lage and toward Snow's Hill began. All the guard had an even start, but by the time I reached Leonard Moore's (about the center of Liberty) I was at least seventy-five yards ahead and constantly gaining. I soon made the turn down the main street and heard no more bullets. When the Yankees began shooting down the main street I had made the turn for the bridge. Keeping the advantage to the end, I beat the other guards about one hundred yards. The boys guyed me for leaving them. I resented this, when Colonel Allison said he saw the race from start to finish and that I came out ahead only became I had the best horse."
lines, and Lieutenant Brien got him. He had blood on the saddle and a Spencer rifle and belt of cartridges on the saddle horn. There were seventy-five men all told on our side, and fifteen hundred Federals. They thought we were the advance guard of Morgan's Cavalry. If they had known our real strength, they would have made short work of us. I never knew till I came to Arkansas that we hit any of the enemy, when Frank Dowell told me they used his barn for a hospital; that four died, and he thought four more died later. Dowell lived near the Dry Creek bridge."
son," was the reply [Captain Reece feeling the stimulus yet over the victory of John Barleycorn], "Company B will remain where it is." "Captain Reece, you are drunk," asserted Allison. "Colonel Allison," snapped Reece, "you're a damned liar."
tured, and the captors were forcing the teamsters to drive their fastest. This may have been the train mentioned elsewhere by Lieutenant Ridley. It proved a rich haul. That evening boxes were opened and the Confederates' hosts and hostesses given many fine presents.
war. James Hays, a young man, and Mr. Bullard, an aged citizen, were brought to Liberty by Federals, tried by court-martial, and shot. A Confederate soldier was killed in a field near Salem Church. The killing of several Union soldiers at Smithville by Pomp Kersey's raiders is mentioned in this work. A Confederate prisoner named Parrish was killed one night in Alexandria by the Federal soldier guarding him. While conscripting to recruit Allison's Squadron at Alexandria John Bowman was slain.
have put my toe on the edge of one of those cakes and stretched the other side to the overhead ceiling."*
Captain Quirk called a consultation. It was decided that the Yankees were 'laying' for us, a larger force than ours. He called me by my camp name, 'Squirrel,' and ordered me to go back to camp and bring all our men fit for duty, cautioning me that the Yankees might cut me off just ahead. With a dash I began the daring ride. At the intersection of the dirt road and pike I saw two bluecoats under spur to cut me off. They commanded me to halt, but I went down the pike, the enemy in pursuit. They were no doubt confident of capturing me at the floorless bridge. They were gaining ground; but with a firm, steady pull old sorrel Charley cleared the breach, a distance of nearly twenty feet and deep enough to have killed rider and horse. The animal did not make a check on the other side. With a loud cheer and a parting shot I soon left the pursuers."
The Northern papers said the Southern forces were skedaddled by the Federals. The word soon became common. Many rich stories were told of how the DeKalb County noncombatants would flee from their homes when the enemy dashed suddenly into a community. Perhaps one of the best is that in which Hon. Horace A. Overall figured. A number of skedaddlers on a very cold night were sleeping in a barn at the head of one of the Clear Fork hollows, among them a rather simple-minded man. This man about midnight awoke his comrades with the startling news that the Yankees were coming. "How do you know its Yankees?" he was asked. "Because I hear Patsy Spurlock's dogs barkin' down the branch," was the reply. "But before I take the bitter cold," said Overall, crawling back into the hay, "you'll have to convince me that Patsy Spurlock's dogs won't bark at anything but Yankees."
ground. There was a night when we were awakened by excited citizens on the street. Some one explained that "Uncle Ben Blades has been killed in his own house and is swelling badly." My mother told the informant to put a small bag of salt on his stomach, and it would prevent swelling. Jim Clark, a youth, had been killed on another occasion by Pomp Kersey's men. Often that day I looked across the fields toward his home, saw the crowd of sympathizing friends gathered before his burial, and wondered how he looked and how his father comported himself. General Wilder's men burned a storehouse in the village. Doubtless there was fear in many hearts, but I only noticed how black the smoke was that bulged out of the chimney. Then when he burned the big mill, and I stood looking out the south window, again I was attracted mainly to the black volume rolling up from the smokestack. I marveled greatly when I saw on the ruins of the store molten glass; that it could be melted was something I had not known. One late summer afternoon an ox team toiled up the village street, stopping in front of the John Hays storehouse, which, like all others, was vacant. Seven or eight dead bodies, piled on the cart like rails, were carried in and laid on the floor-all that was left of Kersey's guerrillas. In one room in our home there were two beds, my father occupying one with the youngest child, Bruce, and my mother the other with two children. Suddenly one midnight the hysterical wife of a Union soldier in night clothes rapped at the door, imploring us to admit her quickly. My mother opened the door, when the woman, in the darkness and while in terror crying that the Rebels had entered the town, jumped into the wrong bed!
Go to Chapter 20
Return to Index Page
Return to the Dekalb County Page