Civil Wargasms and Other Stuff

 

 

Confederate Brigadier General James M. McIntosh


       Most everyone has heard stories about the Civil War being a war where brothers often fought one another. Few realize that this also occurred among the generals who fought. James McQueen McIntosh was born in 1828 in Florida while his father was stationed there in the U.S. Army. A year later, while still at that post James little brother John Baillie McIntosh would be born. Their father would be killed during the Mexican War. 

       James would miss the Mexican War while attending West Point. There he proved to be a very poor student. He cared very little for the classroom and like fellow Confederate General George Pickett, he would finish dead last in his class. His brother John wouldn’t attend West Point, but served in the Navy as a midshipman during the Mexican War. 



Union Brigadier General John B. McIntosh


       When the Civil War began, James resigned his commission and became colonel of the Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles. He saw action at Wilson’s Creek where he proved to be a daring cavalry commander. He was famous for his fearlessness in battle and his colorful language. Leading his men in desperate charges would prove his undoing. 

       He would receive a promotion to brigadier general for his actions in routing a numerically superior force. His first major battle following that promotion would prove to be his last. At the Battle of Pea Ridge after seeing his friend and commander Benjamin McCulloch killed. He charged forward in an attempt to recover the mans body and be shot through the heart. They would carry the high-strung officer back to the National Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas where he rests today. James McIntosh was either 33 or 34 years old. His exact birth date has been lost to history. 


 

McCulloch and McIntosh were both killed in the treeline across the field


       When the war began, James’s brother John was working in business in New Jersey. Like James, John would spend the war serving in the cavalry. He was with McClellan’s army during the Seven Days. He served well during the  Battle of Chancellorsville. He led an attack against J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry at Gettysburg. His next action would be over a year later at the Battle of Winchester where he would lose a leg. 

       Following the war, John would return to New Jersey and die there in 1888 at the age of 59. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, New Brunswick, New Jersey. It makes you wonder how two brothers so close in age could ever consider fighting a war on opposite sides. 


 

James grave in Arkansas


 

John’s grave in New Jersey




 

 

 

 

 

Confederate Brigadier General James B. Terrill

 

 

Federal Brigadier General William R. Terrill


       Two more brothers who served as general’s during the Civil War on opposite sides were James and William Terrill. Unlike the McIntosh brothers, both of the Terrill brothers would die fighting during the war. William was born in 1834 and obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He would rise to the rank of brigadier general and be mortally wounded by artillery fire at the Battle of Perryville. His younger brother James was born in 1838 and attended the Virginia Military Institute. Unlike William, he didn’t make the military his career, but instead became an attorney. When the war began, James and another brother named Phillip joined the Confederate army. Phillip was a private and was killed at the Battle of Cedar Creek. James who rose to the rank of brigadier general was killed at Bethesda Church by a Federal sharpshooter. He was buried by the Federals on the field and his grave has been lost to history.

        After the war, their father erected a monument to the memory of the Terrill brothers which read, ‘This monument erected by their father. God alone knows which was right.’


 

Confederate Major General George B. Crittenden

 

 

Federal Major General Thomas L. Crittenden


       George Crittenden was born in 1812 and his younger brother Thomas was born in 1819. George graduated from the United States Military Academy and became a career soldier. He saw action in the Black Hawk War and Mexican War. The Crittenden family were close friends with the Davis family, both from Kentucky. George decided to join the Confederate army under his close friend Jefferson Davis. He commanded the troops at Mill Springs during the defeat there. Rumors soon circulated that he had been intoxicated while on duty. A courts-martial was convened and Crittenden was cashiered from the army. Thomas became a lawyer and joined the army to fight during the Mexican War. He rejoined the army when the Civil War began and rose to the rank of major general before resigning in 1864. 


 

Confederate Brigadier General John R. Cooke

 

 

Federal Brigadier General Phillip St. George Cooke


       In an even rarer incident, there were a pair of general’s who fought on opposite sides who were father against son. Virginia born Federal cavalry commander Phillip Cooke remained loyal to the Union when the Civil War began. His Harvard educated son John Rogers Cooke would resign his commission and enter the Confederate army. John’s sister Flora Cooke had married a Virginian named James Ewell Brown Stuart, otherwise known as Jeb. When the war began Stuart would see action on the Peninsula in Virginia against his father-in-law Phillip. Stuart once said that his father-in-law would regret his decision for fighting against his home state but once and that would be eternally. 

       Bother Cooke’s would survive the war, but Stuart would be mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern in 1864. The senior Cooke would outlive his son by four years dying in 1895. These are just a few of the many close relatives in the officer ranks during the war. There were many cousins who fought against each other in that war also. Abraham Buford and John Buford, both served in the cavalry service. Robert E. Lee’s second cousin was Samuel P. Lee who was a rear admiral in the United States Navy and in charge of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.  There were probably few families who weren’t affected by relatives fighting relatives during the Civil War. 


 

 

 

Me at the grave of Brigadier General Joseph L. Hogg


       Well, I finally had a day off without kids to baby sit and went on a mini-Civil War Gasm with my buddy Jerry in Mississippi. If you know Jerry, you know we had a blast. We have begun a hobby of visiting as many Confederate generals graves as possible and having our pictures taken with them. Our first stop was in Corinth, Mississippi at the museum located on the site of Battery Robinette where Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Lewis Hogg is buried. He didn’t die in battle here, but from dysentery about three months after his promotion to brigadier general and without seeing any action whatsoever. Colonel William Peleg Rogers is also buried there, killed in the charge that overran the small earthen fort. He commanded a brigade in the action there and by all rights should have been a general officer. Despite the fact that a petition was signed begging President Davis to promote the man, he remained a colonel. The reason being that he and Davis had an argument during the Mexican War and Davis being the type person who held grudges would never forgive Rogers. 

       This brings us to the funny part of the story. Jerry and I wore our shell jackets on this trip. We were in a hurry because after all it was a Civil War Gasm. (Civil War Gasm definition is where you hit as many places as quickly as possible and we had places to go before dark.) We entered the museum to find the park ranger talking to a group of people. The entire group paused to watch us pass right by and out the back door of the museum at a high rate of speed. We exited the museum and walked around to the gate to find it locked. We then re-entered the museum by a side door and exited through another door out of sight of the ranger and group. We made each others picture beside General Hogg and Colonel Rogers graves, walked back around the building to Jerry’s truck and left. It was only later that we decided that this is how ghost stories begin. We can just imagine someday reading about ourselves as the park ranger writes a book about the first sergeant and private that passed right through the museum and beyond a locked gate to be seen no more. 


 

Me at the grave of Colonel William Rogers one of my personal hero’s.


       We left Corinth and headed southwest toward Ripley, Mississippi. About six miles beyond Ripley is a small town called Blue Mountain. Here in Blue Mountain Cemetery is the resting place of Brigadier General Mark Perrin Lowrey. His grave was easy enough to find, the cemetery not much more than an acre and his being the only one with an obelisk. General Lowrey was one of Patrick Cleburne’s brigade commanders. He had fought in the Mexican War and returned home determined to become a preacher. Despite the fact that he couldn’t read or write, he proceeded to accomplish his goal. His wife taught him reading and writing and he became a Baptist minister. He rose to the rank of general during the Civil War and following the war returned to the ministry and also founded a female college in Blue Mountain which later became Blue Mountain College. He died in the railroad depot in Middleton, Tennessee while awaiting a passenger train. 


 

Grave of Mark Perrin Lowrey


       Leaving Blue Mountain, Mississippi, Jerry called my attention to something I had never realized before. It seems the laws of mathematics cease to exist in this old southern state. We arrived at a sign that declared the intersection a four way stop. The problem was, we only counted three roads. One might think this was a simple accident, but we’ll come back to this later. 

       We then drove west to Holly Springs, Mississippi where there are four generals buried in one cemetery. We arrived and entered the first cemetery entrance we came to. There on the right within twenty feet of the entrance we found the grave of Major General Edward Cary Walthall. If you know my luck, you’ll know this was a complete accident. Walthall was the little known Confederate general that Forrest chose to help him fight the rear-guard for Hood during the retreat from Nashville. It would prove to be Walthall’s best performance of the war. 


 

Major General Edward Cary Walthall


       We then got lucky and found the graves of Samuel Benton and Winfield Scott Featherston. Benton was only a colonel leading a brigade at the Battle of Atlanta when artillery shrapnel nearly tore his foot off and a piece lodged just inches from his heart. His foot would be amputated and his promotion to brigadier general would arrive from Richmond just two days before his death. The authorities in Richmond had not known he’d been wounded. 


 

Brigadier General Samuel Benton


       Brigadier General Winfield Scott Featherston began the war in the Virginia army and made a name for himself at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. From that point on he would serve as a capable officer but made no special name for himself. He would be shipped to the west where he would finish the war with the Army of Tennessee. His grave was as easy to find as Walthall’s which was a good thing because it was about a ten degree windchill factor and I told Jerry that if a limb was to hit my ear, it would shatter like glass. 


 

Brigadier General Winfield Scott Featherston


       This brought us to the most difficult part of finding Brigadier General Daniel Chevilette Govan’s grave. His marker is relatively flat without the enormous obelisks to mark the position. Jerry has a sixth sense or so he claims, sometimes it gets a bit off on him. He told me to check some markers about forty yards from the truck. I almost left my camera in the car because I don’t trust Jerry’s sixth sense, but I carried it along just in case. Lucky for me because, it did indeed turn out to be General Govan. This was truly our lucky day, my ears having lost all feeling along with my fingers, toes, and nose. Govan is the Arkansas brigadier who stood next to his close friend Patrick Cleburne at Franklin and said, “General, there won’t be many of us to return home to Arkansas after this battle.” Cleburne simply replied, “Well, Govan, if we are to die, let us die like men.”


 

Brigadier General Daniel Govan


       It was at this point that Jerry’s sixth sense began to get goofy or at least I think it did. He still claims he was right, but on that point I still remain dubious. He claimed he had an intuition that there was someone buried beneath a cedar tree he could see across the cemetery. He refused to leave the cemetery without investigating this mystery person. We drove across the cemetery to the cedar tree in question and sure enough, there was someone buried beneath the tree. I simply shook my head. Of course there was someone buried beneath the tree, it is a cemetery. He argues that he never said it was anyone buried there that had anything to do with the Civil War, he simply said there was someone buried there. 

       Leaving Holly Springs headed back home we again encountered a four way stop sign with only three roads. Jerry wanted to stop and take a picture of the intersection, but luckily he chose to pass on by this time. It was a typical Civil War Gasm for me. Out prowling the country with a fellow Civil War nut and we got photographs of us by six Confederate generals graves. I only wish I could do this everyday. 



 





 

   I was very lucky to go on two Civil War Gasms in one week, this time while babysitting.  Jerry and I planned a trip that would add another ten Generals graves to our collection.  The only problem with this trip was the fact that it was pouring down rain here at home.  Jerry swore up and down that his intuition (women’s intuition is what I think it is)  told him that it wasn’t raining south of us.  We’ll come back to this part later.  

 

 

Me and Timmy at the grave of William F. Tucker


       

       Our first stop was in Okolona, Mississippi at a cemetery called Odd Fellows.  I told Jerry that he should be buried in a cemetery by this name.  Luckily for us General Tuckers grave was easy to find.  We had just gotten our pictures made at the grave site when the bottom fell out.  We were forced to run to the car and while running Timmy announced “that old man got us wet!”  Brigadier General William Feimster Tucker lead Mississippi infantry in the  Army of Tennessee.  He was severely wounded at Resaca only two months after his promotion, disabling him from service for the rest of the war.  This resulted in him not being one of the well known Confederate Generals.  


 

More Mississippi road signs


       Again Jerry found road signs that made no sense in the state of Mississippi.  He insisted I stand out in the rain to take a picture of this phenomenon.  We are driving down the road and approach a ‘do not enter’ sign and just 50 yards beyond is a stop sign.  Jerry’s question is, “if you’re not supposed to enter, why do you need a stop sign?”  Jerry is always on the lookout for such things.  Between Okolona and Aberdeen he found  a county road that went into a cotton field and ended.  I talked him out of stopping and forcing me to take a picture of this, thank goodness because we were running behind.  



       

Timmy and I at the grave of Samuel Gholson


       We left Okolona and the dark cloud that follows Jerry everywhere he goes and went south to Aberdeen.  At another cemetery where Jerry should be buried, also called Odd Fellows, we found the grave of Brigadier General Samuel A. Gholson.  General Gholson lost an arm in a cavalry skirmish in Egypt, Mississippi.  We passed through Egypt on the way to Aberdeen and I had to talk Jerry out of stopping and asking where the pyramids were.  



Jerry and I at the grave of John Gregg


       About 20 yards from Gholson we found the grave of one of my favorite generals.  Brigadier General John Gregg was born in Lawrence County, Al and attended college at LaGrange which was considered the West Point of the South.  LaGrange is less than 10 miles from my house.  He fought in the Vicksburg campaign, was wounded in the neck at Chickamauga, and transferred to Lee’s army in Virginia where he was shot in the neck again just outside of Richmond and killed. For more on General Gregg please see my John Gregg blog April 2011.   I never thought I would get a four year old to take a good picture, but the picture of Jerry and I was taken by Timmy.  As soon as he took the picture he announced,  “I got you and that old man with the white mustache.”  


 

Confederate New Jersey Cavalry?


       In the confederate section of the Aberdeen cemetery we found a private John Wallace company B 2nd regiment, CSA.  Jerry was amazed to find that New Jersey provided regiments for the confederate army.  I told him that I thought the J should have been a C and it had to be North Carolina cavalry, but I learned Jerry was right this time.  There was a sign at the cemetery entrance that told the story of John Wallace.  Apparently John Wallace was a deserter from the 2nd New Jersey Cavalry, U.S. He burned the house of an elderly southern gentleman which resulted in the mans death.  The mans son then killed John Wallace.  There was still no explanation why this criminal was buried beneath a confederate marker.  



Me and Timmy at William Baldwin’s grave


       We then traveled on southward to Columbus, Mississippi and to Friendship Cemetery where three confederate generals rest.  The first grave we found was of another one of my favorite generals, Brigadier General William Edwin Baldwin.  The first words out of Jerry’s mouth was, “There is no drain hole in the bowl on top of the stone.  I wonder what keeps the water from freezing and bursting this bowl?”  


       I replied sarcastically, “Jerry, that is just the question I was about to ask after I finished paying tribute to one of my Confederate heroes.”  You can read more about William Baldwin in my blog, ‘Confederate General Killed by DUI?’  August 2011.




Photo taken by Timmy of Tim and the Old Man with General SD Lee


       The next general was one of Jerry’s heroes, General SD Lee.  Jerry’s ancestor served under Forrest who in turn served under Lieutenant General SD Lee at times.  Following the war, Lee was the first president of Mississippi State University.  



Timmy with General Sharp


       Brigadier General Jacob Hunter Sharp is also buried in this cemetery.  General Sharp led a brigade in the Army of Tennessee from Chickamauga to Bentonville.  




Me and Timmy with Phillip Roddey


       We arrived in Tuscaloosa only 30 minutes before sunset.  While I was frantically hunting the graves of Brigadier Generals George D. Johnston and Phillip D. Roddey Jerry was being entertained by two police officers attempting to arrest a man in a house next to the cemetery.  General Roddey was called ‘the defender of the Tennessee Valley’.  



Timmy and I with Josiah Gorgas


       It was almost dark when we found the graves of Josiah Gorgas and S.A.M. Wood.  Wood was a native of Florence, Alabama.  He saw action from Shiloh to Chickamauga where he lost control of his brigade during a night fight and resigned.  One could throw a stone from these two officers graves and hit Bryant Denny Stadium.  It had been a great trip. We had gotten ten generals grave photos.  Any trip with Jerry that doesn’t end with an arrest is a good trip.



Timmy in the cemetery with Bryant Denny Stadium in the back

 

 

 

 

LaGrange College a few years before the murders


       Two days ago, my buddy Lanny Perry came by the house to share some 35th Alabama Infantry information with me. My G-G-G Grandfather served in Company B, 35th Alabama Infantry which was organized at Lagrange College in March, 1862. Lanny gave me a copy of a map which was drawn in 1944 which showed where the houses and buildings were located prior to the Civil War. This map had numerous little details about the town of LaGrange. The place is still called LaGrange, but it’s a ghost town now. Over ninety percent of what was the town is now forest and over half of that belongs to a deer hunting club. 

       One piece of information on the map immediately piqued my interest. According to the map, there was a house beside the cemetery owned by a Captain DeLoney, one of the professors at the college. The map says this is “where the pillar double murder occurred.” This immediately set me off on a wild goose chase hoping to find anything I could on the murder. Soon I had my wife involved. We searched every possible thing we could on the internet. The only thing we were able to find was a reference to the DeLoney House where two Pillar brothers were murdered, the killers never caught, but possibly murdered by two brothers. It was mentioned the brothers were robbed and it was the most diabolical murder this area had ever witnessed. 

       At this point I decided to visit the library to see what I could find, but first I just had to visit the place and see if I could find just exactly where the Donley House had once stood. During my wife’s lunch break, my four year old son and I met her at the cemetery to do a little prowling. According to the map, the Donley House stood just a few yards south of the cemetery. We explored the forest around the cemetery, but there was simply nothing left here. I did notice that the area had no really old trees, which shows that it had been cleared land in the past. There was nothing left to show the exact spot where this Captain DeLoney lived. Even the foundation was gone. 


 

Captain Donley’s House would have stood to the right of the picture


       Leaving the murder scene, I would spend the rest of the afternoon in Helen Keller Public Library in Tuscumbia. After several hours of digging through everything I could find in the archives room, I was about to give up and head home. I was putting a book back I had been studying when I saw a book on the history of LaGrange College. This book had two paragraphs that referenced the “diabolical” murders that occurred at Captain Donley’s home. The thing that caught my attention was the fact that Captain Donley had sold the house to a Mr. Vinson after the war and moved on to Texas. He had no reason to stay, Federal troops under Colonel Cornyn had burned the college to the ground during the war. This told me the murders had occurred after the war. 

       I left the library headed home determined to give the internet one last try with the new information I had obtained. By searching a double murder at LaGrange at the Vinson House instead of the Donley House I got a break in the case. It seems that twenty-five year old Granville A. Pillow had married the daughter of this Mr. Vinson and had lived here since the war. His twenty-one year old brother William C. Pillow had just moved to LaGrange. Both men were from Maury County, Tennessee. Granville had served as a Sergeant, Company H, First Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A. during the war for one year. It appears he went from that unit to Nineteenth Tennessee Cavalry where he fought under Forrest and was wounded during the Streight Raid. William C. Pillow had served with Company G, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry. 

       Here is the story I’ve gathered. Granville Pillow was alone at the home of his father-in-law, Mr. Vinson. Two intruders entered the home, shot and robbed him, leaving him for dead. The poor man was able to get to his feet and walk to the home of a Mr. Horn. Granville told Mr. Horn that Hugh Phillips and Granville Spangler had shot him. Horn then left the house to find a doctor leaving Granville Pillow there with his family. Hurrying down the road, Horn ran into two disguised men who asked him where he was going in such haste. Horn told the two men about Pillow. The two men asked Horn if Pillow had mentioned the names of the men who had shot him. Horn answered that he had. Not only had Granville Pillow told Horn the name of his attackers, he had also written them down on a piece of paper. 

       Horn thinking nothing about the situation hurried on to find a doctor. The two men headed back to Horn’s home and forced the family outside. They destroyed the paper that Pillow had written their names on and again shot Pillow in the chest killing him instantly. 

       That night, the body of Granville Pillow’s younger brother William Cheatham Pillow was found shot numerous times, thrown into a sink hole with a bridle tied around his neck. It is believed that he arrived at the Vinson Home as his brother was being murdered and raced into the woods to escape. The two men then gave chase leaving Granville still alive to catch his brother. Somewhere in the forest William was caught and killed. The killers probably returned to make sure Granville was dead to find he was gone. Headed down the mountain is when they happened up on Mr. Horn searching for a doctor. 

       Hugh Phillips was engaged to be married and that night confided to his girlfriend that he and Spangler had committed the murders. Phillips claimed they had be influenced by the people of the community to commit this horrible crime. The next day she told on the two men. Both fled the area immediately.

       Both of the Pillow boys were returned to Columbia, Tennessee where they rest today in Rose Hill Cemetery. I also found that both boys were nephews of Confederate Brigadier General Gideon Johnston Pillow. As far as I have learned so far, their killers were never brought to justice. I did find a bit of data that suggested that Granville Spangler returned to the area and was living near LaGrange when he died in the 1890’s. 


 

Graves of the Pillow Family


       There were two theories about why Granville Pillow was murdered. He leased out his farm in Leighton and one rumor stated that he had eight-hundred dollars in his pocket at the time of his death. Another rumor began that Federal’s had killed him because he was a past Confederate soldier, though I believe this is highly unlikely. Both the murderers had served in the Confederate Army also. It may be something as simple as theft or there may be something more sinister. We may never know, but I am excited to learn as much as I have about a small notation on an old map.

Confederate graves from one of the hospitals in Forsyth, Georgia


       Since I’ve been travelling from place to place signing books and doing talks on the War Between the States, I’ve met a lot of interesting people. In Troy, Alabama on Tuesday, I met Jonathan Richard who presented me with a question I couldn’t answer. He said his ancestor was  William Richard, a private in Company H, 46th Alabama Infantry. The man had died in a Confederate hospital in Gilmer, Georgia on 1 August 1864. He wondered how his ancestor could have died so far behind Sherman’s lines at this stage of the war. 

       I love a good mystery and immediately went to work to solve this riddle. Gilmer County, Georgia is in the north-central part of the state. By the time William died, Sherman was on the verge of taking Atlanta. I found William’s records and discovered that he died at Gilmer Hospital. That’s all the records state. I began to think about other Confederate Hospitals and discovered that although they were typically named Confederate Hospital #1, etc, they also had another name. These names ranged from the location to being named after an actual person. There was a Hardee Hospital in Georgia at the time. I remembered that there was a Confederate major general named Jeremy Francis Gilmer, so I set out to find if there was a Confederate hospital named after him. That is where I got my break in the case. 

       There was actually a Confederate hospital in Marietta, Georgia named Gilmer Hospital until the middle of June, 1864. Sherman’s Army began to threaten Marietta at this time and Gilmer Hospital was moved to Forsyth, Georgia along with two other hospitals. That was my break in the case. I notified Jonathan that his ancestor didn’t die in Gilmer County, Georgia, but in Gilmer Hospital, Forsyth, Georgia which is south of Atlanta. Things began to make more sense. William Richards doesn’t have a cause of death or the reason he was hospitalized in his records, but I would be willing to bet quite a sum of money that he was mortally wounded in one of the battles around Atlanta in June of 1864.

       Here is the reply I received upon delivering the news to Jonathan. 


       Wow! My family is excited about this new revelation that you’ve opened up for us! I had always just assumed it was named for the county! This makes more sense as it’s apparently closer to Atlanta and further into the Confederacy.  We appreciate this help so much!! Thank you!!!!

 

God bless!

Jonathan P. Richard


       It’s nearly impossible for me to say how much those few lines make one feel when he is able to solve a 150 mystery for a family that has been wondering what went on during those final days of their loved ones life so long ago. It is very possible that Jonathan’s ancestor is buried in one of these small cemetery spots in Forsyth, Georgia in an unknown grave. If he is lucky, which I’ve never been, he may travel to Forsyth and it just might be marked. 

 

 

Tim, me and Carlee taking a break

 

 

On Thursday afternoon of the re-enactment the confederate army marched out of camp to do a little fighting and try to experience a little of what the soldiers did way back when, including sleeping on the ground all night.  It was extremely hot this afternoon and I thought I was going to be seriously ill for a few minutes but I forgot all about it when we started firing on the Yankees.  There is nothing like holding an original 1855 Harpers Ferry in your hands and actually getting to shoot it.  (Still can’t believe Tim lets me use this!) We did this off and on for a couple of hours with a few breaks in between.  Then our fearless leaders lead us to the campsite for the night.  In my mind I had imagined  we would be lying in a field under the beautiful dark night with the stars scattered above us.  Wrong!  I was jerked from my fantasy when we were told to go up into the tree line of the woods behind us and pick a spot.  The woods?  You have got to be kidding!  Ticks, spiders and chiggers! Oh my!  Luckily Tim’s best friend Jerry was with us and we stayed together and whatever scent Jerry had on attracted all the ticks from our vicinity. 

 

 

Jerry waiting to go fight



Darkness began to fall and we were all lazing on our blanket rolls talking when all of a sudden Tim Kent and Jerry Smith started doing what they do best.  Storytelling.  They told stories about aunts turning into mules, small killer spiders, boiling cats, and who knows what else.  All I know is after a few hours of this I was begging them to stop because my sides were hurting so bad.  Not to mention our fellow soldiers scattered around us.  Needless to say they kept us entertained.


 

After things had calmed down a bit we started hearing rumors about a night fight.  Sure enough here comes the word to get up and go.  So we jumped up, put on our gear and marched as silently as we could through the night.  Unfortunately we didn’t get very close but did get to shoot a few times.

 

 

The one good thing about it was I was finally worn out enough to actually get a little sleep.  Waking only when some part of my body that was on the ground either went to sleep or started hurting really bad.  

 

Tim and Captain Hunter waiting on the word to go in

 

I know it’s not even close to what the soldiers went through 150 years ago but I can say those poor guys had it rough.  I definitely have a renewed respect for these brave men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and James “Beasley” Howard at the grave of General Pillow


       About two months ago, Jerry and I decided to go on another Civil Wargasm. We thought it would be fun to ask two of our buddies along, James Howard and Lanny Perry. Unfortunately, Lanny’s wife wouldn’t let him miss any work, but James was game. We planned to head to Memphis and hit Elmwood Cemetery and then travel to the grave of Jerry’s hero, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

       The trip got off to a slow start when James (who happens to be 49 years old) couldn’t seem to get away from his mom. They stood on the front porch (I didn’t want to be nosy so I never looked to see if they were hugging or not) for several minutes. I was beginning to wonder about James. Perhaps his mother had been told some bad things about Jerry and myself. I immediately decided that it had to be Jerry who she thought was the bad influence and my mind was put to ease. 

 

General Vaughan’s Desk


       The three of us left for Memphis and discussed my favorite subject the entire way, the war of course. We soon arrived in Elmwood and entered the office to find a map. Inside the office was the desk (the actual word is secretariat) that belonged to Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Jefferson Vaughan who is also buried in Elmwood.

       We purchased a map showing the burial places of all prominent people buried in Elmwood. There are eleven Confederate general’s buried there not to mention some militia general’s and two Federal general’s. We left the office and struck out for the nearest grave. We found the grave of Major General James Patton Anderson first. Not wanting anything to be unusual about this trip, I managed to attract a wierdo. The fellow gave us a brief lesson on General Anderson and mentioned the general was buried in the poor section of the cemetery. He told us he just couldn’t grasp why a major general would be buried among the poor. I explained to him the general was in financial trouble after the war as most Southerner’s were. The man looked at me with a confused look on his face and said, “I just can’t imagine why he is buried over here.” Oh, well, I tried. 

       

 

Me with Brigadier General Preston Smith


       We found all the generals, although we were followed and greatly distracted by my wierdo. We were regaled with tales from one end of the planet to the other and time began to become a factor. I got a picture of myself at the grave of one of my hero’s, General Preston Smith who was killed at Chickamauga after riding forward in the darkness to locate the Federal main line. Among the other generals we found in Elmwood were Elkanah Greer, Alfred Jefferson Vaughan, Gideon Pillow, William Humes, Lucius Marshall Walker, James Chalmers, William H. Carroll, George W. Gordon, Robert V. Richardson, and William M. Gardner. 

       Before leaving the cemetery, Jerry found a dog monument with an actual flea collar around its neck. Obviously, Jerry thought this was a waste and James and I had to talk him out of taking the collar home to use on his Dachshund named Pumpkin. James did learn that when you don’t have a door covering your memory card on your camera and you swing it around like a mad man, your apt to lose the card. (By the way, if anyone comes across a memory card in the Forrest family section of Elmwood, please contact James Beasley). 


 

Jerry thought this fluorescent collar would make Pumpkin look good


       The best part of the trip was saved for last. We headed down town to Forrest Park where the “Wizard of the Saddle” himself is buried. The fearless commander who struck fear in the hearts of all Federal troops including Grant himself, happens to be Jerry’s hero of hero’s. I thought we would arrive to see Jerry well up in tears, rushing from the car to the giant monument, but Jerry never fails to surprise me. 


 

Two rednecks trying to operate a parking meter


       Instead, he and James spent the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to operate the parking meter. I decided to press on to the monument alone while they beat, banged and twisted the meter mercilessly. They finally arrived at the huge monument (I’m still not certain who won, but I’m putting my money on the meter). As we walked around the monument in awe of the great man, I continued to check Jerry’s eyes for moisture. Jerry was not to be outdone. He understood that if he shed one single tear I would never let him forget it. I walked over to Jerry and asked, “What do you think?” He replied simply, “That stud horse is anatomically correct. Just look at that thing.” What could I say? Just another typical Civil Wargasm with Jerry.


 

Jerry and me in front of Forrest’s grave

 

 

My latest book cover

 

       My third book was released last month and I’m just getting around to blogging about it. I’ve been so busy writing a script for a documentary on Colbert County during the Civil War, I haven’t had time to promote my own book. To be honest, I’ve been quite stressed out about the documentary because I’ve been given just two weeks to get it written. On the opposite side, it has been fun working on something different. 

 

       Never Smile Again is based on the Shiloh Campaign and I do my best to keep things historically correct although it’s written in novel form. I still believe Die Like Men is a much better book, but my wife doesn’t agree. She actually cried when she read the part where General Albert Sidney Johnston died. I guess I liked Die Like Men better because it is my favorite campaign of the war. It demonstrated to what extent men are willing to go when called on to do their duty. 

 

       The one thing I wasn’t real happy about was the cover. I didn’t want my picture plastered across the front for fear of people thinking I have a huge ego. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any say in that part. My publisher Angela Broyles and my wife Stacie were determined for this picture of me standing on the back porch of the Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee would be on the cover. I’ve learned in life, there is no use in arguing with women.

 


 

       The following is an excerpt from Never Smile Again.

 


 

       All the men were watching their commander’s temper rise with each passing moment. Suddenly, Forrest spun and shouted, “Boys, do you hear that musketry and artillery?”

 

                His men knew what was about to happen. Their commander had had enough. Everyone yelled in reply.

 

                Forrest shouted, “It means our friends are falling by the hundreds while we’re back here guarding a damned creek! I didn‘t ride all the way up here to guard no damned ford! We didn’t enter the service for such work! May as well be guarding a damned latrine! We are needed on the field! I say we go and help our men! What do you say?”

 

                Every man in the command replied with a shout. Forrest climbed on his horse and watched as his men began to mount. He yelled, “We’re goin’ up there, and we gonna bust hell wide open!”

 

                They rode north and soon turned on the Hamburg-Purdy Road. There were long-range artillery shells bursting overhead. Forrest rode on, impervious to the shrapnel raining down around him. Just up the road he found General Frank Cheatham.

 

                Forrest approached Cheatham, and not bothering to salute, he said, “I can’t have my men back here in this artillery fire. I need to charge.”

 

                Cheatham looked at Forrest with an expression of indifference. He wondered why Forrest was telling him this.

 

                Forrest asked, “Will you give me permission to charge?”

 

                Cheatham shook his head. “I don’t have the authority to give you permission to charge. You’re not under my command. Besides, several charges have been bloodily repulsed from going across that field already.”

 

                Cheatham noticed Forrest’s face growing redder by the minute. His blue eyes flashed. Cheatham quickly added, “I can’t order you to charge, but you can charge under your own orders. The responsibility will rest on you.”

 

                “Then I’ll charge under my own orders,” Forrest grumbled. He spun in the saddle and shouted to his men. “Form ranks in column of fours. We will advance in that formation.”

 


 

       Never Smile Again can be purchased from Amazon, Bluewater Publications, and should be available in Books-a-million any day now. 


       My third book was released last month and I’m just getting around to blogging about it. I’ve been so busy writing a script for a documentary on Colbert County during the Civil War, I haven’t had time to promote my own book. To be honest, I’ve been quite stressed out about the documentary because I’ve been given just two weeks to get it written. On the opposite side, it has been fun working on something different. 

       Never Smile Again is based on the Shiloh Campaign and I do my best to keep things historically correct although it’s written in novel form. I still believe Die Like Men is a much better book, but my wife doesn’t agree. She actually cried when she read the part where General Albert Sidney Johnston died. I guess I liked Die Like Men better because it is my favorite campaign of the war. It demonstrated to what extent men are willing to go when called on to do their duty. 

       The one thing I wasn’t real happy about was the cover. I didn’t want my picture plastered across the front for fear of people thinking I have a huge ego. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any say in that part. My publisher Angela Broyles and my wife Stacie were determined for this picture of me standing on the back porch of the Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee would be on the cover. I’ve learned in life, there is no use in arguing with women.


       The following is an excerpt from Never Smile Again.


       All the men were watching their commander’s temper rise with each passing moment. Suddenly, Forrest spun and shouted, “Boys, do you hear that musketry and artillery?”

                His men knew what was about to happen. Their commander had had enough. Everyone yelled in reply.

                Forrest shouted, “It means our friends are falling by the hundreds while we’re back here guarding a damned creek! I didn‘t ride all the way up here to guard no damned ford! We didn’t enter the service for such work! May as well be guarding a damned latrine! We are needed on the field! I say we go and help our men! What do you say?”

                Every man in the command replied with a shout. Forrest climbed on his horse and watched as his men began to mount. He yelled, “We’re goin’ up there, and we gonna bust hell wide open!”

                They rode north and soon turned on the Hamburg-Purdy Road. There were long-range artillery shells bursting overhead. Forrest rode on, impervious to the shrapnel raining down around him. Just up the road he found General Frank Cheatham.

                Forrest approached Cheatham, and not bothering to salute, he said, “I can’t have my men back here in this artillery fire. I need to charge.”

                Cheatham looked at Forrest with an expression of indifference. He wondered why Forrest was telling him this.

                Forrest asked, “Will you give me permission to charge?”

                Cheatham shook his head. “I don’t have the authority to give you permission to charge. You’re not under my command. Besides, several charges have been bloodily repulsed from going across that field already.”

                Cheatham noticed Forrest’s face growing redder by the minute. His blue eyes flashed. Cheatham quickly added, “I can’t order you to charge, but you can charge under your own orders. The responsibility will rest on you.”

                “Then I’ll charge under my own orders,” Forrest grumbled. He spun in the saddle and shouted to his men. “Form ranks in column of fours. We will advance in that formation.”


       Never Smile Again can be purchased from Amazon, Bluewater Publications, and should be available in Books-a-million any day now. 

Solving another long lost mystery

Confederate graves from one of the hospitals in Forsyth, Georgia

       Since I’ve been travelling from place to place signing books and doing talks on the War Between the States, I’ve met a lot of interesting people. In Troy, Alabama on Tuesday, I met Jonathan Richard who presented me with a question I couldn’t answer. He said his ancestor was  William Richard, a private in Company H, 46th Alabama Infantry. The man had died in a Confederate hospital in Gilmer, Georgia on 1 August 1864. He wondered how his ancestor could have died so far behind Sherman’s lines at this stage of the war.
       I love a good mystery and immediately went to work to solve this riddle. Gilmer County, Georgia is in the north-central part of the state. By the time William died, Sherman was on the verge of taking Atlanta. I found William’s records and discovered that he died at Gilmer Hospital. That’s all the records state. I began to think about other Confederate Hospitals and discovered that although they were typically named Confederate Hospital #1, etc, they also had another name. These names ranged from the location to being named after an actual person. There was a Hardee Hospital in Georgia at the time. I remembered that there was a Confederate major general named Jeremy Francis Gilmer, so I set out to find if there was a Confederate hospital named after him. That is where I got my break in the case.
       There was actually a Confederate hospital in Marietta, Georgia named Gilmer Hospital until the middle of June, 1864. Sherman’s Army began to threaten Marietta at this time and Gilmer Hospital was moved to Forsyth, Georgia along with two other hospitals. That was my break in the case. I notified Jonathan that his ancestor didn’t die in Gilmer County, Georgia, but in Gilmer Hospital, Forsyth, Georgia which is south of Atlanta. Things began to make more sense. William Richards doesn’t have a cause of death or the reason he was hospitalized in his records, but I would be willing to bet quite a sum of money that he was mortally wounded in one of the battles around Atlanta in June of 1864.
       Here is the reply I received upon delivering the news to Jonathan.
       Wow! My family is excited about this new revelation that you’ve opened up for us! I had always just assumed it was named for the county! This makes more sense as it’s apparently closer to Atlanta and further into the Confederacy.  We appreciate this help so much!! Thankyou!!!!

God bless!
Jonathan P. Richard

       It’s nearly impossible for me to say how much those few lines make one feel when he is able to solve a 150 mystery for a family that has been wondering what went on during those final days of their loved ones life so long ago. It is very possible that Jonathan’s ancestor is buried in one of these small cemetery spots in Forsyth, Georgia in an unknown grave. If he is lucky, which I’ve never been, he may travel to Forsyth and it just might be marked.

Hundred and Fifty Year Old Murder Solved?

LaGrange College a few years before the murders
Two days ago, my buddy Lanny Perry came by the house to share some 35th Alabama Infantry information with me. My G-G-G Grandfather served in Company B, 35th Alabama Infantry which was organized at Lagrange College in March, 1862. Lanny gave me a copy of a map which was drawn in 1944 which showed where the houses and buildings were located prior to the Civil War. This map had numerous little details about the town of LaGrange. The place is still called LaGrange, but it’s a ghost town now. Over ninety percent of what was the town is now forest and over half of that belongs to a deer hunting club.
       One piece of information on the map immediately piqued my interest. According to the map, there was a house beside the cemetery owned by a Captain DeLoney, one of the professors at the college. The map says this is “where the pillar double murder occurred.” This immediately set me off on a wild goose chase hoping to find anything I could on the murder. Soon I had my wife involved. We searched every possible thing we could on the internet. The only thing we were able to find was a reference to the DeLoney House where two Pillar brothers were murdered, the killers never caught, but possibly murdered by two brothers. It was mentioned the brothers were robbed and it was the most diabolical murder this area had ever witnessed.
       At this point I decided to visit the library to see what I could find, but first I just had to visit the place and see if I could find just exactly where the Donley House had once stood. During my wife’s lunch break, my four year old son and I met her at the cemetery to do a little prowling. According to the map, the Donley House stood just a few yards south of the cemetery. We explored the forest around the cemetery, but there was simply nothing left here. I did notice that the area had no really old trees, which shows that it had been cleared land in the past. There was nothing left to show the exact spot where this Captain DeLoney lived. Even the foundation was gone.
Captain Donley’s House would have stood to the right of the picture

       Leaving the murder scene, I would spend the rest of the afternoon in Helen Keller Public Library in Tuscumbia. After several hours of digging through everything I could find in the archives room, I was about to give up and head home. I was putting a book back I had been studying when I saw a book on the history of LaGrange College. This book had two paragraphs that referenced the “diabolical” murders that occurred at Captain Donley’s home. The thing that caught my attention was the fact that Captain Donley had sold the house to a Mr. Vinson after the war and moved on to Texas. He had no reason to stay, Federal troops under Colonel Cornyn had burned the college to the ground during the war. This told me the murders had occurred after the war.
       I left the library headed home determined to give the internet one last try with the new information I had obtained. By searching a double murder at LaGrange at the Vinson House instead of the Donley House I got a break in the case. It seems that twenty-five year old Granville A. Pillow had married the daughter of this Mr. Vinson and had lived here since the war. His twenty-one year old brother William C. Pillow had just moved to LaGrange. Both men were from Maury County, Tennessee. Granville had served as a Sergeant, Company H, First Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A. during the war for one year. It appears he went from that unit to Nineteenth Tennessee Cavalry where he fought under Forrest and was wounded during the Streight Raid. William C. Pillow had served with Company G, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry.
       Here is the story I’ve gathered. Granville Pillow was alone at the home of his father-in-law, Mr. Vinson. Two intruders entered the home, shot and robbed him, leaving him for dead. The poor man was able to get to his feet and walk to the home of a Mr. Horn. Granville told Mr. Horn that Hugh Phillips and Granville Spangler had shot him. Horn then left the house to find a doctor leaving Granville Pillow there with his family. Hurrying down the road, Horn ran into two disguised men who asked him where he was going in such haste. Horn told the two men about Pillow. The two men asked Horn if Pillow had mentioned the names of the men who had shot him. Horn answered that he had. Not only had Granville Pillow told Horn the name of his attackers, he had also written them down on a piece of paper.
       Horn thinking nothing about the situation hurried on to find a doctor. The two men headed back to Horn’s home and forced the family outside. They destroyed the paper that Pillow had written their names on and again shot Pillow in the chest killing him instantly.
       That night, the body of Granville Pillow’s younger brother William Cheatham Pillow was found shot numerous times, thrown into a sink hole with a bridle tied around his neck. It is believed that he arrived at the Vinson Home as his brother was being murdered and raced into the woods to escape. The two men then gave chase leaving Granville still alive to catch his brother. Somewhere in the forest William was caught and killed. The killers probably returned to make sure Granville was dead to find he was gone. Headed down the mountain is when they happened up on Mr. Horn searching for a doctor.
       Hugh Phillips was engaged to be married and that night confided to his girlfriend that he and Spangler had committed the murders. Phillips claimed they had be influenced by the people of the community to commit this horrible crime. The next day she told on the two men. Both fled the area immediately.
       Both of the Pillow boys were returned to Columbia, Tennessee where they rest today in Rose Hill Cemetery. I also found that both boys were nephews of Confederate Brigadier General Gideon Johnston Pillow. As far as I have learned so far, their killers were never brought to justice. I did find a bit of data that suggested that Granville Spangler returned to the area and was living near LaGrange when he died in the 1890’s.
Graves of the Pillow Family

       There were two theories about why Granville Pillow was murdered. He leased out his farm in Leighton and one rumor stated that he had eight-hundred dollars in his pocket at the time of his death. Another rumor began that Federal’s had killed him because he was a past Confederate soldier, though I believe this is highly unlikely. Both the murderers had served in the Confederate Army also. It may be something as simple as theft or there may be something more sinister. We may never know, but I am excited to learn as much as I have about a small notation on an old map.

Whistling Dick

18 pound Confederate Cannon called ‘Whistling Dick’

       There are several artillery pieces used during the Civil War that have famous nicknames. There is the famed Federal siege gun called the ‘Swamp Angel’ at Charleston, South Carolina. Brigadier General William Pendleton who was a pre-war preacher named his four cannons after the four gospels of the Bible. There is also the famed ‘Widow Blakely’ of Vicksburg fame. There was another artillery piece at Vicksburg with a nickname and that piece was called ‘Whistling Dick’.
       ‘Whistling Dick’ wasn’t that large of a piece, it was small in comparison with the 150 pound Armstrong and other siege guns. It was too heavy to be used in field service. Although there were 20 pound field pieces and even 32 pound field guns, ‘Whistling Dick’ was heavy for an 18 pounder. The iron cannon was rifled and had reinforced bands on the back to prevent the tube from exploding when fired. It had been built at Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond.
       The gun would gain fame because of a whistling sound the oddly rifled weapon caused the shells to make in flight. The weapon was originally a model 1839 smoothbore cannon that was later rifled. It became a legend when Union veterans at post-war reunions would claim to have been narrowly missed by fire from ‘Whistling Dick’. There have been many theories on why the shells made a whistling sound after the gun was rifled, but no one today can be sure what caused this phenomenon.
       ‘Whistling Dick’ served more as a psychological weapon than a true threat to Federal forces. It interrupted Ulysses Grant’s canal digging operation when he tried to bypass Vicksburg. Although the chances of ‘Whistling Dick’ hitting someone was minute, it caused slaves and soldiers Grant used for digging to run for cover. It is also rumored to have caused severe damage on Federal dredging machines.
       The ironic part about the famous Confederate artillery piece is the fact that it was served by a company of Louisiana Cavalry. These cavalrymen were well disciplined and learned to handle ‘Whistling Dick’ rather well. They have been credited with sinking the Federal ironclad U.S.S. Cincinnati. The most amazing part about this particular cannon is the fact that it served well throughout the siege of Vicksburg and following the surrender of that river fortress it disappeared. There is no evidence today of what happened to this famed Confederate artillery piece that earned the nickname ‘Whistling Dick’.

A Mississippi Civil War Gasm

Me at the grave of Brigadier General Joseph L. Hogg

       Well, I finally had a day off without kids to baby sit and went on a mini-Civil War Gasm with my buddy Jerry in Mississippi. If you know Jerry, you know we had a blast. We have begun a hobby of visiting as many Confederate generals graves as possible and having our pictures taken with them. Our first stop was in Corinth, Mississippi at the museum located on the site of Battery Robinette where Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Lewis Hogg is buried. He didn’t die in battle here, but from dysentery about three months after his promotion to brigadier general and without seeing any action whatsoever. Colonel William Peleg Rogers is also buried there, killed in the charge that overran the small earthen fort. He commanded a brigade in the action there and by all rights should have been a general officer. Despite the fact that a petition was signed begging President Davis to promote the man, he remained a colonel. The reason being that he and Davis had an argument during the Mexican War and Davis being the type person who held grudges would never forgive Rogers.
       This brings us to the funny part of the story. Jerry and I wore our shell jackets on this trip. We were in a hurry because after all it was a Civil War Gasm. (Civil War Gasm definition is where you hit as many places as quickly as possible and we had places to go before dark.) We entered the museum to find the park ranger talking to a group of people. The entire group paused to watch us pass right by and out the back door of the museum at a high rate of speed. We exited the museum and walked around to the gate to find it locked. We then re-entered the museum by a side door and exited through another door out of sight of the ranger and group. We made each others picture beside General Hogg and Colonel Rogers graves, walked back around the building to Jerry’s truck and left. It was only later that we decided that this is how ghost stories begin. We can just imagine someday reading about ourselves as the park ranger writes a book about the first sergeant and private that passed right through the museum and beyond a locked gate to be seen no more.
Me at the grave of Colonel William Rogers one of my personal hero’s.

       We left Corinth and headed southwest toward Ripley, Mississippi. About six miles beyond Ripley is a small town called Blue Mountain. Here in Blue Mountain Cemetery is the resting place of Brigadier General Mark Perrin Lowrey. His grave was easy enough to find, the cemetery not much more than an acre and his being the only one with an obelisk. General Lowrey was one of Patrick Cleburne’s brigade commanders. He had fought in the Mexican War and returned home determined to become a preacher. Despite the fact that he couldn’t read or write, he proceeded to accomplish his goal. His wife taught him reading and writing and he became a Baptist minister. He rose to the rank of general during the Civil War and following the war returned to the ministry and also founded a female college in Blue Mountain which later became Blue Mountain College. He died in the railroad depot in Middleton, Tennessee while awaiting a passenger train.
Grave of Mark Perrin Lowrey

       Leaving Blue Mountain, Mississippi, Jerry called my attention to something I had never realized before. It seems the laws of mathematics cease to exist in this old southern state. We arrived at a sign that declared the intersection a four way stop. The problem was, we only counted three roads. One might think this was a simple accident, but we’ll come back to this later.
       We then drove west to Holly Springs, Mississippi where there are four generals buried in one cemetery. We arrived and entered the first cemetery entrance we came to. There on the right within twenty feet of the entrance we found the grave of Major General Edward Cary Walthall. If you know my luck, you’ll know this was a complete accident. Walthall was the little known Confederate general that Forrest chose to help him fight the rear-guard for Hood during the retreat from Nashville. It would prove to be Walthall’s best performance of the war.
Major General Edward Cary Walthall

       We then got lucky and found the graves of Samuel Benton and Winfield Scott Featherston. Benton was only a colonel leading a brigade at the Battle of Atlanta when artillery shrapnel nearly tore his foot off and a piece lodged just inches from his heart. His foot would be amputated and his promotion to brigadier general would arrive from Richmond just two days before his death. The authorities in Richmond had not known he’d been wounded.
Brigadier General Samuel Benton

       Brigadier General Winfield Scott Featherston began the war in the Virginia army and made a name for himself at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. From that point on he would serve as a capable officer but made no special name for himself. He would be shipped to the west where he would finish the war with the Army of Tennessee. His grave was as easy to find as Walthall’s which was a good thing because it was about a ten degree windchill factor and I told Jerry that if a limb was to hit my ear, it would shatter like glass.
Brigadier General Winfield Scott Featherston

       This brought us to the most difficult part of finding Brigadier General Daniel Chevilette Govan’s grave. His marker is relatively flat without the enormous obelisks to mark the position. Jerry has a sixth sense or so he claims, sometimes it gets a bit off on him. He told me to check some markers about forty yards from the truck. I almost left my camera in the car because I don’t trust Jerry’s sixth sense, but I carried it along just in case. Lucky for me because, it did indeed turn out to be General Govan. This was truly our lucky day, my ears having lost all feeling along with my fingers, toes, and nose. Govan is the Arkansas brigadier who stood next to his close friend Patrick Cleburne at Franklin and said, “General, there won’t be many of us to return home to Arkansas after this battle.” Cleburne simply replied, “Well, Govan, if we are to die, let us die like men.”
Brigadier General Daniel Govan

       It was at this point that Jerry’s sixth sense began to get goofy or at least I think it did. He still claims he was right, but on that point I still remain dubious. He claimed he had an intuition that there was someone buried beneath a cedar tree he could see across the cemetery. He refused to leave the cemetery without investigating this mystery person. We drove across the cemetery to the cedar tree in question and sure enough, there was someone buried beneath the tree. I simply shook my head. Of course there was someone buried beneath the tree, it is a cemetery. He argues that he never said it was anyone buried there that had anything to do with the Civil War, he simply said there was someone buried there.
       Leaving Holly Springs headed back home we again encountered a four way stop sign with only three roads. Jerry wanted to stop and take a picture of the intersection, but luckily he chose to pass on by this time. It was a typical Civil War Gasm for me. Out prowling the country with a fellow Civil War nut and we got photographs of us by six Confederate generals graves. I only wish I could do this everyday.

Another Civil War Gasm

       I was very lucky to go on two Civil War Gasms in one week, this time while babysitting.  Jerry and I planned a trip that would add another ten Generals graves to our collection.  The only problem with this trip was the fact that it was pouring down rain here at home.  Jerry swore up and down that his intuition (women’s intuition is what I think it is)  told him that it wasn’t raining south of us.  We’ll come back to this part later.

Me and Timmy at the grave of William F. Tucker

       
       Our first stop was in Okolona, Mississippi at a cemetery called Odd Fellows.  I told Jerry that he should be buried in a cemetery by this name.  Luckily for us General Tuckers grave was easy to find.  We had just gotten our pictures made at the grave site when the bottom fell out.  We were forced to run to the car and while running Timmy announced “that old man got us wet!”  Brigadier General William Feimster Tucker lead Mississippi infantry in the  Army of Tennessee.  He was severely wounded at Resaca only two months after his promotion, disabling him from service for the rest of the war.  This resulted in him not being one of the well known Confederate Generals.
More Mississippi road signs

       Again Jerry found road signs that made no sense in the state of Mississippi.  He insisted I stand out in the rain to take a picture of this phenomenon.  We are driving down the road and approach a ‘do not enter’ sign and just 50 yards beyond is a stop sign.  Jerry’s question is, “if you’re not supposed to enter, why do you need a stop sign?”  Jerry is always on the lookout for such things.  Between Okolona and Aberdeen he found  a county road that went into a cotton field and ended.  I talked him out of stopping and forcing me to take a picture of this, thank goodness because we were running behind.
Timmy and I at the grave of Samuel Gholson

       We left Okolona and the dark cloud that follows Jerry everywhere he goes and went south to Aberdeen.  At another cemetery where Jerry should be buried, also called Odd Fellows, we found the grave of Brigadier General Samuel A. Gholson.  General Gholson lost an arm in a cavalry skirmish in Egypt, Mississippi.  We passed through Egypt on the way to Aberdeen and I had to talk Jerry out of stopping and asking where the pyramids were.
Jerry and I at the grave of John Gregg

       About 20 yards from Gholson we found the grave of one of my favorite generals.  Brigadier General John Gregg was born in Lawrence County, Al and attended college at LaGrange which was considered the West Point of the South.  LaGrange is less than 10 miles from my house.  He fought in the Vicksburg campaign, was wounded in the neck at Chickamauga, and transferred to Lee’s army in Virginia where he was shot in the neck again just outside of Richmond and killed. For more on General Gregg please see my John Gregg blog April 2011.   I never thought I would get a four year old to take a good picture, but the picture of Jerry and I was taken by Timmy.  As soon as he took the picture he announced,  “I got you and that old man with the white mustache.”
Confederate New Jersey Cavalry?

       In the confederate section of the Aberdeen cemetery we found a private John Wallace company B 2nd regiment, CSA.  Jerry was amazed to find that New Jersey provided regiments for the confederate army.  I told him that I thought the J should have been a C and it had to be North Carolina cavalry, but I learned Jerry was right this time.  There was a sign at the cemetery entrance that told the story of John Wallace.  Apparently John Wallace was a deserter from the 2nd New Jersey Cavalry, U.S. He burned the house of an elderly southern gentleman which resulted in the mans death.  The mans son then killed John Wallace.  There was still no explanation why this criminal was buried beneath a confederate marker.
Me and Timmy at William Baldwin’s grave

       We then traveled on southward to Columbus, Mississippi and to Friendship Cemetery where three confederate generals rest.  The first grave we found was of another one of my favorite generals, Brigadier General William Edwin Baldwin.  The first words out of Jerry’s mouth was, “There is no drain hole in the bowl on top of the stone.  I wonder what keeps the water from freezing and bursting this bowl?”
       I replied sarcastically, “Jerry, that is just the question I was about to ask after I finished paying tribute to one of my Confederate heroes.”  You can read more about William Baldwin in my blog, ‘Confederate General Killed by DUI?’  August 2011.
Photo taken by Timmy of Tim and the Old Man with General SD Lee

       The next general was one of Jerry’s heroes, General SD Lee.  Jerry’s ancestor served under Forrest who in turn served under Lieutenant General SD Lee at times.  Following the war, Lee was the first president of Mississippi State University.
Timmy with General Sharp

       Brigadier General Jacob Hunter Sharp is also buried in this cemetery.  General Sharp led a brigade in the Army of Tennessee from Chickamauga to Bentonville.
Me and Timmy with Phillip Roddey

       We arrived in Tuscaloosa only 30 minutes before sunset.  While I was frantically hunting the graves of Brigadier Generals George D. Johnston and Phillip D. Roddey Jerry was being entertained by two police officers attempting to arrest a man in a house next to the cemetery.  General Roddey was called ‘the defender of the Tennessee Valley’.
Timmy and I with Josiah Gorgas

       It was almost dark when we found the graves of Josiah Gorgas and S.A.M. Wood.  Wood was a native of Florence, Alabama.  He saw action from Shiloh to Chickamauga where he lost control of his brigade during a night fight and resigned.  One could throw a stone from these two officers graves and hit Bryant Denny Stadium.  It had been a great trip. We had gotten ten generals grave photos.  Any trip with Jerry that doesn’t end with an arrest is a good trip.
Timmy in the cemetery with Bryant Denny Stadium in the back

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