Taken from “The Izard County Historian”, dated October 1977, Volume 8, Number 4.
This was printed in the Melbourne Times, dated September 6, 1906.  It was the first chapter in a series of articles on the Civil War and contains information on many of our Izard County Soldiers.


Where I was And What I saw During the Late War
By Elihu C. Bechkam, Sergeant Co. “K”, 21st Ark.

I left the home of my father, Joshua M. Beckham, (then in Izard, now in Stone County, Ark.) on October 27, 1861, in company with Felix O.  Pittman, James S. Nelson and Whitmon Whitfield.  We were boys together, all born in 1840.  Nelson died at Jacksonport, Ark., from a relapse of measles in March, 1862 and was buried there, where his remains still sleep.  Whitfield died in Alabama from a wound in the thigh, which he received in the battle of Bakers Creek, Miss., on May 16, 1863.  Pittman lives in Izard County, near Melbourne.  There was also an old man with us by the name of Walter H. Clark.

Nothing of interest transpired until we reached Pocahontas, Ark., on the last day of October, when we were mustered into the Confederate States Army, McCarver’s Regiment, (14th Ark.) C.C. Elkins’ Company (K) on the 1st day of November, where we built winter quarters and remained drilling and doing guard duty until February 14, 1862, at which time we shouldered our knapsacks and muskets, took up the line of march for the boat landing, boarded the steamer, S.H. Tucker, landed at Jackso>

Transfer interrupted!

of White River one night; boarded our steamer and started up Black River next morning.  The boat being heavily loaded and the river very low and crooked, the boat struck the bank often and came very near being stove several times.  I remember while running up the river there was a gang of wild turkeys in the timber and we were firing on them at long range with our old banged muskets, and David Bone killed a fine one just as the boat sidled against the bank and he jumped ashore, ran and got the turkey and back on board before she left the bank.
We passed Pocahontas the 17th landed about twelve miles below Pittman’s Ferry and marched to that place the 18th.  We left Pittman’s Ferry the 23rd, camped at Camp Elkins that night, camped at Boliver’s mill the next night, and back into our old winter quarters the 25th of February.  While at Pittman’s Ferry Matthew Pittman, Dr. Brown and my father came to see us.  They left for home March 1.

Just here I will state that there were only two companies of McCarver’s Regiment with us at that time, the other four companies having left for Bowling Green, Ky., sometime before my enlistment.  These companies were commanded by Captains Elkins, Wolf, Matheney, Airington, Shinpock and Nunn.  Several of the soldiers died while here, mostly from measles, among whom were David Bone, Joel Battles, Irman Donahoo and Joe Miller.  Sergeant Sam Taylor, while in a play with John Strother, accidentally broke his leg and was sent home.  Capt. Elkins was sick and sent home at the same time and never came back to us.

On the 2nd day of April we took up the line of march and reached Jacksonport the 5th, where we boarded a steamer and started as a reinforcement to Corinth, Miss., April 6, being the first day of the memorable battle of Shiloh.  We sailed down White River, out at its mouth, then up the great Mississippi and landed at Memphis, Tenn., on the 9th, where we met some of the wounded from Shiloh, among whom was Walter H. Clark, Jr., who gave us the news of the battle of Shiloh.

We marched through Memphis to the Memphis & Charleston depot, but just before the train started we were ordered to take up the march back, boarded a steamer, and away we went up the Mississippi.  Just at dark we landed at Fort Pillow, fifty miles above Memphis, on the Tennessee side.  Just before landing, as I was standing on the hurricane deck, I saw something that looked like a gigantic lightning bug flying with incredible speed through the heavy timber of the river bottom.  I could not tell how far away the thing was, neither did I know what it was, but you may bet that before the ten days were out that we remained there I knew what it was.  Just as the thing got opposite our boat, it flashed, then was gone, but about that time we heard a report that told us that it was one of Uncle Sam’s “baby wakers,” which was the first bomb shell I had ever seen.

We landed at Ft. Pillow on the 9th, camped in the fort ten days then went to what is called Randolph, five miles below.  Next morning early, after going into Fort Pillow while breakfast was being cooked, I heard something in the air above me.  I thought it was some kind of fowls flying very fast, and was looking up to see what it was.  All at once I saw a little cloud of smoke, then came a report, then more whizzing, then came the pieces of shell.  One piece struck a stump near by.  Some of the boys went and got it, brought it to our tent and it weighed 21 pounds.  If a man could have kept from being scared, it would have been amusing to watch the boys dart into their tents when a shell would explode.  Sometimes the shells would come tolerable thick, then cease for a while.  The most of them fell short, and only one man was killed during the ten days we were there.  Most of the soldiers were sick, and two of our company died there:  Lieut. LaFever and Carroll Lawhorn.

Fort Pillow was the muddiest fort, or any other place, that I ever saw and the meanest water on the continent.  There were scarcely enough well men to do the guard duty.  I remember that we worked about three days mounting a fifteen inch mortar.  The boys said, “Just let them Federal gun boats stay still till we get this pointed and we’ll give them Hail Columbia.”  So they got her ready, charged her well with a fifteen inch shell, turned her loose and she split open just like a rail cut.

We left Fort Pillow on the 19th and went to Randolph the same day, remained until the 24th when we went by water to Memphis and from there to Corinth on the 25th.  At Corinth we met several of the boys from our county and a general handshaking took place.  We camped about two miles southeast of Corinth, where the reorganization took place.  Our six companies of McCarver’s Regiment and Semoyn’s Regiment were consolidated and formed the 21st Arkansas.  Jordan E. Cravens of Clarksville was elected Colonel; a man named Dowdle as Major; and James Hunt, brother to Dr. O.T. Hunt of LaCrosse, was our Captain; James Martin, First Lieutenant; Newt Puckett, Second Lieutenant.  Lieutenant Puckett died in Johnson’s Island prison just before the close of the war.  He was a good fellow and liked by all his company.  The old officers who did not get an office returned home.  I never saw McCarver again and do not know what became of him.

We had a little fight at Farmington on the 7th of May.  There were but few men killed. The Federals retreated and left a few dead and wounded, who fell into the hands of the Confederates.

On the 28th we were called iinto line of battle to near the Memphis & Charleston railroad, where we lay in line waiting for the enemy to come.  They did not come but sent us plenty of messengers, such as shells and cannon balls.  We were lying low and they were shelling the woods.  A shell happened to pass rather close, when some of the boys bawled out:”Mind where you’re shooting!” Or your’ll hurt somebody!  Then they came thick and fast for a little while, until Col. Cravens sent a squad over on a high ridge to shoot a few times.  They did so, then came back and the Federals shelled that hill heavy for a while and not a man about there.  (Ed.’s note) Dr. O.T. Hunt, brother to the James Hunt mentioned was also stationed at Pittman’s Ferry.  On Feb. 22nd, 1862 he wrote to his uncle and mentioned the fact that so many of the men he grew up with in Izard County were sick with pneumonia and measles and he lacked medicine and proper facilities to care for them.  He especially grieved over the death of David Bone, who was a close friend.  Dr. Hunt himself became ill later, was discharged and came back to Wild Haws (LaCrosse) and later married Fannie Victoria Watkins, his cousin.

A Good Story

Where I Was and What I Saw During the Late War by Elihu C. Beckham (Elihu was the son of Joshua M. Beckham.  He enlisted in the Confederate States Army October 27, 1861 in company with Felix O. Pittman, James S.  Nelson and Whitmon Whitfield.  All were born in 1840.  Nelson died at Jacksonport, Akr. in March, 1862.  Whitmon died in Alabama from a wound he received in the Battle of Bakers Creek, Miss., on May 16, 1863.  At the time Elihu wrote the article, Felix Pittman was living in Melbourne, Arkansas.
Taken from October 1988 issue of the Izard Co., Historian, Vol.19, #3


On the 28th of May, 1862, we were called into line and marched in line of battle to near the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, where we lay in line waiting for the enemy to come.  They did not come but sent us plenty of messengers such as shells and cannon balls.  We were lying low and they were shelling the woods.  A shell happened to pass rather close when some of the boys bawled out: “Mind where you’re shooting or you’ll hurt somebody.”  Then they came thick and fast for a little while, until Col. Cravens sent a squad over on a high ridge to shoot and halloo a few times. They did so, then came back and the Federals shelled that hill heavy for a while and not a man about there.

On the night of May the 29th, we were awakened by the officers and told to get into line as quickly as possible with little noise.  We did so, thinking that we were going to have some fun with the boys.  We expected a normal conflict.  The general talk was that we were going to harge the battery that had been playing on us so brisk.  We were ordered to move out and keep close up so after a while we started; but not in the direction of the battery but filed left and struck out South; then we thought we were going to flank them.  So, we marched South, till daylight, to there and then, on the 30th day of May, with an Army of 180,000 men, Gen. G.t. Beauregard evacuated Corinth and fell back to Tupelo, Miss. about 65 miles from Corinth on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.  We had been in line of battle until we had eaten about all the rations we had in our haversacks and in the morning, after marching all night, just before day, we were passing a house when a chicken ran through our ranks and Felix O. Pittman killed it with the butt of his gun.  We carried it on a mile or two when we stopped, built a fire and had just got it to broiling when we were ordered to march, so we ate it partly raw and I thought it was the best chicken I had ever eaten and perhaps it was; for I never ate a raw chicken before or since - perhaps they are the best raw.
We stopped at Tupelo on the 3rd day of June and camped about a quarter of a mile east of the town, stayed there about a month, then moved over about a quarter of a mile northwest of town.  While on the march from Corinth to Tupelo we had orders not to fire a gun; but one man ignored that order and shot a chicken.  The ball glanced and killed a negro.  He was court martialed and shot at Tupelo.  I do not know his name or what company he belonged to.  I never did think he ought to have been shot, though he knew he was disobeying orders when he was shooting; but I think his sentence was a little too hard.

Gen Cabell was commanding our brigage.  We belonged to Bowen’s Division, Price’s Corps.  We stayed at Tupelo during the summer of 1862.  There was considerable sickness and several of the soldiers died.  Those that died of our company were Tom C. Johnson and John A.  Johnson, two brothers, who always seemed closely attached to each other and were well liked by all their comrades.  They died within a few days of the same time.  Romulus S. Jennings, another fine young man, a brother of Leander Jennings of LaCrosse, Ark., died near the same time.  William Overton died at Okolona, Miss., in October of the same year.  James Wofford (Wolford?) died on the train as the sick were being sent south at the evacuation of Corinth.  Dudley Gunn, Ambrose Walker and Monroe Pimberton were on the same train and, we suppose, died, as neither of them ever returned to their command.

The water was very bad and but few soldiers that were well enough for duty, so the pickled beef that we drew did not agree with our appetities and we had to do some foraging on our own hook.  One time, I remember, our company was detailed to guard headquarters and it took half of the company at a time.  There were six men in our mess, consisting of Abb Hamilton, John and Felix Pitman, Whit. Whitfield and myself.  While Hamilton and the two Whitfields were on guard duty, the two Pitmans and I would forage and while we were on duty they would forage.  One evening I was out looking around when I heard a pistol near by, then, bang it went again; so I went down in the Hollow to see what was going on and when I got there I saw Mose King snapping at a hog and John Campbell loading his pistol.The hog was crippled and standing up on the hillside about twenty yards distant.  I fired at it and it fell and John Campbell ran to it and was trying to get up, and John trying to kill it with a club; and I don’t think I ever heard one hog and one man make half so much noise in all my life.  John was fighting and cursing manfully and the hog, how it squealed!  It seemed to me that all the patrols in the country would hear it.  But John finally finished him up and we skinned him and divided it up and away we went to camps.

A few days after we killed the hog, Abe Hamilton and James Whitfield found a gang of about twenty sheep that slept in an old house on high ground in an old field.  They watched till the sheep went in, then they sent up, one to each door and Abe downed one.  They wrapped it in a blanket and Jim took it on his shoulders and away they went for the woods (for where the old house was standing was too public a place to butcher a sheep).  A few days afterwards our two Pitmans killed a good fat shoat, scalded it and took it boldly into camp and claimed that they had bought it.  You see, it would not do for Capt. Hunt to know that we were foraging.

Curious to say, but in digging a well at Tupelo, we struck a solid rock, where there is not another rock to be found for miles, probably none in fifty or seventy-five miles.  But there is a rock there, sure, about one-quarter of a mile from Tupelo, some eight or ten feet under ground.  I am not sure but I think it is a limestone.
Several of the soldiers went across the Mississippi while we were there and old Walter H. Clark left us at Tupelo, loaded with letters for Arkansas.

On the 13th day of September we struck our tents, shouldered our Enfields and knapsacks and fell into line and started northward for Iuka.  On the 14th a wagon broke down and I was left in command of a squad of ten men to mend, guard and bring it on, so about dark we had the axle mended and started on but had not gone far until we found another wagon broken down and Lieut. Rushing and about ten more men waiting for us with orders to mend it and come ahead.  About 10 o’clock next day a citizen came along and told us that there were about forty Federal cavalry about five miles in our rear and coming that way,.  Lieut. rushing sent me and my squad about a quarter back to stop the Feds and hold them in check if I could conveniently do so until the wagons were ready to start.  I was to stay until I got orders from him.  In about an hour he sent me orders to come ahead and you bet I obeyed in short order and double quick time.  Away we went, the mules in a trot, and the soldiers keeping well closed up till about midnight, when we stopped, posted our pickets and lay till about daybreak, when a man came along and told us that there was about forty Federal cavalry in a half mile of us but were in camp and did not know we were there.  They had been following us and had intended to find us in camp but had stopped a little too soon and you may guess that we pulled out on double-quick time and got to Iuka about 12 o’clock, being the 15th day of September.

(Cont’d. from Izard Co. Historian, Oct. 1988, Vol. 19, Number 3)


We were worn out, foot-sore, tired and sleepy and just as I had got into camp and stretched my weary limbs out on my blankets, Capt. Hunt called out: “Company K, fall in!”
I never did hate to hear the words “fall in” half so bad in all my life.  I asked the Captain if he would excuse me.  He said he could not, but if I was unable, to lie still and rest.  But after seeing them fall in, I got up and went  into line.  We marched but a short distance and lay in line till next day.  We then moved out north of town and meandered around there till the 19th, when we had a right sharp little battle but our regiment did not get into it.  That night we marched back to town, then back to the woods about a half mile north of town and lay till just before day, when we were ordered to fall in with as little noise as possible. So we went marching easily to town.
About daylight we started out and the shells came in.  We had just got to the top of a high hill when I saw a line of Federals coming marching in line of battle.  We expected to have some more fun with the boys, as the soldiers used to say.  Several of the boys claimed to be sick that day and not able for duty, especially the kind of duty that was expected to be on hand.  The wagons went out in abreast thirty or forty yards wide and the mules in a lope and the fellows that claimed to be sick after them, holding on to the hind gates of the wagons and you bet they were making long strides.  Old Gen. Price was sitting there on an old sorrel horse with a white spot on his side as large as a sheep skin.  Just as we got even with the old General hallooed at the top of his voice: “Drive those wagons out, G—d d—n it, drive out!” (which was the only time we ever heard him curse).  Then they went whooping and popping whips, for the shells were already coming into town and town ladies looking out of the windows shouting, “Get out, get out!”  And we got about half a mile out of town.  The roads forked  and we took the left Hand but the right was the main road.  Instinct or something else had told Price that it was not healthy to travel the main road, for there was a division of cavalry on that road in ambush waiting for us.

Our bass drummer, Tiger Tom, as he was called, was left asleep in the woods and when he awoke the Federals were thick all around there, and he alone, did not know where his command was.  He was dressed in citizen clothes, so he left his drum and walked boldly into town, stayed there a day or two, slipped out and left and made his way south and joined his command in a short time, safe and sound.

We went on forced march until 10 or 11 o’clock, when the word came, “Hale, rest!”  I laid down on an old wagon bed that was lying bottom up by the roadside.  I had been there about two minutes when I heard cannon fire about three or four hundred yards in the rear, followed by another, then another in quick succession.  Then the small arms began to play, with the battery playing forty-two shots a minute.  We fell into line and ran back about two hundred yards and formed in line of battle.  Then we heard the hallooing and knew that the Rebel cavalry supporting the battery were charging.  In a few mminutes all was quiet again, and we resumed our march.  We had just passed through a long lane that ran across a valley, when they saw the enemy’s cavalry coming and Bledsoe planted his battery on the hill opposite the end of the lane, and just as the foremost ones got to the end of the lane, opened fire.  They tried to form but the Rebel cavalry charged on them and they went back through the lane under heavy fire of grape and canisters.  The rebels lost one man and I never heard how many were killed on the side of the enemy.

We marched on all day without any difficulty.  About an hour after dark we halted and I heard Col. Cravens tell Capt. Hunt to detail one non-commissioned officer for picket, and knowing that it was about my turn to go on duty, I just tumbled over behind a log and told Felix Pittman to lay down and be still, and if they called my name not to answer - that I was bound to sleep, picket or no picket.

“We will sleep right here and, if they march, let them march; we will take the chances of overtaking them in the morning.”  So there we slept.  Next morning we marched, but more moderately; stopped on the Tombigbee River, killed and issued beef, built fires, cooked and ate, then went ahead and stopped near Saltillo, Miss., the next day, which was the 22nd day of September.  We lay there, resting, until morning of the last day of September, when we again took up the line of march, passed by Ripley, marched in the direction of Pocahontas, Miss., which place we passed on the evening of the first day of October.  On the 2nd we marched all day in the direction of Corinth.  We camped about four miles west of town that night and next morning, the 3rd, just after sunrise, we heard in the distance the roar of musketry and the hoarse notes of artillery sounding continuously, which told us too plainly that some of us were marching to our long home, “from whose bourne no traveler ever returns.”  When within a half mile of the line that was fighting we formed in line of battle and marched square to the front.

It was the skirmish line that was firing but, occasionally, the skirmishers would rally on the main line, then fire brisk for a few minutes,then charge and the Federals kept retreating, that line following and our line following them until late in the evening, when that line fell back and our line took up the front and threw out our skirmish line, they shelling us hard till sundown, when we withdrew and lay inline till morning.  Our regiment lost one man, named Shirley but I do not remember his given name.  I was singled out that day and shot at by a wounded man.  I had left the ranks and walked up a bank to look out for the enemy, when a gun fired and the ball whizzed by my head like a bee and I got back into line.

? On the evening of the 3rd we lost James Walker.  While we were marching up to take the place of the line that was fighting, he stopped to tie his shoe and we left him there, which was the last I ever heard of him.  He might have been killed by a stray shot or shell; for there were plenty of them there.

Now begins the most memorable day that I ever saw - Sunday, October 4, 1862.  With daylight came the roar of heavy artillery.  When the sun was about an hour high I saw a courier coming at full speed, and, dashing up to Brig. Gen. Cabell, handed him a paper and disappeared as he came.  Cabell yelled out “Attention! March!”  And away we went on double quick.  Being about a mile from town, we marched square to the front about a half mile, the  turned by the left flank down a flat hollow, with two or three batteries playing on us at short range, but we were too low under the hill for them to hit us.  We struck a little swampy creek, where the trees were small but were thick; and lay down near the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, which is on a levee some fifteen or twenty feet high.  While lying there, to keep anybody from thinkintg I was scared, I was mashing hickory nuts with the butt of my musket, when Capt. Hunt, who was near me said: “Beckham, you are not scared?”  I told him that I was not particularly scared but was sensible of our danger.  He said:  “Now, Sergeant, we are going into a hard battle, and some of us will never come out alive; and it is just as apt to be me as any one else; and if I am killed in this battle you may remember that I was just 24 years old yesterday,” which were the last words I ever heard him speak except words of command to his company.  A braver man than Capt.  James Hunt never saw the continent of America.

Just at this time we were called to attention, forward, march, by the left flank, still we went on over the railroad.  There was a seige piece throwing grape shot down that road and it appeared to me that she was throwing about a half bushel at a time and the times were not far apart.  Two or three hundred yards after we crossed the railroad we wheeled by the right flank into line of battle, and then came the words:
“Charge, my brave boys, charge!”

From: The IZard Co.Historian, dated Jan. 1989; Vol. 20, #1
 (A Civil War Story continued from the October, 1988 issue:)


By: Elihu C. Beckham
 I saw Major Dowdle just ahead of our line on his horse and, just as I caught sight of him he threw up his hands, dropped his saber and fell backwards and lay on his horse till the horse ran about twenty yards, when he fell off.  The horse ran but a short distance until he fell.
John Black, a son of Thomas Black (deceased) ofMelbourne, Izard County, was our color bearer and ours was the oldest company. John fell when about eighty yards from the Federal line, while bravely bearing his flag; his head was nearly all gone. Bill Garner then raised the  colors but did not go but a few steps till he fell with one leg shot so nearly off that he cut it off with his pocket knife. I don’t know how many times the flag fell but it was raised as often as it fell and, I believe was carried off the field by Lieut. Col. Matheny. When within bout seventy-five yards of the Federal line I fell, shot through the neck just behind the ears, and lay there for a while, then went into a ditch where one or two other wounded men were. After I got into the ditch Fayette Smith of our company came in, shot through the thigh.  I  didn’t think I would live but a short time but I don’t think there is a man under the sun who could have helped laughing at Smith, as he lay there in that ditch. He would pray a minute or two, then curse a  while.  He would say: “Oh, Lord God, have mercy on me or I am lost—I am  ruined—I am killed—and I wish that every G—d d—d Yankee out of hell was further in hell than a pigeon could fly in a thousand years. Then he would go on with praying again.

The battle lasted about half an hour, when the  Confederates retreated. A little Federal soldier, a mere boy, came to me and started with me to the hospital.  I found Abb Hamilton and he led me off the field but was taken away from me as he was not wounded, and that little fellow went on with me. I had lost so much blood that I was very  weak and could not walk far at a time. He got me some water and took me in the shade to rest, when he discovered that I had a pistol and asked me if I would give it to him and I did so. I got to Hamilton again and  he led me nearly to the hospital, when we were separated, which was the last time I ever saw him. He made his escape, came home and died in a short time with brain fever. So I was left to walk the balance of  the way unsupported but it was not far. I don’t think I could have gone ten yards further.  I lay down on a good bunk and was well taken care of.  I could not hold up my head except with my hands and suffered a great deal and mended slowly.  Bill Sloan died near me while I was lying there. He was shot in the thigh. Lieutenant Martin was wounded there.  We stayed there until the 11th of the month, when  we were ordered to board the train, all that was able to walk and it was but a short distance. I managed to walk to it and we were carried to Iuka, Miss.

It was a cold drizzly evening and we got there just at night, and as many went in the Spring Hotel as there was room for and the balance were taken to private residences. I was the first man in the house and when I got in I found nothing to sleep on but the floor and my neck was so sore that I had to have my head raised, so I folded my blanket under my head, lay down and went to sleep. How long I lay there I don’t know  but when I awoke I was nearly frozen and so sore I could hardly move, but I knew I would die if I lay there, so after two or three trials I got up.

It was pitch dark but I remembered seeing a little fire near the house that evening as I went in and I went out there and found a few chunks with fire on them, got them together and was sitting by them when a  man spoke to me, and, to my great joy, it was one of my company, by the name of Josh Garner. He went and got Issac Northcut and they carried me to a fire, took their blankets and made me a pallet and sat by me all night and, I believe, saved my life. I don’t think I would have lived till morning without their assistance, and they did not think I would live till daylight after they got me to the fire; but the next morning I  was better and mended slow but sure until I got well.
Hardy Walker was wounded in the hand or wrist and had it amputated but it mortified and he died on the 23rd of October and  buried at Iuka, Miss.  James McCarley got a leg amputated but recovered.  Benajmine Taylor, another of our company was shot through the lungs and came very near dying but finally got well. Several young ladies came from the Tuscumbia Valley and gave us clothing, cakes, pies. They would sit beside a wounded soldier and talk to him an hour at a time.  One little girl came and sat on the side of my bunk and talked to me several times and cheered me by telling me that I would not die; that the good Lord would let me live to get home and that I was too hardy and brave to die.  I have forgotten her name.  There would be sometimes a dozen or more ladies in the hospital at once, talking kindly and cheering the poor wounded men, and it did a great deal of good.  Through the influence of a doctor who lived over  in Tennessee I got a furlough from the hospital and left there the 24th of October. I crossed the Tennessee River at Eastport, went through Waterloo and stayed that night four miles from Waterloo. Next morning I  started early, went up Second Creek and a man by the name of Williams sent me  on a mule to Ed Beckham’s, a distant relative of mine, who had never heard of me. Next morning I walked on. It was a dark, cool day. On Weatherford’s Fork of Indian Creek I found John Beckham, who took me home with him, and next morning, the 26th, carried me to my grandfather’s in Wayne County, Tennessee. I was then back to the place of my childhood, having been gone from there seventeen years and, of course, they did not know me.  I remained there until the 12th day of January, 1863, when I left for my command in company with a man by the name of Andy Downing.  We traveled on horseback to near Coffeeville, Miss., where we found Wheeler’s regiment.  There Downing stopped and I went on foot to Grenada, on the Yallabusha River, where I found my command the 22nd of January and we left there that day for Jackson, where we arrived the 24th. I had not yet been exchanged, so I  stopped at Jackson and the command went on to Vicksburg. I stayed there  that night and the next morning the Provost Marshall informed me that I was exchanged and ready for duty.  While I was waiting for the train to start, a train came in from Vicksburg, with my command on board.  We camped there until the 4th of February, when we were ordered to Big Black Bridge, twelve miles from Vicksburg and stayed there till the  16th day of April, when we went to the Four Mile Bridge, stayed there till the 20th, when we marched to near Port Gibson to do picket duty near the mouth of Bayou Perry.  On the last day of April, near Port Gibson,  as hard a little battle was fought as was fought during the war.  That night we were called into line and started on a forced march the first day of May. Col.  Cravens was ordered to Big Black Bridge, a distance of about forty miles, on a forced march. We would march from just before day, halting but a short while at a time; when night came on we stopped but an hour, then fell in. Col. Cravens rode steadily on till about daylight, when he reached his camping ground with only one man in sight and that was James Whitfield, son of Benjamin Whitfield.

On the 13th we marched out near Edward’s depot, lay in line of battle till the 15th when we marched to and across Baker’s Creek.

(cont’d. from Iz. Co. Hist., Jan. 1989, Vol.20, #1)


Next morning the artillery was playing heavily and we marched closely by one of our batteries, which was fighting a Fedeeral battery at short range.  Both batteries, I suppose, were self-supported and we passed just in the rear of our battery and felt considerably relieved when we got past, for the shot and shell were flying thick there.
We soon heard small arms begin to play about a mile in our front and, marching straight to the music, we were soon there.  One man in our regiment was shot when, I am sure, we were three-fourths of a mile from the lines that were fighting.  I do not know whether he was killed or not.  We were in Bowen’s division, with Lowring on the left and Stevenson on the right, and were soon engaged in the field.  The Federals out-flanked us on both ends of the field.

Our division drove the Federals, and being in the center, while the right and left wings swung till the two lines resembled a horseshoe with the corks very close together, when the Federals came with a double line in front, and we retreated and had but a very small gap to get out at.

Our company lost that day, killed on the field, Alexander Frieze and Cress Broyn.  So ended the battle of Baker’s Creek, which is reckoned the first day of the siege of Vicksburg.  That night we marched to and across Black River.
Next morning, the 17th, with the sun came the roar of cannon, and we went across the river to where we had rifle pits thrown up across a bend of the stream, but they were full we could not get in.  Lieut. Col.  Matheny went along the works trying to find room for our regiment, but could not, so we lay down under the bank for reserve.  Two of our company, however, went in—Tom Murry and John C. Miller.

The Federals came in double line, when a Mississippi and a Tenneseee regiment, near the center, ran, leaving a long gap unsupported and the Federals came through without any trouble and gobbled up about 3,500 of us.  We had crossed on a hull of an old steamer turned across the river and it washed away during the battle, so we could not cross back without swimming.  Capt. Wasson and Capt. Gus Taylor swam the river and made good their escape into Vicksburg.

We were guarded there until next morning, when they marched us to the mouth of the Yazoo River, where we were put aboard a steamer and landed on the west side of the Mississippi, about six miles above Vicksburg, near where there were several boats shelling Vicksburg all the time, day and night.  We lay there until the 27th, when we were placed aboard the Gladiator and landed at Cairo, Ill., the 1st of June, took the train, stopped at Indianapolis, Ind., on the 2nd and left on the 11th.  At Indianapolis we left James Dowdy and Geo. Haynes, sick.  We passed Columbus, Oh., on the 12th, Pittsburg, Pa., the 13th, Harrisburg the 14th, Philadelphia the 15th, and on to the Fort Delaware, by water, June 16, 1863.

Fort Delaware is situated on an island, forty miles beyong Philadelphia at the head of the Delaware Bay, at the mounh of the Delaware River.  There is probably ten acres on the island, which, at high tide, would be covered in water to a depth of about six feet.  The tide water is about eight feet and there is a levee around the beach of the island which keeps the water out.

The fort is situated on the north side of the island, not more than thirty or forty feet from the Bay, three miles from the New Jersey and two miles from the Delaware shore.  the fort is built of granite; that is, the outside wall is granite, lined inside with two feet of brick, making the wall seven feet thick.  The wall is about 300 feet square and forty feet high.  The ground is raised inside so as to be above high tide.  There is a moat around the wall some thirty feet wide and eight or ten feet deep, with a bridge across it leading into the fort, which is the only means of ingress.  The door has a large iron shutter and it is six or seven feet from the water in the ditch up to the door and the bridge can be drawn inside and the door closed, so that if an enemy were to land infantry on the island they could not get to the wall; and besides, there is a flood gate that could be opened by those in the fort which would let the water through the levee, and at high tide would cover the island six feet in water in a few minutes and drown them out.

There are four tiers of guns and about twenty-five to the tier on each angle, making in all about 400 guns.  The first or lower tier are about twelve pounders, the second about twenty-four pounders, and third about forty pounders, with one very large one on each corner, probably 160 pounders.  The top tier is on top of the wall, with a parapet to protect them, the balance are looking out at portholes in the wall, so that at least one hundred guns could be brought to bear on a vessel in any direction.

The inside of the fort is arranged for quarters for soldiers by being built adjoining the main wall, with fine stairs of Parisian marble.  There is no wood work about it except the door shutters.  The floors of the rooms and sidewalks are all laid with stone. There is a commissary, arsenal, magazine, etc., all well situated inside the fort.
Probably someone will ask how I came to be inside the fort.  Well, we often went to carry our rations which were stored away there, and sometimes we carried rations from the landing and stored them away there.  On such occasions I went, so I suppose I was in the fort fifty times during the stay there.  It was commanded by Gen. Sheoc.

Our quarters were west of the fort some sixty yards, which were barracks of box houses, capable of holding two or three hundred men each.  There were about ten thousand prisoners there.  We had free access to the bay on the south side of the island.  The water was just a little brackish, so we had to have all the water shipped to us.  There were plenty of fish there and we caught thousands of them, mostly cat, from six to fifteen inches long.
The prisoners amused themselves in various ways some reading, some singing, some preaching, some fiddling, and dancing, some making jewelry of guttapercha, bone, shell and so on and not a few gambling.  Between the barracks and bay on the south side was a square piece of land, smooth and level as a floor, that we called “Hell’s Half Acre”, where those who wished to spend their time gambling would meet. The various games were carried on such as euchre, poker, seven up, three up, odd trick, whist, casino, faro, keno, coolo, monte, Honest John, and in fact, every game known, and a number that were unknown to me.  I took no hand in the gambling but spent my time in making rings, fishing and fooling about making things.

A few men made their escape by swimming to the Delaware side.  One man started in on a plank just as the tide began to do down and drifted down into the bay out of sight of land but, when the day came, was picked up by a schooner and brought back.

John Hill of our company I supposed died there, as he was sick and was taken to the hospital and never came back.  William Simmons and Carroll Baker went to the Federals and I never heard of them again.
On the 18th day of September we were put on board a steamship called the Ashland and away we went down the bay and out on the broad Atlantic out of sight of land.  The Ashland was the largest craft I ever saw, being just 200 yards long.  We were not in sight of land during the next day.  In the evening the wind rose and ship rocked, and right there I saw more sick men and the sickest men I ever saw.  There were 3,500 men on board and I did not see but two that were not sick, and they were Jesse Jiminson and myself.  They said that sea sickness was the worst sickness in the world.


Where I was and What I saw During the Late War by: Elihu C. Beckham (A CIVIL WAR STORY continued from the January 1989 issue:)


Next morning we had landed and the boys were all better.  We were then at Point Lookout,Md., on the Chesapeake Bay at the mounth of the Potomac River, forty miles from the City of Washington.
Our prison was situated on the point between the Potomac which is six miles wide and the Chesapeake, which is so wide that you cannot see across it.  We were in tents, with a parapet eighteen or twenty feet high, made of plank, around us.  There were about forty acres inside the prison, the ground level and not a tree inside the wall.
The boys amused themselves by playing cards, chuck-a-luck and other games until the weather got too cold for outdoor sports, then they would lay in their tents and try to keep warm.  Before the Bay water got too cold we would wade along the beach or swim in and pick up oysters.  You might have seen as many as one hundred men at a time with their haversacks on and fishing for oysters by diving down where the water was six or eight feet deep.  I have swam out as far as a hundred yards, then go down to the bottom and get oysters.

We heard the cannons at the battle of Gettysburg and a regiment of prisoners was brought in.  They were called the Louisiana Tigers (the 12th Louisiana).

We were very closely guarded.  Besides the parapet already described, there were guards on the parapet; then about a quarter of a mile above the prison the point was not over thirty feet wide, and pickets were driven in the ground across that and a six-gun battery, about 150 yards across a little gulf on a point that ran out into the Potomac, was bearing on the narrow place; then about 200 yards from the battery was a chain guard of cavalry, so you see there was not much chance to escape.  Once, while we were there, a detail of about forty men was sent out to chop wood for the prison and they, guards and all, left.  I, afterwards, saw one of the men at Richmond.
Directly after we got to Point Lookout the smallpox broke out among us and many of the prisoners had it but it killed very few.  John W.  Pittman, Thomas Tripp and Wm. Puckett were left there.  I received a letter from Puckett after the war (he lived in Wayne County, Tennessee) in which he stated that both Pittman and Tripp died the next spring after I left there.

On the 24th day of December, after being paroled, 525 of us were sent to City Point for exchange but the exchange was not effected and we were exchanged only on parole.  Next morning, Christmas, we anchored at Fortress Monroe, where I saw a Russian man-of-war, which was a powerful boat that carried seventy-two guns.  On the 26th we anchored at City Point, lay there till the 28th, when we were met by a boat with a like number of prisoners and we marched off on to our boat and they to theirs, the officers counting us like a drove of sheep.  About dark, the 28th, we landed at Richmond, Va.

On New Year’s Day, 1864, the ladies of Richmond gave us a fine dinner but the weather was so cold that we did not enjoy it as we should have liked.

On the 2nd we drew six month’s pay and on the 7th we were furloughed...and they gave us transportation to any point they had in possession east of the Mississippi.  We were to report in thirty days but I have not reported yet.

I, with most all the rest, took transportation to Jackson, Miss.  On the 8th we took the train and away we went, by Petersburg, from there to Wilmington, S.C., where we failed to make connection and lay over that day.  Wilmington is on the Cape Fear river, not far from the mouth.  The tide water there is about three or four feet.
I remember that the first thing we did after arriving there was to build a fire of resin; we broke open a hogshead of peanuts and ate them, every one.  That evening we rolled out and, I guess, the citizens and city guards were glad to see us leave.  Next morning we were at Kingsville, S.C., where we ate and wasted together a hogshead of fine sacked sugar.

Next day we took in Augusta, Ga.  There was one saloon there and, as I had not had a dram in some time, and not feeling well at that, I concluded to take on some brandy.  I called for a drink and the barkeeper handed out his decanter and a large sized glass.  I asked him how he sold it and he replied one dollar a drink.  So I filled up my glass and he said he sold it at three dollars a glass.  I told him that I intended to drink it all at once, consequently it was only one dollar.  He said: “If you drink that all at once you will be drunk;” but finally agreed as I had poured it out that I might drink it for two dollars.  So I paid him and drank it and, sure enough, it did make me “sorter boozy.”

We left that evening and arrived at Jackson, miss., on the 17th.  The next thing was how to get across the Mississippi River.  Some said to cross at one place and some said another but I finally found an old citizen who told me that the surest plan was to cross at Rodman, about one hundred miles below Vicksburg.  So I started, in company with F.O.  Pittman and Tom Murry, thinking the other boys would go above.

We struck the swamps where the bottoms were narrow and were soon on the bank of the river in a heavy canebrake.  We saw a smoke and advanced with caution but soon found that it was some of our boys camped there.  So there we were, thirty-one of us, with nothing to eat and had not eaten anything since early that morning, and the Federals were thick on every road but, fortunately, there was no road where we were.  We lay there that night and next morning held a council, and it was agreed that some two or three men go back and find a house and try to get a boat.  Bill Caldwell and two others went and were gone all day, and we concluded they had been captured, but about 8 o’clock that night they returned and had an old man with them who said his name was January, and had a skiff on a wagon and two negro men with him.  We paid him $50 each to put us on this side of the river, on the night of the 23rd, at the very point where John A. Murrell swam it on his black horse.

When we crossed there was a gunboat in sight above and below.  As soon as we were across we lit out, seven of us together, and walked hard for two or three hours, as we thought, square off from the river in a swamp.  Finally we concluded to lay down and rest till day thinking that we were a good distance from the river.  Directly we were awakened by the escaping of a boat and, there it was, less than one hundred yards of us and directly in our course.  We then saw that we had walked a circuitous route and were back to near where we crossed the river.  We started again and, that time, kept on a straight course and about sunrise we came to a house and ordered breakfast for seven hundry men.  It had been forty-eight hours since we had tasted food.  In about two hours breakfast was ready and we went in, and I don’t think I ever saw provisions disappear as fast in all my days, according to the hands.  Just after we started and, before we had gotten out of sight, we saw a man coming at full speed and motioning with his hat for us to run.  We stopped till he came up.  He said to run quick, that the Feds would be there in a few minutes, but that if we could make it to the back of the field, a half mile distant, we would be safe for a time.  So away we went, helter skelter, just as hard as we could but we had eaten so much we could not run fast.  I never was so tired in all my life.  It was a tight fit for us to strike a trot but if we could reach the fence we could rest.  Finally, when we did get there, there was hardly a man among us who could speak and we just fell over the fence and lay as we fell at least an hour.  We could see the road and the house and not a Yankee came along that road.


(Cont’d from Jan. 1989 Issue)

We resumed our march and traveled all day through the woods parallel with the road.  About night we ventured to a house where an old negro lived.  We asked him about the Federals.  He said he never saw but few and that there never had been any there.  We asked him if he had any potatoes.  “No, massa,’taters all gone.”  We told him we would give him two dollars for a bushel.  “Well, doan’ no, mabe dar’s ‘er few.”  He called a boy, sent him in a cellar with a basket that would have held three bushels, told him to fill it.  I went to help him and we got her full, paid him, then Murry asked him if he had any bacon.  He said no.  Murray told him that he would give him a dollar for a pound.  “Les go an’ see den’ maby dar’s ‘er little up in de loff.”  Murray followed and soon returned with five or six pounds.

We walked on four or five miles, left the road about a half mile, built a fire in a hollow close by a little branch, broiled our bacon and roasted potatoes, ate a hearty supper, spread out our blankets and slept sound till daylight.  We had got separated till there were only three of us there, Pittman, Murray and myself.  We walked on in the direction of Monroe, La., which place we passed abut the 26th.  We directed our course north, ate when we would get anything and when we could not, did without.  The waters were up and we were traveling through a low level country.  Sometimes we walked for miles from knee deep to our shoulders in water.  Finally we came to the Salem River which was overflowing its banks, and tried to wade through a little caney swamp to the bank, but soon found out that we were too short to ford it and had to turn back, as the water was so cold that we would freeze if we did not get out.  We had quit the road and were traveling by guess through the woods.

We had found that there was a picket post on the river not far below where we were and that was our only chance to get across.  So we put a bold face and marched straight for the picket.  You see, the Rebels held the country south of the Arkansas River at that time.  The Federals held the rivers and the country on each side for a short distance but the Rebels were in possession of the country south of the railroad running from Little Rock to DuVall’s Bluff.  So this was a Rebel picket and, as we were paroled, we felt sure that they would put us across.  When we got there and told the ferryman that we wanted to cross the river, he said all right, but the sergeant of the guard asked us where we were going.  We told him we were going home.

“Where do you live?”
“In North Arkansas.”
“Deserters, I reckon?”
“No, we are paroled soldiers.”
“The h—l you are; where were you paroled from?”
I explained to him that we had been in prison a long time, that we lived on White River and that the Rebels held that country.  The fact is, I might not have confined myself strictly to the truth, but finally he said if the corporal was willing we might cross.  The corporal said he had nothing to do with it.  So the ferryman put us across and told us that it was three miles to the hills, and that the bottom was covered with water all the way but if we could find a path that left the road it would lead us to high ground and that we would meet with no more pickets by taking the path.  So on we went and found the path.

The water was very cold and sometimes nearly to our necks but we followed the path very well for a mile or so but finally we lost it, and it was then sundown.  We climbed on a log to rest and counsel awhile and, after resting, we started on just as it was beginning to get dark.  As we were thinking of camping on a log we came to higher ground and, in a short distance came to a house and as there was no one there to hinder, we stayed all night.  Next morning, without paying our bill, we were off by daylight.  We traveled on through the woods, aiming to strike the Arkansas river between Little Rock and Pine Bluff.

So on the morning of the 5th we came to the bank of the river at Sam Williams’.  We told him that we wanted to cross the river.  He said all right and told us that there were some boys going over to a turnip patch and that we could cross with them.  So, after giving us our breakfast and directions how to go, we left.  If he sould read this he would doubtless remember us.

We followed his directions true to the mark and stayed all night at Esq. Marr’s.  We were now in a country held by the Federals and were very wild but we kept venturing on until we were captured by a foraging party who would have let us go had it not been that we were traveling the same way.  They said they would take us on to camp but they guessed that we would be allowed to go ahead in the morning but when we got to camp we found the colonel was of different opinion.  He said that when prisoners were paroled and delivered outside their lines and afterwards caught back inside again that, according to the rules of civil war they were held the same as if they had not been paroled.

Next day, the 19th, we were sent to the Little Rock penitentiary where I met several of my old acquaintances and friends, among whom were Dr. B.F. Hughes, C.N. McGuire, and several others, who gave the first news I had received from home in about two years.

(From Izard Co. Historian, dated July 1989, Vol. 20, #3.)


The 5th we took the train, passed by Springfield and on to Joliet, where we stopped to water.  The prisoners were wanting water and the town boys were carrying it to them in their canteens.  I was sitting with my canteen waiting for a boy to come along and fill it for me, when a man came along and said to let him have it and he would fill it for me.  I let him have it and he returned soon with the canteen full of good whisky, which was the first I had since I was at Augusta, Ga.

On the 6th we went into Rock Island prison, 400 miles by water above St. Louis, on an island in the Mississippi River, between the states of Illinois and Iowa, just opposite Davenport, Iowa.  There were about 9,000 of us there inside of a parapet.  There were about forty  acres in the prison with barracks, or box houses, about 100 feet long and 100 men to the barrack.  I was in barrack No. 57, on the north side of Main street.  The prison was well watered by hydrants, which afforded good water and we were supplied with coal for cooking purposes.
The men amused themselves in various ways, some making finger rings, breastpins, earrings, eardrops, etc., others playing cards for Confederate money at a gib ante.  I have seen $500 staked on one game of poker.  Some played chuckaluck; and, in fact, every game that a man could think of.  Sometimes the poker players would go around to a chuckaluck bank and buck it till they broke it.  The banks all had a limit, generally from 1 to 100, from 5 to 50, or from 10 to 100.  Four or five poker players would go copartnership and one would begin by getting say five dollars and, if he lost it, he would double the amount every time till he run his limit, then if he did not win till he run out, his partner would commence at the top of his limit, say fifty dollars, keep doubling till he won, then begin back at the first.  Occasionally their number would come three or four times after the bets got pretty high, then they would win three for four times the amount they staked.  They would soon break the bank and they would go to another, and so on, till they broke several banks.  Other bankers would find how the game was going and suspend business until they went back.

Our prison was a nice piece of land, nearly level, a little elevated in the middle, covered with a beautiful growth of young trees, such as oak, hickory, elm, walnut, ash, etc.

I met several persons whose acquaintance I had formed when I was wounded in Tennessee.  Among them were Andy and Dan Gant, who lived in Hardin county; Fielding Cole, Steve and Mat Armet of Wayne County.  If either of them should read this it would call to mind a memorable period in their history but I do not kn0ow that any of them are living at the date of this writing.

Two men made their escape one evening in this way:  They got hold of some Federal overcoats and cut them up and mad pants and blouses and dressed in veteran uniform, which is all the same color - a sky blue.  Then they got some walnut roots and whittled them in the shape of the butt of a pistol, got old boot legs and made belts and pistol scabbards and came out to barracks to dress.  After they were dressed, armed and equipped, they looked like the genuine veteran soldier.  The gate-keeper was an old veteran and a pistol was a man’s pass and, as a wagon was passing through the prison they walked along after it and, as the gate opened to let it through, they seemed busily egaged in conversation with each other and passed through unmolested.  One man’s name was Newton Hawkinsmith, a Missourian, and I have forgotten the other’s name.  They made good their escape.  I saw them pass out at the gate which was the last I ever saw of them.

I saw a young man, a boy about 16 years old, escape one evening just at dusk by swinging under a carriage that was passing through the prison.  I don’t think he had any intention or even thought of escaping when he caught hold of the carriage but only aimed to ride a short distance for sport.  He found that he could get between the bed and the coupling pole and determined to try to escape, which he did without any trouble; and after a month he wrote back telling how he got home from Rock Island.  His letter was from Kentucky and said that he stayed in the city of Rock Island until he earned money sufficient to pay his railroad fare home, being so young and little that nobody supposed him to be an escaped prisoner.

Two others got out but were detected.  After making their way out the authorities, supposing that there were others out and that they had agreed upon a place to meet placed a guard to follow them.  They fooled around Rock Island some time, then walked leisurely across the bridge into Davenport, Iowa and passed about over the town.  There were plenty of Federal soldiers there but they did not seem to notice them; but the guards kept an eye on them all the while; and about the time they thought their escape was certain one of the guards stepped up on them and said: “Now boys, you have had a pleasant walk and it is about time to go back to the prison - it will soon be night.”  Seeing that they were gobbled up, they said alright.  So they marched them back, laughed at them a little and turned them in.

Four or five young men made their escape one dark night by scratching under.  They agreed to try it as it was very dark and raining and there was a half-witted young fellow with them who they put before, for they knew that the guards would fire without even challenging them if they were seen, consequently it was a very ticklish job, so they all went back except the hero in front, who crawled to the parapet and soon scratched a hole under large enough to permit him to pass and, supposing that the others were close to him crawled out and and lay there some time waiting for them to come through and, as they did not come and it would not do to speak, he crawled back not willing to go alone and went to his barrack and found them asleep, awakened them and told them that he had made the hole and had been outside, so they got up and followed him and made their escape.

We were guarded awhile by negroes, who had orders to fire on us if we spoke to them while on guard.  The order, like all other orders the guards received, was read to us that we might not run unawares into unnecessary danger.  There was a little ditch all around inside that we called the “dead line” because the guards had orders to fire if the negro boys were together but, still he was afraid to speak to him, knowing that the negro had orders to shoot if he spoke to him.  So he got as close as he could to be safe and watched the negro until he caught the other sentinels not looking, then he got behind a tree and called the negro by name.  The negro answered and instantly recognized his young master.  He asked the negro if he could help him escape out of that place.  The negro told that that he could and for him to come back at a certain hour that night and whistled and he would answer, so that he would know that it was him.  According to his promise the prisoner went to his tree and waited until he heard the relief guard pass, then he whistled, which was answered, then he crawled cautiously to the parapet.  The negro reached down his gun, he caught hold and held on and the negro lifted him to the top, then set his gun down on his beat, hung his cartridge box on it and left with his young master and neither of them had been heard of when I left the prison.  I call him a grateful negro.

Note by Betty Mc:  It seems that a line or two many have been omitted here but I have typed the above paragraph just as it was in the book.)

By Elihu Beckham; cont’d. from Iz. Co. Hist., July 1989, Vol.20, #3)


We were gurded a while by one hundred day men and their time expired while they were on guard and the last night they guarded us they fired into the prison.  Fifty or perhaps one hundred shots were fired.  Three men were killed and four wounded that night.  The Sergeant in charge of the barracks told us that their time was out and that they were shooting so that they would say when they got home that they had killed one rebel.  The Sergeants were all veterans and would curse the 100 day men and call them damned cowards for firing into a prion.  If I am ever compelled to be guarded again let it be by old or regular soldiers, for when we were in the hands of regular soldiers we were treated well.  These old vets were good-natured, friendly, high-minded men and would tell us anything that was going on outside.  Our rations were very scant and they told us that the government issued us plenty, but that it was stolen by men in the commissary department for speculative purposes before it reached us and that the officers were trying to remedy it.
About the last of August they ran a parapet so as to cut off about five acres in the southwest corner of the prison and opened a large gate and placed a sentinel there and told us that all who wished to join them and take the oath of allegiance and enlist for a term of twelve months, go west, guard the frontier and fight the Indians, to go into that pen, which we called the “calf pen”, and about 2,500 went in within two days.     Our sergeant told us that the state of Pennsylvania was short in her quota of troops and was offering $300 bounty for volunteers and that there was a man there recruiting for that state, and giving all the men he could get a $50 bounty and kept the remaining $250, which he made clear off of every recruit.  He got in all about three thousand out of Rock Island prison in about a week.  Of course they had to be stout, able-bodied men, but all who went in and were not received were turned loose after taking the oath.  Most all the disabled men went and were turned loose.
The smallpox was there, plenty of it, when I got there, and plenty when I left but it didn’t kill many.  It got to be so common that we paid little attention to it.  I did not take it, but was with it for twelve months nearly all the time.
The post at Rock Island was commanded by Gen. Hooker, but Col.  Carrior was in command of the prison.  One day, after they had opened the “calf pen” and the boys were pretty thick along the parapet that separated us from those who had gone in, Col. Carrior dashed in and began firing blank cartridges right in among the prisoners, then laughed to see them run, but soon cleared the line.

One day the sergeant told us to be ready by a certain day about a week ahead for general review; that Gen. Hooker was going to review the prison, and for us to wash our clothing, comb our hair and make as good appearance as possible.  The appointed time came, our sergeant had us to sweep out the barracks, fold up our blankets and form outside the barracks, which we did in good style.  After we had been standing in line about an hour the east gate opened and in came Gen. Hooker and his escort, and went through and out at the west gate just as fast as his old horse would pace, and I don’t think that I ever saw a horse that could pace faster.  So the general review that we had been preparing for lasted about a minute, and I don’t think the General saw a single man.  He seemed to glory in the speed of his horse and in himself as a graceful rider.  He sat perfectly straight, looking square to the front and never turned his head.  Then we broke ranks in short order.

The Mississippi river looks to be as large at Rock Island as it is at Memphis, and is as clear as any river I ever saw.

The banks are low and the surrounding country level, and except along the water courses is most all prairie.  The summer was very warm - appeared to be warmer to me there than in Arkansas, but the warm weather did not last as late in the fall as it does here.  It turned cold in September, colder in October, coldest in November.  About the first of November the river froze solid across and remained so as long as I was here.  They furnished us two heating stoves to the barrack and plenty of coal, so all we had to do was to carry in the coal and keep our stoves and about three joints of the pipe red hot.  Our barracks was nearly air-tight, then it was all we could do to keep from freezing.  There was one man in our barrack who gave the last blanket he had for a plug of tobacco, then he froze to death.  I have forgotten his name and where he lived.  He did not die in prison, but when we were put aboard a boat he soon froze, and not only him, but six others, one of whom was John Smithee, another was by the name of Huddleston, who was raised in Tennessee, not far from Waterloo.

A man by the name of Russell killed a man there by the name of Ramsey.  They had a little difficulty about some frivolous matter and Ramsey thought it was all dropped; and, not being on his guard, went into the cook room a few hours afterwards to get a drink of water, and while he was drinking Russell stepped up behind him and struck him on the head with a club, but did not knock him down, only stunning him.  He soon recovered and said he would whip Russell.  Others interfered and would not let him fight Russell; so he charged around for an hour or so, then cooled down and began complaining of his head.  I went to him and asked him if he was hurt much.  He said: “Oh, yes, I believe I am killed.  My head has been broken two or three times before and this has loosed the old cracks in my old skull and I believe it will kill me.” He kept getting worse until about 9 o’clock that night, when Dr. Thornburgh examined him and said he was dying, and he was soon dead. Dr. Thornburgh was a prisoner and lived near Little Rock.

I saw a negro guard fire into a squad of prisoners one day and kill a poor innocent man without any excse at all, then deliberately set his gun down, loaded it and went on walking his beat as if nothing had happened.  I went out as near the negro as was safe and took a good look at him, trying to place his picture in my mind’s eye, so that if I should ever meet him again I would know him, and I think I would.
Health was tolerably good, but there were few deaths among the prisoners.  Felix O. Pittman had a short but severe spell of fever, sore throat, etc., but with the assistance of the ever-to-be-remembered Dr.  Thornburg, he soon recovered.
James G. Calhoun, late of Mountain Home, Baxter County, was sick most of the time while we were there and thought he had consumption.  I left him there and he told me he did not expect to live long and gave me a finger ring with his name engraved on it and requested me to send it to his sister, Susan, should I ever hear of her.  After the war, I believe it was in 1869, I heard of her and sent her the ring.  I supposed Jim was dead, but I afterwards heard of him, but never saw him or his sister.


There was a man with us who we called “Quantrell”.  I don’t know his real name, but he claimed to belong to Charles Quantrell’s gang.  He was a regular hyena, and if there is anything worse, he was that too.  He was always into some meanness.  He went into the “calf pen” but as soon as they found it out he was sent back, but right away he was back again.  Every day he went in and often they sent him out and after they closed the gate he scratched under.  Then they put a ball and chain on him, but next morning he was in again with his ball and chain on.  Then they marched him out and tied him up by the thumbs for two hours and told him if they caught him in there again they would kill him.  I heard him tell the sergeant while he was marching him out to tie him up that he belonged to Quantrell’s band.

He said: “I just dare you to kill me.  I am Quantrell’s right bower, and if you kill me he will kill five hundred Federal soldiers in retaliation.  I would not, when I get out of prison show one of them fellows in the ‘calf pen’ any more quarter than I would a damned wild-cat.”  HE was so bad that the prisoners wanting to get rid of him wrote to Col. Carrior to take him out.  He wrote back that he did not want him, and that if the prisoners would not put up with him to kill him; but he was there when I left.

We were not allowed to have newspapers of late dates, but we managed to get them, just the same.  I don’t know who, but Billy Boyce of St.  Louis got a paper nearly every day, and while Price was on his raid we heard from him every day.  While he was coming toward us we were in hopes he would come after us; and if he had come within hearing we intended to try to go to him, and if we had he would have gotten between eight and ten thousand as good soldiers as he ever commanded.

There was an arsenal on the island, which was not very strongly guarded.  Our first dash would have been for the arsenal and the next for Price.  If the river had not been in the way I expect we would have tried it anyway.  There was considerable excitement in the prison while Price was in Missouri, but when he left it all died down.  I believe I have told all I can remember about Rock Island prison that is of interest.

On the 15th of Januarty, 1865, we were informed that a part of us would start soon for exchange.  Our sergeant told us that all us who were captured by Gen. Steel in Arkansas to be ready, and as that included me, I was ready right then.  So on the 16th we were called, 269 of us, and marched out of the prison over to the city of Rock Island and placed in an empty barrack, which was very cold and damp.  So there we were, 269 of us, in one room 100 feet long, without fire, nearly naked, and not a blanket to the man.  As cold and weak as we were I did not think it possible for one man in the crowd to survive that night but we did.  We went around in a circle in a trot or walk all night to keep from freezing.  The room was very tight and we were so closely crowded and buoyed up with the hope of going south that we lived through the night, which will, no doubt be remembered as long as there is one of that squad alive.  Not a single man laid down or even sat down during the entire night.  If we had stopped I do not believe there would have been a live man in the house in two hours.

On the 17th at 8 o’clock, we were placed on board the train and went down the Illinois Central railroad, lay over that night at Springfield; next day we went to Cairo, a distance of about five hundred miles from Rock Island, stayed on the train till morning, when we were placed in a house and guarded until the boat was ready to sail.  On the 21st we were placed on the hurricane deck of an old Mississippi steamer, where the wind had a fair show at our almost naked bodies.  On the morning of the 22nd we set sail down the great Mississippi, the weather very cold and the wind blowing as though it was determined to freeze every one of us to death, and seven men were frozen before we reached New Orleans.  It snowed on us every day we were on the boat.

We landed at New Orleans on the morning of the 28th.  On our way down, just below Baton Rouge, we were fired upon by a squad of Rebels, but nobody was hit.  It was just at dusk and nobody could be seen.  Several bullets hit the boat, one or two in the pilot house.  Our boat was near shore when she was fired into, but soon started for the opposite bank, and as there were no guns larger than Enfields playing on us, we were soon out of reach.
On the 27th we landed in New Orleans and were marched down the river, a distance of about four miles to the steam compress.  At the time we got there it was snowing very fast, which was the first and only snow they had there that winter.  Next morning the sun rose bright and clear, which was the first time I had seen the sun since we left Rock Island.  The 28th was a clear, warm day, and we all got warm for the first time that winter.

The smallpox soon broke out among us and some of the men suffered greatly with it, and one old man, I have forgotten his name, died after we left there.  Hiram Treat had it and I waited on him for a week or more.  We left him there and he finally got well.

While we were confined at New Orleans our rations were cooked before being issued to us.  Our rations consisted of crackers or “hard tack,” as the boys called them, and pickled pork or beef, which was boiled in large pots, there being a room on the west side of our prison used for that purpose.  Some of the boys who were there will doubtless remember how we managed to steal the grease from the negro cooks, which they skimmed off the meat while it was cooking and which they kept for their own use or to sell.  There was a barrel nearly full of this lard just inside the cook room, and at the end opposite the battle was a small hole through which we could see what was inside.  The guards would not let us into the house except at that end, so after dark, when the cooks were gone, we crept up to the hole armed with a tin cup tied to a stick, and dipped it into the lard; but that was a slow process.  There was a trough abut eight inches deep and a foot wide that was let down into the ground to convey the slop from the cook room outside the prison, and was so nearly level that the slop stood in it from three to four inches deep all the time.  There was a small man with us whom we hired to crawl in and get the lard, but he got scared after he got in, and did not get much of the lard.  There was a very slim, long man, I believe his name was Roberts or Robertson, who said he would try to crawl in through the trough.  So one night he stripped himself of all his outward apparel, got down in the trough with two or three of us to help him, in he went, and you bet he got lard.

On the morning of the 20th of February, 1865, we were called to the gate, formed in line and marched in order back up the river to a steamer that lay ready to carry us back up the Mississippi to the mouth of Big Red river, where we landed the 21st.  There we met a Confederate States boat loaded with United States prisoners.  So there under flags of truce, United States and Confederate States officers met, talked and joked each other on general topics of war; and United States and Confederate States brass bands stood facing each other, not more than twenty yards apart, and played alternately, first one then the other.  The Confederate States band played “Yankee Doodle”, then the United States band played “Dixie”, and then they played together.  (Taken from the Izard Co. Historian, dated Oct. 1989; Vol. 20, #4) (Conclusion of a Civil War Story {by Elihu Beckham} continued from the July 1989 issue.


While on our way up we stole two barrels of sour kraut from the Federals, which they were taking up to feed their men as they returned and the Rebel boat had a barrel of molasses for us to eat as we went up the Big Red, and the Federals stole that, and after we had changed boats they yelled out: “Oh, yes, Rebs, we got your molasses,” and we answered, “All right; we got your kraut,” which was the first that either party knew that anything was missing.
In a short time we bid each other adieu until we should meet on the battle field.  Each boat backed out and away we went, the Federals down the Mississippi and the Rebels up Big Red.  We parted waving our old hats and cheering like wild Comanches.  Having been in prison twelve months and thirteen days, no man can tell how free we felt.  There were about 260 of us, as ragged a set as any one ever saw.  There was not a whole garment among us.  I had on a pair of pants that Ambrose Jeffery had given me at Little Rock twelve months before and I had worn them every day since and they were nearly worn out when I got them.  They were home made brown jeans and Ambrose said his mother made them.  There was but little of the original there, but I was almost as well dressed as any among us.

We went whooping up Big Red, which is a fine boating stream as far up as Alexandria, about 150 miles up the river.  From there to Shreveport, La., it is very crooked.  Shreveport is situated on the south bank of Big Red river about 500 miles from the mouth.  We landed there the 25th and were quarintined in a large frame house on the north side of the river just below town.  For fear that we would scatter smallpox, we were ordered not to go to town or to any house without permission from our commander, a lieutenant under whose charge we were placed; but, being just out of confinement, it took something more than orders to keep us there. We found in a drift or rack-heap several pontoon boats capable of carrying several men.  We got the boats out and ran them up to our camp, then went to town when we felt like it, and we felt like it most every day, and most every day our tyrannical lieutenant would have some of the boys walking the levee under guard, and perhaps carring a rail or something on his shoulder.

The river was out of its banks and the lowlands where it was not level was all overflowed, and out in this eddy water there were plenty of fine fish, mostly buffalo of the largest size.  Henry Adkison and I went to a negro blacksmith and carried him out twenty pounds of iron and employed him to make us a gig, paying him in iron (we found the iron).  After we got our gigs we had plenty of fish.  Several of the boys had gigs, some had spears and not a few had large nails driven in the end of a pole, with which they killed fish.

The river was not clear, as anyone knows who ever saw Big Red, but the fish were feeding near the edge in shallow water, and we would watch until we saw fins sticking out, then pounce him.  We killed enough fish in one day to glut the market at Shreveport.

One night one of my messmates, Bill Adkins, myself and four or five others went down the river to where an old rich fellow lived to try and borrow a fat shoat, but as the old gentleman was asleep and we did not wish to disturb him, and knowing it would be all right if we could only find the shoat, we proceeded to the lot.  Not wishing to disturb the family or the bull-dog we advanced with caution and were soon in the lot, but we could not find a hog that would do.  We found twenty or thirty goats, and supposing that the old gentleman had as soon we would take a kid as a shoat, we concluded that we would take a kid, so we gave them a chase, and right around the barn they went and Bill after them.  At last they scaled the fence and Bill caught a kid and it began bleating, but Bill held on.  I ran to him and told him to kill it.  He replied that the little devil wasn’t bigger than a rat and as poor as h—l, but it made more noise than anything of its size than I ever saw.  About that time we heard a noise at the house like the old gentleman had been disturbed.  He was bawling at us and calling to the negro to turn the dogs loose, that somebody had caught a kid.  So Bill threw it over the fence and said: “Go, you little devil;” then we retreated in good order and returned to the camp without any fresh meat.

Bill not being satisfied, said he would try it over the next day.  So the next night, F.O. Pittman, Bill Adkins and several others rolled out directly after dark and found a gang of probably one hundred sheep by the side of a fence where it run parallel with a lake for some distance then run into it.  So they drove the sheep down and hemmed them in and left one or two to keep them while the rest went in to pick out a fat wether.  They were very cautious, and as soon as a man would find one that he thought would do he would cut its throat without telling anybody about it.  So after awhile Bill called out: “Let them out; here is one that will do.”

When they turned them out they found that they had killed seven fine wethers.  So they dressed their mutton and carried it to camp.  Bill and Pittman came in and woke Henry Adkinson and I and we went to cooking and eating, and right there we ate more mutton than I ever saw four men eat before or since.  The next thing was to conceal what was left. We had it cooked by daylight and just after daylight the Lieutenant came along and raised the lid off the pot and looked in and there he saw the fine fat mutton but he passed it withoug saying a word.  He found out that there were too many of us concerned in that sheep business for him to try to punish us, so he let it pass unnoticed.

We had drawn new uniforms and were dressed and clean.  On the 27th of February there was a brigade came along and stopped about a quarter of a mile above us at the ferry.  We went up to see who they were and the first man I saw was Col. Jordan E. Cravens, and near by was our old company.  I heard a man halloo out “Sergeant Beckham.”  I looked and saw Bob Hightower coming toward me.  So there was our 21st Arkansas.  The boys were all glad to see me, that being the first time we had met since the 17th day of May, 1863.  They crossed the river and camped about one mile from camp.  On the fifth day of March we were released to our command.  On the 6th we took up the line of march for Marshall, Texas where we halted on the 8th.  Jordan E. Cravens was not commanding the Brigade, which was McNair’s brigade.  T.J. Churchill was in command of the division.

Well, I was now back with what was left of our old 21st Arkansas regiment.  Out of about one thousand men that belonged to it at the reorganization at Corinth, Miss., in 1862 there were only forty-three of us at Marshall, Texas, all consolidated or thrown together and formed one company which was commanded by Lieutenant Canada. We were bound together in bonds of love and friendship as closely as if we had been own born brothers.
Out of the 43 survivors there were seven privates of old Company K, viz: Felix Pittmen, Thos. Brown, Robert E. Hightower, Alfred B. Sutton, Wm. McCarley, Logan Garner, Elihu C. Beckham, and Jas. Martin, Lieutenant, who arrived at Marshall.
We could go to hear preaching every Sunday in town.  There were Methodist, Baptists, Campbellites, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians all held forth at a separate appointed hour every Sabbath so that we could go and hear them all.

I heard of a widow Beckham in town and went to Col. Cravens and got a pass to go and see her and when I got to town the guard took me up to the guard house where a Lieutenant examined my pass and finally let me go withoug letting me in, which was the only time that I was arrested during the war by our own men.  I found the widow lady, but there were so many claiming kin that she did not know whether to believe me or not.  Alfred Sutton, of our company, was the one that told me about the widow being in town, and when I went she asked me to what command I belonged.  I told her, then she said: “There was a man here yesterday, claimed to be by the name of Alfred Beckham, and belonged to that very same command.  He was a slim, red-headed, freckle-faced fellow.”  I told her that I was the only Beckham that belonged to that command, but I don’t think she believed me.  She said that she had lived in Little Rock up to the beginning of the war.

Gen. E. Kirby Smith was commanding the post and we had several general reviews, we thought, for no other purpose than for the ladies.  For them to see us and for the officers to see the ladies.  I know we soldiers got very tired of it.  On one of these reviews Gen. Joe Shelby was present, which was the only time I ever saw him.
So here we stayed, doing a little guard duty, drilling and guarding the post, until after a while there got a rumor in camp that Richmond had fallen.  We went to Col. Cravens and asked a speech of him.  He told us that the C.S. Capitol was in the hands of the enemy and his opinion was, that we would disband and go home in a short time, but for us to stay with him and he would let us know when the time came for us to start home.  So that night, just as the dress parade broke ranks, there was a horn blown out east across a hollow and the soldiers instead of going to their tents went to that horn, that is many of them went, but strange to say only one man from our regiment, and I have forgotten his name.  Maj. Reynolds, who was in charge of our regiment, told us to stay like men, he said, “Now you have been true and have stayed with our flag until the last, now don’t desert but stay together and go home like men.”

(Continued from Iz. Co. Hist., Oct. 1989, Vol.20, #4;
continued from CHAPTER XI:)

So on the 26th it became known that we would start home in a short time.  We agreed to meet at Washington, Ark., on the 30th day of May and start for Little Rock on the 31st.  On the 27th I left my Enfield against a black oak and my cartridge box hanging on the bayonet, shouldered my knapsack, slung on my canteen full of fine rifle powder, bid farewell to those of my comrades who lived in Texas, and those who were not going in the direction of Little Rock, and in the company with Bill McCarley, I struck out for Fulton and stopped the 22nd at the Presidence of a man by the name of Bennafield, twelve miles west of Washington.  Bennafield was an acquaintance of McCarley.

On the morning of the 30th, according to previous arrangements, we went to Washington, where the boys soon began to put in an appearance.  Several old citizens of then Izard County, were there, on their way home, among them were Alex Adams, Wash Gray, Augustus Harris, Dr. Wold and several others.

On the day Logan Garner and I ate dinner at Dr. Jetts; Dr. Jett showed us a house in which he said there were two or three wagon loads of government shoes deposited a few days before and it was his opinion that they were still there.  We went and demanded entrance.  The door soon opened and we searched the house, but it was empty.  The man said our information was mistaken.

We camped there that night, four or five hundred of us.  Next morning, May 31st, we started for Little Rock, a distance of one hundred miles.  We had six or eight wagons to haul our provisions and baggage but we walked.  We had about a dozen Enfields along on guard purposes.  So we went for home, marching quietly along, not molesting anything.  On the 5th day of June we marched into Little Rock where we were furnished grub and quarters for the night.  Next day we were told to go home and we obeyed in short order.

About 10 o’clock we crossed the Arkansas river on a pontoon bridge.  The road soon forked and those who lived in Independence county and the east of Izard took the right.  There I parted with some old comrades whom I have never seen since.  We soon found a picket post but we had a pass that let us through.  But they had orders to search us, which they did very slightly.  They said we were not allowed to carry arms or ammunition.  We had no arms except Wash Gray had his old rife that he had owned for many years but he was allowed to pass with it.  I had a canteen full of rifle powder, but before I passed the picket I pulled the cork out and seeing it uncorked they supposed it was empty and let me pass unnoticed.  We marched till nightfall then left the road about a half mile, lay down without any fire and made as little noise as possible.  We were fearful that a squad would follow us for the purpose of robbing us as there were several good mules and horses belonging to the good citizen before mentioned along, but we remained unmolested till morning then resumed our march.

I remember that as I passed through Quitman I went into a house and asked a lady if she had any bread.  She said no.  She was an old lady.  A younger lady came into the room and said she would fill my canteen with buttermilk and while she was filling it she asked me if I knew a man by the name of Witt.  I told her that we both belonged to the same regiment.  She asked “Where is he?”  And as I spoke she turned pale.  I told her that he would be there that night, and asked her if it was her brother.  She said, “No, thank God, he is my husband,” then she called a little girl and told her to go into the kitchen and bring a piece of bread, then she called “Oh, mother” (the old lady answered) “Jerry is coming and will be home tonight.”  “How do you know?” asked the old lady, who by this time had come into the room.  “This man knows him,” replied the young woman.  Then I had to tell the old lady all about him, who said he was her son.

Next day, June 9, 1865, I reached the home of my father after being absent for three years, seven months and twelve days and had traveled about twelve thousand miles and saw twenty states, viz: Missosuri, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas; and had formed an acquaintance with men from every state in the Union.

Now I was at home, the war had ended, and so had everything in the way of provisions in this part of the country.  All that I had in the world was an old rifle gun near eaten up by rust from being hid out, and $3.50 in silver.  I, of course, was much fatigued and footsore, but otherwise I was well and had been all the time while in the army.  I answered for duty every morning while in the army except three and that was on account of a boil under my arm so that I could not carry a gun.

I will now attempt to tell you what became of the boys in the old Company K.  Captain Elkins survived the war, but died in Izard County some years ago.  Lieutenant Dickerson and Linley were living when I last heard of them, in Izard County.  Lieut. Lafever, as has been before stated, died at Ft. Pillow.  Orderly Jack Davidson, was living the last I knew of him.  Dr. O.T. Hunt was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of one of his best friends, since I began writing this narrative.  He lived at LaCrosse, Izard County at the time of said accident.  Bud and Sam Taylor live in Fulton County.  Thomas Martin, our quartermaster, and James Martin, his brother, who was elected Lieutenant at Tupelo, both survived the war and were living near Little Rock when I last heard of them.  Logan, Joshua, and Wm. Garner all lived through the war.  William lost a leg at Corinth, Miss., Oct. 14, 1862, but was living in Izard County a few years but Joshua and Logan are both dead.  John and Thomas Martin and Bob Hightower were all with us.  I don’t recollect where we lost John; Thomas was living in Izard county a few years ago and Bob went to see one of his uncles out in Texas from Marshall and died on his way home.  Abb Hamilton came home after the battle of Corinth and died of brain fever.  Geo. Anderson was wounded at Corinth, Miss., Oct. 4th, 1862, came home, survived the war and now lives in Texas.  Alex Adams living through and died not long after the war ended.  Cress Brown was killed at Bakers Creek, Miss., May 10th, 1863.  Wm. Brown was discharged on account of being under age, in Miss., in early part of 1863.  Thomas Brown survived the war and came home, then I lost sight of him.  John Campbell stood the siege of Vicksburg, came home after it, fell and died a few years after the surrender.  Wash and Alf. Campbell both came home from the Vicksburg siege.  Wash lives in Izard county.  I have lost sight of Alf.  Dave Bone died at Pocahontas early in 1862.  Joel Battles died at the same time near the same place, so did Irmon Donahoo.  James Doughty and Geo. Haynes were left at Indianapolis, Indiana, sick.  Doughty now lives in Izard county.  I lost sight of Haynes.  Joseph Haynes was living in Izard county when I last heard of him.  Dudley Gunn was lost at the evacuation of Corinth.  He was sent off sick and we never heard of him.  James Wofford was sent off at the same time and died somewhere down in Mississippi on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.  Capt. Jas. Hunt was killed at Corinth, Miss., Oct. 4th, 1862.  Craw Highland left us in Miss., survived the war and was living a few years ago, but I do not know where he is.  Frank Hill died at Pocahontas in the spring of 1862.  Asap Hill died somewhere in Miss.  John Hill was left in the hospital at Fort Delaware in 1863, and I never heard of him.  Romulus Jennings came home on furlough from Richmond, Va., and now lives near LaCrosse, Izard County.  Sam Jones was living the last I heard of him in Izard County.
(Note by Betty McCollum)  Romulus Jennings died in the Civil War.  His brother Leander Jennings, came home.  Romulus and Leander Jennings were brothers of my Great-grandmother Parthenia Hassentine Jennings Tomlinson.)

Thomas M. Johnson joined the frontier soldiers and served the cause till sometime after the war and I have not seen him since the war ended, neither do I know what became of him.  William, his brother, was killed near home after the siege of Vicksburg from which place he had just come.  T.C. and J.A. Johnson, brothers, died at Tupelo, Miss. in the summer of 1862.  Wm. Jackson also came home in time of the war, either from Vicksburg or Richmond, I don’t remember which, and is now in Texas if alive.  Moses King was with us in prison at Ft. Delaware, came home from Richmond, and is now living in Izard county.  Cal Lawson did not live through but I don’t remember where we lost him.  Carroll Lawhorn, as before stated, died at Fort Pillow, in April, 1862.  James Nelson died at Jacksonport, Ark., in March, 1862.  Joseph W. Miller was sick at Pocahontas, Ark., his father came to take him home, but he died on the way.  John C.M. Miller, a brother to Joe, lived through the war and now resides in Izard county.  Joel A. Massey was lost during the siege of Vicksburg.  I never knew whether he was killed or died of sickness.  Thos. Murray stood the siege of Vicksburg, came home and went to Texas several years ago.  James McCarley lost a leg at the battle of Corinth, Oct. 4, 1862, came home after the war but I lost sight of him.  Wm.  McCarley lived through and as has been said, came home with me, lived several years in Izard county.  I don’t know what became of him.  Wm.  Overton, one of my neighbor boys with whom I was reared, died at Okalona, Miss., in 1863.

Felix O. Pittman, another of my neighbors boys from childhood, with whom I was raised, messed with, slept with, fought side by side with, suffered the privations of prison life with, whom I marched side by side through many a long, weary, dusty march, in short we suffered all the privations of war together; never did two poor boys stick closer to each other than Felix and I.  He came home with me, married a short time, and now lives in Izard county.  John W. Pittman, a cousin of Felix’s, was sick and we left him at Point Lookout prison, the 24th day of Dec. 1863; and I afterwards learned that he died there the next spring.  Newton Puckett, who was elected Lieutenant at Tupelo and served till he was captured at Big Black, Miss., was carried to Johnson’s Island and died there.  Wm. Puckett was left at Point Lookout prison and I never heard of him again till after the war when I received a letter from him.  He was then in Illinois.  Jink Stanley died at Jacksonport.  I don’t remember what became of John Strother, but we lost him somewhere east of the Mississippi river.  Alf B. Sutton lived through the war and was with us when it closed, from thence forward I have never heard of him.  James Whitfield, another of my neighbor boys, came home after the siege of Vicksburg and died in a short time, also his brother Whitman, who as before stated, left home with us, was one of my best and truest friends; but poor Whit received a wound in the thigh at Baker’s Creek from which he died in the year 1863.  James Walker was lost as before stated at Corinth.  Hardee Walker died at Iuka the 23rd of Oct., 1862.  He was our drum major.  Wm. and Ambrose Walker, I lost sight of and don’t know what became of them.  Wm. Simmons took the oath of allegiance and left us at Ft. Delaware and I have never heard of him since.

Following is a list of Company “K”, as best I can remember;

G.S. Anderson*, Alex Adams*, Cress Brown*, Thomas Brown, William Brown, (two names undecipherable), Joel Battles*, Wm. Brigam, John Campbell*, Walsh Campbell, Alf Campbell, Jack Davidson, James Doughty, Irmon Donahoo, Josh Garner*, Logan Garner*, Wm. Garner, John Gist, Dudley Gunn*, Bob Hightower, George Hight, Abb Hamilton, Capt. James Hunt*, O.T. Hunt*, George Haynes, Joseph Haynes, Frank Hill*, Asap Hill*, John Hill*, Leander Jennings, Romulus Jennings*, T.M. Johnson, J.A. Johnson*, Wm. Johnson*, Wm. Jackson, Cal Lawson*, Carroll Lawhorn*, Joel A.  Massey*, Thos. Murray, Wm. McCarley, J. McCarley, Jas. Martin, T.
Martin, James Nelson*, Wm. Overton*, John Pittman*, F.O. Pittman, Lieut.  Puckett, Wm. Puckett, John Strother*, Jink Stanley*, Jas. Whitfield*, Whitman Whitfield*, James Walker*, Hardee Walker*, Wm. Walker, Ambrose Walker, James Wofford*, and Wm. Simmons*.  Those having an (*) following are known to be dead.  The rest were lost sight of by the writer or they were alive a few years ago.

Now I have given a brief history of my travels through the war.  I may be mistaken in a few instances, as I have nothing save memory for a guide.  I have tried to tell, as best I could, what became of the members of our company.  It may be that I have forgotten some, and perhaps some of those I have mentioned did not belong to Company “K”, but they belonged to the “21st” Arkansas Regiment at any rate.  If anyone who reads this wishes to consult me concerning anything that occurred, the time or place of death of anyone who belonged to our Regiment, and will write to me I will be glad to give them any information I can.  Should any of my old comrades read this and wish to write to me, I would be glad to hear from any or all of them at any time.  I live in Stone County, Arkansas.  My post office is Mountain View.

Respectfully your,
(Sergt. Co. “K”, 21st Ark.)

This was contributed by Betty McCollum who we thank so much for this wonderful series of articles and  book!

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