Historical Files, H45
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Henrietta Gentry, G3238A, daughter of Joshua and Adaline (Henry) Gentry, was born December 1849, Marion County, MO, married November 1868, Stephen Glasscoco, born ca. 1847. They had seven children:
1. Adaline Glasscock, born 27 December 1870, Marion County, MO, married 16 May 1894, John B. Drake.
2. Mary Lucy Glasscock, born 18 July 1875, Marion County, MO, married 11 September 1900, Claude C. Tarlton.
3. Davila W. Glasscock, born 7 November 1877, Marion County, MO, married 27 August 1900, Thomas Bryon.
4. Henry Hobson Glasscock, born 5 September 1879, Marion County, MO.
5. Henrietta G. Glasscock, born 18 March 1882, Marion County, MO.
6. Catherine P. Glasscock, born 3 October 1886, Marion County, MO.
Ione "Onie" Gentry, G325, daughter of David and Mary (Estes) Gentry, was born in 1767, Albemarle County, VA, died in 1863, Madison County, KY, married first, ca. 1787, David Martin, son of William and Sarah (Harris) Martin. They had a son:
1. David Martin, born ca. 1788, Madison County, KY.
Ione "Onie" Gentry, G325, married secondly ca. 1790, Madison County, KY, William Blythe who moved to Kentucky with Daniel Boone in 1780. They had three children:
2. Maj. James Blythe, born 1791.
3. Polly Blythe, ca. 1793, married Henry Keynote.
4. Sally Blythe, ca, 1795, married John Cross.
Ione "Onie" Gentry, G325, married thirdly 1801, John Cain, and had three children:
5. Minnie Cain born ca. 1802, married Philip Robertson.
6. Thomas Cain, born ca. 1804, Madison County, KY.
7. Celia Cain, born ca. 1806, married Washington Conner.
Nicholas Gentry, III, G33, son of Nicholas and Mary (Brooks) Gentry, II, was born in 1726, Hanover County, VA, died in 1787, Louisa County, VA, married first ca 1752, Elizabeth Stringer, and had nine children:
1. Mildred "Milly" Gentry, G331, born ca. 1851, Louisa County, VA, married ca. 1767, William Whitlock.
2. David Gentry, G332, born 1754, Louisa County, VA.
3. Nicholas Gentry, IV, G333, born 1756, Louisa County, VA, believed to be a Revolutionary War soldier.
4. John Gentry, G334, born 1758, Louisa County, VA.
5. Martin Gentry, G335, born 1760, Louisa County, VA.
6. Sarah Gentry, G336, born 2 October 1761, Charlottesville, Louisa, VA, died 23 January 1841, Hardin County, KY, married 1785, James Smith.
7. Nancy Gentry, G337, born ca. 1762, Charlottesville, Louisa, VA, married March 7, 1780, Thomas Bailey.
8. Blackston Gentry, G338, born 1763, Bedford County, VA.
9. Frances "Fanny" Gentry, G339, born ca. 1767, Charlottesville, VA.
Nicholas Gentry, III, G33, married secondly ca. 1771, Sarah Dickens, and had seven children:
10. Henry Gentry, G33A, born 1772, married 1804, Pina Hall.
11. Zechariah Gentry, G33B, born ca. 1775.
12. Wesley Gentry, G33C, born ca. 1777, had one son.
13. James Richard Gentry, G33D, born 1779.
14. Sarah Pettine Gentry, G33E, born 8 July 1781.
15. Robert Gentry, G33F, born 3 April 1784.
16. Benajah Brooks Gentry, G33G, born 22 May 1785.
David Gentry, G332, son of Nicholas Gentry, III, was born 1754, Louisa County, VA, died 16 July 1847, Overton County, TN, married ca. 1791, Elizabeth J. Smith who died 1801, TN; married secondly, 12 May 1807, Sarah Johnson. David was a Revolutionary War soldier. Issue:
1. Lucinda Gentry, G3321, born 30 November 1792, SC.
2. L. C. Gentry, G3322, born ca. 1794.
3. Thomas Gentry, G3323, born ca. 1796.
4. David Gentry, G3324, born ca. 1798.
Lucinda Gentry, G3321, daughter of David and Elizabeth J. (Smith) Gentry, was born 30 November 1792, SC, married 1808, Francis Davidson, born 22 May 1788, died after 1850, son of John and Nancy (Porter) Davidson. They had ten children:
1. Martin Davidson, G33211, born 1 March 1809.
2. Nancy Davidson, G33212, born 9 November 1810, died 14 April 1864, married Henry Neeson McCallom who died 6 September 1875.
3. Blaine Davidson, G33213, born 25 January 1813, married Judith French, born in 1816.
4. Eliza Davidson, G33214, born 18 November 1817.
5. Mirena Davidson, G33215, born 9 May 1819.
6. Pearson Davidson, G33216, born 9 January 1822.
7. Ambrose Davidson, G33217, born 4 October 1824.
8. Minerva Davidson, G33218, born 5 April 1827.
9. Elizabeth Jane Davidson, G33219, born 21 May 1830, died 13 February 1913, married twice, first to Martin Smith, and secondly to his brother Thomas Allen Smith.
10. Eliza Ann Davidson, G3321A, born 29 September 1835, married first, George W. Sevier, born 4 April 1832, died 7 December 1863, married secondly, John Allen French.
John Gentry, G334, son of Nicholas Gentry, III, was born 1758, Louisa County, VA, settled in Bullitt County, KY. He was a Revolutionary War soldier, married ca. 1779, Mildred "Milly" Edwards, and had four children:
1. John Gentry, G3341, born ca. 1780.
2. Wyatt Gentry, G3342, born ca. 1782, settled in Clinton, IN.
3. Martin Gentry, G3343, born ca. 1784.
4. Elizabeth Gentry, G3344, born ca. 1786.
Martin Gentry, G335, son of Nicholas Gentry III, was born 1760, Louisa County, VA, was a Revolutionary War soldier and died in 1863 (103 years old), married 1785, Oglethorpe, GA, Margaret Lowry, and had eleven children:
1. William Gentry, G3351, born ca. 1786, Oglethorpe, GA.
2. Richard Gentry, G3352, born ca. 1788, Oglethorpe, GA.
3. Seaborn Gentry, G3353, born ca. 1790, Oglethorpe, GA.
4. Alfred Gentry, G3354, born ca. 1792, Oglethorpe, GA, settled in Mississippi.
5. Perry Gentry, G3355, born ca. 1794, Oglethorpe, GA.
6. John D. Gentry, G3356, born ca. 1796, Oglethorpe, GA.
7. David Gentry, G3357, born ca. 1798, Oglethorpe, GA.
8. James Gentry, G3358, born ca. 1800, Oglethorpe, GA.
9. Ransom Gentry, G3359, born ca. 1802, Oglethorpe, GA.
10. Nancy Gentry, G335A, born ca. 1804, Oglethorpe, GA.
11. Jane Gentry, G335B, born ca. 1806, Oglethorpe, GA.
Seaborn Gentry, G3353, son of Martin and Margaret (Lowry) Gentry, was born ca. 1790, Oglethorpe, GA, and had at least four sons:
1. Martin R. Gentry, G33531, born 15 May 1829, McDonough, Henry, GA.
2. Son Gentry, G33532, born ca. 1830/35, Heard County, GA.
3. Son Gentry, G33533, born ca. 1835/40, Heard County, GA.
4. Son Gentry, G33534, born ca. 1835/40, Heard County, GA.
Martin R. Gentry, G33531, son of Seaborn Gentry, was born 15 May 1829, McDonough, Henry, GA, died 7 November 1911, Atlanta, Fulton, GA, married 25 August 1850, Heard County, GA, Louisa Jane Kittriel, born 1837, GA. They had nine children:
1. Wiley S. Gentry, G335311, born ca. 1852, Heard County, GA, died before 1902, married ca. 1871, Eliza ?.
2. Ophilia Octava Gentry, G335312, born ca. 1854, Coweta County, GA, died 1889, Newnan County, GA, married 29 May 1870, Francis Narsiss Coulon.
3. Sara Elizabeth Gentry, G335313, born 12 December 1855, GA.
4. Mary Caroline Gentry, G335314, born 11 May 1858, Heard Co., GA.
5. Martha J. "Mathie" Gentry, G335315, born 16 November 1861, GA.
6. James M. Gentry, G335316, born 16 November 1863, Heard County, GA, married 1883, GA, Mattie ?.
7. Cynthia Gentry, G335317, born ca. 1864, Heard County, GA, died before 1902.
8. William Gentry, G335318, born ca. 1866, Heard County, GA, died before 1902.
9. Litha Gentry, G335319, born ca. 1866, Heard County, GA, died before 1902.
Compiled by RICHARD JENNINGS
Great-great-grandson of MARTIN R. GENTRY, G33531
Great-grandson of OPHILIA OCTAVA GENTRY, G335312
OPHILIA OCTAVA GENTRY, G335312
Date/Year Event Location
1854 Born Heard County, GA
10 Jun 1860 1860 Census Heard County, GA
29 May 1870 Married Francis Narsiss Coulon Newnan, Coweta, GA.
27 Jul 1870 1870 Census "
May 1871 John Matthew Coulon born "
12 May 1873 Stephanie B. "Fannie" Mae" Coulon born "
11 Jun 1875 Martin Adolphus Coulon born "
early 1878? Laura S. Coulon born "
early 1879? James D. Coulon born "
5 Dec 1879 Frank Brown Coulon born Heard County, GA.
11 Jun 1880 1880 Census "
16 Jul 1882 Carrie Coulon born ?
29 Apr 1888 Herschel Warner Coulon born ?
1889 Ophilia Octava (Gentry) Coulon dies ?
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH
Ophilia Octava Gentry, born in 1853-4, was the second child of Martin R. and Louisa Jane (Kittriel? Kittrell) Gentry. I believe she was born in Heard County near the Georgia-Alabama border since Martin and Louisa had been married there on 25 August 1850 and were still living there during the 1860 Census.
Ophilia's older brother was Wiley S. Coulon, born about 1852. A younger sister Sara Elizabeth Coulon was born 12 December 1855, and Mary Ann (or Mary C.?) was born 11 May 1858. When the1860 Census was taken on 10 June 1860, Ophilia, age 7, was living with her parents in Heard County, GA, where her father was a farmer.
Sometime following the Civil War the family moved to Newnan in Coweta County. That is where Ophilia (listed as "Octava Gentry" on the marriage certificate) married Frenchman Francis Narsiss Coulon on 29 May 1870. J. B. S. Davis, "minister of the gospel," presided. Francis (listed as "Frank Narcissus Coulon" on the marriage certificate) was 33 years old, and Ophilia was about 16.
At the time of the census on 4 July 1870, Frank, 32 years old, a jeweller, and Ophilia (listed as Octava), 17, whose occupation was "keeping house," were in the Senoria Post Office area of the First District of Coweta County (in the southeast corner of the county). The newlywed couple was apparently renting a room from Jarrel Townez, 43, a retired farmer, and his family (his wife Sarah, 30; his children Dawson, 10; Randolph, 7; Beasley, 5; Lula Bell, 3; and Walter, 2 months). Also occupying this dwelling were Olonzo Dix, 19-year-old farm laborer; William H. Morgan, age 9; and a black family: John Townes, 37, a teamster; his wife Jane, 28, a domestic servant; and their daughter Margaret, 15, also a domestic servant. Senoria, incorporated in 1867, had a population of about 1000 at this time, including three doctors, four lawyers, one newspaper, a hotel, a college, two schools, two churches, and thirty-one businesses.
Coweta was under Reconstruction Era occupation by U.S. Army troops in 1870, and governmental control in Georgia was not fully returned to the state until 1872.
By the time of the birth of John Matthew Coulon in May 1871, Francis and Ophilia had moved to Newnan, the county seat in the center of Coweta County. Newnan then had a population of about 3500. according to the Coweta County Tax Digest for 1872, "F. N." Coulon owned no real estate but had personal property worth $500. (Presumably most of this value was the inventory of his jewelry and watchmaking business.)
The couple's daughter Stephanie B., also known as Fannie Mae, was born on 12 May 1873 in Coweta County. The family was still in Coweta County for the birth of Martin Adolphus on 11 June 1875, but we do not know where they were living when the next two children, Laura S. and James D., were born. Neither Coweta nor Heard Counties recorded births at this time. By the end of 1879, the couple had moved back to Heard County where Ophilia had been born. Frank Brown was born there on 5 December 1879.
On 11 June 1880, according to the 1880 Census, Francis and "Octava" were living in the Houston District 102 in Heard County. Francis was then listed as a watchmaker, age 43, Ophilia, age 6, was keeping house. According to this census Ophilia could neither read nor write, and both her parents were born in Georgia. Five children were listed as living with them: John M., age 9; Stephanie B., age 7; Martin A., age 5; Laura S., age 2; and Brown F.(actually Frank Brown) 6 months old. (James is not listed with the family in the 1880 Census, but we know he was living with Francis in Atlanta and working as a painter there in 1903-05.) The village of Houston was started in 1870 but is now extinct. The population of Heard County in 1880 was 8769, of which 64.8% were white and 35.2% were black.
A statewide directory for 1881-82 — "The Georgia State Gazetteer and Business Directory" lists "F. Coulon" under the category of "Watches, Clocks and Jewelry" in Newnan. Carrie was born on 16 July 1882, possibly in Heard County or Coweta. The couple's final child, Herschel Warner (my grandfather), was born on 29 April 1888. We do not know where they were living at the time; neither Coweta nor Heard Counties registered births in this period, and nearly all of Heard County's pre-1893 records were destroyed by fire. Ophilia died the following year at age 35 and was buried in Newnan. We do not know which cemetery she was buried in, or whether her grave has an identifying marker. She is not listed in indexes I have reviewed so far for persons buried in Newnan cemeteries.
We do not know the cause of death, and know of no pictures of Ophilia. Her life appears to have been brief, hard and taken up with caring for her eight small children. Her husband Francis was much older, with a reputation for arrogance, and a sharp temper. I have not yet heard any stories about Ophilia or her personality.
I cannot tell from the record how much contact Ophilia had with her parents and siblings after her marriage. Her parents had moved from Newnan probably soon after Ophilia's marriage (since they are not listed in the 1872 Tax Digest for Coweta), and were in Rock Mills, AL, across the border from Heard County for the 1880 Census. from the Atlanta City Directory, however, we know that Ophelia's widower husband Francis, and presumably the children too, had some contact with Ophelia's father, Martin Gentry, since Francis Coulon is listed as living at Martin Gentry's address in the 1904 Atlanta Directory.
MARTIN R. GENTRY (Father of Ophilia Octava Gentry)
15 May 1829 — 7 November 1911
Date/Year Event Location
15 May 1829 Born Henry County, GA
1830 1830 Census "
1840 1840 Census Newton County, GA
23 Mar 1848-
11 Aug 1848 Enlisted in Mexican War Dalton GA
11 Aug 1850 1850 Census Heard County, GA
25 Aug 1850 Married Louisa Jane Kittriel ?
1852? Wiley (Wyley?) S. Gentry born ?
1854 Ophilia Octava Gentry born ?
12 Dec 1855 Sara Elizabeth Gentry born ?
11 May 1858 Mary Ann (Caroline) Gentry born ?
10 Jun 1860 1860 Census "
16 Nov 1861 Martha (Mathie?) J. Gentry born ?
12 May 1862 Private, Confederate Army Franklin, Heard Co., GA
16 Nov 1863 James M. Gentry born ?
Sep 1864 Detailed as teamster ?
1865 Driving army supply train Dalton, Whitfield Co.
1865? Cynthia Gentry born ?
1868? William Gentry born ?
27 Jul 1870 1870 Census Newnan, Coweta, GA
1872? Litha Gentry born ?
1 Jun 1880 1880 Census Rock Mills, Randolph, AL
10 Aug 1889 First applies for pension Atlanta, Fulton, GA
11 Jun 1900 1900 Census "
May 1902 Veteran Pension terminated "
27 Apr 1904 Congress restores Martin's pension "
1910 1910 Census "
7 Nov 1911 Martin R. Gentry died "
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH
I identified Martin R. Gentry as Ophilia Octava Gentry's father with the 1860 Census, which shows an Ophilia, age 7, living with Martin and his wife Louisa in Heard County, GA.
As my research continued, I began to feel that Martin was somehow drawing me toward the abundance of information that exists about him, especially in pension application files. The material contained below derives primarily from military service records and pension records, along with census and telephone directory searches. The Confederate Army service record information contained in this update was found primarily at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and the superb Georgia State Archives in Atlanta. The Mexican War pension information was found at the National Archives, while the Mexican War land warrant information was obtained from the National Archives Annex in Rockville, Maryland. I reviewed the relevant Atlanta city directories at the Library of Congress.
The picture that emerges from the documentary record is of a man who made his way in life partially by bending the rules and stretching a story. This is true of his so-called "Mexican War service" — joining up after the Senate had already approved the peace treaty that ended the war, and spending his entire service career in an army camp in Dalton, Georgia. It also appears to be the case with his possession of a larger land warrant than he would have been entitled to even if he had actually served in the war. His claim of having been disabled in the Mexican War (a disability that allegedly occurred in November 1847, prior to his enlistment in March 1848, and that apparently didn't bother him when he served 14 years later in the Civil War) is another example of stretching a story. Finally there is the whole matter of failure to disclose, in his application for a pension as an indigent Civil War veteran, that he was already receiving a Mexican War pension. This omission led to his being rejected for a Civil War pension and, on a subsequent review of one of his many applications for an increase in the Mexican War pension, to his losing that pension too due to his lack of actual service in the Mexican, or even enured to Mexico. An Act of Congress was finally engineered to restore the Mexican War pension that he was not legally entitled to under the pension act.
Martin does appear from the pension files to have been genuinely disabled in his advanced years, and very much in need of public assistance that was extremely hard to obtain at that time. Years of filings and applications also show that Martin became increasingly forgetful, and a combination of poverty, poor health, and an urgent need for assistance may have led him to recall periods of service in ways that would most advance his cause rather than in terms of the exact events that had occurred forty and fifty years before. By the end, Martin was also a man who persisted in futile efforts to get the help he needed, refusing to give in to multiple denials of his hopeless request that his Special Act pension be raised to the same level as that paid to others his age. Many aspects of our modern-day welfare bureaucracy appear from Martin's file to have been well in place by Martin's day as we shall see — for example, onerous paperwork, the need for assistance from lawyers without the funding to pay for them, and narrow bureaucratic construction of welfare requirements to exclude people whose needs are clearly within the spirit of the welfare law. The most chilling document I reviewed was the record of a vulture-like visit by a pension examiner in the year before Martin's death that describes Martin's feeble condition and concludes, seemingly with satisfaction, that Martin, "Won't live but a short time."
I. EARLY YEARS
According to Mexican and Civil War pension applications, Martin was born on 15 May 1829, in McDonough, Henry County GA. My best guess as to his father is Seaborn Gentry, the only Gentry listed in Henry County in the 1830 Census. At the time of that census, Seaborn had one male child (presumably Martin) under 5 years old (1825-1830) living in his household. Moreover, as will be explained in a separate section on Martin's ancestors, Seaborn's father's name was probably Martin. By the 1840 census Seaborn and family were living in Newton County. Seaborn then had four children: one a male between 10 and 15 (1825-1830, Martin); the second a female between 5 and 10 (1830-1835); and two males under 5 years (1835-1840). Henry County was formed in 1821 out of Walton County which had been formed in 1803 from Cherokee lands and Indian land ceded to Georgia in January of that year. Newton County was formed in 1821 from Jasper (formed in 1812 from Baldwin), Walton, Morgan (formed in 1807 from Baldwin and Jasper), and Henry counties.
II. MEXICAN WAR
Martin's pension in later years for service during the Mexican War deserves some explanation here. The Mexican War, which ultimately gave the United States: Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and much of Colorado, began in early 1846, after the U.S. annexed the asserted independent nation of Texas over Mexico's protests. President Polk ordered an army led by General Zachary Taylor to the Texas-Mexico border in January, and within months Taylor had won battles with Mexican troops near Matamoros and Monterey. After these initial successes, nationalistic fervor gripped the United States. Many volunteered for service, and regiments were oversubscribed in several states. Martin was just 16 when this conflict began
Mexico resisted capitulating to Polks demand that they sell to the U.S. the desired northern territories until the forces of Mexican President Santa Ana were ultimately defeated in Mexico City in September and October of 1847. Protracted negotiations with an unstable Mexican government followed for months thereafter. The Mexicans finally accepted U.S demands on 2 February 1848, in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty reached Washington two weeks later, and Polk submitted it to the Senate where it was ratified, after intense debate, on 10 March 1848. The treaty documents were then returned to Mexico City where ratification documents were exchanged and the treaty went into effect on 30 May 1848. American troops began to leave Mexico City immediately, and the last contingent left on June 12. Meanwhile, an eighteen-year-old Martin Gentry was finally getting into the act.
According to corrected pension application information and land warrant documents, Martin enlisted as a private in Captain John Loyall's independent company of Georgia Mounted Volunteers in Lafayette, Walker County, GA, on 23 March 1848, i.e., almost two weeks after the Senate ratified the treaty ending the Mexican War. According to an affidavit he filed in 1890, Martin, at the time of enlistment, stood five foot eight or nine, had red hair, a fair complexion, blue eyes, square shoulders and weighed about 175 pounds. The company in which he served was commanded by Captain Francis McCurdy. He was honorably discharged on 11 August 1848 at Dalton, Georgia, 142 miles from home. I have a copy of his discharge certificate, signed by F. E. McCurdy. (In his first application for a Mexican War Pension, and in an affidavit filed 19 July 1890, Martin claimed that he had served from July 1847 to January 1848, and that he had been partially disabled as a result of being thrown from a horse on 20 November 1857. The injury allegedly fractured the bone in his right shoulder and broke his left forearm.)
On 16 August 1848, Martin was in Covington, Newton County, to apply for a land warrant based on his military service. After swearing an oath of identity before Wilson Conner, a justice of the peace, he was issued a certificate dated 19 December 1848 by the War Department office of the Commissioner of Pensions. The certificate stated that Land Warrant No. 43009 for 160 acres had been issued to Martin, in care of J. H. Rakestraw of Covington, and would be deposited in the General Land Office authorizing the locating of the warrant "on any quarter section of land subject to private entry." The Act of 11 February 1847 providing for the land warrants for Mexican War service permitted issuing 160 acres (or $100 in government script) to veterans who had served more than one year. For service of less than a year, a soldier was to receive at his option 40 acres or government script in the amount of $25. If Martin's March to August stint counted as service, it was certainly for less than one year. The land warrants often served in lieu of other payment, however, and I gather they were fairly liberally allocated to discharged veterans as the primary form of compensation.
Martin quickly sold his interest in the warrant, as many other soldiers did at the time, probably for $100 or less. On 25 December 1848, he signed an agreement assigning his interest in the land warrant certificate to William P. Turner, who was probably one of the many land speculators buying military warrants in those years. Turner in turn sold the warrant to Edward H. Ives on 26 March 1848. Ives subsequently exercised the warrant on the west southeast half of the southwest quarter section of section 33 in township 72 north of Range 1 West in Fairfield, Iowa. The land warrant was ultimately issued on 3 April 1854.
By the time of the 1850 Census on 11 August, Martin, age 20, was a laborer living in Heard County with a farmer Thomas Anderson, Anderson's wife Emily, and nine-year-old son Martin V. Living nearby was Martin's soon-to-be wife Louisa Kittrell, age 12, in the home of farmer Thomas Shackelford and his wife and five children. (Elsewhere in Heard County, three Gentry families who may have been relations, i.e., brothers or possibly cousins of Martin, were living near each other Alfred R. Gentry, age 23 (1827), and his family; James Gentry, 32 (1818), and his wife; and Elisha Gentry, age 32 (1818), and wife Martha and eight children, including a Martha, a Louisa, a John M., and a James.)
According to documents filed in connection with his pension applications, Martin married Louisa Jane Kittrell ("Kittriel" according to one document, and "Kittrell" according to the census) on 25 August 1850. The couple was married by the farmer with whom Louisa had been living, Thomas Shackelford, who happened to be a Heard County Justice of the Peace. A record of the marriage was supposed to be contained in a Bible "reckord." (Any marriage record in Heard County prior to 1893 were destroyed in a fire that year.) According to subsequent census and pension records, the couple had four children during the next decade: Wiley in about 1852, Ophilia in 1853-54, Sara Elizabeth on 12 December 1855, and Mary Ann (or Mary Caroline?) on 11 May 1858.
On 10 June 1850, the census shows Martin R. was a farmer, age 31, living in St. Cloud, Heard County, with Louisa, age 23 (born about 1837). Their children were Wiley, age 8; OIphilia, age 7; Elizabeth, age 5; and Mary Ann, age 2. The value of Martin's personal property was $100. (A wealthy farmer names M. Shackelford lived nearby.)
IV. CIVIL WAR
Lincoln's election as President was in November of 1860, and by 20 December, South Carolina seceded from the Union, declaring that the Republican Party would destroy the rights of the individual states (i.e., with respect to deciding whether they would permit slavery). On 3 January 1861, Georgia militia seized Fort Pulaski at the mouth of the Savannah River. On 19 January, a state convention was convened and a vote was taken to secede. Troops began to be raised all over the state, and U.S. forces at the Federal Arsenal in Augusta surrendered. Georgia had at the time a population of 1,057,000, of which 466,000 were slaves. Georgia sent delegates to a convention of the Deep south states in Montgomery, Alabama, which organized the Confederate States of America on 4 February 1861.
The 12 April attack by South Carolina forces on Fort Sumpter in Charlston and Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion led to an all-out war of the northern states against the southern states (now including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida and Texas). Georgia raised 25,000 troops by October 1861, and eventually raised 120,000 by the end of the war. The state's economy shifted from cotton to food, its industry to war goods, and its rail system to serving the transportation needs of the Confederacy. Martin's daughter Martha, or Mathie J. according to later records, was born on 16 November 1861.
According to cards that are part of Martin's consolidated service record, Martin volunteered on 12 May 1861 at Franklin, Georgia, to a Captain Spearman. (This would be Benjamin Toombs Spearman, who led Company K, 56th Infantry Regiment.) A payroll dated 13 June records that Martin was paid his $50 bounty for volunteering. The company in which Martin served as a private was organized in June 1862 as part of the 55th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry. The designation was subsequently changed to the 56th Regiment, and Martin's company became Company K, the tenth of eleven companies that made up the regiment. A muster roll of Heard County men who made up Company K lists 156 soldiers, including a John M. Gentry (probably the son of Elisha Gentry listed in the 1850 Census, who pension records show was born in Heard County in August 1836, and who died in Coweta County in March 1893, leaving eight children). John volunteered the same day as Martin, 12 May, which was the same enlistment date given for most of the members of Company K.
A bare outline of Martin's war service is suggested by the dates of his capture and release in the consolidated service record. According to "Confederate Military History Extended Edition," edited by Gen. Clement A. Evans (Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1987), the 56th Regiment in the spring of 1862 "was sent to east Tennessee, where it served in Stevenson's division in the recapture of Cumberland Gap and the advance into Kentucky. In the fall of that year it was sent to Mississippi, sharing with other regiments of the division in the battles and privations of the campaign which ended with the surrender of Vicksburg. After being exchanged it participated in the battle of Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta and Tennessee campaigns of 1864. In the spring of 1865 it was consolidated with the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-ninth under the name of the latter, and part with the Thirty-sixth and Forty-second as the Forty-second of Georgia. It served in the campaign of the Carolinas, which closed with the surrender near Goldsboro." J. H. Harrison eventually became captain of Company K.
A more complete and certainly more human account of life in the 56th Regiment during the war is available thanks to the phenomenal memory of James M. Kuglar, a private in Company C, whose story was recorded in 1932 by Miss Gladys Kuglar. I have reprinted most of Mr. Kuglar's recollections below, both because this memoir by another member of the same regiment suggests where Martin may have been and sights he might have encountered during the war, and also because it is a fascinating personal historical document in its own right.
On the fifteenth of May (1862) the 56th regiment was reorganized . . . This place was called Camp McDonald, it being a camp of instruction, strict attention was paid to the drilling of men until the second of June when the regiment moved to Atlanta, GA, and guarded the city until the thirteenth when orders were received for Colonel Watkins to report in Chattanooga, TN, with his regiment and accordingly early the next morning the old freight train rolled into Chattanooga with Colonel Watkins and his regiment. A few days afterwards the regiment drew arms. By the nineteenth of June we arrived at Shell Mound, a station on the railroad, twenty miles from Chattanooga. Although it was June the night was very cool and no wood being near the railroad the boys tore to pieces an unoccupied house and from then until morning large fires were kept up in which the greater portion of the house was used for fuel.
The next day we marched along the banks of the Tennessee River which was hardly visible through the dense fog. At six o'clock a skirmish took place between our forces on one side of the river and the enemy regiment on the other side. Our regiment then returned to Chattanooga.
We visited Salt Petre Cave, which begins at the northern base of Lookout Mountain. In advancing along this cave we beheld wonders which were new to us. On the walls which consist principally of huge rocks were hundreds of names some of which were placed there at a very early date. Besides the main channel there were numerous minor caves which branch off in every direction. About one mile from its mouth we came to a number of Irishmen who were spading dirt from among the rocks for the purpose of making saltpetre. Large quantities of saltpetre are taken from this cave. A few paces from the mouth of the cave is the blowing spring from which a current of cool air is continually gushing.
Early on the following morning we started on a freight train for Knoxville. Our regiment then numbered about one thousand. We traveled by Dalton, Georgia, and reached Knoxville on the following day. We rode on the cars from Knoxville to Chattanooga. It rained during the night and not having our tents stretched we got a complete wetting.
On July 7 we moved thirteen miles down the railroad and pitched our camp which in honor of our Commanding General we gave the name of Camp Ledbetter. Here we remained breathing the cool mountain air, drinking the pure clear Tennessee water and gathering and eating the ripe black and whortleberrie until the middle of July, when we struck our tents and put them up again at Bridgeport, Alabama, at which place Major Pool resigned and returned home. Afterwards Captain James P. Brewster became Major of the regiment. By the end of July the right wing of the regiment (including Company K?) took the train and proceeded to Tyner's station. Here we were under such strict orders that no soldier was allowed outside the guard lines. When water was wanted five men under charge of a noncommissioned officer were sent to the spring.
On the first of August, 1862, our regiment turned over its tents and most of its cooking utensils to the quartermaster at Knoxville, Tennessee, and began to march in the direction of Kentucky. The day was bright and clear and the rays of heat from the midday sun came down upon us with almost melting power. The dust rose around us like smoke from the burning prairie; this together with the cartridge-box buckled around the waist, gun on the shoulder, and a heavy knapsack of clothing and a blanket on the back proved to be a very tiresome and disagreeable to the soldier, and especially the members of our 56th regiment, many of whom were strangers to the hardships of the soldier's life. As we marched along numbers from every company fell out of ranks, and little did we think that we had that day began a campaign of three months of almost incessant marching, day and night, part of the time with nothing to eat and no water to drink. On the following day we reached Clinton, Tennessee, where we stayed for a short time. During our stay at Clinton, the battle of Tazwell took place, and our regiment war ordered there as reinforcements.
On August 14 we again took up the line of march, passed through Jacksboro, Tennessee, crossed the Cumberland Mountain at Big Creek Gap. In a few days or so we started over this steep mountain about midnight; it was so steep that hitched about twelve horses to each piece of artillery, fastened a long rope to the end of the tongue, which the men took hold of, and by that means the men and horses pulled them to the top of the mountain. Near the top we halted to rest. Although it was then about the middle of August, we were so cold that we kindled a fire to keep from suffering. At dawn of day we reached the top. In viewing the beautiful scenery, its wilderness and sublimity filled me with emotions of pleasure to which I had been a stranger. Passing down the opposite side, we soon discovered that it had been blockaded; great numbers of large trees had been hewn across the road: huge stones had been rolled into it; all of which had been removed by our pioneers who were in advance of the command.
The next day at sunset we arrived at the food of Pine Mountain. The night was dark and the mountain rough and steep, but we had to cross to the opposite side before camping. The next morning our company was detailed to go back over the mountain and guard the artillery while crossing. We all sat down to rest on top and many fell asleep from fatigue.
At this time we were attached to a brigade that was composed of a company of artillery, commanded by Captain Waddell, and three Georgia regiments — Colonels Watkins', Johnson's, and Barkello's — commanded by General D. Ledbetter. When we were within a few miles of Kentucky we were informed that as soon as we entered Kentucky that we would be attacked by a body of men who termed themselves "Home Guards, but we called them "Bushwhackers." We were advancing on Boston, a small village in Kentucky and, sure enough, at a distance of one mile from town, a band of these wretches, numbering about one hundred, attacked Colonel Johnson's regiment which was marching in front. Colonel Johnson's men fired into them and killed several, the others fled into the mountains. Our cavalry pursued them and took some prisoners, the majority of which took the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States and were immediately released. We marched into and took possession of the town without any further opposition. Upon entering the place I saw on the wall of a dry goods store, written in large letters, "Downfall of Boston, August 13, 1882."
We remained at Boston three days, during that time I was sent on picket together with the rest of the company. We stayed on picket twenty-four hours and our diet was green corn and roasted apples. It was just two days march to Barboursville, and we traveled both days without having any water to drink, except a little we took from the dried-up branches, which was warm, muddy and very scarce. This was the beginning of our suffering with thirst, for suffer we did, as the weather was extremely hot. We reached Barboursville which was situated on the Cumberland River late in the evening. The rain came down in torrents during the night. The feeling of the poor soldiers can readily be imagined. After marching hard all day he lay down to rest his weary limbs — the hard earth his only bed, knapsack his pillow, and a single blanket his covering; no roof under which he could shelter, save the dark clouds and roaring winds. The officers were allowed tents. Of course there was but little sleep; almost everyone was drenched with rain, or might I say drowned.
Our forces took a large train of wagons loaded with provisions for the Yankee Army at Cumberland Gap. A great many of the wagons were taken near London, Kentucky, and were burned with the provisions in them as they were taken by our cavalrymen who were not insufficient force to get them away.
The enemy at Cumberland Gap was now completely cut off, and our brigade was sent down to Cumberland Ford to combat if they should attempt to get away.
There were sixteen Yankee regiments at the gap, who were commanded by General G. W. Morgan, and their only route of escape was by the way of Cumberland and Ford, which was twelve miles in the rear. It is closed in by mountains and has a defile just wide enough for a wagon road. Our brigade, numbering about twenty-five hundred guarded this narrow passage which General Kirby took, with the remainder of his army, in line of march toward Lexington to meet a large force of the enemy which was advancing for the purpose of relieving General Morgan.
The two armies met ten miles south of Richmond at a little village called Rogersville. A terrible battle was fought in which General Smith was victorious, and the enemy soon gave way. The battle was fought all the way from Rogersville. General Smith captured the enemy's artillery. He pursued them beyond the Kentucky River and captured almost the whole force that was engaged against him.
The most remarkable feature of this fight was that General Smith captured more Yankees than he had men engaged in the fight. It was the most complete victory of the war, and is set down in history as the battle of Richmond, Kentucky.
We left Cumberland Ford on the 30th day of August and that night we camped in the vicinity of Barboursville, which was a pretty nice place but was like the whole of that mountain country, filled with Union citizens; even the ladies would go so far as to treat the Southern soldier with contempt.
Gangs of Bushwhackers were scattered all through these mountains. They were nothing more or less than a band of thieves and robbers; they would stay among the high bluffs and cliffs of rocks, along the most wilderness parts of the mountain roads, and watch their chances to pick up the sick and broken-down soldiers who would face in the rear of their command; they treated these defenseless soldiers sometimes with a great deal of cruelty. They at times let their vile passions rise to such a height that they put them to death. As a member of our company being very feeble, dropped behind the command, as soon as our regiment was out of sight a squad of these ruffians rushed down the mountain and took him prisoner and carried him over the mountain to their headquarters. They treated him shamefully, taking all his personal belongings, and threatened to hang him; they kept him for several days, giving him little or no food and then set him on his way to find his way or die.
These bushwhackers occasionally formed ambuscades, and when an opportunity presented itself, they would shoot down small parties of soldiers in the road, and then "riddle" their pockets. During our sojourn in that mountain region our rations consisted of green corn, beef and dried beans.
On the first of September we passed through London en route to join General Smith. Nothing remarkable took place until we arrived at Richmond, which we reached in a few days after the battle. On the night of the first of September we camped at Rock Castle Creek, and the next day we crossed Big Hill, a distance of twelve miles. At the northern base of Big Hill is the beginning of the beautiful and wealthy portion of Kentucky. Here we quit the rough mountainous road and traveled on a level macadamized turnpike. We were now in a level country and the nice farms and magnificent residences could be seen on either side of the road. What a great contrast between this and that ugly disagreeable mountain region which seems to have been created for farmhands and wild Indians to inhabit. What a great contrast also between its citizens and those stingy, envious, insignificant mountaineers. They were enlightened and open hearted, and many of them were true to the Southern cause, or at least, they showed the Southern soldiers a great deal of hospitality.
The distance from Big Hill to Richmond is eighteen miles. Our company was vanguard that day. Early in the morning that day we began to meet paroled prisoners, who had been paroled by General Smith and were on the return to their mountain homes. Those prisoners were so numerous that we were scarcely out of sight of them until we reached Richmond.
[According to Martin's consolidated record he was captured on 8 September and paroled at London, Kentucky, by a detachment of the 3rd Regiment Kentucky Volunteers under the command of Lieut. Col. J. W. Ridgell.]
Our company was so far in advance of the regiment at one time we plucked ears of corn from fields and sat down on the roadside to roast them. About the time we all began to feel as though we had eaten enough the regiment appeared in sight. We soon arrived at the place where the battle commenced. A scene then presented itself which was new to most of the regiment. Fences were taken down by the retreating Yankees to form breastworks on both sides of the long and beautiful lines' rails were torn down and split to pieces with shot and shell; the earth was ploughed up in many places with lead from the rebels' guns; the residences were crowded with the wounded of both armies. New graves could be seen on the road side.
One grave we noticed was a Yankee's as I discovered from his blue uniform; he was buried in this styled: the fence was laid down at the corner where the rails lapped, a hole was dug the length of the man, and about one foot deep. He was laid in this hole and a little dirt thrown over him, and the fence was put up again. When we passed I supposed he had been buried about three days. A portion of the dirt had been removed from the top of his body, and there he lay about half exposed, and the green flies swarming around him like bees around a hive.
We were kindly received by the citizens of Richmond. It was what I termed a lovely town. The number of guns, cartridge boxes, etc., captured at that place would have astonished anyone if the exact number had been known. I never saw such a pile of guns before in all of my life — some of the streets were almost full of them. Besides this, we were informed by citizens that the farms between Rogersville and Richmond had guns scattered all through them, which the panic-stricken Yankees had thrown away while flying before the Confederate army. A citizen who witnessed the battle said, "I know one thing, the rebels are not afraid of the cannon balls."
Our forces had already occupied Lexington, and were marching on to Frankfort, and the people of Kentucky now for the first time during this great revolution had an opportunity of volunteering in the Confederate cause, for the Confederate army had never before advanced into the interior of Kentucky. Companies were speedily formed in different parts of the state. Speeches were being made and Confederate banners were floating in the breeze, and it seemed as if everyone was flocking to our standard. Late in the afternoon we left Richmond and traveled half the night, or later. The boys felt pretty lively, as rations of whiskey had been issued that afternoon. "It was a calm night," and we marched by the light of the "silver shining moon." Crowds of ladies and countrymen flocked to the road, and while we were passing they shouted at the top of their voices: "Hurrah for the Georgia boys; while we would reply, "Hurrah for the ladies of Kentucky!" The ladies requested us to sing "Dixie." We sang "Dixie" and a few other Southern songs as we marched along.
The following day we crossed the Kentucky River, which we waded and proceeded to within three miles of Lexington, and camped, as a lady informed us, on the premises where General John H. Morgan was born.
We arose early in the morning, ate a hearty camp breakfast, loaded our baggage, and formed our regiment to march in the following order: Colonel Barkaloo, with a brass band at the head of his regiment, Colonel (E. P.) Watkins (commander of the regiment,) in the rear. Thus formed, we advanced with the route step slowly up the road, until we reached the suburbs of the city. Here we halted to rest, having marched three miles in which we passed the former residence of Henry Clay, which I judged as a desirable place. In a few minutes the command, "Attention!" was given and every man fell into place. We marched by the rank flank (?) in four ranks, guns on the right shoulder. The music now began at the head of each regiment, and the troops moved off in cadenced step. It was like clock work — every left foot touched the ground at the heavy tap with their sharp bayonets glittering in the sun at each alternate step of the drum. The bright muskets left with as much regularity as if the soldier rocked to the right and they had been a single gun. It seemed as if every soldier was striving to do his best. I never saw better marching in my life.
General Leadbetter on his fine bay horse rode in advance of his brigade. All the windows and porches of the tall city buildings were crowded with ladies and children, who were waving handkerchiefs and shouting hurrahs to us. Confederate banners were floating in the breeze from the tops of the highest houses. Numbers of ladies and gentlemen came in from the country in buggies, carriages, and on horseback.
A lady in a carriage said to Orderly Thornton (who was a fine gentleman), "We have been receiving Southern troops here for two or three days. I have hurrahed for them until my throat is sore. I can't hurrah for you, but if you will come to me I will kiss you." We marched out to the fair grounds and stacked our arms.
It was said to be the grandest day that had ever been in Lexington, except the day that Henry Clay was buried. It reminded one of the picture of the entrance of the American Army into the Grand Plaza of the City of Mexico. While at Lexington we were visited by ladies, citizens, and countrymen, who brought apples, peaches and provisions of all kinds and distributed them among us gratis. A little girl came into our camp and marched all through the encampment singing a beautiful song and she being arrayed in the banner of the bars and stars made the scene very impressive. A large lot of clothing was captured with the place and a great many of our brigade got themselves full suits of the Yankee' blue.
At that time there was a force of enemy at Lebanon. Our Brigade and a brigade of Floridians left Lexington about midnight in September and took breakfast in Nicholasville. The citizens of this place were generally sympathetic with the Yankees and had but very little use for the Confederate soldiers. Traveling on we soon came to Camp Dick Robinson, which was a Yankee camp of instruction. What citizens and ladies we saw there expressed strong Union sentiments. Some of our boys and the ladies had a considerable quarrel. Beyond Dick Robinson we again found people whose sympathies were with us. At one place a crowd of young ladies had formed and, although it was the Sabbath, they sang us a secession song to the chorus of "Root Hog or Die," while we were passing most of the dwellings along the road.
The people of Danville were divided in their sentiments, but I think the majority of them were in favor of the Union. While we were marching along the street, a cute little girl ran along the sidewalk waving her handkerchief, and exclaiming: "Hurrah for Jeff Davis and his men." There was a fine female college at Danville and a great many students were there from a distance. They collected on the sidewalk in front of the college and selected sweethearts among us, giving us their names and post offices, and requested us to write to them. They claimed themselves to be "Southern right" girls.
Leaving our camp three miles west of Danville early in the morning we traveled all day; at night we stopped ten miles from Lebanon; here orders came for us to proceed to Frankport, the enemy having left Lebanon and gone to Louisville. Several young ladies from Lebanon paid us a visit us that night and informed us that we would be cordially received by the citizens of Lebanon, who were making great preparations to give us a feast the next day. They also stated that the Federal soldiers had been among them a good while and expressed their pleasure of our having driven them away. Everyone began to whet his appetite to partake of the fine dinner, for we had eaten only a cold scanty supper which had been cooked early that morning and the following morning we had eaten no breakfast, as we could not get any water to use. We were then in limestone country, and most of the springs and branches had gone dry. We suffered a great deal for water during our three days march from Lexington to that place. The young ladies walked all through our camp, and took a moonlight view of us. . . . The ladies walked all around our gun stack to learn how the stacks were formed. "This is a privilege," they said "that is not allowed in the Federal camps; they place sentinels over their guns while in stacks, who will not allow anyone to go near, or touch them." These Kentucky damsels in passing around the men, the most of whom had gone to bed, wondered very much about our mode of passing the nights in camp, that is, wrapped up in blankets and stretched at full length on the ground. "It is a wonder that you all don't die," they said. "Surely the soldiers have a harder time than anyone. If anybody in the world needs to be pitied, it is the poor soldier." They seemed to be so deeply concerned about our welfare that I could not refrain from admiring them a little, although I could not tell by the moonlight whether they were beautiful or not.
At our usual hour of starting, after the night had passed, the regiments were formed. We now began to think in this manner; ten miles to Lebanon — we will arrive there about eleven o'clock; everybody will be expecting us — a nice dinner will be on the table waiting for us — we will see a great many pretty girls and will have a fine time chatting with them; upon the whole it will be a grand jollification. To our great surprise and disappointment, when the command, "Forward march!" was given we did not take the road to Lebanon, but moved off into a different direction! We passed through Perryville that day and halted at the Big Spring near that place to rest and cook rations.
The battle at Perryville was fought between Generals Bragg and Buell in October. I shall not dwell long on the battles, in detail, as I presume the reader has read the history of the Civil War.
Afterward, starting from the Big Spring late in the evening, we continued to march until we arrived in a few miles of Harrodsburg, where we halted to spend the remainder of the night. Early the following morning we marched into Harrodsburg. Our entrance into this place was something similar to our entrance into Lexington, but I don't deem it necessary to describe it in detail. It is sufficient to say that we marched through the streets under the sound of music and the cheers of the citizens. This place was called a "secession hole" by the Yanks. We were treated very kindly; a lot of pretty girls were continually visiting our camp.
Governor Magoffin's residence was at Harrodsburg, which was noted for being the oldest settled town in Kentucky. General Buford was raising a brigade of Cavalry and made a speech in the place while we were there. We traveled from this lace, passing through El Dorado, a small town, and on to Salvisa, another nice little town, where the boys got plenty of whiskey and then moved a few miles to camp.
MASON DRUMMED OUT OF ARTILLERY
About eight o'clock in the morning my attention was attracted by hearing a drum and fife playing the tune of "Yankee Doodle." I looked up toward the upper end of the encampment and beheld a sight such as I never saw before: a man with hair on the side of his head and whiskers on the right side of his mustache, and left side of his face shaved off as close as could be with a razor, came marching down the road with his hat in his hand, and a large crowd of soldiers marching behind him. We learned that was Waddell's artillery men drumming one of their men out of service for stealing a lady's gold watch.
We passed through Lawrenceburg that day; also we went through a town called "Rough and Ready." It was a little village whose only street was the turnpike; one side of the street was in favor of the "Feds" and the other in favor of the South. We reached our camp, two miles from Frankfort that evening.
VISIT TO FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY
On the 15th of September a number of officers and soldiers spent a day at Frankport. We visited the prison and found two hundred and fifty convicts in prison, one hundred and fifty of whom were in favor of the North, and the remaining hundred in favor of the South; they were dressed in striped clothing, made so the stripes ran around them in circles. We also visited the city cemetery, which is situated on the summit of a high hill. Here were monuments of numerous officers who fell in the Mexican War; also the monument of Daniel and Rebecca Boone.
(According to his consolidated record, Martin appears on a register of Prisoners of War at Cincinatti, Ohio, captured in Kentucky and exchanged at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, on 16 September 1862, by General Morgan "Cincinatti, Ohio, Register No. 1, page 56". His name also appears on a list of Confederate officers and soldiers exchanged at Cumberland Gap on 16 September 1862, as well as on a list of Confederate officer and soldier prisoners of war exchanged at Cumberland Gap on 17 September 1862.)
These people of Frankfort and vicinity were generally Lincolnites, and but very few of them would take Southern money; small boys in the street would shout, "Hurrah for Lincoln," and sing abolition songs. The country surrounding Frankport is called the blue-grass country and it is well adapted to the raising of fine horses and cattle.
We visited a great many houses whose inhabitants told us plainly that they were against us, but they would generally give us something to eat, saying at the same time that they treated both sides well. We boys had been soldiering long enough to take little things that we wanted as we came to them, especially in the eating line. It was what our boys termed "pressing," the Yankees termed it "jay-hawking," but in times of peace we would call it "stealing." We were in what we considered about halfway the enemy's country, and the vineyards and watermelon patches were pretty regularly visited.
DEATH OF OLD MAN POLK
A very sad accident happened while we camped near Frankport. An old gentleman named Polk, who was a very strong Southern rights man, lived near our encampment; one day he proposed for some of us to go fishing with him, and he would teach us to how to catch fish, as he had good seine. Accordingly he, with several officers, proceeded to the river. After being in the water for some time and having made several hauls, Mr. Polk being in deep water became frightened. His companions became excited, swam to the bank and left Mr. Polk who struggled and drowned before help reached him. The shrieks and cries from his little boys who were standing on the bank were enough to touch anyone's feelings. He was a poor man, and had two lovely daughters whom several of the boys were trying to claim as sweethearts but the sudden and unexpected death of their father caused them to lay off their gay dresses and put on those of mourning.
Leaving Frankport on September 19th we reached Georgetown on the following day. We camped on the spot where the Yankees were camped for a short time previously. While there a large body of troops under the command of General Heth, came marching from Covington, which is situated on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, just opposite Cincinatti, well fortified, and occupied by Federal troops.
General Heth marched his men to within a short distance of the enemy's breastworks and finding them to be very formidable, he abandoned the idea of attacking them. A great many of General Heth's troops were from Texas and Arkansas. We saw several regiments whose colors were very much soiled and torn, and in large capital letters bore this inscription, "SHILOH." I judged from that that they had fought in the Battle of Shiloh. They fought also in the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky. They had been in service a long time, and being such a great distance from home some of them looked very ragged and dirty, and while some of the Yankees were making their escape after the Battle of Richmond, a citizen asked them, "How did the battle go?" and they replied, "Those greasy Southern boys came very near eating us up." We did not suffer any for water at Georgetown as there is a spring at that place which is so large that the stream that runs from it is a creek of sufficient size to run a mile.
We were camped in an old field, and about one hundred yards from the fence one morning I saw five soldiers all marching one behind the other in single file, each one having a very large stone on his shoulder. They marched up to the fence and back to the encampment again, and continued marching in this style for two hours. They had to do every alternate two hours for about two days. It was punishment inflicted by their captain; three of them had been stealing, one had got drunk and one had visited the country without permission.
On September 24th the entire army set out for Mt. Sterling, passing through New Town, Centerville and camping at Paris, which is a town situated along the railroad eighteen miles from Georgetown.
On the following day, we passed through Middletown, and arrived at camp two miles from Mt. Sterling, where we formed a junction with General Humphrey Marshall who had just arrived from across the mountains from Western Virginia. Our object was to fight General Morgan, who was making his way out of the Cumberland Gap. General Morgan gave the dodge, however, and went out through the mountains by the way of Trouton, and crossed over into Ohio.
Out of Paris, about six miles in Bourbon County, Kentucky, one of our officers was sitting down to rest by the side of a gate near where two white citizens were standing, and a lady with a bucket of milk was giving one cupful to each soldier. The soldiers were crowding around her. A very tall soldier who had just drank his cupful as could be plainly seen by looking at the appearance of his long mustache, said to the lady, "Fill my cup, as I haven't had any." Looking him straight in the face, she explained, "Oh, you are trying to cheat me, your mustache had told on you." Our troops were then passing regiment by regiment for we had at the time, a large army. I heard a citizen remark, "The rebellion is large, but is bound to swell still larger."
By September 29th we were near Mt. Sterling. We started on the return to Frankfort and advanced as far as Paris. From Georgetown we marched back to Frankfort. On October 1st there was a grand display in Frankfort. R. Hawes, Military governor appointed by Confederate authorities, was inaugurated. General Reynolds' brigade escorted him to the capitol by forming a military procession and accompanying him through the streets; heavy salutes were also fired by our artillery.
Unfortunately for us, Governor Hawes' administration was very short, for the enemy appeared in large force on the opposite side of the river late that evening, and our generals believing our force was not sufficient to contend with the enemy successfully, burned the bridges across the river and started to form a junction with General Bragg, who at that time had a considerable army in Kentucky. As we marched along that night we went by General Raines brigade which had large fires that were built out of rails that they had taken off the different fences of a farm near the road. We stopped at Versailles for awhile.
Late the next afternoon we stacked arms on the banks of the Kentucky River and took supper, which besides our usual fare, consisted of pumpkin and kershaws which our boys had taken from an adjoining field. After supper was over we took up the line of march and hurried on to Salvisa. Our company was rear guard for the brigade that night.
(Most of a general, two-paragraph description of Kentucky is omitted.) Walnut groves were very numerous and our boys ate so many walnuts they obtained the name "Walnut Rangers." . . . Kentucky was very thickly settled, and we sometimes marched a whole day in a lane, the fences of which were built of stone.
At Salvisa, water was so scarce and inconvenient, that our quartermaster hauled it in at noon. On October 7th we started in the direction of Versailles. The weather was pleasant and the moonshine bright at night. We crossed the Kentucky River and continued the march until nine o'clock, when we stacked arms and lay down and rested until daylight. On the following morning we moved to within one mile of Versailles, and stopped to cook provisions. Having but few cooking utensils, and being limited to time, we were compelled to cook on boards; our water was taken out of a pond which was muddy and thickly mingled with green moss, warm and very "bad tasting." We cooked biscuits only, having no meat, etc. The bread was not very good, as it was just flour kneaded with pond water and salt, without any lard or baking soda.
At Versailles we took Harrodsburg Road and re-crossed the Kentucky River that night, which we had to wade; and later lay down to sleep awhile one mile beyond. We arose again and proceeded to within two miles of Lawrenceburg and halted until day.
We were planning an attack on that place early that morning but the enemy left town before we reached it. Our cavalry captured about one hundred stragglers who were left behind, most of whom were intoxicated. We pursued the enemy until 12 o'clock, crossed Salt River and abandoned the pursuit. Although our cavalry continued and captured during the day about five hundred of the enemy and a number of wagons loaded with commissary stores, we had been marching all day without anything to eat, as we ate the last of our rations for breakfast, and not having quite enough we finished that meal by eating green pumpkins which we had roasted on the coals. At Salt River we filed left and continued the march, until night, in a road that led into the Harrodsburg Turnpike, near which we took up lodging, as we thought for the night. One small piece of bacon and three small sugar crackers of those which were captured during the day, were issued to each man. About two o'clock (this was the morning of October 10th) we arose and began our march for Harrodsburg, resting that day several hours at El Dorado, during which time the boys ate all the cabbage that was growing in the gardens nearby, stripped an orchard of most of its apples, ate the contents of a potato patch, and as many walnuts as they wanted, these lasting them to Harrodsburg, which place we reached that evening and advanced one mile southwest of the town on the Perryville Turnpike, and camped near where General Braggs army was standing face to face with the enemy. We got full rations of bacon and flour. The night was dark, drizzly and cool. All rails on the surrounding fences were burned that night, as we kept large fires until morning. We were then in sight of General Braggs army which lay in a line of battle, while the enemy, under General Buell, was in a line of battle one mile beyond.
The next day the drum "beat" early, which warned us to "fall in." The men soon formed in two ranks behind the stack of guns. Almost everyone thought that in a short time he would be out on the line of battle, ready to "pitch into" his enemy, just a short distance beyond. Colonel Watkins mounted his nice roan animal, which he called "Sally McGrundy," appeared in front of his regiment, after giving the commands preparatory to starting, gave the command, "Forward march." Instead of marching toward the line of battle, we marched back through Harrodsburg, and camped that night a few miles from Camp Dick Robinson. Here we began to prepare to leave the state. It is said that the enemy, whose force at that time was very large, had us almost surrounded, having us hemmed in the shape of a horseshoe. All the captains tore up their tents to make haversacks for the men to carry rations in.
Our departure from Kentucky was on the 13th of October. Late in the evening our whole army was put in motion, and soon found itself at Camp Dick Robinson. Here were hundreds of pounds of pickled pork, which our regiment anticipated destroying to prevent it from faslling into the hands of the enemy. Consequently every soldier was ordered to take as much was he was willing to carry. Most everyone took a piece which he carried on his bayonet. We traveled all night without sleeping any. Just a short time before day we approached to within a few miles of Lancaster where we expected to have an engagement with the enemy. We passed through Lancaster about sunrise. We failed to see any Yanks, but we learned that a large number of them, under General Buell, had passed through there during the night. The enemy went to Crab Orchard, and we went toward Big Hill, reaching it about noon the next day.
At 4 o'clock on the morning of October 18th, we started again, traveling all day and about eight o'clock that night we started into an old field (or in other words a brier patch) to camp. One cup of salt to the company, and some beef, were then issued but we had no bread; corn was just ripe enough to grate well, and most of the boys, knowing our situation in the commissary line, entered some fields near the road and filled their haversacks. Some punched holes in the bottom of their tin cups and grated meal for supper, while others ate parched corn and beef.
Water was extremely scarce. Some dipped a few cupsful of water from the horses tracks. Our men began to suffer with hunger, having subsisted since the thirteenth principally on parched corn, while cabbage patches, orchards, and Chinese sugar cane were shown no quarter by our army.
LAD WHIPPED FOR STEALING HORSE
During our march that day, we saw a lad about sixteen years of age sitting by the side of the road, and a crowd of soldiers standing by, one of whom was shaving the hair off one side of the boy's head as close as it could be done with shears. Upon interrogating the crowd, we soon found that the lad was a member of General Duford's "Kentucky Cavalry," and had stolen a horse from a lieutenant of Captain Waddell's artillery. Those who had the young man in custody, all of whom were members of Waddell's artillery, informed us that they were not prepared to drum him out of service as there were no musicians present, but in lieu thereof they intended to put the lash on his back.
On October 20th we stacked arms at 2 o'clock in the evening, along the Cumberland River two miles from Flat Lick and five miles from Cumberland Ford in Knox County, Kentucky. A mill stood in front of our gun stacks, and in a field on the opposite side of the river was a quantity of thrashed wheat which was not well fanned. Our Colonel sent after the wheat, pressed the mill and started it to grinding. The mill ran all night and by morning enough was ground to give the regiment a scanty meal. We took a small quantity of the flour in tin cups, kneaded it and baked it on an iron for our supper. A portion of the flour was bran and chaff. Beef was issued that night without any salt.
The next day we moved one mile south of Cumberland Ford and halted to camp. About ten o'clock at night a small portion of bread was given to each man. No wood being handy, we lay down, each man having one blanket, but we could not keep warm as the night was very cool.
On the following day we traveled sixteen miles. We passed Cumberland Gap and camped five miles south of it on the bank of Powell's River. During our march we saw between the "ford" and the "gap" the distance of which is about twelve miles, twenty-seven dead horses and mules.
At Cumberland Gap we examined the Yankee camps which stood at the foot of the mountain on the north side. A great many paroled convalescents were in them. It was said that General Morgan, previous to his departure from that place, had dug holes in the shape of graves and had his artillery placed in them, covered over, and pieces of plank placed at each end, by which we suppose them to be graves. At the foot of the mountain, on the south side, was a mill built in a few steps of a spring which was so large that its branches kept the mill running.
From the top of the mountain, the country is visible for many miles around. There one can get a glance at what we termed "beautiful mountain scenery." A few paces from the very summit, on the south side, stands the corner stone of three states, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. As we stepped over the line into Tennessee, and felt the cool soft and pleasant breeze of "Dixie," Oscar Alexander Cantrell declared that it called to mind the reading of that chapter in the Holy Bible, which tells about the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea after which they sat down and sang and played on their musical instruments; and I do believe at the time music would have been the sweetest sound in the world to me. Thus ended our campaign in Kentucky.
MOVEMENTS IN TENNESSEE
On October 23, at Powell's River we drew full rations, and started for Tazewell, which we reached about ten o'clock. Here we caught up with our wagons which had been in advance of us during our march out of Kentucky.
Early the following morning we left Tazewell and traveled in the direction of Knoxville. We waded Clinch River and pitched our camp on a hill five miles south of it. We reached Blanes Cross Roads the next day, where we remained as it was snowing very much and we were without tents. We kept large fires out of rails which we had packed on our shoulders. On October 28th, General Ledbetter started to Mobile, Alabama, to take charge of the forts near the city, and Colonel Skidmore Harris of the Forty-Third Georgia Regiment, being the ranking colonel, took command and conducted us to Lenoir's Station which is situated on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. Here we got our tents and cooking utensils again. The following morning one officer from each company, the most of whom were captains, started home to Georgia on detail to get winter clothing for the regiment.
While we were at this place six regiments were formed under one brigade. We remained at Lenoir's Station for eighteen day, and during that time there was a great deal of sickness. From two to three soldiers were buried there every day of our stay An old miller living near our camp was grinding one day and said to some of our boys who were standing at the mill, "Soldiers are great rogues, but they are not 'sharp' enough to steal from me." That evening the boys made a raid, and when they came in they produced a sack of meal and the old man's coat buttons. The old man was, no doubt, a "Union skunk" and had he held his tongue he would probably not have lost his buttons and meal.
On November 17, we took the cars for Tullahoma, TN, then proceeded to Manchester, TN, where we established our camp on Duck River. On December 7, we received orders to proceed immediately to Readyville. We traveled only a short distance the first day as the weather was very cold, and the ground covered with snow. At night we slept tolerably comfortable considering that we had to lay on snow which we partially covered with broom sedge.
On December 9, we arrived and established our camp two miles east of Readyville. Here we drilled regularly — a company drill in the afternoon every day and battalion and brigade drill every alternate afternoon.
OUR TRIP FROM TENNESSEE TO MISSOURI
Orders came for our division, which was commanded by General C. L. Stephenson, to proceed immediately to Jackson, MS. Accordingly we started on the 20th day of December and camped that night two miles from Murfreesboro; passed through Murfreesboro the next day and camped two miles down the road in a cedar grove. At dawn of the day the regiment got aboard the cars near Murfeesboro, and we arrived in Chattanooga at sunset. Here we spent Christmas, and during the day our boys worked a nice Christmas trick on one of the citizens who had just killed a large lot of hogs and brought in a load of backbones to sell to the soldiers. The trick was this: The boys surrounded the wagon as though they were going to buy all he had. While some were talking with the old gentleman, asking the prices and occasionally buying one, or two, the others were handing them out to the comrades behind, who were carrying them off. The old man's backbones were disappearing so rapidly, and the money coming in so slow, he took the hint and laid the whip to his horses, not before the boys had jay-hawked backbones enough to last for several days. I may add, too right here, that this jay-hawking was done in the absence of officials and was very carefully kept from their ears. The boys managed that trick so well, they concluded to try again. Orders were very strict then against anyone selling whiskey to a soldier. A citizen informed one of the boys that he had a canteen of whiskey, and that he would let him have it for eight dollars. His reply was, "A trade, as soon as I step and get my canteen." While the citizen was getting the canteen, the soldier whispered to some of his comrades, "Watch me, and when you see him emptying the whiskey in my canteen rush up with your guns and take him prisoner." At last when the man returned with the whiskey one of the soldiers addressed him in a severe manner, "What have you got in that canteen?" The man replied, "water." "Let me see," said the soldier, at the same time pulling out the stopper and placing his nose to the mouth of the canteen. "Water, oh! Bring him down to headquarters, boys!" The citizen fearing they would arrest him for selling the whiskey, ran off without his eight gallons, and probably thought he had escaped without being arrested. The boys proceeded to the camp, stacked arms, and had a fine time drinking and laughing over their cleverness. A soldier who witnessed these two tricks, seeing that they were well managed concluded to try his luck. An old lady came up with a bucket of pies, and while she was telling the prices, the soldier slipped a pie out of the basket. The old lady having watched somewhat closer than he anticipated, lifted his hat from his head, remarking at the same time: "A fair exchange is no open robbery." The boys who were crowded around began to laugh at the soldier, who saw he was caught, laid the pie in the basket, and the old lady returned his hat.
On Christmas night Lieutenant Slaughter pressed the passenger train and the next morning found us in Atlanta. In a few hours we stepped into the cars again which soon began to roll toward the west. Orders were issued, prior to our departure from Tennessee, that no leave or absence or furlough would be granted while en route to Mississippi. Good officers and soldiers never disobey orders, but the temptation was so great that many of our boys were missing in every company. During the day they leaped off their cars to take what they termed a French furlough; the majority of them returned to their commands, however, in a short time. It was Christmas times and during the day some of the boys had taken a little more than the average supply of whiskey, which caused them to be a bit thirsty. The train halted for a few minutes, and they called to a Negro who was standing near the car to bring them water quick! The Negro ran and in the shortest possible time imaginable handed a bucket into the car. One of boys began to drink out of the bucket. The whistle blew and the train began to move off slowly. The Negro ran along keeping up with the train until it began running at full speed, exclaiming, "Master, please gim me de bucket! Master, please gim me de bucket!" The last we saw of the Negro he was running at full speed, exclaiming, "Master, please gim me de bucket!" The last the Negro saw of the bucket, the thirsty soldier was standing with it almost bottom side up, in the door of the car drinking as though he didn't intend to cease until he had swallowed its contents.
We reached West Point about 9 o'clock that night and remained there one day in order to cook our rations. Our tents were situated on a level spot near one of the hotels. While the boys were passing into the hotel yard to get water, they discovered in the cook house a large quantity of sweet potatoes piled up to the sill of a back window. Two of the boys agreed to pay them a visit that night. Accordingly about ten o'clock the boys approached the window and found one of the lower panes of glass was broken out — the moon was shining bright. The cooks were sitting by the fire, which was but a few paces from the window, busily engaged in conversation. The boys arms being too short to reach the potatoes, they sharpened the end of sticks which they thrust into the potatoes, and by this means soon drew out enough to fill their sacks, which held about two bushels. Before we reached West Point the train stopped and two Negroes came up the car offering potatoes for sale. One of the boys lifted the sack into the car and began to distribute them to his comrades, who were gathered around him. One of the Negroes said, "Master, ain't you gwine to pay me for the taters?' The soldier pointed his gun toward the Negro and told him if he didn't "skedaddle" he would shoot him. The Negro ran off about ten paces and said, "Mister, if you won't pay me for de taters, gim me de sack." About that time the gun fired and the Negroes leaped behind a tree. Another soldier held up his gun and fired at the top of the tree. The Negroes then began running, leaping over logs, rocks, sticks and bushes. The boys only intended to have some fun out of them and then pay them for the potatoes, but the Negroes understood the joke to be strictly sincere.
We finally reached Montgomery where we boarded the steamer, "R. B. Taney." We traveled down the Alabama River and landed at Selma where we took the train at 2 o'clock, and on December 13 rolled into Demopolis. Down the street we could see it crowded with beautiful women, and a short distance beyond them we saw a long table under a row of beautiful trees which stood along the sidewalk. Provisions cooked in the best style were soon placed on the tables and the whole car load of soldiers, consisting of two regiments, were invited to dinner. We marched up one side of the table, while the ladies stood on the other side and waited upon us with the greatest pleasure and politeness. We were informed that they had been feeding soldiers seven days and had provisions enough to feed them seven more days, and if the soldiers continued passing through, they intended to feed them as long as Demopolis could furnish a pound of meat or a loaf of bread. These ladies of Demopolis have praise of being kind, beautiful and patriotic. They also had the thanks and best wishes of every soldier in General Stevenson's
division. I can say that Demopolis is a lovely little town, situated on the eastern bank of the Tombigby River in Morengo County, Alabama At sunset we started down the Tombigby River on the steamer "Marengo."
A LAD WHIPPED AND DRUMMED OUT OF SERVICE
We got ashore at McDowell's landing early on the morning of January 1, 1863. On the preceding night Captain Rowland placed his boots near his head when he retired. When he arose the boots were missing, By searching around in his bare feet, he found them, together with other articles which were missing from the regiment, in the possession of a young lad names Rataree, who already bore the reputation of being a considerable rogue. For punishment his shirt was taken off and one hundred and one stripes placed on his bare back, the hair shaved off one side of his head, marched through the encampment in advance of a large crowd of soldiers who followed close behind under sound of the tune called the "Rogue's March," with his hat in his hand. When this was done he was considered fully discharged.
FIFTY-SIXTH REGIMENT IN MISSISSIPPI
At nine o'clock on the night of January 1, the whistle blew and the cars stopped in Meridan, Mississippi. The Fifty-Sixth Georgia Regiment took off its baggage and reposed in the streets until morning.
The country had a rather unfavorable appearance — the surface being rather flat; though the timber was fine and in some places the land was inclined to be swampy.
The cars bore us from Meriden to Jackson where we were later ordered to Vicksburg. We found everything selling at high figures at Vicksburg: biscuits from one to two dollars a dozen, chickens two dollars each, eggs two dollars per dozen, butter two dollars per pound, milk two dollars per gallon, shoes fifteen dollars per pair, a meal of victuals two dollars, etc.
We were ordered to Big Black River, thirteen, miles distant to guard the railroad bridge; returning to Vicksburg the seventh of February. Rations were issued to us and consisted of beef of the poorest quality, the coarsest corn meal, black molasses, peas, and sugar.
(Martin must have had a trip home around this time, probably during February, because his fifth child James M. was born the following November.)
Every ten days our regiment was sent to Warrenton, a small place ten miles down the river, on picket duty, which duty is very disagreeable, being performed thus: We had to rise very early in the morning, the weather being very cool, walk ten miles over a muddy road, and arrive at the picket post about eleven o'clock. Our diet consisted of cold beef and corn bread, cooked previous to leaving our camps; in two days we would return. We remained on picket two days and nights, not regarding the condition of the weather. Our only bed was one blanket.
One night every week we slept in the streets of Vicksburg. This duty we performed until the third day of April when we moved our camp to the upper end of the fortifications, near Chickasaw bayou.
When the gunboat "Indianola" was captured, we found among its crew three soldiers who had formerly belonged to our army, but had deserted and gone to the Yankees about twelve months prior to their capture. A court martial was held and they were sentenced to be shot. General Stevenson's division was ordered to execute the sentence on one of them. It was a solemn duty. About ten o'clock in the morning the division formed and marched about one mile south of the city and formed on three sides of a hollow square; at the center of the gap where the fourth side would have been had the square been completed, stood a stake which the deserter was tied to; just behind the stake was his casket and grave. At the center of the square stood twelve men with loaded guns, six of which were loaded with blank cartridges. The commands, "Ready, aim, fire," were given and the unfortunate men were no more.
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