<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> <b>Thoughts on Old Times by an Old Veteran.</b> <p> <p> Dear Friend: <p> An old man like I am sitting alone around a fire on a cold day with no sweet little boys and girls to be romping around musing over the events of the present, and what may be in the future, will naturally let his mind run back to events of the past. I said an old man, that is what the boys sometimes calls their father. "The Old Man," but I am not as old as some would suppose, nor wont be the next time you hear from me. So far I have had what some people call many "ups and downs" and if I am to be the judge the downs" have predominated, but being possessed naturally with a lively disposition and it being sorter in keeping with my faith, I am inclined to accept everything that happens as an act of providence and complain as little as possible. <p> Well, while musing over the past my mind ran back to Christmas time of 1860. When I go to town, I see very few of the old boys that were young then, that remembers the events of that time, and it is a great pleasure to sit with them and talk of the stirring events of those days when A. B. Moore was Governor of Alabama, when John Bright drove the stage from Eufaula in Barbour county down by Abbeville carrying the passengers and mail to and from Columbia in Henry county, and when the Whigs, and Democrats, buried the "hatchet" as a token of bridging the chasm that had so long existed between them politically and as a unit espousing the cause of the South that was then threatened with an abolition administration. <p> In those days of which I speak the post office at Abbeville would be crowded at each arrival of the mail from Eufaula, Sundays not excepted, as that was the mail that brought the news from the seat of government. I was a youth then, in my teens, but all my relatives were strong Southern people and politically were democrats, and ardent secessionists. I had a peculiar fondness for reading Southern newspapers, and whenever I saw anything that C. C. Clay, W. L. Yancey and J. L. Pugh of Alabama had to say, it would catch my eye. There were democratic leaders from other Southern States that were fiery in their oratory, I will mention a few. Bob Toombs of Georgia, M. L. Bonham of S. C., R. M. T. Hunter of Va., W. T. Wigfall of Texas, and the greatest of all was Jefferson Davis of Miss. All those that I have mentioned with many others were prominent leaders of the democratic party of those days and espoused the cause of the South and as a last resort became ardent secessionists. The oratory of these men in the halls of Congress and on the rostrum fired our Southern heart, and when the call to arms was sounded we donned the grey, and under the "Stars and Bars" with a step to the martial music of Dixie and the "Bonnie Blue Flag" we went to the front to resent an insult offered to the South by her enemies. The people know the result. I am truly loyal now to the "Stars and Stripes." I glory in the United States, and am proud that I am an American. I still cherish a love for the "Stars and Bars," and as they were the colors of my first love, I guess that's the reason, for that love was so great that a spat of four years with the Yankees failed to suppress it. There are a few old timers living that remembers the stirring events of those days spoken of and the great leaders of the South that I have mentioned. The young of the present day only know of them from history and out of the few that I have mentioned not one are living. That grand old man, J. L. Pugh, was the last to cross over. Well, we have now what is called a new South. I claim to belong to the old South, and others of my age had as well claim the same. The new South is clamorous for room, and says: stand back, old South, you have had your day, now it's our time and it may be right, as time changes the people change, or as people change time changes, I don't know which <p> <p> <h3> Chapter Two </h3> <b>A Reminiscence of Old Times.</b> <p> <p> Dear Friend: <p> In the first chapter I said something about the Whigs and Democrats burying the hatchet. Some one might ask the question, did they bury a genuine hatchet, or was it an assumed name for the thing which bridged the political chasm that then existed between the two parties. Yes, it was a genuine hatchet, and as well as I remember it was bought out of the store of A. C. Gordon & Co., was brought out by Capt. J. W. Stokes, now dead, and after an address by John B. Taylor, suitable for the occasion, Capt. Stokes deposited the hatchet in a hole dug somewhere near the south veranda of the present court house, in the town of Abbeville, Ala. The hole was dug for the purpose of raising a liberty pole and the hatchet was deposited in the bottom under the large end of the pole. I was a small boy then, but I felt as great interest in the "Liberty Pole" as A. C. Gordon, D. W. Roach, J. T. McClendon, W. J. Singletary, or H. E. Owens did, but I had a great deal less to say, but I, with a great many other little boys of the town and country, thought it a big thing to be allowed to pull the ropes when the word was given to raise. These were exciting times in the politics of the country. South Carolina had already passed the memorable ordinance of Secession and the people began to hold mass meetings, and invariably would pass resolutions resolving, to stand by South Carolina. The mayors of towns and municipalities and cities would hold meetings, make speeches, endorse resolutions, until patriotism would run so high until it would cause "hot times in the old town at night." The little Southern boys and girls became to be Secessionists, and all prided themselves in wearing a badge of "Red, White and Blue." So much so, that red, white and blue ribbon was at a premium. South Carolina withdrew from the Union Dec. 20th, 1860. We boys in camp used to sing: <p> We honor, yes, honor bold South Carolina, Who cast her brave bark alone on the deep," etc. <p> <p> Florida followed on the 7th of January, 1861; Mississippi on the 9th; Alabama on the 11th; Georgia on the 20th; Louisiana on the 26th, and Texas on the 1st February. Thus in three months after the announcement of Mr. Lincoln's election nearly all the Cotton States had Seceeded from the Union. These are matters of history and I only mention them as events of what was going on here forty-six years ago. Well, what did all this bring about? Boys to the front. At this time of which I speak, there were two first class military companies in this (Henry) County. The "Henry Grays" and "Henry Blues." A. C. Gordon, of Abbeville, was Captain of the Grays, and T. T. Smith, of Columbia, was Captain of the Blues. So soon as Alabama withdrew from the Union, and linked her fortunes with the other Southern States, Captain Gordon and Captain Smith, both typical Southern gentlemen, tendered the services of themselves and their companies to the Governor of Alabama, to defend with their lives the cause of the State, and the South. Their services were accepted and each captain ordered to hold himself ready to move at a moment's notice. These were days full of expectancy for those companies, looking every day for orders to move, and at last the suspense was broken, and orders came for the Grays to move, and on the 11th of May, 1861, many left the old town of Abbeville never to return. I had several school-mates, friends and acquaintances in this company, one particular friend that I never saw again, Warren Owens. I volunteered under Captain Gordon to go too, but I being so young my father objected and I was left to wait until I grew older. <p> <p> <h3> Chapter Three </h3> <b>A Reminiscence of Old Times.</b> <p> <p> Dear Friend: <p> No one knew but myself the anguish I bore, the sadness and loneliness that I felt when I was told that I could not go, that I would have to wait until I grew older. Some of my most intimate friends and associates had gone off with the Grays, and there was no enjoyment here for me. To dispel the gloom I would seek the company of what I thought to be my best girl. On one occasion I was in conversation with her talking about the boys that had gone when she looked at me with a smile, and with a cunning expression of countenance, remarked that her sweetheart was off with the Grays. Oh, my! That was a stunner to this boy for I had fancied myself to be her favorite but I found it was all a delusion and I resolved to go to the war the first chance thinking it might be the means of changing her mind and her affections would be concentrated upon me. <p> In the latter spring, and early summer months the North and South were actively engaged, raising, organizing and concentrating large armies at the most assailable points which was only a precursor of what happened in the future. Fort Sumpter and nearly all the arsenals on the Southern coast that was occupied with United States soldiers had been seized by the Confederates without the loss of life. The first clash of small arms between the Federals and Confederates occurred on the 10th of June, 1861, in the low grounds of Virginia near Fortress Monroe. In this engagement the Confederates were victorious, and in history it is styled the "Battle of Bethel." Hearing of so many victories for the South, and only a few getting killed, I began to think that the war would soon end and that I wouldn't get to smell gunpowder much less burn any. But all this time, and while these little scraps were taking place I was watching for a chance to get off. At last a meeting was called in Abbeville by some one to organize a company. I went. There was a large crowd in town that day, mostly old men and young boys. The old men would be in squads, juggling and caucusing about something, and I was watching closely, trying to catch on as to what was up, but at last some one over at the court house began to yell at the top of his voice, "Fall in! Fall in! Form line here!" I fell into line with them. We formed in single rank reaching from the old court house across the square. All being in line I began to look for the captain. He was the man I wanted to see, but I failed to locate him. Mr. Henry Maybin and D. W. Roach seemed to be the leading spirits on that occasion, but I couldn't tell who was the Seignior in command. (Both of these old gentlemen have crossed over and gone, they were truly loyal to the South and made great sacrifices for the "Lost Cause.") After "right facing" and "left facing" and trying to obey every other command that was given on the street, we were marched up into the old court house, when some one (I don't remember who) occupied the judge's stand as chairman, and in a rambling way explained the object of the meeting, saying the object was to elect officers, agree upon the color and material for a uniform, and also to name the company. As well as I remember some one moved to make Mr. Henry Maybin Captain, and a vote was taken and Mr. Maybin was unanimously elected, and by the same process D. W. Roach was elected First Lieutenant. I don't remember who the other officers were, but one thing I do remember, that is, I was not even mentioned for the Fourth Corporal's place, which I thought I was entitled to on account of my military spirit. In voting upon the color, and material for the uniforms, they said it should be of a brown color made with cotton aids, the hats to be black, low crown with broad brims, and should be wool. The company should be called the "Home Guards" and should be for home protection. Dear Friends, that let me out. I wanted a suit of English Grey, trimmed in black with brass buttons and a grey cap, and brown leggins. That was my ideal for a uniform. That was the last meeting of that organization that I attended, don't know whether they ever had another me; they intended to stay at home, and that didn't suit. So in a short time after that W. C. Oates, then a lawyer of Abbeville, began raising a company to go to the war. That just suited me, and as I was nearly 17 years my parents reluctantly consented for me to go. So I volunteered in his company, a step I never regretted, and I will tell you in the next chapter how, when, and where I got off. <p> <p> <h3> Chapter Four </h3> <b>Recollections of the Past.</b> <p> <p> Dear Friend: <p> I will have to defer telling you where I went until some future time. I can only tell you of how and when I got off, and of my first stop. I told you in the preceding chapter that I abandoned the "Home Guards," that was organized for Home Protection, and volunteered under W. C. Oates. This was in the early days of July. Oates had been commissioned Captain and had tendered his services to the Governor, and was busy organizing his company for active service. All over the South the young men were volunteering to go to the war, and it was not a question as to who would go, but who would stay at home to take care of the home folks. As to who would stay at home, was a question for some one else to decide. I was fully determined to go. The more I read the papers, and the more I could hear, only increased my desire to get off. While the South was making these preparations the North was not idle in doing the same thing. She was organizing a powerful army in and around Washington, preparatory to the invasion of Virginia, and the South was concentrating at or near Manassas, Va., about 25 miles from Washington, ready to meet the invaders whenever they came out from behind their breastworks. At last the Federal army advanced and the Confederates met them on the plains of Manassas on the 21st of July, 1861, and after a hard day's battle, the Confederates completely routed the Federal army. The names of the chief commanders with their subordinates of both sides, the names of the troops engaged, are matters of history, and I only refer to them as an event of this particular time. The complete rout of the Federal army at that time had a tendency to check my ardor, as I was ready to agree with some of our leading statesmen, that with that victory for the South, peace would be declared in thirty days, the war would end, and I would not get to see a "wild Yank." But I believed Oates knew better, for he did not lose his energy in organizing his company. As well as I remember, about the 24th of July, the ladies of Abbeville, presented us with a flag. We were drawn up in line in front of the old Academy when M. A. Bell, a lawyer of Abbeville, made the presentation speech for the ladies, when Capt. W. C. Oates in his eloquent and patriotic style accepted it for his company, accepting the flag with promises by himself and company which he and company faithfully kept. Who those ladies were I don't remember. I only remember one, Mrs. Harper, a noble Southern lady of the highest type. She is now deceased. The company was named and is known in history as the "Henry Pioneers," and at this time it was full up to the maximum and running over. It was composed mostly of farmers' boys, a hale, hearty set of young fellows, and in a skirmish with the "Yanks" they found us tough stuff, and hard to drive. On the 25th as well as I remember Captain Oates informed us that he had received orders to march, and that he would leave for Franklin on the 27th. This was glorious news, for I was growing impatient. He gave every man the chance to back out that wanted to, only one stepped out. Capt. Oates had to reject one on account of his age being too young. This youth was a long, lean, lanky fellow; fair skin, blue eyes, light hair, and would have weighed about 115 pounds. When this youth was informed by Capt. Oates that he could not take him tears were seen trickling down his cheeks. He turned his back upon us and went his way weeping. This was no other than our big-hearted, whole-souled "Bob" Reynolds. He went off afterwards and joined the 37th Alabama, and at Atlanta he received a painful wound, but he survived, and is living among us today a fine specimen of humanity, weighing about 250 pounds. Considerable difference of "then and now." <p> On Saturday morning of July 27, 1861, I rose early and began making preparations for my departure. After breakfast everything being ready, I bid my mother and sisters farewell, and hastened to Abbeville with my father. There the citizens had furnished wagons and buggies to carry us, and our camp equipage to Franklin. Kind friends, did you ever have to say good-bye? It was a hard word for me to say. About 10 o'clock I bade my aged father good-bye. I never saw him again. His last words are still remembered, "My son, take care of yourself," and turning to Capt. Oates, said: "Capt. Oates, take care of my boy." Oates fulfilled his promise, as near as the arduous service would admit. We went on down to Franklin and there pitched our tents, went into camp and there waited for the steamer Jackson, which was to carry us up the river. Several things occurred this evening at Franklin, which I will tell of in the next chapter. <p> <p> <h3> Chapter Five </h3> <b>Recollections of the Past.</b> <p> <p> Dear Friend: <p> Franklin is in Henry County, a small village on the western bank of the Chattahoochee river, and on my way to the war this was my first camp. I will say that just before we arrived, Capt. Oates formed us in line, and marched us to a house where there was a long table spread with everything that would satisfy the hunger of man. This dinner was prepared by our First Lieutenant, C. V. Morris, and other citizens of the community, who were watching and waiting for our approach. A large crowd of people had already assembled, and more were continually arriving, mostly relatives and friends of the boys that were from off the river, coming for the purpose of bidding us farewell. About 5 p. m. Capt. Oates formed us in line, and give the command, "To the rear open order, march!" when the rear rank marched two paces backward. This being done, he commanded, "Front rank about face." Then the people began to pass through, shaking hands with every one, with moistened eyes, and briney cheeks, speaking words of cheer, bidding us Godspeed, and good-bye. This was an affecting scene. Aged fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and some of the boys' sweethearts were there to say good-bye. (My sweetheart was not there. I had already told her good-bye, and had, to some extent, recovered from the effects.) The parting between the Misses Codys and their brother Barnett; was very sad to me. I could not suppress the tear, seeing the manifestations of love of those beautiful girls toward their brother. It is not my intention to write a biographical sketch of the life of any one, but I will assume the liberty to say that I afterward learned the cause why those girls were so devoted to their brother. On account of his genial, loveable and generous disposition, they could not help but love him, and for those traits of his character he became the idol of the company, and those of us that were living at the time he was killed at Gettysburg, realized that in the death of Barnett H. Cody we had lost a friend, and the company one of its most useful members. He was in his teens, and had passed through all the grades of the non-commissioned officers, and had been commissioned Second Lieutenant when he was killed. I could say more of this noble hearted boy, but will only say that his old comrades that now live to think of him will meet him at the general "Roll Call" to answer "here." <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>Recollections of War Times</b> by <b>W. A. McClendon</b> Copyright © 2010 by The University of Alabama Press. Excerpted by permission.<br> All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.