Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Doctor Bernard Incident

This article was written by Mrs. Annie Delony Alston,
Historian of the Edward Sparrow Chapter of U. D. C., Lake Providence, La.
"In the early stages of the war when it became known that Federal troops had been sent to this place, at a meeting of the citizens, Dr. S. P. Bernard, (father of Dr. F. R. Bernard) and Mr. Ferdinand Goodrich were appointed a committee to meet the Yankees and to ascertain their purpose and intentions.
The Federal transport landed at Hagaman (Plantation), just below town, and put off a company of a hundred or more men, who marched nto Streets now join, but which was then a cottonfield. Groups carrying walking sticks, umbrellas and some with guns gathered nearby. The angry Union officer demanded, "Before beginning our conference, I would like to ask the meaning of those armed rebels ahead of me?" Dr. Bernard explained that they were citizens in from the country in quest of news and they carried their guns as a protecti0on on the country roads. The officer ten turned to his men and siad: "I will go with this man (indicating Mr. Goodrich) and confer with those men and you keep this man (turning to Dr. Bernard), as hostage, and if I am not back in fifteen minutes, shoot him dead."
Mr. Goodrich and the officer then proceeded to approach the citizens. As they neared them, the armed Southerners drew up their guns to shoot the officer, when Mr. Goodrich stepped in front of him and said pleadingly: "Don't fire; if this officer is shot, Bernard, who is a hostage will be shot in fifteen minutes." The officer after satisfying himself that they were not troops, returned to his men, and later to his boat. So ended this incident."

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