Three Veterans Marched With Cavlery Wizard to Relief of Murfreesboro
Three members of General Nathan Bedford's cavalry, who made a forced
march from McMinnville to Murfreesboro between sunset and sunrise to rescue
25 or more citizens or soilders held under death sentence in the jail here
related interesting accounts of that stirring event to attendants at the
reunion last Friday.
James F. Knox, 83 of Bell Buckle and Baxter R. Hoover 86 of Hoover's Gap
members of Company E Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, and W.N. Byrn, 84 Milton, a
member of Forrest's escort, participated in the surprise attack at dayligh
which relased Murfreesboro, for a short time, from the hold of federal forces
that numbered more than a thousand.
Mr. Hoover told of beginning the all-night march at McMinnville when a
courier informed General Forrest of the intended execution of Murfreesboro
citizens at daybreak the following day. A stop was made at Readyville during
the early morning hours where residents served Forrest's men with hot coffee
Pointing to a number of bullet holes in the walls of the courthouse Mr.
Knox told his intrested listeners that he helped put them there. In company
with the other mmembers of Company E. he came to Murfreesboro from
McMinnville and Marched down what is now East Main street to the court house.
This they found to be full of Federal soldiers who opened fire on them. Mr.
Knox said, " We then went in and captured every one of them then went to the
jail nearby and released a number of prisioners."
The story teller related an interesting incident which occured shortly
after the close of the war. The soldiers had been ordered to dicard their
Confederate uniforms by the victors. He was riding his horse near
Murfreesboro one day when he was approched by a captin of the Federal army
with 40 men who asked him in rough language why he was still wearing "the
grey." To this he replied that he had no other clothes and did not have
money to buy any. The captain then threatened to cut the uniform from him.
Mr Knox told him that he would kill him if he tried it and that the soldiers
could then burn him if they wanted to but no one was going to take that
uniform from him.
Mr. Knox had an army pistol that he smuggled out with him at the time and
he informed the captain that he was able to make his threat good. The
captain then ordered his men to take Mr. Knox in chrge. This order was met
with the words, "Your soldiers may arrest me, but they will never live to get
home." They too refused to lay hands on Mr. Knox and he was finally allowed
to continue his ride.
At the time the above incident occured the narrator was only 19 years
old. He joined the Confederate army in 1861 soon after the war was declard
when he was but 15 years of age. He was sworn in the army in the south-west
room of the present courthouse there. He was in some of the hardest battles
of the war and can recall may interesting occurances.