RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WAR
It was understood by all that we would start on the 15th of May. Spring opened early that year, and farmers were over their corn crops the second time. The 15th was on Wednesday which was clear and beautiful.
We all met at Wiley Miller's (now Goodbar). Our wives, sisters and sweethearts were there in great numbers. About 2 P.M. we told them good-bye and marched off to the music of Alf and Joe Stipes' fiddles and Lewis Ford's drum. Several of them never saw Van Buren County again. Remember this was fifty years ago in May. We arrived in McMinnville late in the evening and the good people took care of us that night and gave us breakfast next morning.
|The railroad then came to the river below town. We went down there to take the train for Tullahoma. Many, in fact, most of us, had never see a Steam Car and some of the boys looked under the car box for the engine.|
|In a little while the engine came from the water tank, hitched to the train and "we sailed away ladies." The distance to Tullahoma was 35 miles and I think we made the run in about six hours. We thought that we were flying. One fellow held his watch, while another counted the mile posts and said we were going a mile a minute. But he was mistaken. We stopped at Tullahoma and waited for the train from Nashville. We took the train; went South 8 miles; crossed Elk River and camped at a place called Alisona.|
|We soon began to experience camp life. We drew rations in abundance, but had no cooking vessels for a few days. A factory had burned down, just previous to our going there. We used pieces of smoke stack and other materials for cooking vessels. Do you remember Gabe Elkins? He had been preaching for several years, but put away his Bible, and took up his fiddle. He called his favorite piece "Pewter" and played for the boys to dance. We began to learn guard duty and daily drill.|
|We would occasionally steal a ride on the train to Dechard. I remember my first experience in cooking rice. We divided the company into what we called messes, with six to the mess. I decided to cook some rice for my mess. I put about one gallon of rice in a Camp kettle of water and it soon began to run over. I took out some of it and it boiled over again. I decided the rice was spoiled but some fellow told me that it all did that way.|
not yet organized and had no tents nor guns. We were mustered into
service on the 20th by General Anderson. We were all out in line
to be inspected as to our physical ability. The halt, the maimed
and stiff jointed put forth their very best appearance, for fear of being
rejected, but Oh My, 'twas not long until some began to make excuse.
We enjoyed our short stay there, but anxious to go elsewhere. It
is natural for a soldier to soon tire of one place. My first guard
duty was on the South end of the bridge across the river near our encampment.
In my next I will carry you away from Alisona.
On the 26th we took a train and started North, passing Tullahoma then a small village and then called by most people Taliahomat. Sam Porter stood on the platform gazing at the telegraph wire and remarked that he couldn't see how letters could skip over the line and pass through the bottle neck at the top of poles. Frank Tompson got a false face some where and put it on and passed through the car boxes having his fun and Sam Porter poked his finger in the eye of the false face and Frank blooded his nose. But I must pass on. We went through Bell Buckle, Wartrace, Murfreesboro and on to Nashville.
The population of Nashville was then about 15,000. The people there showed us much kindness. East Nashville was almost a wilderness. In the evening we crossed the Cumberland River on a foot wire bridge and about night took the train again. We passed Gallatin late in the night and arrived at Camp Trousdale next morning. On the 10th of June our Regiment was organized containing 10 companies, making about 1000 men. John H. Savage was Colonel, T.B. Murray, Lieutenant Col., Joseph Goodbar, Major. Harmon York was Captain of our Company and known as Company I.
On the 11th we moved two miles North and camped. On the 4th of July we received our flag (or banner). On the 7th Rev. Poindexter was elected Chaplain. Several thousand soldiers were organizing and making ready for war. The sounds of fife and drum and words, "hep, halp, forward, etc." were heard on the drill field. General Zollicoffer was in command there. We began to mix and mingle with other companies and soon became acquainted with many of them whose names are yet familiar and honored. I remember the big, fat Negro who had a cake and cider stand. Millions of flies swarmed around and on the cakes. We got plenty of meal, flour, bacon, sugar, coffee, etc. while there.
About the latter part of June, the measles infected our camp and all who never had them were soon down. I very well remember my experience with them and remember too the kindness of Caleb McBride. He went out in the country and gathered up material out of which to make tea. He threw it in a camp kettle of water, like women put dumplings in a pot, boiled it awhile and then dipped out some and gave me to drink without straining. Caleb told me to drink it and I would get well and never have measles again. I was sure sick and had confidence in Caleb and took the medicine. He is yet living and will tell you that I have told the truth. I guess he yet prescribes the same medicine and can be found in any sheep pasture.
at Camp Trousdale we were aroused from slumber one night and ordered in
line of battle that the Yanks were near and we must fight them. Great
excitement prevailed. We had not yet drawn guns and were in a poor
fix to fight. The boys got their pistols and butcher knives.
We formed in line and started making very little noise. We were notified
before going far that it was a false alarm and ordered back to camp.
Some seemed to be sorry that we didn't get to "clean 'em up," but I was
glad that it was a false alarm. One of my mess mates professed religion
in the lonely hours at night and Col. Savage permitted him to go home and
be baptized. He came back to camp in a few days, but was not much
soldier afterwards, which proved that it is wrong for a Christian to go