The Civil War as experienced by Williamson Plant Morris, age 11From a letter written by him in 1931, at age 80
This letter has been transcribed as nearly exactly from the original typewritten manuscript as possible. Misspelled words have often been left intact. Last names have been capitalized in order to facilitate surname research. Paragraph boundaries have not been changed, even though it was very tempting to make the story more readable by adding more white space. Hyperlinks have been added to create a glossary of terms and help locate places.
|My father was a speculator and farmer and general trader. He had a 700 acre farm in Hickman county, mostly poor land, when we took charge, with only about 400 acres cleared. His business was mostly trading in Negroes; buy up a bunch and go traveling and would buy, sell, or trade, but when the Civil War came up he was taken to the army and was captured at the fall of Fort Donelson.|
|When he left home he left two negro men, two negro women, and two boys to take care of things and stay with Mother and the children, 8 of us. He also bought a vicious cur dog that we had to keep blocked. He was so vicious we kept him tied near the back door between the house and the negro quarters in day time and would turn him loose in the yard at night with block on. His name was Scott. When Fort Donelson fell, the whole country was filled with retreating rebel soldiers followed closely with pursuing Yankee soldiers. But things soon became settled and left us on the half-way ground between rebel and Yankee lines, with a bushwhacker or deserter for nearly every fence corner. Stragglers became so plentiful, my mother had Jane our negro cook to make her a pallet down in the house and stay with us for company and protection.|
|One night just after dark, someone began trying to break in at the door. Old Scott was raring to get loose, guess he smelled him. Mother and the children were sitting close around and Jane insisted on Mother opening the back door and let her unsnap old Scott. Finally she did, and in an instant afterward, old Scott had the fellow down in the yard begging for help and for mercy. The man fought him and finally got to the front gate where he managed to get loose from the dog and shut him inside the yard. Well, it is useless to relate we did not sleep much that night, but early next morning, Mother sent me to summon our two nearest neighbors to come over and see if they could find the fellow, and they had no trouble tracking him by the blood to an old barn about half a mile away. There was blood on every log where he climbed up into the loft. They noiselessly climbed up and prepared to defend themselves, and when at the opening they saw him lying in the hay partly covered, but bloody not moving or answering, they soon decided he was dead. I went running to tell mother and cried all the way. There were no marks or writing on his person by which he could be identified, but the general belief was that he was a deserter from the federal army, but my motehr would not have turned the dog loose again under the same cirumstances and grieved over the death of the stranger as if he had been a kinsman or acquaintance.|
|Let me state here that at the beginning of the Civil War, my father owned a flock of 5000 goats, mostly white cashmere or Angora. This flock of goats soon became known to all soldiers tereabouts and that made them anxious to camp at our place. There was plenty of good water and shelter and an abundance of feed, but west of our farm was a wild hilly section 8 or 10 miles of timber and thickets, and my mother seeing our feed disappear so fast decided to build pens 2 or 3 miles back in the woods and pen our corn and hay where it would not be all taken away or fed up, and pen our goats as the soldiers would sometimes kill 30 or 40 in a single night. About this time, one of our kinsmen from Nashville came with some mules getting out of the way of the armies and got permission to stay with us and we all hid our mules out so as not to be found by the Yankees. We simply camped or lived out there and wold go back and forth with provisions and stock when needed. Our two negro men had left us and the time was drawing near to farm some. We had the two negro boys, large enough to plow and Mother hired an 18 yr old boy or man as he was disabled for army service, and under these circumstances we picked a crop, three plow boys and an overseer. About this time the Yankees caught us napping and took our two best mules after which we made the arrangements to keep out a watch, and when the alarm was given, each fellow was to strip off his team's harness and turn the animals loose. The mare always led the way, with me riding her back, all of the mules would follow. You simply could not hold them back.|
|Our house was in plain view of anyone approaching from the north, for about a mile, and the woods where we hid our mules was due west one-half mile. A rail fence ran west to the woods. One day while eating dinner, the alarm was given that the Yankees were coming, and I made for the mare while the others turned everything out and I ran up inside of the fence and sorter lay low on the mare and she was nearly flying with all the mules following in hot pursuit, and the Yankees saw us and turned loose a whole regiment of bullets at us while we ran, and many of the bullets would strike the fence which was built of chestnut and cedar rails and would knock great splinters and sometimes a half of fence rail would fly up almost in our faces, but we arrived safely in the woods, and we knew they would not follow us far. The woods were supposed to be full of bushwhackers and it has always been a mystery to me that neither the mules nor I was struck with a ball, for it seemed to me they were thick as hail. My mother followed me into the woods after the soldiers left to see if she could find any blood or signs of any of us being shot or wounded. Mr. OR, our kinsman who camped with us heard the shooting, mounted his horse and came to investigate. He met me and when I told him the trouble, he continued on back to let Mother know no one was hurt.|
|One time, the Yankees camped two days at our house, and we became scarce of grub at camp. Mr. OR had gone to the front for news and I was left to attend to things at home, and he was to bring grub back with him. But he did not come. A fox began to bark real near to our camp, and what would I have given to have had Mr. OR come. I did not know but what he had been killed or captured and I was hungry and lonesome and scared. 1:00 o'clock at night, finally I made up my mind to go home and left afoot, for I feared a horse would make too much fuss. I followed the path the best I could. There were no such things in those days as matches or flashlights, and at a very dark and lonesome place along the path I was astonished to hear a baby crying. I stopped and listened and it cried out again. Now there were several large bluffs and caves along the road and the sound seemed to come from a certain large cave known all over the country as Dunbar's cave [See Note 1], and extended 100 to 200 feet back into the hill. I could not solve the problem and continued to move on toward home carefully listening to the various sounds that always accompany a fellow when lonesome and scared.|
|Finally, I heard a sound of foot-steps. I slipped behind a large tree near the path and awaited developments. The fellow was a foot and passed almost close enough to have touched me and when 8 or 10 feet past me, I called, "Is that you, Mr. OR?". "Yes", he said, "what are you doing here?" And when I told him, he said he had plenty of grub but not cooked, that he had been captured that day and his horse taken from him, but he had made his escape after dark, came by Mother's and got some grub. I then told him of hearing a baby crying back near the Dunbar Cave and he at once decided what it was. "That's Jack and Jane," he said, "He has come back for Jane and their children. You go on home and get EASLEY and PETTY to come back with you, and we will capture them; unsnap old Scott and bring him as we will likely need him." I did as he told me, and he met us just opposite the cave and we all advanced carefully. There was a dim light in the cave which disappeared at the first little disturbance, and Mr. OR called Jack and then Jane, but no answer. Then he said, "Jack, we have no desire to hurt you, but if you do not come out and surrender without it, we will turn old Scott loose on you, and you ought to know what that will mean." And the answer came at once, "Yes, Master Or, we surrender. Jane is here too and the baby." So we carried them home and locked them in one of the negro houses which was empty. Next day my mother made a compromise with them, and told them they were free, but hired the two boys to stay and help finish the crop, which was agreeable with all concerned.|
|At this time, matches were scarce and high. The first I ever saw for sale was 24 matches in a box for 10 cents. The way we kept fire was to fire a hickory log or white oak and dig a ditch and roll the log in it and cover with dirt, leave one end out and fire it, and when thoroughly hot and afire, cover up entirely, then when you wanted fire to uncover and get a shovel of coals and recover. One morning we got up before day and I was sent after fire about 200 or 300 yards from the house in the dark and I walked right up to the log and there lay a man. I did not know he was dead until I went for Mother and the boys, but when we got back there and turned him over, he was stiff. He had some papers on his person, that gave his name as Burnard RILEY. He was doubtless a deserter from one of the armies, but we never could get in communication with his people. We never knew what caused his death as there was apparently no struggle. He must have died suddenly.|
|As the raids and operations of the Yankees became less frequent, we became more careless and had stayed at home for several days and nights. It was against the law to have firearms or ammunition in your possession in those days, and squirrels were taking the country. One evening we heard a whole regiment of Yankees were coming and we decided we had better get our mules back to the woods, and when we arrived, all the squirrels in the country seemed to be at our corn pens. We hitched our mules and got a stick, each of us, and Mr. OR said, "You make for that grapevine that comes down on top of hte pen, and I will kill us a mess of squirrels." When I reached the top of the pen, the vine was thick from top to bottom with squirrels, so I struck the vine with my stick and knocked the squirrels loose: they fell all over and around me and we killed about 10 or 12. By this time they were on the vine again and I struck it another blow and down they came again, and when we counted, we had 21 and we dressed them and cooked them in a big pot, and carried Mother all she could eat, and from then on, we lived on squirrels.|
|Just two or three miles south of us, the Rebels had come that day and were in camp, a whole company of them. Mr. OR learned this and we had taken to the woods. When the Yankees arrived at our house, they found nothing but a lot of fresh tracks going west, but by quizzing the two negro boys found out all the particulars and said they would camp there for the night, and next morning would go out and capture our mules. Mother found this out and wrote us a note telling us about it, and got our neighbor's little boy to cut around all pickets and deliver the note. Mr. OR at once left camp with instructions for me to get up soon next moring and go down on Bird's Creek and graze the stock until evening, while he went to see a company of Rebel bushwhackers. These Bushwhackers were eager for the excitement and came and lined up on two hillsides, and down between these hills, the road ran. Spies were sent out to locate and report. When the Yankees started, they walked right into the ambush in this hollow between the hills. The command came to fire and charge: a regular battle ensued. [See note 2] When it was over, there were 13 dead men and nearly as many wounded left on the ground, about 20 head of horses with saddles and packs and guns and ammunition. The dead were buried in ditches and the wounded carried off to Centerville, where they were attended to. The Yankees were at once reenforced and started another raid, this time with instructions to burn every house in that vicinity. Well, the Rebels were expecting this and mustered all the force they could, and advancing within sight, sent a couple of soldiers with white flag notifying the Yankees that if they did not retreat by dark, and if they burned a house, they would murder them and drag their dead bodies into the river. This put a stop to their raids for a season and the people had quite a rest.|
|Corn was now ready to pull and we were undecided whether to pen it at home or out in the woods for the squirrels but finally decided to carry it to the woods, but first we were to kill squirrels. We asked our neighbors to help us, and we sure scattered them one day. We killed more than 100, but they kept coming. Finally we decided on keeping a boy there with 5 or 6 dogs and keep them scared off. That was fun for the boys and they did a good job. We also would carry old Scott out with us and in case we needed him, we could loose him. One day a strange looking animal made his appearance. None of us knew what it was but he was not there long until he made his business known. He jumped on a dog and was about to kill him when others joined in and we turned old Scott loose, and of all the fights you ever remember, we were having it, until Scott seized him by the throat. Then we saw the fun would soon end. It proved to be a gray wolf.|
|We had heard from Father and that he was going to take the Amnesty Oath and come home. We did not know how soon as he was at Rock Island Prison away up on the Ohio River. Just after this, the Yankees made another unexpected raid and captured all our mules and our mare. This left us with two old jennets and one jack to gather in our crop with. The negro boys were gone and only two of us to work. We had a good crop. Soon the federals came and passed our house in droves and about dark, the news of Yankees retreating in disorder and swearing vengeance against all rebels. They were passing our road until after midnight. When all was quiet again, and morning came, we heard the battle was near Vernon, and many were killed and wounded. [See Note 2]|
|We caught up the old jennets and harnessed them to our wagon to gather corn, got one load in the crib and another loaded to carry to the pens in the woods. Next morning when I went to feed before day, someone called me from inside the barn, and asked me to come to him. I said I would go and get my mother to come with me. We were there alone except the children. He then asked me to tell my mother to come, that he had something important to tell her, and when we came and went into the stall, where he lay, he begged us not to report him to the rbels, and to help him get back to Dixon, that he was wounded too bad to walk afoot and could not ride horse-back, had crawled all night to get to the barn, and was weak from loss of blood. We told him we had no team except the two old jennets, that the Federals had taken all our mules and that with the jennets we could not make the trip in a day. It was 16 miles to Dickson. But we agreed to start with him late that afternoon and make the trip at night, and I could return at my leisure next day. We started earlier than we had agreed to and at dark was within two miles of Dickson, and out to one side of the road was a man with a little fire cooking him something to eat. We asked him about the soldiers and how long before we would get to their lines. The man was tall and lean, with an awful crop of beard and talked and acted familiar but the thought never entered my mind that it was my father. When we were ready to leave, the wounded soldier handed me his own supper which Ma had fixed for him, and asked me to give it to the man, and I did and received his thanks, and still never suspicioned it was Pa. I delivered the soldier to his destination and started the journey back home and soon found the team was pearter and traveled faster than they did going. Just before day, I saw another little fire on the side of the road and when I neared it, saw it was the same old man we had seen near Dickson, and when I was about to pass him, he said, "Could you let a tired man ride?" "Yes", I answered, and halted my team. He asked "How far do you go down this way?" I told him about 4 miles. It was still dark and we could not see each other plainly. He asked me my name and I told him, and it was Pa just getting back from prison. Well, the rejoicing was mutual and when I got home about day, I found my Mother awake, had lain awake all night and when I told her I had another soldier for her, she said, "Another wounded soldier?" By this time she recognized my father and rejoicing was contagious, as the children arrived and smothered my father with hugs and kisses.|
|Our operations in getting the wounded soldier back into federal lines had to be kept a secret from our neighbors and from the rebels or bushwhackers, but the federals did not forget us, and when in a few days after my father's return, he went up to Dickson to see if he could get any of our stock back, the commanding officer, when he learned that it was my father's son who took care of the wounded soldier, said, "Yes, you can get every horse back and mule", and gave him an order to the man in charge of all stock to let him pick his mules and he did... found all but one mule, and the officer told him to pick out one as good or better than his and take it. He did, and when he came home again riding our mare and all those mules with him, there was rejoicing again. They also gave him an order to any Union Commanding Officer not to take anything we had without giving an order for the price in full to the Federal headquarters. Gradually all this leaked out and the rebels became jealous of our success and foraged on us and took our mare and several mules. They gave us vouchers to the rebel headquarters, but we finally lost our entire stock.|
|But my father was a trader and soon discovered there existed a salt famine in the south. He went up to Federal Headquarters to ask permission to buy salt by the barrel for his neighbors, and was told to get all he wanted, just so he did not violate his Amnesty Oath to aid the Southern Confederacy. He got 5 barrels and sold it out almost in one day at $100 to $125 per barrel. Confederate money soon became so bad and he had so much of it that he adopted a gold and silver trade, would not take confederate money at all but would take greenbacks. On one occasion he swapped a barrel of salt for a very light colored negro girl, 18 years old. He carried her about 100 miles south and sold her for $1000 cash, $500 in gold and the rest in confederate money which he gave for a horse, bridle, and saddle. He sold his team and came home horseback.|
|This, the last year of the war, and my father made a crop down on Duck River 10 miles south of us and 3 miles west of Centerville, and we cribbed our corn on the north side of the river so as not to be bothered with high water while hauling it home. My job was to haul a load every pretty day. We had quite a lot of stock to feed and it took 2 or 3 barrels per day. Father was off trading and left everything to me, and as we were getting scarce of corn, I made my arrangements to go for a load next day. When I got up next morning I found the ground covered with snow, but not very cold. The sun shone out, and I told Ma I would go, that I thought it would warm up and all the snow be melted off in a little while. We hauled our corn in a large 4-horse wagon with 4 mules hitched and would haul about 10 barrels at a load. I drove pretty hard so as not to be late in getting home, and by the time I was loaded up, found it was after 12 o'clock. I had gone only 2 or 3 miles on the way home when I met a company of Federal soldiers and they ordered me to turn back to Centerville. We struck camp just west of the town. I was ordered to take out and feed my mules, and all of them fed from my corn. My mules were eating from a trough made for the purpose to our wagon bed, when a soldier came up, drove my mules away, and tied his horse to my trough. Later I untied him and let my mules come back, and the fellow came back, and cursed and threatened me while he cut a long switch with which to whip me. The captain sensed something wrong, and when he had learned the trouble, made the soldier move his horse. The man was so made he gave me one hard lick with the switch and would have given me more, but the Captain arrested him, and had some soldiers tie him up by the thumbs right where I could see him and hear him take on as if he would die. So I went up to the Captain and begged him to let the fellow go. He said that the man was tied up for disobeying orders as well as for striking me, that he was drunk, and that by the time he had learned his lesson, he would let him down. When he was let down, he came close to me and threatened to throw me in the river, and made a grab for me. I ran and got out of his way to discover I was some distance from the main camp. I decided to make my escape, and as I started off, I found a soldier had fed his horse out there and was lying down asleep or drunk. I unhitched his horse and slowly let him away, and when about 50 yards away mounted him and started due West. I knew I would strike the road outside of the pickets, and as I got to it, I found I had a good saddle horse and two big pistols hung to the horn of my saddle. I drew out one of them and examined it to see if it was in shooting order. I was pretty well fixed.|
|Father got home late in the night and when he found I had gone for a load of corn and had not returned, he became uneasy, changed clothes and started out to meet me. About five miles from home there was what we termed the Haunted Hollow leading over the ridge from Piney to Dickson.|
|I had reached the other end of the hollow leading down to Piney River, where the federals and confederates had fought two or three fights. I dreaded this hollow because it was said to be haunted, and as I rode slow and carefully I examined every nook expecting at any moment to see the headless man that was said to inhabit that particular hollow. All of a sudden my horse threw up his head and stopped. I looked and listened and saw fire being knocked out of the rocks by some horse and soon a form moving in my direction. I drew my big revolver and said, "Halt!" and asked who it was. When I heard his voice, saying "It's a loyal citizen," I let out a shout, "Is that you, Pa?" I was tickled to death that he was there to meet me. He asked where my team was, and I recounted to him everything that had happened. It was 12 o'clock when we got home. Next morning we saddled up our horses and went hunting for the federal camp and learned they had gone up to a small town 7 or 8 miles away. We found them, and as we rode up, the soldiers began to call out, "Here is Old Jim," and some recognized me and said "Here is the boy that took Old Jim off." My father found the captain and told him he had brought his son back to see if he would excuse him for taking the horse, and the Captain said he would, and told Pa of my trouble with the drunk soldier. But when Father asked about the wagon and team, he said the army needed the team, and then Pa showed the order that the commander at Dickson gave him. He asked, "Is that the boy that brought the wounded soldier back to Dickson?" Father told him that I was. Then the Captain took me by the hand and complimented me. He called up the other soldiers and told them about it. "Well," the Captain said, "You go and get your team and if everything is not all right, come back to me, and I will see about it." So we got our team and wagon and my horse, and came back by our corn pens and brought home a load of corn, and once more we were a happy family.|
|The report was out that I had a fine U.S. horse and a day or two afterwards, two bushwhackers came to our house and asked if we did own one. I told them yes, but that the horse was mine personally. They said they were authorized to capture all and any U.S. property and asked where the horse was. I told them and went with them to the barn. The horse was locked up and they ordered me to unlock the door and talked very crabbed and insulting to me. I said I had no key. One fellow drew his pistol and put the muzzle to the key hole and fired, tearing the lock all to pieces, and he dropped down as if dead. The other man turned him over and examined him. His eye had been put out, a piece of the lock struck him in the eye, and burst the ball, but he soon rallied and raised up. After he was somewhat over his nervousness, his partner picked up the pistol, ordering me to catch the horse, and I refused to do so. When he started toward me, I went into the stable and hooked the door inside with a chain. I had picked up one of the pistols to defend myself with. The man took hold of the door, and tried to pull it open. About this time, our neighbor, Mr. EASLEY walked up. Mother had sent him to see what was wrong down there and as he walked up the fellow took hold of the door again. He peeped through a crack to see what I was doing, and I stuck the pistol up to the crack and fired. Not to kill, but to scare him and let him know the trouble that awaited him in case he opened the door. I had fired so close to his face, however, that his eyes were badly powder burned, and he was temporarily blinded. He began begging Mr. EASLEY not to allow me to kill him. He had dropped his pistol, and I came out and gave it to Mr. EASLEY and asked him if he would take them home in our wagon. I harnessed the mules and helped him through the gate and he carried them home 4 miles below where I lived. Two or three days later, my sister Mattie was born, and my mother died. This was April 18, 1865. I was 15 years old the following June.|
|The first time I was ever in a city was in Nashville, Tennessee. I was a green gauky ignorant backwoodsy kind of a boy. I got to Nashville in the night and next morning, when I appeared on the streets, it seemed to me everybody for many miles must have come to the city. The sidewalks were crowded most of them going one way up to the city. I soon decided to join the throngs and go also. I had to hit a lively lick or get run over, too, and just in front of me was a cripple, but how he could walk! He seemed to reach farther at a step than most of them. I soon tired and decided to step out of the march. As I did so, a fellow came up to me as if he was the proprietor and asked me what I would have. I said "nothing". "Right back here," he said and kinder pushed me through the door. "Now," he said, "punch that fellow on the cot there, and when he is awake, tell him what you want." I saw I was in a very large building with 5 or 6 rows of cots from one end to the other with a sick or wounded man on every one. I had never seen a hospital before, but had an idea this was one. The man soon came back and repeated what he said before. I was crying by this time, but he mae me punch the man and when the fellow saw me crying, and the doorkeeper laughing, he seemed to understand and raised up and said: "you can go home now." But when I started, the door-keeper grabbed me by the arm and said, "You come on back here." The sick soldier raised up with a metallic bootjack in his hand and knocked the doorkeeper down, and told me to go if I wanted to. As I started a second time, I met a nice looking man who asked what the matter was and was I hurt. I was crying so hard I could hardly talk. He asked me how come the blood on me. He spoke kindly and led me back in, saying, "We'll see what we can do for you." When we entered the inside door and the doorkeeper was sitting on the floor bloody, he asked "What is wrong in here?" The sick soldier said, "Your doorkeeper was endeavoring to have a lot of fun here at the boy's expense, and I knocked him down." Just at this time, the man spoke again, "I don't remember telling you my name. It is Jesse RUST. I am in charge of this hospital, and I am the crippled soldier whom you befriended and hauled out of the rebel lines to Dickson. My wounds disabled me for army servie, and I have been placed in charge of this hospital. I am proud of you, and glad we have met again." Now speaking to the doorkeeper, "You get up and get out of here and don't come back as long as I am in charge here." Then he invited me to go eat with him and to stay all night with him, and he would show me a good time, would carry me to the theater that night. I told him I was there with my father with two loads of peanuts and we had to deliver and unload them that evening. "Well," he said, "can't you come up here tonight? I'd like to meet your father." I told him I thought we could. When I got back, dinner was ready. After we delivered and unloaded the peanuts, I told Pa about meeting up with the wounded soldier and that he had invited us to come for supper and a free trip to the theater and Pa agreed to go. He went early and when I introduced him to Pa, I told him that was the man he gave his supper to the night I took him to Dickson, the man who was cooking on the side of the road, but that I did not recognize him until I was coming back. Of all the treats I ever enjoyed, my supper and theater trip that night was the most enjoyable. Mr. RUST treated us to nearly everything on the market, fruits, candies, nuts, cigars. I carried enough back home with me to treat the whole family, all and more than they could eat at the time. I was back in Nashville just after the war, but Mr. RUST and the hospital were gone.|
Now, did you ever hear of the mud-negro?
If so, did you believe it or consider it a hoax or a falsehood?
The mud-negro was one of the world's greatest mysteries.
He made his appearance in Obion County about the year 1890.
He was found in the western part of the county in what is known as the Reelfoot Lake bottom.
He had dug out a hole about two feet deep, large enough to get his feet in and sat flat on the ground with his feet in the hole and added dirt and water to make a lob-lolly, and he sat there for years and people came from far and near to see him.
They could not believe it until they saw for themselves.
Finally I went, and it was a rainy day.
He would not have an umbrella and some men hauled board and made him a good shelter and he crawled out that night and dug him a new hole and moved.
He lived principally on parched corn and fat bacon until people got to coming so regular and each man would bring something to give him.
Some brought corn, some meat, some peanuts, walnuts, bananas, pecans, potatoes, etc.
He kept a little fire where he parched his corn or roasted potatoes and warmed himself.
He was also fond of persimmons, pumpkin, and he most always had a good supply on hand although he never begged for anything.
He claimed to be Bill MOOR, but would not tell where he came from or how he came to be in that fix.
The doctors finally got to coming to see him but he would not allow them to handle or examine him.
They finally got two stout men to stand around until a suitable opportunity presented itself, and caught and held him until they had made an examination.
They decided he had been frozen, the reason he required that mud all the time.
Anyway, they could not or did not do anything for him, but got permission to move him to Nashville where they put him on exhibition.
Either the change in climate or mud caused him to take pneumonia and he died there.
(More about the Mud Negro from O.T. Buckley)
Susan GODFREY was a native of Obion County of near Reelfoot Lake. Her parents were poor but respectable. She had chills and was given medicine that her parents thought caused her to go into a trance or sleep from which she never recovered. She would awaken 11 times every 24 hours, and stay awake 5 minutes at a time, except once every 24 hours she would stay awake about 30 minutes. Her case was a puzzle to the best physicians of the United States, who came to see her and on one occasion tried to charm her with music but failed. This was at the court house in Troy in 1870. They decided she did not breathe while in a trance and she had no feeling as they pricked her with needles, but she did not flinch. She was real pretty, was 10 years old in 1870 and remained in the same condition until 29 years old. She was put on exhibition at Union City for some time, then removed to Nashville where she died about 1888 or 1890.
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The Amnesty OathWe, the undersigned, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that we will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the States thereunder; and that we will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court; and that we will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court: So help us God.
Dunbar's Cave is actually located in Montgomery County, and could not possibly be the same one referred to in the context of this anecdote. I suspect that either W.P.M. is confused about the particulars of the story, or of the cave's name, or else this cave near their house was originally called Dunbar's Cave before the famous one near Clarksville.
This directly contradicts some commonly held beliefs about what did and did not happen in Hickman County during the Civil War. For example: "No regular encampments were made in the county, nor did any engagements occur in the county between the Federals and the Confederates.", Hickman County History of Tennessee, The Goodspeed Publishing Company, Nashville, 1887.