Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mrs. Elizabeth Sellers' Ruse

From "A Place to Remember", by Georgia Payne Durham Pinkston
"The troops of General McPherson and Ransum were stationed in Mrs. Seller's yard (Oakand Plantation), and Mrs. Elizabeth Sellers, who was a strong-minded , courageous woman, whose hot Southern blood made her dare and do many things, would stand on her balcony and make speeches to the soldiers whenever she had an opportunity to do so, encouraging them to desert. And as the soldiers were in rather a demoralized state, they were in a condition to be influenced by her. General Ransum, getting wind of it, wrote to her, "that if she repeated it, he would put her out of the lines." She replied: "Sir, your cause must be very weak, if you fear what a woman can do!"
On another occasion, Mrs. Sellers, standing on her balcony, saw a handful of Confederate scouts, ragged and forlorn, fleeing for their lives, pursued by a company of Kansas Jayhawkers, headed by the famous Union spy and officer, Phil Taylor (who became well-known to the citizens here after this episode). Mrs. Sellers rushed to the gate, threw up her arms, and as the column halted, asked: "Are you western men? Are you western men? Then you should never take up arms against the South. The interest of the West and South are identical and they should stand together." The officer did not perceive the ruse until the Confederates had had sufficient time to make good their escape, when he drew his sword and said, "Forward men, forward." So a woman's quickness of thought saved those scouts' lives that day."

[NOTE: In my research I found that Elizabeth was born in Pennsylvania, and died shortly after the Civil War, in 1867]

The Burning and Destruction of Kilbourne, La.

Right after the happenings of Quantrill's Raiders and the ten Federal guerrillas, a Colonel Forsham, a splendid gentleman, (for all he was a Yankee officer), polished and humane, was sent here with his regiment, under sealed orders, to avenge the death of the ten guerrillas. When he reached the Seller's place (which was Oakland Plantation), he was allowed to break the seal of his orders. After reading them, he remarked to the lady (Mrs. S. P. Bernard), "Madam, I advise you and your husband to keep out of view for many days. I shall return to the Fort and resign, for I could never execute such fearful orders."
(The Fort was at Goodrich's Landing). He did resign, but this place was filled immediately by a blood-thirsty ruffian, Major Chapin, who at the head of a Negro troop, killed many innocent people.
They went to the residence of Mrs. Holmes, who lived where is now Kilbourne, and in whose house, convelescing from illness was a young man, Charlie Collins, a soldier, a gentleman, and a man of high character. He fearing capture, ran, but when he saw he would be overtaken by those hordes of Negro soldiers, he offered to surrender. They refused and beat him to death with the butt of their guns.
The raiders then proceeded down Bayou Macon, killing whomesoever they met, and finnally reaching Floyd, which was then the county seat of Carroll Parish, where they burned the entire town and left helpbless women and children, naked and homeless, to moan in the ashes of what had been a thrifty town of comfortable homes, with every man who was able to fitght away in the army.

Surgeon McCormicks Narrow Escape

From "A Place to Remember", by Georgia Payne Durham Pinkston.
"One night Lieutenant Powell & Surgeon McCormick, of a Texas regiment, were riding through the woods on the land that is now owned by Mr. Walter Goodwin, when just ahead of them they heard the cry of "Halt!" and the challenge, "Who comes there?". The answer came back, "We are friends, too." Lieutenant Powell said, "We are Confederate soldiers, " and the others said "We are Confederate soldiers also. Where are you going?" Lieutenant replied "To Bill Deeson's." The other said "We will go together."
So they rode on, but the orderly who was with Powell and McCormick, becoming suspicious, lagged behind. One of the soldiers said, "My man, why don't you keep up?" He replied, "I have ridden hard today, and my horse is very tired, but I will be with you." At an opportune moment, the orderly made his escape, leaving Powell and McCormick at the mercy of ten Yankee guerrillas, for such they proved to be.
The road in those days ran right around the Arlington fence and quite close to it and just within the fence, was a thick Cherokee hedge. Just as these men rounded a corner of the fence, a shot was fired and Lieutenant Powell fell from his horse dead. Surgeon McCormick cried out, "Men, don't kill me. I have a wife and children in Texas. In my saddle bags I have $4,000.00 in gold, take it and spare my life." They agreed to do so. McCormick dismounted and precipitately fled through the thick Cherokee hedge. He heard them say, "It will never do to let that man get away." However, he did, to find himself the next morning scratched and bleeding, from contact with thorns, at 'Possum Point', which you will admit, was walking some. His effectual escape made it possible for him to narrate this little war episode.
I will say just here that those (ten) Federal guerrillas were brought here and paid by a citizen of this parish, who was a Northern sympathizer, for the protection of himself and property--a man by the name of Harris, "Horse" Harris, he was called.
Captain Joe Lee's company, belonging to the command of Quantrell, came to Lake Providence. Quantrill/Quantrelle was the famous guerrilla chieftain, whose deeds of daring and devilry made the lives of foes worth nothing when they met, and in whose ranks we find the notorious James Brothers, Jarred Younger, and others, who were the Robin Hoods of our Confederate history. Captain Joe Lee made it his business to capture all ten of these Federal guerrillas, and killed them all, one at a time, and left their bones bleaching in the sun from Hood's Lane to Bayou Macon. And there they stayed for years afterward."

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."