re-capture of the ‘General’ to Atlanta.”


Coming Home from Camp Chase--The Faithful Servant’s Gift--A Glimpse of
Confederate Braves.

“A letter from Marse Thomie,” said our mail carrier, Toby, as he got in
speaking distance on his return from the post office.

“What makes you think so?” I said, excitedly.

“I know his hand-write, and this is it,” selecting a letter from a large
package and handing it to me. The very first glimpse of the superscription
assured me of his confident assertion.

The letter was addressed to our mother, and bore a United States postage
stamp, and the beloved signature of her only son, Thomas J. Stokes. A
thrill of gratitude and joy filled our hearts too full for utterance, as
we read:

“MY DEAR MOTHER: I have learned that the soldiers of the 10th Texas
Infantry will be exchanged for the United States troops very soon, perhaps
to-morrow; and then, what happiness will be mine! I can scarcely wait its
realization. A visit home, a mother’s embrace and kiss, the heart-felt
manifestations of the love of two sisters, and the joy and glad expression
of faithful servants. I may bring several friends with me, whom I know you
will welcome, both for my sake and theirs--they are valiant defenders of
the cause we love. Adieu, dear mother, and sisters, until I see you at
home, ‘home, sweet home.’”

“Thomie is coming home!” “Thomie Stokes is coming home!” was the glad
announcement of mother, sisters, and friends; and the servants took up the
intelligence, and told everybody that Marse Thomie was coming home, and
was going to bring some soldiers with him.

Another day dawned and love’s labor commenced in earnest. Doors were
opened, and rooms ventilated: bed-clothing aired and sunned, and dusting
brushes and brooms in willing hands removed every particle of that much
dreaded material of which man in all his glory, or ignominy, was created.
Furniture and picture frames were polished and artistically arranged. And
we beheld the work of the first day, and it was good.

When another day dawned we were up with the lark, and his matin notes
found responsive melody in our hearts, the sweet refrain of which was,
“Thomie is coming”--the soldier son and brother. Light bread and rolls,
rusks and pies, cakes, etc., etc., were baked, and sweetmeats prepared,
and another day’s work was ended and pronounced satisfactory.

The third day, for a generous bonus, “Uncle Mack’s” services were secured,
and a fine pig was slaughtered and prepared for the oven, and also a
couple of young hens, and many other luxuries too numerous to mention.

When all was ready for the feast of thanksgiving for the return of the
loved one, the waiting seemed interminable. There was pathos in every
look, tone, and act of our mother--the lingering look at the calendar,
the frequent glance at the clock, told that the days were counted, yea,
that the hours were numbered. At length the weary waiting ended, and the
joyous meeting came of mother and son, of sisters and brother, after a
separation of four years of health and sickness, of joy and anguish, of
hope and fear.

As we stood upon the platform of the Decatur depot, and saw him step from
the train, which we had been told by telegram would bring him to us, our
hearts were filled with consternation and pity, and tears unbidden coursed
down our cheeks, as we looked upon the brave and gallant brother, who had
now given three years of his early manhood to a cause rendered dear by
inheritance and the highest principles of patriotism, and, in doing so,
had himself become a physical wreck. He was lean to emaciation, and in his
pale face was not a suggestion of the ruddy color he had carried away. A
constant cough, which he tried in vain to repress, betrayed the deep
inroads which prison life had made upon his system; and in this respect he
represented his friends--in describing his appearance, we leave nothing
untold about theirs. In war-worn pants and faded grey coats, they
presented a spectacle never to be forgotten.

Joy and grief contended for the supremacy. We did not realize that even a
brief period of good nursing and feeding would work a great change in the
physical being of men just out of the prison pens of the frigid North, and
wept to think that disease, apparently so deeply rooted, could not be
cured, and that they were restored to us but to die. Perceiving our grief
and divining the cause, our Thomie took us, our mother first, into his
arms and kissed us, and said in his old-time way, “I’ll be all right

And Toby and Telitha, the house servants, came in for their share of
kindly greeting.

Thomie then introduced us to Captain Lauderdale, Captain Formwalt, and
Lieutenant McMurray, his Texas friends and comrades in arms. Our cordial,
heart-felt welcome was appreciated by this trio of gentlemen, and to this
day we receive from them messages of abiding friendship. Captain
Lauderdale was one of the most perfect gentlemen I ever saw--tall,
graceful, erect, and finely formed. His face, of Grecian mould, was
faultless; and his hair, black as a raven’s plumage, and interspersed with
grey, would have adorned the head of a king. His bearing was dignified and
yet affable, and so polished and easy in manner as to invite most friendly

Captain Formwalt was also a fine specimen of manhood--free and easy, gay
and rollicking. He seemed to think his mission on earth was to bring
cheerfulness and glee into every household he entered.

Lieutenant McMurray was unlike either of his friends. Apparently cold,
apathetic and reserved, he repelled all advances tending to cordial
relations, until well acquainted, after which he was metamorphosed into a
kind and genial gentleman.

Thomie, dear Thomie, was a boy again, and while our guests were refreshing
themselves preparatory to dinner, he was going all over the house, for
every nook and corner was endeared by association. He opened the piano,
and running his fingers over the keys with the grace and ease of his
boyhood, he played accompaniments to his favorite songs, “Home Again,” and
“Way Down Upon the Suwanee River,” trying to sing, but prevented by the
irrepressible coughing. Then, with nervous hand, he essayed “When this
Cruel War is Over.” Turning away from the piano, he went to the library
and handled with tender care the books he had read in boyhood.
Shakespeare, Milton, Byron and Moore possessed no interest for him now;
and Blackstone and Chitty were equally ignored. The books his mother and
sister read to him in his childhood were, as if by intuition, selected,
and fondly conned and handled. His own name was written in them, and his
tearful eyes lingered long and lovingly upon these reminders of boyhood’s
happy hours. With a sigh he left the library, and espying Toby, who kept
where he could see as much as possible of “Marse Thomie,” he called the
boy and held an encouraging little conversation with him.

Dinner being ready, our mother led the way to the dining room. Our guests
having taken the seats assigned them, Thomie took his near his mother--his
boyhood’s seat at table. By request, Captain Lauderdale asked the
blessing. And, oh, what a blessing he invoked upon the “dear ones, who,
with loving hands, prepared this feast for the son and brother of the
household, and for his friends in peace and comrades in war.” Pleasant
conversation ensued, and all enjoyed the repast. But the gentlemen seemed
to us to eat very little, and, in reply to our expression of
disappointment, they explained the importance of limiting themselves for
several days in this respect.

As there was no trunk to send for, and no valise to carry, we rightly
surmised that the clothing of these good men was limited to the apparel in
which they were clad, and it was decided by my mother and myself that I
should go to Atlanta and get material for a suit of clothes for Thomie,
and good warm underclothing for them all. Arrived at Atlanta, I was
irresistibly led by that mystic power, which has often controlled for good
results the acts of man, to go to Dr. Taylor’s drug store. Here I found
King, our faithful negro man, as busy as a bee, labeling and packing
medicine for shipment. I approached him and said:

“King, Thomie has come.”

“Marse Thomie?”


“Thank God,” he said, with fervor.

When I was about leaving the store, he said:

“Miss Mary, just wait a minute, please, and I will get something that I
want you to take to Marse Thomie, and tell him I don’t want him to be hurt
with me for sending it to him. I just send it because I love him--me and
him was boys together, you know, and I always thought he ought to ’er took
me with him to the war.”

“What is it, King?”

“Just a little article I got in trade, Miss Mary,” was all the
satisfaction he vouchsafed.

When he handed it to me, knowing by the sense of touch that it was a
package of dry goods, I took it to Mrs. O’Connor’s millinery
establishment, and asked the privilege of opening it there. Imagine my
astonishment and delight, when I beheld a pattern of fine grey cassimere.
I felt of it, and held it up between my eyes and the light. There was
nothing shoddy about it. It was indeed a piece of fine cassimere, finer
and better than anything I could have procured in Atlanta at that time.
The circumstance was suggestive of Elijah and the ravens, and I thanked
God for the gift so opportune, and lost no time in returning to the drug
store, and thanking King, the raven employed by the Lord to clothe one of
His little ones. Nor did I lose any time in adding to the package other
articles of necessity, flannel and the best Georgia-made homespun I could
procure, and was then ready to take the return train to Decatur. Thomie
was deeply touched by the opportune gift, and said that King was a great
boy, and that he must see him.

After supper I clandestinely left the house, and ran around to Todd
McAllister’s and begged him to take the job of making the suit. He agreed
to cut the coat, vest and pantaloons by measure, and for that purpose went
home with me, shears and tape measure in hand. Having finished this
important part of the job, he told me he could not make the suit himself,
but he thought if I would “talk right pretty to the old lady,” she would
do it. Next morning I lost no time in “talking pretty” to the old lady,
and, having secured her promise to undertake the work, it was soon in her
hands. With the help of faithful, efficient women, and I suspect of her
husband, too, the job was executed surprisingly soon. In the meantime the
making of flannel garments, and homespun shirts with bosoms made of linen
pillow-cases, was progressing with remarkable celerity.

When all was finished, and Thomie was arrayed in his new suit, which set
admirably well notwithstanding the room allowed for increasing dimensions,
which we doubted not under good treatment he would attain--King Solomon,
in purple and fine linen, was not looked upon with more admiration than
was he by his loving mother and sisters. His cough had in a measure
yielded to remedies, and his cheeks bore the tinge of better blood.

Good Mr. Levi Willard, his wife and children, had already been to see
Thomie and the strangers within our gates, and many others had sent kind
messages and substantial tokens of regard. And the young people of
Decatur, young ladies and little boys, were planning to give him a
surprise party. And among these loving attentions was a visit from King,
the faithful.

The flowers bloomed prettier, the birds sang sweeter, because of their
presence; but time waits for no man, and we were admonished by low
conversations and suggestive looks that these men, officers in the army of
the Confederacy, were planning their departure.

Many amusing incidents, as well as those of a horrible character, were
told of their prison life in Camp Chase. To illustrate the patriotism of
Southern men, Colonel Deshler, as a prisoner of war, figured
conspicuously; and many anecdotes, ludicrous and pathetic, quaint and
original, revealed the deep devotion of his love for the South. In one of
these word-paintings, he was represented as sitting on his legs, darning
the seat of his pantaloons, when a feminine curiosity seeker came along.
When she perceived his occupation, she said with a leer that would have
done credit to Lucifer:

“You rebels find it pretty hard work to keep your gray duds in order,
don’t you?”

Without looking at her, he whistled in musical cadence the contempt he
felt for her and her ilk; and the imprecations, he would not have
expressed in words, were so distinct and well modulated as to leave no
doubt as to their meaning.

The time had come for the nature of the low-toned conversations referred
to, to be revealed, and Thomie was chosen to make the revelation. Planning
to have mother and sisters present, he discussed the duties of patriotism,
and the odium men brought upon themselves by not discharging those duties.
Making the matter personal, he referred to himself and friends, to the
great pleasure and personal benefit derived from a week’s sojourn at home;
of the love for us that would ever linger in their hearts; of the pleasant
memories that would nerve them in future conflicts; and in conclusion told
us that to-morrow they would leave us to join their command at Tullahoma,
where the decimated regiment was to stay until its numbers were
sufficiently recruited for service.

Instead of yielding to grief, we repressed every evidence of it, and spoke
only words of encouragement to these noble men who had never shirked a
duty, or sought bomb-proof positions in the army of the Confederacy. After
this interview, Thomie abandoned himself to cheerfulness, to almost boyish
gaiety. He kept very close to his mother. She had grown old so rapidly
since the troubles began, that she needed all the support that could be
given her in this ordeal. This he perceived without seeming to do so, and
left nothing within his power undone for her encouragement. He even
discussed with perfect equanimity the probability, yea, the more than
probability, of his getting killed in battle; for, said he, “he that
taketh up the sword, by the sword shall he perish.” And, he added,
“strong, irrepressible convictions constrained me to enter the army in
defense of mother, home, and country. My vote was cast for the secession
of my state from the union of states which existed only in name, and I
would not have accepted any position tendered me which would have secured
me from the dangers involved by that step. I was willing to give my life
if need be, for the cause which should be dear to every Southern heart.”

Every one present responded to these noble sentiments, for were we not
soldiers, too, working for the same noble cause, and aiding and abetting
those who fought its battles?

Before retiring to our rooms, Captain Lauderdale, as usual, led in prayer,
fervent, deep and soul supporting, more for our mother and ourselves than
for himself and his comrades in their perilous positions. And dear Thomie,
whom I had never heard pray since his cradle invocation,

  “Now I lay me down to sleep,
  I pray the Lord my soul to keep,”

finished in words thrilling and beautiful. The effect was electrical.
Tears and sobs were no longer repressed, and all found relief from long
pent-up feelings. O, the blessedness of tears!

Morning came, clear as crystal, and cool and exhilarating. The household
were up at early dawn. A strong decoction of coffee was prepared, and
fresh cream toast and boiled eggs, meat relishes being served cold.
Knapsacks--there were knapsacks now--were packed, and blankets rolled and
buckled in straps, and our ebony Confederates, Toby and Telitha, stood
ready to convey them to the depot. In order to meet the morning train at
seven o’clock we started, but the services of Toby and Telitha were not
accepted. The gentlemen said it would never do for soldiers to start off
to report for service with negroes carrying their knapsacks and blankets.
They had no muskets to shoulder, for of these they had been divested at
Arkansas Post, months ago, when captured by the enemy.

Lieutenant McMurray, who was in feeble health, announced himself unable to
report for duty, and remained with us several weeks longer.

The parting at the depot did not betray the grief, almost without earthly
hope, that was rankling in our hearts, and the “good-bye’s” and “God bless
you’s” were uttered with a composure we little thought at our command.

As the time of his departure had drawn near, Thomie had sought
opportunities to tell me much of the young girl in Texas, who had healed
the lacerations of his youthful heart, and won the admiration of his
manhood, and whom he had made his wife. Upon her devotion he dwelt with
peculiar pathos and gratitude; and he concluded these conversations with
the request that under any and all circumstances I would be a sister to
her. On one occasion we were standing near the piano, and, when we ceased
to talk, Thomie opened it, and in tones that came from the heart, and that
were tremulous with emotion, he sang, “When this Cruel War is Over.”

  Why sings the swan its sweetest notes,
  When life is near its close?

Since writing the foregoing, I have had access to a journal kept during
the war by my half sister, Missouri Stokes, in which are the following
entries of historic value: “On the 11th of January, 1868, Arkansas Post,
the fort where Thomie was stationed, fell into the hands of Yankees.
General Churchhill’s whole command, numbering about four thousand, were
captured, a few being killed and wounded. We knew that Thomie, if alive,
must be a prisoner, but could hear no tidings from him. Our suspense
continued until the latter part of March, when ma received a letter from
our loved one, written at Camp Chase (military prison), Ohio, February
10th. This letter she forwarded to me, and I received it March 21st, with
heart-felt emotions of gratitude to Him who had preserved his life. A few
weeks afterwards another letter came, saying he expected to be exchanged
in a few days, and then for several weeks we heard no more.”

From this journal I learn that the date of Thomie’s arrival was May 16th,
1863. My sister wrote of him: “He seemed much changed, although only four
years and a half had elapsed since we parted. He looked older, thinner,
and more careworn, and gray hairs are sprinkled among his dark brown
curls. His health had been poor in the army, and then, when he left Camp
Chase, he, as well as the other prisoners, was stripped by the Yankees of
nearly all his warm clothing. He left the prison in April, and was
exchanged at City Point. How strange the dealings of Providence. Truly was
he led by a way he knew not. He went out to Texas by way of the West, and
returned home from the East. God be thanked for preserving his life, when
so many of his comrades have died. He is a miracle of mercy. After their
capture, they were put on boats from which Yankee small-pox patients had
been taken. Some died of small-pox, but Thomie has had varioloid and so
escaped. He was crowded on a boat with twenty-two hundred, and scarcely
had standing room. Many died on the passage up the river, one poor fellow
with his head in Thomie’s lap. May he never go through similar scenes

From this same journal I take the following, written after Missouri’s
return to the school she was teaching in Bartow county:

“Sabbath morning, June 14th. Went to Cartersville to church. Some time
elapsed before preaching commenced. A soldier came in, sat down rather
behind me, then, rising, approached me. _It was Thomie._ I soon found (for
we did talk in church) that he had an order to join Kirby Smith, with a
recommendation from Bragg that he be allowed to recruit for his regiment.
Fortunately there was a vacant seat in the carriage, so he went out home
with us. Monday 15th, Thomie left. I rode with him a little beyond the
school-house, then took my books and basket, and with one kiss, and, on my
part, a tearful good-bye, we parted. As I walked slowly back, I felt so
lonely. He had been with me just long enough for me to realize a brother’s
kind protection, and now he’s torn away, and I’m again alone. I turned and
looked. He was driving slowly along--he turned a corner and was hidden
from my view. Shall I see him no more? Or shall we meet again? God only
knows. After a fit of weeping, and one earnest prayer for him, I turned my
steps to my little school.”

And thus our brother went back to Texas, and gladly, too, for was not his
Mary there?

Of Thomie’s recall to join his command at Dalton; of his arrival at home
the next February, on his way to “the front;” of his participation in the
hard-fought battles that contested the way to Atlanta; and of his untimely
death at the fatal battle of Franklin, Tennessee, I may speak hereafter.

Even in the spring and summer of 1863, the shadows began to deepen, and to
hearts less sanguine than mine, affairs were assuming a gloomy aspect. I
notice in this same journal from which I have quoted the foregoing
extracts, the following:

“Our fallen braves, how numerous! Among our generals, Zollicoffer, Ben
McCulloch, Albert Sidney Johnston, and the saintly, dauntless Stonewall
Jackson, are numbered with the dead; while scarcely a household in our
land does not mourn the loss of a brave husband and father, son or



Morgan’s Men Rendezvous near Decatur--Waddell’s Artillery--Visits from the
Texans--Surgeon Haynie and his Song.

In the winter of 1864 there seems to have been a lull of hostilities
between the armies at “the front.” Morgan’s men were rendezvousing near
Decatur. Their brave and dashing chief had been captured, but had made his
escape from the Ohio penitentiary, and was daily expected. Some artillery
companies were camping near, among them Waddell’s. There was also a
conscript camp within a mile or two; so it is not to be wondered at that
the young ladies of Decatur availed themselves in a quiet way of the
social enjoyment the times afforded, and that there were little gatherings
at private houses at which “Morgan’s men” and the other soldiers were
frequently represented.

Our brother was absent in Texas, where he had been assigned to duty, but
my sister was at home, and many an hour’s entertainment her music gave
that winter to the soldiers and to the young people of Decatur. My
mother’s hospitality was proverbial, and much of our time these wintry
months was spent in entertaining our soldier guests, and in ministering to
the sick in the Atlanta hospitals, and in the camps and temporary
hospitals about Decatur.

So near were we now to “the front” (about a hundred miles distant), that
several of my brother’s Texas comrades obtained furloughs and came to see
us. Among these were Lieutenants Prendergast and Jewell, Captain Leonard
and Lieutenant Collins, Captain Bennett and Lieutenant Donathan. They
usually had substantial boots made while here, by Smith, the Decatur boot
and shoe maker, which cost less than those they could have bought in
Atlanta. We received some very pleasant calls from Morgan’s men and
Waddell’s Artillery. Among the latter we have always remembered a young
man from Alabama, James Duncan Calhoun, of remarkable intellectual
ability, refreshing candor and refinement of manner. Ever since the war
Mr. Calhoun has devoted himself to journalism. Among the former we recall
Lieutenant Adams, Messrs. Gill, Dupries, Clinkinbeard, Steele, Miller,
Fortune, Rowland, Baker, and Dr. Lewis. These gentlemen were courteous and
intelligent, and evidently came of excellent Kentucky and Tennessee
families. One evening several of these gentlemen had taken tea with us,
and after supper the number of our guests was augmented by the coming of
Dr. Ruth, of Kentucky, and Dr. H. B. Haynie, surgeon of the 14th Tennessee
Cavalry. Dr. Haynie was an elderly, gray-haired man, of fine presence, and
with the courtly manners of the old school. On being unanimously
requested, he sang us a song entitled: “The Wailings at Fort Delaware,”
which he had composed when an inmate of that wretched prison. As one of
the gentlemen remarked, “there is more truth than poetry in it;” yet there
are in it some indications of poetic genius, and Dr. Haynie sang it with
fine effect.


By B. H. HAYNIE, Surgeon 14th Tennessee Cavalry (Morgan’s Division).

    Oh! here we are confined at Fort Delaware,
    With nothing to drink but a little lager beer,
    Infested by vermin as much as we can bear;
    Oh Jeff, can’t you help us to get away from here?


    And it’s home, dearest home, the place I ought to be,
    Home, sweet home, way down in Tennessee,
    Where the ash and the oak and the bonny willow tree,
    Are all growing green way down in Tennessee.

    The Island itself will do well enough,
    But the flat-footed Dutch are filthy and rough,
    Oh! take us away from the vandal clan,
    Down into Dixie among the gentlemen.

  CHORUS--And its home, dearest home, etc.

    Spoiled beef and bad soup is our daily fare,
    And to complain is more than any dare;
    They will buck us and gag us, and cast us in a cell,
    There to bear the anguish and torments of hell.


    The den for our eating is anything but clean,
    And the filth upon the tables is plainly to be seen,
    And the smell of putrefaction rises on the air,
    “To fill out the bill” of our daily fare.


    [3]“The sick are well treated,” as Southern surgeons say,
    “And the losses by death are scarcely four per day;”
    It’s diarrhœa mixture for scurvy and small-pox,
    And every other disease of Pandora’s box!


    Oh! look at the graveyard on the Jersey shore,
    At the hundreds and the thousands who’ll return no more;
    Oh! could they come back to testify
    Against the lying devils, and live to see them die!


    [3]“Our kindness to prisoners you cannot deny,
    For we have the proof at hand upon which you can rely;
    It’s no Dutch falsehood, nor a Yankee trick,
    But from Southern surgeons who daily see the sick.”


    Our chaplain, whose heart was filled with heavenly joys,
    Asked leave to pray and preach to Southern boys;
    “Oh, no!” says the General, “you are not the man,
    You are a Southern rebel, the vilest of your clan!”


    Oh! speak out, young soldier, and let your country hear,
    All about your treatment at Fort Delaware;
    How they worked you in their wagons when weary and sad,
    With only half rations, when plenty they had.


    The barracks were crowded to an overflow,
    Without a single comfort on the soldier to bestow;
    Oh, there they stood shivering in hopeless despair,
    With insufficient diet or clothing to wear!


    The mother stood weeping in sorrows of woe,
    Mingling her tears with the waters that flow;
    Her son was expiring at Fort Delaware,
    Which could have been avoided with prudence and care.


    Oh! take off my fetters and let me go free,
    To roam o’er the mountains of old Tennessee;
    To bathe in her waters and breathe her balmy air,
    And look upon her daughters so lovely and fair.


    Then, cheer up, my brave boys, your country will be free,
    Your battles will be fought by Generals Bragg and Lee;
    And the Yankees will fly with trembling and fear,
    And we’ll return to our wives and sweethearts so dear.


    And it’s home, dearest home, the place where I ought to be,
    Home, sweet home way down in Tennessee,
    Where the ash and the oak, and the bonny willow tree,
    Are all growing green way down in Tennessee.



He Leaves for “The Front”--His Christian Labors in Camp--He Describes the
Battle of New Hope Church--The Great Revival in Johnston’s Army.

Early one morning in the February of the winter just referred to (that of
1864), as my sister lay awake, she heard some one step upon the portico
and knock. As Toby opened the door, she heard him exclaim: “Why howd’y,
Marse Thomie!” Her first thought was, “now he is back just in time to be
in the battle!” for a resumption of hostilities was daily looked for near
Dalton. We were all greatly surprised at Thomie’s arrival on this side of
the Mississippi, as only a few days before we had received a letter from
him, written, it is true, so long as the November before, saying he had
been assigned to duty out in Texas by General Henry McCulloch. But the
consolidation of the regiments in Granbury’s brigade having been broken
up, he had been ordered back to join his old command. He had left
Marshall, Texas, the 28th of January, having made the trip in one month,
and having walked four hundred miles of the way. Under the circumstances,
we were both glad and sorrowful at his return. After a stay of three days,
he left us for “the front.” In the early morning of February 29th, we went
with him to the depot, the last time we four were ever together. Parting
from him was a bitter trial to our mother, who wept silently as we walked
back to the desolate home, no longer gladdened by the sunny presence of
the only son and brother. Perhaps nothing will give a more graphic
impression of some phases of army life at this time, nor a clearer insight
into our brother’s character, than a few extracts from his letters written
at this period to his sister Missouri, and preserved by her to this day:

“Dalton, Ga., March 15th, 1864.--* * * Our regiment takes its old
organization as the 10th Texas, and Colonel Young has been dispatched to
Texas to gather all the balance, under an order from the war department.
We are now in Dalton doing provost duty (our regiment), which is a very
unpleasant duty. It is my business to examine all papers whenever the cars
arrive, and it is very disagreeable to have to arrest persons who haven’t
proper papers. The regulations about the town are very strict. No one
under a brigadier-general can pass without approval papers. My guard
arrested General Johnston himself, day before yesterday. Not knowing him
they wouldn’t take his word for it, but demanded his papers. The old
General, very good-humoredly showed them some orders he had issued
himself, and, being satisfied, they let him pass. He took it
good-humoredly, while little colonels and majors become very indignant and
wrathy under such circumstances. From which we learn, first, the want of
good common sense, and, secondly, that a great man is an humble man, and
does not look with contempt upon his inferiors in rank, whatsoever that
rank may be.

“There is a very interesting meeting in progress here. I get to go every
other night. I have seen several baptized since I have been here. There
are in attendance every evening from six to seven hundred soldiers. There
are many who go to the anxious seat. Three made a profession of religion
night before last. I am going to-night. There seems to be a deep interest
taken, and God grant the good work may go on until the whole army may be
made to feel where they stand before their Maker. Write soon.

  Your affectionate brother,

From another letter we take the following:

“Near Dalton, April 5th, 1864.--We have had for some weeks back very
unsettled weather, which has rendered it very disagreeable, though we
haven’t suffered; we have an old tent which affords a good deal of
protection from the weather. It has also interfered some with our
meetings, though there is preaching nearly every night that there is not
rain. Brother Hughes came up and preached for us last Friday night and
seemed to give general satisfaction. He was plain and practical, which is
the only kind of preaching that does good in the army. He promised to come
back again. I like him very much. Another old brother, named Campbell,
whom I heard when I was a boy, preached for us on Sabbath evening. There
was much feeling, and at the close of the services he invited mourners to
the anxious seat, and I shall never forget that blessed half-hour that
followed; from every part of that great congregation they came, many with
streaming eyes; and, as they gave that old patriarch their hands, asked
that God’s people would pray for them. Yes, men who never shrank in battle
from any responsibility, came forward weeping. Such is the power of the
Gospel of Christ when preached in its purity. Oh, that all ministers of
Christ could, or would, realize the great responsibility resting upon them
as His ambassadors.

“Sabbath night we had services again, and also last night, both well
attended, and to-night, weather permitting, I will preach. God help me and
give me grace from on high, that I may be enabled, as an humble instrument
in His hands, to speak the truth as it is in Jesus, for ‘none but Jesus
can do helpless sinners good.’ I preached last Sabbath was two weeks ago
to a large and attentive congregation. There seemed to be much
seriousness, and although much embarrassed, yet I tried, under God, to
feel that I was but in the discharge of my duty; and may I ever be found
battling for my Savior. Yes, my sister, I had rather be an humble follower
of Christ than to wear the crown of a monarch. Remember me at all times at
a Throne of Grace, that my life may be spared to become a useful minister
of Christ.

“Since my return we have established a prayer-meeting in our company, or,
rather, a kind of family service, every night after roll call. There is
one other company which has prayer every night. Captain F. is very
zealous. There are four in our company who pray in public--one sergeant, a
private, Captain F. and myself. We take it time about. We have cleared up
a space, fixed a stand and seats, and have a regular preaching place. I
have never seen such a spirit as there is now in the army. Religion is
the theme. Everywhere, you hear around the camp-fires at night the sweet
songs of Zion. This spirit pervades the whole army. God is doing a
glorious work, and I believe it is but the beautiful prelude to peace. I
feel confident that if the enemy should attempt to advance, that God will
fight our battles for us, and the boastful foe be scattered and severely

“I witnessed a scene the other evening, which did my heart good--the
baptism of three men in the creek near the encampment. To see those hardy
soldiers taking up their cross and following their Master in His
ordinance, being buried with Him in baptism, was indeed a beautiful sight.
I really believe, Missouri, that there is more religion now in the army
than among the thousands of skulkers, exempts and speculators at home.
There are but few now but who will talk freely with you upon the subject
of their soul’s salvation. What a change, what a change! when one year ago
card playing and profane language seemed to be the order of the day. Now,
what is the cause of this change? Manifestly the working of God’s spirit.
He has chastened His people, and this manifestation of His love seems to
be an earnest of the good things in store for us in not a far away future.
‘Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He
receiveth.’ Let all the people at home now, in unison with the army,
humbly bow, acknowledge the afflicting hand of the Almighty, ask Him to
remove the curse upon His own terms, and soon we will hear, so far as our
Nation is concerned, ‘Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good
will toward men!’

“I received the articles ma sent by Brother Hughes, which were much
relished on the top of the coarse fare of the army. * * * Write me often.
God bless you in your labors to do good.

  Your affectionate brother,
  T. J. STOKES.”

From another of those time-stained, but precious letters, we cull the
following, under the heading of:

“In Camp, Near Dalton, Ga., April 18, 1864.--* * * The good work still
goes on here. Thirty-one men were baptized at the creek below our brigade
yesterday, and I have heard from several other brigades in which the
proportion is equally large (though the thirty-one were not all members of
this brigade). Taking the proportion in the whole army as heard from (and
I have only heard from a part of one corps), there must have been baptized
yesterday 150 persons--maybe 200. This revival spirit is not confined to a
part only, but pervades the whole army. * * * * Brother Hughes was with us
the other night, but left again the next morning. The old man seemed to
have much more influence in the army than young men. I have preached twice
since writing to you, and the Spirit seemed to be with me. The second
sermon was upon the crucifixion of Christ: text in the 53d chapter of
Isaiah: ‘He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our
iniquities.’ It was the first time in my life, that is, in public
speaking, that my feelings got so much the mastery of me as to make me
weep like a child. In the conclusion I asked all who felt an interest in
the prayers of God’s people to come to the anxious seat. Many presented
themselves, and I could hear many among them, with sobs and groans,
imploring God to have mercy upon them; and I think the Lord did have mercy
upon them, for when we opened the door of the church six united with us.
Every Sabbath you may see the multitude wending their way to the creek to
see the solemn ordinance typical of the death, burial and resurrection of
our Savior. Strange to say that a large number of those joining the
pedo-Baptist branches prefer being immersed; though in the preaching you
cannot tell to which denomination a man belongs. This is as it should be;
Christ and Him crucified should be the theme. It is time enough, I think,
after one is converted, to choose his church rule of faith.

“If this state of things should continue for any considerable length of
time, we will have in the Army of Tennessee an army of believers. Does the
history of the world record anywhere the like? Even Cromwell’s time sinks
into insignificance. A revival so vast in its proportions, and under all
the difficulties attending camp life, the bad weather this spring, and
innumerable difficulties, is certainly an earnest of better, brighter
times not far in the future.”

To the believer in Jesus, we feel sure that these extracts concerning this
remarkable work of grace, will prove of deep interest; so we make no
apologies for quoting in continuation the following from another of those
letters of our soldier brother, to whom the conquests of the cross were
the sweetest of all themes:

“Near Dalton, April 28th, 1864.--My Dear Sister: I should have written
sooner but have been very much engaged, and when not engaged have felt
more like resting than writing, and, to add to this, Sister Mary very
agreeably surprised me by coming up on last Saturday. She left on Tuesday
morning for home. While she was at Dalton, I went down on each day and
remained until evening. I fear ma and sister are too much concerned about
me, and therefore render themselves unhappy. Would that they could trust
God calmly for the issue. And I fear, too, that they deny themselves of
many comforts, that they may furnish me with what I could do (as many have
to do) without.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The great unexampled revival is fast increasing in interest. I have just
returned from the creek, where I saw thirty-three buried with Christ in
baptism, acknowledging there before two thousand persons that they were
not ashamed to follow Jesus in His ordinance. My soul was made happy in
witnessing the solemn scene. In that vast audience everything was as quiet
and respectful as in a village chapel; and, by the way, I have seen
village congregations who might come here and learn to behave. General
Lowry baptized about thirteen of them who were from his brigade. He is a
Christian, a soldier and a zealous preacher, and his influence is great.
It was truly a beautiful sight to see a general baptizing his men. He
preaches for our brigade next Sabbath. I preached for General Polk’s
brigade night before last, and we had a very interesting meeting. They
have just begun there, yet I had a congregation of some 400. At the
conclusion of the services, I invited those who desired an interest in our
prayers to manifest their desire by coming to the altar. A goodly number
presented themselves, and we prayed with them. I shall preach for them
again very soon. The revival in our brigade has continued now for four
weeks, nearly, and many have found peace with their Savior. If we could
remain stationary a few weeks longer, I believe the greater portion of the
army would be converted. This is all the doings of the Lord, and is surely
the earnest of the great deliverance in store for us. It is the belief of
many, that this is the ‘beginning of the end.’ From all parts of the army
the glad tidings comes that a great revival is in progress. I wish I had
time to write to you at length. One instance of the power of His spirit: A
lieutenant of our regiment, and heretofore very wild, became interested,
and for nearly three weeks seemed groaning in agony. The other day he came
around to see me, and, with a face beaming with love, told me he had found
Christ, and that his only regret now was that he had not been a Christian
all his life. It is growing dark. I must close. More anon.


We take up the next letter in the order of time. It is numbered 25. The
envelope is of brown wrapping paper, but neatly made, and has a blue
Confederate 10 cent postage stamp. It is addressed to my sister, who was
then teaching at Corinth, Heard county, Georgia. It is dated:

“Near Dalton, May 5th, 1864.” After speaking of having to take charge
early the next morning of the brigade picket guard, Thomie goes on to say:

“The sun’s most down, but I think I can fill these little pages before
dark. Captain F., coming in at this time, tells me a dispatch has just
been received to the effect that the Yankees are advancing in the
direction of Tunnel Hill, but they have made so many feints in that
direction lately that we have become used to them, so don’t become uneasy.

“The great revival is going on with widening and deepening interest. Last
Sabbath I saw eighty-three immersed at the creek below our brigade. Four
were sprinkled at the stand before going down to the creek, and two down
there, making an aggregate within this vicinity of eighty-nine, while the
same proportion, I suppose, are turning to God in other parts of the army,
making the grand aggregate of many hundreds. Yesterday I saw sixty-five
more baptized, forty more who were to have been there failing to come
because of an order to be ready to move at any moment. They belong to a
more distant brigade. * * If we do not move before Monday, Sabbath will be
a day long to be remembered--‘the water will,’ indeed, ‘be troubled.’
Should we remain three weeks longer, the glad tidings may go forth that
the Army of Tennessee is the army of the Lord. But He knoweth best what is
for our good, and if He sees proper can so order His providence as to keep
us here. His will be done.”

The next letter is addressed to me, but was sent to my sister at my
request, and is dated “Allatoona Mountains, Near Night, May 22nd.” He

“Oh, it grieved my very soul when coming through the beautiful Oothcaloga
valley, to think of the sad fate which awaited it when the foul invader
should occupy that ‘vale of beauty.’ We formed line of battle at the
creek, at the old Eads place; our brigade was to the left as you go up to
Mr. Law’s old place on the hill, where we stayed once when pa was sick.
Right here, with a thousand dear recollections of by-gone days crowding my
mind, in the valley of my boyhood, I felt as if I could hurl a host back.
We fought them and whipped them, until, being-flanked, we were compelled
to fall back. We fought them again at Cass Station, driving them in our
front, but, as before, and for the same reason, we were compelled to

       *       *       *       *       *

“As I am requested to hold prayer-meeting this evening at sunset, I must

Thomie’s next letter in this collection is addressed to his sister
Missouri, who had returned home, and is headed, simply, “Army of
Tennessee, May 31st.” It is written in a round, legible, but somewhat
delicate hand, and gives no evidence of nervousness or hurry. To those
fond of war history, it will be of special interest:

“Our brigade, in fact our division, is in a more quiet place now than
since the commencement of this campaign. We were ordered from the
battlefield on Sunday morning to go and take position in supporting
distance of the left wing of the army, where we arrived about the middle
of the forenoon, and remained there until yesterday evening, when our
division was ordered back in rear of the left centre, where we are now.
Contrary to all expectations, we have remained here perfectly quiet, there
being no heavy demonstration by the enemy on either wing. We were very
tired, and this rest has been a great help to us; for being a reserve and
flanking division, we have had to trot from one end of the wing of the
army to the other, and support other troops.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Well, perhaps you would like to hear something from me of the battle of
New Hope Church, on Friday evening, 27th inst. We had been, since the day
before, supporting some other troops about the centre of the right wing,
when, I suppose about 2 o’clock, we were hurried off to the extreme right
to meet a heavy force of the enemy trying to turn our right. A few minutes
later the whole army might now have been in the vicinity of Atlanta, but,
as it was, we arrived in the nick of time, for before we were properly
formed the enemy were firing into us rapidly. We fronted to them, however,
and then commenced one of the hottest engagements, so far, of this
campaign. We had no support, and just one single line against a whole
corps of the enemy, and a lieutenant of the 19th Arkansas, wounded and
captured by them, and subsequently retaken by our brigade, stated that
another corps of the enemy came up about sundown. The fighting of our men,
to those who admire warfare, was magnificent. You could see a pleasant
smile playing upon the countenances of many of the men, as they would cry
out to the Yankees, ‘Come on, we are demoralized!’

“One little incident right here, so characteristic of the man. Major
Kennard (of whom I have told you often, lately promoted), was, as usual,
encouraging the men by his battle-cry of, ‘Put your trust in God, men, for
He is with us,’ but concluding to talk to the Yankees awhile, sang out to
them, ‘Come on, we are demoralized,’ when the Major was pretty severely
wounded in the head, though not seriously; raising himself up, he said:

“‘Boys, I told them a lie, and I believe that is the reason I got shot.’

“The fighting was very close and desperate, and lasted until after dark.
About 11 o’clock at night, three regiments of our brigade charged the
enemy, our regiment among them. We went over ravines, rocks, almost
precipices, running the enemy entirely off the field. We captured many
prisoners, and all of their dead and many of their wounded fell into our
hands. This charge was a desperate and reckless thing, and if the enemy
had made any resistance they could have cut us all to pieces. I hurt my
leg slightly in falling down a cliff of rocks, and when we started back to
our original line of battle I thought I would go back alone and pick my
way; so I bore off to the left, got lost, and completely bewildered
between two armies. I copy from my journal:

“‘Here I was, alone in the darkness of midnight, with the wounded, the
dying, the dead. What an hour of horror! I hope never again to experience
such. I am not superstitious, but the great excitement of seven hours of
fierce conflict, ending with a bold, and I might say reckless, charge--for
we knew not what was in our front--and then left entirely alone, causes a
mental and physical depression that for one to fully appreciate he must be
surrounded by the same circumstances. My feelings in battle were nothing
to compare to this hour. After going first one way and then another, and
not bettering my case, I heard some one slipping along in the bushes. I
commanded him to halt, and inquired what regiment he belonged to, and was
answered, ‘15th Wisconsin,’ so I took Mr. Wisconsin in, and ordered him to
march before me--a nice pickle for me then, had a prisoner and did not
know where to go. Moved on, however, and finally heard some more men
walking, hailed them, for I had become desperate, and was answered,
‘Mississippians.’ Oh, how glad I was! The moon at this time was just
rising, and, casting her pale silvery rays through the dense woods, made
every tree and shrub look like a spectre. I saw a tall, muscular Federal
lying dead and the moonlight shining in his face. His eyes were open and
seemed to be riveted on me. I could not help but shudder. I soon found my
regiment, and ‘Richard was himself again.’

“I went out again to see if I could do anything for their wounded. Soon
found one with his leg shot through, whom I told we would take care of.
Another, shot in the head, was crying out continually; ‘Oh, my God! oh, my
God!!’ I asked him if we could do anything for him, but he replied that it
would be of no use. I told him God would have mercy upon him, but his mind
seemed to be wandering. I could not have him taken care of that night,
and, poor fellow, there he lay all night.

“The next morning I had the privilege of walking over the whole ground,
and such a scene! Here lay the wounded, the dying, and the dead, hundreds
upon hundreds, in every conceivable position; some with contorted
features, showing the agony of death, others as if quietly sleeping. I
noticed some soft beardless faces which ill comported with the savage
warfare in which they had been engaged. Hundreds of letters from mothers,
sisters, and friends were found upon them, and ambrotypes, taken singly
and in groups. Though they had been my enemies, my heart bled at the
sickening scene. The wounded nearly all expressed themselves tired of the

“For the numbers engaged upon our side, it is said to be the greatest
slaughter of the enemy of any recent battle. Captain Hearne, the old
adjutant of our regiment, was killed. Eight of our regiment were instantly
killed; two mortally wounded, since dead.

“I did not think of writing so much when I began, but it is the first
opportunity of writing anything like a letter that I have had. Lieutenant
McMurray is now in charge of the Texas hospital at Auburn, Alabama.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Well, you are now Aunt Missouri. Oh, that I could see my boy! Heaven has
protected me thus far and I hope that God will consider me through this
dreadful ordeal, and protect me for Christ’s sake; not that there is any
merit that I can offer, but I do hope to live that I may be an humble
instrument in the hands of my God to lead others to Him. I hold prayer in
our company nearly every night when circumstances will permit, and the
men don’t go to sleep before we are quiet. Poor fellows, they are ever
willing to join me, but often are so wearied I dislike to interrupt them.

“My sister, let our trust be confidently in God. He can save or He can
destroy. Let us pray Him for peace. He can give it us; not pray as if we
were making an experiment, but pray believing God will answer our prayers,
for we have much to pray for.”

My sister subsequently copied into her journal the following extract,
taken from his, and written soon after the Battle of New Hope Church:

“May 31st, 1864.--Here we rest by a little murmuring brook, singing along
as if the whole world was at peace. I lay down last night and gazed away
up in the peaceful heavens. All was quiet and serene up there, and the
stars seemed to vie with each other in brightness and were fulfilling
their allotted destiny. My comrades all asleep; nothing breaks the
silence. I leave earth for a time, and soar upon ‘imagination’s wings’ far
away from this war-accursed land to where bright angels sing their
everlasting songs of peace and strike their harps along the golden streets
of the New Jerusalem, and the swelling music bursts with sweet accord
throughout vast Heaven’s eternal space!”

       *       *       *       *       *

Again on Sabbath, June 5th, he writes: “No music of church bells is heard
today summoning God’s people to worship where the gospel is wont to be
heard. We are near a large log church called Gilgal. What a different
scene is presented to-day from a Sabbath four years ago when the aged
minister of God read to a large and attentive congregation: “The Lord is
my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,
He leadeth me beside the still waters.” O, God, wilt thou not interpose
Thy strong arm to stop the bloody strife? Wilt Thou not hear the prayers
of Thy people who daily say, Lord, give us peace? The Lord will answer,
and soon white-robed peace will smile upon our unhappy country. O God,
hasten the day, for we are sorely vexed, and thine shall be all the

Ere peace was to dawn upon his beloved country, his own soul was to find
it through the portals of death; but ere that time, save a brief interval
of enforced rest, weary marchings and heart-breaking scenes and sorrows
were to intervene.

Thomie’s next letter is dated “In the Field, near Lost Mountain, June
14th,” and the next “In the Ditches, June 22nd, 1864.” The next, “Near
Chattahoochee River, July 6th, 1864,” tells of the retreat of the army
from Kennesaw Mountain to Smyrna Church, and of his coming off safely from
another “small fight” the day before, in which several of his comrades
were killed.

Owing to nervous prostration, and other illness, Thomie was soon after
sent to the hospital at Macon, transferred from there to Augusta, and from
the latter point given leave of absence to visit his sister, who had found
refuge with her cousin, Mrs. T. J. Hillsman, a daughter of Rev. Wm. H.
Stokes of blessed memory. Here, with his father’s kindred, cheered by
beautiful hospitality and cousinly affection, our darling brother enjoyed
the last sweet rest and quiet earth was e’er to give him before he slept
beneath its sod.


A visit to Dalton--The fidelity of an old-time slave.

“From Atlanta to Dalton, $7.75. From the 23d to the 26th of April, 1864,
to Mrs. John Reynolds, for board, $20.00. From Dalton to Decatur, $8.00.”

The above statement of the expense attending a round trip to Dalton,
Georgia, is an excerpt from a book which contains a record of every item
of my expenditures for the year 1864.

This trip was taken for the purpose of carrying provisions and articles of
clothing to my brother and his comrades in General Joseph E. Johnston’s
command. In vain had our mother tried to send appetizing baskets of food
to her son, whose soldier rations consisted of salty bacon and hard tack;
some disaster, real or imaginary, always occurred to prevent them from
reaching their destination, and it was, therefore, determined at home that
I should carry the next consignment.

After several days’ preparation, jugs were filled with good sorghum syrup,
and baskets with bread, pies, cakes and other edibles at our command, and
sacks of potatoes, onions and peppers were included. My fond and loving
mother and I, and our faithful aid-de-camps of African descent, conveyed
them to the depot. In those days the depot was a favorite resort with the
ladies and children of Decatur. There they always heard something from the
front--wherever that might be. The obliging agent had a way, all his own,
of acquiring information from the army in all its varied commands, and
dealt it out galore to the encouragement or discouragement of his
auditors, as his prejudices or partialities prompted. On this occasion
many had gone there, who, like myself, were going to take the train for
Atlanta, and in the interim were eager to hear everything of a hopeful
character, even though reason urged that it was hoping against hope.

I was the cynosure of all eyes, as I was going to “the front;” and every
mother who had a darling son in that branch of the army hoped that he
would be the first to greet me on my arrival there, and give me a message
for her. And I am sure, if the love consigned to me for transmission could
have assumed tangible form and weight, it would have been more than
fourteen tons to the square inch.

Helpful, willing hands deposited with care my well-labeled jugs, baskets,
etc., and I deposited myself with equal care in an already well-filled
coach on the Georgia Railroad. Arrived in Atlanta I surreptitiously stowed
the jugs in the car with me, and then asked the baggage-master to transfer
the provisions to a Dalton freight train. Without seeming to do so, I
watched his every movement until I saw the last article safely placed in
the car, and then I went aboard myself. Surrounded by jugs and packages, I
again became an object of interest, and soon found myself on familiar
terms with all on board; for were we not friends and kindred bound to
each other by the closest ties? Every age and condition of Southern life
was represented in that long train of living, anxious freight. Young
wives, with wee bit tots chaperoned by their mothers and sometimes by
their grandmothers, were going to see their husbands, for, perhaps, the
last time on earth; and mothers, feeling that another fond embrace of
their sons would palliate the sting of final separation. The poor man and
the rich man, fathers alike of men fighting the same battles in defense of
the grandest principle that ever inspired mortal man to combat, on their
way to see those men and leave their benedictions with them; and sisters,
solitary and alone, going to see their beloved brothers and assure them
once more of the purest and most disinterested love that ever found
lodgment in the human heart. Many and pleasant were the brief
conversations between those dissimilar in manners, habits and conditions
in life; the great bond connecting them rendered every other consideration
subordinate, and the rich and poor, the educated and ignorant, met and
mingled in harmonious intercourse.

Those were days of slow travel in the South. The roads were literally
blockaded with chartered cars, which contained the household goods of
refugees who had fled from the wrath and vandalism of the enemy, and not
unfrequently refugees themselves inhabited cars that seemed in fearful
proximity to danger. Ample opportunity of observation on either side was
furnished by this slow travel, and never did the fine, arable lands
bordering the Western & Atlantic road from the Chattahoochee river to
Dalton give greater promise of cereals, and trees in large variety were
literally abloom with embryo fruit. Alas! that such a land should be
destined to fall into the hands of despoilers.

At Dalton I went immediately to the agent at the depot, whom I found to be
my old friend, John Reynolds, for the purpose of getting information
regarding boarding houses. He told me his wife was in that line and would
accommodate me, and, to render the application more easy, he gave me a
note of introduction to her.

A beautiful, well-furnished room was given me, and a luscious supper
possessed exhilarating properties.

In the meantime, Mr. Reynolds had, at my request, notified my brother,
whom he knew, of my presence in his house, and I awaited his coming
anxiously; but I was disappointed. A soldier’s time is not his own, even
in seasons of tranquility, and he was on duty and could not come then, but
he assured me on a small scrap of paper, torn from his note-book, that he
would come as soon as he could get off “tomorrow morning.”

The waiting seemed very long, and yet it had its ending. The night was
succeeded by a typical April day, replete with sunshine and shower, and
the hopes and fears of a people struggling for right over wrong.

At length the cheery voice of him, who always had a pleasant word for
every one, greeted me, and I hastened to meet him. That we might be quiet
and undisturbed, I conducted him to my room, and a long and pleasant
conversation ensued. I wish I had time and space to recapitulate the
conversation; for its every word and intonation are preserved in the
archives of memory, and will enter the grand eternities with me as free
from discord as when first uttered. Our mother’s failing health gave him
concern, but his firm reliance in Him who doeth all things well, quieted
his sad forebodings and led the way to pleasanter themes.

He loved to dwell upon the quaint and innocent peculiarities of his
younger sister, and, as for his older one, it was very evident that he
regarded her fully strong enough to “tote her own skillet,” and “paddle
her own canoe.” A rap upon the door indicated that some one wished to see
either one or the other of us. I responded, and was met by a negro boy
bearing a huge waiter, evidently well-filled, and covered over with a
snow-white cloth. The aroma from that waiter would have made a mummy
smile. I had it put upon a table, and then I removed the cover, and saw
with gratification the squab pie which I had ordered for dear Thomie, and
a greater gratification awaited me, _i. e._, seeing him eat it with a
relish. Nor was the pie the only luxury in that waiter. Fresh butter and
buttermilk, and a pone of good corn bread, etc., etc., supplemented by
baked apples and cream and sugar.

“Come, dear Thomie, and let us eat together once more,” was my invitation
to that dinner, and radiant with thanks he took the seat I offered him. I
did not have the Christian courage to ask him to invoke a blessing upon
this excellent food, but I saw that one was asked in silence,
nevertheless, and I am sure that an invocation went up from my own heart
none the less sincere.

“Sister, I appreciate this compliment,” he said.

“I could do nothing that would compliment you, Thomie,” I answered, and
added, “I hope you will enjoy your dinner as a love offering from me.”

We lingered long around that little table, and many topics were touched
upon during that period.

After dinner I asked Thomie to lie down and rest awhile. He thanked me,
and said that the bed would tempt an anchorite to peaceful slumber, and he
could not resist its wooings. A few minutes after he lay down he was sound
asleep. He slept as a child--calm and peaceful. That a fly might not
disturb him, I improvised a brush--my handkerchief and a tender twig from
a tree near by being the component parts. As I sat by him and studied his
manly young face, and read its expression of good will to all mankind, I
wept to think that God had possibly required him as our sacrifice upon the
altar of our country.

The slanting rays of the Western sun fell full and radiant upon his placid
face, and awakened him from this long and quiet slumber. With a smile he
arose and said:

“This won’t do for me.”

Hasty good-byes and a fervent “God bless you” were uttered, and another
one of the few partings that remained to be taken took place between the
soldier and his sister.

       *       *       *       *       *

The day was bright and exhilarating, in the month of June, 1864. Gay
laughing Flora had tripped over woodland and lawn and scattered with
prodigal hands flowers of every hue and fragrance, and the balmy
atmosphere of early summer was redolent with their sweet perfume; and all
nature, animate and inanimate, seemed imbued with the spirit of adoration
towards the Giver of these perfect works. Although many hearts had been
saddened by the mighty conflict being waged for the supremacy of
Constitutional rights, there were yet in Decatur a large number to whom
personal sorrow for personal bereavement had not come, and they were in
sympathy with this beautiful scene, whose brilliant tints were but the
reflection of divine glory, and whose faintest odor was distilled in the
alchemy of heaven.

I was contemplating this scene in grateful admiration, and blended with my
thoughts came the memory of my brother, who was in the foremost ranks of
the contest. He, too, loved the beautiful and the good, and “looked from
nature up to nature’s God.” All unconsciously I found myself plucking his
favorite flowers, and arranging a choice boquet, a spirit offering to him
who might even then be hovering over me and preparing my mind for the sad
denouement. With these reflections, I ascended the steps of my cottage
home, and turned to take another look upon the enchanting scene, when I
saw, approaching, one of my mother’s faithful servants, who was hired to
Dr. Taylor, a well-known druggist of Atlanta. Ever apprehensive of evil
tidings from “the front,” and “the front” being the portion of the army
that embraced my brother, I was almost paralyzed. I stood as if riveted to
the floor, and awaited developments. King, for that was the name of the
ebony-hued and faithful servant whose unexpected appearance had caused
such a heart-flutter, came nearer and nearer. On his approach I asked in
husky voice, “Have you heard anything from your Marse Thomie, King?”

“No, ma’am; have you?”

The light of heaven seemed to dispel the dark clouds which had gathered
over and around my horizon, and I remembered my duty to one, who, though
in a menial position, had doubtless come on some kind errand.

“Come in, King, and sit down and rest yourself,” I said, pointing to an
easy chair on the portico.

“I am not tired, Miss Mary, and would rather stand,” he replied.

And he did stand, with his hat in his hand; and I thought for the first
time in my life, probably, that he evinced a true manhood, worthy of
Caucasian lineage; not that there was a drop of Caucasian blood in his
veins, for he was a perfect specimen of the African race and as black as

The suspense was becoming painful, when it was broken by King asking:

“Miss Mary, is Miss Polly at home?”

“Yes, King, and I will tell her you are here.”

“Miss Polly,” my mother and King’s mistress, soon appeared and gave him a
genuine welcome.

King now lost no time in making known the object of his visit, and thus
announced it:

“Miss Polly, don’t you want to sell me?”

“No; why do you ask?”

“Because, Miss Polly, Mr. Johnson wants to buy me, and he got me to come
to see you and ask you if you would sell me.”

“Do you want me to sell you, King? Would you rather belong to Mr. Johnson
than me?”

“Now, Miss Polly, you come to the point, and I am going to try to answer
it. I love you, and you have always been a good mistuss to us all, and I
don’t think there is one of us that would rather belong to some one else;
but I tell you how it is, Miss Polly, and you musn’t get mad with me for
saying it; when this war is over none of us are going to belong to you.
We’ll all be free, and I would a great deal rather Mr. Johnson would lose
me than you. He is always bragging about what he will do; hear him talk,
you would think he was a bigger man than Mr. Lincoln is, and had more to
back him; but I think he’s a mighty little man myself, and I want him to
lose me. He says he’ll give you his little old store on Peachtree street
for me. It don’t mean much, I know, but, much or little, it’s going to be
more than me after the war.”

And thus this unlettered man, who in the ordinary acceptation of the term
had never known what it was to be free, argued with his mistress the
importance of the exchange of property of which he himself was a part, for
her benefit and that of her children.

“Remember, Miss Polly,” he said, “that when Marse Thomie comes out of the
war, it will be mighty nice for him to have a store of his own to commence
business in, and if I was in your place I would take it for me, for I tell
you again, Miss Polly, when the war’s over we’ll all be free.”

But the good mistress, who had listened in silence to these arguments, was
unmoved. She saw before her a man who had been born a slave in her
family, and who had grown to man’s estate under the fostering care of
slavery, whose high sense of honor and gratitude constrained him to give
advice intelligently, which, if followed, would rescue her and her
children from impending adversity; but she determined not to take it. She
preferred rather to trust their future well-being into the hands of
Providence. Her beautiful faith found expression in this consoling passage
of Scripture: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” And this
blessed assurance must have determined her to pursue the course she did,
else it would have been reckless and improvident. She told King that when
our people became convinced that the troubles between the South and North
had to be settled by the sword, that she, in common with all good
citizens, staked her all upon the issues of the war, and that she would
not now, like a coward, flee from them, or seek to avert them by selling a
man, or men and women who had endeared themselves to her by service and



“It is most time to go to the post-office, ain’t it, Miss Mary? We are
going to get a letter from Marse Thomie this morning.”

“What makes you so certain of it, Toby?”

“I don’t know’m, but I am; and every time I feels this way, I gets one; so
I’ll just take my two little black calves and trot off to the office and
get it;” and suiting the action to the word he struck a pretty brisk gait
and was soon around the corner and out of sight.

Then Decatur received but two mails per day--one from an easterly
direction and the other from a westerly direction. The northern,
northwestern, southern and southwestern, all coming in on the morning’s
Georgia Railroad train. Therefore ever since Thomie’s return to his
command, the western mail was the one around which our hopes and fears
daily clustered.

General Joseph E. Johnston’s army was, at the time of this incident, at
Dalton, obstructing the advance of Sherman’s “three hundred thousand men”
on destruction bent. And though there had been no regular line of battle
formed for some time by the Confederate and Federal forces, there were
frequent skirmishes, disastrous alike to both sides. Hence the daily
alternation of hopes and fears in the hearts of those whose principal
occupation was waiting and watching for “news from the front.”

The team of which Toby was the proud possessor did its work quickly, and
in less time than it takes to tell it he appeared in sight, returning from
the post-office--one hand clasping a package of papers and letters, and
the other, raised high above his head, holding a letter. I could not wait,
and ran to meet him.

“I’ve got a whole lot of letters, and every one of them is from Dalton,
and this one is from Marse Thomie!”

Toby had read the Dalton post-mark, and had made a correct statement. The
well-known chirography of my brother had become so familiar to him that he
never mistook it for another, and was unerring in his declarations
regarding it. On this occasion Thomie’s letter thus read:

“MY DEAR SISTER:--Those acquainted with army tactics know that General
Johnston is on the eve of an important move, or change of base; and that
it should be the effort of the men, officers and privates, to be prepared
to make the change, whatever it may be, with as little loss of army
paraphernalia as possible. As the Confederate army has no repository
secure from the approach of the enemy, several of our friends suggest that
you might be willing to take care of anything which we might send to you,
that would be of future use to us--heavy overcoats, extra blankets, etc.,
etc. Consider well the proposition before you consent. Should they be
found in your possession, by the enemy, then our home might be demolished,
and you perhaps imprisoned, or killed upon the spot. Are you willing to
take the risk, trusting to your ingenuity and bravery to meet the
consequences? Let me know as soon as possible, as war times admit of
little delay. General Granbury, Colonel Bob Young, and others may make
known to you their wishes by personal correspondence. Love to my mother
and sister, and to yourself, brave heart.

  Affectionately, your brother
  T. J. STOKES.”

This letter was read aloud to my mother, and the faithful mail carrier was
not excluded. She listened and weighed every word of its contents. For
several moments a silence reigned, which was broken by her asking me what
I was going to do in the matter.

“What would you have me do?” I asked in reply.

“What would they do, Mary, in very cold weather, if they should lose their
winter clothing, overcoats and blankets, now that supplies are so
difficult to obtain?”

This question, evasive as it was, convinced me that my mother’s patriotism
was fully adequate to the occasion, and, fraught with peril as it might
be, she was willing to bear her part of the consequences of taking care of
the soldiers’ clothes.

The return mail bore the following letter addressed jointly to General
Granbury, Colonel Robert Young, Captains Lauderdale and Formwalt,
Lieutenant Stokes, and Major John Y. Rankin;

“MY DEAR BROTHER AND FRIENDS:--I thank you for the estimate you have
placed upon my character and patriotism, as indicated by your request that
I should take care of your overcoats, blankets, etc., until you need
them. If I were willing to enjoy the fruits of your valor and sacrifices
without also being willing to share your perils, I would be unworthy
indeed. Yes, if I knew that for taking care of those things, I would
subject myself to real danger, I would essay the duty. Send them on. I
will meet them in Atlanta, and see that they continue their journey to
Decatur without delay.

  Your friend,
  M. A. H. G.”

Another mail brought intelligence of the shipment of the goods, and I lost
no time in going to Atlanta and having them re-shipped to Decatur. There
were nine large dry goods boxes, and I went, immediately on their arrival,
to Mr. E. Mason’s and engaged his two-horse wagon and driver to carry them
from the depot to our home. When they were brought, we had them placed in
our company dining-room. This room, by a sort of tacit understanding, had
become a storeroom for the army before this important lot of goods came,
and, as a dining-room, much incongruity of furniture existed, among which
was a large, high wardrobe. The blinds were now closed and secured, the
sash put down and fastened, the doors shut and locked, and this room given
up to the occupancy of Confederate articles; and thus it remained during
the eventful period intervening between the departure of General Joseph E.
Johnston’s army from Dalton, and Sherman’s infamous order to the people of
Atlanta and vicinity to leave their homes, that they might be destroyed by
his vandal hordes.



“Well, my boy, our patients are all getting along nicely in the Fair
Ground hospital,” was the comforting assurance I gave to Toby, who was my
faithful co-worker in all that pertained to the comfort of our soldiers.
“Suppose we go to the Empire hospital and see what we can do there.”

“Yes’m, I have always wanted to go there.”

Taking one of the baskets we had brought with us from Decatur, and which
contained biscuits, rusk, broiled and fried chicken, ground coffee and
blackberry wine, I handed it to him and we wended our way to the hospital.
Things were not in as good shape there as at the Fair Ground hospital. I
perceived this at a glance, and, upon asking and receiving permission from
the superintendent, I soon tidied up things considerably. Toby brought
pails of fresh water, and aided in bathing the faces, hands and arms of
the convalescing soldiers, while I hunted up the soldier lads who ought to
have been at home with their mothers, and bestowed the tender loving
service that woman only can give to the sick and suffering.

Entering one of the wards I perceived a youth, or one I took to be a
youth, from his slender fragile figure, and his beardless face, lean and
swarthy in sickness, but beautiful in its fine texture and the marblelike
whiteness of the brow. That he was of French extraction there could be no
doubt. Quietly kneeling by the side of his cot, I contemplated his face,
his head, his figure--I listened to his breathing, and watched the
pulsations of his heart, and knew that his days, yea, his hours were
numbered. Taking his hand in mine, I perceived that the little vitality
that remained was fast burning up with fever. Putting back the beautiful
rings of raven hair that lay in disheveled clusters over his classic head,
and partly concealed his white brow, I thought of his mother, and
imprinted upon his forehead a kiss for her sake. The deep slumber induced
by anodynes was broken by that touch, and a dazed awakening ensued.
“Mother,” was his pathetic and only utterance.

“What can I do for you, my dear child?”

There are looks and tones which are never forgotten, and never shall I
forget the utter despair in the eyes, lustrous and beautiful enough to
look upon the glory of heaven, and the anguish of the voice, musical
enough to sing the songs of everlasting bliss, as he said in tremulous
tone and broken sentences:

“I want to see a Catholic priest. I have paid several men to go for me.
They have gone off and never returned. I have no money with which to pay
any one else.”

In silence I listened and wept. At length I said:

“My dear young friend, can you not make confession to ‘our Father which
art in Heaven,’ and ask Him for Christ’s sake to absolve you from all sins
of which you may think yourself guilty? He will do it without the
intervention of a priest, if you will only believe on Him and trust Him.
Can you not do this?”

The pencil of Raphael would fail to depict the anguish of his face; all
hope left it, and, as he turned his despairing look upon the wall, tear
drops glistened in his eyes and filled the sunken hollows beneath them.
Again I took his passive hand in mine, and with the other hand upon his
white forehead, I told him he should see a priest--that I myself would go
for one, and just as soon as he could be found I would return with him.
Before leaving, however, I went to the ward where I had left Toby and the
basket, and filling a little glass with wine, I brought it to the sinking
youth. He could not be induced to taste it. In vain I plead with him, and
told him that it would strengthen him for the interview with the priest.
“I am going now, and will come back, too, as soon as I can,” I said to the
dying youth, for to all intents and purposes he was dying then. Seeing the
other patients watching my every movement with pathetic interest, I was
reminded to give the rejected wine to the weakest looking one of them.

Leaving Toby either to wait on, or amuse the soldiers of the ward first
entered (where I found him playing the latter role, much to their
delight), with hasty steps I went to the Catholic parsonage on Hunter
street. In response to my ring the door was opened by an Irish woman from
whom I learned that the priest was not in, and would not be until he came
to luncheon at 12 o’clock M. It was then 11 o’clock, and I asked the
privilege of waiting in the sitting room until he came. This being
granted, I entered the room consecrated to celibacy, and perhaps to holy
thoughts, judging from the pictures upon the walls and the other
ornaments. These things furnished food for reflection, and the waiting
would not have seemed so long but for the thought of the poor suffering
one who had given his young life for our cause. Intuitively I knew the
sound of clerical footsteps as they entered the hall, and hastening to
meet him I asked, “Is this Father O’Riley?” Receiving an affirmative
answer, I told him of the youth at the Empire hospital who refused to be
comforted other than by a Catholic priest, and of my promise to bring one
to him. Father O’Riley said he had been out since early morning, visiting
the sick, and would be obliged to refresh himself, both by food and
repose, but that I could say to the young man that he would be there by 3
o’clock. “O, sir, you don’t realize the importance of haste. Please let me
remain in your sitting room until you have eaten your luncheon, and then I
know you will go with me. I, too, have been out ever since early morning
engaged in the same Christ-like labors as yourself, and I do not require
either food or repose.”

My earnestness prevailed, and in a short while we were at our destination.
At my request, Father O’Riley waited in the passage-way leading to the
ward until I went in to prepare the young man for his coming. I found him
in that restless condition, neither awake nor asleep, which often precedes
the deep sleep that knows no waking. Wetting my handkerchief with cold
water, I bathed his face and hands, and spoke gently to him, and, when he
seemed sufficiently aroused to understand me, I told him in cheerful tones
that he could not guess who had come to see him. Catching his look of
inquiry, I told him it was Father O’Riley, and that I would bring him in.
Opening the door, I motioned to Father O’Riley to follow me. The dying
youth and the Catholic priest needed no introduction by me. There was a
mystic tie between them that I recognized as sacred, and I left them
alone. Telling Father O’Riley that I consigned my charge to him, and that
I would come back to-morrow, I bade them good-bye and left.

The contents of the basket had been gratefully received and devoured by
those who deserved the best in the land, because they were the land’s

To-morrow Toby and I, and the basket, were at the Empire hospital in due
time, but the poor suffering youth was not there. The emancipated spirit
had taken its flight to Heaven, and all that was mortal of that brave
young soldier had been consigned by the ceremonies of the church he loved
so well to the protecting care of mother earth.


Concealing Confederate Clothing--Valuables Carried to Atlanta--Toby Taken

On the way to the post-office early one morning in the sultry month of
July, 1864, to mail a number of letters which I deemed too important to be
entrusted to other hands, I was accosted as follows by “Uncle Mack,” the
good negro blacksmith, whose shop was situated immediately upon the route:

“Did you know, Miss Mary, that the Yankees have crossed the river, and are
now this side of the Chattahoochee.”

“Why, no!” I said, and added with as much calmness as I could affect, “I
do not know why I should be surprised--there is nothing to prevent them
from coming into Decatur.”

With an imprecation more expressive than elegant, that evil should
overtake them before getting here, he resumed hammering at the anvil, and
I my walk to the post-office. Nor was Uncle Mack the only one who
volunteered the information that “The Yankees are coming--they are this
side the river.”

The time had come to devise means and methods of concealing the winter
clothing and other accoutrements entrusted to my care by our dear
soldiers. In order to save them, what should I do with them?--was a
question which I found myself unable to answer. An attempt to retain and
defend them would be futile indeed. And I have no right to jeopardize my
mother’s home by a rash effort to accomplish an impossibility. But what
shall I do with these precious things, is the question. A happy thought
struck me, and I pursued it only to find it delusive. The near approach of
Sherman’s army developed the astounding fact that Dr. A. Holmes, of
Decatur, a Baptist minister of some prominence, claimed to be a Union man,
in full sympathy with any means that would soonest quell the rebellion.
This I had not heard, and in my dilemma I went to him to impart my plans
and ask advice. He was morose and reticent, and I hesitated; but, driven
by desperation, I finally said: “Dr. Holmes, as a minister of the gospel,
are you not safe? All civilized nations respect clerical robes, do they

“I think so,” he said, and continued by saying, “I have other claims upon
the Federal army which will secure me from molestation.”

A look of surprise and inquiry being my only answer, he said, “Amid the
secession craze, I have never given up my allegiance to the United

“Why, Dr. Holmes!” I said, in unfeigned surprise.

“I repeat most emphatically that I have remained unshaken in my allegiance
to the United States. I have no respect for a little contemptible Southern
Confederacy, whose flag will never be recognized on land or on sea.”

This was a sad revelation to me. On more than one occasion I had heard Dr.
Holmes pray fervently for the success of the Southern cause, and to hear
such changed utterances from him now, pained me exceedingly. Heartsore and
discouraged, I turned from him, and was leaving without the usual
ceremony, when he said:

“What can I do for you?”

“I came, sir, to ask a great favor of you, but after hearing you express
yourself as you have, I deem it useless to make known my wishes. Good

This interview with Dr. Holmes was very brief; it did not consume as much
time as it has done to tell it.

I did not walk in those days, but ran, and it required only a few moments
to transfer the scene of action from Dr. Holmes’ to my mother’s residence.
A hurried, whispered conversation acquainted her with the situation; and
at my request, and upon a plausible pretense, she took Toby to the depot
where she remained until I sent for her. My confidence in Toby had not in
the least diminished, but, being a boy, I feared that he might have his
price, or be intimidated by threats into the betrayal of our secret; hence
the management as above related to get him off the place while I
consummated a plan, which, if successful, would be a great achievement,
but, if a failure, would be fraught with disaster. In those days “the
depot” was a place of popular resort--it was the emporium of news; and
either from the agent, or from the Confederate scouts that were ever and
anon dashing through Decatur with cheerful messages and words of hope, the
anxious mothers and sisters of the soldiers often wended their way there
in hope of hearing something from their loved ones. Therefore no suspicion
was aroused by this going to the depot.

Watching the receding form of my mother until she had passed out of the
gate, and Toby had closed it after her, I then went to the rear door and
motioned to Telitha, who chanced to be in the right place, to come into
the house. After seeing that every outside door was thoroughly secure, I
took her into the dining room where the boxes were which contained the
winter clothing, blankets, etc., already mentioned as having been sent for
storage by our soldier friends at Dalton, and told her in pantomime that
the Yankees were coming, and if they saw these thing’s they would kill us
and burn the house. She fully understood and repeated the pantomime
illustrative of possible--yea, probable--coming events, with pathetic
effect. I showed her that I wanted a hammer and chisel with which to take
off the lids of the boxes, and she brought them. The lids removed, each
article was carefully lifted from its repository and placed on chairs.
This important step being taken towards the concealment of the goods, I
raised the sash and opened the shutters of the window nearest the cellar,
which was unlocked and open, and Telitha, climbing out the window,
received the boxes as I handed them to her, and carried them into the
cellar. Old and soiled as the boxes were, they were not in a condition to
create suspicion of recent use, so from that source we had nothing to
fear. Telitha again in the house, shutters closed, and sash down,
preparation was resumed for the enactment of a feat dangerous and rash,
the thought of which, even at this remote period, almost produces a
tremor. The wardrobe mentioned in a former sketch as an incongruity in a
dining room, was emptied of its contents, and inch by inch placed as near
the center of the room as possible; then a large table was placed beside
it, and a chair upon that; and then with the help of another chair, which
served as a step, I got upon the table and then upon the chair that was
upon the table. As I went up, Telitha followed; standing upon the table
she grasped the wardrobe with her strong hands and held it securely. I
ascended from the chair to the top of it, stood up and steadied myself,
and waited, immovable as a statue, until she got down and brought the
chisel and hammer and placed them at my feet, and resumed her hold upon
the wardrobe. I stooped and picked up the utensils with which I had to
work, and straightened and steadied myself again. The chisel touched the
plastered ceiling and the hammering began. Very slow work it was at first,
as the licks had to be upward instead of downward, and the plastering was
very thick. Finally the chisel went through and was withdrawn and moved to
another place, and by repeated efforts I secured an aperture large enough
to insert my fingers, and a few well-directed licks round and about so
cracked and weakened the plastering that I was enabled to pull off some
large pieces. A new difficulty presented itself. The laths were long, much
longer than those of the present day, and I not only had to make a large
opening in the ceiling, but to take off the plastering without breaking
the laths. More than once the wardrobe had to be moved that I might pull
off the plastering, and then with the greatest care prize off the laths.
At length the feat was accomplished, and I laid the lids of the boxes,
which had been reserved for this purpose, across the joists, and made a
floor upon which to lay the goods more than once specified in these
sketches. When the last article had been laid on this improvised shelf, I
gazed upon them in silent anguish and wept. Telitha caught the melancholy
inspiration and also wept. Each lath was restored to its place and the
perilous work was completed, and how I thanked the Lord for the steady
nerve and level head that enabled me to do this service for those who were
fighting the battles of my country.

But the debris must be removed. While the doors were yet closed and
fastened, we pounded and broke the plastering into very small pieces and
filled every vessel and basket in the house. I then went out and walked
very leisurely over the yard and lot, and lingered over every lowly flower
that sweetened the atmosphere by its fragrance, and when I was fully
persuaded that no spy was lurking nigh I re-entered the house and locked
the door. Picking up the largest vessel, and motioning Telitha to follow
suit, I led the way through a back door to a huge old ash hopper, and
emptied the pulverized plastering into it. In this way we soon had every
trace of it removed from the floor. The dust that had settled upon
everything was not so easily removed, but the frequent use of dusting
brushes and flannel cloths disposed of the most of it.

I now wrote a note to my mother, inviting her to come home, and to bring
Toby with her. We kept the doors of the dining room closed, as had been
our wont for some time, and if Toby ever discovered the change, he never
betrayed the knowledge of it by word or look. After a light breakfast,
and the excitement of the day, I felt that we ought to have a good,
luscious dinner, and, with the help at my command, went to work preparing
it, and, as was my custom of late, I did not forget to provide for others
who might come in. More than once during the day Confederate scouts had
galloped in and spoken a few words of encouragement; and after taking a
drink of water from the old oaken bucket, had galloped out again, so I
hoped they would come back when the biscuit and tea-cakes were done, that
I might fill their pockets.

After the last meal of the day had been eaten, I held another whispered
consultation with my mother, and in pursuance of the course agreed upon I
emptied several trunks, and with her help filled one with quilts and
blankets, and other bedding; another with china and cut glass, well
packed; and another with important papers, treasured relics, etc., and
locked and strapped them ready for shipment next morning.

A night of unbroken rest and sleep prepared me for another day of
surprises and toil, and before dawn I was up, dressed, waiting for
daylight enough to justify me in the effort to see Mr. Ezekiel Mason, and
beg him to hire me his team and driver to carry the trunks to the depot.
After my ready compliance with his terms, he agreed to send them as soon
as possible. The delay caused me to go on a freight train to Atlanta, but
I congratulated myself upon that privilege, as the trunks and Toby went on
the same train. There was unusual commotion and activity about the depot
in Atlanta, and a superficial observer would have been impressed with the
business-like appearance of the little city at that important locality.
Men, women, and children moved about as if they meant business. Trains
came in rapidly, and received their complement of freight, either animate
or inanimate, and screamed themselves hoarse and departed, giving place to
others that went through with the same routine. Drays and every manner of
vehicles blocked the streets, and endangered life, limb, and property of
all who could not vie with them in push, vim, and dare-deviltry. In vain
did I appeal to scores of draymen, white and black, to carry my trunks to
the home of Mr. McArthur, on Pryor street--money was offered with
liberality, but to no avail. Despairing of aid, I bade Toby follow me, and
went to Mr. McArthur’s. He and his good wife were willing to receive the
trunks and give them storage room, but could extend no aid in bringing
them there. At length, as a last resort, it was decided that Toby should
take their wheelbarrow and bring one trunk at a time. I returned with him
to the depot and had the most valuable trunk placed upon the wheelbarrow,
and, with my occasional aid, Toby got it to its destination. A second trip
was made in like manner, and the third was not a failure, although I saw
that Toby was very tired. Thanking my good friends for the favor they were
extending, I hurried back to the depot, myself and Toby, to take the first
train to Decatur. Imagine our consternation on learning that the Yankees
had dashed in and torn up the Georgia Railroad track from Atlanta to
Decatur, and were pursuing their destructive work towards Augusta.
Neither for love nor money could a seat in any kind of vehicle going in
that direction be obtained, nor were I and my attendant the only ones thus
cut off from home; and I soon discovered that a spirit of independence
pervaded the crowd. Many were the proud possessors of elegant spans of
“little white ponies” which they did not deem too good to propel them
homeward. Seeking to infuse a little more life and animation into Toby, I

“Well, my boy, what do you think of bringing out your little black ponies
and running a race with my white ones to Decatur? Do you think you can
beat in the race?”

“I don’t know’m,” he said, without his usual smile, when I essayed a
little fun with him, and I evidently heard him sigh. But knowing there was
no alternative, I started in a brisk walk towards Decatur, and said to
him, “Come on, or I’ll get home before you do.” He rallied and kept very
close to me, and we made pretty good time. The gloaming was upon us, the
period of all others auspicious to thought, and to thought I abandoned
myself. The strife between the sections of a once glorious country was a
prolific theme, and I dwelt upon it in all of its ramifications, and
failed to find cause for blame in my peculiar people; and my step became
prouder, and my willingness to endure all things for their sakes and mine
was more confirmed. In the midst of these inspiring reflections, Toby, who
had somewhat lagged behind, came running up to me and said:

“Oh! Miss Mary, just look at the soldiers. And they are ours, too!”

To my dying day I shall never forget the scene to which he called my
attention. In the weird stillness it appeared as if the Lord had raised up
of the stones a mighty host to fight our battles. Not a sound was heard,
nor a word spoken, as those in the van passed opposite me, on and on, and
on, in the direction of Decatur, in what seemed to me an interminable line
of soldiery. Toby and I kept the track of the destroyed railroad, and were
somewhere between General Gartrell’s residence and Mr. Pitts’, the midway
station between Atlanta and Decatur, when the first of these soldiers
passed us, and we were at Kirkwood when that spectre-like band had fully
gone. Once the moon revealed me so plainly that a cheer, somewhat
repressed, but nevertheless hearty, resounded through the woods, and I

“Whose command?”

“Wheeler’s Cavalry,” was the simultaneous response of many who heard my

“Don’t you know me? I am the one you gave the best breakfast I ever ate,
that morning we dashed into Decatur before sun-up.”

“And I’m the one too.”

“O, don’t mention it,” I said. “You are giving your lives for me, and the
little I can do for you is nothing in comparison. May God be with you and
shield you from harm until this cruel war is over.”

I missed Toby, and looking back, saw him sitting down. I hurried to him,
saying, “What is it, my boy?”

“O, Miss Mary, I am so sick. I can’t go any further. You can go on home,
and let me stay here--when I feel better I’ll go too.”

“No, my boy, I’ll not leave you.” And sitting by him I told him to rest
his head upon my lap, and maybe after awhile he would feel better, and
then we would go on. In the course of a half hour he vomited copiously,
and soon after he told me he felt better, and would try to go on. More
than once his steps were unsteady and he looked dazed; but under my
patient guidance and encouraging words he kept up and we pursued our
lonely walk until we reached Decatur.

As soon as we entered the town, we perceived that we had overtaken
Wheeler’s Cavalry. They were lying on the ground, asleep, all over the
place; and in most instances their horses were lying by them, sleeping
too. And I noticed that the soldiers, even though asleep, never released
their hold upon the bridles. At home I found my mother almost frantic. She
knew nothing of the causes detaining me, and supposed that some disaster
had befallen me individually. A good supper, including a strong cup of tea
prepared by her hands, awaited us, and I attested my appreciation of it by
eating heartily. Toby drank a cup of tea only, and said he “was very tired
and hurt all over.”


The advance guard of the Yankee army--I am ordered out--A noble Federal.

The day clear, bright and beautiful, in July, 1864, and though a
midsummer’s sun cast its vertical rays upon the richly-carpeted earth,
refreshing showers tempered the heat and preserved in freshness and beauty
the vernal robes of May and kept the atmosphere pure and delightful.
Blossoms of every hue and fragrance decked the landscape, and Ceres and
Pomona had been as lavish with their grains and fruits as Flora had been
with flowers.

And I, assisted by Toby and Telitha, had gathered from the best of these
rich offerings, and prepared a feast for Wheeler’s Cavalry. By the way,
strive against it as I would, I was more than once disturbed by the mental
inquiry: “What has become of Wheeler’s Cavalry? I saw it enter Decatur
last night, and now there is not a soldier to be seen. It is true a large
number of scouts came in this morning, and spoke comforting words to my
mother, and reconnoitered around town fearlessly, but what has become of
them?” Hope whispered: “Some strategic movement that will culminate in the
capture of the entire Yankee army, no doubt is engaging its attention.”
Yielding to these delusive reflections, and the seductive influence of
earth, air and sky, I became quite exhilarated and hummed little snatches
of the songs I used to sing in the happy days of childhood, before a hope
had been disappointed or a shadow cast over my pathway.

These scenes and these songs were not in keeping with the impending
disasters even then at our portals. Crapen draperies and funeral dirges
would have been far more in keeping with the developments of the day.

Distant roar of cannon and sharp report of musketry spoke in language
unmistakable the approach of the enemy, and the rapidity of that approach
was becoming fearfully alarming. Decatur offered many advantages as
headquarters to an invading, devastating foe, “and three hundred thousand
men” under the guidance of a merciless foe ought to have entered it long
before they did--and would have done so if their bravery had been
commensurate with their vandalism.

“Yank! Yank!” exclaimed our deaf negro girl, Telitha, as she stroked her
face as if stroking beard, and ran to get a blue garment to indicate the
color of their apparel, and this was our first intimation of their
appearance in Decatur. If all the evil spirits had been loosed from Hades,
and Satan himself had been turned loose upon us, a more terrific,
revolting scene could not have been enacted.

Advance guards, composed of every species of criminals ever incarcerated
in the prisons of the Northern States of America, swooped down upon us,
and every species of deviltry followed in their footsteps. My poor mother,
frightened and trembling, and myself, having locked the doors of the
house, took our stand with the servants in the yard, and witnessed the
grand _entre_ of the menagerie. One of the beasts got down upon his
all-fours and pawed up the dust and bellowed like an infuriated bull. And
another asked me if I did not expect to see them with hoofs and horns. I
told him, “No, I had expected to see some gentlemen among them, and was
sorry I should be disappointed.”

My entire exemption from fear on that occasion must have been our
safeguard, as no personal violence was attempted. He who personated a bull
must have been the king’s fool, and was acting in collusion with the house
pillagers sent in advance of the main army to do their dirty work, and to
reduce the people to destitution and dependence. While he thought he was
entertaining us with his quadrupedal didos, a horde of thieves were
rummaging the house, and everything of value they could get their hands
upon they stole--locks and bolts having proved ineffectual barriers to
this nefarious work. By this time the outside marauders had killed every
chicken and other fowl upon the place, except one setting-hen. A fine cow,
and two calves, and twelve hogs shared a similar fate.

Several hours had passed since the coming of the first installment of the
G. A. R., and a few scattering officers were perambulating the streets,
and an occasional cavalryman reconnoitering. Having surveyed the
situation, and discovered that only women and children and a few faithful
negroes occupied the town, the main army came in like an avalanche. Yea,
if an avalanche and a simoon had blended their fury and expended it upon
that defenceless locality, a greater change could scarcely have been

The morning’s sun had shone upon a scene of luxuriant beauty, and
heightened its midsummer loveliness, but the same sun, only a few hours
later, witnessed a complete transformation, and blight and desolation
reigned supreme. My mother and myself, afraid to go in the house, still
maintained our outdoor position, and our two faithful servants clung very
close to us, notwithstanding repeated efforts to induce them to leave. Our
group had received addition. Emmeline, a negro girl whom we had hired out
in Decatur, had been discharged, and had now come home. She was not so
faithful as her kith and kin, and was soon on familiar terms with the
bummers. Toby complained of being very tired, and when we all came to
think about it, we discovered that we, too, were tired, and without being
asked took seats upon the capacious lap of mother earth. As we were not
overly particular about the position we assumed, we must have presented
quite an aboriginal appearance. But what mattered it--we were only rebels.
Notwithstanding the insignia of the conqueror was displayed on every hand,
we felt to a certain degree more protected by the presence of commissioned
officers, and ventured to go into the house. I will not attempt a
description of the change that had taken place since we had locked the
door, and, for better protection, had taken our stand in the yard.

Garrard’s Cavalry selected our lot, consisting of several acres, for
headquarters, and soon what appeared to us to be an immense army train of
wagons commenced rolling into it. In less than two hours our barn was
demolished and converted into tents, which were occupied by privates and
non-commissioned officers, and to the balusters of our portico and other
portions of the house were tied a number of large ropes, which, the other
ends being secured to trees and shrubbery, answered as a railing to which
at short intervals apart a number of smaller ropes were tied, and to these
were attached horses and mules, which were eating corn and oats out of
troughs improvised for the occasion out of bureau, washstand, and wardrobe

Men in groups were playing cards on tables of every size and shape; and
whisky and profanity held high carnival. Thus surrounded we could but be
apprehensive of danger; and, to assure ourselves of as much safety as
possible, we barricaded the doors and windows, and arranged to sit up all
night, that is, my mother and myself.

Toby complained of being very tired, and “hurting all over,” as he
expressed it. We assisted him in making the very best pallet that could be
made of the material at our command, and he lay down completely
prostrated. Telitha was wide awake, and whenever she could secure a
listener chattered like a magpie in unintelligible language, accompanied
by unmistakable gestures--gestures which an accomplished elocutionist
might adopt with effect--and the burden of her heart was for Emmeline.
Emmeline having repudiated our protection, had sought shelter, the Lord
only knows where. Alas, poor girl!

As we sat on a lounge, every chair having been taken to the camps, we
heard the sound of footsteps entering the piazza, and in a moment, loud
rapping, which meant business. Going to the window nearest the door, I
removed the fastenings, raised the sash, and opened the blinds. Perceiving
by the light of a brilliant moon that at least a half-dozen men in
uniforms were on the piazza, I asked:

“Who is there?”

“Gentlemen,” was the laconic reply.

“If so, you will not persist in your effort to come into the house. There
is only a widow and one of her daughters, and two faithful servants in
it,” I said.

“We have orders from headquarters to interview Miss Gay. Is she the
daughter of whom you speak?”

“She is, and I am she.”

“Well, Miss Gay, we demand seeing you, without intervening barriers. Our
orders are imperative,” said he who seemed to be the spokesman of the

“Then wait a moment,” I amiably responded. Going to my mother I repeated
in substance the above colloquy, and asked her if she would go with me out
of one of the back doors and around the house into the front yard.
Although greatly agitated and trembling, she readily assented, and we
noiselessly went out. In a few moments we announced our presence, and our
visitors descended the steps and joined us. And those men, occupying a
belligerent attitude towards ourselves and all that was dear to us, stood
face to face and in silence contemplated each other. When the silence was
broken the aforesaid officer introduced himself as Major Campbell, a
member of General Schofield’s staff. He also introduced the accompanying
officers each by name and title. This ceremony over, Major Campbell said:

“Miss Gay, our mission is a painful one, and yet we will have to carry it
out unless you satisfactorily explain acts reported to us.”

“What is the nature of those acts?”

“We have been told that it is your proudest boast that you are a rebel,
and that you are ever on duty to aid and abet in every possible way the
would-be destroyers of the United States government. If this be so, we
cannot permit you to remain within our lines. Until Atlanta surrenders,
Decatur will be our headquarters, and every consideration of interest to
our cause requires that no one inimical to it should remain within our
boundaries established by conquest.”

In reply to these charges, I said:

“Gentlemen, I have not been misrepresented, so far as the charges you
mention are concerned. If I were a man, I should be in the foremost ranks
of those who are fighting for rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the
United States. The Southern people have never broken that compact, nor
infringed upon it in any way. They have never organized mobs to
assassinate any portion of the people sharing the privileges granted by
that compact. They have constructed no underground railroads to bring into
our midst incendiaries and destroyers of the peace, and to carry off
stolen property. They have never sought to array the subordinate element
of the North in deadly hostility to the controlling element. No class of
the women of the South have ever sought positions at the North which
secured entrance into good households, and then betrayed the confidence
reposed by corrupting the servants and alienating the relations between
the master and the servant. No class of the women of the South have ever
mounted the rostrum and proclaimed falsehoods against the women of the
North--falsehoods which must have crimsoned with shame the very cheeks of

“No class of the men of the South have ever tramped over the North with
humbugs, extorting money either through sympathy or credulity, and engaged
at the same time in the nefarious work of exciting the subordinate class
to insurrection, arson, rapine and murder. If the South is in rebellion, a
well-organized mob at the North has brought it about. Long years of
patient endurance accomplished nothing. The party founded on falsehood and
hate strengthened and grew to enormous proportions. And, by the way, mark
the cunning of that party. Finding that the Abolition party made slow
progress and had to work in the dark, it changed its name and took in new
issues, and by a systematic course of lying in its institutions of
learning, from the lowly school-house to Yale College, and from its
pulpits and rostrums, it inculcated lessons of hate towards the Southern
people whom it would hurl into the crater of Vesuvius if endowed with the
power. What was left us to do but to try to relieve that portion of the
country which had permitted this sentiment of hate to predominate, of all
connection with us, and of all responsibility for the sins of which it
proclaimed us guilty? This effort the South has made, and I have aided and
abetted in every possible manner, and will continue to do so just as long
as there is an armed man in the Southern ranks. If this be sufficient
cause to expel me from my home, I await your orders. I have no favors to

Imagine my astonishment, admiration and gratitude, when that group of
Federal officers, with unanimity said:

“I glory in your spunk, and am proud of you as my countrywoman; and so far
from banishing you from your home, we will vote for your retention within
our lines.”

Thus the truth prevailed; but a new phase of the conflict was inaugurated,
as proved by subsequent developments.

Turning to my mother, Major Campbell said:

“Mother, how did our advance guards treat you?”

A quivering of the lips, and a tearful effort to speak, was all the
response she could make. The aggravation of already extreme nervousness
was doing its work.

“Would you like to see?” I said. He indicated rather than expressed an
affirmative answer.

I went around and entered the house, and, opening the front door, invited
him and his friends to come in. A hindrance to the exhibit I was anxious
to make presented itself--we had neither candle nor lamp, and this I told
to the officers. Calling to a man in the nearest camp, Major Campbell
asked him to bring a light. This being done, I led the way into the front
room, and there our distinguished guests were confronted by a huge pallet
occupied by a sixteen-year-old negro boy. A thrill of amusement evidently
passed through this group of western men, and electrical glances conveyed
messages of distrust when I told them of my walk yesterday afternoon,
accompanied by this boy, and his exhaustion before we got home, and his
complaints of “hurting all over” before he lay down an hour ago.

A low consultation was held, and one of the officers left and soon
returned with another who proved to be a physician. He aroused the boy,
asked several questions, and examined his pulse and tongue.

“That will do,” said he, and turning to the others, he said:

“He is a very sick boy, and needs medical treatment at once. I will
prescribe and go for the medicine, which I wish given according to

Having received a statement of the boy’s condition from a trusted source,
we were evidently re-instated into the good opinion of Major Campbell and
his friends. Telitha had retired from them to as great a distance as the
boundaries of the room would permit, and every time she caught my eye she
looked and acted what she could not express in words--utter aversion for
the “Yank.”

We now resumed our inspection of the interior of the house. The contents
of every drawer were on the floor, every article of value having been
abstracted. Crockery scattered all over the room, suggested to the eye
that it had been used to pelt the ghosts of the witches burned in
Massachusetts a century or two ago. Outrages and indignities too
revolting to mention met the eye at every turn. And the state of affairs
in the parlor baffled description. Not an article had escaped the
destroyer’s touch but the piano, and circumstances which followed proved
that that was regarded as a trophy and only waited removal.

“Vandals! Vandals!” Major Campbell sorrowfully exclaimed, and all his
friends echoed the opinion, and said:

“If the parties who did this work could be identified, we would hang them
as high as Haman.”

But these parties were never identified. They were important adjuncts in
the process of subjugation.

After wishing that the worst was over with us, these gentlemen, who had
come in no friendly mood, bade us good night and took their leave. Thus
the Lord of Hosts, in his infinite mercy, furnished a just tribunal to
pass judgment upon my acts as a Southern woman, and that judgment,
influenced by facts and surroundings, was just and the verdict humane.


The Battle of the 22d of July, 1864--The Death of Toby.

The excitement incident to the morning and evening of yesterday left my
mother and myself in no frame of mind for repose, and we spent the night
in suspense and painful apprehension of trouble yet to come greater and
more dreadful than that through which we had passed. The medicine left for
Toby by the physician summoned last night was faithfully administered
according to direction, and the morning found him better, though able to
sit up only for a short while at a time. Measles had developed, and we
felt hopeful that it would prove to be a very slight attack; and such it
might have been could we have controlled him properly, but the excitement
and ever-varying scenes in the yard, and as far as vision extended, were
so new and strange to him that, when unobserved, he spent much of his time
at a window commanding the best view of the scene, and, thus exposed to a
current of air, the disease ceased to appear on the surface and a
troublesome cough ensued.

Having been without food since the preceding morning, our thoughts turned
to the usual preparation for breakfast, but alas, those preparations had
to be dispensed of, as we had nothing to prepare. This state of affairs
furnished food for at least serious reflection, and the inquiry, “What are
we to do?” found audible expression. The inexorable demands of hunger
could not be stifled, and we knew that the sick boy needed hot tea and the
nourishment which food alone could give, and yet we had nothing for
ourselves or for him--so complete had been the robbery of the “advance
guards” of the Grand Army of the Republic that not a thing, animate or
inanimate, remained with which to appease our hunger. “What are we to do?”
was iterated and reiterated, and no solution of the question presented
itself. Even then appetizing odors from the camp-fires were diffusing
themselves upon the air and entering our house, but aliens were preparing
the food and we had no part in it. We debated this question, and finally
resolved not to expose ourselves to the jeers and insults of the enemy by
an act of ours that would seem to ask for food; but that we would go to
our Southern citizens in the war-stricken and almost deserted town, and,
if they were not completely robbed, ask them to share their supplies with
us until we could procure aid from outside of the lines so arbitrarily

In this dilemma an unexpected relief came to us, and convinced us that
there was good even in Nazareth. A large tray, evidently well-filled, and
covered with a snow-white cloth, was brought in by an Irishman, who handed
a card to my mother containing these words:

“To Mrs. Stokes and daughter, Miss Gay, with compliments of


“Please accept this small testimonial of regard and respectful sympathy.”

The latter part of the brief message was the sesame that secured
acceptance of this offering, and my mother and myself jointly acknowledged
it with sincere thanks, and again we thought of Elijah and the ravens. The
contents of the tray--coffee, sugar, and tea, sliced ham and a variety of
canned relishes, butter, potatoes, and oatmeal and bread, were removed and
the tray returned. That tray on its humane mission, having found its way
into our house, more than once opportunely reappeared. We enjoyed the
repast thus furnished, although briny tears were mingled with it.

The day passed without any immediate adventure. Great activity prevailed
in army ranks. The coming and going of cavalry; the clatter of sabre and
spur; the constant booming of cannon and report of musketry, all convinced
us that the surrender of Atlanta by the Confederates was quite a matter of
time. A few thousand men, however brave and gallant, could not cope
successfully with “three hundred thousand” who ignored every usage of
civilized warfare, and fought only for conquest.

I cannot say how long this state of affairs lasted before Wheeler’s
Cavalry, supported by Confederate infantry, stole a march upon the Yankees
and put them to flight. Garrard and his staff officers were in our
parlor--their parlor _pro tem._--holding a council; the teamsters and army
followers were lounging about promiscuously, cursing and swearing and
playing cards, and seeming not to notice the approaching artillery until
their attention was called to it, and then they contended that it was
their men firing off blank cartridges. I intuitively felt that a conflict
was on hand. Ma and I held whispered conversations and went from one
window to another, and finally rushed into the yard. Men in the camps
observed our excitement and said, “Don’t be alarmed, it is only our men
firing off their blank cartridges.”

The irony of fate was never more signally illustrated than on this
occasion. I would have laid down my life, yea, a thousand breathing,
pulsing lives of my own, to have witnessed the overthrow of the Yankee
army, and yet, I may have been the means of saving a large portion of it
on that occasion. Dreading for my mother’s sake and for the sake of the
deaf girl and the sick boy, an attack upon the forces which covered our
grounds, I ran to one of the parlor doors and knocked heavily and
excitedly. An officer unlocked the door and opening it said:

“What is it?”

“Our men must be nearly here,” I replied.

“Impossible,” he said, and yet, with a bound he was in the yard, followed
in quick succession by each member of the conclave.

A signal, long, loud, and shrill, awakened the drowsy, and scattered to
the four winds of heaven cards, books and papers; and, in a few minutes,
horses and mules were hitched to wagons, and the mules, wagons and men
were fairly flying from the approach of the Confederates. Women and
children came pouring in from every direction, and the house was soon
filled. Before Garrard’s wagon train was three hundred yards away, our
yard was full of our men--our own dear “Johnnie Rebs.” Oothcaloga Valley
boys, whom I had known from babyhood, kissed, in passing, the hand that
waved the handkerchief. An officer, ah, how grand he looked in gray
uniform, came dashing up and said:

“Go in your cellar and lie down; the Federals are forming a line of
battle, and we, too, will form one that will reach across the grounds, and
your house will be between the two lines. Go at once.”

My mother ran and got Toby’s shoes and put them on for him, and told him
to get up and come with her, and as he went out of the house, tottering, I
threw a blanket over him, and he and Telitha went with ma to our near
neighbor, Mrs. Williams, her cellar being considered safer than ours. I
remained in our house for the twofold purpose of taking care of it, if
possible, and of protecting, to the best of my ability, the precious women
and children who had fled to us for protection. Without thought of myself
I got them all into the room that I thought would be safest, and urged
them to lie down upon the floor and not to move during the battle. Shot
and shell flew in every direction, and the shingles on the roof were
following suit, and the leaves, and the limbs, and the bark of the trees
were descending in showers so heavy as almost to obscure the view of the
contending forces. The roaring of cannon and the sound of musketry blended
in harmony so full and so grand, and the scene was so absorbing, that I
thought not of personal danger, and more than once found myself outside of
the portals ready to rush into the conflict--for was not I a soldier,
enlisted for the war? Nor was I the only restless, intrepid person in the
house on that occasion. An old lady, in whose veins flowed the blood of
the Washingtons, was there, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I
restrained her from going out into the arena of warfare. The traditions of
her ancestors were so interwoven with her life, that, at an age bordering
on four score years and ten, they could not relax their hold upon her; and
she and I might have gone in opposite directions had we fled to the ranks
of the contending armies.

Mine was, no doubt, the only feminine eye that witnessed the complete rout
of the Federals on that occasion. At first I could not realize what they
were doing, and feared some strategic movement; but the “rebel yell” and
the flying blue-coats brought me to a full realization of the situation,
and I too joined in the loud acclaim of victory. And the women and
children, until now panic-stricken and silent as death, joined in the
rejoicing. All the discouragement of the past few weeks fled from me, and
hope revived, and I was happy, oh, so happy! I had seen a splendidly
equipped army, Schofield’s division, I think, ignominiously flee from a
little band of lean, lank, hungry, poorly-clad Confederate soldiers, and I
doubted not an over-ruling Providence would lead us to final victory.

When the smoke of the battle cleared away, my mother and her ebony charge
returned home. Toby quickly sought his pallet, and burning fever soon
rendered him delirious the greater part of the time. In one of his lucid
intervals, he asked me to read the Bible to him, and he told me what he
wanted me to read about, and said:

“Miss Missouri used to read it to me, and I thought it was so pretty.” And
I read to him the story of the cross--of Jesus’ dying love, and he
listened and believed. I said to him:

“My boy, do you think you are going to die?”

“Yes’m, I think I am.”

I bowed my head close to him and wept, oh, how bitterly.

“Miss Mary, don’t you think I’ll go to heaven?” he anxiously asked.

“Toby, my boy, there is one thing I want to tell you; can you listen to


“I have not always been just to you. I have often accused you of doing
things that I afterwards found you did not do, and then I was not good
enough to acknowledge that I had done wrong. And when you did wrong, I was
not forgiving enough; and more than once I have punished you for little
sins, when I, with all the light before me, was committing greater ones
every day, and going unpunished, save by a guilty conscience. And now, my
boy, I ask you to forgive me. Can you do it?”

“Oh, yes’m!”

“Are you certain that you do? Are you sure that there is no unforgiving
spirit in you towards your poor Miss Mary, who is sorry for all she has
ever done that was wrong towards you.”

“Oh, yes’m!”

“Then, my boy, ask the Lord to forgive you for your sins just as I have
asked you to forgive me, and He will do it for the sake of Jesus, who died
on the cross that sinners might be redeemed from their sins and live with
Him in heaven.”

I can never forget the ineffable love, and faith, and gratitude, depicted
in that poor boy’s face, while I live; and as I held his soft black hand
in mine, I thought of its willing service to “our boys,” and wept to think
I could do no more for him, and that his young life was going out before
he knew the result of the cruel war that was waged by the Abolitionists!
He noticed my grief, and begged me not to feel so badly, and added that he
was willing to die.

I arose from my position by his bed and asked him if there was anything in
the world I could do for him. In reply he said:

“I would like to have a drink of water from the Floyd spring.”

“You shall have it, my boy, just as soon as I can go there and back,” and
I took a pitcher and ran to the spring and filled and refilled it several
times, that it might be perfectly cool, and went back with it as quickly
as possible. He drank a goblet full of this delicious water and said it,
was “so good,” and then added:

“You drink some, too, Miss Mary, and give Miss Polly some.”

I did so, and he was pleased. He coughed less and complained less than he
had done since the change for the worse, and I deluded myself into the
hope that he might yet recover. In a short while he went to sleep, and his
breathing became very hard and his temperature indicated a high degree of
fever. I urged my mother to lie down, and assured her that if I thought
she could do anything for Toby at any time during the night I would call

I sat there alone by that dying boy. Not a movement on his part betrayed
pain. His breathing was hard and at intervals spasmodic. With tender hands
I changed the position of his head, and for a little while he seemed to
breathe easier. But it was only for a little while, and then it was
evident that soon he would cease to breathe at all. I went to my mother
and waked her gently and told her I thought the end was near with Toby,
and hurried back to him. I thought him dead even then; but, after an
interval, he breathed again and again, and all was over. The life had gone
back to the God who gave it, and I doubt not but that it will live with
Him forever. The pathos of the scene can never be understood by those who
have not witnessed one similar to it in all its details, and I will not
attempt to describe it. No timepiece marked the hour, but it was about
midnight, I ween, when death set the spirit of that youthful negro free.
Not a kindred being nor a member of his own race was near to lay loving
hand upon him, or prepare his little body for burial. We stood and gazed
upon him as he lay in death in that desolated house, and thought of his
fidelity and loving interest in our cause and its defenders, and of his
faithful service in our efforts to save something from vandal hands; and
the fountain of tears was broken up and we wept with a peculiar grief over
that lifeless form.

My mother was the first to become calm, and she came very near me and
said, as if afraid to trust her voice:

“Wouldn’t it be well to ask Eliza Williams and others to come and ‘lay him

Before acting on this suggestion I went into another room and waked
Telitha and took her into the chamber of death. A dim and glimmering light
prevented her from taking in the full import of the scene at first; but I
took her near the couch, and, pointing to him, I said:


She repeated interrogatively, and, when she fully realized that such was
the case, her cries were pitiable, oh, so pitiable.

I sank down upon the floor and waited for the paroxysm of grief to
subside, and then went to her and made her understand that I was going out
and that she must stay with her mistress until I returned. An hour later,
under the manipulation of good “Eliza Williams”--known throughout Decatur
as Mrs. Ammi Williams’ faithful servant--and one or two others whom she
brought with her, Toby was robed in a nice white suit of clothes prepared
for the occasion by the faithful hands of his “Miss Polly,” whom he had
loved well and who had cared for him in his orphanage.

We had had intimation that the Federals would again occupy Decatur, and as
soon as day dawned I went to see Mr. Robert Jones, Sen., and got him to
make a coffin for Toby, and I then asked “Uncle Mack,” and “Henry”--now
known as Decatur’s Henry Oliver--to dig the grave. Indeed, these two men
agreed to attend to the matter of his burial. After consultation with my
mother, it was agreed that that should take place as soon as all things
were in readiness. Mr. Jones made a pretty, well-shaped coffin out of
good heart pine, and the two faithful negro men already mentioned prepared
with care the grave. When all was in readiness, the dead boy was placed in
the coffin and borne to the grave by very gentle hands.

Next to the pall-bearers my mother and myself and Telitha fell in line,
and then followed the few negroes yet remaining in the town, and that
funeral cortege was complete.

At the grave an unexpected and most welcome stranger appeared. “Uncle
Mack” told me he was a minister, and would perform the funeral
service--and grandly did he do it. The very soul of prayer seemed embodied
in this negro preacher’s invocation; nor did he forget Toby’s “nurses,”
and every consolation and blessing was besought for them. And thus our
Toby received a Christian burial.



During the early spring of that memorable year, 1864, it was announced to
the citizens of Decatur that Judge Hook and family, including his
accomplished daughter, Mrs. Whitesides, and her children, from
Chattanooga, had arrived at the depot, and were domiciled, _pro tem._, in
cars which had been switched off the main track of the famous old Georgia
Railroad. This novel mode of living, even in war times, by people in their
monetary condition and social standing, naturally attracted much
attention, and brought us to a full realization of approaching danger.
That this family, accustomed to all the luxuries of an elegant home,
should live in such an abode, with its attendant privations, was
convincing proof that the home they had abandoned had become intolerable
because of the proximity of the enemy; and it was also fearfully
suggestive that that ubiquitous enemy was extending his dominion and
bringing the fiery, bloody conflict into the very heart of the

A rebellion, by way of parenthesis, which impartial historians will put on
record as the grandest uprising of a long suffering people that was ever
known in the annals of nations; “a mutiny” (as that chief of Southern
haters, John Lathrop Motley, whose superb egotism impressed him with the
idea that his influence could change the political trend of Great Britain
towards the South, has seen proper to denominate it) in the camp of
American councils brought about by unceasing abuse of the Southern States
by political tricksters, whose only hope of survival lay in the hatred for
the South thus engendered.

The coming of Judge Hook’s family was hailed with pleasure by all good and
loyal citizens, and was a ligament connecting more closely states
suffering in a common cause; and we all called upon them and soon numbered
them with our intimate friends. Mrs. Whitesides and Miss Hook were
effective workers in all that benefited our soldiers or their families.

Judge Hook was superintendent of the Government Iron Works, and literally
brought the foundry as well as the operatives with him. Among the latter
was a man by the name of Everett, who, with his family, consisting of his
wife and five children, occupied an old one-room house near a corner of
our home lot. Although a hearty, hale, and rather good-looking man,
Everett was very poor, and the first time I ever saw his wife she came to
borrow “a little flour.” As my mother never turned away from a borrower,
Mrs. Everett’s vessel was filled to overflowing, and, besides, a pitcher
of buttermilk and a plate of butter was given to her, for which she was
extremely grateful.

An acquaintance thus begun continued during the spring and early summer
months, and there was not a day during that period that my mother did not
find it convenient to do something for this family. Mrs. Everett was more
than ordinarily intelligent for a person in her position, and the blush
which mantled her pretty cheeks when she asked for anything betrayed her
sensibility; and her children were pretty and sweet-mannered. I never saw
Everett, only as I met him going and coming from his work, and on those
occasions he showed the greatest respect for me by taking off his hat as
he approached me, and holding it in his hand until he had fully passed. He
seemed to be a steady worker, and if he ever lost a day I never heard of
it; and Mrs. Everett was industrious, but much of the time unemployed for
lack of material with which to work, and she often begged for something to
do. She was anxious to work for our soldiers, and told me that all of her
male relatives were in the Confederate army. This circumstance endeared
her very much to me; and I made the support of his family very much easier
to Everett than it would have been had he lived in a non-appreciative
neighborhood. And when the village girls met at our house to practice for
concerts for the benefit of our soldiers, which they did almost weekly, I
never forgot that Mrs. Everett’s brothers were in our army fighting
valiantly, no doubt, for our cause, and I always asked her to come and
bring her children to my room and listen with me to the sweet music and
patriotic songs.

As time sped, many opportunities for witnessing Mrs. Everett’s devotion to
her native land presented themselves; and her service to its defenders,
though humble and unobtrusive, was valuable. Her children, too, always
spoke lovingly of our soldiers, and were never more happy than when doing
something for them. At length the time came for another move of the
foundry, and quietly, as if by magic, it and its appurtenants, under the
judicious management of Judge Hook, got on wheels and ran at the rate of
thirty-five miles an hour until it reached Augusta--another haven of rest
invested with heavenly beauty. After the departure of this important
adjunct to this portion of the Confederacy, it was discovered that Everett
and his family remained in Decatur. And a remarkable change came over
them. Instead of the free-spoken, unsophisticated woman that she had
always appeared to be, Mrs. Everett became reserved and taciturn, and
seldom left the enclosure by which her humble dwelling was surrounded. And
the children ceased to cheer us by their merry prattle and daily trip for
a pitcher of buttermilk, which, under the changed and unexplained
circumstances, my mother sent to them.

On the never-to-be-forgotten 19th of July, 1864, when a portion of
Sherman’s army dashed into Decatur, it obtained a recruit. In an
incredibly short time, Everett was arrayed in the uniform of a Yankee
private, and was hustling around with the Yankees as if “to the manner

On the 22d of July, when the Confederates ran the Yankees out of the
little village they had so pompously occupied for a few days, Everett
disappeared, and so did his family from the little house on the corner. I
supposed they had left Decatur, until I went out in town to see if I could
hear anything from the victors--their losses, etc.--when by chance I
discovered that they had taken shelter in the old post-office building on
the northeast corner of the court-house square.

The morning after the hurried evacuation of Decatur by the Federal troops,
I arose, as was my custom, as day was dawning, and, as soon as I thought I
could distinguish objects, I opened the front door and stepped out on the
portico. As I stood looking upon the ruin and devastation of my
war-stricken home, imagine my surprise and consternation when I saw a
white handkerchief held by an invisible hand above a scuppernong grape
arbor. My first impulse was to seek security within closed doors, but the
thought occurred to me that some one might be in distress and needed aid.
I therefore determined to investigate the case. In pursuance of this
object I went down the steps, and advanced several yards in the direction
of the waving signal, and asked:

“Who is there?”

“Come a little nearer, please,” was the distinct answer.

“I am near enough to hear you; what can I do for you?” I said, and did go
a little nearer.

“Miss Mary, don’t be afraid of me; I would die for you and such as you,
but I cannot die for a lost cause”--and through an opening in the foliage
of the vines, which were more on the ground than on the scaffolding, a
head protruded--handsome brown eyes and dark whiskers included--Everett’s
head, in all the naturalness of innocence.

I thought of his wife and of his children, and of his wife’s brother in
the Confederate army, and again asked with deliberation:

“What can I do for you?”

“Bless me or curse me,” was the startling answer, and he continued:

“Your kindness to my wife and children has nerved me to come to you and
ask that you will aid me in seeing them, especially her. Will you do it?”

“Yes, though I despise you for the steps you have taken, I will grant your
request. Don’t be afraid that I will betray you.”

“Where shall I go?” he asked, with a perceptible tremor in his voice.

“While I am out here seeming to prop up these shrubs, make your way to the
kitchen and enter its front door, and don’t close it after you, but let it
remain wide open. But be still until I tell you to start.”

As if going for something, I walked hastily around the house and kitchen,
and entering the latter brought out an old hoe, and seemed to use it quite
industriously in banking up earth around fallen shrubbery. Watching an
opportunity--for in those war times all things, animate and inanimate,
seemed to have ears--I said:

“When I go into the house, you must go into the kitchen, and be certain to
let the doors remain open.”

I never knew how Everett made his journey, whether upright as a man, or
upon all-fours like a beast.

From sheer exhaustion my poor mother was sleeping still, and Toby’s
breathing and general appearance as he lay upon his pallet, plainly
indicated the presence of deep seated disease. I looked around for
Telitha, and not seeing her, went into the dining room where I found her
sitting by a window. By unmistakable signs she made me understand that she
had witnessed the entire proceeding connected with Everett through the
window blinds.

Soon the loud tramping of horses’ feet caused me to run again to the front
door, and I beheld a number of our scouts approaching. I went to meet them
and shook hands with every one of them. No demonstration, however
enthusiastic, could have been an exaggeration of my joy on again seeing
our men, our dear Confederate soldiers, and yet I thought of Everett and

“Have you seen any Billy Yanks this morning?” was asked by several of
them; and I replied:

“No, I have not seen any since our men ran them out of Decatur yesterday.”

“How did they treat you while they were here?”

“You see the devastation of the place,” I replied. “Personally we escaped
violence; but I would like you to go into the house and see the condition
of affairs there.”

Said they:

“It would not be new to us. We have seen the most wanton destruction of
property and household goods wherever they have gone.”

“Do wait and let me have a pot of coffee made for you. The Yankees gave
our negro girl quite a good deal of it, and not using it herself, she gave
it to my mother, and I want you to enjoy some of it,” I said. They

“Soldiers can’t wait for luxuries.”

“Good-bye and God bless you,” was their parting benediction. And then as
if impelled by some strange inspiration they galloped round to the well. I
ran into the house and got several tumblers and fairly flew out there with
them, as there was no gourd at the well. The kitchen was in close
proximity, and the door stood invitingly open. What if a bare suspicion
should prompt these brave men to enter? Alas! All would be up with the
poor miscreant who had thrown himself upon my mercy, and who was even then
lurking there under my direction. But, thank the good Lord, they did not
enter, and after again invoking God’s blessings upon me, they galloped off
in a southerly direction; and never did retreating sounds give more

I went into the house. My mother, thoroughly exhausted, and perhaps
discouraged, chose to remain in bed, and as she lay gazing intently upon
the wall above her, I doubt if she saw it, so intense was her meditation.
As Telitha by this time had a fire made in the dining room, I prepared a
pot of good strong coffee, and after partaking of the exhilarating
beverage myself, and seeing that each of the household was supplied, I
took the remainder with necessary adjuncts to Everett. Never will I forget
his appearance as we stood face to face--he a miserable deserter from the
cause I loved, and the recipient of favors I scorned myself for bestowing.
I told him I would go at once for his wife, and that after seeing her he
must make his way into the enemy’s lines as soon as possible.

A few minutes sufficed to carry me to Mrs. Everett’s retreat, already
mentioned. I sat down on the front doorsteps and drew from my pocket a
newspaper, which chanced to be there, and commenced reading aloud. At
length I saw that my presence had attracted the notice of the children,
and I called them. One by one they came to me, and I shook hands with them
and asked them about their mother. Hearing my voice and inquiries, she
spoke to me most pleasantly. I asked her to come out and take a seat by me
on the steps. She did so, blushingly and timidly. I wrote on the margin of
the paper, “Send the children away,” and handed it to her. She did so.
Assured that they were not in hearing distance, I held the paper before
me, and, as if reading, I told her the story of my early interview with
her husband; of his earnest desire to see her; of my consent, on her
account, to plan a meeting with her; of his secretion in our kitchen; and
the necessity of the greatest caution in our movements. I told her that
after walking around a little, and exchanging experiences with the brave
ladies of the village, she would see me, by keeping watch, going home, and
then she could take a little basket in her hand, as if going for
something, and come on to our house. She implicitly followed my
directions. My mother received her as if nothing of an unpleasant nature
had transpired; and, although it is a very difficult problem, and never
solved without the aid of necromancy, I undertook to deduct something from
nothing, and so far succeeded that I had several small packages to lay in
her basket as she started. Knowing that she knew the way to the kitchen, I
gave her a wish that all would end well, and bade her good-bye, never,
doubtless, to meet her again on earth. The tears flowed plenteously down
her cheeks, and her tongue refused to speak, but the pressure of her hand
attested gratitude, and affection, and farewell. I got a glimpse of her as
she went out of the alley gate; but I never knew when he abandoned his
hiding place. I heard that about dusk a Federal army wagon, under
protection of a company of troops, came and took her and her little
children out of Decatur.


A visit to Confederate lines--A narrow escape--My return--The fall of

No news from “the front;” no tidings from the loved ones in gray; no
friendly spirit whispering words of cheer or consolation. Shut up within a
narrow space, and guarded by Federal bayonets! not a ray of friendly light
illuminated my environment.

The constant roaring of cannon and rattling of musketry; the thousand,
yea, tens of thousands of shots blending into one grand continuous whole,
and reverberating in avalanchan volume over the hills of Fulton, and the
mountain heights of old DeKalb--told in thunder tones of the fierce
contest between Federal and Confederate forces being waged without
intermission for the possession of Atlanta.

The haughty, insolent boast of the enemy, now that Joe Johnston was
removed from the command of the Army of the Tennessee, that they would
make quick work of the rebellion, and of the complete subjugation of the
South, had in no way a tendency to mitigate anxiety or to encourage hope.
Thus surrounded, I sought and obtained permission to read Federal
newspapers. The United States mail brought daily papers to the officers in
command of the forces quartered in our yard; and through this medium I
kept posted, from a Northern standpoint, concerning the situation of both
armies. While there was little in these dispatches gratifying to me, there
was much that I thought would be valuable to my people if I could only
convey it to them; and I racked my brain day and night, devising ways and
means by which to accomplish this feat. But the ways and means decided
upon were, upon reflection, invariably abandoned as being impracticable.

In this dilemma, a most opportune circumstance offered an immediate
solution of the difficult problem. In the midst of a deep study of the
relative positions of the two armies, and of the hopes and fears animating
both, a tall, lank, honest-faced Yankee came to the door of the portico
and asked “if Miss Gay was in.”

I responded that I was she, and he handed me a letter addressed to myself.
I hastily tore it open and read the contents. It was written by a reverend
gentleman whose wife was a distant relative of my mother, and told that
she was very ill. “Indeed,” wrote he, “I have but little hope of ever
seeing her any better, and I beg you to come to see her, and spend several

I showed the letter to my mother, who was sitting near by, and, like
myself, engaged in studying the situation. She strenuously objected to my
going, and advanced many good reasons for my not doing so; but my reasons
for going counteracted them all in my estimation, and I determined to go.

Taking Telitha with me, I carried the letter to the Provost Marshal, and
asked him to read it and grant me the privilege of going. After reading
the letter, he asked me how I obtained it, and received my statement. He
then asked me if I could refer him to the party who brought it to me.
Leaving the letter with him, I ran home and soon returned with the desired
individual who had fortunately lingered in the yard in anticipation of
usefulness. Convinced that the invitation was genuine, and for a humane
purpose, this usually morose marshal granted me “a permit” to visit those
poor old sick people, for the husband was almost as feeble as his wife. I
told the obliging marshal that there was another favor I should like to
ask of him, if he would not think me too presumptuous. “Name it,” he said.
I replied:

“Will you detail one or more of the soldiers to act as an escort for me? I
am afraid to go with only this girl.”

To this he also assented, and said it was a wise precaution. He asked when
I wished to come home.

“Day after to-morrow afternoon,” I told him, and received assurance that
an escort would be in waiting for me at that time.

It now became necessary to make some important preparations for the trip.
A great deal was involved, and if my plans were successful, important
events might accrue. A nice white petticoat was called into requisition,
and, when I got done with it, it was literally lined with Northern
newspapers. “The Cincinnati Enquirer,” and “The New York Daily Times;”
“The Cincinnati Commercial Gazette,” and “The Philadelphia Evening
Ledger,” under the manipulation of my fingers, took their places on the
inner sides and rear of the skirt, and served as a very stylish “bustle,”
an article much in vogue in those days. This preparatory work having been
accomplished, it required but a few moments to complete my toilet, and,
under the auspices of a clear conscience and a mother’s blessing,
doubtless, I started on a perilous trip. The ever-faithful Telitha was by
my side, and the military escort a few feet in advance.

After a walk of a mile and a half, I reached my destination for that day.
I found the old lady in question much better than I had expected. Nervous
and sick himself, her husband had greatly exaggerated her afflictions. By
degrees, and under protest, I communicated to these aged people my
intention of carrying information to Hood’s headquarters, that might be of
use to our army. I knew that these good old people would not betray me,
even though they might not approve my course, and I confided to them my
every plan. Both were troubled about the possible result if I should be
detected; but my plans were laid, and nothing could deter me from pursuing

The rising sun of another day saw Telitha and me starting on our way to
run the gauntlet, so to speak, of Federal bayonets. These good old people
had given me much valuable information regarding the way to
Atlanta--information which enabled me to get there without conflict with
either Confederate or Federal pickets. Knowing the topography of the
country, I took a circuitous route to an old mill; Cobb’s, I believe, and
from there I sought the McDonough road. I didn’t venture to keep that
highway to the city, but I kept within sight of it, and under cover of
breast-works and other obstructions, managed to evade videttes and pickets
of both armies. After walking fourteen or fifteen miles, I entered Atlanta
at the beautiful home of Mrs. L. P. Grant, at the southern boundary of the
city. That estimable lady never lost an opportunity of doing good. The
lessons of humanity and Christian grace impressed upon her youthful mind,
and intensified by the life-long example of her devoted mother, Mrs. Ammi
Williams, of Decatur, had called into action all that is ennobling in
woman. On this occasion, as upon every other offering an opportunity, she
remembered to do good. She ordered an appetizing lunch, including a cup of
sure enough coffee, which refreshed and strengthened me after my long
walk. Her butler having become a familiar personage on the streets of
Atlanta, she sent him as a guide to important places. We entered the city
unchallenged, and moved about at will. The force of habit, probably, led
me to Mrs. McArthur’s and to Mrs. Craig’s on Pryor street; and, by the
way, these friends still own the same property, and occupy almost the same
homes. The head of neither of these families was willing to accompany me
to Confederate headquarters, and without a guide I started to hunt them
for myself. What had seemed an easy task now seemed insurmountable. I knew
not in what direction to go, and the few whom I asked seemed as ignorant
as myself. Starting from Mrs. Craig’s, I went towards the depot. I had not
proceeded very far before I met Major John Y. Rankin. I could scarcely
restrain tears of joy. He was a member of the very same command to which
my brother belonged. From Major Rankin I learned that my brother, utterly
prostrated, had been sent to a hospital, either in Augusta or Madison. He
told me many other things of interest, which I cannot mention now, unless
I was compiling a history instead of a series of personal reminiscences.
Preferring not to stand upon the street, I asked Major Rankin to return
with me to Mrs. Craig’s, which he did, and spent an hour in pleasant
conversation. Mrs. Craig was a delightful conversationalist, and while she
was entertaining the major with that fine art, I retired to a private
apartment, and with the aid of a pair of scissors ripped off the papers
from my underskirt and smoothed and folded them nicely, and after
re-arranging my toilet, took them into the parlor as a trophy of skill in
outwitting the Yankee. Telitha, too, had a trophy to which she had clung
ever since we left home with the tenacity of an eel, and which doubtless
she supposed to be an offering to “Marse Tom,” and was evidently anxious
that he should receive it. Having dismissed Mrs. Grant’s butler as no
longer necessary to my convenience, Major Rankin, myself and Telitha went
direct to the headquarters of his command. The papers seemed to be most
acceptable, but I noticed that the gleanings from conversation seemed far
more so. The hopefulness and enthusiasm of our soldiers were inspiring.
But alas! how little they knew of the situation, and how determined not to
be enlightened. Even then they believed that they would hold Atlanta
against Herculean odds, and scorned the idea of its surrender. At length
the opening of Telitha’s package devolved on me. Shirts, socks and soap,
towels, gloves, etc., formed a compact bundle that my mother had sent to
our soldiers. Many cheery words were said, and good-byes uttered, and I
left them to meet once more under very different circumstances.

I now turned my thoughts to our negroes, who were hired in different parts
of the city. Rachel, the mother of King, hired herself and rented a room
from Mr. John Silvey, who lived upon the same lot on Marietta street upon
which he has since erected his present elegant residence. In order that I
might have an interview with Rachel without disturbing Mr. Silvey’s
family, I went to the side gate and called her. She answered and came
immediately. I asked her if she realized the great danger to which she was
continually exposed. Even then “shot and shell” were falling in every
direction, and the roaring of cannon was an unceasing sound. She replied
that she knew the danger, and thought I was doing wrong to be in Atlanta
when I had a home to be at. I insisted that she had the same home, and a
good vacant house was ready to receive her. But she was impervious to
every argument, and preferred to await the coming of Sherman in her
present quarters. Seeing that I had no influence over her, I bade her
good-bye and left. Telitha and I had not gone farther than the First
Presbyterian church (not a square away) from the gate upon which I had
leaned during this interview with Rachel, before a bombshell fell by that
gate and burst into a thousand fragments, literally tearing the gate into
pieces. Had I remained there one minute longer, my mortal being would have
been torn to atoms. After this fearfully impressive adventure,
unfortified by any “permit” I struck a bee line to Mrs. Grant’s, having
promised her that I would go back that way and stop awhile. An old negro
man belonging to Mrs. Williams, who had “come out” on a previous occasion,
was there, and wanted to return under my protection to his home within the
enemy’s lines. Very earnest assurances from Mrs. Grant to that effect
convinced me that I had nothing to fear from betrayal by him, and I
consented that he should be a member of my company homeward bound. Two
large packages were ready for the old man to take charge of, about which
Mrs. Grant gave him directions, _sotto voce_. Putting one of them on the
end of a walking cane he threw it over his right shoulder, and with his
left hand picked up the other bundle. Telitha and I were unencumbered.
With a good deal of trepidation I took the advance position in the line of
march, and walked briskly. We had not proceeded very far before we
encountered our pickets. No argument was weighty enough to secure for me
the privilege of passing the lines without an official permit. Baffled in
this effort, I approved the action of the pickets, and we turned and
retraced our steps in the direction of Atlanta, until entirely out of
sight of them, and then we turned southward and then eastward, verging a
little northward. Constant vigilance enabled me to evade the Yankee
pickets, and constant walking brought me safely to the home of my aged and
afflicted friends, from which I had started early in the morning of that
day. Not being tired, I could have gone home; but the policy of carrying
out the original programme is too apparent to need explanation. These
friends were conservative in every act and word, and, it may be, leaned a
little out of the perpendicular towards that “flaunting lie,” the United
States flag; therefore they were favorites among the so-called defenders
of the Union, and were kept supplied with many palatable articles of food
that were entirely out of the reach of rebels who were avowed and “dyed in
the wool.”

A few minutes sufficed to furnish us with a fine pot of soup (and good
bread was not lacking), of which we ate heartily. The old negro man was
too anxious to get home to be willing to spend the night so near, just for
the privilege of walking into Decatur under Yankee escort, and said he was
“going home,” and left me.

The next day my escort was promptly on hand, and in due time I was in
Decatur, none the worse for having put into practice a favorite aphorism
of the Yankees, that “all things are fair in war.”

The old man had preceded me, and faithful to the behest of Mrs. Grant, had
turned over a valuable package to my mother.

Not many mornings subsequent to the adventure just related, I discovered
upon opening the door that the Yankee tents seemed to be vacant. Not a
blue-coat was to be seen. What could it mean? Had they given up the
contest and ignominiously fled? As if confirmatory of the gratifying
suggestion, the booming of cannon in the direction of Atlanta was
evidently decreasing. Then again I thought perhaps the wagon train had
been sent out to forage upon the country, and as it would now have to go
forty-five and fifty miles to get anything, it required an immense
military escort to protect it from the dashing, sanguinary attacks of the
“rebels.” The latter thought was soon dismissed and the former embraced,
and how consoling it was to me. Before the sun had attained its meridian
height, a number of our scouts appeared on the abandoned grounds; and what
joy their presence gave us! But they left us as suddenly as they came, and
on reflection we could not think of a single encouraging word uttered by
them during their stay. Suspense became intolerable. With occasional
lulls, the roaring of cannon was a continuous blending of ominous sound.

In the midst of this awful suspense, an apparition, glorious and bright,
appeared in our presence. It was my brother. He had left Madison a few
days before, where he had been allowed to spend a part of his furlough,
instead of remaining at the Augusta hospital, and where he received the
tender ministrations of his estimable cousin, Mrs. Tom Hillsman, and her
pretty young daughters, and the loving care of his sister Missouri, who
was also at this time an inmate of her cousin’s household. How I wished he
could have remained there until restored to health. One less patriotic and
conscientious would have done so. His mother’s joy at meeting her beloved
son, and under such circumstances, was pathetic indeed, and I shall never
forget the effort she made to repress the tears and steady the voice as
she sought to nerve him for the arduous and perilous duties before him.
Much of his conversation, though hurried, was regarding his Mary, in
Texas, and the dear little boy dropped down from heaven, whom he had never
seen. The shades of night came on, and darker grew until complete
blackness enveloped the face of the earth, and still the low subdued tones
of conversation between mother, son and daughter, mingled with unabated
interest. Hark! Hark! An explosion! An earthquake? The angry bellowing
sound rises in deafening grandeur, and reverberates along the far-off
valleys and distant hilltops. What is it? This mighty thunder that never
ceases? The earth is ablaze--what can it be? This illumination that
reveals minutest objects? With blanched face and tearful eye, the soldier

“Atlanta has surrendered to the enemy. The mighty reports are occasioned
by the blowing up of the magazines and arsenals.”

Dumbfounded we stood, trying to realize the crushing fact. Woman’s heart
could bear no more in silence, and a wail over departed hopes mingled with
the angry sounds without.

Impelled by a stern resolve, and a spirit like to that of martyred saints,
our brother said:

“This is no place for me. I must go.”

And then he put an arm around each of us, and kissed us with a fervor of
love that knew no bounds, and was quenching itself in unfathomable
hopeless tenderness. The quiet fortitude and patriotism of his mother gave
way in that dread hour, and she cried aloud in agonizing apprehension of
never again clasping to her bosom her greatest earthly joy. No pen can
describe the scene of that last parting between mother and son, and in
sheer impotency I drop the curtain.

As he walked away from his sobbing mother, through the war-illuminated
village, I never beheld mortal man so handsome, so heroically grand. His
great tender heart, which I had seen heave and sway under less trying
circumstances, seemed to have ossified, and not an emotion was apparent.



Going out with the Confederate clothes--Scenes at Atlanta and at Lovejoy’s
Station--The visit to Granbury’s Brigade--The last interview with Thomie.

After every morsel of food had been taken from the people, and every
vestige of nutrition extracted from the earth, the following order, in
substance, was proclaimed throughout the land held by the right of

“All who cannot support themselves without applying to the United States
Commissary for assistance, must go outside of our lines, either north or
south, within the period of time mentioned in this order, etc., etc.”

And by this order, and by others even more oppressive and diabolical, the
Nero of the nineteenth century, alias William Tecumseh Sherman, was put
upon record as the born leader of the most ruthless, Godless band of men
ever organized in the name of patriotism--a band which, but for a few
noble spirits who, by the power of mind over matter, exerted a restraining
influence, would not have left a Southerner to tell the tale of
fiendishness on its route to the sea.

And now, like Bill Nye, after one of his sententious and doubtless
truthful introductions to a Western sketch, I feel easier in my mind, and
will proceed with my reminiscences of that unholy period of this country,
and tell the truth about it, without favor or prejudice, if it kills me.
After this pronunciamento had been issued, all was bustle and rapid
movement in every household within the boundaries of usurpation. Under the
strong arm of military power, delay was not permitted. Homes were to be
abandoned, and household goods and household gods to be left for the
enemy, or destroyed; and liberty under our own vine and fig tree was to be
a thing of the past, and dependence upon strangers a thing of the future.
In preparation for this enforced change, much that should have been done
was left undone, but there was no time to correct mistakes--the armistice
was only for ten days.

What were we to do, my mother and myself, was a question which presented
itself with startling seriousness, and had to be answered without delay.
Our farm in Gordon county had already been devastated by the invading
army, and every improvement destroyed, and if we should lose our home in
Decatur we would be poor indeed. But what were we to do? If we left our
home, we knew it would share the fate of all other “abandoned” property,
and furnish material for a bonfire for Nero to fiddle by; and if we
remained, by grace of better men than he, what assurance had we that by
any means within our grasp we could obtain even a scanty subsistence, or
be protected from personal abuse and insult by an alien army whose
gentlemen were vastly in the minority.

We learned that our neighbors and friends, Mrs. Ammi Williams and her
estimable son, Mr. Frederick Williams, (an invalid from paralysis)--whose
influence over General Schofield prevented my banishment from Decatur the
very first night of its occupancy by the Federal army--and the venerable
Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan (the latter a Bostonian and educated in Emerson’s
celebrated school for young ladies), and other families as true to the
South as the needle to the pole, were going to remain and take their
chances within the enemy’s lines, and we determined to do so too.

The officers in command of the post, especially the provost marshal,
interrogated us very closely regarding our plans and expectations during
the occupancy of the place by Federal forces. Having satisfied them that
our only remaining servant would do washing and ironing at reasonable
prices, and that we would do darning and repairing, we were given a
written permit to remain within the lines.

I, however, had a work to do, a feat to perform, which for audacity and
courage, has seldom been surpassed, which would not admit of my staying at
home until I had made a little trip to Dixie.

Knowing the value of his influence, I again went to Mr. Frederick
Williams, and confiding my plans to him, asked his assistance in getting
permission to go out and return during the armistice. I never knew what
argument he employed for the accomplishment of this object. I only know by
inference. But I received a letter from General Schofield,
adjutant-general, of which the subjoined is an exact transcript:

  “DECATUR, GA., Sept. 1, 1864.

“MISS GAY--It was hard for me to reconcile my conscience to giving the
enclosed recommendation to one whose sentiments I cannot approve, but if I
have committed an error it has been on the side of mercy, and I hope I’ll
be forgiven. Hereafter I hope you will not think of Yankees as all being
bad, and beyond the pale of redemption.

“To-morrow I leave for my own home in the ‘frozen North,’ and when I
return it will be to fight for my country, and against your friends, so
that I suppose I shall not have the pleasure of again meeting you.

  Very respectfully,

And that Major Campbell’s gallant act may be fully appreciated, I will add
the letter which secured for me the great favor which I had the temerity
to ask.

  DECATUR, GA., Sept. 14, 1864.

“MY DEAR COLONEL--I have the honor to introduce Miss Mary A. H. Gay, of
this village, and I recommend her case to your favorable consideration. I
do not know exactly what orders are now in force, but if you think you can
grant her desires without detriment to the public service, I am confident
the indulgence will not be abused.

  Very respectfully your obedient servant,

“To Colonel J. C. Parkhurst, Pro. Mar. Gen., Army of the Cumberland.”

Thus recommended by one high in army ranks, Colonel Parkhurst granted me
the privilege of going to see my young sister, then in Augusta, and
carrying anything I might have saved from the ravages of the war,
“unmolested.” Fortified by these letters I went to the Provost Marshal in
Decatur and told him I would be ready to go to Atlanta to-morrow morning
at 8 o’clock, and I wanted to carry some old bed-clothing and other things
to my sister, and would be grateful for an ambulance, or an army wagon all
to myself, and an Irish driver. He promised that both should be at my
service at the time indicated--not, however, without the sarcastic remark
that “if the Yankees had been as bad as I had said they were, they would
not have left anything for me to carry.”

I ran to my mother and imparted to her the glad tidings of success, and in
a whispered conversation we soon had definite plans arranged for the
consummation of the perilous duty before me. I went to the Federal camp
and asked for some crocus sacks such as are used in the transportation of
grain, and quite a number were given to me. I shook them thoroughly inside
and out, and put them by. A ball of twine and some large needles had found
their way into the house. The needles were threaded and placed in
convenient proximity to the sacks. Telitha watched every movement with
interest and intuitively divined its import. The wardrobe was empty and my
very first touch moved it at least one inch in the desired direction, and
a helping hand from her soon placed it in favorable position. This much
being accomplished, I took a seat by my mother on the front door-steps
and engaged in a pleasant conversation with a group of young Federal
soldiers, who seemed much attached to us, and with whom I conversed with
unreserved candor, and often expressed regret that they were in hostile
array towards a people who had been goaded to desperation by infringement
upon constitutional rights by those who had pronounced the only ligament
that bound the two sections of the country together, “a league with hell,
and a covenant with the devil.” This I proved to them by documents
published at the North, and by many other things of which they were

While thus engaged, Captain Woodbury approached and said: “I learn that
you are going out into Dixie, Miss Gay.”

“Yes, for a few days,” I replied.

“I am prepared to furnish a more pleasant conveyance to Atlanta than the
one you have secured,” said he, and continued, “I have a handsome new
buggy and a fine trotter, and it will take only a few minutes to reach
there. Will you accept a seat with me?”

If all the blood within me had overflowed its proper channels, and rushed
to the surface, I could not have flushed more. I felt it in the commotion
of my hair, and in the nervous twitching of my feet. The indignation and
contempt that I felt for the man! That one who was aiding and abetting in
the devastation of my country and the spoliation of my home, should ask me
to take a seat with him in a buggy which he doubtless had taken, without
leave or license, from my countrymen, was presumptuous indeed, and
deserved a severe rebuke. But “prudence being the better part of valor,”
I repressed all that would have been offensive in word and act, and
replied with suavity, “Thank you, Captain Woodbury, for the honor you
would have conferred upon me, but I cannot accept it.” Receiving no reply,
I added:

“Let me in candor make a statement to you, and I think you will approve
the motive that prompts my decision. I have not sought to conceal the fact
that my only brother is in the Confederate army; he is there from motives
purely patriotic, and not as a mercenary hireling. He is fighting for the
rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, a constitution
so sacred that our people have never violated it in any particular, and of
which we have shown our highest appreciation by adopting it _verbatim_, as
the guiding star of the Southern Confederacy. You are in an army claiming
to be fighting for the Union, and yet the government that sent you out on
this glorious mission ignores every principle of fraternal relation
between the North and the South, and would subvert every fundamental
principle of self-government and establish upon the wreck a centralized
despotism. Could I, while you and I are so antagonistic, accept your offer
and retain your good opinion? I think not, and I prefer to go in the
conveyance already stipulated.”

Silence, without the slightest manifestation of anger, assured me that my
argument against taking a buggy drive with him to Atlanta had not been
lost on Captain Woodbury, of Ohio, a member of Garrard’s Cavalry.

After this episode we bade our callers “good-evening,” went into the house
and busied ourselves with the important work before us--a work which
probably would not attract attention because of the darkness that would
surround the scene of its execution. The table and chair had been placed,
as once before, by the wardrobe already mentioned, and a little respite
was employed in viewing the situation. The door connecting our room and
this dining-room was generally kept shut. At length night came on with its
friendly, helpful darkness. The shutters of the windows had been closed
for weeks, and secured by nails, and the house had been too often searched
and plundered to be suspected of containing valuables. Therefore, we felt
that if no unusual sound attracted notice we would accomplish our object
unsuspected. But I was anxious and nervous in view of what was before me,
and wanted the perilous work over with. So when the darkness of night
fully enshrouded the earth, with no other light than that which found its
way from the camp-fires of the enemy through the latticed shutters, I
stepped into the chair and thence upon the table, and Telitha followed and
drew the chair up after her. Then with her strong dusky hands she seized
the wardrobe as if it had been a toy in her hands. I steadied the chair by
the wardrobe and stepped into it, and another step landed me on top of the
wardrobe. My fingers penetrated the crevice between the slats which I
wanted to pull off, and to a slight effort they yielded. Lest the noise
occasioned by dropping them might attract notice, I stooped and laid each
piece down as I drew it off the joist. When the aperture thus made was
sufficient, I began to draw from their hiding place the precious
Confederate overcoats and other winter apparel confided to my keeping (as
already related), by soldiers of General Joseph E. Johnston’s army, when
they were at Dalton. One by one each piece was taken out and dropped down
upon the floor. But by a lamentable oversight we afterwards found that one
article had been left--a woolen scarf for the neck, knitted for my brother
by his loving young wife in Texas.

Carefully I descended, and, with the aid of the girl, placed the chair,
the table, and the dear old wardrobe (which deserves to be immortalized in
song and story), in less suspicious positions, and then proceeded to pack
in the sacks, already mentioned, the precious articles. The thought
occurred to me that my mother would like to have a hand in this labor of
love, and I opened the door between us. I shall never forget her
appearance as she stood as if riveted to the spot, near a window, watching
the moving figures without. I approached her and in a cheerful whisper
told her that I was now putting the things in the sacks, and I knew she
would like to have an interest in the job. She tried to respond, but she
was too nervous to do so. Slowly but surely she was yielding to the
pressure upon nerve and brain. As each sack was filled, a threaded needle
securely closed the mouth. In a short while a number of these sacks stood
in a group, as erect as if on parade, and I verily believe that if the
host of profane, godless braggarts (with but few exceptions) who
surrounded the house could have seen them at that time and known their
contents, they would have evacuated Decatur in mortal fear of the ghosts
of “Johnnie Rebs.”

This important work having been accomplished without discovery or even a
shadow of suspicion, I felt vastly relieved, and thanked the Lord with all
my heart for the health, strength, and ingenuity which had enabled me to
consummate it. My mother and I lay down upon the same bed, and were soon
blessed with the invigorating influence of “tired nature’s sweet

The song of the lark had ceased to be heard in this war-stricken locality;
chanticleer had long since furnished a savory meal for camp followers, and
the time-pieces had either been spoiled or stolen; but there was a silent,
unerring chronometer within that never deviated, and needed no alarm
attachment to arouse me from slumber, and the dawn found me up and
preparing for the duties and perhaps the dangers of the day.

Telitha had become quite an attraction to a bevy of men who occupied
soldiers’ quarters, and wore soldiers’ uniforms, and drew pay for doing
so, from Uncle Sam’s coffers; and as she had been trained to ideas of
virtue and morality she often came in frowning and much ruffled in temper
by their deportment towards her. Being almost entirely deaf and dumb, her
limited vocabulary was inadequate to supply epithets expressive of the
righteous indignation and contempt which she evidently felt--she could
only say, “Devil Yank, devil,” and these words she used with telling
effect both to the amusement and chagrin of the Yankees. This state of
affairs convinced me that for her protection she would have to be kept
within doors, and I therefore assumed the task of drawing the water, and a
few other jobs indispensable even in life’s rudest state. On this
occasion, when I went to the well for a bucket of water, before preparing
our frugal breakfast, I was asked by early marauders why I did not let
“that young colored lady draw the water.” I candidly answered them, and
told them I was going to ask the officers of the encampment to protect her
while I was gone, and I also would ask them to report any misdemeanor
toward her, that they might witness, at headquarters.

After a good night’s rest my mother’s nerves seemed all right again, and
by 7 o’clock we had finished our breakfast, which consisted of bread and
butter and coffee--the latter luxurious beverage being furnished by one
whose heart was in touch with humanity. That the aperture in the ceiling
of the dining room might not be discovered until I got the contraband
goods out of the house, I had brought the sacks containing them into the
adjoining room, and it was therefore the work of a very few minutes to
convey them to the wagon, when that vehicle, drawn by a span of fine
horses, under the guidance of the Irish driver, drove up to the front
door. “Put those sacks into the wagon,” I said, pointing to them. When the
last one of them was stored away safely in that moving repository, one of
those feelings of relief and security came over me that had more than once
given me courage to brave successfully impending danger--and I donned my
hat, and bade my mother and the faithful girl an almost cheerful
“Good-bye,” and took my seat by the driver, _en route_ for Dixie. Would I
get there? Ah! that was the question that had blanched my mother’s cheek
when I said “Good-bye.” But hope, etc., “eternal in the human breast,”
whispered “yes,” and thus encouraged, I spoke grateful words to the Irish
driver, and asked him many questions about the land of the shamrock and
sunny blue skies. He was evidently flattered by my favorable knowledge of
the Emerald Isle, and would have done anything within his power for me.
God bless the Irish forever!

I asked him to drive under my direction to the residence of my estimable
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Posey Maddox, the parents of the accomplished and
erudite Charles K. Maddox, of Atlanta. To my great joy I saw wagons in the
yard, already laden with their household goods, to be carried to the depot
and turned over to the Federal authorities, who assumed the transportation
of them to Jonesboro and the safe delivery of them to the Confederate
authorities, who in turn assumed the transportation and delivery of them
to the nearest Confederate station. Mr. Maddox had secured the use of an
entire freight car, and gladly consented to take me and my baggage in with
theirs. Mrs. Maddox was particularly glad to have me go with them, and to
her I confided the character of my baggage, and received in return many
words of sympathy and approbation. Those who have studied mythical lore,
and dwelt in imagination upon the attributes of mythical characters,
especially those of an evil nature, can perhaps form some idea of the
confusion and disquiet of an entire city yielding its possession to an
alien army, which now, that success had been achieved by brute force, was
bent upon the utter impoverishment of the people, and their extreme
humiliation. Curses and imprecations too vile to repeat, and boisterous
laughter, and vulgar jests resounded through the streets of Atlanta.
Federal wagons followed in the tracks of Confederate wagons, and after a
few light articles were placed in the latter for Southern destination, the
former unblushingly moved up to receive pianos and other expensive
furniture which found its way into every section of the North. And this
highway robbery was permitted by William Tecumseh Sherman, the Grand Mogul
of the Army of the Republic. Truly had the city of Atlanta been turned
into a veritable pandemonium.

At length our time came to move in the worse than death-like processions
going southward, and in a short while we were at Jonesboro, our
destination, so far as Federal aid extended. As soon as I stepped from the
car I wended my way to the Confederate officer of the day, whom I
recognized by his regalia, and told him of my success in concealing and
bringing out of Federal lines the winter clothing of our soldiers. He
listened with polite attention and said it was a wonderfully interesting
story, but altogether improbable.

“Go with me and I will prove to you the truthfulness of it,” I eagerly

As it was a bleak equinoctial day, and drizzling rain, Mr. and Mrs. Maddox
had not yet left their car (by way of parenthesis, I would say that the
favors shown to these excellent people was in consideration of Mr. Maddox
being a very prudent minister of the gospel), and, when we reached it, I
asked Mr. Maddox to roll one of my sacks to the door. He did so, and I
then asked the officer to examine its contents. A blade of a pen-knife
severed the twine with which the edges of the mouth had been sewed
together, and the loved familiar gray and brass buttons, and other
articles, verified the truth of my statement. He looked amazed, and
exhausted his vocabulary of flattering encomiums upon me, and, what was
more desirable and to the point, he asked what he could do in the matter,
and assured me that there was nothing within the range of his jurisdiction
that he would not do. I told him that the object of my coming to him was
to ask that he send me and my precious charge to General Granbury’s
headquarters, as, among other overcoats, I had one of his in charge, as
well as many other things belonging to his staff officers. He told me the
finest span of Confederate horses and the best ambulance on the ground
should be at my service as soon as possible.

During the interim, I opened wide my eyes and took in the situation in all
its horrible details. The entire Southern population of Atlanta, with but
an occasional exception, and that of many miles in its vicinity, were
dumped out upon the cold ground without shelter and without any of the
comforts of home, and an autumnal mist or drizzle slowly but surely
saturating every article of clothing upon them; and pulmonary diseases in
all stages admonishing them of the danger of such exposure. Aged
grandmothers tottering upon the verge of the grave, and tender maidens in
the first bloom of young womanhood, and little babes not three days old in
the arms of sick mothers, driven from their homes, were all out upon the
cold charity of the world.

Apropos, I will relate an incident that came under my observation during
my brief stay at this station: When one of the long trains from Atlanta
rolled in with its living freight and stopped at the terminus, a queenly
girl, tall and lithe in figure and willowy in motion, emerged from one of
the cars, and stood, the embodiment of feminine grace, for a moment upon
the platform. In less time than it takes to chronicle the impression, her
Grecian beauty, classic expression and nobility of manner, had
daguerreotyped themselves upon the tablets of my memory never to be
effaced by mortal alchemy. The pretty plain debeige dress, trimmed with
Confederate buttons and corresponding ribbon, all conspired to make her
appear, even to a casual observer, just what she was--a typical Southern
girl who gloried in that honor. She stood only a moment, and then, as if
moved by some divine inspiration, she stepped from the car, and falling
upon her knees, bent forward and kissed the ground. This silent
demonstration of affection for the land of Dixie touched a vibrating
chord, and a score or more of beautiful girlish voices blended in sweetest
harmony while they told in song their love for Dixie. I listened
spellbound, and was not the only one thus enchanted. A United States
officer listened and was touched to tears. Approaching me, he asked if I
would do him the favor to tell him the name of the young lady who kissed
the ground.

“I do not think she would approve of my telling you her name, and I
decline to do so,” I said in reply. Not in the least daunted by this
rebuff he responded: “I shall learn it; and if she has not already become
the wife or the affianced of another, I shall offer her the devotion of my

The Confederate officer of the day, God forever bless him! came for me.
The army wagon was ready and standing by Mr. Posey Maddox’s car, waiting
to receive its precious freight, and a few minutes sufficed to transfer it
from car to wagon, and, after waiting to see the last sack securely placed
in the wagon, I, too, got in and took my seat by the driver. A long cold
drive was before us, but I was so robust I had no fear of the result.

The driver was a veritable young Jehu, and we got over the ground rapidly;
but, owing to a mistake in following directions, it was a long time before
we reached our destination, the course of which must have been due west
from Jonesboro, and through a dense forest. And oh, the beauty of that
forest! It will remain a living, vivid memory, as long as life endures.
Its rich and heavy foliage had been but lightly tinged by the frosts of
autumn, and it was rendered more beautiful by the constant dripping of
rain drops from every leaf and blossom. As the evening came on, dense,
impenetrable clouds canopied the earth, and shut out every ray of
sunlight, and almost every ray of hope. At length night came on, dark and
weird, and silent, and we were still in the woods, without compass or

Just as my brave heart was about to succumb to despair, a vision of
delight burst upon me--a beacon light, yea, hundreds of beacon lights,
appeared before me, and filled my soul with joy. The camp-fires of General
Cleburne’s brave men beckoned us onward, and gave us friendly greeting.
Every revolution of the wagon wheels brought us perceptibly nearer the
haven of rest. Sabbath-like quiet reigned throughout the encampment. No
boisterous sounds nor profane imprecations broke the stillness. But there
was a sound that reached my ear, filling my soul with joy unspeakable. A
human voice it was. I had heard it before in the slight wail of infancy;
in the merry prattle of childhood; in the melodious songs of youth; in the
tender, well-modulated tones of manhood; and now--there was no mistaking
it--in the solemn, earnest invocation to the Lord of Hosts for the
salvation of the world, for the millenial dawn, and that “peace on earth,
and good will to men,” which would never again be broken by the clarion of
war, or earth’s rude alarms. No sweeter voice ever entered the courts of

My obliging young driver stopped the horses at a favorable distance, and I
heard the greater part of that grand prayer, and wept for joy. When it was
finished, we moved on, and were hailed by a sentinel who demanded the
countersign, I believe it is called. The driver satisfied him, and calling
to a soldier, I asked him if he knew Lieutenant Stokes. “Like a book,” he
answered. “Please tell him his sister Mary is here,” I said. In a moment I
was clasped in his arms with the holy pressure of a brother’s love. His
first thought on seeing me was that some calamity must have occurred, and
he said, “Sister, is Ma or Missouri dead?” “No, Thomie, but Toby is.”

His brave head bowed low and he wept--sobbed audibly. I told him of Toby’s
loving mention of him, and of the boy’s hope of Heaven. After his natural
paroxysm of grief had subsided, he looked up, and with an ineffable smile,

“Sister, I know you have a secret to tell--what is it?”

“It is this; I have saved all those precious things that were sent to me
from Dalton, and I have brought them to deliver to their rightful owners.
Help me to do so as quickly as possible, that I may go back to Jonesboro

Had a bombshell exploded at his feet, the effect could not have been more
electrical. He bounded to General Granbury’s tent with the agility of a
deer; he told the news to him and the others assembled there; and he came
back, and they all came with him; and had I been a magician, I could not
have been an object of greater interest. General Granbury protested
against my return to Jonesboro through the darkness of the night, and
offered his tent for my occupancy, saying he would go in with some of the
other officers. Colonel Robert Young, a friend of years’ standing, was
also earnest in his efforts to keep me from carrying out my purpose to go
back, and I gave it up. I knew that I was with friends, and permitted
myself to be lifted out of the wagon and conducted to the General’s tent.
I took a seat upon a camp stool which was placed for me about the center
of the tent. The General and his staff officers sat around, and my dear
brother was very near me. Thus arranged, a conversation was commenced
which continued with slight interruptions into the “wee sma’ hours” of the
night. Colonel Young seemed to have something upon his mind which rendered
him indifferent to society, or some duty to perform which required his
attention outside the tent. At length, however, he came to the door and
asked my brother to come out awhile. In a short time both of them came in
together, and Colonel Young, after asking us to excuse the interruption of
the conversation, remarked that there was something outside that he would
like for us to see. My brother took me by the hand and led me out in front
of the tent, and all the officers stood in a group around. Imagine my
surprise when I perceived a long line of soldiers before us, and an
officer on horseback galloping from one end of the line to the other. I
ventured to ask my brother if they were going to have a moonlight drill
without the moon? He smiled, and a faint pressure of the hand indicated
that there was something on the tapis that would please me, but I must
wait until it was revealed to others as well. In much less time than it
has taken to record this episode a signal was given, and one of the
grandest cheers ever heard by mortal man resounded through the midnight
darkness and the dense forest, and was echoed over hill and dale. Another
signal and another cheer, and yet another of each, and I broke down
completely and cried heartily. What had I done that my name should thus be
honored by men enduring all the hardships of warfare and fighting for my
principles; and yet to me it was the most acceptable compliment ever paid
to living woman. I often fancy I hear those voices now blending in one
grand harmonious shout of praise to the great God of Heaven and earth, who
has doubtless given rest to many of those weary ones.

Once more in General Granbury’s tent, at the earnest solicitation of all
present, I continued the rehearsal of all the Federal army news that I had
gleaned from close perusal of the United States newspapers and from
careless and unsuspicious talkers. General Granbury was evidently startled
when I told him that I had heard Federal officers say “Hood was working to
their hand precisely in going back to Tennessee, as Thomas was there with
an army that was invincible, and would whip him so bad that there would
not be a Johnnie Reb left to tell the tale;” and they criticised severely
the “generalship” of giving an invading army unobstructed route to the
goal of their ambition, which, in this case, was South Carolina. I was
asked by one of my auditors to give my impression of the situation, and I
did so. As I described the magnitude of the Federal army, and its
vindictive spirit as I had seen it, and its implacable feeling towards the
South, I saw a shade of sadness pass over the noble faces of all present.
“Have you lost hope of the ultimate success of our cause?” was a question
I was compelled to answer, because anxiously asked. I, however, imitated a
Yankee by asking a question in reply, as to what our resources were, and
if they were deemed adequate to cope with a foe which had the world to
draw from, both for men and means? “But have you lost hope?” was the
question I was called upon to answer without equivocation.

Silence and tears which would well up were interpreted to mean what my
tongue refused to speak. My brother perceiving this, put his hand on mine
as it lay motionless upon my lap, and said, “Cheer up, sister mine; if you
could have seen ‘Old Pat’s’ men on drill this afternoon, you would think
we are some ourselves.”

Colonel Young continued to seem very much engaged outside, and, since the
demonstration in my honor, had given us only an occasional glimpse of
himself. At length he came to the door and said, “Lieutenant, I should
like to speak to you.” My brother responded to the call, and soon returned
and said: “As there is a hard day’s march before us for to-morrow, we must
let the General get a little sleep, and this brave sister of mine must
need it, too. Come, let me conduct you to your room.”

Good-byes were spoken that night which, in the providence of God, were
destined never to be repeated, and Thomie and Colonel Young led the way to
a bran new tent, never used before, and opened the door that I might
enter. Thomie said, “My room is next to yours, sister. Pleasant dreams,
and refreshing slumbers,” and he kissed me good night. “Good night, dear
brother.” “Good night, dear friend,” said I, as he and Colonel Young left
the tent. By the dim light I surveyed the “room” and its furnishings, and
wept to think that dear Confederate soldiers had deprived themselves of
comforts that I might be comfortable. A handsome buffalo robe lay on the
ground; and a coat nicely folded for a pillow, and a gray blanket for a
cover, invited me to repose. A small pan of water for morning ablution,
and a towel, and a mirror about the size of a silver dollar, and a comb
and brush, furnished every needed convenience. I removed the skirt of my
dress that it might not be wrinkled in the morning, and my mantle for the
same cause, and lay down and slept, oh, how sweetly, under the protecting
care of those noble men, until awakened by the sweet familiar voice of my
brother, saying, “Get up, sister, or you will not be ready for the
roll-call,” was his never-to-be-forgotten morning salutation. “As a short
horse is soon curried,” it required only a few moments to make myself
presentable, and just as I was about announcing myself in that condition,
Thomie again appeared at the door with a plate containing my breakfast in
one hand, and a tin cup containing a decoction, which he called coffee, in
the other. “Here is your breakfast, sister;” and he added, “the ambulance
is waiting to carry you to Lovejoy’s station. Lieutenant Jewell and myself
have been detailed to accompany you there.”

The army wagons were already falling in line one after another and moving
onward in a northwesterly direction; and what remained of the infantry and
cavalry of that once magnificent army, which so often had achieved
victory under General Joseph E. Johnston, had made their last grand
bivouac on Georgia soil, and were moving onward in the line of march to
Tennessee, under the command of Hood. They were leaving many a gallant
comrade who had bitten the dust and drenched the soil of Georgia with
their life-blood, and although they must have feared that the flag they
loved so well was now leading them to defeat, yet not one of those true
hearts would have deserted it for the wealth of India. As they marched in
a different direction from that I was going to take, and the demand for
rapid movement was imperative, I could not follow them long with my eye,
but the memory of the little I saw will ever be fresh, and, like an
inspiration yet to me, their bayonets glittered in a perfect halo of
glory, for the mists and clouds of the preceding day had passed away
during the night, and a blue sky and bright sun gladdened the earth.

The two young lieutenants took seats opposite to me in the ambulance. Thus
arranged, I caught every movement and look of that dear brother from whom
I was so soon to part. He never looked more handsome, or appeared to
greater advantage. I was his guest, and he entertained me with a “feast of
reason and a flow of soul.” At my request he sang some of the songs of
“auld lang syne,” but he preferred to talk of our mother and our sister.
He recalled incidents of his childhood, and laughed heartily over some of
them. He spoke of his Mary in Texas and his love for her, and he took from
his vest pocket the impression of the foot and hand of his only child, a
dear little boy whom he had never seen, and kissed them, then folded them
carefully and put them back in his pocket and said:

“I must hurry back to Texas.”

But back of all this glee and apparent hopefulness I saw, in characters
unmistakable, that he was almost bereft of hope, and sustained only by
Christian resignation.

We knew, by the immense crowd of people standing and sitting around on
improvised seats, that we were approaching the station. The two soldiers
got out of the ambulance with the elasticity of youth and health, and
Thomie assisted me out. I stood for a moment, as if uncertain where to go,
and Lieutenant Jewell grasped my hand and said:

“Good-bye, dear Miss Mary!” and stepped back into the wagon and resumed
his seat.

Seeing a large, square old house, which appeared to be full of people,
Thomie and I advanced toward it a few steps. Suddenly, as if admonished
that a soldier’s duties should have precedence over everything else, he
took me in his arms and kissed me fervently once, twice, thrice. I
understood for whom they were intended--that trio of kisses. Not a word
did he speak, and when he turned his back on me I saw him brush off the
silent tears, and more than one step was uneven before his nerves became
steady and he ready to report for duty. I felt intuitively that I should
never look upon his face again, and I watched him with riveted eyes until
I could no longer see him, and then I gazed upon the vehicle containing
him until it, too, disappeared forever from my sight. Then, and not till
then, I gave way to pent-up sorrow, and cried as one without



From Jonesboro via Augusta--Scenes and Incidents by the way--The lonely
journey from Stone Mountain to Decatur.

Dazed by a full realization that my brother and every male relative and
friend were in the octopus arms of war, cruel and relentless, I stood
riveted to the spot where my brother had parted from me, until a gentle
hand touched my shoulder, and a pleasant voice gave me friendly greeting.
Turning I saw Mrs. Anderson, sister of the brave and gallant Robert
Alston, whose tragic fate is known to every reader in this country.

“I am glad to see you. I have just seen your brother Robert,” I said.

“Where? Where? Do tell me that I may go to him!” cried his devoted sister,
laughing and weeping alternately.

Having ascertained that the long train of exiles would not leave the
station for several hours, I offered to conduct the tender-hearted woman
to the camp-fire of her brother. The route took me over the same ground
which only a few moments ago I had traveled with my own dear brother; and
along which I had seen so vividly a lean, gaunt, phantom hand pointing at
his retreating form. Even the horses’ tracks and the ruts made by the
wheels could be plainly traced by their freshness and the yet quivering
sands; and as I gazed upon them, I fancied they were connecting links
between me and him which were binding our souls together, and which I
would never grow weary in following. These reflections were often
disturbed by questions about “my dear brother Robert,” and by alternate
sobs and laughter. The distance seemed much greater, now that I was
walking it, but at length we attained our destination, the headquarters of
a few of General John Morgan’s gallant defenders of Southern homes and
firesides. It would require the descriptive power of a Sims or a Paul
Hayne to give an adequate idea of the meeting on this occasion of this
demonstrative brother and sister. I will not undertake to do so. He, too,
was ready to move in that disastrous campaign, which lost to us the _creme
de la creme_ of the Army of the Tennessee, and which aided, as if planned
by the most astute Federal tactician, Sherman, in his “march to the sea.”

During the interview between Colonel Alston and his sister, it developed
to him that his pretty home had been abandoned to the tender mercies of
the enemy by the family in whose care he had left it, and that the Yankees
had shipped his wife’s elegant European piano, mirrors and furniture, as
well as his library, cut glass and Dresden china to the North; and,
besides, in the very malignity of envy and sectional hate, had mutilated
and desecrated his house in a shameful manner. His imprecations were
fearful; and his vows to get even with the accursed Yankees were even
more so. The lamb of a few moments ago was transformed into a lion,
roaring and fierce. He accompanied his sister and myself on our return to
the station; and never will I forget that walk.

The station reached, the scene of separation of brother and sister was
again enacted, and he, too, went to battle-fields, sanguinary and
relentless, she to peaceful retreats undisturbed by cannon’s roar.

Here, as at Jonesboro, the face of the earth was literally covered with
rude tents and side-tracked cars, which were occupied by exiles from
home--defenseless women and children, and an occasional old man tottering
on the verge of the grave, awaiting their turn to be transported by
over-taxed railroads farther into the constantly diminishing land of their
love. During the afternoon I boarded an already well-filled south-bound
train, and moved about among its occupants as if at home. For were we not
one people, the mothers, wives and sisters of Confederates? The diversity
of mind, disposition and temper of this long train of representative women
and children of Atlanta, and many miles contiguous, who were carrying
minds and hearts brimful of memories never to be obliterated, but rather
to harden into asphalt preservation, was illustrated in various ways. Some
laughed and talked and jested, and infused the light and warmth of their
own sunny natures into others less hopeful; some were morose and churlish,
and saw no hope in the future and were impatient with those who did see
the silver lining beyond the dark cloud suspended over us; and some very
plainly indicated that if our cause failed, they would lose all faith in a
prayer-answering God; and others saw wisdom and goodness in all His ways
and dispensations, and were willing to submit to any chastisement if it
only brought them nearer to the Mercy Seat.

After many delays and adventures, not of sufficient importance to relate,
I reached Griswoldville. Here I was received with open arms by that good
old father and mother in Israel, Rev. Dr. John S. Wilson and his wife, and
his excellent family, whom I found residing in an old freight car. But
they were living in a palace compared to many of their neighbors and
friends, who had scarcely a shelter to protect them from the inclemency of
the weather. Every moment of time with these good people was spent in
answering questions and receiving blessings. Not long after this pleasant
meeting, Stoneman’s raiders came into Griswoldville, and the household
effects of Dr. Wilson’s family were consumed by devouring torches. All
their winter clothing, the doctor’s library and his manuscript sermons,
were burned to ashes. These sermons were the result of the study and
experience of forty years. But this grand old soldier of the cross,
although on the verge of threescore years and ten, faltered not; for his
eye was fixed on the goal of his heavenly inheritance. Wherever he went,
he still preached, and died a few years afterwards at his post in Atlanta,
having missed but two preaching appointments in all his ministry, one of
these on the Sabbath before he died.

By a circuitous route, which I can now scarcely recall, in the course of
time I reached Augusta, the beautiful. I wended my way through the
crowded thoroughfares to the residence of friends on Green street, where
my sister had sojourned for several weeks, far from the distracting
confusion of warfare. After all these long and varied years, I never see
that Elysian street without feeling as if I would like to kneel and kiss
the ground whereon she found surcease of hostile tread and rancorous foe.

I could scarcely approach the house, in exterior beautiful in all that
makes a home attractive. I feared that within sorrowful tidings might
await me. No word of the absent sister had come through the enemy’s lines
since they were first established, and now I dreaded to hear. More than
once I stood still and tried to nerve myself for the worst tidings that
could be communicated. And then I ascended the stone steps and rang the
door-bell. When the butler came, I hurriedly asked if Miss Stokes was in.
As if apprehending my state of feelings, he answered with a broad African
grin: “She is, ma’am.”

The pressure of a mountain was removed from my heart, and with a lighter
step than I had taken for some time I entered that friendly portal, a
welcome guest. A moment sufficed for him to carry the joyous tidings of my
presence to my sister, and, as if by magic, she was with me. O, the joy
and the sadness of our meeting! To say that each of us was glad beyond our
ability to express it, would be a tame statement; and yet neither of us
was happy. There was too much sadness connected with ourselves and our
country to admit of happiness; yet the report of our mother’s fortitude
and usually good health, and the hopeful spirit of our brother, and his
numerous messages of love and playful phraseology, cheered my sister so
much that she rallied and did all she could to render my brief stay with
her as pleasant as possible. And there was a charm in her sweet voice and
pleasant words that were soothing to me, and did much to assuage my own
grief. Nor were our good friends wanting in efforts of like character.
They, too, had drank deep of Marah’s bitter waters. Two noble boys, yet in
their teens, had been laid upon the sacrificial altar, an oblation to
their country. And a fair young girl had gone down into the tomb, as much
a sacrifice to Southern rights as if slain on the battle-field. One other
girl and her war-stricken parents survived, and they were devoting their
lives to the encouragement of those similarly bereaved.

Although I knew it would pain her greatly, I thought it would be wrong to
leave without telling my sister about Toby’s death, and, therefore, I told
her. Like our brother, she wept, but not as one without hope. She had been
his spiritual instructor, and thoroughly taught him the great and yet easy
plan of salvation; and I have never doubted that he caught on to it, and
was supported by the arm of Jesus, as he “passed through the dark valley
and the shadow of death.”

The time for leaving this peaceful retreat came, and was inexorable; nor
would I have stayed if I could. There was a widowed mother, whose head was
whitened, not so much by the frost of winters as by sorrow and care, grief
and bereavement, awaiting my coming--oh, so anxiously! Waiting to hear
from the soldier son, who, even for her sake, and that of his gentle
young wife and baby boy in Texas, would listen to no plan of escape from
the dangers involved by his first presidential vote. Waiting to hear from
the fair young daughter, whom she preferred to banish from home rather
than have her exposed to the rude chances of war. That she might not be
kept in painful suspense, I determined not to linger on the way. I,
therefore, took the morning train on the good old reliable Georgia
Railroad for Social Circle. The parting from my sister pained me
exceedingly; but I knew she had put her trust in the Lord, and He would
take care of her. It may be asked why I did not have the same faith
regarding the preservation of my brother. He, too, was a Christian. “He
that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword,” is a divine assertion,
and it was constantly repeating itself in my ears; yea, I had heard him
repeat it with emphasis.

The trip from Augusta to Social Circle was replete with melancholy
interest, and differed very materially from the trip from Atlanta to
Jonesboro. Here those who had the courage to do so were returning to their
homes, and were on the _qui vive_ for every item of news obtainable from
within the enemy’s lines; but nothing satisfactory encouraged their hope
of better treatment. One marked difference appeared in the character of
those who were venturing homeward. There was scarcely any young
persons--not a single young lady. The good old mother railroad was very
deliberate in her movements, and gave her patrons time to get acquainted
and chat a little on the way, and this we did without restraint.

We discussed the situation, and narrated our diversified experiences, and
this interchange of thought and feeling brought us very near together, and
made us wondrous kind to one another. At one of the stations at which the
train stopped, and had to wait a long while, I saw several of the young
soldiers from Decatur. Among them was Ryland Holmes, and, I think, Mose

About a dozen ladies were going within the enemy’s lines and would there
separate for their respective homes. We agreed to hire a wagon team and
driver at Social Circle, that we might take it “turn about” in riding to
Stone Mountain. As I was the only one going beyond that point, I
determined to take my chance from there for getting to Decatur, and go on
foot if need be. Our plan was successful, as, after much effort, we
obtained an old rickety wagon, which had doubtless done good service in
its day, and a yoke of mis-mated oxen, and a negro driver. For this
equipage we paid an enormous sum, and, thinking we ought to have the full
benefit of it, we all got into the wagon to take a ride. Compassion for
the oxen, however, caused first one and then another to descend to the
ground, and march in the direction of home, sometimes two abreast and
sometimes in single file. Night overtook us at a house only a short
distance from the Circle, and in a body we appealed for shelter beneath
its roof. The man of the family was at home, under what circumstances I
have never heard, and to him we appealed, and from him we received an
ungracious “permit” to stay in his house. Seeing no inviting prospects for
rest and repose, I established myself in a corner and took out of my
reticule some nice German wool that had been given to me by my friends in
Augusta, and cast on the stitches for a throat-warmer, or, in the parlance
of that day, “a comforter.” Mine host watched the process with much
interest. When the pattern developed, he admired it, and expressed a wish
to have one like it. Glad of the privilege to liquidate my indebtedness
for the prospective night’s shelter, I told him if he would furnish the
material I would knit him one just like it. The material seemed to be in
waiting, and was brought forward, soft, pretty lambs’ wool thread, and I
put it in my already well-filled hand satchel to await future
manipulation. The accommodation in the way of bedding was inadequate, and
more than one of our party passed a sleepless night; but what mattered it?
Were we not Confederate soldiers, or very near akin to them?

As the first sunbeams were darting about among the tree tops, I donned my
bonnet and bade adieu to our entertainers, and started on my journey
homeward, walking. Being in the very vigor of womanhood, and in perfect
health, I never experienced the sensation of fatigue, and I verily believe
I could have walked to my desolated home sooner than the most of the
resources within our means could have carried me; and I was impatient
under the restraint and hindrance of slow teams. Hence my start in advance
of the other ladies. And I wanted to be alone. The pent-up tears were
constantly oozing out of my eyes and trickling down my face, and I wanted
to open the flood-gates and let them flow unrestrainedly. I wanted to cry
aloud like a baby. I plunged into the woods, for the seldom traveled road
was scarcely a barrier to perfect solitude. I walked rapidly, and closed
my eyes to all the attractions of nature lest they divert my mind, and
appease my hungry heart. I wanted to cry, and was even then doing so,
before I got ready for it. At length I came to a rivulet of crystal water,
as pure as the dew drops of Arcadia. I sat down beside it and mingled the
anguished tears of my very soul with its sparkling, ever-changing,
nectarian waters. I bathed my hot face and hands in the pellucid stream,
and still the lachrymal fountain flowed on. I thought of my lonely mother,
surrounded by those who were seeking the subversion of all that her heart
held dear, and I cried. I thought of my brother--of his toilsome marches
and weary limbs, and of his consecrated life--and I cried. I thought of
the fair young sister, still hopeful in early womanhood, and I refused to
be comforted, and wept bitterly. In this disconsolate frame of mind, I was
ready to give up all hope and yield to direful despair. At this fearful
crisis a still, small voice whispered, “Peace, be still!” The glamour of
love invested sky and earth with supernal glory. The fountain of tears
ceased to flow, and I looked around upon the handiwork of the Great
Supreme Being in whose creation I was but an atom, and wondered that He
should have been mindful of me--that He should have given surcease of
agony to my sorrowing soul. All nature changed as if by magic, and the
witchery of the scene was indescribable. The pretty wildwood flowers, as I
bent my admiring gaze upon them, seemed to say in beautiful silent
language, “Look aloft.” The birds, as they trilled their morning
roundelay, said in musical numbers, “Look aloft;” and the merry rivulet at
my feet affected seriousness, and whispered, “Look aloft.” Thus
admonished, “in that moment of darkness, with scarce hope in my heart,” I
looked aloft--looked aloft.

By and by the ladies came in sight, some walking and others riding in the
wagon; and I pitied most those who were in the wagon. As soon as they were
within speaking distance, one of the ladies said: “You should have stayed
for breakfast. It was quite appetizing.” Reminded of what I had lost, I
was led to compare it with what I had gained, and I would not have
exchanged loss and gain for anything in the world. I had to admit,
however, that there was a vacuum that needed replenishing; but I was
inured to hunger, and, save a passing thought, I banished all desire for
food, and thought only of the loved ones, so near and yet so far, and in
spite of myself the fountain of tears was again running over.

The long tramp to Stone Mountain was very lonely. Not a living thing
overtook or passed us, and we soon crossed over the line and entered a
war-stricken section of country where stood chimneys only, where lately
were pretty homes and prosperity, now departed. Ah, those chimneys
standing amid smoldering ruins! No wonder they were called “Sherman’s
sentinels,” as they seemed to be keeping guard over those scenes of
desolation. The very birds of the air and beasts of the field had fled to
other sections. By constant and unflagging locomotion we reached Stone
Mountain sometime during the night. We went to the hotel and asked shelter
and protection, and received both, but not where to lay our heads, as
those who had preceded us had filled every available place. I had friends
in the village, but I had no assurance that they had remained at home and
weathered the cyclone of war. Therefore, early in the morning, hungry and
footsore, I started all alone walking to Decatur. The solitude was
terrific, and the feeling of awe was so intense that I was startled by the
breaking of a twig, or the gruesome sound of my own footsteps. Constantly
reminded by ruined homes, I realized that I was indeed within the
arbitrary lines of a cruel, merciless foe, and but for my lonely mother,
anxiously awaiting my return, I should have turned and run for dear life
until again within the boundaries of Dixie.

I must have walked very rapidly, for, before I was aware of it, I found
myself approaching Judge Bryce’s once beautiful but now dilapidated home.
He and his good wife gave me affectionate greeting and something to
inflate a certain vacuum which had become painfully clamorous. And they
also gave me that which was even more acceptable--a large yam potato and a
piece of sausage to take to my mother.

I begged Judge Bryce to go with me at least part of the way to Decatur,
but he was afraid to leave his wife. His experience with the Yankees had
not been an exceptional case. They had robbed him of everything of value,
silver, gold, etc., and what they could not carry away they had destroyed,
and he denied most emphatically that there was a single gentleman in the
Federal army. In vain did I tell him that we owed the preservation of our
lives to the protection extended us by the few gentlemen who were in it.

After a brief rest, I resumed my way homeward, and oh, with what
heart-sickening forebodings I approached that sacred though desolate
abode! Anon the little town appeared in the distance, and upon its very
limits I met several of Colonel Garrard’s cavalry officers. Among them a
diversity of temper was displayed. Some of them appeared very glad to see
me, and, to anxious inquires regarding my mother, they replied that they
had taken good care of her in my absence, and that I ought to have
rewarded them for having done so by bringing “my pretty young sister” home
with me. Although I did not entertain one iota of respect for the Federal
army as a whole, I knew there were a few in its ranks who were incapable
of the miserable conduct of the majority, and my heart went out in very
tender gratitude to them, especially those who had sought to lessen the
anguish of my mother. These men threw the reins into the hands of
out-riders, and got off their horses and walked with me to the door of my
home. Their headquarters were still in the yard and had been ever since
first established there, with the exception of a very few days. My return
was truly a memorable occasion. Manifestations assured me that the highest
as well as the lowest in that command was glad to see me, and in their
hearts welcomed me home. To good Mr. Fred Williams I was indebted, in a
large measure, for kindly feeling and uniform respect from that portion of
the Federal army with which I came in contact.

My mother had seen me coming and had retreated into as secluded a place as
she could find, to compose herself for the meeting, but the effort was in
vain. She trembled like an aspen leaf, her lips quivered and her tongue
could not articulate the words she would have spoken. Alas! the tension
was more than she could bear. I dwelt upon the fact that Thomie and
Missouri were well and had sent her a world of love. I tried to infuse
hope and cheerfulness into everything I told her, but she could not see
it, and her poor over-taxed heart could bear up no longer, and she cried
as Rachel weeping for her children, long and piteously. No purer tears
were ever borne by heaven-commissioned Peri into the presence of a
compassionate Savior, than those shed by that patriotic though sorrowing



A worn-out army horse is found--Uncle Mack makes a wagon--I make a unique
trip--Starvation is warded off--Dangers and scenes by the way.

“What is it, Ma? Has anything happened?”

“No, only Maggie Benedict has been here crying as if her heart would
break, and saying that her children are begging for bread, and she has
none to give them. Give me a little of the meal or hominy that you have,
that we may not starve until we can get something else to eat, and then
take the remainder to her that she may cook it as quickly as possible for
her suffering children.”

We had spent the preceding day in picking out grains of corn from cracks
and crevices in bureau drawers, and other improvised troughs for Federal
horses, as well as gathering up what was scattered upon the ground. In
this way by diligent and persevering work, about a half bushel was
obtained from the now deserted camping ground of Garrard’s cavalry, and
this corn was thoroughly washed and dried, and carried by me and Telitha
to a poor little mill (which had escaped conflagration, because too humble
to attract attention), and ground into coarse meal. Returning from this
mill, and carrying, myself, a portion of the meal, I saw in the distance
my mother coming to meet me. Apprehensive of evil, I ran to meet her and

“What is it, Ma? Has anything happened?”

With flushed face and tear-toned voice she replied as already stated. My
heart was touched and a division was soon made. Before starting on this
errand, I thought of the probable delay that inexperience and perhaps the
want of cooking utensils and fuel might occasion, and suggested that it
would hasten the relief to the children to cook some bread and mush and
carry it to them already for use. A boiling pot, left on the
camping-ground, was soon on the fire ready to receive the well-prepared
batter, which was to be converted into nutritious mush or porridge. Nor
was the bread forgotten. While the mush was cooking the hoe-cakes were
baking in good old plantation style. These were arranged one upon another,
and tied up in a snow-white cloth; and a tin bucket, also a trophy from
the company, was filled with hot mush. I took the bread, and Telitha the
bucket, and walked rapidly to Doctor Holmes’ residence, where Maggie
Benedict, whose husband was away in the Confederate army, had rooms for
herself and her children. The Rev. Doctor and his wife had refugeed,
leaving this young mother and her children alone and unprotected.

The scene which I witnessed will never be obliterated from my memory. On
the doorsteps sat the young mother, beautiful in desolation, with a baby
in her arms, and on either side of her a little one, piteously crying for
something to eat. “Oh, mama, I want something to eat, so bad.” “Oh, mama,
I am so hungry--give me something to eat.” Thus the children were begging
for what the mother had not to give. She could only give them soothing
words. But relief was at hand. Have you ever enjoyed the satisfaction of
appeasing the hunger of children who had been without food until on the
verge of starvation? If not, one of the keenest enjoyments of life has
been denied you. O, the thankfulness of such a privilege! And oh, the joy,
melancholy though it be, of hearing blessings invoked upon you and yours
by the mother of those children!

While this needful food was being eaten with a zest known only to the
hungry, I was taking in the situation, and devising in my own mind means
by which to render more enduring relief. The meal we had on hand would
soon be exhausted, and, though more might be procured in the same way, it
would be hazardous to depend upon that way only. “God helps those who help
themselves,” is a good old reliable proverb that cannot be too deeply
impressed upon the mind of every child. To leave this young mother in a
state of absolute helplessness, and her innocent little ones dependent
upon the precarious support which might be gleaned from a devastated
country, would be cruel indeed; but how to obviate this state of affairs
was a serious question.

The railroad having been torn up in every direction communicating with
Decatur, there seemed to be but one alternative--to walk--and that was not
practicable with several small children.

“Maggie, this state of affairs cannot be kept up; have you no friend to
whom you can go?”

“Yes,” she replied. “Mr. Benedict has a sister near Madison, who has
wanted me and the children to go and stay with her ever since he has been
in the army, but I was too independent to do it.”

“Absurd! Well, the time has come that you must go. Get the children ready,
and I will call for you soon,” and without any positive or defined plan of
procedure, I took leave of Maggie and her children. I was working by
faith, and the Lord directed my footsteps. On my way home I hunted up
“Uncle Mack,” a faithful old negro man, who preferred freedom in the midst
of privation with his own white people, to following the Federal army
around on “Uncle Sam’s” pay-roll, and got from him a promise that he would
construct a wagon out of odds and ends left upon the streets of Decatur.
The next thing to be done was to provide a horse, and not being a
magician, nor possessed of Aladdin’s lamp, this undertaking must have
seemed chimerical to those who had not known how often and how singularly
these scarcely formulated plans had developed into success. This day had
been one of constant and active service, and was only one of the many that
furnished from sixteen to eighteen working hours. No wonder, then, that
exhausted nature succumbed to sleep that knew no waking until the dawn of
another day.

Next morning, before the sun rose, accompanied by the Morton girls, I was
on my way to “the cane-brakes.” I had seen many horses, whose places had
been taken by others captured from farmers, abandoned and sent out to the
cane-brake to recuperate or to die, the latter being the more probable.
Without any definite knowledge of the locality, but guided by an
over-ruling providence, I went direct to the cane-brake, and there soon
made a selection of a horse, which, from the assortment at hand, could not
have been improved upon. By a dextrous throw of a lasso, constructed and
managed by the young friends already mentioned, he was soon captured and
on his way to Decatur to enter “rebel” service. His most conspicious
feature was a pair of as fine eyes as ever illuminated a horse’s head,
large, brown and lustrous. There were other conspicuous things about him,
too; for instance, branded upon each of his sides were the tell-tale
letters, “U. S.,” and on his back was an immense sore which also told
tales. By twelve o’clock, noon, Uncle Mack appeared upon the scene,
pulling something which he had improvised which baffled description, and
which, for the sake of the faithful service I obtained from it, I will not
attempt to describe, though it might provoke the risibilities of the
readers. Suffice it to say that as it carried living freight in safety
over many a bridge, in honor of this I will call it a wagon. Uncle Mack
soon had the horse secured to this vehicle by ropes and pieces of crocus
sack, for harness was as scarce a commodity as wagons and horses. I
surveyed the equipage from center to circumference, with emotions pathetic
and amusing. It was awfully suggestive. And as I viewed it in all its
grotesqueness my imagination pictured a collapse, and my return home from
no very distant point upon my all-fours, with one of the fours dragging
after me in a dilapidated condition. I distinctly heard the derisive
gibberish and laughter of old Momus, and thought I should explode in the
effort to keep from joining in his mirthfulness. As I turned my head to
take a sly glance at my mother, our eyes met, and all restraint was
removed. With both of us laughter and sobs contended for the mastery, and
merriment and tears literally blended. Thus equipped, and with a
benediction from my mother, expressed more by looks and acts than by
words, I gathered the ropes and started like Bayard Taylor to take “Views
Afoot,” and at the same time accomplish an errand of mercy which would
lead me, as I led the horse, over a portion of country that in dreariness
and utter desolation baffles description--enough to know that Sherman’s
foraging trains had been over it. Leading the horse, which was already
christened “Yankee,” to Dr. Holmes’ door, I called Maggie to come on with
her children.

“I can’t bring my things out, Miss Mary. Somebody must come to carry them
and put them in the wagon.”

“I can,” I said, and suiting the action to the word, ran into the house
where, to my amazement, three large trunks confronted me. What was to be
done? If they could be got into the wagon, what guarantee was there that
poor Yankee could haul them in that tumblesome vehicle? However, I went
for Uncle Mack to put the trunks in the wagon, and in front of them, in
close proximity to the horse’s heels, was placed a chair in which Maggie
seated herself and took her baby in her lap, the other children nestling
on rugs at her feet.

Poor Yankee seemed to feel the importance of his mission, and jogged
along at a pretty fair speed, and I, who walked by his side and held the
ropes, found myself more than once obliged to strike a trot in order to
maintain control of him. Paradoxical as it may seem, I enjoyed this new
phase in my service to the Confederacy--none but a patriot could render
it, and the whole thing seemed invested with the glamour of romance, the
sequel of which would be redemption from all connection with a people who
could thus afflict another people of equal rights. While Maggie hummed a
sweet little lullaby to her children, I contemplated the devastation and
ruin on every side. Not a vestige of anything remained to mark the sites
of the pretty homes which had dotted this fair country before the
destroyer came, except, perhaps, a standing chimney now and then. And all
this struck me as the willing sacrifice of a peerless people for a great
principle, and looking through the dark vista I saw light ahead--I saw
white-robed peace proclaiming that the end of carnage had come. Even then,
as I jogged along at a snail’s pace (for be it known Yankee was not
uniform in his gait, and as his mistress had relaxed the tension of the
ropes, he had relaxed the speed of his steps) up a pretty little hill from
whose summit I had often gazed with rapturous admiration upon the
beautiful mountain of granite near by, I had so completely materialized
the Queen of Peace that I saw her on the mountain’s crest, scattering with
lavish hand blessings and treasures as a recompense for the destruction so
wantonly inflicted. Thus my hopeful temperament furnished consolation to
me, even under darkest circumstances.

Maggie and the children became restive in their pent-up limits, and the
latter clamored for something to eat, but there was nothing to give them.
Night was upon us, and we had come only about eight miles, and not an
animate thing had we seen since we left Decatur, not even a bird, and the
silence was unbroken save by the sound of the horse’s feet as he trod upon
the rocks, and the soft, sweet humming of the young mother to her dear
little ones. Step by step we seemed to descend into the caverns of
darkness, and my brave heart began to falter. The children, awestruck, had
ceased their appeal for bread, and nestled closer to their mother, and
that they might all the more feel her protecting presence, she kept up a
constant crooning sound, pathetic and sad. Step by step we penetrated the
darkness of night--a night without a moon, starless and murky. The
unerring instinct of an animal was all we had to guide us in the beaten
road, which had ceased to be visible to human ken.

A faint glimmer of light, at apparently no very great distance, gave hope
that our day’s journey was almost ended. Yankee also caught the
inspiration and walked a little faster. Though the time seemed long, the
cabin, for such it proved to be, was finally reached, and I dropped the
ropes, and, guided by the glimmer of light through the cracks, went to the
door and knocked, at the same time announcing my name. The door was
quickly opened. Imagine my surprise when recognized and cordially welcomed
by a sweet friend, whose most humble plantation cabin was a pretty
residence in comparison with the one she now occupied. Maggie, too, as the
daughter of a well-known physician, received cordial welcome for herself
and children. And thus a kind Providence provided a safe lodging place for
the night.

Nature again asserted itself, and the children asked for something to eat.
The good lady of the house kissed them, and told them that supper would
soon be ready. The larger one of her little sons drew from a bed of ashes,
which had been covered by glowing coals, some large yam potatoes which he
took to a table and peeled. He then went outside the cabin and drew from a
keg an earthen-ware pitcher full of sparkling persimmon beer, which he
dispensed to us in cups, and then handed around the potatoes. And how much
this repast was enjoyed! Good sweet yams thoroughly cooked, and the
zestful persimmon beer! And I thought of the lonely mother at a desolated
home, whose only supper had been made of coarse meal, ground from corn
which her own hands had helped to pick from crevices and cracks in
improvised troughs, where Garrard’s cavalry had fed their horses. After
awhile the sweet womanly spirit that presided over this little group, got
a quilt and a shawl or two, and made a pallet for the children. The boys
put more wood upon the fire, and some in the jambs of the fireplace, to be
used during the night; and then they went behind us and lay down upon the
floor, with seed cotton for pillows, and the roof for covering. Our kind
hostess placed additional wraps over the shoulders of Maggie and myself,
and we three sat up in our chairs and slept until the dawn.

Accustomed to looking after outdoor interests, I went to see how Yankee
was coming on, and found him none the worse for the preceding day’s toil.
Everything indicated that he had fared as sumptuously as we had--a
partly-eaten pumpkin, corn, whole ears yet in the trough, and fodder near
by, plainly showed the generosity of the noble little family that took us
in and gave us the best they had. After breakfast we bade adieu to the
good mother and her children, and went on our way, if not rejoicing, at
least feeling better for having seen and been with such good people. There
was a strong tie between us all. The husband and father was off in the
army, like our loved ones. The generous feeding given to our steed had so
braced him up that he began to walk faster, and was keenly appreciative of
every kind word; and I and he formed a friendship for each other that
continued to his dying day. The road was very rough and hilly, and more
than once he showed signs of fatigue; but a word of encouragement seemed
to renew his strength, and he walked bravely on. Maggie would perhaps have
lightened his load by walking now and then, but the jolting of the wagon
kept the trunks in perpetual motion, and the lives of the children would
thereby have been jeopardized.

Nothing of special interest transpired this second day of our journey. The
same fiend of destruction had laid his ruthless hand upon everything
within his reach. The woods had been robbed of their beauty and the fields
of their products; not even a bird was left to sing a requiem over the
scene of desolation, or an animal to suggest where once had been a
habitation. Once, crouching near a standing chimney, there was a solitary
dog who kept at bay every attempt to approach--no kind word would
conciliate or put him off his guard. Poor, lonely sentinel! Did he
remember that around the once cheerful hearthstone he had been admitted to
a place with the family group? Was he awaiting his master’s return? Ah,
who can know the emotions, or the dim reasonings of that faithful brute?

Night again came on and I discovered that we were approaching the
hospitable mansion of Mr. Montgomery, an excellent, courtly country
gentleman, who was at home under circumstances not now remembered. He and
his interesting family gladly welcomed me and my little charge, and
entertained us most hospitably. The raiders had been here and helped
themselves bountifully, but they had spared the house for another time,
and that other time came soon, and nothing was left on the site of this
beautiful home but ubiquitous chimneys.

An early start the next day enabled Yankee to carry Maggie and her
children and the trunks to Social Circle in time to take the noon train
for Madison. So far as Maggie and her children were concerned, I now felt
that I had done all that I could, and that I must hasten back to my lonely
mother at Decatur; but Maggie’s tearful entreaties not to be left among
strangers prevailed with me, and I got aboard the train with her, and
never left her until I had placed her and her children in the care of good
Mr. Thrasher at Madison, to be conveyed by him to the home of Mrs. Reeves,
her husband’s sister.

In Madison, I too had dear friends and relatives, with whom I spent the
night, and the morning’s train bore me back to Social Circle, then the
terminus of the Georgia Railroad--the war fiend having destroyed every
rail between there and Atlanta. Arriving there, imagine my surprise and
indignation when I learned that Mr. R----, whom I had paid in advance to
care for Yankee while I was gone to Madison, had sent him out to his
sorghum mill and put him to grinding cane; and it was with much difficulty
and delay that I got him in time to start on my homeward journey that
afternoon. Instead of his being rested, he was literally broken down, and
my pity for him constrained me to walk every step of the way back to
Decatur. While waiting for the horse, I purchased such articles of food as
I could find. For instance, a sack of flour, for which I paid a hundred
dollars, a bushel of potatoes, several gallons of sorghum, a few pounds of
butter, and a few pounds of meat. Even this was a heavy load for the poor
jaded horse. Starting so late I could only get to the hospitable home of
Mr. Crew, distant only about three miles from “The Circle.”

Before leaving Mr. Crew’s the next morning, I learned that an immense
Yankee raid had come out from Atlanta, and had burned the bridge which I
had crossed only two days ago. This information caused me to take another
route to Decatur, and my heart lost much of its hope, and my step its
alacrity. Yet the Lord sustained me in the discharge of duty. I never
wavered when there was a principle to be guarded or a duty to be
performed. Those were praying days with me, and now I fervently invoked
God’s aid and protection in my perilous undertaking, and I believed that
He would grant aid and protection.

That I might give much needed encouragement to Yankee, I walked by his
side with my hand upon his shoulder much of the time, an act of endearment
which he greatly appreciated, and proved that he did so by the expression
of his large brown eyes. One of my idiosyncrasies through life has been
that of counting everything, and as I journeyed homeward, I found myself
counting my steps from one to a thousand and one. As there is luck in odd
numbers, says Rory O’Moore, I always ended with the traditional odd
number, and by telling Yankee how much nearer home we were. And I told him
many things, among them, _sotto voce_, that I did not believe he was a
Yankee, but a captured rebel. If a tuft of grass appeared on the road
side, he was permitted to crop it; or if a muscadine vine with its
tempting grapes was discovered, he cropped the leaves off the low
shrubbery, while I gathered the grapes for my mother at home with nothing
to eat save the one article of diet, of which I have told before.

A minute description of this portion of the war-stricken country would
fill a volume; but only the leading incidents and events of the journey
are admissible in a reminiscence of war times. In the early part of the
day, during this solitary drive, I came to a cottage by the wayside that
was a perfect gem--an oasis, an everything that could thrill the heart by
its loveliness. Flowers of every hue beautified the grounds and sweetened
the air, and peace and plenty seemed to hold undisputed sway. The Fiend of
Destruction had not yet reached this little Eden. Two gentlemen were in
the yard conversing. I perceived at a glance that they were of the
clerical order, and would fain have spoken to them; but not wishing to
disturb them, or attract attention to myself, I was passing by as
unobtrusively as possible, when I was espied and recognized by one of
them, who proved to be that saintly man, Rev. Walter Branham. He
introduced me to his friend, Professor Shaw of Oxford. Their sympathy for
me was plainly expressed, and they gave me much needed instruction
regarding the route, and suggested that I would about get to Rev. Henry
Clark’s to put up for the night. With a hearty shake of the hand, and “God
bless you, noble woman,” I pursued my lonely way and they went theirs. No
other adventure enlivened the day, and poor patient Yankee did the best he
could, and so did I. It was obvious that he had done about all he could.
Grinding sorghum under a hard taskmaster, with an empty stomach, had told
on him, and he could no longer quicken his pace at the sound of a friendly

At length we came in sight of “Uncle Henry Clark’s” place. I stood amazed,
bewildered. I felt as if I would sink to the ground, yea, through it. I
was riveted to the spot on which I stood. I could not move. At length I
cried--cried like a woman in despair. Poor Yankee must have cried too (for
water ran out of his eyes), and in some measure I was quieted, for misery
loves company, and I began to take in the situation more calmly. Elegant
rosewood and mahogany furniture, broken into a thousand fragments, covered
the face of the ground as far as I could see; and china and glass looked
as if it had been sown. And the house, what of that? Alas! it too had
been scattered to the four winds of heaven in the form of smoke and
ashes. Not even a chimney stood to mark its site. Near by stood a row of
negro cabins, intact, showing that while the conflagration was going on
they had been sedulously guarded. And these cabins were occupied by the
slaves of the plantation. Men, women and children stalked about in
restless uncertainty, and in surly indifference. They had been led to
believe that the country would be apportioned to them, but they had sense
enough to know that such a mighty revolution involved trouble and delay,
and they were supinely waiting developments. Neither man, woman nor child
approached me. There was mutual distrust and mutual avoidance.

It took less time to take in the situation than it has to describe it. The
sun was almost down, and as he turned his large red face upon me, I
fancied he fain would have stopped in his course to see me out of this
dilemma. What was I to do? The next nearest place that I could remember
that would perhaps give protection for the night was Mr. Fowler’s, and
this was my only hope. With one hand upon Yankee’s shoulder, and the ropes
in the other, I moved on, and not until my expiring breath will I forget
the pleading look which that poor dumb animal turned upon me when I
started. Utterly hopeless, and in my hands, he wondered how I could thus
exact more of him. I wondered myself. But what was I to do but to move on?
And with continuous supplication for the Lord to have mercy upon me, I
moved on. More than once the poor horse turned that look, beseeching and
pathetic, upon me. It frightened me, I did not understand it, and still
moved on. At last the hope of making himself understood forsook him, and
he deliberately laid himself down in the road. I knelt by his side and
told him the true state of affairs, and implored him not to desert me in
this terrible crisis. I told him how cruel it would be to do so, and used
many arguments of like character; but they availed nothing. He did not
move, and his large, lustrous brown eyes seemed to say for him: “I have
done all I can, and can do no more.” And the sun could bear it no longer,
and hid his crimson face behind a great black cloud.

What could I do but rise from my imploring attitude and face my perilous
situation? “Lord have mercy upon me,” was my oft-repeated invocation. The
first thing which greeted my vision when I rose to my feet was a very
distant but evidently an advancing object. I watched it with bated breath,
and soon had the satisfaction of seeing a man on muleback. I ran to meet
him, saying: “O, sir, I know the good Lord has sent you here.” And then I
recounted my trouble, and received most cordial sympathy from one who had
been a Confederate soldier, but who was now at home in consequence of
wounds that incapacitated him for further service. When he heard all, he

“I would take you home with me, but I have to cross a swimming creek
before getting there, and I am afraid to undertake to carry you. Wait here
until I see these negroes. They are a good set, and whatever they promise,
they will, I think, carry out faithfully.”

The time seemed interminable before he came back, and night, black night,
had set in; and yet a quiet resignation sustained me.

When my benefactor returned, two negro men came with him, one of whom
brought a lantern, bright and cheery. “I have arranged for you to be cared
for here,” said he. “Several of the old house servants of Mrs. Clark know
you, and they will prove themselves worthy of the trust we repose in
them.” I accepted the arrangement made by this good man, and entrusted
myself to the care of the negroes for the night. This I did with great
trepidation, but as soon as I entered the cabin an assurance of safety
filled my mind with peace, and reconciled me to my surrounding’s. The
“mammy” that presided over it met me with a cordial welcome, and assured
me that no trouble would befall me under her roof. An easy chair was
placed for me in one corner in comfortable proximity to a large plantation
fire. In a few minutes the men came in bringing my flour, potatoes, syrup,
bacon, etc. This sight gave me real satisfaction, as I thought of my poor
patient mother at home, and hoped that in some way I should yet be able to
convey to her this much needed freight. I soon espied a table on which was
piled many books and magazines; “Uncle Henry Clark’s” theological books
were well represented. I proposed reading to the women, if they would like
to hear me, and soon had their undivided attention, as well as that of
several of the men, who sat on the doorsteps. In this way several hours
passed, and then “mammy” said, “You must be getting sleepy.” “Oh, no,” I
replied, “I frequently sit up all night reading.” But this did not satisfy
her; she had devised in her own mind something more hospitable for her
guest, and she wanted to see it carried out. Calling into requisition the
assistance of the men, she had two large cedar chests placed side by side,
and out of these chests were taken nice clean quilts, and snow-white
counterpanes, and sheets, and pillows--Mrs. Clark’s beautiful
bed-clothing--and upon those chests was made a pallet upon a which a queen
might have reposed with comfort. It was so tempting in its cleanliness
that I consented to lie down. The sole occupants of that room that night
were myself and my hostess--the aforesaid black “mammy.” Rest, not sleep,
came to my relief. The tramping of feet, and now and then the muffled
sound of human voices, kept me in a listening attitude, and it must be
confessed in a state of painful apprehension. Thus the night passed.

With the dawn of day I was up and ready to meet the day’s requirements.
“Mammy’s” first greeting was, “What’s your hurry?” “I am accustomed to
early rising. May I open the door?” The first thing I saw was Yankee, and
he was standing eating; but he was evidently too weak to attempt the task
of getting that cumbersome vehicle and its freight to Decatur. So I
arranged with one of the men to put a steer to the wagon and carry them
home. This he was to do for the sum of one hundred dollars. After an
appetizing breakfast, I started homeward, leading Yankee in the rear of
this turnout. Be it remembered, I did not leave without making ample
compensation for my night’s entertainment.

No event of particular interest occurred on the way to Decatur. Yankee
walked surprisingly well, and the little steer acquitted himself nobly. In
due time Decatur appeared in sight, and then there ensued a scene which
for pathos defies description. Matron and maiden, mother and child, each
with a tin can, picked up off the enemy’s camping-ground, ran after me and
begged for just a little something to eat--just enough to keep them from
starving. Not an applicant was refused, and by the time the poor, rickety,
cumbersome wagon reached its destination, its contents had been greatly
diminished. But there was yet enough left to last for some time the
patient, loving mother, the faithful Telitha, and myself.

A summary of the trip developed these facts: To the faithfulness of Uncle
Mack was due the holding together of the most grotesque vehicle ever
dignified by the name of wagon; over all that road it remained intact, and
returned as good as when it started. And but for the sorghum grinding,
poor Yankee would have acted his part unfalteringly. As for myself, I
labored under the hallucination that I was a Confederate soldier, and
deemed no task too great for me to essay, if it but served either directly
or indirectly those who were fighting my battles.



Gathering “fodder” from a cane-brake as a preliminary--The lonely
journey--Changing Yankee’s name--I meet the Federal raiders.

At an early hour in the morning of a bright autumnal day, that memorable
year 1864--the saddest of them all--Yankee was roped (not bridled, mark
you), and crocus sacks, four for him, one for Telitha, and one for myself,
thrown over his back, and we three, boon companions in diversified
industries, scampered off to a neighboring cane-brake--a favorite resort
in those days, but now, alas for human gratitude! never visited for the
sake of “auld lang syne.”

Perfect health--thanks to the parents who transmitted no constitutional
taint to my veins--unusual strength, and elasticity of motion, soon
carried me there, and having secured Yankee to a clump of canes luxuriant
with tender twig’s and leaves, sweetened by the cool dew of the season,
Telitha and I entered upon the work of cutting twigs and pulling fodder.

There being no drainage in those times, I often stepped upon little
hillocks, covered with grass or aquatic vegetation, that yielded to my
weight, and I sunk into the mud and water ankle deep, at least, and
Telitha was going through with similar experiences. I often laughed at her
grimaces and other expressions of disgust in the slough of despond, and
rejoiced with her when she displayed the trophies of success, consisting
of nice brittle twig’s, generously clad in tender leaves and full growth;
Yankee, too, was unmindful of small difficulties, and did his “level” best
in providing for a rainy day by filling his capacious paunch brimful of
the good thing’s so bountifully supplied by Providence in the marshes of
old DeKalb. By the time the aforesaid half dozen sacks were filled, the
enlargement of that organ of his anatomy suggested that he proposed
carrying home about as much inside of him as might be imposed upon his
back--of this sagacity he seemed conscious and very proud, and when the
sacks of cane were put over his back, pannier fashion, he pursued the path
homeward with prouder air and nobler mien than that which marked his
course to the cane-brake.

When we three were fully equipped for starting back to the deserted
village, Yankee, as already described, and I with a sack of cane thrown
over my right shoulder, and reaching nearly to my heels, and Telitha, in
apparel and equipment an exact duplicate of myself, I was so overcome by
the ludicrous features of the scene that for the time I lost sight of the
pathetic and yielded to inordinate laughter. As memory, electrical and
veracious, recapitulated the facts and circumstances leading to this state
of affairs, I realized that there was but one alternative--to laugh or to
cry--but the revolutionary blood coursing through my veins decided in
favor of the former, and I laughed until I could no longer stand erect,
even though braced by an inflexible bag of cane, and I ignominiously
toppled over. As I lay upon the ground I laughed, not merrily, but grimly,
as I fancy a hyena would laugh. The more I sought the sympathy of Telitha
in this hilarious ebullition, the more uncontrollable it became. Her utter
want of appreciation of the fun, and a vague idea that she was in some way
implicated, embarrassed her, and, judging from her facial expression, ever
varying and often pathetic, wounded her also. In vain did I point to our
docile equine, whose tethering line she held. His enlarged proportions and
grotesque accoutrements failed to touch a single risible chord, or convey
to her utilitarian mind aught that was amusing, and she doubtless wondered
what could have so affected me.

In due time we reached Decatur. After passing the Hoyle place, the
residence being then deserted, Telitha indicated by signs too intelligible
to be misunderstood that she would go home with her sack of stock
provender, leading the horse, and then come back for mine, and I could go
by a different route and not be known as a participant in the raid upon
the cane-brake; but I was too proud of my fidelity to the Southern
Confederacy to conceal any evidences of it that the necessities of the
times called into action, and I walked through the stricken village with
my sack of cane in my arms instead of upon my back; and would have walked
as proudly to the sacrificial altar, myself the offering, if by so doing I
could have retrieved the fortunes of my people and established for them a
government among the nations of earth.

The lowing of our cow reached me as I entered the court-house square, and
I hastened my gait and soon displayed before her, in her stall in the
cellar, a tempting repast. And my mother, who possessed the faculty of
making something good out of that which was ordinary, displayed one
equally tempting to me and Telitha--milk and mush, supplemented by coffee
made of parched okra seed.

“Tired nature’s sweet restorer” faithfully performed its recuperative
service that night. When I opened my eyes upon the glorious light of
another day, I was so free from the usual attendants upon fatigue that I
involuntarily felt for my body--it seemed to have passed away during the
night, and left no trace of former existence. I found it, though,
perfectly intact, and ready to obey the behests of my will and serve me
through the requirements of another day. And my mother seemed to be in her
usual health and willing for me to do anything I thought I ought to do.
She could not close her eyes to the fact that our store of supplies was
nearly exhausted, and that there was only one way to replenish it; and she
had the wisdom and the Christian grace to acquiesce to the inevitable
without a discouraging word. Telitha, upon whose benighted mind the
ridiculous phases of the previous day’s adventures had dawned sometime in
the interim, laughed as soon as she saw me, and in well-acted pantomime
made me fully aware that she enjoyed at this late hour the ludicrous scene
that had so amused me. And Yankee evidently smiled when he saw me, and
greeted me with a joyous little whicker that spoke volumes.

A good breakfast for women and beast having been disposed of, I wended my
way in quest of Uncle Mack. He alone understood the complicated process
of harnessing Yankee in ropes to the primitive vehicle manufactured by his
own ingenious hands, and to him I always went when this important task had
to be performed. On this occasion, as upon others, it was soon executed.
When all was ready and the unbidden tears dashed away, as if out of place,
I seized the ropes and started? Where? Ah, that was the question. There
was only one place that offered hope of remuneration for the perilous
undertaking, and forty miles had to be traversed before reaching it. Forty
miles through a devastated country. Forty miles amid untold dangers. But
in all the walks of life it has been demonstrated that pluck and energy,
and a firm reliance upon Providence, are necessary to surmount
difficulties, and of all these essentials I had a goodly share, and never
doubted but that I would be taken care of, and my wants and those of
others supplied. “God helps those who help themselves,” is an adage which
deserves to be emblazoned upon every tree, and imprinted upon every heart.
That vain presumption that folds the hands, and prays for benefits and
objects desired, without putting forth any effort to obtain them, ought to
be rebuked by all good men and women as a machination of Satan.

These and similar reflections nerved me for the task before me, and I
started in earnest. When I got to the “blacksmith shop,” I looked back and
saw my mother standing just where I left her, following me with her eyes.
I looked back no more, lest I dissolve in tears. As I passed the few
abodes that were tenanted, my mission “out” was apprehended, and I was
besought in tearful tones to bring back with me all I could, by those who
told me that they and their children were upon the verge of starvation. I
took all the sacks which were handed to me and rolled them together, and
by the aid of a string secured them to the cart, and amidst blessings and
good wishes pursued my devious way; for, be it remembered, many
obstructions, such as breast-works and thorny hedge-wood, presented
formidable barriers to rapid travel for a considerable distance from

While leisurely walking beside Yankee, I was struck with the agility of
his motion and his improved figure since we traveled over these grounds a
few weeks before. He had taken on a degree of symmetry that I never
supposed attainable by the poor, emaciated animal which I captured in the
cane-brake. His hair had become soft and silky, and in the sunlight
displayed artistic shades of coloring from light to deepest brown; and his
long, black tail, which hung limp and perpendicular, now affected a curve
which even Hogarth might have admired, and his luxuriant and glossy mane
waved prettily as a maiden’s tresses. And his face, perfect in every
lineament, and devoid of any indication of acerbity, lighted by large,
liquid, brown eyes, would have been a fit model--a thing of beauty--for
the pencil of Rosa Bonheur. Rubbing my hand over his silky coat and
enlarged muscles, I decided to enjoy the benefit of his increased strength
and gently ordered a halt. Stepping from the ground to the hub of the
wheel, another step landed me into the cart, vehicle, wagon or landau,
which ever you see proper to denominate it; I do not propose to confine
myself to any one of these terms.

Yankee understood the movement, and doubtless felt complimented. As soon
as I took my seat in the chair--a concomitant part of the equipage--he
started off at a brisk gait, which, without a word of command, he kept up
until we came to the base of a long hill, and then he slackened his speed
and leisurely walked to the summit. I enjoyed going over ground without
muscular effort of my own, and determined to remain in the cart until he
showed some sign of fatigue. I had only to hold the ropes and speak an
encouraging word, and we traveled on right merrily. Ah, no! That was a
misnomer. Callous indeed would have been the heart who could have gone
merrily over that devastated and impoverished land. Sherman, with his
destructive host, had been there, and nothing remained within the
conquered boundary upon which “Sheridan’s Crow” could have subsisted.
Nothing was left but standing chimneys, and an occasional house, to which
one would have supposed a battering ram had been applied. I looked up and
down, and in every direction, and saw nothing but destruction, and the
gaunt and malignant figure of General Starvation striding over our
beautiful country, as if he possessed it. I shook my head defiantly at him
and went on, musing upon these things. I never questioned the wisdom or
goodness of God in permitting them, but I pondered upon them, and have
never yet reached their unfathomable depths.

At the end of the first day’s journey, I found myself twenty miles, or
more, from the starting point, and tenderly cared for by a good family,
consisting, in these war times, only of a mother and several precious
little children, who were too glad to have company to consider my appeal
for a night’s entertainment intrusive. This desolate mother and children
thought they had seen all the horror of warfare illustrated by the
premeditated cruelty of the Yankee raiders, and could not conceive how it
could have been worse. But when I got through with my recital of injuries,
they were willing that theirs should remain untold. A delicious supper,
like manna from Heaven, was enjoyed with a zest unknown to those who have
never been hungry.

The light of another day found us all up in that hospitable household, and
an appetizing breakfast fortified me for another day’s labor in any field
in which I might be called to perform it. The little boys, who had taken
Yankee out of the rope harness the evening before, remembered its
intricacies and had no difficulty in getting him back into that
complicated gear. When all was ready, and grateful good-byes had been
uttered, I again mounted “the hub,” and got into the vehicle. After I had
taken my seat, the good lady handed me a package, which proved to be a
nice lunch for my dinner. She also had a sack of potatoes and pumpkins
stored away in the landau; and being a merciful woman, she thought of the
horse, and gave some home-cured hay for his noonday meal.

All day I followed in the track of Sherman’s minions, and found the
destruction greater than when I had passed in this direction before.
Coming to a hill, the long ascent of which would be fatiguing to Yankee,
I ordered a halt and got out of the wagon. Taking position by his side, we
climbed the hill together, and then we went down it together, and
continued to journey side by side, I oblivious to everything but the
destruction, either complete or partial, on every side. At length we came
to a lovely wee bit stream of water, exulting in its consciousness that no
enemy could arrest it in its course to the sea, or mar its beauty as it
rippled onward. We halted, and I loosened the ropes so that Yankee might
partake of the flowing water before eating his noonday meal. And I am sure
epicure never enjoyed luncheon at Delmonico’s with more zest than I did
the frugal meal prepared for me by the friendly hands of that dear
Confederate woman. Much as I enjoyed it, I finished my dinner sometime
before Yankee did his, and employed the interim in laving my hands and
face in the pure water, and contemplating myself in the perfect mirror
formed by its surface. Not as Narcissus did I enjoy this pastime, but as
one startled by the revelation. Traces of care; sorrow, apprehension for
the future, were indelibly imprinted upon forehead and cheek, and most of
all upon that most tell-tale of all features, the mouth. I wept at the
change, and by way of diversion turned from the unsatisfactory
contemplation of myself to that of Yankee. This horse, instinct with
intelligence, appreciated every act of kindness, and often expressed his
gratitude in ways so human-like as to startle and almost affright me. I am
sure I have seen his face lighted by a smile, and radiant with gratitude.
And no human being ever expressed more forcibly by word or act his sorrow
at being unable to do all that was desired of him in emergency, than did
this dumb brute when he gave me that long, earnest, pathetic look
(mentioned in a former sketch) when, from sheer exhaustion, he lay down
near the heap of ashes where once stood the beautiful residence of my
friend of honored memory, Rev. Henry Clark.

The more I contrasted the treatment which I, in common with my country
women and my country, had received at the hands of the Yankees (the then
exponents of the sentiment of the United States towards the Southern
people), and the gentle, friendly demeanor of the animal upon whom I had
unthoughtedly bestowed a name constantly suggestive of an enemy, the more
dissatisfied I became with it, and I determined then and there to change
it. Suiting the action to the decision, I gathered the ropes and led the
noble steed to the brink of that beautiful little brooklet, and paused for
a name. What should it be? “Democrat?” I believed him to be a democrat,
true and tried, and yet I did not much like the name. Had not the Northern
democrats allowed themselves to be allured into abolition ranks, and made
to do the fighting, while the abolitionists, under another name,
devastated the country and enriched themselves by the booty. “Copperhead?”
I did not like that much. It had a metallic ring that grated harshly upon
my nerves, and I was not then aware of their great service to the South in
restraining and keeping subordinate to humanity, as far as in them lay,
the hatred and evil passions of the abolitionists. “Johnny Reb?” Ah, I
had touched the keynote at last, and it awakened a responsive chord that
vibrated throughout my very being. I had a secret belief, more than once
expressed in words, that my noble equine was a captured rebel “held in
durance vile” until bereft of health and strength, then abandoned to die
upon the commons. “Johnny Reb!” I no longer hesitated. The name was
electrical, and the chord with which it came in contact was charged to its
utmost capacity. With the placid waters of that ever-flowing stream, in
the name of the Southern Confederacy, I christened one of the best friends
I ever had “Johnny Reb,” a name ever dear to me.

This ceremony having been performed to my satisfaction and to his,
too--judging by the complacent glances, and, as I fancied, by the
suggestion of an approving smile which he bestowed upon me--I mounted the
hub, stepped into the cart, seated myself, and with ropes in hand
continued my way to “The Circle,” and arrived there before night, Not
being tired, I immediately struck out among the vendors of home-made
products--edibles, wearing apparel, etc.--for the purpose of purchasing a
wagon load to carry to Decatur, not for the ignoble purpose of
speculation, but to bestow, without money and without price, upon those
who, like my mother and myself, preferred hunger and privation rather than
give up our last earthly home to the destroying fiend that stalked over
our land and protected Federal bayonets.

Before the shades of night came on I had accomplished my object. As a
matter of history I will enumerate some of the articles purchased, and
annex the prices paid for them in Confederate money:

  One bushel of meal                                        $10 00
  Four bushels of corn                                       40 00
  Fifteen pounds of flour                                     7 50
  Four pounds dried apples                                    5 00
  One and half pounds of butter                               6 00
  A bushel of sweet potatoes                                  6 00
  Three gallons of syrup                                     15 00
  Shoeing the horse                                          25 00
  For spending the night at Mrs. Born’s, self and horse      10 00

Not knowing the capabilities of “Johnny Reb,” I feared to add one hundred
and thirty-six pounds avoirdupois weight to a cart already loaded to
repletion, and the next morning on starting took my old familiar place by
his side. To my slightest touch or word of encouragement, he gave me an
appreciative look and obeyed to the letter my wishes with regard to his
gaits--slow or fast in adaptation to mine. In due time we again rested on
the banks of the beautiful little stream hallowed by the memory of
repudiating a name, rendered by the vandalism of its legitimate owners too
obnoxious to be borne by a noble horse, and by the bestowing upon him of
another more in keeping with his respect for ladies and other fine traits
of character which he possessed. Neither he nor I had lunch with which to
regale ourselves; and whilst he moved about at will cropping little tufts
of wild growth and tender leaves, which instinct taught him were good for
his species, I abandoned myself to my favorite pursuit--the contemplation
of nature. Like Aurora Leigh, I “found books among the hills and vales,
and running brooks,” and held communion with their varied forms and
invisible influences. To me they ever spoke of the incomprehensible wisdom
and goodness of God. My heart, from my earliest recollection, always went
out in adoration to Him who could make alike the grand old Titans of the
forest and the humblest blade of grass; and now I beheld them under
circumstances peculiarly calculated to evoke admiration. Change had come
to everything else. The lofty trees stood in silent grandeur, undisturbed
by the enemy’s step or the harsh clarion of war--as if defiant of
danger--and gave shelter and repose to the humblest of God’s creatures who
sought their protecting arms. Beguiled by the loveliness of the woodland
scenery, I often found myself stopping to daguerreotype it upon the
tablets of my memory, and to feast my senses upon the aromatic perfume of
wildwood autumn flowers. “Strong words of counseling” I found in them and
in “the vocal pines and waters,” and out of these books I learned the
“ignorance of men.”

  “And how God laughs in Heaven when any man
  Says, ‘Here I’m learned; this I understand;
  In that I am never caught at fault, or in doubt.’”

A word of friendly greeting and renewed thanks to mine hostess of two
nights before, and her dear little children, detained me only a very short
and unbegrudged space of time; and during that time I did not forget to
refer to the potatoes and the pumpkin so kindly given to me by them on my
down trip, and which I could have left in their care until my return, had
I thought of it.

Night again came on, and this time found me picking my way as best I could
over the rocks shadowed by Stone Mountain. On I plodded through the
darkness, guided rather by the unerring step of Johnny Reb than any
knowledge I had of the way. At length the poor faithful animal and myself
were rewarded for perseverance by seeing glimmering lights of the mountain
village. We struck a bee line for the nearest one, and were soon directed
to “a boarding house.” I was too glad to get into it then, to descant upon
its demerits now. I assured the landlady that I needed no supper myself,
and would pay her what she would charge for both if she would see that the
horse was well fed. I think she did so. My valuable freight could not
remain in the cart all night, and there was no one to bring it in. In vain
did she assure me that I would find it all right if I left it there. I got
into the cart and lifted the sacks and other things out of it myself, and,
by the help of the aforesaid person, got everything into the house. I fain
would have lain down by these treasures, for they had increased in value
beyond computation since leaving Social Circle, and would have done so but
for repeated assurance of their safety.

An early start next morning gave me the privilege of going over the ground
familiar to my youth in the loveliest part of the day, and when the sun
looked at me over the mountain’s crest, I felt as if I was in the presence
of a veritable king, and wanted to take my bonnet off and make obeisance
to him. His beneficent rays fell alike upon the just and the unjust, and
lighted the pathway of the destroyer as brightly as that of the
benefactor. Amid destruction, wanton and complete, and over which angels
might weep, I stepped the distance off between Stone Mountain and Judge
Bryce’s; not a living thing upon the face of the earth, or a sound of any
kind greeting me--the desolation of war reigned supreme. I again stopped
at Judge Bryce’s, and implored his protection to Decatur, but, as on the
former occasion, he was afraid to leave his wife to the tender mercy (?)
of the enemy. He told me he feared I would not reach home with my cart of
edibles, as “Yankee raiders had been coming out from Atlanta every day
lately,” and that the set that was now coming was more vindictive than any
that had preceded it. Good, dear Mrs. Bryce, trusting in the Lord for
future supplies, took a little from her scanty store of provisions and
added it to mine for her friend, my mother.

With many forebodings of evil, I took up the line of march to Decatur. I
looked almost with regret upon my pretty horse. Had he remained the poor
ugly animal that was lassoed in the cane-brake, I would have had but
little fear of losing him, but under my fostering care, having become
pretty, plump and sprightly, I had but little hope of keeping him. Being
absorbed by these mournful reflections and not having the ever-watchful
Telitha with me to announce danger from afar, I was brought to a full
realization of its proximity by what appeared to be almost an army of
_blue-coats_, dashing up on spirited horses, and for the purpose of
humiliating me, hurrahing “for Jefferson Davis and the Southern
Confederacy.” As a flag of truce, I frantically waved my bonnet, which act
was misapprehended and taken as a signal of approval of their “hurrah for
Jefferson Davis and the Southern Confederacy,” which was resounding
without intermission.

Seeing several very quiet, dignified looking gentlemen, who, although
apart from the others, seemed to be exercising a restraining influence, I
approached them and told them how I had gone out from Decatur unprotected
and all alone to get provisions to keep starvation from among our
defenseless women and children, and that I had to go all the way to Social
Circle before I could get anything, and that I had walked back in order to
save the horse as much as possible. These men, however, although seemingly
interested, questioned and cross-questioned me until I had but little hope
of their protection. One of them said, “I see you have one of our horses.
How did you come by him?” And then the story of how I came by him was
recapitulated without exaggeration or diminution. This narrative elicited
renewed hurrahs for Jefferson Davis and the Southern Confederacy. A few
minutes private conversation between these gentlemen ensued, and all of
them approached me, and the spokesman said, “Two of us will escort you to
Decatur, and see that no harm befalls you.” It seemed, then, that no
greater boon could have been offered under the canopy of Heaven, and I am
sure no woman could have experienced more gratitude or been more profuse
in its expression.

The sight of my nervous, gray-haired mother, and her pretty mother ways,
touched another tender chord in the hearts of these gentlemen, and if
constraint existed it was dispelled, and they became genial and very like
friends before they left. They even promised to send us some oats for
noble Johnny Reb, who displayed the greatest equanimity all through these
trying scenes.



He marches into Tennessee with Hood--Extracts from his letters written on
the way--Two ears of parched corn--The night burial of a soldier.

After the majority of these sketches were written, I was permitted by my
sister to take a few extracts from the cherished letters of our brother,
which she numbered and carefully laid away as her most precious treasure.
To these we are indebted for all that we know of his history during those
trying days and weeks of which I have just been writing. Where was he, and
how did he fare? Few and far between were the letters now, in these dark
days of the war. The soldiers themselves had but little opportunity to
write, and the mail facilities were poor. But I feel sure that to the
survivors of the “Lost Cause,” these meagre scraps concerning that brave
but disastrous march into Tennessee will be read with melancholy interest:

  “On the Line of Alabama and Georgia,
  Near Alpine, Ga., 8 o’clock at night, Oct. 17, 1874.

“MY DEAR SISTER--As there is a probability of the mail courier leaving
here early in the morning, I hastily scratch you a few lines that you may
know that under the blessings of a kind Providence I am yet alive, and,
though somewhat wearied, enjoying good health. Yours of 28th of September
has been received, but under circumstances of hard marches, etc., there
has been but one opportunity of writing to you since leaving Palmetto, and
then had just finished one to Texas, and was fixing to write to you, when
the order came to ‘fall in.’

“Well, leaving camps near Palmetto on the 29th of September, we crossed
the Chattahoochee below, marched up to Powder Springs, threatened
Marietta, and at the same time threw Stewart’s corps around above Big
Shanty to cut the railroad, which was torn up for about thirteen miles,
French’s Division attacking Allatoona, where he sustained some loss,
having works to charge. Ector’s Texas Brigade, and some Missourians,
carried their part of the works, but A----’s Brigade failed to do their
part, hence the advantage gained was lost. By this time the enemy were
concentrating at Marietta, and General Hood’s object being accomplished,
he then marched rapidly towards Rome, flanking the place, and making a
heavy demonstration as if he intended crossing the river and attacking the
place. The enemy then commenced a concentration at Kingston and Rome. We
then moved around Rome and marched rapidly up the Oostanaula, and, on the
evening of the 11th inst., sent a division of infantry with some cavalry
across the river, and captured Calhoun with some stores. Moved on the next
morning by a forced march, flanking Resaca, and striking the railroad
immediately above, tearing it up to Tilton where there were about three
hundred Yankees in a block-house. A surrender was demanded. A reply was
returned: ‘If you want us come and take us.’ Our artillery was soon in
position and a few shots soon made them show the ‘white rag.’ We tore up
the road that night, and the next morning by nine o’clock, to Tunnel Hill,
burning every cross-tie and twisting the bars. Dalton surrendered without
a fight, with a full garrison of negroes and some white Yankees. The
block-house above, at a bridge, refused to surrender, and we had to bring
the artillery into requisition again, which made them succumb. They all
seemed to be taken by surprise and were hard to convince that it was a
cavalry raid. They evacuated Tunnel Hill. Thus after five months of
fighting and running, the Army of Tennessee re-occupied Dalton. Sherman
has been taken by surprise. He never dreamed of such a move. General
Hood’s plans all being carried out, so far as the State road was
concerned, we marched across the mountains to LaFayette, in the vicinity
of which we camped last night, and have marched twenty-three miles to-day.
To-morrow we cross the Lookout Mountain, and will, I suppose, make
directly for the Tennessee river, though of this I’m not certain. Hood has
shown himself a general in strategy, and has secured the confidence of the
troops. Wherever we go, may God’s blessing attend us. Pray for me. In

  Your affectionate brother,

“P. S.--Cherokee Co., Ala., Oct. 18, 1864.

“The courier not leaving this morning, I have a little more time left. We
did not travel so far to-day as I heard we would, having come only ten
miles, and have stopped to rest the balance of the evening. I find you
dislike to have your communications cut off, so I see you are below
Madison. Would to Heaven that, in one sense of the word my communication
was cut off forever; yea, that every channel leading me in contact with
_the world_, in any other character than as a minister of ‘the meek and
lowly Savior,’ was to me forever blocked up. I am tired of confusion and
disorder--tired of living a life of continual excitement * * *. You spoke
of passing through a dark cloud. ‘There is nothing true but Heaven,’ and
it is to that rest for the weary, alone, to which we are to look for
perfect enjoyment. We are to walk by faith, and though the clouds of
trouble thicken, yet we should know that if we do our duty we shall see
and feel the genial sunshine of a happier time. Yes, my sister, though we
knew our lives should be lengthened one hundred years, and every day
should be full of trouble; yet if we have a hope of Heaven, that hope
should buoy up the soul to be cheerful, even under earth’s saddest

“I think we will cross the Tennessee river and make for Tennessee, where
it seems to be understood that we will have large accessions to our army,
both there and from Kentucky * * *.”

The next letter is enclosed in an envelope which came through no
postoffice, as it was furnished by my sister, and upon it she wrote: “This
letter was sent to me on the 27th of November, by some one who picked it
up upon the street in Madison. The postoffice had been rifled by the
Federals who (under command of Slocum) passed through Madison, November
18th and 19th. Though found without an envelope, and much stained, it has
reached me, because signed with his full name.”

This letter is dated “Near Decatur, Ala., October 28th, 1864.” We give a
few items:

“We invested this place yesterday, and there has been some skirmishing and
artillery firing until an hour ago, when it seems to have measurably
ceased. We are in line of battle southwest of Decatur, about one and a
quarter miles. I went out reconnoitering this morning and saw the enemy’s
position. They have a large fort immediately in the town, with the ‘stars
and stripes’ waving above. I hear occasional distant artillery firing
which I suppose is Forrest, near Huntsville. * * * We were several days
crossing Sand Mountain. Have had delightful weather until a day or two ago
it rained, making the roads very muddy, in consequence of which we have
been on small rations, the supply trains failing to get up. We had only
half rations yesterday, and have had none to-day (now nearly three
o’clock), but will get some to-night. We try to be cheerful. * * * No
letter from Texas yet. No one of our company has had any intelligence from
Johnson county since last May. I can’t see what’s the matter. I have been
absent nearly one year and have received but one letter.” (Of course the
dear loved ones in Texas wrote to their soldier braves on this side the
Mississippi river; but such are the misfortunes of war that these missives
were long delayed in their passage).

“Saturday, October 29th.--The condition of affairs this morning at sunrise
remains, so far as I know, unchanged. * * * Yesterday evening we drew two
ears of corn for a day’s ration; so parched corn was all we had yesterday;
but we will get plenty to-day.”

And now we come to the last of the letters ever received. It is probable
it was among the last he ever wrote. It is dated “Tuscumbia, Ala., Nov.
10, 1864.--... We arrived at this place the 31st of October, and have been
here since, though what we are waiting for I can’t tell. The pontoons are
across the river, and one corps on the other side at Florence. We have had
orders to be ready to move several times, but were countermanded. We were
to have moved to-day, and even our wagons started off, but for some cause
or other we have not gone. The river is rising very rapidly, which may
endanger the pontoons.

“November 12th.--I thought to send this off yesterday morning, but, on
account of the rain a few days ago, the mail carrier was delayed until
last night, which brought your dear letter of date October 31st. It was
handed me on my return from the graveyard, where I had been to perform the
funeral ceremony of a member of the 6th Texas, who was killed yesterday
morning by the fall of a tree. He had been in every battle in which this
brigade was ever engaged; an interesting young man, only nineteen years of

“The scene at the graveyard was a solemn one, being some time in the night
before we arrived. The cold, pale moon shone down upon us, and the deep
stillness which pervaded the whole scene, with the rough, uncouth, though
tender-hearted soldiers with uncovered heads, forming a large circle
around the grave, made it, indeed, a scene solemnly impressive. The print
of my Bible being small, I could not read, but recited from memory a few
passages of Scripture suitable to the occasion, the one upon which I dwelt
chiefly being a declaration of Paul to the Corinthians, ‘For we must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ.’ I then spoke of the certainty
of that change from life to death; that with the soldier, even, death is
not confined to the battlefield; spoke of our comrade, who but in the
morning bade as fair for long life as any of us, but within the space of a
few short hours was lying in the cold embrace of death; of another of our
brigade who was instantly killed a short time since by a stroke of
lightning; closed with an exhortation to all to live nearer to God, and be
prepared at all times to meet their God in peace. Oh, how sad! Far away
from his home to be buried in a land of strangers. How the hearts of his
father, mother and sisters must bleed when they receive the sad tidings.

“I expect we will leave here for Middle Tennessee next Monday, as the
river will be falling by that time. There is much talk of this brigade
being sent home after this campaign. Major Rankin has been exchanged, and
is with us. I gave Lieutenant Collins’ overcoat to his company to take
care of for him.

“Am so glad to hear from ma and sister. We get no letters from Texas; but
are continually sending some over, as all the disabled of the last
campaign are being retired and sent across. Poor Uncle James! His Joseph
is gone.... Write to me often.


Ah, could the history of these brave men be written, what a record it
would be of endurance, of daring, of heroism, of sacrifice! And the
heart-breaking pathos of the last chapters of their experience, ere the
furling of the flag they followed! Pat Cleburne and his fallen braves--

  “On fame’s eternal camping ground,
    Their silent tents are spread,
  And glory marks with solemn round
    The bivouac of the dead.”



Related to the writer by Hon. Roger Q. Mills, of Texas.

The night was black as Erebus. Not a scintillant of light from moon or
star penetrated the dense forest, and no eye save that of God discerned
the danger of the situation. Hill and dale, mountain and precipice, creek
and surging stream, presented barriers that none but men inured to
hardship, and unknown to fear, would have attempted to surmount.

Obedient to the command of the superior officer, the remnant of that
magnificent and intrepid army, once guided by the unerring wisdom of
Joseph E. Johnston, plodded their way uncomplainingly over these trying
difficulties. The Lord must have been amazed at their temerity, and shook
the very earth in rebuke, and ever and anon by the lightning’s flash
revealed glimpses of the peril to which they were exposed; and yet in
unbroken lines they groped their way, not knowing whither. At length
bewildered, and made aware of impending danger, the general in command
ordered a halt. The martial tread ceased, and all was still as death. In
the midst of this stillness a voice, sweet as that of a woman, was heard
repeating that grand old hymn, which has given comfort to many weary ones
treading the wine press:

  “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
  Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
  What more can He say than to you He hath said,
  You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled.

  “In every condition, in sickness, in health,
  In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
  At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
  As thy days may demand shall thy strength ever be.

  “Fear not, I am with thee, O! be not dismayed,
  I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
  I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand,
  Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

  “When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
  The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
  For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
  And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

  “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
  My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
  The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
  Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

  “E’en down to old age, all My people shall prove
  My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
  And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
  Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

  “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
  I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
  That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
  I’ll never, no never, no never, forsake.”

General Mills said that during the rendition of this beautiful hymn, not
even the breaking of a twig, or the changing of a footstep broke the
silence of the midnight tranquillity. The rain drops ceased to fall; the
electricity darted harmlessly through the tree tops; and the muttering of
the thunder lulled.

After a most impressive silence of several minutes, the same voice, which
had rendered the hymn so effectually, repeated from memory an appropriate
passage of Scripture and proceeded to expatiate upon it. He had not
uttered a dozen words before another flash of lightning revealed the
upturned heads and listening attitudes of the men composing that weird
congregation, and each one of them knew as if by instinct that he was
going to hear something that would help him on his journey to the Land of
Beulah. Strong in the faith, he carried many of the truths and promises of
the Holy Word within his mind, and now, as many times before, he opened
them by the magic key of memory and unfolded to view their unsearchable
riches. He begged his fellow-men and comrades in arms to accept them
without money and without price--to accept them that they might wear
kingly robes and royal diadems, and be with Jesus in His Father’s regal
mansions throughout the grand eternities. And as he told the old, old
story of divine love, it assumed a contemporaneous interest and seemed a
living present reality. Every man who heard it felt the living force and
energizing influence of the theme. And thus by earnest, aggressive
appeals, he exerted a wonderful power for good over the minds of his
hearers; and those men, even now with phantom hands pointing gaunt fingers
at them, by their deep interest testified to the warm suffusing purpose
which made itself felt in every word that he uttered, as he told of the
Fatherhood of God and the ever-present sympathy of a benignant and
infinite parent, who delighted not in the death of sinners, but rather
that all should come to Him and have eternal life. General Mills added
that, as the fine resonant voice of the speaker penetrated the dense
forest and found its way to his hearers in distinct enunciation of
well-chosen words, the deep-toned thunder emphasized the impressive
points, and made it a scene which for grandeur and sublimity has never
been surpassed, while the vivid flashes of lightning revealed again and
again the earnest face and solemn mien of my brother, Lieutenant Thomas J.
Stokes, of the Tenth Texas Infantry of Cleburne’s Division.


Picking up minie balls around Atlanta--Exchanging them for bread.

After mingling renewed vows of allegiance to our cause, and expressions of
a willing submission to the consequences of defeat--privations and evil
dire, if need be--with my morning orison; yet I could not be oblivious to
the fact that I was hungry, very hungry. And there was another, whose
footsteps were becoming more and more feeble day by day, and whose voice,
when heard at all, was full of the pathos of despair, who needed
nourishment that could not be obtained, and consolation, which it seemed a
mockery to offer.

In vain did I look round for relief. There was nothing left in the country
to eat. Yea, a crow flying over it would have failed to discover a morsel
with which to appease its hunger; for a Sheridan by another name had been
there with his minions of destruction, and had ruthlessly destroyed every
vestige of food and every means of support. Every larder was empty, and
those with thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, were as poor as the
poorest, and as hungry too. Packing trunks, in every house to which
refugees had returned, contained large amounts of Confederate money. We
had invested all we possessed except our home, and land and negroes, in
Confederate bonds, and these were now inefficient for purchasing
purposes. Gold and silver had we none. A more favored few had a little of
those desirable mediums of purchase, and sent a great distance for
supplies; but they offered no relief to those who had stayed at home and
borne the brunt of battle, and saved their property from the destroyers’

What was I to do? Sit down and wait for the inevitable starvation? No; I
was not made of such stuff. I had heard that there had been a provision
store opened in Atlanta for the purpose of bartering provisions for
munitions of war--anything that could be utilized in warfare. Minie balls
were particularly desirable. I therefore took Telitha by the apron, and
had a little talk with her, and when I was through she understood that
something was up that would bring relief to certain organs that had become
quite troublesome in their demands, and she was anxious to take part in
the performance, whatever that might be. I went also to my mother, and
imparted to her my plans of operation, and she took that pathetic little
backward step peculiar to herself on occasions which tried her soul, and
with quivering lip she assented in approving, though almost inaudible

With a basket in either hand, and accompanied by Telitha, who carried one
that would hold about a peck, and two old dull case-knives, I started to
the battle-fields around Atlanta to pick up the former missiles of death
to exchange for food to keep us from starving.

It was a cold day. The wind was very sharp, and over the ground, denuded
of forest trees and undergrowth, the wind was blowing a miniature gale.
Our wraps were inadequate, and how chilled we became in that rude November
blast! Mark you, it was the 30th of November, 1864. But the colder we
were, the faster we walked, and in an incredibly short time we were upon
the battle-field searching for lead.

I made it a point to keep very near the road in the direction of Atlanta,
and soon found myself on the very spot where the Confederate magazine
stood, the blowing up of which, by Confederate orders, shook the very
earth, and was distinctly heard thirty-five or forty miles distant. An
exclamation of glad surprise from Telitha carried me to her. She had found
a bonanza, and was rapidly filling her basket with that which was more
valuable to us than gold. In a marshy place, encrusted with ice,
innumerable bullets, minie balls, and pieces of lead seemed to have been
left by the irony of fate to supply sustenance to hungry ones, and
employment to the poor, as all the winter those without money to send to
more favored and distant points found sure returns from this lead mine. It
was so cold! our feet were almost frozen, and our hands had commenced to
bleed, and handling cold, rough lead cramped them so badly that I feared
we would have to desist from our work before filling the baskets.

Lead! Blood! Tears! O how suggestive! Lead, blood and tears, mingled and
commingled. In vain did I try to dash the tears away. They would assert
themselves and fall upon lead stained with blood. “God of mercy, if this
be Thy holy will, give me fortitude to bear it uncomplainingly,” was the
heart-felt invocation that went up to the throne of grace from over lead,
blood and tears, that fearful day. For relief, tears did not suffice. I
wanted to cry aloud; nature would not be satisfied with less, and I cried
like a baby, long and loud. Telitha caught the spirit of grief, and cried
too. This ebullition of feelings on her part brought me to a realization
of my duty to her, as well as to my poor patient mother to whom the day
must seem very long, and I tried to stifle my sobs and lamentations. I
wondered if she had the forebodings of coming bereavement that were
lacerating my own heart. I did not doubt but that she had, and I cried in
sympathy for her.

At length our baskets were filled, and we took up our line of march to the
desolated city. There were no labyrinths to tread, no streets to follow,
and an occasional question secured information that enabled us to find the
“commissary” without delay. Telitha was very ambitious that I should
appear a lady, and wanted me to deposit my load of lead behind some place
of concealment, while we went on to deliver hers, and then let her go back
for mine. But I was too much a Confederate soldier for that, and walked
bravely in with my heavy, precious load.

A courteous gentleman in a faded grey uniform, evidently discharged
because of wounds received in battle, approached and asked what he could
do for me. “I have heard that you give provisions for lead,” I replied,
“and I have brought some to exchange.” What seemed an interminable silence
ensued, and I felt without seeing that I was undergoing a sympathetic
scrutiny, and that I was recognized as a lady “to the manor born.”

“What would you like in exchange,” he asked. “If you have sugar, and
coffee, and meal, a little of each if you please,” I timidly said. “I left
nothing to eat at home.” The baskets of lead were removed to the rear and
weighed, and in due time returned to me filled to the brim with sugar,
coffee, flour, meal, lard, and the nicest meat I had seen in a long time.

“O, sir,” I said, “I did not expect so much.”

“You have not yet received what is due you,” this good man replied, and
handed me a certificate which he assured me would secure as much more on

Joy had gone out of my life, and I felt no thrill of that kind; but I can
never describe the satisfaction I experienced as I lifted two of those
baskets, and saw Telitha grasp the other one, and turned my face


The Decatur women’s struggle for bread--Sweet singing in hard
places--Pleasant visitors--I make a trip to Alabama--The news of my
brother’s death.

The tug of war was upon us from the mountains to the sea-board, and
ingenious was the woman who devised means to keep the wolf, hungry and
ravenous, from the door. The depreciation of our currency, and its
constant diminution in value, had rendered it an unreliable purchasing
commodity, and we had nothing to give in exchange for food. I, therefore,
felt that I had literally rubbed against Aladdin’s lamp when I saw much
needed food, good and palatable, given in exchange for minie balls, and
for any kind of metal convertible into destructive missiles, and I was
anxious that others should share the benefit accruing from the lead mines
mentioned in a former sketch. In pursuance of this humane desire, I
proclaimed its discovery and results from house to house; for, mark you,
we had no “Daily Courier,” nor messenger boy to convey the glad tidings to
the half-famished women and children in and around Decatur. And if my
words could have been changed into diamonds by the magic wand of a fairy,
not one of those starving people would have accepted the change of
diamonds for bread.

It required only a short time to raise a large company of women, girls and
little boys, who were ready to do service for themselves and their
country by digging lead with case-knives from mines providentially
furnished them. And was it not serving the cause of the Confederacy? I
thought so; and never walked with more independent step than when acting
as generalissimo of that band of devoted, patriotic women, _en route_ to
the “lead mines” around Atlanta. Telitha, too, evidently felt that she was
an important adjunct in the mining enterprise, and a conspicuous personage
in the scenes being enacted, and emphasized her opinion by strong and
suggestive gesticulation. On this occasion she playfully wrenched from my
hand the small vessel with which I had supplied myself and which I carried
on the former trip, and substituted a larger one, while for herself she
got at least a half-bushel measure.

All who remember the month of December, 1864, know that it abounded in
clouds and rain and sleet, and was intensely cold in the Confederate
States of America; and in the latitude embracing Atlanta, such severity of
weather had never been known to the oldest inhabitant. But what mattered
it? Each one in that little band of women was connected by a bright link
to the illustrious armies that were enduring greater privation and
hardship than those to which she was exposed, and counted it a willing
oblation upon his country’s altar, and why should she not prove faithful
to the end, and suffer the pangs of hunger and privation too?

The work of picking up minie balls began as soon as we reached the
battle-field, and, consequently, we carried several pounds some distance
unnecessarily. The “mine” proper, I doubt not, could have filled several
wagons. As “a little fun now and then is relished by the wisest men,” I
found a grim smile asserting itself at the quaint and ready wit of those
estimable girls, the Misses Morton, whose Christian names I have forgotten
and who, alas! have long since joined the silent majority. One of them
assumed the character of a Confederate soldier and the other that of a
Federal, and the conversation carried on between them, as they “exchanged
coffee and tobacco,” was rich, rare and racy. The exchange having been
effected, the signal of combat was given. “Look out, Billy Yank!” “Look
out, Johnnie Reb!” were simultaneous warnings from opposing forces, and
minie balls whizzed through the air, much to the merriment of the little
boys who wished themselves men, that they might be with their fathers,
whizzing minie balls from musket mouths.

The sham battle over, the work of digging lead was resumed, and in an
amazingly short time our vessels were filled to overflowing. I watched
Telitha with interest. She was eager to fill her basket, and more than
once she said, “Me full!” and added a little gutteral laugh that always
indicated pleasure. Her attempt to raise the basket from the ground, and
her utter failure to do so surprised her amazingly, and her disappointment
was pathetic. With great reluctance she saw her treasure reduced to her
capacity of handling. Each member of the party experienced similar
disappointment on attempting to raise her burden, and we left more exhumed
lead and other valuables than we carried away.

We took up our line of march, and as there were no obstructions in the way
(for, be it remembered, Sherman had been there, and with torch and
explosive removed all obstructions save the standing chimneys and
carcasses of horses and cattle shot by his order to prevent the
possibility of use to the rebels), we struck a bee-line to the commissary.
As the first to take advantage of this industry, I took the lead, and the
vigor of young womanhood, and “a heart for every fate,” gave elasticity to
my steps, and I soon outdistanced even the girls. In due time we reached
the commissary, and in a short while a most satisfactory exchange was
made, thanks to one whose great heart beat in unison with ours, and in
lieu of the heavy burden which we laid down, we picked up food for the
nourishment of our tired bodies and those of our loved ones at home. Oh,
how light, comparatively, it seemed! I verily believe if it had weighed
the same number of pounds, it would have seemed lighter, and the change
would have seemed restful. “Good-bye, noble ladies and sisters in a
righteous cause,” was the parting salutation of our no less noble

With our respective packages of food we again turned our faces homeward,
solemn as a funeral march, for, strive against them as we would, we all
had forebodings of ill, and the swaying of our bodies and our footsteps
kept time with the pulsations of our sad hearts. I fancied as I approached
standing chimneys and other evidences of destroyed homes, that the spirit
of Sherman, in the guise of an evil spirit, was laughing over the
destruction his diabolism had wrought. In the midst of these reflections
a song, which for sweetness and tranquilizing melody I have seldom heard
equalled and never surpassed, broke the stillness of the scene and added
to the melancholy interest of the occasion. It was the well known ballad,
then familiar to every child in the Confederacy, “When this Cruel War is
Over,” and sung by those gifted sisters mentioned as a part of the lead
digging company. The pure, sweet soprano voice of one of the girls put to
flight the spirit of Sherman, and when it was joined by the flute-like
alto of the others, every evil spirit within and without was exorcised,
and the spirit of submission took its place. And yet as the words rang out
and found an echo in my own heart, I had to walk very straight, and turn
my head neither to the right nor to the left, lest I betray the copious
tears trickling down my cheeks. At length pent-up feelings burst the
fetters, and an audible sob removed restraint, and we cried as women
burdened with great sorrow. Precious tears! Nature’s kind alleviator in
time of trouble.

  “The day was cold and dark and dreary,
  And it rained and the winds were never weary,”

and yet I was nerved for its duties and toil by the consciousness of
having met, uncomplainingly, the work which the preservation of my own
principles made me willing to endure. Several days subsequent to this trip
to Atlanta, the Morton girls came running in and told me that we had some
delightful friends at the “Swanton place,” who requested to see us. My
mother was too much exhausted by anxiety and waiting for that which never
came, to go, but approved my doing so. I, therefore, donned my sun-bonnet
and went; and whom should I meet but Mrs. Trenholm and her sweet young
daughters, Essie and Lila? I was delighted to see them, and invited them
to go home with me. Ma received them in a spirit of cordial hospitality,
and they were invited to remain at her house. Without hesitation, Mrs.
Trenholm accepted the proffered kindness, and returned to her wayside
rendezvous only to send her trunks, bedding and other household goods. And
truly the coming of that saintly woman and those lovely girls was a rare
benediction, especially at that time. Day by day ma looked in vain for
tidings from “the front”--wherever that might be--and day by day her
health and strength was perceptibly weakened by disappointment. Mrs.
Trenholm’s sympathy with her in her suspense regarding the operations of
Hood’s army, and the fate of her beloved son, was both touching and
consoling. Seeing that my mother and myself were hoping almost against
hope, she endeavored to bring us to a realization of that fact, and a
complete submission to the will of God, even though that will deprived us
of our loved one. All of her Christian arguments and consolations had been
pondered over and over by mother and daughter, but they never seemed so
sweet and potent as when coming in the chaste and simple language of a
precious saintly woman.

With the tact peculiar to the refined of every clime and locality, Mrs.
Trenholm assumed management of the culinary department, and her dinner-pot
hung upon our crane several weeks, and daily sent forth appetizing odors
of bacon and peas. How we enjoyed those peas and that bacon, and the soup
seasoned with the only condiments at our command--salt and red pepper--and
the good hoe cakes! Mrs. Trenholm had a large sack of cow peas, and a sack
of dried fruit, and other articles of food which she had provided for
herself and her family before she left Southwest Georgia _en route_ to her
home in Marietta, which she left in obedience to the order of William
Tecumseh Sherman, and which she learned, before reaching Decatur, had
shared the fate of nearly all other homes which had to be thus abandoned.
Although magnanimously proffered, we were averse to sharing Mrs.
Trenholm’s well-prepared and ofttimes tempting _cuisine_, unless our
proportion of food equaled hers; and fearing even the appearance of scanty
supplies, I set about to gather up “the miners,” so that we might appoint
a day to again go lead digging, if that which we left in as many little
heaps as there were members of the company had been, in the interim,
gathered up by others.

On former occasions I had led my company to victory over that malignant
general left by Sherman to complete his work, and styled by him “General
Starvation,” and they were willing to go wherever I led. Now, I had two
recruits of whom I was very proud. Telitha, too, had gathered from
observation that the sweet young Trenholm girls were going with us, and
she set about to provide very small baskets for their use, which, with
gestures amusing and appropriate, she made us understand were large enough
to contain all the lead that girls so pretty and so ladylike ought to
carry. To their credit, however, they repudiated that idea, and carried
larger vessels. By appointment the “lead diggers” were to meet at the
tan-yard, those arriving first to wait until the entire number came. “Man
proposes and God disposes.” Just as my last glove was drawn on, Telitha,
ever on the alert, said “Morton, Morton,” and I looked and saw the girls
coming. “We needn’t go--the commissary has folded its tents, and silently
stolen away,” was the voluntary announcement. Imagine my consternation and
disappointment--the last hope of supply cut off! Ma saw the effect upon
me, and said in a more hopeful voice than was her wont, “The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want.” And good Mrs. Trenholm said her sack of peas
was like the cruse of oil that never seemed to diminish in quantity,
however much was taken out of it. An examination, too, of our own
resources was quite gratifying; but I knew I ought to be “providing for a
rainy day.”

I pass now over an interval which brings me to the latter part of January,
1865. My sister returned home from Madison and spent several weeks with
us, but had accepted an offer to teach at Grantville, on the LaGrange and
West Point Railroad. I had a precious aunt, my mother’s sister, Mrs. Annie
Watson, whom I loved dearly, and of whom I had not heard a word since the
interruption of the mail communication by the siege of Atlanta, and my
mother’s frequent mention of her determined me to go and see if this
beloved aunt was living, and, if so, in what condition. I knew she was one
of the favored ones of earth, viewed from a worldly standpoint, but I
knew not what changes had come over her or her worldly possessions. Rumor
conveyed startling accounts of the atrocious deeds of Wilson’s raiders,
and I knew that they were operating in that rich cotton belt of Alabama
which embraced my aunt’s plantation and beautiful home. I could scarcely
hope that that home and its valuable appointments had escaped the cupidity
of an organized band of robbers protected by the United States Government.

When I think of my mother’s fond affection for her children, and her
tender solicitude for their welfare, I am constrained to think that she
thought I was endowed with a sort of charmed existence not subject to the
perils which beset the pathway of ordinary mortals, and hence her ready
acquiescence to my proposition to undertake a journey of many miles, under
circumstances of imminent danger, inspired with confidence amounting to
certainty that I would be preserved by an All-wise Providence for future
usefulness. I had very little preparation to make for the contemplated
trip. A pretty, small-checked dress, which had done service through many a
changing scene, and was good for as many more, and a hat--well, I beg to
be excused from describing it--and gloves upon which I had expended skill
in darning until it was difficult to perceive where the darning ceased and
the glove began, completed my toilet, and I bade to all appearance a
cheerful good-bye to my mother and kind friends, and went by private
conveyance to Fairburn. There I took the train for Cowles’ Station,

Nothing of particular interest transpired on the way. My country was
prostrate and bleeding from many lacerations, and my tears flowed so
freely that by the time I reached my railroad destination I had a very
sick headache. That “there is a providence that shapes our ends” was again
illustrated. Some of my aunt’s neighbors, who knew me at least by name,
were at the station, and kindly offered to carry me to her residence, a
distance of ten miles. I found my aunt in feeble health, and all alone
save her usual dusky attendant. Her only child, Mrs. Mary E. Seaman, had
gone to Tuskeegee to see her little daughter, who was there going to
school in care of a friend and relative, Col. Smith Graham. My closest
scrutiny failed to detect any change in my aunt’s mode of living. The same
retinue of servants came into the house to see and shake hands with
mistress’ niece, and after many questions about “our white folks in
Georgia,” retired from my presence with the same courtesy that had marked
their demeanor towards me in ante-bellum days.

My aunt manifested her joy at seeing me in many ways, and wept and smiled
alternately, as I related my adventures with the Yankees. “And my sister,
what was their treatment of her?” My evasive answer, “It could have been
worse,” heightened her desire to learn particulars, and I told them to
her. She was grateful for all leniency shown by them, and affected to
tears by unkindness. As the day waned, and the middle of the afternoon
came on, my aunt proposed walking “to meet Mary.” I supported her fragile
form, and guided her footsteps in the best part of the road. How like her
beloved sister in Georgia she seemed! Accustomed to this little diversion,
for she always went to meet Mary, she had reckoned accurately regarding
the time of her daughter’s coming, and we had not gone far when we saw the
carriage descending a declivity in the distance. Nelson, the coachman, had
also recognized “Mistress and Miss Mary,” and announced his discovery to
my cousin. Increased speed in the gait of the horses soon brought us
together, and she opened the door and stepped to the ground. After kissing
her dear mother, she encircled me in her arms, and kissed me time and
again, and then assisted me into the carriage, and she and her mother
followed. I greeted the coachman in a cordial manner, because of past
service and present fidelity to “mistress and my white folks” generally.

With my rapidity in conversation, I could scarcely keep up with my
cousin’s questions. Happy woman! She had never seen any “Blue-coats,” or,
in the parlance of the times, “Yankees,” and she enjoyed my description of
them, especially when in answer to the question, “Do they look like our
men?” I attempted to define the difference. It was amusing to me to hear
her describe the preparations she made for the coming of Wilson and his

After reaching home, she left her mother and myself only a few minutes. I
scarcely perceived her absence, and yet when she returned the disparity in
our dress was not so apparent. The elegant traveling suit had been
exchanged for her plainest home attire, and every article of jewelry had
disappeared. The brief period spent with these dear relatives was spent
in mutual efforts to entertain and amuse each other. My aunt’s
conversation was like sweet music in which minor chords abounded. Her love
for her sister, and apprehension of evil, gave a pathetic turn to every
conversation she attempted, and it was evident to me that she had given up
all hope of my brother’s safety, and her resignation under similar
circumstances was a great support to me.

Much as I enjoyed this luxurious home, and its refined appointments, there
was a controlling motive--a nearer tie--that made me willing to again take
up the hardships and perils of warfare, and battle for life with that
relentless enemy left by Sherman to complete his cruel work, the aforesaid
General Starvation.

After many farewell words were spoken, I left my aunt, accompanied by her
daughter, who went with me to the station for the purpose of seeing me on
the train bound for Fairburn, then the terminus of the railroad. It was
past noon when the train left the station, and in those days of slow
railroad locomotion, it was all the afternoon reaching West Point. I
learned before reaching there that I would have to remain over until the
next morning, and, therefore, as soon as I stepped from the cars, started
to hunt a place at which to spend the night. Wending my way, solitary and
alone, through the twilight, I saw Mr. John Pate, the depot agent at
Decatur, coming towards me.

“Oh, Mr. Pate, have you heard anything from ma in the last week?”

“Yes; it went very hard with her, but she was some better this morning.”

I did not have to ask another question. I knew it all, and was dumb with
grief. The thought that I would never see my darling brother again
paralyzed me. I saw him in the mirror of my soul, in all the periods of
his existence. The beautiful little baby boy, looking at me the first time
out of his heavenly blue eyes, and his second look, as if not satisfied
with the first, followed by the suggestion of a smile. Ah, that smile! It
had never failed me through successive years and varying scenes. The
boyhood and youth--honest, truthful and generous to a fault--and the
noble, genial boyhood, had all developed within my recollection, and I
loved him with an intensity bordering on idolatry. These scenes and many
others rushed through my mind with kaleidoscopic rapidity and made me so
dizzy that I had no knowledge of how I reached the “hotel.” My heart cried
and refused to be comforted. From the consolation of religion and
patriotism it recoiled and cried all the more. A great tie of nature had
been sundered, and the heart, bruised and crushed and bleeding, pulsated
still with vitality that would have flickered out but for the hope of
giving comfort to the poor bereaved mother and sister in our great sorrow.
Good ladies bathed my throbbing temples and kissed my cheeks and spoke
comforting words, for they were all drinking the bitter waters of Marah,
and knew how to reach the heart and speak of the balm of Gilead.

“Killed on the battle-field, thirty steps from the breastworks at
Franklin, Tennessee, November 30th, 1864,” was the definite information
regarding my brother’s death, left for me by Mr. Pate.

Interminable as the darkness of night appeared, it at length gave way to
the light of day, and I was ready with its dawn to take the train. But,
oh, the weight of this grief that was crushing me! Had the serpents which
attacked Laocoon, and crushed him to death by their dreadful strength,
reached out and embraced me in their complicated folds, I could not have
writhed in greater agony. I did not believe it was God’s will that my
brother should die, and I could not say to that Holy Being, “Thy will be
done.” In some way I felt a complicity in his death--a sort of personal
responsibility. When my brother wrote to me from his adopted home in Texas
that, having voted for secession, he believed it to be his duty to face
the danger involved by that step, and fight for the principles of
self-government vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States, I
said nothing in reply to discourage him, but rather I indicated that if I
were eligible I should enter the contest. These, and such as these were
the harrowing reflections which accused me of personal responsibility for
the demon of war entering our household and carrying off the hope and prop
of a widowed mother.

I found my poor stricken mother almost prostrate. The tidings of her son’s
tragic death did the work apprehended by all who knew her nervous
temperament. Outwardly calm and resigned, yet almost paralyzed by the
blow, she was being tenderly cared for by our saintly neighbor, Mrs. Ammi
Williams and her family, who will always be held in grateful remembrance
by her daughters.



Rev. Dr. John S. Wilson performs the funeral service

In sympathy with a disappointed people who had staked all and lost all in
the vain effort to defend the inherited rights of freemen, and had not yet
rallied from the depression occasioned by defeat, the spring of 1866 had
withheld her charms, and, instead of donning a mantle of green, decorated
with pansies, violets and primroses, hyacinths, bluebells and daffodils,
verbenas, phlox and geraniums, and bloom of vine and briar in endless
variety, the first day of April found her wounded, bleeding bosom wrapped
in the habiliments of sorrow and despondency. A few brave old apple trees,
as if to encourage the more timid, had budded and blossomed and sent forth
sweet fragrance as of yore, and a few daring sprigs of grass suggested
spring-time and sunny skies. Loneliness, oppressive and melancholy, and a
spirit of unrest, prompted me to go to the depot in quest of something
that never came, and my sister had stepped over to our neighbor, Mrs.

Our mother loved the spring-time. It had always been her favorite season
of the year. Fifty-nine vernal suns had brought inspiration and hope to
her sensitive, tender heart, and given impulse to a checkered life; but
now no day-star of hope shed its effulgence for her. As I mentioned in a
former sketch, her only son had fallen mortally wounded upon the
sanguinary battle-field of Franklin, and she had never recovered from the

After a few months of patient endurance, an attack of paralysis had
occurred, and during many days life and death contended for the victory.
But the skill of good physicians, among them Dr. Joseph P. Logan, and
faithful, efficient nursing, aided in giving her a comfortable state of
health lasting through several months. But the fiat had gone forth, and
now after a pathetic survey of earth, mingled with thankfulness even then
to the God of the spring-time, she succumbed to the inevitable.

Returning from the depot, I espied in the distance the approaching figure
of Telitha. As she came up to me she was the very picture of despair. With
one hand clasped to her head, she fell on the ground and lay as if dead
for a moment. My worst apprehensions were more than realized. I found my
mother speechless, and never more heard her voice--never more heard any
sound emanating from her lips except labored, heavy breathing. It was all
so sudden and strange and sad, I cannot describe it. Neighbors and friends
came in by the score, and did all they could to mitigate our great sorrow.
“Johnnie” Hardeman stayed until all was over, and mother never received
from loving son kinder care or more unremitting attention. Paul Winn also
remained and manifested deep sympathy, and so did other neighbors. Oh, the
sorrow, the poignant sorrow, to see a mother in the embrace of death, and
to have no power over the monster! About thirty hours of unconsciousness,
and without a struggle, “life’s fitful dream was over,” about 9 o’clock p.
m., April 1st, 1866. The silent hush that ensued was sacred, and scarcely
broken by the sobs of those most deeply afflicted.

Loving hands fashioned a shroud, and a beautiful casket was obtained from
Atlanta. When all was done, and our mother arrayed for the tomb, she
looked like the bride of Heaven. I gazed long and earnestly upon her face
and figure, and went away and came back, and gazed again admiringly. For
every lineament was formed into a mold that compelled admiration.

During the two days that she lay there, I often lingered by her side; and
I recalled the many scenes, ofttimes perilous and sad, and ofttimes joyous
and gay, through which we had gone together. Although a wee bit girl,
scarcely turned in my fifth year at the time of my mother’s second
marriage, I remembered her as a bride. I remembered our journey by gig and
wagon to Cassville, then, paradoxical as it may sound now, situated in the
heart of a wilderness of beauty and savagery. The war-whoop of an
uncivilized race of Indians, justly angry and resentful, reverberated
though the impenetrable forest that belted the little settlement of white
people that had the hardihood and bravery to make their homes among them.
I remembered how she soon became a favorite, and was beloved by every one
in that sparsely-settled locality, and won even the hearts of the Indians,
by kindness towards them. She taught them how to make frocks and shirts,
and clothes for their children, for the Cherokees were an ambitious
people, and aspired to assimilation with the white race; and, to please
them, she learned to bead moccasins, and other articles, ornamental and
useful, just as they did. She also learned their alphabet, and became able
to instruct them in their own language.

I remembered how she had always worked for the poor; not so much in
societies (where the good that is accomplished in one way is often more
than counterbalanced by the harm that is done in others), as in the quiet
of her home, and in the humble habitations of God’s poor. I remembered,
with a melancholy thrill, how she had worked for our soldiers, and had not
withheld good deeds from an invading alien army. Reverently I took in mine
her little, symmetrical hand as it lay peacefully over the heart that had
ever beat in unison with all that was good. It was weather-beaten, and I
could feel the rough places on the palm through the pretty white silk
glove in which it was encased. Cold and stark in death, it gave no
responsive pressure to my own. I thought of its past service to me in
which it never tired. It had trained my own from the rudimentary “straight
lines” and “pot hooks,” through all the intricacies of skilled penmanship,
and from the picturesque letters on a sampler to the complete stitches of
advanced embroidery. The little motionless hand that I now held in my own
had picked corn from cracks and crevices in bureau drawers, which served
as troughs for Garrard’s cavalry horses, to make bread with which to
appease her hunger and mine. I gazed upon the pallid face and
finely-chiseled features. The nose never seemed so perfect, or the brow so
fair, or the snow-white hair so beautiful. The daintiest of mull caps
heightened the effect of the perfect combination of feature, placidity and
intellectual expression. I fancied I had never seen her look so beautiful,
and felt that it was meet that we should lay her away in a tomb where she
could rest undisturbed until the resurrection morn, not doubting that the
verdict of a great and good God would assign her a place among His chosen

Soothing to our bruised hearts was the sweet singing of those who watched
at night beside her lifeless form. With gratitude we remember them still:
Laura and Mary Williams, Emma and John Kirkpatrick, Josiah Willard and
John McKoy. One of the hymns they sang was “Jerusalem, My Happy Home.”

The hour for the funeral service came. Friends and neighbors and
fellow-citizens had been assembling for several hours, and now the house
was full, and the yard was thronged. Where did this concourse of people
come from--old men, war-stricken veterans, and a few young men who had
survived the bloody conflict that had decimated the youth of the South,
and boys and women and girls! All alike came to pay respect to the
deceased friend, and to show sympathy for the bereaved and lonely sisters.
That sainted man and friend of ours, Rev. John S. Wilson, took his stand
near the casket, and we sat near him, and those who loved us best got
very near to us. Ah, well do I remember them! I could call each by name
now, and the order in which they came. An impressive silence ensued,
broken by the man of God uttering in hopeful intonation and animated
manner, “She is not dead, but sleepeth,” and a sermon followed upon the
resurrection of God’s people, never surpassed in interest and pathos. All
felt the power of his theme, and the eloquence of his words. He also spoke
of the humble modesty of his friend, who had counted herself least in the
congregation of the righteous, and dispensed favors to others in an
unobtrusive manner, and who practically illustrated the divine command:
“Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you.” This
beautiful funeral tribute was succeeded by the hymn--

  “Rock of ages, cleft for me,”

which was sung with an unction which none but Christians can feel.

The last earthly look, solemn and earnest, was taken of our
long-suffering, patient, loving mother, and everybody in the house
followed our example and gazed reverently upon the pretty face, cold in
death. And then the pall-bearers, “Johnnie” Kirkpatrick, “Johnnie”
Hardeman, Virgil Wilson and Mr. G. W. Houston, bore her to the grave.

With uncovered head and grey locks fluttering in the vernal breeze, Dr.
Wilson repeated the beautiful burial service of the Presbyterian Church. I
can never describe the utter desolation of feeling I experienced as I
stood clasped in the arms of my sister, and heard the first spadeful of
earth fall over the remains of our loved one.

But we had heard above all the glorious words, “This mortal shall put on
immortality,” and “O, death, where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy



“Sister, you are not paying any attention whatever to my reading, and you
are losing the most beautiful thoughts in this delightful book.”

“Yes, and I am sorry to do so; but I think I see one of Rachel’s
children--Madaline or Frances.”

My sister closed her book, and, looking in the direction indicated, agreed
with me that the negro woman, clothed in the habiliments of widowhood, who
was coming up the avenue with a little boy by her side and one in her
arms, was one of Rachel’s children; and, although she was scarcely in her
teens when she went away, she was a mother now, and traces of care were
visible in every lineament of her face. I recognized her, however, as
Rachel’s youngest daughter, Frances, and went to meet her.

“Is that you, Frances?” I asked.

“Yes, Miss Mary, this is me; your same nigger Frances, and these are my

“I am glad to see you and your children;” and I extended my hand in
genuine cordiality to her who had once been a slave in my mother’s family,
and I bade her welcome to her old home. Frances was too demonstrative to
be satisfied with simply hand-clasping, and putting her boy on the ground,
she threw her arms around me and literally overwhelmed me with kisses. My
hands, neck and face were covered with them, and she picked me up and
carried me in her arms to the house, her children following in amazed
astonishment. She now turned her attention to them, and, after
deliberately shaking the wrinkles out of their clothes, she as
deliberately introduced them to me. The older of the two she introduced as
“King by name,” and the younger as “Lewis by name.”

“You see, Miss Mary, I named my children King and Lewis ’cause my white
folks named my brothers King and Lewis.”

The ceremony of introducing her sons to _her_ old _white folks_ being
performed to her satisfaction, she again turned her attention to me, and
again literally overwhelmed me with caresses.

Entering the house, I asked Frances and her children to come in too.

“Miss Mary, whar’s Miss Polly?”

“Have you not heard, Frances, that ma is dead?”

“Seem to me I has heard somethin’ about it, but some how I didn’t believe
it. And my poor Miss Polly is dead! Well, she ain’t dead, but she’s gone
to heaven.”

And Frances became quite hysterical in demonstrations of grief.

“And Marse Thomie, what about him, Miss Mary?”

“He was killed by the enemy at Franklin, Tenn., the 30th of November,

“Miss Mary, did them old Yankees kill him?”

“Yes, he was killed in battle.”

And again, whether sincere or affected, Frances became hysterical in
demonstrations of grief.

“Miss Mary, whar’s Miss Missouri? Is she dead too?”

“No; that was she who was sitting in the portico with me as you were
coming up the avenue. She always has to go off and compose herself before
meeting any of you--ma was that way, too--I suppose you remind her of
happier days, and the contrast is so sad that she is overcome by grief and
has to get relief in tears.”

“Yes’m, I have to cry, too, and it does me a monstous heap of good. I know
it’s mighty childish, but I jest can’t help it. Jest to think all my white
folks is done dead but Miss Mary and Miss Missouri!”

“Our brother left a dear little boy in Texas, and I am going after him
next winter. He and his mother are going to live with us, and then we will
not be so lonely.”

“That’s so, Miss Mary.”

Frances and her children having partaken of a bountiful supper, she
resumed, with renewed vigor, her erratic conversation, which consisted,
chiefly, of innumerable questions, interspersed with much miraculous
information regarding herself since she left her white folks and became a
wife, a mother, and a widow.

“Miss Mary, whar’s my children going to sleep tonight?”

“With your help I will provide a comfortable place for them, and, also,
for you.”

And taking a lantern and leading the way to the kitchen, I entered and
pointed to a light bedstead, and told her to carry a portion of it at a
time to my room, and we would put it up in there.

“Same old room, jest like it was when me and my mammy used to sleep in it.

“Well, things do look mighty nateral if it has been a long time since I
seed it.

“And Miss Mary is agoing to let me and my children sleep in her room.

The bedstead having been placed in position, a mattress and bed clothing
were furnished. And soon the little negro children were soundly sleeping
under the protecting roof of their mother’s former young mistresses.

“Whar’s your teakettle, Miss Mary?” Having been told where to find it,
Frances took it to the well and filled it with water, and, by adding a
little more fuel to the fire, soon had it boiling.

“Whar’s your bath-tub, Miss Mary?”

That, too, was soon produced and supplied with hot water, reduced to
proper temperature. Memories of the past left no doubt in my mind as to
the use to which the water was to be applied, and I determined to gratify
every fancy that would give pleasure to our former handmaid, and,
therefore, I made no resistance when garters were unbuckled, shoes and
stockings removed, and feet tenderly lifted into the tub. She knew just
how long to keep them there, and how to manipulate them so as to give the
most satisfaction and enjoyment; and how to dry them--a very important
process. And then the shoes and stockings were again put on, and giving
me an affectionate pat on the head she told me to sit still until she told
me to move.

“Now, whar’s your comb and brush?”

The force of habit must have impelled her to ask this question, as,
without awaiting an answer, she went to the bureau and got the articles
about which she had asked, and in a few moments she had my long, luxuriant
black hair uncoiled and flowing over my shoulders. She was delighted; she
combed and braided it, and unbraided and combed it again and again, and
finally, as if reluctant to do so, arranged it for the night.

“Now, whar’s your gown?”

“You will find it hanging in the wardrobe.”

Having undressed me, Frances insisted upon putting the gown on me, and
then wanted to carry and put me in bed; this service, however, I declined
with thanks. All these gentle manipulations had a soporific effect upon
me, and I fain would have slept, but no such pleasure was in store for me.
Frances had an axe to grind, and I had to turn the grindstone, or incur
her displeasure. Mark her proposition:

“Miss Mary, I come to give you my children.”

“Your what?”

“My children, these smart little boys. I’ll go with you to the court-house
in the mornin’ and you can have the papers drawn up and I’ll sign ’em, and
these little niggers will belong to you ’til they’s of age to do for
theyselves; and all I’ll ever ask you to do for me for ’em is to raise
them like my Miss Polly raised me.”

“That you should be willing to give your children away, Frances, surprises
me exceedingly. If you are without a home, and would like to come here and
live, I will do all I can for you and your children. The kitchen is not
occupied, only as a lumber or baggage room, and you can have that without
paying rent; and you can take care of the cow and have all you can make
off of her milk and butter, except just enough for the table use of two;
and you can have a garden without paying rent, and many other
favors--indeed, I will favor you in every possible way.”

“Well, I tell you how it is, Miss Mary. You see, mammy wants to open up a
laundry, and she wants me to help her. She’s done ’gaged several womens to
help her, and she wants me to go in with her sorter as a partner, you see.
And I wants to get my children a good home, for you knows if I had to take
care of ’em I couldn’t do much in a laundry.”

“And you want me to take care of them?”

“Yes’m; just like you used to take care of your own little niggers before
freedom, and after I sign the papers they’ll belong to you, _don’t you

“I am sorry to disappoint you, Frances, but I cannot accept your offer. If
slavery were restored and every negro on the American continent were
offered to me, I should spurn the offer, and prefer poverty rather than
assume the cares and perplexities of the ownership of a people who have
shown very little gratitude for what has been done for them.” Without
seeming to notice the last sentence, Frances exclaimed:

“Well, it’s mighty strange. White folks used to love little niggers, and
now they won’t have them as a gracious gift.”

Under the cover of night she had made her proposition and received her
disappointment, after which she lay down by her children and was soon
sleeping at the rate of 2:40 per hour, if computed by the snoring she kept
up. In due time morning, cheerful, sun-lighted morning, came, and with it
many benign influences and good resolutions for the day.

Frances asked where everything was, and having ascertained, went to work
and soon had a nice, appetizing breakfast for us, as well as for herself
and children. After that important meal had been enjoyed, she inquired
about the trains on the Georgia Railroad, and asked what time she could go
into Atlanta. I told her she could go at nine o’clock, but I preferred
that she should stay until twelve o’clock, m.

“Miss Mary, what was in that trunk I saw in the kitchen last night?”

“I scarcely know; odds and ends put there for safekeeping, I suppose.”

“May I have the trunk and the odds and ends in it? They can’t be much, or
they wouldn’t be put off there.”

“We will go and see.” Again I took the kitchen key, and the trunk key as
well, and having unlocked both receptacles, I told Frances to turn the
contents of the trunks out upon the floor. When she saw them I noticed her
disappointment, and I told her to remain there until I called her. I went
in the house and got a pair of sheets, a pair of blankets, a quilt,
several dresses and underclothing, and many things that she could make
useful for her children, and put them together, and then called her and
told her to take them and put them in the trunk.

“Look here, Miss Mary, you ain’t going to give me all them things, is

“Yes, put them in the trunk and lock it.”

A large sack of apples, a gift also, was soon gathered and a boy engaged
to carry it and the trunk over to the depot in a wheelbarrow. Promptly at
half-past eleven o’clock the trunk and apples, and Frances and her little
boys, were on the way to the depot, _en route_ to Atlanta, their future
home, and even a synopsis of the subsequent achievements of that woman and
her unlettered mother would be suggestive of Munchausen.



A Brief Sketch of the Old Churches and the Union Sunday School--The
Resumption of Church Services.

Before the war there were in Decatur but two churches, the Methodist and
the Presbyterian; although Baptist and Episcopal services were
occasionally held. The churches first mentioned had been organized about
1825. The Presbyterians first worshipped in a log church, and afterwards
in a frame building, but in 1846 had erected a substantial brick church.
In this building was also taught the Decatur Union Sabbath School,
organized in 1831, and for twenty-five years preceding the summer of 1864
it had been superintended by that godly man, Mr. Levi Willard.

The Federals had now come in. The church had been rifled of all its
contents, including the pews. The faithful Sunday School superintendent
with his lovely family soon after went away. Being nearer to our house, I
remember more about the dismantling and refurnishing of the Presbyterian
church than of the Methodist. So far as can be ascertained, the last
sermon at the Presbyterian church had been preached by Rev. James C.
Patterson, who was then living at Griffin, but was the stated supply of
the pulpit here at that time. He will be remembered as a most godly man,
and as a sweet singer of sacred songs.

The Sabbath before the entrance of the Federals, no service was held in
the dear old church. The last prayer service had been held on Wednesday
afternoon, led by Mr. Levi Willard, who was an efficient elder.

In July, 1864, but few families remained in Decatur; but there was still a
goodly number of children and young people whose training must not be
neglected. On the southwest corner of the Courthouse stood, and still
stands, a long, narrow, two-story house. The lower story was occupied as a
residence--the upper story, for many years preceding and succeeding these
times, was the quarters of the Masonic Lodge. In the ante-room of this
lodge, Miss Lizzie Mortin taught a day school. The first story of the
building was now occupied by the family of Mr. John M. Hawkins. Mr.
Hawkins had enlisted in the army early in the war, but for some reason had
returned home and been elected clerk of the court, which position he held
until forced to leave before the advancing foe.

Mrs. Hawkins, whose maiden name was Valeria A. Perkins, the eldest
daughter of Reuben Perkins of Franklin county, gladly opened her house on
Sunday mornings that the children might be taught in the Sacred
Scriptures. And thus a Sunday School was begun, and Mrs. Hawkins was made
the superintendent.

Among the organizers and teachers may be mentioned Miss Cynthia Brown,
Mrs. H. H. Chivers, Mrs. Eddleman, Miss Lizzie Morton, and Miss Lizzie
McCrary. Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan, Mrs. Ammi Williams, and Mr. Fred Williams
acted as a sort of advisory board. Rev. Dr. Holmes and Rev. P. F. Hughes,
two elderly Baptist ministers, sometimes came; and Mr. R. J. Cooper, a
godly layman, came a few times.

The names of some of these Sabbath school pupils can yet be
re-called:--Charley, Guss and Lizzie Hawkins; their Cousins John, Sam,
Ellen and Lizzie Hawkins, the children of Mr. Sam Hawkins, who is still
living in Summerville, Georgia; the children of Mr. R. J. Cooper, and of
Mrs. Eddleman, Mrs. Chivers, and of Mr. Ed Morton. There were others whose
names I cannot recall.

The number of pupils increased to forty, and the school, having out-grown
its quarters, was moved to the Court House; but when the Federals chose to
occupy the Court House, the Sunday school was moved back to Mrs. Hawkins’s
home. The Bible was the text book; for there were no Sunday-school papers
or song books.

Imagine the scene, if you can. Says one of the participants, who was then
a young girl: “We were a peculiarly dressed lot. I had a stand-by suit,
the skirt made of a blanket shawl; with this I wore one of my brother’s
white shirts and a red flannel jacket. I had grown so fast that I was
taller than my mother, and there was literally nothing large enough in our
house or circle of friends to make me a whole suit. One of the ladies wore
a gray plaid silk, a pair of brown jeans shoes, and a woven straw bonnet.
She had nothing else to wear. Many of the children were rigged out in
clothes made from thrown-away uniforms, picked up, washed, and cut down
by the mothers.”

Mrs. Hawkins is still living near Decatur. She remembers that on several
occasions the soldiers came in while the school was in session, much to
the demoralizing of good order and comfort of mind. On one occasion the
raiders piled barrels one on top of another, near the house, and set them
afire, frightening the children very much.

When the war was over, the refugees began to return. Among the first were
the families of Mr. J. W. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Ezekiel Mason, Captain Milton
A. Candler, Dr. W. W. Durham, Dr. P. F. Hoyle, Mrs. Jane Morgan, Mrs.
Cynthia Stone, Mr. James Winn, Mr. Benjamin Swanton, Mr. Jonathan Wilson,
and Mr. J. N. Pate. But, alas! our faithful old Sunday-school
superintendent and his family returned not, but remained in Springfield,
Ohio, with the exception of Mr. Josiah J. Willard, who afterwards married
Miss Jessie Candler, a sister of Captain Candler.

These returning refugees were devoted to the Sunday-school. Mr. John C.
Kirkpatrick, just from the war, and scarce twenty-one, undertook the task
of re-seating the Presbyterian church. He went out to a saw-mill and had
puncheons sawed and carried to Mr. Kirkpatrick’s cabinet shop, where they
were fashioned into temporary seats. These were placed in the church, and
it was once more opened for the exercises of the union Sunday-school, and
also for divine worship. Who conducted those exercises, I can find no one
who now remembers. My mother had been stricken in July, 1865, with
paralysis, which confined her to her bed for many weeks. It was not to be
supposed that her daughters could leave her; so that neither one of them
can recollect these sessions of the resumed Sabbath-school.

There lies before me “the Sunday-school register and minute-book of 1866,”
kindly furnished for inspection by Mr. Hiram J. Williams, who had from
early youth been constantly identified with the Sunday-school and church.
The Superintendent was Mr. Ben T. Hunter; the librarian, Mr. John C.
Kirkpatrick; the treasurer, Mr. John J. McKoy. Mr. Kirkpatrick removed to
Atlanta in the August of that year, and Mr. Josiah Willard was elected to
fill his place, but resigned in December to go on to Ohio, from whence he
soon returned, and died a few years ago in Atlanta.

But I must not forget that I am not writing a history of the
Sabbath-school, yet I cannot leave the theme without mentioning the fact
that all the faithful ones who had taught in the stormy days of war still
came in time of peace, and many others whose hearts had not grown cold by
their enforced absence. Let me mention the teachers: Mr. J. W.
Kirkpatrick, Dr. P. F. Hoyle, Rev. A. T. Holmes, Mr. W. W. Brimm, Captain
Milton A. Candler, Mr. G. A. Ramspeck[4], Dr. John L. Hardman, Mr. H. H.
Puckett, Mr. W. A. Moore (afterwards a Superintendent), Miss Cynthia
Brown, Mrs. H. H. Chivers, Mrs. Eddleman, Mrs. Catharine Winn, Mrs. Jane
Morgan, Miss Lizzie Swanton, Mrs. E. A. Mason, Mrs. Valeria A. Hawkins,
Mrs. J. J. McKoy and Miss Lee Moore. Miss M. H. Stokes had been appointed
one of the teachers, but her mother’s feeble health, and the great shock
consequent upon her death, prevented this teacher from attending that year
with any regularity.

Among the names of “visitors” we notice those of Mr. Bryce, Rev. P. F.
Hughes, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. L. J. Winn.

The re-opening of the Sabbath school at the old church was doubtless a
great blessing to many. To one young man the joining of that school, and
the acceptance of a teacher’s place, meant the first public step to a
profession of faith in Christ. Captain Milton A. Candler was the child of
pious parents, but so far as he knew, was at this time an unconverted man.
He reluctantly and with great diffidence accepted a teacher’s place. Said
he quite recently: “I attribute my subsequent union with the church to the
study of the Bible which I made while teaching a class of little boys,
Sabbath after Sabbath, in the old church with its puncheon seats. I taught
my pupils, a class of little boys, to read from ‘the blue-back speller,’
and, when that lesson was over, read to them from the Bible, explaining it
to them as best I could in all humility.” In a few years he made a public
profession of his faith in Christ, and was elected to the Superintendency
of the Sabbath-school, (which office he still holds), and has labored for
its interests with a love and an unflagging zeal rarely ever equalled.

How sweet were the voices of many of the teachers and pupils! John C.
Kirkpatrick sang a fine tenor; and clear and soft and true were the tones
of Josiah Willard, sweet as the lovely character of this sainted one. All
who knew Rev. J. D. Burkhead remember his singing, and he often led the
music. A little later came Mrs. Mary Jane Wood with her magnificent voice,
and the grand bass of Joseph Morgan, the son of one of the pioneer
teachers, Mrs. Martha Morgan. From this Sunday-school, and from its
ex-Confederate soldiers, there went into the ministry W. W. Brimm, Paul P.
Winn and Sam K. Winn. Promoted to the Glory Land long ago was Mrs. Jane
Morgan; and, more recently, Mrs. Catherine Winn.

In the summer of 1866, a Sabbath-school was organized at the Methodist
church, which, while a step in the right direction, was the sundering, in
one sense, of ties that were very dear.

I cannot ascertain when the first sermon was preached in the church after
the war, but think it must have been in August, as there is this entry in
the journal of my sister, Miss Stokes, already quoted from in a former
part of this volume: “Sunday, August 27th, 1865.--Dr. Holmes preached in
the Presbyterian church, which has been re-opened for divine service,
being furnished with puncheon seats without backs. There are a few benches
with backs. Next Sabbath, Dr. Wilson will administer the communion of the
Lord’s supper.” This was done at the time appointed--the first communion
held in the church after the war. (The Dr. Wilson referred to was the
venerable Rev. John S. Wilson, D. D., who had organized the church forty
years before.)

So far as is known, the only part of the former church furnishings that
ever re-appeared was the melodeon (or “seraphine”), which Rosella Stone, a
negro woman, had preserved. She must have done this for the sake of Miss
Marian Stone, who had formerly played it in church, and who, if I remember
aright, played it again after the resumption of church services.

In the winter of 1865 and 1866, there was preaching for a short while by
the Rev. Theodore Smith. Then followed Rev. J. D. Burkhead, and under his
preaching, in the early spring, there occurred a protracted meeting, at
which many persons were added to the church.

Gladly would I recall, if I could, the preachers who supplied the
Methodist church at that time, but my memory fails me as to the exact
details. I believe, however, that the Rev. William Henry Clarke, referred
to in a preceding sketch, was the first Methodist minister who preached
there after the war; and that Rev. Mr. Morgan and Rev. William A. Dodge
were the first ministers in charge appointed by Conference.

In ante-bellum times, on many of the large plantations, special services
were held for the negroes--some planters paying a regular salary for this
purpose. In pious families, members of the household often taught the
slaves, especially the house servants, the Bible and Catechism. So far as
I can recollect, certain seats were assigned to them in all churches at
all services, besides the special services usually held for them on
Sabbath afternoons.

After the war, the negroes of Decatur and surrounding country were
organized into a Sabbath-school at the Presbyterian Church, They came in
large numbers, and were faithfully taught by the people of Decatur. To the
kind courtesy of Mr. George A. Ramspeck I am indebted for the loan of the
Minute-book of this school, which seems to have been organized in 1867.
The pastor was the Superintendent. The Vice-Superintendent was Mr. Samuel
K. Winn, the Treasurer, Mr. George A. Ramspeck, and the Librarian, Mr.
Moses S. Brown. But after several months the negroes went off to
themselves, and eventually founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
They have also a Baptist Church. In these undertakings they were assisted
by the people of the village.



The Postmaster, Hiram J. Williams--A life that was a reality, but reads
like a romance.

The north side of the court-house square at Decatur is intersected by a
public road leading to North Decatur, Silver Lake, the Chattahoochee
River, and points beyond. On the eastern corner of this intersection
stands the well-known Bradbury House. The house itself is an unsightly
object, being almost untenable through age and neglect, but occupying a
most desirable location. From its site lovely views of the surrounding
country may be obtained, as the eye sweeps the circle of the horizon which
is bounded on the north by distant hills, and on the northwest by the blue
peaks of the Kennesaw. In the west is a near-by plateau, crowned with oaks
and pines, beautiful in the morning when covered with a filmy mantle of
faint purple mist--gorgeous at evening, when overhung by sunset clouds.

In 1860 the lower part of the Bradbury House was occupied as a store and
postoffice, the proprietor and postmaster being Mr. William Bradbury. His
assistant was Hiram J. Williams, then a lad of fourteen years. When Mr.
Bradbury enlisted in the DeKalb Light Infantry in 1861, Hiram became in
reality the postmaster. At that early age he manifested the same traits
which have characterized him to this day--unwearied attention to the
business before him, unvarying courtesy, beautiful modesty, calm unbroken
serenity of manner, and an unswerving honesty.

During the four years of the war, the mail received and sent out from
Decatur was enormous in its quantity, and all the while it was handled by
this youth; for when, in 1862, Mr. Bradbury resigned and Mr. John N. Pate
was appointed postmaster in his place, Hiram Williams was retained in the
office, Mr. Pate simply bringing over the mail from the depot. So great
was the quantity of mail matter that sometimes Hiram had to call to his
assistance his young friend, John Bowie.

During those war years, there were but few postoffices in DeKalb County,
and the people for miles around had their mail sent to Decatur. The
soldiers, unless writing to young ladies, rarely ever paid postage on
their letters, but left it to be done by their home folks. This unpaid
postage had to be collected and kept account of. Often a poor wife or
mother, after trudging weary miles to the postoffice, would receive a
letter from husband or son and, unwilling to return without answering it,
would request Hiram to answer it for her, which he always did. With every
package of letters sent out, a way-bill had to go, showing the number of
letters, how many were prepaid, how many unpaid, etc, etc. Imagine the
work this entailed! Imagine the great responsibility! Imagine the youth
who bore this labor and responsibility for four years! Small of stature,
quiet in manner, but with an undaunted spirit looking out from his steady
but softly bright brown eyes. How brave he must have been, and how his
good widowed mother and only sister must have doted on him.

In July, 1864, when the booming of the Federal guns is heard from the
banks of the Chattahoochee, the postoffice is closed and for several
months thereafter letters, if sent for at all, are sent by hand.

Our brave little postmaster now hies him away to Augusta, and there acts
as mailing clerk for “The Constitutionalist,” and, after the surrender,
for “The Evening Transcript.” In 1866 he returns to Decatur and engages in
mercantile business with Willard and McKoy, but soon after opens a store
of his own.

Early in 1867, Mr. Williams, now arrived at the age of twenty-one, is
appointed postmaster at Decatur by Samuel W. Randall, postmaster general
of the United States Government. In 1869 Mr. Williams was elected clerk of
the Superior Court of DeKalb County, still retaining the office of
postmaster, but having an assistant in each position.

In 1871, he was re-elected clerk of the court, and again in 1873. All this
time he continued to be postmaster, and was re-commissioned by Postmaster
General Jewell in 1875, holding the office up to 1880.

Mr. Williams continued to be Clerk of the Superior Court until 1884, when
Mr. Robert Russell, a Confederate veteran, was elected. Mr. Williams then
returned for a while to mercantile pursuits. But while pursuing the even
tenor of his way, was called to a responsible position in Atlanta (which
he still holds) with the G. W. Scott Manufacturing Company, now known as
the Southern Fertilizer Company.

From 1870 to 1886, Mr. Williams was a special correspondent of “The
Atlanta Constitution,” thus preserving the history of Decatur and of
DeKalb county during that period.

So much for a business career of remarkable success. But is this all? What
of the higher and nobler life? This has not been neglected. In 1866 Mr.
Williams united with the Decatur Presbyterian church. In 1868 he was
appointed Librarian of the Sabbath school, an office he still holds. In
1894 he was elected to the office of Deacon, and also appointed church
Treasurer. When the Agnes Scott Institute, for girls, was founded in 1891,
he was made Secretary and Treasurer.

Mr. Williams has been twice married--in his early manhood to Miss Jennie
Hughes, who lived but a short while. His present wife was Miss Belle
Steward, who has been a true help-meet. They have a lovely and hospitable
home on Sycamore street, where her sweet face, ever beaming with
cheerfulness and loving kindness and sympathy for all, must be to him as a
guiding star to lead and bless him with its light, as he returns at
evening from the city and its business cares and toils, to the rest and
peace of home.

If any one should say that this is not strictly a war sketch, I would
reply, “no, but who could resist following up at least the salient points
of such a life--a life that exemplifies the main elements of success.”
Dear young readers, have you not seen what they are:--perseverance,
fidelity to trusts reposed, punctuality, courtesy, honesty and
conscientiousness--in other words, adherence to right principles and to
Christian duty.



The closing days of the war--A sketch of the Durham family--The death of

On the 9th of April, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Lee had surrendered
his army of twenty-five thousand men to Grant with his four-fold forces.
One after another of the Confederate Generals had been forced to yield to
superior numbers, and by the last of May the war was over.

“The North had at the beginning of the strife a population of twenty-two
millions; the South had ten millions, four millions of whom were slaves.
The North had enlisted during the war two million six hundred thousand
troops--the South a little more than six hundred thousand. Now the North
had a million men to send home--the South but one hundred and fifty

Jefferson Davis had been captured, and imprisoned in Fortress Monroe. Our
worn and ragged soldiers had returned to a devastated country. Our entire
people were to begin life over again in the midst of poverty, uncertainty,
and under the watchful eye of the conqueror. The war was over, but
military rule was not.

It was in these transition days, between the fall of “the Lost Cause” and
the more stirring events of “Reconstruction,” that there occurred in our
little village a most appalling tragedy. To understand it fully, my
readers should know something of the young lady’s family. Let us pause
here and take a backward glance.

About a hundred years ago Lindsey Durham, a Georgia boy of English
descent, graduated from a Philadelphia Medical College and located in
Clarke county, in his native State. Drugs were expensive, as they could
not be obtained nearer than Savannah, Charleston or New York. Being
surrounded by frontiersmen and Indians, he could but notice the efficacy
of the native barks and roots used by them as medicines. He was thus led
to adopt to a large extent the theories of the Botanic School. He began to
cultivate his own medicinal plants, and to prosecute with much zeal his
botanical studies and researches. He even went to Europe and procured
seeds and plants of medicinal value, until finally his garden of medicinal
herbs and plants contained thirteen acres. So great was his fame that
patients began to come to him from adjoining States, and he had to build
cottages on his plantation in order to entertain them. His marvellous
success brought to him ample compensation. He became a millionaire, and
lived in all the old-time splendor. Once, by a loan of money, he rescued
the Athens bank from utter failure.

Dr. Lindsey Durham left several sons, all of whom were physicians. The
eldest of these, and the most eminent, was Dr. William W. Durham, who was
born on his father’s plantation in Clarke county, in 1823. After a
collegiate course at Mercer University, he graduated from the Jefferson
Medical College of Philadelphia, taking high honors, spending five years
in the hospital there, and perfecting himself in surgery. This talented
gentleman married Miss Sarah Lowe, of Clarke county, and, four years after
her death, he married Mrs. Georgia A. Allen, whose maiden name was Wood,
and who was a native of Franklin, Georgia.

With the children of his first marriage and their fair young step-mother,
Dr. Durham came to Decatur in 1859. Well do I remember the children; two
handsome sons, John and William--two pretty brown-eyed girls, Sarah and
Catherine. It is needless to say that a large practice awaited the
skillful physician, whose eclectic methods were then comparatively new.

William, the eldest son, went into the Confederate service at the age of
sixteen, remaining the entire four years, suffering severely at the siege
of Vicksburg, fighting valiantly at the Battle of Atlanta, and coming out
of the war the shadow of his former self, with nothing but an old army
mule and one silver dollar.

Sarah Durham, called Sallie by her family and friends, was a lovely girl
of seventeen. She was tall and graceful; bright, and full of enthusiasm;
kind, loving and generous. She had just returned from her grandmother’s
plantation, for her father had not sooner dared to have his daughters
return, such was the insolence of the straggling Federals.

On the morning of September 1st, 1865, this dear girl arose early and
noiselessly with a scheme in her kind heart. The former servants were all
gone; her mother was not well, and she would surprise the household by
preparing for them a nice breakfast. In fancy we see her, as she treads
lightly, and chats softly with her tiny half-sister Jennie, and with a
little negro girl who in some way had remained with the family.

The Durham residence, which was on Sycamore street, then stood just
eastward of where Col. G. W. Scott now lives. The rear of the house faced
the site where the depot had been before it was burned by the Federals,
the distance being about 350 yards. Hearing an incoming train, Sallie went
to the dining room window to look at the cars, as she had learned in some
way that they contained Federal troops. While standing at the window
resting against the sash, she was struck by a bullet fired from the train.
(It was afterwards learned that the cars were filled with negro troops on
their way to Savannah, who were firing off their guns in a random,
reckless manner.) The ball entered the left breast of this dear young
girl, ranging obliquely downward, coming out just below the waist, and
lodging in the door of a safe, or cupboard, which stood on the opposite
side of the room. (This old safe, with the mark of the ball, is still in
the village.)

The wounded girl fell, striking her head against the dining table, but
arose, and walking up a long hall she threw open the door of her father’s
room, calling to him in a voice of distress. Springing from bed, he said:

“What is it, my child?”

“Oh, father,” she exclaimed, “the Yankees have killed me!”

Laying her upon a small bed in the room, her father cut away from her
chest her homespun dress and made a hasty examination of the wound. Her
horror-stricken mother remembers to this day that awful scene in all its
details. But we will draw a veil over the grief of the smitten family, as
they stood half paralyzed at this sudden calamity, and looked upon the
loved one whom they were helpless to save. Mrs. Durham recalls the fact
that the first person who came in was Rev. Dr. Holmes, and that throughout
this great trial he and his family were very sympathetic and helpful.

Every physician in the village and city, and her father’s three brothers
were summoned, but nothing could be done except to alleviate her
sufferings. She could lie only on her right side, with her left arm in a
sling suspended from the ceiling. Every attention was given by relatives
and friends. Her grandmother Durham came and brought with her the old
family trained nurse. Sallie’s schoolmates and friends were untiring in
their attentions. Some names that have appeared in previous sketches, will
now appear again, for they watched with anxious, loving hearts by the
couch where the young sufferer lay. Tenderly let us mention their names,
as we tread softly in memory’s sacred halls. Among the constant attendants
at her bedside were Mrs. Martha Morgan, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Morton, Miss
Laura Williams (Mrs. J. J. McKoy), Lizzie and Anna Morton, Mrs. H. H.
Chivers, Dr. Jim Brown and John Hardeman. During the week that her life
slowly ebbed away, there was another who ever lingered near her, a
sleepless and tireless watcher, a young man of a well-known family, to
whom this sweet young girl was engaged to be married.

Writes Mrs. P. W. Corr, of Hampton, Florida, (formerly Miss Lizzie
Morton): “Never can I forget the dreary night when Willie Durham, Kitty
Durham and Warren Morton left Decatur with Sallie’s body, which was to be
buried in the old family cemetery in Clarke county. Mrs. Durham, who was
in delicate health, was utterly prostrated and the doctor could not leave
her.” So Dr. Charles Durham managed the funeral arrangements, chartering
the car, and Sallie was buried from the old church her grandfather Lowe
had built on his own plantation in Clarke county, and laid to rest in the
Durham cemetery near by.

Sallie was shot on Friday at 7:30 A. M., and died the following Friday at
3:30 A. M. While she had suffered untold agony, she was conscious to the
last. Throughout her illness she manifested a thoughtful consideration for
the comfort of others. Especially did she show tender solicitude for her
step-mother, insisting that she should not fatigue herself. While anxious
to live, she said she was not afraid to die. In her closing hours she told
her friends that she saw her own mother, her grandfather Durham, and her
uncle Henry Durham (who had died in the Confederate service), all of whom
she expected to meet in the bright beyond.

General Stephenson was in command of the Federal Post at Atlanta. He was
notified of this tragedy, and sent an officer to investigate. This officer
refused to take anybody’s word that Sallie had been shot by a United
States soldier from the train; but, dressed in full uniform, with spur and
sabre rattling upon the bare floor, he advanced to the bed where the
dying girl lay, and threw back the covering “to see if she had really been
shot.” This intrusion almost threw her into a spasm. This officer and the
others at Atlanta promised to do all in their power to bring the guilty
party to justice, but nothing ever came of the promise, so far as we know.

As a singular coincidence, as well as an illustration of the lovely
character of Sallie, I will relate a brief incident given by the gifted
pen already quoted from: “One of the most vivid pictures of the past in my
memory is that of Sallie Durham emptying her pail of blackberries into the
hands of Federal prisoners on a train that had just stopped for a moment
at Decatur, in 1863. We had all been gathering berries at Moss’s Hill, and
stopped on our way home for the train to pass.”

Dr. W. W. Durham lived for nearly twenty years after Sallie’s death.
During the war he had enlisted as a soldier, but was commissioned by Dr.
George S. Blackie, a Medical Director in the Western Division of the
Confederate Army, to the position of Inspector of Medicines for the Fifth
Depot. This position was given him because of his remarkable botanical
knowledge and power of identifying medicines. After the war he was
prominent in the reorganization of the Georgia Medical Eclectic College,
but refused to take a professorship on account of an almost overwhelming
practice. He was a quiet, earnest, thoughtful man; and highly sympathetic
and benevolent in his disposition. His widow, Mrs. Georgia A. Durham, and
their daughter, Mrs. Jennie Findley, still reside in Decatur.

Dr. W. M. Durham is a successful physician in Atlanta. He holds a
professorship in the Georgia Eclectic Medical College, and edits the
Georgia Eclectic Medical Journal. Kitty is Mrs. W. P. Smith, of Maxey’s;
and John L. Durham is a physician with a large practice, and a large
family, living at Woodville, Georgia.

The Durham residence still stands in Decatur, though not upon the same
spot. For years a great stain of blood remained upon the floor, as a grim
and silent reminder of this most awful tragedy which so closely followed
the horrible and cruel war.



The lamented death of Miss Durham was not the only one in our community to
be traced to the results of the war.

The period of reconstruction, forcing upon the Southern states the
obnoxious Fourteenth Amendment, so humiliating and so unjust, especially
at that time, had intensified the prejudices of the negroes against the
white people--prejudices already sufficiently aroused by previous
abolition teachings and the results of the war.

Several times in this little volume mention has been made of Rev. William
Henry Clarke, the staunch patriot and well known Methodist preacher. At
this period he had become a resident of Decatur. His son, Melville Clarke,
a noble, promising boy, while attempting to rescue a small white child
from the abuse of an overgrown negro youth, received wounds from which he
died. Memory recalls many other instances of like character, perpetrated
at this period, the most disgraceful in the annals of American history.

The subjoined resolutions, passed by the Methodist Sabbath school of which
Melville was a beloved scholar, attest the many good traits of his
character, and the affection accorded him in the community:

“The committee appointed to draft resolutions on the death of Melville
Clarke, one of our scholars, beg leave to submit the following:

“In the wise dispensation of Him that doeth all things well, we are called
to pay the last tribute to departed worth. Melville Clark is no more. The
vacant seat says he is no more. The hushed voice says he is no more. Yes,
the impressive, solemn silence of this moment whispers that another light
which shone brightly the brief space allotted it here has flickered out.
The body which encased the spirit of the noble Christian boy has been laid
away in the silence of the grave, and his spirit, as we trust, escorted by
a convoy of angels, has gone to that bright and better world above.

“_Therefore, Resolved_, That as we gather around the new-made grave and
drop a sympathetic tear (which speaks more eloquently than any words
mortal lips can utter), we deeply feel the loss of one so full of promise
and usefulness--that noble spirit just bursting into manhood, with a mind
that would grasp in a moment things that men have passed through life and
never comprehended--and a heart lit up with the love of God, and drawn out
by the tenderest cords of affection to do little acts of kindness.
Language fails us to give utterance to the anguish we feel at sustaining
so great a loss. But he has gone. No more shall we hang upon the eloquence
of his gentle, kind words, or see that face which was so often lit up with
an expressive sweetness that we could but recognize as the reflex of the
lamb-like Christian spirit that reigned within. He has gone, and as we
turn from the sad, solemn scene in that faith which ‘hopeth all things,
believeth all things, endureth all things,’ we can but exclaim: ‘The Lord
gave--the Lord hath taken away--blessed be the name of the Lord!’

“_Resolved_, That in the death of one of our members, so young, we
recognize an admonition that the young, as well as the old, are swiftly
passing away, and that we should pause and reflect seriously upon this
important subject.

“_Resolved_, That as a school, our warmest sympathy and condolence be
tendered to the family of our dear deceased friend in this, their great
bereavement, and that a copy of these resolutions be furnished them.”

  DR. AVERY,       }
  JOHN N. PATE,    }
  CAPTAIN RANDALL, } Committee
  J. R. HAMPTON,   }

August 30th, 1868.



Incidents thrilling and affecting.

In several previous sketches references have been made to the Misses
Morton. Not only they, but the whole family, bore an interesting and
heroic part in the scenes of the war. Mr. Edward L. Morton hoisted the
first Confederate flag that ever floated on the breeze in DeKalb county.
This he did as soon as he heard that Georgia had passed the ordinance of
secession. A few miles from Decatur there was a large mill known as
Williams’s Mill, situated on Peachtree Creek. At the terminus of the
bridge that spanned the creek, near the little hamlet, there grew a tall,
graceful Lombardy poplar tree. The flag had been made by Mrs. Morton, Mrs.
James Hunter, and other ladies who lived in the neighborhood, and was
hoisted by Mr. Morton from the top of the lofty poplar. When the Federals
came in they cut down the tree, but another has grown from its roots.

Mr. Morton enlisted with the first company that went from DeKalb, but
returned and organized one of his own--Company F, 36th Georgia. From this
command he was sent home on account of lung trouble, and placed on special
duty. When Hood fell back to Atlanta, Captain Morton joined White’s
Scouts, a picked band of men. He was also at one time Morgan’s guide.

After Mr. J. W. Kirkpatrick refugeed, his home on Atlanta street was
occupied by Captain Morton’s family. Here some stirring incidents
occurred. Says one of his daughters: “Pa tried to avoid coming within the
Yankee lines, but did several times get caught at home, owing to his
extreme weakness. Finally, after the 23d Army Corps was sent back to
Tennessee, a raiding party of Federals went out toward Stone Mountain,
were fired on a few miles from Decatur, and several killed. They were
furious when they got to our house (on their return). Here they found one
of ‘White’s Men’ (Pa) ill in bed. They held a court-martial and sentenced
him to be hanged as soon as they finished eating dinner. Meanwhile they
left a guard in his bed-room. Ma asked the guard to sit in the parlor and
leave them alone the short time he had to live. The guard was a
kind-hearted man, the house surrounded, the whole detachment eating and
feeding their horses on all sides, and Pa was very feeble; so the guard
sat in the parlor.” Captain Morton then disguised himself, armed himself,
and, passing out a side door, went unchallenged through the crowd of
soldiers, by Woodall’s tan-yard and out into the woods. Continues his
daughter: “But when the guard thought he had better see the prisoner, it
was discovered that he was gone. They talked of burning the house and made
many other threats. For a long time we did not know whether he had escaped
or died in the woods. * * * No man that served in the Confederate army
more truly laid down his life for the cause than did my father. He never
recovered from the lung trouble brought on and aggravated by the exposure
and hardships he endured between ’61 and ’65.”

Warren Morton went into the army at the tender age of fifteen, as a
private in his father’s company. He was in the siege of Vicksburg--was
paroled, and re-entered the army in Cumming’s Brigade--and was shot at
Kennesaw, near Marietta, while acting as Sergeant-Major on Hood’s retreat.
The ball struck the bone of the outer angle of the left eye, cutting away
the temple plate, and came out just over the ear, cutting off the upper
half of the ear. The torn nerves and arteries have always caused him pain.
The bullet, while it did not touch his eye-ball, paralyzed the optic nerve
on that side. The hardships endured when a growing boy, the long marches
in Kentucky, the starvation rations in Vicksburg, and the horrible wound,
ruined his constitution. Yet he has been an energetic man, and is living
now on a farm near Newnan.

The young ladies--girls they all were at the time of which I write--were
Lizzie, Anna, Kelly, Fannie and Eddie.

On the day that Wheeler’s Cavalry routed the Federal wagon train at
Decatur, Lieutenant Farrar of the 63d Ohio Regiment was killed on a meadow
near Mrs. Swanton’s residence, just opposite Mrs. Morton’s. There was also
another Federal, a mere lad, who was mortally wounded. In some way I
discovered the dying boy, and, after carrying him some water, I left him
to the care of the nearer neighbors. Mrs. James Hunter, Mrs. Morton and
her daughters cared for him as best they could, and sat by him until he
died. Miss Lizzie Morton cut from his head a lock of hair and wrote some
verses, which Mrs. Swanton kindly sent to his people in Dayton, Ohio. In
some way this became known to the Federal officers, and future
developments showed that this tender act was much appreciated by them.

On the morning of the 22nd of July, 1864, Mrs. Morton sat on the front
steps watching for an officer to whom she might appeal for protection.
“Very early General McPherson and his staff rode by. Mrs. Morton ran out
and called. General McPherson alighted from his horse, heard her story,
bare-headed, with his hat in hand, wrote an order and dispatched it, and
then mounting, rode away to his death.” That order was to station a guard
at the house, and it was never disregarded as long as the Federal line was
near. This the family have always attributed to their caring for the dead,
and to the kind order of General McPherson.

On the night of the 21st, Mrs. Morton had been badly frightened by some
Federal soldiers coming to her house with the accusation that her young
daughter “had given information that had led to the capture of their wagon
train.” Threats of burning the residence were made by the Federals on
several occasions. The family feel persuaded that Bill Pittman, a faithful
negro, a sawyer who had lived many years at Williams’s Mill, prevented
these threats from being put into execution.

Soon after the close of the war Captain Morton and his family went to
Mississippi. Here he died, and one after another four of the girls, Anna,
Kelly, Fanny, and Eddie. Most touchingly Lizzie (Mrs. P. W. Corr) writes:
“When my sister and I were little girls in Decatur, we were very fond of
private literary entertainments. Anna’s favorite declamation (which always
brought down the house) was:

  ‘They grew in beauty side by side
    Around one parent knee;
  Their graves are scattered far and wide
    O’er mountain, plain, and sea.’

“Anna sleeps alone near an old church in Scott county, Mississippi; Kelly,
alone at Pickens; Pa, Fanny and Eddie side by side at Shiloh, in Holmes
county.” Anna married Mr. Kearney; Kelly, Mr. W. S. Cole. Mrs. Morton is
still living in the home of her daughter Lizzie, who married Rev. P. W.
Corr, of Hampton, Florida. Mrs. Corr is very happily married, being fond
and proud of her husband, and her children filling her heart with comfort
and pleasure. To crown her earthly blessings, her mother has been spared
to her in all life’s changing scenes.

Here in her happy Florida home we leave our erstwhile lassie of the war
times--now an earnest wife and mother, busy ever with home duties, and
also a true helpmeet to her husband in his ministerial and editorial

This sketch, with its incidents, both heroic and pathetic, cannot be more
appropriately concluded than by the touching words of Mrs. Corr in a
recent letter: “What you say of the ‘empty places’ is full of
suggestiveness. I think I never could have borne my losses and still have
moved about among the ‘empty places.’ But going always among strangers
after every loss, being removed at once from the scene of death and not
passing that way again, my sisters live in memory as part of the past,
always merry, happy girls, never to grow heart-weary, never to fade. We,
wandering among strangers in strange and unfamiliar scenes, have kept the
memory of our old Decatur home and friends intact. There are no empty
places there for us.

“It seems sweet to me to think that in that home to which we are all
traveling, we shall find that those dear ones who have preceded us have
carried with them that same bright and precious picture, which, however,
is not there a picture of memory, but a reality of which the earthly
circle was only a shadow or prophecy; and the only empty places there are
those which shall be filled when we get home. Something there is in the
friendships, even, of other days, that has never died--something that will
live again--a root planted here that there blossoms and fruits eternally.
How much more true is this--it must be so--of those who were heart of our
hearts, our own loved ones. I doubt not that for one sad longing thought
of ‘brother, mother, nephew,’ all that you have loved and lost, they have
had many sweet and loving thoughts of you, and joyful anticipations of
your coming home ‘Some Sweet Day.’”



(This chapter, and the succeeding one, were not placed in the
chronological order of events, because they would have broken the
continuity of personal experiences).

After an appeal to physical force, as the only means of redressing our
wrongs, was fully determined upon, we made many important discoveries,
chief of which was that we were not prepared for war. This fact had often
been impressively and earnestly set forth by our greatest statesmen,
Alexander Hamilton Stephens and Benjamin Harvey Hill, who, though reared
in different schools of politics, were fully agreed upon this point, and
who urged, with all the eloquence of patriotism and profound understanding
of existing facts, the importance of delaying the act of seceding from the
United States until we were better prepared for the mighty
consequences--either beneficial or disastrous. In no way was the wisdom of
this advice made more apparent than by our utter want of the appliances of
warfare on land and on sea.

The ordinance of secession having been enacted, Georgia found itself
confronted by the scarcity of guns and other munitions of warfare. Hon.
Joseph E. Brown, our war Governor, finding it impossible to secure even
shot-guns to equip the many regiments eager for the fray, conceived the
idea of arming them with pikes; and, undaunted by the Herculean
undertaking, put a large force of the best blacksmiths at the W. & A. R.
R. shops to making these primitive weapons. To whose fertile brain belongs
the honor of evolving the plan or diagram by which they were to be made,
has never been revealed to the writer. The blade of the pike was to be
about 16 inches long and 2 inches wide, with a spur of about 3 inches on
either side, all of which was to be ground to a sharp edge. The shank was
to be about 12 inches long, and arranged to rivet in a staff 6 feet long.

In the memorable year, 1861, J. C. Peck owned a planing mill and general
wood-working shop on Decatur street, Atlanta, Ga., on the grounds now
occupied by the Southern (old Richmond and Danville) R. R. freight depot.
There being no machinery at the railroad shops suitable for turning the
handles nor grinding the pikes, Mr. Peck contracted to grind and supply
with handles the entire number--he thinks ten thousand. Before he finished
this work, Governor Brown called a meeting of the mechanics of Atlanta for
the purpose of ascertaining if some arrangement could be made for the
manufacture of guns for the army. This meeting was adjourned two or three
times, and no one seemed willing to undertake the job. At the last meeting
a letter was received from the Ordnance Department of the Confederate
States, containing a “drawing” of a short heavy rifle to be supplied with
a Tripod rest, and an urgent request that the Governor would encourage the
making of twenty-five guns after this pattern, as soon as possible. A
liberal premium for the sample was offered by the Confederate Ordnance
Department. The barrels were to be thirty inches long with one inch bore,
and rifled with three grooves, so as to make one complete revolution in
the thirty inches. As no one else would undertake this complicated job,
Mr. Peck asked for the “drawing,” and announced his willingness to do so.
He discovered that it would require iron ¾ by 4½ or 5 inches to make the
barrels, and for this purpose he procured enough Swede iron at a hardware
store on Whitehall street to make thirty barrels. He also discovered that
the common Smith bellows would not yield a blast sufficient to secure
welding heat on so large a piece, and it was suggested that it could be
done at W. & A. R. R. shops; he therefore secured an order from Governor
Brown authorizing this important work to be done there under his
instruction. An old German smith, whom Mr. Peck found at the shops,
rendered him valuable aid in the accomplishment of this portion of the
work. As rapidly as the welding was done he had them carried to his shop,
and a wood-turner, Mr. W. L. Smith, bored them on a wood turning lath.
This was a difficult job, as the boring bits caught in the irregular hole
and broke; finally he devised a sort of rose bit which steadied itself,
and he had no further trouble. After successfully accomplishing this
portion of the work, Mr. Peck found himself confronted by another
difficulty. He had no way of turning iron, but his indomitable will shrank
not from the task, and he threw out a search-light which enabled him to
discern a Savage, who had been superintendent of Pitts & Cook’s gin
factory, and he engaged him to turn it. Mr. Peck then employed an
ingenious blacksmith, who did to his satisfaction all the smith work he
wanted. He made his own taps and dies for fitting the breech pieces,
putting in the nipples, etc., and forged the hammers, triggers, ramrods,
etc. The brass mountings were cast by Gullatte Brothers, who at that time
were running a brass foundry. The locks were purchased by Mr. Peck in
Macon, but, as already intimated, had to be supplied with new hammers and
triggers. As the plan called for the barrels to be rifled with three
grooves, and to make one complete revolution in the length of the barrel,
there was none in the employ of Mr. Peck who had any idea how it was to be
done. Much perplexed he went to Mr. Charles Heinz, the gunsmith on
Whitehall street, who explained the process of rifling done by hand. On
this idea Mr. Peck constructed a machine which he attached to a Daniels
planer. This was a wood machine, with a bed which traveled backward and
forward, similar to the bed of an iron planer--in such a manner that the
backward and forward motion of the bed gave, also, a rotary motion to the
cutters. By this process each barrel was rifled precisely alike. Mr. Peck
had thirty barrels forged, but some of them were defective and would not
bore through without breaking, and some were burnt in testing. Only
twenty-five of them were finished. He had an abundance of walnut lumber
and did not have to contend with any obstacle in making the stocks, but
some in clamping them to the barrels. The plan also showed the usual screw
in the extension of the breech pin, and two bands similar to those on the
old style musket. Mr. Peck forged iron bands, but with his best effort at
finishing them they appeared clumsy. Opportunely he chanced to see a wagon
on Pryor street containing a lot of hardware and other things, among which
was a large brass kettle. Thinking he could make bands out of this vessel,
he purchased it and cut it up into those indispensable parts of his famous
job, but another obstacle to success presented itself to his patient
vision. He could find no one to braze the joints. By reference to his
“Mechanic’s Companion” he learned the art, and brazed the bands in a
skillful style. This being, done, he gave his finishing touches to the

The balls were like minie-balls, one inch in diameter, and two and
one-fourth inches long, and weighed four ounces. Mr. Peck made only one
set of bullet moulds, which run two bullets at the same time, and he
thinks he made only six of the tripod rests. They were--every lock, stock
and barrel--tested by several persons expert in the handling of muskets,
rifles, shot-guns, etc., among whom was Mr. Charles Heinz, still living in
Atlanta, and who will vouch for the accuracy of this important item of
Confederate history, and the utility of the shot emanating from these
wonderful guns. To put it mildly, the effect was almost equal to that of a
six-pounder. And the recoil! Well! Wonderful to relate! They must have had
infused into their mechanism supernatural or national prescience, and
peering through the dim vista of the future saw the beacon light of a
re-united country, and disdained partiality in the Fratricidal Contest,
for every time one of them was shot at a “Yankee,” it kicked a “Rebel”

P. S.--Mr. Peck has the original “drawing” sent on from the Ordnance
Department at Richmond, and also the receipt for the payment for the
barrels. He also has a letter from the Chief of Ordnance at Washington, D.
C., informing him that the identical guns described in the above sketch
had been found in his department, and that two of them would be exhibited
in the Government Building of the Piedmont Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia,
in 1895.



Captain William A. Fuller and his comrades of the pursuit.--The race of
the engines, “The General” and “The Texas.”

In the early part of 1862 the army of the Cumberland and also that of the
Tennessee had grown to gigantic proportions. The history of that memorable
era establishes the fact that in the month of February of that year the
army of the Cumberland, commanded by General Buell, had captured Fort
Donaldson and several other strong strategic points on the Tennessee and
Mississippi Rivers. Numerically the Federal Army was so much stronger than
the Confederate that large detachments could easily be made for incursions
into the interior and unprotected sections of middle and West Tennessee,
while the main army steadily advanced down the Mississippi Valley. By the
first of April, General Mitchell had occupied Shelbyville and other
cities, including Nashville; and the larger towns and railroad stations in
the neighborhood South and East of Nashville had been occupied by the

Recognizing the importance of saving to the Confederate cause everything
necessary to sustain life both of man and beast, all that could be brought
out of Kentucky and Tennessee had been sent South--to Atlanta and other
important points--so that those States were literally stripped of all
surplus food.

The army of the Tennessee, under the command of General Albert Sidney
Johnston, sought to meet General Buell and dispute his further advance.
Corinth, Mississippi, was selected by General Johnston as a point beyond
which the army of the Cumberland should not go. This position commanded
the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, as well as others running south of
that point. By the fifth of April General Buell’s army had massed at
Pittsburg Landing, and along a line reaching south and parallel to that of
General Johnston. Relatively the armies stood about five to eight, the
Confederate of course being the smaller. They met in battle on the 6th day
of April at Shiloh, so-called by the Federals, but Southern historians
call it the battle of Corinth. The fight was a long and disastrous
one--disastrous to both armies--but the Federals, having an unbounded
supply of everything needed in war, and being immediately strengthened by
large reinforcements which literally poured in, were enabled to rapidly
recuperate. The Confederates lost heavily in killed and wounded, and
suffered irreparably by the death of General Albert Sidney Johnston. The
loss of this noble man was deeply felt and regretted by the entire South.
The week following this horrible carnage was mainly taken up by both
armies in burying the dead, caring for the wounded, fortifying, receiving
reinforcements and maneuvering for advantageous positions.

General Mitchell, as already stated, had occupied Shelbyville, and had a
considerable force. Some cavalry had penetrated as far south-east as
Chattanooga, and had several times dropped a few shell into that town.

After the death of General Johnston the Confederate Army at Corinth was
put under the command of General Beauregard. There were small detachments
of Confederate troops distributed along the Memphis and Charleston
Railroad to Stephenson, and from there to Chattanooga; also from
Chattanooga to Bristol, on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, and on
the Virginia and Tennessee. These were to guard the railroad bridges,
depots, and government stores, etc. General Ledbetter was stationed at
Chattanooga with about three thousand men. There was a tolerably strong
guard at London bridge, where the East Tennessee railroad crosses the
Tennessee river; and General E. Kirby Smith occupied Knoxville, with a
sufficient force to protect that important point as against General Morgan
in his immediate front with a strong force. East Tennessee was very nearly
evenly divided between Federals and Confederate sympathizers. Neither side
was safe from betrayal. Those who were true to the Southern cause
distinguished themselves as officials and soldiers, and those who were
recreant to it were a source of great annoyance and disaster; and this
applies to Kentucky and West Virginia as well. During the month of April,
1862, Brownlow, and those of his opinion, were arrested, and imprisoned in

The strict rules of the passport system had not yet been adopted by
southern army commanders, and it was no difficult matter for friend or foe
to pass the lines.

Thus matters stood at that time. The reader, therefore, may be prepared to
appreciate one of the most exciting, thrilling and interesting stories of
the Civil Contest.

The Western and Atlantic Railroad (often called the State Road) at the
time discussed in the preceding pages, was the only line of communication
between the southern centre of the Confederate States and the Army of
Tennessee. It was worthy of notice that this road was not paralleled by
any of the roads now in existence. The Memphis and Charleston Railroad
came into the Nashville and Chattanooga at Stevenson as now, and the
latter road reached from Nashville to Chattanooga. The East Tennessee and
Georgia Road also came into Chattanooga then as now, and also into Dalton.
These three railroad lines were “the feeders” for the Western and Atlantic
Railroad at Chattanooga and Dalton. At the south or Atlanta end of that
line we had the old Macon & Western (now the Georgia Central), the Atlanta
and West Point, and the Georgia Railroad, as feeders for the Western and
Atlantic, which reached from Atlanta via Dalton to Chattanooga. As has
been stated, the Army of Tennessee, under General Beauregard at Corinth,
the army under General E. Kirby Smith at Knoxville, the army under General
Ledbetter at Chattanooga, and all detailed men on duty along the whole
front of the Confederates from Corinth to Bristol, depended upon this
single line (the old reliable Western and Atlantic Railroad) for army
supplies. There was no other road in the whole distance of eight hundred
miles, reaching from Mobile, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia, that ran
north and south. These facts were well known to northern commanders, and
it has always seemed strange that the road should have been so
unprotected. The many bridges on the Western and Atlantic were guarded at
the time under consideration, April 1862, by a single watchman at each
bridge, and he was employed by the railroad authorities. The bridges were
of the Howe Tress pattern, weatherboarded with common wooden boards, and
covered with shingles. They were exceedingly inflammable and could easily
have been set on fire.

One of the rules for the running of the trains was that “if any two trains
failed to make the meeting point they would be considered irregular
trains, and the conductor of each train should be required to send a
flagman ahead, and thus proceed until the two flagmen met.” This
cumbersome rule frequently occasioned great disorder, and sometimes many
trains of all grades were massed together at one station. Railroad men
will understand this condition of affairs. These things were known and
understood not only by the Confederates, but by the Federals through their
spies. J. J. Andrews especially understood them, as the sequel will prove.

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the plans adopted by
Captain J. J. Andrews and his twenty-two auxiliaries, to descend into the
heart of the South; suffice it to say, their plans were successful, and
they passed the Confederate lines and entered the pretty town of Marietta,
twenty miles north of Atlanta, unmolested and unsuspected. The solving of
the mystery will appear at the proper time. For present purposes it is
enough to state that they not only entered the town mentioned, but boarded
the north-bound train on the morning of April 12th, 1862. The well-known
and intrepid Captain William A. Fuller was the conductor in charge of that
train--the now celebrated “General” was his engine--and Jeff Cain his
engineer. There was nothing suspicious in the environments of the
occasion. In those days it was not unusual, even in a country town, for a
large number of men to board a train, and they were coming in from all
over the country to join the Confederate army.

There was a Camp of Instruction at Big Shanty, seven miles north of
Marietta, and this fact, as well as many others more important, was known
to Andrews, who from the beginning of the war had been “a commercial
traveller,” “in full sympathy with the South,” and had ridden over this
line many times. The conductor, therefore, took up the tickets as usual,
some to one point and some to another, but the most of them to Big Shanty.
The raiders were dressed in various styles and appeared like a good class
of countrymen. They claimed to be “refugees from beyond the Lincoln

Big Shanty was a mere station, having only one or two business houses, and
noted by the traveling public as having a most excellent “eating-house”
for the accommodation of the passenger trains. When Captain Fuller’s train
arrived at Big Shanty, the passengers and train hands went into the hotel
for breakfast. The absence from the table of the large crowd that got on
the train at Marietta was noticed by the conductor, and just as he took
his seat, which commanded a view of his train, the gong on the old
“General” rang. It should be stated here that the train was as follows:
“The general,” three freight cars, one second and two first-class coaches,
a baggage car and express car. Andrews had detached the entire passenger
train, put his surplus men into the three freight cars, and on “The
General” he had with himself his own engineer and fireman.

The very moment the gong rang Captain Fuller sprang from the table, and
with a swift run reached the main track and pursued the flying train,
which was now fast disappearing around a curve in the road. As he ran out
of the hotel Captain Fuller called to his engineer, Jeff Cain: “Some one
who has no right to do so has taken our train!” Cain and Mr. Anthony
Murphy joined in the race, but were soon distanced by the fleet-footed
Fuller. The limestone soil between the tracks was wet and clung to his
feet so that fast running was very fatiguing to Captain Fuller, but he ran
with a determination that overcame all obstacles. Moon’s Station, a little
more than two miles from Big Shanty, was reached by him in an incredibly
short time. Here he found that the Andrews raiders had stopped and had
taken all of the tools from the railroad section hands. They had climbed
the telegraph poles, cut the wire, and carried a hundred feet of it along
with them to prevent the repair of the line in time to thwart their plans.
The track hands were amazed at their conduct, and hurriedly told Captain
Fuller what had been done. Up to this time he had been in doubt as to the
true character of the raiders. He had thought that possibly some of the
Confederates at Camp McDonald, (the Camp of Instruction at Big Shanty),
tired of strict discipline and confinement, might have taken the train in
order to enable them to pass the environment of their camp. But from this
moment there was no room for doubt. As quickly as possible Captain Fuller
and two track hands placed upon the rails an old timber car used for
hauling crossties, iron, and other heavy material. This was an unwieldy
and cumbersome medium of locomotion, but it rendered good service,
nevertheless. Captain Fuller knew that every moment of time was most
valuable, as the raiders were speeding along up the road and his chances
for overtaking and capturing them were very doubtful. While putting on the
hand-car he debated with himself these questions: “Should he proceed
immediately in the pursuit, or would it be best to push back and get his
engineer?” He decided to push back for Cain, and when he had gone nearly a
mile he met Cain and Mr. Anthony Murphy. They were taken on the hand-car
and the pursuit of the raiders, now far ahead, was begun again. Captain
Fuller says that if he had not gone back, as above stated, he would have
captured the raiders at Kingston, as more than twenty minutes were lost,
and he was quite that close to them at Kingston. He says, however, he is
now glad he did not do so, as the run from that point furnished the most
thrilling event of his life.

Murphy, Cain, the two track hands, and Fuller, pushed and ran, and ran and
pushed, alternately, and each and every man on the old hand-car did his
full duty. Soon after passing Moon’s Station, where Captain Fuller got
the hand-car, the pursuers came upon a pile of cross-ties, but they were
soon removed from the track and the race resumed.

The intelligent reader will not for a moment suppose that Captain Fuller
and his comrades entertained any hope of overtaking the raiders on foot,
or even by the hand-car. Captain Fuller’s thoughts ran ahead of his
surroundings, and he disclosed his plans to his comrades in these words:
“If we can get to Etowah by 9:40, we will catch the old Yonah. This we can
do by very hard work, unless hindered by obstructions.” This suggestion
doubled the energy of every man, and they abandoned themselves to the task
before them. It is difficult to write, with deliberation, a story so full
of push and haste. This run of twenty miles with an old clumsy hand-car,
under so many difficulties, is replete with interest. At length, after
Captain Fuller and his comrades were thoroughly exhausted, standing on the
turn-table at Etowah more than a mile away, “the old Yonah” was espied. A
yell and cry of great joy went up from these gallant men; but, alas, their
vision had extended beyond their immediate danger! The raiders had removed
an outside rail in a short curve, and unexpectedly the whole party was
thrown into a ditch full of water. This, however, was a small matter to
men of resolute will and iron nerve. The car was soon carried across the
break in the track and put upon the run again. One of the track hands was
left to watch this break, to prevent danger to following trains--the other
was left with the hand-car at Etowah. Although the old Yonah was standing
on the turn-table at Etowah, her tender was on another track. Willing and
eager hands soon had the engine and tender coupled together, and the Yonah
was “pressed into service.” An empty coal car was taken on, and a few
Confederate soldiers, who were at the station waiting for a south-bound
train, volunteered to join in the chase. The engineer of the Yonah, Mr.
Marion Hilly, and his own hands, ran the Yonah from Etowah to Kingston,
and Captain Fuller gives them great credit for their loyalty and faithful

A more dangerous run was never made. The track was in a bad condition, and
the line quite crooked; and the pursuers could not tell at what moment
they might be thrown into a ditch by a removal of rails, or obstructions
placed upon the track; but they were absolutely blind to all personal
danger or considerations. The Yonah had only two drivers and they were six
feet, and she had a very short strike. She was built for fast running with
a small passenger train on an easy grade. Under all the difficulties by
which he was surrounded, Hilly ran the Yonah from Etowah to Kingston,
thirteen miles in fourteen minutes, and came to a full stop at
Cartersvile, and also at Kingston. Several crossties had been put upon the
track, but the pursuers said “they were literally blown away as the Yonah
split the wind.”

At Kingston, Captain Fuller learned that he was only twenty minutes behind
the raiders. At this point, Andrews had represented himself as a
Confederate officer. He told the railroad agent that he “passed Fuller’s
train at Atlanta, and that the cars which he had contained fixed
ammunition for General Beauregard at Corinth.” He carried a red flag on
“The General,” and said that “Fuller’s train was behind with the regular
passenger train.”

This plausible story induced the agent to give him his keys to unlock the
switch at the north end of the Kingston railroad yard. Several heavy
freight trains were at Kingston, bound southward. Those furthest behind
reached a mile or so north of the switch on the main line. Owing to
Andrews’s “fixed ammunition” story, the agent, being a patriotic man,
ordered all trains to pull by, so as to let Andrews out at the north end
of the yard. This was done as quickly as possible, though it was difficult
to make the railroad men understand why the great haste, and why Andrews
should be let pass at so much trouble when Fuller’s train would soon be
along, and both could be passed at the same time. But Andrews’s business
was so urgent, and so vitally important, as a renewal of the fight between
Beauregard and Buell was expected at any hour, the freightmen were induced
to pull by and let him out. This delay gave Captain Fuller an inestimable
advantage, and but for the delay at Moon’s Station, Andrews and his
raiders would have been captured at Kingston.

When Fuller arrived at Kingston on the Yonah, he was stopped by a flagman
more than a mile south of the depot, on account of the trains that had
pulled by to let Andrews out. He saw at once that he would have to abandon
the Yonah, as he could not get her by without much delay. So taking to his
feet again, he ran around those freight trains to the depot and held a
short conversation with the agent from whom he learned the particulars of
Andrews’s movements and representations, etc. He then ran to the north
prong of the Rome railroad “Y,” where that road intersected with the
Western and Atlantic mainline. There he found “The Alfred Shorter,” the
Rome railroad engine, fired up and ready to move. He hurriedly told Wyley
Harbin the engineer of “The Alfred Shorter,” about the raiders, and he and
his fireman, noble fellows, at once put themselves and their engine at his
service. The pursuers were gone in thirty seconds. Captain Fuller says
that Jeff Cain got into the train, but that Mr. Murphy who was in another
part of the car yard, considering some other plan, came near being left;
but Fuller saw him and held Harbin up until he ran up and got on.

Captain Fuller rode on the cowcatcher of the “Shorter,” that he might
remove crossties and other obstructions that would probably be put on the
track. Further down the road, when Andrews was running more at leisure, he
loaded the three box cars with ties and other timber, and when he feared
pursuit he punched out the rear end of his hindermost car and dropped
obstructions in the way of his pursuers. The Alfred Shorter had drivers
only four feet--6--, and could make only ordinary time; but Captain Fuller
did not consider that of any great disadvantage, as she ran as fast as it
was safe to do on account of the many obstruction dropped by raiders upon
that part of the road.

Six miles north of Kingston, Captain Fuller found it necessary to abandon
the “Shorter,” because at that point several rails of the track had been
taken up and carried away by the raiders. Knowing the schedule as he did,
and seeing he could not get by in less time than thirty minutes, Captain
Fuller decided that the best thing to be done was to go to Adairsville,
four miles north, where he hoped to find a south-bound train, “tied up”
because of the delay of his train. Possibly he might meet this train
before reaching Adairsville. Leaving the “Shorter,” he called upon all who
wished to join in one more effort to follow him, and started in a run on
foot for another four miles. There were none to follow--all preferred to
remain in the Rome passenger coach. (It is not amiss here to state that,
at Kingston, Fuller took on one coach belonging to the Rome Railroad, and
that some thirty or forty persons had volunteered and boarded the Rome
car; but, when invited to join in a four-mile foot race, they preferred to
remain in the coach.)

When Fuller had run about two miles he looked back and saw Murphy just
rounding a curve about three hundred yards behind. When he had run about a
mile further, to his great delight he met the expected south-bound freight
train. Fuller gave the signal, and, having a gun in his hand, was
recognized by the conductor, who stopped as quickly as possible.
Fortunately Peter I. Brachen was the engineer of the freight, and had “The
Texas,” a Danforth & Cook, 5 feet 10 driver, as his engine. Captain Fuller
knew that Brachen was a cool, level-headed man, and one of the best
runners that ever pulled a throttle. As soon as the train stopped, Fuller
mounted and was about to back it, when, seeing Murphy coming, he held
Brachen a few seconds until his comrade got on “The Texas.” Then the long
train was pushed back to Adairsville, where Fuller changed the switch,
uncoupled the train from the engine, and pushed in upon the side track. In
the further pursuit of the raiders, Captain Fuller never changed his
engine or his crew again.

From hence “The Texas” is after “The General”--both are new, both 5 feet
10 driver, with the same stroke--“The General” a Rogers, “The Texas” a
Danforth & Cook. But “The General” was forward, while “The Texas” had to

Captain Fuller rode on the back end of the tender, which was in front, and
swung from corner to corner, so that he could see round the curves and
signal to Brachen. His only chance to hold on was by two hooks, one at
each corner of the tender, such as were formerly used to secure “spark
catchers.” Many times he bounced two feet high when the tender ran over
obstructions not seen in time to stop the engine. The ten miles from
Adairsville to Calhoun was made in twelve minutes, including the time
consumed in removing obstructions. (Here it may be in order to state that
when Andrews had met Brachen at Adairsville, on his south-bound trip
before being met by Fuller, that he told him to hurry to Kingston, as
Fuller would wait there for him. This Brachen was doing, when Captain
Fuller met him a mile south of Adairsville. But if Fuller had not met and
stopped him, he would not have gone on to Kingston, but would have plunged
into the break in the railroad where the raiders had taken up the rails
at the point where the “Shorter” was abandoned. This was one of Andrews’
best moves. He hoped to occasion a disastrous wreck, and block the road.)

As Captain Fuller with “The Texas” and her crew figure exclusively in the
remainder of this wonderful chase, he thinks it eminently due them that
the names of those actually engaged on the engine should be given. Federal
reports of the affair have put under the command of Fuller a regiment or
more of armed soldiers. Some illustrations show long trains of cars packed
to overflowing with armed men.

From the time he stopped Brachen, a mile south of Adairsville, to the
point where Andrews abandoned “The General,” three miles north of
Ringgold, he had with him only Peter J. Brachen as engineer, Henry Haney,
fireman of the engine (who, at the suggestion of Brachen, stood at the
brakes of the tender, and had for additional leverage a piece of timber
run through the spokes of the brake-wheel), Flem Cox, an engineer on the
road, who happened to be along, and fired the “Texas,” and Alonzo Martin,
train hand of the freight train left at Adairsville, who passed wood to
Cox. Thus it is seen that Captain Fuller, Peter J. Brachen, Flem Cox, and
Alonzo Martin were the members of the pursuing party in toto, during the
last fifty-five miles of the chase.

As has been stated, Mr. Anthony Murphy, of Atlanta, rode on “The Texas”
with Brachen from Adairsville to the point at which the Andrews raiders
were caught, and there is no doubt he would have aided in their capture
at the forfeit of his life had he been called upon to do so.

As the pursuers ran past Calhoun, an enthusiastic old gentleman, Mr.
Richard Peters, himself a Northern man, and who died an honored citizen of
Atlanta, offered a reward of a hundred dollars each for all the raiders
captured. Had this promise been fulfilled Captain Fuller would have
received $2,300, which no doubt he would have divided with his comrades in
the pursuit.

At Calhoun Captain Fuller met the south-bound “day passenger train,”
delayed by his unexpected movements. He had his engine run slowly by the
depot, and exchanged a few words with the excited crowd of people, who
were amazed at the sudden appearance and disappearance of the runaway
train which had passed there a few moments before. Here he also saw Ed
Henderson, the telegraph operator at Dalton. Discovering that the line was
down below Dalton, Henderson had gone down on the passenger train to try
to repair the break in the wire. Seeing him, Fuller reached out his hand
as he was running by and took the operator into the tender, and as they
ran at the rate of a mile a minute he wrote the following dispatch:

“_To General Ledbetter, Chattanooga_:

My train was captured this morning at Big Shanty, evidently by Federal
soldiers in disguise. They are making rapidly for Chattanooga, and will no
doubt burn the Chickamauga bridges in their rear, if I should fail to
capture them. Please see that they do not pass Chattanooga.

  W. A. FULLER.”

He handed this dispatch to the operator, and instructed him to put it
through at all hazards when he should arrive at Dalton.

Just at that moment the pursuers came in sight of the raiders for the
first time. They had halted two miles north of Calhoun and were removing a
rail from the track. As the pursuers hove in sight, the raiders detached
their third car and left it before Captain Fuller could reach them.
Coupling this abandoned car to “The Texas,” Captain Fuller got on top of
it and began the race again. The rails had only been loosened and the
intrepid conductor took the chances of running over them. From this point
the raiders ran at a fearful rate, and the pursuers followed after them as
fast as “The Texas” could go.

One mile and a half further up, the raiders detached another car in the
front of the pursuers. This was witnessed by Fuller, who was standing on
the rear end of the car he had coupled to when the raiders were first
seen. He gave Brachen the signal, and he advanced slowly to the abandoned
car and coupled it to the first one obtained in this way. Then getting on
top of the newly captured one he was off again in the race with scarcely
the loss of a moment’s time.

Just in front of the raiders, and not more than a mile away, was an
important railroad bridge over the Oostanaula river at Resaca. The
pursuers had greatly feared that the raiders would gain time to burn this
bridge, after passing over it. But they were pressed so hotly and so
closely that they passed over the bridge as rapidly as the “General” could
carry them. The pursuers were, therefore, greatly rejoiced on their
arrival at Resaca to see that the bridge was standing, and that it had not
been set on fire. The two cars picked up as described were switched off at
Resaca, and the pursuers again had “The Texas” untrammeled. The race from
Resaca to Dalton has seldom been paralleled. It is impossible to describe

At Dalton the telegraph operator was dropped, with instructions to put the
dispatch to General Ledbetter through to the exclusion of all other
matter. All was excitement at this point. The unusual spectacle of a wild
engine flying through the town with only one car attached was bewildering
indeed; and when Captain Fuller arrived and ran through, slacking his
speed just enough to put the operator off the train, the excitement became
intense. The operator was besieged on every side for an explanation, but
he knew nothing save that contained in the dispatch.

Two miles north of Dalton, Andrews stopped. Some of his men climbed
telegraph poles and cut the wire, while others were engaged in an effort
to take up the track behind them. The operator at Dalton had sent the
dispatch through to Ledbetter at Chattanooga; but just as he had finished
and was holding his finger on the key, waiting for the usual “O. K,” click
went the key, and all was dead. He did not know until the next day that
Captain Fuller’s dispatch had reached its destination. Had the raiders
been thirty seconds earlier in cutting the wire, the dispatch would not
have gone through. As it was Ledbetter received it, and not being able to
hear anything further by telegraph or otherwise he had a regiment placed
in ambush (some of the soldiers on either side of the track), and had a
considerable part of the track taken up. This was about a mile from
Chattanooga, so that by the intervention of the telegram Fuller had
Andrews both front and rear.

Andrews was run away from the point where the wires were cut before any
material damage was done to the track. The rails had been partially
removed, but not so much as to prevent the safe passage over them of “The
Texas” and her crew.

Now the last long race begins. The pursued and the pursuers are in sight
of one another. In every straight line of the road, Andrews was in plain
view. This tended to increase the interest and excitement, if, indeed, the
thrilling scenes and incidents of the seconds as they flitted by could
have been heightened. I say seconds, because minutes in this case would be
too large to use for a unit of time. The experience, practice, and
knowledge of machinery possessed by the engineers was brought into full
play. “The Texas” was kept at a rate of one hundred and sixty-five pounds
of steam, with the valve wide open. Brachen would appear a little pale
sometimes, but he was encouraged by Fuller standing the full length of the
tender before him, and watching around the curves. At every straight line
in the road Andrews was sighted, and a yell went up from the throats of
the pursuers, but they did not lose their wits. Their aim was forward,
onward, at all hazards. They were now convinced that Andrews had exhausted
his supply of obstructive material, and were not so uneasy on that
account. But as prudence is the better part of valor, and as they had so
few men on board, they dared not approach too close, lest their little
band should be fired upon; or what appeared to be a greater danger,
Andrews might suddenly stop and give fight. Captain Fuller had only five
person on “The Texas” besides himself, and all accounts heard by them at
points below had placed Andrews’s party as high as twenty or twenty-five.
Fuller knew that the fire-arms he had gathered up early in the race, such
as “squirrel guns,” and most of them unloaded, would have but little
showing in a hand-to-hand contest; so these things had to be considered as
they sped along so swiftly. Another danger was to be feared--Andrews might
stop, abandon “The General,” let her drive back, and thus force a
collision with the pursuers.

In approaching the tunnel, seven miles north of Dalton, our brave
conductor slackened speed until he could see dimly through the smoke of
“The General,” which had only passed out of the further end by a few
seconds, and was in sight beyond. For the next seven miles from Tunnel
Hill to Ringgold, nothing occurred except a race between engines such as
has never been excelled. When Ringgold was reached, both engines literally
flew through the town, the “Texas” only about one-fourth of a mile behind.
When the pursuers were passing through the north end of the town, Captain
Fuller noticed a company of militia drilling. Their horses were hitched to
the small shade trees near the muster grounds, and this fact fastened
itself upon his mind.

In a few minutes the pursuers swung around the second short curve north
of Ringgold, just in time to see Andrews slack his speed, and himself and
his men jump off the “General” to seek concealment in the dense woods. The
foliage of the trees and undergrowth was about half grown, and it would
have been an easy matter to hide in the forest. When the raiders were
first seen north of Ringgold, it was obvious that the heroic old “General”
was almost exhausted. Her smoke was nearly white, and ran up at an angle
of 45 degrees, while before that it lay flat, and appeared to the eyes of
the pursuers as if fresh from the stack. When Andrews abandoned the
“General,” his engineer threw the lever back and gave the engine all the
steam it had, but in his haste the brake was left on, so the engine was
unable to drive back and collide with the “Texas,” as Andrews had hoped it

The pursuers ran up to the “General” to which was attached one box
car--the one historians and statesmen have so often said was fired and
left to burn in a bridge below Ringgold. This car had been fired, but was
easily extinguished. It had never been uncoupled from the “General” since
Fuller left Atlanta with it that morning. Brachen hastily coupled the
“Texas” to this car and the “General.” Captain Fuller reminded Brachen of
the militia company they had seen drilling at Ringgold a few minutes
before, and encouraged him to go back there as soon as possible and tell
of the capture of the “General,” and to beseech the soldiers to mount
their horses and come to his aid, as he, Flem Cox, and Alonzo Martin were
already chasing through the woods after Andrews and his men. Mr. Murphy
and Henry Haney went back to Ringgold with Brachen after the militia.

It was probably three minutes after the “General” was overtaken before
Captain Fuller and his two comrades were ready to take to the woods, as
they assisted in getting the car and two engines started back to Ringgold.
The raiders, therefore, had the advantage and were deep in the forest
before the woodland chase began. Besides, the reader will see at once that
the raiders were fresh--that they had done no really hard work, except the
fireman and engineer. They had not already run on foot more than twenty
miles, as Fuller had done. After the pursuing party had gone about two
miles through the woods, they came to a fifty-acre wheat field just in
time to see the raiders cross the fence at the further side. It had been
raining nearly all day, and the ground was wet. It was limestone soil, and
almost as sticky as tar. The boots of the pursuers would clog up, and the
mud on them would sometimes weigh doubtless two or three pounds. Another
source of annoyance was the growing wheat, which was half leg high and
very difficult to tread. Captain Fuller has said that it appeared to be
up-hill every way that he ran.

Finally the woods beyond were reached, and, by accident, Captain Fuller
and his two comrades got separated. In the afternoon four of the raiders
were captured. About 8 P. M. Captain Fuller became completely exhausted.
Some old farmers put him on a mule and carried him back to Ringgold,
distant seven miles direct route, but by the one he was carried three
times that distance. He lay down on the mule’s back, and a man on either
side held him on.

Soon after they arrived at Ringgold the down night passenger train came,
and Captain Fuller was put on board and carried to Atlanta. At Tunnel
Hill, seven miles south, a train of soldiers passed them on the way to the
scene of interest. The Andrews Raiders had already been captured, and the
“General” was safe on the side track at Ringgold, eight hours before. And
this train of soldiers just spoken of is “the second pursuing train” that
Pittenger so often speaks of in his “Capturing a Locomotive,” and “Daring
and Suffering.”

We have followed Captain Fuller and his wise and intrepid men, in the
pursuit of spies no less wise and intrepid, from the first step in an act
which, under the usages of war in all countries, meant death to them if
captured; and over that lamentable scene we drop the curtain. We have the
testimony of reliable men that they were humanely treated while in prison.
After a trial, conducted on the highest principles of military law and
honor, eight of these spies were condemned and executed.

The following list gives the names of the Andrews raiders, all of whom
were captured in the manner described:

  J. J. Andrews,
  Wilson Brown,
  Marion Ross,
  W. H. Campbell,
  John Scott,
  Perry G. Shadrack,
  George D. Wilson,
  Samuel Slavens.

These were tried and executed.

  S. Robinson,
  Ed. Mason,
  Wm. Knight,
  Robert Bruffum,
  William Pittenger,
  M. J. Hawkins,
  I. Parroth,
  W. Bensinger,
  A. Wilson,
  W. Reddie,
  D. A. Dorsey,
  I. R. Porter,
  M. Wood,
  W. W. Brown.

The last named fourteen were never tried.


  Over the mountains of Winter,
    And the cold, cold plains of snow,
  Down in the valleys of Summer,
    Calling my love I go.

  And strong in my woe and passion,
    I climb up the hills of Spring,
  To listen if I hear his voice
    In songs he used to sing.

  I wait in the fields of Autumn,
    And gather a feast of fruit,
  And call my love to the banquet;
    His lips are cold and mute.

  I say to the wild bird flying:
    “My darling sang sweet as you;
  Fly o’er the earth in search of him,
    And to the skies of blue.”

  I say to the wild-wood flowers:
    “My love was a friend to you;
  Send one of your fragrant spirits
    To the cool Isles of Dew,”

  “Gold-girt by a belt of moonbeams,
    And seek on their gleaming shore
  A breath of the vanished sweetness
    For me his red lips bore.”

  I stand at the gates of Morning,
    When the radiant angel, Light,
  Draws back the great bolt of darkness,
    And by the gates of Night,

  When the hands of bright stars tremble
    While clasping their lanterns bright;
  And I hope to see him passing,
    And touch his garments white.

  O, love! if you hear me calling,
    Flee not from the wailing cry;
  Come from the grottoes of Silence
    And hear me, or I die!

  Stand out on the hills of Echo;
    The sensitive, pulsing air
  Will thrill at your softest whisper--
    Speak to me, love, from there!

  O, love, if I hear you calling,
    Though far on the heavenly side,
  My voice will float on the billow:
    “Come to your spirit bride.”
                            --MARY A. H. GAY.


Who has kindly perused these sketches, I would say, as they have already
attained length and breadth not anticipated from the beginning, I will
withhold the sequels to many of them for, perhaps, another volume of

Were I possessed of the Sam Weller genius and versatility, and the happy
faculty of making the reader wish I had written more, I would throw open
the doors of the store-house of my war memories, a structure as capacious
as the “Southern Confederacy” and canopied by the firmament, and invite
the public to enter and share with me the treasures hidden there. The
coruscations of wit and the profound displays of wisdom by many who donned
Confederate grey and went forth in manhood’s prime to battle for the
principles of their country, would employ the minds and feast the
intellect of the most erudite. There are living, glowing pictures hanging
upon the walls which delineate the mysteries of humanity in all its varied
forms, and, by example, demonstrate that we often spurn with holy horror
that which is better far than that which we embrace with all the fervor of
affection. I would resurrect the loftest patriotism from the most humble
graves in the Southern land, and prove by heroic deeds and noble acts that
valor on the battle-field was as often illustrated by the humble soldier
whose name has not been preserved in “storied urn,” as by the gallant son
of chivalrous ancestors who commanded the applause of an admiring
multitude. I would place by the side of those greatest of chieftains,
Robert E. Lee, and our impregnable “Stonewall” Jackson and Albert Sidney
Johnston, many of our soldiers “unknown to fame,” in faded grey jackets
and war-worn pants, and challenge the world for the difference. I would
dwell with loving interest upon the innumerable sad, sweet faces of the
mighty throng of bereaved mothers, sisters and aunts, out of whose lives
all light had gone, and who, though hopeless, uttered no words of
complaint against our cause or its leader, but toiled on with unswerving
faith and souls that borrowed the lustre of heaven. All these sad things
in my gallery I would clothe in living form and glowing color. And,
saddest of all, I would live over with them that melancholy period when
the very few, comparatively, that were left of the noble defenders of our
principles, came back, not with buoyant step and victor crown, but with
blighted hopes and despondent mien to desolated homes and decimated
families. Under the new regime I would tell of despair and suicide, of
hope, energy and success; I would tell how I have lived in this
gallery--its silent occupants my companions and friends, my inspiration to
useful deeds. There is not a day that I do not arouse by muffled tread the
slumbering echoes of this past, and look upon the cherished souvenirs of
the patriotic friends now roaming the beautiful gardens of Paradise, or
sleeping the mystic waiting of the resurrection. I ponder upon their
lives, their ambitions, their disappointments, and it requires no effort
of the imagination to animate those dead forms and invest them with living
attributes. And daily, in imagination I weave for them a laurel crown that
shall grow greener and greener as the cycles of Time speed on to


The author has selected the article, “Gleanings from General Sherman’s
Despatches,” as an appendix for these sketches, not because of a desire to
keep up the issues of the war between the States (for she would gladly
bury them so deep they could never be resurrected until the great Judge of
all issues calls them up to receive sentence by his unerring judgment),
but rather, because of the persistent insistence of Northern Republicans
to make it appear to the world that the Southern people are a
semi-barbarous people, solely responsible for the war and altogether
unworthy fraternal consideration in the compact called the Union.

The article mentioned, “Gleanings from General Sherman’s Despatches,” is
to be found, word for word, in The Southern Magazine, May, 1873, Vol. XII.
Baltimore: Turnbull Brothers.


Those thick, loosely-bound octavos printed on soft and rather dingy paper,
which Congress publishes and distributes under the name of Public
Documents, are not generally considered very entertaining reading. But
there are exceptions; and one of these is the report of the joint
committee of Congress on the conduct of the war. Indeed, compared with
such mild pastorals as “Some Accounts of the Cheese Manufacture in Central
New York,” or “Remarks on the Cultivation of Alfalfa in Western
Tennessee,” it is quite luridly sensational, and in parts reminds us of
those striking reports of the Duke of Alva to his royal master, which have
been disinterred in the dusty archives of Simancas. As a study of
congressional nature, military nature, and human nature generally, in its
least attractive aspects, these eight stout volumes are richly worth
perusal. Here the reader is allowed to peep behind the scenes of that
portentous drama; here he may see the threads of the intrigues that
centered in Washington; may hear a petty newspaper correspondent
demonstrating, with an animation that we can scarcely ascribe to fervid
patriotism, the incapacity, the ignorance and even the doubtful “loyalty”
of the commander-in-chief; may see private malignity and vindictiveness
putting on grand Roman airs, and whispering debaters draping themselves in
the toga of Brutus.

However, it is not with these aspects of the reports that we at present
have to do, but with the despatches of General Sherman on his march
through Georgia and South Carolina. A great deal of fiction and some
verse,[5] we believe, have been written about this famous march or grand
foray; but here we have the plain matter-of-fact statement of things as
they were, and they form a luminous illustration of the advance of
civilization in the nineteenth century as exemplified in the conduct of
invasions, showing how modern philanthropy and humanitarianism, while
acknowledging that for the present war is a necessary evil, still strive
to mitigate its horrors and spare all avoidable suffering to
non-combatants. For this purpose we have thought it worth while to
reproduce a few of the most striking extracts illustrating the man, his
spirit, and his work.

A kind of keynote is sounded in the dispatches to General Stoneman, of May
14, which, after ordering him to “press down the valley strong,” ends with
the words, “Pick up whatever provisions and plunder you can.”

On June 3, the question of torpedoes is discussed, and General Stedman
receives the following instructions: “If torpedoes are found in the
possession of an enemy to our rear, you may cause them to be put on the
ground and tested by wagon loads of prisoners, or, if need be, by citizens
implicated in their use. In like manner, if a torpedo is suspected on any
part of the railroad, order the point to be tested by a carload of
prisoners or citizens implicated, drawn by a long rope.” “Implicated,” we
suppose here meant “residing or captured in the neighborhood.”

On July 7, we have an interesting dispatch to General Garrard on the
subject of the destruction of the factories at Roswell. “Their utter
destruction is right, and meets my entire approval; and to make the matter
complete, you will arrest the owners and employees and send them under
guard charged with treason, to Marietta, and I will see as to any man in
America hoisting the French flag and then devoting his labor and capital
to supplying armies in open hostility to our government, and claiming the
benefit of his neutral flag. Should you, under the impulse of anger,
natural at contemplating such perfidy, hang the wretch, I approve the act
beforehand.... I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and
female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let
them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them by cars to
the North. Destroy and make the same disposition of all mills, save small
flouring mills, manifestly for local use; but all saw mills and factories
dispose of effectually; and useful laborers, excused by reason of their
skill as manufacturers, from conscription, are as much prisoners as if
armed.” On the same day he further enlarges on this subject in a despatch
to General Halleck:

“General Garrard reports to me that he is in possession of Roswell, where
were several very valuable cotton and wool factories in full operation,
also paper mills, all of which, by my order, he destroyed by fire. They
had been for years engaged exclusively at work for the Confederate
government; and the owner of the woolen factory displayed the French flag,
but, as he failed to show the United States flag also, General Garrard
burned it also. The main cotton factory was valued at a million of United
States dollars. The cloth on hand is reserved for the use of the United
States hospitals; and I have ordered General Garrard to arrest for treason
all owners and employees, foreign and native, and send them to Marietta,
whence I will send them North. Being exempt from conscription, they are
as much governed by the rules of war as if in the ranks. The women can
find employment in Indiana. This whole region was devoted to
manufactories, but I will destroy everyone of them.” There are two points
specially worth notice in this despatch. The first, that _since_ these men
and women, by reason of sex, or otherwise, are exempt from conscription,
they are, therefore, as much subject to the rules of war as if in the
ranks. Why not do less violence to logic and state frankly that factory
hands were in demand in Indiana? The next point is that the Roswell
factories, whether French property or not, were destroyed because they
were making cloth for the Confederate government, followed presently by
the declaration that every manufactory in that region shall be destroyed,
evidently without reference to its products or their destination. How much
franker it would have been to have added to this last sentence, “and thus
get rid of so many competitors to the factories of the North.” The South
must learn that while she may bear the burden of protective tariffs, she
must not presume to share their benefits. Another despatch to General
Halleck, of July 9, again refers to these factories. After referring to
the English and French ownership, comes this remark: “I take it a neutral
is no better than one of our citizens, and we would not respect the
property of one of our own citizens engaged in supplying a hostile army.”
This is the kind of logic proverbially used by the masters of legions. A
despatch to General Halleck, of July 13, gives General Sherman’s opinion
of two great and philanthropic institutions. Speaking of “fellows hanging
about” the army, he says: “The Sanitary and Christian Commission are
enough to eradicate all traces of Christianity from our minds.”

July 14, to General J. E. Smith, at Allatoona: “If you entertain a bare
suspicion against any family, send it North. Any loafer or suspicious
person seen at any time should be imprisoned and sent off. If guerrillas
trouble the road or wires they should be shot without mercy.”

September 8, to General Webster after the capture of Atlanta: “Don’t let
any citizens come to Atlanta; not one. I won’t allow trade or manufactures
of any kind, but you will remove all the present population, and make
Atlanta a pure military town.” To General Halleck he writes: “I am not
willing to have Atlanta encumbered by the families of our enemies.” Of
this wholesale depopulation, General Hood complained, by flag of truce, as
cruel and contrary to the usages of civilized nations and customs of war,
receiving this courteous and gentlemanly reply (September 12): “I think I
understand the laws of civilized nations and the ‘customs of war;’ but, if
at a loss at any time, I know where to seek for information to refresh my
memory.” General Hood made the correspondence, or part of it, public, on
which fact, General Sherman remarks to General Halleck: “Of course, he is
welcome, for the more he arouses the indignation of the Southern masses,
the bigger will be the pill of bitterness they will have to swallow.”

About the middle of September, General Sherman, being still in Atlanta,
endeavored to open private communication with Governor Brown and
Vice-President Stephens, whom he knew to be at variance with the
administration at Richmond on certain points of public policy. Mr.
Stephens refused to reply to a verbal message, but wrote to Mr. King, the
intermediary, that if the general would say that there was any prospect of
their agreeing upon “terms to be submitted to the action of their
respective governments,” he would, as requested, visit him at Atlanta. The
motives urged by Mr. King were General Sherman’s extreme desire for peace,
and to hit upon “some plan of terminating this fratricidal war without the
further effusion of blood.” But in General Sherman’s despatch of September
14, to Mr. Lincoln, referring to these attempted negotiations, the
humanitarian point of view is scarcely so prominent. He says: “It would be
a magnificent stroke of policy if I could, without surrendering a foot of
ground or principle, arouse the latent enmity to Davis.”

On October 20, he writes to General Thomas from Summerville, giving an
idea of his plan of operations: “Out of the forces now here and at
Atlanta, I propose to organize an efficient army of 60,000 to 65,000 men,
with which I propose to destroy Macon, Augusta, and it may be, Savannah
and Charleston. By this I propose to demonstrate the vulnerability of the
South, and make its inhabitants feel that war and individual ruin are
synonymous terms.”

Despatch of October 22, to General Grant: “I am now perfecting
arrangements to put into Tennessee a force able to hold the line of the
Tennessee, while I break up the railroad in front of Dalton, including
the city of Atlanta, and push into Georgia and break up all its railroads
and depots, capture its horses and negroes, make desolation everywhere;
destroy the factories at Macon, Milledgeville and Augusta, and bring up
with 60,000 men on the seashore about Savannah and Charleston.”

To General Thomas, from Kingston, November 2: “Last night we burned Rome,
and in two more days will burn Atlanta” (which he was then occupying).

December 5: “Blair can burn the bridges and culverts and burn enough barns
to mark the progress of his head of columns.”

December 18, to General Grant, from near Savannah: “With Savannah in our
possession, at some future time, if not now, we can punish South Carolina
as she deserves, and as thousands of people in Georgia hope we will do. I
do sincerely believe that the whole United States, north and south, would
rejoice to have this army turned loose on South Carolina, to devastate
that State in the manner we have done in Georgia.”

A little before this he announces to Secretary Stanton that he knows what
the people of the South are fighting for. What do our readers suppose? To
ravage the North with sword and fire, and crush them under their heel?
Surely it must be some such delusion that inspires this ferocity of
hatred, unmitigated by even a word of compassion. He may speak for
himself: “Jefferson Davis has succeeded perfectly in inspiring his people
with the truth that liberty and government are worth fighting for.” This
was their unpardonable crime.

December 22, to General Grant: “If you can hold Lee, I could go on and
smash South Carolina all to pieces.”

On the 18th General Halleck writes: “Should you capture Charleston, I hope
that by some accident the place may be destroyed; and if a little salt
should be sown upon its site, it may prevent the growth of future crops of
nullification and secession.” To this General Sherman replies, December
24: “This war differs from European wars in this particular--we are not
only fighting hostile armies, but hostile people; and must make old and
young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their
organized armies. I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and
don’t think _salt_ will be necessary. When I move, the Fifteenth corps
will be on the right of the right wing, and their position will naturally
throw them into Charleston first; and, if you have studied the history of
that corps, you will have remarked that they generally do their work up
pretty well. The truth is, the whole army is burning with insatiable
desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble for her
fate, but she deserves all that seems in store for her.

“I look upon Columbia as quite as bad as Charleston, and I doubt if we
shall spare the public buildings there as we did at Milledgeville.”

And now we look with interest for the despatches that would settle the
vexed question as to whether Sherman or his officers, acting under his
orders, burned Columbia on the 17th of February. Unfortunately, a paternal
government, not thinking it good that the truth should be known, has
suppressed all the despatches between the 16th and the 21st, and every
other allusion to the transaction.

On the 23d, he writes to General Kilpatrick: “Let the whole people know
the war is now against them, because their armies flee before us and do
not defend their country or frontier as they should. It is pretty nonsense
for Wheeler and Beauregard and such vain heroes to talk of our warring
against women and children and prevent us reaching their homes.”

If, therefore, an army defending their country can prevent invaders from
reaching their homes and families, the latter have a right to that
protection; but if the invaders can break through and reach these homes,
these are justified in destroying women and children. Certainly this is a
great advance on the doctrine and practice of the dark ages. Another
extraordinary moral consequence flows from this insufficiency of defence:
“If the enemy fails to defend his country, we may rightfully appropriate
what we want.” Here, now, is a nice question of martial law or casuistry,
solved with the simplicity of an ancient Roman. In other words, when in
the enemy’s country, the army shall be strictly careful not to seize,
capture or appropriate to military or private uses, any property--that it
cannot get.

“They (the Southern people) have lost all title to property, and can lose
nothing not already forfeited.”

What, nothing? Not merely the houses we had built, the lands we had
tilled, the churches we worshipped in--had we forfeited the right to drink
of the streams, to behold the sun, to breathe the free air of heaven?
What unheard of, what inconceivable crime had we committed that thus
closed every gate of mercy and compassion against us, and provoked an
utterance which has but one parallel--the death warrant signed by Philip
II. against all Netherlanders? General Sherman has himself told us what it
was: We had dared to act on the “truth that liberty and government are
worth fighting for.”

On March 15, he writes to General Gillmore, advising him to draw forces
from Charleston and Savannah (both then in Federal hands) to destroy a
railroad, etc. “As to the garrisons of those places I don’t feel disposed
to be over-generous, and should not hesitate to burn Savannah, Charleston
and Wilmington, or either of them, if the garrisons were needed.”

Such are some of the results of our gleanings in this field. Is it any
wonder that after reading them we fervently echo General Sherman’s devout
aspiration: “I do wish the fine race of men that people the United States
should rule and determine the future destiny of America.”


(Reprinted by Permission of the Illustrator Company. From the April, 1896,
Number of “The Illustrator.” Copyrighted. All Rights Reserved.)

It is a proud thing for Americans to feel that there is little to bring
the blush of shame to their cheeks in the contemplation of their country’s
history. It is a glorious thing for our young manhood to know that the
annals of their race tell of the earnest and upward progress of a people,
Christian from the first, toward an ever higher civilization. It is well
to reflect that when the ruthless hand of war has turned American
citizenship from the paths of peace it could do little more than array
strong man against sturdy foeman in an honest battle for principle, and
that outrage and pillage in our broad domain have been the almost
undisputed heritage of the Aborigines.

Enduring with patient fortitude the raids of savage foes upon our early
frontiers, meeting the armed invasion of foreign hosts with a resistance
vigorous but manly, pressing our own victorious arms to the very citadel
of our Mexican neighbors without spoliation or rapine, it is sad to
realize that it remained for an internecine conflict, where brother stood
against brother, for an invasion by an army void of pretext of reprisal or
revenge, to write upon American warfare the stigma of vandalism, rapacity
and theft.

The movement from Atlanta to Savannah, which figured in history as “The
March to the Sea,” was, from the standpoint of the tactician, no great
achievement; it involved no more than the passage of an invincible army
across some three hundred miles of country, where it could gather supplies
upon its way, to effect a junction with its naval allies at a practically
defenceless city. It was peculiarly lacking in the daring which is
customarily ascribed to it, for it was made, practically, without
resistance and along a route where no considerable force of the enemy
could have been encountered. It was not a venture in the dark with a
conclusion to be determined by circumstances; for the authorities at
Washington were fully advised of its author’s purpose, and Gen. Sherman
was assured that he would meet a formidable fleet at Savannah before he
undertook it. It was no more nor less than the yielding, by this most
typical barbarian conqueror of the Nineteenth century, to the spirit of
pillage and excess which distinguished his prototypes in the days of the
Goths and Vandals, when the homes and firesides of their enemies were at
their mercy. It was a campaign remarkable only for the revival of military
methods abandoned since Attila the Hun. It was, nevertheless, as carefully
planned as it was ruthlessly executed. It was no sudden impulse which laid
the torch to every roof-tree upon the invading army’s path. It was no
spirit of retaliation for vigorous but ineffective resistance which goaded
these conquerors to excess, for out of 62,204 men who began the march but
103 lost their lives before they reached Savannah. It was simply the
grasping of the amplest opportunity by a man who glories in looting and
destruction, and to whom human misery was a subject for jest.

At the outset let us understand that General Sherman, through all that
portion of his career which began with the destruction of Atlanta, was
acting upon a plan and a theory devised and adopted weeks before; that his
own actions and that of his army were in no sense impulsive, but in every
way controlled by premeditation, and that our authority for such a
conclusion lies in the repeated statements of the General himself.

With the brutal frankness which was one of his characteristics, he wrote
on September 4th, 1864, in a letter to General Halleck, which he
reproduces in his autobiography: “If the people raise a howl against my
barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war and not
popularity-seeking.” “I knew, of course,” he says, “that such a measure
would be strongly criticized, but made up my mind to do it with the
absolute certainty of its justness, and that time would sanction its
wisdom. I knew that the people of the South would read in this measure two
important conclusions; one that we were in earnest, and the other that if
they were sincere in their common and popular clamor ‘to die in the last
ditch,’ the opportunity would soon come.”

The cold-blooded candor of this statement leaves little doubt of the
temperature of the well-springs which fed that organ of General Sherman
corresponding to the heart of an ordinary man; but if evidence were
wanting of his absolute unconcern for the sufferings of others when his
own plans might be interfered with to the slightest degree, it might be
found in his answer to General Hood’s proposition for an exchange of
prisoners. “Some of these prisoners,” he says, “had already escaped and
got in, and had described the pitiable condition of the remainder.” He had
at that time about two thousand Confederate prisoners available for
exchange. “These I offered to exchange for Stoneman, Buell, and such of my
own army as would make up the equivalent; but I would not exchange for his
prisoners generally, because I knew these would have to be sent to their
own regiments away from my army, whereas all we could give him could at
once be put to duty in his immediate army.” No possible suffering which
his unfortunate companions in arms could be forced to bear by reason of
the Confederates’ lack of supplies with which to feed and clothe them,
could induce him to exchange for men who would not strengthen his own
immediate army!

Geneseric, the Vandal, is said to have been “cruel to blood thirstiness,
cunning, unscrupulous and grasping; but he possessed great military
talents and his manner of life was austere.” Let the impartial reader of
history say how nearly the barbarian who marched to the sea in the
nineteenth century, approached to his prototype of the fifth century. One
is not surprised, therefore, to find this man writing to General Hood on
September 7th, 1864, that he “deemed it to the interest of the United
States that the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove.”

In the midst of a region desolated by war, their fathers, husbands,
brothers, sons, in the army hundreds of miles away, it was “deemed to be
in the interest of the United States” that the helpless women and children
of Atlanta should be driven from their homes to find such shelter as God
gives the ravens and the beasts of the wood. It was a course that wrung
from General Hood these forceful words of reply:

“Permit me to say that the unprecedented measure you propose transcends,
in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever before brought to my
attention in the dark history of war. In the name of God and humanity I
protest, believing that you will find you are expelling from their homes
and firesides the wives and children of a brave people.” To this burning
arraignment General Sherman could find no better answer than argument
concerning the right of States to secede. But it was followed on September
11th by an appeal from the mayor and councilmen of Atlanta which would
have touched a heart of stone. It was humble, it was earnest, it was
pitiful. It provoked these words in reply: “I have your letter of the 11th
in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the
inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit
to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not
revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of
the case, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of
good people outside of Atlanta have an interest.”

The same unalterable resolution must have dominated Geneseric, the Vandal,
when he prepared for his fourteen days sacking of Rome. The vandal of the
fifth century had at least the pretext of reprisal for his actions; the
vandal of the nineteenth century could find no better plea for his
barbarity than that it might wring the hearts of absent men until they
would sacrifice principle and honor for the relief of their loved ones.

President Davis says: “Since Alva’s atrocious cruelties to the
non-combatant population of the low countries in the sixteenth century,
the history of war records no instance of such barbarous cruelty as this
order designed to perpetrate. It involved the immediate expulsion from
their homes and only means of subsistence of thousands of unoffending
women and children, whose husbands and fathers were either in the army, in
Northern prisons, or had died in battle.”

At the time appointed the women and children were expelled from their
houses, and, before they were passed within our lines, complaint was
generally made that the Federal officers and men who were sent to guard
them had robbed them of the few articles of value they had been permitted
to take from their homes. The cowardly dishonesty of the men appointed to
carry out this order, was in perfect harmony with the temper and the
spirit of the order.

It was on the 12th day of November, 1864, that “The March to the Sea”
began. Hood’s army had been followed to Tennessee, and Sherman’s forces
had destroyed the railroad during their return trip to Atlanta. They were
now ready to abandon the ruins of the Gate City for fresher and more
lucrative fields of havoc. It is fair to General Sherman to say that his
plans and intentions had been fully communicated to the authorities at
Washington, and that they met with the thorough approbation of General
Halleck, then Chief of Staff.

General Halleck will be remembered as the hero who won immortal fame
before Corinth. With an immensely superior force he so thoroughly
entrenched himself before that city that he not only held his position
during General Beauregard’s occupancy of the town, but retained it for
several days after the Confederate evacuation. He retired from active
service after this, his only piece of campaigning, to act in an advisory
capacity at Washington, and it was he who wrote these encouraging words to
Sherman at Atlanta: “The course which you have pursued in removing rebel
families from Atlanta, and in the exchange of prisoners, is fully approved
by the War Department.... Let the disloyal families thus stripped go to
their husbands, fathers, and natural protectors in the rebel ranks.... I
would destroy every mill and factory within reach, which I did not want
for my own use.... I have endeavored to impress these views upon our
commanders for the last two years. _You are almost the only one who has
properly applied them._” These words of encouragement fell upon willing
ears. No one knew better than Sherman how to read the sentiments between
those lines; he understood the motives which moved their doughty author as
thoroughly as when later the same hand gathered courage to advise him in
plain unvarnished words to wipe the city of Charleston off the face of the
earth, and sow her site with salt. The valiant Chief of Staff, who urged
on campaigns from a point sufficiently to the rear, had found at last a
man who would carry out his instructions, and the war upon women and
children was about to begin.

General Halleck was not the sole confidant of General Sherman’s plan. Less
than a month before the memorable march was undertaken, he telegraphed to
General Grant: “I propose that we break up the railroad from Chattanooga
forward, and that we strike out for Milledgeville, Millen and Savannah.
Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless for us to occupy it, but
the utter destruction of its roads, houses and people will cripple their
military resources. I can make this march, and make Georgia howl!”

Sir Walter Raleigh conceived and attempted to execute the plan of
exterminating the Irish race, and colonizing their lands from England. The
Sultan of Turkey is about to carry out a similar policy with his

The difference between these other exterminators and Sherman, is that they
expected to be met at the doors of the homes they intended to destroy by
men capable of offering resistance, while the American General knew he
would have to do with women and children alone.

He evidently met with some expostulation from General Grant, for he
afterwards telegraphed him that he would “infinitely prefer to make a
wreck of the road and the country from Chattanooga and Atlanta, including
the latter city, send back all wounded and unserviceable men, and with the
effective army move through Georgia, smashing things to the sea.”

Receiving no answer to this latter dispatch, he did not hesitate to
execute the campaign as he had planned it, and in his own language
proceeded to “make the interior of Georgia feel the weight of war.”

Sherman and his staff rode out of the Gate City at 7 o’clock in the
morning of the 16th. “Behind us,” he says, “lay Atlanta, smouldering and
in ruins, the black smoke rising high in the air and hanging like a pall
over the ruined city. Some band, by accident, struck up the anthem of
‘John Brown’s soul goes marching on’. The men caught up the strain, and
never before or since have I heard the chorus of ‘Glory, glory,
hallelujah!’ done with more spirit or in better harmony of time and
place.” To the credit of the slandered soul of that other marauder, let us
say, that John Brown’s lawless warfare was upon men alone, and that booty
formed no part of his incentive.

Knowing that no effective resistance was to be expected, Sherman so
scattered his columns that the sixty-mile “swath” which it was his purpose
to devastate, was covered by them with ease. In order that the work might
be thoroughly and effectively done, a sufficient number of men were
detailed for that branch of military service peculiar to Sherman’s army,
and known as “bummers.”

“These interesting individuals always,” says the General, “arose before
day and preceded the army on its march.” “Although this foraging was
attended with great danger and hard work, there seemed to be a charm about
it that attracted the soldiers, and it was a privilege to be detailed on
such a party.” “No doubt,” he adds with that same blunt frankness, “many
acts of pillage, robbery and violence were committed by these parties of
foragers usually called ‘bummers’; for I have since heard of jewelry taken
from women, and the plunder of articles that never reached the
commissary.” But these playful fellows, in spite of such indiscretions,
were never more to the General than an exhibition of that charming humor
invariably apparent in him in the presence of human suffering.

We may gather an idea of them from the following description given by a
correspondent of the New York Herald, who accompanied the army: “Any man
who has seen the object that the name applies to will acknowledge that it
was admirably selected. Fancy a ragged man, bleached by the smoke of many
a pine-knot fire, mounted on a scraggy mule without a saddle, with a gun,
a knap-sack, a butcher-knife and a plug hat, stealing his way through the
pine forests far out in the flanks of a column, keen on the scent of
rebels, or bacon, or silver spoons, or coin, or anything valuable, and you
have him in your mind. Think how you would admire him if you were a lone
woman, with a family of small children, far from help, when he blandly
inquired where you kept your valuables! Think how you would smile when he
pried open your chests with his bayonet, or knocked to pieces your tables,
pianos and chairs, tore your bed clothing into three-inch strips and
scattered them about the yard. The ‘bummers’ say it takes too much time to
use keys. Color is no protection from the rough raiders. They go through a
negro cabin in search of diamonds and gold watches with just as much
freedom and vivacity as they ‘loot’ the dwelling of a wealthy planter.
They appear to be possessed of a spirit of ‘pure cussedness.’ One
incident, illustrative of many, will suffice. A bummer stepped into a
house and inquired for sorghum. The lady of the house presented a jug,
which he said was too heavy, so he merely filled his canteen. Then taking
a huge wad of tobacco from his mouth he thrust it into the jug. The lady
inquired, in wonder, why he spoiled that which he did not want. ‘Oh, some
feller’ll come along and taste that sorghum and think you’ve poisoned him,
then he’ll burn your d----d old house.’ There are hundreds of these
mounted men with the column, and they go everywhere. Some of them are
loaded down with silverware, gold coin, and other valuables. I hazard
nothing in saying three fifths (in value) of the personal property of the
country we have passed through was taken by Sherman’s army.”

In an address delivered before the Association of the Maryland Line,
Senator Zeb Vance, of North Carolina, has laid the vigorous touch of his
characteristic English upon the void until it stands out in barbarous bold
relief, so far beyond the pencil of the present writer that he best serves
his readers by quoting: “With reference to his famous and infamous march,
I wish to say that I hope I am too much of a man to complain of the
natural and inevitable hardships, or even cruelties of war; but of the
manner in which this army treated the peaceful and defenseless inhabitants
in the reach of his columns, all civilization should complain.

“There are always stragglers and desperadoes following in the wake of an
army, who do some damage to and inflict some outrages upon helpless
citizens, in spite of all efforts of commanding officers to restrain and
punish; but when a General organizes a corps of thieves and plunderers as
a part of his invading army, and licenses beforehand their outrages, he
and all who countenance, aid or abet, invite the execration of mankind.
This peculiar arm of military service, it is charged and believed, was
instituted by General Sherman in his invasion of the Southern States.
Certain it is that the operations of his ‘Bummer Corps’ were as regular
and as unrebuked, if not as much commended for efficiency, as any other
division of his army, and their atrocities are often justified or excused,
on the ground that ‘such is war.’

“In his own official report of his operations in Georgia, he says: ‘We
consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles either
side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, also the sweet potatoes, hogs,
sheep and poultry, and carried off more than ten thousand horses and
mules. I estimate the damage done to Georgia at one-hundred million
dollars, at least twenty million of which inured to our benefit, and the
remainder was simply waste and destruction!’... The ‘remainder’ delicately
alluded to, that is say damage done the unresisting inhabitants to over
and above the seizing of necessary army supplies, consisted in private
houses burned, stock shot down and left to rot, bed clothes, money,
watches, spoons, plate and ladies’ jewelry stolen, etc., etc. A lane of
desolation sixty miles wide through the heart of three great states,
marked by more burnings and destructions than ever followed in the wake of
the widest cyclone that ever laid forest low! And all done, not to support
an invading army, but for ‘pure waste and destruction’; to punish the
crime of rebellion, not in the persons of those who had brought these
about, but of peaceful non-combatants, the tillers of the soil, the women
and the children, the aged and feeble, and the poor slaves! A silver spoon
was evidence of disloyalty, a ring on a lady’s finger was a sure proof of
sympathy with rebellion, whilst a gold watch was _prima facie_ evidence of
the most damnable guilt on the part of the wearer. These obnoxious
earmarks of treason must be seized and confiscated for private use--for
‘such is war!’ If these failed, and they sometimes did, torture of the
inhabitants was freely employed to force disclosure. Sometimes with noble
rage at their disappointment, the victims were left dead, as a warning to
all others who should dare hide a jewel or a family trinket from the
cupidity of a soldier of the Union. No doubt the stern necessity for such
things caused great pain to those who inflicted, but the Union must be
restored, and how could that be done whilst a felonious gold watch or a
treasonable spoon was suffered to remain in the land, giving aid and
comfort to rebellion? For ‘such is war.’ Are such things war indeed? Let
us see. Eighty-four years before that time, there was a war, in that same
country; it was a rebellion, too, and an English nobleman led the troops
of Great Britain through that same region, over much of the same route,
in his efforts to subdue that rebellion. The people through whose land he
marched were bitterly hostile, they shot his foraging parties, his
sentinels and stragglers, they fired upon him from every wood.

“He and his troops had every motive to hate and punish those rebellious
and hostile people. It so happens that the original order-book of Lord
Cornwallis is in possession of the North Carolina Historical Society. I
have seen and read it. Let us make a few extracts and see what he
considered war, and what he thought to be the duty of a civilized soldier
towards non-combatants and the helpless:

  January 28, 1781.

“‘Lord Cornwallis has so often expressed the zeal and good will of the
army that he has not the slightest doubt that the officers and soldiers
will most cheerfully submit to the ill conveniences that must naturally
attend war, so remote from water carriage and the magazines of the army.
The supply of rum for a time will be absolutely impossible, and that of
meal very uncertain. It is needless to point out to the officers the
necessity of preserving the strictest discipline, and of preventing the
oppressed people from suffering violence by the hands from whom they are
taught to look for protection.’

“Now, General Sherman was fighting, as he said, for the sole purpose of
restoring the Union, and for making the people of the rebellious States
look to the United States alone for protection; does any act or order of
his anywhere indicate a similar desire of protecting the people from
suffering at the hands of those whose duty it was to protect them? Again:

  February 2, 1781.

“‘Lord Cornwallis is highly displeased that several houses have been set
on fire to-day during the march--a disgrace to the army--and he will
punish with the utmost severity any person or persons who shall be found
guilty of committing so disgraceful an outrage. His lordship requests the
commanding officers of the corps will endeavor to find the persons who set
fire to the houses to-day.’

“Now think of the march of Sherman’s army which could be discovered a
great way off by the smoke of homesteads by day and the lurid glare of
flames by night, from Atlanta to Savannah, from Columbia to Fayetteville,
and suppose that such an order as this had been issued by its commanding
officers and rigidly executed, would not the mortality have been quite
equal to that of a great battle?

“Arriving in Fayetteville on the 10th of January, 1865, he not only burned
the arsenal, one of the finest in the United States, which perhaps he
might properly have done, but also burned five private dwelling houses
near by; he burned the principal printing offices, that of the old
‘Fayetteville Observer;’ he burned the old Bank of North Carolina, eleven
large warehouses, five cotton mills and quite a number of private
dwellings in other parts of the town, whilst in the suburbs almost a clean
sweep was made; in one locality nine houses were burned. Universally
houses were gutted before they were burned, and after everything portable
was secured the furniture was ruthlessly destroyed, pianos on which
perhaps rebel tunes had been played--‘Dixie’ or ‘My Maryland’--disloyal
bureaus, traitorous tables and chairs were cut to pieces with axes, and
frequently, after all this damage, fire was applied and all consumed.
Carriages and vehicles of all kinds were wantonly destroyed or burned;
instances could be given of old men who had the shoes taken from their
feet, the hats from their heads and clothes from their persons; and their
wives and children subjected to like treatment. In one instance, as the
marauders left they shot down a dozen cattle belonging to an old man, and
then left their carcasses lying in the yard. Think of that, and then
remember the grievance of the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers who came in all
seriousness to complain to General Longstreet in the Gettysburg campaign,
of the outrage which some of his ferocious rebels had committed upon them
_by_ ‘_milking their cows_.’ On one occasion, at Fayetteville, four
gentlemen were hung up by the neck until nearly dead to force them to
disclose where their valuables were hidden, and one of them was shot to
death. Again:

  February 17, 1781.

“‘Lord Cornwallis is very sorry to be obliged to call the attention of the
officers of the army to the repeated orders against plundering, and he
assures the officers that if their duty to their King and country, and
their feelings for humanity are not sufficient to force their obedience
to them, he must, however reluctantly, make use of such powers as the
military laws have placed in his hands.... It is expected that Captains
will exert themselves to keep good order and to prevent plundering. Any
officer _who looks on with indifference and does not do his utmost to
prevent shameful marauding, will be considered in a more criminal light
than the persons who commit these scandalous crimes_, which must bring
disgrace and ruin on his Majesty’s service. All foraging parties will give
receipts for supplies taken by them.’

“Now, taking it for granted that Lord Cornwallis, a distinguished soldier
and a gentleman, is an authority on the rights of war, could there be
found any where a more damnatory comment upon the practices of General
Sherman and his army? Again:

  February 28, 1781.

“‘Memorandum:--A watch found by the regiment of Bose. The owner may have
it from the adjutant of the regiment upon proving property.’ Another:

  “‘SMITH’S PLANTATION, March 1, 1781.

“‘Brigade Orders. A woman having been robbed of a watch, a black silk
handkerchief, a gallon of peach brandy and a shirt, and as, by the
description, by a soldier of the guards, the camp and every man’s kit is
to be immediately searched for the same by the officers of the Brigade.’

“Are there any poets in the audience, or other persons in whom the
imaginative faculty has been largely cultivated? If so, let me beg him to
do me the favor of conceiving, if he can, and make manifest to me, the
idea of a notice of a lost watch being given, in general orders, by
William Tecumseh Sherman, and the offer to return it on proof of property
by the rebel owner! Let him imagine, if he can, the searching of every
man’s kit in the army for a stolen watch, a shirt, a black silk
handkerchief and a gallon of peach brandy! Sherman says ‘such is war.’ I
venture to say that up to the period when that ‘great march’ taught us the
contrary, no humane general or civilized people in Christendom believed
_that_ ‘_such was_ war.’ Has civilization gone backward since Lord
Cornwallis’ day? Have arson and vulgar theft been ennobled into heroic
virtues? If so, when and by whom? Has the art of discovering a poor man’s
hidden treasure by fraud or torture been elevated into the strategy which
wins a campaign? If so, when and by whom?

“No, it will not do to slur over these things by a vague reference to the
inevitable cruelties of war. The time is fast coming when the conduct of
that campaign will be looked upon in the light of real humanity, and
investigated in the real historic spirit which evolves truth; and all the
partisan songs which have been sung, or orations which subservient orators
have spoken about that great march to the sea; and all the caricatures of
Southern leaders which the bitterness of a diseased sectional sentiment
has inspired; and all the glamour of a great success, shall not avail to
restrain the inexorable, the illuminating pen of history. Truth, like
charity, never faileth. Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail,
whether there be tongues they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it
shall vanish away; but when the truth, which is perfect, has come, then
that which is in part shall be done away.

“Now let us contrast General Sherman with his greatest foe; likewise the
greatest, the most humane general of modern times, and see whether he
regarded the pitiless destruction of the substance of women and children
and inoffensive inhabitants a legitimate war:

  June 27, 1863.

“‘General Order No. 73. The commanding general has observed with marked
satisfaction the conduct of troops on this march. There have, however,
been instances of forgetfulness on the part of some that they have in
keeping the yet unsullied reputation of this army, and that the duties
exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in
the country of an enemy than in our own. The commanding general considers
that no greater disgrace could befall the army and through it our whole
people, than the perpetration of barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and
defenceless, and the wanton destruction of private property, that have
marked the course of the enemy in our country.... It will be remembered
that we make war only upon armed men.

  R. E. LEE, General.’

“The humanity and Christian spirit of this order was such as to challenge
the admiration of foreign nations. The ‘London Times’ commented upon it,
and its American correspondent said: ‘The greatest surprise has been
expressed to me by officers from the Austrian, Prussian and English
armies, each of which has representatives here, that volunteer troops,
provoked by nearly twenty-seven months of unparalleled ruthlessness and
wantonness, of which their country has been the scene, should be under
such control, and willing to act in harmony with the long-suffering and
forbearance of President Davis and General Lee.’

“To show how this order was executed, the same writer tells a story of how
he witnessed with his own eyes General Lee and a surgeon of his command
repairing the damage to a farmer’s fence. Colonel McClure, of
Philadelphia, a Union soldier himself, bears witness to the good conduct
of Lee’s ragged rebels in that famous campaign. He tells of hundreds of
them coming to him and asking for a little bread and coffee, and others
who were wet and shivering asking permission to enter a house, in which
they saw a bright fire, to warm themselves until their coffee should be
ready. Hundreds of similar instances could be given, substantiated by the
testimony of men on both sides, to show the splendid humanity of that
great invasion. Blessed be the good God, who, if in His wisdom denied us
success, yet gave to us and our children the rich inheritance of this
great example.

“Major General Halleck, the commander-in-chief, under the President, of
the armies of the Union, on the 18th of December, 1864, dispatched as
follows to Sherman, then in Savannah: ‘Should you capture Charleston, I
hope that by some accident the place may be destroyed; and if a little
salt should be sown upon its site it may prevent the growth of future
crops of nullification and secession.’ On December 27th, 1864, Sherman
made the following answer: ‘I will bear in mind your hint as to
Charleston, and don’t think “salt” will be necessary. When I move, the
15th corps will be on the right of the right wing, and their position will
bring them naturally into Charleston first, and if you have watched the
history of the corps you will have remarked that they generally do their
work up pretty well. The truth is, the whole army is burning with
insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble
at her fate; but feel that she deserves all that seems to be in store for
her.... I look upon Columbia as quite as bad as Charleston.’ Therefore
Columbia was burned to ashes. And though he knew what was in store for
South Carolina, so horrible that he even trembled, he took no steps to
avert it, for he felt that she deserved it all. Did she, indeed? What
crime had she committed that placed her outside the protection of the law
of civilized nations? What unjust, or barbarous, or brutal conduct had she
been guilty of to bring her within the exceptions laid down by the writers
on the laws of war as authorizing extraordinary severity of punishment?
They are not even imputed to her. South Carolina’s crime, and the crime of
all the seceding States, was that of a construction of the constitution of
the United States differing from that of General Sherman and the 15th
corps--which ‘always did up its work pretty well.’ Happily the Divine
Goodness has made the powers of recuperation superior to those of
destruction; and though their overthrow was so complete that ‘salt’ was
not needed as the type of utter desolation, Marietta and Atlanta are
thriving and prosperous cities.”

Governor Vance does not wish to confine himself, in quoting, to Southern
testimony. There are plenty of honest and truthful soldiers in the Federal
army, who served in its ranks, to tell all we want and more. This is what
one of them says, writing to the “Detroit Free Press” of that campaign:
“One of the most devilish acts of Sherman’s campaign was the destruction
of Marietta. The Military Institute and such mills and factories as might
be a benefit to Hood could expect the torch, but Sherman was not content
with that; the torch was applied to everything, even the shanties occupied
by the negroes. No advance warning was given. The first alarm was followed
by the crackling of flames. Soldiers rode from house to house, entered
without ceremony and kindled fires in garrets and closets, and stood by to
see that they were not extinguished.” Again he says: “Had one been able to
climb to such a height at Atlanta as to enable him to see for forty miles
around, the day Sherman marched out, he would have been appalled at the
destruction. Hundreds of houses had been burned; every rod of fence
destroyed; nearly every fruit tree cut down, and the face of the country
so changed that one born in that section could scarcely recognize it. The
vindictiveness of war would have trampled the very earth out of sight, had
such a thing been possible.”

One cold and drizzly night in the midst of this marching General Sherman
found shelter and warmth beneath the roof of a comfortable plantation

“In looking around the room,” he says, “I saw a small box, like a candle
box, marked ‘Howell Cobb,’ and, on inquiring of a negro, found we were at
the plantation of General Howell Cobb, of Georgia, one of the leading
rebels of the South, then a General in the Southern army, and who had been
Secretary of the Treasury in Mr. Buchanan’s time. Of course we confiscated
his property, and found it rich in corn, beans, peanuts, and sorghum
molasses. Extensive fields were all around the house. I sent word back to
General Davis to explain whose plantation it was, and to instruct him to
spare nothing. That night huge bonfires consumed the fence-rails, kept our
soldiers warm, and the teamsters and men, as well as slaves, carried off
an immense quantity of corn and provisions of all sorts.”

Do the records of civilized warfare furnish a parallel to this petty and
mercenary wreaking of spite upon the helpless home of a gallant foeman?

The General furnished us with proof of how worthy of their selection his
staff-officers proved during that memorable raid. While camped that night
on Cobb’s plantation, Lieutenant Snelling, who was a Georgian commanding
his escort, received permission to visit his uncle, who lived some six
miles away.

“The next morning,” says the General, “he described to me his visit. The
uncle was not cordial by any means to find his nephew in the ranks of the
host that was desolating the land, and Snelling came back, having
exchanged his tired horse for a fresher one out of his uncle’s stables,
explaining that surely some of the ‘bummers’ would have got the horse had
he not.” It was the eternal fitness of things that the staff-officers of
this prince of free-booters should be renegades capable of stealing from
their nearest kin.

The unfailing jocosity of this merry marauder breaks out in his recital of
a negro’s account of the destruction of Sandersville: “First, there came
along some cavalrymen, and they burned the depot; then came along some
infantrymen, and they tore up the track and burned it, and, just before
they left, they sot fire to the well!” The well, he explains, was a boxed
affair into which some of the debris was piled, and the customary torch
was applied, making the negro’s statement literally true. This was one of
the incidents to leaving the pretty town of Sandersville a smoking mass of

But why enumerate further details of an unresisted movement which cost
Sherman one hundred and three lives, and the State of Georgia one hundred
million dollars, twenty millions of which he frankly states he carried
off, and eighty millions of which he destroyed? It began in shame at
Atlanta--it passed with a gathering burden of infamy to Savannah.
Starvation, terror, outrage hung upon its flanks and rear. Its days were
darkened by the smoking incense from unparalleled sacrifices upon the
altar of wantonness; its nights were lurid with flames licking the last
poor shelter from above the heads of subjugated wives and children.

Its history is the strongest human argument for an orthodox hell.


  ATLANTA, September 1st, 1894.

“Life in Dixie During the War,” by Miss Mary A. H. Gay, presents a
striking picture of home life among our people during that dark period of
our history.

While such presentation is hardly looked for in more elaborate history of
those times, Miss Gay’s conception was a wise one, and the record she has
given will preserve a most desirable part of the history of our section.

Her book deserves to be widely circulated.



This handsome volume from the pen of Miss Mary A. H. Gay, whose many acts
of self-denial entitle her to the name of philanthropist, will meet with a
hearty welcome from her wide circle of friends. But a casual glance at the
volume leads us to conclude that outside of this circle, even with the
reader who will look into it as a key to the history of the “times that
tried men’s souls,” it will be a book of more than passing interest. The
author writes with the feelings of a partisan, but time has mellowed her
recollections of these stormy times, and even the reader whose sympathies
were with the other side will agree with Joel Chandler Harris in his
introduction to the book. In its mechanical get-up, the book is a
gem.--_Atlanta Constitution_, December 18, 1892.


Miss Mary A. H. Gay has published a volume entitled “Life in Dixie During
the War,” which should be in every Southern home. It is one of the truest
pictures of the life of our people during the war that has yet been drawn.
In fact, it could not be better, for it shows things just as they were.
The struggles and sufferings of the Southern people during that awful
period exhibited a heroism that has seldom been matched in the world’s
history. Miss Gay was among them. She looked on their trials with
sympathetic eyes and suffered with them. Fortunately she is gifted with
the power of describing what she saw, and her book will be a classic of
war literature. Its every page is interesting. The story of Dixie during
the war reads like romance to the generation that has arisen since, but it
should have for generations an interest as deep as that with which it is
read by those who lived and acted amid the scenes it records. It shows how
grand was the courage and virtue, how sublime the faith and endurance of
the men and women of the South throughout that terrible ordeal. It is a
book that will live, and one that will give to the world a true
representation of the conduct of a noble people in affliction. Miss Gay
has made numerous contributions to our literature which mark her as a
woman of rare capacity and exquisite feelings, but she has done no work
that is worthier of gratitude and praise than that embodied in “Life in
Dixie.”--_The Atlanta Journal_, January 17, 1893.


Miss Mary Gay’s recent book, “Life in Dixie During the War,” is rapidly
winning favor with the public. Some of our most distinguished writers
speak of it in very high terms as a notable contribution to our history.
The Rev. Dr. J. William Jones says of it:

“‘Life in Dixie During the War’ is a charming story of home-life during
those dark days when our noble women displayed a patient endurance, and
active zeal, a self-denying work in the hospitals, a genuine patriotism, a
true heroism which equalled the record of their fathers, husbands, sons
and brothers in the army.

“But Decatur, near Atlanta, was the scene of stirring events during
Sherman’s campaign against the doomed city, and Miss Gay’s facile pen
vividly portrays historic events of deepest interest.

“Visits from the soldier boy to the old home, letters from the camp,
visits to the camps and hospitals, the smoke and changing scenes of battle
in the enemy’s lines, refugeeing, and many other events of those stirring
days, are told with the vividness of an eye-witness and the pen of an
accomplished writer.

“It is, in a word, a vivid and true picture of ‘Life in Dixie During the
War,’ and should find a place not only in our Southern homes, but in the
homes of all who desire to see a true account of the life of our noble
women during those trying days.


_The Constitution_, May 2nd, 1893.

The “Confederate Love Song,” by Miss Mary A. H. Gay, of Decatur, was
written during the late war. It is a charming bit of verse, and forms one
of a galaxy of beautiful songs from the same true pen. In 1880, Miss Gay
published a volume of verses which received the unusual compliment of
public demand for no less than eleven editions. The author’s life is one
of the most beautiful; it is, therefore, quite natural that her poetry
should partake of the simple truth and sincerity of that life, consecrated
as it is, and ever has been, to the noblest work.--_Atlanta Constitution._

Miss Gay’s Book, “Life in Dixie During the War.”--Editor “_Sunny South_:”
Permit me to say a few words through the columns of your widely read and
popular paper about Miss Mary A. H. Gay’s “Life in Dixie During the War,”
the second and enlarged edition of which book has just been issued from
the press.

The fact that a second and enlarged edition has been called for is proof
that the merits of this genuine Southern story has been appreciated by our
people. Not only has the author in her book perpetuated interesting and
historically valuable material of merely local character, but, to the
careful reader, she also presents matter that goes to the deep moral,
social and political roots of the cause of the people of the South, that
grew and flowered into the crimson rose of war, which the South plucked
and wore upon her heart during four of the most tragic yet glorious years
recorded in history.

But the chief charms of the book are its simple, earnest, homely style,
its depth of womanly and loyal feeling, and the glimpses we get of the
homes and hearts of our people during these years of patient suffering and
“crucifixion of the soul;” and along with the passion and the pain, we are
presented with pictures of our people’s frequently laughable “makeshifts”
to supply many of the common necessaries of life and household appliances
of which the stress and savage devastation deprived nearly every Southern
family. Above all we are impressed by the more than Spartan heroism, the
tender love, the unwavering loyalty, the devoted, self-sacrificing spirit
of our noble Southern womanhood, of which this book speaks so eloquently
in its _naive_ simplicity, and of which traits of character, the modest
author herself is a living and universally beloved example.

The book deserves a place in the hearts and homes of our people. Surely
the patriotic motives that inspired its author to write it is the only
passport it needs to public favor and patronage.

  “_Sunny South_,” Atlanta, Ga., November 3, 1894.


Even in these piping times of peace (peace as far as our own borders are
concerned, at any rate)--there is a relish in a war story. And when the
scene is laid right here in Georgia, in Decatur, in Atlanta; when familiar
names come up in the course of the narrative, and familiar events are
pictured by an honest eye-witness; when all through the little volume you
feel the truthfulness of the writer, and know that the incidents she
narrates happened just so; when, too, you see the writer herself--see her
to be an old lady now, who really was a heroine in her young days; and
then read the simple, personal narrative--now stirring, as the battle-guns
sound--now touching, as some dear one falls; with all this combination of
interest, a war story claims and holds the attention.

Such is the little book, called “Life in Dixie,” written by Miss Mary Gay,
and telling of those stirring times in and about Atlanta, back yonder in
the sixties.

There are some vivid pictures in that modest little volume, as well as
some interesting facts. Miss Gay was in the thick of the strife, and tells
what she saw in those dark days.

Among the well-known characters, associated with the recorded events, we
find Mrs. L. P. Grant, Mr. and Mrs. Posey Maddox, Dr. J. P. Logan and many

A most interesting fact disclosed in those pages is the surprising one
that two sisters of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln married Alabama officers in the
Confederate army; there is recorded the public presentation, by those two
ladies, of an elegant silk banner made for a gallant young company in
Georgia’s daughter-State. Thus conspicuous were those women in the
Southern Confederacy, while their sister and her dearest interests lay on
the other side.

Another matter of history which will be interesting to the present
generation of readers, however much we may have read of the mammoth prices
for the necessaries of life in those hard days, is the following list of
articles, with the cost thereof in Confederate money, bought by Miss Gay,
after a ride of forty miles to obtain them:

One bushel of meal, $10.00; four bushels of corn, $40.00; fifteen pounds
of flour, $7.50; four pounds of dried apples, $5.00; one and a half pounds
of butter, $6.00; a bushel of sweet potatoes, $6.00; three gallons of
syrup, $15.00; for shoeing the horse, $25.00; for a night’s lodging for
self and horse, at Mrs. Born’s, $10.00.

Then, the vehicle in which the trip for these supplies was made!

It was contrived by “Uncle Mack,” a dusky hero of those times. “It was a
something he had improvised which baffled description,” writes Miss Gay,
“and which, for the sake of the faithful service I obtained from it, I
will not attempt to describe. Suffice it to say that it carried living
freight over many a bridge; and in honor of this, I will call it a wagon.”

The horse, which the author herself captured to draw this remarkable
vehicle, was equally remarkable, and his subsequent history is one of the
most interesting bits of narrative in the book. I wish I could give it
all in Miss Gay’s own words, but my space does not admit of that.

But there is not a child in your household who would not be interested in
the account of how the poor starved horse was lassoed and secured--how he
was fed and strengthened, and cared for, and finally harnessed up with
ropes and pieces of crocus sacks; how the letters, “U. S.” were found
branded on each of his sides, causing his mistress to name him “Yankee”;
how she grew to love him so that she deemed that name ill-fitting, and
decided to re-christen him “Johnnie Reb.,” which she did one day with
effective ceremonial by a brook-side; how he rendered invaluable service
to his mistress many and many a time, and was a treasured member of the
little family that passed such stormy times in the war-stricken village of
Decatur; all this is worth reading, told, as it is, with a gentle humor,
and a strict truthfulness which is the chief charm of that historic
picture. For it is historic. And it were well for the rising generation to
read its vivid portrayals of that period.

And though Miss Gay was evidently an ardent secessionist, and is now, I
fancy, one of the altogether unreconstructed few, her book contains
records of more than one kindness received at the hands of officers of the
United States army--kindness proffered, too, in the face of her fearless
avowal of opinion.

Some parts of the book (I will add, if the gentle author will allow me)
seem somewhat too bitter towards our brethren of the North. But this
criticism is from the standpoint of one who knew not the horrors of that
dreadful war. If I had seen the desolation and destruction which followed
it in the wake of Sherman’s army, as Miss Gay saw it and suffered by it
(through mother and brother and friends, as well as through personal
privation),--if I had thus suffered, doubtless I, too, would be unable to
look impartially upon these Federal leaders and their actuating
motives--unable to see that, though Sherman was a most unmerciful
conqueror, he was not altogether a fiend.

But there is only a touch of this severe judgment in Miss Gay’s little
book. The greater portion of it is simply historic--a faithful chronicling
of events experienced by the writer herself, who was a veritable heroine
in those days of horrors.

Miss Gay is to be congratulated upon the fact that “Life in Dixie” is
entering upon its second edition. Let me suggest that you get it for your
children, you parents. The rising generation should learn of the stirring
events which happened right here in Atlanta thirty years ago.

The story will hold their attention and interest throughout--the
soldier-brother who fell in the strife, the faithful black Toby sketched
so tenderly, the perilous trip of Miss Gay herself, as she carried the
blankets and overcoats through the enemy’s ranks to the boys in gray--all
this will vastly entertain those young folks, at the same time it teaches
them of the Battle of Atlanta, and the concurrent events.--EMEL JAY[6], in
_The Atlanta Journal_, November 24th, 1894.

“Life in Dixie During the War” is the title of a volume just perused which
transcends in interest, truth and beauty all the historical tomes and
garlanded fiction to which that epoch has given birth. It embraces the
personal experiences and observations of a woman, gifted far beyond the
ordinary, who came in contact with the sadness, the bloodshed and the
misery of the unhappy struggle. A loved brother laid down his life on the
bloodiest battle-field, friends parted and vanished from her, and wealth
was swallowed in the maw of destruction.

She tells her story--for story it is--with an exquisite grace, and with a
woman’s tenderness and sympathy for the people she loved and the cause she
adored. Her language is lofty upon occasion, her memories perhaps too
keen, her gentleness possibly too exclusive to her own, but her work is
done with a fidelity and consistency beyond comparison. The scene is
Decatur, Ga., but threads, visible or invisible, reach to every hamlet and
entwine every heart in the evanished Confederacy. The heroism of men, the
daring of boys, the endurance of women, alike are painted with a skill
that requires no color.

Those who wish to embalm their recollections of home-life during the war,
and those who desire to know what it was, should read this book. It is one
of the records of the past that should be in every library. It is
beautifully printed, neatly cloth-bound, and contains 300 pages.--_The
Tampa Daily Times_, January 17, 1895.



  EVANSTON, ILL., December 30th, 1895.

_Mary A. H. Gay_:

DEAR MADAM: Allow me to thank you for giving to the world inside home life
in the South during the war. All histories of the war that have been
written have been confined to battles and movements of armies, which are
so likened to the histories of other wars that when you have read one you
may say that you have read them all. But yours gives a local and romantic
description of real life, and I feel like congratulating you and calling
the scenes in which you played so important a part the heyday of your
existence. I take it you were the daughter, pampered and cuddled child, of
rich and influential people, and had it not been for the war you would
have been raised with much pomp, arrogance and importance of family,
which, in the very nature of your surroundings, would have destroyed all
the finer and nobler traits which want and misery have developed into a
grand, noble, self-sacrificing and heroic woman. And although you portray
the scenes freighted with misery, want and desolation, yet they were
halcyon days to one like you, romantic, energetic, patriotic and
self-sacrificing, and now, as you are passing down the shady lane of life,
you live in the memories of the past, the part you played in the heroic
struggle, and the noble womanhood developed; and the assurance that you
did well your part in the great tragedy strews roses and garlands along
the path of your declining years.

“I follow you through all these stirring scenes; I sit beside you in your
hours of gloom and blighted hopes; I follow you beside the ox-cart that
drew its freight of human misery; I walk with you into the woody retreats
and sit beside you upon the banks of the limpid stream and mix my tears
with yours; I tramp with you over the scenes of desolation; I sorrow with
you over the death of Toby; I mourn with you over the sudden death of
noble Thomie; I sit beside the death-bed of your sainted mother and mingle
my tears with yours; I gladly accompany you on your weary tramp with your
much-loved ‘Yankee’ or Johnnie Reb; I gather with you the leaden missiles
of death to buy food for starving friends and fellow-sufferers; I pass
with you through all the scenes that are freighted with hope, love,
despair and expectation; I am your friend and sympathizer in all your
misfortunes, and yet I am one of those ‘accursed’ Yankee soldiers who have
been the bane of your life.

“The strange blending of pathos and diplomacy on pages 91 and 92 may be
said to be amusingly expressive. Chapter 13 is intensely interesting,
dramatic and romantic; still I see no reason that I should speak of these
isolated passages, for the whole book is equally interesting, and would
foreshadow for it a large sale in the North if properly handled. As to the
mechanical construction of the book, I am much pleased with your language,
as it is free from Carlylism and ostentatious English, which mars so much
of the writings of many of our modern authors. I hold that when a book is
overloaded with this disgusting use of the dictionary it is what Goldsmith
terms ‘display of book learned skill.’

“The book was kindly sent me by a lady friend in Atlanta, Mrs. Delbridge,
and I hope when I visit Atlanta again I may have the pleasure of meeting
the authoress that nature has endowed with such wonderful power of

  Most respectfully,

Published in _The Atlanta Constitution_ January 5th, 1896.


is the title of one of the best series of sketches that has been written
about the ‘late unpleasantness.’ It contains the record of one woman’s
experience during the five years of warfare between the North and the
South. The author, Miss Mary A. H. Gay, of Decatur, Georgia, one of the
most graceful writers in the South, has handled the subject in a masterful
manner. ‘Truth is stranger than fiction,’ and the work abounds in truth.
The volume ought to be on sale at every news-stand in the South. The book
has been described as containing ‘a living picture of those trying
times--not to stir up bitter feelings and hatred, but a history, and such
history as cannot be obtained in any other form.’ Miss Gay was in the
thick of the strife, ‘and in a modest way shows herself a heroine worthy
of any romance.’ Her pen describes scenes that bring tears for the pain
and suffering, and laughter at the ‘makeshifts’ resorted to by those
noble people in the hour of actual need. ‘Some parts of the narrative may
be judged as rather bitter towards the enemy by those who know not the
horrors of that war. But let such critics put themselves in the wake of
Sherman’s army and suffer as the writer, and they will feel more
charitable towards her who, in recalling those experiences, finds it hard
to love all her enemies. There is only a touch of this old-time
bitterness, however; most of the book is simply historic, and Miss Gay
does not hesitate to record many kindnesses received at the hands of
Federal officers.’ Such a valuable contribution to the history of the war
should be prized. It is a vivid chronicle, and the rising generation
should learn of those stirring events. They will read with unflagging
interest to the end of the narrative. We wish for it a wide
circulation.”--_The Arkansas Gazette_, March 10th, 1896.



We endorse most heartily the praise bestowed on this modest volume by the
general press. Within the same scope we do not believe a truer or more
sympathetic picture of the ghastly war time has ever been written. It is
not fiction, but a faithful presentation of one woman’s experience during
the five years that bounded the war between the States.

The writer was in the very thick of the strife, and while with admirable
modesty she has endeavored to keep herself out of her book, it is clear
that she was one of the heroic and indefatigable women who brought into
scenes of suffering the ministry of tenderness. The recital of events as
they were, brings humor into the book, whose tenor in the main, however,
is necessarily sad.

By those to whom the war is simply a tale that is told, there are parts of
the book in which the writer will be accused of undue bitterness. However,
no such critics, we think, will be found among the people to whom the war
was a reality. Miss Gay records, without hesitation, many kindnesses
received at the hands of the Federal officers.

Texas soldiers of Granbury’s brigade, Cleburne’s division, and Hood’s
corps, figure conspicuously and by name in the book. Miss Gay visited
Hood’s headquarters twice while the brigade was encamped in Georgia, the
last time just before they left Georgia for the fatal march into
Tennessee. The night-scene she describes near Jonesboro, where they were
encamped, is most graphic and pathetic. Miss Gay is the woman who
collected the money to have the soldiers who fell at Franklin, Tennessee,
reburied, when she heard that the owners of the battlefield said their
graves should be ploughed over. She collected $7,000, and her name is
engraved on the silver plate on the entrance gate at the McGavock
cemetery, which she so largely helped to build.--_The Richmond Times_,
Feb. 16, 1896.


The following deserved complimentary notice of the book, “Life in Dixie
During the War,” written by Miss Mary A. H. Gay, of Georgia, we clip from
the New York Times: “Joel Chandler Harris’ brief introduction to Miss
Gay’s reminiscences of the civil war tells of the authenticity of this
simple story, and how a book of this character is of that kind from whence
‘history will get its supplies.’ The dark days are described with absolute
fidelity, and this is a quality we may look for in vain ‘in more elaborate
and ambitious publications.’ Think of the strangeness of things, the
breaks in families, when the author tells how, at the presentation of a
flag, the banner was made for a company of Confederate soldiers by Miss
Ella Todd and Mrs. White, of Lexington, Kentucky, the sisters of Mrs.
Abraham Lincoln, the wife of the great President.

It was in and around Decatur, Georgia, where the author now lives, that,
in the storm and heat of the war, heroically and unflinchingly the women
of the South did their duty in helping those in the field. You will find
no incidents of the war which do not show the colored man in the South at
his best. Miss Gay describes their devotion and what true friends they
were. The author tells how more than once she was near starvation. It
happened that the house in which she lived became the headquarters of a
troop of United States Cavalry. Very possibly bureau drawers became
convenient feed troughs for horses. After the cavalry had left there was
not a morsel to eat. The famished children, white and black, were crying
for food. The day was spent by the women picking up grains of corn from
the cracks and crevices in bureau drawers, and other improvised troughs
for Federal horses. In this way, by diligent and persevering work, about a
half bushel of corn was obtained. The corn, having been thoroughly washed
and dried, was taken to a small mill and coarsely ground, and served to
give the hungry ones their bread. The utter destitution of the people
after the fall of Atlanta is shown in this way: Lead was in demand, and on
the battlefields around Atlanta it could be picked up, pellet by pellet.
Delicately nurtured women dug up the spent minie balls from the frozen
clods and exchanged them for bread.--The Mechanicsburg, Pa., _Free Press_,
February, 20, 1896.



Of the numerous stories which have had as their basis the war between the
States, there are few truer pictures, in our opinion, than that presented
by a Southern woman in this volume, with a telling preface by Joel
Chandler Harris. The writer’s home was in Decatur, but the stories include
the history of the entire section, and give much very interesting
information relative to life in Atlanta, particularly during the war era.
Miss Gay was in the very heart of the strife, and she describes with the
vigorous pen of one to whom the matter is a vital reality.--_The Southern
Churchman_, Richmond, Va., March 12, 1896.


The volume written and published by Miss Mary A. H. Gay, of Georgia,
entitled “Life in Dixie During the War,” is one of the few books in the
flood tide of literature on the great civil conflict that many will read
with interest, because it is a woman’s story of actual life in Dixie from
the beginning to the close of the great conflict. We have volumes in
abundance which tell of the great battles of the war, of the achievement
of heroes and the sacrifices which attended the victories, but the story
of the home life of Southern people during the war must ever be of
absorbing interest to every American. They are our people, our countrymen,
sharing the common inheritance of heroism in all the conflicts of the
Republic, and that part of the history of the war of the rebellion that is
least understood is the extraordinary sufferings and sacrifices of the
Southern women, who heroically aided their fathers, husbands, sons and
brothers in the unequal contest. Miss Gay gives a plain unvarnished story
of life in Georgia during the war, and of the many sad sacrifices to which
the families of Southern people were subjected. One of the noticeable
features of this story, commencing with the expression of confident hope
for the success of the Confederacy and ending in the starless midnight of
gloom that attended the surrender of Lee and his legions, is given in the
description of a presentation of a silken banner to the Magnolia Cadets
when the war began. The banner was prepared and finished by Mrs. Dr.
White, of Lexington, Kentucky, and her sister Miss Todd, sisters of Mrs.
President Lincoln, and they were presented to the enthusiastic audience by
Captain Dawson, who subsequently married Miss Todd.

Miss Gay’s volume is full of interesting incidents, showing the heroism
and sublime faith and endurance of the women of the South during the
terrible ordeal. Like all Southern women, she was intensely devoted to the
Southern Cause, and often exposed herself to great peril to serve the
Confederacy. More than once she took her life into her hand to aid the
hopeless cause in which the Southern armies had engaged. It was
principally by her efforts that money was raised to entomb the
Confederates that fell at the bloody battle of Franklin, Tennessee. Her
name is engraved on a silver plate that is mounted on the entrance gate of
the cemetery, and there are few who will not become readers of her book.
It is in every way interesting to people both North and South, and should
have a very wide circulation.--From _The Times_, Philadelphia, Pa., May
27, 1896.


Many stories of the late war have been written, some from the stand point
of the “Blue,” and some from the “Grey,” but we doubt whether a truer
picture of real war times in the South has ever been depicted than the one
found in this modest little volume. There is no fiction in it, but it is
the record of one woman’s experiences during the war.

Her home was in Decatur, Georgia, but her narrative includes the history
of all that portion of country. Very few persons who did not live in that
section know or remember to what extent those people suffered. And we
would commend them to this book--a living picture of those trying
times--not to stir up bitter feelings and hatred, but because it is
history, and such history as cannot be obtained in any other form.

Miss Gay was in the thick of the strife, and in a modest way she shows
herself a heroine worthy of any romance. Her pen describes scenes that
bring tears for the pain and suffering, and laughter at the “makeshifts”
resorted to by these noble people in the hour of actual needs. Some parts
of the narrative may be regarded as rather bitter towards the enemy by
those who know not the horrors of that war. But let such critics put
themselves in the wake of Sherman’s army, and suffer as the writer did,
and we think they will feel more charitably towards her, who, in recalling
those experiences, find it hard to love all her enemies. There is only a
touch of this old time bitterness, however; most of the book is simply
historic, and Miss Gay does not hesitate to record many kindnesses
received at the hands of the Federal officers. Such a valuable
contribution to the history of the war should be prized. It is a vivid
chronicle and the rising generation should learn of those stirring events.
They will read with unflagging interest to the end of the narrative. We
wish for it a wide circulation.--“_The Christian Observer_,” Louisville,
Kentucky, May 8th, 1896.

Commendatory notices have also appeared in “The Hampton (Florida)
_Advocate_,” “The Decatur _Record_,” “The DeKalb County _New Era_,” “The
Wesleyan _Christian Advocate_,” etc.

The following letter was written to Mr. C. D. Mitchell, Secretary and
Treasurer of Chattanooga Plow Company, Chattanooga, Tennessee:

  CINCINNATI, OHIO, November 30, 1896.

MY DEAR MITCHELL--I have read Miss Gay’s book on “Life in Dixie During the
War,” and thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to read it. I
fancy you will think I am a good deal of a “calf,” but I couldn’t help
choking up a good many times as I read of the terrible experience of the
poor women and children and helpless aged people when misfortune placed
them in the path of the armies during that bloody period, and we who were
at the front knew but little of the misery in the wake of the armies.

I was glad to see that Miss Gay speaks kindly of our command, and that we
afforded protection to her family without leaving any harm to them in any

To-day is the anniversary of the death of her brother, killed in front of
our works at Franklin. When I read of his death the whole bloody scene was
revived, and how useless and fool-hardy that charge of Cleburne’s over the
open cotton fields at Franklin upon our works. The dead were almost
countless, and one long grave was dug for all. I well remember this
immense trench where the Confederates were laid side by side. I commanded
the 1st Batallion that day at the battle of Franklin, and we had a very
warm time of it. We retreated on Nashville the following day, and I was
cut off from the Regiment for a while, but we finally made a big detour
and regained our lines. After the battle of Nashville we occupied the
Franklin battlefield, and I went carefully over the whole field. Hood’s
charge upon our Franklin works, if successful, would have been a moderate
victory only, but unsuccessful, it was a most terrible loss to him.

At 57 you and I look at things rather different than we did in our youth
of 22, and while scars of war may be healed, they are nevertheless not
forgotten. With kind regards.

  Yours very truly,
  T. F. ALLEN.

I think General Garrard would like to read this book, if he has not
already done so, and if you approve I will send it up to him and return it
to you later. At this season of the year he has time to read.

  T. F. A.


[1] This lady, Miss “Frank” Whitney, is now the wife of Mr. Charles W.
Hubner, the well-known Atlanta poet.

[2] This brave officer was killed near Nashville, Tennessee, Dec. 16th,

[3] The fifth and seventh verses are criticisms upon four Southern
surgeons, who gave the Federal authorities a certificate that our
prisoners were well treated, and our sick well cared for, and that the
average loss by death was only four per day.

[4] This gentleman, who married sweet Maggie Morgan, (the sister of Dewitt
and Billy), has now been Sunday school treasurer for twenty-seven years.

[5] One of these poems, “Marching Through Georgia,” we learn by the
evidence, was a favorite canticle of Murray, the kidnapper and butcher of
Captain Polynesius.

[6] “Emel Jay” is Miss Mary L. Jackson, daughter of the late Hon. James
Jackson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

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